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Paul Oyer Interview – Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned From Online Dating

pauloyerPaul Oyer, Professor of Economics in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, has written an extremely thought provoking book entitled Everything I Ever Needed to Know About Economics I Learned From Online Dating available on Harvard Business Review Press. The book is an extremely fun read and I really enjoyed interacting with Paul Oyer. For the interview with Paul, I experimented with a video interview for the first time. I must apologize for the unintended echo effect in parts of the audio (it is fascinating what you don’t hear live that you hear in a recording, will wear my audiophile headphones and noise canceling microphone next time for sure). It is also time for a new laptop.

Please enjoy the interview and please give the book a read. I would think those who have never used an online dating site would find the insights to be fascinating. Thanks!

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Jeffrey Hayzlett Book Interview – Running the Gauntlet : Essential Business Lessons to Lead, Drive Change, and Grow Profits

Jeffrey Hayzlett - Running the Gauntlet : Essential Business Lessons to Lead, Drive Change, and Grow Profits In the highly anticipated follow up to The Mirror Test, Jeffrey Hayzlett now brings us Running the Gauntlet: Essential Business Lessons to Lead, Drive Change, and Grow Profits due from McGraw-Hill in January 2012. Over the past few years I’ve gotten to know Jeffrey, he’s certainly a unique bird. He’s engaged me not only on stage buy off with invites to special events at conferences, restaurants and has already introduced me to many interesting people I never would have met otherwise. I can only imagine what lies ahead! The mutual lifelong learning and fun back and forth is awesome. Jeffrey was kind enough to grant us one of the first reads of the book and interviews. Let’s get to it!

Q: You mention Henry Ford creating the assembly line: “Productivity was so astounding that Ford stopped measuring it. By 1914, other companies needed for five times as many workers to build the same hundreds of thousands of cars as Ford.” Henry Ford was also known for paying workers well. It seems the best way to improve standards of living is large productivity gains?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: That’s one way, I don’t know if it’s the only way or the best way.  It’s more of a philosophy, give people what they want and get the things you want.  Provide a great product or service, of high quality, and there will be consumers.  The same theory can be applied to anything you are advertising, marketing or promoting.  For example, use the workers in Henry Ford’s plant and productivity. In Ford’s plants they became so good they stopped measuring.  It was about not only paying workers a fair wage – a good wage – but about offering them other things, enticing them, so they could buy the product they made, have pride in ownership, pride in building the products they created.  There are lots of different ways to go about getting the things you want.  Money may not always be the greatest incentive when gaining productivity or motivation.  Again, find out what people want and then give it to them.  Motivating my salespeople isn’t always about making good money – it can be a way to keep “score” – but sometimes it can be offering incentives such as golf balls, trips, even cowboy boots to get the team excited to want to go out and do more on the company’s behalf.

Q: Kodak invented the digital camera in 1975 but didn’t launch it back then……why?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Their success led to their own demise.  Because they were trying to protect the great margins film had – you had a product that was 70, 80 even as high as 90% in terms of profitability.  They were doing everything they could to keep that alive for as long as they could.  The problem became they forgot what type of company they were.  They started to believe they were a film company rather than a company that would help people make images and move information, a company focused on innovation, a company providing emotional technology.  They had the only product people would actually run into a burning building to save, yet they focused on being a film company rather than a company that can innovate and recreate itself again and again and again.  If we look at the most successful companies, whether it be IBM, Apple or a host of others it’s about being able to reinvent yourself as well as remembering at the core of it all who you really are.

Q: You suggest a fear of change and that this can inhibit healthy debate with those that disagree with us. What is the best way to create culture that can thrive on healthy debate, starting with how we pick a new breed of leaders?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: We all know that leadership starts at the top but is also reinforced and thrives at the bottom.  So across the organization if you don’t have leaders at the top of the org that are willing to not only to create tension but take it as well then you are not going to get the give and take that you want at an organization.  You won’t be able to encourage innovation, encourage change and encourage growth because everybody will be looking out after themselves because they are afraid of what they might say because the boss might have retribution.  So the key is to create an organization where people can stand up and question things.  By standing up and questioning things you create the tension in the system and you get something better than you first started with.  If I start with item A and someone starts with item Z and we start creating so much friction back and forth and this friction creates a fire of new ideas somehow we’ll go one way or the other to move the new idea to a better place.  I think that’s what great leaders try to do.

