The Friday Five – June 11, 2010

Group Buying – only for big businesses? I first learned of Groupon, the rapidly growing group-buying company based in Chicago in a recent Inc. magazine feature. This is a rapidly growing trend that offers businesses the opportunity to generate a lot of traffic to their website or brick-and-mortar storefront. The downside is that you can’t look at this as a short time money maker but as a marketing campaign designed to expose your business to people who otherwise wouldn’t find you. With Groupon, you offer a significant discount, they take about half of that, leaving you with a loss – but the hope is a new subset of these buyers will become long-term customers. It’s a pretty cool way to take advantage of social media. Still new, I’m going to be watching how this trend unfolds over the next year+

Over at the new Content Marketing Institute,
Lisa Petrilli writes a provocative post connecting the wisdom of Thomas Edison with the modern practice of content marketing. She offers five key takeaways that draw from Thomas Edison’s approach to his work. I’ve read a great deal about content marketing and best practices. There’s great advice and then there’s simple advice that makes you pause – then get to work improving your own. This is one such piece. I believe one of the most important points she makes is this: “think of your overriding mission and don’t marry your content. Measure whether it’s meeting your customers needs and if not, change it up.”

Six great tips on integrating Social media into your company from someone who’s done it. Last year at the Inbound Marketing Summit in Dallas I heard Paula Berg talk about the ups and downs of experiences in Social Media and Communications at Southwest Airlines. She’s been doing it for four years now, and provides a great framework for us to draw from in educating our own teams – from the CEO on down. It’s important to spend time educating your senior management and recognizing that social media is not something you turn over to the intern or junior staffer. It requires trust and experience to successfully navigate the often chaotic world of social media – and understanding that you need a team, a structure, but most of all the ability to move quickly with autonomy. That’s where the trust comes in. There’s a lot of snake oil in the wild frontier that is social media. Learn from someone who’s been in the trenches and speaks from the heart.

The dark side of technology. I’ve long known that multi-tasking is a myth – it’s physically impossible to do two things at once. What really happens is the brain switches from one to the next, losing focus and ultimately not doing as good of a job. While there are so many benefits to our connected world, this is a sobering wake up call that we need to understand the implications of being too connected.

We’re deluged with far more data than any of us can effectively process and manage. It creates a feeling that we have to be always on – and always connected to make sure we don’t miss anything. Anyone who’s spent any amount of time online can likely relate to how easy it is to turn five minutes into an hour or more. Resist the urge and design a higher quality of life for yourself and your family.  I think this quote sums up the importance of focus: “Mr. Nass at Stanford thinks the ultimate risk of heavy technology use is that it diminishes empathy by limiting how much people engage with one another, even in the same room. “The way we become more human is by paying attention to each other,” he said. “It shows how much you care.””

Designspiration – In a world where the computer has made it easy to create pleasing layouts and design, there’s still no substitute for someone who really gets it. I’m a sucker for great design – design that has personality, that’s memorable and plenty of attitude. I was introduced to the work of Jessica Hische, by another great designer, Halle Cisco, after I mentioned how much I like Louise Fili’s handcrafted style. Her work has amazing attention to detail and range. Enjoy!

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