Mario Sundar

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

Keynote: Impact of Social Media on Marketing (Online Marketing Summit)

Summary: Overview of recent keynote address at Online Marketing Summit both in the Bay Area and Los Angeles — Addressed the audiences on the impact of social media & social networking on marketing (Disclosure: I work at LinkedIn) — Outline of 5 social media topics I covered

Moi w/ the Online Marketing Summit team and Ray “Catfish” , a fellow speaker at the event (Los Angeles)

Having covered, Gnomedex, last week as an attendee I also had a chance to give the keynote during Online Marketing Summit‘s 10 city tour during it’s last two pit stops in the Bay Area and Long Beach. The event is organized by Aaron Kahlow (Conference chair and his team — see above pic). Here’s a short snapshot of OMS

WHAT: Summit’s sole objective is to educate, collaborate, network and learn how to execute on the best known practices in Online Marketing. The Online Marketers Summit (OMS) is an Invitation Only, “vendorless” educational forum for Marketers only. Set in beautiful San Diego, Marketers from leading companies gather every year to share best practices and learn from expert online practitioners.

The 10 city tour was an offshoot of the original San Diego OMS, which has been drawing a fair amount of attention with a couple of hundred marketers attending the events where I spoke in LA and the Bay Area. Couple of ways I noticed OMS is trying to carve a unique path is in their focus by encouraging audiences to literally boo any references to the speaker’s own company. Again, similar to Gnomedex where speakers are doubly careful to not make a pitch by respecting the audience.

I got a chance to talk about ways marketers can leverage social media and social networking, given the enormous interest in these topics recently and the fact that I work for a professional networking site – LinkedIn, and could share some of my recent experiences implementing social media strategies encompassing corporate blogging, LinkedIn Answers, etc… After addressing the true impact of social media today, I delved into a 5-part presentation outlined below:

1. Social Media Circus

2. The State of Social Media

3. The 5th P of Marketing (Participation) | Social Media Marketing Mix

4. Follow the L-A-M-P (4 step process to engage in social media)

5. Ten ways marketers can leverage social networking

The first three components addressed the genesis and evolution of social media and the last two provided actual ways marketers could embrace social media and social networking. I’ll be covering my favorite part of the social media keynote in an upcoming post called “Follow the LAMP – 4 simple steps to engage in social media”. It’s as simple as that. And for you marketers interested (what are you waiting for?) what’s interesting is that it doesn’t cost you anything to step into the realm of social media.

As my good friend, Jeremiah, says with regards to blogging, I’d say with regards to speaking — take the first step, just do it, and things start developing. I’ve already got a couple more requests to speak at similar events; mostly revolving around social media, social marketing and my experience practicing it at a leading social networking site – LinkedIn. This is all exciting stuff!

Filed under: Miscellaneous, Speaking Engagements

Guess who’s on the Social Media Index?

Personally, this could be analogous to a software company finally getting listed on the NASDAQ! He he… The Social Media Index is a listing of the Top 30 Social Media influencers on the planet and I’m stoked that I find a mention on that list, particularly since it validates the very evolution of my career path this past year – part evangelist, part community and social media marketer.

I’m sure we’ve all read and consumed various listings such as the Technorati 100, Viral Garden’s Top Marketing Blogs, ToddAnd’s Power Index 150, recently crafted Peter Kim‘s Top Marketer Blogs, and I could go on. All these listings attempt to capture the true influence of a blog on the collective mindset of an enraptured blog audience, which is a sliver of mainstream media (may I add). However the one common factor across all these listings are the individuals who power them and in today’s fractioned mindset, capturing influence is of primary importance, especially among marketers.

So, it’s no wonder that when David from Edelman decided to track influence across different social media services (from LinkedIn to Blogs and Facebook), the majority of the Top 30 social media influencers were marketers. I find myself sandwiched between Andy Beal’s Marketing Pilgrim and Shel Holtz’s blog. I also find myself in the company of friends Jeremiah, Jeremy (who interestingly has a post on his social media consumption) and a slew of others. Nice.

Check out the entire post where David Brain (President and CEO, Edelman Europe) describes the rationale behind the research.

Below is a snapshot of the top 20 social media evangelists. Head over to the post for the entire list. After the jump, check out why I think this could actually redefine marketers!?

One of the major reasons I totally dig the philosophy behind the ranking is the following:

So what does this last list mean? The overwhelming majority of new entrants to this more ‘pure’ Social Media Index are individuals which is probably not surprising given that corporates or even collectives don’t really use Twitter or Facebook . . . people do.

