Backlash Against Google+ Useful Criticism but Beware of Assumptions

Backlash Against Google Plus Is Useful Criticism but Beware of Assumptions Backlash Against Google Plus Is Useful Criticism but Beware of Assumptions questions some key principles employed by pundits debunking Google Plus.

Here is an excellent example of backlash against Google/Google+ from InfoWorld. This post shows how to 1) how to disconnect Google+ from Google search results and 2) configure your browser to default to non-Google search engines. Useful, but assumes 2 things that will be untrue for some people: a) Google+ results “pollute” search results in all cases; b) Yahoo/Bing give better search results. Although all of the above could be true in some cases, the devil is in the details. It is surprising that the post didn’t mention a much better alternative: info.com, whose algorithm sorts results from all three search engines.

Executive’s Guide recommends being aware of the ground shifting under search. Don’t get caught up in religious wars, and try different things. As we have argued in these pages here, Google+ results will enhance certain kinds of searches and will return inferior results in others. As infoworld says, users can […]

Are Websites or Social Media Better for B2B Lead Generation?

Are Websites or Social Media Better for B2B Lead Generation?ZDNet reports on “research” that finds that websites provide 7 times more sales leads than “social media.” Unfortunately, the writer doesn’t appreciate the self-irony in the second paragraph: “A company’s corporate website was found to be the top source of new sales leads online — second only to personal referrals..”

As B2B continues to adopt social business, more word of mouth, i.e. personal referrals, happens online. Another reason I’m calling out this post is that it misinforms readers by treating “sales leads” as a homogeneous category. Our clients don’t care about general adoption; what’s more relevant is adoption by their prospects. This post treats all leads as the same, so it’s really the equivalent of informational fast food.

To end on a dour note, misinformation can work to your advantage because your rivals may read it and believe while you can see through it, invest and pull ahead.

The Cost of the Trust Gap—On Seth Godin's Why Lie?

The Cost of the Trust Gap—On Seth Godin's Why Lie?In Why Lie?, Seth Godin points out that prospects of (B2B) salespeople often lie because they do not want their decisions to be questioned by salespeople: “… when we announce that we’ve made the decision to hire someone else, or when we tell the pitching entrepreneur we don’t like her business model, or when we clearly articulate why we’re not going to do business, the salesperson responds by questioning the judgment of the prospect.”

Great insight, but it pre-supposes a lack of trust that is totally outdated and unnecessary. Let’s review how this comes about and how to disrupt the whole cycle.

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Romney Spotlight Reveals Trust Gap Between Private Equity & Public

conversationsPrivate equity firms are learning that “private” can be a disadvantage in the era of digital social networks. G7 voters are frustrated by prolonged poor economic performance, falling prosperity and growing income disparities. P/E firms are an all too convenient target, and US presidential candidate Mitt Romney is bringing unwelcome exposure to the industry. There is a strong populist theme to U.S. and European politics, which sets the scene for a prolonged era of criticism, precisely when the industry is struggling, and firms are closing.

Smart P/E firms will be grounded and strategic about building trust among lawmakers, their publics and other stakeholders, and using digital social networks could play a key role in educating stakeholders and interacting with readers with transparency and principles, thereby building trust and dampening criticism. Specifically, P/E firms should:

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Local 2.0: Trends & Opportunities in Re-localization

conversationsThe fascinating post in the Read Write Web outlines a new trend, “Relocalization” or the inevitable “Local 2.0” that’s a backlash against malls, industrial “retail” and online “community.” It predicts a resurgence of “face to face” interaction, and people paying a premium for locally produced products and “townish” community.

It’s a new synthesis: people increasingly don’t believe in commuting, and many workers are accustomed to working “from home” or in Starbucks or other public coworking spaces. Local 2.0 carries a strong green, anti-carbon tinge as well. And it’s not at all incompatible with periodic jetsetting, everything can interoperate. Definitely worth watching!

Financial Services Social Business Example Featuring Twitter, LinkedIn

conversationsHere’s a useful financial services social business example from Forbes. It details how a Midwest financial services firm grew at competitors’ expense by using LinkedIn, Twitter & legacy communications.

Notice that Jefferson, an investments firm, engaged its channel (financial advisors), using LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter and legacy marcom. Their momentum enabled them to maintain their pricing while competitors felt compelled to lower theirs.

Another powerful lesson is, during “downturns,” don’t follow the herd and cut sales and marketing investments, especially when you can use social business to magnify impact as Jefferson did. Well done! #li

Big Data Blowback in Retail: Delving into Customers' Intimate Lives

conversationsIn case you missed it, this seminal post from the New York Times shows a startling example of “big data” hitting retail. Data collection and mining have enabled Target, for example, to predict what degree of pregancy young mothers are in—based on the kind of things they buy.

Although Valley visionaries and enterprise data engineers have been talking about “big data” for years, this post brings it down to the personal retail level. Due to the growing appreciation of social data and behavior, data scientists and marketers now have the glue to use data to increase relevance to customers and clients.

In this post’s main example, data engineers analyzed purchase behavior of pregnant mothers, sifting through voluminous retail data, and they found plenty of patterns that indicated that women were pregnant, down to the trimester! Obviously, enterprises have a large responsibility to use data in ways that won’t violate trust, and many will make mistakes in their efforts to pump up quarterly numbers.Put another way, buying transactions are *very* social, so retailers, whether bricks and mortar or ecommerce, will unleash tremendous intelligence in the […]

B2B Sales

B2B Sales Referrals Outdated Concept: How to TransformAs I read Jill Konrath’s excellent post on how to ask for “referrals” and mistakes that most salespeople make, it occurred to me that salespeople could do even better by breaking that model completely. Jill’s excellent point is that salespeople are uncomfortable with asking for referrals, so they cop out and do it badly by using a throwaway “Do you know anyone..” But I would tweak her suggested, “Whom should I meet” even further by focusing on client, not [salesperson’s] company.

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SEO Expert Rails Against Google Plus Impact on Search Quality

SEO Expert Rails Against Google Plus Impact on Search QualitySilicon Valley Watcher offers up a useful riff on disruptive potential of Google+ – but it nonetheless has glaring holes and reflects arbitrary assumptions. I recommend reading it to learn about this argument, which is based on this questionable logic: “social data degrades the ‘quality’ of search results.”

The real answer is far less satisfying, “It depends.” Some search results will be improved with social data while others won’t. Search, SEO/SEM and other players dislike Google+ when it disrupts their businesses. Expect, and listen to, these arguments, but realize that they are often biased.

Ideas for Reinventing the Publishing Industry

Sam Fiorella, writing in The Social CMO, put together some fresh thinking on how to disrupt publishing, drawing some parallels with the music business in Open Letter to Media Publishers. Since their comments are turned off, I’ll offer some additional thoughts here.

Sam, thanks for one of the most intelligent posts I’ve read on the disruption of print I’ve seen in ages. Reading between the lines, I’ll offer this iteration.

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