2013: The Year of Anything is Possible

As we enter the New Year, the inspiring message that “Anything is Possible” has come front and center for me. It feels so strong and positive that I want to start 2013 with a more personal than usual blog post.

It is the challenges of running a business (ComBridges) while simultaneously working to grow our “start up,” New Marketing University, that makes this message of “Anything is Possible” personally relevant for me. In fact, it’s the sometimes seemingly “impossible dream” of a large vibrant community of participants and members in New Marketing University that keeps this project alive. You could say that I’m writing this post in order to inspire myself. I also hope it helps to move some of you forward as well.

Media Windows Open Doors

My consumption of two recent pieces of media has helped to open these expansive “doors of perception” for me. One is a seemingly miraculous cancer healing and the other is from a young man named Steve Jobs whose life was changed when he discovered that he and his teenage buddy Woz could manipulate billions of dollars worth of global infrastructure. Given that these two stories are true, I ask that we wonder together, “why not me?” (No reason.)

There’s More to Life Than We Normally Know or Imagine

Anita Moorjani’s book, Dying To Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing (affiliate link) is mind blowing in every sense of the word. I highly recommend it. I have found it to be an extremely uplifting read. The video at the end of this post will tell you more; but, bottom line, through a NDE (near death experience), Moorjani healed from the worst possible cancer… in less than two weeks! She was literally on her death bed when it all turned around. When you read it, her story rings so authentically true that it has expanded possibilities for me beyond anything I could readily imagine. If that can happen for her, there really is nothing that is not possible.

Opening the Visionary Eyes of Steve Jobs

Over the New Years weekend, I watched a short little documentary movie called Steve Jobs: The Lost Interview via Netflix. In this truly historic interview, Steve Jobs explains that he also had a life changing experience without which he may never have become, well, Steve Jobs.

image via Wikipedia

As a teenager, he and his pal and soon to be partner, Steve Wozniak, heard that it was possible to build a box that would let anyone make free phone calls to anywhere in the world. Jobs literally said, “we didn’t believe it was possible.” But, they decided to see for themselves anyway.

Low and behold, in the bowels of a technical library, they discovered the appropriate AT&T manual and figured it out. Soon they were bouncing calls off of satellites and around the world for free. Jobs shares in this movie that it literally changed his perception of what was possible. Jobs and Woz, two kids really, were able to gain control of such technological power that they discovered that they were capable of having a far greater reach and were able to make a far bigger difference than they had previously imagined.

It wasn’t long before these two were pioneering the personal computer revolution. Like Moorjani, they discovered that anything really is possible.

What About You?

What is your “impossible dream”? And, more importantly, what are you going to do about it?

My commitment is to keep offering my authentic enthusiasm for the Internet marketing revolution (along with as much useful information as I can) in order to help as many people and businesses as possible to take advantage of all these changes. Please don’t hesitate to let us know how we can help. We look forward to helping you to expand your possibilities while also enhancing our own in the process.

New Forms of Online Video and TV Advertising Empower Advertisers

In today’s TheTVNews “New Media / New Marketing” video report (which is embedded below at the end of this post), I talk about the tectonic shifts in the online video and TV advertising spaces. Video and TV advertising will never be the same as advertisers take advantage of new video-enabled advertising and marketing tools that are far more targeted and responsive than traditional TV could ever provide. Clearly, the old broadcast “shotgun” approach to advertising is rapidly going the way of the horse and buggy. Today’s advertisers rightly require accountability for their valuable advertising spends.

Native Video AdvertisingAlso, unlike, traditional TV advertising which is still extremely large in scope, the upstart online video advertising market is continuing to grow rapidly. According to one study, it grew 27% in 2012 and will grow at least 20% next year as well.

For your reference, here are a few links that provide more in-depth insight into these changes in the video-related advertising marketplace, including a new research study on “native video advertising” and a New York Times perspective on “programmatic buying.”

1. ReelSEO: Native Video Advertising Drawing Much Interest from Major Brands which references this Forbes study, “Going Native, How Marketers are Reinventing the Online Video Advertising Experience,

In the words of the Forbes/Sharethrough study, ” ‘Native advertising’ has emerged as the convergence between original brand video content and dramatically new approaches to distribution that ensure an ad matches the look and feel of a website and does not interrupt the viewing experience in the manner of a television commercial.”

My favorite native video advertisement is the Red Bull “Athlete Machine Kluge” embedded here, but click on “YouTube” in the lower right corner of this clip to view on YouTube… and turn up your volume! 🙂

2. NYTimes: The New Algorithm of Web Marketing
Not only are we living in the era of the empowered consumer, but we are also seeing advertisers take on new power as “programmatic buying” technologies allow advertisers, not media companies to set advertising rates based on the real value of the highly-targeted consumers.

