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    Online observations of public relations, marketing, advertising and social media; the occasional frivolity; and The Rundown show notes. Jump in, the water's fine.

    Please Note: Everything posted on this blog is my personal opinion and does not necessarily represent the views of my employer or its constituents.

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Friday Frivolity – Twitter Frenzy

I tweet. You tweet. Who doesn’t tweet?

Well, a lot of people, that’s who. While cool tools like Twitter are great instruments (hat tip, Shannon Paul) with a lot of fantastic uses, it’s good to remember that, despite the fact that your Tweetdeck is giving you a constant window into the Twitterverse – and all your friends are on it – and you can’t imagine knowing anyone worth knowing is not on Twitter – because Dave Matthews is on it and Starbucks is and Riann Wilson and The New York Times and The Home Depot and, well, guess what?

Still not everyone is using it. Case in point: One of the baddest, smartest comic news guys around, Jon Stewart, says: “I have no idea how it works or what it is.” Watch on. [feed readers click through]

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “The Daily Show – Twitter Frenzy “, posted with vodpod

Communicators need to know the latest flashy widgets as well as the old standbyes. Both are in constant change. So know your audience, know your channels of communicating and know your message. Sounds like old, familiar advice.

Update: I forgot to include this hilarious and thought-provoking post by fellow Ohioan Kevin Dugan related to this topic. From One Thing Syndrome to Everything Syndrome, he’s got your two syndromes covered. Check it out.

Hat tip to BL Ochman for reminding me what a great sharable video this is. Also, you should follow me on Twitter.

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The Rundown with Matt Dickman and the Face of Facebook

TheRundown The Rundown is back! Welcome to the newly revamped Rundown Podcast. Once again I’ll be giving and getting The Rundown on social media and all things Public Relations and Digital marketing on the web with a knowledgeable person.

Episode 1 (Run time: 31:40) of The Rundown Podcast welcomes Matt Dickman, the Techno//Marketer and his new eBook series “The Face of Facebook: A marketer’s guide to understanding the population of Facebook” Which is a comprehensive guide for marketers to understand what the population of Facebook really looks like and how to market within the community.

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Join the show and send audio or text comments, suggestions and complaints to:

Show Notes

  • 00:41 Welcome
  • 02:24 Comment from Paull Young (twitter)
  • 04:25 Comments? Suggestions?
  • 05:11 FIR’s upcoming roundtable on Start up PR (starter posts: Calacanis’ Fire Your PR Company, Godin’s The Myth of Launch PR)
  • The Rundown with Matt Dickman
  • 06:42 Intro
  • 07:14 Matt Dickman’s elevator pitch
  • 08:01 Why the Face of Facebook?
  • 09:17 Marketing in a web 2.0 world
  • 10:18 State of FB marketing
  • 11:42 Adding Value: more than a notion
  • 13:30 Numbers – Pages and total population
  • 14:35 Global Takeaway
  • 15:46 Accuracy of stats?
  • 16:49 Male, female or other?
  • 17:46 Ethnicity
  • 20:00 Creating an ad
    • Social action
    • Pricing
  • 23:43 Applications
  • 25:34 Beacon
  • 27:26 Poll
  • 28:44 The Rundown

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Don’t hesitate to send in audio or text comments, questions, feedback and anything else that suits your fancy. I reserve the right, of course, to play or read any and all of your comments as well as delete them without a second thought. But don’t let that stop you from giving it a shot!

Please let me know what you think via email or leave an audio comment at: +1 206-984-4232.

Missing McDonald’s Mobile Mars Michigan Motorway

I recently took a vacation in western Michigan in what should have been a seven-hour drive away from my house. I made this trip with my family, which included a then 15-month old, so the trip seemed more like a 12-month trek across the arctic.

Photo by Thomas Hawk

Photo by Thomas Hawk

Since my colleague (and boss), Techno//Marketer Matt Dickman, recently posted his thoughts on the single most important element of the new 3G iPhone, I’ve been kicking mobile around in my head alot.

I only recently got into the mobile game. I don’t have an iPhone, but I did get a Blackberry several months ago and I love it. It comes in handy even though I live in an area where, when I click on “My Location,” it gives me a rough estimate of my location within 1700 meters. Handy.

