Commoditizing Thought Leadership

Building thought leadership, when there are more critics than creators. Live long and propagate.

Thursday, February 28

Linked in or Lies

I wanted to recount an experience. My company is looking for a marketing person. Someone who can write, understands web marketing and is enthusiastic about working for a small company. The usual. What I find when I interview people who have 20+ years of experience in the corporate work place, they are keen to prove how "hip" they are. This means talking about blogs, newsletters, using macs or social networking. I encountered one of these today who was bragging about how critical using Linkedin was to top-tier professionals in today's environment, and how this influential people only wanted to connect with other linked in people. This of course is a valid point.

Unfortunately he didn't have a linked in profile.

Maybe he chose to keep it hidden from people outside his network. But he he was a freelancer communications/PR person, and it would be beneficial to show up in the network results, right?

So I guess he's not in the cool club.

Tuesday, February 26

Hire the Best, train the rest (part 1)

One thing that all small companies struggle with is hiring the right people. It doesn't matter what type of position you are looking for, but it is always a struggle to find time for interviewing, reviewing resumes, screening candidates and adding one to your team. It is absolutely critical to make the right decision, since turnover has a much larger impact in a smaller organization.

The most difficult thing about hiring, is actually determining what person is the right fit: personality, experience, attitude and ambition that matches your company's goals. Limited reach and limited budget don't help matters either. I think the old adage for suits, shoes and purses holds true with people: hire the best you can afford. Hiring the best is sometimes out of reach or difficult to discern, but all organizations should strive for the top. And each person is motivated by different rewards, your environment might be the right fit. Summation has some great tips on the benefits of great people, and what they need to succeed in your company!

So what if your team is missing a critical skill or experience or something else?


I know, with limited resources, training is a luxury you can't afford. But there are huge benefits to putting training at the forefront of your employee management strategy.
1. Increases your teams skill set
2. Improves employee happiness
3. Demonstrates how you value your team

Bottom line, investing in your employees makes them want (and feel psychically obligated) to invest in you.

I'll follow this up with a part 2 on training programs and tips to increase your team's skills and decrease turnover.

Saturday, December 1

Lost Web 2.Tuesday Post

It's Web 2.Tuesday again. This week I'll look at how B2B can use the new technologies to attract customer, increase interaction with prospects and more.

Over the past few months I have been thinking a lot about how my company can use its website as a lead generation tool, not just an image creation tool I started thinking about how I use the web and find the info I am looking for. First and foremost, I tend to use mental tags. Once I enabled desktop search on my computer, these tags became more essential, and I tried to incorporate this idea into my file names to make them easier to find. I then realize, when looking at my competitors websites, I could never find the info I wanted in the search, so I thought combining tags, and search, in the same way blogs do, would make it easier to find info on our new website. This idea of tagging served as the core unifying philosophy of the redesign. B2B websites tend to be petty insular, and not customer focused. Prospects now are looking for a more balanced approach in finding information about products and services they are looking for. It's our job as a vendor, to be transparent and let our prospects and other target audiences find what they are looking for easily! Prospects are looking for more voices, especially in technology, to get a balanced opinion on technologies. It's our job to help them out!

I guess a few other people have ideas on taking advantage of the new web, and here is a great top 10 list of ideas!
Top 10 Ways to Add Social Media to B2B Marketing:
Social media marketing is emerging as a viable business-to-business marketing, public relations option. It is even becoming a useful so-called Web 2.0 tool for executing business strategy, as companies obtain valuable customer preferences and opinions from their online communities."

Monday, July 23

How soon should new employees jump in?

We added a new person to the team today. This new marcom person is extremely experienced in marketing, but knows less about our technologies. As part of the learning process in my organization, new employees are expected to jump right in, sink or swim.

When is it too soon to assign critical projects?

I personally, when starting a new job, like to have some time to get inside the mind of the organization, learn where the people and the stuff are. The first week should be a week where minimal results are required. Unfortunately, at many small companies, time is money. And many times there isn't enough time for the new employee to learn and understand enough to be worth the money.

It is important to balance the honeymoon period with an employee with tasks designed to test the employees competence, as well as deliver value to the organization, but organizations should be careful not to set up new employees to fail. Maybe for a new marcom person, the first few days should be spent educating them on the industry, pointing them to industry resources, and analyzing current content for perspective.

Once they have the where we are figured out, assign them to a smaller project where they can make the final call that won't have a huge business risk like determining a landing page heading, newsletter title or list of targets to mail. After these tasks are completed, have them review the annual or quarterly calendar to research unknown opportunities that make sense in light of the current strategy.

Breaking the first week into many small tasks helps the new employee ease into the new environment, and still gives employers maximum benefit setting up a win win, long-term relationship. With all the time, resources, and effort spent on recruiting, it is important that new hires pay off.

Thursday, June 28

Even After Apple, Designers Dig Jobs

Great execution starts at the top. Businessweek has a great feature on Apple in advance of the iPhone release. Here is the best quote!

Even After Apple, Designers Dig Jobs: "'His understanding and support of design is shown in product after product. Apple's committed to design all the way through the process and that comes right from the top of the company. It's a belief and commitment that's cultural, not process-oriented.'"

Wednesday, June 27

Web 2.Tuesday: Edition 2

Well it looks like my computer ate my last post from yesterday on Web2.Tuesday so it'll have to wait till next week. What a shame because it was a really great entry!

Monday, June 25

Take me to your leader

When the outer space visitors come to town, they are always looking for the leader. This is a note to all the leaders: company founders, presidents and CEOs. Your employees are looking for their leaders. One of the most essential items crucial to success of your business is clear leadership.

Businesses are a reflection of the leadership (or management team). If you are disorganized, your business will be. If you are spontaneous, your business will be too. Who are you, and who do you want your business to be? At some point this is a really essential question to answer.

It may not seem necessary at the beginning, or even seem like it will help. But once you move to about employee number 3, or maybe number 5, everyone will be looking to you to provide guidance, a plan and direction. Be prepared to offer this to your team.

Employees are simple to figure out. We want to be treated well. We want to be compensated fairly. We wan to be rewarded for our contributions. We want to recognized for our achievements. And we want to be appreciated. But we don't want to be mind readers. Be prepared to articulate and define what you want, and most importantly, determine milestones to get there. If we know where we are going, where we have been, and what paths are available to get there we can help you achieve your goals. If you don't tell us the goal, we won't know how to help you. And it's the only way you can tell if we are playing for your team.