How to Move Clients from Old Marketing to New: Synthesize!

Posted on August 8, 2011. Filed under: Business Strategy, Communications, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Online Marketing, Small Business, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Synthesize old and new marketing.

Jose James Synthesizes the Old and The New Jazz

I read a recent study revealing that only a small percentage of small businesses are using social media and other online tools for their marketing. Of those who have used or are using online marketing, even a smaller fraction considers the new tools essential.

These statistics support what I’ve been recognizing anecdotally as I speak with small businesses about inbound marketing and new online marketing tools. There’s indeed a resistance to adopting these new methods, even though there’s plenty of evidence that online is where potential buyers are already looking for products and services these days.

I’ve been chalking up this phenomenon of reticence to a need for more education. And I still believe this is true. But a personal experience I had this past weekend triggered another thought: The way to encourage adoption of the new is to synthesize it with familiar experiences and expectations.

Here’s what happened. Jeff and I attended the annual jazz festival at Caramoor, a marvelous summer music venue outside New York City.

The first artist on the bill was a wonderful guitarist from Cuba, Juan Carlos Formell, with a group called Johnny’s Dream Club. All of the tunes were new to us and sung in Spanish. They also shared an enervating sameness of tone and tempo, so although the music was beautifully played, at the end of the set we were happy to move on.

The next set brought James Farm to the stage, a group of fine young players led by the saxophonist Joshua Redman, son of the legendary Dewey Redman and now becoming a legend in his own right. The program notes asked that we, “keep an open mind,” for an hour of original music composed by members of the band. That meant another hour of nothing familiar and in a musical style that had Jeff, a musician and drummer, complaining that he couldn’t even tap his toes or bop his head to it.

We were expecting more of the same in set three, to be performed by a vocalist Jose James, who apparently has been around for awhile, but who neither of us had heard before. The program notes cited his influences, which included Prince, hip-hop, electronica, spoken word jazz and avant garde poetry in addition to jazz standards.

I can’t wait to hear Jose James again and will go to some trouble to seek him out. First of all, he has a marvelous baritone voice, reminiscent of the late Johnny Hartman who recorded an iconic album with the great jazz saxophonist John Coltrane. In fact, Jose James is reviving that collaboration on a tour with former Coltrane pianist McCoy Tyner.

That said, the set was anything but a re-churn of the past. James synthesized all of his contemporary influences with historic expectations of a swinging jazz set to create one of the freshest hours of music I’ve heard in a long time. It was fun to hear street rhythms applied to standards.

His love of spoken word makes him an innovative scat singer qualified to grab the baton from none other than my all time favorite jazz singer, Mark Murphy, who is almost 80 now and whose artistry I’ve shared on this blog – beginning with the second post back in 2009 where you can hear him. The set included covers of well-known R&B tunes, which helped carry us along into less charted waters – an original or two with hip-hop riffs.

During the set, the familiar and the new brilliantly synthesized into something so appealing and energizing that we wanted to embrace it. As I approach existing clients and new prospects about the benefits of applying new marketing approaches to meet their business goals, you can bet that I’ll be referencing marketing basics that still provide a solid foundation for what’s now and what comes next.

How are you synthesizing past and present techniques to motivate wider acceptance of today’s marketing tools?

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Your Fabulous Face! Where is it?

Posted on June 25, 2011. Filed under: Blogs, Communications, Content, Human Business, Inbound Marketing, Jazz, Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

We wouldn’t put bags over our heads to go to a party. But those who don’t provide an online photo in their content or social media interactions are performing the digital equivalent. The nature of social is that it’s not anonymous.

Here’s what prompted this post. This morning I had a few emails from Twitter announcing new followers. Two of them had the default Twitter egg icon where a photo of the person should have been.

 Now, I always check out the profiles of people who follow me to see if their tweets are interesting to me and add to my knowledge or extend my reach to a particular community or network. If so, I’ll follow back.