But that’s not my central point. My point is that I, during my arduous drive back to NE Ohio,  was shocked to find that McDonald’s doesn’t have a mobile site. Sure, fine, that’s okay, all I was looking for was a list of McDonalds where I could find a Playplace so my daughter could run around. But – even with the incredibly mobile-unfriendly site – I thought for certain I could bash my way through the navigation to find what I was looking for. No dice.

Maybe it was me. Maybe it’s my phone. Maybe it was the frustrated toddler emphatically pulling on her carseat straps saying, “out. out. out. OUT. OUT. OUT. OUT.” But I couldn’t find any way of a) locating a store nearby or b) finding a list of restaurants with Playplaces.

On the real web, the MickeyD’s site does have a restaurant locator and – gasp – even a handy McDonald’s Trip Planner to help you plan your trip. Only I, like most parents, hadn’t thought of that while I was packing the car to go home – nor did I have a computer handy. Maybe McDonald’s will assume with the roughly 31,377 company-owned and franchised restaurants handy, I could have found one on my own. Which I did. A Wendy’s.

So even though people are reportedly still waiting for iPhones, remember there are a lot of phones out there that use a mobile web – and a lot of your target market out there who might need to get more from your online offering while they are out. out. OUT. OUT. OUT. and about.

Anyone have any similar experiences or more enlightment on the subject?

Sensationalist Ad Hater Headline Here

Super Bowl season is right around the corner as everyone who doesn’t live under a rock or in a perpetual hallucinatory state knows. Even me, a staunch hockey-only fan, can’t escape the ebb and flow of the communication efforts that surround the Super Bowl like a pr/ad gravitational pull. Uh, within limits, of course, I actually have a hockey game Sunday night that I’ll gladly be lacing my skates up for.

But my real reason for writing is this. I just wrote a seemingly anti-ad post, followed by a rather defensive comment. But it wasn’t the ads or concepts of ads I was opposing; it was the obnoxious way in which they’re forced upon us.

Truth be told, they can work. Julia Hood from PRWeek US wrote a great article (subscription required?) titled It’s not taboo for PR to admit that ads do work sometimes. Which, besides being a fantistic title, is also true. She goes into detail about buying a pair of Bose headphones. In addition to telling us how much Julia is willing to pay for a pair of headphones, it also tells us that PR pros are capable of paying attention to ads. She writes:

“What drove me to Bose’s online ordering page wasn’t the ad alone. It was the brand’s power, as understood through multiple channels over time, including product placement, ads, word of mouth, and media mentions.”

And that is the power of PR to which I was referring in my aforementioned blog comment. It’s a complicated network of messages over time. It’s no wonder ROI is so crazy and unpredictable. You can only really ever bet on the largest category of subjects to respond to any certain mix of stimuli at any snapshot in time. And what a ridiculous bet that would be! You’d never take those odds in Vegas, ever.

And this is also why I think an integrated marketing approach is the best, most solid, and respectable approach to the bottom line of any organization. Ads alone won’t do it, PR alone may won’t do it, R&D won’t do it, the brand alone won’t do it. C’mon, if it were that easy, wouldn’t we have already done it?

And I hate to admit it, but blogs and podcats aren’t the answer either. New tools are fantastic resources and present outstanding opportunties to convey messages in different ways, but it comes down to the message and the audience. And that’s another great power of PR, it should be the steward of your organization/brand message. PR is more than publicity, it is the champion for your communication efforts. Call it marketing communication if you want, but you’re missing something. It’s the whole process of communicating to every possible public (think target audience) that needs to hear your message. I also feel that PR folk need to be able to be the unpopular kids at the table and keep the strategy on track, regardless of how new or cool something is. If it doesn’t fit the message, don’t do it. So, in conclusion, I’ll wrap up with Julia’s concluding statement:

“Don’t be afraid to admit that ads sometimes work and blogs sometimes don’t. In order to secure their future, PR pros need to be the bravest people in the room and tell it like it really is.”

I have the Power of 150, you insignificant noisemakers, you

No, wait, I wrote that incorrectly. I am one of the pr/marketing bloggers that made it into Todd And’s The Power 150: Top Marketing Blogs. In fact, I’m lucky number 100! Take that Steve Rubel of Micropersuasion! Oh, wait, he came in at 15. Take that Kevin Dugan of Strategic PR and The Bad Pitch Blog! No, shoot, both of his blogs beat me at 24 and 45, respectively. Who else, ah, have at thee, Shel Holtz! Crap, he’s 28. I’ll bet I beat that good-for-nothing Todd Defren – let’s see…curses! He soundly beats me out at 34. Ha! I beat eSoup, whatever the hell that is.* I guess that’s some consolation.

