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Friday, October 29, 2010

Finding the Right Keywords: Bathroom Blogfest 2010

Bathroom Blogfest 2010
Would you agree that success in business nowadays has a lot to do with choosing the right words?  Keywords and phrases help define us in our minds as well as the minds of our customers.  If our words don't match up with their words, we're doomed. Think 'commode' vs. 'toilet' as we discovered last year during Bathroom Blogfest.

Online Plumbing Evangelist Allan Dick in Talking with Vintage Tub & Bath CMO Allan Dick explains that selling online also benefits off-line stores. I suggest that the same is true for any business. If you can't be found online, you don't exist.

What, then, is the solution for being found?

Find the right keywords! Describe yourself and your expertise succinctly, using terms relevant to your audience. Be sure to include those terms on your website in your content and elsewhere online where you describe yourself and your company [e.g., your LinkedIn profile].

[See In Search of Traffic which quotes Dick.]

Dick recommends that retailers "go deep into a market. The big boys almost always go wide. You can then beat them on services and knowledge in your specific market."  I suggest that this is true for most small to medium businesses

Once you've identified the right keywords, be constantly on the lookout for information about how your visitors find you online. Validate and pressure-check your words. Be ready to mine your web analytics reports for additional ideas for relevant content. [See How to Find Content Ideas in Your Web Analytics Report from Content Marketing Institute.] This allows you to go even deeper!

By the way, Online Plumbing Evangelist's most memorable bathrooms are those at the Hearst Castle in California and in rural Italian train stations - obviously for different reasons!

You should also consider social media marketing where, not only will the right keywords help you to strengthen your presence and be found online, but you'll also be able to go deep and establish yourself undeniably as an expert in your category.

To quote Mitch Joel from Six Pixels of Separation in Is Social Media Right For Every Business?:

"What if you sell toilet paper? Are Social Media still right for your business? Charmin released an iPhone app called, Sit or Squat, which allows you to locate, rate, comment on and even add the whereabouts of a clean public toilet. The feature-rich application also allows you to narrow your search to bathrooms that have a baby-changing station (as one of many examples). This crowd-sourced initiative has been downloaded millions of times and - as someone who travels as frequently as I do - has a special place on the first home page of my iPhone. Charmin is enabling and empowering people like you and me to share with the intent of having a better bathroom experience (with the hope you'll consider buying Charmin toilet paper as you make your way through your grocer's aisle). If Charmin can make toilet paper social, what's got you all blocked up?"

By the way, Vintage Tub publishes the Daily Tubber Blog.

Ready to start finding the right keywords? Let me know what you come up with.

Happy Bathroom Blogfest 2010!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Engaging Content Marketing Examples: Bathroom Blogfest 2010

Engaging Content Marketing Examples: Bathroom Blogfest 2010
We've reached the end of the Content Marketing Institute series on content engagement.  The last post - 13 Examples of Content that Engages - describes examples of engaging content and highlights what makes them engaging.  I can't imagine better timing than Bathroom Blogfest 2010 for this post and my example!

Previous posts in the series on content engagement include: 

What Does Engaging Content Mean to You?
10 Ways to Make Content More Engaging
Which Tools Help You Measure Content Engagement
How To Measure Engagement.

The following prominent content marketers contributed 13 examples of engaging content marketing: 

Doug Kessler (@dougkessler)
Sarah Mitchell (@globalcopywrite)
Elizabeth Sosnow (@elizabethsosnow)
Stephanie Tilton (@stephanietilton)
CB Whittemore (@cbwhittemore)

Here is my contribution which celebrates Bathroom Blogfest 2010:
The example I’d like to share with you is taking place this very week, from October 25 through 29. It’s called the Bathroom Blogfest and it has been going on since 2006. I consider it an example of engaging content because it creates conversation both online and offline regardless of industry or area of expertise. This year’s event brings together 33 bloggers writing 41 blogs from the US, Canada, the UK and India to address the Mad Men-inspired theme ‘Stuck in the 60s?’ that calls attention to improving the experience of spaces like bathrooms that tend to be overlooked, ignored or otherwise not accorded the attention they should receive.

