Category Archives: John Ely Blog

Long Live Your Content!

LinkedInHere we are on Friday afternoon and I was thinking about all the ways social media affects my sales and marketing efforts. I have come to the conclusion that for a B2B marketer, there are some platforms that work better than others. For me, it’s video and LinkedIn. Why? Because my content lives much longer here. A tweet has a short shelf life, unless constantly re-tweeted; even then the very nature of short attention publishing on Twitter leads me to believe that nothing has a long run in 140 characters or less.

Video on YouTube however, can live for years. I have a tendency to look up old commercials from the 50s and 60s to watch on YouTube; giving life to products older than me!

LinkedIn is another place I love to frequent. Great advice, while  some say a “stalker” platform, I find much more good than evil there. One can build a solid profile that is searchable and builds credibility over time. Salespeople can build trust 24/7 simply by posting a robust online persona. One person I love to follow and read about is Viveka Von Rosen and her LinkedIntoBusiness site. She’s an expert on all levels of LinkedIn.

B2B marketer wondering how, when and why to start with social platforms?  Start with the ones that have everlasting life!


March (Marketing) Maddness

MM

The Super Bowl is the holy grail of marketing and advertising you say?  I say no! This time of year we get to witness the Super Bowl, Daytona 500 and the World Cup (by US standards) and then some. The NCAA basketball tournament has morphed into a marketers dream over the last 25 years or so.

It used to be like most sporting events, just that; a college b-ball tourney that basketball fans tuned into. Today, March Madness has become a plethora of advertising, new product releases and awareness campaigns reaching all types of demographics. The typical person tuning in may have a college team they support, but most I suppose, wouldn’t know the difference between a Jayhawk and a Chicken McNugget.

So, you college basketball purist are out of luck; the NCAA tourney will never be what it was back in the 70s, 80s or even 90s! This year’s event will be chalked full of ads, apps and other marketing media including the Quicken Loans/Yahoo Sports/Warren Buffet impossible chance at $1B. Marketers know when and where you pay attention…and March Madness is a gold mine!


Oklahoma is OK…Alabama too!

untitled

Wow, I looked at the sports reports this morning and one ESPN writer asked “What now for Alabama”?  Really? I mean, I’m a Big Ten homer but even so, I have to say that Alabama will be just fine…three championships in four years is incredible!  This year they get beat by a very good Auburn team; even then it takes a last second play. Last night they lost to another good team.

In this year’s Sugar Bowl Oklahoma was a 17 point dog, Mark May predicted a 48-10 blowout by the Crimson Tide and no one outside of Norman gave them a fighting chance. So, how did this happen?  Is the Earth spinning the wrong direction? Is the sky falling? No. The last time I looked, every FBS team fields scholarship athletes on both sides of the ball…the best 18-22 year old players from all across this land! Last night the Sooners were the best team on the field; they fought harder and the play-calling was near genius.

I don’t know about you, but I’m a little tired of ESPN, CBS, and the other network pundits continually talking about one conference vs. another for sports dominance, or deeming a program a failure after a loss or two.  I’m a football fan and can appreciate talent no matter if they wear the Maize and Blue, Crimson and White or Scarlet and Gray. I love the game and enjoy watching these athletes perform at a level I could only dream of.  No matter what trends or statistics the media focuses on, these kids come to compete – and anything can happen on the field. That’s why they play the game and why I’ll keep watching college football!


Way to Stuffed for the Black Friday Fight!

vwlbt001

I’ve been watching closely the battleground for the Black Friday shoppers this year and as in years past, the tactics blend into the days before and weeks after the Friday after Thanksgiving. This year we saw the inception of “Gray” Thursday (when I was a kid we called it Thanksgiving Day). Wal-Mart seemed particularly savvy with the timing of the deals starting that evening and breaking them into segments for the following Black Friday. Some doors opened at Midnight, but deals were offered at 6am, 8am and 10 am based on the product family.

This is a pretty cool move by Wal-mart, because the items I seemed to gravitate towards were being offered at their lowest prices later in the day. Do they have a bead on the American male shopper? Maybe so. I’m sure a great deal of data was behind the deal timing, and no one has more shopper data than Wal-Mart. They must have deciphered the fact that I was so full of turkey and mashed potatoes that there was no way I’m getting in line at midnight, or 6 am for that matter.  Getting to the store at 10am for certain deals almost got me off the couch!

Still this year I did most of my shopping online…long before today’s Cyber Monday; I received emails from the places I most shop online at, offering deals long before today. but I will still be lurking on the Internet today to see what deals might be out there. If they’re smart, we’ll see treadmills and gym memberships go on sale today!


Sure Signs that the Apocalypse is upon Us

Well I got the news last week and it wasn’t good…Hostess, the bakers of such iconic treats like, Twinkies, Ho-Hos, Ding-Dongs, Fruit Pies, etc. is gone for good. The management blamed the unions, the unions blamed the management and the approximately 18,000 employees are out jobs just a week before Thanksgiving.

