As Evolven’s marketing director since 2010, I directed all phases of both the creative and technical elements of marketing initiatives including event planning and organization, brand creation, print/Web collateral development, channel partner cultivation, lead generation, as well as running webinars.

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Email: martinperlin@yahoo.com



Five Marketing Lessons You Can Learn From the Whiteboard Girl


The Whiteboard Girl was a brief, yet much talked about phenomena. The nearly unbelievable tale of the young woman that had the nerve and creativity to vent her frustration with her boss and quit through a collection of witty photographs sent to her entire office went viral quickly, getting caught by bloggers and news outlets alike. Many debated the veracity of the content, while others simply applauded her guts and originality for using modern technology and a touch of spicy humor to quit her job and embarrass her boss.

Very quickly the creators, from The Chive, stepped forward and admitted that the act was simply a hoax designed to prove the effectiveness of viral promotions - even when launched at 4 am. Some would question the effectiveness of this kind of hoax scheme and how it would reflect on the brand, possible backfiring rather than promoting the organization.  However, I believe that a number of useful lessons can be learned from the whiteboard girl episode.

1. Budget is no obstacle
You don't need a massive budget to get widespread exposure. Today you can use conventional routes like PR agencies and Google adwords and not reach the audience that a cleverly prepared viral campaign can attract.

2. Unknown faces can catch on
Who says you need to have a celebrity to get noticed. The actress they used for whiteboard girl responded to a want ad for the part and was paid $400. The trick was not about being famous, but about being real

3. Sex doesn't sell
With all the seductiveness of the name - whiteboard girl - you would have thought the collection of 30 images would have been sexier. Still, simple, straightforward well thought out humor that appeals to our intellect (with a bit of sassiness) gets the job done.

4. Creativity is the main driver
 As with each point, the underlying fuel for this campaign wasn't budget, sexiness, or fame but creativity and originality. A well thought out program can attract a crowd, that is looking for more people like themselves - not movie stars.

5. Everyone wins
This was a small plot which bore fruit for everyone. The creators got the massive attention they were out to prove that they could. The whiteboard girl went from simple, struggling actress, to one of the most talked about women on the internet.  She now has several Facebook fan pages, including "1,000,000 Strong for Jenny DryErase to Pose in Playboy," which has more than 2000 members.


All Tweet and No Meat? Making Twitter Meaningful for Traffic Growth

Cutting down on Twitter noise and focusing on a strategy for bringing more traffic to your site is an optimum use of Twitter and harnessing its networking capabilities. Recently, I wrote about 'Cutting Down Twitter Noise' where I focused on making Twitter use more meaningful, placing as part of a traffic building strategy. This was as opposed to just dedicating your marketing energy into an endless loop of Tweeting and Retweeting, without building any kind of new flow into the hub of your operations - your site.

I saw on HubSpot a similar article which really hammered home this point in 'Is Your Online Marketing Strategy All Tweet and No Meat?'

This article highlights the issue of "Marketers who are all tweet and no meat." This phenomenon constitutes heavy activity on Twitter (or Facebook for that matter) but the activity just stays there. Since Twitter of Facebook doesn't require much  in terms of developing rich, original content - but bite sized, sometime reconstituted work - the marketer fills the pull of an easy job.

They are "leaping into social media [and] are forgetting the importance of other online marketing channels. This is a problem because social media works best in conjunction with a site that's full of fresh content like blog posts, white papers and videos."

In other words, the real marketing effort is about creating meaningful content, to pull people in, spark discussions, and provide the starting point for sharing your content over social networks. This is in contrast to just straight Twitter activity, where you hope that your activity leads others to look into your profile.

Twitter's very premise works against creating a magnet, since most serious Twitter players are following many Tweeps and see their latest Tweets as a stream, and don't go into individual Twitter channels and go deeper.

So in short, only doing social media is treading water or just creating white background noise, but if you are banging out original content worth reviewing, and then sharing it on Twitter, you are pushing your strategy forward for driving worthwhile traffic to your site.


Cutting Down Twitter Noise

Twitter has evolved into a prime marketing tool. It has outgrown its initial concept as a micro-blog or micro-diary, and turned into a relevant and powerful promotional platform. However, the question to ask yourself is: are you promoting with Twitter or broadcasting Twitter Noise?

In order to look at what constitutes Twitter noise, we must first define general strategy and goals for leveraging Twitter as a marketing device. Above all, your website should be at the center of your ecosystem, with Twitter branch for promoting it. The website may be a full site, or just the blog. The Tweets on Twitter are a good way of keeping the world aware of what's the latest with your organization.

Of course engagement with Twitter is progressive. When you first enter the Twitter venue, you have no followers (and unless you are Oprah or Ashton), you will have to work for your followers. That means LESS ABOUT and MORE ABOUT THEM.

