Why Conventional Wisdom Is the Enemy of Marketing Innovation

(via: Hammock.com Idea Email) By the time innovative, creative and insightful marketing trends become conventional marketing wisdom, they are no longer innovative, creative or insightful.

Conventional wisdom is where innovation goes to become institutionalized, codified and organized around an ecosystem of conferences, acronyms and buzzwords. Conventional wisdom is where innovation goes to receive venture funding, branding and a corps of true believers who are willing to master its language, metrics and software platforms.

(Continue reading on Hammock.com…)

Customers Don’t Want Your Content

While lots of people (including me) call it “content marketing,” I’ve yet to meet anyone who says they want content. Contentment, yes, but content?

People want knowledge, insight, expertise, wisdom, to laugh, to be entertained.

People want to know how to move a Google doc into a Google Drive folder or help in deciding which among 20 different paper shredders should they buy or where’s the closest place they can order breakfast food for supper.

People want to learn new things, lose weight, be better at bocce, or know what bocce is or have someone explain to them  how no-one they know likes Donald Trump but he leads in the polls.

florida-whiteboardGive people such knowledge and you won’t need to pay for expensive infographics. (The late Tim Russert didn’t need high-tech graphics to make people smarter.)

So here’s how to become great at using content to increase revenues, create long-term customer relationships and many other things you’d rather tell the boss about that how many pieces of content you’ve posted:

Stop thinking about this thing where companies use content in their marketing as “content” or “marketing.” Focus  rather on developing as many ways as possible that enable you to help your customers become smarter.

They’ll love you and you’ll become marketer of the year.


(Sidenote: Whenever I write something like this, I feel the need to credit Doc Searls. He makes me smarter all the time.)

Remembering Marissa Mayer’s 41 Shades of Blue

The following is from the current Ideal Email from Hammock Inc. Read the entire idea post here: You Can’t Control How Others See 50 Shades of Blue.

Years ago, while Marissa Mayer was still at Google, an article appeared in the New York Times about the way she tested 41 shades of blue to decide which to use in a navigation bar. Many people still use that as a benchmark for the lengths a marketer should go to make sure something works.

But there’s a “rest of the story” to the 41 shades test, as shared by Douglas Bowman, Google’s first visual designer. When he left Google to become creative director at Twitter, about the same time as the Mayer feature story appeared, he observed, “I recently debated over whether a border should be 3, 4 or 5 pixels wide, and was asked to prove my case. I can’t operate in an environment like that. I’ve grown tired of debating such minuscule design decisions. There are more exciting design problems in this world to tackle.”

Now that I think about it, I’ve blogged about another example of Ms. Meyer’s approach to design.

Continue reading:You Can’t Control How Others See 50 Shades of Blue

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New Clues for the Post-Cluetrain Era

“Markets are conversations.”

If you are an internet-marketing trivia master, you may recognize that quotation as Doc Searls’ prophetic observation that appeared 15 years ago as part of the Cluetrain Manifesto. Cluetrain began as a list of 95 theses posted on the website Cluetrain.com that captured the sentiments of Searls and three other tech-industry marketing veterans.

The Cluetrain Manifesto quickly evolved into a best-selling book that provided many early online marketers with a foundation for understanding and predicting how buying and selling would change when buyers have access to the same, or greater, data and insights previously controlled by sellers.

What would be different if a Cluetrain Manifesto-like list of observations, explanations and beliefs were created today? How would 15 years of reality override these prophecies?

We can now find out…

(Continue reading on the Hammock Blog.)

Focus on Content Marketing Mission, Not Methods

I’m honored when people call Hammock Inc. one of the agencies that pioneered content marketing. (This month marks our 23rd anniversary.) However, I’ve always felt the term “content marketing” can be confusing when it’s applied to everything from blogging and social media to animated kitten GIFs. Unfortunately, when a term is used to label anything, it can start to mean very little.

(Continue Reading on Hammock.com…)