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Posts from February 2011

February 28, 2011

Email is Dead. Really?

The stats say different.

Atsign Emarketer has assembled a few reports that clearly indicate that email is gaining acceptance as a business communication tool. 

It is tougher to be a Marketer in some ways, yet it is becoming easier in others. It is definitely tough for a Marketer to keep up with the details of all methods of communication with current and prospective customers. The new media options are staggering. And the detail is even more staggering. Add the fact that online marketing requires a completely different mindset - you have to set aside your HUNTING skills and learn to BE HUNTED - it can be exhausting.

Finding an agency that is strong with traditional promotion and up to date online is quite a challenge. Oh, they’ll tell you they are. They’ll tell you they have the expertise but the truth is revealed in where their revenue is sourced. If they are still making most of their revenue from traditional media, chances are pretty good they do not have the chops in emarketing that they claim. If their online revenue is growing substantially, they are at least committed to learning and providing value to your overall marketing efforts.

By the same token, if they are 100% social media, that too can be scary. As a carpenter sees the whole world as a nail, so too will social media marketers see the whole world as a social solution. And that may not be what’s best for your brand.

As a Marketer in today’s market you must be two-headed - you must retain and improve the tried and true methods that have always worked, yet be open minded about whether they are working right now - today. We have been well trained to invest money wisely, HUNT for customers and hope it all turns out. And it ususally does.

Now you must understand how to interact with people online - a place where they have the power - where they can make or break your brand purchase decisions. You must learn to give away your rich content and your industry knowledge, trusting that the universe will pay you back in the form of new buyers. You must learn to BE HUNTED by people who are interested in what you sell. This requires a whole different appraoch. A new mindset if you will.

But it’s worse. You must first understand all these options. Then you must carefully manage and balance the integration to serve today’s sales and tomorrow’s market share. Clearly as a Senior Marketing person you know how to hunt. You must also be steeped in emarketing enough to know where and how to integrate the two methods - today.

When examining who to partner with for emarketing, do pay attention to what percentage of the agency’s revenue comes from emarketing. And that works on a granular basis as well. When looking for a supplier/partner to manage email marketing, it is good to find a partner who has a balanced revenue picture. If they are all emarketing, they are likely too biased. But they have to have a decent revenue stream in emarketing to be of value.

We would love to know your thoughts on the matter.


February 25, 2011

Success Stories

I want to add a new section to One Degree.

Social Media is not about the individual. Not about how many followers you have on Twitter, nor a popularity contest. It is about all of us. It is a collective, so to speak.

I want to capture and highlight some of your success stories here. One Degree is a very powerful resource - especially if you have ever tried the "Search" function. Your story should be here! It will be here for a long time to come!

Send in your Case Studies, White Papers or simply, your stories of Social media successes. Well, there is no reason not to send in SM failures as well! It is all about learning.

Send them to mose[at]onedegree[dot]ca

I will post them in a new section.


February 24, 2011

The Future! Well, sort-of.



As far back as I can remember folks like Don Norman have been predicting non-appliance based ubiquitous interface design. The future as seen in the above video.

Basically everything becomes Net-ready. It will happen absolutely.

But lets take a look at the future, from the past.

First car patent was in the mid 19th century. Patents involving the automobile in 1899 were over 600,000 in number. That's only 35 years after the Civil War!

First decent car ... best guess?  I say late 70s early 80s? Prior to that they were rust buckets, unsafe and horrible to drive. Even the uber-cars in the 60s and 70s - Mercedes, Porsche & Jags were death traps. I had a couple of Volvos in the 60s and 70s, safer, but basically engineering boxes on wheels - first decent Volvo was like 1982. Now we have what I would call cars. Even the cheap ones are way better equipped than the luxury carsof 40 years ago

It took 120 years to get from the inventor's bench to a decent car?

The technology for this future world is sort-of here and now. Tablets, flash, ibooks, wireless etc etc. The technology will advance, but this will - even given exponential allowances - take about 50 years for us to see this in every home.

Net was invented in 1951.

Net adopted, sort-of, by consumers (ability to have database and content management and Blogs thereby taking it out of the hands of geeks into the hands of the general public) - 1999.

Net made mainstream - well, sort-of, currently ... but still not on the level of the installed base of TV or radio or the telephone, for that matter - as in every home has at least one. And, not every company is selling online.

And the proof is, we are still talking about this technology and not simply using this technology. We pick up a phone and talk to someone, we do not marvel at the swithces,towers and relays - Telephone invented early 1800s:

That is a 200 year lag? I will be kind and say we will see the future as demonstrated in the video in 2050.

