Notes on Mitch Joel presentation in Burlington, VT: Doom on agencies that just start with pretty websites.

My friends Rich Nadworny and Nicole Ravlin put on an occasional event in Burlington Vermont called “Social Media Breakfast.” These events are awesome because they bring interesting business speakers to Burlington. This past week they did it at lunch instead of breakfast. The guest speaker was Mitch Joel, author of Six Pixels of Separation.

The topic of Mitch’s presentation was, of course, social media. I took notes on my iPad using a mind-mapping app called iThoughtsHD. The map, as an image, is below. Green is for examples, little Flags are product/network mentions (thankfully scarce) and little targets are things I thought were especially interesting. The map in outline form is at the end of this post.

A graphical layout of the main points and arguments presented by author Mitch Joel during a presentation in Burlington, VT. The text content of this mindmap is at the end of the blog post.
For a larger version of this Mitch Joel presentation mindmap, click the pic.

Takeaways from Mitch Joel presentation at Burlington Social Media Breakfast Lunch

Some of the things Mitch Joel said that really made a lot of sense for me:

  • “Don’t blog to be known, blog to be knowable.”
  • “Doom on agencies that just start off with pretty websites and don’t use analytics.”
  • The problem with most analytics initiatives is that they are essentially a boring report once a month–wrong metrics that aren’t meaningful (aka vanity metrics).
  • Marketing is not synonymous with advertising.
  • What if every single product in the world was remarkable? Then what would you do?
  • Don’t get trapped in worrying about “how many people” because that’s a mass media thing.
  • If you can’t get your own employees to follow your Facebook page why should anyone else?
  • How many followers do you need?
  • Start with what you’re good at.
  • The difference between people who get social media and those who don’t is attitudinal, not generational. For example, plenty of people in their 50s and 60s use social media.
  • Learn the pulse of your market’s appetite for content.
  • Make sure the people doing your social media love doing it.

And, as promised above, here’s the full outline of the mind map as generated from iThoughtsHD (the picture makes more sense, but figured I’d blast the text in here too):

Trying to get press =
and failing because twist image was too small

  • Started blogging instead, as a workaround because he didn’t =
    need permission

    • Started podcasting =
      because it was easier than blogging.

      • Began getting an international audience for his podcast, calls =
        coming in
  • Started a business =
    book club: hang out at office and talk about book.

    • Was never about the book really but it was =

      • Started a business book =

        • Publishers started calling =
          him to get authors in front of the audience

          • Got Predictably Irrational as a forward–changed the way Mitch =
            thought about marketing

            • Author =
              told Mitch to get a literary agent.

              • Mitch got introduced to irrationally predictable author’s =

                • Mitch goes to Manhattan to =
                  meet agent who is a heavy hitter.

                  • Agent is wearing little mismatch socks and this throws Mitch =
                    off his game

                    • Mitch asks agent if =
                      the agent is wearing Little Mismatch socks–agent wonders how Mitch knew =
                      the brand–via seth godin

                      • Mismatch =
                        is made by friend of agents daughter

                        • They meet mismatch people
                          • Mitch had blogged about mismatch and mismatch people knew =
                            about it and it was a great conversation

                            • He gets contract for literary agent on way back home — that =
                              was social =
  • Q+A
    • Should everyone be on social =

      • Start with why, and focus on strategy not ROI, social =
        media will likely get to their objectives faster cheaper and =
      • Should every be sharing? Yes. Social media is a good way =
        to share.
      • Social media is really about sharing, joining the =
        conversation is more advanced and not the place to start.
      • Internal leveraging: make internal podcast for =
        the ceo etc.
    • Brandividualism? Employees on social =

      • What is privacy? What is a professional posture and =
        what is a personal posture?
      • You are publishing things to the =
        world on social media
      • Move from policy to guidelines: be aware =
        that things are still valid—> like your NDA.
      • Kids blah blah =
        blah don’t publish your kids
      • You are responsible for your words =
        online… Would a client be ok bringing your twitter stream to their =
        board of directors
    • Product is the new marketing blog =

      • Product managers and marketers need to have a =
        conversation much sooner… You can’t market something that sucks =
      • What if every single product was remarkable? What if every =
        product is what it is and does what it does? Then what do you =

        • Create blue ocean strategy, create uncontestable =

          • Cirque du Soleil: circus =
            without animals, but with tumbling and all sorts of other arts =
    • When did Mitch Joel have an epiphany =
      about social media?

      • When traditional mass media started =
        calling a lot.
      • When traffic was as good as AdAge and =
      • When blog posts became catalyst of first =
      • Hard part: delivering on the social stuff, living up to =
        that social media promise.
      • Everything is “with” not =

        • Social media doesn’t =
          replace advertising or PR
      • Removed the one night stand model =
        — they go slow and marketing cycle is longer
    • Buying the =
      “why” … What to do about businesses who don’t have a =

      • Simon’s book is about why we do this much bigger tougher =
      • People are drawn to tactics–logo/color, pricing =
    • In age of sharing and transparency is advertising as a =
      traditional practice dying?

