Archive for April, 2013

This is a really interesting video. While the data itself is fascinating, the way that it is displayed is really cool. It makes me wonder if this is the way my kids will be learning in the future. I think it will definitely help with information retention.

Maybe you have read my recent blogs about social media and how it should be a fundamental part of your marketing plan going forward. Whenever I speak to someone regarding social media they ask if traditional marketing is still needed. This raises an important point that I want to make sure that everyone reading understands. Social media, in and of itself, is NOT a marketing program. Did you get that? In fact, one can argue, and many do, that social media is overrated and not even truly needed as part of a marketing program in 2013. While it is true that some companies can still flourish while completely ignoring social media, I think they are missing a large opportunity. It is my belief that the integration of social media alongside traditional marketing represents a superior option to using either strategy alone.

There is no doubt that people by the millions are becoming social media fanatics. Even my mother is very active on Facebook now and she is in her 70’s. With that kind of shift in the way that people are interacting with each other, a huge opportunity exists to engage potential customers at this level in a way that resonates with them. However, most people still interact with traditional media outlets on a regular basis as well. We still read the newspaper, subscribe to magazines, watch television, etc. The one exception to this might be the yellow pages. Not to pick on this group, but who looks in the yellow pages to find information any longer? The only reason to still buy an ad is to get the online listing in my opinion.

Back to the point, with people today consuming their media in both traditional ways and over the internet, I feel that a sound marketing plan should ideally combine both of these elements. Traditional media is not dead, but it needs to be complimented with a strong strategy to reach people in their social graph. This is the reason that you are seeing more newspaper and magazine ads include a smart tag to take you to their website, Facebook or Twitter page. These tags direct the reader to a particular spot on the web where they can continue the story started in the ad. This is why you see television commercials that have a storyline that ends abruptly with a “see the rest of the story at…” What these retailers know, and you should too, is that moving forward the best strategy will integrate traditional media with web 2.0 to reach and engage potential customers in a way that was impossible several years ago.

So, is traditional marketing dead? Absolutely not! Is a social media presence and strategy a necessity? Frankly, no it is not. However, the smart business will look for ways to integrate these two together to create a marketing program that is superior in every way to one that solely uses one or the other.

This is a great article that I read today that I wanted to share that breaks many of the myths typically associated with being an entrepreneur. If you own your own business, or are thinking of starting one, this is well worth a couple of moments of your time to read.

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Article by Greg Narayan

We hear the stories —  a new business, a clever website, a service that changes out lives. Entrepreneurial success stories are all over the news, but oftentimes we don’t hear the whole story. So before you go and get totally jealous you didn’t think of that idea, here are 12 undiscussed truths of entrepreneurial life you ought to be aware of.

Read closely, the information revealed here might actually help you reach your own start-up goals.

1. They were funded early on

Entrepreneurs like to feel self-made, straight out of their own pockets, but rarely do they get far on their own dime. Everyone from the creators of Amazon to the brains behind Seamless had an ample source of seed funding to turn their dreams into real services. Most deserved it too, or we would not have many of the services we love today. But just so you know, initial funding and some wisdom to manage it can make all the difference.

2. They don’t know code

Entrepreneurs like to feel tech-savvy and have us think they wrote the code behind their masterpiece. But many of them hire teams of underpaid coders to make things click. Oftentimes, the person you see featured in BusinessWeek is the business man, not the tech guru. So if you don’t have all the computer prowess but still have the ideas, there’s plenty of hope for you.

3. They weren’t profitable for a long time

Entrepreneurs lose money, sometimes a lot. But it’s their “ups-will-outweigh-the-downs” gambling mentality that helps them pull through. Take Xbox, widely regarded as the best gaming console today, which lost Microsoft over $100 per sale back in 2001 when it came out. A few years later it was the most-sold video gaming console. The point is, no one starts out in the green. Entrepreneurs often whether large storms in fees and sunk costs before seeing a pretty bottom line.

