It’s Been a A While – and 13 Trends for 2013

Ok – I know. I don’t play by my own rules… and haven’t posted a blog post in months! I apologize. That whole work thing keeps getting in my way 🙂 I’m sorry…

So here I am again, and its time to share new stuff.  I just participated in 2 days of training with some of my colleagues at Dominion Enterprises (home of the brands Homes.com, ForRent, CycleTrader, and of course the marine businesses that I work for: boats.com, Boat Trader and YachtWorld). We have a heap of marketing talent in our company, so we gather every year to share experiences, ideas and best practices.

Presenting Personas at Dominion Enterprises

Presenting ‘Personas’

I was able to present on Humanizing Data – creating and leveraging personas. This was a fun one for me as I’ve been using personas in marketing for years. I’ll load up my presentation to Slideshare shortly. But the point is to identify your audience segments using a bunch of data, and create personas to help guide design, product development, etc. Fun stuff.

I also happen to be a fan of Ted Leonsis (formerly AOL, current co-CEO of Groupon, owner of the Washington Wizards, and board member at American Express.) Smart guy. Anyway, he just posted a top 13 Trends list that I happen to agree with!

Ted Leonsis

Ted Leonsis

Highlights:

#2     Mobile Fuels Conversion to a Cashless Economy. Over the next two years, the mobile payment market will reach $670 billion.

#3     Consumerization of IT leads to New Security Concerns, with Resulting Business Opportunities. (Good thing the husband is in the IT security sector!)

#6     Convergence Finally Becomes a Reality. Your computer, phone and TV are now all just screens.

#9     Home Automation. We will be able to control energy, security, video, communications, electronics through wireless technologies.

#13 Vertical Sprouts = Consumers and Money. First came the major “horizontal” companies, like Amazon in ecommerce and Facebook in social. Next up: vertical companies in spaces like women, teens, sports, and seniors.

This last one is big… looking forward to reading more on this.

Click here for the full list.

Would love to hear your thoughts – do you agree/disagree , maybe add something else? Please leave comments below!
P.S. Thanks for visiting!

I guess I don’t “Cut the Mustard” … thanks Grey Poupon

I guess I’m not good enough to eat certain brands of mustard 😦  As an avid eater of Grey Poupon mustard, I was interested to read that they had launched a campaign today on Facebook, that requires one to apply to become a ‘member’ of their Facebook page. Instead of simply ‘liking’ the page, you have to submit an application that screens your Facebook profile, to determine if your up to snuff to be granted access to their Facebook page. (If you ‘like’ their page, they will cancel that like – somehow).

At first it seemed ingenious! I mean, how better to create a loyal and engaged following than by being selective about who you interact with.  But what happens if they’re selection filter isn’t working properly, and once loyal eaters are denied access? Well – they lose customers, and they create negative feelings towards their brand.

Ok – maybe I’m just a sore loser. But if I’m a lifelong eater of your product, and am not living on the streets, enjoy food, travel internationally, and am a reasonably well established business woman, how do I not fit in :/

 

I’ll be keeping an eye on their campaign to see how they’re doing. I like innovative and creative marketing ideas. And love this concept, in theory. Not sure their selection criteria or filters work well enough to test the loyalty of their users. Here is a small sample of the Facebook page posts:

Pinterest and Copyright – I Was Wrong

I was presenting to a group of Yacht Brokers today in Houston. My “Brand Yourself” presentation included a section on Pinterest, with the recommendation that they start participating in that marketing medium. I mean boats = great pics = great Pinterest content / boards.

One of the brokers posed the question about copyright. There has been a lot of press about that topic recently. My response was that the originating site was responsible for checking the copyright, making the ‘pinner’ not responsible. However – I am wrong. It does happen occassionaly 😉 My humblest apologies to the broker with whom I’m supposed to debate this topic at lunchtime!

Upon checking, it is more than apparent that the pinner is responsible for obtaining the copyright, or making sure that they are able to share the image. Some sites block their images from being ‘pinned’, by adding ‘nopin’ code to their website.

So what does this mean for individuals? Chances are the worst that will happen is that you will receive a stern letter from the copyright holder demanding the image be removed. My personal opinion is that the risk is low, and it is still worth using Pinterest. In fact, most pinned images include a link back to the original image, improving the original site’s search engine ranking. And could also increase leads and conversions to that site. If I owned the site, I wouldn’t be complaining.

However, as a business using Pinterest, enter with more caution. Copyright owners are less forgiving for businesses using their images for commercial use.

So – my recommendation for business is to tread carefully. Make sure you either own the images, or make sure you get permission from copyright owners before using their content.

One more comment – in my personal opinion, any business that decided to sue a business or individual over copyright infringement on Pinterest is crazy! They should be grateful for the free exposure, and take advantage of the leads it may generate.  Any company that decided to sue a business or individual for copyright infringement on Pinterest would be facing a PR nightmare…(great article on that here).

So – enter at your own risk. I am! 😀

Read more here:

http://www.pcworld.com/businesscenter/article/250700/what_you_should_know_about_pinterest_and_copyright.html

Creating an Innovative Workspace: Part 1

update your blog cartoonI know – I’ve neglected my blog. I feel bad, but I’ve been trying to balance my work and life lately, and my blog was something that had to be put on hold for a bit. That said, I’m back!

I’ve been involved in some recent meetings at work that reminded me of a time at AOL when we were encouraged to ‘innovate’. Those were some good times. We had great employees, leaders and we still had a great spirit in the office. We were each given $50 to decorate our cubicles, and each team were given space on the floor to go to town on. Our conference rooms became stately libraries, or had posters of stars who had worked with AOL, and there was color everywhere! Everyone seemed really inspired during this time.

One of my former AOL colleagues styling in one of my hatsI really went all out on my cubicle and brought in mats, posters and a hamper FULL of toys – like hats, bats, balls, colored paper and pens. I used these items in meetings that I was involved in to inspire us to think differently. To be more innovative. Think outside the box. It worked. Many new ideas were created during that time. Good ones.

We also started an Innovation Forum where we brought in speakers from around the company to share the latest on Web 2.0, Marketing, Tech etc. over a brown bag lunch. Good times. And then began the layoffs and our ‘innovation’ waned…

I was really excited to start working at my new company. But I was concerned with the sterile office space I’d be inhabiting. I know how I work best and when I’m most productive. I now that some of my best work comes when I’m comfortable, and feeling inspired. The new space? White walls and beige cubicles. No color in site. The view is phenomenal, but is hidden from view for most of the employees by cubicle or office walls.

View from the officeMe? I have an office – so I’m grateful. But it is an interior office, with white walls and big old dark wood traditional office furniture. I can put things on the wall (with permission). I brought in a number of items I felt might help my team, and might create an innovative and creative environment. Coming up in part 2, I’ll share some of these ideas. In the meantime, check out what one of my favorite companies does. Hail MailChimp!