Davis Square Chugger Alert

My British friends have an expression for those people hanging around, blocking sidewalks and taking other disruptive measures to get you to give to their cause of the day.  They call them charity muggers or “chuggers“. Given the plethora of chuggers who have descended on Davis Square in Somerville, Limeduck and I have decided to create a map to help you get to lunch without being accosted. Today’s lunchtime chugger sightings: 6 Democratic National Committee: 2 (in front of CVS) Human Rights Campaign: 4 (2 in front of the Holland street T entrance, 2 at the College avenue entrance) It would be nice to have at least one lunch without the guilt trip from some overly enthusiastic 20-something blocking my path.  I don’t know about you but I can say I gave at the office. Please forward any chugger sightings if you see them. Stay tangy...

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Art, Science and the Expert Opinion

Everyday I’m reminded that Marketing is both art and science.  It is the art part that always challenges me.  There is no formula to derive that magical viral marketing video or blockbuster TV ad.  It usually requires someone with a wildly creative mind and a track record for delivering results.  Beyond that I have found limited ways to vet these expert marketing advisors who bring these things to life.  In other fields like finance or law people spend years getting special professional qualifications (ie a CPA or Bar Certification).  As a marketer, however, virtually anyone can become an “ad man”, social media guru or brand expert (see @amandachapel). To mitigate this risk, I rely on portfolio, references and intuition when selecting an expert marketing advisor.   try to understand the person and his or her frameworks. – How will he gather data? – How well does she listen? – How will he make real-time adjustments to the facts on the ground? – How well can she explain how she will derive this “expert opinion”? In many cases I know I will end up with an expensive opinion but it should be based on a combination of local knowledge and acquired expertise.  It’s not magic and you should steer clear of anyone who can’t clearly articulate his or her process because they probably don’t have one. Caveat emptor and stay...

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My love-hate relationship with LinkedIn

Over the last few months I’ve seen a significant decrease in LinkedIn connection requests and a corresponding increase in Facebook friends.  It seems that Generation X is waking up to Facebook and may start nibbling on LinkedIn’s user base.  While these two sites serve very different purposes, they are still fighting for my online attention. Here are some of ways I believe LinkedIn can update their site to become a more integrated part of my online life: 1. Make it easier to “friend” someone – I don’t know how many times I’ve had to go fishing through Outlook for  an email address to friend I know really well like my sister-in-law. 2. Better integration with other sites – Lifestreaming is coming to a laptop near you (See FriendFeed, Socialthing, etc) .  LinkedIn could take a lesson from Plaxo on how to connect with people’s lives.  It would be nice if I could easily import my blog posts, photos and other content into my LinkedIn profile. 3. Standardize status updates – Their 98 character status update is pretty short for people familiar with Facebook and Twitter.  It is also challenge to use a third party site like Hellotxt or PingFM to push your oversharing to LinkedIn. 4. Encourage greater use of their API – Much of the success of sites like Twitter can be attributed to the third-party applications that use the API to pull and add value to live data. 5. Better RSS feeds -It is nice to have LinkedIn feeds at all.  I can, however, imagine an infinite number of permutations for RSS feeds by company, region and education. LinkedIn will continue to be a key part of the social media ecosystem.  I just wish it were more connected.  That is the point ofsocial media after after...

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Post Mortem: Social Media Sites I Use

So here were are almost a month after the completion of my social media journey.  As promised, here is the list of sites I am still using: Twitter: Now that their major outages seem to be behind them, I can regularly share my microdrivel with my “followers”. Facebook: Gen-X is now embracing Facebook and I am regularly getting friend requests from my World 1.0. Flickr: I like their desktop application for uploading pictures. HelloTxt: One click and I can push my status updates to over 10 sites. LinkedIn: My professional network still uses this site. Netvibes: Nice interface for aggregating news and other feeds. Finetune: My 20 something friends rave about Last.fm but I find Finetune site much more intuitive. I just made my final donation to my online fundraising page bringing the total to $340.  Thank you again to all of my supporters. Going forward, I plan to regularly add to the Tangy list as the supply of social media sites is virtually endless.  Keep the recommendations coming and stay...

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Everyday virality: Five ways to make your marketing more sharable

What once was a fun and hip way to promote your product or service has now become a common rationalization for the next magical project pitched by your favorite agency.  Just take a minute and Google “viral marketing”.  You’ll find an endless stream of creative types touting some viral video, screensaver or other form of microdrivel.  If you dig a little deeper, however, you discover some pretty interesting content about what it takes to make something “viral”. I started this post with the goal of creating another one of those “<insert prime number here> ways to make your marketing more viral” rants.  I’ll get to that in a minute but before I do let’s demystify all that is viral. Viral spread is more challenging if your offering isn’t inherently sharable. Virality isn’t a silver bullet if your other marketing programs aren’t working. Some pretty smart people have recently challenged the view that all it takes is a couple of “big sneezers” to to create an online “epidemic”. Viral is not a business model (apologies to the 50+ social bookmarking sites who will soon be sucking on fumes). BurgerKing’s subservient chicken really isn’t a chicken. So what is viral?  Well, in many ways it is very similar to some old school things like customer referral and customer advocacy programs. You know, give your best and/or most vocal customers easy ways to “tell a friend” and maybe they get a little something back for their troubles.  Like many web 2.0 ideas, you just take an tried and true concept like customer referrals and soak it in a sharable application-based infusion to get $25M+ of VC pixie dust (See Widgetbox). Unfortunately, many of us live in World 1.0 and have CEOs and boards that measure performance based archaic things like revenue and profits.  So for the rest of us, here are some simple ways you can make your online marketing more sharable (you can still use the word viral if you want to impress your boss or poker buddies).  In the long run it can be cheaper to get your happy customers to do your marketing for you.  This doesn’t mean you can cut all your old school “push” marketing programs, but viral programs can make a big difference. So here is my list of five things you can do to make your marketing more viral: 1. Get your users to consciously share your brand – This means adding “email a friend” and other sharable links on every page. 2. Get your users to unconsciously share your brand – Think Hotmail.  They built a huge business by adding a simple footer to...

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