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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Practical Simple Marketing In The News 8/31/10

Practical Simple Marketing In the News
Here are links and resources shared on Twitter and tagged #practicalmktr grouped here together in Practical Simple Marketing In The News.

I'm particularly pleased to be building a reference source for examples of companies, brands and industry segments successfully integrating social media marketing tools into their overall business strategy.

If you come across other examples and articles worth sharing, please do let me know.

If you are interesting in the retail experience, I've been doing something similar on Flooring The Consumer with Retail Experience links #retailexp and the response has been encouraging.

Here goes...

Simple & Practical Marketing Data

    Practical Marketing Advice


    Strategy & Advice:

      Simple Marketing Inspiration

        Brands Being Practical With Social Media

        Here's a link to the first edition of Practical Simple Marketing In the News and the second edition.

        Thank you for reading!


        Image credit: “#PracticalMktr” Wordle by CB Whittemore

        Thursday, August 26, 2010

        Reinventing Bus Travel on MarketingProfs Daily Fix

        Have you read my latest post on the MarketingProfs Daily Fix Blog?  It's titled Reinventing Bus Travel: Clean, Convenient & Connected.

        Before you go and poo-poo the notion of bus travel, I strongly encourage you to consider the reinvented express travel experience that the likes of Vamoose, BoltBus and MegaBus offer.

        They have successfully transformed the downscale bus vibe into a vibrant, clean, convenient and connected experience sought after by connected professionals.

        Whether you yourself choose to experience this reinvented bus travel or not, it offers lessons for reinventing other businesses.

        I'd love to hear your take on the subject.

        By the way, there's a certain irony to my sharing this post with you today as I'm headed down to DC via -you guessed it!- bus.  More specifically, BoltBus.

        Thanks for reading!


        P.S.: For even more extremely reinvented bus travel, read “Straddling” bus–a cheaper, greener and faster alternative to commute from China.

        Tuesday, August 24, 2010

        Press Release: Social Flooring Index Tracks Flooring Social Media Conversations

        For Immediate Release: August 23, 2010

        Social Flooring Index Tracks Flooring Social Media Conversations
        Carpet and Rug Institute Blog ranks most influential

        Kinnelon, NJ - Simple Marketing Now LLC’s latest update to the Social Flooring Index examines the tone and connectivity of social media based conversations in flooring. The Carpet and Rug Institute Blog, established in April 2009, ranks most influential on the Index, which is available on and analyzes the flooring industry’s involvement with social media marketing tools such as Twitter, Facebook and blogs.

        This update of the Social Flooring Index focuses on blogs as the basis for the most meaningful conversations for consumers as they try to make sense of a product as complex as flooring.

        The Social Flooring Index includes 88 blogs up from 53 in April 2010. Highlights include:

        • 18 of 88 those blogs have high and medium influence in the flooring social media community.
        • The Carpet and Rug Institute Blog ranks highest.
        • Conversations are primarily product related with over 65% in the past six months relating to carpet, wood, laminate or flooring. 29% address carpet.
        • 16.5% of conversations discuss design or fashion.
        • Flooring industry blogs are not yet strongly networked.

        “Social media marketing tools – and particularly blogs – offer floor covering companies an effective means for connecting with core customers and establishing trust with them,” says Christine B. Whittemore, chief simplifier of Simple Marketing Now.

        Credibility and trustworthiness in social media marketing tools is built by publishing high quality and customer relevant content consistently over time. Relevance comes from addressing topics, issues and concerns to customers in terms customers understand and relate to. Credibility comes from being transparent, connected [i.e., ‘social’] with others in the flooring community and willing to interact as human beings rather than as impersonal marketers.

        “With consumers becoming more skeptical of marketing claims and overwhelmed with the complexity of the flooring purchase process, it’s critical for flooring organizations to develop credibility and trustworthiness with them before they make a purchase decision. When done correctly, blogs are ideal communication tools for engaging with customers!” adds Whittemore.

        The Social Flooring Index represents a special case of Simple Marketing Now’s Social Ranking Index for business. It provides a direct measurement of flooring industry companies’ use and integration of social media marketing tools into their day to day business. It clearly highlights who is, and who is not, making use of the new tools.