This is a major new trend that I believe can be expected to accelerate rapidly. And, as with all rapid changes, there are those who are dragging their feet. The Times reports, “That shift is punishing traditional online publishers, like newspaper, broadcast and magazine sites, who are receiving a much lower percentage of ad dollars as marketers use programmatic buying across a much broader canvas. Some sites, like CNN.com, refuse to even accept advertising through programmatic buying because they do not want to cede control over what ads will appear.”

Everything old is new again, especially in the online video advertising and TV spaces. Here’s my video comments about what’s linked and discussed above:

As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback!

New YouTube Video Invites You to Our Online Course in Internet Marketing

I don’t know how to get more personal than creating a 3-minute video invitation that explains the real value that I know will be available to those who join me in the four-part online course in Internet marketing, Start with a Solid Foundation: Building on the 8 Key Concepts of Sustainable Online Marketing. At the very least, I’m “walking my talk” about using online video; but I hope it’s more than that… By the way, I have a few discount coupons for anyone who signs up by Saturday. Please let me know if you’re interested.

Please check out this video and let me know what you think:

You can also click here to check out an online press release overview of the new book and the new course, “Internet Marketing’s Missing Links Revealed and Illuminated by New Book and Online Course.”

I hope you’ll join us! Any questions? Please use the Contact Us form and I’ll do my best to get right back to you.

Roger McNamee Sees a Future that Empowers Content Creators

Thanks to a tweet by thought-leader, publisher, Tim O’Reilly, I was drawn to a video interview and then a TEDx talk from last summer, both by the very successful Silicon Valley venture capital investor and real life touring rock star, Roger McNamee. Both videos (and soon my concise video commentary via TheTVNews.tv) are embedded below for your viewing convenience.

Bottom line, McNamee illuminates, among other things, why HTML5 is so important and how Microsoft, social media, and I say traditional network TV, are all on the decline. In their place there will be a wave of “highly differentiated content,” and the thusly-empowered creators of this new breed of content will quite literally own their own stores—and, just to be clear, those are media “stores.”

In other words, as if we couldn’t already, HTML5, iPads and mobile distribution will enable those of us with our own “bands” (teams & other creative resources) will be able to seize the controls of our own destiny, in the web sense at least. (And, along these lines, I love McNamee’s concept of “full contact investing” where he uses his rock band’s marketing as an experiential testing ground.)

Obviously, content marketing has laid some of the ground work here, and so has blogging. But his vision is bigger than that.

Content creators with the hutzpah and the resources to develop real destination websites can include new, highly integrated forms monetization to produce extraordinary opportunities in the very near future. The time is now to act on these phenomenally potent changes. Please watch the videos below to understand more.

I’ll certainly be doing my best to do so as well as to educate you how to take advantage of these changes via NewMarU.com. So please STAY TUNED! 😉

If you prefer to read a text summary of some of McNamee’s key points, check out Facebook Investor Roger McNamee Explains Why Social Is Over

Here are the videos:

The first is via Sarah Lacy’s PandoDaily blog and this post:
Roger McNamee on the New Web: “Everything That Mattered Over the Last Eight Years Won’t Matter Anymore”

And the other video is Roger’s TEDx Santa Cruz talk (where he even paces like a rock star)
entitled, “Disruption and Engagement”

Please let me know what you think, via the comments below or any other channel. Are these insights useful to you?

Social Media Goes Visual: Why Pinterest is More Than You Think

NextGen Social Media

Pinterest is much more than the latest and greatest “hot” new social network. Because of it’s visual nature, I believe that this upstart social network reflects the next generation of socially networked communication. In the current and coming stages of the evolution of the Web’s social revolution, the written word is no longer sufficient.

In case you haven’t tried it yet, Pinterest is essentially an online vision board. It lets people “pin” images that they find inspiring, useful or beautiful and then share their collections of images—called “Boards”—with others. When people “re-pin” the images, they are essentially “retweeting” or sharing visual communications in a state-of-the-art social media style.

This naturally compliments the ways that video and photo sharing have become majorly important. In fact, the array of visual communication innovation that we are seeing right now is indicative of the dawn of a new age. The web has quickly become a more dynamic visual medium. Text and hyperlinks were a foundation, but only a beginning. And we are still in the early stages.

Let’s Get Visual!

This trend isn’t new, but it does make a big difference. For example, Facebook power users know that when you share pictures, not just text updates, it fuels increased engagement in a big way. In other words, you get more “Likes” and comments when there’s a visual component to what you post.

