What are your marketing priorities for 2010?

The smart money is backing social media…

Money spent on social media-related advertising is already expected to grow significantly this year, and now we also know that the medium is considered the top priority in the digital space according to a survey of senior marketers.

The research, published today in eMarketer, shows that 45.4% of respondents considered social a ‘top priority’ while another 42.2% deemed it ‘important’. That narrowly beat out digital infrastructure for the top spot, with other marketing tactics like search, mobile, and blogger outreach trailing significantly. Source: Social Is the Top Priority for Marketers in 2010 [STATS]

Maybe you’re one of those who knows they need to incorporate social media into their marketing plans, but feels like the train has already left the station. Maybe you don’t even want to admit that you don’t know where to start? No drama! No one can get you up to speed faster than our team! Comment, call or contact us to talk more about where you’re at and where you want to be…

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Some thoughts on better contact management…

I recently came across this post from my Internet buddy Brandon Henak and I’ve been thinking about it all week. It was about using Plaxo for unified contact management and it went like this…

“The people in your network and the relationships you develop with them are some of your most valuable assets as a young professional. You look to them first for advice, job opportunities or just to discuss the latest events in your life. How you keep track of all the contact information you have collected in your personal and professional life is crucial to your success.

Contacts Everywhere!

In the poll we took earlier today we saw an interesting breakdown of contact management solutions, from relying on a cell phone to store contact information to using Microsoft Outlook, Facebook and other online sites. Each one of the solutions have their advantages and disadvantages. I have tried every one of the solutions listed with various degrees of success but, what if you could use each of them where they work the best, Outlook at the office, Mac Address Book at home and Plaxo online, without having to manually update each? I recently found a way to centralize and standardize all my contact and calendar information across all the services I use, automatically!

Sync them up!

Enter Plaxo 3.0 beta with Sync Points. After setting up an account, all I had to do was click on the “Add Sync Point” link for each of the programs I wanted to use (in my case Google, Mac Address Book, Outlook, and AIM) and it walks you through the process of putting in your login information for Google and downloading small add-ins for Outlook and Mac Address Book. Now, all of my sources sync together and I can sync all my contacts to my phone through Address Book. Any addition anywhere flows across the systems and is easily accessible.”

This was particularly interesting to me because I’m a Plaxo subscriber, but I’ve experienced a lot of problems with contact management. So what’s the problem?

A little background info…

I’ve been in marketing, sales, and technology for 25 years now and I have collect over 5,000 vcards and thousands more business cards that aren’t documented. I use 7 computers spanning three platforms and I want to access my contacts on all of them.

The answer?

The answer for me, like Brandon, starts with Plaxo for the following reasons:

  1. It’s platform and browser independent.
  2. It offers ‘sync points’ for the tools I use or have access to; Outlook, Thunderbird, a Treo 700wx running Windows Mobile 5. [Many more are available…]
  3. Members can choose to link to give one another the latest contact information as soon as it changes.
  4. The duplicate merger/remover is among the best I’ve used.
  5. There is a growing social network component which is a cross between Facebook and LinkedIn.

So if Plaxo is the answer, what’s MY problem? In a nutshell, using Plaxo was causing, not eliminating duplicates. Or, better said, using Plaxo with ActiveSync was causing duplicates. When I made the decision to stop using two synchronization tools simultaneously, my problems went away and I got closer to the promised land that Brandon was describing…

More background. I’m currently in the process of moving to Linux; I don’t want to pay ransom to Microsoft anymore and although I’m a former Apple account executive, I don’t want to pay for Apple’s industrial design when I can have the benefits of a Linux based operating system on inexpensive Intel hardware. The answer for me is Linux.

For now, however, my solution set consists of Plaxo, Microsoft Outlook 2003 [I only said I didn’t want to pay anymore – I’ll still use what I have], Gmail, Google Calendar and a Treo 700wx. I see myself moving off Outlook to Thunderbird/Lightning [Mozilla’s answer to contact and calendar management – Mozilla is only going to get better at this!] and off the Treo onto either a Blackberry or the Google Android platform. Thankfully [?], Sprint is forcing me to keep my current phone until September when the outlook on Google’s approach to cellphones should be known…

A big part of solving my problem was also to realize [thanks to David Allen] that some contacts are context sensitive, namely, that I don’t need to be able to call all 5,000 people from my cellphone – some I only need to be able to access when I’m sitting at a computer. I was actually synchronizing contacts for which I didn’t have a telephone number to my phone! Why? Because I was going to send them an email from the phone? Unlikely. In reality, I have found that after careful analysis, I actually need to synchronize less than 200 contacts between my phone and my computer and if I really were honest with myself, there are probably less than a hundred people that I call on a regular basis. So, I copied all my contacts to a folder called ‘Master’ in Outlook and deleted all contacts that I either hadn’t called or didn’t anticipate calling this quarter [there’s a copy of the deleted contacts in Master, remember?] As a result, I’m only synchronizing what I have to now. This is a HUGE savings of time and energy and silly as it may seem, actually represents a massive epiphany for me. Call me Captain Obvious?

