5 CMOs Identify The Characteristics of Successful Teams

Strategy, no matter how insightful and comprehensive, does not insure execution. Action plans, no matter how detailed or innovative, are no guarantee goals will be realized. And every leader that has managed through crisis knows benchmarks are not the be-all-end-all measure of resources.

The market is shaped by teams that move boundaries and redefine arithmetic.

Put another way — whether in sport or enterprise, successful teams are those whose measure is greater than the proverbial sum of its parts.

Read more

The Message That Connects

Marshall McLuhan — a godfather of 20th-century communication theory — characterized one of the challenges inherent in connecting when he coined the phrase “the medium is the message.”Seth Godin hit on it from a different angle in his timely post today, Get Over Yourself.Given the timing — the 1960’s, in North America — many interpreted McLuhan’s theorizing as particularly pertinent to advertising and the increasing reach of mass media. The idea — that the channel is not just acarrier, but part-and-parcel of the message — has been the subject of countless debates and scholastic examinations.

On far less lofty ground, marketers, advertisers and media types have for decades hypothesized about McLuhan’s precise inference, and the implications for which medium best fit what message.

And in the process, we often theorize right over the real point.

Read more

Four Keys To Effective Social Media Marketing Conversations

Dialogue changes things. It connects people, seeds ideas, and is a critical thread in the fabric of relationship.

This dynamic is at the heart of social media’s appeal — the opportunity for dialogue and community. And the prospect of change.

Yet, some enterprises — from Main Street start-ups to global leaders — continue to wrestle with where social media fits within a communication strategy.

The reason for the struggle is the same reason relationships at any level are so difficult; genuine dialogue does not come easy.

Self-interest,  the superficial and the politics of the moment serve to frame much of what attempts to pass as the substance of dialogue.

Read more

The Dangerous Seduction of the Announcer’s Voice

I was 14 years old when I became infatuated with the idea of Announcing.  I listened intently, and tried desperately to emulate the resonant stylings of the most popular disc jockeys on the air in Detroit, Michigan.  For me they were almost as much the sound of Motown as was the music.  If they said it, the audience believed it.  If they sold it, we wanted to buy it.  They could make anything sound like the most important thing at that instant — from on-air promotions to the current time and temperature.

In my mind, this was the art of communication!

Today, thanks to social media, every one of us has easy access to a “microphone.”  Twitter, Facebook, Linked In, YouTube, Google + — these new media make broadcasting a message as easy as hitting the ENTER key.  Every few days the blogosphere grows exponentially as thousands of words slip from the confines of an imagination onto the broad expanse of the information super highway.

Read more

Listen. Do You Want To Know A Secret?

For anyone of a certain age (we won’t be any more specific) those words most likely prompt a mind’s earful of a catchy tune as recorded by the Fab Four.  (If “Fab Four” is meaningless to you, skip to paragraph 2.)  The lyrics of the song, simplistic as they might be, belie one of the key — maybe even THE key criteria to successful relationship: be quiet; listen up; and you are likely to hear something of value.

Makes for a nice song.  But practically speaking, we don’t much care for the discipline that is required to really listen.

Don’t believe this?  Look around, and consider the precipitous decline in the art of conversation.  E-mail, texting, social updates (in as few as 140 characters, to boot) — all make it infinitely more easy to browse, skim, filter and create shortcuts for messaging.  Key words and optimized phrases have become the shorthand of ideas.  Seems like this used to be thought of as “hearing only what we want to hear.”

Read more

Measure What Matters

More than once in recent weeks I’ve participated in (or overheard out of the corner-of-an-ear) discussions on how time-consuming social media has become, what the payoff might be, and when it might be realized. And I would certainly be surprised if many of you haven’t asked some version of these same questions of yourself or others.

Not only is the issue real; it is legitimate.  It isn’t as though any of us has either a shortage of work, or an overabundance of free time on our hands.

Why are we here?  What keeps pulling us back?  When will the investment pay off?  And will we recognize the payoff when it occurs?

Read more

When Social Falls Short

This post is for anyone who has had to ask (or been on the receiving end of the query) where did our social media marketing strategy go wrong?

The answer may be two-fold.

It is possible that things began to go awry when the primary focus of social media marketing shifted to numbers; that is, when the accumulation of fans, friends, followers and connections became the be-all-end-all measure of success.

Especially when compared to conventional media, social media affords such great opportunities, not the least of which is placing the world at the proverbial doorstep of any enterprise…without respect to budget.  But the instant that bolstering numbers becomes the objective, the real strength of SM has been diminished.  From the beginning, social has been about community; its dynamic growth is directly linked to the market’s desire to connect, to experience relationship, to be part of something; its lifeblood is dialogue.  Go for numbers in lieu of relationships and sacrifice results.

Read more

Where Have All The Leaders Gone?

Anecdotal evidence is dangerous. But current events (micro and macro level) beg the question: Just when we need it the most, where has real leadership gone?

Significant global unrest appears perpetual. Economic crisis inhibits dialogue around everything from national initiatives to local education. Infrastructures that facilitate so much of what is deemed essential seem stretched beyond reasonable limits.

Yet, those seated in the centers of power – political, social, private enterprise, all – seem impotent when it comes to effecting positive change.

Read more

Intentional Listening: The Foundation of Social Media Marketing

If you interact with a significant other, a neighbor, team members or co-workers, no one needs to tell you that listening is critical to almost any relationship. Since social media marketing builds on relationship, there’s been plenty of talk about the nature and role of listening in SM.

What we must not overlook is the fact that all listening is not equal. Query your favorite search engine for “types of listening” and you’ll find plenty of content on Discriminating (I-get-to-pick-and-choose), Passive (I’m-not-really-engaged) and a handful of other labels that seem like attempts to quantify the fact that sometimes we listen; often we fake it.

It is not difficult to make a case for Discriminating Listening in selected situations. After all, it is almost impossible to find a market segment that is not flooded with messages, each making as big a splash as possible in pursuit of mind share. The art of communication often seems inexorably linked to the metrics of media buys, production costs and decibels. The result can be deafening.

And with all the talk about the subject, one can’t help wondering whether marketers are listening.

Read more

Determining and Delivering the Ultimate ROI of Social Media

There is one thing that makes social media special — not to mention social — and, from a business perspective at least, it’s the one reason SM is worth investing in.

It comes in the form of the conversations that used to occur at the water-cooler or over the backyard fence, or in the good-old-fashioned (un-choreographed) town hall meetings. It is about give-and-take, and real-time feedback.

While one of the primary ways we evaluate marketing tools is in terms of how effectively a message is delivered, social calls for a new way of thinking about media. (Or, more accurately, it can actually help refocus our perspective on what constitutes successful communication. But that’s another discussion.) This is a new brand of media, made up of the fabric of relationship. This tool is far from one-way, one-sided or one-dimensional. It is about participation, collaboration and interaction.

Read more