Elsewhere, Tumblr has extended the Twitter-powered popularity of micro-blogging in a much more visual direction, and the popularity of using Instagram to share and talk about photographs is also surging (and is poised for major new expansion when the Android version of the Instagram app is released soon). ReadWriteWeb even reminds us that it is this mobile-phone-powered digital photography trend that slew the former photo corporate dragon: Death by Smartphone: How Mobile Photography Helped Kill Kodak.”

And then there’s YouTube which recently announced that 24 hours of video is uploaded to their site every twenty-four seconds. The video visual media explosion is so dramatic that YouTube itself produced this quick little 45-second video in an attempt to make its mind-boggling growth comprehendible:

If doesn’t clarify this explosion for you, Time Magazine recently ran an article, The Beast with a Billion Eyes, which characterizes YouTube as “the most rapidly growing force in human history.”

Blogger/consultant/author Jay Baer  says: 

“This is the year that photos challenge writing as the lingua franca of the social webIf you’re not taking and posting pictures to dedicated photo networks and cross-posting (when appropriate) to Twitter and Facebook, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to grow your network and see the world through the eyes (or cell phone cameras) of thousands of new friends.”

The fact that the verb “pinning” has been showing up in conversations that aren’t even specific to Pinterest is a huge testament to the fact that people are captivated. If you think about how many times a day the verb to “google” is used to mean “search,” you can see that we’re on to something.

Why Is This Important for Business?

According to the Wall Street Journal, traffic to the Pinterest website has grown tenfold over the past six months. In January, the number of visitors on Pinterest was already almost a third of that on Twitter.

But Pinterest’s impact of web traffic may be even greater than Twitter’s. Based on a recent study conducted by Sharaholic, Pinterest drove more referral traffic to sites in January than Google+ (with 100 million users!), Reddit, YouTube, LinkedIn and MySpace all combined. Those are big-time numbers for the new kid on the block.

But, is there really room for another player in the social media VIP room? New York Times technology columnist David Pogue in his review, A Scrapbook on the Web Catches Fire, gives three good reasons why there definitely is:

  1. It’s clean. No ads, no pop ups, no blinking anything. It’s a pure and relatively simple rest for the eyes.
  2. It’s personal. Broadcasting isn’t the focus, rather your own interests take center stage in an authentic way.
  3. It’s humble. Pinterest Boards are about beauty, inspiration, information, passion, not self-absorbtion. It’s not, “Look at how great I am!” It’s, “Isn’t this GREAT!”

The blogger Beth Hayden sums it up well when she says Pinterest can  “…start making your social media strategy more beautiful, one little pin at a time.” When you add to this the fact that the early research seems to show that it will also make your social media marketing more engaging; and, when done appropriately, it will also help connect you to your constituencies at a deeper level: What’s not to like?

——

Our Other Pinterest Post:

Luscious Links to Unlock Pinterest: Free Resources Show How to Pin Your Marketing

Luscious Links to Unlock Pinterest: Free Resources Show How to Pin Your Marketing

Just when you may have thought that social media marketing has settled down to the “big 4” (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube), Pinterest breaks new ground. It’s actually fun to use, highly visual and growing like a weed.

I’ll have more to say about why I think Pinterest is a real trend setter in a future post. Meanwhile, here is a choice selection of way luscious links that will help you get started or understand more, no matter whether you’ve already pinned your first board or not. These free resources should be useful in improving your understanding of how to create effective social media marketing via Pinterest. Or, perhaps you might prefer to start by checking out my Pinterest boards by way of example? 😉

Pinterest:  Everything You Wanted to Know About 2012’s Hottest Startup
InfoGraphic and impressive data from Mashable.com

The Remarkable Rise of Pinterest:  Chart
Get the picture literally via this chart from Business Insider.  See how many people are already spending more time on Pinterest than on other big social sites like Twitter and LinkedIn!

The Big Picture, Big Changes.  How Pinterest is Leading the Way for “The Next Social Networks”
An intelligent perspective from “Trust Agent” Chris Brogran

How Pinterest is Becoming the Next Big Thing in Social Media for Business
Jason Falls makes the case for Pinterest for business on Entrepreneur.com

Pinterest: 13 Tips and Tricks for Cutting Edge Users
Mashable’s how to guide will help you maximize you Pinterest activities.

