Rudolph in red-hosed rain gear.
Merry Christmas from Webbiquity!
The B2B Marketing Blog
Merry Christmas from Webbiquity!
Hi Jimmy. Got your fundraising appeal for Wikipedia. Let me start by saying I’m a huge fan of Wikipedia; it is a truly amazing tool and a tremendous accomplishment. It’s a phenomenally time-saving research tool. I believe in what you are doing, I’ve contributed financially in the past, and I’d love to do so again. However, a few changes really need to be made.
Call off the dogs. The Wikipedia cabal. The Priesthood. You know who I mean–that inner circle who feel it is their right to take down any content, for any reason, with no explanation or warning and limited appeal rights. Not merely to edit content, or post a comment, but outright delete it (I learned from my first experience at Wikipedia editing never to make any change with keeping a local backup of the text and code). And when called on their behavior, to defend it in the most arrogant, condescending manner possible.
I understand you don’t want Wikipedia to devolve into a collection of marketing brochures. No one does. I certainly don’t. That does not mean, however, that any sentence which could possible be construed in a positive light constitutes “marketing” and deserves to be stricken from the pure environment of Wikipedia. Any editor who isn’t embarrassed by the Anvil Media – Attensa Wiki-gate fiasco should be permanently banned.
Example: most people would agree that the word “leading” rarely belongs in a company description on Wikipedia. It’s an over-used PR buzzword. Since every company is a “leading” something-or-other according to its own press releases, the word has little if any real meaning in most cases.
However, there’s a world of difference between PR buzzwords and objective facts. If XYZ Company is the largest global supplier of flabberglumping software, and that is an objective fact which can be substantiated through industry sales figures and third-party sources, then there should be no problem including that fact on the company’s Wikipedia page (and linking to those sources).
It’s also not just okay, but vital, for a company page to include descriptions of the firm’s products and/or services. Yes, these should be written in a factual and objective tone, not flowery marketing prose rife with glowing adjectives, but properly written such descriptions should be left intact by the self-appointed guardians of Wikipedia unless they can add or improve something.
If John or Jane Doe want to add content to a page about their company on Wikipedia, and have done their level best to write such content in an objective, encyclopedic fashion, they should be able to do with fear that Wikipedia’s self-appointed censors will immediately rip it down with no explanation out of some bizarre anti-commercial malice. With great power comes great responsibility. A little humility would create a ton of goodwill.
Have respect for bloggers. I’ve actually been told by a member of the cabal that a term didn’t deserve to be defined on Wikipedia simply because a few meaningless bloggers had used it. Get with the 00s. Bloggers now include highly regarded journalists, analysts, executives and independent subject matter experts. 77% of Internet users read blogs. Blogs are now the mainstream media. Refusing to cite or link to blogs, or give their content credibility, is rather archaic at this point.
Recognize the value of corporate websites. Certainly much of the content on corporate sites is inappropriate for linking from Wikipedia: product feature-benefits pages, “why buy from us,” press releases, etc. But company sites also often contain highly linkworthy industry resource type content, such as explanations of concepts, glossaries of industry terminology, research results, thought leadership articles and more. If Wikipedia would link to this type of content on, say, a university’s website, there’s no reason not to link to it just because it’s housed on a corporate site.
In addition, corporate sites should be linked from corresponding industry-related pages. For example, if Wikipedia had a page about flabberglumping software, I’d expect the page to include a list of vendors like XYZ Company, with links to their sites. Since it’s a commercial product, links to corporate sites are appropriate in this context.
While I support efforts to keep Wikipedia free of advertising or blatant marketing, it’s my job to make sure my clients are represented fairly on the site. Not marketed or promoted, just described accurately and objectively, with due consideration given to links to thought leadership content they’ve contributed to their industry. Again, I’m a huge fan of Wikipedia and what it’s accomplished for the spread of knowledge. I’d really like to contribute, both in terms of content and money. But if you won’t accept the former, you don’t deserve the latter.
Hard to believe that this blog, officially launched just a few months ago, has already surpassed 100 posts. But here we are! Thank you for reading, and without further ado, below are the 10 most-viewed posts on this blog to date. Some of the entries are surprising, but life can be like that. These are the posts that readers have “voted” as the best by their traffic so far.
This one surprised me. Small companies don’t bother with agency RFPs (nor should they) and even mid-sized companies use them less today than in the past. But if your company wants to use an RFP process to help in selecting a marketing agency, this post will help you craft one that meets your needs without driving the responding agencies crazy.
