Monday, 28 April 2008

My Top Ten Thoughts When "Techmemed"

I find it funny to constantly read blog posts about people who are actively trying to get traffic to their blogs, wonder how they can get on to the Techmeme 100 list and/or become the next Louis Gray.

The few times I've been "Techmemed" or been in the coveted "pile on" conversation, my thoughts are less, "Yah, I"m getting blog traffic!" and more something like this...

1. Gee I wish I had more than 5 minutes to write my blog posts
2. I should consider doing grammar checks before hitting the button publish
3. I wish I could spell
4. I hope someone somewhere didn't say this exact thing somewhere else
5. I hope no one says anything mean
6. I hope I don't get mocked by someone I admire
7. I hope no one reads that 'other' post I wrote the other day which in retrospect was stupid and really poorly written
8. I wish I had called my blog something other than Leigh's Blitherings
9. I wish I had called my blog something other than Leigh's Blitherings
10. I wish I had called my blog something other than Leigh's Blitherings

Saturday, 26 April 2008

UX Experience IS The Marketing Proposition

I was having a debate with someone about an approach to solving a particular problem. At some point they looked at me and said...

"Well I just don't understand the language you use. I focus on user experience. I don't understand marketing."

It was a pretty telling comment and it's something that has been pervasive in the digital world for a long time. They don't do marketing, advertising or communications.

But here's the rub....user experience (customer experience or however you'd like to call it) and marketing are inextricably linked. If one doesn't understand marketing, they are at a fundamental disadvantage. Businesses aren't investing more and more into the digital world "because they like us"...they are doing it because that's where their customers are, their marketing has to be in order to affect their business.

Focusing on the customer will never be a losing strategy. It's always been and will continue to be the foundation. However, the strategic business power one can unleash by understanding networked marketing and branding and how to apply it across an organization is where you will find the whitespace to drive innovation and sustainable competitive advantage.

Customer experience is the marketing proposition so if one doesn't understand the language of marketing, maybe it's time that you did.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Designing Around Social Structures

I came across this quote from the architectural school at McGill:

"We design physical structures around social ones!"

What a great thought. And then I got to thinking:

Is this how most people design customer experiences? Or in fact, do they build websites and tack on "social features." Do most people try to understand the dynamics of networks and the edge or do they instead try to build "social media" strategies. Are they trying to figure out how to connect with customers (or facilitate customers connecting with each other) or are they trying to figure out their Web 2.0 strategy?

Designing physical structures around social ones means going far deeper than we ever have before to understand what is at the heart and soul of our customers needs. It means figuring out the whys and the seismic shifts that are affecting identity construction, culture and community.

I think that might be my mantra from now on.

"Build digital structures around social ones."

A sunny thought for a sunny Monday. :)

Friday, 11 April 2008

Let's Play The Game "Rename That Marketing Tactic"

Maybe the bad weather here in Toronto is getting to me, but marketing pple are starting to REALLY get on my nerves.

I know, let's take an old tactic, like say, a microsite for the press on a product launch. Let's rename is something cool - um something with the word social in it. I know, how about a social media press release!

Next thing you know, they take that new name, write books, blog posts. Maybe add some cool diagrams and develop new paradigms and go off to digital marketing conferences and become kings of the world.

Give me a break.

The Web has always been social. Email, IM. Biggest apps ever.
The tactic of creating interactive experiences for the media to launch products has existed since around 1997.
Community sites have been around since before the Netscape browser.

What has changed is decentralization and the power of the edge economy. What has changed is that we are all now media. Actually there are a lot of things that have changed except maybe marketers who continue to play the rename game and end up making a schwack load of dough in the process.

(this rant was for some reason was inspired by Mathew's post, "PR Industry: Still grasping for a clue)"

Lessons From Twitter: #1

A number of years ago now, I graduated from The Humber School For Writers correspondent’s program working on my first novel “Lessons In Breathing Under Water”.

The two mentors I worked with, (Olive Senior and Richard Scrimger)both guided me to try to say more with less. Apparently, my natural instinct is to over complicate and over write where ever possible (I know - readers to this blog must be shocked ;).

Funny thing, while using Twitter, my initial posts are always (and i mean always) over the 140-character mark. Twitter, my new writer mentor, continues to tell me to pair it down and find simpler ways to say the same thing.

I have no idea what the longer-term effects for me might be. But I have even been considering taking the first 10 pages of my new novel "The Obituary Writer" and putting it into Twitter sentence by sentence to improve my writing style. For now, let me just say this:

Twitter Lesson #1: Be less convoluted.

Friday, 4 April 2008

The Revolution Will Be Live

Some people think that free streaming music paid for by advertising will be the future of music. I tend to disagree. Music tracks, whether the music industry likes it or not, are commodities whether ad supported or not. And one cannot sue their way out of a tidal wave and eventually, the industry will have to acknowledge that their opportunity to stem the tide stopped back when they started charging $20 for CDs when they should have been charging $10.

If the distribution of music is no longer a profitable business then what is the alternative? Talking to various progressive musicians and producers I know in the industry, the consensus is to look at where the value is. At the heart and soul of this debate is needing to find something that cannot be replicated and something that cannot become a valueless commodity like an mp3 or a CD.

What could that be? More and more, it's live performances that create a unique value proposition in a world where any other moment can be digitally relived. And why stop there? Concert promoters are learning faster than anyone how to merchandise and brand individual performances in unique ways such as the sale of digital videos and/or CDs produced for sale soon after the show ends. Music may be a commodity but experiencing the thrill of a live concert will never be. Each one is unique never to be experienced again. In the words of Gil Scott Heron, "The revolution will not be televised, the revolution will not be brought to you by COKE, the revolution will be live."

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