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Monday, February 6, 2012

$3.5 Million Doesn’t Buy Creativity

Few ads in last night’s Super Bowl telecast made any lasting impact.  Most were ordinary, if not disappointing.

The game was great and close the entire night.  It was one of the best Super Bowls in recent memory.  The loss came off the field, with the commercials.

The showcase for Madison Avenue featured many car commercials, including celebrity appearances by Clint Eastwood, Jay Leno, Mathew Broderick, and Jerry Seinfeld.  There was the usual use of dogs, chimps, and bears.  Betty White showed up too.  It wasn’t all bad – just mediocre.  But for the major opportunity presented to America’s biggest brands, the night was a dud. All this on the one night America actually wanted to watch commercials.

There are weeks of speculation surrounding SB ads – before and after they run.  They are watched by over 100 million people live and then rerun online and on newscasts, and relived when people talk about them.  Even for 3.5 million dollars per 30-second spot, plus production costs and celebrity appearance fees, the investment is well worth it for many companies who sell to the masses.  But they could’ve done so much more, so much better.

If advertisers want to know how to market their products they should just turn to Madonna.  For three decades she has been a master marketer.  She knows how to manipulate the minds, and souls of her fans.  At 53, she can still pull off a visual spectacle and sing at a high level.  She timed her movie release and new album to her SB show and soon will go on a huge tour.  The world’s most financially successful female singer has competition from Katy Perry and Lady Gaga but time will tell if they have the staying power of the marketing genius that is Madonna.

Interview With Best-Selling McGraw-Hill Business  Book Author Eric Qualman

Erik, why do you expect your new book,  Digital Leader, to exceed the success of your best selling Socialnomics? Digital Leader is a nice progression from Socialnomics as it discusses the 5 keys to success and influence today. Whether you are a soccer mom or CEO we all desire happiness, to lead others and leave a legacy that matters. How do we do this in an overwhelmingly hyper-connected world? Success is a choice in this digital world, but one only has this choice if they learn to simplify the chaos. We give practical tips on how to lead your best life starting today. In return you will become a better leader and leave a digital legacy that others will follow today and for the decades to come.  

You say there are five keys to success and influence.  What are they?

       Simple – How to find success paring back, focusing, and narrowing things down to their
       True – The process of finding and remaining true to your passions
       Act –  Nothing happens without action – how to take the first step
       Map–  Visions are needed to get where you want to be – be flexible in your path, firm in the  
       People – Success doesn’t happen alone. The act of listening, networking, following, and
       attracting people to you.

What do you love about being a published author? I love that hundreds of thousands of readers have been positively impacted by reading my books. When a smile goes on their face, it puts one on mine.

What do you attribute your success to? Simplification, doing what I love, luck, hard work and surrounding myself with the right people.

You have worked with Cadillac, Yahoo!, Travel Zoo, AT&T and others to improve these digital capabilities.  How do you ensure that you don’t put the brand at risk while trying to grow it dramatically? Only those that have something to hide are concerned with the added transparency and loss of control. Good brand and companies understand while they may not be perfect, as long as they strive for perfection and are open and honest with the customer than they have mitigated the majority of any risk that may ensue from failing fast, failing forward, failing better.

Your book jacket says you are “one of today’s most respected social media experts” but truthfully, there are so many experts out there and many are behind the scenes.  How did you rise to the top? I've been blessed to be surrounded by so many great luminaries and visionaries like Chris Brogan, Guy Kawasaki, Mari Smith, Brian Halligan, Tom Izzo, Tony Hawk, Jeff Jarvis, David Meerman Scott, David Kerpen and too many to mention. They have lifted me up on their shoulders and for that I'm grateful.

How can your book’s advice be applied to an author or even a publisher like McGraw-Hill? If you follow the 5 STAMP keys in the book there is no question that whether you are a first time author or an incredible publisher like McGraw-Hill that the amount of success you achieve this digital decade is truly a choice.

Interview With Literary Agent Joy Tutela, David Black Literary Agency

1.      How do you work closely with authors as a literary agent? I work very closely with my writers, which is a privilege.   I'm involved (or at least try to be) in almost every interaction with their publisher.  I spend a good deal of time helping to shape their work.  This is common practice these days with most agencies, but I think our agency is particularly known for the time we invest in the proposal process.

2.      What do you look for in the authors and books that you agree to represent? I love when a writer geeks out on her subject (and has a sense of humor about it too). It is important that she intimately knows other works on that topic and can easily convey why her books needs to be on the shelf too. I also look for a long-term commitment to that subject on the writer's part.  Will she continue to write on the subject even after the book is published?  Will she be happy speaking on that subject during the two years following her book's launch? Writers who have a robust social media platform are certainly compelling to publishers and agents alike.  All of the books I represent are ones that I would want to read (even if I wasn't an agent) or are books that I would have purchased for my family or friends. This might be because of the value I place on the information being conveyed by the writer or because the book is a highly entertaining read.

3.      Joy, what do you find are the rewards and challenges of being a part of book publishing? I won the publishing lottery as my colleagues are one of the biggest rewards of working in this industry. They are brilliant and generous. The challenge for all of us now is keeping up with the pace of change within the industry while still delivering great service to our writers and we are poised to do that.

4.      Where do you see the industry heading? While my Magic 8-Ball recommends asking again later, without a doubt the ranking for Self-Publishing for Dummies will improve (signs point to buying it for $13.39 via Amazon). My sources say there will be a rise of "publishing consultants." Yes-definitely.

5.      Any advice to struggling authors? Invest time in reading books on selling and marketing.  Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. I also like Pop by Sam Horn and Pitch Anything by Oren Klaff. And while it is not a marketing book, I strongly recommend fiction and narrative nonfiction writers read Story by Robert McKee.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person.

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