Leaders: Stimulate Fresh Thinking
As a devoted internet surfer and blog geek I am always surprised at how slowly revolutionary ideas, products, services and experiences move to the offline world. This is evident in noting the lag time between the appearance of an idea online and the appearance of that idea in the broadcast media or daily conversation. By the time the nightly news is reporting X the internet is a buzz with Y and Z considering X to be old news.
Is this the case where you lead? Is your team stagnant, the same opinions, information sources and perspectives lead to the same old insights? Do your weekly, monthly or annual strategy meetings consist of the same 12 people discussing the same 5 ideas over and over?
Many leadership books and gurus recommend tactics for stretching your teams perspective through travel, diverse magazine reading, uniquely creative off-site experiences and other techniques designed to foster exposure to a variety of new perspectives that will hopefully result in useful "a-ha" insights.
These days the internet is full of varying perspectives and conversations about all kinds of different subjects.
Stimulating fresh thinking:
Read a Diverse Blogroll – model and teach team members the value of cultivating a diverse collection of blog feeds in an RSS reader. It's no longer difficult to track 200+ different discussions about a wide variety of topics.
Study the Lag Time – notice the lag time between ideas, news and opinions appearing online and offline. Whether it's in mass media or casual conversation you will discover the people and sources that are the most dialed in to relevant ideas.
Use the Cool New Tools and Services – New web based services and tools are introduced and discussed all the time. Monitor these discussions and experiment with these new tools. The next time you are involved, online or off, in a discussion about flickr, ta-da lists, Technorati, Pub-Sub, Basecamp, Feedburner, Bloglines, etc. you can participate intelligently. Being current helps you see new combinations and opportunities.
Start a "Blog Club" – Like a book club but for blogs. Start a discussion amongst your team about particular blogs and related blogs. Create a base of common knowledge about A-list blogs. Make sure every one is reading certain must read blogs. Thought leadership is out there. Find it and talk about it.
Track New Ideas in Internal Wikis, Del.icio.us Lists or Blogs – If you set you six team members loose and ask them to each come back with three fresh relevant ideas for your next management team meeting what's to say their won't be duplicate's? Building a team blog or wiki to track these new ideas can help avoid duplication. Make sure team members are reading and contributing to the collective regularly.
First equip and train team members to find relevant new ideas and then challenge them to use the tools to branch out of group-think and find new insights in unexpected areas. The power of fresh ideas and vision for your business, division or department is worth it.
May 26, 2005 in award winning design, award winning magazine, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Blogging Tools, build credibility, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, CMO, Current Affairs, Travel, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack
A New Place to Spot BeTuitive Insights
Ellen Finkelstein has written a new book in the "...for Dummies" series. We invite you to check out Syndicating Web Sites with Rss Feeds for Dummies. You'll find Betuitive Marketing, LLC quoted in chapter one. The information comes from the article "Blogs: What Are They Good For?"
May 23, 2005 in award winning design, award winning magazine, award winning newsletter, blog publish, Blogging Tools, Books, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, CMO, Current Affairs, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Paging BlackBerry Touting Star Wars Fans
If you or, you know, "a friend" are a BlackBerry user and a Star Wars
geek fan you may want to use your BB Force skills to add a Revenge of the Sith wallpaper to your BlackBerry.
Download an image direct to your BlackBerry from: http://www.phonemodz.com/chris5h/bb.wml
You can follow these instructions for installing wallpapers.
Verbal Communication Skills
This great list of verbal communication tips from Open Loops is making the blog rounds. Good advice this.
Update: Related: Verbal Communication Tip
Customers Have More Power
People are making new tools that give customers increasing power to make purchasing decisions. A software developer has created a truly useful program. Cheap Gas scraps the gas price information from gasbuddy.com and maps it using Google maps. It used to be that a customer had to drive around in search of the lowest price for gas. Not any more. Now customers can check the web before the head out for gas.
Everywhere business models are being upended by customers gaining the power of aggregated product, price and service information. What's a business to do? How do you keep customers who are tempted by lower prices or different product selections elsewhere?
It's all in the relationship. Are you constantly developing your relationships with customers and prospects? Just like gas stations need to be easy to pull in and out. A B2B business needs to be visible and accessible. Are you using blogs, RSS and email newsletters to be easily found by prospects and customers?
Take a minute and Google your company name. Are you the first result? At least in the top ten?
How are your customers going to find your business?
Don't forget about Cheap Gas when you are traveling.
