Everyone That Likes Meetings Raise Your Hand

Marketing podcast with Al Pittampalli (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes or subscribe via other RSS device (Google Listen)

Read-This-Before-Our-Next-MeetingOkay since I’m not seeing a bunch of hands go up I’m guessing that maybe you’ve worked in one of those places where it seemed like your job was to attend meetings, really long, boring, everyone needs to say something meetings.

I’ve been self employed over twenty five years now so, I can tell you, I don’t do meetings very often, but even I detest those meetings that seem to be held so someone can read you a PowerPoint deck or go over the contents of an email or, worst of all, pick your brain.

This week’s guest on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Al Pittampalli, author of Read This Before Our Next Meeting.

Pittampalli worked for years consulting with large organizations and wanted to find out why some companies have so many meetings. He thinks he’s found that answer and now claims without hesitation to be a meeting culture warrior. He’s on a mission to change the way organizations hold meetings, make decisions, and coordinate action.

Read This Before Our Next Meeting several meeting principles that Pittampalli calls the “Modern Meeting Standard

Perhaps pivotal to understanding the key shift in meeting thinking the first tenet of the Modern Meeting Standard – The Modern Meeting supports a decision that has already been made.

According to Pittampalli, most meetings are held to try to make a decision, something he claims is why so many meetings are needed. When in fact, most decisions need to be made by a few and meetings should then be used only to resolve a conflict about a decision or communicate actions based on a decision.

Pittampalli is also quick to point out that his way of thinking requires a bit of a culture change in organizations that have long meetinged people into submission. Part of that culture change is to move brainstorming out of the meeting format so that it can live and thrive as the truly different beast that it is.

Read This Before Our Next Meeting is available in Hardcover, Kindle, or Audio formats, published by the one and only Domino Project.

As is part of the Domino model the book also enjoys a sponsorship from Citrix, the Kindle version of Read This Before Our Next Meeting is available for FREE until Aug 10th. You can download it right now.

You can listen to the show by subscribing the feed in iTunes or a variety of other free services such as Google Listen (Use this RSS feed) or you can buy the Duct Tape Marketing iPhone app. (iTunes link – Cost is $2.99) or

Simple Formula to Propel Your Business

Marketing podcast with Mike Stelzner (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes or subscribe via other RSS device (Google Listen)

Launch - Mike StelznerFor this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I interviewed Mike Stelzner – founder of the wildly popular Social Media Examiner and author of Launch – How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition.

Mike uses a no nonsense and pretty matter of fact approach to describe one of the most powerful ways to build a business in the new marketing reality we live in. Mike’s Elevation Principle Formula pretty much sums up what many successful marketers are doing these days – whether they realize it or not.

The formula GC + OP – MM = G or Great Content + Other People – Marketing Messages = Growth. The concept of content as a core marketing strategy is one that most business accept anymore, but the addition of other people to systematically spread the word and the subtraction of blatant marketing messages is what trips many up.

Once you start producing great content (or perhaps even before) you need to actively build a network of folks that might take an interest in helping your spread the word. Like it or not this is done best by first figuring out how you can help them meet their objectives. Take an active interest in the needs of your network and you’ll find that they will take an active interest in your objectives as well.

There’s nothing that complicated about Stelzner’s formula, but simple and easy are not the same thing. This approach takes work, every day, but it’s one of the most powerful and profitable way to build a business.

You can listen to the show by subscribing the feed in iTunes or a variety of other free services such as Google Listen (Use this RSS feed) or you can buy the Duct Tape Marketing iPhone app. (iTunes link – Cost is $2.99) or

5 Google Plus Tips and Chris Brogan

Marketing podcast with Chris Brogan (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes or subscribe via other RSS device (Google Listen)

Google Plus LogoFor this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I grabbed a few minutes with Chris Brogan. Chris is the founder of Human Business Works, writes and speaks on all things related to social media and is a documented Google Plus fanboy.

Chris and I talk about what Google Plus is, what it means, its strong points and weak points and why he has moved a great deal of his own personal networking activity to Google Plus. Have a listen.

Below are a couple tips that I’ve been using to enhance my own Google Plus experience – connect with me on Google Plus if you like.

