The Shift to Inbound Marketing

Since the dawn of the advertising era, our marketing efforts have been directed towards broadcast. We wanted to get our product messages out, make people aware, encourage their interest, stimulate their desire and drive them to convert this to sales. We have built models, processes and systems that are the bedrock of marketing courses the world over.

But the social web has changed all this.

The early internet promised to level the playing field. It brought large scale publishing and commercial capability to any size business. It meant that a local retailer could have as much “presence” and online processing power as a national retailing powerhouse. Yet while the level playing field was set, not all businesses were ready for it. The innovation in the consumer market had not filtered into the businesses – the place where change is notoriously difficult to drive, measure and achieve.

Yet before businesses could catch their breath, the social web shifted the goal posts on the level playing field. You see, suddenly the barriers to entry dropped away and it wasn’t the small businesses that claimed the high ground. It was the consumers. The customers. The people like you and me when we’re not at work 😉

These days what counts isn’t how many people you reach and how frequently you do so (that’s an expensive and oh so 1990s way of doing things). Now it’s about how your business and digital strategy gravitate towards, recommend and choose your products/services in a hyper-competitive market. We call that “inbound marketing” – and if you haven’t considered its role in the future of your business, just take a moment and check out the infographic from MDG advertising. Check out the thinking, tools and practices that can help you ride the wave of this shift. Figure out how you can use this with your continuous digital strategy – and align your own business goals with the posts that shift – before they do again.


The World is on Fire

Everywhere we look there are stories of destruction and violence. The tragedy played out on our television screens in what masquerades as the “nightly news” glosses over the personal cost and intimate tragedies of individuals caught up in the exercise of power. Closer to home, friends and family face crises of one kind or another – loss of work, mortgage stress, infidelity, depression or the unsparing calamity of social isolation. And on a macro level, climate change, war and natural and man-made disasters fill our headlines and our minds. No wonder we feel that the world is on fire.

But while waiting for a late night conference call, I stumbled upon the Personal Democracy Forum. I listened in and was amazed. I watched the presentations from half a world away and was calmed – and then inspired. And this presentation from Michael Wesch, Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology – one of my favourite thinkers and doers – reminded me that while the world is on fire, one must do what one can.

Watch this an be inspired. And then think about joining the live stream of PDF11. And if you time it right, you might just get to see our very own Mark Pesce turn up the heat.


Watch live streaming video from pdf2011 at

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

There have been some great articles published this week – a bit of controversy and a lot of insight. And for the first time in some time, all the must-read posts come from my local peeps here in Australia. Hope you enjoy!

  1. What happens when traditional media and social media clash? Social Content and Context is a great post from Tiphereth Gloria detailing her own experience at the hands of a lazy and sensationalist piece of journalism
  2. Nicola Swankie shares her recent experience at an “exclusive” bar and then discusses some lessons that brands can apply to their social media excursions
  3. In Make Me a Mixed Tape Mandi Bateson highlights the Kaiser Chiefs recent crowd-curation efforts with the release of their new album
  4. Chris Savage delivers a bunch of new posts – and shares The Secret to Winning Pitches
  5. Julian Cole is building out MacGyvers Digital Strategy Training Guide. You know you’re going to want to read this.

How to Write Copy for Social Media

When it comes to business communication, I have seen it all. I have written speeches for CEOs, developed product and service brochures, come up with copy for ads, websites, and jingles – and everything in between.

But some of the things that made me successful as a business communicator and copywriter were the things that prevented me from communicating well in social media. Even after some considerable time using social media, I found it easy to slip into a more formal business style for communicating.

Fundamentally there is a dividing line between writing in the voice of the brand and writing in the voice of the customer. I call this the “mirror of intent” – for your communication can go either way. Do you want authority or do you want authenticity? When you know which side of the mirror you stand, you can adjust your style accordingly. But be warned – both approaches are valid for different types of communication. And both take practice and discipline.

The graphic below explains five ways you can deliver on your intent.

These are my observations and were inspired by discussions with the wise and articulate community evangelist, Marilyn Pratt – but perhaps there is something I have missed. Share your experience by leaving a comment!

Are We Dating or Do You Just LIKE Me?

This infographic by the Online Dating University (via All Facebook) shows that three-fifths of people display their relationship status on the Facebook profiles. It’s not an earth-shattering piece of information, but it does give us an insight into the BEHAVIOUR of people who frequent social networks – it tells us that we live our lives in public. It reminds us that our lifestyles an our choices have been turned inside-out and are – at least on the surface – ready-made for the consumption of others.

But this is far from an isolated trend – it is one that has been tracking for at least the last five years. A recent ExactTarget / CoTweet report on Subscribers, Friends and Followers puts some data around this (and while it is US data, we can still apply the thinking more locally):

  • 73% of US online consumers have  created a Facebook profile
  • 42% of US online consumers are fans (and have liked at least one company)

But, while we LIKE these companies, 51% of fans say they rarely or never visit a company’s page after “liking” them. And if the relationship is over – if a fan no longer wants to see your posts, less than half will go to the trouble of “unliking” you.

There is, however, something we can learn from the world of dating. Look at the IMPACTS of living life in public as shown below. How can your brand affect the etiquette, moods and updates of your fans? What can you do to demonstrate that you are in a relationship and it’s not just a matter of liking each other? Remember, it’s a two way street and do the smart thing – build that knowledge and insight into your strategy.