Who is going to SXSW?

by Greg Cangialosi on March 1, 2010

Who’s going to SXSW Interactive this year? I am on the fence, but its looking like I may just route through for a day or two. Check out this great video Tim Street made at last years craziness that is SXSW. I made an appearance in the below video, and gave my thoughts on SXSW. I really do think it is the place to be for any organization looking to push the envelope. For this brief moment in time, Austin, TX trumps NYC as the center of the universe (at least for me). What do you think?

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This Weeks Upcoming Events

by Greg Cangialosi on February 23, 2010

I wanted to put up a quick post to mention a couple of great events I will be participating in this week. I’ll be posting my March schedule shortly as well. In the meantime, hopefully you can join me at one of the below. Looking forward to it!

February 25th – Webinar: “Email & Social Media: Community, Content & Killer Campaigns”
DJ Waldow and I will be presenting this on behalf of Awareness, Inc.

Attendees will learn:
• Why email is the digital glue of social media
• How to integrate email & social (tactical, low-hanging fruit)
• Strategies for using email & social media as complementary channels
• How to optimize content to encourage sharing
• Strategies for effective community building using email + social

You can register here.

February 26th – “Got Effective Email Marketing?” – A Panel Discussion
Hosted by ThinkBusiness Media, join me as I moderate the following panel of marketing rockstars:

Jeanne Jennings, Principal, JeanneJennings.com
Raj Khera, CEO, MailerMailer.
Jeffrey Lupisella, President and CEO, Vizual, Inc.
Bill McKay, Vice President, Direct Media Millard.

The event is in Tysons Corner, VA from 7:30-9:30. You can register here.


The Marketers “New Normal” – A Manifesto

by Greg Cangialosi on February 16, 2010

As Bob Dylan sang, the times they are a changing. For marketers, now the times are a changing more than ever before. Think about the landscape shift we have seen in marketing communications over the last 24 months alone. There have been incredible amounts of change and evolution in marketing mediums, and most importantly the connections, community, trust and influence that the social web has brought to the forefront.

The future is now:

Today, if you are a marketer, and you are ignoring this fundamental shift in communication, you are doing both yourself and your company a large disservice. You are putting your job on the line, and it will be just a matter of time before your organization “shifts” with or without you. As marketers it is our duty to leverage all of the tools that are available to us today.

Are you on the bus or off the bus? That is the question any savvy marketer must ask themselves these days. Sure, every market and industry is different, but everyone is going to be affected this time (they already have, many just don’t know it yet). This marketing communications landscape shift isn’t just another “tactic” to include in your media plan, this is the new frontier of marketing communications. We are in the future now.

Is your marketing department adaptable?

To me, one of the secrets to success in today’s marketing landscape is having the willingness and ability to adapt. The ability to change, hence the marketers “new normal.” What is the new normal? According to me, the “new normal” for any organization should be the ability to constantly change, with the times, the technologies, and the mediums that are literally evolving the way that we think about communicating and engaging with our customer base.

The “new normal” should always be morphing. They say, the only constant is change, and that is so true when it comes to today’s marketing landscape. As marketers, we can no longer be set in our ways. In today’s world, our ways need to be constantly changing because the optimization of our efforts is never complete. As our VP of Strategy & Innovation Chris Penn says, there is always more juice to squeeze!

Are you taking action?

Now is the time of new thinking, experimenting, evaluating and adapting. This is the time. Your company’s marketing department should be morphing into a publishing organization, and leveraging the power of your customers and subscribers networks. As I have said several times this year in my speaking, 2010 is the year of social acceleration, and TRUST and INFLUENCE in the social web will drive more purchasing decisions than EVER before.

So, as we move forward in 2010 and the landscape continues to change, it is important that we as marketers stay nimble and light. Now is not the time to “over process” your marketing function, but rather to test the waters on new mediums, learn more about your existing subscribers (social graph), build brand ambassadors and evangelists (easier said than done, yes), and most importantly LEVERAGE what is beyond your control…… the thoughts, opinions, recommendations and influence of your existing base.

Think about it.

Am I off? Tell me what you think in the comments.


Bootstrapping: Building a Business Funded by Revenue

by Greg Cangialosi on December 6, 2009

I recently had the opportunity to speak at this years Web 2.0 Expo in NYC. I was part of the Web2Open sessions that were organized by the Podcamp Foundation (Hats off to Whitney Hoffman), and in traditional “unconference” fashion, those of us who were asked to speak could do so on any topic we wanted.

