Wednesday, May 31, 2017

5 Keys to Content Marketing Success

Measuring success requires that you establish goals and KPIs, says DMG's Gordon Plutsky:

Reach. How many people does our content touch? Measures include page views, social impressions, newsletter opens, etc.

Engagement. How many people read our content? Measures include clicks, PDF downloads, video views, etc.

Sharing. Do people share our content? Measures include shares on social networks, forwarding of links, forwarding of newsletters, etc.

Conversion. Do people raise a hand? Measures include list sign-ups, form completions, webinar sign-ups, sales inquiries, etc.

Revenue. Do people buy anything? To measure sales, you must code your inbound tactics and import the attributions to your CRM system—a process that defies even the most practiced marketers.

Feel daunted? View success as a "comprehensive strategic plan rather than a ream of numbers," Plutsky says.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

B2B Print Advertising Lingers On

Print may be passé, but B2B marketers nonetheless spent $9.75 billion on print ads last year, according to MediaRadarThat's more than the GDP of many nations, including Cuba, Ethiopia, Nicaragua, Oman and North Korea.

Ad dollars are no doubt shifting to digital, as B2B marketers devote more of their money each month to email, native ads, and video ads than print.

And 6 of 10 B2B marketers who spend money on digital advertising spend nothing on print.

The stalwarts who do are narrowing the list of magazines they place ads in, favoring industry-leading ones over niche ones.

B2B magazine publishers, of course, are scurrying to go digital and diversify their lead-gen offerings.

Monday, May 29, 2017

We Didn't Start the Fire

Since Friday can't be a national holiday, let's at least make it a one-day cease-fire. 

No Boomer-bashing on June 2, the 50th anniversary of the release of Sgt, Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Boomers have been taking a lot of heat recently.

"Boomers weren’t genetically predestined to be dysfunctional; they were conditioned to be," says venture capitalist Bruce Cannon Gibney, author of A Generation of Sociopaths: How the Baby Boomers Betrayed America

"They were the first generation to be raised permissively, the first reared on television and subject to its developmental harms, and the only living group raised in an era of seemingly effortless prosperity," Gibney says. 

"Can too much license, TV, and unearned wealth distort personalities? May I suggest looking south toward 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue?"

While you're stagnating in a barista's job or your parents' basement, think about this, Ms. Millennial: Boomers didn't save the world; but they also didn't make it.

The album's cover proves that.

If you want to blame society's present ills on anyone, blame them any of the 66 people depicted, from Karl Marx to Carl Jung, Albert Einstein to Aldous Huxley, T.E. Lawrence to Stan Laurel, Mae West to Marlon Brando.

Give us a break.

We didn't start the fire.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Blogs Top Choice for Lead Generation

Search Engine Journal asked 230 marketers which content attracted the most leads.

Their top choice: blogs.

Four in 10 marketers (41%) named blogs the best content for lead generation (their second choice was white papers (14%)).

If blogs are indeed the best content for lead generation, shouldn't you learn how to blog effectively?

I'd suggest you begin by choosing a form. Two schools of thought prevail:

Long form. Andy Crestodina recommends 1,200 to 1,800 word posts. Google likes long posts, and readers are more apt to share them than they are their short cousins.

Short form. Seth Godin recommends "microcopy," because we live in "the age of the glance."

The choice between the two comes down to your goal:
  • Are you aiming to be perceived as an authority? Then long is your best bet.
  • Are you aiming to bolster awareness? Then short's your best bet.
Whichever form you choose, I'd suggest you next decide on your beat. What subjects should you cover? 

The choice is obviously most influenced by whatever you sell, but should also take into account competitors' and trade publishers' blogs (you want to be distinctive). And you should be able to crystallize your beat readily:
  • We simplify fire-science breakthroughs
  • We go inside SaaS marketing
  • We promote faster LMS adoption
Lastly—whatever beat you choose—learn how to write readable posts.

Every post you write should be succinct, useful, insightful, startling, newsworthy, and entertaining. Every post should aim to change readers' lives; or their preconceptions, anyway. And every post should omit puffery. Save that for sales calls.

If you want to improve your blogging skills in a single day, sit down and read Bill Blunder's The Art and Craft of Feature Writing.