The underlying idea here is getting closer to a world where it doesn’t matter what computer or platform you’re using – your information is accessible from anywhere! Plaxo can get you a good part of the way there…

By the way, if you’re not using Google Desktop, start! It can unify all the computers you’re using and allow you to search your Gmail and your computers in the same way you search the internet now…

AGCO is harvesting the benefits of social media

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Image by werktuigendagen via Flickr

AgWired, the social media voice of the agriculture industry reports that AGCO, one of the world’s largest agricultural equipment manufacturers, is effectively using social media to stimulate sales in a down economy…

AGCO is providing a great example of how to integrate social media and networking into their communications strategy and to learn more about what they’re doing I spoke with Sue Otten, Director, Corporate Communications & Brand Communications Worldwide. In our conversation we talk about why the company has invested in very active social communications channels. Sue says that it’s a great way to “learn” from their customers and target a new demographic too. Source: AgWired » Blog Archives » AGCO Shows How To Go Social

Want to know their secret?

One of the recommendations Sue makes is to not be afraid to get started with social media. She says that there are some great consultants out there who can help you too. I’ll use this opportunity to make a little plug for Todd Lohenry with e1evation, Inc. who has worked with AGCO. Source: AgWired » Blog Archives » AGCO Shows How To Go Social

Their social media effort is powered by e1evation and Envano — straight outta Wisconsin! Using the same free, open source tools that are available to every entrepreneur, AGCO is rocking the ag world using social media. Comment, call or use the contact form to talk about how you, too, can effectively leverage social media for your marketing efforts…

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While you were sleeping 2/25/2010

Cropped version of Thomas Jefferson, painted b...
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It’s all about social media today with an emphasis on roi…

“While companies are starting to adopt Social Media for online marketing campaigns, and even letting employees participate, the question of ROI (Return on Investment) arises, along with doubts about what metrics to measure. How do you know how effective your social media campaigns are if you’re not measuring any metrics, let alone an overall ROI? Below, we discuss ten important Social Metrics for companies.” Source: The 10 Social Media Metrics Your Company Should Monitor

Next? How are Fortune 100 companies using social media?

“A useful survey from global PR firm Burson-Marsteller this week looks at the ways in which the Global Fortune 100 companies are using social media. The tools they are using and how they are developing a social media strategy. The survey looked at 100 firms in the US, Europe, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and examined how these firms are using social media.” Source: How the Global Fortune 100 are using social media: some statistics | FreshNetworks Blog|Social media agency|Online communities

Finally, a look toward future developments in social media…

“While I don’t have a crystal ball, here are some developments that I think are worthy of our attention and will affect how we do things in the social mediasphere over the next few years. Many of the things on this list will not be news to the very well-informed social media consultant types who live and breathe this stuff. But for the rest of us, there are seeds of opportunity here that should not be missed.” Source: 8 Significant Developments in Social Media You Should Watch – WebWorkerDaily

I close with some words of wisdom from Thomas Jefferson…

“He who knows most, knows how little he knows.” Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), 3rd president of the United States

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I'm just sayin'…

Image representing Alltop as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase

As a father of 6, parental analogies are always close at hand for me. It’s why I sometimes say that clients are like children in that when you see them take the things you teach them and they make it their own and excel, you can’t help but burst with pride. Recently, the AGCO blog was included in the agriculture feed at Alltop, the internet’s best source for news aggregation, becoming the only Farm Equipment manufacturer to do so…

AGCO’s success should rightly be credited to Jamy Johnson, a budding online community manager and social media practitioner who took the time to embrace the ‘e1evation workflow’ and make it her own. Last month, their blog had over 10,000 visits and it’s rapidly becoming a key factor in lifting the corporate website to new heights in search and traffic rankings as well…

Kudos to Jamy’s manager Sue Otten who had the courage to embrace social media in the ag space before ag social media was cool! If Jamy and Sue can rise to the top using “good, fast, and cheap” social media tools for agriculture, imagine what you can do in your industry!

Home bases and outposts…

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger has been reading my mail. Or attending my seminars. Or both. Seriously, he does a great job in this video of explaining some of the tactics that I use to drive traffic to my blog…

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Are you awakened or just an entrepreneur? | Duct Tape Marketing Blog

Here’s some great news…

“My friend Michael Gerber is at it again, Awakening another generation of entrepreneurs and showing people how to dream intentionally.

His latest book, Awakening the Entrepreneur Within is shipping this week and is a high level overview of his Dreaming Room experiences.

Companies that embrace the method and practices contained in this book can become extraordinary by pushing beyond what they thought it meant to be a company. I am in Phoenix this week presenting marketing workshops for the users of Infusion Software – this is a company that is truly infused with the Awakened Entrepreneur message and it is just so much fun to be around people and companies that are so alive with a vision.”

Click the title to read more…