blogging marketing PR social media socialmedia

Marvel Comics pisses off core audience

Who is the core audience of “Iron Man” the movie? Geeks. Computer hugging, email sending, twittering geeks. Geeks with big Mac Book Pros who have money to spend.
And the pied piper of the Web 2.0 geeks, Mike Arrington of TechCrunch, had invited geeks to a special pre-screening of the movie. And Mike got the theater to pre-screen by CALLING THEIR GROUP SALES LINE! And TechCrunch is really, really well read in the Web 2.0 community and even by analysts and Wall Street types. (According to, it’s the 1700th most read site on the net – nothing to sneeze at, and rumors have it they’re making 6 figures a month in ad revenue).

So, seeing as an influencer has decided to lead core audience into a screening of their product, which would likely have generated an additional PR storm of good pr (assuming the movie is good), Marvel has gone and shut the whole thing down. They’ve sent a cease-and-desist to Mike (a lawyer himself) telling him not to do this.Mike posted this story about 6pm pacific, about 15 minutes ago as I write this. There are already over 70 comments against Marvel on his site.

PR People – Call your Lawyers and stop the bleeding now! This is stupid. You can’t control the message anymore. Let the people see your movie when they’re scheduled to see it, and salvage what you get. You’re already looking at newspaper headlines – “Marvel tells SF Fans to wait”, “Marvel alienates core geek audience” – instead of “Iron Man gets first weekend boost from SF Twitters and bloggers gushing about movie.” Really.

Update from TechCrunch: Seems it was all just a big misunderstanding, and partly Oracle’s fault.

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My Newsletter Strategy

Today I released the first monthly newsletter for the Harbrooke Group. If you want to subscribe and haven’t received an opt-in email (of course we did an opt-in, that’s permission marketing in action) please sign up on the newsletter tab above.

Why a newsletter? I have many friends who are all over Twitter, Facebook, and other social tools like Utterz and Seesmic, but for many of my contacts, email is still a primary communications tool. Not everyone of you regularly reads blogs, and for those who do, not everyone can keep track of all the blogs they want to. So, the newsletter is a way for me  point you to articles I’ve written that may have value in your business, but you may have missed. I also point to other smart thinkers whose work I enjoy.

The newsletter is also the answer to the question “what have you been up to?” I have been reaching out to a lot of people for everthing from my upcoming college reunion to going through my address book looking for people I haven’t talked to in a while, and this is the inevitable question. So, the newsletter is a way to keep a monthly presence in the lives of people who I care about as business connections or friends.

Finally, I’ve suggested that clients associate a newsletter with their blogs, and it is time I stepped up to do so too.

So far, just the feedback from the opt-in email has been fantastic, with connection notes from about 10 people I haven’t heard from in a while. That alone would be a great value for this effort. But, the ultimate goal is having you read what I’ve written and learn something. And if you like that, to have you pass me on to someone else who might do the same. If there’s work that I can do for you, or for that person, all the better.

Please let me know what you think of the newsletter, and share it with a friend if you have a moment. Thanks.

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Mommy Bloggers tell Social Media Specialists how to reach them…are you listening?

If you haven’t read the latest installment in the life of “Queen of
Spain” it is a wake up call for anyone who thinks they can fake being
part of a community and ‘influence’ it. Required reading.

So You Want To Talk To Mommybloggers…

So You Want To Talk To Mommybloggers… So basically there are these big ‘ol corporations who are just salivating to get their money grubbing claws into women online.

It gets more harsh from there.

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Starting a Business (part 1) with Stephanie Booth

This Entrepreneur Starts Her Business…With an Event About Starting a Business…

Stephanie Booth is a blogger, freelance Internet consultant and a new entrepreneur who is starting a conference business. Her first conference is for other freelance workers in the web and technology space and it focuses on the essentials of running a business. And Stephanie herself is learning these essentials in real-time as she prepares for the event.

(We also recorded this discussion. It will be published shortly at A Chat and A Song (Episode 18). I’ll change the link when it’s ready UPDATED: Direct link to episode 18 as an mp3  or click on that icon and listen to it in this page).

Howard: I know you have quite an interesting and varied background. Tell me more about how you got here.

Stephanie: I’ve been online for quite sometime, and blogging since 2000, and I primarily describe myself as a blogger and someone who understands the Internet. I studied Chemistry, Philosophy, French, Indian Religions, then worked as a project manager, a schoolteacher, and then up until recently I was a freelance consultant. My new business is called “Going Far” and it’s a media company. I organize events. I’ve been to many conferences, and I complain too often – the WiFi is bad, there’s no bottled water, the sessions aren’t interesting. A friend suggested that I could put on better events.

Howard: You complain at events. What will you do when people complain at yours?

Stephanie: I will probably crawl under the table embarrassed. I’ve realized it is a lot of work, and things are more complicated than they seem.

Howard: What things are more complex than expected?

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Psst, You’re also a Salesman…

My understanding of “Sales” has been much more clearly honed since I became a consultant. By definition you’re always selling yourself, as well as your services or products.  This is critical, and sometimes difficult to remember.
I was reminded of this today when coaching a client who is also a consultant. He has made an agreement to do introductions for a company who will then actually sell and implement the work. He’s responsible for the initial contact and for high-level maintenance on the accounts. (Some might even call this “business development.”) My client was uncomfortable, since he is going to start calling old work acquaintances to ask for 15 minutes of their time to start the process. When we explored his discomfort, he realized that he has some negative association with sales. He also wanted to make sure that he wasn’t compromising his own integrity by selling services to people who don’t need them.
He was having challenges in “opening” and also worries about “closing” the sales.
After talking it through, we concluded that :
A) The people he was calling are the right people to buy this service;
B) The service is better and more efficient than what they’re using now;
C) He will be bringing significant value to his old contacts by showing them what his new partners have, and finally:
D) He can generate even stronger and more positive relationships from making these people happy.
So, it’s worth opening the discussions. And, the way his deal is set up, his partners have to ‘close.’

Wow. My client is helping his old friends meet some new friends, who have a better product that will save the old friends time and even money. That’s a lot different than ‘selling them.’ There’s a clear benefit on both sides, and he’s not compromising his integrity.
Selling is often a tough part of any new business venture. Not everyone is comfortable with all steps of a sales process. But it is clearly part of every Entrepreneur’s skill requirement set. Even if a startup hires someone to sell, the ultimate responsibility to get money in the door is with the founder(s). So, maybe it is time to reconsider what “sales” means to you. If you’ve got something that will make people’s lives easier, or their work easier or faster or cheaper, maybe NOT selling it to them is wrong thing.