You have to follow others
You have to get noticed by others so they will follow YOU.
That means, the first stage of the Twitter process is Retweeting a lot of other information from other Twitter streams.

Retweeting with Less Noise
Your Retweets need to part of an overall Twitter strategy meaning the information has to reflect the niche that you want your stream to focus on, and the sources of information should be accounts that you want to notice you. Retweeting magazines and other news sources will mean you will be broadcasting their information, adding to your channel with (hopefully) relevant information, but not getting acknowledged in the source channel. Acknowledgement can be by a thanks or even retweeting something from your channel. This approach needs to remain focused, and the same information should only be repeated for time zone purposes or relevance.

Twitter Broadcasting
When you have reached a target amount for followers, reasonably around 500, you should change your approach to make sure you are broadcasting more. This means focusing MORE ON YOU and LESS ON THEM. You want to maintain your connections, so retweeting should be maintained, but now your information should come to the forefront. This will make it easier for your followers to be aware that you are more than just a conduit, you are an original channel of content.

Content Development
With a solid Twitter base, you need to focus more an your content development - blog posts, news, updates etc. This requires planning out your strategy and what you can expect to produce on a regular basis.

Twitter Channel
With a greater variety and depth of content, you can program your Twitter to tweet the content like news feeds. Regular repetitions are well spaced intervals will accommodate followers in different  zones. Your channel will be more powerful and attractive with new ideas, and insights. This will serve your ultimate goal of pulling greater numbers through Twitter into your website.


Google 'Psycho' Analytics

When our online world crosses with reality, can we use our online marketing indexes for gauging progress in our real life?


Food trays and plastic cups littered the floor. An easel with a blank canvas stood in the middle of the small studio apartment. Mid-day light flooded the room through the window. Frank slowly opened his eyes, and rubbed his stubbly face. In the bathroom, he splashed some water on his face. He looked at the calendar. It was Thursday, and the day was circled in pencil scratches. The phone rang.
"Hey Frank! It's Pat, what's going on," the friend said.
"Pretty good, you know, same old same old."
"You sure? How come you don't return calls?"
"You called?"
"Three times today."
"Guess I missed the phone."
"Do you read emails anymore? Are you even online."
"You bet. You don't exist if you're not online."
"Why don't you answer my messages?"
"Ok," Frank relented, "look Pat, I've been under a lot of pressure lately. You know, rent, food, basic survival. Sorry I just have had other priorities."
"No problem, brothah, I'm here for ya."
"OK, maybe I'll catch up with you later."
Frank put down the phone and turned to take a long hard look at the blank canvas now bathed in sunlight.

Frank rode train into the city. The car was mostly empty. In his notepad, he sketched the windows, and the shadows on the ground. The train pulled to a stop and he put his drawing pen in his shirt pocket, barely jumping out the closing doors. Rising up from the subway system, he was in midtown Manhattan, and walked over to an astute building with a doorman. The doorman knodded at him, and Frank took the elevator to the 4th floor. Exiting the elevator, he walked down a long, cooly lit hallway to a glass door. The sign on the door read: Dr. Mortimor Pressinger, Personal Therapy and Psycholoanalytics.

The waiting room was empty. Frank slumped into a stiff chair and stared at the tropical fish floating back and forth. The secretaries desk was empty. The door to Dr. Pressinger's office opened, and the therapist walked out, checked on the waiting room. Seeing Frank, he closed the waiting room door and bid farewell to his previous client.