A post that explains why “social media marketing is simpler than you’ve probably been led to believe. At its core, social media is not about doing new things, but about doing things you’ve always done as a business person differently.”
A bookmarkable collection of some of the best thinking about social media last year, grouped into specific topic areas such as “Social Media Measurement and ROI,” “Social Media Statistics and Research” and “Social Media Marketing Strategy, Tactics and Best Practices.”
The inaugural post on Webbiquity explains the concept of web presence optimization—how websites, blogs, SEM, SEO, interactive PR, content marketing, social networking, reputation management and social media can work together to make a company or individual omnipresent online for their targeted description or value statement.
A Blogging 101 type article for anyone who wants to get started blogging on the right foot, and avoid the missteps and false starts common in the blogosphere.
How social media is a reflection of and response to broader shifts in the market and culture that make it increasingly difficult (and irrelevant) to try to buy attention, but critical to earn it. For example, brands no longer control their messages—their customers do. But social media provides marketers with the tools to monitor, participate in and help shape the conversations.
Given the dominance of Facebook on the social media landscape, it’s not surprising that this most is among the four most-read pieces on this blog. It’s a bit surprising however that it didn’t stir up more controversy; maybe I’m right about this?
It’s heartening to know that as a data junky, I’m not alone. Wondering how the demographics of Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook users compare? Which social networking site 80% of companies plan to use a primary recruiting tool this year? What percentage of consumers and b2b buyers read blogs? You’ll find those answers and more here.
I’m really surprised by this one. As with the how-to-write-an-RFP post noted earlier, this outlines a solid, traditional process for mid-sized companies but overkill for small firms.
Drumroll please…#1 with nearly 3X as many visits as #10 above is…
Social media is only for the young, it’s free, we can hire an intern to do it, and eight other myths destroyed. Well, at least some were destroyed; others sparked disagreement in the comments.
Now on the next 100 posts!
Guest post from the editors of RainToday.com.
Oily. Smarmy. Phony. Mendacious. Two-Faced…
Right or wrong, these words are often associated with salespeople. They are also the first words that come to mind for many consultants (along with images of the overly aggressive, overly slick, walking sales cliché) when they are told they need to sell.
While being salesy is ill-advised for almost any sales rep, it is particularly bad for consultants.
Buyers of products often say, “I don’t like the sales rep, but I can tune her out for the next few minutes and simply evaluate her product against the competition.”
Buyers of consulting evaluate the sellers. Why? The seller is often the service provider. The relationship does not end when the sale is completed – it is just beginning. Thus, the foundation of trust set up between the buyer and seller in the sales process is of paramount importance.
There is Nothing Wrong with Selling
Quite the contrary, the act of selling, when done well, adds a significant amount of value. A well-planned sales conversation can help even sophisticated buyers make smarter decisions.
And, you can be effective without sounding like a used car salesman. You can and should sell with high integrity, and high success, and do it without snake oil tactics.
In fact, we’re going to let you in on a little secret: you can apply the same skills that make you a great consultant to help you succeed in selling—all you need to do is sharpen them to apply them effectively.
As a Consultant You Already Have Many Skills You Need to Be Great at Sales
Here are four ways you can apply consulting skills to your selling process:
1. Sell as You Serve: Many consultants who have never sold think the purpose of selling is to part someone from their money at any cost. They believe that to be successful at selling, consultants must leave their values and everyday personalities at the door and adopt a sleazy persona and voice, one that would naturally say something like, “What’s it gonna take to get you into this shiny, red, pre-owned sports car today, ma’am?”
Nothing is further from the truth. The best rainmakers bring in new clients because they are no different when they sell their services than when they deliver their services.
Great consultants create better futures for their clients that the clients didn’t know were possible.
The best rainmakers meet mutually-set expectations over and over again, building trust, relationships, and confidence. The best rainmakers are ethical at all times.
The skills that make you a great consultant can make you a great rainmaker. Sales is about helping clients and prospects find solutions that solve their problems and help them succeed.
2. Sell to Need: Great consultants are masters at uncovering clients’ goals and challenges and helping them to make the changes necessary for success.
Great rainmakers are no different. However, many consultants feel uncomfortable making connections, uncovering needs, and working closely with people they don’t yet know well. Too often the first conversations go awry when they don’t need to.