1) Add the Google Plus Profile card to your blog – Grab the Google Plus Card WordPress plugin puts your Google Plus profile in your blog sidebar just like you see over there to the left – this will help spread the word about your presence there.

2) Add photos like a slideshow – Create a new Album and upload a series of slides as images (all the same size) in the order you would like them to show and Google Plus creates a viewer that can be clicked through much like a slideshow.

3) Send Google Plus items to Evernote – simply create a circle and add your Evernote email address as the lone user. Then share anything on Google Plus with that circle and it will automatically be sent to your Evernote account.

4) Search Google Plus – Google Plus doesn’t really have any good way to find people you might want to connect by occupation or interest yet. You can, however, use Google search to do the job – to search by topic, add this to a Google search – your topic site:plus.google.com ie: “small business marketing” site:plus.google.com

5) Publish your Google Plus public feed to your WordPress blog – I’m sure badges and widgets are coming for G+ but until they do here’s how I published a mini G+ feed on my blog

First – find you profile # – mine is 103952215474318614668 – then simply use this tool from plusfeed to create an RSS URL with your # – http://plusfeed.appspot.com/yourprofilenumber here, this is an RSS feed for my G+ public feed only (you can actually do this for any public feed if you wanted to publish other people’s feed)

Next take the RSS feed above and burned it at Feedburner (I know, another Google property.) Feedburner has a feature called BuzzBoost that makes it pretty easy to republish an RSS and produces the code you need for your widget. Take that code and create a text widget in WordPress, place it in your theme (you might also add a link back to your profile) and that’s it.

Bonus: Don’t forget to add the Google +1 button to your blog and Website pages. This is one way that people point out content on your site and share it with their Google Plus followers. I show you how to do that here: Adding the Google +1 Button

5 Types of Content That Every Business Must Employ

Marketing podcast with John Jantsch (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes or subscribe via other RSS device (Google Listen)

Dawn Endico via Flickr

The creation and distribution of content has become such a significant aspect of effective marketing that it requires a high place in the strategy conversation in most every business.

Some might go as far as to suggest content marketing has become the most effective way to build a business.

The word content is confusing enough as it’s bantered around these days, but it’s also difficult for many small business owners to come up with a big picture view of the role content plays in the acquisition of clients.

Strategically, the word content must mean more than a blog post or a blank sheet of paper each day. You must begin to think of your content as a total body of work that is being built to serve your business over time.

You must understand and create content for the most important keyword phrases for your industry, the essential themes of education in your business, and your company’s core points of differentiation.

You must also think in terms of your content as a tool that moves prospects from awareness to conversion and in this effort there are at least five types of content that you must address. Each type must be considered as part of your overall content strategy.

I’ve listed each below and I also discuss them in the audio track that accompanies this post.

Content that builds trust – One of the first jobs of your content is to bridge the gap from awareness to trust building. Your SEO efforts actually marry with this type of content to make sure you are both found and found in abundance.

  • How to content – specific advice or tips and tricks
  • Reviews – customer reviews on sites like Yelp and Google Places
  • Testimonials – endorsements from happy customers
  • Articles – articles you’ve written or that mention your firm in outside publications

Content that educates – Once you create awareness and trust a prospect will be hungry to find out much more about your unique approach, your solution, your story and your organization.

  • White papers – not boring, dry technical stuff, your best writing tying a bigger topic together
  • Newsletter – Weekly or monthly education that nurtures their interest
  • Seminars – in person or online, these allow prospects to learn as well as engage
  • FAQs – some folks just need the answers to their questions and this format serves well
  • Survey data – results from surveys can be very compelling as a way to let prospects know you understand them

Customer generated content – Getting your customers involved in the production of content builds loyalty and community, creates proof of results and gives you another avenue for content creation.

  • Automatic referrals and reviews – create ways to move happy customers to a referral and review process
  • Testimonials – automate this process by providing online audio and video tools
  • Video success stories – create events that bring customers together to tell their story and network

Other people’s content – one of the primary jobs of marketers these days is to provide some insight to the stream of information that our customers face. Filtering and aggregating content produced by others is not only a great service, it’s a great differentiator.

