Please Help Me

I need your help making a childhood dream come true. I have always wanted to be a New York Times bestseller, and that’s why I’m writing today about my new book Marketing in the Round.

Me and my co-author Gini Dietrich are hosting a virtual book launch party at 1 EST on Monday (register here) that I hope you’ll attend. If you live in Chicago, you are welcome to attend the live launch party. We’re trying to break the top ten business lists on both Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble for that hour! If we succeed, Gini is going give me a shaving cream pie in the face.

Ifdy Perez Serves Me a Pie in the Face

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Six for Six

Day 71 - Dreidl Die
Image by slgckgc

Next Monday marks the six year anniversary of my first blog post. As I’m blogging less these days, I decided my final post of this year with six reflections based on my experiences over these years. Here are my observations about social media, blogging and marketing based on my journey:

1) The Idealism of Better Business Through Social

When I began blogging, I believed in The Cluetrain Manifesto. Its raw message that businesses would be forced to act better thanks to social media spoke to me. Cluetrain inspired hope that conversations could change the very fiber of business in favor of people. I was full of passion for that change, and my first book Now Is Gone reflected this idealism.

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Book Title Revealed: Marketing in the Round

Marketing in the Round by Geoff Livingston and Gini Dietrich

This post is co-written by G Squared (Gini Dietrich and Geoff Livingston).

Guess what?!?

We finally get to talk about our new book! We joked, early on, that it’s not nice to tell prolific bloggers they can’t write about what they’re writing about. It’s been a challenge, that’s for sure.

It’s time to let the cat out of the bag with our book now listed on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Special congratulations again to Gini, who is making her first appearance as a published author. Her post today on Spin Sucks discusses some of the feeling that comes with that.

Generally, Gini’s ability to market has been eye opening. She is stellar, and deserves to be one of the industry’s most renown marketers. I quibble that her name should be first on the jacket. While I have much of theory and strategy down, watching her do her thing on a daily basis has been impressive.

Integration of All Disciplines

Integration or multichannel marketing is an underlying topic within social media, but also one that CMOs are discussing greatly.
Not since the original dot com era have CMOs been under so much pressure to understand how new media integrate into the mix, and how all the parts work together.

There is a great need for information in multichannel marketing. As two practitioners who have successfully marketed in the social and mobile media realms, yet find our roots in the traditional public relations and advertising practices, we believe our book offers new insights into how to build a multichannel program that leverages the strengths of all disciplines, old and new.

A critical part of my thinking is the understanding that social media has arisen, and in many ways has plateaued. There are not many new insights to add to the incredibly thick lexicon of social media texts available in book stores.

A recent IBM study of 1,700 chief marketing officers has some interesting results. It found respondents:

  • Are facing a challenge trying to figure out how to integrate the growing number of new marketing channels and devices, from smart phones to tablets.
  • Fifty-six percent view social media as a key engagement channel.
  • Not since the original dot com era have they been under so much pressure to understand how new media integrate into the mix, and how all the parts work together.
  • Seventy-eight percent expect more complexity during the next five years, but only 48 percent are prepared to deal with it.

There is a great need for information and an understanding in multichannel marketing.

Move the Conversation Out of the Sand Box

When the book will be released next May, it will have been nine years since Robert Scoble began his tenure at Microsoft as a video blogger. It will have been more than five years since the launch of Twitter. And nearly six years since Facebook opened to anyone older than the age of 13.

The era of corporate (and general population usage of) social media has entered its maturation and evolutionary phase.

The challenge is no longer how to incorporate social into the marketing programs, but how to move social out of the sand box, and into a role that fits within larger marketing context. In some case it may not fit at all.

We find that role — an important one for grassroots and customer relations — is often overblown.

Consider most successful marketing programs are in actuality integrated using advertising, direct marketing, mobile, and/or PR with strong social components. Rare is the pure grassroots, or viral, hit.

Marketing in the Round

I remember back in the dot com era I moved from traditional media relations into a fully integrated offering at Stackig, an acquired company served as Monster Worldwide’s Washington, DC office.

During my four year tenure there, I had to learn advertising and recruitment principles in order to sell our integrated offering. We had everybody in the region on the client roster; UUNet, DoD, the CIA, AOL, Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin, MCI and on and on.

At this time, I had some great mentors, Victor Watts and Ellis Pines (a Leo Burnett veteran from the Marlboro Man era), who taught me about branding, advertising, and business development. To this day the ability to apply the lessons learned as a journalist turned PR pro turned marketer distinguish my social media campaigns.

Clients are not left in the dust of conversations without ROI or outcomes, nor are the objectives stand alone without value to the stakeholder. Further, dovetailing tactics is a signature, usually seen with an event, but there are other components.

Look at Give to the Max Day, what many dub as a social media fundraising success with $2 million raised. But many overlook the significant PR, advertising, event marketing, guerilla tactics, and more that went into that recipe.

Collectively as G Squared, our approach to integration is to use a roundtable concept…where all disciplines work together to break down the silos, do what’s best for company growth, and work together.

It may seem a bit naive if you haven’t yet tried it, but it works. G Squared have both been working with organizations to do precisely this for years.

The book has case studies of companies, non-profits, and other organizations who have been successfully integrating for years. It has exercises for creating your own marketing round. And it gives you all sorts of ideas, benefits, and risks for creating a strategic and integrated marketing round.

It’s not out until May (our final deadline is January 2 and we’re already two-thirds finished writing), but you can pre-order it now.

