Driving Social Business, Championing Innovation, & Inspiring Creativity

Why Do Marketers Ruin Everything?

There has been a tremendous amount of buzz as of late about the future of social media, in particular as it pertains to the corporate world and how brands are leveraging this medium. As a professional in this industry it pains me to see social under the scrutiny that it is today.  As social leaders we had an obligation to hold the line and keep things clean with the hopes that it wouldn’t fall victim to the same hack marketingScreen Shot 2014-05-30 at 9.46.19 AM practices of the channels that came before it.

Direct Mail. Ever wonder why your mailbox is full of flyers, offers, and straight up junk mail?  Easy, it’s marketers.

Email. Your inbox is likely full of spam, and unwanted messages from brands, prescriptions at prices to good to be true, and adult entertainment messages?  Well, you can thank marketers for the cannibalization of your email and the creation of an industry of spam emails.

The Web. Ever go to your favorite website, only to be barraged by display ads, home page take overs, pop up advertisements, etc? We all have, and while it’s a highly lucrative and profitable form of marketing for brands it can feel a bit intrusive and overwhelming as a consumer.

Social Media. Chances are your social newsfeeds are overflowing with content from brands just trying to push messages to drive “engagement” in the form of likes, comments, clicks, RTs, etc.  It’s gotten so bad social networks are being forced to weed out this noise with aggressive algorithm shifts pairing down the content users of these networks actually see.  Mad at these networks making these aggressive shifts and ultimately moving to a pay for play model? Don’t be; as marketers we did it to ourselves.

Some would argue that marketers have a tendency to destroy everything they touch; but it doesn’t have to be this way if we start to think differently about our approaches.  I’m not saying that all brands are failing here – but I think it’s time that all of us that are responsible for managing the digital relationship between a brand and consumers take a step back and rethink about how they are showing up in the space.  Are we truly putting the customer first?

Now is the time to re-evaluate strategies, check, and adjust.  While we’ve got an obligation to help our companies grow and be more profitable, we also have an obligation to protect the integrity of social media.

Our industry is not going away anytime soon and there are still many ways brands can leverage social technologies for both connecting with consumers and providing significant value to their companies.  I’ll get into that conversation in a follow up post.

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/dmgtty

Corporate Culture’s Role in Innovation


One of my all time favorite quotes is – “Culture eats strategy for lunch” by Peter Drucker.

It resonates with me for many reasons – but hits closest to home around the idea of innovation.

I hear a lot of businesses talk about how innovative they are or how they are approaching innovation at an enterprise level. They’re preparing for the future – looking ahead at how they might ride the next trend, or even get out ahead of it.  They’ve got an “innovation” team, so clearly they’re set up for success. Right?

Not so fast.

Successful innovation doesn’t begin with a team that is responsible for the ideation and execution of new ideas.  It begins with a corporate culture that is ready and willing to embrace innovation. They are open to new ideas, challenge each other (respectfully of course), collaborate, and take calculated risks.  Corporate culture is not an easy thing to change. But without a culture that embraces the above characteristics, your journey to be an innovative company will face headwinds on a consistent basis. Even the greatest of strategies can fall victim to a poor corporate culture.

While you mull over where your organization sits on the culture continuum, here are a few tips that can at the very least be directional as your business looks to be more innovative.

  1. Include everyone. Encourage all parts of the business to innovate – not just the “innovation” team. Great ideas can come from anywhere – including the front lines. [Nice use case for enterprise social collaboration tools right here].
  2. Live in beta. Be open to testing new programs and ideas all the time. Use these betas to learn. A lot.
  3. Fail fast. Not all of your ideas will work out.  Quickly identify why your idea is not working, course correct or scrap it and move on.

Do you have other ways that you or your company view innovation?  I’d love to hear how you approach the topic.

Photo Credit: https://flic.kr/p/99UsVX

The Hashtag: From a Simple Conversation Aggregator to a Pop-Culture Phenomenon

The Hashtag. It’s gone from a simple social conversation aggregator to a pop culture phenomenon in a very short period of time.  Today most social networks have adopted this functionality, however the users of these social networks are scattered all over the adoption curve when it comes to leveraging a hashtag within their communication. From those who aren’t familiar with the term or how to leverage it (i.e. my mother), to those that hashtag everything – and I mean everything – variety continues to be the spice of life when it comes to hashtag use in social channels.


This skewed consumption of hashtag usage begs me to ask a couple of questions of of social network users.

How can we begin to entice those not leveraging this powerful conversation aggregator to start dabbling with it? In doing so, these non-users would have the opportunity to uncover new information, insights, ideas and the potential to make new connections with people all over the globe, around topics that matter to them. I see this as a real value add.

How can we get the over users to dial it back a bit (or in some cases a lot)? We’ve all seen this before – #the #ones #that #hashtag #simply #everything. What is the point?  They are certainly not leveraging this conversation aggregator in a productive way, unless that is they are trying to follow every possible variation of the conversation they are entering with the picture they post, the tweet they send, or the status they update.  I would guess probably not; and that it’s just a ploy for attention. Or it’s a poor tactic to gain more meaningless followers through over exposure.  It certainly opens up some new comedic territory for exploration – as seen by this great skit from Jimmy Fallon & Justin Timberlake.

I’m not sure I have the answer to the above questions I posed – it’s something I am pondering though.  What are your thoughts? Are non-users missing out? How much is too much?

PSA: Moderation is key with just about everything – even with #hashtags.

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