Do QR Codes Really Kill Kittens?

Do QR codes really kill kittens?  The other day I received my new copy of QR Codes Kill Kittens, by Scott Stratten, and within 1 hour, I had my answer.  Unfortunately, I’m not going to share it, just yet.

What I will tell you is this is a perfect book for what not to do, in marketing, in social and in life.  This book isn’t all about the QR code, and how to use it.  Stratten is just using it as a jumping off point to explain his theory that, any marketing when used incorrectly, will hurt more than help your brand.  The improper use of QR codes is just one such problem.

Stratten organizes his book into four sections:Do QR Codes Kill Kittens?

1. They Don’t Work

2. Nobody Likes Them

3. They’re Selfish

4. Your Time is Better Spent Elsewhere

and makes his point through more examples than any brand would care to admit.  In fact, there are about 180 different examples of how brands have used these new digital tools to do more harm than good.

For one, he has numerous examples of companies spending money on marketing, whether by QR code or in design, that sends people to websites that are only viewable on a desktop, or that have no mobile version available.  If people are scanning QR codes from a mobile device, it should lead to a mobile website.

Stratten takes issue with Facebook events that invite everyone and their mother (literally), yet are only accessible to a select few, due to location.  And, he specifically calls out Google, since they base their user numbers on how many people use their Google account in the year.  If you use YouTube, Gmail or Google search, and you are logged in to Google, it counts as a use of GooglePlus.

Finally, he takes issue with businesses that are only present and engaging with their customers after they have left.  He has a great example of an Allstate agent’s reply to a lost customer, after trying to get the agent on the phone, to no avail.

In the end, do QR codes really kill kittens?  No, thankfully, they do not.  But, as was pointed out to me recently by Chris Westfall, the National Elevator Pitch Champion, every time a business does something right, an angel gets its wings.

Should you read it?  I’d say, yes.  It’s worth it for no other reason than to see how you are doing better than some of the big brands.

Have you seen big brands (or small ones) that are incorrectly using these new digital tools?  I’d love to hear about them (as would Scott Stratten).

Connected Culture – The Art of Communicating with the Digital Generation

Connected CultureAfter appearing with Jerry Allocca on a panel discussion, he provided me a copy of Connected Culture – The Art of Communicating with the Digital Generation (amazon affiliate link), a book that provides a small business with a step-by-step guide to connecting in todays’ digital world.  And, after reading through this book, and partaking in many of the on-line resources, I can say that this book accomplishes its goal of offering an in-depth look into the “who”, “what”, and “where” of our connections within this new digital age.

Jerry Allocca, founder of CORE Interactive, offers his readers a step-by-step journey into the oftentimes confusing world of social media.  Allocca takes us through why we connect, who we are connecting with, and most importantly, how we can connect with our target audience to ensure that we, as businesses, leave no stone unturned.

And how does Allocca do this?  By following a great formula of offering readers the “why” we are connecting, and then offering them the tools to ensure it is done correctly.  Each chapter is followed by a downloadable workbook, so that readers can begin to implement the many ideas and actions Allocca outlines.

Should you read Connected Culture?  Absolutely.  But, more importantly, you should download and complete all of the downloadable workbooks, so that you are not only learning about the “Connected Culture”, you are able to participate in it.

Get Bold: Using Social Media to Create a New Type of Social Business

Get BoldBusinesses are going social.  There really is no stopping it.  It is the future of connecting with your customers.  They expect you to have a presence in social media.  Social media has arrived.

But, did you know that before all these businesses were clamoring to get on-board with social media, one company was at the forefront?  That company, believe it or not, was Big Blue.  Yes, IBM.  And Get Bold: Using Social Media to Create a New Type of Social Business, written by Sandy Carter, IBM Vice President, Social Business Evangelism, outlines the strategy IBM used to make themselves a social business.

Using her AGENDA framework, you will be able to transform your business into one that embraces and “lives” social media, just as IBM has done worldwide.

What is the AGENDA framework?  Simply, it is her method to:

Align organizational goals and culture;

Gain social trust;

Engage through experiences;

Network your business processes;

Design for reputation and risk management; and

Analyze your data.

Get Bold is divided up into chapters based on the AGENDA framework, and offers amazing case studies and examples of how to implement each step of her framework.

But, is this book right for your business?  The answer is, “it depends”.  Sandy Carter offers up a great AGENDA to move your business into the world of social, but I feel it focuses too heavily on larger businesses (after all, she is the Vice President of Social Business Evangelism at IBM) and not enough on advice for the small business.  In fact, most of the case studies presented are of larger businesses, and they aren’t necessarily transferable to the small business.

In addition, if you are looking for a primer on social media, this would not be where I would start.  There are books more suited to the small business owner, which offer more actionable items to increase your businesses social footprint.

So, should you read it?  If you are looking to move your large business into the social realm, I would recommend it, if for nothing else but to get an inside look at the social strategy of IBM.  Small business?  Maybe not.

Did you read it?  What did you think?

Take the BS Out of Social Media – A Review of No Bullsh*t Social Media

No Bullshit Social MediaWhen picking books to read and review, I very often will evaluate them, simply by looking at the title.  Yes, I judge books by their covers.  After all, when there are so many books that cover social marketing, you must be a bit choosy (although I admit to wanting to read all of them).  So when I came across the book No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing (amazon affiliate link) by Jason Falls and Erik Deckers, I couldn’t resist.  After all, here was a book that would lay out detailed techniques for increasing sales and profits.  A book that offers specific solutions for brand-building, and offers facts, metrics, and best practices that removes the “warm and fuzzy” aspects of social media and brings it into the boardroom.

Most social media marketing books focus on the human aspects of social media.  Connect, don’t sell.  This book takes it one step further, indicating that all this conversation is great but means nothing if you aren’t getting financial results from it.  No Bullshit Social Media gives you the seven things that social marketing can do for your business, from enhancing branding and awareness to actually driving leads and sales.  And then outlines how to turn social media into business.

While sometimes crude, Falls and Deckers offer not only advice but real world examples of how to put their tips to work, while always reminding you that in the end, this is business.

I would recommend anyone looking to start in social media marketing give this book the time it deserves.  It’s an honest look at where social marketing is, and where it can take you.

As they say in the book, “All that’s left to do now is to get it done.”

So, go get it done!



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Get Ready to “Launch” Your Business

bookreview-Launch3What do marketing and Braveheart have in common? According to Michael Stelzner, author of Launch How to Quickly Propel Your Business Beyond the Competition (amazon affiliate link), building a successful social media company has everything to do with patience and perseverance. 

Michael Stelzner, of Social Media Examiner fame, outlines exactly what he did to build his goliath website, which hosts three “Success Summits” per year (of which, I’ve attended two), and offers more free information than one person could ever read. 

In his landmark book, Stelzner holds nothing back, offering you his “Elevation Principle Formula” for blogging and business success.  The Elevation Principle” proposes:

Great Content + Other People – Marketing Messages = Growth.

How do you achieve this?  Stelzner outlines how he used the Elevation Principle to build his site to 10,000 subscribers, before even offering one item for sale.  He accomplished this using a combination of “primary” and “nuclear” fuel for his company, while avoiding the typical marketing messages.  His plan is the perfect formula for success. 

If you’re looking to propel your business to the next level, this is a book you will want to read not just once, but numerous times because its content is so rich it cannot be digested in just one sitting. 

Disclaimer:  This book was received for review from Michael Stelzner at no cost.