Rise of creative technology is challenge for ad agencies

grandst

By Dennis Clemente

What do tech hardware and advertising have in common? It’s not unusual to find an ad using tech hardware.electronics to promote brands anymore. Nike Fuel Band is one among a slew of products giving rise to talk of creative technology’s role in advertising. Indeed, the creation of a thing is the marketing itself. It’s also a new challenge and opportunity for ad agencies.

Last July 30 at WeWork/IDSA Inspiration Lounge, Amanda Peyton of Grand St. and Daniel Shaw of Weiden & Kennedy presented its case about how they make use of creative technology in their respective industries.

Grand St is an online marketplace for creative technology–what ad agencies certainly don’t mind venturing into for inspiration. Why? Devices are increasingly becoming identity pieces—and what is identity if not branding in the ad world.

For example, Dr. Dre headphones and Google glasses have become new fashion accessories, with the latter even making its debut at a Diane von Furstenberg fashion show last September.

Those are high-end technologies but there’s room for low-cost creative technology, thanks to crowdfunding, the long-tail phenomenon, and the inspiration spawned by the increasing use of mobile phones. “As cost (of developing new technologies) goes down, creativity is going up,” Peyton said.

Peyton mentioned a few breakthrough tech products produced by Grand St. These include the Netatmo Weather and SideKic. Netatomo is a device that syncs to Apple or Android mobile phones, allowing you to remotely monitor your home’s weather and air quality. SideKic, on the other hand, is a $170 sous vide cooking device that retails for $500 or more.

Shaw of Weiden & Kennedy knows how crucial it is to develop relationships with companies like Grand St., because the old creative process (idea = execution) doesn’t cut it anymore. Elaborating on his thoughts, tech companies have changed advertising. Now execution (tech hardware can be the launching pad for generating an idea). Developers are the new storytellers. “They’re like the art directors and copywriters, only they code. And they can make provocative brand experiences via code,” Shaw said.

Time plays tricks on us. In the sixties, the artists were creative and the technologists, the cerebral ones. Now it’s the other way around. The artists have become cerebral where the technologists have become the creative ones. What’s certain is how the creation of a thing now is the marketing itself and user experience is the advertising (message).

More changes are afoot if we can learn to adapt fast. Quoting media theorist-writer Douglas Rushkoff, Shaw said, “In the world ahead if you don’t know how to program, you don’t know how to speak.”

Mesa’s Jacob Brody talks about challenges of ad tech, promise of data visualization

By Dennis Clemente

Jacob Brody has been working as Business & Community Development head of boutique investment bank Mesa since 2011, but you can’t escape the past. If you’ve been a journalist, you wear it on your sleeve all your life. And what that means is that you’re going to be more candid than most people.

This was apparent in his sit-down casual talk with Hatchery last July 26. “Augmented reality is not where it is yet,” he said. “Google Glass only has a three-hour battery life.”

And don’t get him started on real-time video. “Bandwidth is limited. It sucks,” he said.

Brody was a tech journalist for the Venture Beat who helped get the word out about early stage startups. Today, he is in the habit of scooping up tech talents for boutique investment bank, Mesa.

He’s not one to mince words if you’re planning to be a startup. On the ad tech world, “You’ll have a hard time raising money in ad tech industry unless you’re on the data side.”

How does one find value? His riposte, “What’s the difference between one playing Steinway in your house and Steinway in a concert hall?”

jacob brody

As venture capitalists face some competition from crowdfunding sites, it’s interesting how he said it’s good for use as a “focus group.” Still, he acknowledges how it has helped some startups. “No VC wanted to fund Pebble (the smart watch).” Today, it’s the biggest success story of Kickstarter.

But Hatchery meetup host Yao Hui-Huang puts things in perspective. “Only 2% gets crowdfunded.”

Asked about funding the VC way, Brody said he has seen some investments in the $750,000 to $2 million range. “You have to have something already before you can pitch to a VC.”

He likes to think data visualization is going to have a future. He has a point in the sense that we’re going to amass lots of data and data visualization is going to help us better understand what’s out there.

