Gain Mindshare Now.
It was evident even in 2000 — when I set this phrase as the motto of Media Moxie LLC, my digital strategy consultancy — that grabbing mindshare was a necessary step to win business. There’s no marketshare without mindshare.
Mindshare is defined here as active awareness toward engagement. Cutting through the white noise to get your message heard, processed, understood, and considered. This is the environment you need before meaningful engagement can take place.
And in a world where every person, organization, brand, company, institution and movement is a broadcaster without limits of location, affinity group or delivery platforms, it’s a free-for-all. And overwhelming for the target.
But, ahh, how to do so!? That was the question. (It still is.)
That was just after the Internet bubble burst in the late ’90s, when Cia Romano of Interface Guru, a pioneer in digital user interface design, and I teamed up for a series of speaking engagements on building audience loyalty through your website experience. We presented — she on design and usability, and I on content — at publishing and Internet conferences, including The Folio:Show and Web 2001. By that time the consumer web was in its teenage years. Some “World Wide Web” sites were good eggs, yet many others were going through a tumultuous time (remember Time Inc’s Pathfinder?). Inconsistent navigation, annoying animated gifs flashing “Click Here!” like a “cyber” redlight district, 404 messages, pages noted as “Under Construction,” offers to sign up for something without any promise of what’s to come, etc., etc.
But it was also an exciting time.
Watching the number of “hits” climb higher each day, on the TENNIS.com server (see original layout here), showed that, yes!, we were reaching our audience, affecting them, interacting with them. It was very powerful. As a former newspaper reporter and a magazine editor, the best feedback from readers took the form of notes sent via USPS. That was exciting, but this … this was bombastic!
I heard about this Internet thing through my brother, Gardner. He’s four years my junior, but we both helped each other discover new things; he turned me on to The Wonder Stuff and Sublime, and frostbiting at the Essex Yacht Club. And one day in our living room in Old Saybrook, Conn., he announced, “There’s this thing called the Internet. It’s really cool. You have to check it out. Lize, you will LOVE IT! You can find things out and visit these pages through Netscape. But you have to sign up with an ISP.”
It was 1993 and nobody — besides academics, scientists and Gardner — had heard of The Internet.
It was all very confusing back then. Wild West.
America Online to the rescue (eventually)! I installed AOL via floppy disk. It was a much cooler disk than the five-inch floppy we used at The Middletown Press. At least this had a hard plastic cover, not truly floppy like the other one. Didn’t matter, I still wrote my stories covering Clinton and Westbrook long-hand, then typed them into the DOS computer. My “laptop” back then was the TRS-80. (Next time you’re in D.C., check it out in the Newseum.)
Lizzie14 was born. And addicted.
Exploring this evolving frontier through the pinhole of a 1200 baud modem was…wondrous. And time-consuming.
For this night owl, it meant waking with excitement at dawn to join chat rooms. Getting to know people. The seconds felt like hours when you could see that JT603 was typing and you were waiting for him to hit SEND. And the greatest words ever uttered were, “You’ve Got Mail!” Where’s that voice-over guy now?
[Amazing trajectory AOL’s had, from being the No. 1 source for discovering online content in a “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” way, to overloading the country with ‘get started today’ compact disks-turned-coasters, and outsourcing poor customer service that made giving up my Lizzie14 account after nine years as convoluted and stubborn as Eric Snowden’s “escape” plan. Then the kamikaze deal with Time Inc., which happened to be the last publisher to figure out the online content play. Then the portal. I had AOL shares for a minute. Did very well. NTSC (launched 1995) was way better. Still holding YHOO (launched in 1996); c’mon, Marissa, higher, higher!]
‘Twas a time of innocence.
And expensive overrage charges.
These wifi kids today don’t know how hard we had it!
These days everyone wants a piece of our mind. And technology has enabled everyone to give us a piece of their minds. Unsolicited. Unedited. The constant bombardment – we get 30,000 messages a day – is enough to make you lose (a piece of) your mind. And lose peace of mind.
Yet communication is essential to life as it is to business. The “sales funnel,” conceived in 1898 by E. Elmo Lewis, remains relevant. Awareness first. [While Social Media Explorer’s Nichole Kelley agrees, she astutely challenges the linear model in this piece from February 2013.)
Successful communication is not just broadcasting a signal, it’s the reception of that signal. And processing, and understanding. And the influence on action of that signal.
Your audience. Your message. Your delivery. Your ask.
All of these are essential to Gain Mindshare Now. And the goal by which your success can be measured is Engagement.
Many signals are given each day, each hour, each minute, each moment. Too many. This blog focuses on how to Gain Mindshare Now by exploring, analyzing and discussing the strategy of content, digital media and technology toward engagement.
Come along for the ride! I’m counting your engagement — agree, dispute, provoke, enlighten, share.