Don’t Give Up

Creativity is hard work. Actually, work, life, everything is hard work.

For every 100 good ideas that you put up, you’ll be lucky to see one take root.

For every “yes” that you get, there’ll be dozens of “nos”.

And for every spark you ignite in others, there’ll be whole audiences of blank faces.

Remember, too, it all takes time.


Resistance to the resistance.

But your time will come.

If you hold tight.

Push through that last mile of indifference.

And self-defeat.


Be humble.

And generous too.

But most of all.

Don’t give.


Ira Glass on Storytelling from David Shiyang Liu on Vimeo.

Inspired by Stan.

Marketing to Marketers – Just Add ICE

The five forces of the Consumerization of Information Technology (CoIT) do not just affect the chief information officer (CIO). The impact of social media, Big Data, analytics, mobility, cloud computing and unified communications will be felt across every business unit and across every enterprise.

However, it is the office of the CMO – the organizational executive responsible for the “front of house” – which will be increasingly exposed to the challenges presented by consumerization. As a result, marketing leaders will face significant new strategic and technology decisions in the next two years.

Outdated theories and metrics, however, frame the practice of business marketing and continue to inhibit the ability of marketers to respond to the rapidly changing consumerized landscape. CMOs need to plan and execute against a new vision of the connected consumer.

The connected consumer, who uses a range of digital and social networking technologies, discovers, debates and decides on purchases in a completely new way. These processes occur almost completely independent of your brand, your communications and the messages they carry. The connected consumer may share your Facebook fan page with friends and buy your products on the way home. She or he may be your greatest critic or your staunchest defender. They blog, tweet, write reviews, self-publish books and hold online film festivals. They are influencers in their own right.

Marketers need to adopt a long-term view that demotes the campaign-based thinking that has dominated the marketing agenda for decades, replacing it with a focus on relationships, value and customer experience.

Companies that are prepared for the future do three things right when it comes to digital marketing. First, they understand the customer journey as a series of flows between touch points over time – and plan and execute their marketing plans accordingly. Second, they understand the power of data and analytics to create a deeper understanding of that customer and the approaches that can deliver customer engagement at scale. And finally, CMOs are recasting the marketing funnel to model and map the customer journey to better direct their marketing investments.

My report into re-casting the marketing funnel for consumer engagement set out the new touchpoints that marketers need to map against their buyers journey. But this, of course, requires an understanding of that journey not from the brand point of view – which is inside-out – but from the outside-in. And this requires additional thought, planning and preparation. In fact, it needs education.

One of the great successes of Google has been it’s relentless focus on technology. This has also been one of its great failings – and lies at the heart of its lack of success with social networking. With search – where Google clearly dominates, they have followed the ICE approach:

  • Interest – create interest and intrigue in the solution by generating immediate VALUE
  • Contextualise – help EDUCATE the audience in this new world by contextualising the old vs new with patterns of user behaviour
  • Evangelise – show, support and evangelise the OUTCOMES of the new behaviour in the new context

Not only have new behaviours emerged thanks to Google search – whole industries have been built, careers have flourished and our personal and professional lives have been shaped in new ways. Except in small pockets, this has not happened with other Google solutions.

But things are slowly changing.

GoogleBuyers The Think with Google website has become one of my favourites over the last year or so. Their recent work on the How to Go Mo website took a huge step in educating and empowering marketers in their quest to understand mobile marketing. And now, this planning tool on the customer journey helps explain some of the complexity around multi-channel / omni-channel marketing, analytics and attribution.

If Google wants to see more marketers getting value out of their digital marketing investments (which is in everyone’s best interest), then more of this work will be required. Having great technology is only half of any answer (or maybe even less). Without the people, you don’t have a party. For that, you need ICE.

Consuming Big Data–The Internet in 2015

Everything that we do on an internet connected device leaves a digital trail. Whether it is an internet enabled refrigerator, a PC, smartphone or tablet – somewhere there is a log file recording of what your device did, what it connected to and when. And if that involves sending files, or creating or consuming content – then that data grows – for those files would be copied, replicated or cached in each location.