Now, that’s the very essence of evangelism, which insists on the worth of people and their honest word-of-mouth opinion. For e.g. on LinkedIn, I recommend my colleagues and former co-workers, which can then be shared with those on my professional network. Likewise, on Facebook, there are apps such as CNET’s new MyTech app, which allows you to rate technology products (i just rated my GPS, Blackberry, camera, etc…)! This is organic marketing where I’m announcing to my professional and social network that I believe, have tried and will recommend the following. That’s the difference between evangelism and marketing or a sales pitch.

Let’s take another example, I was able to respond quickly to Steve Rubel’s issues and customer concerns about LinkedIn (I’m the community evangelist there). How? By being on Twitter and reading my twitter feed via Google Reader! Read all about it here.

Filed under: About Mario Sundar

Being Mario Sundar | Top Marketer Blogs

Quick Update: Karl Long’s “Experience Curve” blog has a Technorati rank of 440 and not 332 as noted. Apparently, there’s another blog of his that’s causing that Technorati confusion.

Kudos to Peter Kim of the “Being Peter Kim” blog, for putting together a new list of Top Marketer Blogs (yes, I’m on it:) that he’s culled from three sources: Mack Collier’s Top 25 Marketing Blogs, ToddAnd’s Power 150, and the Z-list. What was interesting is that some of these blogs were mentioned in my Top 10 CMO blogs post on Marketing Profs. Speaking of Mprofs, it’s been forever since I started my series of marketing posts on the blog and in the interim they’ve had some terrific changes including a totally new look-and-feel. But, I digress… So back to the list of Top 13 Marketer Blogs!

Here it is:

  1. Flooring The Consumer :: Technorati authority = 504. Authored by CB Whittemore, Director of In-Store Innovation, Wear-Dated Carpet Fiber.
  2. ExperienceCurve :: 332. 440 Karl Long, Web/Social Media Integration Manager, Nokia. (updated)
  3. Marketing Nirvana :: 424. Mario Sundar, Community Evangelist, LinkedIn.
  4. The Marketing Excellence Blog :: 254. Eric Kintz, VP Marketing, Digital Photography & Entertainment, Hewlett-Packard.
  5. cgm :: 191. Pete Blackshaw, CMO, Nielsen Buzzmetrics.
  6. Decker Marketing :: 167. Sam Decker, VP Marketing, Bazaarvoice.
  7. Masiguy :: 162. Tim Jackson, Brand Manager, Masi Bicycles.
  8. AttentionMax :: 153. Max Kalehoff, VP Marketing, Nielsen Buzzmetrics.
  9. :: 148. David Churbuck, VP Global Web Marketing, Lenovo.
  10. Emerson Process Experts :: 130. Jim Cahill, Marketing Communications Manager, Emerson Process Management.
  11. Bernaisesource :: 99. Dan Greenfield, VP Corporate Communications, Earthlink.
  12. John Dragoon’s Blog :: 29. John Dragoon, CMO, Novell.
  13. Randy’s Journal :: n/a. Randy Tinseth, VP Marketing, Boeing.

Since 13 doesn’t sound like a good number and since it’s missing at least two more of my favorite marketer blogs. Here they are:

* Damon Billian (formerly PayPal Damon) — my good friend Damon, who leads community efforts at SimplyHired

* Rohit Bhargava (VP of Interactive Marketing, Ogilvy PR) who runs (what I think) was the fastest growing marketing blog ever called Influential Marketing Blog!

Speaking of all these Top 10 blog lists reminds me of my top three, Top 10 lists ever on Marketing Nirvana:

1. Top 10 CEO blogs
2. Top 10 CMO blogs
3. Top 10 corporate blogs

Filed under: About Mario Sundar

Breaking bread with Steve Jobs at Lunch

Or should I say, breaking bread while at lunch… with Steve Jobs at the next table. For those of you who’re looking for something related to marketing or technology, you may want to skip this post and check out my next one on social networking. Well, today as I was having lunch with a good friend of mine at Apple’s Headquarters Cafeteria in Cupertino, and in walks Steve Jobs with Jonathan Ive at around 1:00 PM, probably right after Steve’s company wide meeting (earlier that day) and then proceeds to grab a table right next to my friend and me! Nice.

Source: via Fake Steve Jobs via iPhone Matters

Speaking of the company wide meeting earlier yesterday where Jobs announced a free iPhone to every full time employee at Apple, yet again, Steve proved why he’s a genius when it comes to drawing the perfect analogies in reducing even complex strategy into the simplest form – Zen style.

