Infographics: 5 Tips for Product Marketers

An Infographic or Information Graphic is a visual representation of complex data or knowledge.  Infographics have been popular with journalists for years but increasingly product marketers are using them to communicate complex ideas or data in an engaging manner that also doesn’t take up a lot of space.  Infographics are extremely popular online and great ones are often shared, even between people who don’t necessarily have an interest in the topic.  Here are 5 things marketers and product marketers should think about when creating Infographics: 1/  Clearly define what you want to communicate – The goal of any great infographic is to tell a story.  Numbers are just numbers, a great infographic can tell a story with the numbers in a way a simple graph can’t.  Make sure you start with that goal in mind. 2/  Pick a type that matches your topic/data – There are a lot of different types of Infographics out there including timelines, maps, process diagrams, statistical, and more (the oldie but a goodie Periodic Table of Visualization Methods will give you an idea of just how many options you have).  Here’s an example that blends a timeline with data and (cheeky) graphics: 3/  Keep it simple (and reasonably small) – By definition you are trying to make the complex simple through the use of a graphic.  Beware of trying to do too much with a single picture.  For example, Lokesh Dhakar developed this infographic to help people understand what the differences were between espresso coffee drinks: The result is clean and easy to understand.  Contrast that with the often cited Web Trend Map, which...

DemoCamp Toronto: Input Please

Next Monday is DemoCamp Toronto which is the must-attend monthly gathering of designers, developers, and entrepreneurs in Toronto’s tech startup scene.  These events have been happening for over 5 years and keep getting bigger and better. There’s a great lineup of startup presenting this time around: Kobo Books Status.net OpenApps TeamSave SWIX There will also be noodles.  There are more details in David Crow’s post and if you haven’t got a ticket yet you should do so quickly because these events almost always sell out. Please Tell Me What You Want To Hear But wait, that’s not all – I get to speak too!  David asked me to give a talk to kick things off on customer development, product/market fit and building a startup marketing plan.  Here’s what I’m planning on covering in my talk: 1/ What exactly is a “lean startup” and how is that different from just being poor 2/ An introduction of Customer Development and how that changes the marketing function at a startup 3/ What is product/market fit and how do you know when you have it 4/ What does a lean startup marketing plan look like 5/ Why market segmentation still matters and messaging is still hard 6/ How to transition from marketing to early adopters to a broader audience Does that sound interesting to you?  Is there something else you’d like to hear?  Should I just stand up and tell jokes instead (hey I’ve been to DemoCamp and I know exactly how hard an audience this is)? If you could let me know in the comments, I would really, really appreciate...

4 Ways to Send Customers a Valentine

Ah Valentine’s day.  There’s nothing like a made-up holiday to remind us that we should be nice to people at least once a year.  When was the last time you showed your customers a little love?  And I’m not talking heart-shaped box of Godiva love here either, I mean when was the last time you lavished carat-sized love on the people that pay your salary? Does Hallmark really have to tell you to do everything?  Seize the moment and plant a big squishy one on your customers in one of the following ways: 1/ Give them an Award – Awards are a great way to recognize customers and unlike Godiva chocolates, absolutely everyone loves to get an award.  The folks that get the award will probably brag about it to their friends and you get to brag about having them as a customer (heck, why not put out a press release about it?).  You’ve only got a couple of customers?  Well it won’t be hard to pick who gets the award then, will it? 2/ An Unexpected Little Somethin’ Somethin’ – Godiva chocolates aside, sometimes it really is the thought that counts.  It doesn’t hurt to send your customers a little something that shows that you appreciate them.  I’m a big fan of unusual gifts for customers that get them talking about you.  Last year when Google launched sidewiki they sent me a book of poetry.  The book had a bookmark in a passage where the poet described a library book from that had some notes written in the margins and how interesting it was to see what other...

I’m Donating Dinner to Wikipedia

Last week I won a catered holiday dinner for 8 people as part of my spoils from the AIPMM Blogger Battle.  The catch was that I would have to pick it up from the Fairmont Hotel in San Jose and I live in Toronto.  As much as I like the idea of flying to San Jose and inviting a random group of people to eat roast beef with me in my hotel room, I decided someone local could make better use of it than I could.  So I’m giving my dinner to The Wikimedia Foundation, the non-profit organization that supports Wikipedia. My friend Sue Gardner is the executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation and before she took the job, even though I was a frequent Wikipedia user, I never really thought about who or what was keeping the lights on over there.  In case you didn’t know, The Wikimedia Foundation is a non-profit organization that supports Wikipedia as well as the Wikimedia Commons, Wikinews, Wikibooks and a set of other projects all aimed at accomplishing their mission of the free and open sharing of knowledge. The Wikimedia Foundation depends entirely on donations.  They do not sell information, nor do they accept advertising. When Sue joined the Wikimedia Foundation in 2007, it was operating on a shoestring budget.  While they were certainly keeping the servers running, it did not have the resources it needed to pursue partnerships, oversee new projects and most importantly raise the funds needed to safeguard the work of hundreds of thousands of volunteers for the future. Since then, the Foundation has undergone a transformation that has...

I’m the #1 PM Blogger!

The Association of International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM) held their educational conference this week and hosted a “Battle of the Product Management Bloggers” contest which I was happy to be asked to take part in.  At short notice my travel plans changed and when I let them know I couldn’t make it, they invited me to do my presentation remotely over Skype. Trying to be entertaining without being able to see or hear the audience is goofy!  People walking past my office would have seen me flapping my arms “presenting” at my computer and likely thought I’d done one too many revisions on that Powerpoint deck and finally lost my marbles. The competitors were clearly better than me so I decided to use my product marketing skills to come up with a winning strategy that did not depend on having a superior product. My strategy can be summed up as follows: Deliver silly presentation. Ask people to vote for me. Surprisingly, that worked. So I’m the #1 PM blogger!  The power! The glory! The prizes!  I won a bunch of cool stuff including a “top of Alltop” from Guy Kawasaki, an interview with The Brand Show, an interview with Wayne Hurlburt on Blog Talk Radio, a copy of the Product Management Office Professional from the 280 group, a copy of Morae from TechSmith, a lifetime membership with the AIPMM and some cool swag from MarketeersClub, Overtone, and probably some other stuff I’m forgetting. The last prize was a catered holiday dinner for 8 people from the Fairmont San Jose!  Woo Hoo!  I’ve got big plans for that one,...

The Heretech Podcast with Me

My mother always said I had a face for radio and lately I’m doing a lot of podcasts.  Here’s a conversation I had with Tom Grant a Sr. Analyst with Forrester Research and the creator of the excellent Heretech podcast.  He calls me a lot of names at the beginning like “ebullient” and “irrepressible” but I don’t hold that against him 🙂 Click here and have a listen. Subscribe to this blog or follow me on Twitter or...
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