Google’s Eric Schmidt famously suggested that from the dawn of civilisation through to 2003, the human race had created roughly 5 exabytes of data. But in 2010 (and beyond), the equivalent is being created every 2 days.

Clearly the proliferation of data since 2010, the growth in devices and digital data consumption has skyrocketed. Not just in Australia. Not just in the US or Europe. But across the globe.

How BIG is big data?

Understanding the scale of data on a massive global scale is challenging. But this infographic from the folks at Cisco provides some great examples (see the “Great Wall of China” quote”).

But the most interesting part of this infographic is not that scale – but the patterns of consumption. Sure we know that video is hot, and will continue to be so. But I like the way that types of video have been broken down. Here are some brief thoughts on each:

  • Short form: This is much like our current viewing behaviour – short clips on YouTube and Vimeo are consumed as entertainment snacks. As we shift our attention from the TV to the device, we will also dedicate more time to longer forms (as suggested in the data)
  • Long form: We will see an explosion not just in entertainment content, but in education and other forms of interactivity. Connected Consumers will challenge production houses, brands and broadcasters to adapt their content to be more interactive, engaging and yes, social. Longer form video will drive demand for those with storytelling and narration skills and experience. Look to see specialist practices and capabilities growing in the areas of short and longer form video.
  • Live internet TV: What live blogging did for events of all kinds will translate to the web. We’re seeing small experiments with apps like Vine, but we can expect this to accelerate in the next two years. If
  • Ambient: The use of music and sound to influence buyer behaviour in retail environments has been long understood. In the coming years, we will see the same sophistication applied to video. This is likely to prompt a deeper connection to analytics products that can measure retail and behavioural impacts.
  • Mobile: For many people, the mobile experience will be the FIRST SCREEN and ONLY SCREEN. This will drive greater innovation in storytelling as well as in the use of location based targeting and services. Video without big data will become irrelevant (not to producers) but to consumers. Video will need to become strategic.
  • Internet PVR: We are already seeing this happen – but can expect moderate growth. But with a growing on-demand culture, the focus will shift away from patterns of collecting to patterns of consuming and sharing.


Startups – How Do You Like Them Apples?

Starting a business is like flying by the seat of your pants. Even experienced entrepreneurs experience the simultaneous challenges of validating and launching a product, marketing, resourcing, managing staff, engaging stakeholders and securing funding. Often – in the whirlwind – a strategic approach to marketing is lost. Or worse – ignored. My view (as it would be), is that it is never too early to market.

But wouldn’t it be great if there was a way that you could accelerate your marketing? What if you could draw upon the experience and know-how of not just your best-friend-who-does-some-marketing, but one of the world’s most respected agencies?

You are thinking big dollars, right?

And yes, it could easily cost $100k.

A Little Help from Leo Burnett

During the Great Depression, Leo Burnett opened a small advertising agency. As a symbol of hope in a gloomy and challenging time, a bowl of fresh apples was placed at the front desk to welcome clients.

These days, Leo Burnett is one of the world’s largest communications companies – and they still welcome clients with fresh apples.

And now – with Help from Leo – they are aiming to give one new Australian business the chance to win $100k in strategic and creative advice.

How? They are taking the apples and turning them into a cider business.

If you think your business – your startup – or your idea could do with a boost, it’s time to hone your pitching skills. To be in the running, the minimum entry requirement is a short written statement of up to 250 words describing your business vision. Polish your words and enter at

Prize is up to $100,000 (incl. GST) worth of strategic and creative advice for a single project, and excludes execution of ideas, including production or placement of any TV, press, radio, digital or other campaign, and also excludes 3rd party / external costs. Value of prize will depend on project winner requests. Conditions apply see Ends 03/05/13. Entrant must be 18+ and own or own a majority of an Australian business with an ABN operating for 2 years or less as at 02/04/13. Limit 1 entry per business. Crafted by Leo Burnett with assistance from Eling Forest Winery.