The waiting room door opened again. "Come Frank, let's talk."
Frank followed Dr. Pressinger into his office. Dr. Pressinger was of moderate height, thin and pale looking. The office was wood panelled and carpetted, yet minimally decorated. A laptop computer was on the desk.
Frank sunk into a big, puffy easy chair. Dr. Pressinger sat on the other side of the room.
"So Frank, how've you been?"
"Uh, not bad, gettin by."
"How's your painting coming," the therapist asked, leaning forward.
"I think I'm making progress."
"Hmm, that's an interesting answer, I thought I was supposed to make the psychological assessments."
"Ok, ok. I got the canvas set up, you know, like we talked about. But I haven't been able to go further. It's like, it's like I'm, well I'm just stuck."
Dr. Pressinger squinted his eyes. "Who do you paint for?"
"Who do I, uh, well, myself. I want to paint for myself."
Dr. Pressinger noted something in his notebook. "So let me ask you again, how's the painting coming?"
"It's hard, I'm just not connecting, like I have no energy for it. I'm tired. I sleep in, and barely can move myself to clean or take care of myself."
A smile cracked across the therapist's thin lips. "I know."
"You know? What do you mean, you know?"
Dr. Pressinger leaned over and turned the laptop around. "Look Frank, you inner self is reflected in many things around you - your style of dress, your occupation, your level of tidiness and - the performance of your website.
"Look at this, according to Google Analytics, over the last few weeks traffic to your website has dropped tremendously. Last week it flatlined for 3 days. And you've barely made a Tweet on Twitter since last month."
"What are you saying?"
"What I'm saying is that you've hit a slump."
"Well, uh, what should I do? Meditation? Positive Reinforcement?"
"You've got to improve your presence on the web and get greater exposure to the Google search spiders, that way you can raise your placement in the organic search results and have a better chance of improving traffic to your site!"
"Maybe I need prozac. Something to pull me out of the pits."
"No, you need to be more active in Flickr. Add more images, join more groups get your online presence to more active." He handed Frank an article about Online Marketing Growth and Flickr.
"Geez. It looks like a lot of work," Frank snickered, flipping through the 25 page guide.
"It's worth it. It's the fastest way to push your portfolio to the widest audience."
"What if no one notices?"
"Then start Tweeting. Your last Twitter post was 'Ronnie Lee Gardner to be executed by firing squad in 20 minutes'"
"I know, I was feeling kind of in the dumps that day, maybe I was jealous. It was a Twitter trending topic at the time."
"That's terrible!"
"I know, I know I should be more positive."
"No! You need to at least have a couple keywords! And you'll be found faster if you hashtag the keywords."
Frank sat up in the puffy chair. "So what should I be aiming for, painting"
Dr. Pressinger shook his head, and pulled at his hair. "Painting? Painting?! Do you have any idea of how competitive those keywords are? You'll be a drop in the ocean. Niche, Frank. Niche! You've got to focus on a niche audience, like 'flower oil painting' or 'fruit acrylic painting'."
"You mean in the text of my website?"
"Text? Frank, how long have we been meeting. What will it take to get through to you. Google doesn't see your site like we do. The spiders go into the code.
Text is the least of your issues. You need metatags! And title tags for links, and alt tags for images. Tags! Frank. Where are your tags?"
"Ok, yeah, I remember now, we talked about it a few months ago. That was when I first told you about my father breaking a shovel while trying to get me to clear the snow from our driveway."
"And what have you done since. Look at your Google site ranking. It's barely moved. Frank you're not going anywhere!"
Frank stared at the Google Analytics dashboard in despair and just shook his head. "It's hard having a mirror so sharp put in front of you."
Dr. Pressinger leaned forward. "OK, so what about what we talked about last week. Hmm?"
"Um, you mean, signing up on Wikipedia?"
"Yes, well, anything?"
"Uh, yeah, well, I posted an article about my artwork, but uh, the Wiki editor took it down, said it violated Wiki rules and didn't have widespread public significance."
"Did you write it like we discussed?"
"Uh, I didn't really understand, so I put up the ad to my last gallery exhibition. That's a no-no right? No self-promotion?"
The therapist rolled his eyes upward. Dr. Pressinger pulled the laptop back, and clicked on some more links. "And what is this, Frank?!"
A large picture of a dead, rotting rat filled the screen. Small flies were crawling across the carcass.
"Yeah, that's the latest thing in my portfolio. I saw it in an alley and took the picture with my cell phone camera. I liked the way the light fell across the body. I know it's kind of morbid."
"No Frank. No! Do you know the significance of this?"
"I guess it was a cry for help?"
Dr. Pressinger looked down, and slapped his thigh. "Frank! It's in Flash!"
"Oh yeah, that, I thought it would be cool to have a portfolio section in Flash. It has smoother transitions."
"Frank don't you know the meaning of this?"
"My mother didn't breastfeed me?"
"Flash can't be seen on the iPhone or iPad, and is virtually invisible to Google spiders. Your portfolio is a big hole."
Frank just shrugged. "So what should I do Dr. Pressinger? Do we need to meet twice a week?"
"Frank you need to get your act together. Start updating your LinkedIn status, check the keyword density on your site, get on Orkut, use StumbleUpon, and you have to begin to use Digg for all your latest updates."
"Latest updates, you mean like what we talk about, um, like when I apologized to my mother for saying I never liked her cooking?"
"No, I mean a blog. You have to start keeping a blog, and updating it regularly. Only original content, updated on a regular basis will keep you relevant on Google. That's it. That's all that matters."
"Being relevant on Google?"
"Yes. That's all that matters now."

