Radio show on book crowdsourcing

July 5, 2011


adage conv 2
…media coverage for Age #1

One of the best benefits of being a part of the Age of Conversation series is that I’ve met a lot of really smart, generous people who do good work and celebrate others’ good work.

That’s how I had the good fortune of being a guest on the US Media Radio show with Deborah Chaddock Brown (her co-host Candace Benson was called to the White House…so hard to fault her absence!) to talk about crowdsourcing and the Age series.

It was fun to tell stories of how Gavin and I kicked off the first book and all the crazy, surprising relationship/business building outcomes that have come as a result of the series.

If you’d like to listen to the conversation Deborah and I had — all you have to do is click here.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Promote your community via crowdsourcing

July 3, 2011

As many of you know, Gavin Heaton and I co-edited the Age of Conversation series of books — each one crowdsourced with help from marketing and social media practitioners from all over the globe.  Each book is as unique as the contributors but they all three had some things in common:

  • The authors formed a community among themselves and I know for a fact that new business and personal relationships formed as a result.
  • The book benefits from the many authors all promoting it to their own networks and spheres of influence.
  • There is a healthy sense of competition among the authors — everyone wants their contribution to be deemed worthy when compared to the others.

We did it mostly as an experiment and a vehicle to raise money for some charities.  But I think we were all astonished at the lasting value the books created far beyond the monies raised.

My agency, McLellan Marketing Group, took the same model and brought it to our community of Central Iowa (through our client BIZ-CI).  Our goal in this case was to:

  • Crowdsource a book that would spotlight all of the professional expertise that existed in our area
  • Help fledgling businesses/entrepreneurs who couldn’t afford to buy the expertise have access to it
  • Promote some of our community’s business leaders by name/firm
  • Introduce our business community to companies that were considering a move to Central Iowa
  • Create connections among the business leader/authors

So we invited local business leaders to each write a chapter related to their area of expertise for the book How Business Gets Done: Words of Wisdom by Central Iowa Experts.

38 experts in some aspect of starting/running a small business all offering best practice counsel as well as pointing to some of their favorite resources.

You can get a Kindle copy by clicking here*.

Peter Korchnak, out in Portland, Oregon put together a very similar book called Portland’s Bottom Line.  But they added a very interesting twist.


Korchnak and his co-editor  Megan Strand organized the book into 12 sections along the triple bottom line of People, Planet, and Prosperity.  The book explores how small businesses can effectively and efficiently shift toward sustainability and thrive. 51 small-business people from the City of Roses shared their experiences with sustainability in their companies. “The Portland Bottom Line” demonstrates how small businesses can innovate to put people before profit, help restore the ecosystem, and prosper.

The book is also a community benefit project. Contributors collectively chose, by vote, the local community organization Mercy Corps Northwest, which supports the launch and growth of sustainable ventures, to receive 100% of profit from the book’s sales.

To check it out, click here*.

In all three examples, the authors are held up as professionals who have something relevant to share.  It adds to their credibility and who doesn’t like to say they’re an author of a published book?

What I’d love for you to do is take a look at these examples and then apply the thinking you the communities you serve/participate in.  It wouldn’t have to be a city type of community.  It could be a community that shares a passion/vocation like the Age of Conversation books did.  The book could center around a common theme, skill, cause, interest or even something  aspirational.

How could you use this crowdsourcing model in your business?

*Yup, an affiliate link.  Peter sent me an advanced copy of their book to review.  So did a bunch of other authors.  But this book is worth sharing with you.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Are you in the emotional transportation biz?

June 25, 2011

…We’ve always found a way to tell our stories

It’s no secret that I am an unabashed fan of storytelling.  It is how we learn when we’re school kids, it’s how we get our friends to do crazy things (“think of what a great story this will be to tell your kids, Steve!) and it’s how we persuade each other — be it to vote for a candidate, buy a particular brand of cologne or share our religious beliefs.

Look at how reality TV has captured that truth.  We come to cheer for perfect strangers who become important to us — because we know their story.

We are, by our very nature, storytellers AND story absorbers.

And yet…in our business communications, all too often, we blather on about facts, figures and bullet points rather than letting the stories connect us to people who are drawn to them.  Which is why I really want you to read Peter Guber‘s Tell to Win. (click here to buy*)

Peter Guber is the founder and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment and owns NBA’s Golden State Warriors. Before creating Mandalay, he was Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, Co-Owner of the Guber-Peters Entertainment Company, Chairman and CEO of Polygram, Co-Founder of Casablanca Record & Filmworks and President of Columbia Pictures.

So the man knows the power of stories in both business and entertainment.

“Emotional transportation” is what Guber calls the power of story telling and he says “more and more, success is won by creating compelling stories that have the power to move partners, shareholders, customers, and employees to action. Simply put, if you can’t tell it, you can’t sell it.”

I can’t argue with that.

As you might imagine, considering his career, Guber tells stories via the voices of  Magic Johnson, Michael Jackson, Wolfgang Puck, the founder of YouTube Chad Hurley, Bill Clinton, Michael Milken, director Tim Burton, Nelson Mandela, Mark Burnett, author Nora Roberts, Tina Sinatra, Anderson Cooper, Larry King, Steven Spielberg, Arianna Huffington, and many more.  So the read is entertaining while it educates.

The book outlines techniques you can use to create purposeful stories like changing passive listeners into active participants and using “state of the heart” technology on and offline to keep your audience connected to your story.

At the end of each chapter, Guber calls out the aHHa! elements of that section.  Like many business books, he gives you a formula for creating better, more compelling stories and then gives you plenty of examples to draw from.

Even if you’re already telling stories left and right — there are some nuances to be learned from this book.  be sure you come back and tell us a story of how you used what you learned!


*Yup, an affiliate link.  The author sent me an advanced copy of this book to review.  So did a bunch of other authors.  But this book is worth sharing with you.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Are you willing to double your profits?

June 16, 2011

…do you want to double your profits?

Seems like a silly question, doesn’t it?  Who wouldn’t want to double profits?

Wanting to and being willing to do what it takes are two very different things.  But I’ve found a playbook that might give you an edge.

Double your revenue and profit in 3 years or less.  That’s a bold promise and one most authors wouldn’t dare make.  But Cameron Herold doesn’t appear to be just any author.  Cameron earned his chops running high-growth businesses such as 1-800-GOT-JUNK? where in his six years as COO, the company roughly doubled in size every year, growing from $2MM to over $106MM in sales.

What I appreciate about Herold book’s Double Double (click here to buy*) is that it’s practical “how to” stuff as opposed to a lot of theoretical discussion.  Lots of good examples and very tangible tools.  But all of that said….this isn’t revolutionary information.  I doubt you are going to read anything that makes you slap yourself on the head and say, “I’d never have thought of that.”

So why read the book, you might ask.  Well, if you’ve already doubled the size your revenue in the past 3 years and are on track to do it again — then you probably shouldn’t waste your time.  But if you’re like 99% of business owners/leaders — you may be familiar with many of the concepts but you aren’t making it happen.

So read the book.  Take notes.  And notice the focus.

I think most business leaders know what they need to do to make their business successful.  But then one of three things happens:

  • They get distracted
  • It gets too difficult (they don’t want to do something they need to do)
  • They get worn out and don’t have the energy

The other danger is that most business leaders try to do this in a vacuum.  They don’t involve their team.  They don’t create a vision that’s so clear anyone in the company could draw it and they don’t protect/chase that vision like a middle linebacker at the Super Bowl.  While Herold’s book can’t toughen you up to do the hard work — he has written a playbook you can follow.

Part One: This is what I would call the prep section.  This is about creating your map.  You can get somewhere without one, but why go to all that extra work?  Measure twice, cut one!  This isn’t just about vision, it’s about how to go from vision to action plan and how to create a culture where everyone is pulling in the same direction.

Part Two: This section is the nitty gritty of how to execute on the plan.  It covers just what you’d expect it to — right people on the bus, marketing, tracking/measuring progress, etc.

