Visit Simple Marketing Now!

If you'd like to read our blog content in real time, visit Simple Marketing Now directly and consider subscribing to Content Talks Business.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Connecting With Retail Consumers - Marketing Strategy Series

As you know from Press Release: Whittemore Re-Appointed to SURFACES '10 Education Advisory Council, Paul Friederichsen from BrandBiz, Inc. [on the left], Scott Perron from Big Bob's of America [in the middle] and I will jointly present a workshop at Surfaces 2010. The subject: brand marketing, advertising/promotion, and social media to effectively connect with retail consumers and generate business.

Although our immediate focus relates to flooring, the lessons and discussion apply to any business or industry.

Scott, Paul and I will be collaborating intensely over the next few months as we build our workshop. I plan on documenting our process and discussions here on Simple Marketing Blog as a reference and also to include you in what we create. With your feedback, we will fine-tune our materials for added relevance and usefulness.

We might even ask that you test drive some of our ideas....

During our kick-off session at Hanley Wood's offices, we realized that we frequently hear one question in particular from businesses of all sizes, shapes, and forms: how to effectively use marketing to build a business. Perhaps a basic question, but truly a profound one.

Here's how Wikipedia defines marketing: "an integrated communications-based process through which individuals and communities discover that existing and newly-identified needs and wants may be satisfied by the products and services of others"

Critical to the success of this communications-based process is Strategy. Strategy ensures that your brand message relates to what you offer customers in your marketplace, and that you consistently implement it across all aspects of your business - in-store, on you website, through your advertising and promotions, across all of your customer communications including customer service and any community building and social programs. All elements must work in concert and focus in on your customer and how best to offer relevant value to her [women represent our core consumer certainly in flooring and also across the majority of purchase categories].

That means that you have to think about how and why you might select one platform over another to implement aspects of your marketing plan.

How you train your in-store associates matters as much as those on phone support or those who install your products in your customers' homes.

How you speak to you customers matters. Whether in person or in your advertising and promotions, on your website as well as how you might interact with them via social networks - assuming that is something you participate in.

In other words, everything has to work seamlessly together to deliver that consistent, credible message and experience that allows you to connect with customers.

Do you agree?

I hope so, as that is what we plan on discussing and illustrating in our workshop.

As we discussed how to do all of this, we thought we needed to get as nitty gritty and realistic as possible to make our points. Down to creating a hypothetical flooring retailer to demonstrate 'how to' make use of marketing to truly connect with customers and build your business. Making it that much more likely that workshop participants - and readers of this blog series - can walk away with specific action items to put into use immediately.

Comments? Reactions? Feedback?

Are there any specific aspects of marketing strategy and connecting with customers to build your business that you'd like us to address? Please let me know.

Technorati Tags: Tags:

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Simplicity In Communication

Simplicity originally uploaded by Katarina_2353.
A recent article from caught my attention. Titled "The four questions communicators should ask themselves" by Jim Ylisela, it focuses on simplicity in communication [Note: Ragan Select Access only].

"Simple is not dumb. And clear does not mean basic," states the article.

Simple, though, isn't always easy. Complexity often gets in the way.

To cut through all of that obfuscating complexity, attain clarity and focus on the pure essence of your communication, the author suggests 'four big questions:'

1. What are we trying to do?
2. Who are we trying to reach?
3. What's the best way to get there?
4. Why should anyone care?

"The simpler the better," says the author.

If I prioritize those questions, I consider questions 4 and 1, in that order, most important. I translate them as follows:

What is most critical and relevant to my audience?

[Note: this assumes that I am already very clear on question 2.]

What's my goal for the communication [i.e., the action I need my audience to take]?

Once those questions answered, it's a matter of figuring out the most relevant method to communicate with my audience.

How do you attain simplicity in communication?

Technorati Tags: Tags:

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

What About The Consumer of the Future?

back lit closet originally uploaded by darwin Bell.
Do you think much about the consumer of the future and how differently we will act? And what that will mean for marketers?

I do. Particularly when I come across articles like "Coping With Consumers' Newfound Frugality. To Survive and Prosper, Marketers Must Rethink Everything" by Avi Dan in the 5/19/2009 AdAge which states that "this time around the recession is not a reflection of the usual business cycle. It represents a complete social and economic reset. Marketers will risk being left behind if they don't rethink everything." The author details the ramifications of rethinking product, promotion, price and place.

