Mario Sundar

LinkedIn's 2nd PR hire. These are my thoughts on products, public relations, and startups.

Good deed for the week – Help a Marketer

This, that and more

Alright, this is an easy one. I was recently contacted by Rhea de Bies — future marketer, currently a student working on her master thesis in Marketing Management and intern at Philips Consumer Electronics.

Her thesis is on blog marketing in the Consumer Electronics industry. Here’s her request:

To complete my research I need respondents who recently bought a Consumer Electronics product and looked for purchase information online, especially on blogs. Recently I was allowed to post on (Dutch) and they also put up a link to my survey to help me. This was a success for my overall response rate, but I need to increase the response rate of my blogging questions.

She needs more blog visitors to answer her survey questions — pronto. Just kidding!

I’d encourage all fellow-marketers (Mack, Ann, CK, Karl, Paul, David, Eric) to take the survey if possible or to announce it on your blog. Thanks, guys.

Also, my heartfelt condolences to Paul McEnany (of “Hee-Haw” fame) who recently penned one of the most poignant blog posts on the agony of loss and the lesson it imparts us , with regards to his slowly-fading away grandmother.

Our thoughts are with you and your family during these difficult times. My sincerest condolences.

My good friend, CK, whom I’ve spoken of in the recent past (here and here), has put together some of the thoughts of the marketing community to create one beautiful collage of marketing thought leadership. (So this explains why she polled us a few months ago)

Her 1 Question to us: What is the single greatest point of value you receive from blogging?

Kudos to CK, on coming up with innovative ideas that accurately represent the marketing blogosphere. Way to go!

Check out the collage of ideas, here. Access the beautiful PDF, here.

Have a productive week ahead!

Filed under: Uncategorized

Fortune 500 Corporate Blogs: 3 Sources

For all corporate marketers out there who’d like to keep track of the mushrooming number of blogs in Corporate America, here are three sources that you should bookmark.

If you can, please help maintain these sources as well, since it’s a wiki, wiki world where collaboration is the keyword.

1. NewPRWiki (go here)

Created By:
Neville Hobson
Maintained By: Constantin Basturea.

The Big Daddy of all these lists, the newPRwiki was the brainchild Neville Hobson and helps maintain thought leadership in the PR world and in the process also catalog a list of corporate/CEO/government/intranet blogs and podcasts, across the planet. What it is:

  • a repository of relevant information about how the PR practice is changing
  • a collaboration tool for PR professionals and people interested in the practice of public relations
  • an open space where anyone can ask questions, post ideas, or start a project.

I’m sure many of you have heard of the wiki and the rankings it contains and you may have noticed that I used it to help me rank the Top 10 CEO Blogs, Top 10 Corporate Blogs as well as Top 10 Thought Leaders’ Blogs (via Technorati).

2. Fortune 500 Business Blog Index (go here)

Created by
: Chris Anderson, concept by Doc Searls (history of the index)
Maintained by
: Ross Mayfield (Socialtext)

In response to Doc’s assertion that “the risks and uncertainties of public business blogging are so great that big companies only do it under duress, when their traditional corporate messaging has lost traction”, Chris Anderson helped develop the index with the goal of:

…looking at which of the Fortune 500 companies are blogging and comparing their past 12 month share performance with those that aren’t. If this theory stands up, the blogging members of the F500 will have underperformed the non blogging members.

Interesting… Where do we stand now? The % of Fortune 500 companies blogging has advanced from a mere 3% to a mere 4% (as of 12/29/05) to a almost-not-mere 8% (as of 10/05/06)

3. Fortune 500 Blog Wiki Project (go here)

Created by
: Easton Ellsworth of Know More Media and Teresa Valdez Klein of Blog Business Summit
Maintained by
: Volunteers (39, as of 11/9/2006)

As of November 9, 2006, 39 registered volunteers have published research on 40Fortune 500 companies. 24 companies have at least one public-facing corporate blog; in all, 42 public-facing corporate blogs and/or blog portals by Fortune 500 companies have been identified. Volunteers have either researched or signed up to research 95 companies.

Most recently, I was invited by my friend Easton Ellsworth of Business Blog Wire to participate in project for building a wiki-database of Fortune 500 Blogs. Definitely a noteworthy addition to the existing Fortune 500 project, this one differs subtly in its goal:

…you will help others understand how blogs are influencing big businesses (and vice versa), why these companies are blogging, and how effectively their blogs are achieving corporate goals

Here is my spiel on why corporate blogging is important. Happy Corporate Blogging!