Saturday, May 27, 2017


Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance,
and the gospel of envy.
— Winston Churchill

Libertarian orthodoxy holds that envy underlies opponents' views.

Envy—one of the seven deadly sins—is irrational, imprudent, unseemly, vicious, and irredeemably wrong.

"Envy is pain at the good fortune of others," Aristotle said. It aims “to destroy the good fortune of another person,” Kant believed, and is "that passion which views with malignant dislike the superiority of those who are really entitled to all the superiority they possess," Adam Smith said.

Champions of wealth redistribution—those venal "socialists"—base their arguments for it on fairness. But libertarians will have none of it: socialists are simply craven and judgmental; and the people they want to help are just lazy bums and losers.

Nietzsche saw envy in the right light. He believed it was a good thing, because it signals, from deep down, what we really want in life. And we suppress it at our peril, because envy is powerful and will overwhelm us.

Philosopher John Rawls also warned that envy could overwhelm the envious—and society along with it. 

When the economic differences between the haves and have-nots become so insuperable the disadvantaged lose heart, society will crumble.

Friday, May 26, 2017


In short, there's simply not
A more congenial spot
For happily-ever-aftering than here
In Camelot.
— Alan Jay Lerner

At a Harvard symposium on John F. Kennedy last month, the school's president, historian Drew Faust, lamented today's war on expertise.

"Kennedy's appeal for recognition of what he called the mutual dependence of the worlds of intellectuals and politicians, his call for a central role for learning and expertise, these are all too timely today," she said.

I too miss a leader who relishes learning.

"Leadership and learning," JFK said, "are indispensable to each other."

Right now we're led by an inarticulate and unhinged narcissist who is bent on destroying all trust in science, economics, statesmanship, politics, rhetoric, reporting, truth-telling, governing, and the arts, and who has less sense of history than a crayfish.

Trump's world: no spot for happily-ever-altering.

Honk if you miss JFK.

NOTE: May 29 marks the centennial of JFK's birth.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Prisoners of Love

"P.O. Box 1142" was the code name Army intelligence gave a top-secret prison camp outside Washington during World War II; a site devoted throughout the war to interning 3.400 German, Japanese and Italian prisoners of war.

A sequestered section of Fort Hunt, in Alexandria, Virginia, P.O. Box 1142 remained top secret until 2006, when Brandon Bies, a ranger with the National Park Service, uncovered it.

Eyewitnesses—now mostly deceased—told Bies that P.O. Box 1142 was indeed a prison camp, and that the interrogators who worked there persuaded enemy POWs to reveal their governments' closest-held military secrets—including Nazi Germany's rocket and atomic bomb programs. Interrogators' notes, written reports and photographs, archived in the Pentagon, verified their stories.

Right after the war, P.O. Box 1142 was bulldozed, the records sealed, and the eyewitnesses sworn to secrecy.

But the Pentagon missed one: my mother.

She served during World War II as a Woman Marine in the Pentagon. When I was a kid, she told me a story about P.O. Box 1142.

She told me it was the Pentagon's habit to send Women Marines from her barracks at nearby Henderson Hall to guard POWs at P.O. Box 1142—until amore put a stop to it.

It seems some of the Women Marines fell in love with the enemy prisoners—the Italian ones, in particular; some pledged to marry them; some became pregnant by them.

I asked Brandon Bies if he could confirm my mother's story.

"Putting it in the larger context of what I've learned about 1142, I would put this in the tall-tale category," he said. "I have never heard any evidence of Women Marines being at P.O. Box 1142. We do have evidence of a handful of WACs who were stationed there in 1945, as well as a handful of civilian typists, who served officers late- and immediately post-war.

"Furthermore, while we don't have exact numbers, the number of Italian prisoners was likely very low—my guess is that they made up about 1-2 percent of the total prisoner population. Maybe a dozen or so over the course of the war.

"Finally, while 1142 did 'relax' the rules from time to time in order to get information out of a prisoner, it is very hard for me to believe that they would have allowed women to guard prisoners, let alone present them with opportunities to spend intimate time together."

Matt Virta, also with the National Park Service, told me he couldn't confirm the story, either.