The 5/12/2009 Digiday:DAILY "The New Consumer Priority is Saving, Not Spending" by Stephanie Miller shares amazing statistics and observations relating to the consumer of the future...

Add to that these intriguing thoughts that my friend and former boss, Gary Petersen, sent me.

I'd love your take...


I love reading the stuff you send me, along with the other marketing info and sites, etc. I check it out just to keep my hand in the game!

Hope you are doing well with your new venture; actually this is the best time to start something new given the economic turmoil and the testing, if not eradication, of existing paradigms on consumer behavior.

I am interested in the fact that there is little discussion or projection of how the consumer of the next 10 years is going to behave, within the context of their environment, as opposed to how they have behaved in the past ten years.

Some random ramblings:
One of my fondest sayings (along with "no good deed goes unpunished," "don’t fall in love with your own BS," and "nobody does anything they don’t want to do") is that nobody in this country needs anything.

Now, of course, I am not condescending to those folks who really do need food and shelter, but, in America – and you know this from your foreign experiences – most people don’t; more importantly, the people who are target markets for retailers, etc. don’t need anything. At the absolute starting point, all one really needs is a couple of quarts of water and 2000 calories and shelter from the storm. In other words, most consumption is incremental and choice driven.

Following Azimov’s Foundation series, it is impossible to predict the actions of one human being, but the actions of massive groups of people with the right tools and model can be predicted very accurately.

So in an era – once things have settled down – of tougher credit, acknowledgement of a need to save for the future, the end of counting on social security and government support, with luck growth, but slow and steady, and the new jobs will be ????, what will this consumer do and how does a marketer get some of his/her reduced disposable income?

Other questions:

.. How will the baby boomers change their behavior as we age -- to food, apparel, furniture, travel, etc... It is surprising to me how Shirley and I have reduced our out-of-pocket expenditures without really impacting our lifestyle. We eat out 1x week vs. 4, drink less diet soda and more water, use filtered water vs. bottled. Our choice is to continue to go to the theater, travel, and get our son Chris out of school. [Note: read "Study: The Three Stages of Trading Down" by Sarah Mahoney.]

.. Will the 20 and 30 somethings assume the behavior my age group had. Answer is certainly no, but what it will be I don’t know. It is amazing to me that a) they don’t get married and they don’t have kids b) they don’t work in career situations until well into their late 20s and early 30s. Between family and friends, I probably know 30+/- folks like this, and probably 25 of them are either back to school, in temporary jobs while they try to figure out a path, and almost none of them are married.

.. What will technology bring? Think about the changes in the past 20 years and assume the changes in the next 20 will be as dramatic...

.. There is no question the US will not be the dominant and pre-eminent economy in the world. We have an excellent chance of continuing to be important, but dramatic growth is going to be in China and India (of course, if we continue to be fat, stupid and mean, we will go the other way!).

Ahh, I can get carried away! But to me the real questions for marketers how do we drive demand where credit is tight, disposable income is tighter, government is falling off a cliff, and many people don’t “need” anything?


So, what about the consumer of the future? What kind of demand do we try to create and how do we do so?

If most of us already have too much stuff, and opt to spend only for replacements, what takes the place of the consumer consumption machine that has fueled our economy in the recent past?

Thoughts, comments, feedback? As it relates to food, I love the notion that Simplicity is the New Sophistication. How might simplicity, authenticity, quality and value affect other market segments to better resonate with the consumer of the future?

Another relevant series of articles to read is Time Inc.'s The Future of Work which includes: The Way We'll Work, High Tech, High Touch, High Growth, Training Managers to Behave, The Search for the Next Perk, We're Getting Off the Ladder, Why Boomers Can't Quit, Women Will Rule Business, It Will Pay to Save the Planet, When Gen X Runs the Show, Yes, We'll Still Make Stuff, The Last Days of Cubicle Life that Linsey Levine forwarded.

Thank you, Gary!

Technorati Tags: Tags:

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Marketing Effectively During An Information Revolution

Music originally uploaded by PhilipZeplin.
We are in the midst of an information revolution -- scary yet exciting; confusing yet empowering. It affects assumptions and highlights that the old ways of doing things aren't working as well as they used to. How then to communicate effectively with customers?