Brody did have some nice things to say. He credits FitStar for slimming him down. “People pay for fitness videos,” he said. “I got the app.”

Brody is also an entrepreneur. He started Standard Start.

Startup World presents 10 NY finalists competing for most innovative startup

By Dennis Clemente

Is your company the world’s most innovative startup? In its quest to find out, Startup World has launched a pitching competition on a global scale with regional winners from 36 tech hub cities gunning for the grand prize in Silicon Valley late this year.

Last July 18, it was New York’s turn with 10 finalists presenting to an expert panel of judges. The international flavor of this startup tilt cannot be underestimated. Host Hermione Way, a tech journalist from the United Kingdom, announced the first three of her 10 presenters from France, Brazil and China, respectively.

New York’s finalists are Chefday, WeDemand, Lookboard, Now, Placemeter, Klickpicks, Makeably, Commune, Sketchfab and TextPride.

How much are they competing for? The grand prize package includes 3 month incubation period worth $30,000 at i/o Ventures; one year of Rackspace hosting worth up to $24,000; 5 million Echo real-time streams per month for one year worth $30,000, plus international media coverage.

Launched last December, French founder Julian Nackacha said Chefday is FreshDirect meets the FoodNetwork. If you like what you see on TV, Chefday provides you the pre-measured ingredients you need to cook the way it’s done by a great chef, complete with video instructions.

“We’re building an experience,” Nackacha said who has invested $500,000 already in the business and is looking forward to breaking even by September. To scale, Chefday looks forward to partnering with a major food company.

From Brazil, WeDemand is a social platform for crowdfunding and promoting concerts. Who do you want to perform near you? Raise funds so your favorite band can come perform in your city. Average crowdfunded concert reportedly netted $30,000 with a total of 48 crowdfunded concerts.

Founder Tiago Compagnoni aims to grow the business by engaging a big artist and by using its raised capital of $1 million to expand its footprint in the United States.

Asked about how it’s going to compete against ticketmasters.com, Compagnoni said WeDemand is going to rely on the long tail effect of his business.

Since when did wholesale become more design-oriented? Duy Huynh, Lookboard’s founder and CEO from China as well as former IBM software architect, is well on his way to convincing you it works.

“We partner with independent designers who are in the business of creating furniture, décor and accessories that are highly unusual and beautiful at the same time.” He sees home products as an $80 billion market for Lookboard.

How would you like to have a live city guide based on the crowdsourced photos? Ben Broca showed how his app, Now or getnowapp works as a discovery tool for local events with “live” images guiding you.

With over 500 photos taken every second on Instagram only, Broca said it can sustain itself as a living map. “It could even show you where celebrities are at the moment,” he said.

Now if you’re just too busy to shop for clothes, would you consider shopping for clothes you see on video? Klickpicks is a video production company that creates videos for fashion brands. Lulemon and Town & Shop are said to be clients.

The idea is to create a new breed of virtual shopping (tool) and create its own fashion advertising ecosystem in the process.

How would you like it if Placemeter can collect data about you and other people? Using publicly available video streams, the company aims to collect foot traffic data of people in public places. It will be indexing the world in real time and provide real-time insights, which brings the issue of privacy again.

It sounds impressive but “fail rate is historically high,” according to one judge. A consumer app is expected to be out soon, but this is clearly for retail stores and most likely for the government unless it has something better that people are not privy to.

It reportedly has partnerships with Walgreens and JetBlue, among others.

One thinks of Etsy with next presenter, Makeably, but co-founders Ryan Hayward and Anastasia Leng, former Google employees, offer custom-made products where Etsy has ready-made products. That leaves you some room to be part of the creative process with a maker or designer of, say, jewelry or arts and crafts

So how are they doing? “We’ve had a $10,000 run rate in the first six months,” Hayward said.

How do you get communities to rapidly scale initiatives in your neighborhood? Commune offers a mobile platform for creating the real-life changes and interactions you want to see in your neighborhood and city. It functions as a mobile neighborhood “bulletin board” that everyone can view and post events or initiatives to.

