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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Floor Covering Institute Blog - Posts Published

Floor Covering Institute BlogIt's been a year since I became a member of the Floor Covering Institute [see Whittemore Joins Floor Covering Institute] in April 2009. Since then, the Floor Covering Institute has established its own blog to which I contribute.

Below are links to the blog posts I've written to date. As I publish additional stories, I will add them to this listing.

Meet Christine B. Whittemore, Social Media Marketer & Customer Enthusiast - published 9/24/2009

Flooring Industry Wake Up Call Sets Stage For Insights - published 10/29/2009

Flooring Retailers, Are You Evolving Your Digital Retail Experience? - published 11/17/2009

Sources of Flooring Inspiration & Innovation - published 12/15/1009

The China Series:

China Has Awakened. Are You Ready? - published 1/12/2010
Understanding Opportunities in China - published 2/18/2010
Flooring, China & Social Media - published 4/27/10

The New Consumer Frugality and Flooring - published 6/22/10

Floor Covering's New World Order Online - published 9/21/10

Education at Surfaces/StonExpo 2011 - published 1/11/11

Online Conversations Evolve on Floor Covering Institute Blog - published 5/11/11

Getting Started With Social Media: Floor Covering Institute Blog - published 7/12/11

If you'd like to learn more about my fellow Floor Covering Institute members, here are links to interviews published so far on Flooring The Consumer:
or simply visit the Floor Covering Institute Blog!

Thanks for reading.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Interview Archives - 2009

Simple Marketing NowI'm overdue on some website housekeeping. More specifically, on Interview Archives for 2009. That's why below you will find links to Simple Marketing Now LLC's 2009 Interviews.

Many thanks to my interviewers for these opportunities!
You can find a list of my most current interviews on Simple Marketing Now's News page.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Simple Earth Day 2010 Reminders

Earth Day 2010Happy Earth Day 2010!

This is a particularly momentous Earth Day - number 40 to be precise. If your community is like mine, you have all kinds of activities and celebrations taking place in honor of Earth Day.

For me, Earth Day is a reminder.

To stop and appreciate the world around me... the burgeoning trees, the riot of colors, the warmth of the sun.

To be grateful for all that I have.

To focus on what's simple.

As it relates to simple, I love what Zappos' Alfred Lin says in Building a Brand That Matters, One Employee at a Time: The Zappos Story:

In this environment, Lin said, retailers need to focus on the “simple” things, like providing good customer service and a consistent shopping experience. “We sometimes do the complicated things very well, but we don’t always do simple things well,” he said. “This is a time to focus on what works.”

Shari Boyer in Getting Back To Our Roots This Earth Month also addresses simplicity in the context of Earth Day [or month].

She writes: "This Earth Month, many companies are giving a nod to the simple lessons inherited from our ancestors who had such an influence on public grounds and keeping them in mind when practicing the marketing principles of today. Lessons of simplicity [i.e., scaled back and pared back], value [i.e., more than just a good price, the new value mindset combines frugality with an emotional connection] and doing good for the community always have a place in environmental programs and even more so now with the post-recession consumer."

Focusing on the environment we live in - air, water, natural resources - doesn't get much more basic to existence. Good, then, to appreciate it all and remember to do the simple things well.

What do you think of as you celebrate Earth Day? What simple reminders come to mind?

Image courtesy of GovGab's Earth Day and Going Green.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Press Release: Whittemore Addresses The Luxury Marketing Council Orlando

For Immediate Release: April 20, 2010

Developing Community and Delivering Wow! Matter More Than Ever

Kinnelon, NJ – Christine B. Whittemore, chief simplifier of Simple Marketing Now LLC, will address the customer experience and marketing to women in “Flooring The Consumer: Developing Community and Delivering Wow!” at the April 28th, 2010 meeting of the Central Florida Chapter of The Luxury Marketing Council which takes place at the Grand Bohemian Hotel in Orlando, FL.

Whittemore’s presentation - Flooring The Luxury Consumer: Developing Community and Delivering Wow! – will explore today’s consumer marketplace where women call the shots and have high expectations for service and trustworthiness. “In an environment where women make or influence over 80% of purchase decisions and customers across the board are rethinking relationships with brands, products and services, it has become even more important to deliver Wow! experiences and develop meaningful community," says Whittemore.

Seat-holders in The Luxury Marketing Council are the most highly esteemed brands and executives in the world. They understand that it is essential to continuously innovate to elevate their level of service. Along with the highest quality, serving the customer is the platform for all luxury products,” says Christopher P. Ramey, chairman of The Luxury Marketing Council Florida and president of Affluent Insights. “Christine’s presentation will surely expand our understanding of the global nature of service and experience for the affluent.

