What Are You Doing on Monday? #61 #cong17


Here’s a lesson I took from a funny and apocryphal experience I had when looking for my car in an underground car park recently relating to one of the great challenges faced by modern marketers today – how to win visibility and interest from audiences who are paying less and less attention to most everything. Learn why it’s vital that marketers think and get more personal from here on out.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Winning attention is guaranteed to get harder and harder in the wake of suffocating levels of information overload – fueled by incessant, explosive growth in online noise that can only become worse
  2. Adopting a mostly offline or mostly online marketing communications strategy won’t cut it if you need to grow visibility and excitement for/about you, your ideas or your business in 2018. You need to combine the best of both.
  3.  You need to ditch broadcast communications and to think and get more personal to connect with target audiences today. Remember the maxim: Specific pays and general gets ignored.
  4. You’ll achieve faster and better results if you can adopt approaches that allow you to grow relationships one by one. What may appear to be a long way home is actually the fastest!

About Eamonn O’Brien:

Eamonn O’Brien is one of Europe’s leading authorities on business storytelling and the founder of The Reluctant Speakers Club – where he helps leaders to conquer their fears of speaking and to speak memorably, live and to camera.

He’s also a recent President of Professional Speaking Association Ireland and the author of the book ‘How to Make Powerful Speeches’. And his podcast is included in the Top 100 Small Business Podcasts by Small Business Trends and he is a co-founder of both the international 7-Day Video Challenge and GoDoVideo.

Contacting Eamonn O’Brien:

You can follow Eamonn on Twitter, connect with him on Facebook and LinkedIn, see his thoughts on YouTube or email him.

So I had a peculiar and unexpected conversation recently.

While humming distractedly, groceries in hand and plugged into my smartphone in an underground car park of a local Lidl supermarket, someone tapped me on the shoulder.

What are you doing on Monday evening?

Asked a stranger – a woman I was fairly sure I didn’t know.

We need men!

she continued and grinned a huge grin.

The quirkiness and brassiness of her question made me laugh out loud.


I said, in feigned surprise

I heard you singing

she said.

Nice voice! I run a local choir and I just want you to know that we’re in desperate need of men…who can sing, that is!

Well that’s a new line of marketing” I suggested. “As chat up lines go, that’s a new one! Out of blind curiosity, do you make it a habit to approach random men your find humming in car parks?

And then – after a giant belly laugh – she said something that struck a chord with me at 2 levels.

It’s odd, I know. But, truth is, it’s ridiculously hard to get attention from people these days. No one reads notices anymore and we can’t afford to send out fliers. So, if you don’t try a personal approach, you’d never get new members. It’s just a sign of the times!

Firstly, after hearing more about her choir (which actually sounded really good) I decided that I’m mighty tempted to try it out in the New Year. So her direct approach may have been a really good tack.

And secondly, she’s 100% right. It has become harder to recruit new people to do most anything today via traditional means.

In fact, as I thought about what she said, I mused that I can’t remember the last time I read or responded to a notice in a newsagent, local library or even a local paper.

And, if I were a betting man (and I’m not), I’m guessing you’d likely to say the same thing?

Rather, if you were looking for information, would it be fair to say that the first thing you’d be inclined to do would be to look online?

Probably? And, assuming that’s true (as it is for most folks)…

…Therein lies the elephant in the room – the huge snag that it has become ridiculously difficult to win attention online in the face of:

  1. Online audiences who have long since reached a saturation point regarding how much content they can or will consume
  2. Tsunami after tsunami of content added day after day online on most every topic – increasing the chances (as mentioned in a recent podcast by Mark Schaefer and Tom Webster) that even awesome content will go unseen or unheard
  3. Attention spans that have fallen to seconds versus minutes

So, what’s a body to do if you still need attention or visibility without spending hand over fist? Here’s my take:

Move away from most marketing tactics that rely on one to many broadcasts and think instead of how you can create real, personal and meaningful conversations, one person at a time.

As you think about this, realise that this will likely require you to find ways to lead with more face-to-face forms of communications with your target audiences that you back up/supplement with online communications versus vice-versa. You’re far more likely to win connection and emotional engagement that way.

And remember, to quote an international social media marketing expert pal of mine in the UK Amanda Brown:

Face to face is the ultimate in social media

I couldn’t agree more and believe these are words to live by for every marketer as you plan for 2018 and beyond.

The more personally driven communications are, the more likely you are to encourage meaningful and valued conversations, cultivate relationships and become more trusted.

And that’s a winning formula for a Monday or any other day of the week!

Is Innovation good for humanity? #63 #cong17


As two entrepreneurial minded females who have both tried and failed to launch “innovative” products within the IT and Waste Management sectors we have reached a number of conclusions on the nature of Innovation.  The stark realities and the requisite graft involved in launching a start-up are presented with a jaundiced eye and a humorous tone.

