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Can You Build a Business Today Without Social

Marketing Podcast with Jeff Korhan


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See, I still get asked that kind of question pretty much every day. “You know, that social media stuff is important, just no one in my industry is using it.”

I stopped being geeked up about social media some years ago, but that’s because about then I realized social media had firmly become a behavior instead of a tool or a tactic.

It’s no longer what you do, it’s part of how you do everything.

I for one don’t think you have to concede that social media is hip and important and all that, but you can’t really build a business today without employing it.

Let me restate that not for emphasis, but for clarity.

A great deal of what goes on in social media is silly, pointless and wasteful and yet you can’t survive without it. Oh I guess you can survive, but is that really the point?

Your customers need you to use social media to serve them, figure out how to deliver what they need and communicate in real time.

Your employees need you to use social media to connect them, keep them informed and allow them to participate in building the brand.

Search engines need you to use social media to demonstrate authority, network, share and  attract links so they can figure out where and how to index your content.

This week I visited with Jeff Korhan, author of Built In Social about how social media use has evolved to the point where it’s not something you consider as part of your marketing or business plan it’s something that just is – it’s like the oil in the engine – you must add it in, the only consideration is the weight and the maker.

When you look at social media as a tool to do what you’re already doing, better, faster and in a way that benefits the customer, I think it’s pretty clear how important it is in the process of building a business.

Once you can move past the hype, move past the resistance and move past the tool of the week thinking, you can begin to bake social media behavior into your marketing and business building in ways that simply serve the customer. Do that and you’ll come to realize you cannot live without social.

What Happens When You Cross Social Media with Stand Up Comedy?

Marketing podcast with Scott Stratten

So here’s the money question really. Have we gotten more stupider or has social media just made it seem so?

qr codes kill kittens

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I think it’s the latter. People, and by that I mean me too, have always done silly things in the name of marketing, but now they do silly things, get caught and are subject to global public humiliation at the hands of YouTubers and Twits.

One person who has dedicated some portion of his life to cataloging many a really bad idea gone worse is Scott Stratten.

Stratten is my guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast. He is the founder of the Toronto based firm Unmarketing and author of the book by the same name. Scott and I chatted about his most recent book – QR Codes Kill Kittens: How to Alienate Customers, Dishearten Employees, and Drive Your Business into the Ground.

Stratten spends most of his time these days presenting his findings before audiences of marketers and social media addicts. His presentations come off more like stand up comedy than your traditional business presentation although the message is real and useful. He blends is personal ability to add humor to material you really couldn’t make up even if you tried.

In QR Codes Stratten highlights how many businesses get online marketing so very wrong, mostly by trying to do something that no one, not even the perpetrator’s mother, would approve of.

I think that’s the greatest lesson contained in studying how people abuse marketing. Much of what works and what does not work is common sense, good manners and reasonable taste. Where people often cross out of bounds is when they forget that any form of marketing must be useful in some way for the customer or prospect or it will miss the mark.

Your marketing must inform, provide insight, entertain and educate. It must not boast, criticize, self-congratulate, shout or kill kittens.

It’s not really that hard, although sometimes we make it seem so.

Reader note: Get Scott’s book and prepare to laugh out loud while being reminded just how fragile our seemingly good marketing ideas might be. I read a lot of books on my Kindle but this is one I would suggest you invest in the paper.

Who Should You Hire?

Marketing podcast with Dan Schawbel

When it comes to hiring business owners want to find people with the skills they need to do the job.

In that regard there are many positions where a set of predetermined skills are generally accepted as the “natural fit.”


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If you need a technical position filled you look for someone with coding or math. If you need a sales person you look for that outgoing type and so on.

While an aptitude for the job is an obvious consideration, there are so many other harder to find skills that are perhaps more important.

I had a coworker years ago that was painfully shy, very quite and almost non existent in many discussions. But then, towards the end of a long, drawn out meeting she would say something and the entire room would change.

She would usually start off with, “I don’t know, but seems like we should just . . . ” More times than not, it was the profound solution to what we had all been wrestling with.

On the surface this individual seemed to lack some of the skills many people look for, but what she possessed was an incredible knack of leadership and strategic thinking. These are skills that are hard to teach and even harder to find.

These, what some might call soft skills, are what makes an employee valuable to your organization and they are the skills you need to look for in those you hire.

In Re-Imagine, Tom Peters famously coined the term “hire freaks” to highlight the notion of finding people with the kind of innate skills that bring much more to a situation than the traditional profile of, say, a salesperson or customer service person.

My coworker certainly fit the notion of freak – she was socially awkward, seemingly misplaced and completely full of the kind of insight sorely lacking in most organizations.

You need leaders, people who can make the right decisions on their own, people who can communicate complex ideas in simple ways and people who can build relationships.

For this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I visited with Dan Schawbel, author of Promote Yourself, The New Rules For Career Success. Dan has made a name for himself helping his generation (Gen Y) understand how to get ahead in their careers.

At the same time he’s established himself as an expert on the generation for those business leaders seeking to understand how to work with and retain workers under 30. In Promote Yourself, he spends a great deal of time outlining the virtues of soft skills for those who want to get noticed and promoted.

Obviously the book is written for the person looking to boost their career, but employers would be wise to read it for the lessons it contains in hiring people with the right stuff.

Non-traditional behavior of freaks

Want to hire someone with the skills needed to add value in today’s business world. Look for individuals who:

  • Come with customer service backgrounds and a demonstrated desire to create better customer experiences
  • Come with social media strategy backgrounds and get how to engage customers with content
  • Come with an analytics background and revel in the role of playing mad scientist with the reams of data every business can produce and uncover

You must look for, test for and screen for these natural behaviors in the quest to find your best salespeople, service people and project people no matter if you are hiring consultants or plumbers.

What Works With Twitter Today

Marketing Podcast with Dan Zarrella

BeakerTwitter has been with us for a while now – about a century in Internet years. While it has changed and grown and evolved into a staple of the media landscape, many marketers have grown to effectively tap Twitter in a handful of useful ways as well.

I know, blogging about Twitter? How 2007 of me. (Just for fun have a look back at an eBook I wrote on Twitter in 2009 – Twitter for Business – lots of services no longer exist but the content is still mostly relevant.)

Like most Internet tools and social networks things change and there are always new and better ways to use them meet your objectives. Now, mind you I didn’t say right and wrong ways because, frankly, there is no right or wrong way, only the way that serves your unique objectives.

For my view some Twitter best practices look like this.

Consider objectives

The first thing you must do in order to use Twitter effectively is to clearly state and understand why you’re using it at all. For me, it’s a tool to amplify my own content, filter and aggregate other people’s content and network for links and conversations. I always share content I’ve written, content and ideas I’m wrestling with and eight to ten pieces of content from others that I think is useful.

Share routinely

There are two primary reasons I share on Twitter. 1) – my hope is that people that follow me on Twitter appreciate that I find good marketing related content for them and save them the work of rooting it out themselves 2) – my other hope is that some of the people who’s content I share will at least consider whether my content is worth sharing. Networking in this manner is simply one form of the new link building. However, it’s still networking and will fail if the only goal is reciprocation. Think value and links will come.

List wisely

Go out today and put your customers, competitors, partners and media sources on Twitter lists so it’s easy to keep up on what they are doing, asking, sharing and requiring on Twitter.

Employ 3rd party tools

At the very least get a Hootsuite account so you can follow your lists easily. Also get a Buffer account to make sharing content buffered out through the day a snap. Use an RSS reader like ReederApp to make it easier to scan for sharable content. Head on over to Topsy and keep tabs on popular content others are sharing on Twitter.

For this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I also sat down and chatted with Social Media Scientist Dan Zarrella about some of his most recent findings on the finer points of Twitter use.

Zarrella spends more time than anyone I know trying to get at what creates followers and engagement in social networks in a scientific way. His book The Science of Marketing delves into things like when and what to tweet.

He’s created an interesting little tool called ReTweetLab that lets you analyze any Twitter account and discover what works best, when and how to tweet and what calls to action generate the highest engagement.

Dan’s work across all networks is shared in his latest book – The Science of Marketing.

Are There Any Real Mentors Left?

Marketing podcast with Ken Blanchard

Peter Drucker

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I feel like I’m reaching this funny crossroads in my business life. See, I’ve owned my own business for over 25 years and during the course of that span I’ve benefited from the inspiration of many mentors.

I was always struck by the fact that the people I chose as mentors seemed to understand the responsibility and maybe even sense of duty that came with the fact that I elevated them to such a high level of trust.

As I reflected on this post it became clear that my very first mentor was my father. I suppose most parents are viewed this way at some point whether they know it or not. As I watch him now fumble to even get his shoes laced, I know I still have something to learn from him.

When I started my business, people like Peter Drucker, Harvey MacKay, Tom Peters and Ken Blanchard shaped my thinking and that of my generation in so many ways. Most are still alive but not actively mentoring the next generation.

And that’s the crossroads part I guess – as I look behind me I no longer see the legions of mentors who helped me get ahead and as I look forward I don’t fully understand my role in doing the same for the next and the next.

Today, people like Seth Godin, Malcolm Gladwell, Chris Anderson and Dan Pink have stepped into the shoes of the trusted minds for the next generation, but I wonder if they see themselves as mentors?

I wonder if I see myself as a mentor, if I’ve done the things to earn that kind of trust from those that read my words and hear me speak? Do you consider yourself a mentor? Do you consider the fleeting value of trust each and every day?

I don’t have many answers today, just some things to think about.

For this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast I had the chance to interview one of my mentors – one who certainly fits into the class of someone who could be slowing down but shows little sign of it (actually a lesson in itself.)

Ken Blanchard is the author of over 50 books, including the One Minute Manager and most recently, Trust Works!: Four Keys to Building Lasting Relationships, written with Cynthia Olmstead and Martha Lawrence.

So, two question today I guess: 1) Who are your mentors and why? 2) Who are you mentoring and why?

People Don’t Share Brochures, They Share Stories

Marketing podcast with Jonah Berger

We don’t always think of something that’s contagious as such a good thing. When it comes to marketing these days, however, it’s a very good thing. Getting something catch on or “go viral” is one of the most powerful forms of marketing.

photo credit: ~ Pil ~ via photopin cc

photo credit: ~ Pil ~ via photopin cc

One of the biggest goals of marketing today is to create marketing and messages that people want to share.

There is one school of thought that suggests getting something to go viral is mostly pure luck and a waste of one’s time, but as best-selling author and Warton School Professor, Jonah Berger found, there is an art and science to what makes things catch on.

Berger examined hundreds of baby names, thousands of New York Times articles and data from millions of YouTube videos to break down the elements that make things go viral.

He compiled his findings in the New York Times best selling Contagious: Why Things Catch On and recently visited with me on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast.

The six keys to sharing as outlined in Berger’s book – Contagious

  • Social currency:, It’s all about people talking about things to make themselves look good, rather than bad
  • Triggers, which is all about the idea of “top of mind, tip of tongue.” We talk about things that are on the top of our heads.
  • Ease for emotion: When we care, we share. The more we care about a piece of information or the more we’re feeling physiologically aroused, the more likely we pass something on.
  • Public: When we can see other people doing something, we’re more likely to imitate it.
  • Practical value: Basically, it’s the idea of news you can use. We share information to help others, to make them better off.
  • Stories, or how we share things that are often wrapped up in stories or narratives.

To me that last point – people share stories is the money point. How can you start wrapping your marketing, culture and community in a story worth sharing?

Transcription of the Podcast:

John: Hello and welcome to another edition of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast. This is John Jantsch and my guest today is Jonah Berger he is the author of the New York Times best selling Contagious: Why Things Catch On and is the James G. Campbell Jr. Assistant Professor of Marketing at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. Jonah thanks for joining me.

Jonah: John thanks so much for having me.

John: One of the contentions of this book and I think there are a lot of people that would say that … A lot of what we are going to talk about as contagious we are not really going to talk about diseases we are going to talk about contagious in a good way for a business. This idea of having something going viral so that millions of people are sharing it and you are getting all kinds of new exposure that in many cases you didn’t pay for. A lot of people would suggest that it’s just luck. You don’t plan it you do something and who knows why it catches on. Your contention is that it’s actually science isn’t it?

Jonah: Definitely and there are two key pointers in your question, first our research shows that it’s not luck and its not chance why some things catch on and become popular there is a science behind word of mouth. By understanding why people talk about and share certain things rather than others, companies and organizations can grow their business. The second thing that’s really important is you mentioned the word viral and that’s part of what I study why things go viral on the web. I also understand and study why things get more word of mouth offline and most small businesses would be really happy if they got a video that got 10 million views.

For the most part what they really like is 10% to 20% more customers. They key is how to turn those initial customers those existing customers into advocates. How to get them to talk about and share your business and help you bring new business in.

John: That’s a great point because I think most small businesses actually do live on word of mouth but what we are suggestion is a way to actually amplify that and really make it a significant part of how you systematically grow your business.

Jonah: Definitely word of mouth is the main way that small businesses grow and this is a way to sort of give a kick-start or a boost to that process.

John: On of the other contentions that you talk about why this is so important is because we’ve gotten really good at just either not listening or blocking out, do not call lists, email spam filters, satellite radio, DVRs. There is lost of ways for us not to have to be exposed to advertising. How do you think … It used to there was a time when I just read a history of Pepsodent and how that toothpaste became very popular even though people didn’t really brush their teeth or buy toothpaste. Advertising you go back to the Mad Men shows, advertising really dictated how we made decisions but that’s no longer true is it?

Jonah: Advertising is essentially an interruption, you are watching television you are reading a magazine, you are listening to the radio. You have to sit through some period of interruption a break in what you want to be doing so that you don’t have to pay to do that thing, you don’t have to pay to watch the television or pay as much for the magazine as you might otherwise. Lots of technologies have come about to allow consumers to skip those interruptions and consumers have learned not to pay attention to those interruptions because they are often not useful.
Word of mouth is over 10 times as effective as traditional advertising, we trust it, we know our friends are out to help us not just to sell us something. It’s much more targeted to our interest. More going to tell us about something that has nothing to do with who we are and ads often do that. We are much more likely to listen to word of mouth than we are to listen to advertising.

John: Yeah because my friends for example at a restaurant, I could read a review in a restaurant and that’s really relative. My friends know that I’m a vegetarian and the kind of place that I like to go to and the wine list and all those types of things. When they make a recommendation it holds so much more weight.

Jonah: Definitely if you know someone has preferences like yours and they like something that’s a great signal that you are going to like it as well.

John: I think that’s why sometimes social communities that are built around common beliefs or themes carry so much weight. Because there will be people that you may not know at all but you know a little about them based on some of their choices and that puts them in your club.

Jonah: As long as we are similar in some way or we think we are similar in some way we are going to believe that those person’s choices have information about what we are going to like.

John: One of the things that I see a lot of people strive for this idea of having something go viral, I make fun of some of the people that really talk about that that as their goal. Because a lot of times I see people that … Put a cat on a skateboard put some sunglasses on them, video them you’ve got something that for whatever reason a lot of people want to watch. How do you tie that to objectives of a business?

Jonah: That is certainly the key things that many brands or organizations forget. They often become so enamored with creating content that people want to share making something viral that they forget to make that virality valuable. Because at the end of the day that’s the goal, unless you are a content trader, unless your goal is to create funny content, you are hoping that the content you are creating will help your brand. What’s important to do as I talk about in the book is build a Trojan horse story. We all know that famous story of the Trojan horse where the Greeks hide inside that wooden horse. Most stories are actually like Trojan horses, they have a moral for example hidden inside.
The Trojan horse would be ware of [inaudible 00:06:00] or be ware of your enemies particularly when they are being nice to you. Most statements are stored in [inaudible 00:06:06] moral whether it’s the boy who cried wolf which is don’t lie. Or the three little pigs, work hard and it will pay-off. If you have kids you realize the kids don’t want to just hear the moral they need that story to pay attention, the story gets them engaged but the moral comes along for the ride. That’s the goal I think to build viable virality you need to build a Trojan horse story, you need to build an exterior that’s entertaining or engaging. No one is going to share an ad they don’t want to advertise for your brand.
If you can give them content that they want to pass on either because it makes them look good or it’s useful but your brand is hidden inside it’s an integral detail to that story it gets to come along for the ride. Almost like Will It Blend that famous campaign from a few years ago from the company Blendtec where they show a blender tearing through an iPhone. It’s an amazing video people share it because they can’t believe wow a blender could tear an iPhone to shreds that’s pretty impressive. At the end of the day that video got hundreds of millions of views but it also carried the message of the brand, this is a really tough blender. Then blender can tear through an iPhone it must be good. They didn’t just create engaging content they created a Trojan horse story to carry their message.

John: Yeah and of course that one was brilliant because it was at the time when the iPhone was new and people were actually still trying to get their hands on it and here they were actually destroying one. I think that was a stub message in that that really made it take off.

Jonah: Certainly and one other idea I talk about in the book is the notion of triggers, relating your message or idea to other things that are going on in the environment. Oreo did a great job of this during the super bowl where they had that tweet about the lights being out and people talking about Oreos they’ll eat them when the lights are off. It became part of the conversation because it was linked to a topic that lots of people were talking about. [Inaudible 00:07:57] you can get your idea be triggered by the environment a prevalent conversation in the environment you are going to be much more successful.

John: You are actually starting I know that you have these six steps and I think we are leaking them out one at a time. I do want to come back to the outline of those steps but one other question I did want to focus on because I’d love to hear your opinion on this. There are a lot of people that say even negative campaigns things that go viral maybe aren’t altogether positive has some value as well. What would be your take on that?

Jonah: I’d say two things to that first of all if people are sharing lots of negative word of mouth about you, you want to figure out why. Don’t start by worrying about word of mouth start by worrying about the problem, is there something that consumers are unhappy with? Is there a feature that’s breaking down? Is your customer service terrible? Does no one like the beef [inaudible 00:08:53] on the menu. Figuring out what those problems are and fixing them everyone will give you credit for that and for being authentic in your responses to that and that will help. Secondly if you are a small business even negative word of mouth can help.
We’ve done some research on negative publicity for example that shows that for small businesses or products or ideas that people didn’t know a lot about previously even negative can increase success. Because it makes that business or idea more top of mind. For example everyone knows the movie Borat that came out a few years ago that poked relentless fun at the country of Kazakhstan with Sacha Baron Cohen. Yet inquiries about that country went up 300% on travel websites after the movie came out because no one had really thought about that country previously. Even negative can help but I think the more important point is to solve the problem because that will make customers appreciate what you are doing.

John: That’s an interesting point because I think there are a lot of products or people or concepts that actually have a polarizing effect. There are people that … there are some books that have been very popular recently that they have as many one star this book is awful reviews as they have five star this book is awesome reviews. I think sometimes that when people are really trashing something it really raises the curiosity level to the point where some people then make their own decision.

Jonah: Definitely, curiosity is one thing it’s so bad I want to check it out and see is it that bad. Even beyond curiosity just think about the fact that if something is not good you may not remember that they said it was good or bad but you remember that you heard about it. You might not remember why and so that makes you more aware of it and more likely to check it out.

John: I was just saying considering the source too, every time the Catholic church bans a movie you can guarantee that’s going to be a bestseller.

Jonah: Certainly and that’s partially about the curiosity but also because it acts as an advertiser. Certainly there is a movie that no one knew about, its getting a lot of attention and even if people don’t remember why the Catholic church said don’t see it they might remember they heard something about it and be more likely to check it out.

John: Let’s go back to these six steps and maybe just so we don’t give away everything because I think the book certainly sets up and uses lots of case studies for each of these points. Maybe let’s go through and just set them up what you mean by …? The acronym STEPPS S-T-E-P-P-S starts with social currency.
Jonah: Social currency is the idea that people talk about or share things that make them look good, that make them seem smart and in the know. A great example of this happened a few months ago now LinkedIn actually sent emails out to many of their customers saying your profile is in the top 1% or 5% of all profiles on LinkedIn. This made people feel good, they felt special I have some status, tens of thousands of people also shared this with others because they wanted others to know that they were special. The key idea of social currency is if something makes us look good, if we get upgraded based on our frequent flyer status, if we get invited to a soft opening of a restaurant before that restaurant opens to the public.
If we get a limited edition product, if we had a really good round of golf, if we baked a cake that won a prize in the local bake-off. Anything that makes us look good we are going to talk about and share. Along the way we often talk about and share the brands with the organizations or the companies that made us look good. If we get invited to a soft opening we have to say, “Hey we got invited to a soft opening from restaurant X,” That helps the word spread about restaurant X.

John: Yeah and of course obviously we now have so many tools to spread the word too and brands are making it really easy to share that experience, lets talk about triggers then.

Jonah: Triggers and we talked a little bit about this already is the key idea that if something is top of mind it will be tip of tongue, the more we are thinking about something the more we are to talk about it. If I said for example peanut butter and … You might think of what word?

John: Chocolate I guess, Jelly. Sorry you caught me when I was not ready for lunch yet.

Jonah: No problem. I think many people would say peanut butter and jelly. Peanut butter is almost like a little advertising of jelly, even though you might not be thinking about jelly. Thinking about peanut butter makes you think about what it’s paired with. That’s the idea of triggers. If something is triggered by the environment, if something makes your idea or product top of mind people are going to be more likely to talk about it.

John: I can’t not mow the lawn regardless of what time of day it is and not have a beer afterwards, I get that one too. Emotion, I love one of the things you did was study the New York Times most emailed list and it really gave you some clues into what really grabs people didn’t it?

Jonah: It did and you might think that people share positive emotions and don’t share negative emotions but what our research shows that its not just about the positivity in emotion its about the activation or the ulcer level. Some emotions like anger or high arousal they fire us up and other negative emotions like sadness are low arousal they deactivate us. It’s not just whether an emotion makes us feel good or bad it’s also whether it activates us or drives us to shit.

John: We are up to what number 4, public.

Jonah: Public is the idea that if something is built to show its built to go, there is that famous phrase monkey see, monkey do which points out two things. First, we tend to imitate others if you are looking for a restaurant for example and you in area of town you don’t know much about you’ll look in the parking lot to see if there are a lot of cars or you’ll look in the front window to see if it’s busy. Assuming that wow if it’s busy it must be good. We use others as information but that monkey see part is also really important, if we can’t see what others are doing we can’t imitate it. The key idea of public is by making things more observable it will be more likely that others will imitate people’s behavior and that thing will catch on.

John: Yeah its like the tip jar at the coffee shop right, if there is no money in it you are not as compelled to throw some but if it looks like everybody that came there that day put a buck in then you are probably going to do it aren’t you.

Jonah: Certainly and smart bartenders or smart barristers often put a few dollars in to seed the tip jar. They want other people to think wow others are donating it must be worth donating.

John: I give a lot of presentations and its funny how I can sit there and go, “Okay any questions, any questions?” Until that first person asks a question the flood gates won’t open, I know a lot of speakers do the same thing, they seed a few questions so that it gets the ball rolling. The second P is practical.

Jonah: Practical value is about useful information, we don’t just share things that make us look good or give us social currency we also share things that help others that make their lives better off. I share a clip in the book about a guy named Ken Craig who got a video to go viral about corn, 10 million views for a video about corn he is an 86 year old guy. You are probably sitting there going, “Corn what’s viral about corn?” This is pure useful information, the video shows how to eat corn in a way that’s much easier than you might usually think. People often share whether [inaudible 00:16:42] or helpful information, the top 10 super foods you should be eating, useful information gets passed on.
We have to understand how to highlight a practical value. How to show that your brand for example, that your restaurant, your service has remarkable value to the consumer.

John: I know quite often I have been blogging for years now and I know quite often lists posts that have lists of things. Or posts that have lots of tools linked to them are always the ones that people love to share and I think it goes certainly to that point. I also wrote a book about, my second book was called the referral engine and that was really one of the points that I made, one of the main points I made in there. A lot of people were really hesitant to ask for referrals. I think that if you are doing a good job people are really wired they are have lots of both social currency and this idea of practical to really share your story, share your company. The last point is stories which you already alluded to. It becomes the carrier of it does it?

Jonah: It does and that’s a perfect word John to think about, a carrier or a vessel. No one wants to advertise for you even if they are referring you as you just nicely said there is a reason. They are referring you because it makes them look good or they are referring you because they want to help others. You want to build that Trojan horse story that we talked about before. Build a narrative, build a piece of content, build an engaging vessel or carrier that allows your brand to come along for the ride. Fit in those key motives that we talked about, that social currency, that emotion, that practical value those triggers. Along the way build a story around it so that people will share your brand as they [inaudible 00:18:26] idle chatter.

John: If I’m this person listening and I’m thinking, “Well gosh I have a good story, we do good work how can we do something whether it’s a piece of content or a campaign that we really can get this sharing going?” The reason I set that up is because I’ve looked through some of your resources that you’ve produced and you really … You have two resources that I’ll mention and maybe you can highlight a little bit that I think are great. One is on you actually have a guide if you will for how to create a campaign don’t you?

Jonah: I do we built a workbook and often get calls from companies and I often do consulting in this space. Sometimes people say, “Hey we don’t have the money to pay you for consulting is there anyway you can help us out?” We built this free workbook, anybody can download it its on under the resources tab and it basically walks people through applying these ideas. I do the same exercise in my course at the Wharton School helping people walk through their company or their business in a workshop fashion to think about, “Well how can I apply each of these concepts? How can I [take in 00:19:38] social currency? How can I increase the number of triggers?” It’s a step-by-step almost [inaudible 00:19:44] by numbers approach to make your content and make your brand more contagious.

John: I think a lot of times business owners have all the answers they just need somebody to set up the questions the right way for them and I think that that guide does that very well. The second one is and I really love that because you take a couple of the case studies from the book and well known stories and you really then say, “Well here is why this worked.” You want to set that one up a little more?

Jonah: We often see viral videos whether its gangnam style or the Harlem shake or the one with Redbull diving from out of space, the famous commercial with Volkswagen and Star Wars. We wonder why are so many people sharing this thing, what about this thing made it a hit? Virality Explained just walks through each of these and helps us understand the why behind it, why did so many people share that feature content and how can that help us understand the science of transition.

John: I think for many people myself included that’s one of the best ways to learn I think is to really have somebody take the thing apart and deconstruct it. Then I think you can start applying those very tactics or ideas to something you are trying to do. Jonah thanks so much for joining us I really appreciate it, Contagious: Why Things Catch On is a book that ought to be in every marketer’s library these days. I’m glad you pointed out really for the reasons of all the online things that we see but certainly also for that offline and getting that neighbor to talk across the fence is certainly just as important. I appreciate you joining us, and great book and hopefully we’ll see you out there on the road.

Jonah: Thanks so much John, appreciate it.

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What If Women Ruled the World or Work

Marketing podcast with John Gerzema

Turns out Athena was really into math!

Turns out Athena was really into math!

Sheryl Sandberg’s runaway best seller Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead has really caused some interesting discussions and debates about women in the workplace. It’s funny to see how the divide on the book has a significant age curve – younger gen woman don’t seem to think along the Lean In lines – but I digress.

Shortly after Lean In came out another fascinating book by John Gerzema, a pioneer in the use of data to identify social change, called The Athena Doctrine: How Women (and the Men Who Think Like Them) Will Rule the Future was published and in my opinion hits more fruitful issues with regard to gender and the workplace.

Gerzema and I sat down to discuss his work on this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast.

In some ways I wish the extensive research and writing of this book had been done by a woman, but the point that Gerzema is making is that it’s traits that are generally attributed to women that leaders must understand and embrace – that feminine values can solve our toughest problems and build a more prosperous future.

So, instead of “acting more like a man” to get ahead, as some suggest Sandberg is promoting, Gerzema suggests we should all “act more like the positive traits of women.” And, I for one, couldn’t agree more!

Below is a talk Gerzema delivered on his findings and implications of these findings in politics, business and social reform.

How to Find Your Personal Value Proposition

Marketing podcast with Sally Hogshead

Value propositions are a sales and marketing staple. It’s very difficult to get a purchasing conversation started unless the potential buyer understands some way in which a product or service they are considering adds value in a way that is somewhat unique from other offering.

Lacking a strong value proposition lands one in the commodity pile.

FascinateWhat about people though? Can a salesperson have a value proposition or unique ability to add value? I think they most certainly can and one of the keys to standing out in a competitive sales landscape is to discover, communicate and amplify your greatest strength as your individual value proposition.

Every organization must provide value through its offerings first and foremost but as a buyer considers options the value proposition, reputation, process and brand of the individual sales guide can play a role in the final buying decision and certainly plays a huge role in customer loyalty in the long run.

How you sell is just as important as what you sell and who you are dictates your best way to teach, advise and sell.

The fist step to using this notion is to gain a better understanding of your personality strengths and how you impact those with which you interact – your value proposition. Simply considering this notion will make you a better salesperson no matter the circumstance.

To take this step I suggest a couple of bodies of research. The first is the work of my friend Sally Hogshead who’s best selling book Fascinate must be on your reading list.

Sally is this week’s guest on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast and famously shows people how to fascinate using their own unique “archetype” in eight seconds or less!

The second is the work and insight of something called the Kolbe Index.

Both Kolbe and Hogshead focus on helping people discover their unique ability with an eye on using that in a way that benefits all around you rather than trying to shore up weaknesses or be more of something you’re not.

Perhaps you’ve taken personality tests in the past or been told you have a certain makeup that’s perfect for sales, but I contend, and both of the above resources support this, that there is no right or wrong personality for sales. Sure, if you’re job calls for you go out and cold call all day, you might want to have a certain Teflonlike makeup, but if you understand that your job is to educate and bring insight in order to create a better sales process than your competitors, than understanding your core strength and figuring how to use that to add value is the most important way to differentiate in a meaningful manner.

I suggest every business owner, entrepreneur and salesperson take both the Kolbe Index and the Fascination Advantage Test or better yet take this idea to your sales and marketing departments and have the entire team assess their personal brand strengths.

Hogshead graciously gave me twenty-five free access passes to take her Fascination Advantage Test to share with my readers. If you’re reading this and it sounds like an awesome idea (and you’re one of the first 25 to read this – go to and use the access code:DUCTTAPE)

One of the first things that many people who take this step commonly experience is that it’s very empowering. In some cases simply knowing what to lead with clears up a great deal of confusion about the way you should work to be most effective.

Many personality tests measure how you see the world, but these two also work on helping you understand how the world sees you.

The Fascination Advantage is a science-based personal brand assessment, incorporating results of 125,000 participants. The test was created by Sally Hogshead, and developed by the team at Fascinate, Inc., this test will reveal how your personality adds distinct value.

The Kolbe A Index measures a person’s instinctive method of operation (MO), and identifies the ways he or she will be most productive