How to Get Your Ideas to Spread

Here’s Seth Godin‘s TEDtalk about a world of too many options and too little time. Godin is the author of Purple Cow, as well as other de rigueur marketing guides that address marketing in the digital age.

While the video is from 2003, it is still, and maybe even more relevant relevant in a world marketplace overwrought with social media.

Godin expresses the importance of marketing mixes and consumer outreach, and emphasizes the  need to stand out in the crowd. But the main point, and what I like best, is the idea that it’s not what we produce (product or service) that has to be remarkable. WE must be remarkable. That other stuff will follow.

Inbound Marketing

51WgPVrnY-LInbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs by Brian Halligan, Dharmesh Shah is a pretty decent  marketing starter book that isn’t dry and dull like so many of them seem to be. It has plenty of anecdotes from the likes of Whole Foods, Zappos and Barack Obama, is well written and even has cartoons!

The premise is basically that the old marketing rules are dead or, at the very least dying. The days of  throwing money at print or radio advertising and having some semblance of guaranteed success are in the past.

Today, companies need to engage their customers, which basically means getting them to the website and making sure it is sticky enough to entice multiple return visits. I like that it goes into detail about the essential components for being successful online, such as content marketing, search engine optimization and social media. Plus, it’s not just a bunch of high level stuff but includes some good strategy ideas and to-do lists to help get your started.

There were a few things I didn’t like or think held much relevancy. One would be a section on “Driving Traffic With Digg.” The other is the unabashed advertising for the author’s Hubspot Marketing Grader, which is too bad since it seems to bring into question the bias of the content as a whole.

It’s available at Amazon.

What is Marketing?

Seth Godin, the marketing genius behind bestsellers like Purple CowTribes and Linchpin, was asked to define marketing on Copyblogger Radio’s Internet Marketing for Smart People (podcast available on iTunes).

His response was, “the easy answer is that marketing is not advertising.”

Godin then went on to define marketing as: “the art of telling a story that resonates with your audience and spreads.” And, he added, “that story better be true, which means that, implicit in marketing is making something for which or about which you could tell a story that resonates.”

I really like that definition. It goes completely hand in hand with what Jay Baer has described on his blog, Convince & Convert, as YOUtility marketing. It is the act or process of becoming more than just a purveyor, but rather a valuable resource. “Sell something,” Baer explains, “and you make a customer. Help someone, and you make a customer for life.”

This is especially insightful in a world where the balance of marketing power has swung dramatically in favor of the customer. People, as consumers, are not only more connected and savvy then they ever were before, but have reduced attention spans as they are pitched, cajoled and bombarded by millions of messages across billions of mediums simultaneously.

Therefore, Godin emphasizes, marketing should be brought in even before you have your product, service or idea. The hard part of building a business in this modern age isn’t the implementation (you can literally source anything from China in no time at all), it’s creating the the story that people will choose to listen to. And, as such, the purest form of marketing starts from scratch, where you spend your time designing products or services that don’t need advertising.

The art of telling a story that resonates with your audience and spreads — Nothing could more sufficiently describe the process around marketing and the methods for connecting and communicating with existing or potential customers.

Branding a Lifestyle of Engagement

Christopher Erb, VP of Brand Marketing for EA SPORTS, is responsible for driving strategy and marketing for the EA SPORTS brand and oversees a cross-functional team that focuses on consumer marketing, licensing, brand identity, and brand partnerships.

Speaking here at TEDxCincy, he explains the way EA SPORTS markets to their consumers by elevating video game releases to be bigger than highly anticipated film premieres. He pioneered applying the theatrical model of partnership and collaboration to video games which is now standard protocol within the industry.

It’s a strategy of engaging the consumer and giving them the power or choice and ownership. To be completely effective, it requires the proper deployment of social interaction in a way that creates a sense of collaboration. The personalization of a product or service, and even the marketing of these goods, breeds passion (and, ultimately, loyalty).

Anyway, enough of my summarizing and interpreting. Watch for yourself and see what you think.

Google Maps Goes Indoors – Will This Impact Local SEO?

Google has announced that they have begun mapping indoor spaces, namely places like airports and malls. Starting this past Tuesday (November 29th) indoor mapping is available in the palm of your hands, helping you, as Google says, “determine where you are, what floor you’re on, and where to go indoors.”

Check out their promotional video:

To make this happen, Google has partnered with some of the largest retailers, airports and transit stations in the United States and Japan. You can see the full list of partners on their help center. At present, it includes nearly 20 airports, as well as several Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Home Depots and Ikeas around the USA. Shopping malls that are currently participating include the Mall of America in Minnesota, Vallco Shopping mall in Cupertino, CA and Eagle Rock Plaza in Los Angeles, CA.

Google is also encouraging people to upload floor plans of their buildings and locations, and that raises the question:

Will businesses that participate in the indoor mapping project get a foot up in search engine optimization (SEO), especially when it come to business listings in Google Places?

Ranking well for local queries is essential for local businesses to gain an advantage over competitors. As more and more people are turning to the web to shop locally, and using mobile devices to do so, it seems inevitable that inclusion in the indoor mapping project would contribute to an advantageous placement during local searches.

After all, it strengthens the accuracy of information about a particular business (and it’s exact location) and Google has always said that the most important thing for them is providing relevant and accurate data. That is, in theory, what the tweaking of their algorithms has always sought to do…to create the most relevant search matches.

So, while it is cool that you can find your way around an airport without having to find a directory, as a marketer and business consultant, I plan to advise clients located in malls or airports, or who have multiple floors in large buildings, to participate as soon as possible. It just might be the extra thing that puts you a notch above your competitors. And for companies, organizations or universities with sprawling campuses, I can’t imagine they wouldn’t be chomping at the bit to get involved…the advantages of participating are practically innumerable!

There’s still plenty of time though. It’s still the early stages. Indoor mapping is an exclusive service for Android operating systems.

But it’s only a matter of time before iPhone users will have access too.

And we all know…this is going to be big!