According to Clay Shirky, in Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable -- a must read from beginning to end -- "We’re collectively living through 1500, when it’s easier to see what’s broken than what will replace it. The Internet turns 40 this fall. Access by the general public is less than half that age. Web use, as a normal part of life for a majority of the developed world, is less than half that age. We just got here. Even the revolutionaries can’t predict what will happen."

Massive change surrounds us!

Digital has made expensive infrastructure mostly obsolete. After all, if you can record yourself using Audacity for a podcast that you distribute via Feedburner, or create an engaging FlipCam video that you then post to YouTube, not to mention publish yourself via one of several blogging platforms, how do the traditional institutions that used to do all of those things add value to consumers and society?

Certainly not by blindly sticking to how things have always been done. And, yet, many organizations still operate in that mode, ignoring that consumers are already many steps ahead of us. They refuse to experiment and try new approaches for connecting with those customers.

Our current digital revolution closely parallels that created by the invention of the printing press: intensely chaotic, supremely experimental and brilliantly creative. Just think, the concept of a Kindle - a hand-held reading device - wouldn't have been possible if "Aldus Manutius, the Venetian printer and publisher, [hadn't] invented the smaller octavo volume along with italic type. What seemed like a minor change — take a book and shrink it — was in retrospect a key innovation in the democratization of the printed word. As books became cheaper, more portable, and therefore more desirable, they expanded the market for all publishers, heightening the value of literacy still further." Wow!

The sharing of information, then, is powerful and empowering. We are seeing it happen before our very eyes with social networking and social marketing: we want to share and engage over shared content.

The more sharing, the greater the visibility for the content, benefiting the content source -- something that came up during "New Media, New Challenges: Women in the Forefront of Music, Publishing, and Television," a panel discussion that took place this past February at Columbia Business School's 16th annual CWIB [Columbia Women in Business] Conference. In that session, we learned that The New York Times noticed, when it opened up its archives, that SEO and ad sales increased.

Other points that came up during the discussion:

+ Media used to be about distribution. Now it's about consumer navigation and consumer experience. It's all about ease of access. It's not just about the content, but rather about giving consumers what they want when they want it and making sure it is easily accessible.

+ Information platforms are becoming irrelevant because consumers are changing how they obtain information. It's no longer just the TV, but also via a PC, or a mobile device. They don't really notice or care that one source of information is distinct from the other [e.g., how many of us watched the Presidential Inauguration via a PC vs. from a TV? Apart from the different level of interactivity, what other differences were you aware of?]. How does a company reflect or represent the brand across platforms? It's not a matter of just adapting or duplicating content.

+ It's critical to adopt a customer centric position.

+ In the digital era, if you don't capture consumer behavior, you can't stay ahead. The consumer is saying what companies should do with their assets. There's too much concern with piracy. The new consumer behavior focuses on how to use and access content; because the content wasn't available for purchase, consumers came up with 'workarounds.'

+ iTunes represents a monopoly on music. It shouldn't be that way; there should be more options.

+ We are witnessing a shift in culture and consumer behavior because of technology, which should correct itself. Mobile has jump-started some countries enabling them to leap-frog infrastructure and bureaucracy issues and create new business models, e.g., selling a phone based on the content [special ring tones] it includes. Rather than paying for access, a user pays royalties.

+ Don't lose sight of the basic reasons that people visit your website. If it is for specific content, make sure that content is accessible without bells and whistles.

Shirky says that society doesn't need newspapers. Rather, it needs journalism. That shift in mindset opens up possibilities to new ways of gathering and sharing information, not just for society for also for businesses. Now is the time to experiment with how best to disseminate information and provide consumers with relevant, authentic, transparent and trustworthy information.

One solution: Can Transparency Be A Business Model? A proposal for a place to talk to your critics and tell the world how your products are made by Esther Dyson [AdAge 3/30/09, registration required]. A related blogpost on the article is Transparency and Trust from the Enterprise Resilience Management Blog. It's bold and different; at the same time, it builds on how consumers are increasingly making purchase decisions, through peer reviews and word-of-mouth endorsements rather than through corporate branded messages. Imagine taking charge of all of information about yourself - could be quite effective in communicating to consumers the information they need to make decisions.

What do you think?

Added 10/7/09:
McLuhan, Socrates and Edith Wharton On Social Media by Joel Postman

The CWIB panel discussion was moderated by Ginny Yang, CBS '10, MBA Candidate and included:

Deanna Brown, President SN Digital, Scripps Network
Lisa Ellis, Founding Operating Partner, Fireman Capital Partners and former EVP, Sony Music Label Group
Lisa Gerson, Director, Marketing Partnerships, The New York Times
Tina Imm, SVP/General Manager, VH1 Digital, MTV Networks
Jennifer Ogden-Reese, VP, Consumer Marketing, Time, Inc.

Technorati Tags: Tags:

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Press Release: Whittemore Re-Appointed to SURFACES '10 Education Advisory Council

For Immediate Release: May 19, 2009

Whittemore Re-Appointed to SURFACES ’10 Education Advisory Council
Reinforces value of “All-in-One” show and education program theme

Kinnelon, NJ – Christine Whittemore, chief simplifier of Simple Marketing Now LLC, has been re-appointed to the SURFACES 2010 Education Advisory Council. The Education Advisory Council guides and shapes the Education Program for SURFACES, the only trade show to bring together in one location every aspect of the flooring industry once a year in Las Vegas, NV. The focus of SURFACES ’10 will be “All-in-One.”

“The All-in-One theme for SURFACES ’10 captures the unique aspect of the show. It is the only venue to bring together all in one place retailers, installers, inspectors, manufacturers and designers involved in the flooring industry. It is also the only show of its kind to offer participants all in one place the range, quality and relevance of knowledge and learning that the Education Program offers,” says Dana Teague, SURFACES show director.

The SURFACES Education Advisory Council consists of industry experts representing a wide range of perspectives to guide and shape the SURFACES Education Program. Whittemore joins Jon Namba, executive director, Certified Floorcovering Installers; Scott Perron, president, Big Bob’s of America; Paul Friederichsen, owner, BrandBiz, Inc.; Joan Ceccarelli, ASID, CID, Timeless Designs; and Mike Micalizzi, technical services manager, MAPEI Corporation.

Says Teague, “The Advisory Council plays an important role in creating an Education Program that is relevant to show participants. We tailor the program to address the current economic environment and provide actionable product, marketing, sales, design and installation advice. The only way to do that is through the insights and perspectives that Christine and the other Council members bring.”

The 2010 SURFACES Education Program will focus on the customer, product knowledge, the new economic reality, sustainability and how to connect with customers given a socially networked world.

Whittemore will be participating in a workshop with Scott Perron and Paul Friederichsen on marketing, advertising and social media, and leading a social media 101 seminar.

SURFACES 2010 takes place from February 1-4, 2010 in Las Vegas, NV at the Sands Convention Center. For more information about Hanley Wood’s flooring focused trade show, visit

For more information about Simple Marketing Now LLC, contact chief simplifier Whittemore at or visit the Simple Marketing Now website and companion weblog & newsroom – Simple Marketing Blog.

# # #

About Simple Marketing Now LLC

Simple Marketing Now is a marketing communications consultancy that provides organizations with the right combination of traditional marketing and new and digital tools to improve the customer experience and build brand. For more information, visit

About Hanley Wood

Hanley Wood, LLC is the premier media company serving housing and construction. Through four operating divisions, the company produces award-winning magazines and Web sites, marquee trade shows and events, rich data and custom marketing solutions. The company also is North America’s leading publisher of home plans. Hanley Wood Exhibitions (Dallas) conducts events serving the industry’s strongest market segments, including World of Concrete, one of the top 20 trade show events in the country.

Founded in 1976, Hanley Wood is one of the ten largest B-to-B media companies in the United States. Hanley Wood is owned by affiliates of JPMorgan Partners, which uses CCMP Capital Advisors to manage this investment.

Technorati Tags: Tags:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Press Releases, Newsletters and OtterBox

Image courtesy of Elmore Oil.
As you know, I have great respect for the humble news or press release. Imagine, then, my delight when I came across, the very next day, an article describing an organization - OtterBox - that has taken its press releases to a complete new level!

