Archive for the ‘Laurel Earhart’ Category


Monday, August 2nd, 2010

What is the ‘matchmaking’ component of the conference?

One of the core objectives a conference attendee has, beyond obtaining knowledge, is to receive a return on his or her investment.  As our conference is positioned to bring together vendors, customers, press, and investors, we recognize that each attendee will have different definitions of what will be the most valuable outcome.

Toward that end, we are creating a pre- and post- conference matchmaking component.  Essentially, through a ‘triage’ questionnaire, I’ll work with you to identify your needs and help you articulate them to those who can meet them.  My colleague, Seth Grimes, has a unique view of the chessboard to know which providers can meet those needs.

As content analytics technology is evolving so rapidly, there are going to be a number of solutions presented which solve a problem you may not even be aware that you’re having.  Your company may have a business process in place and have dealt with it for so long it has become routine.   

Likewise, for content analytics companies, you may have been pitching “Solution A” when in fact you really needed to get your prospect decisionmakers on the same page for diagnosis.  In other words, prospects need to dial it back a bit, bring BOTH their biz dev and technology groups to the table for collaborative ownership.

What can matchmaking do for you?

– It can help you find your next career.

– It can enable strategic alliances with other vendor solutions

– It can help diagnose problems with business processes

 – It can illuminate new revenue opportunities

Our first series of triage questionnaires will go out just after Labor Day.  In the meantime, we’ll be doing some informal questioning of processes to help determine the best way we can help.

I’d love to hear your ideas.

Laurel Earhart, for the Smart Content Conference.

A perfect storm

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

If you don’t think changes are coming to your online business content model, think again.

In the $30mm acquisition category is Sysomos, now owned by MarketWire.  Traditional corporate communication has officially embraced Social Media.  Now companies who don’t understand how to leverage social media will benefit from the acquisition.

In the… ahem… greater than $30mm acquisition category is Google’s purchase of MetaWeb, which will add semantic search capabilities to Google’s capabilities.  What’s Semantic Search?   Think about it… you are usually looking for an answer to a question (as in:  I want to find all Ska bands currently on tour)  How in the heck do you query that?  Semantic Search, ergo… MetaWeb.

Yesterday, Amazon announced its electronic book sales have exceeded hardback books.  Imagine.  And besides Kindle, what are people reading their e-books on?  Yes.. your trusty iPad.   No wonder – 6 out of 10 adults are now using the internet wirelessly.

I laughed when I read that Kara Swisher dubbed the iPad as Christmas 2010’s “Tickle Me Elmo”; and no wonder… with FlipBoard’s ability to package your favorite blogs and traditional media together as your own personal media conglomerate.  I wonder which blogs and content providers have natural affinity?  How will advertisers be able to leverage these new content ensembles?   I love the smell of new revenue models.

Speaking of content ensembles, how about content merchandising?  I love the way Amazon suggests other things I might like to buy.  I can do that with books now, but I can’t ::wait:: to see what other content and blogs I may want to read.  The technology exists.  How can we monetize it?  Let me count the ways:  advertising, e-commerce,  subscription revenue, sales of aggregate marketing data and reader behavior tracking, ‘opt-in’ research, and affinity partnerships.

Near to my own heart… no data mining system or polling tool would be complete without a sentiment analysis component. 

New business models will revolve around how we find the information we need.  Monetizing the process as opposed to the product is going to be the biggest learning curve for media companies.   Thankfully, we have people like Seth Grimes who watch the entire text analytics market.  He puts people and companies together that are MFEO.  (Sorry- Sleepless in Seattle reference… Made For Each Other).

Content providers will need to optimize their product for the new technology.  Advertisers will still need to get consumers to take action, but the metrics they will need to track will expand exponentially.  Tracking tools will emerge, a la Google Analytics, but, once again, data is just data without people who understand what matters and why.

In the Web 3.0 world, the Consumer will be (and is always) King.   Content providers need to remember to follow the money.  Wherever consumers are spending their time and money is where they need to be.

Laurel Earhart, for the Smart Content Conference.

Three Lessons Learned from Early Online Content Providers

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

 The biggest obstacle to online content providers in the pre-internet days was neither which business model to choose (Subscription?  Ad or Sponsor based?) nor which platform to publish in (AOL, Compuserve, or Prodigy?)

The greatest obstacle was that people didn’t know what to do online.

We forget that people killed a lot of trees.   Printouts of online content (and photocopies for colleagues) were de rigueur.  There were no bookmarks or forwarding of links.

Lesson learned:  People will initially treat new products the way they used the old ones.

We forget that people ran up enormous connectivity bills, sometimes exceeding their rent payments.  The greatest amount of time people spent online was not reading online content, it was interacting with others and playing games.

Lesson learned:   Follow the money.  If people are spending ten times the hours (and money) to do something other than interact with your product, you’d better find out what it is.

We forget that then people didn’t know what to click.  Buttons had to say “click here”.  Woe to those whose computers did not yet have a mouse.

Lesson learned:  Make the most lucrative real estate be irresistible and obvious.

To quote my  boss, Myer Berlow, from one of our 1999 staff meetings:

“ True interactive media is rare, and it’s never well-done.”

Successful content providers overcame the technology and business model hurdles by taking a chance and moving forward by trial and error until they got it right.  Forging ahead to Web 3.0 (or even 2.0 for that matter)  means taking a chance and imitating something that seems to be working even if you don’t 100% ‘get it’.   After all, being somewhat successful even though you don’t know why is a lot better for your business than hanging back until you’ve got it all figured out.

The internet waits for no one.

Laurel Earhart, for the Smart Content conference