The best part about it is that it looks tidy and personalized where others have an excess of features. In its spare approach, it looks forward to having people collaborate on an idea or activity easily.

Where can you put all your 3D files? Sketchfab was inspired by the PS4 launch that wasn’t and decided to create a web service for publishing and displaying interactive 3D models—and what it promotes largely is how you don’t need a plugin, you just upload your model, embed and share accordingly. It has partnered with Kickstarter and Wix.

Last presenter was TextPride with Sean O’ Brien saying that the mobile application provides users with a platform to insert licensed images and logos from their favorite brands into their text, Twitter, Facebook and email messages.

“Our goal is to bring branding to the social messaging world in a way that has never been available,” O’ Brien said.

Currently, TextPride has 48 new brands to work with including the NBA and 111 licensing partners, among them Nascar.

The panel of expert judges present last July 18 was Harrison Weber (East Coast & Design Editor for The Next Web), Kevin Smith (Reporter, Business Insider), Elliot Tomaeno (Founder, AstrskPR), Jason Oshiokpekhai (Business Development, American Airlines), and Marvin Avilez (Founder, CEO VisualOps).

The grand prize winner will be crowned Startup World’s Global winner with three-month incubation period worth $30,000, 1 year of hosting worth up to $24,000 and 5 million real-time streams per month 1 year worth year worth $30,000. Regional prize winners will receive a subsidized flight to the Startup World Grand Finals in San Francisco to battle it out in front of a panel of expert judges and venture capitalists plus Silicon Valley tours, 6 months of hosting worth up to $3,000, one million real-time streams per month for 1 years worth $7,000 and 12 months of Tropo credits worth up to $12,000.

Early stage startups present their companies under the scrutiny, guidance of VCs

By Dennis Clemente

Where startups in New York go by the numbers of introducing new products or services to a curious, relaxed audience, the startups that present at the Hatchery events face perhaps what no other meetups offer—the scrutiny of venture capitalists (VCs). In both cases last May 22 at Chadbourne & Parke, LLP, the audience saw how the pitching process works and how VCs give feedback to early stage startups.

With some having not much presence online being in the early stage of their business, the VCs dissected their business model, assessed their presentation skills, asked financial questions and most important, gave essential tips.

The presenters were Bespoke Social Media, Pretty In My Pocket, Sentometer, and Unbound. The VCs were Peg Jackson of Gridley & Co, Warren Haber of Exoventure, Josh Bruno of Bain Capital and Bill Reinisch of Paladin Capital.

Pretty In My Pocket (PRIMP) and Unbound are aimed at the female market—the former offers perks in primping, the latter gives you orgasm in a box.

PRIMP CEO and Founder Caroline vin Sickle said the idea came to her when she went to a popular pharmacy store and couldn’t open the beauty products. “We’ve all made lots of “oops” purchases over the years.”

Raising $1.5 million in funding, PRIMP is a mobile shopping solution for beauty products during in-store shopping experiences. With a quick mobile bar-code scan, its selection engine provides product look-ups, social recommendations, and location-based incentives.

“Our goal is to help women find the products they need at the most critical time—in the aisle. We help them choose products based on preferences and personal beauty needs,” she said of the $50 million beauty industry.

Raising $500,000 in capital, Unbound is looking at subscription and affiliate sales in what the three female founders think is going to be a $25 billion erotic products industry in the foreseeable future.

The founders call themselves Greer, “product goddess,” Sarah Jayne, “content czar,” and Katie, “minister of design” and one of them handed out a free box worth $60 to the only female VC in the panel, Peg who smiled mischievously as she accepted the gift.

What’s in the box? They contain “several tested and adored products, inspiring erotica, thoughtful guidance and extra swag.”

The other presenters were tame in comparison.

Bespoke Social Media Atelier is going the Pinterest route but with privacy in mind. “Ours is a tool for creatives to curate, organize and present content that is kept private or shared with small groups,” said Michele Spiezia, founder and CEO.