4. The idea was not unique

Entrepreneurs take ideas to the next level but where the idea originated is almost always unclear. Of course, from the public standpoint, it helps to pin a face to an idea regardless of the initial “he said/she said.” Take Facebook, the classic example portrayed in the Social Network. Zuckerberg simply had the coding genius to do what a few others wanted to do, and that alone makes him the Godly. “If you guys were the inventors of Facebook, you’d have invented Facebook,” Zuck famously remarked to a panel of lawyers. Just keep in mind — if you’ve got the next million dollar idea it may already be in development, but it’s always a good idea to keep quiet about it and push on anyway.

5. The numbers were fudged along the way

Entrepreneurs fudge numbers and this helps big time. No one notices some guy who sold a website for $200, but for $20,000? That’s serious business. It’s numbers like these that get people reading and more importantly from the entrepreneur’s perspective, reinvesting time and money. So be forewarned, if someone can lie about a number to their benefit, they usually will. As Amy J. Cuddy discovered, it helps to “fake it before you make it” and this is easily done in the books.

6. The lifestyle is not posh

Entrepreneurs are really good at toughing it out. Everything from living in a garage like Steve Jobs did to eating packs of Ramen and living off 3 hours of sleep is common before the idea takes off. So despite the pictures of awesome homes and lavish weddings, know that if you want to get there, you’ll have to wade through cups of old coffee and suffer many an all-nighter first.

7. Their community was not big

Entrepreneurs like to feel social proof. They have a massive band of followers and that convinces you and a lot of others to hop on board too. But, really? It’s pretty easy to fudge numbers online (like profits) so next time you see a ridiculous follower count, maybe you should say “hmmm.” And if your community is small, don’t worry! With the power of social networks, sometimes all we need are a few diehard supporters to launch successfully into full-blown entrepreneurship.

8. They’re not good at speaking

Entrepreneurs are good at communicating. Ha! I almost couldn’t get that sentence out. Truth is, the techie geniuses who makes things we adore are often either too lazy or unable to explain how things actually work. And when your most lucrative customer base is made up of total beginners, this becomes a problem. So two points: don’t assume because someone made it they can explain it, and if you’re someone with both skill sets (social communication and tech) then pat yourself on the back. You’re better off than you think.

9. They’re not self made

Entrepreneurs like to think they paved the path to success, but usually they just drafted their way to major popularity. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but know that very few go all the way without some help from others who blazed the trail first. If you think blogging and site building are your tickets to fame, you may want to learn how bloggers network with bloggers to go from zero to viral. Make sure to leave John Morrow a comment or two.

10. They didn’t instantly go viral

Entrepreneurs love buzz words and any phrase with “viral” in it certainly speaks good things. But “going viral” wasn’t a reality for most of them. A classic example is Pinterest, who’s growth relied heavily on marketing, not organic shares, despite the aura of instant growth they managed to convey. Don’t kid yourself — marketing is real and quite effective.

11. They failed, a lot

Entrepreneurs are great at failing and getting back up almost before the fail happened. The products you admire and use, like Google, took years of refining before they actually came to exist in all their glory. Don’t believe it? Check out these 5 Google product fails — bet you remember a couple of them.

12. They sacrificed heavily

Entrepreneurs know it only gets more competitive at the top. In order to get to the forefront of the public’s attention, where the real business takes place, sacrifices are made. Digg’s founder, Kevin Rose, gave up his life savings and even his girlfriend when he gambled on a new way to aggregate content. But it paid off in millions (and for millions of people). You can bet many of the other big household names performed similarly crazy stunts to get their products off the ground.

Like most things you see through a media lens, the truth is lies behind a few layers of fluff. But it’s encouraging, isn’t it? Knowing the dirty undersides of entrepreneurship can help you form the right perspective to take your ideas somewhere.

Great quote by Thomas Jefferson that I had to share. Hope this gets you off to a great start to this Monday.

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