It’s the End of the Mall as We Know It and I Feel Fine

Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Gary Schwartz, CEO of Impact Mobile, and author of the recently published “The Impulse Economy”.  In it, he discusses the impact of the mobile revolution on traditional retail.

Click here to listen to the podcast (Length –  22 minutes and 54 seconds of wholesome goodness).

The Impulse Economy – Click here for your copy

“We live in a world where our mobile devices have become extensions of ourselves. We depend on them for instant connections to entertainment, social media, news, and deals. The phone has become our ticket, loyalty card, and catchall wallet. Networks are faster, phones are smarter, and the mobile shopper is ready to spend money now. What can a business do to maximize the mobile buying power of the new impulse consumer?”

Getting Social In House

Most companies that have ventured into the social media space have focused almost exclusively on marketing.  Very few have considered the tremendous benefits that can be unleashed by using social media tools within their company.

In a good piece in IT Business, Robert Scheier gives a number of examples, including IBM, where “social networking isn’t just for spreading the word to customers. Employees use an internal Facebook-like network to find colleagues with the skills they need to solve pesky customer problems”.  It is these type of collaboration applications that deliver significant ROI for your business.  Read the full article here –

For another excellent article, I suggest “Using Social Media To Improve Employee Communication, Collaboration, And Even Compensation” by Shawn Graham which appeared in Fast Company.  You can read it here –

From all of us at AR Communications Inc., a joyous holiday season, and a healthy, happy, and prosperous new year.

Bringing Social Media into the Strategic Planning Tent

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of presenting at Federated Business’s Strategic Planning Skills event.  When the invitation to present arrived a few months earlier, the topic at first blush seemed a little awkward.  Once I started to research it, I was amazed at social media’s potential impact on all the key facets of corporate strategic planning:  Sales & Marketing, Legal/Regulatory issues, Human Resources/Recruiting, and Customer Service. View or download the presentation at the link below – mind bending stuff, I promise.  Looking forward to your comments.

OMG, is Social Media just a fad? Part II


Last week I promised to follow up with metrics from a recent study conducted on the growth of social media. Note: In my last post I indicated that the metrics I will list came from Pew Internet & American Life Project.  While Pew was quoted in one of the articles I read in writing the post, the metrics that follow are from Search Engine Journal (the sources SEJ relied on are at the bottom of the infographic).

Here we go.

The Growth of Social Media: An Infographic
Source: The Growth of Social Media: An Infographic

OMG, is Social Media just a fad? Part I

September is on the calendar and school back in session.  While enjoying the sunshine by the lake, I still received a steady stream of questions about this crazy world of social media.   One of the more common ones – Is this thing here to stay? Is it worth investing marketing dollars in? Will it be a distant memory come next year or the year after?

My views are on the record but I think it is important highlight a number of points:

First, is social media marketing based on completely new principles?  No.  The fundamental principles of sales and marketing that have been with us since we started selling to each other still apply.  What social media does is provide us with a revolutionary set of tools to apply these principles with.  These tools deliver nuggets of timely relevant information – a perfect fit for the ADD society we currently live in.

Second, you don’t have to take my word for the impact social media and networks are having.  You need simply look around you.  What other companies in history have accomplished what Facebook, LinkedIn, or Groupon have in the same amount of time?  Many other companies over the years have also had a great impact, but none that fast.  This does not mean that these companies will be around forever but the speed at which users have adopted their services is nothing short of astounding.

I’ve heard it said in the past by business experts that really successful companies are great for a generation and then begin to fade or have less impact .  It is possible,  given the speed at which some social media/networking companies have grown, that they may also see their influence diminish faster.  Assuming that’s right, does that mean you should keep your company out of the social media world for the next few years and wait until it all shakes out?  Good luck with that.

Third, you can also take a look at recent studies from respected organizations to get a third party view of where the social media world is at.  In my next post I will give you some highlights of a recent study conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project.

In the meantime, for the latest on social media and Web marketing for corporations follow me on Twitter at  

Go Mobile or Go Home

A recent study covered by the tech site Mashable indicates that consumers are now spending more time on mobile apps than the Web. In June, consumers spent 81 minutes per day using mobile apps, compared to 74 minutes of Web surfing (see chart below).   This change in user behaviour is further confirmed by a recent report by Mary Meeker, a partner at the legendary venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, which found that for the first time combined tablet and smartphone shipments eclipsed those of desktops and notebooks.  All this data also backs Wired Magazines’ article last year “The Web is Dead”, which predicted that apps would soon overtake the Web.

What does that mean for your company? If you’ve developed and implemented a mobile strategy, you are well positioned to benefit from this coming shift.  If you have started to give some thought  to this and you move the process into high gear, you should be OK as well.  If you’ve done neither, you better drop everything else and make this your top priority.  Now.

Will mobile rule everything? No.  But a significant segment of your current audience and your future one will spend an increasing amount of their time on their mobile devices.  The question all companies have to answer is whether not they will be able to serve and create value on the devices and media on which their customers choose to spend their time.

You can find a links to the reports mentioned above here:
Mobile Apps Put the Web in Their Rear-view Mirror
Top 10 Mobile Internet Trends



Building Brands and Booking Business with Facebook

When it comes to leveraging social networks for building your brand and generating leads, Facebook has not typically been the first site that comes to mind.  That honour usually went to LinkedIn and small business-focused Networks. Well, the times they are a’ changing. Facebook is increasingly becoming the focus for companies and professionals who are looking to leverage its fast growing user base, currently pegged at 600 million users. If you’d like to learn how to use Facebook for business, here are some good links collected by the smart folks at Mashable.

·  Essential Apps for Building Your Brand’s Facebook Page

·  Elements of a Successful Facebook Fan Page

These links should provide you with a good starting point for a Facebook campaign. Please share any experiences your company has had with Facebook in the comment box below.


Is having 600 million friends a good thing?

Some of the greatest challenges our clients face today include managing their employees’ use of social networks and enacting social media policies that work in the real world.

Crossing the line between the personal and the professional happens in the click of a mouse and most often, in my opinion, on Facebook.  This largest, and Oscar bound, of social networks began primarily as a gathering of folks looking up, and connecting with, school and summer camp chums.  Businesses soon realized the potential and started to get in on the action with corporate Facebook pages.

The most important means of getting yourself noticed on Facebook is by having lots of friends and being “liked” by lots of people – just like in high school.  Natuarally, companies figured out that the best way to build their Facebook presence was by “friending” their employees – one big happy family, right?  Not quite.  Although Facebook is fairly easy to use, it also makes it easy to forget who all of these newfound friends are.  This can prove to be a challenge when one of these friends is your boss.  For one of the epic Facebook exchanges between an employer and an employee – click here (I would have replicated it in the post but this is a family blog).

Let me be clear. I believe that a corporate Facebook page can have a profoundly positive impact on your business.  The wrong approach, in my view, adopted by numerous companies, has been to block Facebook in the workplace.  This solution is both counterproductive and unworkable.   It takes most or all of your front line team (your employees) off the social media playing field, and they can all still use Facebook outside the office.  Sensible social media policies coupled with employee training are a better answer. For Social Media Training information click here.

For the latest and greatest in the world of Web and Social Media, follow me on Twitter at