        Whittemore continues to add new flooring resources to the Social Flooring Index which is available by visiting

        For more information about, to suggest additions to the Social Flooring Index and to learn more 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, a marketing communications consultancy, helps organizations integrate social media and content marketing with traditional marketing to better connect with customers and improve business profitability. For more information, visit

        Thursday, August 19, 2010

        Analyzing Social Media With eCairn Conversation

        If you're interested in observing what's possible when you take a really powerful social media marketing solution such as eCairn Conversation to monitor, listen, analyze and engage in blog conversations, I invite you to take a look at my latest post on the Social Flooring Index Blog.

        It's an analysis of flooring industry blogs, their conversations over the last six months and how networked they are.

        Will you let me know what you think?

        And, if you have questions about eCairn, I'll point you in the right direction.

        I think I'm about to have a lot more fun analyzing social media conversations!

        Tuesday, August 17, 2010

        Digital Visibility: The Reason Behind Content Marketing

        Content Marketing before the salesperson calls
        In SEO Primer: Nurturing Your Online Digital Visibility, I touched on the importance of creating the most engaging, relevant, visibly and effective content online. However, I didn't fully explore the reason behind creating content marketing and developing a content strategy that aligns itself with your business objectives and strengthens your digital visibility.

        This McGraw-Hill ad describes the reason perfectly.

        Although more than 50 years old and developed for business publications, it succinctly captures why content marketing matters. As Content Marketing Today explains, it addresses the objections that most of our customers express. More specifically, that they...

        * Don’t know who we are.
        * Don’t know our company.
        * Don't know our company’s product.
        * Don’t know what our company stands for.
        * Don’t know our company’s customers.
        * Don’t know our company’s record.
        * Don’t know our company’s reputation.

        The last line reads: "Now, what was it you wanted to sell me?"

        Rich, relevant content allows us to tell customers who we are and what we are about. We can tell the story behind how we can truly help customers in terms relevant to them. And placing it online where they go for researching products and services means we have a chance of being digitally visible and found online.

        For example, if you are a retailer, your content - on your website, on Facebook, on your blog - allows you to share with potential customers how you got started in your business, why you care so much about your business, how you help your customers, who your employees are, how you are connected to your community... It allows you to address your customers' problems in terms that tells them you are paying attention to them.

        These are rich, relevant stories that help you establish a level of trust that potential customers can believe in [BTW, make sure all of your stories are true or you will be sorry]. These are also living and dynamic stories that you update periodically with new details.  After all, your content marketing cannot be static. You can't just create it, publish it and abandon it for the next 10 years.  You need to keep it alive and fresh.

        Ideally, you're also creating dynamic content via a blog.  Blogs are marvelous tools!  I believe every organization should have one to regularly update how you bring value to potential customers.

        And, all of this BEFORE these customers realize they need you.  Content marketing allows you to start building a meaningful trust-based relationship with customers "before the salesman calls".

        What do you think? How do you build trust with your customers before calling on them? How might you use content marketing to strengthen your digital visibility?

        Image courtesy of Content Marketing Today.

        Thursday, August 12, 2010

        SEO Primer: Nurturing Your Online Digital Visibility

        le Marche - passeggiando in bicicletta

        Being Found Online - aka Digital Visibility - Matters. So, What Do You Do?

        As a result of blogging since 2006, building the Wear-Dated and Simple Marketing Now websites, discovering other markets and industries, and nurturing the process over time, I've been learning about Search Engine Optimization [SEO], and the importance of being found online. I refer to it as digital visibility and I share with you here my SEO primer.

        Now, I'm no SEO expert. I am, though, a fierce practical marketer who wants to understand how all of these digital elements interact so that I can manage my digital assets and create the most engaging, relevant, visibly and effective content online whether for a website, a blog, a press release, LinkedIn or an old-fashioned article.

        [See 10 Tips for Being Found & Connecting With Customers].

