Marketing Works Today

Integrated Digital Marketing & PR Consulting from Brown Ltd.

The First Blogs and Bloggers?

Blogs are considered to be a relatively new phenomenon in the last 20 years.  But are they?

In the 1500’s through the 1800’s, Ben Franklin, Samuel Sewell, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Paine, Adam Smith, and many others published what were called pamphlets – short small booklets with their news, ideas, and opinions (their content) about contemporary affairs.

Sounds like a blog doesn’t it?

There were thousands of these printed. In one reference they have more than 15,000 titles: Pamphlets in American History

How did a reader comment on another person’s pamphlet? They published their own as James Chalmers, a loyalist, did within weeks after Thomas Paine printed Common Sense.

The topics varied from war to women, civil liberties to labor, tariffs to free trade, taxes to finance, capitalism to socialism, religion to atheism, and many more.

Hmm, sounds like 2011, not 1711, doesn’t it?

A few examples are shown below:

The Rights of Man
Thomas Paine, 1791

Common Sense
Thomas Paine, 1776

Plain Truth
James Chalmers, 1776 (an answer within weeks of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense) – The first blog comment?

A Dissertation on Liberty and Necessity, Pleasure and Pain
Benjamin Franklin, 1722

The Selling of Joseph (Is Slavery Christian?)
Samuel Sewell, 1700

Is the Governor Corrupt? – A Memorial of the Present Deplorable State of New-England
Henry Ashurst, 1707

How Does God Cause Earthquakes?
Thomas Prince, 1755

The Loyal Convert – A royalist pamphlet
Francis Quarles, 1644

Why is this important you ask?  Publishing content is an American tradition.  Anyone that could afford it, published – not just newspaper and book publishers.

The cost has come down and the form has changed (print = newsletter postcards), e-mail newsletters, and various types of Internet channels. But publish we do.

We publish on politics, economics, history, current events, religion, and of course marketing – after all at our core, Americans are merchants.

I was the first multimedia producer at the IBM PC Division. One of my roles was managing editor of one of the first professional blogging groups – 15 full-time freelance journalists that wrote about our products, services, and customers – in 1987.  The first brand journalism group that I know of.

We published on Internet Newsgroups, Forums, and Weblogs. Some of the content was used in an old medium: print [something called press releases… plus brochures, magazines, newsletters, and product packaging.]

Hey, who is that guy? One of the first bloggers? Maybe the first brand journalist.

 

So the next time you’re thinking about getting into blogging, remember, it’s not new – you’re just late in getting started.

 

 

 

If you need some help, contact me. My name is Mike – and I’m your publishing friend. MikeBrown (at) BrownLtd (dot) com

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Filed under: Blogging, Brand Journalism, Content Development, Content Marketing, Print, Public & Media Relations, Writing, , , , , ,

Google+ Gets a B Plus from Brown Ltd.

We are starting off our review with the Nieman Journalism Lab at Harvard because the title is intriguing:  “What Google+ could do for news.”  It peaked our interest because if it can do it for “news” it will do it for “brand journalism” – one of our specialties.

We give Google+ a B+ because it’s a project, not a finished app.  Definitely not a killer app.  Not yet.  Remember MySpace, OS/2 (what you never heard of it? – my point exactly), etc?

Google+ will be a strong player in marketing and PR.  Much better than Google Buzz.  We’ll have to wait and see what develops and how innovative marketing and PR pros develop its use in the integrated marketing mix.  I have some initial Ning like ideas, especially with the Circles feature, but that will be a later post.

Take a look at these reviews, see it for yourself, and let me know what you think:

“TechCrunch had one of the first and best explanations of what Google+ is all about, and Wired’s Steven Levy wrote the most comprehensive account of the thinking at Google behind Plus: It’s the product of a fundamental philosophical shift from the web as information to the web as people.”
Mark Coddington
, Nieman Journalism Lab, Harvard: What Google+ could do for news
http://bit.ly/oV3j71

“Google, the world’s largest search company, is formally making its pitch to become a major force in social networking. The product it announced Tuesday is called Google+, and observers might wonder whether it’s simply one more social effort by a company that’s had a lousy track record in that field to date.”
Steven Levy
, Wired: Inside Google+ — How the Search Giant Plans to Go Social
http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2011/06/inside-google-plus-social/all/1

