Jay Baer on Youtility...

Jay Baer is an acclaimed keynote speaker, New York Times best selling author, entrepreneur, technology investor, and social media and digital marketing consultant. His latest book is Youtility, and I had a chance to chat with him on Marketing Over Coffee (click if you prefer audio). John:  Today, we have a special episode. We have the author of Youtility, Jay Baer, with us. Jay, Welcome to the show. Jay:  Thanks very much. Time will tell whether I am a special guest or not. John:  We’ll be watching the numbers, and I think given the Jay Bayer freight train that has been accelerating over the past couple of months, I’d put money on you. Jay:  Thanks. John:  So, you’ve written NOW Revolution with Amber Naslund a while back. Your latest book is Youtility. It’s made the New York Times Best Seller List. Congratulations. Tell me a little bit about the book. Let’s give everybody the elevator pitch. What is Youtility about? Jay:  The difference between helping and selling is just two letters. But those two letters make all the difference. If you sell something, you could make a customer today. But if you help someone, you can make a customer for life. And the way you do that is by creating something that is so useful, people will pay for. It’s marketing that is truly and inherently valuable. It has intrinsic value. If you do that, you will win in the end. John:  Right. You’ve got a bunch of great case studies in there, too. It’s a perfect example of a strong business book. You’ve got a big idea, and then you’ve got a bunch of great examples. I have to give you credit for that because so many of these books, I can only...

David Spark on Brand Journalism...

David Spark is an 18 year veteran of tech marketing and journalism. He’s been in over 40 media outlets in print, radio, TV, and online, has been involved in podcasting, video, and came on to talk about Brand Journalism. John:  Give us your elevator pitch. What do you do and how do you do it? David: I own a company called Spark Media Solutions. We are brand journalists, which means we create media for companies to increase their thought leadership in this space. The angle that we’ve been really successful with is building influencer relations through content. That is, I think, the best way to make a friend with somebody: to create content or interview them. If you want to be their best bud, that’s probably the best way to do it. I don’t think I’ve failed at that yet. John: You were just quoted recently in Forbes. They had a whole article about content marketing. There are a lot of ways to fail at content marketing. You can’t just jump into this and assume that because you are doing what everybody is doing it’s going to be right.  Talk a little bit more about that. Where do people screw this up and what do we have to look at? David: I should say I despise the term “content marketing” because I think it’s insidious. I think to say to someone, “Here is some content.” But it’s also marketing. It’s like someone would want to drop it like a hot potato: “Ah! I don’t want this! Who wants this crap?” The industry uses content marketing for their own selves and understands, “We’re generating this content to ultimately sell product.” But if it’s delivered to someone as marketing material, even though it’s “subtle,” as this...

The Marketing Over Coffee Awards...

Three years ago, around the end of 4th quarter I was talking with Christopher S. Penn about the shortage of interesting things going on in the industry at the end of the year. Everyone is trying to close business for the end of the year, retailers are flat out with the holiday crush, and the back to back dietary threat of Thanksgiving and Christmas eliminate the chance of much excitement in marketing headlines. We had talked about awards many times on Marketing Over Coffee and Chris joked that we should do our own awards. To get the full impact of the joke you need to know that in Marketing and PR circles awards are often given little respect. There are many that aren’t much more than “pay your application fee and get a trophy” (and half ass agencies hope to dupe green clients into believing that they really are “award winning”) and then there are others that large organizations shoot for, and at these companies there’s often a person that has applying for awards as one of their major job functions. I do have to say that when recording some audio with David Meerman Scott a few years ago, he did get me to see an angle I had missed. There are certain awards that you should pay attention to because of who the judges are. In many industries there are awards judged by influential people that you might already be trying to reach through your normal marketing channels. Paying a couple hundred bucks to get some guaranteed time with the right people is a no brainer if there’s a fit. Our joke was, we would give the awards to who we liked. If you were doing something cool, and you were a fan...

The Paradox of Choice...

Yesterday I saw two demonstrations of  Barry Schwartz’s Paradox of Choice in action. This is one of the most useful books about decision making that I have found, and is a must read for anyone in marketing. Jeff Bussgang asked why everyone still uses 4 year vesting schedules at startups when, in the current economy, exits usually take longer. For those that don’t speak VC – employees at startups get shares of the company, usually granted in 25% chunks at the first four anniversary dates – to encourage them to stay four years and get all their shares. (Shameless plug – if you want to learn more about how to speak VC, check out the Marketing Over Coffee interview with Jeff that will be posted the first week in June) It’s a good argument, but as you can see from the post it has generated many comments – and this goes right to the Paradox of Choice. The more alternatives someone faces when making a decision, the less likely they will make a decision. This is most easily demonstrated at a store I go to during the summer in Northern Michigan. They sell different kinds of jam and jellies, and they have about a dozen of them out to taste test, and that’s a problem. If there were two out you would like one better than the other, and maybe buy it. An Economist can mathematically represent this, they use a unit called Utils (rhymes with noodles) to measure the benefit of making a purchase. Bob really likes Jelly A, buying it gives him +5 utils, he does not like Jelly B, buying it would not give him any utils. 5 utils beats the 4 util cost of giving up the $7 to buy...

Mr. Rogers and Authenticity...

Mr. Penn had a good post last week about refreshing quality content that’s deep in the archives, and I was looking for something that dealt with authenticity. Authenticity is one of the topics that came up in last week’s Marketing Over Coffee interview with Simon Sinek, which I highly recommend, it is one of my favorite interviews: [audio:http://traffic.libsyn.com/marketingovercoffee/MoC153-why.mp3] A supreme example of authenticity is the speech from Fred Rogers in the link below: Although Fred Rogers ability to lay the smackdown is seldom discussed, I think this is a quality post that is underrated. It also addresses the important question of Mr. T vs. William Shatner. Fear naught, more serious marketing copy to follow, but I’ve been searching for levity after a week of getting the water out of my basement after 3 solid days of...

