Today is moving day. I’m launching a new blog called ‘the inbound-i blog’. It’s a continuation and evolution of New PR Words and Music, which will remain here so that you can come back and access the 110 posts created here. When you click on the link to the new blog and read the first post, you’ll understand why I’m making the change.
While you’re there, please subscribe by email or RSS feed so that you receive the latest information, ideas and intelligence about inbound marketing without interruption.
The new blog is a result of the evolution of online marketing and my own business focus. In explaining why the new blog, there’s also some good information for you about the importance of tailoring your online marketing to maximize the use of inbound marketing analytics.
Come with me to the new blog for future posts and come back here as often as you like to re-read and to re-listen to your musical favorites.
I will, too.
The moving image is from the Flickr photostream of aldenjewell under Creative Commons license.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Today is four years since my dear mentor and stepfather John R. Walsh died. Two years ago I wrote a post about him that will give you some of his and our background.
What I’d like to share with you in this post is some of his brilliant thinking and the lessons we can take in a Web 2.0 world from his ability to strategize before the Internet/World Wide Web.
Next time you watch women’s golf and tennis think of John Walsh. Back in the 1970’s women’s sports had almost no corporate sponsorship. With no big money prizes and TV contracts there was very little interest. It occurred to John that this represented an opportunity for consumer products companies whose primary purchasing public was almost wholly women.
He pitched the idea to Colgate-Palmolive CEO-at-the-time David Foster, who passed away recently. Foster, who happened to really like women and golf, thought it was a great idea and the Colgate Dinah Shore Winner’s Circle Golf Classic was born. Foster even bought it a home – the Mission Hills Golf Course in Palm Springs. Its success also helped to increase sponsorship of women’s tennis.
Walsh and Foster boosted the careers of LPGA Hall of Famers JoAnne Carner, Nancy Lopez and Amy Alcott among many others. The two pretty much put the sport on the map. The fabulous PR strategy still puts Colgate-Palmolive in a positive spotlight today.
John’s big strategic idea: Great opportunities are out there. Look for an audience that can get behind something that already exists and is just waiting for support from a logical booster.
He did the same thing with Cutty Sark Scots Whisky, selling its global distributor and the Men’s Fashion Association to collaborate on a men’s fashion awards program at a time when there was no recognition for menswear designers. The Cutty Awards ran for years, garnering untold media attention for all and boosting the early careers of such fashion icons as Gianni Versace, Alexander Julian and many others.
In the days of Web 2.0 and online search, it’s actually much easier to come up with winning matches like these.
If you click the link at the top of this post it should bring up your audio player and a music file of John singing and playing one of his own compositions, “I’m In Love With San Francisco.” As I explained in my 2009 post, John played a mean piano – in the key of C only – and composed some wonderful songs. A man of words, he was his own lyricist.
Unfortunately, John’s songs remain unknown. I’m happy to give one of them some airtime here. The song was recorded to digital from an old cassette tape using an iPhone 4s so the quality isn’t great, but it’ll give you a peek at one other part of his creative heart and mind.
Here’s to one of the greatest winners I’ve ever known. Love you and miss you, John.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
The first few posts I read about the new Apple iPhone 4s pre- and immediately-post-launch were pretty tepid and ho-hum post-Steve Jobs dismissals. This is why I rarely pay attention when the tech avant garde makes its first pronouncements about a new product release. Turns out that hiding in the new iPhone is some game-changing technology.
Over the next couple of days the word/name Siri started to creep into my conscious as something that might just be interesting about the new version after all. Finally, David Pogue wrote in the New York Times about four new things the iPhone 4s does, the last of which made the hairs on the back of my neck tingle with excitement.
He wrote about ‘Thing 4’ that it is: “Speech recognition. Crazy good, transformative, category-redefining speech recognition.” He was referring to Siri — a software functionality from a little company that Apple acquired in 2010.
Apparently Siri builds on another voice recognition software, Dragon, that’s been available on iPhones since 2009. Dictate using Dragon and your voice converts to text, subject to the occasional glitch.
What got my attention – and what made Pogue go wild about Siri — is that ‘she’ is billed as a virtual assistant that understands fairly complex commands and questions. But what’s fabulous is that ‘she’ answers questions and provides information in a contextual way.
You can read Pogue’s column, but here are some examples that he gave:
“You can say, “Wake me up at 7:35,” or “Change my 7:35 alarm to 8.” You can say, “What’s Gary’s work number?” Or, “How do I get to the airport?” Or, “Any good Thai restaurants around here?” Or, “Make a note to rent ‘Ishtar’ this weekend.” Or, “How many days until Valentine’s Day?” Or, “Play some Beatles.” Or, “When was Abraham Lincoln born?””
“In each case, Siri thinks for a few seconds, displays a beautifully formatted response and speaks in a calm female voice,” Pogue added.
The idea of the Semantic Web – sometimes called Web 3.0 – fascinates me as it will provide the next advances in communications between humans and computers. If you’d like to know more, check out my post from back in the late winter when I blogged about IBM’s new computer Watson ‘who’ blew away top contestants on a much-publicized match on the TV show Jeopardy.
Watson and Siri promise to be part of a new DNA line of computer technology. What do you imagine or hope we’ll be able to do in computing or online when their offspring come of age and we can converse with our computers and mobile devices?
By the way…follow the link if you’re interested in how Inbound Marketing can generate online leads.
The image is from Neal under Creative Commons license.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
Today a musical post to accompany the words. Steve Jobs was a huge Beatles fan – and so one of the most beautiful love songs ever written, “Here, There and Everywhere” from the iconic 1966 album, “Revolver”.
