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What’s A Blog? Consumer Reaction Says it All.

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family_guy_2.jpgMany folks tout blogging as a part of Web2.0. Many of those same people have convinced the main stream that in order to succeed, you must ease your site ‘copy’, get shiny, change your colors and forget selling anything- we have to educate. I’ve even heard many say that to not follow this new thread of thinking will leave you behind in the dust.

It is all a fabrication in my opinion. Web 2.0 is nothing but a label placed on something investors blew off several years ago. I believe it’s a hype to increase values of technology companies. Why do I believe that? Austin is said to be the “silicon valley of the Midwest” and with a phrase like that, you would think more folks would know what a blog is. In fact, you would think that most of the advertisers in the Midwest would know what exactly web2.0 is. The reality is that everyday average folks have no idea what in the heck a blog or web2.0 is. Nor do they understand it.

When I look at it from a know-nothing position, I have to agree. I can understand the confusion that there’s been a sudden change, but no one bothered to take the consumer with them. Think about that from a marketing perspective- change in marketing is normally driven by consumer demand; doesn’t it stand to reason if they demanded it, they would understand it? The answer is a simple yes. In the case of Web2.0, techies demanded it- techies wanted to illustrate their spin on how the market should bear out, and we let them, we even helped fan the flames.

Should we follow tech demand? Yes. But we as businesses we should find a happy middle, not swing completely one way or the other. Change with consumers is gradual, not overnight, and in the race to be different, we shouldn’t leave the consumer behind- or jump off a bridge because a heavily leveraged venture company said so, and not to please Google.

Update: This is what you give up by buying into all things internet. This is what is lost in web2.0. This is what people who are serious about real estate need to keep in focus. This is the concept that wins, no matter how shiny your website or avm is…

Greg’s solution? Address the problem head-on. Go beyond where I had gone, which was to justify my need to know: Acknowledge that I’m in sales. Ask whether the client/prospect has had a bad experience with a salesperson and listen to the response.

Bravo Cathleen for asking the right questions and delivering relationship-centric ideas. Relationship2.0 has been here 1,000 years, beta tested and true.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Shailesh Ghimire

    October 8, 2007 at 10:05 pm

    There is more hype than reality in the whole Web 2.0 thing. The recent botched sale of AR is case in point. Also, I’m not sure if MySpace is making money for Murdoch or not. How about Facebook? How are these guys going to make money?

    I started blogging back in early 2005 because I wanted to do something unique to get business. Problem is all my business was coming from off-line sources. Why would I blog? I never got serious about blogging until business actually slowed down 6 months ago. I have received some business from blogging but – in my honest opinion – not enough to really justify it, but its fun, and I enjoy it and it’s kinda work related. I have enough business to keep things going – so why not is my answer.

    You hit the nail on its head, when it comes to where consumers stand. Most of my friends don’t know what a blog is – they know I blog but I have a buddy who says everytime he hears the word “blog” he thinks of me and smiles. One person even thought it was a bad word, kind of a kinky internet-sex variety. I’ve talked to so many people who don’t know what a blog is – one person asked me how you’d know if you’re on a blog. Good question, I said.

    So, either we’re way ahead of the curve or we’re just blowing smoke. Either way in my opinion this whole Web 2.0 thing will go up in smoke like the bust of 2000 and we’ll be talking about Web 3.0 in 8 years. I still think the correlation between effort and dollars isn’t quite there yet to say this is a proven method. We’re all trying and all thinking of something innovative. However, as my economics professor used to say, “you can’t build an economy doing eachothers laundry” – and sometimes blogging feels that way. We’re just talking to eachother and every once in a potential client overhears our conversation and wants to do business.

  2. benn

    October 8, 2007 at 10:27 pm

    excellent points!

  3. Lani Anglin

    October 8, 2007 at 11:48 pm

    As BR noted, it’s worth jumping on in *case* the rest of the population catches up. As for blogging and the Web 2.0 feel being the ultimate universal tool for consumers, well, we all know that it isn’t so. As a blogger, when was the last time you walked into a room of regular consumers and said “I’m a blogger” and didn’t expect to have to explain yourself?