"I can find no information in the Fort Hunt records I have access to, nor can staff member Layesanna Rivera, regarding any female Marine guards at Fort Hunt and their potential links to Italian POWs," he said.

So is my mother's story unfounded?

Maybe not.

Tales of "POW coddling" in fact abounded during World War II, including tales of "too affectionate" Italians. When newspapers and magazines began to report them, Congress demanded a committee investigation.

While the Congressional committee found no evidence of coddling, you know what Italians say: Non c'è fumo senza arrosto. No smoke without fire.

Maybe "POW cuddling" should have been investigated.

PS: Have a safe and pleasant Memorial Day—and take time to remember our fallen warriors.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Godly Rule

Boosterism is taking a back seat to Puritanism as politicos in many states pass laws denying civil rights to women and LGBTQ citizens.

Legislators are passing anti-woman and anti-LGBTQ laws by the bucketful in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

The laws may seem godly, but those that permit overt discrimination are particularly scary to business executives, as customer-facing brands increasingly embrace corporate social responsibility.

George W. Bush's former media advisor, Mark McKinnon, has called his state's anti-LGBTQ "bathroom bill," for example, "divisive, discriminatory, and unacceptable to Texas businesses."

Lawmakers who pass such bills are beholden to backers whose religiosity outweighs their business sense.

"During my 40 years in Texas, if you were a Republican, you were most certainly a pro-business politician," McKinnon says.

"But today, many in the state's GOP leadership are moving away from, even ignoring, the business community. That is surely not their intention, but it surely will be the result."

History shows "godly rule" usually has unintended consequences.

In 17th century England, following its victory in the Civil War, a Puritan elite tried to impose godly ideals on the rest of the country.

The Puritans restricted alcohol and coffee consumption, dancing, and the wearing of colored clothing and makeup. They outlawed travel on Sundays, closed down fairs and festivals, and shuttered all theaters. They criminalized cursing, and banned gambling, soccer, horse races, wresting matches, and erotic art. They made prostitution punishable by flogging and deportation, and adultery punishable by death (but only for women). They removed Easter from the calendars. They even abolished Christmas.
But fun-loving aristocrats and commoners wouldn't have it. Parliament restored the monarchy after a decade of godly rule and scrapped the Puritans' laws.

To close the loop, the king commanded that the body of the Puritans' leader, Oliver Cromwell, be removed from its crypt in Westminster Abbey and put on trial for treason and regicide.

Cromwell's body was found guilty and hanged from the gallows. His head was cut off and put on display, and his body thrown into a trash heap to rot.

Pushback is inevitable.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Things Happen

Why is autobiography the most popular form of fiction for modern readers?

— Jill Ker Conway

Memoirs fascinate because the best ones read like novels. We all want our lives to have a through-line, and memoirs provide one. They also confirm how unseemly and accidental our lives are.

Things happen.

Critics dislike memoirs' exhibitionist quality; but not me. I love them.

I find reading a memoir much more rewarding than, say, sitting in a coffee shop and peeping at other people's laptops (the woman beside me is Googling "how to deal with a cheating husband") or eavesdropping on other people's phone calls (the guy behind me is going to quadruple his prices, but not tell customers).

Soldiers', statesmen's and victims' memoirs I could care less for; but artists' memoirs I find irresistible. I recommend those of Charlie Chaplin, Errol Flynn, Ernest Borgnine, Sammy Davis, Jr., Woody Guthrie, Bob Dylan, Patti Smith, Anne Truitt, Carrie Fisher, Alec Baldwin, Steve Martin, Tina Fey and Martin Short.

And then there are the memoirs of artisans: I recommend those of Alfred P. Sloan, Katherine Graham, David Ogilvy, Ed Catmull, Rick Gekoski, Maryalice Huggins, Terry McDonell and James Rebanks.

If you like heady, try writers' memoirs: those of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Henry David Thoreau, Oscar Wilde, Ernest Hemingway, Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Elie Wiesel, Vladimir Nabokov, John Updike, Gore Vidal, Herman Wouk, William Styron, Willie Morris, Pete Hamill, Frank McCourt, James Lord, Tobias Wolff, Mary Karr, Richard Russo, Bill Bryson, Elizabeth Gilbert, Stephen King, and Augusten Burroughs.

