I’ve seen a variety of announcements lately from agencies who have recently won awards for everything from best agency to best creative. As happy as I am for all of the agencies and brands whose work is being celebrated, I started to wonder if these award competitions are really highlighting the absolute best work in our industry. To figure this out I started to do some digging to figure out how a company would come to be considered for these awards. I wanted to dive deeper into how winners are selected, but frankly most of the awards don’t disclose detailed information on this front. After going through that process, I was left with more questions than answers. I wanted to throw this out there and see whether or not you feel like the various opportunities to win awards are really finding and highlighting the best marketers, brands, consultants and agencies in the space. There were two areas I found that I think will help kick start the conversation.

Nichole Kelly

About the author

Nichole Kelly is the CEO of Social Media Explorer|SME Digital. She is also the author of How to Measure Social Media. Her team helps companies figure out where social media fits and then helps execute the recommended strategy across the “right” mix of social media channels. Do you want to rock the awesome with your digital marketing strategy? Contact Nichole

Raising the bar: Customer relationships

by · August 29, 2014

The past few months I have been a little focused, some may say obsessed, with lowering the bar. From my post on creating less content to my ideas on having a point in your social media marketing. I’ve been talking about being more deliberate, I’ve encouraged people to lower the bar in terms of being useful instead of human and being a trusted resource instead of a thought leader. Well, today, I want us to raise the bar on one thing: customer relationships.

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Wait, Weight? Do Tell Me

by · August 28, 2014

A few months ago, I checked back into my Vermont hotel room and accepted my fate: snowed in; no way out. I took some time that night to sit out on the hotel balcony, watching the snow continue to fall, staring out at the monochromatic landscape, and listening to the utter quietness. That night, I was introduced to a phenomenon not often present where I live. Loud cracks, sharp breaks, distant crashing sounds. It took me a few minutes to discern the noise, then I saw it happen.

A perfectly healthy-looking branch, weighted down by the snow, just fell free from its tree and crashed to the ground. Weight; I have seen this happen before, in myself and those around me, in my workplace and out in public, out in the open and kept behind office doors. Weight, whether tangible or intangible, can be burdensome, can slow you down, and, given enough time and inattention, can literally render you unable to maintain.

How often do you check your own weight or the weight of those around you? 

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And The Era Of Social Sales Begins

by · August 27, 2014

The purists said, “You can’t sell using social media.” And the purists were wrong. Damn wrong. In fact, there’s little more social in the business world at all than selling. It’s just taken us until recently to get the social purists out of the way so we can get back to business.

And get back to business we will. Who better to help lead us there than David Meerman Scott, one of the pioneers who led marketing and public relations people down the path of the New Rules? He’s out with his new book, The New Rules of Sales and Service, and it couldn’t be a more perfect text book for the sales industry.

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How to Respond to Online Brand and Reputation Attacks

by · August 26, 2014

Online brand and reputation attacks have become some of the easiest and most impactful mechanisms for individuals and companies to cause serious harm to businesses.

These types of attacks can originate from a variety of sources, but most commonly the “attackers” are competitors, disgruntled employees, unhappy customers, dissatisfied investors, extortionists or other people and businesses who become upset with a company and want to cause that company serious damage.

Further, these attacks come in many forms, including:

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Successful Marketing Starts With The Basics

by · August 25, 2014

The same people keep asking the same questions about digital marketing, social media and marketing in general. They keep wondering where the easy button is (there isn’t one). They keep looking for someone to swoop in with an answer (there isn’t one, but many). They keep thinking there’s some magic “thing” they’re missing (there is none).

Good marketing, online or off-, social or traditional, direct or mass, is the same now as it was 100 years ago, 50 years ago, 10 years ago. It will be the same 10, 50 and 100 years from now. The tools and trends change. The audience behavior may change, too. But the key to good marketing does not.

To answer your questions, start over. Go back to your college classes or the first few books you read and re-learn how to market. Stop obsessing with the latest tool, trend, website or hashtag and get back to the core – communicating messages to your audience(s) to persuade.

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5 Essential Components of a Successful Facebook Sales Strategy

by · August 22, 2014

With almost 1.5 billion registered users from all across the globe, Facebook is any marketer’s dream platform. Over the last couple of years, it has seen the average age of its users rise steadily, which means there are more people on Facebook with cash in hand and the ability to make their own purchase decisions (unlike teenagers or younger users).

All this presents a great opportunity for marketers and online sellers to increase their product sales and acquire new clients from Facebook. However, in order to create a successful Facebook sales strategy, you need to have certain components in place, apart from having a good quality product that fulfills a specific need. Here’s a quick look at some of them.

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Consider the trusted resource

by · August 21, 2014

A few weeks back Nichole Kelly wrote a series about ego and social and it took me a few weeks to really marinate in her words, the thing that I keep coming back to is this: We are overshooting social media. If the idea was to connect people with people with more immediacy than ever realized before, the opportunity for brands was to transition from monolog to dialog. It is simple. Have a conversation with your customer. Answer their questions. Take care of them when they need you. Occasionally introduce them to new products and services, but mostly, offer them an opportunity to dialog. It is something I like to see from my favorite brands. I like to get ideas for my home and get inspiration for dinner from my favorite brands.

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Your Presence Is The Best Present You Can Present

by · August 20, 2014

Flashback: My 2-year old daughter, like many 2-year-old daughters, has a doll that she has latched onto: Chandani. She carries it around; it rides in the car with us; she puts it down for naps. This particular doll has a bit of prescribed interactivity: touch her cheek, “mama”; tickle her foot, laughter; squeeze her hand, crying. My daughter does not understand why her doll cries out; however, her reaction is always the same. She does not sing to Chandani, she does not chastise her, she does not try and converse with her, she does not ignore her. She simply touches her doll’s head and softly states, “I am right here. I am right here.”

The one and only priority in this relationship is presence; rain or shine, good or bad, light or dark, my daughter simply assures, “I am right here.” Because to her, that is precisely everything that matters.

Yes, that is all a bit emotionally-tingly. However, there is a truth here that has resonated with me again and again during the five years since I first wrote about this. The idea of presence-above-all-else haunts me, as a husband and father, as an employee, and, especially in these days of Social ubiquity, as a marketer and brand representative.

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