The theme of this year’s Web 2.0 Expo was “The power of less,” and with that in mind I took this opportunity to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a while, get back to my roots and start talking about my experiences with entrepreneurship, starting a business, bootstrapping, and all of the lessons I have learned along the way…. so far. The Web 2.0 Expo theme was a perfect fit to “beta” a presentation I dubbed: “Bootstrapping: Building a Business Funded by Revenue.”

The Web 2.0 talk was the first step in developing a series of posts and presentations that I will be focused on throughout 2010. Though my story is still very much “in progress,” I have started several businesses, and have been building my most recent company, Blue Sky Factory, for almost 9 years. I’ve learned a wealth of lessons through my experiences building a business from the ground up with zero funding.

The Framework:

As mentioned earlier, the Web 2.0 talk was in “beta,’ as I am still very much flushing out the various topics and segments I would like to cover. As I have been thinking through things, there have been three main topic areas that seem to encompass the spirit of what I would like to talk about. They include the following:

1. Start-up Lessons

Just as it sounds, and what essentially encompasses most of the presentation below, there are oh so many start-up lessons to discuss, and every entrepreneur has their own. Sometimes, more often than not, they all have their own version of the same lesson. I plan on discussing several of the ones that I have experienced and have processed.

2. Building a team

At the end of the day, any good entrepreneur will tell you their company is only as good as its people. It is so true. Over the last 9 years there have been many different people who have joined my company, and each one of them play a key role in our operation. I plan on talking about building teams who are aligned, motivated and constantly executing.

3. Managing growth

It is often said that managing growth is simply the act of trading one set of problems or challenges for the next. There is a lot to be said for that statement. Growth isn’t easy, but if you find yourself managing it, then you are doing something right! There are a several “stages’ of growth to be discussed in a variety of topics (team, technology, infrastructure, finance, sales, etc).

Below, are the slides from the Web 2.0 talk, which tend to focus mostly on the first topic of “start-up lessons.” I would love to hear your input, or questions in the comments below. I will be continuing on this topic organically, and hope to begin to drill down on the high level topics listed above shortly.

Bootstrapping: Building A Business Built By Revenue

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Ad Tech and Ultra Light Startups NYC

by Greg Cangialosi on October 31, 2009

This coming week I will again be heading to one of my favorite places on the planet, NYC. I will be attending Ad Tech on Wed and Thur, and will also be speaking on a panel at Graham Lawlor’s Ultra Light Startup’s on Thursday November 5th at 6:30 at Sun Microsystems. The event is dubbed “Email Marketing for Startups”.

I am looking forward to it and I will be joined by some incredible folks who I can’t wait to meet. The panel looks like:


* Maisha Walker, President of message medium and e-commerce columnist with Inc. magazine

Panelists (alphabetic order):

* Greg Cangialosi, CEO of Blue Sky Factory
* Neil Capel, Founder and CEO of SailThru
* Lisa Klieman, Vice President, Business Development at Innovyx, Inc.
* Adam Rich, Co-founder and Editor-in-chief of Thrillist

If you are coming let me know and lets be sure to link up. If you are going to be at Ad Tech and want to link up as well drop me a line. I will be roaming the exhibition floor most of the time. See you in NYC!


Inbound & Email Marketing: So Happy Together

by Greg Cangialosi on October 10, 2009

This coming Tuesday at 1pm EST, I will be doing a webinar with Brian Halligan, CEO of Hubspot. Below is the overview of the session. Hope you can join us!

Get leads to come to you, then turn them into customers.  Sound too good to be true?

It’s not, and it gets even better.  No more cold calling, telemarketing, or spending tons on print and radio ads.

Enter inbound marketing.  This (more recent) style of marketing allows you to get found by potential customers online.  The key is retaining these leads, building a relationship with them, and turning them into clients.  Enter email marketing.

Join us for “Inbound & Email Marketing: So Happy Together” on Tuesday, October 13 at 1 PM ET as Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSpot, and I discuss the inbound marketing landscape and how email marketing complements this method of attracting customers.

Attendees will learn:

  • Inbound vs. outbound marketing
  • Strategies for using inbound marketing to attract new customers
  • How to build a relationship and retain leads through email marketing
  • Tips for making the most of inbound and email marketing as complementary channels


There’s only one week left to register, so sign up today!