Filed under: Business Blogging

What is MPlanet?

Quick Update: Ann Handley is going to be at Mplanet along with Eric Kintz and here’s her related blog post.

What is an Unconference?

An unconference is a conference where the content of the sessions is driven and created by the participants, generally day-by-day during the course of the event, rather than by a single organizer, or small group of organizers, in advance (Source: Wikipedia)

The American Marketing Association (AMA)’s Mplanet is being touted as a marketers unconference, where “attendees will be immersed in a podium-free environment, and they’ll participate in free-form talks, town hall forums, and talk shows…”. Sounds like an untraditional unconference!

The 4-day event features many corporate marketing stars such as Cammie Dunaway (Yahoo!), Chris Anderson (Wired), Anil Menon (IBM) to our very own Eric Kintz (HP).

As most of you know, I am a member of the American Marketing Association (blog) as well as a board member on the Silicon Valley Chapter. Last week, the PR agency running the show- Fleishman Hillard, contacted me asking if I’d be interested in blogging the event – live!:

After reviewing Marketing Nirvana, it is obviously one of the most well-written blog resources on the topics of marketing and communications. If you’re interested in covering the event, we’d like to offer you a complimentary press pass to Mplanet. We would be most honored if you would take part in the first Mplanet experience and blog about it on-site at the event.

For starters, it’s great news that they’ve started considering the marketing blogosphere akin to traditional press. I’m sure that the event will afford me an opportunity to interact with/interview many from the marketing world, that I’d love to share with the rest of the community. However, I’m not sure at this stage, if my work schedule will permit my travel. Do stay tuned for further developments…

Here are 5 reasons why I’d love to be there:

#5 – The Keynote:

Sam Palmisano — Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, IBM

#4 – Social Media Discussions:

Succeeding in a New World of Media and The New Economy: Long Tail vs. 80/20

#3 – B2B Marketing Discussions:

How World-Class Organizations Innovate in B2B Markets and Driving B2B Marketing Success with Marketing ROI

#2 – A glimpse into the future?:

The Digital Age: Implications for Marketers in an Era of Consumer Control

#1: A chance to meet fellow marketing bloggers

The only 2 bloggers who I know for sure are attending are Kim and Linda. Also, our very own Eric Kintz is going to be a key panelist at one of the B2B discussions.

It seems like this event has a great list of star marketers but there isn’t much blogosphere buzz (as of today). Also, the rare blog comment was a negative reaction to the event’s ad copy as well as some old-school PR coverage.

I’d love to know if anybody else from our marketing community is attending? What do you guys think?

Filed under: Uncategorized

“Borat on a Plane” – Review on the Daily Fix!

Snakes on a Plane:
SoaP opened in 3,555 theaters
1st Weekend Box-Office: $15.3 million (Overall: $34 million)

Fahrenheit 911:
Opens in 868 theaters
1st Weekend Box-Office: ~$24 million

Opens in 837 theaters
1st Weekend Box-Office: $26 million
Expanding to 2200 screens this week … (In theaters now)

Top reason why Borat went to the Daily Fix:

It’s been ages since I composed a post for the Daily Fix — and I realized this would be a great piece on movie marketing that Ann and all the other readers would enjoy.

Not that you cannot enjoy the post — just go to MarketingProfs’ Daily Fix and check out the article.

Feel free to post your comments and participate in the conversation. Thanks for reading.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Jeremiah goes from China to Podtech!

Wow, that’s quite a journey! I’m elated to confirm the news that my good friend Jeremiah has been hired at Podtech as Director of Corporate Media Strategy!


Jeremiah, most definitely, is an awesome choice to lead the Corporate Media Strategy division at Podtech. John Furrier has proved time and again that he’s adept at picking the right people and letting them do their thing. Case in Point: Hiring talent like Scoble and now Jeremiah.

Moving forward we’ll see Jeremiah:

  • Continue to be a Community resource to companies deploying social media.
  • Help corporate folks who are deploying social media with strategic and tactical deployment plans.
  • Build partnerships with many of his friends and peers who deploy social media.
  • Assist in understanding new tools, hunting for the elusive metrics, and real user profile.
  • Meet as many movers and shakers in the industry, stay close to the hub of the action.

I’ve seen Jeremiah in action: while he carved out exceptional corporate media plans, built partnerships, reinvented his blog and achieved phenomenal success, and became an invaluable community resource to one and all. Most importantly, he deserves the accolades because he’s one heckuva nice guy and a great friend!

