Like so many other #webdesign trends the move to flat designs has its origins in what looks better on a "mobile device". The world is FLAT, visual and simple because there are more phones than people.
Given the importance of FLAT design thought it would be a good idea to go back to the beginning and define WHAT IS FLAT DESIGN via an excellent post from .
http://sco.lt/8au4fZ shares a quick test to know if your company is, intentionally or not, a social media snob. You don't want to be one of those these days, so find out if your company (or you) are social media snobs and/or in danger of looking clueless on #socialmediamarketing .
Wow, I am WORN OUT. I don't know how is helping define , being a loving husband and caring father and managing his #SEO client portfolio. I compared this experience to riding a bicycle across America in today TSF Video Dairy.
Different kinds of STRESS (physical vs. mental), but stressful none the less. Here is why going to #startup school with Chris, Dave and the team team is much like riding a bicycle 3,399 miles:
* Pre-Planning not possible.
* Assumptions are being dashed by reality and it’s OKAY.
* Experience & being fully PRESENT more important than labeling, boxing and packing the experience.
* Drinking from a fire hose.
* Exhausting (mentally this time, physically last).
* Amazing learning happening at an INTENSE rate (why exhausting).
* Fun when you think about the experience in retrospect (lol).
If that sounds exhausting and very much like creating Internet and #contentmarketing it is because it is (lol). We made more progress today as we realized we need to understand and create a plan based on a few important variables such as:
* Who is OPEN to leveraging OPN (Other People's Networks).
* How fast is a vertical moving to adopt content marketing and the new SEO.
* Where is an individual business in relationship to their vertical (leading or need to be leading).
The next conversation was who has the most "realized" network. Today's video shares a group of platforms whose use of Internet marketing is creating a highly "realized network".
We need help defining other business segments. We need two kinds of help:
* What other business segments should be on the timeline.
* Where would you rate a new business segment like car manufactuers or Travel / Hotels. Why, Phil asked, when we we stay in hotels can't we know other "like me" people who are also in the hotel.
We don't want to become another Foursquare, but CrowdFunde's goals are to help people and SMBs REALIZE the power of networks they already have AND share the kinds of "magic content" that will help grow the network.
Most "magical content" for me is UGC (User Generated Content). We support websites who use our comments, Scoops, reviews, feedback, ideas and other contributions with loyalty and #UGC the most valuable GOLD today.
Why is UGC so valuable? UGC is the oil that makes the new SEO RUN. UGC brings:
* High "Ping Rates" so Quality Deserves Freshness (QDF) is great.
* High social shares (most valuable content on YOUR website is THEIR content at least from a social share viewpoint).
* Great and relevant inbound links.
When I was a Director of Ecommerce that triptych was the key to things that made me HERO or GOAT such as:
* More and BETTER Traffic.
* Higher conversion rates.
* Lower acquisition costs.
* More LTV (Lifetime Value).
Bottom section of this post is asks for help from the amazing marketers in both of our networks. Please comment, make suggestions or throw things, BUT if one more person tells me they are confused I may jump off the roof :). M
Wow, what an amazing day for , and me ( is doing some client work right now). Day started with a reminder of why gaining admission to was so CRUCIAL for CrowdFunde.
Reviewing our business canvas this morning we discussed how to add a CrowdFunde board to TSF. TSF, like many businesses, have tremendous untapped power. TSF has an "unrealized network".
In the Afternoon we brainstormed what it means to be a "Realized Network". Here is what we came up with (feel free to add in):
* Peer to peer communication is possible.
* Peer to Sponsor communication is possible, valued and answered quickly.
* Visitors have BRANDED identity on the network (profiling).
* Sponsor plays a monitor, evaluate, curate and reward role – find HEROES.
* Community plays a monitor, evaluate, curate and reward role – find HEROES.
* Usage guidelines are published and present.
* Some simple social gamification automated to define desired behaviors and rewards.
Phil came up with this great tag/question: "What if you could know your customers as well as you knew your friends in school?"
And I've added,
What if you could know your customers as well as you knew your friends in school and together you could easily create something more valuable than the sum of its parts?"