Q: When I worked at BlackRock(BLK) there was discipline around process, but it was flexible to allow breakthrough ideas. In Chapter 14 you wrote “Some people get caught up in the idea rather than the process, but I think the process leads to the idea.” Please elaborate on this concept…

Jeffrey Hayzlett: It’s a little bit of both in this particular case.  Certainly you can have a great idea but if you can’t get it out and get it through the process it will never see itself through fruition – it will never make it to market.  I can remember one time sitting in a meeting with a chief technology officer – one of the smartest guys in the world that I had ever met.  He said, “Jeff, you realize because I make this product, I create this software program – if it weren’t for me you wouldn’t have a job.”  I had to remind him that it could be the greatest product in the world but if it weren’t for me selling it and marketing it – getting it out through the process and to the customers’ hands that he wouldn’t have anything.  So that’s what I’m talking about the process leads to the idea.  By having great processes and great systems set up then you can try to push things through to allow things to be able to win. If you don’t have a great process, even the greatest ideas will lose before they begin.

Q: So when done right, this can allow a company to focus on the future more effectively?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Absolutely, by having a great system, a great process, a great way of channeling greatness then you’re going to be able to look for more things to put through to your following.  Look at the greatest sports teams in the world, it is those that focus on the fundamentals of having great athletes – not just one great player or two and then try to build the team around them but yet having a great team made up of different people and that’s what process does for us.

Q: In the 1993 classic book, Reengineering the Corporation by Michael Hammer and John Champy they mention that executives are “frighteningly unfamiliar” with three forces, separately and in combination: Customers, Competition and Change. You actively did this in those retail stores. Given the popularity of that book almost two decades ago, why do you think companies are still so unable to focus on these basics?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: I think so many companies focus on the next big thing, the big peel, the magic peel.  I think especially in the US we look to that one big thing that will do it for us rather than again getting back to that process, getting back to good and hard work.  If it was easy anyone could do it – it’s not supposed to be easy.  Therefore, the focus on competition, the focus on customers, the focus on change are just as good today as they were decades before.  It’s important for us to be able to take a look at how we implement change, look at customer and competitors to be able to drive and channel the forces behind being successful.

Q: “Radical transparency is not a one-way street of engagement.” Why do people have such a hard time developing a 2-way mindset in search marketing and social media?

Jeffrey Hayzlett: Inherently, I think it’s because people are scared.  Most people don’t like to get feedback.  I was one time in a phase in my life where I wore all black all the time.  Someone asked me why and I said because it makes you look slimmer.  The person turned back to me and said, well it’s not working.  I think a lot of people are afraid to hear that feedback sometimes and it takes a very strong leader and a strong person to get into that 2-way mindset, that it’s ok to get feedback – both positive and negative.  By the way, look at the negatives as a gift because that’s a way for you to be able to change, to turn around that potential customer or that person who’s had a negative experience.  I’ve heard from brand leaders and internal departments (HR, Legal) where they want to try to control the situation but you can’t control the situation. When it comes to brands especially, you can’t control it because a brand is nothing but a promise delivered.  It’s about delivering a promise and when you deliver that promise or opportunity up to the customer it’s going to be interpreted in different ways.  Sometimes that’s positive and many times its also negative.  Yet you should be strong enough in your leadership abilities, strong enough in your offering to be able to understand that this will come with everything.  There’s going to be a good, a bad and an ugly but the good should always outweigh the other two.

For more information, please visit Thank you!

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Twitter Gate – Buy More Twitter Followers Free Instantly – Business Marketing Strategy Implications?

This week there are stories raging in political circles with allegations the Newt Gingrich (or more likely his Internet strategists) bought or acquired Twitter followers. Seeing a concept I’ve seen whispered in the back of the room at Internet conferences being discussed in a broad and general way in Time magazine makes one wonder if we are witnessing an important inflection point moment.

The article brings something in the bright, bright light that had been hidden in the darkness, the TIME article states, “…Newt’s numbers are way out of the ordinary – even for a politician. While about 8% of his followers are real, other politicians were deemed to have anywhere 20% to 30% of “real” followers. In comparison, the average Twitter user, like you and me, have anywhere from 35% to 60% real people following them.”