Todd rated these blogs using Google PageRank, Bloglines Subscribers, Technorati Ranking, and the ever subjective Todd And Points. I’ve got to admit, when I set up those other 234 Bloglines accounts and subscribed only to my own blog and The Daily Dilbert, I felt kind of stupid. But it’s all paid off now.

Seriously, I think what Todd has done is really quite amazing. You can read his original post here. If I weren’t so busy faking podcasts and writing about the important pr/marketing issues that made me of the the Power 150, I’d have thought of something equally as clever and subjective. Something like “The Chainmail Armour 200,” “125 Blogs in Shining Armour,” or, perhaps, “The stuff I try to cram in my head every week from smart people on their blogs 2.1!”

Honestly, Todd, thanks for taking the time, for enjoying my shambles…uh, rambles, and for contributing so joyfully to this social media space. Congrats to the other 149, yes, even those of you from 1-99.

*note: I’m just kidding. Well, I wasn’t, but I wanted to know what eSoup was really all about, so I visited the site and it looks really good. Sharon has some impressive things on both eSoup and her own website. So, no hard feelings, Sharon, I just…I went for the funny line, okay? Please forgive me. I mean, eSoup? It’s a punchline in this context. How’s that for a tagline? eSoup: simplify, organize, punchline

Association of National Advertisers Steppin’ Up

Stuart Elliott is at it again. Using mainstream media to bring awareness of new media. His recent article covering last week’s 96th annual conference of the Association of National Advertisers made me feel like cheering. Some highlights, which do not preclude reading the article, include some big names from big brands. They see the trends and understand it. “Too late” some would say, but I don’t. Hell, a majority of PR people are just figuring this out.

Said Stephen F. Quinn, senior vice president for marketing at Wal-Mart Stores:

“Today, the customer is in charge,” Mr. Quinn said, “and whoever is best at putting the customer in charge makes all the money.”

Said James L. McDowell, managing director at Mini USA:

“It’s a great thing every day to wake up and see what consumers have done to the brand…”

Burger King is one brand that has been pushing the limits in the social media space. Said Russ Klein, president for global marketing, strategy and innovation at Burger King:

“It’s more important for us to be provocative than pleasant.”

And perhaps most importantly:

“We can’t manage what happens out there,” said Lawrence Flanagan, executive vice president and chief marketing officer at MasterCard Worldwide. “It has taken on a life of its own.”

See Value in Letting Go

This article from the New York Times (By STUART ELLIOTT Published: June 13, 2006) put a smile on my face. Letting agencies make strategic decisions for the company? Sounds good to me. I mean, agencies are supposed to know their stuff, so why not let them go about doing it?

Last year when I was in England, CEO of Edelman London, Stuart Smith, gave me an analogy that I've used often since. He referred to agency work as having both "arms and legs" and "brains" that are offered as part of the services. Sometimes organizations just need help with the tasks at hand, writing, creating, building things – that's the "arms and legs." The "brains" come in when an organization needs help with the strategic planning. Some companies need one or the other, some utilize both. But it has always seemed to me that a smart thing to do would be to hire an agency with proven strengths and let it do its job. Allow it to develop strategies with you, not just do things you tell them to. I mean, I would personally never hire a contractor to remodel my kitchen based solely on my design…I mean, I know nothing about…uh, buildin' stuff. That said, I would never let my contractor rebuild my kitchen without my input. I would utilize both the contractor's brain and her arms and legs to get the job done.

From the article:

One change is meant to help General Mills adapt to the new-media landscape as it tries to reach consumers using nontraditional approaches like the Internet, e-mail marketing and branded entertainment.

"The old media are alive and well, but the new media are in a very steep growth curve," said Jeffrey Merrihue, chief executive at Accenture Marketing Sciences in London, a unit of Accenture.

"You need to plan to take advantage of the opportunities and prepare for a future when the new media are more and more important," Mr. Merrihue said. 

This article shows just another way in which new media channels have allowed good companies to find ways to use them. They might not understand the medium completely, but there are those who do. And letting those people do what they know how to do is a great start for both the organization and the representative agency.