The alarm went off and Frank reached out from his bed and slammed it off. It was still dark outside, and clock said 5:15. Frank clicked on the lamp next to his bed, and rubbed his hand across his face. His hair was trimmed and short, and his face was smooth and shaven. He walked over to the canvas on the easel and took a moment to breathe in the painting on the canvas. It was still life of fruit across a table. The fruit were layed casually next to each other. The bright colors of the different fruits jumped off the canvas, even the subtle hues of the shadows were filled with pastel colors. Frank took a few steps into his kitchen and stated heating hot water in his kettle. As the water percolated, he sat down in front of his laptop. After checking his email, he opened

Twitter. He tweeted that he would be appearing at the Danum Gallery in Soho tonight - free wine and cheese. He opened another tab on his browser, and went into his Google Analytics account. The water in the kettle bubbled. He went into the Google Analytics dashboard and saw that his traffic and steadily grown in the past weeks, doubling from the previous month. His traffic sources were even more varied, and the searched-for keywords were broader and less specific to just his name or website address. A smile grew across his face. The boiling kettle started to whistle.


Generating a Brand for Business Success

From the most recognizable global corporations to your business, having a strong brand can make the difference for standing out from the competition, remaining a memorable experience to your customers and ultimately growing your business.

Read more from my article on establishing a winning brand for growing a photography business.

In a market that faces the pressures of a fiercely competitive economy, and a marketplace where every opportunity is more hotly pursued, as more photographers cross-over to shooting different genres, styles and subject matter , while blurring the lines of geographic-based jobs, you need to use all your marketing tools to succeed. To establish a world-class brand, you need to spend time and thought into what goes into your brand, to create the brand infrastructure that will carry your business presence beyond your immediate touchpoints. This process is likened to as if you were creating with your own hands the most popular person in the neighborhood. Your brand will precede you and create that awareness that will not only attract clients to you, but leave you a memorable option for future projects. So before you call the graphic designer, or start printing your business cards, you should direct your attention to your brand and what stands behind it.


Social Media Consolidation for Maximum Exposure and Efficient Workflow

The proliferation of social media opportunities does not need to overwhelm you. There are now many solutions for consolidating your social media efforts in order to maximize your exposure, while streamlining the time you put into updating your network.

I will focus on several of the most widespread social media networks around today: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and LinkedIn.

Twitter is by far the most pervasive system for connecting and interacting, giving you exposure and expanding your connections in directions that you didn't plan. A Twitter stream is easy to get going and the opportunities for growth are unstoppable. For some, getting there hands around Twitter takes some time and mental juggling. The success path in Twitter is somewhat counter-intuitive, where growth depends on promoting others. Some give the formula of for every 1 self promoted post on Twitter, you should be posting referenced (or retweeting) 7 times as much information from others. This principle helps to 'spread the wealth', and works on the basis of one good turn produces another.

Facebook has strong traction and is an easier model to grasp especially for marketing. Instead of being a location for featuring the latest shots of the kiddies, you should maintain a Facebook Fan page to highlight the latest with your business or organization.

YouTube has become the ubiquitous source of video the world over. This should also serve as a main new media communication tool. Creating video can be professional and expensive or simple and 'on the fly' with online screen recorder tools like Screen Toaster.

LinkedIn is by far the leading mechanism for maintaining your professional network, and keeping them updated on your latest projects, initiatives, and status.

Bringing the Social Media networks together
Just looking at these 4 options and trying to keep them all relevant with information about your activities seems daunting and exhausting. In addition, you will want to maintain a blog for more in-depth accounts of what you are doing. How can you do this without running yourself ragged? How can you still have time for your real work?

You need to consolidate your social media networks. Here are some useful tools for pulling them together.

1. Blog to Twitter: Push all your blog updates directly to Twitter, without even touching Twitter. Use easy online services like TwitterFeed. You can quickly have your blog directly publishing to Twitter, expanding your blog article exposure to the Twitterverse.

2. YouTube to Twitter: In YouTube account, go to 'Active Sharing'. You can setup that your YouTube activity will automatically publish to Twitter, including new uploads, favorites and comments

3. Facebook to Twitter: Out of your main Facebook account, create a Fan page for people outside your circle to follow your business or organization. You can keep your Twitter stream automatically updated about new posts to your fan page by using the Facebook to Twitter synch app.

4. Twitter to LinkedIn: You are making a strong effort to share relevant and important information over Twitter, but many of your connections may still not have joined the Twitter bandwagon. However they are still in touch with you over LinkedIn. You can set up a connection between LinkedIn and Twitter through your LinkedIn account, see more on the LinkedIn blog.

5. Twitter, YouTube to Facebook: As the Facebook format lends intself more to being a blog format, than the massive Twitter stream, many find it easier and preferable to keep up with via Facebook. Bring your other social media updates on Twitter and YouTube over to your Facebook page. Visit Involver.com’s Application Gallery, look for the Twitter app and follow through for adding both Twitter and YouTube as tabs to your Facebook Page.

Now you have all your networks covered, so no matter where you are making updates, and no matter where your touchpoints are with your connections, you will be maintaining maximum exposure, in an efficient workflow.

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