25 Reasons To Remember 2010: Our Content Faves

A colossal amount of content flies by in the course of a year. And yet over the last 12 months, I came across some content that made a (so far) lasting impression. My favorite content from the year broke new ground, introduced new ideas, deepened my understanding or changed my mind. I found myself returning to it, emailing links to it and finding a way to work it into presentations.

The following is a list in no particular order of 25 2010 content highlights that I think deserve an encore. What one reader considers memorable is highly subjective, I can’t argue with you on that. But each was selected with you, the asset management marketer, in mind. And forgive me for squeezing in one or two that wander slightly off-point.

It’s been a great year—enjoy!

1. What Part of Social Media Don't You Understand?

The CMO's Guide to the Social Landscape is a single downloadable easy-to-understand guide to 10 social networks. Well done. This screenshot shows just a slice of it.

CMO Guide To Social Media Landscape

2. It's New And You're Going To Need It

April came and with it the Flash-less iPad, prompting many of us to scramble to understand HTML5. Here's a wonderful explanation by way of illustration of why we should all care about HTML5.

3. Let's Let Marketing Do The Hiring Just This Once

In addition to being a great read, "The 13 Characteristics of a Great Chief Compliance Officer" is also a ready-made job description if you're hiring—Human Resources Directors...anybody?

4. Nobody Ever Enjoyed #4 More

First American Funds made this video to celebrate its listing, as fourth, in Barron's annual "Best Mutual Fund Families" report. Celebrating awards can be tricky, but this does a great job of humanizing a fund company.

5. Know Your Customer

Bob Veres' The Future of the Financial Advisory Business is a free 112-page whitepaper that's a must-read for anyone whose job includes marketing to financial advisors. And, for more on tweeting advisors in 2010, check out our AdvisorTweets blog post later this week.

6. Even Though Using "Dead" In Headlines Was Overkill

Once you're on an iPad using apps, of course, you're going to compare the experience of the "app Internet" with the open Web. This was a favorite topic of content creators in 2010. We repeatedly referred to Wired magazine's The Web Is Dead. Long Live The Internet and the New York Times'The Death of the Open Web.

7. They Just Keep Giving It Away

We commented on the open research work being done by Altimeter Group, Charlene Li and Jeremiah Owyang throughout the year and were struggling with which piece to highlight in this list. An Owyang tweet Monday morning settled it for us: His latest post on a framework for social media ROI.

8. Don't Underestimate The Power Of Twitter (Part 1)

So cool: this is a map of all the data underlying a tweet.


9. Confirmation That Investors Are Not From A Different Planet

In May we welcomed the Spectrem Group's release of investor research confirming that investors were much like others in the United States in 2010—many use social media and expect to communicate with others including investment professionals using social media.

10. Why Don't We Just Ask Them?

In a year of high interest in tracking financial advisor adoption of social media, a few asset management firms took the lead early in providing insights—and thereby assuring that they were part of the conversation. American Century produced the often quoted survey. Rydex and Russell Investments published research insights, as well.

11. Time To Rethink Fund Launch Frenzy?

"Marketing must aim higher" was what I tweeted about this Financial Times interview with Philip Kotler, the so-called father of "modern marketing."

I appreciated Kotler's question: "Is marketing the enemy of sustainability?" and the interviewer's elaboration: "For years the task for marketers was to persuade customers that the latest upgrade, the newer model, was a must-buy. But it is time to challenge that orthodoxy."

12. Some Cubicle-Expanding Analytics Help

Why are so many Web analysts sitting in cubicles? We don’t get it. The Web in 2010 abounded with blog posts designed to help elevate the contribution that analysts make. These two articles, the first by Avinash Kaushik for beginners and the second for Google Analytics users specifically, should help an analyst demonstrate his or her value to an organization and move you all into offices with a view.

13. Lights, Color, Action

Honest to goodness, when I landed on TNS' "study of the digital life" for the first time, I felt my heart beating faster. A neon design dripping in data, it's all enough to make one dizzy.

