Is your content strategy inaccessible?

Do you create hurdles for readers to jump through?

Is your content strategy inaccessible?  I don’t know what some brands are thinking.  They post all over the social-sphere (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn) and then they pull the trigger on sponsored posts which simply means that they are paying to develop the content, then they are paying someone to blast post it, then they are paying the networks to extend the reach.  All of this is to do what?  Get me to click right?  Go and read what they have to say.  BUT when I do click (which they pay for), I am not taken to the content, I am taken to a SIGNUP page.  If I want to read their post I have to become a member.  

Lopsided Relationship from the start?

I have nothing against becoming a member, signing up for your updates or something, but this is the start of a relationship and you want my Name, Address, City, State, Zip, County, Email, Company, Title, Number of Employees before I can see if I even see this one post?!  Before I even know if I care what you have written.  That is very lopsided, I give you all my details, become a member of your list, have to fill out more forms if I ever want to get off your list and what do I get?  I get to read your post.

Do your tactics help or harm your strategy?

It is extremely important, in all areas, but specifically in the content space to test out the user experience.  If you tweet something, go to twitter click your own link and see what happens.  Then ask yourself, what would I do/provide/signup for to read this?   

Tim Cook says he will not combine a MacBook and iPad, but they already have

 iPad Pro with Logitech case on LEFT and MacBook Pro on the RIGHT
iPad Pro with Logitech case on LEFT and MacBook Pro on the RIGHT

The Verge has a report that Tim Cook has stated that Apple will not combine a MacBook and the iPad.  Here is a link to the Verge article.  

When traveling:  The iPad Pro for me is a portable replacement.  I am very happy to travel with one charging cable (lightning) that charges both my iPhone and iPad.

All about the Apps:  The iPad Pro functionality has mostly to do with the power of the apps that you need and the apps that are available.  For me I need at the ready; Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Keynote, Canva, Email, Slack, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Chrome, iMessages and Skype. The iPad has great versions of all these apps.  

All about the FOCUS:  For me, when I am working on my MacBook, I notice that I have tons of apps, windows, chats all open at one time.  I have an email 1/2 done, a word doc 1/2 done and then a notification comes in and I am using gestures to swtich between things.  I have only been using the iPad Pro for two days, but I find it very comfortable using iOS, by having all the apps in full screen I am able to focus on the task at hand. 



When your product does not evolve

With all of the changes going on in the software world sometimes, your product can’t evolve.  That is what happened to our friends over at screenr.  I was notified today at as of November 11th screenr would be shutting down.  As you can read in the email below, their technology relied on Java RE and in their own words is antiquated. Reliance on a third party technology for the basis of your solution is fundamentally risky.  Don’t get me wrong there are tons of advantages to using a popular technology base.  In many cases you can get your solution built faster and you are able to reach a wider audience.  

Evolve or Die

In order to keep your product current it is important to always have a plan B and plan C ready for shifts in technology and consumer behaviors.  I will miss screenr and wish them well in the future.  Sometimes things just have to go away.  Unlike the walking dead technologies that are still holding onto FLASH. 

Having Employees write reviews can be costly, to the tune of $1.25 million in Canada

Reviews are great for your site or your app and everyone wants to get good reviews.  Some brands are tempted to have employees write reviews as a way to get good reviews fast.  We have two examples of the problem this month.  The first news to break was from Amazon’s effort to curb the practice by suing people who offer to write fake reviews.  The second is from Canada that has fined Bell Canada for having their employees write fake reviews.  

Amazon sues 1,000 people for offering to write fake reviews.  This article on the Huffington Post provides a great overview of what Amazon’s position is. “Amazon’s legal counteroffensive, however, appears to be one of the most aggressive attempts yet by a major U.S. e-commerce company to fight back. Its lawsuit alleges that individuals would write five-star reviews about products they never even tried, and plotted with product makers to subvert Amazon safeguards that are meant to bolster confidence in the website’s reviews.”

Here is the LINK.   

 Bell hit with $1.25M fine for planting 4-star reviews for phone apps
Bell hit with $1.25M fine for planting 4-star reviews for phone apps has the report about Bell Canada and the $1.25 million dollar fine for having employees write fake reviews for their mobile application. “The Bell and Virgin mobile apps were launched in November 2014 and immediately garnered four-star reviews on Apple’s iTunes App Store and Google Play Store. At the time, CBC News reported that possibly half a dozen or more of the rave write-ups were penned by Bell Canada employees – many in senior positions. None of the workers disclosed that they worked for Bell.”  (LINK TO ARTICLE)  

Honest reviews are powerful for your brand.  It is the result from creating a great experience for your customer.  Focus on delivering awesome and good reviews will come.  

