#askJPM: Q Without the A

My favorite thing that happened last week is best understood by heading over to Twitter and tapping in #askJPM in the search bar. It’s OK, I’ll wait.

Welcome back. Epic, right? If you want more, or can’t understand how and why this happened, you can read more about the tremendous fail now dubbed “The JP Morgan Q&A Fiasco” here.

By now of course you might be familiar with all of this, but it’s worth catching up on how this all went down. After all, there is a lot marketers, business people, CEOs and budding standup comedians can learn from this mess.

JP Morgan thought it would be a great idea to run a Twitter Q & A. They sent a tweet about it, received a flood of justified and canceled the session – quickly turning the entire thing into just a Q.

The easy lesson is, don’t turn to people that clearly hate you for a Q & A session on Twitter.

I knew the higher-ups at JP Morgan were disconnected from the masses, but I had no idea just how disconnected until last week. Most human beings are aware that it isn’t exactly “in” to be rich, careless, greedy and criminal. There are millions of Americans still struggling because of actions taken by JP Morgan and similar institutions.

All JPM had to do was check with the guys and gals in the mail room: “Hey guys, we’re thinking of running a Q & A on Twitter next week. Good idea?….Oh, OK. Yeah. I’ll take those middle fingers and the spittle now hanging from my nose as a ‘nope.’ Killer, thanks a ton!”

The more difficult lesson is actually more common among companies of all sizes than you’d think. Maybe JPM shouldn’t have run the Q & A in the first place, but once they did, they never should have shut it down.

Twitter is full of loud, arrogant, smart, obnoxious, anonymous know-it-alls.  It’s pretty easy to predict what they are going to say or do as a mass reaction to almost anything. JPM could have seen the snarkpocalypse coming and diffused the situation.

The saddest thing about this whole incident is that JP Morgan could have turned all of this – as bad as it seems – into a positive marketing campaign. Handled briefly, politely and cleverly, the Q & A could have been salvaged and the effort would have turned a few heads. JP Morgan missed an opportunity to take the punches and use Twitter for what it is meant for: connecting, discussing, learning and teaching.

There is no better tool on this planet than the Internet for companies to reach, impact and build relationships with current and potential customers. JP Morgan’s biggest mistake last week wasn’t running the Q & A. It was showing the world that the worst about them could be true by giving up on it.


The new standard for advertising in Tech seems to be going public.

Launch an IPO and everyone talks about you. A lot.

They have been in the news daily since they announced their IPO, much like Facebook last year. If you are in the business of bites and pixels it might make more sense to just launch an IPO and let the attention roll in. Why spend resources on marketing when you can get 1,000 times more attention for going on a date with Wall Street.

I am half-way kidding. But Twitter’s recent IPO has made me think a lot about what will happen next for the world’s best social network.

Will their stock price continue to go up whether or not they turn a profit? Is the Tech world almost all based in fantasy (Twitter is not the only big timer that fails to turn a profit while investors back up money trucks – Amazon, comes to mind)?

Will we look back at things like Instagram and Twitter and mark this moment as the beginning of the next big bubble-burst for Tech?

– Words by Jeff

Saturday Spamday

Facebook and Twitter.

All users (including myself) of both of those social networks are on spam notice.

Sometimes it is by mistake, sometimes it is intentional. But the truth is, every member of Twitter and Facebook spam their followers, and followers of others, in one way or another.

Saturday is probably the day of the week where people are least likely to spam their friends, family and followers with their political views, office gripes, weather complaints, gossip, new song by their hobby band, brand new product, or favorite TV show, but all the better to take today to simply remind everyone to think before you share.


Respect Nature

Trident and Dunkin’ Donuts are two of the many, many companies eager to use Vine to engage existing and new customers.

Let us not get overly excited.

Good idea: Sharing creations on Vine (or anywhere else) from fans that are already excited about what you do to evoke excitement in your tribe (and add to it).

Bad Idea: Designing your own creations on Vine (or anywhere else) and passing them off as genuine excitement from fans. (This includes approaching existing users to create for/with you, upsetting the natural order of things.)

Great marketers realize that the extent of their powers are to share stories with an audience in an attempt to elicit a positive emotional response. Amateur marketers think they can influence audiences by shouting and giving commands.