  • Custom RSS feeds – create customer or industry specific feeds to share
  • Republish, Share, RT – point to and share great content that being produced
  • Curate – use tools like Storify to collect and republish customer newsletters

Content that converts – this last category is one that gets overlooked in the write for writing sake view of content. Ultimately, great content has the ability to call and convert prospects to the action of buying.

  • In person events – live events are the absolute best way to use content to close
  • Case studies – deep studies into the success of another client act as tangible proof in the buying decision
  • ROI calculators – use content to help prospects understand the specific value of making a change
  • Results – provide documented proof results in simple and easy to understand forms that address the common needs of most prospects.

I’m in Alaska this week so I’ll be sharing some photos from their in my posts.

Is Facebook Still Likeable?

Marketing podcast with Dave Kerpen (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes or subscribe via other RSS device (Google Listen)

The title to today’s post is a thought that’s making the rounds these days as Google announced that their new social network, Google Plus, added 10 million users in the first two weeks of limited beta launch.

A great deal of the conversation is decidedly skewed as much of the buzz is coming from hard core social media users and those predisposed to move away from Facebook, but none the less, this is a valid question.

I asked my Facebook followers if Google Plus had impacted their time on Facebook and over 50% claimed they were not yet Google Plus users. At the root of the question, however, is the issue of time. No matter what happens we only have so much budget for business building activities such as social networking and something is going to have to give. It’s like a family budget, if you buy a new car you might not go on vacation – it doesn’t mean the auto industry has targeted the travel industry, but they’ve impacted them anyway.

I think the same is true as people consider their available social time budget – something’s gotta give – it’s yet to be seen clearly what that something is, but it may not be as obvious as another social network such at Facebook.

For some perspective I turned to a guy that’s still very bullish on Facebook. Dave Kerpen, author of LikeableHow to Delight Your Customers, Create an Irresistible Brand, and Be Generally Amazing on Facebook (& Other Social Networks) .

In this interview, Kerpen addresses the obvious success of Google Plus, but is quick to point out that Facebook’s place is still firmly rooted in the hundreds of millions of users that spend hours on the network every day. Kerpen’s take is that people don’t want to create yet another network on another social platform.

Kerpen also points to the killer targeting aspects of Facebook’s platform as reason enough to still engage and use the network. Kerpen emphatically states, “You know what’s cooler than 750 million people on Facebook? Being able to target the 750 that are your perfect prospects.” He goes on to tell a story about how he targeted a birthday wish ad that only his wife could see.

My take is that we have some interesting times ahead and we may very likely see a shift in audiences coming.

So, what’s your take?

You can listen to the show by subscribing the feed in iTunes or a variety of other free services such as Google Listen (Use this RSS feed) or you can buy the Duct Tape Marketing iPhone app. (iTunes link – Cost is $2.99) or

Anything You Want

Marketing podcast with Derek Sivers (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes or subscribe via other RSS device (Google Listen)

This week’s guest on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Derek Sivers, founder of CDBaby and author of Anything You Want 40 Lessons (When you buy any version of the book you can grab 200 musical downloads as a gift from Derek too!)

Anything You Want is another The Domino Project publication and a fitting one I think. Godin and Amazon are attempting to change the way books are published much like CDBaby changed the way music was published and distributed.

Sivers offers up uncommon, yet inspirational advice in 40 nuggets that will make you smile, squirm and perhaps question why you’re in business in the first place.

During our chat he reveals that his decision to sell CDBaby, something he couldn’t really imagine at one time, came down to some advice from Seth Godin. When asked what to do, Godin told him – “If you care, you’ll sell it.”

I think that’s a feeling many small business owners have – this thing they’ve built is your baby, but if you stop caring about the people you’re serving, it’s time to get out and do something else.

My last question to Sivers was obvious I thought – “So, what should we be listening to?” How he chose to answer that seemingly innocent question is as telling as any moment in the show – “You should pick some kind of music you don’t know anything about, or that you think you might hate, and explore it for a while.”

I thought I would also share one of Derek’s TEDTalks so you could get an even better feel for his way of thinking.