Bespoke has two main elements: the Inspiration Stream and Inspiration Books. Users can add their social media streams (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr) and any RSS feeds they follow to their Inspiration Stream for a real-time, visual flow of content. Content can then be saved to Inspiration Books, which users can share with friends or keep private.

Spiezia said Bespoke recently partnered with Evernote, but she is still seeking $750,000 in funding, as she also estimates profit to come in by 2014.

Sentometer, for its part, is a tool for measuring and monitoring conversations in the social media universe.

Founder Mike Kelly has set up appointments with ad agencies to offer his social media tool. He likes to think of it as “taking the pulse” of a topic and letting people know when it speeds up. “We have the social aspect in cruise control.”

Some of the feedback from VCs included these gems:
• It doesn’t mean you can start a company you should
• Biggest variable is not time, it’s the market
• If you are not #1 or #2 you will not be able to stay around. Figure out how you can be #1 in the market. No one wants #3
• Credibility (when first presenting) is very important
• Have a backup Powerpoint slide (if you need to show more)
• Make sure you understand your market

Organized by Yao-Hui Huang, the Hatchery helps build communities of entrepreneurs and investors.

Education, dating and e-commerce startups in full force at NY Tech Day

By Dennis Clemente

Last April 25, New York had its biggest NY Tech Day ever with an audience that is triple its size from last year and exhibitors from education, dating and e-commerce industries showing up in full force. All in all, about 10,000 people trickled in to hear from more than 400 startups and not-so-recent startups at the sprawling 75,000-square-feet Pier 92, with majority of them based in New York and its boroughs.

Startup founders talked to everyone who cared to listen.
There was Paul Canetti of MazDigital.com, formerly of Apple, who offers a publication app with no programming required. “Now, the magazine industry need not bother with the million-dollar cost of coming up with their own magazine app if they can use our app system.”
Would it save and even make magazines thrive? That remains to be seen.

There were about a dozen education sites and apps for both young and old—and those looking to transition to another career. Moocdom.com aims to give professionals the chance to upgrade their skills.

Across from each other were MeeGenius.com and Kitukids.com. Founded in 2010 Wandy Yeap Hoh and David Park, MeeGenius digitizes children’s stories in audio playback, whereas the latter, founded by Daniela Arredondo, comes in video format. Both think they can co-exist in the marketplace.

For adult learners, Mediabistro.com and General Assemb.ly talked to everyone interested in their short courses and workshops, which range from the marketing kind (social media marketing) to the startup and programming kind, for those not yet familiar with them.

Learning another language took another dimension with Smigin.com. Susan O’ Brien demonstrated the app’s interactive capabilities; they’re developed as videos and games.

Sites for the romantically inclined abounded. InkedMatch.com is about online matchmaking for tattoo lovers; Cheekd.com is still doing the online matching in reverse; Datenight.is for couples who need dating ideas and Parlor.me dares you to start phone conversations with strangers.

Asked about how she is going to compete against all the other dating sites, Lori Cheek of Cheekd.com raised her hand in a triumphant gesture. “I’m in it to make it!” Cheekd.com was featured in The New York Times sometime back.

To look great in those dates, DietBet offers a unique app game—you lose weight you win money. To begin, everyone puts money in a pot. You’ve got four weeks to lose 4 percent of your starting weight. Whoever hits their 4 percent goal is the winner—and splits the pot.

And for those looking to give special gifts, there’s Egifter.com for those must-have coupons, Giftivo.com, which bills itself as a “smart gifting engine,” and Danggle.com, with the most unique gifting idea—“social gifting for yourself.” You go to the site, post your lusted-after item, let your friends chip in, and get the money to buy it.

Those looking to make skilled, trade and household services easier to find were also in attendance: Handybook.com, Servicerunner.com and Myclean.com aim to fit every possible need outside of IT. Finding IT professionals is an entirely different challenge. For even the best recruiters, like TheLadders.com and Landover.com and the new ones like SoundAdvice.jobs, it must really feel like looking for a needle in the haystack with startups mushrooming everywhere. Some e-commerce sites like Bonobos.com and media companies like Medialets.com also used the event for their tech and marketing recruitment efforts.