Novelist Richard Ford has just published a memoir and is completing a book tour (he recommends Frank Conroy's Stop-Time, by the way).

Ford said last week on The PBS News Hour the memoir's purpose is "to remind us that, in a world cloaked in supposition, in opinion, in misdirection, and often in outright untruth, things do actually happen."


Monday, May 22, 2017

Defense of the Indefensible

In our time, political speech and writing are
largely the defense of the indefensible
— George Orwell

As powerful as threats of violence, authoritarians wield words, Orwell taught us.

They dress up their psychotic plans in stale metaphors, hoping to make us fear things that aren't dangers, and dismiss things that are.

Banalities like fake news and job killers are used to discredit problems, while canards like innovation, fair trade and healthcare access masquerade as solutions.

Fake news. "The fake news media is not my enemy, it is the enemy of the American people," President Trump repeatedly says. In reality,
Macedonian teenagers and other black hats generate fake news; The New York Times does not. But by declaring all news "fake," Trump can in two words cast doubt not only on unwelcomed news reports, but on poll results, census data, economic studies, and scientific findings.

Job killers. Trump labels all government regulations "job killers" without regard to data from the
Bureau of Labor Statistics that shows only two tenths of one percent of job losses result from regulations. Job losses, in fact, result from long-term and seasonal business declines, financial mismanagement, and changes in ownership. But by rescinding "job killers," Trump can assist scheming real estate developers, hedge fund managers, chemical and refinery company owners, and Fortune 100 CEOs.

Innovation. "The government should be run like a great American company," Trump insists. That means stripping non-defense programs and outsourcing activities like public education, prison administration, drug addiction treatment, and veterans' healthcare. Trump ignores the fact that a lot of private-sector innovation is bolted onto government innovation. He's appointed his son-in-law to run his vulture fund, the "White House Office of American Innovation."

Fair trade. “I’m not sure that we have any good trade deals,” Trump has said, and plans to cancel or renegotiate every deal he thinks is "unfair" to the US. But "fair trade" is merely a euphemism for protectionism, the enemy of free trade. Research by the US International Trade Commission shows our membership in the World Trade Organization, for example, has doubled trade, creating new and bigger markets for American exporters and cheaper goods for American shoppers. But Trump ignores that.

Healthcare access. Trump's system to replace Obamacare would force people with pre-existing conditions into "risk pools." Healthcare premiums for those people would cost considerably more than everyone else's. The fact remains, while risk pools would lower premiums for well people, they'd make sick people's premiums unaffordable. They'd enjoy "healthcare access" in the same sense poor people can enjoy views of the greens by gazing through the fences around any Trump golf course.

What's the best defense against ready-made drivel?

Periodic reminders of your humanity.

As Orwell's contemporary Aldous Huxley said, “The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.”

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Content Marketers: Are You Running a Greasy Spoon?

I don’t have an audience; I have a set of standards.
― Don DeLillo

Content Marketing Digest describes the difference between the work of an SEO consultant and that of a brand journalist as "the difference between a greasy spoon diner with a broken dishwasher and a five-star restaurant."

You not only handicap, but harm, your brand when you make SEO your content marketing goal.

Feeding your tribe Michelin-star morsels should be your goal.

SEO-focused content marketing tarnishes your brand, says content marketer
Roman Kowalski, because the consultants who practice it consider content "just a wrapper to contain the backlink." That mindset "leads to the creation of articles that don’t measure up to journalistic standards."

Consultants who focus on SEO are also hoodwinking clients, Kowalski says, by pretending they can still just swipe other brands' content; have a student in India rewrite it; run the keyword-stuffed abomination through Copyscape; and generate Google juice. The 
days when that tactic worked have passed. Google is wise to it. The best you can hope for from the tactic are for a few backlinks to appear on some bottom-feeder's website. And you'd better pray no client reads your content.

More effective, Kowalski says, is to create original content customers might read―and enjoy. Like case studies, research reports, how-to manuals, insight papers, or opinion pieces.

Most effective is old-fashioned PR―the creation of well-researched pieces that would pass traditional editorial oversight by mainstream and trade media outlets.

"Creating this type of article is far beyond the domain of the SEO consultant," Kowalski says. "It requires the unbiased eye of a trained journalist who also has the mind of a marketer.

