Oct 28, 2008

The New Place to Read!

I've been asked why I've stopped blogging, the answer, I haven't. I've just changed places. The sun has set on Flat World Student and is rising on a great new blog!

So if you've been following this blog, you will totally want to subscribe to my latest and greates repository of excitement!

The newish blog is SocialSquared.com (click here to visit) where I write on business, marketing and social media.

I would love it if you would subscribe, you can click here to subscribe by email or click here for Rss.

Check out my top posts at SocialSquared.com to see what it's all about.

3 Amazing Online Marketing Campaigns
Traffic are People?
Obama Proves Social Media: You Get it or You Don't

Thanks for following!

As always you can follow me on twitter www.twitter.com/thattallguy
Find me on Facebook: Jess Sloss
or my new favorite Flickr www.flickr.com/photos/jsloss

Apr 20, 2008

In the news

So I haven't posted here for a long time. I blame it on life's externalities. Apologies.

I've been involved in founding a non-profit organization Watch for Change and writing at Social Squared, a social media and marketing blog.

We help companies gain exposure, charities raise money and internet users make a difference through online video.

We've had a bit of press lately, first in the Globe and Mail and then most recently in the Winnipeg Free Press. The later was a not so encouraging warning to all of us starting charities. Have a read, its entertaining.

I wrote a letter to the editor to clarify our existence and oppose some of the ideas that Mr. Longhurst suggested in his piece. Since it may never get published I thought I would post it here.

A Letter to the Editor

I am writing in regards to John Longhurst’s April 13th article, “Anarchy of Altruism”. My name is Jess Sloss and I am the executive director or Watchforchange.com a non profit organization that helps charities raise money using online video. Our organization was referred to in this article and I have some thoughts I would like to share.

I appreciate the point that Mr. Longhurst not so bluntly states, established charities are often the most effective avenue for making a difference around the world. They have the resources, personnel and experience that make them invaluable.

I do not agree, however, with his premise that innovation and enthusiasm are something to squelch and run from.

There is a growing distance between the way things have been done and the way we are able to do them now. New Technologies, communications channels and media consumption options are revolutionizing the way people interact. The times are changing, and strategies need to change too.

Watchforchange.com is a fundraising source for established charities. We use our knowledge of social media, video and the web to help charities raise money. We are not in the kidnapping business or into religious zeal. We provide a way for internet users to make a difference.

Innovation and a desire to do better has been key to all great things that man has achieved. I welcome everyone to do something for those less fortunate than them. You can start by visiting watchforchange.com. Mr. Longhurst, I suggest you visit the site too.

Best Regards,
Jess Sloss, Executive Director
Watch for Change

Feb 14, 2008

Groupthink - Well sort of

One of the biggest killers to success in groups is "Groupthink".

Groupthink is "the tendency for members of a cohesive group to reach decisions without weighing all the facts, especially those contradicting the majority opinion."

Throughout business school we're taught definitions, warning signs and remedies to groupthink. I think they should just show this video.

Candid Camera from back in the day - The elevator

Elevator Candid, Must See... - Watch the top videos of the week here

Feb 11, 2008

Hey Monkey Brain: Check me out

I just finished my first lens on squidoo. They just launched a really cool idea, called Hey Monkey Brain.

It's a site that allows you to easily start an argument online and makes it even easier for people to post their ideas, arguments or points on your topic.

My lense can be found here, Social Media Marketing is Money Well Spent!

Check it out, interact with it, make your own and send it to me.

Feb 7, 2008

Bloom off the Social Network Boom: Time to Look Closer

*Photo Credit: Tech Crunch

Business Week just ran an article titled "mySpace Generation Fed Up" , the article infers that the bloom is of the social network boom.

Citing comscore stats show "the average amount of time each user spends on social networking sites has fallen by 14%", the authors argue that users may be getting bored of their pages or annoyed at all the ads. They go on to show how dismal advertising effectiveness has been, "marketers say as few as 4 in 10,000 people who see their ads on social networking sites click on them, compared with 20 in 10,000 across the Web"

I have a few thoughts on the subject.

While user interest has dropped slightly, social networks have become a main stream place to be on the web. The problem is that advertisers still look at facebook or myspace as display advertising plays. The true value is found when companies are able to encourage user interaction with their brand inside the social network. No other area on the web provides easier access to groups of people to spread and grow their ideas.

Social sites require a different approach than standard advertising, even traditional web advertising. All Facebook posted an article comparing facebook ads to google adwords and came up with the conculsuion that facebook ads suck. While that appears true, it is more the fault of the marketers than the platform.

When I use Google, I am looking for something. When i use facebook I'm entertaining myself. Google and advertising are a good pair, Google's adwords provide relevant information that makes my use of the service more valuable, advertising on facebook does nothing for me.

Social networking needs to be apart of a social media marketing effort, one that searches out, engages, interacts and ads value to the consumer.

Come on marketers, it's time to show that creativity, there's a world of opportunity out there.

Feb 5, 2008

Permission Marketing, An Introduction

What is it?

Permission Marketing is a type marketing campaign where an individual has given a company their consent to market to them, usually through email.


The term was first defined by Seth Godin in an article for Fast Company in March 1998, and later a book titled Permission Marketing. Godin’s argument is that traditional marketing is loosing effectiveness and that permission marketing is and will continue to increase in value.