Yes, even social media tools have a natural balance and force behind them.

There are a lot of complicated rules in this life, but this one is stupid simple: Acknowledge nature, respect nature.

Instagram Video

I spout enough negativity about Facebook, so I will keep this post short and to the point:

Instagram added a video app June 20th and apparently it is doing well right out of the gate. Early users seem to like it better than Vine, which FB is aiming to fend off with this recent development.

It is important to note that Instagram is owned by Facebook and Vine is owned by Twitter.

Regardless of whether the new service is a success or not, I do not like the move.

you lose the minute you sink to blow for blow tactics. Twitter may end up losing as well, especially if the young Vine loses users who flock to Instagram. But a win in this way is only a short-term success for Facebook. Doing Vine better than Vine  only matters right now. Facebook could have looked into the future to develop the next thing that will come after Vine. Instead, some younger, hungrier company is doing that right now. FB and Twitter can only buy out and fend off so many next things until they find themselves behind the times and losing on too many fronts to stay in the game.

When in doubt, make something new.

But Wall Street operates to a different motto: When in doubt, buy the little innovator or try to do what the other guys are doing and hope it sells (i.e. drop millions on marketing). Just look at Apple, Microsoft and now Facebook to see the influence Wall Street has on the development of a company.

There will always be innovators, and once and a while those tiny start ups hit on something big enough to disrupt entire industries. What I will never understand is how those little scrappy innovators forget what made them successful so quickly. It has not been that long since Facebook change the game and already it has forgotten what it is like to create and inspire.

I Ate The Bones


I was going to write a piece about KFC’s “I ate the bones” campaign advertising its new boneless original recipe chicken. But then I found this article by The Chicago Business Journal. Not only do I agree with the opinion expressed in the article, but the author, , did a better job of articulating it than I would have.

But I will ad this to the conversation: http://sheiswanton.tumblr.com/post/51991572329. You would think at least one person in the room would have raised their hand to bring up the obvious innuendo issues surrounding the image at the top of this post. Sigh…

Note: I am sure I am not the only person noticing social media cues showing up in more and more ads. One of the things that stood out to me when I saw the ad in question for the first time was the “#iatethebones” in the corner. It is interesting to think about how trends and developments on the internet, Facebook and Twitter in particular, have changed television advertising. Should the point of your television ad be to get people to tweet about you? If so, why? KFC gets free advertising when someone tweets #iatethebones. But also Twitter users are only going to see those tweets if they search that hash tag.

I am fascinated by the new marketing landscape. An industry that used to have formulas and concrete rules has more and more unknowns. The situation changes daily and now more than ever marketers are guessing when they launch campaigns. You have got to love it.

the circle is round

It may sound like I am stating the obvious here, but the circle is round. Further more, it has no end.

Before the Internet, television, radio, billboards and even pamphlets, there was word of mouth.

Someone found something awesome and told everyone else about it.

Technology has been steadily changing the way consumers and companies tell others about interesting products and services, but the heart of the action has stayed the same. Think of it as the difference between standing in the middle of Times Square and saying something, yelling something, yelling something through a large plastic cone, yelling something through a microphone hooked up to an enormous sound system.

People all over the world talk about social media as if it is some sort of marketing revolution. As if social media is allowing us to do something new. Yes, the scope and method have both changed. But at the core, we are doing the same thing we always have: Telling the people around us about things we like.

I went to a hippy-dippy private school for grades 1 – 3 where we sang lots of songs. One of which was about friends, and it goes like this (to be sung in rounds):

“This circle is round, it has no end/ That’s what it’s like to make new friends”

And that is how I have come to think about what marketers are now calling “Word of mouth marketing.”  We have always shared things we like with people we like, now we just have an incredibly large and fast electronic pipeline uniting our network.

Television gave companies ultimate control of what was pushed to consumers. The Internet has brought us further around on our circle by connecting more people than ever before in the history of the planet. Information and ideas can now flow freely around the globe in a way our ancestors never could have imagined. The urge to share those bits of knowledge and creativity has always been there, we are just doing it again. And on a whole new scale.

The question should never be what is next. The question should always be, where on the circle are we?

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