Author Archives: jmacofearth

AINO Agile In Name Only – User Experience (UX) Epic Fail #3

When you’ve been part of digital marketing teams for a long time you see some dumb stuff. Large companies with middle managers who think they are experts on everything. I’ve worked with some experts, and ma’am, you are not an expert.

“We’re an agile team.”

In this epic failure, a team tries an “agile framework” with many of the critical pieces missing. Agile is a well-mapped discipline that can guide a high-performing team. But, agile is a discipline. It requires experience, leadership, and authority. A newly minted “scrum master” from a Coursera or LinkedIn Learning certificate, has very little chance of guiding an agile team successfully. In this example, we see three massive failures of an inexperienced scrum master and their manager’s bravado.

The first failure is ONE-WEEK SPRINTS. This gives no time for velocity adjustments. Team members have multiple “agile” meetings across the week which kills their velocity/agility.

The second failure (more egregious) is the lack of project scope or sizing. With no story points it is impossible to do a sprint plan based on data. Sprint planning without points or sizing is called simple project planning, not Agile.

The final failure (resulting from the first two failures) is the lack of any RETROSPECTIVE. It is during the RETRO that scrum masters and leadership get to refine the process, optimize the team, and identify weaknesses in workflows or team abilities.

I give you a roadmap for AINO.

(Do not follow this map. The link below shows a healthy Agile map.)

Agile In Name Only - © 2024 fluent social, all rights reserved

If you are interested in looking deeper into this issue, here is a free ungated link to this Miro board where you can explore this map as it relates to a REAL AGILE PLAN.


As digital marketing consultants for some of the largest brands in tech, we’re invested in not letting this failure happen on your site or within your team.

Here is a document from Harvard Business Review on the importance of planning in Agile.

Agile in Name Only

John McElhenney

The MegaMenu From Hell – User Experience (UX) Epic Fail #2

When you’ve been part of digital marketing teams for a long time you see some dumb stuff. Large companies with middle managers who think they are experts on everything. I’ve worked with some experts, and ma’am, you are not an expert.

In this epic failure in user experience, we see a company that paid for a well-respected vendor in the design and ux space, as well as a junior UI designer with a degree in graphic illustration. Despite obvious metrics and hotjar heatmaps showing incoming visitors were cycling in the bad megamenu design, the middle manager, and owner of the project, repeatedly dismissed internal team efforts to fix or kill these worst-practice megamenus.

Nielson Norman Group has a great article on Megamenus for Site Navigation, which was shared with the brash manager. Neither the metrics nor the supporting “best practices” data had any impact.

The problem is, even with experts on the team, all of them were YES MEN. Rather than upset the dark prince, they also ignored the incoming data. I guess that allows everyone to keep their job, the middle manager to keep his pride, and the site visitors to keep their obfuscated path to success. It does give more time on site and more interactions, as users open the terrible megamenus again and again, completely missing a second tier of the megamenu (the main failure) that contained the other 50% of the links they might have been looking for. This issue was announced and defined months before the launch of the website, as team members and stakeholder review staff could not locate the pages they wanted to validate.

I present the really bad megamenu UX failure.

megamenu epix UX fail #2

ref: Mega Menus Work Well for Site Navigation – Nielson Norman Group (the examples show the good and bad, clearly defining why the above illustration is bad.)

As digital marketing consultants for some of the largest brands in tech, we’re invested in not letting this failure happen on your site. Our next UX failure turns inside to AINO Agile In Name Only project management, which kept a middle manager happy, but provided zero agility.

See: Site Search Dumbed Down – User Experience (UX)

John McElhenney

Site Search Dumbed Down – User Experience (UX) Epic Fail #1

When you’ve been part of digital marketing teams for a long time you see some dumb stuff. Large companies with middle managers who think they are experts on everything. I’ve worked with some experts, and ma’am, you are not an expert.

In this epic failure in user experience, we see a company that paid for an ai-enhanced site search application. In the rush to build a new website, the full configuration was delayed.

The problem is, that the site search was still not configured a year later. The middle manager had experts on their team. They had vendors in design, ux, and ui. The main problem they had, however, was this: if all of your team are YES MEN and you begin to think you’re the smartest of everyone on your team, YOU might be missing a huge error. It’s possible your UX vendor understands the failure but is going along with your strong opinions.

