Monthly Archives: April 2010

5 Things I Learned Today From 7th Graders…

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I had the great pleasure today to speak to a group of 40-50 7th graders at the Young Scholars Charter School in Philadelphia.  I have given many presentations over the years to everyone from public officials to Fortune 50 executives, but have not felt more nervous than I did in front of these kids, who were just fantastic.

This is a top rate program that works with 6, 7 and 8th graders from largely economically disadvantaged homes to prepare them for high school and college.  In fact, each class is referred to by the year they will graduate from college, which I find just outstanding.  For those doing the math, I spoke to the Class of 2019.

Each classroom is named after a school in the Philadelphia region, which they visit to give the kids a first hand understanding of the college tour and admissions process.  They also help the kids identify and apply to various high schools based on their skills, aptitude and drive.

To be blunt, I was in awe by the program.

I was invited to speak during their regular Community Circle where they give accolades to each other and learn life lessons from the teachers and various members of the community. While I gave a talk about building a personal mission and focusing on what you want to be, not solely on what you believe you want to do as a job, I felt that I got the better end of the bargain in being a small part of the kids day.

What did I learn today from these 7th graders:

1. It is never too early to think about and
plan for what you would like to be doing 10 years from now.

2. Asking direct questions and truly listening to the answers keeps both you and your audience more engaged than any monologue ever will.

3. Video is great!

4. Telling someone they did a good job goes a VERY long way

5. Entering a room to the sound of drum beats makes you feel connected, humble and ready for both action and interaction…we should all get to do it!

The presentation is below and on SlideShare.  I am not a big bullet-point person in my public presentations so it is mostly pictures with a video embedded in the presentation at the end.

5 Themes On Building Companies From Philly Startup Leaders Starter Stories

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I was honored and excited to be asked by Philly Startup Leaders to record a video for their Starter Stories series that asks entrepreneurs from the Philadelphia region to share their background, ups, downs and current projects. 

Thank you very much Cliff Stevens and Blake Jenelle for the invitation!

Attract, Convert, and Transform: The secret to online marketing success (@shama)

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From Stephanie Diamond’s Marketing Message Blog, guest post from Shama Kabani

April 14, 2010

Attract, Convert, and Transform: The secret
to online marketing success

Zen
Guest Post
 By Shama Kabani

Did you ever watch
TV’s Mad Men?
Those guys had it easy.  When they wanted
to sell something, they used a controlled medium where consumers were
passive recipients of whatever message marketers wanted to put out
there. 

Those days are gone
forever.  Today, everyone with access to the
Internet can publish their own reviews, commentary, or responses – and
marketers who aren’t part of the dialogue are quickly being left behind.

But some things
don’t change.  Crafting a solid marketing message
that is built on a great marketing strategy
is just as important – or maybe more important – today than it was when
the Mad Men ruled Madison Avenue. 

So what does it take
to create the best marketing message for today’s wired world?  I can’t stress enough how strongly I believe that the
ACT Methodology – three basic building blocks – is the key to successful
online marketing.

A is for Attract. To attract means to get attention
or stand out. Practically, this means attracting traffic to your
website—your main online marketing tool. Nowhere is social media
marketing more successful and useful than in the
“attracting” phase of online marketing. During the attraction phase, you
are trying to drive traffic to your site and stand out from the masses.

C is for Convert. Conversion happens when you turn a
stranger into a consumer or customer. And there is a difference between
the two! A consumer may take in your information or even sample your
product, but he or she may not always buy. That’s okay! Over time, that
consumer may become a customer. The more expensive a purchase, the
longer it may take. This means that you constantly have to work to
convert people into consumers and customers.

T is for Transform. You transform when you turn past
and present successes into magnetic forces of attraction.

People, especially
strangers, crave social proof. Social proof is the theory that we are
more likely to do something when we see others doing it. This applies
even more when the others in question are similar to
us. We often decide what to do (including whether to buy) based on what
others are doing. This isn’t the only factor in our decision making, but
it is a major one

One of our clients
is K9Cuisine.com. They sell premium dog food online. Nothing too
glamorous, but their customer service is amazing. They go above and
beyond just delivering an order. If a client orders regular shipping,
they upgrade it for no extra charge. If a customer says his dog didn’t
like a specific brand, they swap it out and help him find something that
his dog will like. They’re more than just a dog food seller; they
become trusted dog nutrition advisors who care about your four-legged
friend.