Not all startups were for necessarily for consumers. Carlos Carbonell and Mat Gaver of JustEcho.com, a digital agency with emphasis on mobile innovation, launched their new company, EchoTime at the event. “It makes time tracking affordable and fun for employees to fill up.”

There were some physical devices, too—and they’re both made from Brooklyn. Solidoodle.com demonstrated its 3D printing machines which sold for $499. Set to launch this year, Bitponics.com offers a real-time sensor data that allows you to manage your garden from any web browser.

For those who want to start their own online businesses, start getting crowdfunded at Seedinvest.com or Indiegogo.com who were also in attendance. But if you can fund the business yourself like Afzal Faroroqui, owner of Rentagizmo.com, then we should also see you in next year’s tech startup event.

Without technology, are millennials no different from everyone else?

By Dennis Clemente

How do you tell a New Yorker from a tourist? In the sea of humanity that fills up Times Square, it’s the ones who feel relieved just making it in one piece at the Viacom Building, at MTV Networks for the Product Group meetup last March 7. Nearly 400 people came to learn something at the meetup, but the organizers knew they would also be getting lots of insights from a group just as eager to be an “instant focus group.”

The diverse audience came from various backgrounds and ethnicities–marketers, programmers, startup founders–to tackle some serious questions like “What are millennials?”

Jeremy Horn, the host and organizer of the Product Group meetup, kicked off the proceedings by asking everyone to introduce themselves—obviously to find out the type of participants it was getting, some admitting to being a Gen Xer. A roundtable discussion ensued.

Horn only needed to ask two questions to get the crowd’s utmost attention. The first one that got everyone stirred up was, yes, the question, “What are Millennials?” Echo founder Mat Gaver leaned in later to say conspiratorially, “It’s the question that gave the much older ones reasons to get back at the younger ones for the life they can’t live anymore.”

Going by a very loose definition, millennials (or Generation Y) are those born after 1977 all the way up to the 2000s. Gen Xers are those born from 1965-1976. At the meetup, the attendees were a mixed of both generations.

The insights the attendees provided made for good entertaining talk. Even the millennials in attendance didn’t challenge the assumptions flying thick and fast.

How much do millennials really know? From a media standpoint, one said “they get news from social networks—Twitter, “political” comedians Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart,” but is that enough when “they can absorb information in big chunks.”

Others said they look for the best information, but they have a short-attention span. One explained this to mean how “cachet is moving quickly” (i.e. who is popular now is just as easily forgotten the next few weeks), and loyalty is non-existent, because there’s always ”something new.”

How can they be loyal when “they do internships without pay?” and companies lay off people without care. On top of that, “they have student loan debt” they can’t pay. So it’s not surprising why they have such a blasé or numb reaction to employment. “They can easily spot a company with integrity, but they can also spot ‘phony’ instantly.”

They live in an era where they have probably seen more companies closing down. “They have seen more people get laid off” and this is probably why more of them “want to do something for themselves, or for the world through social entrepreneurship. They are fearless.”

They are also the multitasking generation. Realizing the world is moving faster than ever, they think success and failure could hinge on a missed twit or Facebook posting. For this reason, “living an intense public life” is absolutely essential, damn privacy.

“But weren’t we all these, too?” a Gen Xer quipped. “Technology just makes millennials visible.”

After an hour, the second question came, “What do all of these mean for our products?”

This time, the group had more questions than answers.

Cristo gives the ‘last word’ on social SEO (for now); reaction to Coke study

EXCLUSIVE
By Dennis Clemente

Dan Cristo, director of SEO Innovation at Catalyst Online, a leading search marketing agency, doesn’t seem to have any problem holding people’s attention against the backdrop of a noisy bar on a Friday night. Cristo was presenting “Mastering the Art of Social SEO” at the Joshua Tree on East Avenue early this month. Find out more here at http://www.catalystsearchmarketing.com/pubs/social-seo-strategies/

“I thought for sure I was going to lose my voice,” he said in jest, but the attendees clearly knew why he did his SEO presentation at the bar. In such a setting, people are more comfortable to “expand and deepen one’s network.”

dancristo

Fortunately, Cristo speaks with emphatic clarity and enthusiastic openness. He genuinely likes to share his ideas. He breaks down traditional search against social search this way: The former is “authority,” the latter is “intimacy.”