The same skills you use to get to the root of your clients’ problems and develop solutions to help them meet their goals are the ones you can use to uncover prospects’ needs and propose winning solutions. You just need to recognize what you need to do and bring these skills out at the right time and in the right way.
3. Communicate the Value: Great consultants understand the value they provide to clients. They craft compelling solutions based on their clients’ unique needs, and communicate that value to clients clearly and articulately.
Selling is no different. You must learn to lead discussions that influence direction and outcomes, and you must advocate your services and communicate your value. Just like when you advocate new ideas to your clients when you work with them, you must be persuasive, confidence inspiring, and empathetic all at the same time when you sell to them.
4. Plan for Success: It’s been said that if you don’t know where you’re going, then any road will get you there.
Great consultants have a clear process that they follow. Each project has a specific objective, timeframe, budget, and resource allocation. Rainmaking is no different. Like consulting, selling is a process, and it’s waiting for you to master it.
Make the Transition from Consultant to Rainmaker
To help you figure out what that selling process should look like and to make the transition from consultant to rainmaker, we’ve written a free 27-page report, Selling Consulting Services: Forget Everything You Know About Sales and Begin to Sell Without Selling.
This report will give you a proven process you can use to start bringing in more new business now. Plus, you’ll learn:
Download the Selling Consulting Services free report now.
Disclosure: As a consultant whose expertise is in helping clients with online marketing, social media and SEO — not selling — I know how difficult this can be for service providers. While RainToday.com has offered to pay me a small commission for anyone who signs up for their training program, I wouldn’t have published this post if I didn’t believe that this is an excellent program for talented but sales-challenged consultants.
What has 28 links and will make you laugh? This blog post! From social media cartoons and contextual advertising gone wrong to dysfunctional agency-client relationships and the best (and worst) online ads, here are some of the most amusing, creative and remarkable blog posts and videos of 2009.
Top 30 Social Media Jokes, Clips and Cartoons! Episode 4 by Thoughtpick
An outstanding collection of social media-themed cartoons and videos. Mostly safe for work.
The Twitter Avatar Roast: 10 Types of Profile Images by Tremendous News
An inspired taxonomy of Twitter avatar types, from “The People Who Think We’re So Interested In Them We Need To See Their Childhood Photos” to “The Nothing-Is-More-Natural-Than-Me-Just-Kinda-Laughing-Not-Noticing-You’re-Taking-A-Picture-Of-Me Guys.”
Ten Reasons NOT to Use Social Media by Sanera People Development Company
Exhausted from trying to explain the benefits to social media to clueless executives, Alicia Arenas switches gears here and delightfully makes the case for “why you should avoid social media like the plague,” with reasons such as “Because what your customers say about you and your company is irrelevant” and “Because participating in the world’s fastest growing communication tool is not a good use of your time.”
How social media is like the seventh grade by Training Marketer
How automated social media responses make online introductions as awkward as junior high.
You might be a redneck SEO if… by David Leonhardt’s SEO and Social Media Marketing
David Leonhardt takes on Jeff Foxworthy with his own list of 50 signs you may be a redneck SEO, including “If your other Mac is a truck, you might be a redneck SEO.”
The 100 most funny and unusual 404 error pages by Blog of Francesco Mugnai
Who says 404 error pages have to be boring? Check out this outstanding collection of amusing, creative and occasionally bizarre examples of what you may see when clicking on an outdated link or mistyping a URL.
10 unbelievably cute 404 page illustrations by Limeshot Design
If your taste in custom 404 error pages runs more toward sweet than strange, then check out this collection of plump cartoon animals and other frilly stuff.
20 Funny, Clueless, Weird, And Existential Google Keyword Searches by MediaPost Search Insider
Wondering if anyone has ever entered “where did I put my keys” into a Google search box, Rob Garner discovers an array of loopy searches, from “Why am I hot” (9,900 searches per month) to “Why am I so broke (16 searches per month – comforting to know that narcissism is so much more common than destitution, I guess) to “What is the number for 911” (yes, these people can vote too).