I present the AI-assisted site search UX failure. One of the primary missing features “Identify search intent with AI” is now being heralded as a next-gen feature for websites.

User Experience Failure #1 - AI-assisted site search not configured

As digital marketing consultants for some of the largest brands in tech, we’re invested in not letting this failure happen on your site. Stay tuned for tomorrow’s failure: The Mega-Menu “Worst Practice” Example

John McElhenney


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Twitter Primer – Using Tweetdeck to Rule the Twitterverse

Twitter is all about the rapid exchange and release of information. If you don’t have a strategy for managing the overflow of tweets you will never catch on to the beauty of Twitter. While Facebook remains the holy grail of social media, Twitter is the heartbeat. News breaks on Twitter. The president tweets his executive ideas, good and bad. Celebrities make their positions and love interests known on Twitter. If you’re looking for the NOW NEWS it’s not on mainstream channels, it’s on Twitter.

But… Twitter is overwhelming for most people. And over 50% of new users drop out within a week of joining the network. Twitter has a UX/UI problem. But they’ve also got a fantastic tool, Tweetdeck, that is now integrated into your Twitter account, that can filter, search, index, and contain the madness that is the tweetstream. (Tweetstream: the 10,000 tweets per second that you can’t possibly manage. Source: Twitter: Bolstering Our Infrastructure)

source: Twitter: Bolstering Our Infrastructure

So, it’s pretty clear that we need help in peering into the tweetstream as well as extracting useful data. And interacting in a logical way, again a challenge, has been solved in a large part by the platform Twitter purchased several years ago, Tweetdeck.

Here’s how Tweetdeck works. Sign into your Twitter account. Then go to this url:

And here is the default view you will now see of your full Twitter activity.


And here is what the tweetstream is liable to look like when you first open Tweetdeck on your account.

As you can see, the world of Twitter goes by pretty fast. Here is the basic layout of Tweetdeck when you first load it on your account. Here is the basic outline of what you are seeing.

Each of these columns of information is infinitely configurable. You can filter by all kinds of information to get a real dashboard of your tweets.

But the real power of Tweetdeck comes in when you have multiple Twitter accounts to manage. Here’s what my Tweetdeck Tweet panel looks like when I have all of my Twitter accounts open in Tweetdeck.

From this single screen, I can tweet to any or all of my Twitter accounts at once. I can attach images. I can schedule the tweet for later, or I can DM a specific user to being a conversation. And the real fun begins when you use Tweetdeck to monitor your various Twitter accounts. Here’s the layout I use for my multiple threads.

By using Tweetdeck I can watch over all three of my main accounts. And even further to the right, out of my main view, I can continue to add columns for my other accounts.

If you use Twitter at all, or are thinking of giving it a try, Tweetdeck is a must. And it’s always right there once you’ve logged in.

Happy Tweeting.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

A few of the networks you will find me on:

  • linkedin – the professional networking and contacts social site
  • twitter – the firehose of sharing (mostly social media, funny, and odd political)
  • facebook – recently launched facebook page
  • pinterest – what started as fashion sharing is rapidly becoming the visual delicious
  • my Amazon Author’s Page: John Oakley McElhenney

The LinkedIn Primer – Is LinkedIn Delivering Leads?

LinkedIn is now owned by Microsoft. And ever since the acquisition, the model for what works and what sells on LinkedIn has changed dramatically. I’ve written extensively on UBER.LA about this issue, and I’m here to let you know there are options. Options that don’t cost a lot of money. And options that can generate quality connections and quality leads for your business, your career, or your network of business associates.

First, you’ve got to get your network growing. And using one of my proven techniques for this, you’ve got to get the visibility of your profile growing. And note, the results above are not a result of any paid media or PPC placements on LinkedIn. I have become an influencer and a social power networker without any advertising or marketing acceleration dollars. None.

Most businesses will have to pay a little to get a foot in the door on LinkedIn. But I’m here to tell you, organic networking (not what LinkedIn wants you to be doing) is how to grow a sustainable and healthy TRUST NETWORK.