The article describes how OtterBox replaces PR releases with e-mail newsletter - not that the company completely does away with press releases, but rather how it enhances and extends the value of the press release and generates conversation around their products.

OtterBox manufactures laptop, PDA, smartphone and other protective cases. Product reviews matter greatly to them, particularly editorial reviews. As a result, it decided recently [i.e., this past April] to start an e-mail newsletter program "dedicated specifically to its large database of press contacts - mainstream newspapers and magazine editors, bloggers and Web site editors." It's called "The Newsletter, News You Otter Know."

OtterBox issues plenty of press releases. In fact, it puts me to shame! [For a sampling, check out 2007, 2008 and year-to-date 2009 releases...] The challenge, though, with so many newsworthy stories is not overwhelming recipients with too much information. That's where the e-newsletter comes into play.

Per the article, "The newsletters feature links to press releases, product photos and case studies. They also link directly to the OtterBox press room and blog, and allow people to connect with the company via Facebook, RSS feeds or Twitter. A menu across the top has links to five product categories. “We’ve been launching products left and right; and we wanted to come up with a solution so we weren’t overwhelming the press with too many releases each month,” Golliher said. “The newsletter lets us bring all the announcements into one place, a bulleted list, and support them with information, case studies and photos.

I love the idea of including case studies, especially since these products lend themselves to stories. Don't believe me? Check out this new product still in development: the Human Sized OtterBox. Note that the story comes from the enduser focused April newsletter which includes contests, recipes and videos and also highlights an employee. [You can sign up for it, too.]

From the comments to the BtoB article, I can direct you to OtterBox's inaugural media e-Newsletter. Effective, don't you think?

As it announced in Social Butterfly OtterBox brings Interactive Company Culture to Customers, OtterBox is also active on Twitter @OtterBox, Facebook, The Otter Blog and on Planet Otterbox where visitors can upload pictures of adventures with OtterBoxes.

Given OtterBox's commitment to interaction and strong enthusiasm for both products and end users, I'm not surprised that the company came up with such a practical solution for enhancing the value that its press releases offer. I do wonder whether OtterBox plans on linking to the media e-Newsletter from its Press Room at any point... After all, the case studies and links to relevant releases would also appeal to customers.

What are your reactions to this story?

Technorati Tags: Tags:

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Links of Note: Practical Marketing Lessons

rusty chain originally uploaded by shoothead.
As I've started doing at Flooring The Consumer, I'm sharing here Links of Note to other blog posts about marketing - simple, practical and relevant marketing - that I consider noteworthy and thought provoking.

Topping the list is a post from Paula Drum [whom I featured in CMO 2.0 Conversation with Paula Drum, H&R Block]. I came across it first on PR-Squared in 10 Tips for Social Media Marketers [and the original post on Paula Drum's Positively Paula Blog]. It's a must read particularly for marketers trying to make sense of social media and echoes my feelings about marketing with social media.

Paula's 10 tips include:
1. Every brand can and should be 'social'
2.Just get started.
3. Integrated marketing vs. social media
4. Find your brand's own path
5. Media $ versus human capital
6. Agencies play a great role, but the voice needs to be the company's
7. Your agency needs to walk the walk
8. Get legal involved early
9. Have a crisis management plan
10. Selling the C-Suite or ROI

Be sure to watch the Shift Happens video, too. I've seen it several times and, each time, it reminds me that these truly are remarkable times.

Next, Chris Abraham writes in Marketing Conversation that Social Media Marketing Spooks Brands, pointing to Tom Smith's Why Big Brands Struggle With Social Media. You'll note similarities to Drum's points.

Finally, one of my very favorite marketers, CK, writes this wonderful article on the MarketingProfs Daily Fix: What Marketers Can Learn from the Frozen Food Aisle. As she usually does, CK captures my attention and has me re-appreciating not just frozen food, but marketing. Her key takeaways:

+ Make the commitment to monitor.
+ Recognize others when they recognize you.
+ Syndicate In, not just Out.
+ Customize promotions in real time.
+ Understand that communities are formed around anything - yes, even frozen foods.
+ Think outside of the [frozen food] box.

