Posted by m.e.h. in Marketing, Social, Technology


This is an interesting take on what successful people do in social media. The article includes many things you would expect – listen, don’t auto DM, measure, use multiple channels – but overall is full of great reminders, like this one: social media isn’t free, it’s earned.

Successful social media does require investment, whether in the form of human resources (hiring a community manager), advertising dollars (sponsored posts) or activation campaigns (traffic-driving content.) This is no longer a world of “post it and they will come.” Instead, social media needs care and feeding, much like any communications channel.

The “fake” number 2 on the list – “successful people share what they had for lunch” – makes me laugh. If you read enough health and fitness blogs, you see a lot of photos of bowls of oatmeal, plates vegetables and all organic, grass-fed, slow-cooked, something or other that makes your own PB&J and pile of Cheez-Its feel pedestrian by comparison. Another reason I’m glad this tip was a joke.


Posted by m.e.h. in Brand, Marketing, Social, Technology


The focus of my new job is social/local/mobile marketing strategy. Pretty cool gig. The company I’m working for is starting to focus on how to leverage their brick and mortar retail outlets, while utilizing social channels via mobile technology to help build brand awareness and drive store revenue. That’s why they hired me anyway, so there’s a start.

SoLoMo is the new hotness of marketing these days. In prepping for the project, I did (and do) a lot of research, and I found this white paper from Moment Feed. They’ve done a really nice job of outlining the fundamentals of location based engagements (LBEs), and the platforms and apps and that make LBEs possible.

So what are LBEs? Cool concept really. Here’s an example. Customers engage with a brand in a location, let’s say for example, Chipotle. They check-in, write a review, or take a picture of their burrito. They then share that check-in, review or picture with their social graph – that’s a Mark Zuckerberg word for their friends – via Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, etc. Chipotle, recognizing the interaction, can then offer discounts on future burrito purchases, free chips and salsa or some other perk for helping spread the Chipotle love. The important and new thing about this interaction is that it is all conducted out in the world, out in locations. In your branded locations. Your customers aren’t just sitting in their living rooms watching your TV ads or behind their computers clicking on your banner ads. This doesn’t require coupon clipping or printing out an email promotion from home. No, this is much more elegant than that. Much more immediate.

All these pieces of data can be captured and cataloged to make all kinds of decisions — modeling, forecasting, segmentation, etc. – to help us be smarter marketers. Knowing who interacts with your location, what they think about the interaction and who they share it with, now that’s some powerful data.

The truth is that conversations are happening every day in social media about brands and their locations, and often times, the brands themselves aren’t involved in those conversations. The question isn’t whether to participate, but how to encourage and incentivize customers to share their experiences with a brand. The hubris of big branded campaigns and tightly managed brand messages is a thing of the past. With SoLoMo, you’ve got to have some humility. Consumers own, drive and actively participate in shaping brands, and that influence cannot be underestimated, nor controlled.

The good news is that the brave new world of social/local/mobile media represents real opportunity. Challenges for sure, but opportunity nonetheless. Learn about both in this white paper.


Spinning Beach Ball of Death

Posted by m.e.h. in Funny, Media, Technology

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Nice chuckle for a Saturday morning.


Celebrate International Women’s Day

Posted by m.e.h. in Media


Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day. It is a day intended to celebrate women’s accomplishments and advocate for gender equality. It was originally called International Working Women’s day. It started as a Socialist political event, so it has roots in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. The attached artwork is a poster from Russia for International Women’s Day in 1914.

Here are some ideas for ways to celebrate women today. Anything recommending cupcakes is alright in my book. Also, here are 10 facts about women in politics. Impress your friends with these random nuggets. They make great Tweets.

But above all, stop today and take a moment to think of the women around you that work hard. Whether they are the primary caregiver of your home and children, your boss or your therapist, the contribution women make everyday in society can’t be underestimated. Men may rule the boardroom (for now) but women make the world go round.




First day on a new job

Posted by m.e.h. in Marketing

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I’m starting a new job on Monday. For as long as I have been a card-carrying member of corporate America (15 long and glorious years), a new job has meant new challenges, a clean slate, no baggage, no fatigue and a bright shining ball of potential. It has represented an opportunity to reevaluate many things, set new goals and establish boundaries for this new endeavor. Seems like a lot of pressure for what is already a time of adjustment.