Part Three: This section talks about having the heart of a leader.   Herold talks about juggling all you have to do, finding some balance and the heart murmurs that come with running  business.  His chapter about the roller coaster was worth the price of the book alone.  Having owned my own business since 1995 — I have felt everything he described and then some.

This book is a call to action so read it with a notepad by your side.  I’d also recommend that you read it with your management team and then discuss your ideas together.  It would be a great pre retreat homework assignment and then you could really dig into the planning.

Bottom line — if you want your business to be stronger, more profitable and more fun — this is an excellent playbook.  But…reading the book won’t be enough so don’t bother buying it if you aren’t also willing to do the hard work.


*Yup, an affiliate link.  The author sent me an advanced copy of this book to review.  So did a bunch of other authors.  But this book is worth sharing with you.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Viva the underdog!

May 24, 2011


…a blast from our past…it’s Underdog

Most of our clients at McLellan Marketing Group could be classified as underdogs.  Call them challenger brands, the little guy or the rising star — but odds are, they have a Goliath or two in their path.

We love helping them topple the big guys and steal their thunder.  In fact, we believe that it’s a market ADVANTAGE not to be the biggest.  Yup…. being an underdog is a plus in our book.

Why?  In today’s world of constant change, it’s a lot easier to win the hearts and minds of buyers if you’re nimble, not bound by layers of corporate and committee decision making and you can wear your heart on your sleeve.  Market leaders don’t actually want to engage in a fight and they hate scrappy little guys who take them off their well prescribed path.  That’s how you beat them — you make them play your game.

Here’s the unspoken truth of underdog marketing.  You don’t have to actually destroy the industry leader — you just need to take a good sized piece of his pie.  In fact, you don’t, in most cases, want to be the leader.   Why wear the target on your back?  It’s more fun to be the challenger — the one who can break some rules, change the game… and create love affairs with your customers.

That’s why I was eager to read Stephen Denny’s book Killing Giants (click here to buy*)  Denny interviewed 70 “giant killers” and tells their story in his new book which outlines some powerful techniques for knocking the big guys down a peg or two.

The book presents 10 strategies that businesses can adopt to overcome a market leader. The strategies run from taking advantage of the speed and agility of being small to the willingness to take on some risks that the big boys can’t stomach.

He’s structured the book well — each chapter is divided into the strategy, the stories and the take aways.  My only “complaint” is that Denny’s underdogs are what many of us would consider to be giants in their own right — like Adobe or Hersey’s Krackel.  But it’s a good reminder that even large organizations like Hershey can be an underdog and have to think differently.  The techniques they used translate just fine to a local bank or CPA.  So don’t dismiss the book just because many of the examples are national brands you recognize.

I think you’ll find the book gets you fired up to go out there and take on a giant or two!



*Yup, it’s an affiliate link.  Also — Stephen sent me a copy of his book to review. You know me well enough to know I only review books I think you’ll find valuable. (I get several every day…so I am pretty choosey.)
Enhanced by Zemanta

Why would you want to enchant someone?

March 11, 2011

enchantment drew mclellan
Guy Kawasaki’s enchanting new book

As you know, I talk about creating love affairs with your customers a lot here on the blog.  Why do I think it’s so critical?  Let’s look at how people behave when they’re in the bloom of a new love.

  • They find the other person intoxicating — they crave more.
  • They can’t help themselves.  They talk about their new love all the time.  To everyone and anyone who will listen.
  • They are very forgiving of missteps or mistakes.
  • They want to be good and helpful to their new love — what matters to that person suddenly matters to them as well.

Now translate that back to a customer, donor, employee, volunteer, boss or vendor.  What organization wouldn’t want those very important people to feel that way towards them?

And keep in mind…this isn’t a one way street.  You have to genuinely treat them the same way.  Or the love is very short lived. At McLellan Marketing Group, we call it creating a love affair.  Guy Kawasaki calls it being Enchanting* in his new book of the same title.  Potato, potato. (You did read those two words differently, right?)