It makes one wonder where all these non-real followers are coming from and more than a few CEOs are likely reading this article and asking the question, “Is all this investment in social media justified and an activity that will grow my business and improve the bottom line or are there wiser marketing investments to be made?” The answer is not one that will immediately be answerable completely. Before we get into that, a little history is required. Twitter has API’s that allow people to interact with their data to build other tools. For reasons that are completely unclear, the API allowed people to automate certain actions like posting, retweeting, even creation of new accounts via automated programmatic methods.  This appears to have helped Twitter grow users to create user adoption rates that were shown to venture capitalists. Some have suggested that certain due diligence steps were missed, I don’t know whether it is true or not. Time will tell.

What this incident has a potential to do is bring this conversation into the boardroom and have serious questions asked like are these 80,000+ Twitter follower social media experts really experts at anything at all? Are all of these investments in social media justified? Shouldn’t I be focused on a well diversified portfolio of relevant marketing activities? What does Klout’s influencer score of 72 for @NewtGingrich say about fake retweets being counted as real and will Klout eventually become the solution with verified users and replace Twitter altogether (if Twitter doesn’t buy it someday soon)? How many reports of social media ROI are sitting in executive boardrooms right now that are not true representations of actual real world reality? How many marketers departments will have new and different leadership 90 days from now due to questions raised due to this incident? Will people across the globe stop looking at the number of Twitter followers as the Holy Grail of social media efforts?

The answers to these questions aren’t fully clear yet, but I wanted to raise some of the most important ones. I can confidently say that the goal should always be one of diversified marketing strategies that reach relevant demographics and real, actual target customers.

It’s time for CEOs to rewrite the job spec of the CMO to the creation of relevant business results instead of hype, buzz and hocus pocus. This needed migration is just an idea in most boardrooms today, it needs to one day become reality. It’s time for businesses to adapt their organizations to perform in this environment which is something that must be customized for each company in solutions provided based on the markets that they serve.

How big is this marketplace? According to Google’s Keyword External tool over 3,361,550 queries on Google occurred on the term Twitter Followers. This quantifies 1) the amount of people researching how to improve their Twitter followers is large and 2) it means that social media people seeking Twitter followers are not talking to their friends via Social Media about this, they are using a search engine called Google, which is the primary tool that most people use for this research as well as what the majority of the population uses at the moment they are seeking highly relevant information.

Keyword    Global Monthly Searches
how to get twitter followers    90500
top twitter followers    4400
get more twitter followers    40500
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twitter followers free    27100
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get more twitter followers free    6600
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more twitter followers    49500
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buy more twitter followers    590
more twitter followers fast    1300
get instant twitter followers    390
increase your twitter followers    880
get free twitter followers    14800
how to buy twitter followers    33100
twitter followers for free    27100
more twitter followers without following    390
twitter follower software    1000
how to get more twitter followers    40500
add twitter followers    3600
get lots of twitter followers    4400
download twitter followers    880
more twitter followers free    8100
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add more twitter followers    320
get more followers on twitter    40500
fast twitter followers    5400
buy twitter followers    33100
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automatic twitter follower    1600
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how to get twitter followers fast    4400
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get twitter followers for free    14800
free instant twitter followers    390
twitter for business    60500
twitter advertising    14800
twitter follow back    12100
best twitter to follow    14800
get alot of twitter followers    2400
twitter software    49500
twitter adder    12100
twitter who to follow    301000
twitter more followers    49500
purchase twitter followers    14800
getting twitter followers    14800
get more twitter follower    40500
best twitters to follow    880
get twitter follower    74000
get twitter followers without following    1000
buy youtube views    18100
guaranteed twitter followers    2400
get more followers on twitter free    6600
free twitter followers instantly    880
twitter increase followers    8100
auto twitter follower    1900
how do i get more twitter followers    49500
who has most twitter followers    12100
get followers    165000
buy real twitter followers    110
twitter followers following    9900
automatic twitter followers    1600
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buying twitter followers    12100
generate twitter followers    260
how do you get twitter followers    301000
free twitter follower    22200
increase twitter follower    6600
how do i get twitter followers    301000
get free followers on twitter    14800
twitter follow Friday    1600
how to get twitter followers without following back    480
how to get more twitter followers fast    1000
highest twitter followers    14800
how to get a lot of twitter followers    4400
get followers on twitter free    14800
remove twitter followers    6600
twitters to follow    8100
twitter followers    301000
Total monthly Google queries for the term Twitter Followers on Google Keyword External Tool    3361550

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Stanley Cup Parade User Generated Content : Boston Bruins Edition

Boston Bruins Stanley Cup ParadePhoto by Flickr user rnpract.