He elaborated: “Social SEO is much like traditional SEO in the sense that search engines are looking for relevant, trustworthy answers to people’s questions. The difference is how trust is measured. In a world without online social connections, trust is measured on ‘topic authority’, which links are used as a proxy.

“So where online social interactions abound, a second ‘trust measure’ is introduced, intimacy. The deeper your online connection, the most trust exists between two people. That new intimacy-based trust now affects search rankings,” he added.

He gives an example: “If a good friend recommends a restaurant on Yelp, and I’m looking for a good restaurant, a search engine should rank that Yelp recommendation higher in my search results.

“This translates into an SEO strategy that looks at how brands can optimize not just web pages, but relationships to improve their search rankings.”

Apparently, Cristo leads by example. His name appears on every page of Google results–his main website, twitter profile, linkedin account, Google +, interviews, and articles, among others. “Use social SEO to dominate the Google results page. You can do this by optimizing you social profile, sharing multimedia content and creating long-tail content.”

Cristo is also persistent in saying “don’t neglect Google+.”

Whether you like it or not, Cristo said you need Google+ to establish a strong social presence. “If you want to use any of Google’s products, you will also be using Google+. Why? Search is at the core of all Google products.”

That search algorithm is being personalized for you. It comes from actions you perform on each of Google’s products–Chrome, YouTube, Maps Android, Music, Docs, News, Calendar, etc. His insights appear to be plain common sense but he is clearly making people more aware of it.

In response to the recent report about online buzz not working for Coca Cola sales, he acknowledges the brand for mastering traditional marketing, but not as much in terms of its social media approach.

Cristo is fully committed to his thinking: “Take a look at Coke’s Facebook and Twitter pages; 99% of the time they are talking about themselves. They do that, because that’s how TV works, but that’s not how friendships work. How long would you hang out with a friend who talked only about themselves? Look at the engagement their posts get on Facebook: Out of 62 million fans, only 4,000 to 5,000 on average ‘like’ a post, with maybe a hundred or 200 comments.”

“Compare Coke to Red Bull which has 37 million fans. Red Bull posts get 35,000 and 45,000 likes with 3,000 or 4,000 comments. The difference here is Red Bull is talking about extreme sports, athletes and amazing feats of accomplishment, not their own product.”

He concluded: “It’s not a question of whether social media drives sales. It’s a question of whether Coke is participating in social media in a way that drives product sales. The data may say ‘no’. However, run the same test with Red Bull, and the data will say, ‘yes.’”

Catalyst manages 100 brands in the consumer package goods, automobile, B2B, retail, entertainment, software, technology, travel, healthcare and pharmaceutical industries. Its clients include P&G, Microsoft, Novartis, Whirlpool, and Pfizer. Headquartered in Nevada, it has offices in New York, Seattle, Chicago, Toronto and Montréal.

Siman of 360i gives skinny on content marketing

By Dennis Clemente

The Content Marketing Bootcamp at the 360i office on February 19 was packed with marketers listening intently to Rosie Siman, a social strategist with a huge following. She works at 360i (http://www.360i.com/), a digital agency specializing in search engine marketing, social media, mobile marketing and web design and development.

The bootcamp was clearly designed to spread the word of mouth about how industry people and brands should be doing more content marketing campaigns. Only 38% of brands have a strategy in place for content marketing, according to data from econsultancy.

Having helped brands like Dentyne navigate the world of social and emerging media, Siman presented examples for people to better understand content marketing. One effective example she showed was American Express’ Open Forum.

The Open Forum has been one of the most-talked about content marketing idea, because it humanizes the American Express brand. The forum provides a wealth of resources for business owners—videos, articles, blogs, podcasts and expert advice.