As Brian Oberkirch says in his congratulatory note to Jeremiah:

Enjoy your time off — you’ve got a company to help build when you get back. I love it when the good guys win.

For more Jeremiah: Check out my August 06 interview with him on modern Corporate Web Strategy with questions from our community:

Part 1 | Part 2

Tomorrow’s post: Why “Borat” succeeded while “Snakes on a Plane” did not?

Filed under: Uncategorized

5 Interesting Marketing Blog Posts

1. Birthday Wishes to Ann

Pic Source: David Armano

Before I start off this week, “Belated Birthday Wishes” to my good friend and fellow blogger Ann, who runs the coolest band of marketing maniacs over at the Daily Fix. Ann has done a terrific job of running a great marketing website by facilitating great marketing conversations. Keep up the great work, Ann!

More greetings from the marketing community here & here.

2. More community news — from China:

For those of you who haven’t followed Jeremiah’s trip back to China for a family reunion — here’s your chance to check out some really cool pics from China as well as a fascinating journey back into time.

Check out images from his trip over here

Here’s a fascinating write-up from Jeremiah that neatly ties his thoughts together and the China Trip Blog he created.

3. The Church is Back!

It’s been a while since I read some really cool posts from Ben and Jackie over at the “Church of the Customer”. Their most recent post outlines WOMMA’s 20 new rules to identify & prevent astroturfing scandals such as the recent Edelman fiasco!

Here’s a recap of the Edelman case:

In case you missed the story, a blog ostensibly authored by a couple traveling across America in their RV and spending nights parked in WalMart parking lots turned out to be a fake blog, the brainchild of WalMart’s PR counselors at Edelman – Source: Shel Holtz

Here’s a sampling of the questions from WOMMA’s blog:

Q 7. Do we forbid the blurring of identification in ways that might confuse or mislead consumers as to the true identity of the individuals with whom they are communicating?
Q 4. Is all of the information provided to advocates, consumers, and the media factual and honest, and are all of our claims accurate?

Ben or Jackie, I’d love to hear your take on the Borat phenomenon. My “Borat” post is coming up tomorrow.

4. Are we there YET? Corporate Blogging?

A definite must-read for anyone interested in corporate blogs and its attempts to transform corporate marketing; check out one of the most recent posts from the Diva Marketing Blog which chronicles the various aspects of both business blogging and a recent study called the Blogging Success Study:

The Blogging Success Study released Nov 2, 2006 by Dr. Walter Carl, the students in his Advanced Organizational Communications class (Spring 2006) at Northeastern University and John Cass and his colleagues at Backbone Media, Inc.

As Toby rightly points out, the Blogging Success Study (I should spend more time on it), epitomizes the very nature of all things blogs and wikis, by offering the opportunity to offer feedback on all the chapters! Nice.

Feel free to check out the entire post here & check out the study here.

5. Custom Search for Small Business:

Mike recently contemplated the possibilities for local and niche businesses through Google Co-Op, which allows us to “harness the power of Google search technology to create a free Custom Search Engine that reflects specific interests”.

Well, the wait is over. John from Duct Tape Marketing has created the nifty Google Custom Search for Small Businesses. Read all about it here and you can check out the Small Business Google Search tool here.
Have a great week ahead!

Coming Up:
Tomorrow’s post: Breaking News — Jeremiah moves to Podtech!

Tomorrow’s Wednesday post: Why “Borat” succeeded while “Snakes on a Plane” did not?

Day-after-tomorrow’s Thursday post: What is MPlanet, Marketing Unconference, and what’s it gotta do with me?

My Blogging Schedule:
I know I’ve been rather erratic in my blog postings over the past month or so — lots happening at my end. Things have finally smoothened out and it’s all back to normal. So, I decided I’ll start writing 5 times a week

Monday through Thursday and again on Sunday.

