Category Archives: marketing

Comedy and self-promotion

We headed out for taco salads and soup at the Easy Restaurant on King Street after our last class of improv comedy. My three classmates and the teacher were all deeply into the Toronto improv and sketch comedy scene. I was the lone non-comedian, and I got a fascinating glimpse into that world.

They talked about the awkwardness of telling non-comedians about your interests. When the conversation turns to what people do, they feel that people who are outside the comedy scene just don’t get it, saying: “Oh, you’re a comedian? Tell me a joke.” One of my classmates said that this was probably why practically all her friends are also in the comedy scene. I wonder if they also have problems with the echo chamber effect that we see online, when people end up talking only to people like them.

They talked about the challenges facing the Toronto comedy scene. There are lots of stand-up rooms in Toronto where people can practise their material, but attendance is hit-or-miss. If you liked a specific comedian, it was hard to find out when and where they’d perform next. Shows were better publicized, but individuals were hard to track. I asked them if it was a matter of marketing. To me, it seemed obvious: if you were starting out as a stand-up comedian or an improv comedy performer, why not make it easier for people to find out when you’d be performing next, and share your adventures along the way?

They reacted strongly against the idea of self-promotion. To them, the idea of an amateur having business cards, a website, or a Facebook fanpage smacked of pretentiousness. It was okay if you’d done a number of well-received shows, or had some kind of national profile. If you were just starting out, you needed to know your place.

I found that really interesting because we run into the same social norms against self-promotion in different business cultures, and it can get in the way of connecting.

I think people do want to keep an eye out for teams and people they like. Facebook’s use of “Fan” might turn people off, so they’d need a more neutral space that can keep track of teams, individuals, shows, and locations. It would be a natural fit for Facebook integration, calendar exports, RSS feeds, and mailing lists. You could probably build the whole thing using out-of-the-box Drupal and the Content Creation Kit. Data entry would have to be done manually for a while (listings from Now Toronto and from the major venues?), but it might eventually grow into something that people can update on their own.

I don’t see people paying to use a service like this, but it might be supported by advertising (and perhaps a share of ticket sales, if you have an e-commerce system tied into venues’ ticketing).

In terms of marketing, you’d probably approach venues that don’t have event lists, as well as teams and individuals. Teams and individuals would be your primary channel for marketing. You could also offer a badge for venues, teams, and individuals in order to advertise upcoming shows, and pre-designed flyers (like what Meetup now does), and provide webpages for people who don’t have their personal sites set up yet. Posters near established comedy venues would be good, too, and hand-outs given to people in line. Business cards might be interesting too.

A business idea for someone who’s really interested in the comedy scene, perhaps! =)

What I learned from The Art of Marketing

I learned a lot from the Art of Marketing conference even before it started. To take advantage of someone else’s affiliate link discount and the group ticket purchase, I coordinated a group purchase with two friends, saving ourselves $100 each. It was easier than I expected, thanks to the joys of broadcasting on Twitter and receiving money through Interac.

CONTENT

Mitch Joel: New media isn’t like old media. Why are we still using old-media paradigms of broadcasting? Reboot your marketing. Interesting stories/points: Burning the ships, SnapTell, more grandparents than high school students (comments point out logical flaws in the headline, though), 40% sleeping while watching TV, negative review converts more readily to a sale, semantics: negative review can be great, 20% completely new searches on Google every day, Journey and Arnel Pineda

Seth Godin: Be an artist instead of a cog. Solve interesting problems. Risk getting booed off the stage. Invent the next step. Work around your lizard brain. Characteristics of indispensable people: connected, creative, able to handle complexity, good at leading tribes, inspiring, have deep domain knowledge, passionate. Ship. Thrash at the beginning, not the end. People say: we need you to lead us. Work can be a platform to create art.

Sally Hogshead: Factors of fascination: Mystique, power, lust, prestige, alarm, vice, trust. People will spend a lot on things that are fascinating or things that help them become fascinating.

James Othmer: Not about campaigns, it’s about commitments. Persuasion – voice – engagement – immersion. Create a story that invites people in. Learn from movies and entertainment. Pay attention to continuity. Create a story that hangs together.

Max Lenderman: Be compelling, contextual, visceral. Story about skits in rural India, virtual ary, branded spaces, Camp Jeep, Flame (Whopper perfume), Kwik-E mart (7-11), Tide free laundry

Dan Heath: Change: Find the bright spots. Not recipe, but process. Skip true but useless knowledge. Focus on the signs of hope. What’s working right now and how can we do more of it? Direct the rider, motivate the elephant, shape the path. We change behavior by working with the elephant. See – feel – change. Find the feeling. Shape the path: Tweak the environment. Amsterdam urinal spillage story (fly). Most people try to change 5-7 times before they succeed. What makes you think you’ll get it on the first try?