A sad loss like we experienced with the death of Steve Jobs this week, makes me think more about life – and love. Here is what the brilliant love of my life Jeff Levine has come to believe over his life of helping people to understand theirs: “We’re here to love, and to love is to give.”
If we reflect on Steve Jobs’ life from this perspective and what he’s given to the world, we can rightfully say that he was one of the most loving people to have ever walked the planet.
The beautiful tribute image is from Flickr photo stream of Daniel2005 under Creative Commons license.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
My Twitter account was hacked last night, so no Tuesday Tweets til I get things back to normal. Instead, I’ll share more learning from the 2011 Inbound Marketing Summit (#IMS11 if you want to follow it on Twitter), which I attended last week in Boston.
I put up a couple of quick posts while I was there, but now that I’ve had a chance to process the experience and review my notes I can offer you more in depth reporting and some key takeaways.
As in the past two years that I’ve attended, the speakers were the top names in marketing and media – online and offline. I’ll be sharing highlights of their talks over the next week or so – starting now.
Differentiating Your Company from the Competition
After a welcome by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick, who talked about the opportunities for tech companies in his state, Harvard Business School professor Youngme Moon gave the opening keynote on the topic of marketing differentiation. This is a favorite topic of mine as I see so much boring sameness out there, industry to industry. Translate that to mean loss of opportunity.
In true HBS tradition, as she put it, Moon explained ‘being different’ via case studies of IKEA, Mini Cooper and Apple. These ‘different’ companies have built very devoted customers and share certain qualities that we can all try to emulate:
- Nurturing the seemingly crazy ideas that lead them to buck the status quo and become ‘different.’ (Think about launching a tiny car to the U.S. market in an age of SUVs.)
- Embracing their negatives. According to Moon, the genius is often in the negatives.
- Being willing to ignore critics.
- Not over-listening to customers, who can tell you how to improve, but not how to be different.
- Being passionate beyond belief – the extreme version of caring and believing.
Do You Really Need to Be On Google+?
Chris Brogan, who’s been evaluating Google+ in depth since it launched in June tackled the subject of why we need another social network. His answer: Technology Evolves! We need to go where our people are.
Brogan pointed out an array of now-defunct – or almost defunct – technology and sites to make his point. Do you remember Friendster? Does anyone log onto Geocities these days?
Beyond its ‘clean’ visual look, Google+ has added social functionalities that have been missing and that Twitter and Facebook have now responded to with similar features. Selective sharing has been embraced, along with the video conferencing capabilities of which people are making varied and creative use, i.e. holding intellectual ‘salons’ of gurus and regular folk or hosting international customer support forums.
But the most powerful reason to have a Google+ presence is that it’s the first social network that combines social with search. Google no longer indexes Twitter, but being on Google+ might just help you come up higher in organic search results than those who aren’t.
Middle of the Sales Funnel in the Spotlight
HubSpot co-founder and CEO Brian Halligan used his speaking slot to address the shifting sales funnel. The first few years of inbound marketing have focused on stretching the top of the sales funnel by attracting more traffic to our websites and other online outposts and then converting the traffic to leads.
Inbound marketing 2.0 will be about how to better nurture leads through the middle of the sales funnel so that we develop a significant enough relationship to convert leads to customers when they’re ready to purchase. HubSpot recently acquired the company Performable, which has focused on middle-of-the-funnel technology that will now integrate with the HubSpot platform.
The key takeaway from Brian’s talk is that this shift in focus to the middle of the funnel coincides with the shift in power from the sales rep to the buyer created by the ability to research products and services online before buying. This has created a paradigm shift in the relationship between marketing and sales.
The new realities of buyer power require bigger marketing departments to handle the lead generation and nurturing processes and a smaller sales force that can concentrate on converting to customers the highly-qualified and sales-ready leads that marketing turns over to them.
More to come! Have you begun shifting your marketing to take advantage of new thinking and online tools?Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 1 so far )
How much better does it get for online marketing geeks? Former Apple chief evangelist and author Guy Kawasaki spoke about his book Enchantment this morning. His updated take on How to Win Friends and Influence People gives a fresh take on how to connect offline as well as online in a digital world. He definitely models his first premise: Be Likable!
The day ended with Fast Company writer Dan Heath offering wisdom from his NY Times bestseller Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. Perfect for inbound marketers who are working to change marketing so that it works for today’s realities.
Between the two talks HubSpot founder and CEO Brian Halligan updated us VARs on the direction the company is taking to help companies embrace the changes in the way they must market to be successful.
Let me share with you that it’s such exciting stuff. Successful marketing has never been easy or without sufficient investment.
At least now, you can finally see the results of your marketing investment – of dollars and time – in concrete terms. More than ever before you can integrate your efforts for great efficiency and with maximum control.
When I get back to the office I’ll share more specifics. Just thought I’d give you a small rundown and a bit of the day’s energy.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( 2 so far )
Two thinkers who I respect blogged about some aspect of education in the past couple of days. Seth Godin offered a rather chilling history of how our modern education system is tied to the workforce and capitalism. It’s a must read: http://bit.ly/rmdTYh
A new friend and fellow Philadelphia native – marketing consultant Jim Matorin – @cannes53 – wrote about the new classroom. http://bit.ly/obPWbN
I commented on Jim’s blog that what education needs to focus on is what students need to learn in order to score one of the rare jobs available these days that will contribute to the future of work.
To synthesize the two posts – and I encourage you to read both of them – in order to positively influence the future of a global economy, education must foster tech-aware and savvy practitioners who feel empowered to trust their own knowledge and intellects.
I don’t think that’s where education is at the moment. And I believe that’s where it must go.
Image from Kheel Center, Cornell University under Creative Commons license.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )
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