You can’t control Social Media (that’s the point)

USGSYou can’t control social media!  Stop it!  Stop it! Stop it!  The reason user review sites like Yelp and Trip Advisor work is because people are free to tell the world how good or bad your product or service is.  Amazon ratings are hugely important to products. The site; released the stat that “79% Of Consumers Trust Online Reviews As Much As Personal Recommendations (source)”.
The latest comedy of marketing madness is the policy of the Union Street Guest House that states; “If you have booked the inn for a wedding or other type of event . . . and given us a deposit of any kind . . . there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review . . . placed on any internet site by anyone in your party.” (NY Post report).

The result so far has been a flood of 1 star reviews on their Yelp page.  I have already seen the typical BS excuse that brands try to make ‘this was all a joke, we didn’t mean it’.  That is another tactic that does not work.  The bottom line is you can’t control what people say and any attempt you make to control the voice of the customer will backfire on you.



Entrepreneur Barbie Joins LinkedIn

Entrepreneur Barbie takes to LinkedIn
Entrepreneur Barbie takes to LinkedIn

Barbie has joined LinkedIn.  As part of the Entrepreneur Barbie line the iconic dolls has established her page on the business social network.  Right now she has 50 followers.

In her post she writes:

“My new business is “Dream Incubator” where I act as a consultant, helping girls around the world play out their imagination, try on different careers, and explore the world around them. Our company tagline is “If you Can Dream It, You Can Be it!””

This is another example of humanizing brands to connect with consumers and from what I have seen so far they are going an awesome job.

Copy Cat Marketing

I wonder if marketing is the last industry that allows its practitioners to rip off someone else’s idea. To be clear I am not talking about adopting best practices or changing a tactic seen in one industry and applying it to another. There is honor in that. Learning from others and using it as inspiration to develop your own product, ad, service, campaign is a good way to stay current and fresh.  The behavior that I am talking about is ripping off someone elses idea so blatantly that at first glance you can’t tell the difference.
Here is one example.  The image below is of cards that are updated every week at every Starbucks.  Starbucks provides a code for the iTunes store for a free song, application or TV show.


Can you spot the CopyCat?  The card with the QR code is the copy cat.  This QR card sends you to download other companies application.  The application has links to their advertisers.  I also want to point out that the company is putting these cards in Starbucks coffee shops next to the sugar table right where the official cards are.  In my opinion these tactics show a lack of creativity.  It also tells me that the company behind it is shady and happy to profit from consumer confusion.

Can you keep a secret?

Can you keep a secret?

People have a need to share.  The group Improv Everywhere created a great video (video below) about our continual need to share.  I want to take a moment and talk about the need to share secrets.  Do you share secrets?  How do you share?  Do you post on blogs anonymously?  

PostSecretMaybe you write your secret on a postcard and mail it to 13345 Copper Ridge Road, Germantown, MD 20874.  Did you know that many people have sent in their secrets.  Frank Warren has been receiving postcards for years, scanning them and posting them on the Blog for the world to enjoy.  Frank has taken many of the submissions and turned them into a hardcover book (Available at Amazon).

Secret Speak FreelyNow there is an app that lets you share your secret with the world.

secret shared is an app that is currently only available for iPhones.  People can post text and images they want the world to know about.


The difference between PostSecret and is that with a postcard the medium does not contain much information.  There is your originating post mark that would locate the sending location.  With the app is on your phone, and the company uses your cell number to verify you.  If you want something to remain secret, KEEP IT TO YOURSELF!

The Product Group Meetup

The Product Group January 2014 - The Product Group (New York, NY) - Meetup.clipularTonight is the monthly meetup of the Product group.  The Product Group is a monthly gathering and from the page “An opportunity for Product Managers, Strategists,etc., to come together to meet, interact, and network. The ideal environment within which sharing and learning can flourish and complement the knowledge base for all on a peer to peer basis.

The group is led by Jeremy Horn.  Jeremy leads active conversations about all things Product.  Some nights we cover how people are using Agile or Waterfall product development methodologies and what challenges and benefits members have experienced.  On other nights we discuss all things roadmapping.  What items make it to the roadmap, what things don’t.  We covered how consumer input sought, translated and incorporated into product development.

For marketing professionals the group is a brilliant insight into the challenges that product teams experience in evolving products down product roadmaps.  For researchers it is fascinating to hear all the areas where usability, consumer insight, big data, survey data, ethnography are used to refine product plans and feature releases.  If you are in Marketing, Product Management, Brand Management or Research AND you can get to Times Square this is a must attend event.  Head over to the meetup page and join the 318 people that are registered for tonight, HERE IS THE LINK

Online collaboration tool (Bonus if you are an Evernote user)

Screen Shot 2013-12-30 at 12.09.31 PMA new site/tool is launching to help teams collaborate on projects. is tackeling the challange of working together and staying organized at the same time.

The basics:

  • COSTS:  The site is easy to use and for 5 live projects it is FREE.  I like FREE, I need to test something out before I shell out any money.  The first thing that I found very appealing about the site is that they are bringing together tools that I already use.  A sure way to win me over isn’t my replacing my tools, but making my tools better and that is what they seem to have done here.
  • EVERNOTE:  I live in EverNote.  With LiveMinutes you can connect your EverNote.  This means that notes I have in EverNote are integrated into the system, NOT easy to import, but rather, right there in the system without me having to go hunting.  Then edits made to EverNotes are synced back to my notebooks.
  • CHAT:  The middle pane is the chat area where anyone who is working on the project can chat, or leave messages for other members to see when they come back into the system.
  • VIDEO:  You can turn on your webcam and the video image replaces your profile photo.  It does not take up all the screen space but stays nice and small where it should be.
  • AUDIO:  If you need to ‘talk’ with the team you can enable the microphone.  What I love is that you don’t have to.  If you are working and don’t need to be talking you don’t have to.  However, if you want you can enable the ‘conference line’ and everyone can dial into a conference call.
  • FILE SHARING/COMMENTING:  The system allows you to upload any file to the system that other users can view, edit and comment on, all within the the projects page.  If you are developing a presentation other team members can click on ANY element in the presentation and type in their comments or suggestions.

What’s Missing: 

  • They are working on deeper integration with Google Drive, DropBox and other services.  On the site it says these will be available soon.
  • Mobile app.  It would be nice to have an iPad and Andriod app.

I will be giving this a good workout with a few projects that I am working on right now.  I have a few internal projects that involve only coworkers and I have three larger projects that include vendors and outside consultants.