Why we’re throwing out the dirty “S” word

work stressBusy is good in our industry! It’s certainly better than the alternative. We tend to like a faster pace – we like it when things are going on, and we like to have projects. Most of us would say that we even work better under the pressure of deadlines and crunch time. But what happens when you just have too many things in the queue and not enough days in the week to get them done? As they say, something’s gotta give.

Don’t think of it as sacrificing. I know that sacrifice is kind of a dirty word in our field. I mean, who really wants to sacrifice? The idea of a forfeit or a loss of ANYTHING is NOT appetizing. Our clients want to get everything, get it quickly, and for cheap. Now WE know that’s not happening. And we want to be able to deliver quality, quickly, and for every client at the same time. The idea of having to sacrifice one of these elements seems like suffering. So no, it’s not sacrificing. It’s more like… prioritizing.

Have you ever hear the old line:¬† “Good, fast or cheap – pick two.” It’s a little bit hokey, but it’s so true. Continue reading

@Companies – Tweeters just aren’t that into you

In recent marketing history every brand and their mother have been talking about using the most popular social media outlets at hand, in this case, Twitter, for promotion. Well, the companies may be tweeting, but is anyone listening? A study just came out today suggesting that companies still aren’t in on the conversation.

Now this study only considered a sample of 1,800 tweets, which you can only imagine is a fraction of the eternal chirping going on, but if we did assume that the results are a fairly accurate representation of the whole, the study concludes that brands are still having a one-way conversation.

So here’s the deal: 90% of tweets are posted by individual – or “real” – people. Of these tweets, only 12% mention a brand name. Which brand name do you think constitutes most of these shout-outs? Yup, Twitter itself. What other companies made the short list? Apple, Google, YouTube, Microsoft, Blackberry, Amazon, Facebook, Snuggie, ebay and Starbucks, in that order. Continue reading

Printed books (sales) are so last century

Are things looking grim for the publishing industry? Well, it’s all a matter of how you look at it. Technically, people are still reading books. That’s for certain. Just look at the incredible popularity¬† of Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes and Noble’s Nook. They’re undeniable successes by any account. Amazon posted that its e-book sales increased by 163 % in May, a year-to-date increase of a whopping 207%. So see, we’re still reading. Who ever said Americans are getting dumber? (Yeah, I probably come back to eat those words later!)

So then why would the printing industry be concerned? It’s an interesting conundrum, really, when you look at the numbers. Yes, the written word is still as popular as ever, but in a different format. It seems that e-book sales are way out-pacing those of their more tactile cousins – the traditional print version. Amazon claims that e-books have outsold print books by 43% over the last three months. Wowza, that’s a lot of downloading!

Why are the high-tech titles selling like hot cakes? Well, there are a few perks. E-books tend to be cheaper for us consumers than buying the book in the flesh – although some would argue that the production price is still surprisingly high despite a lack of physical nature. What does “cheaper” really mean? Well let’s play devil’s advocate here and look at the list price for, say, “Breaking Dawn,” the fourth book in the Twilight sage (not that I’m condoning people actually reading the Twilight saga!) Cover price may be $14.99, but who every pays the list price? You can get a paperback edition for $8.99, which in this case is actually less than the kindle copy at $10.99. Continue reading

Could bringing Facebook to work make you more productive?

What if signing in to work was just like checking your Facebook profile? It’s always such a thrill when you see that bright red alert flag in the corner of the screen, and you can’t wait to see what good news lies beneath that mouse click. Updates, alerts, postings and notifications – things are happening in real-time and we’re all in the loop. How beneficial could that be in the office. In short, very!!

Just think about the kind of intricate collaboration that we’re used to thanks to the social network phenomenon – profiles, status updates, feeds, groups, lists, filters. It’s pretty remarkable how organized our social lives have become, really. Most of us already use these networks to make business connections, but just think about how organized our work lives could be if we took a lesson from the social scene. Continue reading

What to do when they won’t cooperate

While most people were probably welcoming and enjoying the beginning of a long, relaxing holiday weekend, I spent Saturday morning chasing a deer around all two acres of my back yard, trying to herd it toward the open gate that it just couldn’t seem to find. We eventually helped it to freedom, but what did I learn from this awkward and unprecedented dilemma? You can’t make someone (or something) do what you want him to do. Continue reading