Thank you 2008 – Now we can move on

Many people are happy (if not downright giddy) watching 2008 go out the door and are going to be lining up to kick it in the tuchus on the way. I’m pretty happy with how 2009 turned out. My personal life is great, but we’re going to focus on the business side here.

A few of the high points:

  • Revenue grew 40% over 2007;
  • We started working with several wonderful new clients;
  • Welcomed back a “boomerang” client;
  • Had some real success for several clients helping them meet their goals.

But, alas, all was not sunshine and roses, in 2008, we:

  • Had a vicious September when over the course of 3 weeks, 3 clients drastically cut their marketing budgets; and
  • Were reminded that not all revenue is good revenue and sometimes it’s best to say “thanks but no thanks.”

We’re optimistic about 2009. We’re hoping to build our relationships with some of our larger clients while not losing our ability to work with early stage companies. We’re also going to be expanding/introducing a few things in 2009, including:

  • Expanding visibility of the “Quick Call Retainer”
  • Introducing the “Talk With Us” product to help companies better converse with their customers online
  • Our first non-PR product. We’re going to be introducing NorCal Marketing News in early 2009.  We’ve been testing out the waters with some posts at http://www.northstatebuzz.com, and will be moving to the new URL and design (based on the Revolution WordPress theme) On a related note, check out the article in today’s NY Times about ad agencies creating products. Seems we’re not the only ones with the idea to take what we know and create some value for ourselves while showing off our chops. So, get ready to start sending us news items as well as applications for our “profiles” which will be interviews with local public affairs, advertising and PR folks.

See you on the other side ready to run in 2009.

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Advice I sent out via Twitter in 2008

I tried to send thoughts via Twitter in real-time throughout 2008.  This usually happened when something frustrated me, but not always. There is very little rhyme or reason to the list below, but all seemed important at the time, and some actually are pretty important, some, not so much.

Much of the “advice” is related to companies presenting to potential investors but there is some fashion advice included that must not be ignored, specifically that “jorts” are never a good idea.

Links below are to the original Twitter posts. The list is in ascending order with the most recent advice last.



Advice from other people in 2008 that we highlighted on DETS – Includes Gene SImmons, Gary Vaynerchuk

In 2008, I pointed to advice from a lot of people. It’s all good stuff, and mostly related to marketing with a little bit more on the entrepreneurial side. The sources of the advice range from Gary Vaynerchuk to Gene Simmons. Enjoy.

From Gary Vaynerchuk’s, of WineLibrary TV, keynote at the Web 2.0 Conference:

A few favorite quotes from Gary’s talk:

  • PP – patience and passion
  • We are going through a gold rush of branding
  • Legacy is better than currency
  • Work 9-6, get home, kiss the dog and go to town (on where do you find the time to build something if you have a day job

From Gene Simmons/Chaim Witz on failure and success:

Q (from Business Week):  One of the things that distinguishes most entrepreneurs is their ability to fail and pick themselves up and try again—has that been your experience?

A (Gene Simmons from KISS): I fail all of the time. It means nothing.

Don’t fake it. You will get caught and humiliated as PowerMat was.

Advice when recording a video from Steve Nilan at Fundability:

Quiet on the set. Close the door. Put your phone on vibrate or better yet leave it in another room. I used my laptop’s built in microphone which was a little fuzzy sounding so I just bought a Logitech USB mic for next time.

Turn on the lights so you don’t look like you’re in the witness protection program. A natural full spectrum light makes a big difference.

Even pros can’t do it one take. Break up your pitch into smaller 20-30 second segments which you can easily edit using Windows Movie Maker or Apple iMovie.

Just the facts. Investors want to know: Who are you? What’s the problem? The market opportunity? What’s unique? What do you need (capital, partners. etc.)? 2 minutes max.

Think about visuals.

ROI from tradeshows, as broken down by Frank Addante, CEO of the Rubicon Project.

Top Posts of 2008 on Don’t Eat The Shrimp – Highlighting Best Practices for Blogging and Social Media

Below are the top 10 most viewed posts for 2008. What does this say? That search is a powerful thing. The phrase that sent the most people to DETS in 2008?  “cool gifts for kids.”  Others include:

  • “josh morgan;”
  • “democratic convention songs”

Two of the most viewed pages are the “About Josh” and “Clients” pages, so they aren’t in the following list. So without further ado, the most viewed posts of 2008 on Don’t Eat the Shrimp.