"The goal isn’t just to drive traffic―it is to provide useful content and to engage the audience.

"As search engine algorithms grow more sophisticated every year, marketers will have to continuously adjust their strategies to shift from simply capturing eyeballs to capturing mindshare."

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Milestones (Post Number 1000)

Yesterday is not a milestone that has been passed,
but a daystone on the beaten track of the years

— Samuel Beckett

Milestones matter.

Without them, we might quit the project, drop the course, abandon the diet, go off the wagon, turn around and go home.

But Sam Beckett was right: milestones are actually daystones marking our yesterdays on a well-trodden path.

The journey's more about how far we've come, than how far we have to go; more about where we've been, than where we're going; more about fellow travelers, than ourselves.

Today's is Goodly Post Number 1000.

A daystone.

Thanks for your yesterdays.

Friday, May 19, 2017

What Comes Naturally

Certain readers resented me when
they could no longer recognize their territory.

— Jacques Derrida

French philosopher Jacques Derrida, the most influential thinker of the past fifty years, twice failed his university entrance exams.

On his first attempt, he turned in a blank sheet of paper.

On his second, he turned in essays the graders called "unintelligible."

Above one of Derrida's essays, the grader wrote, "You seem to be constantly on the verge of something interesting but, somewhat, you always fail to explain it clearly."

Above another, the grader wrote, "An exercise in virtuosity, with undeniable intelligence, but with no particular relation to the history of philosophy."

As it turned out, Derrida's writing never became any easier to comprehend.

Whatever the audience's reaction, you might do better just to be yourself.

DID YOU KNOW? Judy Garland was cast as Annie Oakley in the 1950 film Annie Get Your Gun, but was fired (as was director Busby Berkeley) two months into production.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Yours Truly

Tonight and every weekday night, Bob Bailey in the transcribed adventures of the man with the action-packed expense account, America's fabulous free-lance insurance investigator...

Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar

Serial proved crime pays—and that podcasting deserves every marketer's attention.

One in five Americans listens to a podcast every month, according to Pew Research, and broadcast-quality production has never been easier (or cheaper) since Tascam introduced MiniStudio Creator at The NAB Show last month.

"Time-shifted radio," podcasts attract loyal followers and forge rich connections.

Podcasting on a regular basis (as content marketing expert
Mark Schaefer does) is a brilliant way to enrich a blog; and podcasting from live events will amplify any brand's presence.

The podcast-listening experience is unique in social channels: audio is intimate in a way video and images are not.

Content literally lodges in your head—the spot where brands want to be.

Marketers, furthermore, can enhance their podcasts with supplementary content and commentary, and track leads from specific podcasts by including custom URL callouts.

Still not sold? Consider three more facts:

  • Podcast listeners spend an average of 4 hours a week listening to podcasts, according to Edison Research;
  • 70% of podcast listeners are Millennials, according to Nielson; and
  • Podcast listeners are twice as likely to follow your brand as the average social media user, according to Edison Research.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Heads Up

Repeat customers produce 41% of revenue, according to Forrester.

Yet B2B marketers spend nearly all their money on
lead gen.

Jay Baer at
Convince & Convert calls it a Ponzi Scheme.

The fault lies with senior management: it makes lead gen marketers' key performance indicator.

Baer hopes "all B2B marketers muster the courage to look beyond the monthly and quarterly sales-qualified leads numbers that dangle over their collective necks like a guillotine."

You should spend more marketing money on retention.

Just a heads up.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Section 8

Citing the president's conduct during recent media interviews, opinion columnist Paul Krugman says Donald Trump may be coming unglued.

"Senior moments, when you can’t remember a name or phrase, or misremember where it came from, happen to many of us," Krugman writes.

"But that Economist interview was basically one long senior moment—and it wasn’t very different from other recent interviews with the commander in chief."

Trump indeed looks long in the tooth, and thus vulnerable to senior moments.

My parents—both dyed-in-the-wool Democrats and World War II veterans—would have sided with Krugman and called Trump a "Section 8."

During that war, servicemen and women battling psychiatric problems fell under Section 8 of
US Army Regulation 615-360. Anyone who merely hinted he was cuckoo would be evaluated by a "Section 8 board" and discharged. His fellows would call him a "Section 8."