Creepy Email Marketing

creepy1When you are communicating to your customers I would advise to avoid the ‘creepy triggers’.  

All marketers love the LTV metric and I need not go into all the ways it is better to keep a customer than have to gain a new one.  

I use many online SaaS (software as a service) tools to do my job.  Some I love, some I don’t.  They all reach out with emails about how to best use their tools/services.  Some focus on case examples of other customers hoping it will inspire me to use their tool more.  Some focus on the company’s philanthropic efforts so I feel that by being a customer I am also making the world a better place.  The past two examples are what I call 2015 brand normal.  There isn’t anything in their tactic that is bad or pushing the envelope or trying to be edgy.  They are using current norms to communicate their value to customers.   The creepy one came in this week. I get an email from a creative service I use.  In the email the person says “I noticed you recently created a design in XXXX but never got a chance to share/download it. We are wondering why?”.  I understand that when I am using an online service the company that is hosting it can tell what I have been doing.  But we don’t talk about it.  It is that big brother, matrix style observation we both know is going on.  It is like an unspoken do not ask, do not tell.  The service is one I use to create many concepts and drafts before I complete one and download it – so the one in question was nothing out my normal pattern of usage so why the email?  What purpose did it serve their brand?  I am already a customer and have been using the tool weekly for over a year.  As Scott Stratten said in one of his earlier talks, “There is no such thing as a neutral brand interaction. You either improve or hurt it.”  This was definitely a hurt moment.  Will it change my recommendation of the tool to friends?  No, but friends that work in sensitive industries (banking, pharma) – yes it will.  


Show you care by going Native in Marketing

One of my favorite one liners is from @unmarketing, “it’s like sending a mannequin to a networking event”.  That is what we are doing when we create social content and then spray the same post in every channel.  I am surprised at the volume of marketing spend and effort that goes into NOT engaging with an audience.  Social allows marketers to get closer to their audience than ever.
No one joins a social network to hear from your brand.  Think about it, when you create an account on a social site, what drove you there?  Why did you join?  Was it because you had a deep desire to see the ad that Ford created?  Users join social networks for many reasons and when you talk to People you will find that many have ONE network that they use most.  Some have two, and then wackos like me have 30.  Want to do some fun social research, talk to your market about the social networks people use.  Really listen and you will hear the aspects of the network that they value.

Not all Social Media is created equal.  Facebook is very different from Twitter and LinkedIn is not the same as Instagram.  Heck, Periscope isn’t the same as Meerkat.  They are all different and that is the point.  Each social ecosystem has its own way of sharing information.

There is no such thing as a neutral brand interaction.  Every time your brand is seen, touched, interacted with, the brand impression is either positively or negatively impacted.  Use the native tool to engage with the selected network to avoid a social media faux pas.  For example, if you are going to post on Facebook.  Follow their rules for posting, use links appropriately and images within guidelines.  Don’t have your Facebook post automatically tweet your post.  Why, because your tweet will look stupid.  It will not follow the social norms for twitter.  If you don’t care enough about your content to make sure that it looks (and functions properly) why, why, why should your audience?  The same goes for all other social media networks you are using for your brand.  By going native, you are communicating to the audiences system one level that you care about them, their choices, their preferred means of absorbing information.  That my friends is good marketing.

We will be Weightless on January 4th, 2015 an old hoax gets new life

Below is a link from my facebook feed.  Sure there is lots of crap in my feed and most of the ads are misleading BS.  This one sounded familiar and you know me, I try not to be swayed by my cognitive biases – and this one hit the ‘mere-exposure effect‘.
January 4th, 2015 at 9:47am PST the entire Earth will be weightless for 5 minutes.  Wait – because of Pluto?  Yep – the article claims that little no-longer-a-planet, Pluto will be the cause.  Of course a quick BS-Check on Google, Bing, Snopes will tell you that this hoax has been around since the 70s.  According to Snopes it was 1976, “took place in 1976, when British astronomer Patrick Moore informed a radio audience that the movement of two planets would result in an upward gravitational pull which would make people on Earth lighter at precisely 9:47 a.m. that day.”

What I find interesting is that Buzz Live’s page on this has over 616,000 shares on Facebook and 23,521 ReTweets without mentioning that it is untrue.  Somewhere on the page should be just a little mention that this is a joke.

Test Driving Beam from Suitable Technologies

I have used a lot of webcam and conference systems that are all designed to allow you to participate from miles away.  Today I got to test drive, Beam from Suitable Technologies in Palo Alto.  Emily from Suitable sent me an email with my invitation and a few clicks later I was ‘beamed’ into their sunny California office.

Beam is a remote presence device, think Avatar and Jonny #5.  I was able to take over a robot, drive it around the office and interact with people all from the comfort of my desk.

Here is the video of my test drive: