About Jodi Kaplan

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Here I Am, Rocking Like a Hurricane

It's a mighty longboat to carry

It’s a mighty longboat to carry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s a bit surreal actually.  I’m fine.  The view out my windows is fine (not even a broken branch in sight).  Yet, a few blocks and miles away there is utter devastation.

It seems a bit self-serving to talk about marketing now.  So, instead, here are some useful links.

ITunes donations -Mashable reports you can donate to the Red Cross through iTunes.

Red Cross – donate directly here; and please send money or donate blood, NOT supplies.  It’s much easier for them to buy and transport in bulk.  Individual donations have to be cleaned and sorted and take up valuable time.

Webgrrls Volunteers – if you have technical skills, help Webgrrls and the Red Cross get databases, computers, and servers up and running. Form at the link.

Google Crisis Map – links to shelters, power outage information, emergency Twitter feeds, and disaster area maps

NYC Sandy Map – subway and bus service maps, local emergency Twitter feeds, and a transit tracker link

NY Times Siubway Service map – search by zip code or address

NY Times – free access to the site during the crisis

And, does anyone know where NYC can get a great deal on longboats?  And oars.  We need lots of oars.



Is Your Business a Kite Builder or a Hamster?

Spherical Kite

Spherical Kite (Photo credit: Syntopia)

Last week, in a comment on my post How to Legally Steal Great Ideas,  Tom Bentley followed my suggestion to combine ideas and came up with “hamsters lecturing to an audience of kite builders.”

At first, I laughed.  Then, I thought about if for a minute and it gave me an idea.

So, Tom, this post is for you!

Spinning your wheels or growing a business?

Hamsters and kite builders would seem to have little in common with businesses.  But I think they can both teach something (at least metaphorically).

Hamsters are known for climbing into wheels and running in circles.  They expend quite a bit of energy too.  And all they do is go round and round and round. There’s plenty of activity, but not much forward progress.  They don’t look up or around much.  Just straight ahead, on the wheel, over and over again.

Signs you may be a hamster

If you’re a hamster business, you may be doing the same thing over and over just because that’s the way you’ve always done it.  You spend money traveling to a trade show, post updates to Facebook or Twitter, or do the same promotions every year.

Hamsters don’t test (they just run).  They also don’t check to see if they’re getting business from the trade show, or stop to change their strategies or product offerings.

Spending hours on social media without a particular purpose or strategy is like being a hamster. Just going round and round and round.

Hamsters do have one strong trait though.  They are persistent.  They’ll go on that wheel and keep going and going.  Use that persistence to your advantage.  Just don’t be as narrowly focused as the hamster.  Test new landing pages.  Try a different pitch at that trade show.  Listen to your current clients and find out if there are additional problems you can solve for them.

Signs you are a kite builder

Kite builders behave differently.  They have more “vision” than hamsters do.  They love new ideas and new designs.  They want bigger kites.  Or faster ones.  Or kites that are more complicated or difficult to fly.

Unlike hamsters, their actions are tempered with real-world testing, and lots of trial and error.  After all, if your kite design isn’t just right, you’ll find out pretty quickly when it crashes. They look up quite a bit (rather than concentrate just on what’s right in front of them).

Hamsters don’t have to worry too much about physics and structural engineering (unless they eat too much hamster chow and get too  big to run on the wheel).  A 900 foot kite may be a great idea, but it has too much drag to fly.  If a kite isn’t built solidly enough, a strong gust of wind can tear it to bits.

A kite builder’s downfall is focusing too much on the sky and not enough on that really big tree in the way.  It can be easy to get distracted by something bright and shiny…ooooh spherical!…and not see what’s right in front of you. Go for the big ideas, but watch out for that tree!

So, which are you?  Hamster or Kite Builder?


Tuesday Travels: Online Advertising Survival Kit

A Ready-to-Go 3 day emergency rations kit prod...

Emergency rations (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Find out if those Facebook promoted posts really work, how to be an Adwords master, and some new rules for Adwords.

10 Lessons on Effective Facebook Marketing – How to prove the value of your ads, measure performance, and set effective goals (Avinash Kaushik, who is referred to in the article, writes the Occam’s Razor blog and is a web analytics expert).

Do Promoted Posts on Facebook Work? – A case study to try to find out.

Adwords Cracks Down on Dynamic Keyword Insertion in Ads – That means those ads that change depending on what people search for. This can (I have found) sometimes lead to very odd results, such as offering me the chance to buy a person I was looking for.

Google Adwords How To – A roundup of videos (collected by Denis Labelle), showing you how to run an Adwords campaign.

How Facebook LIkes Really Work – Turns out, it’s not just “likes”!