The power of we

Today is Blog Action Day*.  What does that mean? It means that thousands of bloggers from over 108 countries will come together today to blog on a single topic.  Ironically — this year’s topic is the power of we.

The essence of Blog Action Day, really.

Each blogger shares his/her own slant on the theme…with the hope that together we can raise the consciousness and the conversation on this one topic.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I am a huge proponent of the power of we.  I believe it should be a marketing staple — in every company’s plan/vision for how to connect with potential customers, employees and their community.

Here are some examples that I can point to that every business could modify/borrow and apply to their own marketing efforts:

Crowdsourcing:  Why create it all yourself when you can work together and do something far greater than any one individual could accomplish?  Together with Gavin Heaton, I have co-edited 3 editions of the Age of Conversation book series.

We brought hundreds of marketing bloggers together and asked each of them to write a single chapter in the books.  Together — we created three books that look at how the digital age is changing marketing and our world.  We also promoted the book together — raising over $40,000 for charities around the world.

Could you create a crowdsourcing project with your best customers?  Or invite prospects to join in too.

Give your audience a voice: Once or twice a year, I survey the readers of this blog and ask them what they’d like to know more about. They literally help me create my editorial calendar.  By creating content that lines up with their needs — I not only provide more value but I am also more likely to retain them as readers.  (And potential clients)

Many businesses are afraid to invite customer opinion because they might hear bad things.  I think that’s crazy.  Far better to hear about it and have a chance to either change it or explain it — than not to know until you lose that customer.  If you’re not surveying your best customers every year — you need to.  If you aren’t sure how to do it — reach out to me and I’ll tell you how we can help.

Partner with someone with different skills/talents: Throughout my career, I’ve worked at huge (Young & Rubicam) agencies and small (my own — Mclellan Marketing Group) and realize that one of the best aspects of being in a small agency is that we can’t do everything in house. So we have to seek experts to partner with.  That means we are always delivering the highest value to our clients and we’re getting smarter by hanging out with them too.

Identify an area where your business is a little light or your expertise isn’t as deep. Then go find a partner whose skill sets and values compliment what you’re already doing.  You don’t look like you have a deficiency — you look like you are well connected and are committed to bringing excellence to your clients.

I’m curious — how do you employ the power of we in your business?




*Founded in 2007, Blog Action Day brings together bloggers from different countries, interests and languages to blog about one important global topic on the same day. Past topics have included water, climate change, poverty and food with thousands of blogs, big and small, taking part.

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Age of Conversation 4 — want to be one of our authors?

We know… it’s crazy. But Gavin and I are ready to do it again. This time, we’d like Age of Conversation to take on a much more personal tone… how is social media impacting you, your work, your family and your view on life? Your chapter might be as elaborate as a real case study or it might be as simple as your best time saving trick. But it’s about you and how you “do” social.

This time, we’re doing both one and two page chapters. (see below)

Here are the sections for the book:


One page chapters are grouped into “sections” to provide a sense of cohesion to the topics covered. (One page = 400 words or so) This year’s sections are:

Secrets – what is a secret, what is your secret and what are the limits of privacy in the Age of Conversation?
Transparency – what does it mean for a business to be transparent? How do you go about making your brand or business transparent? And what happens if transparency fails?
Authenticity – what does it mean to humanize a brand? What happens when business gets personal and how does so-called “authenticity” impact you on a personal and professional level?
Unexpected Consequences – anything from a painful lesson learned to an unexpected cross the globe friendship. Share your journey in this Age of Conversation
How Do I … – share your tips and tricks on social media. What do you do well and how do you achieve the outcomes you want?


We’d love to have your case studies. (Two pages = 750 words or so) They need to be projects that you have worked on or have been responsible for. You must include measurable results of some sort. We’re not going to get into the whole ROI discussion…but you need to show how it played out. Please don’t propose case studies based on other people’s work.

Want to join in on the adventure with us? We’d love to have you with us!

To sign up —

We’ll be closing the sign ups pretty quickly so if you’re serious about writing a chapter — sign up soon!

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Going old school – Yahoo Groups

I know that Facebook‘s groups are the rage and I think it’s a dandy tool.  But what if you have a group of people that aren’t heavy Facebook users?

For many years, I’ve used Yahoo Groups whenever I was part of a small group that needed to stay in touch, share files/photos, and by using the designated e-mail address, could talk to everyone at the same time.

I was recently asked how to set up a Yahoo Group and created this step by step PPT presentation.  So I thought I’d share it with you too, in case you want to go old school with me!


If you’re having trouble reading the instructions, you can view the slideshow in its full size by clicking here.
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Want to network AND get smarter? Check out these conferences

93277987 There's no better way to learn than to mingle with smart people, learn from smart people and share your own smarts.

