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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

ExecuNet Presentation: Social Media Primer

My friend and longtime career counselor, Linsey Levine, founder of CareerCounsel, invited me to present a Social Media Primer to her 3/27/09 ExecuNet Structured Networking meeting in Westchester, NY.

I had never been to the Westchester Graduate Center of NYU-Polytechnic Institute where the meeting took place. What a terrific venue! Comfortable and bright meeting rooms, fully equipped for multi-media sessions, and convenient location. Also conducive to wonderful conversation.

My presentation, Social Media Primer, offered an overview of social media, with a focus on how social media tools can be useful in a job search.

I consider these tools infinitely valuable and relevant. I start most research - be it professional or personal - at a search window [primarily Google]. Most of our customers do the same. What about you?

Given the importance of the search window, it makes sense to become comfortable with the richness of content available online. Furthermore, markets are conversations and it behooves us to be ready to take part in the conversations happening.

I've included the presentation here. Note that only the first 3 slides appear on this SlideShare window [I have a query in about that and hope to find the 17 missing slides]. However, if you click on the Social Media Primer presentation link, you will see a 'download presentation' option that invites you to register/login to SlideShare and access the full show. You'll also see at the bottom of the screen a transcript of the entire presentation.

The most important aspects of this journey into social media are to:

+ start exploring - by finding relevant terms to search on, and identifying resources [e.g, blogs or other platforms of interest to your audience like Twitter, YouTube, Flickr, etc.] of interest to follow - and then

+ start actively 'listening.' Listening requires that you become aware of the conversations taking place on the various platforms, and comfortable with the interactions before participating.

I liken the social media experience to being invited into someone's home for the first time. Aren't you on your best behavior, watching carefully for cues on how to act, when to help out, and how to take part in conversation? It's the same in an online environment. You're a guest; you're respectful; you observe and then, after gaining confidence, you start to engage in the ongoing conversation.

The presentation led to interesting discussion about how to manage the tools in terms of information overload and time consumption -- which brought up the importance of having a strategy for social media tools. If these tools are about facilitating conversation, how do you want to make use of them?

Is it for market research, to understand what is being said about a brand or company?

Is it to identify thought leaders, to learn from them and eventually engage in conversation with them?

Or, is it simply for exploration, to better determine how the tools might work in a specific situation?

Regardless, you have a marvelous opportunity.

Furthermore, the tools aren't going away. Quite the opposite.

Even if the organizations or industries you are a part of aren't actively involved in social marketing, at some point they will need to be. So why not start exploring? It gets you that much closer to becoming comfortable and eventually engaging in the conversation.

What do you think?

Thank you, Linsey, for this opportunity.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Meet Practical Marketer Christine B. Whittemore

My name: Christine B. Whittemore.

My official title is Chief Simplifier for Simple Marketing Now LLC where I focus on bridging traditional marketing with new digital and social tools.

My mission is to simplify customer interactions, and get to the essence of what adds value to those interactions, ensuring the best possible customer experience. In other words, be practical and focused on customers.

That makes me a practical marketer, which - when I think back - is something I've always done. Yes, there's often a dash of whimsy added in, but it's always practical.

I've been fully engaged in the social media space since June 2006 when I launched my personal business blog, Flooring The Consumer, a marketing blog about the retail experience and marketing to women, off- as well as online.

I've also participated in a few 'memes' in case you want to learn more about me:
Getting back to my practical streak... I'm intrigued with how new marketing tools can extend the reach and relevance of traditional marketing. You see, I've had the luxury of limited marketing budgets where the only way to see results is via high creativity. Thanks to new and social marketing tools, the creativity factor now makes for intriguing business possibilities.

In my previous role as Director, In-Store Innovation for Solutia's Wear-Dated carpet fiber, I launched The Carpetology Blog, a consumer blog focused on all things carpet - particularly fun and inspiring ones like carpet style and design, and practical ones like carpet care and how to buy carpet - in December 2007 to support the newly redesigned and social-media friendly site [launched in June 2008]. [Here's my introduction from that site: Meet C.B. Whittemore.]

All of that came about because of what I learned from Flooring The Consumer. I also wanted to integrate social marketing with traditional marketing and improve the customer experience.

In late 2008, I inaugurated a social media series on Flooring The Consumer about Bridging New & Old with perspectives from some of the finest marketers engaged in new marketing. I encourage you to read these interviews. They are sure to spark ideas that you hadn't considered or possibly even validate ones that you have.

On the personal front, I launched The Smoke Rise Blog in July 2008 to explore, document and promote my local community. [Here's my introduction post: Meet C.B. Whittemore.]

That's it for now.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Thank you for your interest in Simple Marketing Now LLC and in the Simple Marketing Blog!

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Floor Covering Weekly Columnist Christine B. Whittemore Articles

Floor Covering WeeklySince early 2006, I have been a columnist for Floor Covering Weekly, the premiere flooring industry trade publication.

