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5 Questions with Geoff Livingston, DC Marketing Expert

Washington, DC is known for the madness that happens inside the beltway – you know, government shutdowns, gridlock, partisanship (I’m being nice here).

But, DC is often overlooked as being home to some of the best and brightest in tech and marketing.

Fortunately, for you and me, one of those best and brightest has agreed to share some of his wisdom with me in this edition of 5 Questions with

Geoff Livingston is President and Founder of Tenacity5 Media, a Washington, DC based Marketing Strategy Firm.

He is also author of many books including The Fifth Estate – How to Create and Sustain a Winning Social Media Strategy and Marketing in the Round – Multichannel Approaches in the Post-Social Media Era.

Geoff is one of my favorites because he is not afraid to speak his mind.

His book Marketing in the Round not only paints a utopian marketing picture but also illustrates a realistic and attainable way to achieve it. It is a must read for anyone in marketing.

But, enough gushing, let’s hear from Geoff…

Question One – Washington, DC Technology and Marketing

You and I both live in the Washington, DC metro area. This area is known more for politics than for marketing or technology like say New York or Silicon Valley. That said, you manage to pull in some really great talent for xPotomac each year. What do think this area has to offer in terms of marketing and tech?

DC’s dirty secret is that we are the largest tech region in the country, and we produce lots of great tech companies.

Everyone knows about AOL, Nextel, MCI, etc. But in this current round, LivingSocial and AddThis are just two players making an impact.

Everyone who uses Twitter search actually uses a DC-created technology developed by Summize.  And the world’s most powerful quantum computer is being developed here.

We just don’t want the attention because of all the national security implications.  So when it comes to tech, Silicon Valley can keep the hype, we’ll take the money!

As far as marketing, DC is one of the most powerful media cities in the world.  This is where the best in PR come to live, and this is where some of the best marketing is developed or at least commissioned.

Madison Avenue will always be greater, but I wouldn’t underestimate DC.

Question Two – Marketing in the Round

Your book Marketing in the Round with Gini Dietrich introduced me to the idea (at least in a real and actionable way) of breaking down silos in an organization to develop a more integrated marketing plan. This is the beginning of 2014, what challenges do you think businesses still face when considering a more integrated marketing plan?

Some problems I see include battles for credit, crazy new problems created by fluidity and the need to develop processes to handle them.

But the biggest challenge is the database and governance. Oy, so many hands, so many issues, and often multiple databases.

Integrating a tight, secure database that touches all parts of the enterprise and provides a singular experience for the customer is extremely difficult!

Question Three – Marketing Strategies and War

Also in your book, you discussed the Four Approaches to Choosing Tactics which compares marketing to the military strategies detailed in the Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi. Business strategy books often make references to concepts outside of the traditional business world, whether it’s The Art of War or even the Godfather series. Why do you suppose that is?

People need to relate to concepts outside of business. That’s because they don’t get business.

War is often used because so much willpower, strategy and aggressive communication and energy is needed to successfully market a business, but I think in the end, it’s probably wrong.

You dont want to punch your customer. You want to love them.

Question Four – The Future of Technology

I’ve heard you describe yourself as a “futurist.” Some of my favorite posts on your blog deal with “what’s next.” So, it’s a new year, what’s next Geoff?

My craziest prediction is that Vine is going to go bonkers this year.

But that plays into larger trends like smartphones (and short video for them), the need to move away from text to other audio-based forms of media, etc.

So maybe I am saying my life as a writer is endangered.

Question Five – Hobbies and a Full-Time Job

You just recently published your first novel Exodus. You’re also a full time consultant with your company Tenacity5 Media. How do you manage those two “career paths” simultaneously? Do you find it’s difficult to separate the two or is that even necessary?

That’s easy.  One is a career, the other is a hobby.

No one makes money writing novels, at least not until they have repeat bestsellers.  So, I work on the novel promo and writing its successor when I have downtime, but not before then.

I seem to be doing alright with this strategy. Of course, I wish I could shamelessly pimp Exodus all the time like I did my business books, perhaps more so, as I have a deep passion for my fiction.

Bonus – Our Daughters and the Internet

You and I are both guilty of posting lots of pics of our daughters on social media. I’m sure the future of social media and tech in general factor in to how you think about your daughter’s future. Any thoughts or advice on this for parents?

God, she takes selfies now.  I think she’s going to be a lot more open than we would about sharing her life with others, and in some ways, that will better prepare her for the Age of Context.

In other ways, she may lose some identity as a result of that. But, I think it’s a worthwhile trade off. I need to teach her karate so she can scare away creeps.


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