Unintended Benefits

Those of you following my journey know that I’ve been advising some small companies in the world of product and marketing.   I’ve literally worked my way through the last 20 years with virtually no time off from corporate America  for “exploration”. (Unless you count two maternity leaves and a hip replacement).

People have been asking me what I’m actually doing for them. Well…. It depends. Product Roadmaps. Marketing Plans. Creative Review. Websites. Customer Acquisition. Partner Pitches. Investor Prep. Competitive Strategy.  Introductions.

I’ve been blown away by the energy, passion, and joy that the many entrepreneurs I’ve met are bringing to the party.   I know that I’m supposed to be advising them, but I find that they’re advising me …. Without even knowing it. Today’s entry is dedicated to them.

To Marilou and Kathy at Vivo Girl Sports. You are so optimistic, but not afraid to ask for help. You make me proud to work on a project that will improve the lives of teenage girls.

To Brian at Kidlandia.  Your optimism is infectious, you’ve built a great product and a great team.  Way to share your vision.

To Geoff at Unnamed New Company.   You know no boundaries, but you’re realistic. You debate, but listen. You’re always looking for answers.

To David at Unnamed New Company #2.   You’ve got a great product, but  you never lose sight of the business model.

To  another David at Company I Want to Start Advising.  Amazing ideas, great ability to tell a story.  Laser focus.

Wish us luck!

Become a Fan of …..

Seems like every day I get asked to “become a fan” of something on  Facebook. It started simply enough.  Three seasons ago Ryan Seacrest announced “become a fan” of American Idol to get the real scoop. So I did. Today I’m a fan of dozens of companies, groups, causes, people and the “news” generated by my fandom has begun to dominate my newsfeed. Sometimes I even just “become a fan” because I want to feel like I’m in the in-crowd, such  as “Tam High  Prom Dress Decisions 2010”  This got me thinking about the great lengths the folks manning the fan pages must go to create messages that will cut through the clutter and make me “click and engage” rather than “hide and forget”.

Here’s a sample of the posts on my newsfeed  this week. All delivered to me because I am a fan of ….”

  1. Check it out DAWG.
  2. How do you feel about Spankings?
  3. For people who are out of shape.
  4. Still want to join together in Private?
  5. Everything you ever wanted to know about tattoos on our staff.
  6. Fill out and win big.
  7. Don’t make these 5 mistakes.
  8. Get a  big  gun.
  9. Cost of laundry is too high.
  10. Did you hit up the farmers market today?

Clearly the marketer in charge wants to deliver a compelling post that gets me to click. I don’t know if it’s working, but I do have to commend some of them for at least getting my attention. There’s a lesson here about the use of the fan page and getting consumers to engage and ultimately to share with their friends.  (Or at very least read the newsfeed).  Clearly the fan page is a different tool in the arsenal than the website, twitter feed, or blog, but how to use it effectively is trickier.

My personal favorite is #6.  That’s because  I do want to know about the tattoos on your staff. Very engaging stuff.  Thanks for that Ad Freak.  See if you can match the logos with the posts and post it in the comment section.   Then you can become a Fan of Nancy MacIntyre… (Just kidding)

Ad Freak

Thinking about Moms

I’ve been thinking a lot about Moms. Logical for a marketer, right? It turns out that Moms, and in fact women of all kinds are more connected than ever. Nielsen even coined the phrase “Power Moms” to describe this tech-savvy, blogging, social networking, web surfing person who uses technology for  just about everything.   On principle, I disagree with that name, since all Moms, by definition, are powerful, but that topic is  for another day.

My journey led me to check out all the new companies targeting this Power Mom. Moms who Blog. Moms who Tweet.  Moms who Text. Moms who create Online Communities. Moms who are Online CEOs from Home. Moms who Homeschool Online.  It was illuminating to see that even though I’ve been marketing to Moms my entire career and just spent 3 years working at LeapFrog for goodness sake,  even I wasn’t aware of the cottage industry that’s sprung up around moms online. My guess is that most marketers selling moms think they understand  “social marketing”, but a closer look tells me it’s still the wild west out there.   Here’s some things I like :    Twitter Moms …. reach over 20,000 influential twittering moms.   BlogAdvert …. reach all the mommy bloggers and their readers in any location,  Circle of Moms …. a social network of over 5MM Moms on Facebook,  MomsLikeMe …. a online community of local moms groups, Silicon Valley Moms Group …. a network of mommy bloggers in big cities all over the US, CafeMom …. a fun oriented mom community . The big guys like BabyCenter, Parents, and Parenting also do a good job and have huge audiences, but I personally found the community engagement better elsewhere  – and the accessibility whether through the web, facebook, or mobile really impressive.

It’s obvious that brands are really coming to the party. Not only are literally thousands of products reviewed  by bloggers, but the “brand integration” promotion is ubiquitous. Everyone’s doing it and a smart mom could really cash-in from coupons, promotions, contests, and retail tie-ins if they had the patience and Indiana Jones style tracking skills to put all the deals together.  I expect that the next big leap forward will tie online preferences + location + mobile + community together to provide marketers with the opportunity to serve up  targeted mobile  ads directly to Mom as she strolls through Target or Safeway – knowing whether she’s from Chicago or Miami and prefers ice cream or hot cocoa.   It’s a good time to be a Mom, power or otherwise. And an even better time to be a marketer.