A new relationship between artists and fans – Adam Duritz at #Pivotcon

Session: The Audience Imperative: A New Relationship Between Artists and Fans

Description: No longer must musicians rely upon record companies and rapacious promoters to get their songs into the market and themselves in front of fans. Top selling Counting Crows has long been a leader in using Social to alter the artist-audience dynamic. Here’s the first thing Adam Duritz had to say:

If the video isn’t displaying, use this link. P.S. I love that his notes are had written!

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#Pivotcon = the merging of ideals

From old school to new school, I think this graphic says it all…

who's millennialish?


My favorite part of #Pivotcon: Digiquette

Session: Millennials, Decoded: Inside the Digital Mind of the Connected Generation
Speaker: Britta Schell, Director, Digital Strategic Insights, MTV
Role: Responsible for understanding Millennial digital behavior and insights.

Description: “Millennials are the arrow tip of Social Consumers. They pierced the armor of traditional marketing and trampled long-held conventions about how audiences are supposed to behave. But, up close and personal, what do the online lives of millennials look like? Are they really as wild and uninhibited as they seem? MTV reveals its massive study of the rising adult generation.”

Synopsis: Britta delivered!

Why millennials? If this generation isn’t part of your current market, they will be (and should be) or they’re definitely influencing your customers today! Plus, millennials are experiencing the greatest convergence of digital and real life. They ARE the early adopters, provoking unique triggers for anxiety, feelings of overexposure as well as perceptions of efficiency and empowerment. Understanding what consumers feel will help any company (big or small) understand what they need and the best ways to meet that need.

The average millennial:
…grew up fully exposed.
…understands “celebrity culture” and the need for savvy personal branding.
…was raised with constant feedback loops from (helicopter) parents, coaches, teachers, etc…
…is always aware of how people are responding to them and gains confidence from feedback they expect.
…is setting the cultural norms.

Who Are the Millennials?
Flowtown – Social Media Marketing Application

MTV is attempting to understand the implications of this convergence through classic intimacy variance:

  • Label = Curate Me | representation = ME
  • Label = Publicly Intimate | representation =  Intimates
  • Labe  = Like-a-Holic | representation = Friends
  • Label = Digiquette | representation = World

Brands can effectively use millennial Digiquette (“the rules”) as a roadmap to virtual engagement :

Rule #1 Learn the Rules

Sounds like fight club, right? The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club. Well, this one IS a little different. First rule about managing your online life is the learn-the-rules. Millennials are exploring multiple platforms and observing. Many understand and embrace the idea that one platform may be good for only one thing. Not unlike real life, knowing what is appropriate is the first rule to engaging within digital platforms and community.

  • 93% posted veiled language online that few connections in their public space would understand (example: LYRICS)
  • 78% know someone who has been in trouble with a parent, school, etc… for something they posted on social media

Rule #2 Pace Yourself

Britta summed up this rule as “James Dean nonchalantness 24hrs a day,” like the three-day rule of dating. By the way, I love James Dean. Got my attention. Millennials clearly exhibit some sensitivity around the perception that their digital lives are completely converged with real life by delaying the gratification of response (or feedback) and demonstrating that a separation of “real” and “virtual” does still exist…for now.

  • 48% believe that if you respond too quickly it will seem like you have nothing better to do
  • 25% feel alone if they do not receive a response/feedback to public postings

Rule #3 Avoid Controversy

Millennials are cultivating proxy opinions – by association – which they believe is adding value and helping them gaining social currency. But it’s also important to pace these posts just like delaying the gratification of response to avoid flooding social media feeds and exile to “social Siberia” as friends and connections start tuning you out. On a side note: A diner down the street from the conference was referring to a specific section of tables as “Siberia” the next morning. Conspiracy?

  • 54% post a video or article they agree with instead of a personal opinion

Rule #4 Guard Your Future

Even the “party guy” thinks you “might as well be remembered in good (meaning positive) terms”. Millennials are using tools like Picnik to edit photos, filtering content about themselves to show an authentic but BEST side of themselves, a side that is associated with the lifestyle template that they have chosen.

  • 30% have modified photos before posting
  • 75% try not to make mistakes in digital space because they understand the permanence
  • 90% are using Facebook as a conduit to personal branding

Bonus: My favorite quote from the millennials in this study was “even if it’s an e-mail it’s like someone is trying to communicate with you”. BAM! E-mail is NOT dead.

For more reading check out Litmus: Digital Millennials and Virtue Live Blog.

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how can social media empower artists and designers?

How can you move ahead of the crowd? The videos say it all… Seriously, listen to what Raul has to say (video #2 & #3). You could be just one tweet away.