 However, when the Twitter email shows an egg next to the Twitter handle, I rarely do. I like seeing who I might be creating a social media relationship with.

 After checking out the Twitter follow invitations with photos, I went over to Linked In to look at the list of suggested folks I might want to invite to connect. There were so many blank spaces next to names where photos should have been. That means that there was no photo on those people’s profiles either.  I found myself sending invitations only to people I could see.

 In one of those moments where you say, how come I didn’t think of this before, it dawned on me that lots of people still don’t understand the importance of a photo in social media – or simply don’t know how to get one up there – and maybe I could be helpful to them by writing a post about the importance of photos.

 If your fabulous face is already online, great. Please pass this along to any friends who may still be faceless. If you don’t have a photo online do it today. If you’re concerned that it’s too time consuming to upload a photo for every blog you comment on, social media site you join or the many other online activities you engage in, I’m going to make it easy for you.

 Just go get a gravatar – a Globally Recognized Avatar. Navigate to www.gravatar.com, open a free account – which takes a minute or two — upload the photo you want to use to represent you online and voila!! In a short while, your gravatar will follow you all over the web – almost wherever you go.

 Just a couple of tips – use a head shot – not a full body image. Your gravatar will appear as a thumbnail and full body shots can barely be seen. Make it friendly. Smile!! Unless you’re creating a gravatar for a business where a company logo would be appropriate, use your own face. Not a cute picture of your puppy or your favorite flower or whatever.

 Aside from being more social, the best reason to get a gravatar on line is that a picture is more memorable than an online handle. In fact, you may have numbers of online handles – but you only have one face. Your gravatar becomes your individual logo. As you leave your mark around the internet, you’ll become a recognizable Brand You!

By the way…today’s musical post is That Face, written and sung by Alan Bergman, half of a legendary composing duo with his wife Marilyn – for whom he wrote the song and won her heart!!!

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How the Worm is Turning for Newspapers

Posted on March 18, 2011. Filed under: Advertising, Content, Jazz, Marketing, Media, Newspapers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

This post is about the continuing – and increasing pace of – the evolution of print newspapers into online entities. The musical post is not directly related. It’s a tribute to Joe Morello, the iconic drummer of the 1950s and ‘60s Dave Brubeck Quartet whose solo on Take Five is a jazz classic. We lost Joe this past week.

Joe Morello with Dave Brubeck Quartet

If there’s a thematic connection, it’s in the idea of evolution. Joe Morello helped evolve the way we think about rhythm. Listen to his killer technique on Far More Drums (in 5/4 time) from the album Time Further Out. Other personnel are Brubeck, piano, Paul Desmond, sax, Eugene Wright, bass.

Three things came to my attention this week that magnify the rapid move of newspapers away from a print platform. Two of them were widely reported.
• The L.A. times reported results of a study that show for the first time that online readership surpassed print readership by 46% to 40%.
• The New York Times announced it will erect its online subscription paywall on March 28.

I learned of the third thing as I worked with a client launching a new kind of medical practice who wanted to do some local print advertising here in the Fairfield County, Connecticut market. Over the past few years, Hearst Media has acquired all but one of the major dailies in the county, as well as a well-read chain of weekly community papers. I asked our sales rep for her help in putting together a three-month advertising plan in three of their community weeklies.

She proceeded to explain that for every dollar my client spent advertising online – which would include visibility on three major dailies and geo-targeting to the weeklies – and in a health and fitness-related magazine title, Hearst would match the spend 100% – dollar for dollar — in newspaper print advertising. That meant that a $10,000 budget, for example, would have a $20,000 equivalency.

It was a no-brainer for the client to cover both traditional and online bases for its original budget. And it made an enormous statement about the value being placed on print newspapers by the publisher. Even though the online advertising might be a bit pricey, we’ll know if it’s worth it when we get the traffic, page view and click-thru reports. There was no contract required so opting out is no problem.