I know from running businesses that’s it’s tough, but in today’s economy it becomes almost impossible to maintain a company without compromises on both sides…which were not evident in this case.

Some savvy company, or group of companies will certainly gobble up (shameless TG reference, sorry) one or more of the brands. But I can’t help thinking this is just the beginning of a long line of once iconic brands going by the wasteside. If Hostess, a brand that rang strongest through the Great Depression and was a staple for me, my parents and their parents can disappear; who’s next?

I know the Mayan calendar says the world is ending on December 22 of this year; I don’t know how much stock I put in that, but just to be safe, I’m not starting my Christmas shopping until the 23rd!!


Prezi needs to get into the Present!

Yo all,

Back for another 50-somthing rant…today Prezi

I signed up for a new Prezi account and even purchased some material on training for this new (fairly) presentation platform. The Website looks awesome and the breadth of presentations on their database is astounding. What’s not so cool?  All of the training, tutorials and other stuff contained in the Prezi manual are based on the “Classic” format of Prezi.

Well, now there’s a new and improved version of the Prezi canvas and tools….but every training element is in the old format. Which for me is totally useless. There are a multitude of training tools for Prezi….NONE using the new format.

Hey, Prezi! Get it together. Before launching a totally new format, make damn sure your training (embedded in your Website) is current. Nothing pisses off a new customer more than insufficient training on your product. You and all your in-house geeks can surely navigate the new canvas and tools. Anyone signing up recently will most certainly be lost.


This is how Elections Should Work…

OK, after the first Presidential debate, and especially after last night’s “Bicker-fest”, I have come up with a better way to choose the leader of the free world (however, I do admit I had to look away a few times last night and watch “American Dad”, just to regain some of my sanity).

If I were King of the World – This is how it would work:

  1. The parties select their candidates…nothing changes here  except, there are no campaigns, no commercials, no signs, etc.  Each candidate writes his or her plan and registered party members READ them to form their views and ideas for leadership on categories such as the economy, foreign relations, social programs, energy, land management, homeland defense, and many others.
  2. These registered party members then cast their votes for the party’s representative, based solely on the qualifications, background and plans written by the candidates.
  3. The chosen candidates from each party then fully write their plan for the next six (6) years in office. That’s it, no re-election you get ONE six-year stint to make a difference.
  4. These plans contain all the necessary information a voter would need to make a decision. Background, qualifications, who their cabinet members would be and their qualifications; along with the full six-year plan on how they will lead this once great country.
  5. Registered voters would be able to read these plans up to six months before the election and the plans would be available in a variety of formats, print, online, audio for those who cannot see.  One caveat, if you can see and can’t read….tough shit – you have no right or the proper background to vote in a leader that you and I share.
  6. On voting day you prove your registration and cast your vote.

Gone are the negative arguments, misinformation and spins that further divide an already divisive country. Gone are the massive media buys that do NOTHING for the economy. In their place are ads for products and services that re-stimulate our economy. Gone are the wasted signs, posters, placards that clutter my neighborhood and yours. Gone are the votes based on fear, humiliation and plain misinformation.

This content is solely a product of the BrandedBlogger and I approve this message!


Trade Show Time…Again!

Here we go again – ready to hit the road for another trade show; probably my last major one of the year. As always, we will get to the convention center thinking that we have crossed all our “T’s” and dotted every “I”, but alas something will go wrong…it always does!

I love the atmosphere at the shows, the over-the-top booths, sideshows and bustling sales people eager to make a mark. There is so much energy, hype, marketing power, etc. Being a marketing geek, I feel I’m in my element.  However, the planning, the preparation, the standing up for 10-12 hours at a time and the travel all take a toll on me. Even more so lately.

I’m heading down Sunday for Orlando and Solar Power International 2012 (booth 3586 if you’re in the neighborhood), and I can assure you that while in the midst of the frenzy, while dining late with co-workers and customers and especially when we’ve torn down and are basking in the achievements of the week…I’ll feel fine!


Social Marketing….not what you expect!

Hello all,

Well today’s rant is about social media and all the marketing hype, energy, time and money (yes, money….it’s not free) being spent on it. Don’t get me wrong; I’m a huge fan of connecting with customers, prospects, investors and employees, but I’m not ready to bet  the entire farm on SM….even as 2013 budget season approaches.

Why, you ask, does a marketing person question social media in the middle of the frenzy?  Here’s why.  We (my firm) have not employed any type of social media to our marketing mix and what was the result??? We’ve doubled in size during the most turbulent economic time since the 30’s. How did we accomplish this?  Product, Service, PERSONAL Relationships…that’s it.