Genius and the Age of Enlightenment: Part #1

Genius and the Age of Enlightenment: Part #2

Genius and the Age of Enlightenment: Part #3


  • Hope Frank, CMO, Webtrends
  • Even Grenne, CMO, Grammy Awards
  • Raul Penaranda, Fashion Designer
  • Jeanniey Mullen, CMO, Zino (wearing Raul Penaranda!)
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pasta frittata + heirloom tomatoes + yummy goodness

Since farmer market season is almost over here in Boston, I’m trying to get my heirloom tomato fix DAILY. So I spiced up a bland pasta frittata recipe with veggies and a few surprises. Yum!
heirloom tomato pasta frittata


  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil4-6 eggs (4 is enough, 6 if you want more)
  • 10 ounces thin spaghetti
  • 1 chopped large (sweet) white onion
  • 1 chopped garlic clove
  • 3 (farmers market) heirloom tomatoes
  • 1 cup MorningStar Farms Meal Starters Grillers Recipe Crumbles
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • bed of greens


Boil hot water and add thin spaghetti. Cook until tender.

While pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a very large pan over medium-low heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute for about 10 minutes, until very tender.  Add Crumbles and two (2) of the heirloom tomatoes and saute for another 3-5 minutes.

Drain and cool pasta. Whisk 4-6 eggs in large bowl. Mix all remaining ingredients except one (1) tomato and greens with eggs. Add saute onions, tomatoes and Crumbles and mix well covering all ingredients with whisked egg.

Add olive oil to frying pan to prevent sticking and pour mix into pan. Cook on low heat for about 5 minutes (until bottom begins to brown). Lift up edges of the frittata pushing them gently towards the centre, reduce heat to medium, cover and cook for 2 – 3 minutes or until bottom is golden brown.

When the frittata is cooked on bottom side, set a large, flat lid or cooking sheet over your pan, grip the handle of the pan with one hand, hold the lid firmly against the pan with your other hand and quickly flip the pan and lid. Return the frittata to the pan by sliding it from lid of cooking sheet and cook the other side until golden brown.

Once cooked, loosen the edge of the frittata. Cut into wedges and serve hot or at room temperature over bed of greens and sliced heirloom tomato.

I’m having the leftovers for lunch today….and probably tomorrow. This serves eight HUGE slices. I also recommend adding Olde Cape Cod Vinaigrette & Marinade to the top for some additional flavor!

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The week that was.

Here’s a recap of sweet and not-so-sweet e-mail campaigns I received last week.

[Sweet E-mails]

Although no e-mail campaign is truly perfect (even if it was perfect, all the rules will change in about….a minute), these are STAND OUT message (for one reason or another). As always, I welcome comments and suggestions regarding stellar campaigns worth checking out.

robyns world newsletter on 9/19

RobynsOnlineWorld.com Newsletter on September 19, 2011

+ aside from logo alt tag, completely optimized for images off

+ easy to read and know where to click with use of font size and bolding

+ absolutely no need for pre-header

– social media tags morph together

– as a system generated template w/whitelisting super power, may be impossible to replicate

studentmags newsletter on 9/20

StudentMags e-Commerce Newsletter on September 20,2011

+ layout is very easy to read

+ design and use of color draws eyes to the prize – what I can, what my offer is and how to get it

– top nav is morphed together

– yellow background = spammy, buy hey who cares if you have a good enough reputation I guess

petco e-mail on 9/21

Petco Campaign on September 21, 2011

+ aside from social media links, all copy is very clear and crisp

+ pre-headers has clear, strong offer statement with personalization

+ great use of alt tags with offer statement – not cluttered by other copy, short and sweet

– social media CTAs and overlapping with images off

– low text to image ratio

payscale newsletter on 9/22

PayScale Newsletter on September 22, 2011

+ a lot of personalization in left sidebar

+ whitelist CTA can be very powerful, especially for brands / companies with a lot of room for growth

+ high text to image ratio and intriguing CTAs

– a lot of blue font and background colors can make e-mail look spammy


[E-mail Fail]

More often than not, I see e-mail campaigns that fail to deliver value and/or a message of any kind. What a missed opportunity! Here’s YOUR opportunity (and mine) to learn from the past. If you disagree (or wholeheartedly share my opinion), I’d love to hear your feedback.