14. A First-Person Description Of Engagement

Author Margaret Atwood, not the first person you'd look for on Twitter, provides an endearing first-person account of her experience on Twitter with her followers. I wish I could send you right over to the New York Review of books but there's no content to be found on what used to be the page. You can read most of it on the Huffington Post site.

15. How Would You Like This Spill In Your Backyard?

The whole visualization/infographic business—which we believe has to be the future for much of investment communicating—blossomed online this year. Off-topic but here's my favorite because it enables the user to relate to the data by making the BP spill real. The screenshot below shows how much area the spill would cover if it were in Chicago. We wouldn't like it.

When emailing the link to the BP spill site, I tended to include a link to the video below which makes its own point (if a bit of a guilty pleasure here).

16. An Equities Extravaganza

Extraordinary investor aversion to the stock market called for extraordinary measures. It's obvious that lots of time and effort was invested in Franklin Templeton's 2020 Vision: The Case for Equities in the Decade Ahead.

17. When You'd Like Your Audience to Stay Awake

PowerPoint isn't everyone's genre and yet it's the tool most of us rely on to communicate at least some of the time. Steal the concepts in this presentation.

18. The Social Butterflies That Are Financial Services Employees

Financial services users love to socialize, according to Palo Alto Networks' March 2010 semi-annual report showing that 94% of companies in financial services had connected to as many as 28 different social networks from within the enterprise. The latest report was issued in October although with no additional financial industry updates.

19. We Heart Bullish Internet Analysts

We're guessing that a link to analyst Mary Meeker's presentation Ten Questions Internet Execs Should Ask & Answer was circulated in your firm via email a day or two after she presented it. It got lots of play on Twitter, too, especially among the mobile-minded who are likely to be kept very busy in the next few years, according to Meeker.

Internet Trends Presentation

20. Welcome To The Publishing Business

Every company is a media company, according to this Brian Solis two-part post whose premise is that The Future of Marketing Starts with Publishing. Here’s a sample: "In social media, content and context are packaged as social objects and they serve as the catalysts for conversation, intelligence, and sharing, and hopefully, word of mouth."

21. A Blog That Acts Likes A Blog

A few blogs have appeared on mutual fund and exchange-traded fund (ETF) Web sites this year, but only Vanguard bloggers have shown a willingness to stir a little something up in true blogger style. Case in point: A controversial Vanguard post that prompted this RIABiz headline: "Blog battle: Vanguard 401(k) principal and 401(k) tracker have it out over the Internet."

22. What You Want Matters Less

I must have read this a half-dozen times. It’s an analysis by Wesabe founder Marc Hedlund of why Wesabe lost to Mint.com.

An excerpt: “Mint focused on making the user do almost no work at all... Instead, I prioritized trying to build tools that would eventually help people change their financial behavior for the better… Their approach completely kicked our approach's ass…it was far easier to have a good experience on Mint, and that good experience came far more quickly.”

My takeaway: Go with what the user will want, not with what you want the user to want to do.

23. Its Simplicity Is Just An Illusion

Awesome and awe-inspiring is this illustration of how Google works.

24. Don't Underestimate The Power of Twitter (Part 2)

The Guardian editor-in-chief Alan Rusbridger’s "Why Twitter matters for media organisations" is one of the best, most comprehensive explanations of Twitter that I’ve read.

25. Respect The Web

A former journalism professor (Rockchalk, Jayhawk KU!) used to chide students for believing that history began the day they were born. In the case of the Web, it has a history with egalitarian principles that we business users may take for granted.

If you’re working on the Web and using the Web today, you really have to read this piece by Tim Berners-Lee. He comments about the app Internet, net neutrality, privacy and other issues with a unique authority given that, as he writes to start the Scientific American piece, “The world wide web went live, on my physical desktop in Geneva, Switzerland, in December 1990.”

Thanks for hanging in here to the end of my list—what 2010 content made an impression on you?