If Trump looks old, know that the phrase "long in the tooth" is even older.

It comes from 16th-century animal husbandry. Sheep's and horses' teeth, unlike humans', grow longer with age, so a breeder could tell an animal's age from the length of its teeth (and still can).

The phrase "dyed in the wool" also comes from the 16th century, when wool-production was England's largest industry. When wool is dyed before it's turned into yarn, the color becomes fixed and unyielding.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Breakout at Tiffany's

Will brands take stands?

Last week, Tiffany & Co. placed an anti-Trump ad in The New York Times. The ad broke the same day on social media.

Two days before the company ran its ad in the Times, Tiffany joined Google, Facebook, Microsoft and other brands to run a comparable ad in the paper.

I predict we'll see more brands take stands as Trump's extremism escalates and his standing in polls plummets.

Business and politics normally don't mix.

But "normal" is up for grabs.

POSTSCRIPT: In related news, Trump is now calling his daughter Tiffany by the name "Cat."

UPDATE: Patagonia has joined the list!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Braggin' (or How to Blow Up Sales)

Folks got no use for braggin'.
— Jimmy Shirl

Playing with adjectives is like playing with dynamite.

You can blow up potential sales.

The copy pitching National Retail Federation's annual convention ("Retail's Big Show") illustrates the hazard:

The three day event offers unparalleled education, collegial networking with 34,500 of your newest friends, and an enormous Expo Hall full of technologies and solutions.

Do the adjectives make the nouns that describe the event more vivid?

You decide. In my view:
  • I understand the unparalleled education isn't a geometry lesson; but—besides being without peer—what is the attraction? Is the education useful? Practical? Advanced? Intensive? Digestible?

  • Collegial networking sure sounds more attractive than its opposite (adversarial networking). But, practically speaking, how do you network with 34,500 people in three days? That would require—provided you never slept, ate, or took potty breaks—speaking with each attendee no more than 7.5 seconds. That's a tough way to make newest friends.

  • An enormous Expo Hall also sounds more attractive than it opposite (a puny one). But how enormous is it? Bigger than Dallas? Than Ben Hur? Than a breadbox? And does every attendee equate vastness with productivity and time well spent?
It's safe to say the adjective-slinging copywriter strove, not to sell, but to please her client. Whatever happened to modesty, restraint, sincerity, dignity and good taste?

Here's the same copy adjective-free:

The event offers education, networking, and an Expo Hall full of technologies and solutions.

That's certainly clear, more sincere, and less preposterous. But does it sell?

The answer: it doesn't unsell.

Adjectives like unparalled, collegial, newest and enormous unsell, because they lack credence.

Nixing the adjectives and substituting stronger nouns and verbs would improve the copy's salesmanship:

Retail's Big Show arms you with insights, enriches your relationships, and introduces you to hundreds of technologies and solutions.

If that's not to your liking, substituting specifics instead would strengthen the copy's salesmanship:

Retail's Big Show equips you with a choice of over 125 educational sessions, countless opportunities to network with colleagues, and access to technologies and solutions from 490 providers.

And if that's too dry for you, using emotionally laden adjectives, instead of bombastic ones, would work:

Retail's Big Show outfits you for survival, delivering three full days of trend- and strategy-sessions designed for tomorrow's retail winners... countless opportunities to widen and renew your professional network... and nearly 500 chances to test-drive the tech innovations your competitors are considering—this very moment.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Young at Heart

Fairy tales can come true, i
t can happen to you, if you're young at heart.

— Carolyn Leigh

A former association executive's dream comes true this week when the American Writers Museum opens in Chicago.

The museum is the brainchild of Malcolm O’Hagan, who ran NEMA—the National Electrical Manufacturers Association—from 1991 to 2005.

The museum treats visiting littérateurs to a smorgasboard of great American writers, from Nathaniel Hawthorne to Harper Lee, Mark Twain to Maya Angelou, Billy Wilder to Bob Dylan.

O’Hagan undertook the project eight years ago, after a trip to the Dublin Writers Museum.

He left the Dublin museum wondering why there was no equivalent among the 17,500 museums in America.