        What amazes me, when I start exploring sites including big budget sophisticated-fancy sites, is discovering that they haven't adopted some of these best SEO practices.  I guess they'd rather rely on PPC [pay-per-click] to generate traffic?  Although, wouldn't the PPC be a lot more cost-effective if it were coordinated with better on page SEO?

        Here it is: my practical & simple marketing perspective for improving digital visibility [aka my SEO primer].

        1. Be sure to review each of your website pages, paying attention to your META data.

        Here's how:
        Click on View/Page Source [in FireFox]; View/Source [in Explorer] or right-click/View Page Source [in Chrome].
        Use Crtl-F and type in "Meta". What do you see listed for keywords, title and description?

        If you see nothing, you might want to do something about it.
        If you see something, how unique is the information to each page on your website? How critically relevant to you are the keywords listed? How descriptive in your description?
        If you see every keyword under the sun stuffed in that Meta keyword list, be worried. You will need to prioritize.

        2. Review the content on each of your website pages.

        Does the content on each page address the keywords that are unique to that page?
        Is each page unique and rich with meaningful content?
        Have you included header tags? What about alt tags for photos? Do they include keywords?
        Have you considered the keyword density of your content? Or, how many times do you address your keyword in your content? For the important ones, you'd like to have a density of ~3%.
        Is you content reader friendly? Does it answer your reader's questions?

        3. Pay attention to your keywords.

        I can't say enough about how important your keywords are. They define you. They characterize you. Not only will you use them on your website and to help guide any content you create online, but you'll also use them in the various profiles you create - on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, etc. - so you can enhance your digital visibility.

        Spend time identifying your keywords. The resources listed below offer guidelines.

        4. Static vs. Dynamic Content

        Remember that websites are mostly static.  Blogs, on the other hand, are dynamic [i.e., they update frequently]. Search engines love dynamic, high quality content. Furthermore, the more valuable your content - both on your blog and website - the more likely you will be to attract links from other sources, another important aspect of search engine optimization.

        Several SEO related articles worth referring to:

        SEO Basics
        Google's Search Engine Optimization Starter Guide
        3 SEO Tips for the Ages
        SEO Title Tag Formulas: How To Create High Performance Title Tags
        How to Strengthen a Site via Title Tag Strategies
        How to Find the Right Keywords for Your Content Marketing Efforts
        Added 12/25/10: Links of Note: Metatags 101

        I bet you're learning more about SEO.  What have you found most valuable and effective? Especially for driving business? What other resources would you add to the list?

        Photo Credit
        le Marche - passeggiando in bicicletta originally uploaded by gigi62

        Tuesday, August 10, 2010

        The SIMPLE Marketing Now Framework

        Simple Marketing Now Framework
        Simple and Simplify are mantras for me.  As I sift through details and information, looking to make meaning, I think of them to uncover what matters most and identify the simplest core idea with which to simplify and organize complexity.  For that reason, I created a Simple Marketing Now framework based on 'SIMPLE'.

        I refer to it on my website. I describe it to you here.

        SIMPLE stands for:

        S = scope out the situation.
        I = introspect
        M = make a plan
        P = perform the plan
        L = look at the results
        E = evaluate and re-scope

        More specifically,

        Scope out the situation refers to exploring the marketplace and assessing what I refer to as 'digital visibility': can you be found online?  Who are your customers? What are they looking for? What issues do they have? What are their conversations about? What other options do they have? What are your competitors doing?  What are you doing offline? How do offline and online integrate? This stage is about grounding yourself in what truly matters to your customers and listening to them. Because, if you want to connect with your customers, you want to understand their world and engage them in conversation as Lisa Petrilli explains in Why You Must Rethink Your Marketing.  The truth resides in the marketplace, not in our organization, not in our products, but rather with potential users. The more attention we pay to them, the better the insights and the greater the opportunity to successfully connect.

        Introspect is how I characterize the analysis stage. Given the insights I've gathered while scoping out the situation, how does what I do add value to potential customers in my marketplace? What do I stand for? How do my strengths match up with the needs I've identified? What about my weaknesses and potential threats? How might I deal with those? How committed am I to customers? Simplifying plays an important role at this stage. So does honesty.

