Tag : marketing 2.0

Lessons from real world communities

To open our workshops about creating online communities, we at Beeline Labs start with an exercise that asks people to reflect on what it was like to be part of a real world community or group that they loved — could be anything from a summer camp to a college group to  a sports team.

After people share what was great about their group experiences, we explain that those same attributes are what make online communities great.  The magic is the experience with people, not the technology/venue, not the number of members or the amount of participation or activities.

Here’s what people at the Web 2.0 Expo/New York loved about their real world groups and communities:

  • Shared purpose and experience
  • Trust
  • Feel like it’s safe place to share
  • Respect for differences of opinion
  • Passion for purpose or vision
  • Friendship
  • Ability to take or give
  • Cool place to hang out
  • Failure-free zones
  • Excitement of finding diversity in a common group
  • Openness of people in group
  • Constantly something new going on
  • Affirming: being part of group adds to your own identity
  • Opportunity to learn
  • Common ground rules respected by all
  • Common problems
  • Thrill of achieving something big together
  • Initial investment, emotional or monetary, needed
  • Good coordinator of leader

Adopting social media for employees: biggest anchors + Conference Board preso

Here’s some of the material from last week’s Conference Board workshop about how to extend brands to employees by empowering employees with social media.


The workshop was four hours, yet the time flew as there’s so much to talk about and learn in this area. What made the session especially valuable to me was the tremendous participation and insights from HR and communications executives at some of the biggest companies in the world. What a great group to teach and lead! Thanks all.

During the workshop we did an exercise about “anchors” slowing companies down from realizing the possibilities of social media, which we addressed as part of the session. Here were the biggest anchors from the group, in order of “anchor weight.” The overwhelming resistance to change was a bit frightening to me. How can companies survive, never mind grow, without some risk and and openness to new ideas?

Top anchors slowing down social media adoption

  • Time and resources: Finding resources amid competing priorities, where to find budget, who to manage
  • Fear: Inappropriate employee comment, fear of bad news, maintaining company secrets, afraid to fail, fear of exposure, fear of unknown – this has never been done; fear of change; loss of control
  • Management buy in: Conservative culture; old guard holding on to what has always been done, senior management not in favor of “sharing”; resistance to change; senior executives are anti-communications
  • Generational issues: baby boomers not always willing to embrace new technology, generational resistance
  • Value: lack of clear purpose for getting involved
  • Initiating: Lack of a champion who gets it; knowing how to get started, where do you begin?; no resident expertise

Additional, but less significant, obstacles

  • IT: security issues; IT desire to maintain control of tools; Complexity: too many competing technologies, too complex
  • HR
  • Legal/risk management
  • Having to try to make SAP and Sharepoint work as social tools
  • Maintaining company voice
  • Employees feel they are already asked to do too much

10 Marketing 2.0 lessons from the Ryan Montbleau Band

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The Ryan Montbleau Band is an amazing up-and-coming group that knows how to use Marketing 2.0 to build a fan base and sell tickets and music, with almost no money for marketing. Here are 10 Marketing 2.0 lessons from the band for all marketers:

  1. Love what you do: passion is the center of marketing and propels all tactical components. The greater the passion, the more powerful the marketing.

2. Listen to your customers (fans): Ryan Montbleau hung out after a recent performance, talking, signing t-shirts, and genuinely connecting with fans in the lobby. I had a great conversation with him about some of his lyrics and how he’s so come to be so wise at such a young age. (Which goes back to listening and passion again; he’s in the world.)

3. Make it easy for people to help you: The band makes it easy for people to act as word of mouth advocates, inviting anyone interested to join the Bleau Crew, their street team community.

“What is the Bleau Crew, you ask? We’re a community of fans that do our best to help the band on the road, giving them time to do what they do best: make music! Projects include postering for local shows, handing out handbills, posting banners on our Myspace pages, adding new songs to our profiles, and more! Benefits include free tickets, music, and being part of something truly special. We also get personal teleporters. Awesome, I know.”

4. Go where your fans are online: (Which also makes it easy to help you again.) The band doesn’t just rely on its site or a social network. They’re all the places their fans — and potential fans are — MySpace, FaceBook, Flickr, even a simple message board community aptly named Bleauboards that is thriving.

5. Reveal your points of view and personal stories so people can connect with people in band, not just band. You get a sense of the artist and person Ryan is through his blog, and you get to know all the band members through their quirky profiles. (I especially love band member Ted Wilson’s profile — and that the other members welcomed someone like him.)

6. Keep “old” marketing tactics that work: Want to stay in touch through email? Montbleau also offers a newsletter.

7. Say thank you: When a recent tee-shirt order arrived there was a a handwritten note on the order form, thanking me for supporting the band. Small touches grow fans.

8. Be distinctive, even if people can’t categorize you. Old marketing was that you had to fit into an established category or create a new category. Yet too often trying to fit in to a category blands down the product or service. In today’s super-competitive world, distinctiveness can be a powerful differentiator. So what kind of music is Montbleau? He describes himself as “something of a Martin Sexton by way of Van Morrsion and Stevie Wonder.”

9. Give away free “products”: Giving away free stuff helps people experience the “product,” have something to share as they pass along word of mouth, and  builds fan-dom. You can download for free one of the band’s most popular songs, “How Many Times,” as well as tour posters and handbills. The band is also  contributing 50 cents from each ticket to Rock The Earth, and  contributing 50 cents from each ticket to HeadCount’s “Cents for Sense” campaign until the 2008 presidential election.

10. Make it easy to buy: The band makes it easy to buy music whether it’s on their site or on MySpace, and you can buy concert tickets right on their site.

One of my favorite lyrics from Ryan’s music is:

“It’s time to ease from concentration to focus.”

This is true for so many things in life, and  relevant to marketing. It’s time we stop concentrating on the tactics and tools, and flip our focus on earning customers with all the new 2.0 tools.

PS –  Montbleau won second prize in the 2007 International Songwriter’s Competition, competing with 15,000 songs written by amateur and professional songwriters from over 100 countries.