About the Steve O Zone

Thursday, March 29, 2012

When It Comes to Social Media, Companies Need to Look In Before Looking Out

From where I sit it appears a great number of companies need to turn the spotlight on themselves for a true and honest evaluation of themselves before jumping into the social media pool or even AFTER they get their feet wet.

There's a famous quote that reads "Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is enlightenment." How I would translate this into the world of marketing and advertising is this...the star group

"Knowing others is wisdom..." - The "others" refers to your customers and prospects but especially your existing customers. It is your job to know them, to know as much as you can about them which theoretically will help you identify prospects who possess the same characteristics and demographic traits. So, yes it is quite wise Mr. Marketer and Mrs. Advertiser to know your customers. But you already know that, right? Of course you do.. .

"Knowing yourself is enlightenment..." - This is such a powerful statement, is it not? How many companies/businesses/advertisers do you think really know themselves AND are honest in their in self-evaluation? 

Here's how I think many a conversation in business to business marketing and business to consumer marketing conference rooms around the world has gone down in the past few years, AKA when the world began to wake up to the power of social media:

CMO/CEO: "Ah Bob, we need to be on Facebook and Twitter and let's start a blog too. Our sales are way down and I see our competitors are all over social media and their sales are up... so obviously the missing ingredient is social media, so get to it."

Bob: "You got it, we'll get started right away."

Fast forward a month or two after the company started their Facebook, Twitter and blog accounts. 

CMO/CEO: "Bob, our sales are still way down, what's going on? Why hasn't social media helped our sales liked it has our competition?"

Bob: "Um..."

Now here's how I think the conversation SHOULD go down but never does...

CMO/CEO: "Ah Bob, we need to be on Facebook and Twitter and let's start a blog too. Our sales are way down and I see our competitors are all over it and they're sales are up so... so obviously the missing ingredient is social media, so get to it."

Bob: "Well with all due respect, do you think the reason our sales are down is because..."

CMO/CEO: "What? Out with it!"

Bob: "Because our products aren't very good."

CMO/CEO: "So you're saying, Bob, that the problem is with our products and our company? Well maybe we should take a long hard look at what we're doing internally before we try and convince people to like us and follow us and all that via social media."  

Welcome To Fantasy Island...
Of course I know the above conversation is one right out of fantasy land but I wanted to make a point that, well my man Jay Baer tell you... "If your company sucks, Twitter is the least of your worries." Now, Jay was referring to a study that showed 70% of all complaints sent to companies via Twitter go unanswered but in the context of my article, you can replace "Twitter" with "Social Media" in Jay's quote. 

"If your company sucks, social media is the least of your worries." 

A while back I wrote a post entitled Social Media's Dirty Little Secret in which I wrote the following:

"So to all those companies, businesses and marketers out there who think social media will cure all that ails you... I'm afraid you're in for a rude awakening. It can surely help... in a big way. But if your product, your service, your ware... your whatever is not good to begin with, social media - or ANY advertising/marketing campaign will NOT be able to help."

I know hard it can be for humans, let alone full blown companies, to look inside, to take a real hard look at themselves for they may not like what they see. But if more companies did this - on a regular basis mind you, and they made any necessary adjustments that come from this self-reflection - they would begin to see that by looking in, they are better in the long run when they go out... AKA, when they speak to their customers via social media and ALL channels.


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Ongoing Trials & Tribulations Of An Unemployed Writer/Social Media Evangelist/New Business Catalyst

Recently, I passed the two-month anniversary of my being unemployed. My wife and kids threw me a huge party with balloons, streamers, party hats and they even hung banners all around our house...




I have to tell you it was one helluva party.

Obviously I am being just a tad sarcastic but hey, that's me. I have to be sarcastic and find humor wherever I can and I usually can find it. Although I have to admit my search for humor is getting harder and harder.

Funny how the longer my job search goes the harder it is for me to find humor in it.

Sleepless nights are common as is the added stress and tension that can't help but creep in to one's everyday life when dealing with the loss of a job and subsequent search for a new one.

Thankfully I have My Rock to both lean on and keep me balanced and focused on what's really important such as little things like our health and the health of our children.