Whittemore is the author of Flooring The Consumer – a highly acclaimed weblog about the customer retail experience and marketing to women and an AdAge Power 150 Marketing Blog. She also writes the Simple Marketing Blog, a Junta42 Top 42 Content Marketing Blog.

To attend the April 28th Orlando meeting of The Luxury Marketing Council - or for more information about The Luxury Marketing Council - contact Victoria Cerrone at 407.758.3539.

For information about Simple Marketing Now, visit Or, simply contact Whittemore at

# # #

About Simple Marketing Now LLC
Simple Marketing Now is a marketing communications consultancy that provides organizations with the right combination of traditional marketing and social media marketing to improve the customer experience and build brand.

For more information, visit

About The Luxury Marketing Council
The Luxury Marketing Council is a unique and prestigious Think Tank and forum for senior executives and entrepreneurs who market to the affluent.

Each month The Council presents the world's most knowledgeable experts in over 20 major cities around the world including Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, New York, London, Los Angeles and Dubai. Our library of research has no peer and our focus is concise; market trends, critical issues, collaborations, recognition and intelligence for those who market to the affluent. Every day The Council creates unique collaborations and partnerships for our seat-holders.

For more information, visit

Monday, April 19, 2010

10 Tips For Being Found & Connecting With Customers

MP Daily Fix: 10 Tips For Being Found & Connecting With CustomersCheck out my latest MarketingProfs Daily Fix article! It's titled 10 Tips For Being Found & Connecting With Customers.

Be sure to read through the comments, too, where the discussion continues with comments from Jeanne Bliss, Mike Klassen, Shelley Ryan, Kevin Horne and Harry Hallman...

Do you have tips to add to the list? Ones that you have found particularly effective for being found online and connecting with customers?

What have you found most beneficial when you integrate your online and offline activities?

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

Added 4/19/10 pm: Thank you, David S. Finch, for including this article in Weekend Reader: April 18 Edition!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Press Release: Whittemore Addresses Social Media Marketing at Coverings 2010

For immediate release: April 15, 2010

Education Session Offers Integrated Marketing Advice to Benefit Retailers

Kinnelon, NJ – Christine B. Whittemore, chief simplifier of Simple Marketing Now LLC, will address integrating social media marketing into traditional marketing during Marketing In a Recession 101, an educational session offered during Coverings 2010, the premier international trade fair and expo dedicated exclusively to showcasing the newest in ceramic tile and natural stone. It takes place April 27 through 30th, 2010, at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, FL..

Marketing In a Recession 101 takes place Friday, April 30th, 2010 from 8:30am to 11:30am. Christine joins Scott Perron of Big Bob's of America and Paul Friederichsen from Brand Biz, Inc. in a marketing 'how to' session during which they help a fictitious retailer solve problems and apply marketing tools. Retailers attending will learn how to make the most of available marketing dollars in a down economy, including how to use social marketing to connect with customers in new and meaningful ways

“Many Coverings attendees have questions about gaining a competitive edge given today’s environment,” says Whittemore. “Our workshop will help answer those questions. We’ve created a real-world framework so attendees can see marketing that integrates branding, advertising & promotion and social media marketing in action and be in a position to apply what they learn to their business.”

The 3-part, 3-hour workshop takes participants through today’s business, branding and marketing issues, and offers real solutions for making marketing efforts and dollars work harder in today’s economy. Part I: Branding Basics – foundational to everything – from identity to positioning in the marketplace. Part II: Advertising & Promotion – sure fire strategies and tactics to use. Part III: Social Media – the hottest way to communicate and bond with customers.

Coverings educational sessions are available to attendees free of charge. For information about Coverings 2010, visit

For information about Simple Marketing Now, visit Or, simply contact Whittemore at

# # #

About Simple Marketing Now LLC
Simple Marketing Now is a marketing communications consultancy that provides organizations with the right combination of traditional marketing and social media marketing to improve the customer experience and build brand. Simple Marketing Now issues the Social Flooring Index which monitors the social state of the Flooring Industry. For more information, visit

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Simple Marketing Blog: Junta42 Top 42 Blog!

Junta42 Top Content Marketing BlogsIntense simple delight! Simple Marketing Blog is a Junta42 Top 42 Content Marketing Blog! That means being included with the best and most substantial marketing blog resources around. What an honor!

To put content marketing into perspective, you might want to revisit my post about Joe Pulizzi on Content Marketing. As Joe says, "we are content marketing publishers."

I proudly share with you the list of Top 42 Content Marketing Blogs and encourage you to visit each. First, in case you have specific questions about the Junta42 Top 42 Content Marketing Blogs, here is more information.

What is the Junta42 Top 42 Content Marketing Blog List?

Here's the official description: "The Junta42 Top 42 Content Marketing Blogs list highlights the best bloggers on the web discussing content marketing. Each blog on the list has been rated by our expert staff in terms of content strength, depth, regularity and, to a very small extent, popularity."