P.S. I block sender names and domains with boxes to protect “the innocent”. This is not a commentary on brands or companies. I often receive stellar campaigns and epic failures from the same source.

e-mail campaign fail 9.20

Subject: Net… / Date: September 20, 2011

– almost the entire section above fold is very hard to read with images off

– random alt tags (“separator”) – just leave them empty if there’s no use or way to optimize

– could use a pre-header, especially with this design

+ layout that starts just above the fold is strong and includes targeting

e-mail campaign fail 9/21

Subject: Pre-order our Exclusive… / Date: September 21, 2011

– almost the entire section above fold is very hard to read with images off

– very low text to image ratio – many e-mails from this brand have gone to spam

– could use a pre-header with offer statement

+ looks like there’s a mobile version, so maybe that’s good….

e-mail campaign fail 9/22 v2

Subject: … Special / Date: September 22, 2011

– without images on, can’t see a thing – a lot of these e-mails are blocked as spam

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pesto + pasta + heirloom tomatoes. yum!

I don’t have a recipe for this one, just eyeballed proportions.

pasta and pesto dish

Here are the ingredients:

  • pasta (really, any kind)
  • maple pesto (from the boston south station farmer’s market)
  • walnut oil (mixed with the pasts and pesto)
  • mozzarella cheese (under the tomatoes)
  • heirloom tomatoes (also from the farmer’s market)
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barefoot contessa tomato soup

I don’t eat meat (I sometimes eat fish), but I haven’t found a vegetarian cookbook that I truly love. I often prefer to make non-veggie recipes veggie friendly (or I check out eat well with janel for inspiration). When I saw a friend tweet the Barefoot Contessa Cream of Fresh Tomato Soup recipe two days ago, I couldn’t get it off my mind! It is heirloom tomato season after all! So I had a mission to shake things up a little. (Be warned, this recipe takes longer than an hour to complete.)

soup lunch mobile snapshot


  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped red onions (2 onions) 1/2 large (sweet) white onion
  • 2 carrots, unpeeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 4 pounds vine-ripened tomatoes (farmers market) heirloom tomatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar 3 tablespoons (local) honey
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup packed chopped fresh basil leaves, plus julienned basil leaves, for garnish
  • 1/8 cup rosemary leaves
  • 3 cups chicken 2 cups vegetable stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream 1 1/2 cups silk creamer
  • Croutons, for garnish grilled cheese sandwich / corn salad


Heat the olive oil and honey in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat. Add the onions and carrots and saute for about 10 minutes, until very tender. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the heirloom tomatoes, sugar, tomato paste, basil, rosemary, chicken stock vegetable stock, salt, and pepper and stir well. Bring the soup to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 30 to 40 minutes, until the tomatoes are very tender.

Add the cream to the soup, process it through a food mill liquify in a blender (don’t burn yourself!!) and pour into a bowl, discarding only the dry pulp that’s left. If necessary, reheat the soup over low heat just until hot and serve with julienned basil leaves and/or croutons grilled cheese and corn salad. (I don’t have a food mill, so I improvised. I’m sure a food processor would work too.)

I’m having the leftovers for lunch today, with a little avocado added to my corn salad. Yum!

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e-mail is going strong.

I have strong beliefs about surveying consumers vs. looking at their behavior. Opinions are important, but opinions alone can send marketers (and politicians and parents and just about everyone) on a wild goose chase. Most people (if not all) lack an enormous about of self-awareness around their habits and preferences, especially when it comes to shopping. I mean, isn’t that part of inherited American culture?

However, I do now believe opinions should be INGORED and I DO believe that teen opinions about the future of e-mail are a strong indication that e-mail communication should remain a strong part of your strategic marketing mix. After all, the medium continues to evolve. And I think e-mail will maintain a stronghold for the following reasons (among others):

  1. E-mail has clout and authority (in some circles). Think about it. Even if you ignore lots of spam, don’t you feel better when a product you use (even a mobile app) has a nice and tidy website and an easy place to sign up for e-mail? Doesn’t that make you feel like it’ll be easy to find any information you might need about the product in the future?
  2. American adults (not teens) still spend A LOT of time online sending e-mail.
  3. A lot of very important institutions in the US use (and often require) e-mail for communication, like colleges and banks.
  4. International e-mail vendors are optimizing for mobile browsers of all kinds. Companies just need to keep up with their designs and segmenting.
  5. Other messaging mediums remain an enigma for many marketers, politicians, parents, etc… This may be part of the appeal for teens, but consumers will put a little effort into getting what they want even if it’s signing up for a future spam trap. It took almost decades for the US to develop regulations (CAN-SPAM) followed by best practices around e-mail marketing…

If you’ve got a powerful mobile strategy, that’s great! My only point is that none of us should forget about e-mail. There’s a lot of opportunity with minimal effort. At least that’s what the kids say.

Data and infographic by AWeber Email Marketing

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