Archive for October, 2013

You will always find someone to agree

October 30, 2013

The world is filled with a vast array of individuals with differing views on every topic under the sun.  You can find someone to agree with you on anything, which is the beauty and downside of the internet.  Social 130915.designermedia has enabled us to build communities that were not possible before.  I can connect with people all over the world who like photography, marketing, marching band, and tea.  All five of us in the world who like these things can build a community which supports our nerdy endeavors and 15 years ago this was not possible.

Marketing can be a sad and lonely world if you’re a department of one trying to convince the rest of your colleagues that putting your logo on everything under the sun is not actually branding. On top of that, we as IMC professionals are facing colleagues who will stop at nothing to find someone, somewhere who agrees with them and not us.  You present a great new idea for connecting with customers on social media and not only face the objection of “this isn’t the way it’s always been done,” but also “well, I found this article on a not so credible social media site that says your idea is wrong.”  Now you must resist the temptation of ripping that piece of paper out of their hands, crumpling it up in a ball, and throwing it at them before storming out of the room.  You take a deep breath, smile, and say, “Yes, there are differing views however; I feel this is in the best interest of our organization for reason X, Y, and Z.”  Not only do we need to be teachers, we also need to be lawyers arguing our view until we are blue in the face.

What this all really boils down to is trust.  For those of you who have read The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team this probably sounds familiar.  There are many reasons that we are not all experts on everything – the main reason being there’s not enough time in the day.  In order to be successful, we need to trust that we’re all looking out for the best interest of the company/organization.  Building that trust is not an easy task, which is why we (IMC professionals, marketers, etc.) need to be teachers and lawyers and not back down to those who will stop at nothing to find someone on this Earth who agrees with them.  They will find someone, there’s always someone who thinks that automating messages across all social media platforms in order to provide the same message, in the same language, at the same time is a valuable social media practice.  The good news is that there is also a community here to back you up.  If you’re truly looking for feedback on your work and trying to brainstorm and bounce ideas off of other people, make a list of people who you look up to and respect and ask them for feedback.  Use those people as your sounding board and make a decision based on that.  Do not scour the internet and your best friend’s hair dresser’s brother seeking any opinion that validates your point of view.  Gaining feedback is good, but it’s important to make sure the feedback is truly feedback and not just the answer you want to hear.

Let’s help each other out.  Who do you follow, digitally “look up to” when it comes to marketing, social media, ect.?  What resources do you consult when making marketing decisions?

Summarize the semester up with a new form of poetry called a Dekaaz

October 21, 2013

If you could sum up the past few nine weeks into only ten syllables, what would be your statement? The syllable structure should be broken out as follows:

2 syllables in the first line

3 syllables in the second

5 syllables in the third

The name of this structure is called a Dekaaz.

Rachel Bagby, a leadership consultant, coined the term.  She describes it “as a new form of lucid expression that you create and say out loud.” Thanks to a TEDx event in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania I had the pleasure of listening first hand to Rachel speak and sing about Dekaaz’s.


At this moment in time, my Dekaaz would be “I want to finish my PR final.”

As this semester comes to a close, what is your Dekaaz?  What would be your future Dekaaz?

Feel free to share and see how it feels to post it in the comments section below.

The UnPodcast

October 16, 2013

Recently Julie shared a great post on a new podcast she found, and I just couldn’t miss an opportunity to share one too!  Traditionally I haven’t been a fan of talk radio or podcasts.  UNPODCAST_iTUNES-GRAPHIC-300x300I had a hard time finding time to listen to them and engaging with the content.  However, almost four weeks ago, Scott Stratten released the first episode of the UnPodcast, and I am hooked.  I am looking for excuses to walk the dog or take a long drive in the car so that I can catch up on the latest episode.   The content is incredible and the delivery is hilarious.  The stories he and co-host Alison Kramer share are interesting and relevant to the challenges IMC professionals face.  It is essentially a therapy session for the frustrated IMC professional.  If you’re ever frustrated and wondering why no one understands you, listen to the UnPodcast and you’ll be laughing out loud and feeling a little less crazy within the first ten minutes.

There are two things I really love about this podcast.

  1. It’s not all bad news.  I become exhausted listening to self proclaimed marketing guru stand on stage and tell the audience “what not to do.”  It is easy to point out mistakes and missteps and not attempt to provide a solution.  The UnPodcast shares the good and bad side of marketing and the power that it has to impact customers.
  2. It’s not a 10 step solution.  How many times have you seen the “The 10 ways to create better [insert buzz word here]” articles that guarantee the viewer increased ROI on their marketing efforts?  I’m not saying that all of those articles are bad, but there are not 10 steps that will solve all marketing problems.  The UnPodcast is a discussion that encourages listeners to really think about their content and figure out how to make it work for their company.

