FIR B2B Podcast #105: The Upside of Polarization and the Great Podcast Correction

This week Paul Gillin and I delve into details about the power of polarization in our podcast. Brands can certainly benefit, and this article shows exactly how Nike and Dick’s saw an increase in certain metrics after they took a particular political stand. Their experience shows that brands can reap benefits both from the positive and negative sentiment around a particular conversation. We wish more companies would take a stand on things that energize their most passionate advocates.

Next up is our favorite medium: podcasts. This story about how American Airlines turned an internal short podcast into a marketing benefit is worth noting. The podcast covers the behind-the-scenes thinking on airline policies. It was originally meant for employees, but executives decided to post the episodes publicly, saying There really is no such thing as internal communications anymore.”

Speaking about podcasts, some media companies have begun to sour on using them. The problem is one of managing expectations, and that quality costs money. NPR’s “Serial” podcast is a good case-in-point: it was well done, but expensive. 

We close this week’s show by talking about how the inevitable disappointment in voice (aka Alexa-based) marketing has set in, as witnessed by Marketing Week. Yes, the interface isn’t as intuitive as it could be, and certainly nowhere as comprehensive as typing on a keyboard. Plus, we all like to see the stuff we intend to buy, even if it is just a picture online. That reminds us of our favorite “Star Trek” clip of Mr. Scott, trying to use voice commands, only to end up typing on the keyboard.

You can listen to our 16min. podcast here: https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?powerpress_embed=9556-podcast&powerpress_player=mediaelement-audio

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FIR B2B #104: DEALING WITH DISASTERS, BOTH NATURAL AND MARKETING-MADE

This week we discuss a few different items, all revolving around one kind of disaster or another. First, we note the news about the Benioffs buying Time magazine. With a fire-sale price, perhaps they can keep the weekly news magazine afloat and fund journalism that the publishers couldn’t do on their own. But will either of us read it in the future? Doubtful.

Next up, Paul wrote this fascinating article about a Talend GDPR survey. It shows that marketers can avail themselves of numerous after-the-fact opportunities. Who is talking about GDPR since the May deadline? We’ve heard crickets. Clearly, there is still much to be said about compliance, and the punishments ahead, such as the recent breach of British Airways’ customer data. Lawyers are standing by, to be sure.

Given the situation in the Carolinas with Florence, it’s timely to discuss some caveats and suggestions for natural disaster marketing. The thoughts covered in this blog post about how to tread carefully during these times are worth reviewing.

Next, Paul has a beef with a “new” product announcement for a product that was announced on a company blog three weeks ago. This means to us that it wasn’t actually new. If it is in the public, that is the news moment. After all, we can look this stuff up. Don’t pass off your news when it isn’t; you won’t engender any trust.

We also mention this post, about how patients are desperate to resemble their doctored selfies. Plastic surgeons alarmed by ‘Snapchat dysmorphia. While it had its beginnings with Instagram and Facebook, the elective surgery is frightening and depressing. David suggested reading Alicia Eler’s Selfie Generation book. When we asked her about this trend, she said “I see this as part of the same trend of selfie dysmorphia found on Instagram. Snapchat is used most by people under 23, so this is just another facet of the same selfie psychology stuff.”
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Listen to our 17 min. podcast here: https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?powerpress_embed=9513-podcast&powerpress_player=mediaelement-audio

FIR B2B PODCAST #103: WHY MARKETERS SHOULDN’T FEAR DATA ANALYTICS

This week our guest is Adam Jones, who is the head of marketing insights at Springer Nature, a public of many well-respected periodicals that include Nature and Scientific American. Jones is probably one of the few digital marketers that doesn’t hate click-through rates and page view numbers. Rather, he things we have to reinterpret them in new contexts to better understand what readers do after they click or view a page. “We get tons of data from every click, and create stronger calls to action as a result,” he told us during our interview.

Jones talks about why marketers are scared of data and analytics, but says you have to build a solid foundation in these techniques if you are going to be successful in marketing these days. He also discusses the unique challenges Springer faces catering to a highly educated and technical audience. Loyalty and longevity of readership are two of the company’s greatest assets.

Also on the podcast, I recount my recent trip to the Bletchley Park museums where modern digital computing was born during WWII. I blogged about it here.

Listen to our podcast. https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?powerpress_embed=9468-podcast&powerpress_player=mediaelement-audio

FIR B2B podcast #102: Fixing Facebook’s flaws, for real this time

This week we review what Facebook could be doing to make things better for all of us. Its problems have been well documented, from privacy violations to a massive sell-off in its stocks to untrustworthy comments from its CEO. It’s CMO position has remained open for most of the year, prompting them to list the job on LinkedIn of all places.

I posted my thoughts on some of Facebook’s issues two months ago. I talk with my podcast partner Paul Gillin about how the company can rescue its image from the recent tarnishing, such as:

You can listen to our 15 min. podcast here:
https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?powerpress_embed=9399-podcast&powerpress_player=mediaelement-audio

FIR B2B podcast #101: Machine learning comes to marketing

This week we talk about new ways that machine learning and artificial intelligence can benefit marketing organizations. While these three news items are all different aspects of this technology, they show collectively how these new technologies are changing the way marketing is done.