56 Ways to Market Your Business on Pinterest
A cool & comprehensive blog post by Beth Hayden

30 Resources, Tips and Tricks for Marketing Your Business on Pinterest
A very useful collection from Jeff Bullas that also includes many more “luscious links”

The Ten Most Followed Brands on Pinterest
Mashable’s selection shows the woman-leaning bias of Pinterest, except I’m a Whole Foods and Mashable kinda guy and those companies are way into Pinterest too 😉

Dozens Of Major Companies Failed To Secure Their Brand Names On Pinterest
The name game is under way and lots of businesses are not paying attention… at their own peril. Are you and yours all set with the Pinterest name you love and deserve? 😉

Pinterest Data Analysis: An Inside Look
Research firm RJMetrics delivers some fascinating insights about Pinterest’s rapid growth as well as its “growing pains”

A Pinterest Board of Cool Pinterest Stuff
And, what selection of Pinterest links would be complete without a link to a Pinterest Board packed with cool Pinterest stuff? This is also a great example of how a Pinterest Board can be useful, interesting and creative.

Enjoy and please comment. Do you like this kind of link aggregation? Did you find this post useful? Thanks!

Top 3 Social TV Trends Emerge from CES News Announcements [Video]

CES,  the Consumer Electronics Show, happening this week in Vegas, is a sure bet for the inside track on the latest innovations in social TV and the convergence of traditional television and the exploding world of online video. As I explain in TheTVNews video commentary below, three CES news stories stand out for me as big-picture trend indicators. This blog post also provides links to the stories themselves so you can get more details.

Bottom line, the difference between being online and watching TV is blurring as a hybrid experience of the multi-screen experience and social TV comes to the forefront. Contextualized advertising, watching TV with friends who aren’t actually in the room and integrated TV/web browsing are just a few of the changes I expect to shake up the way we think about watching television as well as the TV industry itself.Another CES TV announcement

1. Google TV Isn’t Going Away
Despite its slow start, Google TV is re-emerging as its Android platform is being integrated into more and more Internet-enabled TV sets. Thus, Google is re-entering the TV market via at least four TV manufacturers: Sony, Samsung, LG and Visio. All four will be including Google TV into their internet-enabled televisions.

2. Social TV is Already Attracting Significant Investments 
The social media and mobile Internet revolutions (and I don’t use the term “revolution” lightly) have led to the rapid growth of people using mobile devices to interact while watching TV. This has resulted in an assortment of “second-screen,” social TV solutions, which allows users to hang out on the “virtual couch” with their friends while watching TV.  The fact that one of these apps, Zeebox, has just received at eight-figure investment from the News Corp-controlled pay-TV firm BSkyB shows how serious this new media playground is becoming. Neat Zeebox promo video and more details here. (Meanwhile, Forbes magazine thinks GetGlue has taken the social TV lead.)

3. TV Advertising Gains New Power
I think this is great news for small businesses. Google AdWords has already fueled Google’s approach to becoming a $40 billion/year company. Now its TV Ads product is expanding its reach through a new deal with a major cable system operator (MSO). Google TV Ads has signed a new deal with Cox Media, the ad sales extension of the big cable operator Cox Communications.

We can only hope that our ever-splintering attention level will serve as motivation for content-creators to offer deeper meaning, connection and context, within whatever social platform we happen to be sharing, at any particular moment.

If you’d rather watch than read, my video report starts at about 20 seconds into this clip:

Stay tuned.

 

Your Social Media Future: It’s Time to Say YES.

I continue to be amazed by how many professional people still resist social media marketing. In fact, this seems to be one of the main reasons that participants find so much value in my workshop, “Mastering the Social Media Marketing Mix.”

The US “premiere” of this workshop will be in San Francisco, next Wednesday, October 12th. The producer, Linda Kosut just sent out an email announcement to her list with the headline, “Social Media IS Our Future” including a commentary about how she personally resisted this idea for a long time.

social media marketing workshop in Auckland, NZ

"Social Media Marketing Mix" workshop in NZ

When I was in New Zealand, Mark Lowndes of the law firm Lowndes Associates described his experience this way:

“A year ago I was certain social media had no relevance to our commercial law firm.  Today I am convinced I was wrong. Social media will be an increasingly important part of our interaction with our clients and the business community at large. As with many businesses, I now believe there is no option but to learn how to engage effectively using social media.”
— Mark Lowndes, Lowndes Associates

When I speak about how important I think it is for companies and professionals of every variety to engage in social media marketing, I compare it to the ’80’s when I used to tell business audiences that email was as important as their toll free phone line. (Yes, amazing but true, not everyone recognized email at that point as an important customer service and/or sales communications channel.) I told these business people that they have to respond to their customers, and your customers have the right to communicate via any communication “channel” they want to use.