Good luck!

Do You Hire Well? A Lesson From HubSpot

I have been a fan of HubSpot for some time. I love the way that they relentlessly connect the dots between marketing and action, between marketers and their customers, and the web and the business of marketing.

Over the years, the HubSpot team have developed and driven the concept of inbound marketing – releasing free tools to help educate and empower marketers, sharing webinars, whitepapers and a constant stream of email messages. I’m not saying that, at times, the stream of content is not overwhelming … it can be. But the underlying message is what fascinates me – you are left with the unmistakeable impression that if the web is a new way of doing business, then HubSpot is leading the way.

But what makes this new breed of company tick? What happens when you scratch beneath the surface – and is it really any different from the businesses that we are used to dealing with?

With the release of the HubSpot Culture Code, we can gain a glimpse into the philosophies and policies that inform and activate their culture. They have rethought the old and newer ways of working around focus, support, working hours, workplace and tenure. And the culture code makes the point that while people have changed, “many organizations operate as if they’re frozen in time”. (In many ways, some of these concepts feel foreign, unexpected, like travelling to a place that is familiar yet different at its core.)

You can leaf through the culture code below or on Slideshare. As an organisation dedicated to transparency (radically and uncomfortably), it makes sense. But how many other businesses do the same? How many business could bring themselves to operate in this way?

They say it’s to do with the care and attention with which they choose colleagues. And for a company that is hiring, the culture code is perhaps, the greatest advertisement there is. Nice work – inbound marketing at its finest, especially when you’re aiming to attract people, not clicks.

Getting a Handle on Bitcoin

I must admit to being more than a little intrigued by Bitcoin, the open source, peer-to-peer digital currency. In fact, anything with the words “open source, peer-to-peer and digital” in its description is likely to pique my interest. But as a currency, Bitcoin operates independently of central banks or a central organisation – which in times of sovereign debt crises adds to its attractiveness.

Very few of us go through the process of thinking through how our currencies actually work. We know enough to understand our local banking systems – and the way that they manage transactions, the money supply and so on – but Bitcoin operates in a completely different way. As a peer-to-peer currency, there is no centralised control. There is no gold standard. To purchase Bitcoins, you need an account with a Bitcoin exchange, like Mt. Gox, which requires a form of verification. But Mt. Gox is not a bank – and once you have purchased Bitcoins you need to store them in a wallet. You can then use those Bitcoins to buy and sell – to transact with others who trade in Bitcoins.

Sounds complicated, right? And it is. Thankfully Duncan Elms has put together a video explaining the way Bitcoins work. It goes some way to clarify some of the complexity that underlies this new, and growing digital currency.

But once you know all this, what will you do? Will you throw caution to the wind and setup a trading account? Will you use Bitcoins to buy and sell real and virtual world things? Or will you watch from afar?

Bitcoin Explained from Duncan Elms on Vimeo.

Five Must-Read Posts from Last Week

A blast of innovation this week with a focus on ideas, creativity and transforming them into something useful. Like work. Or customers. Or a change in the world we’re living in. What’s not to love?

  1. If there is one thing we crave, it is surety. But, of course, everything we face is uncertain – which can lead to a certain level of anxiety. How do we then best meet uncertainty? Ben Kunz shares three ideas for doing so.
  2. Can you force a good idea or do you have to wait for them to visit upon you? The Bull suggests that your best ideas will come unexpectedly. What do you think?
  3. Sheryl Sandberg has attracted plenty of positive and negative attention with her book Lean In. But what’s the message that goes deeper? Ann Handley heard the Facebook COO speak in person and her summary may surprise you.
  4. There is no doubt that retail needs to be reinvented. But what would that look like? PSFK take a closer look at virtual grocery displays. Is it a glimpse into the near future?
  5. I mobile innovation on your agenda this year? CK thinks it should be part of every marketer’s arsenal. Here’s why.