        Make a plan addresses the need to develop objectives, goals, strategies and tactics that address the needs observed in the marketplace.  A plan takes into account what content you will need to create for which medium and how best to integrate your online and offline activities. It also identifies who does what when and how, what you plan to measure so you can determine whether you have met your goals.  It identifies a budget. Keep the plan simple and make it actionable. [You might also check out Minimalist Marketing: How a Marketing Plan Keeps Things Simple and Increases Your Profits.]

        Perform the plan is just that, put into action the elements of the plan you have developed. Make sure you pay attention to details.

        Look at results at regular intervals, both short-term and long-term.  What patterns emerge? Any surprises?

        Evaluate and re-scope. Tweak, improve and add more relevance as you gain additional context and perspective so you can start the process over again.

        Note how I group them together: Scope out and Introspect; Make a plan and Perform a plan; Look at results and Evaluate/Re-scope.

        SIMPLE, right?

        What do you think of the SIMPLE Marketing Now Framework? What would you add to it?

        Thursday, August 5, 2010

        Brad Jobling On Social Media and Columbia Department of Surgery

        Social Media For Business & Entrepreneurship, the panel discussion that Columbia Business School of Alumni Club of New York organized on 6/16/10, meant that I got to meet Brad Jobling, Social Media Manager, Columbia University Department of Surgery, Office of External Affairs, and a fellow graduate from Columbia Business School.

        I recently caught up with Brad by phone and in person to learn more about his role and how the Columbia Department of Surgery has embraced social media.

        CB: Brad, tell me about how you became involved with social media.

        Brad: I graduated from Columbia Business School in 1995 and have worked within the Columbia web group for the past 4-5 years. I've always loved the community aspect of the Internet, but didn't have much to do with it professionally. However, I got involved interacting via social networks as a result of genealogy work I was doing. I started tracking my family name "Jobling" and following people from different parts of England. In the process, I began to get a feel for cultural differences between different parts of England and between the US and England.  It's not that serious a project, but I've learned a lot from the experience.

        CB: How does the Columbia Department of Surgery fit in?

        Brad: About a year ago I took on the role of social media manager for Columbia University's Department of Surgery. The department was looking to experiment and explore with social media and brought me onboard.

        My boss' boss is Dr. Mehmet Oz who thought that getting involved in social media would be good for the department of surgery.  He's translating what he's learning in show biz to help communicate what we do. We got started with a Facebook Fan Page - see Columbia University Department of Surgery.

        Now, Columbia is interesting.  Unlike the Mayo Clinic and Cleveland - both of which have just one webpage or Facebook profile for their organizations - Columbia has many.  It's just a more decentralized organization.

        CB: How does the Columbia Department of Surgery use social media?

        Brad: We use Facebook and Twitter for events and for CMEs [Continuing Medical Education].

        The first event I got involved in was the Purple Stride Walk for the Pancreas Center of New York Presbyterian and Columbia University. The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network had a similar inaugural walk with another hospital in Long Island and raised only $10k.  Columbia held their first walk during which I tweeted and retweeted about it and the event ended up raising $315K. Pretty impressive!

        Another project was the Women of Color Breast Cancer Awareness event that's held to help educate and support women who have, or who care for someone, with breast cancer.  Simply by promoting the event via social networks, taking the information brochures and tweeting or adding Facebook updates based on the brochure, we increased awareness. In between informational and educational updates, I would add a "btw, come to the event" message. Very effective.

        At first we simply focused on getting the word out sending information out to a daily schedule ramping up to events. Now, we're analyzing how to do it better and actually connect with communities. We've definitely noticed an increase in website traffic.

        Four people in the Columbia University Department of Surgery Office of External Affairs do events. Another four of us work in roles to support the events team, provide marketing services and interact with the our patient community.

        As far as content goes, we used to distribute a paper newsletter.  I have found those to be a goldmine for valuable content that I redistribute via social channels which I consider a distribution mechanism with nuances.

        I've recently created a blog for the Columbia Department of Surgery to hold our content, be a repository for the the stories we tell on Facebook and Twitter.