The book’s basic premise is this:  “enchantment is not about manipulating people.  It transforms situations and relationships. It converts hostility into civility and civility into affinity.  It changes skeptics and cynics into believers and the undecided into the loyal.”

Again I ask the same question — what organization wouldn’t want to be able to inspire and instill that spirit?

But as you know, I’m not into books that get us fired up to do/be something without telling us how.  (The former is just mean teasing)  Guy’s books pushes past the why and gets to the how before page 10.  In fact, chapters 2-12 all start with the word “how.”  That’s the sign of a book I can use.

You really need to read this book. (You can buy it by clicking here*) With a note pad and pen at hand, because you’re going to get a lot of fresh ideas that you want to capture.

You can also test your own “realistic enchantment aptitude” and if you want an awesome sneak preview…check out this infographic that Guy prepared.

Enchantment Infographic

*This is an Amazon affiliate link.  While I am confessing, I should also tell you that Guy sent me a copy of the book for free and I swore twice yesterday.  And I just lied.  I really swore three times.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Congrats to my book winners!

February 27, 2011

I won?  I really won?

Over the past couple weeks, I had 2 copies of Harry Beckwith’s Unthinking* and 3 copies of The Now Revolution* by Amber Naslund and Jay Baer to give away, based on participating in the comments section of the blog.

I’m happy to announce our winners:

Harry Beckwith’s Unthinking:

Steve S. and Jeanne Dininni

Amber & Jay’s The Now Revolution:

Scott Townsend, Kristina Carson and Andy N

If you’ll please e-mail me your mailing address (send it to I’ll be sure the book is on it’s way to you!

Thanks for taking the time to add to the conversation!

*These are Amazon affiliate links.

Enhanced by Zemanta

The NOW Revolution is here

February 21, 2011

The Now Revolution

CC Chapman showing us the cover

Here’s the mistake I made.

I picked up The Now Revolution by Amber Naslund and Jay Baer around midnight, thinking I would just flip through it to get a feel for the book and then read it this weekend.

So much for a good night’s sleep.

The book is built on the premise that the world has changed and we’d all better make some shifts in how we do business to be faster, smarter and more social.

I’m guessing most of the shifts won’t shock you.  What makes this book so valuable is that this isn’t so much an idea book as it is a DO book.  Amber and Jay offer up good case studies (fresh ones you haven’t seen 100 times), lots of extra resources and at the end of every chapter some tangible steps to take to make it happen.

Here’s how they outlined the shifts we need to make:

Make a new bedrock: Your company’s culture is more critical than ever, more exposed to the public than ever and can be a game changer if you build a good one.

Find talent you can trust: Building a team who gets it and shares your vision used to be a luxury.  Today, thanks to social media — it’s a necessity.

Organize your armies: Social media is something that will touch every aspect of your business.  You need to make sure everyone is on board, knows their role — even your agency, who may be leading your efforts or just participating.

Answer the new telephone: Remember the good old days when you weren’t on call 24/7? How do you possibly monitor all of the potential places people could be talking about you?  And how can you use this new expectation of instant access as a customer service bonus?

Emphasize response-ability: Who will respond?  How will they respond?  How can you make sure they respond in your brand’s voice? How do you arm your team with the resources so they can respond?  How quickly do you have to respond?  Lots of questions and this chapter has some answers.

Build a fire extinguisher: Okay, now you’re listening but what do you do get ready to respond if someone says something negative? This is crisis communication planning (on both the macro and micro level) for the 21st century.

Make a calculator: It doesn’t make sense to do something if you have no idea whether or not it’s working.  So measure.  And monitor.  The trick is — give it time to work.  This isn’t magic.  It’s marketing.

My one disappointment is that they took a very cool idea — added QR codes throughout the book to give readers even more resources and made it annoying.  Rather than using generic QR codes so that everyone could just use whatever scanner they already had on their smart phone — they opted to use a specific tag made by Microsoft which required me to add another app to my phone.

