Got a Speeding Ticket? Get Advice Online!~

Written by on May 30th, 2009

Speed Trap is beat by the “wisdom of the crowds”

Police CarMy wife shared with me an article the other day that appeared in the Akron Beacon Journal that had gotten a great deal of comments.

Apparently a group of 8 motorcycle officers were dispatched from the Columbus State Highway patrol and assigned to conduct a massive ticketing campaign on a stretch of Interstate 77 near where I live in the Bath, Ohio.   While I’m not sure why they were assigned from Columbus, the fact that they were could become a problem for the state in making the tickets stick.

The four day campaign was very successful and resulted with over 800 tickets issued to motorists. (I’m glad I was working on a update to a new Webinar because I didn’t leave my office for nearly a week and if I had, I’m sure I would be one of the 800).

The comments to the article ranged from individuals chastising the state for creating a situation where 800 families in these hard economic times are now going to be forced to pay a $150 to $250 fine.   Other comments from the reporters indicated a near majority of the tickets were issued for going less than 10 miles over the speed limit. (…More…)

“Facebook is like God!”

Written by on May 25th, 2009

What does Facebook mean to you?

And what does it mean to your college or organization?

About 4 years ago I was conducting a focus group at a New York state college.

Apparently the yearbook was no longer produced at their college. (A combination of cost and lack of interest Image of Godamong graduating seniors.) The alumni director was concerned because she found herself ever more dependent on yearbooks to find out which alumni were in groups and organizations so she could hold campus reunion events around their participation. In phone conversations I had with her, I suggested she consider taking the yearbook online. As more students spend more time online and share more content, I suggested, all we need to do is organize the data and she would have instantaneous access to al l the data she needed.

There were 20 people in the room, faculty, students and administrators. When the discussion came to Facebook, one of the students said, “Facebook is like God to me”. I learned later that she came from a small town that graduated less than 100 students each year and didn’t appear to be the type of person that fit into the most popular click at the school. She went on to say she had over 600 friends on Facebook that she was able to connect and engage with at anytime. (Keep in mind this was in the spring of 2005 and Facebook had only been out of the gate for about a year.) (…More…)

25 Reasons -WHY- You need a Facebook Strategy

Written by on May 12th, 2009

Facebook 101 executive suiteEveryone benefits, a pizza shop, candy store, small business and large corporation

Over the weekend I wrote a 30 page white paper called, Facebook 101 for the Executive Suite.  A friend and a CIO I’ve been working with the last couple of months thought the “executive suite”  would benefit from having a overview of how Facebook could be used in their firm.

After reflecting on how to present the opportunities to VP’s, Presidents and the C level administrators, I came up with:

  • 4 fundamental changes in consumer behaviors they need to be aware of
  • 4 ways a firm can tap into an anticipated 300 million user base
  • 5 ways an organization will benefit by developing a Facebook strategy
  • 12 best practices and proven Internet strategies
  • How various departments in your firm can benefit by participating in Facebook

As usual, for me, it’s hard to write a 8 page whitepaper.  This baby came in at 30 plus pages.  At any rate, over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing this information with you.

I’ll start by explaining the 4 behavior changes that will drive how you lead and manage your business in the coming decade.  We’ll first examine Community, then follow up with looks at Content, Collaboration and Communication.  The four C’s!

Leaders Today Need to Learn to Collaborate!

Written by on May 11th, 2009

Leaders need to adopt social media and “wisdom of the crowds” to compete today

Fred Wilson Union SquareAbout 15 years ago I was volunteering in the Akron Public Schools.  I was part of a group of business leaders who were partnering and adopting classrooms and schools to help encourage students, reward and motivate students to do well in school.

When asked by administrators what kind of employees I needed, I suggested creative students. I told them I didn’t need students who could memorize dates and pass the typical tests they were giving them, but that I needed students who could analyze a situation, collaborate with others and create a solution.  This surprised them as the curriculum and testing they offered  focused on graduating a student who could show they had a mastery of memorization.

Today I was talking to a colleague about what kind of leaders our organization need in the future.  I brought up a position that Don Tapscot’s, author of Wikinomics, has been suggesting for years – that successful leaders in the future will not be the “genius” personality who can make gut decisions and move an organization of 10 or 10,000 successfully in one direction but a leader that knows how to use mass collaboration tools that tap into the “wisdom of the crowd”.    His book offers a number of examples.

Just this morning I saw another example.  In doing research for a Facebook white paper I’m writing, I came across a post by Fred Wilson a VC and principal of Union Square.  Fred had worked on a presentation over the weekend that he had been asked to give at Google, and just this morning posted his power point online asking for thoughts and suggestions.     By half past noon EST, Fred had 45 thoughtful suggestions from readers all over the world.  By the time he does his talk, he’ll end up with enough input and suggestions to write a book!

It’s just a small example on how we are all beginning to learn how to change our behaviors and reach out to others for input and advice using social media.

What can you do to use Fred’s example?   Think of something you can do today that builds on this idea!

Deming, TQM, Six Sigma, Re-engineering & NET-Centered!

Written by on February 20th, 2009

You need to create a comprehensive Internet strategy for your organization

Throughout the decades companies have adopted new business analysis techniques and ideas in order to remain competitive, maintain market share and increase profits.

Japanese businesses adopted Quality Circles suggested by W. Edwards Deming back in the 50’s which lead to the development of the Total Quality Management, TQM movement in businesses in the 80’s.

In the 90’s Michael Hammer and James Champey suggested in their book, Reengineering the Corporation that organizations should adopt cross functional groups to solve and implement business solutions.

And later that decade businesses began to adopt the five standards proposed by the International Organization for Standardization in order to become IS0 9000 certified.  Then near the end of the 90’s the Six Sigma Business strategy, introduced by Motorola offered businesses a way to identify and remove the causes of defects and errors in manufacturing and business processes.

Today we are suggesting that businesses must audit their Internet business processes and align them with their business plans and changing consumer behavior in a global market place.

In order to compete in a global interconnected world your organization will need to reorganize your business around the Internet.  Your purchasing, marketing, HR, accounting, customer service, sales/marketing and PR departments and product development will need to build their business plans and processes around an increasingly net centered world.

The Internet is bringing rapid changes.  Businesses that put off adopting a more net centered business approach will find it extremely difficult to catch up to competitors that do.

But how?

Create a task force that audits each departments Internet strategies and then conduct a gap analysis to see what your competitors and others in the industry are doing.   Adopt the most relevent strategies to your mission and then integrate each departments strategies.  Need help?  Join the conversation and share your thoughts.

10 Tips to Make Fantastic Videos to Market YOUR Business

Written by on December 18th, 2008

Small and medium sized businesses can create professional videos!
Making the videos today is not only easy but it’s fun.  Video is expected to continue to explode in the next 5 years and with it will come a change in consumers behavior.  More content, brand and information will be delivered via video than ever before.  You need to start thinking today about developing a video business Internet strategy.

There are a number of different videos you could create.  Among them:

  • Testimonials of customers
  • Instructions that share about how to use you product
  • Advertising, sales or brand building
  • Educational videos about your quality, how your product is made

To help you get started here are 10 tips on how you can make extraordinary videos for your website:

1)  Make your video believable.

Your video should provide practical reasons what you offer will benefit them. Avoid overstating what you can do. You might say something like, “I’ve helped hundreds of people (whatever you do) and based on that experience, there is a good chance I can be of value to you!”

2)  Keep it short.

The good news is you don’t have to create a Hollywood or even Bollywood script. You only have fifteen to thirty seconds to tell a story in a typical ad. Refine your script so it tells what your customer needs to know. (…More…)

Should You Advertise in the Yellow Pages?

Written by on December 16th, 2008

Hedge your bets and do online and Yellow Page advertising

It happens every fall!

Just as the birds fly south for the year, the salmon swim up river to spawn, there is a certain time of year when a new edition of the Yellow Pages are produced and handed out.

They are dropped in apartments, homes and delivered to mailboxes.  A few months ago, my wife came back from our rural post office and told me that Brian, (local postal employee) had to put out an extra bin to handle the Yellow Page books being thrown away by the PO Box holders.  The Yellow Pages for decades was a powerful, and in some cases the only affordable tool for small business owners to advertise their business. Getting in the Yellow Pages was the first thing a business owner did!

