Make It Happen
My Tipsheets are chock full of ideas. They are all aimed at translating knowledge into action...in a quick, action-oriented 60-second nugget.

First Name:
Last Name:
email:
Tipsheet Archive
Randall's Resources
Whenever I speak or write, I often prepare extra "bonus" materials.
Enter the Resource Code to access this special content:
Resource Code:
Try this example Resource Code: eventplanning

Content Marketing Strategy

What do eyeballs and friends have in common with each other? Except for the fact that your friends have eyeballs, not much. Or do they?

Let’s go back to the year 1999, the time the unshakeable belief that so long as you had “eyeballs” on your website, unstoppable riches awaited you. This was the age of web page “hits”, greedy (or gullible?) venture capitalists, and the 24-year-old vice-president. Sadly, it was not the age of business models, integrated marketing strategy, or prudent financial management. When the dot-com crash happened a year later, there shouldn’t have been a surprise.

I was there. I built my first company in 1994 and sold it in 2000. Like today, we were focused on helping traditional organizations with their Internet strategy and then implementing it. We did this for KPMG, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail’s Globefund and GlobeInvestor, McGraw-Hill Ryerson, what is now Workopolis, and many others. These venerable organizations are still around, and are highly reliant on Internet technology as a critical part of their real-world, revenue-focused business model. And as an advisor, we learned lessons along the way about building communities, discussion forums, relationships, and yes, transactions. Because our work was not rooted in “eyeballs”, but in real revenue and real expenses, we prospered along with our clients. Those agencies, consultants, investors, and companies who focused on eyeballs, crashed and burned.

Perhaps we’ve learned something over the last decade, but the evidence suggests otherwise. Instead of chasing eyeballs, people are now chasing Friends, Connections and Followers. We use terms like Twitterverse and Blogosphere, as if everyone truly understood what they meant. While it is true that the number of Friends may be a proxy for influence, unless there is a strong connection to the business model and bottom line, at best the chase is for a chimera.

And like the heyday of 2000, there is a sordid cast of characters who have become instant experts (Social Media Experts) who are whipping the gullible and the greedy into a frenzy. They used to be (and probably still are) experts in advertising, technology, selling information products, market research, and just about every other field. Some probably sold real estate, vacuum cleaners, and all manner of merchandise, before they too jumped on the bandwagon, started a blog, and are now the new gurus.

And what do we see when we look at the companies that are “successful”?  Twitter still doesn’t have a business model – yet they are able to raise millions of dollars without blinking. Groupon – which does have a business model, turned down a six billion dollar takeover bid several years ago.  Facebook, which does have a business model, is a public company with $350 billion valuation: incredible. And explain the 26 billion recently paid by Microsoft for LinkedIn?  (I did try in an earlier post.)  Beyond these players there are 500+ other Social Networking sites that are clamoring to be our Friends.  Its “eyeballs” all over again.

What does this mean? I may be proven wrong, but I believe we’re in line for another huge tech crash. Yes, there will be a number of big deals, but we can only have so many Friends. And investors will eventually wake up.

This week’s action plan:  Is your organization’s strategy dependent on any particular social site?  If you don’t have a plan to collect your relationships in an owned-by-you database, now would be a good time to start.

Action plan #2: It might also be a good idea to look at your stock portfolio.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com
:  Professional credentials site
www.108ideaspace
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
www.ProfessionallySpeakingTV.com
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders

Almost every organization has a list – or several.  The list is used for service and event updates, for marketing, sales, and then billing.  It is used to recruit, it is used for retention.  And because it is so central, it is also the subject of a critical marketing question:  “how can we grow our list?”

Unfortunately, this is the wrong question.  If the list itself is the evidence of your relationship to a particular person or organization, the question really should be “how do we grow our relationships?”  Answers to this wider question revolve around connecting with relevant content and services that precisely address their challenges, service levels that exceed their expectations, and technology that can help facilitate the relationship, particularly self-serve web access, marketing automation, and CRM.

While the above items help with the depth of relationships, the question still lingers: how might we widen the number of people that are touched? Note that this is still different from the how can we grow our list question.  The reason for this nuance is simple: the “list” is fast becoming a dated concept. Consider an email’s enemies:

  • Spam filters
  • User’s cynical attitude against email marketing
  • The growing share of “walled garden” in-system email alternatives (Facebook messenger, LinkedIn messages, Twitter direct messages, etc)
  • The growth of non-email-based communications channels, including blogs, discussion forums, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
  • Younger users’ general disdain for email (vs email alternatives such as Snapchat, WhatsApp, etc)
  • CASL, CAN-SPAM, and other anti-spam laws

We are now recommending that growing your “list” is not just a question of the number of email addresses that are collected, but rather the collection of names, along with their preferred communications channels, along with their areas of specific interest, along with their preferred communications frequency.

This week’s action plan:  Before you embark on a list-growing exercise, inventory all of the channels that you use, and benchmark your performance relative to others.  How are you doing on Twitter comparatively?  On Facebook? On YouTube?  On your blog?  And so on. Based on this, consider whether there is competitive merit growing these channels as well – or instead.

Part two of this series shares 11 specific ways to increase the number of names on your list.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com
:  Professional credentials site
www.108ideaspace
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
www.ProfessionallySpeakingTV.com
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders

{ 0 comments }

Viewpoint: Expert-writers and Writer-experts

by Randall Craig June 19, 2015

While the internet has changed the world of publishing fundamentally, the world of writing has been fundamentally shifted as well. Consider who is actually doing the writing: Professional writers are educated in the craft of investigation and written expression, and spend an entire career learning how to convey complex concepts to their audiences. Over time, […]

Read More

Building engagement and community

by Randall Craig May 22, 2015

Engagement and community both seem to be the ultimate goals for those involved in the Social Media game. Yet building it seems shrouded in mystery; ask many successful community managers, and it is a combination of secret sauce, luck, and a strategy that has been built after-the-fact to explain their success. Building engagement and community […]

Read More

Digital Opportunity?

by Randall Craig May 1, 2015

The world is changing: it’s getting smaller. Ironically though, the smaller it gets, the more choice there seems to be. In the early 1800s, a trip from Toronto to New York would involve horses, or a stagecoach, 12+ days, and significant risk and expense. In the mid 1800s the trip could be managed by steam […]

Read More

Does it (Google) Translate?

by Randall Craig July 11, 2014

If you are reading this, the chances are very high that you understand English. But what if you didn’t? What if your target audience didn’t? Or what if your target audience did understand, but felt more comfortable in their own mother tongue? The obvious solution: translate your content. The not-so-obvious question is how. There are […]

Read More