How does Junta42 calculate the Junta42 Top 42?

As Junta42 explains, "Content marketing is all about the creation of great, story-form content (delivered through any channel) that ultimately influences someone to buy your product, take an action, or believe in a cause."

Junta42 started tracking content marketing related blogs in 2007 with an initial 81 blogs. This list has definitely grown! For this latest ranking, Junta42 began with a list of over 350 blogs through nominations and known content marketing-related blogs and then rated each on the following factors, with a bias toward substance and relationship to content marketing:

1. The number of posts in last quarter that pertained to a content marketing topic.

2. Substantiveness of Posts.

3. Google PageRank. (All blogs were checked on the same day.)

4. Previous Ranking.

And, now....

The Junta42 Top 42 Content Marketing Blogs for April 2010

Rank --- Blog Name --- Focus

1 Convince and Convert Social Media

2 Conversation Agent Marketing - General

3 Online Marketing Blog Search Engine Marketing

4 Web Ink Now Content Marketing

5 Writing on the Web Content Marketing

6 Inbound Internet Marketing Blog Internet

7 Direct Marketing Observations Direct Marketing

8 Connected Marketer Marketing - General

9 Marketing Interactions Content Marketing

10 The Lunch Pail Direct Digital Marketing

11 White Paper Pundit White Papers

12 Marketing with Meaning Marketing - General

13 IdeaLaunch Content Marketing

14 PR 2.0 Social Media/Public Relations

15 ContentMarketingToday Content Marketing

16 Influential Marketing Blog Marketing - General

17 Moola Days Online Marketing [get badge]

18 Buzz Marketing for Technology Social Media

19 Rexblog Content Marketing

20 eMedia Vitals Online Media

21 PR 20/20 Public Relations/SEO

22 Sparksheet Content Marketing

23 Pamorama Social Media

24 B2B Bloggers B2B Marketing

25 Brain Traffic Web Content Strategy

26 Copyblogger CopyWriting - Blogs/Blogging

27 Web Strategy by Jeremiah Social Media

28 ConverStations Blogs/Blogging

29 Simple Marketing Blog Social Media Marketing <--

30 Conversation Marketing Internet

31 Ducttape Marketing Marketing - General

32 Post Advertising Content Marketing

33 Hard Knox Life Marketing - General

34 Social Media Examiner Social Media

35 TippingPoint Labs Social Media

36 Writing White Papers CopyWriting

37 Proactive Public Relations

38 SEOptimize Search Marketing &SEO

39 FASTforward Blog Social Media

40 Social Media Explorer Social Media

41 AriWriter Internet Marketing

42 jaffe juice Marketing - General

Thank you, Junta42! I am honored to be in such company. Congratulations to my fellow Junta42 Top Content Marketing Bloggers!

Monday, April 12, 2010

How Do I Deal With Negative Comments?

How Do I?

So, what about Negative Comments? How Do I deal with them?

A question that comes up frequently during social media discussions is "what about negative comments?"

Not a big surprise when the perception is that, by allowing comments, feedback, ratings & interaction, you open the floodgates and will be sure to drown in negative feedback...

Now, although negative comments happen, they happen less frequently than you think. And, when they do, they aren't necessarily all bad.

You see, your willingness to consider different perspectives makes your social presence and content much more believable. Furthermore, showing acceptance of different opinions communicates that you are open to constructive exchanges.

Consider these two perspectives on negative comments:

The Positive Side of Negative Product Reviews reports that "...web sites with negative reviews have higher conversions than web sites without them." Furthermore, negative feedback can help guide product development and "using those negative reviews shows your customers your listening, and it helps you to create better consumer products and better marketing messages."

8 reasons why negative comments are good for your blog lists the following:
+ You can be wrong. + Criticized posts are... popular posts. + Negative comments on your blog show that you respect your readers and their thoughts. + Negative comments can create a debate. + Negative comments don't devalue your blog. + Negative comments are... content. + Only the unknown aren't criticized.

[My most negative comment "Sorry Pumpkin" turned into a very popular post about LabCorp and Customer Service.]

During a recent presentation [see Urban Outfitters: Be Where Your Customers Are], Urban Outfitters made the point that people are already talking about you. Wouldn't you rather hear what they are saying and have a chance to participate in that conversation? You might actually learn from the experience and improve your business or offering. After all, those conversations are the equivalent of research sessions with your most passionate customers...

At the heart of social media is a willingness to enter into conversation and exchange perspectives with customers, readers, fans and followers [see Three Years of Social Media - Lessons Learned.] Done with respect, there's more to gain than lose.

That said, it's critically important to set guidelines and establish policies so you are ready to respond and able to do so consistently and respectfully. [See How Do I Start With Social Media Guidelines?] Policies help you determine what customers can expect from you in your responses and what you expect from customers in how they provide you with feedback.

