Mel is Founder of Delightful Communications, a Seattle-based Social Media, Digital PR and Personal Branding consultancy. This is his personal blog, a collection of news and anecdotes which Mel hopes will inform as well as bring a smile to people's faces.
In November, I gave the keynote speech at a gathering of financial advisors in the UK.
The brief was to inspire the assembled into thinking more creatively about how to use digital to get their clients to save and invest more.
I was very honest and told them it’d taken me until my 40’s to actually take some advice on my financial future. Sure I had a few pensions I’d been paying into during my time at Microsoft and before, but I’d never taken the time to understand life insurance or really figure out what I needed to do in order to retire at 60 as I’m kidding myself I’d like to.
During the question and answer session after my speech I was asked what I’d do if I was marketing financial services, so I said I’d tell some stories through video and online that actually resonated with the target audience of twenty-something’s instead of trotting out boring forecasts of how little I was going to have to spend in 25 years time.
Enter www.FeedThePig.org who recently created The Chase ad that I just spotted on TV this weekend and others like this, just as brilliant, spot called The Game.
Created by the American Institute of CPAs and the Advertising Council here in the US, I think it is a fantastic campaign and something I’d wished I’d had access to all those years ago when I were but a wee lad!
Now smashing through the five million views barrier on YouTube in just a couple of weeks, is a spot from Richard Branson’s Virgin America that (successfully) hopes to entertain and make the whole safety video thing a little more lean forward than go on auto-snooze.
I’m always insisting that companies need to do a little marketing that’s unexpected, and although this is spot on for the kind of thing you might expect from Virgin, the fact that it’s about something as serious as aviation safety, just gives it that extra little edge.
I’ve never flown Virgin (and I’ve just got Gold MVP on Alaska Airlines so I might not get to try them in the short term), but this should keep their passengers happy and smiling for a while.
Wonder how long it will be before they gives us the next version?
I’m at the BOLO 2013 conference in Scottsdale right now and apparently the first ever display advertising banner that hit the web was for AT&T and it went live in 1994 designed by Joe McCambley from The Wonderfactory.
A day later I called up Matt McGowan to get some advice (and a pep talk) and the guy was so generous with his time (and a free ticket to the SES digital marketing conference in San Francisco the following month) that that conversation has been etched in my memory ever since as a pivotal moment in me deciding to set up my own company.
I first met Matt in 2008 back in my Microsoft adCenter days at the SES conference in London and have got to know him, not just industry colleague but as friend. You know, that smart funny guy you make a beeline for across an expo hall at drinky time? That guy who’ll always make time to chat even though you can see he has a million things going on on the first day of a conference.
Today I’m kind of repaying Matt’s generosity that day we chatted after I’d been laid off from exactly 7 years at Microsoft, by publishing this interview with him about his recent amicable departure from the Incisive fold.
You see, Matt is one of the REALLY nice guys in search and social who has helped companies build their brands and individuals make names for themselves, but he’s always done it without so much of a toot of his own horn.
Always found rushing about at conferences with his phone clamped to his head fielding calls, fixing things, making connections and organizing great nights out after the expo halls went dark, he’s done it all with good humour and an endearing self-effacing nature.
When I spoke to him yesterday about his recent resignation from Incisive Media, he said he didn’t want to make a fuss. But I suggested that he’d touched so many careers in his tenure at Incisive that people would want to know what happened AND that he might have some advice for us all from lessons learned from his global business experience.
The resulting interview is below. Take a read, know he’s “all good” (as is often used to describe a positive outlook on like in the US of A), and maybe learn a few things….
So what’s the story Matt? 30th of June was your last day at Incisive? What happened?
After 7 years (to the day) Incisive Media and I came to a formal agreement that allowed me out of my day to day operational responsibilities at the company. This development was triggered by my decision to want and try something new, and it fit well with Incisive Media’s mid and long term plans. My decision to resign my role was not an easy one as my former team and the business I was responsible for are absolutely fantastic and extremely important to me.