I help businesses harness the power of LinkedIn, Facebook, and Google Search and Ads to grow their online lead generation programs. How is your funnel? My team at Fluent Social can help you get all the leads you need. And you can spend money on expanding your team to handle the growth, not on buying lists or leads from LinkedIn or any other “social marketing” source.

Don’t buy leads. Earn the business. Social media and content sharing is the way. We can show you how.

How do you grow “followers” on LinkedIn? How do you get to John Maxwell’s level? I’ve got more followers than connections, how did that happen?

And what about publishing on LinkedIn?

And if you pay for PREMIUM on LinkedIn what features are most valuable?

You can see exactly who has viewed your profile and connect with everyone who interests you.

You can also see what searches found your profile. If you need to optimize your keywords and descriptions to match more searchings depends on what you are hoping to accomplish on LinkedIn. While 90% of LinkedIn traffic is Job Seekers and Recruiters, you can see, that there is value in using the networking tools on LinkedIn as a professional who is happy with their current role or business. LinkedIn becomes the B2B platform and the real way to stay in touch with colleagues and associates from your entire career and even college/high school history.

You can even see when one of your mentors or former colleagues stops by to look at your LinkedIn profile.

Stay current on LinkedIn. It’s the best thing you can do for your network or your business.

John McElhenney on LinkedIn


LinkedIn from

LinkedIn from The Active Media Academy

And my BIG IDEA for Microsoft and LinkedIn:

What Are We All Doing on Social Media?

The chart from Pew Research below gives a glimpse at what people are doing online and how much they are visiting social media sites. There’s only one problem: the social sharing on these sites has dropped dramatically in the last few years. This is due to the over-monetization of our news feeds and streams of information. We’re all on social media, we’re all reading social sites, but very few of us are creating, sharing, or liking content. We’re online but we’re not talking to each other.

And Facebook is about to turn up the isolation even more by suppressing non-paid content. (Facebook Zeros In on Killing Non-Paid Reach) While LinkedIn has also become more of a silo of sharing rather than a community of connection. (LinkedIn is Dead) So, the question is, what are people doing on these sites?

It’s easier to see on LinkedIn. What has always been known as the business network, LinkedIn has really become a job hunter’s platform. People are sharing, yes, but no one is reading. We’re all sharing so we look smart when someone looks up our resume. We occasionally look up a contact on our network, but it’s primarily to ask for a recommendation or check up on someone we’re interested in. Very little conversation happens on the feed. See how many likes and shares you have on your LinkedIn feed. And what about comments? They almost never happen anymore. People are not engaging they are promoting.

Facebook is somewhat of a different beast. While the original mission of Facebook was to keep up with family and friends, the site has quickly become an advertising vehicle for businesses wanting to engage in social media. These are not engagements, these are not shares, these are not friends letting you know what’s going on in their lives, these are advertisements. And video, let’s not forget video.

How many of you upload or create video for social media? My guess is that number is very low. Yet, look at the amount of video in your news feed. The reason, video is sticky. Facebook is doing anything to keep you connected, online, watching the videos, because they can also show you, and get paid for, ads. Today, Facebook gives you about a 2 – 3% drip of your friends activity. And you’ve probably noticed it’s the same 2% of folks. So our circle of connection becomes very small. Rather than hearing ANYTHING about the other 650 friends we have, Facebook limits us to the “best” content for us. The best content to keep our eyeballs on the site and their cash registers racking up sales. That’s the point.

Facebook is here to make money, not make you happy. In fact, Facebook can change the very emotional tone of your news feed if they want to. They ran an experiment where they did just that, by sharing more “sad” posts they noticed that people stayed less time on Facebook. So guess what they’ve done. Happy news for everyone. And the single largest driver of connections on Facebook, the sad Happy Birthday posts that roll in from all of those “friends” you never hear from or about. Once a year we get reminded how many people we are connected to yet never hear from.

It’s possible a lot of those distant friends are just lurking (not posting or liking anything.) But it’s a better guess that they are not in your Facebook algorithm. Facebook keeps a score on all your interactions. Like a post from someone, your connectivity score with that person goes up. Do it enough and they become part of your 2%. Again, Facebook is doing this for one reason only, to keep you on the site as long as possible.

