Sunday, December 25, 2011

Is Social Media Anti-Social? Update.

I came across this article, Why Real World Socializing Is The Next Big Thing In Social Media, addressing the same concerns in my posting. Here are a few quotes from the article that should encourage your readership.
“Facebook doesn’t understand old school, face-to-face social interaction, and it never will because the concept goes against the company’s bottom line.”
“Ultimately, real-world socializing will win the day. Humans are social creatures hard-wired for interpersonal contact and companionship. It’s time to bridge the gap between our online and offline lives and make social networking actually social. Real life: Accept no substitutes.”
Remember, you are the product for Facebook. They make billions of dollars, selling your information. I predict the social pendulum will start to swing soon. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Year End Blog

2011 has displayed a very trying year for companies and organizations. High unemployment, Wall Street's obsession with profits and an acrimonious congress has dominated the U.S. business landscape.

From following organizational anthropology and personal experiences, I beg executives, managers and associates (employees) to evaluate your attitude. Yes, I said attitude. Attitude effects all aspects of your life. I end the year, not with pontifications, but self introspective questions. These questions are valid for all organizational levels.

- Do you recognize a connection between people's performance and profits?

- Are your hiring practices inclusionary or exclusionary?

- Do you perform your responsibilities with focus and effort?

- Do you listen?

- Do you discriminate? Think hard about this question.

- Do you have the right people in the right position, doing the right thing?

- Do you accept, deny, encourage or fear change?

- Are you happy? Why or why not?

Lastly, forget 3 or 5 year strategies. What are your goals for the next 3 to 5 months? Repeat: your goals, not the where you work.

You are the difference!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ethics and Learning

My heading of this blog mentions my intent to continue learning. Here is a new lesson I wish to share.

As the economy worsens and companies continue to layoff people, it appear ethics are taking a hit, too.

I had two interviews with a recruiting firm, which garnered me an audience with two company executives. The company was an outsourcing firm, which landed a contract with a new client. They were seeking to staff around 35 people, including a manager to lead the team.

Throughout the process they never revealed the client. At one point in the interview, I conveyed with a smile,  "I charge clients for the information he was seeking." He responded, "Then we won't hire you." I gave a lengthy answer to the question.

Well, I didn't get hired. I don't believe, because of my directness. After all I can only be me, which has contributed to my success. The real problem lies in their lack of disclosing the final client.

Here's my lesson:
  • Don't continue the job process without knowing who you will be working for.
  • Chances are if they won't reveal the client, then you probably won't fit in their or their clients culture anyway.
  • Do an internet search, using whatever information you can glean in the first or second interview. Chances are you will discover their client, of which you can determine if you care to proceed.
  • Non-disclosure of this type of information is a big red flag.

In my situation, the internet search indicated a known problem client. The previous outsourcing company lasted less than one year. Chances are the same will happen to this new outsourcing company.

All-in-all, it was a waist of time for several individuals.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Wow! Over a month has passed me by. I've been busy with family matters, relating to my 87 year old father and 84 year old mother. This is a time for family values and the dynamics that go with them. A time of strong reflection and priorities.

The next month will bring more contemplation, as I embark on travel that will cover around 3,000 miles. There will be plenty of "road" time.

My skills diversity are serving me, in many projects. I've been writing a non-profit business plan, building multiple clients'  social media presence, completed a company's purchase agreement, will brand two more Internet-based companies, rebuilt my website and will build a 14 x 34 foot deck for a friend.

Springtime is a great time for reflection and renewal.

What are you doing to grow, physically, mentally and spiritually.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Is Social Media Anti-Social?

A portion of my day is spent reading blogs, as many of you do. Social media is the key topic of many blogs and rightly so, as it's a key economic driver for many industries, not just web companies. The current axiom is "you're nobody, unless you're on a social network." This is not restricted to people, but companies of all types. No one is immune to this phenomenon.

But the question I raise, from my readings and experience, is the title of this blog. Is social media anti-social? I've spoken to MBA students who supported my research and the answer is "it can be." Friends text and use the social networks to communicate, many post the trivial details of their lives. This appears to be social, but in most cases there is no emotional engagement. I think of it in the same vein as the when email communications began (admit you remember when there was no email). People became frustrated and even mad, because they could not determine the author's tone. Jokes became offensive, until the icon vernacular developed, i.e. smiley faces, lol, etc.

Redefine social networking is "posting" not "sharing".

One blog exchange I read displayed the reader clearly could not understand a company's reason for sending a physical "Thank you" gift, or even a phone call thank you, for a large order they received from a customer. They believed a email was sufficient. Which do you believe is the better approach for relationship building and retaining?

The most prevalent environment, supporting this subject, is in a restaurant. I challenge you to look around and survey how many people are engaged in verbal communications, looking up at each other (as opposed to looking down using their smart phones), or heaven forbid, PDA-physical connection.

Social networking is an incredible communication channel and I love having found and connected with lost friends, from around the world. When I'm in another city, I try to arrange a physical visit and engage a verbal conversation or share an event with them. Heck, sometimes, I call them on the phone, spontaneously. Voice is an amazing sound with inflections, laughter, tears … emotions felt, received, responded with heartfelt reactions.

Keep networking, but don't forget and/or learn how to communicate, using your other God given senses.