What do you think of these practical marketing lessons? How might you apply them to your business?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Humble News or Press Release

News Release re: Claude E. Shannon 9/30/55.
I'm curious. How do you use the news or press release? You do use it, right? I consider it one of the most basic, practical yet also most potent communication tools around.

I have felt this way for a long time. However, when I came across David Meerman Scott's The New Rules of PR and how to create a press release strategy for reaching buyers directly, I became absolutely ecstatic!

In fact, it shouldn't come as a surprise that not only do I believe in press releases, but I like to issue new ones frequently. So far, I've only posted a few here on the Simple Marketing Blog. However, go visit the Wear-Dated website Newsroom and check out all of the press releases I issued.... What do you think?

I issued releases about new product introductions, new programs, upcoming presentations, noteworthy milestones... Not only did I post them to the Wear-Dated website, but I also used an online distribution service to get the news out digitally and I regularly distributed copies of my press releases to the email distribution list I had put together.

Granted those were mostly trade focused press releases.

However, once the redesigned Wear-Dated website launched, I started creating and distributing consumer-focused press releases on a monthly basis in the Fall of 2008. Stories like Care for Your Carpet with Wear-Dated®, Color Your Home with Wear-Dated® and Wear-Dated® Offers Consumers Carpet Buying Tips. The stories were relevant to consumers seeking information about carpet and contributed to the growth of my e-Newsletter distribution list.

Interestingly, when I visit a corporate or brand website, the first place I check out is the Newsroom -- to determine the frequency of the stories told as well as the range. I'm disappointed when I don't find much, and encouraged when I do as it's a sign that this might be a company that values the very practical and useful press release.

Now, the press release is evolving. The newest format, Social Media Press Release intrigues me although I've not yet issued one. I plan to, though, especially since reading Todd Defren's -- originator of SMR format -- recent post The Dual Future of the News Release. In it, he refers to Valeria Maltoni's The Future of Journalism: Content Marketing - a fascinating discussion of the benefits of truly embracing content creation and content marketing. [For an example of the social media release, visit News@Cisco.]

News releases are part of content creation - something we all need to focus on in the digital world.

If you've not been making use of the news or press release, I do hope you'll reconsider. And, if you do, would you share with us your successes?

Thank you!

Technorati Tags: Tags:

Thursday, May 7, 2009

How Marketers Grow Their Business With Social Media

After the harvest originally uploaded by ToniVC.
Have you taken a look at the Social Media Marketing Industry Report that Michael A. Stelzner from WhitePaperSource created in March 2009 based on feedback from approximately 900 marketers on how they are using social media to grow their business?

It will definitely have you thinking about your business and how you might apply these tools in innovative ways -- regardless of whether you are a neophyte, an expert or even a guru!

When you visit WhitePaperSource, you have the option of a short video clip where Michael takes you through the report highlights. Or you can simply download the report!

First, some interesting stats on the respondents: 78% of them ranged in age from 30 to 59 with the median being between 40 and 49. 56% of respondents were women. This, to me, highlights that a wide range of marketers are exploring how to market with social media.

The report in organized into Major Findings, the Top 10 Social Media Questions Marketers Want Answered, the Use of Social Media Marketing, Time Commitment, the Benefits, it breaks down which are the most commonly used tools, and then details which tools people want to learn more about. Each section has interesting nuggets.

According to the major findings, marketers want to understand the best tactics, how to measure success and where to start with social media.

Not too surprising especially since these various social media tools are only just now becoming accepted vehicles in the marketing world.

The discussion about time brings to mind what I call the social media paradox: the more involved you are in social media, the more time it takes because it leads to community and conversation, strengthening the ties with your brand, product or service.

Which this report supports: "The number-one advantage [or social media marketing] is generating exposure for the business, indicated 81% of all marketers, followed by increasing traffic and building new business partnerships." An added benefit is an increase in search engine rankings, better qualified visitors and leads, and a decrease in overall marketing costs.

I'm not surprised to see that Twitter, blogs, LinkedIn and Facebook rank as being used most frequently. Twitter is easy to use, moves fast and allows for brief but broad interactions; blogs are more intense, making for deeper and focused interactions; LinkedIn has become an effective platform for business networking and interaction, particularly with groups and the opportunity to ask/answer questions in a formal setting. Finally, Facebook is the more casual place to interact, but it also aggregates the other social streams [Twitter, Flickr, blogpostings, etc.], encouraging casual commenting.