    There you have it; I think BR said it best, “change in marketing is normally driven by consumer demand; doesn’t it stand to reason if they demanded it, they would understand it?”

  4. Athol Kay

    October 9, 2007 at 12:10 am

    Great great image.

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Business Marketing

Technology is helping small businesses adapt and stay afloat

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Small businesses need to utilize digital platforms to adapt their businesses during COVID-19, or else they may be left behind.

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small businesses new tech

While many may not have imagined our present day back in March, and to what extreme we would be doing things “remotely” and via “hands-free contact”, we have to give some credit to small business owners who remain flexible and have pivoted to stay afloat. They deserve major credit on adaptations they have made (and possibly investments) in new technology (ordering online, online payments) especially at a time when their in-person revenues have taken a hit.

There are various marketing buzz words being used lately to say “let’s keep our distance”, including: curbside, to-go, hands-free, no contact, delivery only, order via app, social distancing and #wearamask.

The thing is, if you really think about it, small businesses are always in evolution mode – they have to pay attention to consumer consumption and behaviors that can shift quickly in order to stay relevant and utilize their marketing and advertising budgets wisely. They heavily rely on positive customer reviews and word of mouth recommendations because they may not have the budget for large scale efforts.

For example, we use Lyft or Uber vs calling an individual cab owner; we order on Amazon vs shopping at a local mom-and-pop shop; we download and make playlists of music vs going to a record or music store. Small business owners are constantly fighting to keep up with the big guys and have to take into account how their product/service has relevance, and if it’s easy for people to attain. In current times, they’ve had to place major efforts into contactless experiences that often require utilizing a digital platform.

If stores or restaurants didn’t already have an online ordering platform, they had to implement one. Many may have already had a way to order online but once they were forced to close their dining areas, they had to figure out how to collect payments safely upon pickup; this may have required them to implement a new system. Many restaurants also had to restructure pick up and to-go orders, whether it was adding additional signage or reconfiguring their pick up space to make sure people were able to easily practice social distancing.

According to this article from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Studies have shown that 73% of small businesses are not aware of digital resources, such as online payment processing tools, online productivity tools, e-commerce websites, online marketing and other tools, that can help them reach customers around the world. If small businesses had better access to global markets, it could increase the GDP of the United States by $81 billion and add 900,000 new jobs. During the pandemic, this could also mean the difference between thriving and closing for good.”

There are some larger corporate technology companies offering ways to support small businesses whether it’s through small business grants from Google, resources and grants from Facebook or Verizon giving them a break on their telecom bill. The challenge with this may be whether or not small business owners are able to find time from their intense focus on surviving to applying for these grants and managing all that admin time. Many business owners may be focusing on what technology they have and can upgrade, or what they need to implement – most likely while seeing a loss in revenue. So, it can be a tough decision to make new technology investments.

It does seem like many have made incredible strides, and quickly (which is impressive), to still offer their products and services to customers – whether it’s a contactless pay method, free delivery, or even reservations to ensure limited capacity and socially distanced visits. There are still some that just haven’t able to do that yet, and may be looking at other ways to take their business to a wider audience online.

We would encourage, if you can, to support small businesses in your community as often as you can. Understandably there are times that it’s easier to order on Amazon, but if there is a way you can pick up something from a local brewery or family-owned business, this may be the lifeline they need to survive and/or to invest in new technology to help them adapt.

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Business Marketing

There’s a shortage of skilled workers, so get learning

(BUSINESS MARKETING) COVID-19 may end up justifying training funds for lower-class workers to learn new skills. Skilled workers are desperately needed right now.

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skilled worker

The COVID-19 pandemic (yes, that one) has ushered in a lot of unexpected changes, one of the which is most surprising: An increased call for skilled workers — a call that, unfortunately, requires a massive retraining of the existing workforce.

According to the New York Times, nearly 50 percent of Americans were working from home by May; this was, reportedly, a 15 percent increase in remote work. The problems with this model are expansive, but one of the greatest issues stems from the lack of training: As employees of lower-class employment transitioned to working online, it became increasingly evident that there was a shortage of skilled workers in this country.