“Google+ is a bold and dramatic attempt at social. There’s a reason why Google calls this a “project” rather than a “product” — they don’t want people to think of this as the final product, but as a constantly-evolving entity that permeates every corner of the Google empire. Overall, Google+ is solid. But I’m not going to call it a Facebook killer or a game-changer.”
Ben Parr, Mashable:
http://mashable.com/2011/06/28/google-plus-review/

“This is the way Google always wanted social networking to work, and this time the company may have pulled it off.”
Jason Hiner, ZDNet: Is Google+ about to transform the Web?:
http://www.zdnet.com/blog/btl/is-google-about-to-transform-the-web/52004

Filed under: Advertising, Blogging, Brand Journalism, Branding, Content Development, Content Marketing, Future Vision, Integrated Marketing & Sales, Internet, Lead Generation, Marketing Measurement, Micro Blog (Twitter), Mobile Marketing, Non-Profit Marketing & PR, Public & Media Relations, Reputation Management, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Video & YouTube, Websites, Writing, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Marketing and PR 2.1

I was recently asked to speak at a trade association conference being held at The Breakers in the Town of Palm Beach.

It was a great group and it gave me the chance to explain:

  • The current state of marketing and public relations
  • How to integrate traditional and new media marketing and public relations
  • How to use content marketing to get more leads, prospects, and sales
  • Using Brand Journalism to reach customers, stakeholders, influencers, and the press
  • The new Marketing Mix 2.1
  • The importance of measurement and analytics
  • Customer Relationship Management and systems

Click below to see the presentation.  Let me know what you think!  Did I miss something?  Anything to add?

Filed under: Advertising, Blogging, Brand Journalism, Branding, Content Development, Content Marketing, Email Marketing & PR, Integrated Marketing & Sales, Internet, Lead Generation, Marketing Measurement, Micro Blog (Twitter), Mobile Marketing, Non-Profit Marketing & PR, Print, Public & Media Relations, Real Estate Marketing, Reputation Management, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Traffic, Video & YouTube, Websites, Writing, , , , , , , , , ,

The Little Secret Outside Marketing, PR and Ad Agencies Don’t Want You to Know

I’ve had in-house marketing and PR agencies at IBM, Motorola, and Pulte Homes.

I’ve always found that the cost of an in-house agency is about 1/3 of the cost of using an outside agency. I operate exactly like an outside agency, having a core group of hands-on managers and creatives and using the top freelancers and sub-contractors just like an outside agency does.

Cost is Important – And Other Reasons Too

Speed
In an in-house agency, our time to produce and roll out content and campaigns is much shorter.  We know the customers and their hot-buttons, subject matter, the benefits of our products and services, have the internal and customer contacts, can get teams together faster, get approvals quicker, etc.

We don’t have to constantly get an agency(s) up to speed and arrange formal approval sessions.  Often, we just quickly, and many times informally, meet the division president or principle that needs the content for a quick one-on-one, and approval is done.  No outside agency has that kind of access or speed.

Cost
I built an in-house TV & Multimedia Studio at Motorola (Business & Government Division) and the cost to run that became 10% of what it costs to go outside.  In fact, we spent $5 million to build the studio and equip it and paid it off with savings in less than 2 years.  It would be shorter now because of the lower cost and higher quality of broadcast quality equipment and software.  I’ve replaced a post-production system with less than $1,000 in software on my laptop.

See the Quick Case Study below for an integrated in-house agency example.

No Such Thing as a Free Lunch
As a CEO or marketing executive, you may like those lunches and perks that the outside agencies provide; but, you’re the one paying for them with your own budget.

Bottom line, in-house agency cost per customer acquisition is much smaller than using outside agencies.  Our cycle time is shorter.  And our brand awareness and equity expands much faster.

I understand that not everyone can afford a full-blown agency or a TV studio for his or her business.  However, hiring 2-3 key hands-on marketing and PR folks, with agency experience – and that also produce content for you in-house – will help you get the benefits for about 1/3 the cost of using a strictly external agency.

Strategy
In-house works especially well when you use an integrated marketing strategy that includes brand journalism, social media, and measurement systems.

Brand journalism is one of the best methods for getting believable content to stakeholders, prospects, and customers.  Producing that content from the inside makes more sense. There are so many moving parts and interactions, it’s hard to get a great story from multiple sources using an external agency.