Imagine a tool capable of knitting your customers together, increasing your site's #UGC (User Generated Content) and social LOVE? Better yet, image these benefits come with LESS effort from site owners. managers and curators.
Got your attention now right? Cool, help us by following our journey:
Video Diary Day 2
This post includes information about the CrowdFunde team and Triangle Startup Factory. Hope you will check out the linked post, follow our progress and become a contributing member of our CrowdFunde Buzz Team. TY, Marty on behalf of CrowdFunde team
Great yesterday with and helped us see the "worms in the wood" as it were. Today the Cowardly Lion (me because I did 20+ years working for Big Brands before starting my first company), the Tin Man ( because he is so tall) and the Scarecrow ( because we depend on his #seo brain) set out on a journey with flying monkeys and two strange wizards (Chris and Dave at the factory).
Our name seems to be more harm than help at the moment and it may need to change (ouch). Today's "video diary" has Phil behind our new camera and me using our wireless mics. Still a tad on the RAMBLING MAN side but we will get there.
Next step is to use BOTH wireless mics. Anyone know if we need to push into a mixing board of some kind? How do we get 2 microphones into the video?
Stay tuned as we have another meeting with Adam set up for first thing Monday. Adam's understanding of the space is deep and he has the #startups way of thinking (really fast), so we should be even better off after hearing his thoughts on Monday.
Have a great weekend everyone. Wondering who is DOROTHY? Our frightened CrowdFunde business model Dorothy and her little dog too :). M
This GREAT "list post" is SO TRUE (lol). Andy describes keeping a pad next to his phone and noting the problems he heard for a year. At the end of that year the inescapable conclusion is #webdesign companies as a group stink at customer communicaiton / service.
My perspective is interesting since I spent 7 years as a Director of Ecommerce buying web design services and two years as Director Marketing for selling those services. In my last year as ABT's marketing director I also became a customer as I hired my firm to create http://www.curecancerstarter.org.
Being a customer SUCKED and here's why:
* Not a SINGLE face-to-face meeting with the project manager (all meetings by IM, email and phone and in that order granted there was a flight of stairs separating us).
* Few "in process" questions that would have saved valuable TIME (think questions weren't asked because they were trying to stay on a tight timeline but questions HELP meet deadlines not hurt).
* Forbidden to speak with programmers (a rule I understand but drives me crazy since I learn things from them I can't from a gatekeeper).
* As a project ages the THRILL leaves the building and it just becomes another thing to get done (remember they were working on helping people with cancer fund the cure for cancer so BIG ideas and cool project that became boring and just another thing to get done).
* Once a project turns from THRILLING and "there's a lot in this for us" to "we have to get this done by x date" your project is dead man walking. Best talent is moved to other projects and all the yelling at the moon can't change your project's destiny (at that point).
* Once your project becomes a pain you TOO become a pain so both you and your project are marginalized and you and your project's destiny is set (sadly).
Andy gets it SO right in his answer to the question of why do web design companies SUCK:
* Web design firms are project-based, not account-based like traditional ad agencies or IT support companies. They may not have the people and process in place to provide the kinds of ongoing enhancements and support that clients inevitably need like a support team or account managers.
* This is an industry where almost anything is possible, so clear communication is desperately important. Dozens of options may be discussed, each with pro and cons. This means misunderstandings are common…and sometimes disastrous.
Web designers are busy.
* Clients often need months to get comfortable enough to sign a proposal. That makes it very hard to manage capacity. And it’s a growing industry. A lot of web companies, especially the very cheap and very good ones, are slammed.
YES YES YES. I've been treated like crap by big, small and intermediate web design firms. I've been treated like crap when paying hundreds of thousands and when paying a thousand (so amount of money doesn't change the experience).
Also agree with Andy's what clients can do:
1. Check References.
Just pick up the phone and call some people! As with job candidates, the best indication of future performance is past performance. Have a genuine conversation with companies the vendor has worked with. Or at the very least…
2. Read Reviews
But don’t stop there. Search around for a few minutes. Go to the Better Business Bureau website and see if there are any complaints.
3. Get a Demo.
Of course, you’ll want a demo of the content management system, but also get a demo of the project management tools. Wait, they don’t use project management tools? Bad sign…
Are they taking notes? There may be indications of vendor chaos in the first meeting. They should be capturing goals and requirements in an organized way.
