Cinco Ideas De Mayo

April was a remarkable month, with both Facebook and Apple making game-changing introductions while gatherings of characters, developers and CMO's provided glimpses into the goodness ahead.

1. Learn to Love the "Like" Button
Make no mistake about it; the Like button from Facebook is a stroke of genius for it and, most likely, for the online publishing world. Just in case you missed this momentous land grab, on April 21 Facebook made its Like button available to all publishers and in the blink of an eye changed how content is shared on the Internet.

Over 50,000 sites jumped at the opportunity because it is a smart and easy thing to do -- so easy that even I could add it to in a matter of minutes. Facebook is expecting a billion Like buttons to sprout shortly, and I'm hard-pressed to think of a site that wouldn't benefit from this simple yet powerful means of encouraging content sharing.

2. Keep Your Eyes on the iPad
I was at party for iPad developers a few weeks ago and it felt like the late-'90s again. The party was sponsored by the HR department of Barnes & Noble, which was there trolling for developers -- no doubt looking for ways to leverage this new media channel. The energy and excitement over this new platform is akin to the early days of the Internet. Simply whip out an iPad, and people will flock to you like moths to a flame.



A friend of mine recently used an iPad during a sales call and got an hour of quality time with a previously recalcitrant prospect. Even when the novelty wears off, assuming that happens in the next 12 months, the uses of this device go well beyond gaming as the true business applications are just beginning to be explored. Sure, other "tablets" that promised a B2B revolution have been released before, but none have had the dazzling elegance and enthralling simplicity that Apple brings to the iPad.

3. Tap into the Goodness of Tweeters
Among the many things I gained from the "140 Characters" conference in New York last month was a profound sense of hope. For those of you not aligned with the Twitterverse, the "140 Characters" conference assembles 140 interesting people on stage and another 1,000+ in the audience to share the good, the bad and the ugly of all things Twitter.

With no PowerPoint crutches, many speakers bared their souls, enlightening us about the good deeds enabled by Twitter, from raising money for Haiti to putting prayers into the Western Wall. Celebrity tweeters like Anne Curry and Ivanka Trump engaged with the hoi polloi in a remarkably open manner, reflecting their belief that "people are inherently good." Maybe it's the "retweet" function that attracts good people to Twitter, but regardless there's a very strong "Pay It Forward" substrate embedded into this particular social medium.

4. Follow Twelpforce into Customer Service
As most of the marketing world is contemplating how social media fit into customer service, Best Buy is out there doing it and doing it well via TwelpForce (and I'm not just saying that because I won an iPad courtesy of Best Buy at the conference!). Set up over a year ago, Twelpforce is "a collective force of Best Buy technology pros offering tech advice in Tweet form."

Enter a question on Twitter about technology referencing Best Buy or Twelpforce and you'll get a well-conceived response in short order. It even set up its own monitoring/response tool that allows the hundreds of Best Buy employees that make up Twelpforce to respond with answers longer than 140 characters. It is no wonder that over 25,000 twitterers are following Twelpforce. If your company hasn't integrated social media into customer service yet, Twelpforce offers a pretty darn good road map.

5. Channel your Chutzpah
I've spent a lot of time with marketers lately, interviewing them for articles and at conferences like "The CMO Club Leadership Summit." Marketers come from all walks of life, many starting in disciplines other than marketing, and the range of approaches to their positions is startling diverse. Some are heavily analytic, others more prone to shoot from the hip.

That said, the one thing that the most successful ones have in common is chutzpah. They simply aren't afraid to bend the rules or challenge convention or beg forgiveness in order to get an innovative program out in the market. When the CEO of Kodak asked his CMO, Jeff Hayzlett, about the ROI of a Kodak social media initiative, Jeff's response was, "I'll answer you if you can tell me what's the Return on Ignoring our customers." Now that's chutzpah! What Jeff is doing with the Kodak brand is a veritable album of innovation.

Hopefully, the shower of stimuli I absorbed in April will help your ideas bloom in May.

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