Basic Premise

Godin described permission marketing as “the privilege (not the right) of delivering anticipated, personal and relevant messages to people who actually want to get them.” He goes on to note “It recognizes the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing. It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention”

Permission Marketing vs. Traditional Advertising

The antithesis of permission marketing is interruption marketing, also known as traditional advertising. Interruption marketing aims to interrupt potential customers with a message, T.V. commercials are interruption marketing, so are magazine ads.

The problem with interruption marketing is that consumers have stopped paying attention. It was at its greatest when communication channels were limited. In the 1950’s most households had a choice of 3 to 6 TV channels, all without remotes. Advertisers could expect to impact a large portion of consumers with a standard T.V. commercial.

In recent years, the number of communication channels has exploded. Consumers have the choice of hundreds of T.V. or Radio channels and millions of websites. In order to compete, traditional interruption marketers have increased the frequency and loudness of marketing messages, creating a cluttered marketing landscape that consumers have become experts at ignoring.

According to estimates, consumers targeted with between 3000 and 5000 advertisements a day, though these numbers are rough estimates at best.

General Rules of Successful Permission Marketing


Opt-in means that the prospect is given the choice to be apart of the marketing campaign. Permission marketers usually ask consumers to enter their email address and then confirm that they had given the email address prior to their entrance in the marketing program.

Real Permission vs. Permission

The difference between real and not so real permission is an important concept for would be permission marketers. As Godin notes on his blog,

“Just because you somehow get my email address doesn't mean you have permission. Just because I don't complain doesn't mean you have permission. Just because it's in the fine print of your privacy policy doesn't mean it's permission either.”

Permission marketing requires an authentic desire by the consumer to be engaged in a marketing campaign for it to work. In essence, the consumer exchanges his or her attention for something of value, usually a personal, relevant and anticipated message from a company.

Keep your Promises

Trust is the cornerstone of any permission marketing campaign. This means that marketers must treat the information they collect like gold. This means no selling, renting or giving away of emails or personal information. Further, marketers must stay true to the initial promise they made to the consumer. Consumers granting permission to send them information on cat health may not want to hear about child health care. Messages must be relevant to the initial deal.

Give Them a Reason

Permission marketers and consumers should see themselves as entering into a direct bargain. In exchange for value, be it information, a chance to win, a discount, entertainment etc, the consumer is willing to give permission for a company to engage in communication with them. To be successful, marketers must make overt and valuable reasons for consumers to partake in the campaign.

The First Date: Get to Know the Permission Granter

Permission marketing is a long term process. As Godin writes, “Permission is like dating. You don't start by asking for the sale at first impression. You earn the right, over time, bit by bit”.

The value in having a long term connection with a consumer is two fold. First, the longer the connection between consumer and company, the stronger the relationship becomes. Second, marketers are able to learn more and more about consumers through the communications. Through gaining information, communications can be personalized to the individual thus adding value to the relationship and increasing the potential for earnings.

Interruption Marketing on it’s Death Bed?

Interruption marketing is not going anywhere soon, in fact is will become more and more prevalent. With the increased prevalence will come higher customer acquisition costs and decreasing effectiveness. This trend should lead more companies to drive value out of every customer inquiry, something permission based marketing has at its’ core.

Tools of the Trade

The internet is the great enabler of permission marketing. The drastic reduction in costs of communication from technologies such as website and email allow permission marketers to prosper. The key technology in use in online permission marketing is know and the Auto-Responder.

Real World Examples


Yoyodyne, worked with clients - which include AT&T, H&R Block, MCI, and Volvo - to create these new relationships. All of its campaigns used the Web, email, and other online media. All of them are built around game shows, contests, or sweepstakes. What do game shows have to do with permission marketing? Consumers give a company permission to send them messages in return for the chance to win prizes they care about. Godin sold this company for $29.6 million worth of Yahoo stock in October, 1998.

Permission Marketing Blog- Godin offered customers 1/3 of his book, Permission Marketing, for free in exchange for their email address. Sales soared. You can still get part of the book here.

Off line

Save on More Card – Offers discounts in store in exchange for allowing Save-on Foods to track and data mine consumer spending habits. Promotions are then geared towards customers in a personal way

The Milk Man – You agree to pay the bill, the milk man agrees to put milk on your stoop every few days.

Further Reading

Seth Godin’s Blog

Fast Company Article

Overview of Permission Marketing


  1. http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2008/01/permission-mark.html
  2. http://www.waller.co.uk/permission.htm
  3. Wikipedia - Permission Marketing
This post was written for your enjoyment, as well as course credit for Marketing Projects in Industry at Capilano College.

Jan 28, 2008

Facebook Developers Garage Vancouver

I had the opportunity to attend the Vancouver Facebook Developers Garage this evening. I have a few projects on the horizon that could benefit from Facebook, so I decided to head down, learn more and meet some industry types.

A live blog of the event can be found at miss604.com

It was an interesting experience. Saw a lot of pointless applications (10 Friends Notes, Mixx Maker, I'm Reading, ) , one with real promise (These Are my Kids) and one guy who left me feeling uneasy of the path he is leading many developers down (Super Rewards).