As I have gained experience (i.e. gotten older) the hubris of youth has worn off a bit, and I recognize that while reevaluating your life and goals periodically is important, it’s not smart to overdue big change all at once. Keep these important things in mind when starting a new job to ensure a smooth transition into the role. (You can focus on conquering the world later.)

Be humble. Listen more than you talk at first. You are already hired, don’t wax philosophically about all the great campaigns you’ve even managed trying to remind them why they hired you. As a new employee, especially if you have replaced someone in the org, you can represent a threat to other employees. Unbeknownst to you, the person in the next office may have wanted your job and is prepared to be cold to you. Don’t give them any extra reason to do so.

Be kind. In business, people go to bat for people they like. It’s a fairly simple and obvious statement, but can mean a lot for you as you progress in the organization. When a new person enters the mix, your team will assume based on the pleasantries of interviews and references that you are capable. But what they hope is that you are nice. Somebody they can grab coffee with. Someone they won’t mind giving up time with their spouse for. Your team wants to know that when you are writing headlines at 10:00pm over cold slices of pizza to meet an important deadline that they won’t be tempted to throw you out the 20 story window.

Get an org chart. You will be drinking from a fire hose learning the business, meeting people and understanding how they will slip stream you into ongoing projects. As you meet people, make sure you understand how they fit into the org by finding them on an org chart. This helps you know first, what area of the business they sit in and what your relationship is to that person. Are they an internal customer? Are they a resource to you? Secondly, it helps you to know if you’re talking to the CEO. Try not to ask the CEO, “what do you do here?”

Resist the urge to “fix” things right away. Organizations of all sizes have quirks and weird processes that will have you scratching your heard. New employees often have the ability to see problems from a different perspective than tenured employees, usually just because they can be more objective about the situation. As the newbie, you weren’t part of the problem, so it’s easy to be part of the solution. Remember that existing employees have felt the pain of that circuitous approval process or tedious form much longer than you, so commenting on how wrong it is and how you can easily fix it may not be met with fanfare, especially if your “simple change” calls out or casts doubt on the very people you are trying to help.

Find the bathroom and kitchen. Ok, rather obvious. But important nonetheless.

Once Monday rolls around, we’ll see how well I take my own advice. I’m still excited for the new challenge and excited for the clean slate, but I’ll try to temper my enthusiasm to rethink everything all at once.


Set Fire to the Rain

Posted by m.e.h. in Media, Music

No gimmicks. All this woman needs is her voice. Oh, and those awesome eyelashes. Stunning. Her Royal Albert Hall concert Blu ray is a really fun and well made production. There is an “every woman” element to her delivery and banter. She really draws you in and makes you want to root for her. She’s appropriately self-deprecating and takes her fair share of the credit/blame for the now famous break up that prompted all the luscious songwriting that became her album 21.


“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”

Dr. Seuss, I Can Read WIth My Eyes Shut!

Happy Birthday, Theodor Seuss Geisel!

Posted by m.e.h. in Books, Media

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Dr. Seuss would have been 108 today. Learn more about him here.


Disney’s latest attraction: fat shaming?

Posted by m.e.h. in Brand, Marketing, Media

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Both Disney World and Children’s Healthcare of Georgia have recently launched campaigns targeted to people battling weight issues. Georgia’s Strong4Life campaign features videos and pictures of overweight kids saying things like “it’s hard to be a little girl if you’re not” among other provocative language. The campaign calls for us to “work together to solve the crisis” and warns that ”it’s time to wake up.” Pointed and heart wrenching to see.

More recently, a new exhibit called Habit Heroes was opened (on a limited basis) at Epcot at Disney World, and co-sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield, which stars Will Power and Callie Stenics who teach patrons the risks of poor eating and a sedentary lifestyle. It features Disney-esque animated characters that carry a less than Disney-esque message. Pictured above, Snacker, Lead Bottom and The Glutton are depicted as clueless at best or at worst, lazy and slothful.

In both cases, they have been met with controversy and major criticism in one camp, and a call to “get over it” from the other camp. Detractors say shame tactics do more harm than good. Supporters are happy that steps are finally being taken when clearly people won’t take steps on their own. Needless to say, this is a pretty incendiary topic.