So,  if you’re looking for an entertaining, informative, and engaging podcast, the UnPodcast is it!

PS. Scott Stratten is the president of UnMarketing and author of UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging., The Book of Business Awesome/ The Book of Business unAwesome, and QR Codes Kill Kittens (which I am absolutely dying to read).

Why I’m glad I started the IMC program in January

October 8, 2013

I had toyed with the idea of going back to school off-and-on for three years before I first heard about the WVU IMC program. I remember it was a Friday afternoon in early August of 2010 that I sat at a Panera sipping iced tea and attended an informational session online. I thought “if this is an indication of what the learning experience will be like, I am sold.” That was the beginning of this crazy journey that I am now close to finishing.

One of the first thoughts I had after finding out about the IMC program was, “how soon can I start?” While I knew deep-down that this program would be the right choice for me, I was worried that since it was already August I’d have to wait a whole year to start. I was excited to learn in the informational session that the IMC program accepted new students in both the early fall and early spring terms. A January start? That would be perfect. It gave me time to get my application submitted, plan for how I would pay my tuition and just enough time to get used to the idea, without losing the excitement and momentum I felt.

On a Monday morning in early January of 2011 I logged-in to IMC-610 for the first time (I was so excited I couldn’t even wait till the evening to log-in). I had already received my orientation manual and new student packet, so I was ready to try out the Blackboard system and get familiarized with how everything worked. I was excited to see a video “welcome message” from my professor. Getting to see and hear her really helped take away some of the anonymity that can come with online interaction. Then I got to post my introduction and read introductory posts from all of my classmates…to be honest I felt like I got to know more about my “virtual classmates” through our online posts and conversations than I did about most of my classmates in undergrad whom I saw every week.

Professor Creely welcome message

I was greeted with a video welcome message from Professor Creely on the first day I logged-in to IMC 610.

While it was not intentional that I started the program in January, instead of the more “traditional” start date of August, I’m so glad that the timing worked out the way it did. Having three school-aged children, late August/early September is always a very hectic time, quickly followed by the holidays. Being able to get my kids settled into a new school year, enjoy the holidays with family and mentally prepare myself for the long journey I was about to take really made a difference.

The last 2-plus years have been an amazing journey. I will start my final course on a Monday in early January 2014…a bit of a full circle moment I think. I’ll follow-up that final course with my Capstone project and, hopefully, don that cap and gown in May.

If you are thinking about enrolling in the IMC program for early Spring 2014, I highly encourage you to just do it! January is a great time to start…a new year filled with new beginnings. And once you start, you’ll be glad you didn’t wait!

Google…You’re Killin’ Me!

October 2, 2013
Image credit:

Image credit:

So last week Google introduced a change to its reporting routines.  Nothing major, unless you like seeing the keywords people are using in their searches to find your web page!  That’s right, Google has now expanded their policy on protecting searchers privacy.

As of 2011, Google was encrypting all search queries performed by Google users who were logged into their Google account.  This was causing web site administrators to see 40%-80% of their search keyword reporting to now show up as “Keyword Undefined.”  The searches and clicks were still recorded but the terms used in the search were not reported to the individual web site analytics tools.  As of Monday, Google has expanded this policy to include ALL search strings performed through the Google search engine.  What good news for all of us web administrators and search marketers right?

It really depends on how you look at your web analytics.  Do you use the keyword reports to help guide your SEO decisions?  Do you review these terms to see how people are finding your site and then build programs around the results?  Well, if you are running pay per click ads through Google AdWords, you will still be able to see which search terms drove traffic to your site and ad so all hope is not lost.  It goes back to the old adage of you get what you pay for.  You will also be able to view the last 2,000 queries per day, going back 90 days.  Google says they may increase this to a one year historical view sometime in the future.

There are numerous reasons floating around the internet on why Google is doing this.  Google states they are doing it to further protect the privacy of its users.  Some people claim it is a way to keep data from the NSA web monitoring programs.  Some say it is a way for Google to drive more usage of their AdWords program.  So is there a bright side to this change?  Of course there is and we as marketers are in the perfect position to take advantage of this change.

In my last posting on Content Marketing, I talked about the importance of creating new and relevant content to attract new web visitors and help to drive traffic to your web site.  With the Google changes just announced, this becomes even more important.  Website Search Optimization will still be important in the new future and having content specifically developed to resonate with search queries.  Marketers also need to focus on the development and care of brand communities and earning brand mentions.  Endorsements from authoritative web properties will also continue to contribute to a site’s ranking.

What do you think?  Is this a good change for the internet and for internet users?  Will it help build better websites and online credibility?