  1. Really, Really cool gift idea for kids – This was a plug of GiftVenture. I met the founders and were blown away by how simple, yet how cool this gift was for kids.  This result shows the power of choosing your headline well.
  2. Marketing Rant – Democratic Convention Song Choices for Female Speakers – This shows the benefit of posting about timely topics using your expertise to provide a unique perspective. In this case, I was showing how the song choices for music to accompany Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama focused on the fact that they were women and not their accomplishments.
  3. Unfortunate Timing for Prosper Magazine – The power of the comment. There was an article on WSJ.com about tough times for luxury magazines and I had just published a post about a luxury magazine in our area shutting down. I added a comment to the article on WSJ and included a link to my post. My comment added to the discussion and was not just shameless linking, resulting in continued traffic.
  4. Direct Marketing FAIL – I used a popular term, “FAIL,” in the title of the post and in the associated tag to highlight a poor marketing practice.
  5. Just say no to cute, inspirationalor funny quotes on your email sig – Once again, tieing a post to a trend topic and using my own experience to make it personal.
  6. Sacto Celebrities – Volume 1 – Adam Rich – Highlighting our ties to the local area and adding a little fun. Also a demosntration of the power of tagging the names of all the people mentioned in your posts.
  7. Herb Caen Day – A personal post about two big influences on my life, my grandmother and Herb Caen. It’s OK to show you are a real person in your business-related blog. In fact, it’s almost a necessity.
  8. Steve Sabol – Entrepreneur – Keynote Speaker at New California 100 – If you see a speaker or learn something that others may be interested in, share it!
  9. Darren Barefoot and Capulet Communications Have Some Serious Game – Highlight success, even if it may be by a competitor. In this case, I highlighted a new tactic conceoved by another PR firm, Capulet Communications.
  10. US Netcom is hereby barred frome ver practicing PR again– Take the high road, and if you see someone taking the low road, call them on it.

So what should you take away from above?

  • Choose your headline wisely;
  • Be timely and use current events to highlight your expertise, without being an “ambulance chaser;”
  • Comment effectively on other blogs and news stories;
  • Be personal;
  • Highlight success, whether it’s yours or a competitors;
  • Take the high road.

Here’s to continued success in 2009!

Paul Gillin’s Book – Secrets of Social Media Marketing

In September I mentioned that Paul Gillin had sent me a copy of his new book, “Secrets of Social Media Marketing.” One of the folks who works with me was going to write a review, but life got int he way. So, a bit late, and a bit truncated, here’s their synopsis:

Secrets of Social Media Marketing clearly defines, explains, and shows you
how to intelligently apply social media tools to any business scenario.
Gillin’s approach in the book helps the novice navigate the “right now” of
social media.  Novice and the experienced alike, will keep on learning as
you’re able to use Gillin’s tools to evaluate and apply whatever the future
of social media brings.

ssmbook

Short version – GO BUY IT!

This may very well be on the recommended books in my class this spring.

PS – Paul – I’m sorry this post wasn’t up earlier.

Client Chrometa talks about the benefits of time tracking software

We’ve worked with Chrometa for a few months as they’ve grown. They are a “graduate” of our “Quick Call Retainer,” program.  They’re out there now and they have a great product to talk about that helps companies maximize the work done by their billable employees. Check them out in the latest issue of the Business Journal where they talk about the benefits of their time tracking software:

chrometabizjournal1

Money is tight – for everyone – keep PR programs and marketing moving

At Morgan/Dorado we introduced our “Quick Call Retainer” in 2006 to provide an in expensive way for early stage companies to start ramping up their marketing and communications initiatives.

In the two years since it was introduced, the economic climate has changed significantly. Now, it’s not just early stage companies that need to have an inexpensive PR program.

This morning, The Quick Call was profiled by PR Week.  Below is a bit of the article, or you can read the entire piece by Aarti Shah on the PR Week blog:

“This allows us to keep up on what they’re doing and provide relevant counsel without a huge dollar commitment that a lot of companies are a bit fearful to make right now,” Morgan said.

The program started about two years ago and mainly targeted pre-revenue and pre-investor startups, but the recession has changed that. Morgan says now more mature companies are interested in the program.

“What we’ve found is that even if that’s not what [potential clients] end up using us for, it’s a demonstration of how we’re being flexible to work with clients,” he noted. “And they also see that we’re not looking to squeeze every dime out of them. It builds more trust.”

We’re apparently not the only ones with this idea. This morning I read about Ballantine’s PR and their “Brand-Aid BPR Blue” division which offers services for $2500 permonth to their targeted markets in luxury travel, leisure, entertainment and consumer. Also, earlier this year, PerkettPR introduced their “PR Stimulus Package” (they get bonus points for a timely name).

So forget everything you read about it costing $10-20,000 per month to work with a PR firm. Can you spend that much? No question, but it’s definitely not right for everyone, not now, not ever.