Rosie Siman

Siman also explained the difference between content marketing and a TV commercial. “I’d argue that all commercials are content, just not necessarily good content. Although the reverse isn’t necessarily true: good content doesn’t have to resemble what we traditionally think of as commercials.”

The attendees agreed that the Red Bulls Stratos Jump was content but many also considered it a commercial. (It run on TV.)

But what is content, exactly?

Siman says it is defined as assets and experiences that, in aggregate, form pieces of your brand story. It can range from apps to ebooks, infographics to transmedia experiences, tweets to filtered photos. And content marketing is really just the organization, creation and distribution of these assets in order to better connect with consumers or potential consumers.

With the popularity of self-publishing, consumers have become both competitors and collaborators for brands. Some are outperforming brands with content uploaded from their smartphones, while others are partnering with brands to gain more influence.

She adds, “Let’s not forget the rise of curation, another popular buzzword from 2012 whose relevance will likely continue over the next few years.”

In the early days of publishing, the focus was on content creation but with so much content out there, filtering and surfacing content has become its own trend. Average monthly unique visits on curation sites like BuzzFeed, Tumblr, Pinterest are steadily increasing, so content definitely isn’t something that will go away anytime soon.

What can marketers and brands do? The three key pillars of content marketing include content development, syndication and distribution and optimization.

Siman gives the skinny on what brands and marketers should do:

Listen. Articulate where your consumers or fans hang out online and what kinds of content they like in addition to what they think about your brand. Even paying attention to product reviews or competitors pages can help you better understand the landscape.
Plan. Put a plan on paper. Determine who should be involved at each stage of the planning, production and approval process. Figure out key content themes or buckets. Develop your social tone of voice and make sure the team is properly trained.
Be nimble. You have to make them first! The best way to plan for real-time content marketing is to have a system in place so you know the strengths and weaknesses of the system and where you might be able to speed things up in special circumstances.
Measure and showcase success. There are so many data points available, but rarely are they all needed to tell a story. Start with what you want to know and then figure out which data points will help you paint the clearest picture.

At 360i, Siman also curates The Tuesday Ten (http://tuesdayten.com), her weekly newsletter featuring 10 must-see links. She can also be found on Twitter (twittercom/rosiesiman).

Raking in awards, $135M earnings–who knows Yodle?

By Dennis Clemente

Yodle, the online advertising company for small business, expects its 2012 revenue to reach $135 million. But how come nobody has heard of it? Has the industry grown that much? Or should the question be, Is it too different to be under an entirely new category other than advertising? People don’t know where to place it.

Still, you got to give it to Yodle is raking in the awards. It was cited as one of the “Best Places to Work For,” “Fastest Growing Company” and “Most Promising,” as brandished by Forbes and other biz pubs.

Still doesn’t ring a bell? How about its projected 2012 revenue of $135 million?! It may even be more mystifying that in 2008, only three years after it was founded, the company’s annual revenue was a “measly” $18.8 million.

Which is why is not unusual why it has won several honors. The money’s there.

In Charlotte, North Carolina, The Charlotte Business Journal cited Yodle as “The 13th Best Company To Work For;” with The Phoenix Business Journal in Arizona going as far as naming us one of the “Best Places to Work for In The Valley.” In Austin, Texas, Yodle was cited by the Austin-American Statesman as one of the “Top Workplaces” and the Austin Business Journal “The 2nd Best Medium-sized Company To Work For.”

Yodle was also recognized as a great place to work for. To cite an example, Inc. magazine’s Hire Power Awards placed Yodle 33rd among the top job creators in America.

From 10 employees in 2007, Yodle now has 850 employees claiming it gives a cost-effective way for local businesses to connect with consumers using online methods. It has put more than 30,000 local businesses on Google’s top pages.

Still, people I’ve asked don’t know Yodle from its business model. I guess that’s how the Internet has become such a vast landscape. Or it could be just how a Yodle insider simply puts it: “It’s not Pinterest.”