4. Meet the Team
Again, just like a job interview, nothing replaces the face-to-face meeting.
And I would add:
If you can spend a portion of every day at your design firm even if you are just sitting at a desk using their WiFi do! If you can't do that, spend a day a week being PRESENT and available. Share your schedule ahead and don't fill the day with meetings. Hang out and be available for questions.
6. Pay For Performance
Andy is right about most web companies are slammed and being slammed is contributing to bad service. When THEY have more work than they can manage you may not be able to create Pay for Performance goals with clearly defined carrot and stick rewards / punishments.
7. Provide Ongoing Social Compensation
If you have great social following, klout and authority you have something any partner needs too - legitimacy and existing traffic / rank. Make sure you SHARE with "in process" communication (Tweet what is happening). When you share what is happening IN THE WORLD you bring in an issue all web design firms MUST care about - reputation and brand. Remember you get more bees with honey than vinegar. You only get to FIRE them once, and you need something important from them so be socially rewarding and punish in private. They can do the math and will know what is at risk if they fail you.
8. Know Their Team & Create Matchups With Your Team
Know who is helpful, willing to go the extra mile for you and an effective advocate for your project inside the shop. This is why I like to EMBED because when the only thing you see is the MASK, the image they want you to see, you can't learn who the GO TO players are. Matchup your team to theirs. Have your techies get to know and interact with theirs. Have your marketing people get to know the Project Manager and sales people. PRESENT your project to the company if they have a forum to do so. Harder to SCREW people you know and care about :).
9. Be Cognizant of TIME
Chances are YOU don't work like a lawyer charging for every moment you speak to clients and rounding up to the hour. TIME is the currency inside any web design firm. DON'T brainstorm with 4 team members since you are burning $400 or more an hour. Create detailed specs and pictures of what you want. BE OPEN to their changing your vision 20%, but keep your whip, gun and chair handy. Your BEST "whip, gun and chair" is having your act together and not asking general "let's wander in the woods" questions. Wander in the woods with me, and . Be aware that every MINUTE you are on the phone or in a meeting THEIR meter is running.
10. Keep YOUR Process and Politics OUT of the Mix
I realize keeping your internal squabbles to yourself is hard, but get a COACH or OD counselor to come in to solve team problems. The reason team dysfunction comes up in #webdesign is a company must look into its SOUL to create great online communication. The web is a HUGE lie detecting amplifier. Any flaw gets amplified, so don't work out your team issues using your web designers as OD counselors. Poor use of money and exposing indecision and infighting means your project will be circling the drain soon.
Finally, and I'm not going to number this one (lol), remember its BUSINESS not personal. This is the other CATCH-22 of web design. Great web designs require you share your SOUL, but sharing your soul the tiniest bit too much means you can't create great web designs.
Keep your presentations to your designers on the page and know who and what you ARE before engaging a web design company.
Many web design companies say they can help you do the core marketing too. DON'T BELIEVE THEM. Web design firms may be the worst marketers on the planet.
Most web design firms have so much work they can SUCK at customer service AND #marketing and still grow. If you need Unique Selling Proposition or tactics and strategy help hire me, or (or Andy if he is available). We've had to combine Internet marketing with tactics and strategy. Web design firms? Not so much, no matter WHAT they tell you (lol).
More on Scoop.it
Saw Warren Buffet discussing his $1B offer for the perfect NCAA bracket and marveled at how completely he #newsjacked the NCAA Tourney. If you don't know #newsjacking take a look at David Meerman Scott's website: http://www.davidmeermanscott.com/books/newsjacking/
I shared several tips those of us WITHOUT $1B can steal from Warren's amazing PR move including:
* Surf waves don't try to create them.
* Make a PURPLE (unique) offer.
* Support by being available to discuss (saw Buffet on Mike and Mike ESPN sports talk show and sure that is the first time he has done that show lol).
* When you amplify a BIG thing (Super Bowl, NCAA, Oscars, etc) you either RULE or get swallowed whole.