      • No
      • Primary driver of =
        marketing is advertising

        • We’ve forgotten. Advertising is a =
          subset of marketing.
      • Social media is bringing us back to a =
        marketing focus

        • Marketing is not synonymous with =
      • Successful brands are understanding balance of =
        social media and other aspects of marketing mix.
      • Challenge that =
        advertisers are having is that they aren’t understanding =

        • Advertising agency model doesn’t have an =
          infrastructure to support a long relationship cycle

          • You run an ad campaign and then it’s over. =
            What you learn or relationships you build don’t really carry over to =
            further work.
      • On the other hand, digital agency is at =
        risk as traditional agencies take on social or other digital =
    • Social media for data: what are successful clients =
      doing for measurement?

      • Avinash is great
      • Doesn’t know =
        many other agencies who think about analytics
      • Twist image starts =
        at the analytics for metrics
      • Writing creativity and analytics =
        article right now
      • Problem is that its a monthly boring report =
        with the wrong metrics that aren’t important
      • “Doom on the =
        agencies that just start off with pretty websites and don’t use =
    • How to get voice without being marketing =

      • Blog about the thing that’s at the meaning level of =
        your audience.
      • Nurture the niche
      • Become the industry =
        standard source for your stuff
      • Real estate should buy the local =
      • Become such a valuable source of information that =
        it’s a no brainer to work with you.
      • Blog to be knowable not to =
        be known
    • How to sell social media?
      • Reframe =
        pitch to be Mitch’s: let me help you do it faster cheaper =
      • Attitudinal is the key here, not age.
      • Get out of =
        the education business: don’t have to be telling them basics in a =
      • Are you where your audience is looking for =

        • People do initial research and then use what they =
          learn to determine if the person they ultimately contact knows what =
          they’re doing.
        • Social media isn’t a =
          fad and if it were it still wouldn’t change the need to participate. =
          “The Love Boat” was a “fad” in that it just lasted for awhile as a place =
          to advertise.
    • Short term lead gen? How to go =

      • You can only go as fast as they want to =
      • Hit alumni harder, care for complete cycle of =
      • Learn the pulse of your market’s appetite for =
      • Go for the benefits
    • For small companies =
      what is a good first step?

      • Put together an editorial =
        calendar. Can you aggregate anything?
      • Use analytics
      • Get =
        active in other networks

        • Top 5 of adage top 150
        • Go =
          out to the conversation on other sites
        • Do unconferences, live =
          events etc
      • Make sure the people doing it love doing =
  • Transitioning from a marketer to =
    • And publisher
      • Starting with “why” =
        are we on Twitter, Facebook etc

        • Business objectives will =
          come out clearer
        • Helps to establish ROI because you have to go =
          this way–have a goal before you can calculate =
        • Search
          • Google is number one search engine, =
            youtube is two search engine
        • Brands don’t think about the =
          why enough

          • “How many” isn’t as important as “who,” but “how =
            many” does give a sense of resonance

            • How many in your =
              industry are in your following you?

              • Who are they?
              • Facebook page: if you can’t get your employees =
                to follow page why should anyone else?
              • How many do you =

                • Example: Six new clients =
                  would make it great for Twist Image.

                  • Target audience of six. That’s what all this activity is for: =
                    Mitch Joel podcasts, blogs, column and book.

                    • Don’t get trapped in “how many people” that’s a mass media =
          • Brands don’t get the “who” style =
            of targeting and still think of mass media (aka “how =

            • Facebook avg user connects to 130 people. The network =
              is big but made up of small networks.
      • Started off with what am I good at =
  • Why write a book like Six Pixels of =
    • Wrote a book because the people who need to hear =
      the message won’t be at social media breakfasts

      • Meatspace is =
        where you can spread the =

    See also: Bibi’s post over at the Curve Trends blog and/or the video of the Mitch Joel presentation over at Digalicious.

    Join the Conversation


    1. Tom: Glad you liked it Tom. Now whenever someone says that the iPad is just for consuming content you can point them to this post. 😉

      Mitch: Hey thanks for coming down this way and giving a great talk. I’m going to ride the headline of this post for awhile.

      Peter: You’re being obviously too modest in your self-description (except for the Aussie part). Glad it was helpful. Wish you could’ve been there, I recommend Mitch Joel’s method of thinking highly.

    2. Great mind map! Visualizing the thought process of the “why do it” and “how to get started” is extremely helpful. Couldn’t agree more that embracing social media is attitudinal and not generational. Thanks for a great post.

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