First, if your product or service sucks….you will fail. Hands down, consumers are savvy enough to not get taken twice; and most not even once. I don’t care how many Twitter followers you have, how many Facebook likes or how high your Penguin (Google) analytic rankings; if your product stinks, so will your sales.

Next, if you rely on interactive means to communicate solely with customers, you really only have a virtual relationship at best. Maybe we’re unique in the B2B world selling expensive power systems, but I cannot sell one product without at least one (usually many) face to face interactions. I wouldn’t purchase a mission-critical component for my company without thoroughly knowing who I’m buying from. I am, and all of our sales persons are, on planes…a lot!

Finally, if you can’t back what you sell…that’s right – you fail. Again, customers want to know you have their back. If a unit of mine needs service, I send a technician right away. Not a video of how to troubleshoot your own system…a real, live person trained for the job. Sensitive? Yes, one system can produce over 250,000 amps of current. That’s enough to burn through the steel supports of the Empire State Building in less than a second. Imagine what that does to a human body. You really want your facility manager poking around in there??

The rub – So much attention is focused on connecting virtually with people that I feel that the biggest “P” (product) is being short-changed. I see 1000 articles on social media to every one about product alpha or beta testing, voice of the customer or innovation discovery. SM has a place, even in my upcoming marketing year. I’m just not ready to rely on it totally; it will be used as a tool, not the crux of my strategy!!


Who put the Hurst in Olds?

As some of you know (and even less of you care), I recently purchased an old car. To most it’s just that; a 44-year old Oldsmobile. However, to me and hopefully many others, it is much more than that.

I feel the need to explain what makes this thing such a rarity….

Take yourself back to 1968 if you’re old enough. The muscle car craze was wide open, started by most agreements, John Delorean and his 1964 vision of the Pontiac GTO. I tend to agree, however there were some damn fine hotrods coming out of Detroit prior to that. By 1968 everyone had a performance car or line in their stable domestically. Oldsmobile was no different, they released the 442 shortly after the GTO hit the streets.

Most of these cars were equipped with Hurst performance gear, mostly shifters but other stuff too. George Hurst, was obviously a muscle car fan and every year he had a car built specially for him. They ranged by brand, but by far he preferred the Olds 442. Not just for the “Rocket” V8s under the hood; Olds added handling and some class to the 442….they were considered “Executive Hot Rods”. In 1968 Jack “Doc” Watson took the base 442 (a new body style that year) and added every performance goodie that GM had on the shelf. The first “4” in 442 stood for 400 ci engine (after 1965). Doc, wasn’t satisfied with that, he stuffed the all new Oldsmobile Rocket 455 in George’s car. Also, built up that 455 with the hottest parts in the Olds stable; hot cam, distributor,W-31 carb, forged crank, W-30 heads and Ram Air, and on and on.

The result was probably the most “badass” 442 ever to roll off the line. Soon after George received his car, a friend, John Demmer wanted his own “Hurst/Oldsmobile”, and then Demmer’s son. Doc knew he had a hit on his hands, however GM edict of the day said that these cars could not have engines larger than 400 ci. A problem? Not for long. Olds sent the specially painted Toronado Peruvian Silver 442s to Demmer Engineering, they stuffed Doc Watson’s fire-breathing 455 under the hood, added special black accents and interior trim, as well as Corvette four-piston disc brakes. To top it off the Hurst Dual Gate shifter was added to control the beefed-up TH400 tranny. And that folks, is how the Hurst/Olds was born.

They had only a few months to build the cars and managed to get 515 done before the line had to retool for the 1969 model year. To put that in perspective – days after the announcement of the H/O being offered, Olds had orders for over 5,000. At the time there were over 3,000 Oldsmobile dealers (so only one dealer in six even got a Hurst/Olds to sell). Finally, in 1968 Olds made about 37,000 442s. The 1968 Hurst/Olds was rare beyond belief from day one. Today, the Hurst/Olds club estimates there are only 140 of them left.

After 1969, the Hurst/Olds brand was more a graphics package as the government and insurance companies lowered the boom on performance cars rolling out of Detroit. The 1968 was the first and the most powerful, made to go straight from your dealer to the track…and mine did. I own #511 of 515. It was raced through Humphrey Olds/Cadillac in Rockford, Ill for three years, then spent many years in the family of factory race car driver Wayne Garnhardt.

She now resides at a shop nearby where the body has been taken off the frame to finish the restoration started by the gentleman I bought the car from….Vinny B. in NYC.  We are wrapping up all the mechanicals and putting the body back on the frame so I can redo the interior this winter. It will be a driver for a few years, eventually getting a full re-spray. Even then, she won’t be a trailer queen…these cars were built to be driven. If I break something…I’ll fix it.

There ya go…that’s why I’m so obsessed with this car. I promise to post pics in a few weeks once she’s back home…