        CB: How important or relevant do you consider tools like Twitter and Facebook to the medical community?

        Brad: I consider Twitter to be the ultimate executive summary. It's a really convenient way to see what's happening.

        I'm finding, too, that we are actually reaching doctors with Twitter. After the CBSAC/NY social media event, I met with Lawrence Sherman and we discussed the matter. He confirmed that tech-savvy and younger doctors are beginning to read and educate themselves via Twitter.  This could be a growing trend.

        At the same time, I'm still figuring out where the doctor communities are. There are plenty of patient support websites and communities developing to help patients better understand what is happening to them and makes sense of clinical trials. These communities generally take a do-it-yourself attitude given the various liability and fear factors encountered.

        I'm working closely with NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.  They are watching what we are doing to see what works in social media for healthcare. There's a great deal of innovation and experimentation taking place and we're looking at this collaboratively. At the same time, we have to figure out how all of this affects referrals. That's the ultimate question.

        CB: You mentioned that you spoke at a health care conference. Tell me more.

        Brad: Yes.The Strategic Social Media for Healthcare conference. It took place July 26 through 28, 2010. I participated in two sessions: a formal presentation titled "Beyond Ad Hoc. Creating a Crystal Clear, Well-Structured Engagement Strategy: What Works. What Doesn't."  I also took part in an ESPN-style, "Pardon The Interruption" session on Headlines and Hot Topics in social media in health care.

        CB:  I bet they were both extremely successful! Congratulations and thanks for discussing Social Media and the Columbia Department of Surgery with us. It's really exciting to witness the kind of engagement you are generating as you help people better understand their health.

        To reach Brad Jobling by email:
        Follow him on Twitter: @bradjobling
        Read his blog Curiously Social

        Tuesday, August 3, 2010

        Practical Simple Marketing In The News II

        Practical Simple Marketing In the News
        I've been accumulating a few more links and resources for you tagged #practicalmktr in Twitter and grouped here together in Practical Simple Marketing In The News.

        I'd love to get your reactions to the links and to the format. I've been doing something similar on Flooring The Consumer about Retail Experience links #retailexp and the response has been encouraging.

        Here goes...

        Simple & Practical Marketing Data

        Telling stories w/ statistics: gd, bad, ugly fr @FloorCoveringIn What's yr favorite? doesn't have tb re: #flooring

        The implications of social networks as ~sovereign states? Fr the Economist #practicalmktr

          Practical Marketing Advice

          What a concept! A useful website Home Page that's relevant to visitors #practicalmktr

          Five steps to follow to achieve an integrated social strategy #practicalmktr

          RT @bgindra: My guest post on @jaybaer's blog today - Protecting Yourself From Social Media Lawsuits. #bgsd #caprsa

          7 Secrets of Running a Wildly Popular Blog - terrific #practicalmktr advice from @copyblogger 

          Fabulous 21 social lessons from @dberkowitz that you will be sure to benefit from at your next event! #practicalmktr

          Truly 20 fantastic content ideas for yr online community fr @richmillington #practicalmktr

            Practical Marketing PR Advice:

            Blog commenting for PR: dos & dont's - terrific #practicalmktr advice

            Pitching the perfect pitch to bloggers: Awesome #practicalmktr advice

              Practical Marketing Small Business Advice:

              Love reading about #practicalmktr small businesses using Twitter, Facebook & social media 2 promote themselves

              Practical doable PR tips for small business defnite #practicalmktr material! 

                Practical Marketing Facebook Advice:

                Engaged in e-commerce? Consider Facebook apps 2 sell yr products fr @PChaney PracticaleCommerce #practicalmktr

                How to win at Facebook in 3 weeks. Talk about #practicalmktr - wow!

                7 ways to win friends & influence others on facebook #practicalmktr advice 

                  Simple Marketing Inspiration

                  Brands Being Practical With Social Media

                  Here's a link to the first edition of Practical Simple Marketing In the News.

                  Thank you for reading!


                  Image credit: “#PracticalMktr” Wordle by CB Whittemore
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