Gerry McGovern: On the Web, Helping Instead of Selling

McCambley stresses that the Web is about doing things, and that the mobile Web is even more task-focused. He quotes Googles Eric Schmidt, then with Sun Microsystems, who said way back in 1998 that “Customer service is the killer app of the Web.” So true. According to McCambley, “Brands such as Google, Zappos, Amazon, eBay, and others win because they ask “How can I help you?” instead of “What can I sell you?”

via gerrymcgovern – NEW THINKING: Busy people need help, not interruptions.

Oh, Good Lord, yes. A thousand times, yes.

Every time a New Thinking comes out, I’m reinvigorated. It’s like a little bit of validation from a far-off Irishman who does not know me, but who reads my mind and tells me that I’m not crazy!!

The Virality Buzz

What makes a video go viral? That’s the $64,000 question, as your grandma used to say. Truth is, we all have some suppositions, but there’s a lot of throwing the dice and praying going on.

I do know that every time I’ve deliberately set out to make something go viral; it’s not met my expectations. The things that have been wildly successful I did because I wanted to do them. I had no expectations of virality. 

The young producers behind these BuzzFeed videos are probably not thinking about how you develop an audience and what that means over the long term. And they probably don’t need to; they just need people like me behind the scenes somewhere, pushing the bean counters out of the way.

Below is an embed of the hilariously deadpan Andrew Ilnyckj as the Creepy Guy, one of a series of BuzzFeed videos that has gone viral this year.

Here’s an interesting Nightline clip (via FishbowlNY) about the BuzzFeed office in Los Angeles and their creation of these wildly popular videos. I have been captivated by them recently, trying to unlock the secret recipe so that I can translate what they are doing to different parts of the galaxy — you know, education, non-profits, arts — people who need some virality in their messaging but seldom have the wherewithal to make it happen. I’ll get back to you; I’m nearly there.

In the meantime, watch.

Buyers want technical, accurate content | Gerry McGovern

What’s a poor marketer to do? Forget about everything you were taught in marketing school. Instead, marry your basic communication skills with those of the technician. Your potential customers want detail; they want facts, they want the smell of authenticity. Dare it be said: tell the truth. Admit flaws. Tell them about weaknesses in your product because it will make the strengths seem more real. Does that sound like total heresy?

via Buyers want technical, accurate content | Gerry McGovern.

No one has ever been more “on the money” than Gerry McGovern. From a few months ago; catching up a bit today.

New York Times Digital Innovation Report Leaked; Significant Document Reveals Much

The leaked New York Times innovation report is one of the key documents of this media age » Nieman Journalism Lab.

This is essential reading for those looking at digital solutions to information dissemination. This Nieman article outlines some of the key takeaways from the leaked report, but if you are really into this (read: geek, like me) then you’ll want to download the PDF and read the whole thing.

The biggest thing I take from this is — and this is no surprise — if top management is not going to agitate for change, or at least back up the communications leaders who are trying to affect the change, well, stop hitting your head against the wall, babies, ’cause it ain’t gonna happen.

PS — Search out the Customer Carewords international report on web management from 2013 (he thinks, guessing off the top of his head) where they reveal that worldwide the single biggest deterrent to innovation on the web is senior management.

Content is not the strategy, the task is

What should every marketer be doing first right now?

Gerry McGovern answers, “Observing your customer trying to complete a real task on your website.”

via Content is not the strategy, the task is.

This is fairly compact interview, but any interview with Gerry McGovern is filled with useful information. This one is no exception.

Just listen to him. And think.

What Content Farms Teach Us About Content

What content farms teach us about content | Gerry McGovern.

Content is not an end on the Web. Content is an enabler. You make money off what content enables people to do. You make the content free and you make your living off what people do with your content.

This is a great piece (they all are) from McGovern. A few years back, “content farms” were exploding all over the Web, but now their ranks are shrinking and people are looking for better content.

Better content? Yeah, that’s the trick. When “content farmers” found that their content was better, people were not clicking through to the ads that sponsored it. Does that shock you? Not me.

As McGovern says, content should enable you to do something else. Good content should be focused on getting you to buy/click/etc, not on being content for content’s sake — that’s called filler and it bores people.

Seth’s Blog: Trapped by tl;dr

Seth’s Blog: Trapped by tl;dr.

Judging by length is foolish. TL;DR shows self-contempt, because you’re ignoring the useful in exchange for the short or the amusing. The media has responded to our demand by giving us a rising tide of ever shorter, ever more amusing wastes of time. Short lowers the bar, but it also makes it hard to deliver much.

Please, give me something long (but make it worth my time.)

Perhaps a new acronym: NW;DR (not worthwhile; didn’t read) makes more sense. We’ve got plenty to choose from, but what we need is content that’s worth the effort.

What I love about reading Seth Godin is that it’s like listening to the voices in my head. Simply going short is not going to get your product sold, your awareness built or your mischief managed. It’s just going to be short. It’s just going to be something else to skip over.

Parenthetically, Godin says make it worth my time. That’s the crux of it all. Make me want to read. After all, we are supposedly in the business of communicating. Surely, we understand how to make people read what we write. Right?

Internet Explorer Has a New Anime Heroine

Microsoft’s new anime ad is the latest creative response to one of the biggest marketing challenges in tech: rebranding Internet Explorer.

The browser, often the butt of jokes among would-be technorati despite its overwhelming global popularity, is presented as a bulwark against all kinds of Internet bad guys. You don’t need a degree in English Lit to grasp the symbolism here as the young heroine grabs a shield with a monogrammed “I” and is transformed into a warrior. The protagonist is, in fact, Inori Aizawa, the “official mascot of the Internet Explorer,” according to her Facebook Page.

via Internet Explorer Has a New Anime Heroine.| Mashable

Oh, my God — are you freakin’ kidding me with this? Thank you, Todd Wasserman, for bringing this insane video to my attention. This just goes to prove that money does not equal marketing savvy.

If you really wanted to do something about Internet Explorer, Microsoft, you should have thought about it long before now. One word for ya: Chrome.

Putting people’s needs first | Gerry McGovern

Gerry McGovern. Image: ux-lx.com

Gerry McGovern. Image: ux-lx.com

Peter Drucker once said that all organizations are basically the same, whether they be armies, churches, non-profits or commercial organizations. It’s certainly true that in working in web consulting for almost twenty years, I keep seeing the same problems coming up again and again in non-profits, intranets, commercial websites, government websites, etc. … Success is much more about getting the focus right. It is about the absolute shift away from an organization-centric view of the world, and focusing relentlessly on what the person coming to your website needs to do.

via Putting people’s needs first | Gerry McGovern.

If I could only bottle Gerry McGovern and Seth Godin, I’d corner the market on, well, everything.

This is a slight post, but full of deep, deep thought on why websites are developed the way they are and what’s standing in the way of your organization achieving greatness.