Really, does anything else matter?

My wife Terri is both my biggest fan and staunchest critic and I wouldn't have it any other way. How she is still with and puts up with me is right up there with how many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop. 

The world may never know... 


Over the course of my occupational odyssey I have met some incredible people and some not so-incredible people, shall we say.

I have and continue to work with a wide number of recruiters and of course continue to scour all the usual suspects re: jobs - the monsters, careerbuilders, craigslists, indeeds and so on of the world. 

I have been on many an interview - both on the agency side as well as the client side.

I continue to use the network of publications I scribe for - Forbes, Social Media Today, Business 2 Community, Business Insider and so on to help get my message out while blogging/writing about the things I know most about and am most passionate about: social media, advertising, marketing and branding.

My byline for every article I write reads as follows:

Named one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) by Social Technology Review, Steve Olenski is a freelance writer/blogger currently looking for full-time work. He has worked on some of the biggest brands in the world and has over 20 years experience in advertising and marketing. He lives in Philly and can be reached via email,TwitterLinkedIn or his website.

This byline has led to some truly wonderful opportunities both on a freelance basis as well as providing me with full time job possibilities.


Not long ago I came upon the Society of Digital Agencies' Digital Marketing Outlook for 2012 via my good friend whom I-have-never-met-in-person-but-will-one-day Drew McLellan.

Drew is a great example of the truly wonderful people I have met over the years all thanks to social media. And believe there are many, many more. 


In their Digital Marketing Outlook for 2012, the Society of Digital Agencies identified what they believe is the talent/skill that has the most priority and those that companies and agencies alike will look for and want in their employees...

Blog writing, editing and copywriting.  

Mix in social media, concept/brand development and ideation and you have just described yours truly to a t with a capital T.

March Madness, AKA The Big Dance, will be coming to a close this coming Monday.

But there's a much bigger dance that's going on as we speak and it involves advertisers/marketers and consumers.  And make no mistake about it, this particular dance is not ending anytime soon.

And no one knows as much about or is as passionate about this particular dance than me.

Anyone care to dance?

'Til next time,


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

What I Have In Common With Soda...

Who knew after all these years and so much consumption - especially when I was younger, that one day I would have so much in common with soda. 

No, not the carbonated beverage variety - although there are some who would say I have a bubbly personality... ok that was lame. 

And there are others who would say I give them gas... but that's definitely another story. 

The soda I am referring to is SoDA, AKA the Society of Digital Agencies. 

See they recently released their latest version of their Digital Marketing Outlook. You can download the complete report via my good friend Drew McLellan's site

One finding in particular caught my eye...

Actually quite a few findings caught my eye and I plan on writing/blogging about them in the coming future as many directly impact marketers and brands for sure. 

But speaking of writing/blogging... 

Below is the finding in question and this ties in directly with the correlation I have with SoDA for you see the #1 talent/skill those surveyed for this study identified as one with the most increased priority in 2012 was precisely what I do best.

Blog writing,editing and copywriting. 

Did I mention I am currently looking for a job... a job that preferably takes full advantage of the things I do best, such as blog writing, editing and copywriting... along with concept development, brand development, idea generation and a few others. 

But blog writing, editing and copywriting, along with social media, are truly my passions and where I am the strongest. 

To be an effective blog writer you have to be able to engage your readers and hopefully obtain a level of influence and a position of a thought leader. 

I currently blog/write for Forbes, Ad Age, Social Media Today, Marketing Profs, Business2Community, Business Insider and many more.

Not long ago I was named as one of the Top 100 Influencers In Social Media (#41) joining the likes of Mark Zuckerberg, Brian Solis and Guy Kawasaki.

And just in case you cannot read what is at the bottom of the chart... 

"The need for strong writers remains at the top of the skill set priority list in order to generate a constant flow of quality content that engages consumers...."

So to all those who are in need of someone with blog writing, editing and copywriting skills along with an insatiable appetite for social media, please consider what I have to offer. 

I created a website to showcase some... some of my work as a blogger and copywriter.

Thank you for your time and man could I go for a Coke right about now... go figure.