Now, your customers are “calling” you via social media. Of course, I think you should be pro-active in this new arena. But, for openers, if your toll free phone line was ringing, or you were getting email from a prospective customer, you would answer, wouldn’t you? Of course you would. Well, if you’re not engaged in social media marketing yet, please consider this your social media marketing “call.”

And, here’s a real invitation: If you are in the SF Bay Area, please do not miss the chance to experience the whole 3-hour presentation of “Mastering the Social Media Marketing Mix” at Ft. Mason, Wednesday, October 12th, 6:30 to 9:30pm. Frankly, the $99 registration fee is a remarkable value. My four-week online version of this workshop which will be announced shortly is expected to cost $397.

So this San Francisco live presentation, to a small interactive group offers great value. It will also deliver great inspiration that will motivate real productivity. And there will be tons of great information. I promise all of this, and I hope to see you there. Please click here to register and/or for more information. Thanks!

Social Media Makes the Old New Again: “If You Don’t Have Something Good to Say…”

A recent viewing of a Yahoo! video of Seth Godin reminded me that the social media “sea change” is much more than an incremental shift. It is literally a game changer. (FYI, this was also the subject of my latest TheTVNews.tv video commentary.)

It’s no wonder that so many people are either being diverted by “get rich quick” scam artists or trying to stuff social media strategies into some kind of  “same-ole-media box.”

In order to make sure that your social media marketing time is well spent, here are some provocative questions inspired by some respectable authorities that I hope will help you approach your social media marketing in a meaningful, satisfying and successful manner. After all, A Billion Dollars Isn’t Cool. You Know What’s Cool? Basic Human Decency :

  1. What’s the Difference between the Engagement Game and Actually Being Engaging?
    The Difference Between Engaged and Engaging” — a blog post by Danny Brown
  2. Why are Facebook “Fans” and YouTube Video Views a Meaningless Statistic?
    AdAge: “Sorry, but Counting Facebook ‘Fans’ or Video Views Won’t Help Your Brand
  3. What’s Wrong with Us? Are We Lazy or What?
    Social Media Fatique” — a blog post by Chris Brogan

Creating meaningful social media means moving beyond this “Social Media Fatigue.” And, it’s not going to happen unless we, as Brogan says, take the opportunity “to make something interesting and worthwhile, to be helpful, to empower others, to encourage and inspire others.” (In an earlier blog post, I called this “Leading with Value.”)

As our grandmothers used to say, “If you don’t have something GOOD to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Bottom line, real relationship building—which is what social media marketing is (or should be) all about—comes down to communicating your “basic human decency.” Now that’s “really cool.”

Luscious Links – Catching Up with the Goodness

I come across so much useful information in any given week that I’ve taken to these “Luscious Links” blog posts to try to share with you some of the best of the best that I find. Does this format work for you? Please let me know.

Google’s Focus on Quality and the PostRank Acquisition
This is an excellent & useful post from SitePoint clarifies the changing state of SEO & social media marketing. My take aways: 1. quality content rules 2. social media really does matter. 3. It’s the conversations, connections & relationships that matter most. Are you listening?

Why is Authenticity a Crucial Component of Internet Marketing?
As I’m re-grouping for the “next generation” re-invention of NewMarU.com, I was discussing with a friend, this ten-minute edited video conversation (linked above) with Robert Rabbin that came out of NewMarU’s first “guest” webinar. I LOVE what we said here and would really like more people to hear it. I sincerely believe that this is important information/perspective re marketing in the age of social media.

3 Smart Strategies for Book Promotion
Here are just a few smart ways that authors can promote their books with social media and PR. Practical steps any author can use for book marketing via SlideShare.

The “Talk Radio” Approach to Effective Email Marketing
I like the way that this CopyBlogger article underscores my core value that “it’s got to be fun.” Yes! In content marketing et al, FUN makes all the difference. Don’t you agree?

12 Awesome Facebook Stats, Charts & Graphs
Are you taking Facebook seriously as a marketing channel? If not, maybe you should check out these 12 stats via a nifty little Hubspot SlideShare presentation…

Learn How Your Website Can Be The Center Of Social Network Attention
My recent video comments on TheTVNews re social media marketing and a new solution that lets more active brands aggregate various social media conversations onto their website so it’s more of a “home base.”

How to Combine SEO and Social Media for Maximum Impact with Lee Odden
This is a good overview video interview that covers something I’ve been talking about a lot lately. It’s very important to understand the relationship between social media, SEO and content creation in order to produce effective marketing in today’s online environment. This is a valuable 5 minutes, IMHO.

Your feedback is encouraged. I’d love to hear any comments you may have.