The digital landscape has changed dramatically since I started with Incisive Media back in June 2006 and I plan on taking the summer and fall off to explore new opportunities.
So nothing sinister right? You’re leaving on good terms?
Only the best. Tim Weller, CEO at Incisive Media and who founded the business with James Hanbury and Nick Rapley, and his team and I are on fantastic terms – which was extremely important to me. After 7 years the team at Incisive Media feels like, is, family and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
And what about Search Engine Watch and ClickZ? They’re still carrying on their great work right?
ClickZ.com, SearchEngineWatch.com and the global SES Conference and Expo Series are in the best of hands. It is sometimes forgotten by many in the industry that these brands have been under the tutelage of Mike Grehan, Publisher of Incisive Media’s Interactive Marketing Portfolio, and his team for much of that last year. Moreover, Mike has been with the company for over 5 years. It’s safe to say he knows the business intimately.
If you don’t know Mike? He wrote one of the first books on Search Engine Marketing (and currently writing his next), he is an expert on information retrieval, has been cited many times in mainstream and industry press, and speaks at many events including invite-only internal events at some the largest players in the space. I have the utmost confidence in Mike and his team’s skills and their dedication to excellence.
What were the most valuable lessons learned from your 7 years at Incisive?
Tough question… though something I look forward to thinking more about it this summer as I take some time to decompress, understand what it is I have accomplished, what it is that motivates me, and what it is I want to do next.
Some early thoughts include and please remember its only been two weeks since I resigned my role as Managing Director of Incisive Media’s North and South America business and the global Interactive Marketing:
Lead by example.
Be honest with yourself, you team, and your clients/customers.
Deal with problems immediately, before they snowball.
Ask lots of questions.
Leave you pride at the door (you can learn something from everyone, have the strength to listen).
A clear corporate communication strategy is vital.
Believe in the work you do, your reputation is defined by it (that and how you treat others).
Be good to people –> it takes a village.
Don’t forget to thank your family for their support, it is invaluable.
Legendary night out in Macau after SES Hong Kong with Bill Hunt, Lee Odden, Aaron Kahlow and Brent Payne
It is an exciting world we live in. Digital is quickly becoming ubiquitous, and with that opportunities abound. I am looking more at those area’s that are in the state of disruption than those that are crowded and selling based on some optimization. In that vein, and in order to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground while I look for full time employment, I have accepted advisory positions with:
- The Online Marketing Institute, which is catering to the knowledge sharing and level setting needs of the online marketing and advertising industry (education and helping marketer’s do their jobs better has defined my career this last decade);
- Web Congress, an event business that serves mostly a hispanic and latino audience, is dedicated to education, and is based in one of my favorite favorite cities, Barcelona;
- BtoBeacon, a recently launched resource working to define and educate the BtoB marketing industry;
and of course…
- Incisive Media, where I am now an advisor to the CEO and Board of Directors with no operational responsibility.
Where can you be contacted if a reader wants to tap into your vast knowledge?!
If you have ideas for me or just want to talk marketing, advertising, and technology please do get in touch…
It’s less than month until all the entries for the highly coveted US Search Awards need to be in on 19th July!
I’m a judge on the panel representing sponsors Majestic SEO, and having judged a few awards before have a few opinions on how submissions should be made that maximize the chances of making the cut and eventually winning a gong!
Thankfully the organizers have beaten me to writing about it and provided some advice that I am sharing below.
Take onboard these best practices and you’ll be well on the way to Vegas baby!
When writing an award entry it’s difficult to assess how the entry will be perceived, so how to make an entry stand out and simply what the judges are looking for?
Here are five great tips for entering this year’s US Search Awards.
Don’t miss your opportunity to enter your fantastic work in Search, PPC and by entering it into the US Search Awards – entries are now open and you have until July 19th to enter.
Step 1: Simple
It may sound obvious but sometimes simple is best. Judges have many categories to peruse over and if your entry is full of ‘fluff’ and extra information that has to be waded through – you’re making their job difficult. Make sure your awards entry is clear and concise.