I’ve brought up an idea from time to time: The paid Facebook account. I would pay 10$ a month just to have Facebook dial back the ads and show me 90% of my friend’s posts. What do you think? Would you be willing to pay Facebook to make it more friendly, more like the original?

What do you use Facebook for? Are you a lurker? Can you count and identify your 2% connected friends?

Pew Internet also did a bit of research about where people are getting their news online. (Where We Get Our News – Is It Easily Faked?) And this topic is also quite interesting, given the tampering that is possible on these sites. Anyone can buy ads on Facebook. And today, you might not even know they are ads.

Where do you get your news? Where do you go online for social connection?

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth


For comparison, here are my social referrals for 2017 compared with the same period a year ago.

State of Mobile Marketing – Insights, UX, Product


Sometimes downloading a white paper or study is a waste of time. I have downloaded hundreds of lead-generating ebooks and have found very few of them to be worth the time. Occasionally, a big study or survey piece will reveal some salient points, and I’m glad to have read it, but really it’s about 10% of the overall content. Here in a severaly abbreviated form is The State of Mobile Marketing 2017 from Incite Group and OpenMobile Media.

Here are the most important mobile challenges as outlined by the study.

Content and Context and Relevance are the top two challenges. How do you build a mobile app or platform that is relevant and valuable to your customers? Tons of businesses are creating apps that do nothing well. They are simply entries into the crowded mobile space. If you don’t understand the content part of the equation, it does not matter if you have an app or not.

Creating a personalized customer experience. That’s the top potential. How do you go about doing that? What mobile feature has not been covered? How does your app or program provide something new, something useful, something unique?

Make note that brand awareness and increased engagement are the top two objectives of mobile marketing. Sales is not the primary goal. When building a mobile program are you concentrating too much on sales? Do you have the budget to build something for brand awareness that does not drive sales?

The mobile marketing space is hard and apps are expensive to produce. And if they don’t increase revenue, what is the point?

Maybe you should concentrate on how well you site performs in the mobile browsing experience. Well over half your audience is viewing your site on their phone. And that includes B2B sites as well.

Get your mobile act together before you consider a mobile app. And make sure you understand the content that your audience would find valuable. Sales messaging is not going to fly and will get your app dropped, ignored, and deleted.

Go mobile, but go about it smartly.

John McElhenney
@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)

PS: Yes, I know this post is not going to get me a lot of bonus points with future recruiters, but if I get a little bit more information, I’m up for it. Still looking for my next FT position.

A few of the networks you will find me on:

  • linkedin – the professional networking and contacts social site
  • twitter – the firehose of sharing (mostly social media, funny, and odd political)
  • pinterest – what started as fashion sharing is rapidly becoming the visual delicious
  • my Amazon Author’s Page: John Oakley McElhenney

Digital Marketing DNA


So much is written about digital marketing that it is easy to get confused on where to put your attention. Changes in Google’s search algorithm, or the new hot social network, all obscure some of the basic blocking and tackling that might be more relevant to your digital marketing numbers. Rather than, “Is Pinterest or Instagram vital for my business?” maybe you should be asking, “Are my landing pages converting into sales?”

Let’s see if we can string together to proverbial LOW-HANGING FRUIT for your digital marketing efforts.

In order of importance to your digital marketing success, here are the three channels for driving demand to your business website.



Get it? Email, Search, Social. And while social is gaining in effectiveness year-over-year, you can see that we are still a long way from supplanting search and and insurmountable distance from Email marketing. So after seeing that, how’s your email list?

Today email is still the big story. Get your email system in order or pay a lot more money for your inbound efforts. And guess what’s happening in pure search marketing as well? Your social activity is now influencing your search rank. This affects where you show up in Google and how much you are paying for your AdWords campaigns. The writing is on the wall, social media and mentions are a better indicator of “page value” than all the SEO terms, metatags, and H1-tags you can load on your page. [see the New SEO Page Rank Report –]

When you look at your search marketing you’ve got to look at your social footprint today. The highest factors in your new Google Page Rank metrics are going to be social media. Shares, Likes, Plusses, all count towards your mythical page rank. If you’re not on Facebook yet, you might consider it. 5 factors in your new page rank, according to the Searchmetrics report, are related to Facebook “signals.”