The Times traces this phenomenon back to the Great Recession; Harvard University’s Lawrence Katz points to some parallels and insinuates that this is an opportunity to elevate the lower class rather than regressing, and it seems fair to put the onus of such elevation on lawmakers and senators.

Indeed, Congress has even addressed the issue of skill equality via “bipartisan support” of a $4000 credit for non-skilled workers to use toward skill training. For Congress to come together on something like this is relatively noteworthy, and it’s hard to disagree with the premise that, given the invariable automation wave, many of our “non-skilled” workers will face unemployment without substantial aid.

COVID-19 has accelerated many trends and processes that should have taken years to propagate, and this is clearly one of them.

Supporting laborers in developing skills that help them work within the technology bubble isn’t just a good idea–it’s imperative, both morally and economically speaking. Even middle-class “skilled” workers have had trouble keeping up with the sheer amount of automation and technology-based skillsets required to stay competent; when one considers how lower-class employees will be impacted by this wave, the outcome is too dark to entertain.

It should be noted that non-skilled workers don’t necessarily have to scale up their training in their current fields; the Times references a truck driver who pivoted hard into software development, and while it may be easier for some to focus on their existing areas of expertise, the option to make a career change does exist.

If we take nothing else away from the time we’ve spent in quarantine, we should remember that skilled labor is integral to our success as a society, and we have a moral obligation to help those who missed the opportunity to develop such skills fulfill that need.

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Business Marketing

6 tips to easily market your side hustle

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It can be hard to stand out from the crowd when you’re starting a new side hustle. Here are some easy ways to make your marketing efforts more effective.

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side hustle marketing

Side hustles have become the name of the game, and especially during these turbulent times, we have to get extra creative when it comes to making money. With so many of us making moves and so much noise, it can be hard to get the word out and stand out when sharing your side hustle.

Reuben Jackson of Big Think shared five ways that you can market your side hustle (we added a sixth tip for good measure), and comment with your thoughts and ideas on the subject:

  1. Referrals: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
    If you’re going to make a splash, you have to be willing to ask for favors. Reach out to your network and ask them to help spread the word on your new venture. This can be as simple as asking your friends to share a Facebook post with information that refers them to your page or website. Word of mouth is still important and incredibly effective.
  2. Start Where You Are
    Immediately running an expensive ad right out of the gate may not be the most effective use of your (likely) limited funds. Use the resources you do have to your advantage – especially if you’re just testing things out to see how the side hustle goes in the real world. You can do this by creating a simple, informational landing page for a small fee. Or, if you’re not looking to put any money into it right away, create an enticing email signature that explains what you do in a concise and eye-catching way. Check out these tools to create a kickin’ email signature.
  3. Gather Positive Reviews
    If you’ve performed a service or sold a product, ask your customers to write a review on the experience. Never underestimate how many potential customers read reviews before choosing where to spend their money, so this is an incredibly important asset. Once a service is completed or a product is sold, send a thank you note to your customer and kindly ask them to write a review. Be sure to provide them with links to easily drop a line on Yelp or your company’s Facebook page.
  4. Be Strategic With Social
    It’s common to think that you have to have a presence on all channels right away. Start smaller. Think about your demographic and do some research on which platforms reach that demographic most effectively. From there, put your time and energy into building a presence on one or two channels. Post consistently and engage with followers. After you’ve developed a solid following, you can then expand to other platforms.
  5. Give Paid Marketing A Shot
    Once you’ve made a dollar or two, try experimenting with some Facebook or Twitter ads. They’re relatively cheap to run and can attract people you may not have otherwise had a chance to reach out to. Again, the key is to start small and don’t get discouraged if these don’t have people knocking your door down; it may take trial and error to create the perfect ad for your hustle.
  6. Go Local
    Local newspapers and magazines are always looking for news on what local residents are doing. Send an email to your town/city’s journal or local Patch affiliate. Let them know what you’re up to, offer yourself for an interview, and give enticing information. The key is doing this in a way that your hustle is seen as beneficial to the public, and is not just an ad.

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