Step 2: SMART
It can often be difficult to assess what came next when objectives are written in a pitchy matter. An easy way to set out your objectives in your Search entry is to think of the mnemonic, SMART, this way it is clear to the judges what the objectives are:
If an awards entry is award winning the clarity is often the key – with the story being concise, coherent and ultimately convincing.
Step 3: Clear ROI
An award-winning entry is one that exceeds initial objectives. ROI is what you are being measured on – so if you want to be commended for your campaigns – you need to make sure you prove your ROI is strong. However, it is not always big figures that impress because it throws into question how much it cost to achieve those results. Some of the most impressive ROI figures are from relatively low –budget campaigns.
Step 4: Innovation
Creative, Innovation and intuition are three key elements which judges really take notice of when assessing award entries. What makes your campaign special? It is great to see campaigns that have, in some way, shape or form, pushed boundaries and are therefore different to other campaigns which have been seen before. If your campaign has a sense of pushing the Search industry forward, with brand new ideas and thoughts – this will set your entry apart from others.
Step 5: Presentation
To make a good first impression it is important that the small things count when writing your award entry.
A first point about an award entry presentation is that all entries should be well written, spelling mistakes look sloppy and lazy. A suggestion would be to write your entry in bullet points to break the content up and make it easier for the judges to read.
Finally, the award categories are now open for entries for the US Search Awards – view them here.
The deadline for award entries is: Friday 19th July 2013
Starbucks has an exciting opportunity for a Digital & Social Media Specialist to help support the growth and success of Starbucks digital activity in the UK. The Digital & Social Media Specialist will build, maintain and activate engaged social communities, help develop and execute digital marketing campaigns, and manage content across the Starbucks web and mobile properties.
They also say it’s a: rare, high profile opportunity for an individual with a clear passion for digital and social. Which I tend to agree with, so if you think you’re a good fit, or you know someone who maybe, apply or ask them to apply online at LinkedIn and let me know you’ve done so.
Knowing the digital guys at the head office in Seattle, rest assured you’ll be in great hands and learn a ton!
Those nice people at Don’t Panic Projects have asked me to a judge for the US search awards that will be handed out at Pubcon in Vegas this October.
I’m joining people like Rand Fishkin (professional crush/swoon), Chris Boggs and Richard Gregory (who I have not seen for donkey’s years)!
Not going to say I’m humbled and honoured etc because I’m English and we don’t do that sort of thing. I will say though, that I’m looking forward to seeing what people submit.
I recently judged the Performance Marketing Awards in the search category and was totally astounded by the ingenuity and attention to detail the shortlisters possessed; so seeing how they measure up to US strategies and tactics will be fascinating.
Just 2 weeks until our book launch reception in London. Thrilled JWT have agreed to host it. I remember reading up on their graduate training scheme way back in 1994 and not having a clue where to start filling out the application form.
How things change with the passage of time and a little experience?!
I’m looking forward to spending time with friends and family, as well as shoehorning in a few pints of 6X and other English bitters that I miss quite a bit.
More 5 star reviews keep coming in for the book on Amazon (links here) and we’ve published some more excerpts on Danny Sullivan from Search Engine Land, Gurbaksh Chahal from RadiumOne, Jaron Lanier from Microsoft who is the “Father of Virtual Reality” and Vanessa Fox, formerly from Google, she set up their webmaster tools community and now runs her own consultancy and marketing intelligence software called Nine By Blue from offices in Seattle.
Yesterday I spoke about the book at the Microsoft Trends Council in Redmond. A few senior folks showed up to hear me talk about the lessons learned from the book. Feedback was great. I think they find it valuable to hear what others are saying and doing in digital-land, and I think the historical nature of the book lends itself very well to understanding what might work for businesses in the future.
One potential other lesson they raised was practice. The notion that many of the Pioneers have honed their technical and business expertise over many years through experience. More on that on the Delightful Communications Blog by the end of the week.