A newspaper publisher giving away print to build online ad spends. Time was – til recently – that it was the other way around. The worm is most definitely turning!!

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Welcome to the Promised Land: 7 Online Opportunities

Posted on June 28, 2010. Filed under: Communications, Inbound Marketing, Internet Traffic, Jazz, Marketing, Social Media | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Today’s musical post is ‘Ac-Cent-Tchuate the Positive’ sung by its creator, the great American composer Harold Arlen in a rare recording. Hope it gets you in the mood to consider this:

The best way to move out of a recessionary mindset is to consider and embrace new opportunity. Projects I’ve been working on lately point up the many ways that today’s web has become a promised land of opportunity for businesses. Let me share a few.

  1. Get an edge on the competition. Several current clients are upgrading websites that were state of the art online brochures when they were built five or more years ago. Their owners have come to realize that these sites fail to deliver value in our Web 2.0 world. These clients are getting way ahead of many of their competitors who haven’t awoken to new online capabilities for driving business. They are breaking from the pack and gaining a competitive edge in the process.
  2. Become more relevant. A bit of keyword research can reveal the shocking reality that none of the words you’re using on your website correlate with how your prospects are searching for services like yours. Paying attention to your meta data – that behind the scenes code SEO stuff – can help them find you at last.
  3. Be a content hero. Once they finally find you in the promised land, those hungry searchers will reward you as they consume the delicious info manna you’ve prepared for them.
  4. Start a business or expand the one you have. The ease of launching eCommerce is a boon to the budding entrepreneurial spirit or to the bricks and mortar retailer looking for a way to expand without more bricks and mortar. It still takes smart strategic planning and excellent marketing, but technology has leveled the playing field for the mom and pop store.
  5. Defend your small bricks and mortar business against huge online competitors. This is the flip side of the #4 opportunity above. My SEO/PPC partner Dave Lostracco specializes in using online tools to help small businesses compete with the big boys. You don’t need as much traffic as they do because your overhead and business objectives are at a different level. You can rank for long tail search terms and get your fair share of online business.
  6. Become a good corporate neighbor. Social networking – the most vaunted aspect of online marketing these days — is about shared interests, shared concerns and shared solutions – ‘shared’ being the common adjective. The communities you build and nurture will help you to grow your business.
  7. Look great in your customers’ eyes. Business has never been more competitive. Put a few online tactics into your customer service tool kit. Servicing customer needs via Twitter tweets and other personally interactive methods can definitely win and keep friends.

 Take-away: Look at the online technology world as THE place to catapult your business into economic recovery!!!

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dLife: A How-To For Information & Social Media Monetization

Posted on December 28, 2009. Filed under: Advertising, Inbound Marketing, Internet Traffic, Jazz, Newspapers, Public Relations Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Today I was in the midst of my usual early morning multi-tasking, reading email, a few favorite blogs and the New York Times online, drinking coffee and eating breakfast while listening to local news and weather on the tube in the background.

 Eating in earshot of the TV has become a real crapshoot in terms of whether you’ll be able to finish without a pharma commercial ruining the meal with a nauseating list of potential side effects of some miracle drug. This morning I didn’t get lucky.

 As I got into a NY Times story that caught my attention, Adding Fees and Fences on Media Sites by Richard Perez-Pena and Tim Arango, a drug commercial came on, sending me running to preserve enjoyment of my yogurt and fruit. As I exiled myself from the room with the offending commercial, I couldn’t help but think for the umpteenth time that this couldn’t possibly be the result that pharma marketers are looking for.

 Particularly in light of the Times article, which focuses on how news media companies are trying to monetize their content, I thought – also for the umpteenth time – about the visionary ideas behind dLife – a multi-media effort focused on helping people living with diabetes to better manage their chronic condition. I had the good fortune to work on the launch of that venture back in 2004. And it can provide a road map for both media companies and advertisers trying to find new ways to succeed.

