Author Archive for: bens1978

UnMarketing – A Book Every Business Needs

31 Mar
March 31, 2011

Much like Content Rules which I have reviewed previously, what I loved about Scott Stratten’s UnMarketing is that this is not a book entirely about Social Media.

So many books today that talk about this new world of how business is done focus very heavily on social media tools, but here, Stratten focuses on breaking down conventions of doing business, and plugs in the social tools where needed.

He looks at how businesses should think about customers and the interactions with them. One of my favourite examples in the book is in the chapter on Stirring Coffee (Ch. 28).

Much like Scott, I drink a lot of coffee, and tend to get it from the same couple of places, depending on where I am. A cup of coffee may not cost much, but a loyal customer can end up spending tens of thousands of dollars over a period of years if it’s good. Which is why you need to make sure that you continue to deliver to existing customers.

He talks about the barriers that we put up between us and the customer that we don’t even think about. How focused is your website on your users? Have you considered the impact that things like Captcha and comment moderation are having on their experience? These are the kind of gems you find in here.

There are many more in the book, including examples of companies that have done it well and not so well.

Scott is a well known speaker, and when you read the book, he has imbued the book with the same tone and passion that he speaks with.

Another recommended read for anyone wanting to do better business with their customers.

For those of you in Sydney, it’s stocked at Dymocks on George Street and Pitt Street, and also available online at Amazon. And don’t forget to connect with Scott on Twitter @unmarketing and check out his site www.unmarketing.com

PHOTO – photodreamz

Speak Their Language To Sell Social

10 Mar
March 10, 2011

It’s no secret that a great deal of resistance to social comes from senior management of some businesses. Entrenched ways of thinking and approaching business, methods that have “always worked”, or a leadership that has been incumbent for many many years.

I hear a lot of people talking about the need to have senior management talking the new language of social media. I don’t agree necessarily.

While it is a fact that social can’t be ignored as a channel, why is it that you need to have those above speak your language in order to get it? If you understand it and the value it can provide, then you should be able to put it in their language.

The key to aiding understanding of anything, not just social, is justification and example. Theory alone is not enough, because management practice is full of theory.

If you can demonstrate meaningful results that are being achieved and show HOW they were achieved, then you are some of the way there.

Think about which of these statements is more powerful:

  • “We need to be using social media”
  • “We need to be using social media because our competitor is”
  • “Our competitor generated an extra $10,000 sales this week through offers to their Facebook community. I think it’s something we should explore”

It’s the last one, obviously.

Start with a result, and make it tangible. Speak in their language, know what pushes their buttons. Is it sales? Is it leads? Is it customer service? Find the sweet spot and provide evidence. Show them HOW it’s done.

PHOTO – Arjen Stilklik

Why Content Rules, Well, Rules

01 Feb
February 1, 2011

I’ve just finished Content Rules by CC Chapman and Ann Handley. If I could sum up this review right now in 5 words, it would be this – go and buy this book. Whatever business you are in, you need this book. And here is why.

It’s no secret that we are in a new world of communications and how we reach consumers has changed. It’s easy to use phrases here like “joining the conversation” and “fundamental shift” in talking about it, but where this book is different is that it goes beyond the talk.

The important thing to note is that this is not a book about social media (entirely). It’s about content – the thing that drives social media. And for authors, it would be hard to find a couple of people more qualified to talk about it. Ann is the Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs, which I have always found a goldmine of information for not only social media, but marketing as a whole, and CC Chapman founded DigitalDads.com, which as a dad, I think is just an awesome site (they recently published an article called “Liking Stupid Music” that I thought was brilliant).

WHY CONTENT?

We read a lot about the importance of content. In fact, “Content is King” has become somewhat cliche nowadays, but what escapes a great number of businesses is exactly WHY content is king, and more importantly, HOW it transforms business and WHAT needs to be done.

I’ve collected an awful lot of white papers and presentations on content over the last few years that talk about it from a theoretical standpoint, but never I think has there been a guide as succinct as Content Rules. As the cover promises, it really is a How To on creating Killer Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, eBooks, Webinars and more.

For starters, Ann and CC have made it easy to take the info in. The book is divided up into three parts – the Content Rules, The How To Section and the Success Stories. As a reader and a strategist, for me it’s a pattern that makes sense – the theory, the practical and then the proof points. For a business owner, this should be the path to conversion on the value of content.

Don’t skip any of it. One thing that I hear a lot of is that businesses don’t feel they need to produce it, or can’t see how it can possibly work. The book is a gold mine of ideas that can be applied to virtually any business, and it’s not just left to the success stories to demonstrate how it can work.

IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE DIFFICULT

It seems for many, the notion of producing content scares them for a few reasons – the time it takes to do it, the thought of writing, and the thought of just giving away knowledge. What I loved about Content Rules is that it blows the thought that content is just writing out of the water from the get go, and subsequently the time issue by talking about its ability to be re-imagined in a number of ways and formats to appeal to different audiences.

And it sums up the reason for content in probably the simplest way possible – moving a prospect over a hurdle and closer to becoming a customer. Which when you think about it, is exactly what the content of this book does. It moves you past the hurdle of the why and how it can work for you by showing what to do, and what I loved, how to do it.

You can pick it up in bookshops (I got my copy at Dymocks main city store in Sydney), or buy it online from the usual suspects (a great list here). Ann and CC have also set up a great companion site for the book at www.contentrulesbook.com.

I say it again – if you’re serious about putting your business ahead of your competition and making it stand out – go and buy this book. In reading it, I have a list of action points and ideas longer than I’ve ever had, and am excited about implementing them. As I think you will be.

 

PHOTO – CC Chapman