May 19, 2005 in award winning magazine, award winning newsletter, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Blogging Tools, Blogs, build credibility, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, bulk email marketing, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Business publications, Business relationships, CMO, Current Affairs, Travel, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Understanding Email Protocols
Operation Gadget has an overview of email protocols useful for those who are considering a wireless email device/service like a BlackBerry or a smart phone. Three minutes well spent.
Good Sleep Helps You Be More Intuitive
Sleeping well is more and more important as it gets harder and harder to accomplish. In these days of tight deadlines that lead to late nights with the computer and long international flights good quality sleep is becoming more and more elusive.
It's simple, if you want to be more alert and in tune to your customers you need to arrange your life in such a way that you can consistently get a good nights rest.
Here's a nice sleep FAQ with some good info on getting better sleep. It's from a site that also offers a booklet offering tips for sleeping on airplanes. Nice.
Perhaps the best thing you can do to improve your work, family and home life is to get better sleep this week.
Why Corporate Blogging Works
If you still don't get the value of corporate blogging. Hugh at Gaping Void explains it in 15 short points and one deep diagram.
May 13, 2005 in award winning design, award winning magazine, award winning newsletter, Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Blogging Tools, Building Customer Community, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, CMO, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
Surprise and Delight Customers with Easter Eggs
If you are looking for a way to surprise and delight your customers (and, really, who isn't?) you might consider adding easter eggs to your product, service or experience. Yes, even your email newsletter. Kathy Sierra has a great piece making the case for Easter Eggs:
A good easter egg is a playful, hidden or disguised feature that, when discovered, can offer surprise, delight, entertainment, humor, novelty, or an "I Rule" experience.She does however offer a warning:
Until you've nailed the fundamentals--the things users want, need, and expect--don't bother trying to "surprise and delight" users. That just pisses 'em off.So let's assume that you have the basic nailed. That's a big assumption, I know.
Crafting appropriate Easter Eggs for your marketing communications requires a huge amount of customer intuition. You need to know what will surprise and delight your customers and what they will simply consider lame. Think about going to the movies. If you really love the movie you are willing to wait through the credits to see some bloopers. Especially created bloopers that spoof classic bloopers like Pixar adds to their films. Conversely, if you didn't care for the movie or actively disliked the movie you won't be interested in anything more.
Finally, Kathy has a good list of the characteristics of good Easter Eggs:
They get users involved as a participant rather than a passive spectator.
They get users to spend more time
They're remembered (you can use easter eggs to enhance learning)
They DO NO HARM!
Their discovery is NOT a required part of the experience. If it is, then it's not an easter egg, but simply a part of the product.
They give users the "I Rule" experience of being clever enough to "get it", especially if it's in plain sight, but requires "insider" info to recognize it.
They're entertaining in some way (this is largely the point of making them)
They do NOT need to be funny, although they often are.
At BeTuitive we have an Easter Egg in our own monthly newsletter.
May 11, 2005 in Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Blogs, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, bulk email marketing, Business editorial, business magazine, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Business publications, Business relationships, CMO, company blog, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack
A Word About Frequency
One of the most important things to do when figuring out how to do a email newsletter is to figure out the right frequency to send your newsletter. Anything is possible, of course. Some newsletters publish daily, some weekly, some monthly and some quarterly. What's important is figuring out how frequently you can communicate with your customers and prospects in a way that consistently adds value to the relationship without becoming an irritant.
Part of the answer is the quality of the content. Fresh insights and valuable education are a must. If your issues are full of repetitive marketing speak readers won't value them. Remember people pay attention to what is new. They also value education and information apart from constant sales pitches.
Another piece of the puzzle is watching carefully what the measurements have to reveal. I mentioned the article about understanding newsletter metrics below. Watching the ups and downs of your open rates and click-thrus will tell you about the value your subscribers place on your newsletter.
Stats that indicate a high open rate and click-thru indicate that your content is valuable and relevant. You may consider ways to increase your frequency. You may want to experiment with special issues.
Stats that reflect declining open rates may indicate that subscribers don't find value in your newsletters.
Stats that reflect high open rates with low click-thru rates indicates that subscribers are open to hearing from you but aren't finding relevant content.
These are simple interpretations of complex measurements. The point is that developing and maintaining a dynamic newsletter that adds value to your business is a challenge. It's much more than writing a new sales brochure every month.
Reading the tea leaves of newsletter measurements is as much art as science. One of the values of outsourcing your email newsletter publishing is having experienced list managers who can help you understand just what is happening with your newsletters.
May 10, 2005 in award winning newsletter, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Blogs, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, bulk email marketing, business credibility, Business editorial, business magazine, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Business publications, Business relationships, CMO, company blog, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack