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Five old school mistakes creeping into digital and social media planning

Editor’s note:

This is the inaugural post by Rob Woyzbun, whose work in marketing and broader business strategy I have admired for years. We get together periodically to share war stories, discuss strategy and generally commiserate on the sorry state of technology marketing. We always part with an expressed desire to find some way to work together and it is my hope that having persuaded Rob to become a regular contributor here is just the start of some stellar collaborations.

— Francis Moran

By Rob Woyzbun

The near-ubiquitous availability and always-on nature of the internet has changed how consumers learn about, consider and make decisions regarding almost everything — purchases, politics and even the causes they support.  We live in a world where Marshall McLuhan’s prophetic claim that “the medium is the message” is true — in ways even he might not have considered (See: Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man; 1964).

Ironically, while the proliferation of paid, owned and shared media channels has created limitless opportunities for innovative thinking and tactics, marketers still drag old-school errors into this brave new world. In our media research and planning practice, we see companies continue to make the same avoidable, costly mistakes.

Here’s our top five list of old-school mistakes creeping into the digital and social media arena, and some ideas on how to avoid them:

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Great articles roundup: B2B marketing messages, inventor mistakes, dirty secrets, social media, incubators, accelerators, and value propositions

By Alexandra Reid

As a regular weekly feature, we provide our readers with a roundup of some of the best articles we have read in the past week. On the podium this week are Business2Community, Financial Post, VentureBeat, eMarketer, and TechVibes.

‘Looking big’ is not an effective B2B marketing message

It’s not rare to see B2B companies sucked into the distorted reality that they must market themselves as larger companies to woo their prospect bases. The traditional logic is that if you are selling to larger companies, you should act larger in an effort to appeal to them. Author Brian Jameson explains that B2B marketing is not a boxing match where fighters fall into weight classes.

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April roundup: What does it take to bring technology to market?

We covered lots of new and interesting subjects on our blog last month. Contributor Caroline Kealey discussed the importance of measurement for communications people. Terry Lavineway shared important information on business incentives in the federal budget. David French further explored the world of patents and explained how get value for your money. Our Francis Moran covered recent developments in Waterloo and shared counsel on the importance of having a good startup team, while Alexandra Reid examined the importance of social media images and interviewed startup champion Victoria Lennox on Startup Canada’s cross country tour and launch, happening this week in Ottawa. Plus, we had our regular monthly check-ins with startups Genevolve, Screenreach and NanoScale.

These topics merely scratch the surface of our coverage last month. If you missed any of our posts, here is a handy roundup.

April 3: Getting ready for the big show by Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

April 12: Learning how to deal with the unexpected by Francis Moran and Alexandra Reid

April 25: Do you know how to dance with angels? by Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

And on a related note…

In addition to our series, our associates and guest bloggers were also busy writing on a great range of topics. Here are our other posts from April, as ranked by the enthusiasm of our readers:

April 19: What’s going on in Waterloo? by Francis Moran

April 24: There is no magic recipe for a successful company, only good cooks by Francis Moran

April 16: Innovation and the budget by Denzil Doyle

April 23: Tales from the trenches: New associate joins our team by Jeff Campbell

April 17: Social media strategy: Why meeting in the ‘real world’ matters by Alexandra Reid

April 2: Making measurement work for communications professionals by Caroline Kealey

April 5: How to municipimp your municipality by Alexandra Reid

April 18: What an entrepreneur can learn from a literary conference by Leo Valiquette

April 30: From whiteboard to customers: a perspective from the startup world by Jesse Rodgers

April 9: Are we getting value for all the money we’re spending on patents? by David French

April 4: There were other business-related incentive tidbits in the federal budget by Terry Lavineway

April 26: Victoria Lennox: Startup champion by Alexandra Reid

April 13: The importance of developing a social media image strategy by Alexandra Reid

Lessons in entrepreneurship from the Startup Canada launch

By Alexandra Reid

“A million people walk into a bar in Silicon Valley. Nobody buys anything. The bar is declared a huge success.”

Harley Finkelstein, CPO of Shopify, shared that illuminating joke during the panel discussion at Startup Canada. It seemed to resonate with the audience because, aside from it being funny, it identified a serious problem in the way many entrepreneurs run their new companies.

The lesson is that startups will fail if they can’t see past the hype and generate sales consistently. Yet there is a common perception that if a new company garners attention, whether that is through media, word-of-mouth, or otherwise, it will automatically be successful.

While attention and success can support one another, this isn’t a business model on which startups should bet their livelihoods. The focus of attention must always be the needs of the customer.

“Need is the mother of all invention,” declared serial entrepreneur Sir Terry Matthews during his speech. It is identifying need and positioning a product to solve it that enables startups to go to market quickly, beat out any competition and ultimately be successful.

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Great articles roundup: Blog trees, IT, marketing budgets, B2B social media marketing, mirror neurons

By Alexandra Reid

As a regular weekly feature, we provide our readers with a roundup of some of the best articles we have read in the past week. On the podium this week are the Guardian, Information Age, MarketingSherpa, Social Media Examiner and Fast Company.

UK’s technology, design and startup blogs ranked by influence

Eloqua has published its latest U.K. edition of Blog Tree, designed by the specialists at JESS3, where blogs covering topics including technology, design and startups are ranked according to their influence.

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