Congratulations to my blogging counterparts in Boston! The Boston Bruins Stanley Cup parade user generated content bonanza is underway!

As you know last year the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup and they had a parade. I went downtown for the spectacle of madness. I was overwhelmed not only by the emotion of my beloved Chicago Blackhawks winning the Stanley Cup, but also by the quantities of user generated content being created by two million people! I was in a sea of people taking pictures of other people taking pictures! I made a mental note of this and a few days later, on Youtube, I found this total gem:

The video shows a birds eye view of the parade right next to the confetti throwers!  I’m one of the specs you see on the north side of Washington Street. What absolutely amazes me about this video is this that while I was at the same event, this viewpoint is such a completely different experience that it feels like a different event.  While it’s not new that different people have different experiences at an event, the ability to go back and see these events from other perspectives with ease is new. I urge people to consider the possibilities of engaging with user generated content that they did not create around events they  experience:

Witnessing Other Perspectives Broadens Experience – We all experience things through our point of view, yet seeing for other points of view can allow positive reinforcement or alterations of our point of view to occur. What we experienced is only one tiny element of what took place.

Relax and Enjoy the Moment – Ever since the parade last year, if I’m going to an event that will get tons of coverage, I leave the camera in my pocket and just enjoy and soak in the moment. It can allow you to see details you might miss  if you are obsessed with taking pictures and/or video.

Benefits of 100% Focus – When you are not distracted in multiple ways, you will walk away with greater retention of the experience. Think about ways you can reduce distractions and maximize your learning and enjoyment.

All in all, there is great potential to enrich one’s experience through the lens of others. After all, it’s not about you. We all forget this from time to time, I know I have.

Diversity of experience is learning. Learning is the lifeblood of all things great in life. Live it. Enjoy it! have fun.

I hope that my Boston blogging counterparts (Dan SchawbelChris BroganDavid Meerman Scott and Mike Volpe) wait a few days for the slow uploaders and then enjoy the feast and talk about it. They will likely find gems they didn’t see from their vantage point at the time to experience the joy anew. I hope each year folks discuss these issues as they change our lives as my perspective on these issues changes. Embracing ways to see multiple points of view of experience is critical to understanding how to use it effectively in business.

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Everything I Know About Marketing I Learned From Google : Aaron Goldman Book Blog Tour

I’ve known Aaron Goldman since 2006 and he stands out as someone who has made himself accessible and friendly in the search engine community. Every few months we share a conversations about what we are both up to and aspire to, it is always fun. Aaron has encouraged me to continue evangelizing my message about the strategic and structural changes in marketing and how they will continue to profoundly impact business results and economic distribution realities – whether businesses chose to engage in them or not. It will impact them positively or adversely based on their course of action or inaction.  For that continued encouragement, I’d like to take a minute to thank Aaron right here and it’s a great honor to be the first stop on this blog tour for his new book “Everything I Know About Marketing I Learned From Google” (McGraw Hill 2010).

In the introduction, you discuss how many have a love and hate relationship with Google – at the same time. What it is about Google that allows these emotions to exist mutually at the same time?

Aaron Goldman: Well, I wouldn’t call it a love/hate so much as a love/fear.

I love using Google as a searcher and as marketer. As a searcher, Google helps me find what I’m looking for. And, as a marketer, Google helps me get new customers.

But I’m definitely afraid of Google too. As a searcher, I’m afraid it of what it could do with my data. And as a marketer, I’m also afraid of what it could do with my data but even more afraid that it may one day change its algorithm and leave me out in the cold.

I think it’s general human nature to fear the things we love the most. Once we become reliant on something or someone, we fear that it one day may be taken away.

You discussed relevancy and intent in the book at a few junctures. How do you like to explain these issues to people and why are these concepts challenging for people to understand?

Aaron Goldman: It’s difficult because, by its very definition, relevancy is relative. What’s relevant to you may not be to me. Too many marketers make the mistake of thinking that what matters to them also matters to their target customers.

From a Google perspective, relevancy is the key to search. If Google’s search results aren’t relevant to each individual searcher, he or she will stop using it. That’s why Google looks to collect and keep so much data. It needs to personalize the results to make them more relevant.

For marketers, it’s critical to give off signals of relevancy if you want high rankings on Google. This includes content geared towards specific search queries as well as links from relevant websites.

As for intent. I really think it’s the reason search marketing works so well. People come to Google with the intent of finding something. And, often, that’s something to buy. It’s one of the few places in media where people raise their hands and specifically ask for products, services, etc. It’s the whole pull vs. push thing.

You mentioned how AOL values content differently than most organizations and how Rupert Murdoch of News Corporation, owner of The Wall Street Journal or Fox News accuses Google of stealing content. As content channels become infinite, isn’t media monopoly power also changing and/or even declining?

Aaron Goldman: The point I was making with content is that there are certain topics that are highly commercial and others that are not. What I mean by commercial is that the people consuming the content are in a commercial mindset — they’re thinking about buying something.

For publishers, commercial content is the easiest to monetize. Advertisers want to be wherever there are people thinking about buying stuff. AOL has done a good job of creating content on highly commercial topics — think travel or financial services — that it can sell ads against.

The Wall Street Journal and Fox News are too busy covering the “news.” And news is tough to monetize. People consuming news are not in a commercial mindset and are not open to advertising messages.

All that said, you make a good point that it’s tougher to wield monopoly power as channels become infinite and distribution is spread across the long tail. These days anybody can start a blog or Twitter account and “report” news. And people tend to trust their friends more than the media.

You interlaced a bunch of URLs in the book. This is an interesting experiment. What is your hope for it?

Aaron Goldman: I wanted to make the experience of reading the book more dynamic. Rather than just read cover to cover, my hope is that people will read a chapter and then go to the web to learn more about specific topics covered and interact with other people reading that same part of the book.

With static print, it’s tough to keep content fresh — especially in the world of marketing and Google when changes are happening every day. By including the URLs, I have a way to share new developments.

The URLs also helped keep me from going off on tangents or going too deep on topics that many readers may not care about. For example, rather than recap an entire thesis that David Berkowitz wrote about “Jewhavioral Targeting” in my chapter about “Letting the Data Decide,” I just cover it in a sentence or two and include a link.

There’s a few people in the book that were mentioned considerably more than others, how did you pick the contributors, quotes and subtopics?

Aaron Goldman: Along the same lines as the URLs, I knew it was important to include a wide variety of perspectives on the lessons learned from Google. No-one wants to read 300+ pages of what Aaron Goldman thinks about marketing. But people do (I hope) want to read 300+ pages of what some of the brightest minds in the industry learned from Google as curated by Aaron Goldman.

I interviewed over 100 marketing big wigs in the course of preparing my manuscript ranging from agency types to Google employees to researchers to university professors. The ones who are mentioned more frequently are the ones that gave me insights that were the most compelling, controversial, quotable or all of the above.

The book is part history, part teacher and part tour guide…who is the intended audience?

Aaron Goldman: This book was written for anyone who has a stake in marketing. It covers all areas of marketing — advertising, PR, promotions, media, product development, etc.

And it’s written for people like me who have very short attention spans. The copy is quick and punchy. And there’s lots of fun wordplay. I put the “pun” in punchy.

It doesn’t matter if you work for a small business or Fortune 500 company, the lessons in my book are applicable to your business. In each of my 20 chapters, I share a lesson, discuss how Google puts it into play, cover mini-case studies of marketers that exemplify it, and then walk through an exercise for the reader to relate the lesson to his or her business.

This book will also make great fodder for search engine marketing pros looking to broaden their horizons or understand how their skills can be leveraged across other channels.

What knowledge do you want people to take away from the book?

Aaron Goldman: First and foremost, I want people to take away specific tactics that they can apply to their business immediately. If you read the entire book and don’t find a single thing you can do to grow your business right away, then I will personally refund your money.

That said, I also want to give people a framework for thinking about the future of marketing. I spend quite a bit of time throughout the book — and especially in the last chapter on “future-proofing” — discussing what the marketing world will look like 10 years from now and what Google’s role might be within it.

If nothing else, I hope people will find my book entertaining and enjoy getting a peek under the hood of one of the most fascinating (and profitable) companies in the modern era.
I wish Aaron the best of luck with his book and look forward to learning from his experiences as I continue to explore my book author aspirations in the future. The constant mutual learning from all of the wonderful people I meet in the digital marketing space as I speak and consult around the world is special and hard to fully describe! Looking forward to seeing the other scheduled stops on the GoogleyLessons blog tour!