And they’re great at
retelling the stories their customers share with them.  When
K9Cuisine.com receives an email thanking them for helping Jack, the
loved golden retriever, start eating again after a long illness, they
ask the customer if they can share their story with others. The story
then makes its way onto their Facebook page and into their tweets. Soon,
lots of people know about how K9Cuisine.com helped Jack. Next time they
think about Fido needing dog food, they will think about K9Cuisine.com.
If they have a great experience, they may tell their friends, and the
ACT cycle continues.

Shama Kabani is president of The Marketing
Zen Group
, and author of The Zen of
Social Media Marketing
, which hits
store shelves this week.

Mediavix 1 of 10 Companies Selected To Present At Entrepreneurship Expo

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Mediavix is very excited and proud to have been selected as one of the 10 companies asked to present at the Entrepreneur Expo sponsored by Philly Startup Leaders next Tuesday, April 13.

You can learn about the expo here.

I am excited about being invited to speak at this event because it is not a pitch-fest, but rather an opportunity to talk about our view of the world and how that translates into our mission.  In addition, we can give a frank account of the opportunities and challenges that we have faced with the ability for real interaction with a diverse audience of large and small business owners, investors, government officials, scholars and students.

For Mediavix, that means talking about our mission to provide simple connections to support a unified media world.

Specifically, that includes our belief in an open approach to managing brand relationships, forgoing being locked down within one proprietary system and, instead, leveraging the best the Internet has to offer around Discovery, Engagement and Analysis .

If you are in the Philadelphia area on the evening of Tuesday, April 13, I hope to see you there.

 

How Do You Combine Mission And Action?

I have been very fortunate to become part of a group here in Philadelphia that is dedicated to figuring out that question…Missioneurs (www.missioneurs.com).

It is really a conversation and collaboration between those of us on the “for-profit” side and those on the “non-profit” side of the world as we all seek to create new models that drive true value.  It is certainly a journey as opposed to a destination; at least now.

I was fortunate last week to tape a video segment supported by Philly Startup Leaders called Starter Stories. It is a great series to provide additional real-world stories that can, hopefully, help new entrepreneurs with their endeavors.

During my segment I spoke more than I thought I would about “solving a problem” being the core of the business. Once you do that, the business model and strategy will always be clear a it is your approach to that core problem that should serve as the compass.

It was then that I realized that those “problems” we seek to solve are our missions as either a for-profit or
non-profit
entity, but it is the strategy and supporting tactics that ultimately
define
its success. 

My hope is that we as
Missioneurs can work to fill the gaps between existing philosophies with a
clear framework for action.  I believe that People and Planet are essential to consider at least in line
with Profit.

That,
however, is a very known and clear objective of those people and companies that
subscribe to the Triple Bottom Line (or 3BL) philosophy of business.  The
value judgments of the enterprise or mission go through a filter, I believe,
when put in that context to ensure the world is better with than without the
mission and the activities that support it.

With
that in mind, where I believe the Missioneur movement can be of the most
assistance is in providing access to resources as well as clear connections and
framework to actually operate in a 3BL fashion.  That is a very big gap in
the marketplace of information and, in my opinion, a gap in that connection
between mission and action. 

For
example, a recent study released by Landor Associates,
Penn Schoen Berland and Burson-Marsteller stated that 75% of consumers believe
social responsibility is important and 55% said they would choose a product
that supports a particular cause versus those that do not.  The study also
showed that 70% of consumers would pay a premium for products from socially
responsible companies.

What does that mean for the triple bottom
line?  How do I as a company, marry my social mission with fiduciary
responsibility?  What models can I engage in, perhaps in partnership with
non-profits that are experts in certain causes, to advance a social mission and
basic product goals.

To
me it is questions like those that a Missioneur can help answer.

There is a great deal of rich philosophical discussion to have around MIssioneurship and I look forward to it and suggest the Missioneurs website to keep track.  I
do not have much to add to the philosophical discussion right now beyond what
has been written thus far, but I think it is imperative that
we provide a path from the philosophical to the practical.

If one of our
objectives is to provide support for self-reliant models that allow
organizations of any type to pursue their mission, then it is the access to the
‘how’ that we should ensure we address in our own mission.

As I said, this is a journey not a destination…at least for now.