You can listen to the show by subscribing the feed in iTunes or a variety of other free services such as Google Listen (Use this RSS feed) or you can buy the Duct Tape Marketing iPhone app. (iTunes link – Cost is $2.99) or

One Thing About Marketing Strategy

Marketing podcast with John Jantsch (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes or subscribe via other RSS device (Google Listen)

Marketing Strategy

In the movie City Slickers Jack Palance’s character tells Billy Crystal that the secret to life is one thing. Crystal, of course, is left to discover what that one thing in life is on his own, but I believe the same is true for business. I believe the most effective marketing strategies, the one’s that I call real-life marketing strategies, hold together by focusing relentlessly on one simple thing.

That one simple thing can be an idea, like providing shoes to kids in need around the world as Tom’s One for One Movement does, focusing on simple, yet stunning design, as many people feel Apple does, or building a business by intentionally keeping things simple, in both products and processes, as I believe 37Signals does.

In all cases though, these companies accomplish many, many things, but do so first and foremost through the realization of one single-minded purpose. This single minded purpose is the filter for every business decision, hiring decision, product decision, and marketing campaign – and it often starts by simply realizing and capturing who the company is being at some point in time – the here’s what we really stand for moment.

Of course, finding and committing to a real-life marketing strategy – the one thing – isn’t enough. You’ve also got to find a way to make it part of the DNA of the organization. You’ve got find symbols and stories and metaphors that allow every part of your business ecosystem embrace the strategy.

There’s an article in this month’s issue of strategy + business magazine titled Eat Your Peas: A Recipe for Culture Change. The article chronicles Jamie Oliver’s (Food Revolution) struggle to change the eating culture in a small community and how he finally breaks through by focusing on one simple and digestible theme – peas.

Previous attempts to change behavior and implement his ideas around healthy eating met with fierce resistance until he made the entire strategy all about embracing eating peas. This “one thing” became the metaphor for the entire culture shift.

In this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, I continue a solo discussion on this idea of real-life marketing strategy. Some of you may have guessed by my seeming infatuation with this topic that I may be working on something bigger related to this theme and you would be right.

I’m convinced there’s a book worth writing on the idea of creating real-life marketing strategy, the kind that amplifies why a business does what it does, the kind that demonstrate how a strong culture can become a powerful strategy, and the kind that suggests anyone, by embracing this idea of “one thing” can create a stunning brand.

So, tell me about companies that you think have this “one thing” down. Or, tell me what your one thing is and how you communicate it.

You can listen to the show by subscribing the feed in iTunes or a variety of other free services such as Google Listen (Use this RSS feed) or you can buy the Duct Tape Marketing iPhone app. (iTunes link – Cost is $2.99) or

The Trend Towards Lean Startups

Marketing podcast with Eric Ries (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes or subscribe via other RSS device (Google Listen)

The Lean StartupThere is a bit of a movement afoot in the startup world called the Lean Startup. While the word lean might conjure up notions of cheap, it’s really about taking a scientific approach to innovating, measuring and responding in ways that stop companies from wasting time and money.

The basis of the concept, as applied to startups, comes from the Lean manufacturing world popularized by Toyota. Lean manufacturing is a production practice that considers the expenditure of resources for any goal other than the creation of value for the end customer to be wasteful, and thus a target for elimination.

My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Eric Ries, entrepreneur in residence at Harvard and author of The Lean Startup.

In The Lean Startup, Ries attempts to show entrepreneurs how to bring the principles of Lean manufacturing and agile development to innovation.

According to Ries, startups that apply the lean method will achieve dramatically lower development costs, faster time to market, and higher quality products in the years to come.

While the application in the real world can get very complex the concept is rather simple – using a cycle of build, measure and learn, startups can determine what works and what doesn’t and make the necessary changes and fixes or determine to end the ideas altogether.

One of my favorite case studies in the book involves a tool I use everyday – Dropbox. Drew Houston, CEO and Founder of Dropbox applied Eric Ries’s Lean Startup concepts and started iterating their product much faster in order to test what customers really wanted, early and often. Using Lean Startup principles, in just 15 months, Dropbox went form 100,000 registered users to over 4,000,000.

Anyone can participate in the movement and learn about the principles by joining or starting a Lean Startup Meetup Group – find one here.

You can listen to the show by subscribing the feed in iTunes or a variety of other free services such as Google Listen (Use this RSS feed) or you can buy the Duct Tape Marketing iPhone app. (iTunes link – Cost is $2.99) or