Just image a physical hug. How does that make you feel?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

There is nothing new in advertising.

How many times have you heard this axiom?

Unfortunately, each day proves to me, it is true. I ranted in a previous blog, about car commercials that give me no reason to buy the car. I saw not one, not two, but three commercials last night using the "donuts in the desert" theme, Mercedes, Toyota and Kia. The Kia commercial had aliens suck the car up in a spaceship and drop it in the desert, where it proceeded to do donuts.

Apparently, I must be missing the fact that most of the country has turned into a desert and the primary use of a car is to do donuts in the desert.  I do have environmental questions regarding this practice.

I admit when I was a youthful driver, I liked doing donuts in the dirt or snow. Maybe the target market for Kia, Mercedes and Toyota are donut driven drivers or DDDs. These car companies could save a lot of advertising dollars and share their commercial production expenses. Am I the only person who drives on roads and use my car for comfort going to and from real locations (as opposed to computer generated roads and surreal locations)?

Please someone show some creativity! Reread my blog, "When to fire your agency." Here's the short answer, when they are no longer creative.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Driving across Atlanta's top end perimeter (I-285), it seemed every billboard was for an MBA program, online, on-site, on every corner. Is this a sign of the economy, if you can't get a job, get your MBA? How will this affect the job market, when all these MBA factories kick out graduates? What impact will it have on people with undergraduate degrees or regular masters degrees?

Just asking?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Traditional Media

For some reason, recently, I'm coming across articles concerning traditional media. This makes me happy, not because I can't accept change, on the contrary I'm a change agent. It's because we aren't driving flying cars yet. Meaning, who can really predict the future?

Many moons ago, I attended GRUPA, the International print show. It was when CD-ROMs were growing as the new media, generating software to replace printed databases. During one presentation, the speaker said, "Print is not dead." He held up a CD-ROM (presumable software) and said, "with everyone of these [disk] comes one of these," and he slammed down a 400 page printed manual. The manual was how to use the software. Fast forward in years - check Amazon for the number of books for learning software. Print is not dead, yet.

The most beneficial marketing campaign is still a mix of media channels and the best media mix reaches your customer target with an effective ROI. I still received a plethora of catalogs, this past Christmas season. There's nothing like sitting by the fireplace, looking at dreamy pictures of desirable items. It still prompts me to go online and BUY.

I firmly believe you need some forms of traditional advertising to draw people to your website. Enjoy the short article: Never Say Die.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


I haven't talked about media. Here's a great article about one of my favorite, and often forgot, media channels - outdoor.

Introducing Advertising’s Next Hot Creative Frontier…Outdoors! By: Mike Zuckerman

When to Fire Your Client

To keep things balanced on my "When to Fire Your Agency" series, here is the other view of the business. I have had the pleasure of serving on both sides of this industry.

When to Fire Your Client?
Answer: When you lose money on the account.

Explanation if needed:
You should have in place systems to evaluate the profitability of every client.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

When To Fire Your Marketing/Advertsing Agency Part II

How often do you meet with your Account Representative? Who meets with them? Do you have a feedback loop in place?

In theory, there should be some contact everyday. In practice, there should be some contact everyday. Yes, I repeated myself. Go back and read it again.

Okay, there can be some factors that preclude daily contact:
    •    It a project based relationship
    •    The project schedule has specified touch points
    •    You're very smart and already have scheduled periodic meetings
    •    Scope of relationship, including investment ($)

A standard agency practice is to provide "Call Reports". Each time someone in your company speaks with the agency, an email, or some other documentation is provided by the agency. Usually, this occurs within 24-48 hours of the contact. This report identifies the parties involved, the discussion points and action, if required.

Action is further detailed with deadline and who's responsible.

Finally, the most critical factor in good communication, I call it "Key Contact." Having a list of contacts  and responsibilities is great, but there should be a catch-all person, affectionately called the "Key Contact." Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to get someone, when you need them. Key Contacts are on both sides of the communication chain.

Oddly, our industry is communication and we seem to be just as guilty as most industries about it.

Part III will cover, "When to fire your client."

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

When To Fire Your Marketing/Advertising Agency Part I

Let's start with the old axiom, "Quality, Price, Time. Pick two."

The first step is to pick all three.

Second define these areas:
    •    Quality - What service are they providing? My primary reason is creative. I tell my agencies, "I buy creative. As long as they are creative, I keep buying." Feel free to replace creative with any term.
    •    Price - Are their rates competitive in your" marketplace. Rates vary by location, size of agency and level of team assigned to your account. Also, rates are only part of the equation. Are they billing reasonable number of hours per project? Rate x Hours = Cost. Rate and hours are directly related.
    •    Time - Is there a schedule at project start? Is it followed? What percent is on-time delivery? Is it their or your fault? You share responsibility in this area. Be honest.

Third, rate these areas. Be analytical. Rate each area on a scale of one to ten and take an average. If you feel one area is more important to you, use a weighted average (if you don't know how to do this, call me).

10 Tell them what a great job their doing!
8-9 Discuss concerns with agency
6-7 Put agency on review
4-5 Start agency shopping
2-3 Fire your agency
0-1 What are you thinking?

This is a simple process, but you can add areas beyond these three. The key is to communicate with your agency and they should be communicating with you. This will be the subject of "When to Fire Your Marketing/Advertising Agency, Part II.