Archive for May, 2013

The power of moms

DATE: May 31st, 2013

I live in a neighbourhood where young families proliferate. For the most part, I don’t notice it — because I’m out of the house early and back late… before the kids get up and after they go to bed. But one morning this week I worked at home until about 9:15. As I drove through the neighbourhood I was startled to see the number of young women and strollers.

We may think of these young women as “stay at home moms” who, stereo-typically, have been seen as having little influence. But with the power of digital, that has changed.  The Canadian Marketing Association just released news tidbit:

Moms wired to share
New research out of the U.S. finds moms are three times more likely to share digital content than the average user. In other findings:

  • Moms have more influence: Compared to the number of clicks the average user gets on their shared content, moms have the edge — they generate 8.22% more clicks per share of content.
  • Moms are most active in the afternoon: The best time to reach moms online is around 3:00 p.m., after lunch but before the dinnertime rush — in contrast to 8:00 p.m., which is the most active time for the general population.

The study was conducted by ShareThis and Digitas.

Moms have the power to influence purchases. They share their research on Pintrest and Facebook and Tweet or SMS. Serving this segment well is truly important, because they recognize the power of their voice. They are clever, digitally savvy and want to tell their story.

How are you using the power of Moms?

Everyone’s a writer

DATE: May 27th, 2013






Everyone’s a writer.

We have moved even further down the evolutionary trail from oral societies to sophisticated written societies. The agility between our minds and our fingers is key. We are no longer afraid of getting our foot stuck between our teeth — but hitting return or enter too early is terrifying.

Everyone’s a writer?

Well, maybe not.

Writing is a complex, skill oriented activity. While most of us have the capacity to put words on a page — not everyone’s a writer. It’s really like saying everyone can build their own house. I am very confident that I cannot build my  own house. I can barely hang a picture — why would I think I can build my own house?

In today’s content saturated environment, only the best survive.

Now that doesn’t mean that a few poorly crafted, but wildly humorous or embarrassing pieces of content don’t hit the top. Many reach viral heaven — but I’m talking about content that draw repeat traffic.

The publishing of content is a complex process that requires a plan. Before you even put your pen onto paper you need to develop your voice and personality. Here’s a few ideas of just how to build that character:

1. Choose three adjectives that describe your personality (or the personality of the writer, if you are a copy writer). Create a believable character. If wacky old lady works for you — go for it.

2.  Sketch your voice. If you don’t have the artistic talent to sketch, build a story board from found images.

3. Talk to that person. Imagine a conversation, build that character, get to know them. What colours do they like? What does their writing space look like? What would they wear?

4. Understand the purpose of the writing. When you have discovered a solid voice, you have the power to change your tone. You can educate, inform, entertain, motivate, amuse…. but keep it in your voice. A well balanced writer understands the power in the tone.

5. Always remember your audience. Kids, gardeners, gamers, professional insurance agents — they all have their own language. Using their buzz words help build an affinity with your audience. This is a little tricky. If you get the buzz words wrong — or use an outdated buzz word, you quickly lose your audience. Don’t try to be who you’re not.

6. Research and outline. Remember your grade nine teacher who told you to make an outline before you started writing? They were right. My own creative self balked against the outline… seriously, if I was a writer it would just write. When I wrote my first novel and applied for a Canadian Council Grant, I bravely sent off my application. They phoned me within the week and asked for the OUTLINE of my book. Outline? Yes, I had expected the book to unravel on it’s own without any direction. That outline was one of the most important facets of the book.

Be creative with your outline. I prefer mind maps. I’m sure when the Council received my poster board outline drawn in pencil crayon with arrows and crisscrossing lines they were a little confused. (But they did give me the grant!) I use a sketch pad and write in circles until the ideas gel. You might use the traditional outline format. But make a plan — even for a short article or direct mail package.

Then write.

And edit.

Let it sit.

And edit.

We are in the age of technology — but even the newest Samsung S4 needs a writer to make great writing.

Socially Engaged

DATE: May 10th, 2013



My blog.

Google+, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Flixster, Flicker,Foursquare…..

You probably get the point, because almost everyone is making it — social media is confusing, time consuming and hyped.

But it’s not going to go away.

I was in Ireland a few weeks ago. My work was to invite innovation to the client’s social media space and help to build a strategy for the future. The foundation of what they needed was content marketing.

As I went through a series of facilitation meetings, it struck me that we need to start talking about engagement — and I mean real engagement. You see, as a marketer, I talk glibly about content marketing’s place in the social environment of this generation’s technology. But it strikes me that most of us are still caught in the old paradigm — we’re just using it in digital formats.

What I mean is the advertising “push” factor.

My main goal is to get my message to you in measurable formats, ultimately selling my product/service. But social ads an interesting twist — the pull factor.

Think about the pioneers who used a crosscut saw to clear the woods to build their house. The crosscut saw requires four hands attached to two bodies. The most effective cutting technique is an even weighted system between two people. Requiring less actual muscle and more rhythm.

That’s what social media is — except the hands are changing all the time.

The pull of social media is the same as the push. Your social media team needs to engage in conversations. And that’s the risk. In the days of print ads, the process of vetting eliminated error — sure, many still snuck through the barriers, but the chances of huge errors are largely eliminated.

Not so with social — as we’ve seen in the past few weeks where there were a few stunning errors in judgement.

This makes your job harder, because you not only need to shout out to your audience — you actually need to start and maintain a conversation. That means you have to be there. It’s not just about writing 15 twitter messages and posting them at regular intervals. It’s about engaging with others in Twitter — commenting on relevant posts and adding relevant content. It’s about blogging and commenting on other people’s blogs. It’s about answering messages to your own posts, starting a real-time conversation.

And that’s where the push and pull causes tension.

Who is going to do it?

Who is going to have the content capacity to provide the flow of information?

What is their personality and their tone?

What are the metrics you are going to use to track for effectiveness?

The metrics we have used in the past are not reliable. This is not a direct response mechanism. Because followers have commented on your post doesn’t mean they are going to buy your product, engage you as a service provider or donate to your cause. You still have to nudge them from a listener to an engaged participant to a customer, client or donor.

I am currently working on a white paper with a team from the Canadian Marketing Association — we are asking a few top flight organizations these questions. I am looking forward to their answers.

It’s a tremendous time for marketers…