Tag Archives: Internet Summit

Three Takeaways from Internet Summit

Tuesdays With Coleman

I’m a big believer that radio can benefit from conferences that are not completely radio-centric but feature beneficial and actionable sessions. One example of this is Digital Summit, which is held in 23 locations across the United States.

Coleman Insights HQ is in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, where Digital Summit’s sister event, Internet Summit is held. In the past two years, this event featured marketing icon Seth Godin as the keynote speaker, and I wrote blog posts on both occasions. There was Seth Godin’s Brand Lessons for Radio in November 2017 and last December’s Direct Marketing is Easy. Brand Marketing is Hard, one of our most read and talked about Tuesdays With Coleman entries.

Seth Godin Internet Summit

Marketer Seth Godin delivered the keynote address at Internet Summit in 2017 and 2018.

One session I attended (and hadn’t originally intended to attend) was called “It’s More Than Data: We’ve Been Doing Content Strategy Wrong,” presented by Paxton Gray. Gray is the Executive Vice President of Operations at a digital marketing agency called 97th Floor. While the content of the session itself was useful and interesting, there were two other things that really caught my attention and made the visit to this room memorable.

Upon introducing himself, Gray offered the chance to win a copy of Seth Godin’s latest book, “This is Marketing” (somehow it always comes back to Seth Godin) and a $100 gift card to an attendee who comments on his most recent LinkedIn post. The post was this:

97th Floor hosts a marketing book club

There are a number of clever things about this strategy. Of course, I took the bait and went to his LinkedIn page, and before seeing the post I sent a connection request. Then I read the post, which tells you about a Book Club he started at his company. They buy a book for everyone at 97th Floor that wants one and sometimes discuss it over dinner. By asking for recommendations of books, podcasts or blogs, he’s created post engagement and increased the chances of it going viral. So of course I plugged Tuesdays With Coleman, he engaged back right away, and then I didn’t think about it for the next week.

That was until I opened my LinkedIn page to take a peek at my news feed, and guess what came up—a post from 97th Floor.

97th Floor hosts an Alumni Night

This one shared a picture of the company’s recent Alumni Night at Topgolf. The post explains how 97th Floor alumni have access to an alumni network that includes a dedicated Slack channel that allows them to stay connected and share job opportunities. Once again, it’s a post with a pretty good idea that promotes company culture without having to say, “Our culture is awesome!” (Sidebar: if that’s how you promote company culture you might not have a great company culture.)

There are ideas and inspiration to be found outside the lines of where you’ve always expected them to be. So this year’s takeaways for the radio industry are:

  1. Attend a non-radio conference.

We love radio conferences, including the always great Worldwide Radio Summit. Radio is embracing Podcast Movement, a very wise move. But do you think radio could benefit from a conference like Digital Summit, which is loaded with sessions on items like website optimization, social media, SEO and email marketing?

I do.

  1. Start a book club.

In our fragmented world (see last week’s blog, Disney+, Decision Paralysis and Your Brand for more on fragmentation), we’re all consuming different content. The thought of having programming and sales reading the same book, listening to the same podcast, subscribing to the same blog and then comparing notes feels like a good way to improve communication and learn some new things together in the process.

  1. Embrace alumni.

While the idea of an alumni network may not be transferable, we do know radio loves a good reunion and that listeners build connections with personalities. Often their favorite personalities go away, never to be heard from again. By periodically embracing its past, radio can find another outlet to maintain the bond between listener and station.

Thanks to Paxton Gray for the inspiration for today’s post. Keep those ideas flowing!

Direct Marketing is Easy. Brand Marketing is Hard.

Tuesdays With Coleman

For the second year in a row, I watched marketing guru Seth Godin deliver the keynote address at Internet Summit in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Seth Godin Internet Summit

As always, Seth offered the attendees various nuggets of knowledge. Things like:

  • Ignore the masses. “Seek out your most viable audience and shun the non-believers.”
  • “Make things better by making better things.”
  • To find the best people to work for you, look in different places. “If you’re not looking for a job, this may be the job for you.”

My favorite section of Seth’s talk was when he specifically addressed brand marketing versus direct marketing.

In 2000, Google AdWords (recently rebranded as Google Ads) launched with 350 advertisers. Today, it’s estimated Google and Facebook account for at least 25 percent of total media advertising revenue.