Within a year, he started a nonprofit, whose board would eventually raise $10 million to found one.

Raising that amount was no cakewalk.

During the seven years required, O'Hagan sent over 39,000 emails to donors.

"When I embarked upon this mission I made a ten year commitment," O'Hagan says in an interview with Tin House.

"Nothing worth doing is easy if you want to do it right."

Friday, May 12, 2017

Content is Everything (or Why CMOs Fail)

Content is king.
— Bill Gates

CMOs tend to survive only a tad over two years.

There's a reason. While they're supposed to be leaders, most are overpaid closet organizers.

Instead of generating demand, they busy themselves with rearranging the company's "digital assets," so salespeople and customers can find them.

Big Data is their latest space-saving gadget. With it, they can go to town again rearranging the assets, this time in hyper-segmented, algorithm-based bins.

Meanwhile, salespeople still spend 40% of their time compiling their own deal-closing content, and 60% of customers think Marketing's content is crap.

CMOs, I have news for you: Marketing isn't logistics, or distribution, or document management. Marketing is content. And content is everything.

If you want to succeed, focus on quality content:

  1. Know the buyers
  2. Understand Sales' pipeline
  3. Create content aligned with both
What are you waiting for? Your next pink slip?

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Scrapes on a Plane

It's National Etiquette Week—the ideal time to start a midair brawl.

Will the surge in incivility on planes and in airports dampen meeting travel?

It doesn't take much to do so.

The SARS epidemic clobbered tradeshow attendance in the early 2000s. (I can recall vividly that the epidemic was the sole topic of discussion at UFI's 2003 summer meeting).

Unlike SARS, incivility is a uniquely American disease.

When it comes to air travel, it seems we have two modes: fight or flight.

But there are other options.

According to Expedia's 2017 Annual Airplane Etiquette Study, the 10 leading causes of scrapes on a plane are:
  • Rear seat-kicking
  • Inattentive parents
  • Odiferous passengers
  • Audio-insensitive passengers
  • Intoxicated passengers
  • Incessant chatting
  • Queue jumping
  • Seat reclining
  • Armrest hogging
  • Smelly food consumption
How do American passengers respond? According to the study:
  • 62% alert flight attendants when provoked
  • 33% endure the offense in silence
  • 13% video-record the offender
  • 10% confront the offender
  • 5% complain on social media
  • 3% shame the offender on social media

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Women Who Work

Who was that lady I saw you with last night?
She ain't no lady; she's my wife.
Joseph Weber

Ivanka Trump's recent line extension into toilet paper has prompted me to wonder where we get some of the words we use for women.

Old English used the word wif to mean woman. (Other old languages—including Saxon, Norse, Swedish, Danish, Dutch, and German—used a similar-sounding word.) It's from this word we get wife.

Old English also used the word wifman, which meant spouse. It's from this word we get woman.

To denote a high-born woman, Old English used hlafdige, which stemmed from two words: hlaf, meaning loaf (as in bread), and dige, meaning to knead (as in dough).

The hlafdige oversaw a household of servants, the hlafaetas, or loaf eaters.

The lady, you might say, was a loafer

Which brings us full circle back to Ivanka (although she certainly doesn't need any dough).

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong.

— Ecclesiastes

Before you agree with
Solomon, consider: 50% of sales are closed by the B2B sales rep who's first to call back an online lead, according to CEB.

That's daft, when you think about it. Speed is more important to a lot of B2B customers than efficiency, effectiveness, professionalism, or product knowledgeable.

You snooze, you lose.

And lot of reps are asleep.

According to Harvard Business Review, B2B reps take an average of 42 hours to get back to an online lead.

That's crazy, HBR says, given that the reps who call within 1 hour are 7 times more likely to reach the lead than reps who take 2 hours to call—and 60 times more likely than reps who take 24 hours to call.

According to Salesforce, 87% of B2B customers expect a rep's text-message response within 1 hour, and 67% expect a rep's email response within 1 hour. According to Shopify77% of B2B buyers won't wait more than 6 hours for a rep to respond.

With that degree of impatience, it's no wonder the race goes to the swift.

Reps need to wake up and quit ignoring online leads.

They may not all be qualified, but they're apparently ready to buy.
Powered by Blogger.