He then talked about iPhone in relation to the rest of Apple’s business. Steve described it as trying to put the third leg onto a chair with only two legs. The first leg is the Mac business, which Steve addressed by saying that they have the “best Macs” in the new product pipeline ever right now, and that the stuff coming out in the next year is “off the charts.” Wow, sounds juicy.

He said that the second leg is the iPod and iTunes marketplace, which we all know has been wildly successful. The third leg of the chair, Steve hopes, will be the iPhone business, which he hopes to grow into something as strong as the iPod. He added that he hopes for the fourth leg to become the Apple TV, but focus is on the iPhone for now. This reiterates previous reports that Steve Jobs viewed the Apple TV as more of an experiment than a total dive into the set-top space.

Now, this may sound silly for many, but for someone like me who came to America six years ago believing in the meritocracy preached by Jack Welch, motivated by the marketing genius of Steve Jobs, and being someone who moved to the Silicon Valley the day after graduation to immerse myself in the technology mecca; seeing Steve Jobs yesterday at lunch made my day.

Of course, I didn’t have the courage to walk over to Steve and say that the the Mac evangelist campaign (check out the Mac evangelist page in 1997) is probably the reason I am a community evangelist today and instead here I am gushing on my blog.

Filed under: About Mario Sundar,

…and one more thing…

I started this journey of blogging almost a year ago (nudged on by my good friend, Jeremiah – thanks, buddy!) and here I am less than a year later embarking on another journey – this time as community evangelist at LinkedIn!

Jeremiah Owyang interviews Mario Sundar (this was right when I started at LinkedIn)

Play Video

I’m really excited at this opportunity to convert my preaching into practice. My immediate goals are pretty simple:

1. Help our users understand LinkedIn better
2. Help LinkedIn understand our users better

To accomplish that, my goal is to engage with the different communities of LinkedIn users out there; whether it be in the blogosphere, at discussion forums, or physical events with a goal of listening to their feedback.

Blog Focus?

The focus of this blog will continue to be centered around customer evangelism and community marketing; both of which I’ve been talking about ever since I started this blog. Moving forward, you’ll also see some examples of implementation, lessons learnt, social media experiments, etc…


To get uninterrupted access to my marketing thoughts, feel free to subscribe to the RSS feeds:

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My Career – LinkedIn Profile
My Photos – Flickr (subscribe)
My Email –

Thank You

I’d like to thank my fellow bloggers with whom it’s been great learning and sharing ideas — Damon Billian, Noah Kagan, Mack Collier, Karl Long, Ann Handley, CK, David Armano, Chris Thilk, Eric Kintz, Paul McEnany, Mike Wagner, Anand Iyer, Easton Ellsworth, Mukund Mohan, Debbie Weil, Will Pate, Tracy Sheridan and Shel Israel. (Have I missed anyone?)

The journey continues…

Filed under: About Mario Sundar, Business Blogging

Wired News copies Marketing Nirvana!

Well — or great minds think alike, either way, I’m thrilled!

Wired News, one of my favorite tech websites, had a post yesterday on the Best Blogfights of 2006 (via Steve Rubel) which seems a close adaptation of two posts I wrote last year:

Top 5 Blogosphere Smackdowns – July 06
Blogosphere Smackdown – Aug 06

The Wired News Top 5 and Marketing Nirvana’s Top 5 had two smackdowns in common:

1. Contenders: Amanda Congdon vs. Andrew Baron
2. Contenders: Jason Calacanis (Netscape) vs. Kevin Rose (Digg)

Here are the remaining 4 smackdowns from Marketing Nirvana that Michael Calore from Wired missed:

3. The LongTail Smackdown
Contenders: Lee Gomes (WSJ) vs. Chris Anderson (Wired)

4. The “Web 2.0″ Smackdown
Contenders: O’Reilly vs. Tom Raftrey

5. The Web Journalism Smackdown
Contenders: Robert Scoble vs. “The Irritant Journalist

6. The Business Week Smackdown
Contenders: Journalists vs. Bloggers

Click on the title links above to view the Techmeme Discussions surrounding the fight/smackdown and click on the individual contenders to see what they had to say.

Steve Rubel calls for a ceasefire to such petty politics and John Koetsier equates the blogosphere w/ high-school, but then c’mon, aren’t we allowed a few guilty pleasures.

My favorite web fight will be a toss-up between the O’Reilly fight and the Scoble fight. Scoble’s quote alone is priceless!

