Tag: Sarah Thomas

5 Marketing Podcasts to Get You Smarter in 2012

Digital Strategy, Marketing, Social Media3 Comments

As marketing and technology moves closer and closer, and branding and advertising can change literally overnight, the big challenge facing most marketers is how to stay relevant.

Podcasts are one of my favourite ways to keep track of everything that happens in the industry. The debates and contrasting points of view that often ensue help me learn and understand topics in more depth than simply reading an industry rag such as Mashable.

So without further adieu, here are my pick of podcasts you should be listening to if you’re serious about making smarter marketing decisions this year:

  1. The Beancast
    Hosted by the golden voiced Bob Knorpp, The Beancast is a weekly roundtable with some of the brightest marketing minds in North America discussing the latest trends and issues affecting marketers today. Every episode is around an hour long but the debate and discussion is worth it.
  2. Six Pixels of Separation
    Regular readers of this blog will know that I’m a huge fan of Mitch Joel and his blog Six Pixels of Separation, and his podcast of the same name is no exception. Geared toward senior marketers and executives, each week he interviews business and creative thought leaders such as Avinash Kaushik and Jonathan Salem Baskin giving unparalleled insight into a diverse range of topics.
    If you do subscribe, keep your ears out for the occasional Media Hacks episode with regular hackers Mitch, Chris Brogan, Julien Smith, Christopher S. Penn, C.C. Chapman and Hugh Mcguire.
  3. Marketing Over Coffee
    Hosted by John Wall and Christopher S. Penn this incredibly popular podcast is essential listening for anyone looking for actionable marketing advice. I’m yet to listen to an episode that hasn’t given me something useful to make me better at my job.
  4. Across the Sound
    I’m totally cheating here, but this deserves it’s own entry. Another SPOS spin-off in a “two for the price of one” kinda way, this is a monthly discussion/debate between Mitch Joel and Joseph Jaffe – two of the industry’s heaviest hitters – riffing on the business, cultural and social impact of digital and social media.
  5. Communication Junction
    ***Shameless plug alert***
    Now coming into our second year, this regular discussion between Sarah Thomas, Jason Neave and myself covers digital marketing, PR and social media in Australia and is the only Adelaide marketing podcast we know of.

So there you have it, head on over to iTunes or use your favourite podcast client and start upping your marketing IQ.

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Why I Became a Podcaster

Social Media0 Comments

A few weeks ago Sarah Thomas, Jason Neave and I got together over a few beers and gave life to the Communication Junction podcast. While it’s fair to say that the marketing podcast space is pretty crowded, we felt that there was still room for a uniquely (South) Australian voice to debate the issues important to marketing and comms professionals in the City of Churches.

While we still have some work to do to get it to a point where we will be truly happy, the response to the first episode has been reassuringly positive.

There was one bit of feedback I received, however, that took me by surprise. That was the number of people (over half I’d spoken to) who were perplexed at why I would (a) record a podcast; that was (b) specifically on marketing. After all, didn’t I already work, blog, speak and raise a young family? And why marketing? If it were sports or music, sure. But marketing? WTF?

It comes naturally to me

I love creating and content and have always wanted to record a podcast. Part of the reason why was eager to do it is probably because I spent over 10 years in radio. While most people are terrified at the thought of public speaking let alone someone downloading and playing back their voice, it really doesn’t faze me. I don’t have the best voice, but I speak passionately and earnestly on the things I love.

Having said that, I think I would be less comfortable if I were to do a video or photo blog. I’m a pretty average photographer at the best of times and don’t tend to take too many photos. In contrast, if I’m really interested in something, I tend to talk about it. A lot.

I’m compelled to do it

What’s the point in doing something if you don’t also love it. That’s how I felt when I realised I wanted to be a marketer – a digital marketer, to be precise.

Since then I’ve dedicated my professional (and large chunks of my personal) life to finding out everything I can about how technology has transformed the way brands communicate and engage with their customers. I’ve got a voracious appetite for knowledge and constantly read books, blogs and listen to podcasts, not to mention trawl Twitter for interesting links.

In addition to a varied background that has taken from the music industry, to the arts and not for profit sector, to media, marketing agency and now big client-side, I’ve been able to develop my thinking around issues related to digital marketing and business that I felt compelled to share with other people. I started this blog to do precisely that, but the opportunity to record a regular podcast with two people who I love debating the issues with was just too good to resist but also to take the great conversations we’ve had and put them online so that hopefully others can get some benefit from it.

So that’s my story.

What content are you compelled to create and why? Let me know in the comments.

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Is Old Spice the best social media campaign ever?

Digital Strategy, Social Media11 Comments

When the Old Spice videos started showing up on social media a couple of weeks ago, I was amongst those who promptly declared it “the best social media campaign ever.

Now that the dust has settled, I thought it was time to revisit my original assertion (I was wrong) and see what impact, if any, the campaign had and we as marketers can learn from it.

It began with traditional media

LOLing at the hundred or so YouTube videos that were created, it’s easy for international audiences especially to forget that the Old Spice campaign first took shape as a very traditional TV ad. Not just any ad, the spot earned top prize at this year’s Cannes Film Lions Grand Prix and went viral.

For this reason it’s a misnomer to call it a pure social media campaign. Without the mainstream awareness and equity built by traditional media, it’s doubtful that we would have cared as much as we did when Old Spice started creating personalised videos responding to Twitter celebs.

Where’s the ROI?

Cynics were quick to point out that despite the attention, the Old Spice ads had failed to translate to sales.

Turns out they were wrong as well with Procter & Gamble (Old Spice’s parent company) recently announcing a 55% increase in sales of Old Spice over the last 3 months and a 107% increase in the last month alone.