Beer You’ve Never Heard Of...

A few years back we went with our neighbors to make some beer at the local self brewery. I made up some custom labels for us and stumbled upon them last week and I still got a laugh out of them so I thought it would be worth posting. The beer was a light lemon brew, a summer beer. I started with the Sam Adams Label for inspiration: Our friend does an excellent job landscaping and takes great care with his lawn. The irony is that the guy across the street is the exact opposite, so the joke was that maybe beer would get Bill to take better care of his lawn: Talking about High Street led to this: The word “Hootch” is funny enough on it’s own, and that led to “Pimpin’ wit da Hootch” And finally, the only beer tougher that MF’in Snakes on a Plane… Here’s to your beer of choice this...

How to Record a Phone Interview...

Even though I said I was taking November off, I’m back again. A friend asked me about recording a phone interview and I wrote so much that I thought it would be a shame not to get a post out of it too. The Phone Tree Option in Order of Sound Quality: Best – Skype to Skype Still good – Skype to regular phone (Skype Out) A lot of people use this if your interview subject can’t handle skype (doesn’t have the bandwidth, or the technical skill). Last Option – Phone to Phone For skype to skype or skype to skype out, use one computer for skype and another, or a digital recorder to record, do not skype and record on the same machine (yes, I know, lots of people do skype and record on one machine, remember that you’ve only listened to their successes, you haven’t heard the files that were lost or ruined). Another benefit of this method is that you get full studio sound on your side. Ways to do phone to phone: like most tech stuff, the trade offs are that cheap and/or easy are at the expense of sound quality. One thing to test is cell vs. land line. Cell can be clearer, but if reception is an issue go to land line. Another important factor – headsets are best, handset next, Polycom conference phone is rough, speakerphones are terrible. Cheapest and easiest: Many conference call services, such as the good folks of TelSpan can record your conference call (I am a customer of theirs). Give your subject the number, tell the service in advance that you want this one recorded, and download an mp3 when you are done. This is as low a quality can go, but it...

Bootstrapping PR – Live from WebInno 23...

At WebInno tonight there’s a panel on bootstrapping PR. You can get the bios of the panelists and an overview of the event here. Some overall pointers on how to get attention. Quotes are direct, stuff without quotes are my summaries. Bob Brown: “CEOs need personality” Journalists are becoming cognizant of page views. Peter Kafka: “Get a referral from someone I trust” Entrepreneurs are better off without a PR firm, you can tell your story better than a 3rd party. “Use your blog to put out your view of the world” Know when to adapt if the reporter is not interested in your one talking point – staying on message will not always work “Embargos are dead” he tweeted an embargoed release today Scott Kirsner: “Meet in person, don’t get introduced by your PR guy” Dealing with multi-channel reporters – talk to them about where it will be published – online, print, is any of it off the record? This is retail not wholesale Exclusives are worthwhile Wade Roush: “Don’t write stories and send them to reporters” Pick the reporters that are relevant to your space and start a relationship with them Blogging helps complete the picture of the entrepreneur and can be useful to reporters Only 4 Real hooks for him – Raised money, Change in leadership, change in direction, new product Keep in mind that exclusives are shafting everyone else Mike Troiano “Treat reporters like people” Mike was busy moderating so he didn’t spend any real time commenting. There was one question from the crowd asking why PR firms were not represented. David said it was because they wanted a panel of first person accounts from the reporters. I think a key point on whether or not you need a PR firm...

Rebirth of the Cool

While in Traverse City, Michigan over vacation (“Up North”) for those in the know, I came across a store called M-22. They had casual clothing with the M-22 logo on it, a highway that runs along the coastline and is travelled by kiteboarders. You can read their story here and check out their stuff. In the store you can see that the merchandising was done with the brand in mind – it’s not just “How much crap can we put our logo on, and how cheap can we get it”, but rather going a higher quality route. Between having a higher quality product, and the hip Tribes-style appeal of the kiteboarding community you’ve got a great brand that will attract all the cool kids… at least for a couple of years until enough middle-age bozos like myself start wearing the stuff regularly. Amid a whole street of “Traverse City” T-Shirts, and lots of cherry or fudge related tourist bait, M-22 takes the higher ground. What’s your...

Superior Design

I’ve used Samsonite luggage all of my life. My parents gave me an old school suitcase when I was a kid (back when one of their competitors had an ad with a gorilla beating the crap out of a suitcase). When I graduated from college I had a Samsonite Briefcase (yes, and I even wore a suit to work too, every day), and a garment bag that I put 5 years of heavy travel on before it finally fell apart. From there I got a rolling carry-on that I was able to beat up on for more than 10 years. A few weeks ago I noticed that one of the wheels had cracked in half and I knew that it would only be a matter of time before the bag was retired. As I was dragging it around New York City last week the wheel hit the doorframe as it came in and I saw a piece of the wheel fall off. To my amazement, more pieces continued to fall off and when it was done I saw that the wheel was made up of an outer and inner shell. As the original wheel fell off, a second interior wheel was exposed and the bag continued to roll along with no problem. You can talk all you want about a product but when one performs like that under fire, the stories are very easy to tell. I’ll probably be able to squeeze a few more trips out of this bag but I imagine by Christmas I’ll be looking at an...