Floor Covering Weekly Columnist Christine Whittemore

Flooring the consumer column about the customer retail experience

It all began when Kim Gavin, now Executive Editor, interviewed me in 2005 about marketing to women and the retail experience, two topics at the heart of Flooring The Consumer, my personal business blog. Part of that interview was published on 6/20/2005 in the 6/20-6/27/2005 issue of Floor Covering Weekly Online [registration nec.] in an article titled "Christine Whittemore on Marketing to Women" by Kimberly Gavin [see Marketing To Women]. The next part appeared in the 10/3-10/2005 print version of FCW in an article titled Marketing To Women - It's a Business Thing!

I started contributing articles in early 2006, and have them listed here. As new ones are published, I will add them to this list:

+ Welcome To My Home! published 3/7/2006
+ How to Achieve an Inspired Environment published 5/1-6/2006
+ Women Hold The Power of The Sale published 8/21-28/2006

+ Walk In Her Shoes published 3/26/2007
+ Feasting The Senses published 7/23-30/2007
+ A Consumer's Tale published 9/24/2007
+ In Search Of An Experience published 11/12/2007

+ Buying Decisions: From the Heart or the Mind? published 5/12/2008
+ Integrate Your Retail Experience published 9/15/2008
+ The Meaning Of Green... To Me published 11/3-10/2008

+ The Retail Experience Roadmap published 2/9-16/2009
+ Hide, seek, be found and connect published 5/18-25/2009
+ Ten tips to be found and connect published 10/5-12/2009
+ The greater green: How does it fit into your customers' lives? published 11/23-20/2009

+ Have you adapted your retail experience? published 1/25-2/1/2010 [The Surfaces Edition]
+ "Powered by service" published 2/25/2010

+ "Are you different (& better) enough to make people care? published 5/17-31/2010
+ "Women call the retail shots... Is your store woman friendly?" published 5/7-14/2010
+ "Be social in-store and online" published August 23/30, 2010
+ "Customers want solutions" published October 4/11, 2010

+ How to make 'social' meaningful in flooring, published January 3/10, 2011
+ Green should feel good, published January 2011
+ Surfaces 2011: Connecting with customers, published 2/21-28, 2011
+ Your marketplace: is it designed for experts or for consumers?, published July 4/11, 2011
+ Reenergize your store with digital, published October 3/10, 2011

+ Facebook, Twitter and Trivers, published March 19/26, 2012
+ The Green Retailer-Consumer Dilemma: It's About Trust!

As you read these articles, please let me know if they inspire other topics of interest to you.

Thanks for reading!

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Welcome To The Simple Marketing Blog!

Welcome to the Simple Marketing Blog, the blog and newsroom for Simple Marketing Now LLC, a marketing communications consultancy focused on simplifying customer interactions.

This 'Simplify' sign hangs in my office. Jim Schnurbusch from Hughes handed it out during a presentation possibly in August of 2005? In any case, it resonated with me then. And continues to do so today. It reminds me not to get distracted with bells and whistles, but rather to focus on what's really important and how best to get that message across to core customers.

The notion of 'Simplify' lies at the heart of my experimentation with new forms of marketing and trying to figure out how to more effectively and efficiently connect with customers. That's what led me to launch Flooring The Consumer in June of 2006, and become immersed in the world of social media and social networking.

'Simplify' inspired me as I launched The Carpetology Blog in December 2007 and the redesigned Wear-Dated website in June 2008: How to simplify the carpet buying experience for consumers, how to make sense of a complex category, how to make finding relevant information easier online, how not to wear the consumer out online.

It continues to inspire me for Simple Marketing Now LLC and for this blog.

In this blog, I will share best practices about how marketers - particularly ones in traditional industries - are simplifying their customer interactions and bridging traditional marketing communications with tools that simplify and develop stronger connections with customers.

I'll describe tools that seem particularly relevant and practical, along with how to be successful using them. Yes, I'll be generally celebrating practical approaches to marketing.

I will also share with you news and releases relating to Simple Marketing Now. I expect that other ideas and topics will come up along the way and hope you will find them relevant.

In case it isn't obvious, you will be exposed to my views. You are more than welcome to respond, add comments and suggestions. Even disagree. I ask that we keep our comments relevant to the conversations taking place here so that we can maintain respect for all those involved and add value and depth to the discussion.

I moderate comments and will quickly remove any that are offensive, disrespectful or irrelevant. That means that if you simply come by to advertise your [irrelevant] website [n.b., often considered SPAM], your comment will be deleted. However, if you truly want to add to the conversation and engage, then I welcome your perspective.

Oh, and please don't post any private information as this is a public forum. I might repost your comments and/or try to reach you to add more depth to the discussion.

I encourage you to visit the Simple Marketing Now website and learn about us, about what we offer and who we are. And, do feel free to contact us for more information! Please consider subscribing and engaging in discussion around the notion of 'simple marketing' which I believe will become more important than ever.

Thank you for reading and visiting, and helping build a simpler world focused on what's truly important and relevant.

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