First up is a new smartphone app called Truthify that does advertising context analysis (as shown at right). The app interprets the user’s facial expressions to deliver what it thinks the user’s emotional state is, including fear, anger, or happiness, among other traits. The app comes with a web dashboard so you can analyze your campaigns and the resulting demographics. The app is now available for iOS users and soon for Android.

Second is a new influencer platform called AdHive. It is a combination of influencer marketing and AI-powered campaign management. You can sign up for the tool and influencers are paid to participate, while advertisers can choose the right kinds of people to exploit, er, we mean make use of, their tool.

Finally, Google last week announced four new products using machine learning that are aimed at helping marketers create more effective ads. These include responsive search ads, tools to optimize YouTube traction and local campaign management and smarter shopping. Google claims that advertisers who have tested these services have seen clicks increase by 15 percent.

Marketers who have been loathe to adopt new technologies do so at their own peril. These tools are good examples of what the future portends.

You can listen to our 18 min. podcast with my partner Paul Gillin here.
https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?powerpress_embed=9362-podcast&powerpress_player=mediaelement-audio

How to market your book in the social media age

(This article originally appeared in the newsletter of the St. Louis Publishers Assn. It is part of a speech that I gave in July 2018 about marketing books by self-publishers.)

The most important phase of writing your book has nothing to do with the actual act of writing. It is in finding the right people who will promote the book to the world and turn potential readers into your buyers.

Back in the old days, before the Internet became popular, book authors hired publicists to promote authors, get them booked on talk shows and for book tours. They still exist, but there are other paths towards promotions. And what is good is that you can largely do much of this work on your own, if you have some self-promotional skills. The biggest part of that is in understanding how social media influencers work. (Here is a link to start your research.)

These influencers are the people that have the right kinds of followers in their networks. And they can become very powerful allies in your book marketing plan, and the cost to use them is pretty much just your time, and tenacity.

So how do you find these folks? The first thing is looking at your own social media networks, and making a list of the people that would be relevant to the topic of your book. What, you don’t have many friends on your networks? Now is the time to get busy friending people, and seeking out folks that could become pathways to promotion. You don’t need thousands of names, but you do need to approach this task on a regular basis, and friend new people every day. For those of us who are introverts, this can be painful, and can run counter to our instincts to hide behind our computer screens. Try to fight this, and reach out to people across your neighbors, your work colleagues, your church or other social organizations, and so forth.

One thing you don’t want to do is to buy lists of names. While this is certainly possible, you don’t know the quality of the names you are getting, and chances are many of these names aren’t going to be helpful to your book promotion anyway. Save your money.

Next, figure out the keywords that describe your audience, topic, focus, and what they are interested in and why they would buy your book. This means using these keywords to do many Google searches. Many means hundreds. Sometimes, you want to combine two or three keywords to be more effective.

Next, pick your social media network where your audience will hang out. If your book has a visual component, then stick with Pinterest or Instagram. If you have news-related content, Twitter. If it is general interest fiction, Facebook. Business-related topics, LinkedIn. These aren’t hard and fast choices, and feel free to experiment with more than one social network if you have the time. This doesn’t mean you need to craft a separate collection of Tweets, Pinterest Pins, etc. In fact, you can share announcements across multiple social networks. A good tool to do this is Hootsuite (shown here).

While you are doing all of this, you should settle on your book title and domain name for your book’s website. Yes, you need a website. Part of that website should be an email newsletter, where you tell your potential readers what is going on with your book, so they can get involved in its writing and production. You should commit to writing one post every week in the months leading up to your book launch on your website. After all, you are a writer!

Next, start collecting email addresses from your social media connections and use them to populate an email list. There are plenty of low-cost web hosting providers out there, and plenty of choices with email server companies such as MailChimp, ConstantContact, SendGrid, and others. Many of these services have free plans if your list is small, so take advantage of them. You can send out a new email with a copy of each blog post to save time if you wish.

Finally, start thinking about collecting reviewers. There is an entire universe of Amazon influencers, but I won’t get into that here.Look at NetGalley, especially if you want to join the IBPA. This is a website that is used to promote new books to a list of active readers and reviewers. Good luck with your marketing!

FIR B2B Podcast #99: Why Was Intel’s CEO Really Fired?

The firing of Intel CEO Brian Krzanich last week over a single sexual harassment claim shocked some people because the scope of the crime seemed out of proportion to the punishment. This articleby Agility PR makes the case that one harassment claim can do more damage to your brand than a charge of financial fraud. The Register suggests that the reason for Krzanich’s dismissal goes deeper, and if that’s true, it wouldn’t reflect well on Intel. Companies need to navigate these waters with care, making sure they are prepared for a harassment charge, rather than hoping for the best.

What you ask Google influences the results you get. That’s probably not news, but it has interesting implications when you consider the trust people put in search engines to deliver the truth. Francesca Tripodi surveyed two Republican groups in Virginia — a women’s group and a college group — during their 2017 gubernatorial election. Just by varying one word in the search box, such as using  “NFL ratings up” vs. “NFL ratings down,” proved to deliver two very different result sets. We discuss what marketers can learn from the exercise and how to craft better keyword collections and hashtags for your future campaigns.

You can listen to our podcast here.
https://firpodcastnetwork.com/?powerpress_embed=9289-podcast&powerpress_player=mediaelement-audio