* Timing is all & Buffet is perfect by announcing during ACC (and other) regional tourneys he and Berkshire get max play.
* Aspirations work better than reality (when legend and reality are different PRINT the legend).
* BIG is good, BIGGER is better, BIGGEST is best.
What about you? What PR tips can you glean from Buffet and Berkshire's NEWSJACK?
- CrowdFundeFounder, 2914 - presentCrowdFunde is our Triangle Startup Factory accepted mashup smashing crowdfunding and content marketing together to create an engine of high quality User Generated Content (UGC) and social shares.
- Story of Cancer FoundationFounder, 2013 - 2014Created one of first crowdfunding websites for cancer research launched December 2013. Created CureCancerStore.org.
- Atlantic BT - Marketing DirectorContent Marketer, Internet Marketer, 2011 - 2013Doubled traffic to AtlanticBT.com with content marketing, contests, games and social media. I
- ScentTrail E-CommercePresident, 2010 - 2011interviewed startup entrepreneurs including Jesse Lipson immediately before his $50M sale of ShareFIle to Citrix and Chris Hievly now running Triangle Startup Factory.
- Townsend EnterprisesDirector E-Commerce, 2002 - 2010Managed team that beat sales and profit goals for 7 years contributing more than $30M topline dropping more than $5M to the bottom line.
- Foundobjects.comFounder, 1994 - 2002Created one of the first B2B and B2C websites helping Magnetic Poetry Kit, a specialty gift, become a $50M gift.
- NutraSweetMarketing & Sales Director, 1989 - 1994P&L responsibility for $22M dairy business where we set sales and product launch reacords for three years.
- M&M/MarsUnit Manager, 1982 - 1989Managed team that sold "World's Largest Snickers Bar Display" setting off a competition and helping Midwest region to win a major sales contest.
- Procter & GambleSales Rep, 1981 - 1982Learned to sell the P&G way: Situational Summary, State The Idea, Explains How It Works and Share the Benefits.
- Vassar CollegeAssistant Director Admissions, 1980 - 1981Traveled across America interviewing perspective college students and pitching Vassar.
- Scenttrail Marketing (current)
- Martin Marty Smith on Scoopit (current)
- ScentTrail on Technorati (current)
- Linchpin SEO Guest Blogger (current)
- Atlantic BT Blog (current)
- AtlanticBT.com Website (current)
- Martin Marty Smith on Facebook (current)
- Martin Marty Smith Wordpress Blog (current)
- ScentTrail on WordPress (current)
- ScentTrail on Twitter (current)
- Story of Cancer on Twitter (current)
- Slideshare (current)
- Pinterest/ScentTrail (current)
- Story of Cancer Store (current)
- Google Plus (current)
- Martin's Ride To Cure Cancer (current)
- Delicious/ScentTrail (current)
- StumbleUpon/ScentTrail (current)
- Stoify/ScentTrail (current)
- ScentTrail/Deviant Art (current)
- New Media Leaders (current)
- Scoop.it/Curation Revolution (current)
- Scoop.it/ Design Revolution (current)
- Scoop.it/BI Revolution (current)
- Scoop.it/Marketing Revolution (current)
- Scoop.it/Ecommerce Revolution (current)
- Scoop.it/Startup Heroes (current)
- Scoop.it/Social Marketing Revolution (current)
- Scoop.it/Contests and Games Revolution (current)
- Raleigh News and Observer (current)
- Curatti (current)
- Scoopit (current)
I found mine creating my first website FoundObjects.com (non RIP sadly) in 1999. Those were heady times. So few businesses, brands and people were online all oceans were blue, untouched and full of possibilities.
Today all oceans are red made so by furious competition tinged with a growing since of desperation. Marketing and sales feels changed, gone and swept away. Somehow we miss our complicity.
Art is always closer than we know. An unexpected winter snow's quiet, a dog's pant or a cat's purr, our children's laugh and Picasso's smiles are there quiet, real and authentic. Our digital revolution is so much more and less than we recognize. More because connection creates empathy with trust and love following along.
Once LOVE is in the room oceans turn blue and our time is now.
- Vassar CollegePsychology, 1976 - 1980
- Choate SchoolPrep School, 1973 - 1976
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