The bottom line is the campaign worked and based on the massive growth over the last month, and while we can’t say for sure social media played a role in this.

Extending the brand with social

So if the Old Spice ads as a whole did what they were supposed to and drive sales growth, what did Weiden + Kennedy (the Portland agency behind the campaign) get right with social?

Based on the overwhelmingly positive feedback towards the TV ads and the affinity the public felt towards the Old Spice guy, they identified an opportunity to move the campaign beyond traditional media and bring the character to life with social media.

The idea was deliciously simple and surprisingly low-tech considering the buzz it generated. Essentially, it leveraged on a very simple concept “make a series of 30 sec spots” and used social media to make it relevant to the audience. Read Write Web wrote a terrific piece about how the videos were made.

We should be doing this

Well actually, no.

While it’s a foregone conclusion that client’s will soon be asking their agencies for copycat campaigns (Cisco already tried and failed with Cisco Guy), without spending big bucks to build brand equity and a campaign concept that resonates with customers, it’s doubtful that Old Spice’s success can be replicated.

Even then, for social media marketers, the Old Spice campaign failed to leverage all the good stuff inherent in social media: conversation, community, engagement. As great and as innovative as the campaign is, it remains a brilliant traditional media idea that was very smartly repurposed and repackaged for social media.

Hat-tip to Mitch Joel and Joseph Jaffe who I just found out covered this topic in the latest episode of Six Pixels of Separation. I only realised this last night while listening to the podcast and well after this post had been written. If you want to hear their thoughts, you can listen here.

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Getting a job as a digital marketer

Digital Strategy12 Comments

When it comes to hiring digital marketers, it’s a jungle out there.

Even with the number of digital marketing positions on the rise as businesses scramble to avoid being left behind, the growing pool of new digital talent and traditional marketers looking to reposition themselves means that competition in this space is fierce. The emergence of social media, in particular, has altered the landscape yet again making it harder than ever to distinguish genuine talent from the proverbial snake oil salesmen.

With the playing field leveled and everyone now being able to publish and spruik their wares online, what do you need to do to get noticed and ultimately hired?

Over the past few weeks, I have received a number of emails and DMs from people looking for career advice which has prompted me to write this post. However, instead of just hearing from me, I thought it would be even more useful to ask some of the most respected digital marketers in Australia and around the world (including two who have had a profound influence on my career to date),for one piece of advice that they could offer digital job seekers:

Mitch Joel (President, Twist Image; Author, Six Pixels of Separation): Use these channels to become a known voice for whatever it is you’re pursuing. How could someone not hire someone who is regarded in their industry?

Avinash Kaushik (Author, Web Analytics 2.0; Analytics Evangelist, Google): Learn to try new things and play in the real world. There is no better medium in the world for you to try anything you want, all by yourself without the need to rely on your employer to empower you. Tools are free or cheap. Platforms are free or cheap. All you need is a pinch of effort and a dash of desire to learn in the real world. If you do that no one will refuse to hire you because you’ll actually know what the heck you are talking about. If you don’t do that… well…. life will be tougher.

Jason Neave (Managing Director, Via Media): Be visible in the space. If I’m hiring you for a digital marketing role (versus a creative or development one – and even then your online presence plays a huge part), I’ll spend 30 seconds looking at your CV and 30 minutes browsing your social network profiles, blog posts, twitter accounts, flickr galleries, and LinkedIn info. Have an opinion and don’t be afraid to share it. Oh, and if you’re applying, please make the effort to find out who to address your emails/letters to. We get a lot of ‘To Whom it May Concern’ notes. There’s no-one here by that name.

Michelle Prak (Digital Communications Expert, Hughes PR): In whatever you say about yourself online, use keywords. If you’re looking for a job in the digital industry, say so. Don’t just mention the fact that you like cheesecakes and you have a pet dog. Consider how a stranger (and potential employer) would read your profile.

Nic Hodges (Head of Innovation and Technology, Mediacom): Where I see the challenge with talent now is in social and data. Most agencies are still grappling with how they execute and resource social, and that throws up the obvious issue of assessing skillsets and leveraging experience. Add in the plethora of ‘social media gurus’ crowding up the talent pool and there’s a lot of chaff to sort through to get to the wheat. People who can talk social media in real world terms, deliver real business results, and integrate with an overall communications strategy will be highly sought after in the coming years. And whether they go to media, PR, or creative agencies is still up for grabs.

Sarah Thomas (Owner, Carve Consulting): Whilst it is imperative you demonstrate your digital skills and knowledge online, don’t forget about the importance of the real world too. Take your online contacts offline; attend tweetups, industry events, catch up with people for a coffee.

Damien Mair (Principal, Fusion): Be open and willing to try and fail, so you can learn, as following what someone else has done will not provide innovation. There isn’t rules, the people failing will be the ones who leave a path of rules for the followers…to well follow…while you keep evolving….and that is what will make you valuable to whoever you are applying you mind, talents and focus to at the time.

And lastly, my advice: Don’t rely on Twitter to build your reputation. There’s a limit to how insightful you can be in 140 characters. Make the commitment to blog and demonstrate that you not only know your stuff and have some smart things to say but are also up-to-date with emerging trends and have an opinion about the way things are headed.

Did you find this advice useful? What did you think? Is there any other advice you would give to digital job seekers?

Thanks to Mitch Joel, Avinash Kaushik, Jason Neave, Michelle Prak, Nic Hodges, Sarah Thomas and Damien Mair for their generous contributions. If you like what you read, please take the time to check out their blogs/websites, most of which are in my blogroll.

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