This also represents a colliding of worlds for me. I blog about health and fitness over at The Weightress and have lost considerable weight myself (80 lbs.), and I’m also a marketer who understands the need to develop a campaign to meet the needs of your business/cause. So I stop and ask the question: what were the marketers (or imagineers, in Disney’s case) trying to accomplish by starting a conversation about weight?

It’s no secret that obesity is a huge problem in our country. Over 30% of adults are obese and the number jumps over 50% for adults that are overweight. (As measured by BMI.) Georgia, in particularr, has the second highest childhood obesity rates in the nation. It is a major social issue (with things like body image, bullying, eating disorders, etc.) but it a huge financial one as well. What are the medical and physical costs of obesity? Between therapy, medication and disease treatment, I’m going to go with “huge.”

As a marketer, I would guess that education and awareness are the primary goals of both the Strong4Life campaign and the exhibit at Disney World. If I measure success on those two criteria, I would first say they have nailed awareness. The state of Georgia has generated broad discussion and debate on the topic. They have generated an army of mommy bloggers who are outraged at their methods. But there is no disputing the fact, they have generated awareness. As for education, time will have to tell. Changing habits it like turning around a giant ship. It takes time and lots of small corrections. I know this first hand.

As a person who has battled weight, I don’t think the tactics used in either case are respectful of the audience or show any compassion for their situation. Tough love doesn’t work when encouraging people to get healthy. Shaming someone in the happiest place on Earth doesn’t encourage them to do better, or to say no to the funnel cake offered just around the corner. Embarrassment doesn’t get people excited about learning about nutrition and exercise.

It just doesn’t.

A supportive community, an open and honest dialogue with your doctor and building a culture that applauds activity and lifestyle changes (and not fad diets), those are the things that turn a ship around.

I hope more good than harm comes these efforts because I truly believe the collective hearts are in the right place.



Photo from

“An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail.”

— Edwin Land, Creator of Polaroid

On creativity

Posted by m.e.h. in Marketing

Global unsubscribe? Oh, the horrors!

Posted by m.e.h. in Direct, Marketing, Technology

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In email marketing, managing unsubscribes requires diligence. As marketers, we watch unsub rate almost as closely as open rate or click through. A shrinking universe is never a good thing. The most common reasons for unsubscribing, in my unscientific, but experienced opinion, is frequency of emails and lack of relevancy of content, but it’s not uncommon for customers to tire of even the best emails. It is still email after all. The precious, private inbox, where admittance is highly coveted and precarious.

Because of the relative cost of email versus other forms of communication, it is often the default channel of choice. Revenue slipping, send an email, the phone rings, so to speak. But at what cost? For every sale generated, if unsubscribes roll in, you are likely doing more harm than good, and ultimately fatiguing the channel for future use.

Mashable wrote today about a start-up that just may make managing unsubs a bit harder for marketers, should its services take off. It’s called The concept is that you can manage all your newsletter subscriptions from a single dashboard. You can unsubscribe or choose to have all the emails you still wish to receive arrive in one single “daily digest.”

Right now the service is only available through a handful of email providers (Gmail, Yahoo and AOL), and the service require you give access to your email account for them to scan if for newsletters. The service is free until you have unsubscribed from four lists, at which point you are required to Tweet or otherwise share the news about with your circles.

By the way, that’s not what I’m doing now, because personally, giving access to my email makes me a but uneasy, so I haven’t signed up myself. I do know however that I often put off unsubscribing to newsletters and other B2C emails either because I’m busy doing something else, or its just easier to delete it and forget about it. With the ability to unsubscribe all in one dashboard, I would likely do so with much more frequency.

As a marketer though, global sweeping unsubscribing an interesting notion. I already need to be hyperaware to strike the right balance of frequency and relevancy, so I don’t get axed. But shouldn’t I be diligent about this anyway? Shouldn’t we aim to know our customers well enough that our communications are timely and important to them? And is that even enough? Things like marketing automation and triggered campaigns go a long way towards that goal, but it’s still easier said than done.

It will be interesting to see if this type of technology takes on a life of its own, much the same way do-no-call lists and phone book unsubscribe lists have done. What does that mean for the future of email as a channel?

You can sign up here for a beta trial of