It takes time to enact change.


February 23, 2011

Developing the Creative Craft Part IX - Creativity Technique

Random Input

We last looked at the White Hat creative technique. The following is my favorite - Random Input.

The random-word method is a powerful lateral-thinking technique that is very easy to use. It is by far the simplest of all creative techniques and is widely used by people who need to create new ideas (for example, for new products). 

Chance events allow us to enter the existing patterns of our thinking at a different point. The associations of a word applied to the new 'out of context’ situation generates new connections in our mind, often producing an instant ‘Eureka’ effect, insight or intuition. 

It is said that Newton got the idea of gravity when he was hit on the head with an apple while sitting under an apple tree. It is not necessary to sit under trees and wait for an apple to fall - we can get up and shake the tree. We can produce our own chance events. 

Random inputs can be words or images. Some techniques for getting random words (and the words should be nouns) are: 

  •  Have a bag full of thousands of words written on small pieces of paper, cardboard, poker chips, etc. Close your eyes, put in your hand and pull out a word. 
  • Open the dictionary (or newspaper) at a random page and choose a word. 
  • Use a computer program to give you a random word. A spread sheet with an imported list - or even a Kindle swished to a random page will work.
  • Look at your watch and take note of the seconds. Use this number to get the word. 

It is important to use the first word you find. 

Once you have chosen the word, list its attributions or associations with the word. Then apply each of the items on your list and see how it applies to the problem at hand. 

How does it work?

Because the brain is a self-organising system, and very good at making conections. Almost any random word will stimulate ideas on the subject. Follow the associations and functions of the stimulus word, as well as using aspects of the word as a metaphor. 

You may want to mind-map the random word. 


February 20, 2011

Hiring? Would love your thoughts on the process

As we are on a bit of a roll here on careers, and jobs, at One Degree I was just thinking ... over the course of my career I have hired hundreds of folks. And, there was only one person I ever hired that really fooled me.

Most, if not all, the fine people I have hired, and subsequently worked with have gone on to fabulous careers and that pleases me no end. I still stay in touch with a great many of them and am always delighted to hear about their successes!

The only one that fooled me did so on purpose. He really did a number on me. Looking back I don't know what I could have done to prevent it. Be curious to hear your thoughts ...

Here is the story:

I was running a public company and was in the process of hiring a GM for one of the divisions. That hire BTW was one of the best hires I recall!. We are still in touch and I was even somewhat responsible for him meeting his current wife. They are still  together have a bunch of grand kids and now happily in retirement. 

In the process of selecting this new GM to run the division, a candidate's resume came across my desk. Impressive. I met him three times, my HR person met him once, and we checked out all references and called previous employers. This guy got 10 out of 10 from everyone!

I left the actual hiring, or recommendation to hire, to my new GM of the division, who checked this fellow out as well and we all agreed he would be a great addition.

Luckily, it only took less than 6 weeks for his true colours to shine through.

I received a call one morning from a police station in SW Ontario asking if "so-and-so" belonged to me?

Our company supplied Universities and government organizations, like the police and fire departments with electronic equipment.

Well, our guy had shown up, on a sales call, to this detachment, at 9 am, on a Tuesday ... hammered. Not just smelling of booze, or hung over ... tanked. Full stop.

We dispatched a couple of our guys to pick him, and his vehicle, up and return him to us forthwith!

He was fired summarily (There were a few other things we discovered that prompted that as well, but the saying goes ...  Hire slow, fire quick!) and we proceeded to do some investigation to see if there had been any other incidents with our clients. Luckily, only one other. Those fences were mended, and we replaced this guy with a more suitable candidate. By more suitable, I mean someone who at 9 am is not loaded to the gills.

The morale of this story is .. you cannot check everyone out. In my case, one out of hundreds is not a bad record, but I still feel bad, sad really, about that one.

All the folks I spoke to at his previous employment, gave glowing reviews. Obviously, they did not want to pull the trigger on letting me know this guy had issues. BTW, in two of the meetings, I met him at a bar. I always do that, just in case. He drank soda each time, was sober, and extremely presentable and so on and so forth.

So, lesson learned?

- Resume content is certainly a fine way of separating the wheat from the chaff, but it does not tell the whole story.

- References are more than likely planted (Why would you give the name of someone as a reference that would trash you?) so you call the previous employers and maybe even interviews can be faked.

So, I ask you ... what would you would recommend as a hiring practice or technique that would give you 100% success? Is it possible?

And, of course, nowadays the Social Media space is one place to look and get a glimpse, but this was way before the Net!