Review of the 99U pop-up school in NYC

October 1, 2013

When you attend a conference in NYC, the hustle factor comes into play because you’re navigating the busiest streets in America, avoiding making eye contact with individuals looking to make a quick buck, and you’re experiencing choice overload. Once you finally arrive at the conference, the hustle factor should be hitting overdrive. As you try to absorb everything you can, you’re hustling to stock your pockets and any and all bags you brought with every free item you can grab (books, business cards, white papers, vendor swag, fake tattoos, the sky is really the limit here)!

If conference swag is disclosed up front, I am more inclined to attend the event! 99U knew how to market their upcoming pop-up school to me with a low price point (one-day price $99), and the opportunity to receive a free book (first 100 attendees)! The gravy factor was that Simon Sinek, the man behind “why,” would be a speaker during day one.

As a creative professional, 99U is the mecca for creative inspiration. It helps that they have relationships with a laundry list of industry thought leaders that contribute to 99U branded content.


99U | “Insights on making ideas happen” is the brainchild of Scott Belsky, founder of the online portfolio platform Behance. In 2010, Fast Company deemed him “100 Most Creative People in Business.” 99U is an educational extension of Behance. (In 2012, Behance became a member of the Adobe family). Content produced by 99U includes a daily web magazine, an annual conference, four inspirational books, and now pop-up schools.

99U’s first ever pop-up school was a three-day event (Sept 18-20th), held in Lower Manhattan at 82 Mercer Street. The workshops were based around three distinct curriculums (Career Development, Entrepreneurship, and Brand & Digital Strategy).


The conference was equally split between the lecture hall and what was referred to as the “playground session.” During breaks, the playground was where attendees participated in round table discussions, had their portfolios reviewed, learned about the latest products from Adobe, took Meyers-Briggs personality tests, interacted with speakers at the Teachers’ Lounge, perused books at the pop-up bookstore and branded themselves with tattoos from Tattly.


My 99U tattoo from Tattly


Pantone Booth

I attended day one, “Career Development,” and featured speakers included Scott Belsky, Heidi Grant Halvorson, James Victore, Ben Barry, and Simon Sinek. The backgrounds of the speakers were diverse enough spanning the following discipline sets, creative, entrepreneurship, social psychology, and ethnography.


Jocelyn K. Glei, Editor-in-Chief of 99U, opened the conference by stating, “True learning is funcomfortable… Changing habits is scary, but it’s almost always worth it.” Her laid back introduction helped set the tone that the conference was all about “demystifying the creative process.”

Unlike other conferences where the dialogue is generally one way, from speaker to the audience, this conference pushed attendees to step into the “funcomfortable” spotlight by trying out a mock interview, or by participating in a round table discussion.

Scott Belsky was the first speaker at the pop-up school and he gave an insightful speech around developing a competitive advantage. He postulated that in order to develop your advantage you have ask yourselves these two questions. First question, “What do you want to be best at?” Second question, “What are you willing to be bad at?” Belsky asked attendees to put pen to paper to think about what are the distinguishing features/attributes about you, your product, or your service. Attendees, who participated illustrated their findings as a straight line and then were asked to draw a second line indicating the marketplace.

The point of his framework was to see if your straight line matched to the marketplace line. If so he stated, “you have not found your competitive advantage.”

The second speaker was Heidi Grant Halvorson, Associate Director | Columbia University Motivation Science Center, who highlighted the difference between having “the be good mindset” vs. “the get better mindset.” She told attendees the danger of “the be good mindset” is that “when things go wrong, we doubt our abilities.” However, “when things go wrong, people with a Get Better mindset are more likely to action to solve the problem.” “The Getter Better Mindset,” as summarized by Halvorson: “It’s not about proving but improving. Don’t demonstrate skills develop them instead. Don’t think of yourself as competition with others. Compare yourself to past self, not others.”

Thanks to a segway between speakers,  a trailer introduced a new book 99U produced titled “Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build and Incredible Career.”


As one of the first 100 attendees to arrive, I hustled my way to an advanced copy of the book that features the insight of twenty contributors, including notable names like Cal Newport, Heidi Grant Halvorson, and Scott Belsky.

As the lecture series continued, a panel of three speakers Jocelyn K. Glei, James Victore, and Ben Barry discussed the trials and tribulations of the creative process. Barry specifically highlighted how he built The Facebook Analog Research Laboratory.

The final lecture series of the day was titled “Master Class” and Simon Sinek was so inspiring that I am going to devote an entire post around the leadership and innovation insights he presented.

As a sneak peak, I did get to meet Simon during the Playground Session! He posed for a photo with me, and signed a copy of “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.” Simon was very approachable, authentic and grateful to be at the event. He signed the introduction page of my book with the inspirational quote, “May all your days be used to inspire others!!”

All of the lectures were recorded, and hopefully will be posted to the video section of 99U. In the meantime, take a look at their library of archived videos.

If you haven’t already, connect with 99U on social media.