Filed under: Uncategorized

3 Stages: Creating great Corporate Podcasts

This is a continuation of my earlier post where I gave an overview of the state of Corporate Podcasting and an example of a Fortune 500 company that’s tried it out successfully

If you’re wondering how to get started on Corporate Podcasting for your corporate marketing team, here are the 3 stages:

Stage 1: Questions to ask your marketing team
Stage 2: 9 Steps to Corporate Podcasting
Stage 3: 5 Things to remember

Stage 1: Questions to ask

1. Is podcasting appropriate for your target audience? Don’t just do it because everyone’s doing it.
2. If YES, check if your marketing communications (marcom) plan permits it. Does your team have the time to plan, record, edit, publish, and promote podcasts? Do you have the budgets to pursue it?
3. If YES, integrate podcasting into your marcom mix, plan accordingly and pursue it aggressively.
4. Now the question that most smart marketers will ask “what is the ROI of Podcasts?” My take is, do you calculate the ROI of a brochure? or the ROI of a white paper? If you do, then apply the same rule to a corporate podcast
5. Also, evaluate which components of your existing marcom mix permit the integration of a corporate podcast most easily?

Most corporate communications
include tons of collateral that can be very well converted to a much more compelling podcast. Of particular interest should be the Q&A type collateral – think success stories, case studies, investor relations, etc…

Stage 2: The 9 Steps of Corporate Podcasting

I chanced upon this great post on podcasting for librarians. Interesting how similar the process is to creating corporate podcasts: Here are the 9 steps:

1. determine content and format
2. assemble equipment and people
3. record
4. edit and export to mp3
5. listen!
6. upload file to server
7. generate your RSS feed (which is what makes it a podcast)
8. publish feed URL
9. promote. respond. repeat. (need to provide a way for people to give you feedback about it and then you need to respond)

Source: the Shifted Librarian

Stage 3: 5 Things to remember

1. RSS compatible (without RSS it’s just an audio file — not a podcast)
2. Keep It Short & Simple: The average user prefers anything between 5 – 10 minutes. (Source: Universal McCann – Knowledge Storm Survey)
3. Background music: Select a musical piece for your intro and outro and stick to it. It defines the brand of your podcast.
4. Voice over:

a. Interviewee: Single voice (yet again, defines the brand of your podcast)
b. Interviewed: Multiple voices helps engage the user

5. Allow for comments: Definitely the single most important aspect to engage the audience.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Are we there yet? | Corporate Podcasts

Fact #1: Online marketing budgets to increase by 20 percent in 2006

Fact #2: Rich media was selected by 45 percent of respondents as the fast growing ad format

(Source: The William Blair & Company, in collaboration with the Chicago Interactive Marketing Association via iMedia)

Now that we’ve established the fact that online rich media advertising is bound to grow by leaps and bounds, let me segue onto a continuation of my earlier post where I spoke about the evolution of the web as a medium for videos. From a corporate marketer’s perspective I’m sure you’re thinking, that’s great, but how can I leverage the power of the rich media web to market my company’s products better. Here are 2 questions you may be asking:

Q1: As a corporate marketer, is it time to jump onto the rich media – audio/video bandwagon?

A: Absolutely! If you don’t trust me, ask Scoble or read this recent post of his where he talks about how: “Google is missing an important marketing angle: video demos“. Yes, if you’re a high-tech corporation and you haven’t created your video demo yet, think twice.

Q2: Are large companies (Fortune 500) getting the larger picture regarding corporate mediacasts? Are we there yet?

A: Most definitely. It’s interesting how the tech behemoths are slowly but surely gravitating towards rich media marketing communication tools as they realize it’s a necessity. Take for e.g. IBM & its corporate podcasting initiative run by new media communications manager, Ben Edwards.

At IBM he launched a popular podcast series and is running their New Media Communications initiative. He encourages people at IBM to use social media tools — podcasting, blogging, etc. His interest is how these tools are used across a large enterprise. (Source: Halley Suitt)

The best way to understand IBM’s podcasting strategy is to hear it from Ben Edwards himself. Check out this great interview of Ben Edwards and Christopher Barger (IBM) by John Furrier (Podtech). Here are some snippets:

IBM Corporate Podcast Policy:

As our employees become interested in generating their own content, I think the model for us in corporate is to really encourage those who have talent, who have a good voice, and who are going to improve our ability to be able to create markets, make new markets, and win business and to find them and help them set up and enable them to blog and to podcast and to reach out.

Why Corporate Podcasting? Why Now?:

I think there’s a general sense that people are struggling a little bit with the old ways of marketing and selling product services and they’ve leapt on this (podcasting) because it can be so compelling and it can be so powerful when done well. As Chris says, there is a lot of interest brewing and bubbling on

Q3: Alright I’m sold on it. How can I get started?

For an easy step-by-step tutorial on adding corporate podcasts/videocasts to your media mix, check my future post that outlines the 3 stages to creating a great podcast program, here.

Filed under: Uncategorized

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