Measurement
When you concept, create, distribute, and measure in-house, your results are more believable.  I’m not saying every external agency is like this, but they have a financial interest in getting you to buy more media.  They make more money.  I’ve seen campaign measurement results from outside agencies that were spun to recommend a larger media buy.  The goal of an in-house agency is to CUT cost.  The goal of an outside agency is to MAKE MORE MONEY for the outside agency.

Quick Case Study

As an example:  When I took over DiVosta Homes and then eventually Pulte Homes and Del Webb in Florida, we had 80 actively selling communities in the state.  We needed to sell over 4,000 homes a year for over a billion dollars in sales.

The annual marketing and PR budget for Florida, broken up in 7 divisions around the state, was over $20 million.  There were a dozen external agencies involved with the local divisions. I moved all the marketing and PR in-house and had 7 people total: graphic designers, writers (including me), traffic manager, and media buyer (me) to produce and place content.

We did web, email marketing, newspaper, magazine, radio, TV, outdoor, pitched stories to the press, events, etc., all in-house with some outside freelancers.  We produced hundreds of ads and stories every week… placed thousands every month.

The first year we cut $9.8 million from the marketing and PR budget, almost half.  We went from $3,000-$7,000 in marketing expense per home sale to less than $1,200 per home sale.  Our cycle time was much shorter to concept, produce, approve, and place.  All done with 7 great in-house people – and sales continued without skipping a beat.

In fact, when I took over they had 70,000 qualified contacts in their prospect system.  After the first year, we had over 300,000.  That’s results.

Think about it… those 7 people replaced a dozen expensive agencies.

In today’s world, it’s all about content marketing.  Getting out your honest and clear message by creating once, and publishing everywhere – and doing it for the lowest cost is the formula for success.

Contact me if you want to learn more:  MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

 

Filed under: Advertising, Blogging, Brand Journalism, Branding, Content Development, Content Marketing, Email Marketing & PR, Integrated Marketing & Sales, Internet, Lead Generation, Marketing Measurement, Mobile Marketing, Non-Profit Marketing & PR, Print, Public & Media Relations, Real Estate Marketing, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Traffic, Video & YouTube, Websites, Writing, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Brand Journalism Works

Trinidad Carnival: See Brand Journalism about Motorola with the Police in Trinidad

Brand journalism works for corporate brands, non-profits, products, services, etc.

People want information, both good and bad, and they remember it if it’s told to them as a story. News organizations focus on conflict and bad news.

There is a lot more information that is relevant and interesting than just bad news.

Tell the good news using a journalistic style, add a bit of conflict or potential bad news, and you have a winner.

What do you think?  Do you have examples you can share?

Motorola
Click here to see the example of Motorola Brand Journalism with the Police in Trinidad

Ford
Ford has one of the top Brand Journalism sites I’ve seen.  It includes an easy to use “Submit Your Stories” area with easy sharing, a “Featured Story”, “Your Ideas” section, plus Ford on Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, and In The News.  Anytime you can get people to write and publish good stories about you, that’s the ultimate in Brand Journalism.  Check it out: www.TheFordStory.com

Johnson & Johnson
Great examples in their “Our Stories” section: http://www.jnj.com/connect/caring/patient-stories

Imperial Sugar
Another great site that “owns” sugar news, the Imperial Sugar Company Online Newsroom: http://www.ISCNewsroom.com

Subscribe or check back often to see more great Brand Journalism examples.

Filed under: Blogging, Brand Journalism, Branding, Content Development, Content Marketing, Email Marketing & PR, Integrated Marketing & Sales, Lead Generation, Non-Profit Marketing & PR, Public & Media Relations, Reputation Management, Search Engine Marketing, Video & YouTube, Writing

Need A Freelance Writer, Editor, Blogger for Recession-Proof Results?

Mike Means Business

You need a pro. Someone that can see today, and the future, and act on it before it happens.

I’ve been a writer, managing editor, the first multimedia producer at IBM, and I started the first professional corporate blogging group at IBM in 1988 with 15 full-time writers.  That’s right, it’s not a typo – 1988.

“That kind of future-vision experience will get results for your business.  My recession-proof marketing writing will get more traffic, leads, qualified prospects, and sales for you – for the lowest cost per customer – in today’s market.”

From there I went on to win a NY Film Festival Award in 1989 for showing the world what the Web would become 6 years before the Web went live in 1995. My 1989 production was featured on Good Morning America, The Today Show, Discovery Channel, magazine covers, and local TV affiliates all over North America.

Editors at the NY Times looked baffled when I showed it to them in 1990. They still haven’t caught up.

“How did I know?  I’m plugged in. I have 1,478 real contacts in my smart-phone including thought leaders, teammates, future visionists, media pros, and entrepreneurs. Together we see the flow, the trends, and select strategy wisely. I’m an early adopter. I learn new technologies, channels, and techniques before most others and implement at the right time – not too early, never too late.”

Then Motorola stole me away from IBM and I used the Internet to launch a little company called Nextel. I got them Business Week Magazine’s Product of the Decade in the 1990’s.

“Do you need these kinds of results?  Hire a pro. Someone that is plugged into the markets, knows how to research for now and the future, uses cutting-edge information strategy, and can drive traffic to you.”

Since then I’ve been helping organizations take advantage of the Internet. I cut $9.8 million from the Pulte Homes Florida annual advertising budget by moving them out of traditional media to the Web. In that same year, I increased their lead-bank from 70,000 leads to over 300,000 qualified leads for 80 communities. Their sales went to 4,200 homes per year – over a $Billion. In 2009, they had 3,200 home sales. Down, but not out, still using my methods and systems.

During the worst real estate crisis since WWII, I helped a boutique new homebuilder grow from 24 home sales in all of 2007 to 204 home sales [in 6 months] in 2008 – for $84 million in sales. What real estate bubble bust? Not when I use my methods.

“I’ve specialized in tech, science, healthcare, real estate, non-profit, and public policy. Call me right now to get a free quote!”

If you are looking for a REAL pro, that has the strategic vision, background and skill, and hands-on writing experience to increase traffic, leads, qualified prospects, and sales, see my portfolio:

www.RMichaelBrown.Wordpress.com

“You won’t get the same winning results from part-time bloggers, students, interns, or all the posers working from home out there. Getting $million results is not like writing a letter to home or an email to the boss. It takes strategic thinking, creative talent, and a track record of big wins to give you the confidence in the decisions you make.”

Hire a pro.  Get results.  Call me today: 561-756-1674

Mike

Filed under: Advertising, Blogging, Branding, Content Development, Content Marketing, Email Marketing & PR, Future Vision, Integrated Marketing & Sales, Internet, Lead Generation, Marketing Measurement, Non-Profit Marketing & PR, Public & Media Relations, Real Estate Marketing, Reputation Management, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media Marketing, Traffic, Video & YouTube, Websites, Writing, , , , , , , ,

Marketing Works Today

This blog is to help you learn how to connect with customers. The goal is to show you how to get the most qualified leads, traffic, relationships, and sales for the lowest cost/customer. I'll write and aggregate content that relates to the goal. You're welcome to subscribe, comment, and post. Send me your news tips!

What’s In A Title?

I've had a lot of titles [Director of Marketing, Communications Director, Advertising Director, Multimedia Producer, Managing Editor, Reporter, Copywriter]; but, I approach every project as a digital producer... what does the audience need and how can I deliver it most effectively and for the lowest cost?

Sometimes I write with pictures or video, sometimes with words. I always keep the goal in mind: sales, leads, traffic, a better brand image or awareness, or just a really good story, etc.

Yeah I create content for money. But you'll see from my background that I'm way better at making money for others than I am for myself.

I wish I had 1%. I'd be surfing with my kids all the time now.

Contact me and I'll make some for you.

Mike Brown
www.BrownLtd.com
MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

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Search Engine Advertising

I have 8 years experience setting up, writing, and managing small business and simple product campaigns ($100/week Google Adwords) and large business campaigns with multiple divisions and product lines (up to $20,000/week in Google Adwords – more than $1.1 billion in annual sales). Contact me to create your campaign! MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com

R. Michael Brown
Marketing Consultant, Public Relations Consultant, Freelance Writer: West Palm Beach, Florida

"I help organizations increase sales, and pump up the value of their brand, using media, for the lowest cost per customer."

Digital Marketing and Public Relations consultant, writer, and producer with over 20 years experience launching brands like DiVosta Homes, IBM Multimedia, Nextel, Motorola business and government sector, and SunFest Jazz Festival.

MikeBrown@BrownLtd.com
561-756-1674

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