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Interview: David Meerman Scott On Marketing Lessons From the Grateful Dead

As you likely already know, David Meerman Scott and I have a lot in common. We both  started our careers in the bond market  and spent considerable time organizing and marketing financial market data to various audiences. Who knew we also shared a passion for music? David Meerman Scott actually maintains a database of the 308 different bands that he has seen live.

In association with Brian Halligan, David now releases Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead (Wiley 2010). The book gives a refreshing look at concepts you’ve seen in his previous books, explaining how David believes using the techniques of the Grateful Dead companies can learn to market, engage and build passionate fan bases. The book interlaces ideas from the offline world and show how to use them online today. Yet this vast opportunity remains hidden to most. They talk about the book in this video:

How did you conceive of the Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead’s concept and map the chapters to effortlessly flow to the reader?

David Meerman Scott: The book’s concept was really conceived out of our love for the Grateful Dead and their music. We were fans and at the same time were eager to write about the Grateful Dead because we identified many lessons in what the band has been doing over more than 40 years that are applicable today. These lessons are an important tool for helping to understand the new marketing environments in a language and with examples that are familiar to all.

You showed several examples of how the Grateful Dead treated their customers with care and respect (page 82). It seems like a simple concept. Why is treating customers with care and respect so hard to do in most companies?

David Meerman Scott: I think doing it involves more work and some companies mistakenly think there is an advantage to new customer churn instead of building a loyal fan base. Companies need to understand there really isn’t any difference between a B2B or B2C company, at the end of the day you are still selling to people.  The more people feel valued by companies and personally connected to them, the more the company’s fan base will grow and the bottom line will prosper as well.

Read more:

You discuss bootleg recordings and the freemium model extensively in the book. What are your views on how this is emerging in the corporate world and the potential future paths?

David Meerman Scott:   The idea of giving away something for free to anybody who wants it and then providing a paid upgrade to a premium version is becoming increasingly common with products and services that have no distribution costs. The challenge in the upgrade model is to give away something that is considered valuable and something that people will use regularly and become familiar with.

This strategy won’t work when you provides something for free that only has limited value. So for example a free software application with a feature set that is so crippled as to be of limited use will not sell more software.

Back when I had a music site, it was amazing to see that the artists that were heavily involved in defining the direction of the promotion of the band almost always outperformed the ones done by handlers promoting exclusively by the old rules and channels. How can companies best adapt and capture the opportunities this presents?

David Meerman Scott: If we look at this in terms of promotion the best things companies can do is make it easy to spread their content. And let the marketplace spread your content for you. The goal is to spread the word about your product or service in the marketplace. If you have a remarkable idea, you will attract bloggers and social media users in your marketplace that will help you propel your idea without spending lots of money on PR and advertising. The Grateful Dead lesson is that making it easy for our audience to spread our content makes our product “known” in the marketplace.

When you met the senior bond trader at Madison Square Garden in the 1980’s, the book states (page 76) “It’s sort of like a secret society, a shared interest in something that others in the office don’t know about.” Why didn’t everyone in that office become Deadheads? What can be done to make sure search marketing, social media and the new rules of marketing don’t get limited to “secret society” status?

David Meerman Scott: The Grateful Dead was never mainstream. They only had one top ten song in 45 years. As in every niche market, I wouldn’t expect everyone to be a fan.

However, search marketing, social media, new rules of marketing have no way of being limited to a “secret society” status, because every major media outlet, online blogs and sites all use these tools ubiquitously. The real question companies need to be asking is “Are we using these tools to benefit our customers, grow fans and engage in real dialogue,” if the answer is no, the company or its product is the one that will stay secret.

Really enjoyed your discussion of the strategy shift at Dropbox(page 40). Your discussion of how some tactics that work in an existing market can utterly fail in new markets is a highly misunderstood area for both entrepreneurs and existing companies alike. Why is this concept so challenging to understand?

David Meerman Scott: I think it’s not all that challenging to understand, the challenge lies in companies being willing to experiment and step outside of the channels that have been too long traversed and no longer work. Too often companies get comfortable with how they have always done something. So even when it’s no longer working, it’s hard to stop doing it. The key to changing this is to be open-minded about how to market your products and be willing to experiment in your market.  You’ll never know what might succeed if you’re not willing to try new things.

What techniques do you like use to convert raving fans of new marketing tactics that often conflict with previous belief systems?