Finally, marketers want most to learn about social bookmarking sites and Twitter.

As it relates to social bookmarking sites - like - and using the latest social technology, my role model is Connie Reece. She had me reconsidering after I learned she routinely used it to share references with her audience for presentations. How effective! But, that's Connie. She inevitably provides you with practical and actionable advice on how best to use these new social media tools. [You'll love this: I just visited Every Dot Connects to create this link and came across Blogging Basics: Getting traffic, readers and attention for your blog with a link to How to Use Like a Pro.]

Do download the report. Read through it. Internalize what it says. Savvy marketers are using social media specifically to grow their businesses. The opportunity is to do the same for yours.

What is your next step?

Technorati Tags: Tags:

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

You Can No Longer Ignore Social Media

64/365 Ignorance originally uploaded by mellyjean.
I hear it a lot. "All that social media stuff, it's not relevant to me. I can ignore it." I have news: you can no longer ignore social media.

Particularly if you are in any way involved in marketing or selling a brand, product or service.

If you're a consumer, chances are you are already immersed...

Because our customers are online, researching, reading reviews, exchanging opinions and making purchase consideration decisions based on whether they find you and what they discover about you. They are in control. They can uncover the good, the bad and the ugly about you. And, if you aren't participating, you may not like the consequences and may not be able to react as Domino's Pizza did [reg'n req'd].

You see, your brand is not your own. It really never was. Even more so now.

Did you by any chance catch the 4/13/09 AdAge article titled 'Lever's CMO Throws Down the Social Media Gauntlet' [registration required]? It's an interesting call to action.

The article starts out with "brands aren't simply brands anymore. They are the center of a maelstrom of social and political dialogue made possible by digital media."

Now, you may fear this sea change. But, I assure you it is happening and ignoring it will not make it go away. If you pull off the blinders, peel away the fingers from your eyes and begin exploring what it is all about, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by what you discover. As Lever's Clift states "brands are now becoming conversation factors" and leading the way to "marketing programs with social benefits." I'd say that represents an amazingly powerful way to create loyal customer relationships.

The article also offers 5 new rules for marketing. They offer the means to get started on an effective social media marketing path:
  1. "Listening to consumers is more important than talking at them."
  2. "You can't hide the corporation behind the brand anymore -- or even fully separate the two."
  3. "PR is a primary concern for every CMO and brand manager."
  4. "Cause marketing isn't about philanthropy, it's about 'enlightened self-interest.'"
  5. "Social media is not a strategy. You need to understand it, and you'll need to deploy it as a tactic."
Read the entire 5 rules. Cut them out and place them somewhere where you will see them and internalize them.

Oh, and if you think of any others to add to the list, would you let me know?

While on the subject of listening, Internet Retailer says in its 2/9/09 article titled "Companies fail to measure and act on customer feedback, study finds" that the majority of companies have no established programs for listening [i.e., 'monitoring and measuring'] to customers. This is based on a CMO Council study - "Giving Customer Voice More Volume" and I encourage you to read the official summary.

At the same time, eMarketer says that Marketers Need Metrics to Integrate Traditional and Digital Media. The article concludes that the best solution is becoming as savvy as possible about new media, setting goals and business objectives, understanding customers, testing and paying attention to analytics.

Step back and think on your existing customer interactions. Are you listening? How do you listen? Are you doing something about what you hear? Are you using some of the free and easy-to-use tools available? I'm talking Google alerts for your brand and company names. If you aren't, why not? They are your first line of defense. Next, check out Search.Twitter.

Are you monitoring what's meaningful in your web analytics - something that Avinash Kaushik urges? [I have notes from a session he gave in the Fall to share with you.]

Start exploring the digital world, as Lever's Clift urges, and listening to customers, then worry about whether you have the right metrics available. I may be simplifying, but chances are you may have everything you need. It's just the lack of a social digital framework that prevented you from interpreting it all.

Do you agree?

Related Posts:
+ Lever's CMO Throws Down the Social Media Gauntlet from Media Mash
+ A Practical Twitter Primer
+ Blogs are now mainstream media.

Technorati Tags: Tags:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...