Contextual Advertising Gone Wild – 20 Examples by Pedro Laboy
***** 5 Stars
As anyone involved in online advertising knows, contextual advertising attempts to match ads with the surrounding text, so that, for example, if you’re reading an article about European sports cars, you’ll see an ad from Porsche or BMW. Sometimes, however, this can go horribly wrong–as the examples in this post demonstrate. A Bank of America ad showing up next to a news story on mortgage fraud; an ad for cheap life insurance next to a story about the untimely death of “Crocodile Hunter” Steve Irwin; an ad for Kaplan University with the headline “Jobs become obsolete; talent doesn’t” next to a report about Steve Jobs taking a medical leave of absence from Apple. Ouch! Some of these will make you laugh, others will make you cringe.
How a Web Design Goes Straight to Hell by The Oatmeal
Anyone involved in design will relate to this; the decline of a design from the “everything is cool…the client communicates their needs and you set expectations” stage through “minor changes” and the everyone-gets-a-say stage through the final abomination of the original, georgeous design.
The LOL Cats Take On The World Of Freelancing by Hi, I’m Grace Smith
Grace Smith imagines the LOL Cats from I Can Has Cheezeburger taking on various types of challenging clients in the world of freelancing.
The Publicity Stunt Hall Of Fame by Taylor Herring Public Relations
A collection of funny, clever and inspiring PR stunts from around the world; you’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll pick some trivia for the next happy hour, you’ll maybe even be inspired in these vignettes about the origins of the Tour de France and Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade to the “Barbie Street,” how Liz Hurley became famous, and much more.
Six Business Lessons from the North Pole by The Communicator
Highly creative take on Santa’s marketing and business brilliance, from branding (the red suit is instantlyrecognizable) to human resources (who’s ever heard of an unhappy elf?).
32 Absurd Action Figures by TrendHunter
A bizarre collection of action figures the world probably doesn’t really need, but some people will buy regardless, such as the cast of the “Twilight” movies, political action figures (including Sarah Palin, Joe the Plumber and BHO), the Katy Perry doll, and the “Jesus Action Figure and Cleaning Kit.” Really.
Won Park – The Master of Origami Paper Folding by The Design Inspiration
“Bending, twisting, and folding, Won Park creates life-like shapes inspired by objects living and not– both in stunning detail.” An amazing collection of Origami art using $1 bills.
Review of webmarketcentral.blogspot.com by Global Business Blog Reviews
This showed up in my Google Alerts one day; a two-paragraph review of my old blog. Who knew a marketing blog could be “visually restorative” and “enchanting”? Well I thought it was funny anyway.
Billy Mays’ Resurrectifier Commercial – YouTube
Jimmy Kimmel explains how late pitchman Billy Mays is able to keep selling products even after his untimely passing. Tasteless, but funny.
Remarkably creative spoof commercial for “The UK’s best handheld for 40 years” – the Sun newspaper.
The Vendor Client relationship – in real world situations by Erin Blaskie
If you’ve ever worked in a marketing agency, you’ll find this video hilariously familiar. In you work on the client side, hopefully you won’t and you can just laugh at the inconsideration of others.
Top 5 Media Industry Parody Videos – a Little Too Close for Comfort? by iMedia Connection
***** 5 Stars
Matthew DiPietro collects some of the funniest agency-related videos of last year. The language gets a bit rough in spots though, so wear your headphones or earbuds if watching at work.
Resco Packer-Viking Week – YouTube
Mail fulfillment house Resco created this video to some publicity in the Minnesota-Wisconsin region by capitalizing on the passionate Vikings-Packers rivalry-which was intensified last year by the defection of Packers legend Brett Favre signing on with Minnesota. But this destined-to-be-a-classic video really speaks to the primal emotions of fandom anywhere, in any sport. And it’s very funny.
“It’s a phone that runs Windows Vista, and it connects to the Internet through America Online.” Get a sneak peek at Microsoft’s answer to the Android and iPhone.
An email service provider rap video. `Nuff said.
Comic Relief – The Process by Web Marketing Therapy
What stop signs would look like if they were designed by clients and advertising agencies. It’s not pretty, but it is funny.
14 hilariously effective online campaigns by iMedia Connection
From rapping preppies and a disturbing Australian Flash Dance take-off to John McCain and Paris Hilton, Jim Nichols reviews a slew of the most entertaining viral video ads of last year.
The gold standard of viral videos. With almost 24 million views, yeah, chances are you’ve seen this, but it’s still absolutely amazing.
Top 10 Shockingly Bad Tech Ads by Listverse
2009 The Year in Social Media by The Group News Blog
A nine-minute wrapup of the social media “highlights” of 2009.