Thoughts? I would be curious to hear what you think?


February 19, 2011

Speaking of jobs

"If any of you out there have jobs, which is highly doubtful ..."  Gilbert Godfried

A note on piracy - of course it is NOT suitable for work!

Just say no to piracy!


Get a job!

Recently we announced the FreshGigs.ca partnership here - this has prompted a few up-coming articles I am writing for One Degree. Getting a job, ramping up your career or hiring the best people is something I have always been passionate about.

IStock_000003452096Small While I was doing this research I looked at some of the analytics for One Degree over the last number of years. And I see there have been many, many searches on particular companies and people ... far more than topics. Especially the Five Question articles. I believe a great many of these searches probably have been from folks researching the companies they are applying to.

If you are looking for work and have zeroed in on a company, or are being interviewed by a particular person, try a search for them here. See if we have a contributor from that company, or that particular person, or we might have interviewed the principal of said organization. Maybe they have commented to a post. You'd be surprised what you can find in the almost 3000 posts on One Degree. Lots or gold to be mined here!

From there, follow the trail. Call it CSI : One Degree!

Along with obvious Google searches, check their Twitter stream, their FB profile, Plaxo, Linkedin, FriendFeed and get some background on them and the company. For instance a comment here will let you see what their POV is on a certain topic. You see, turnaround is fair play. yep as someone who hired a lot of people of course I check the SM to get a look at who they are behind the resume and spanky-new interview outfit! When being interviewed, out-interview the interviewer by having some insight!

Job hunting is rigorous. It takes a great deal of perserverance, hard work and you make your own luck. Old saying - The harder I work, the luckier I get!

So get cracking! Start by searching One Degree.


February 16, 2011

"OMG!!! That ad was amazing! But I don't remember what the product was?"

Two conversations over the weekend prompted this piece. In fact I would like a dollar for everytime I have had this conversation. They: "Wow I saw this amazing ad!"  Me: Oh yeah? Who was it for?" They: Ummm, I don't remember?"

I was at a terrific birthday party and we were talking about the Super Bowl ads and ads in general. Folks just love to discuss ads!

One of the people at the party wanted to show me a 3D ad for a Japanese beer that they thought was simply amazing. This place where we were gathered was quite snazzy! My firend had his laptop and TV and sound and God-knows-what-else, tied into a big screen in the rec room.

Anyway, before he pulled it up on YouTube to show on the 50" flat screen, I said, I am pretty sure I have seen this - and I love it. But, I stopped him before he ran it, as I tried to remember what beer company was the advertiser? Sapporo, Kirin or Asahi? I guessed right - it was Sapporo ... but, should I be guessing?

Here is the ad.

In a following conversation we all agreed that we loved the Little Darth Vader spot that ran on the Super Bowl. I did an "over-the-back-fence" market research survey.  I asked them ... Great ad, it was for a car, but what car company and what model? 

See if you can remember? Answer at the bottom.*

There were 5 of us - two got the brand right, one got the car company right, two got it wrong. We all could almost recite the ad scene by scene, we had seen it so many times. Truly, we all loved it. 

So, is that the state of the ad biz? Ads are mighty funny, very pretty, some absolutely beautiful and a whack of them brilliantly entertaining, but what if people, at best, have to strain to remember the brand and, at worst, can't remember the brand the ad was meant to sell?

I have always been in the Ogilvy camp. An ad has to sell a brand. 

It starts with an amazing Creative Brief and diligent, professionals in the ad biz to decipher the brief, hone in on the USP and deliver creative that sells. And sells the brand, not just the product class.

Ford does not want you buying sports cars, a product class - they want you buying Mustangs, a brand!


* VW Passat 

February 14, 2011

Matching-up Great People with Great Jobs

Recently we did a piece here about FreshGigs.ca. It was one of our Five Questions with ...

As I stated in that article I was very impressed with this organization. So much so, that after a wee-bit of negotiating, I am very pleased to announce that the FreshGigs.ca folks and One Degree have entered into a partnership to provide you, our devoted readers, with a live feed of the "freshest" gigs in and around our industry!

You will see the banner to the right and the One Degree Jobs heading has changed to FreshGig.ca Jobs. Have a gander.

There are hundreds or maybe even thousands of job sites out in the market, but sifting through the tens-of-thousands of listings, that are either not right, or more-importantly, not right for you, or so off the mark ... well, it's not fun.

I was imnpressed with the type of job posts, the companies that are posting the jobs and the elegance and simplicity of this.

Yep, they are a new group. That's why we like them. We like new!