David Meerman Scott: My job is to write these books and speak about all the successes that companies have when they put these new marketing tactics to use. I’m a journalist as well as a marketing strategist and I spend a lot of time blogging about all the right things and some not so great things that companies are doing with these tools. The best way to convert people to using them is to reveal to them how the can successfully apply them and what benefit will come from that application.

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Jim Sterne On His Book Social Media Metrics

Jim Sterne is a unique person in the interactive space. He cares not only about the multitude of marketing strategies, measurement and tactics, but the success of the people. Jim has been helpful to me in ways that are too long to list here and has cared more about the status of certain issues in my life well beyond the level that is required. Let me publicly say “Thank you!”

Jim Sterne on Social Media Metrics

Jim has written many books and is the founder of the eMetrics conference, the leading web analytics conference. Recently, Jim released the book “Social Media Metrics” with a foreword written by David Meerman Scott. The book provides a useful framework for considering how one should consider measuring social media and other forms of emerging media. Jim graciously agreed to do an interview with me and what resulted is below!

How did your extensive history in metrics and measurement influence your approach to this book on this new medium?

Jim Sterne: Like my previous books, I wanted this one to be for people in the trenches, doing the work as well as the executives they work for. A bit of theory, a healthy dose of strategy and a lot of practical tid bits on how to tell if this stuff is working. I wanted to avoid being one of those experts who is full of sounds and furry delivering thought-provoking sound bites, but no practical knowledge. So all of what I know about measuring online success is included in “Social Media Metrics” as the background. The basics are all there and the rest is delivered almost parenthetically.

What are the biggest hurdles to effective creation and usage of social media metrics?

Jim Sterne: Buy in. Not just upper management comprehension and dedication and not just troop level activity, but actual investment. This stuff requires new jobs with new jobs descriptions to be populated. “What? You mean I have to hire people to do things I’ve never had to hire people to do before??” Yes. That’s a major commitment and faces the same hurdles as when we tried to hire a webmaster, an email manager and a web analyst.

In a recent article, I discussed the tendency for people to lock onto the hot metric – Technorati link counts, RSS subscribers or most currently Twitter followers. How can marketing leaders and web analysts change this dynamic?

Jim Sterne: Once you understand that hard and fast numbers are not hard and fast, you begin to look for the trends and the meaning inside the numbers. That’s great that you got a million people following you an Twitter, but does it make any difference to the bottom line? It’s great that you advertised your shop floor cleaning solution to tens millions of Oprah fan on TV but do any of those viewers have any connection to buying your product? Are your Twitter followers more likely to buy your goods or services? The latest hot metric about the latest, shiniest new tech may be fun, but is it actionable??

If you were asked by a CMO to quickly define social media metrics for a company, what are the questions you’d want to ask and issues you’d want to address?

Jim Sterne: What are your business goals?

What processes and people do you have in place to oversee and manage those goals?

How are they compensated?

What does social media marketing success look like to you?

How much detail do you need to monitor the social media conversation?

What percent of your decision makers know what social media is and why it’s important?

And so forth.

Will mobile social media complicate all of this, simplify it or too early to tell?

Jim Sterne: It will complicate things while we’re getting a handle on it and then simplify things as we come out the other end. We may end up with standards and benchmarks before we’re done. Then, these public, attitudinal metrics can be correlated with direct attitudinal metrics (surveys) and behavioral data and we end up with a really rich, actionable dataset.

Did your views of social media change as you wrote the book and researched the topic? If so, how?

Jim Sterne: My views about how far along we are were established during the research for the book. My optimism that tools and techniques will get better and that there actually are companies that get it out there improved. There are some really bright people who are doing some really impressive things. It’s a joy to learn from them.

After the last emtrics you wrote “I believe the message we have been beaming at the C-Suite is getting a hearing and the resources are about to be significant rather than symbolic.” Could you eloborate on this more please…

Jim Sterne: I’m seeing more and more senior executives dedicating more and more budget and resources to marketing accountability. I’m seeing more top level managers asking better questions about trends rather than numbers and looking for insights rather than benchmarks. That gives me hope.


This concludes the interview with Jim Sterne and I hope you found the strategic information valuable. What else does it make you wish to discuss about this topic?

Here are some other recent interviews and thoughts about (and by) Jim Sterne:

Mixpanel – Analytics for Startup

Book Review

Jim on  why you should not buy this book! 😉