Trust Agents: There Are No Shortcuts to Real Relationships

by Greg Cangialosi on September 8, 2009

This post is about relationships, and specifically how important they are within the fiber of the social web. While much of the business world continues to figure out how “social media” plays into their organization’s marketing communications strategy, I’d like to take this opportunity to remind everyone about one of the simple truths about  social media and social marketing, and that is that:

Community + Relationships + Engagement = “Social Media Integration”

This is the culmination of social media in its purest form. All of the tools in the world, are just that, they are tools. As I mentioned during my talk at Social Fresh, social media is not about twitter, or LinkedIn or facebook, or whatever tool you are using to connect with your base. Its about real people, & real relationships.

I am both honored and humbled to be highlighted in Chris Brogan and Julien Smith’s new book “Trust Agents.” (Which by the way if you haven’t heard is officially on the New York Time’s Bestseller list. Congrats guys!). One of the themes that I am highlighted within is the notion of “being there before the sale.” Chris came up with this slogan a long time ago, and it couldn’t be any more right on.

So, in the end what does “being there before the sale” mean? It means building true, genuine, relationships, the kind that are built over time, not over night, and never having the sale in mind. It means being human, building relations, and discovering and understanding that leads /sales / business development, are simply a by-product of participation within your community.

When you think about it, a referral from your network is one of the greatest compliments you can ever receive in business. However, in order to receive that referral one must feel as if they can trust you, your company and your brand. That is done by what Chris and Julien refer to as “building army’s.” You can call them army’s of influence and trust. Building a GENUINE army of advocates & evangelists for your product, service or brand, is something that there is no shortcut for.  This process takes time, effort, and lots of resources. Remember, the tools are only that, they are tools….

At the end of the day this is a PEOPLE thing.  Not a social media thing.

To me, one of the key factors in manifesting the true gem of social media is incorporating the simple concept of face to face. This is where the game changes, when you bridge the digital world into the physical world. Its been said many times before, by those of us who have experienced this. The tools have simply allowed us to connect, generate dialog and engagement with our base, in more ways than ever before, but still  in the end nothing digital can replace or duplicate true face to face interaction.

Real World = Real Relationships

The importance of meeting people face to face is what “social media” and “social marketing” continue to reinforce to me, and its one of the messages that I try to tell marketers every chance I get. It’s also why you see my company, Blue Sky Factory at events all over the country, sponsoring, speaking, exhibiting, etc.. sure we are there for the branding and promotion, etc but more importantly we want to connect with YOU. It’s about the hallway and booth conversations, sharing a coffee or a beer, maybe even a meal, and being able to talk about non-business related topics… and just being human. The importance of face to face is just another an old truth being reinforced through new mediums…..pretty interesting when you think about it.

The takeaway here is that though I do believe companies should utilize the social web to build community, establish relationships and engage with them, more importantly they should continue to invest in any activities that get them face to face with their base. I think everyone reading this post will agree that there is a distinct difference between the pure online / digital relationships that we have and the ones where we have met face to face. The difference being that the relationships we have with people we have actually met in person, and spent some time with tend to be stronger all around. Companies need to build their armies around these types of relationships, and as I mention in the title of this post, there are no shortcuts. Get out there and meet and build your community, face to face.

As always, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Thanks for reading.


Community to Subscribers

by Greg Cangialosi on August 27, 2009

Brandon Uttley of Wray Ward did a brief interview with me at the Social Fresh conference, on the topic of converting community to subscribers and email’s role in the social web. Its a brief 1:48 video, check it out below:

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Social Fresh and Social Media Integration

by Greg Cangialosi on August 26, 2009

I just returned from Charlotte, NC where Blue Sky Factory participated in the first Social Fresh conference put on by the one and only Jason Keath (@jakrose). We sponsored the event, and I was happy to be among a great group of featured speakers.

First off, major kudos to Jason and his incredible volunteer team headed up by Katey Dietz (@kateymarie) for running what was a great event. The event sold out well in advance with 230 attendees, and featured an incredible line up of content. Thanks to everyone who attended my session, “Social Media Integration,” I have provided the slides to my presentation below from Slideshare. Enjoy!

Social Media Integration
View more presentations from Greg Cangialosi.


Blue Sky Factory Testimonials

by Greg Cangialosi on July 29, 2009

We just put out our latest client testimonial video. Our superstar marketing intern Julia Ruess went around and interviewed several local clients here in the Baltimore area ( 1st Mariner Banks, US Lacrosse & the Greater Baltimore Technology Council), and captured their thoughts about working with BSF. Check it out:

Great job to Julia and our team of account managers who keep our clients happy and make them better marketers!