Anyone with a business of any size can utilize digital marketing, and one of its key benefits is that it is trackable.

Google tracks digital ads very specifically and immediately and is easily accessible. It became easier to quickly determine how many people have seen it, clicked it, watched it or filled out a form and to track the exact return on your investment.

Google Ads

This, of course, has been a numbing challenge for sales teams of traditional media, like newspaper and radio.

How do you sell the effectiveness of radio advertising when the results aren’t always trackable?

That’s when Seth Godin recited the best words of the conference:

If you want to do brand marketing, you have to refuse to measure.

This hit me like a lightning bolt.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Google Analytics. I run trackable digital campaigns for our company. But I also strongly believe that branding—the art of getting consumers to have a clear perceptual understanding of your brand—is the most important marketing element of all, and the foundation of every company’s success. Branding first, tactical second.

But seemingly every company wants measured results.

Godin mentioned the print ads that Absolut Vodka ran for all those years on the back of magazines.

Absolut Vodka Print Ad

Absolut doesn’t know how many bottles of vodka they sold as a direct result of people seeing those ads.

And that’s ok.

We do know when Absolut began those ads in 1980 it had a 2.5% market share, and after 25 straight years of running them held a 50% market share.

Branding and consistency.

We’ve all become so hyper-focused on the now, the instant gratification of numbers, that it is easy to take your eye off the big picture.

Tactical advertising won’t grow your business, the same way tactical contesting won’t grow your radio station.

Grow the brand perceptually, research to track your strengths and weaknesses, then use tactical to support the brand.

The next time a client says they want to run a quick “test” campaign, ask them what would have happened had Absolut run just one print ad. Or even just one month or one year’s worth.

Branding and consistency.

The next time you wonder if you’ve said that positioning statement too many times on your radio station or run that music promo too often, remind yourself:

Branding and consistency.

Remember that while measuring in-the-moment is valuable, it has its place and it is imperfect.

That’s not always easy to hear on ratings days.


Brand marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.

If you want to do brand marketing, you have to refuse to measure.

Direct marketing is easy. Brand marketing is hard.

You know what? It’s also really worth it.

Seth Godin’s Lessons for Radio

Tuesdays With Coleman

In his opening keynote speech at Internet Summit in Raleigh, NC on November 15th, it only took author/marketing guru Seth Godin about five minutes before mentioning radio and the music industry.

Seth Godin

According to Godin, 1972 was the perfect year for the music business. The reason? Scarcity of choice.

If you wanted to purchase an album, you had to go to a brick and mortar record store.

Record Store

If you loaned someone your album, you generally needed to go buy another one.

If you wanted to discover new music, you had to hear it on a radio station.

Radio Station

The spokes of the music industry wheel all benefited from exclusivity – the record stores, radio stations and record companies.

Today, of course, you can download music and stream music from a seemingly endless potpourri of providers. You can watch videos for free on YouTube.

Like so many other industries, scarcity of choice has been replaced with abundance.


While Seth Godin doesn’t provide a prescription for the music industry, he does preach differentiation and content. Marketing conferences send out a parade of thought leaders all selling one thing in many different packages.

Stand out with content, content, content.

When Godin first self-published his 2003 breakthrough book, “Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable”, the title was printed sideways and it was delivered in a milk carton if ordered by mail. Naturally, it was also very purple.

Seth Godin Purple Cow

Radio’s been doing this kind of thing for a very long time.

Flashback to 1974 Los Angeles. Shadoe Stevens was hired to program KMET, an underperforming free-form rock station. Stevens differentiated the station by adding high energy production value and jingles, and placing billboards and stickers all around town with the logo in reverse and upside down. Sound familiar?

KMET Los Angeles Billboard

KMET sticker logo




Godin provides great examples of companies coming up with unique ideas to differentiate. A lawn service that uses GPS to provide homeowners with exact pricing based on the size of their yard. Tesla calling their 0-60 in 2.2 seconds technology “Ludicrous Mode”.

The fact of the matter is, while everyone is currently trying to figure out content creation, radio professionals have been masters at this for decades. Radio stations are innovation labs for promotions, imaging, production, format creation and much more. Air talent comes up with fresh content for their stations on a daily basis.

If the path to differentiation is content, radio has the people that are up to the challenge.

Seth Godin Purple Cow Milk Carton

What’s your milk carton?