But the world is different today.   Consumers behavior is being changed by the Internet.  Because of broadband, their computers are always on and they are learning to search for what they want, when they want and read reviews their neighbors have made about the companies and products they are interested in.  

The investment industry has taken notice of these changes and as a result the shares of two of the industry leaders, R.H. Donnelley and Idearc, have fallen 99 percent in the last year.   Ouch!

And there are predictions that their revenue is going to drop.  According to an article by Emily Steel for the Wall Street Journal:

Print and online ad spending on yellow pages will plummet 6.3% next year, more than double the rate of decline expected for broadcast TV, according to forecasts by Wachovia analyst John Janedis.

So if the Investment community smells a fire, why are small business owners still paying for ads in a book that not only gets thrown away, has more competition than ever and is being replaced by consumers whose behavior is being changed by the convenience of online search engines, like Google and Yahoo.

The Yellow Page industry is reporting more value for your advertising dollar!


Is Video Advertising Right for YOUR Business?

Written by on December 9th, 2008

One video ad can be re purposed on many different websites

Truman Show

I spent a greater portion of my business career in the photography industry. In my letters and marketing materials I repeated the time worn phrase, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” Now that we are living in a video world, the common person has nearly as many ways to capture the moments of their lives as Jim Carrey’s Truman Bank character in The Truman Show. Today, a video is worth 10,000 words.

Online video advertising is giving marketers another opportunity to reach targeted audiences with their messages. According to Borrell Associates, streaming audio and video ads now account for 19 percent of local online revenue and will rise to 59% by 2013.

Most marketers are having hard time thinking about adding video to their marketing tool chest for one reason: because in their mind, it’s still a very expensive and time-consuming marketing tool. They also have little to no experience with it, so they avoid it.

Video Advertising is as easy as 1,2,3

However, the Internet is changing all of that. Not only can anyone with a webcam, video cell phone, or simple video camera create a video and upload it to a Web site, it can be done within a matter of an hour without a budget! Sure, you can spend a great deal more time and energy at it, but I’m trying to break down some walls here and get you thinking about keeping it simple stupid! (…More…)

Online Communities in the Pioneer Days

Written by on December 3rd, 2008

Pew Report

Life before MySpace, Facebook, YouTube

I was reading a report produced by the Pew Internet and American Life Project called, “A Portrait of Early Internet Adopters. Why People First Went Online and Whey they Stayed”.  The report by Amy Tracy Wells is  a quick read and a fun reminder of where online social networking got started.

Surveys conducted by the Pew Internet and American Life Project since 2000 have shown that the majority of people went online for personal reasons (50%), followed by work (31%) and school (19%).

Amy reminds us that the early roots of social networking started in BBSs (electronic bulletin board systems) and Usenet, chat rooms and threaded discussion software.  To access these systems one had to fire up a modem and wait!  A really fast modem in those days crawled.  When I lived in Telluride, Colorado in 1995, I remember waiting about 8 hours to download a new version of AOL’s software! (…More…)

Facebook API for a Pizza Shop?

Written by on November 26th, 2008

4 benefits of adopting a Facebook API for your business!

Over the past 3 years, I’ve had 1500 people attend webinars who were interested in figuring out how to use Pizza Hut FacebookFacebook in their businesses and organizations.  I like to remind people that Facebook is the new Yellow Pages and in fact it’s probably, like MySpace could be considered the largest phone book in the world.

In the spring of 2007 Facebook announced their Facebook Platform, a programming and business strategy that gave any organization the ability to create a program that would enable them to engage and interact with customers, prospects and others.  Colleges have an incredible opportunity to connect and engage with prospective students, students, fans, supporters and alumni but none are taking advantage of it.

But businesses, who understand you have to innovate to make a profit and work to keep customers due to competition, get it!

Pizza Hut is no stranger to utilizing social media tools to engage customers. Their Facebook page now has over 300,000 fans and to attract more, they offered anyone who became a Pizza Hut fan (through the end of the year) would be eligible for the weekly prize of a $50 gift card. (…More…)

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