The genius behind the dLife concept is its founder, veteran marketer Howard Steinberg, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at age 10. Recognizing that successfully managing diabetes represents a lifestyle – a very different view of disease management – he created a multi-media diabetes network that would provide the diabetes community with a new approach to living well with a life-threatening chronic illness — while building a hugely targeted audience for pharmas and other providers of products and services for diabetes.

dLife has a web portal at its hub plus spokes that include the first lifestyle cable TV show about a chronic illness, a radio ‘tip’ segment and a newsletter. dLife.com is now one of the top diabetes/healthcare sites on the web. Its TV content is consistently award winning. You can follow the company on Twitter — @dLife. dLife members (sign-up is free) get unlimited access to its content, as well as product discounts and online purchase opportunities.

 Who pays for all of this? Advertisers do! Gladly! dLife delivers a large community that is almost 100% guaranteed to be interested in advertiser offerings. And, instead of buying expensive national advertising to reach a relatively small fraction of the US population, they can reach dLifers via much less expensive cable, online and radio advertising.

Media companies and advertisers can take a lesson from dLife. Maybe the New York Times, for example, should begin to break down its reader base into affinity groups and build segmented communities that are interested in certain areas of its coverage and would be interested in particular ad categories. The Times seems to be moving in that direction with its Weekender subscriptions and ad campaign that explores what sections people are ‘fluent in’ – read ‘interested in’. It could then offer targeted packages to advertisers – particularly multi-media offerings with built in cross marketing. Like 24/7/365 special advertising sections.

The technology exists online to provide personally segmented advertising. That’s how to get ads to where they’ll actually be appreciated – and effective. In fact, the process could be interactive. I know I would consider self-selecting for relevant ads to keep desirable news content coming – particularly if I could get irrelevant and disgusting pharma commercials out of my life!

I’d love to hear some of your creative ideas for new content/pay models for traditional media.

In honor of Howard Steinberg’s vision, today’s music is the tune Miles Ahead by the visionary jazz man Miles Davis with the Gil Evans Orchestra conducted by Quincy Jones, live at the 1991 Montreux Jazz Festival. Ironically, Davis is listed as a musician who lived with diabetes on the dLife website.

Enjoy! See you soon!

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In a New York State of Web

Posted on October 13, 2009. Filed under: Public Relations Marketing, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Wow! Here’s the tune that started my life-long love affair with Mark Murphy – best male jazz singer alive today in my humble you know… Me in the kitchen of our 60’s split level in suburban Philly. The stereo hand-built by my father is in the rec room below –  visible over a wrought iron balcony.

All of a sudden, WDAS-FM Phila – the town that suffers from something of a NY City inferiority complex – plays a song that perks up my ears: Sunday in New York (the album, Bridging a Gap). Mark Murphy, a Rochester, New York native is on gravelly, hip vocals, Randy Brecker on trumpet, Mike Brecker on tenor sax, Pat Rebillot, piano & organ, Sam Brown, guitar, Ron Carter, bass, Jimmy Madison, drums & percussion.

 I’m obviously on a ‘firsts’ kick – being new to my blog. But as I listen now to the lyrics, there’s something there that speaks truth about the world of the Web…

 “You can spend time, without spendin’ a dime, watchin’ people watch people go past. (lada-lada-lada) Later you pause, and in one of the stores… there’s that face next to yours in the glass!”

So like the Web!!!! Remind you of Twitter? Lots for free. And lots of opportunities to connect with just what – or who — you need! That may not last forever as businesses try to monetize…

 But there’s another optimistic message in the song that we can all use these days:

“Take your troubles out for a walk, yeah! They’re gonna burst, they’re gonna burst like bubbles in the fun of a Sunday in New York.”

I know I’m feeling better now! I’m in the New York metro zone, having fun on the Web, and listening to Mark again. Oh, happy day!!

Relax – make like Sunday afternoon – and enjoy the rest of the tune! See you soon!

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