Most importantly:

Which of the above smackdowns did you enjoy the most and why?

Filed under: About Mario Sundar

I’ve been memed…

…wasn’t expecting this… Well, every now & then, there’s a huge buzz around memes and if you’re on the marketing blogosphere, chances are you’ve been memed already. What is a Meme?

A meme is a set of questions that are passed from person to person.  You fill out the questions. Post them on your blog. Then you tag another blogger who is supposed to do the same thing – via Mark Cuban

Memes have their detractors (like Cuban) who believes that:

“It has the same intellectual resonance as doing The Wave at an event. You are embarrased if you do it sober; belligerant to non wavers if you do it drunk.”

LOL! Anyways, I think it’s harmless community building and when Ann tags me there’s no way I can avoid it.

So here are 4 things about me that you probably don’t know:

1. Taking a cue from David’s meme, let me add that the first job I’ve had in the USA was at Taco Bell, and have never been to one since then 🙂
2. I’ve got to confess my inner geekiness. Having lived in India most of my life, I started my career as an electronics engineer, transitioned to being a software developer (legacy applications, COBOL, etc…) and finally found my calling in marketing and evangelism.
3. I hate Bollywood movies (imagine watching Grease, over and over again), but love Bollywood music.
4. I’m a huge cinephile, as you may have guessed from many of my film centric posts (Snakes on a Plane, Borat). Favorite directors include Kurosawa, Fellini, Mallick, Burton, and so many more.

Since I’m not sure how some people feel about being tagged, I’m going to avoid naming my friends JeremiahDamon, Tracy, Easton, and Chris 😉 No obligation, guys.

Filed under: About Mario Sundar

A great year for giving Thanks!

The past year has truly been a roller coaster in my life – both professional and personal. The one reason I was able to take the sweet with the sour was the support of family & friends who time and again stepped up during trying circumstances, thereby reminding me how important their contribution has been both in my success and happiness.

Here are some of the friends who have really made a difference in my life this past year:

* The community of bloggers who have helped me grow as a marketer, showing me new opportunities and better ways to work as a marketer:

Ann, CK, Mack, David, Eric, Paul, Damon and the entire community of marketing bloggers whose participation & blog conversations mean a lot to me.

* Most especially, my good friends: David, Jeremiah, Peggy, and John, for being the very definition of friendship, when I needed support and encouragement the most.

* Of course, this post would be incomplete without the mention of my Dad, Mom and Sis, who have always been there for me, helping me overcome the challenges in my life.

This truly is a day of Thanks! Happy Thanksgiving 2006!

Filed under: About Mario Sundar

In search of Tecca

Tech+Mecca = Tecca (get it?). Hehe.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before on this blog, but I’ve a fascination for everything Silicon Valley. I’m enamored of its technological history, the luminaries who continue to make history from within its confines and the “geeks 2.0” who populate the landscape, attempting to re-write history. I still can’t forget the day when I moved to San Jose after graduation, filled in wonder at a bevy of Fortune 500 high-tech companies that call Silicon Valley, home.

Many have attempted to decipher the secret of the Silicon Valley. But, what is the spirit of the Silicon Valley? The answer may come to us in the form of a new DVD-movie called “In Search of the Valley” that chronicles the personal journey/pilgrimage of three friends into the psyche of Silicon Valley through a series of interviews with the geek-gods themselves (via Richard MacManus’ blog – Read/WriteWeb). Check out trailer below.

Cast: Apple’s Steve Wozniak, Adobe’s John Warnock, and Craig Newmark of The film also features Apple alumni Guy Kawasaki, Sandy Miranda, Andy Hertzfeld, Dan Kottke, and the late Jef Raskin, as well as the computer pioneer Lee Felsenstein, Tim O’Reilly and Marc Canter.

Trailer: In Search of the Valley (Purchase movie here)

From Real to Reel
The above movie reminds me of another made-for-dvd/tv-movie that I saw recently : “Pirates of the Silicon Valley” (1999). An unauthorized docudrama that draws the contours of the Steve Jobs/Bill Gates battle for tech supremacy in the heady days of the Macintosh. Starring Noah Wyle (of ER fame) who bears an uncanny resemblance to the young Steve Jobs, the movie is told through the eyes of their lieutenants Steve Ballmer and Steve Wozniak and is surely worth renting.

Trailer: Pirates of the Silicon Valley (Rent movie here)

Filed under: About Mario Sundar

God Bless America

A Tribute

God Bless America!

Filed under: About Mario Sundar

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