Bottom line for me — this is a very good read.  Pick up a copy today (Amazon affiliate link).

Or…. tell me which of the 7 shifts you think would be the most difficult (and why) and you could win a copy of the book!  I have 3 copies to give away.  (I’ll draw commenters names at random.)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Learn why we unthink

February 9, 2011

unthinking drewmclellan 198x300

When I finished reading the galley for Harry Beckwith’s latest book, Unthinking, I shot him an e-mail that said:

“Unthinking is a fantastic read.  Your other books gave readers the what and sometimes the how — this book provides the why.  It’s a perfect companion to your earlier works.  What I love most about it is that you follow your own advice — you delight and surprise readers from beginning to end.  Storytelling at it’s best!”

As you know, Harry Beckwith is a part of my trifecta of the best business writers I’ve ever read (along with Steve Farber & Joe Calloway) and his new book may be his best.  In it, he explores how our mind and experiences “play tricks” on our buying decisions.

Through his brilliant, understated storytelling, Harry shows us what’s behind our consumer behavior and…of course as marketers, how we can use those insights to better connect with and serve our customers.  Here are some examples of the stories/lessons you’ll enjoy.

  • What do Howard Hughes and 50 Cent have in common, and what do they tell us about Americans and our desires?
  • Why did Sean Connery stop wearing a toupee, and what does this tell us about American customers for any product?
  • What one thing did the Beatles, Malcolm Gladwell and Nike all notice about Americans that helped them win us over?
  • Which uniquely American traits may explain the plights of Krispy Kreme, Ford, and GM, and the risks faced by Starbuck’s?
  • Why, after every other plea failed, did “Click It or Ticket” get people to buy the idea of fastening their seat belts?

Harry would argue that the answers to these questions can be found in our childhood, our culture and from our eye’s view.  Drawing from dozens of disciplines, always enlightening Harry Beckwith answers these questions with some surprising, even startling, truths and discoveries about what motivates us.

This is really a must read for anyone who deals with customers. (As are all of his earlier works if you haven’t already read them).  Buy it by clicking here.  (Amazon affiliate link)

You can also enjoy Harry’s foray into blogging at Psychology Today.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Content Rules (and boy does it!)

December 7, 2010

The Content Rules 

You will need to be a content creator and curator…or else you won't survive some of the new shifts in how people gather information, make buy decisions and build brand loyalty. 

We can't rely on others (mass media, press releases, other "official" sources) or hype to tell our story anymore.  It's our responsibility to tell our own stories and create content that helps people find us, understand us, and ultimately buy us.

This isn't a new topic for this blog — and if you're a regular reader, you know how vital I believe this is to marketing success today and down the road.

It's also the main thrust of the new book Content Rules by Ann Handley (Chief Content Officer for MarketingProfs), and C.C. Chapman (founder of DigitalDads). (click on title to buy the book from Amazon*)

I can hear you now…do we really need another "content is king" book?  Probably not.  This may not be the first book written on the topic, but it is definitely one of the best I have read.  It's fun to read, insightful and most important in my opinion — Ann and C.C. give you the tools to take action.

They set the stage by demonstrating why content matters and then quickly move into the how's.  A wide range of case studies, examples and stealable ideas will get your mind racing and the dog-eared pages multiplying.

I love the straightforward approach, the humor and the humanity of this book.  With chapter titles like Share or Solve; Don't Shill and If Webinars Are Awesome Marketing Tools, Why Do Most of Them Suck — you know you're going to learn a thing or two without having to dig through a lot of pretentious language or fluff.

The book itself is a living example of how potent content can be, when written for the reader, with their best interest at heart.  And that of course, is the kernel of truth that is the heart of content marketing. 

B-to-B your playground?  Have no fear — they take special care of you in this book with a chapter devoted just to you and plenty of B-to-B examples and case studies.

Seriously — you need to read and learn from this book.  Like now! 

Looking for the link to buy it? Here you go…click here.*



*Yup, it's an affiliate link.   

Enhanced by Zemanta