PRESENTATION

Video can be a shortcut for sharing emotional stories.

Slick ad-like animations (soundtrack only, no voice) detract, though. The shift in attention is a jarring.

Some professional speakers read slides, apologize for themselves, turn their backs on the audience, have low-contrast slides, use ineffective fonts, use jargon, get lost without notes… Plenty of opportunities here.

Big difference between people who give lots of presentations (ex: Seth Godin, Dan Heath, Mitch Joel) and people who haven’t given as many.

Vivid language, metaphors, stories, funny pictures = awesome.

Key message and simple framework essential for helping people follow what you’re saying.

Good talks are focused on you, not the speaker.

Well-chosen transitions/animations make a presentation look extra-polished. (Dan Heath – good example.)

Meta

1600 people filled the auditorium. Lots of need for insight.

Choice of topics shows that audience is still mostly struggling with shift to digital.

Advantages of attending conference over reading business books: see what speakers focus on, watch videos illustrating stories, pick up presentation tips.

Got so tempted to dig into some presentations and experiment with their structures. May want to turn that into presentation coaching someday.

I liked Dan Heath’s content the most. I like Dan’s presentation style and Seth’s presentation style about evenly.

Next actions for me: Track down stories they shared; collect interesting stories, videos, and pictures; continue learning and sharing material.

Sketchnotes: Building a Social Enterprise – Andrew Jenkins (#torontob2b)

UPDATE 2012-11-15: Here’s the video recap!

Click on the images to view larger versions. I might redraw these sometime – I still have to get the hang of working with paper! =)

Building a Social Enterprise
Andrew Jenkins, Volterra
20120503-torontob2b-building-a-social-enterprise-andrew-jenkins

 

Like these? Check out my other sketchnotes, visual book notes/reviews, and visual metaphors.

Here’s the text from the sketchnotes to improve people’s ability to search for it:

Building a social enterprise

Building a Social Enterprise
Andrew Jenkins, Volterra
#torontob2b May 3, 2012

Historically:
Listen
competitive intelligence
pin points
needs
cocktail party
conversations we couldn’t overhear before

Message
Engage
Individual targeting
Reputation
Culture
Indium example
content contact cash
planking example

External to Internal
Training
examples
policy
-IBM
-Coca Cola
-Dell
social media university

adoption
can’t make me
adoption count me in

How does communication flow?

Influence

Some people: I can’t wait for you, so I’m going to set things up myself…
ragues

Q&A
-Resistors: Use peers, look for the bright spot.
It took 20 years for e-mail to be ubiquitous.

Who can’t gain from greater visibility? question
Social media: 10 years
RBC: 140 years

Notes by Sacha Chua, @sachac, LivingAnAwesomeLife.com


#torontob2b: Sean O’Donovan on managing content for lead generation + Q&A with Ben Harrison and Scott Armstrong

Update 2012-11-15: Here’s the video recap!

20120628 torontob2b - sean odonovan - managing content for lead gen

20120628 torontob2b - ben harrison and scott armstrong

Click on the images for larger versions. Feel free to share these under the Creative Commons attribution license.

In Sean O’Donovan’s talk on managing content for lead generation, he shared tips on mapping your content to the customer’s buying journey, repurposing what you have, and making it easier for people to find the information through metacontent and packaging. If you’re having someone else develop your content, it’s a good idea to ask them to develop the promotional materials for it too.

Ben Harrison and Scott Armstrong shared some of their experiences and opened the floor up for Q&A. It was interesting to hear about the marketing side of things.

If you like this, you might also want to check out my sketchnotes from the previous torontob2b meetup:

Other links:

To find out about the next #torontob2b event, check out Brainrider’s events page.

Enjoy!

Sketchnotes: Marketing in the Round, Gini Dietrich

20120725-marketing-in-the-round

Experience report: Designing my logo

Update 2012-12-31: Made the swoosh swooshier!

Having come up with a name for my business (I turn experiences into visuals, so ExperiVis!), I decided to spend some time figuring out what a logo might look like. I need this in order to start creating sketchnote templates and choosing colour schemes for marketing materials. Here’s what I sketched:

image

I tried a plain lettering style versus typing it in, and I preferred the formality of typing things in. Replacing the X with a stylus made me smile, so I kept it. I liked red more than blue – I think it’s more exciting, even though red might also make people think of grade school teachers, incorrect answers, and negative results.

W- thought bright red was more vivid and energetic than the dark red I’ve been using for my website, so I used bright red. He also suggested adding the little eraser cap like the way the Lenovo stylus is designed:

Here’s the image after I cleaned it up in Inkscape:

experivis

Update 2012-12-31: Now with a swooshier swoosh!

experivis

I think it’s a good starting point. =) Next steps: Sketch my services!