Welsome Sam, Mike and all the Fresh Gig folks to One Degree!

February 09, 2011

Art of Marketing - Guy Kawasaki - One Degree Readers Save $50


Creativity, Technology and a Myth

I first came across Kris Krug when he ran Spark-Online one of the first, online e-zines. It was marvelous. In fact, I do not think I have seen anything that rivals what he put together in those halcyon days of the early Net. Also thanks Kris for the use of your wonderful photos.

He is someone I follow on FB and Twitter (@kk). His posts are most-often thought provoking. In a recent post he pointed to a story from the calgary Herald - Every pixel tells a story: Is photography relevant in digital age?. And up until this exact point of my writing this, I would have agreed with the article and punched a fist in the air and shouted a resounding  "Hear, hear!"

Except ...

Continue reading "Creativity, Technology and a Myth" »

February 08, 2011

Social Media - When all else fails, tell the truth. You are going to anyway!

In the last number of years I have seen one common trait in Social Media - the truth will always come out -it is pretty obvious. By that I mean, there is nothing weird, strange nor mystifying about the truth. Most Urban Legends, when we get to the bottom of them, prove that point. Or, when we finally hear the truth behind a scandal or a rumor, it is probably quite simple, understandable and not that titilating.

"Nothing to see here folks ... move along!" 

This tool, rather than a channel, as Michael Dell so eloquently puts it, is a pretty good leveler of the playing field.

If you are an arrogant, bureaucratic and land-locked organization you will come across as that. You simply cannot hide it.  If you are an arrogant, bureaucratic and land-locked organization with a hip PR team, you will come across as that too, because I cannot ever recall some PR hipster ever being there for me on the front lines manning the phones, at the check-out, at the service bay or the help desk. The truth will set you (Us really!) free! It will also be as plain as the nose on your face. And that "nose" has been evidenced by the slew of SM nightmares we have all seen online.

One of my favorite sayings - "Fish rot from the head down." When I consult with an organization I mandate I start at the top - the corner office, or the Board of Directors. My discoveries will show me the culture of an organization and if the consulting involves a Social Media component this top-down, trickle culture is where I start. The senior managers HAVE to buy in and get it! I personally believe you cannot have effective SM if the senior managers are either ignorant of it, scared of it or out of touch.

Similarly, if you are a small business owner with lots of hutzpah that will also come across. So be carefull. Generally speaking small business folks do not have handlers to keep them in check. Small business is just like Charlie Sheen - he could really use a handler .. or three or four!

If you are en evolved organization that cares ... yep, it is just as obvious. The truth about how great you and your people are, comes across, all the time and at every touchpoint.

In that article mentioned above, there is another quote from Michael Dell ...

We give everyone a phone on their desk – so why not allow staff to connect with customers or suppliers with social media?”

Absolutely! I love that line ... This is so simple, and so elegant in its positioning of Social Media. I would imagine 70 years ago folks were trying to wrap their heads around the phone as a tool. This is what we are doing today. We are evolving,learning, have better tools, better understanding and we will ultimately move to ubiquity in this space. Just like we have with the telephone.  

February 07, 2011

Super Bowl Ads - Yea or Nay?

One of my perennial favorites is the USA Today Ad Meter - Looks like we have a tie, And damned if I don't agree with this years outcome! This year's ads were more of a let-down than a disappointment. I am not sure whether the times are changing, or we see a perfect example of a "Great Campaign is a Client Approved Campaign!"

You see, in a recession most companies, including ad agencies will do just about anything to keep a client especially a big client and keep the doors open. Including putting on ads that clients like vs ads that are evocative, inspiring and brilliant. Clients always get the ads they deserve.

Sure the  USA Today Super bowl Ad Meter is just a lame creative popularity contest that has absolutely nothing to do with the effectiveness mind you the top two had dogs in them, or maybe they were all dogs?



February 02, 2011

Statistics: The State Of The Internet Video

In light of the raucous surrounding UBB here is a  This video by Jesse Thomas is getting some serious attention since being launched on Vimeo last week. The format is simple, a great combination of animation meets statistical visualisation to showcase some of the most recently released stats on the state of the internet.

It provides us with some great insight into what’s going on online; with numbers around all the social mediums, video platforms and more (although it’s all pretty basic, top line info). A few interesting stats you’ll love… There are 2.5 billion photos uploaded to Facebook every month, YouTube serves 1 billion videos per day, The average person watched 182 online videos per month and there are 200 billion spam emails sent every day! Enjoy the video!

JESS3™ / The State of The Internet from JESS3 on Vimeo.

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