In Gratitude, with Love

Us with Soleil in the Pumpkin Patch

It’s been an amazing year. It has had big ups and big downs. In short, life was in session.

In hindsight, there is so much to be grateful for as we roll into the holiday season. With Thanksgiving upon us, I’d like to express my gratitude for many things over the past year.

First of all this was the magical year of Soleil, my one year old daughter who has blessed our lives. From watching her first open her eyes regularly to the first time she said “Dada” to her first steps, becoming a father has literally been the best thing that has ever happened to me. I am so very grateful that Caitlin and I are together with this wonderful addition to our now three person family.

Releasing my second book, Welcome to the Fifth Estate, was a good experience, in large part because of you. Thank you to all the friends and punks who helped make the book a success, whether it was allowing me to guest post, offering me an opportunity to speak, sharing your reviews, or simply being supportive. Book marketing is hard!

Give to the Max Day: Greater Washington was an incredible experience. I am still processing it, but it certainly was profound, a pinnacle moment both professionally and spiritually. To be able to give back to my hometown for the past 20 years, and raise $2 million to help 1200 nonprofits all in one day (though it took six months of planning and work), well, it’s really humbling. Truly, something to be grateful about.

So many people worked to make this happen, but in particular I’d like to offer special thanks to all of my clients and friends at Razoo, Kathy Whelpley at the Community Foundation, and Kerry Morgan, Karyn Gruenberg, Stacia Klim and Elliot Gruber at the United Way. Thanks to all of our partners who helped get the word out. And thank you to the Washington nonprofit community — causes and donors alike — for coming together in a collective day of action.

Beth Kanter and Kami Huyse let me out of Zoetica early to attend to my house, a result of the above linked flood. Thank you.

In that same vein, Gini Dietrich carried my writing load over the past two months as I grappled with the flood and kept Give to the Max work moving forward. It’s so refreshing to work with an author who plays team ball and helped a partner that could not execute, literally putting the project on her back. Now it is my turn to write extensively, but Gini deserves a big thank you for helping me.

All of my friends (Dennis, Jimmy, David, Pernilla) and family in my personal life, people who don’t dig or just simply use social media in a normal fashion, deserve a special shout out. Whether it was direct help, friendly words, or an arm around the shoulder you helped me make it through a depressing time.

My online friends and readers, you, too reached out to me during the flood and ensuing recovery. I thank you so much for this. Every ounce of support helped me through a dark time.

Speaking of dark times, a year ago my friend George Giammittorio passed away due to depression. Earlier this year we as a community lost Trey Pennington. No matter how despairing the times may be — and for some the holidays are the darkest of times — there is always hope and love. If you are suffering and there is only darkness, please consider calling the National Hopeline.

2011 is not over. A trip to Austin is in order, there is a commencement speech for the Virginia Commonwealth University Mass Communications graduation to write and deliver, and the holiday giving season — a crucial time for causes — is upon us. And yes, it is time to catch up on book writing, and thus, I am taking the next week off from the social web and will return on the 28th for the final stretch.

Though we are not done with the year, one can never be too early in expressing gratitude. So thank you, and happy Thanksgiving.

Writing A Book… Again

Angrybirds big

Gini Dietrich’s reaction after one week of working with me

I’m happy to announce that I’m writing a new book, this time with Gini Dietrich and with a new publisher, Pearson. The topic is…

Not social media! Yay!

What a relief. How many social media books can one person write? I mean geez, I was thinking about writing a book on the Winklevosses, but I think it might have been done already.

BUT like every other blogger, we just did the, “We’re writing a book” post. As if you care. LOL.

It’s a little weird because we can’t tell you what we’re writing about. BUT, rest assured, if you are reading this blog, you will find it useful.

As to writing with Gini, it has really been a great experience. She has a lot of the same qualities and attitudes about getting work done. Not to mention that she is a fantastic blogger, and has a wicked sense of humor. Congratulations to Gini are in order. This is her first title, and given the topic XXX XXXXX XXXX and her theories about XXXX XXXX, the subject matter will clearly distinguish itself.

Special thanks to Katherine Bull for shepherding the project. It’s great to work with a professional house like Pearson.

The book is due in January, and will be published in May. In the interim — because I will not be blogging my book — you may find that the frequency of posts here drops to two or three a week. Please bear with me until 2012 as I work on this exciting project.

And thanks for tolerating another Me, Myself and I post.

Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee) Answers Tough Questions

In the above video, Author of The Thank You Economy Gary Vaynerchuk answers five questions about his views on consultants and social media. These questions are a follow up to both his controversial TechCrunch interview where he said 99% of social media experts are clowns, and Gini Dietrich’s blog post questioning Vaynerchuk‘s similar opinions about PR Firms in his book.

Personal note to Gary: Thank you for doing this, you’re a champ! Bought and looking forward to reading The Thank You Economy.

Here are the questions posed to Gary.

  • OK, first there was the TechCrunch “99% of social media experts are clowns” statement, and now there is discussion about your book The Thank You Economy, and how 95% of PR firms will louse up your community relations. You seem to have some strong 90th percentile feelings about consultants these days. What’s causing your statements?
  • Why is this generation of marketers any more or less crappy than the marketers that existed before social media?
  • Have you consulted others outside of your company? How did those engagements work out?
  • Who are some online communications consultants that you like?
  • Kathy Sierra recently said on the Gaping Void blog that your work is great because you make others better. [How] do you hope the industry will improve as a result of these conversations and The Thank You Economy?