Urban Outfitters reminded us that their social channels are no different from their other customer channels. They have processes in place to deal with complaints and returns regardless of the venue. They are also committed to listening, acknowledging and interacting with the customers, fans, followers and readers who form their community.

Nonetheless, there have been plenty of ugly stories in the news about negative comments. Many are downright scary and highlight how quickly conversation tone can change, something CoPilot Live's Devon Valenti discovered. Several recent fiascos inspired these next few articles which include lessons and suggestions to take into consideration as you become immersed in digital social interaction

5 Lessons from Social Media PR Disasters suggests:
1. Not getting defensive [as Nestle did].
2. Closely watching social networks for complaints as Southwest did in February 2010 when Kevin Smith tweeted his complaints.
3. Using common sense when interacting with your customers [e.g, Toyota Matrix's 'Your Other You' with prank stalking].
4. 'Be vigilant of how how employees use social media' inspired by the 2009 Domino YouTube.
5. Being sure not to insult a cohesive community [e.g., Motrin Moms]

In CRISIS PLANNING: Prepare Your Company For Social Media Attacks Jeremiah Owyang discusses more extreme organized social attacks and how to be prepared. He mentions needing to have a community strategy, delegating interaction with the community to a seasoned professional - rather than a newbie or intern - to closely monitor and interact with members.

If you remember in HIMSS, Social Media & Healthcare IT Community, HIMSS actively manages its LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter communities.

I like this article on Seven Ways Hospitals Can Address Facebook Criticism by Jenn Riggle. In addition to having a social media policy, Jenn recommends transparency, a disclaimer policy, monitoring the conversations, being quick and concise, deleting inappropriate comments [to that I add, as it relates to blogs, be sure to moderate comments especially given how spam has grown], turn negative comments into "teaching moments", but at the same time be ready to take a conversation offline for resolution.

Defeating the Dark Side of Social Networking emphasizes how important it is to pay attention to what's being said online and to respond quickly.

AdAge in Can One Bad Tweet Taint Your Brand Forever? [registration required] urges not necessarily responding to every criticism. Better to consider the following factors before taking action:
- How credible is the source?
- How influential is the forum?
- How common is the complaint likely to be?
- How serious is the complaint?
- How likely is my response to make things worse?
- How important is my issue to my brand's consumers?

Tap the Power of Customer Feedback by Carolyn Hall reminds us how much business value we can gain from customer insights. What better way is there than through social media tools to connect with potential and actual customers and obtain feedback on products and services - even if the feedback is negative!

Better, then, to have a presence on social sites rather than ignore them so you can explore, experiment, listen, engage and be ready. Better to build you customer community gradually and consistently over time so you truly develop meaningful relationships with members. And, then, if you do launch a social campaign that isn't quite as successful as you hoped or that gets out of control, your community can help keep your message relevant.

Do you agree? How do you deal with negative comments? Do you have a policy in place? How have you integrated your off and online presence so both are consistent?

Image credit: Wordle How Do I" by C.B. Whittemore

Friday, April 9, 2010

Simple Pleasures: 3/12 through 4/8/10

Full Moon With Clouds, Simple PleasuresHave you been taking seriously the pursuit of Simple Pleasures?

I got side-tracked trying to catch up from the holiday weekend. I'm hopeful that sharing three weeks of #simplepleasures tweets with you with get me refocused.

Here is the transcript of Twitter updates that refer to #simplepleasures for the period 3/12 through 4/8/2010. The process of reading through these updates is in itself a simple pleasure, capturing marvelous simple moments and images that bring pleasure.

They refocus me. Is it the same for you?

Which is your favorite?

My latest #simplepleasures update didn't make it onto the transcript:

CBWhittemore: Intense sunshine this week means skunk cabbage now looks like leafy green shag carpet & forsythia = pure sunshine. #simplepleasures

What are your simple pleasures for today and the weekend?

Note: the photo above is of a full moon with clouds. I love seeing the moon. Although the photo doesn't do it justice, this one was particularly lovely.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

C.B. Whittemore in New Yorker's Talk of The Town

The New YorkerHow simply divine!

I'm quoted in The New Yorker's 4/5/10 issue of The Talk of The Town!

The article is about carpet and more specifically 'psychedelic' Casino carpet as interpreted by New York-based photographer named Chris Maluszynski. It is titled At The Casino FLOORSCAPES and includes a companion slideshow on The Carpets of Vegas.

I include more detail on the article and the conversation with author Lauren Collins in The Carpets of Vegas: Floorscapes at the Casino on The Carpetology Blog - which is how Lauren found me...

Thanks, Lauren!

And, thanks Rich Nadworny for your Tweet about the New Yorker!
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