So how many leads does your site generate per day? Do you know? And of those “potential” contacts from customers, how many are actionable? Do you know where the prospect found your site? Do you have multiple ways for them to “ask for more information?” Do you have content and ideas to share with them? Can you make your site a destination for content about your industry, or technical expertise?

All that we do in demand generation, driving new visitors to your website, has very little affect if your pages are static, brochure-ware, with a “contact us” page. Today you’ve got to work much harder to attract and convert your potential customers.

SEO FACT #1: LANDING PAGE OR DIE: If you are driving customers to your home page from your AdWords campaigns you need some serious help. If your AdWords agency is driving visitors to your home page, fire them immediately. The landing page is the #1 factor in converting your inbound traffic to actionable leads. If you are dumping them on your homepage, it better be a spectacular home page with one “BUY NOW” button in the center. Well, you tell me… How is it working? Are you converting leads from your website?

SEO FACT #2: TESTING IS CHEAP, FAILURE IS EXPENSIVE: Testing langing pages, email subject lines, CTAs (calls to action) is easy. If you are not continuously testing, please figure this out. With the rapid changes in the market place and the hyper-quick news system, you need to be testing new ideas, new landing pages, new content topics, all the time. You need a simple process for testing ideas, measuring their effectiveness. You then multiply the winners and subtract the losers. If you are not constantly testing everything, you are losing the guerrilla ground war of digital marketing.


By itself your Twitter account or Facebook page will not do much to convert prospective buyers into clients. If your site sucks, your social efforts are going to be ineffective at moving the needle of sales and leads. However, once you have dialed in the basics of your website, and after you’ve begun testing and optimizing on a weekly basis, you can ratchet up your social programs to build the demand and awareness of your page.


Okay, a few of these are obvious. Your click-through rate has the highest impact on your Google rank. No mystery there, as Google tunes search results to match user success. But the big ah-has for me were all the FACEBOOK factors. (Shares, Total, Comments, Likes) And of the top 15 influencers 7, nearly half, are social media. Still think Facebook doesn’t matter any more? And look at #2, Google+. It’s also no mystery today, that the Hummingbird update began to bring Google+ shares up in the mix of Google influence. [from SEO Ranking Report]

So let’s break it down into the basic DNA building blocks.

1. Demand (SEO, PPC, content, email)
2. Conversion (landing page, testing, analytics, reporting)
3. Social (traffic, followers, social mentions, social “signals”)

If you are doing your work in those three areas you are well on your way to building a lead-generating machine. If you need help on any of the steps, let us know, we’d love to support your digital marketing program in any way we can.


What Does Social Media Marketing Cost?


The simple answer is $75 – $200 per hour, depending on what you need and how much of it you need. Some social work can be based 100% on results. (Example: $1 for every qualified lead. We do all the work.) But in general you can pay by the hour, or by the day, if it’s consulting you need.

Social media consulting means training your staff how to do social effectively and with an eye towards results and not just “activity.” If your digital/social marketing is not delivering results, they are not doing it right. Social is an accelerant to what you’re already doing. We have to have good content to socialize. Sure we can help with content too, if that’s what you need. Let’s have a conversation about what you have in your budget for sales and marketing. We can divide and conquer. Tell us what you’re struggling with, we can put some ideas and frameworks in place to jump-start your active program, or build a new program from scratch.

Introducing two new ways to ramp up your inbound marketing:

1. Strategic Project Quick Win (1/2 day session) [$700 and up]

2. Online Marketing Assessment & Refresh (5-session package) [$2,000 and up]

3. On-going Strategic Team Support (weekly meetings and assessments) [$750 per-week and up]

4. On-site Training Session [$1,000 plus airfare and accommodations]

5. Social Media and Analytics Micro-Audit [$750 and up]

We can put a plan and content calendar in place, or we can work with yours. But if you don’t have a content calendar, you’re not really doing social marketing, you’re just playing with social. Social business, means driving business using social media. That’s our expertise.

Screen Shot 2015-06-01 at 7.54.11 AM

We’re excited to learn about your business and get started leveraging some smart thinkers and applying best practices to build your business.

You may not need an agency, you need just the parts of an agency that fit your needs. That’s where we come in.

 (512) 524-6684