4 Key Takeaways:

  1. Innovation as a disrupter is not always a good thing.
  2. Launching a start-up is extremely hard work.
  3. Government funding is like the Holy Grail.
  4. Finally, a tongue in cheek alignment of Innovation with Religion

About Emma Commerford and Lorraine Ni Fhloinn:

We are two women with many years experience within the IT industry who (despite their combined experiences) are still attempting to get some really good products to market.

Contacting Emma Commerford:

You can contact Emma by email

By Emma Commerford and Lorraine Ni Fhloinn.

The word innovation is attached to all new products as a descriptor. If you do not include the word in marketing collateral for your new product you will be admonished by a cadre of experts and barraged with an arsenal of vague and confusing roadmaps for “innovation”.

Many “innovative” products are lauded as DISRUPTERS. The aim is to smash up existing delivery methods, destroy them completely, and replace them with some new “innovative” service.  For example Uber was lauded as the darling of tech disruption but in reality it has destroyed the yellow cab industry in New York City.

Is this a good thing?

Initially it appears to be good for consumers. A convenient car service, which you can manage from a smartphone. But is UBER really all that different from hailing a yellow cab, or calling a private car using your actual human voice?

No, it isn’t.

Consumers always had an easy and fast way to get private transportation from A to B. Providing consumers with a new way to call a car (via an app) has resulted in the destruction of family businesses and jobs. These jobs have been replaced by tenuous positions at a company that prides itself on DISRUPTING, is known to have a toxic and predatory work environment, and only cares about share prices. In essence many small businesses have been blown out of the water by this behemoth, and the behemoth has taken their labor and capitalised on it, while providing no job security, benefits, and offering no loyalty of any kind. This destruction is lauded as innovative and exciting but it just another hostile takeover of an industry by one faceless corporation who cares little for consumers or employees.

Maybe you have no time for Marxist theories of capitalism or indeed depressing rants of any kind as you are too busy coming up with fantastic, unique, exciting, state-of-the-art products or services?  Mostly ones that solve global problems and will make the world a better place (take that you dreary Leninites). So far so ground breaking, as luck would have it the entire world and their cup-cake baking Mammies are launching start-ups.  So in order to jump on the entrepreneurial gravy train all you have to do is the following:

Work all morning, right through noon and for most of the night trying to do one of the following:

a. design, develop, test and debug software or pay / exploit someone in a developing country to do it for you (spoiler alert you will be old and grey and spoon fed by robots long before you have even communicated your high level requirements to them)

b. design, prototype, test and “tweak” a physical product for approximately 3 years before you realise that the cost of making the moulds is akin to the GDP of the country where your developers currently reside (see previous brilliant idea).

c.  Do whatever people do who invent medical devices which to the best of the authors knowledge involves wrapping miniature bicycle parts in a balloon prior to insertion into an actual person

In your spare time you will be doing all of the following:

Constantly self publicising on a multitude of online platforms involving:

  1. writing blogs for no material gain
  2. making vlogs for no material gain – the justification and term used is to give yourself exposure – in a world of Harvey Weinsteins what does that even mean?
  3. Harassing friends and family to like all of the above
  4. Making predictions on future earnings that are nonsensical but necessitate hours pouring over excel spreadsheets like a numeric Mystic Meg
  5. Committing to hiring 10 people in 3 years or 8 people in 2 years (insert appropriate number and timeline) to get government funding, proving that you will contribute to the reduction of the figures on the live register thereby making them look good.  In actual fact you are constantly being urged to seek out and hire experts in Marketing, Sales, Finance etc.  the last time I was in my local DSP office the number of CFOs and executive directors hanging around looking for a CE scheme was relatively low.
  6. Making sure your new company has a tone, a brand, an amazing functioning website and actual sales before you are deemed worthy of funding or support – Innovation Catch 22 alert You Will Only Ever Get THE MONEY Once You Dont Need It
  7. Being a complete expert on every area of running a business although you have no training, background or experience in any of these areas
  8. Juggling the paranoic “dont tell anyone your idea, they will immediately steal it and make milliions” with the “put yourself out there or it will never happen”, usually after roughly 5 years trying to make the Herculean leap from Idea to Start Up to Profitable Business you would quite happily just give it away so that somebody somewhere may benefit from your original idea (which you can’t even remember anymore anyway).
  9. Attending every start-up junket and innovation event in order to network and make contacts, the depressing fact is that these events are not attended by angel investors brandishing their bulging cheque books just waiting to be charmed by your idea/smile/crappy wordpress site but and here is the thing, they are full of people like you desperately looking for help, advice and a way of making the last of their life savings stretch for just one more month.
  10. Watching the inspirational, cult like musings of internet personalities who are so successful that they no longer need any syllables in their names being instantly recognisable as just Z or V or B.

Like all religious concepts “innovation” and what it represents today is impossible to describe but it is greeted with fervor and lack of doubt. It has sprung up it’s own priests and priestesses who give sermons on it’s value, and produce books to recruit us. Humanity does not need to have it’s own creativity and natural ability for problem solving explained. The innovation movement is the modern equivalent of snake oil being sold by shysters.