There are three excellent opportunities to do just that in November.  Check them out.

I Blog Conference — November 5-7 (Perry, IA)

The I Blog Conference was designed to educate and celebrate bloggers in the Midwest. Sessions are filled with useful information from the brightest minds in social media. Whether you're just beginning your journey into blogging and social media or you've been building your brand for years, the I Blog Conference has relevant information for everyone!

The I Blog conference takes at the historic Hotel Pattee in Perry, Iowa; just minutes from Des Moines. You'll be embraced by the charm and history of Perry as you check into one of the 40 tastefully themed rooms and enjoy specially prepared meals from the extraordinary chef at David's Milwaukee Diner. 


The Secret Service Summit — November 4 – 5 (Cleveland, OH)

The Secret Service Summit is a 2-day customer service learning experience where 10 speakers, authors and top brand executives from leading national brands, share HOW to evaluate, improve and become a 'World-Class Customer Service organization. Speakers include Dennis Snow from Disney, Amy Mendenhall from Hallmark and Aveda's CEO, among others.

The Ritz-Carlton, The Melting Pot, Progressive Insurance,, Starbucks, Nestle, Goodyear, PNC Bank are some of the bastions of world-class customer service excellence who have participated in the "Secret Service Summit." 


The Senior Marketing Executive Conference by The Conference Board — November 9 -11 (NYC)

In 2009, The Senior Marketing Executive Conference was cited as the #1 Senior Marketing Venue Globally; this year’s 2010 conference promises to deliver. You will hear some of the greatest business marketing stories of our time—directly from the leaders. Speakers will include Steve Forbes, Tony Hsieh from Zappos, Shelly Lazarus from Olgilvy, Seth Goldman from Honest Tea and many others.

Day 1 you will hear the presenters focus on 7 focus areas like innovation and social media. Day two will be selected case studies and will wrap up with a panel discussing how to implement the 7 focus areas.

If you'd like a discount to this conference, please use the code DM1 and save $500!



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Did you miss these? (week of 9/20)

Drew_McLellan_servingtray I get so much smarter just by reading what others have to share.  But I always worry that I missed something big. You too? Just in case you missed any of these…I wanted to serve up some of my favorites:


Content Marketing: Marketing Profs and Junta42 partnered up to research some content marketing trends, benchmarks and budgets.  Enjoy the double whammy of smart from these two organizations by downloading their research report.

Mobile Marketing: Over at the MENG Blend blog, I ask the question — should your business be considering a mobile app.  Check out the real world small business examples before you dismiss this question with a "only the big boys play in that arena" thought. 

Blogging 101: Mike Sansone, the man who taught me just about everything I know about blogging, has begun a series he calls 0-60.  It will guide you day by day to building a blog that is full of relevance, heart and potential.  Grab day one and start following along.

Creative Leadership: Robyn McMaster points out that there aren't too many people who celebrate TGIM (Thank God it's Monday) each week.  Her brain-based insights offer some suggestions on how to make your work environment TGIM worthy.

A Better Question: One of the things that makes Liz Strauss so incredible is her ability to ask questions that cut the the heart of things.  In her recent post, she tells a story and asks "who will find you irresistible?"  Read it…and discover your answer.


I hope you find some a-ha moments in these nuggets — I know I sure did.


~ Drew

How to choose your next agency

Shutterstock_59484199 Having been in the agency business for 25 years or so, I can honestly say I've seen just about every method of agency selection known to man.  And most of them turn what could be an enjoyable experience for all concerned into a nightmare.

So I was delighted to see AdAge's recent article by Avi Dan on how to select an agency.  It's packed with practical, been there, done that advice.

My favorite tip?

Don't hire an agency. Hire a culture. The core values of an agency will foretell the kind of relationship you are likely to have. Favor agencies that are collaborative, innovative and proactive. Avoid agencies that tolerate fiefdoms. And their office often will reflect their culture. It will tell you a lot about them. The mark of a good agency is often in the cheerfulness and energy in its corridors. So hang around a bit.

Amen! Amen!  Amen!

The Cliff Note's version (but go read the article!) of the rest of the tips includes:

1) Don't hire an agency — hire a culture
2) Talent rules
3) Set expectations
4) Decide who are the deciders
5) Avoid a cast of thousands
6) Don't use the RFP to collect data
7) Don't restrict your search
8) Don't choose by brand name alone
9) Don't choose on price alone
10) Have the right perspective

Bottom line — it doesn't have to suck.  In fact, it can be pretty cool, if you do it well.


Hat tip to the Des Moines Egotist for pointing out the article.

Photo courtesy of

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