The fascinating aspect of the Bathroom Blogfest is that the bloggers participating come from a wide range of industries and interests. They are experts in marketing, customer experience and service, public relations, library sciences, museums, home and interior design, life, retail, flooring, user experience and healthcare IT/RTLS and each blogger addresses the same subject from a radically different perspective. They are all experts in creating content relevant to their audiences.

The learnings are real as they all focus on improving the user experience. The content engages because it addresses a universal reality: that we all need bathrooms. Furthermore, we have all experienced situations ‘stuck in the 60s’ that need re-evaluation.

I bet you’re intrigued and considering exploring situations you’ve encountered that are ‘stuck in the 60s’ during the yearly Bathroom Blogfest. It’s worth creating conversation to figure out ways to improve upon them.

Be part of Bathroom Blogfest 2010; use it as a means to connect with your audience to improve their experience. Read the press release; immerse yourself in UX, Bathrooms, and Mad Men. Follow the Bathroom Blogfest on Twitter @BathroomBlogfes where you can look for #BathroomEXP. Become a fan on Facebook and visit the Bathroom Blogfest Blog where you can read through the content from past Bathroom Blogfests.

Disclaimer: I am the Chief Organization & Inspiration Officer for the Bathroom Blogfest.
The range of examples is fascinating and inspiring so do be sure to read the original post.  Once you've done that, I'd love to hear about examples you've come across that you consider engaging content marketing.

Happy Bathroom Blogfest 2010!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Real-Time Marketing & Bathroom Blogfest 2010

Real-Time Marketing & Bathroom Blogfest 2010
Having listened to David Meerman Scott discuss Real-time Marketing, I can't help but appreciate that Bathroom Blogfest 2010's Mad Men inspired theme 'Stuck in the 60s?' represents real-time marketing.

Would you agree?

David's latest book titled Real-Time Marketing and PR: How to Instantly Engage Your Market, Connect with Customers, and Create Products that Grow Your Business Now is due out in November 2010 and he has started to build conversation on the subject.  [You can download the prologue and Chapter 1 of Real-Time Marketing here.]

After all, the best way to get attention for your brand is to connect with something happening in real-time as Wynn Las Vegas did in banning Paris Hilton after her arrest.  Or which offers information on real-time surfing conditions around the world for 1.5 million users...

[By the way, real-time marketing has me thinking about other real-time based services such as RTLS - real time location solutions - for hospitals where what is happening in the moment has significant implications.  Check out fellow Bathroom Blogfester Valerie Fritz' posts on Customer Experience in Hospitals: Why Bathrooms Matter! and Hospitals, RTLS and Bathrooms...]

According to David Meerman-Scott, "Real-time is a mindset." Companies that adopt a real-time mindset are poised to benefit. Take news organizations that have embraced real-time: TMZ, Politico, Huffington Post.

Few companies operate effectively in the present. They typically draw from the past and plan far into the future, leaving the now - i.e., real-time - completely ignored.

Real-time marketing offers significant value for:

Connecting with customers. E.g., hashtags provide access to the back channel on Twitter. Sit/Squat is not only a smartphone app, but it encourages crowd-sourcing.

Creating products. E.g., the Dead sell concert CDs available as you leave the show. They even have an iPhone app [for 2009 concert season].  In the book business, eBooks allow authors to create content in real-time.

Listening to the Market. E.g., Paul Dunay at Avaya does so.

Tapping the Crowd. E.g., Kodak asked customers to help name a new waterproof videocamera.

Engaging the Media.  E.g., working with the media when it is interested. Consider leaving comments on relevant WSJonline [or other] posts and pinging the reporter when you have relevant information to share so you are noticed.

Managing Crises.  E.g., Drudge Report article on a $1.4m airforce hangar door. By responding in real-time, an Air Force Captain was able to upload a picture of the door in question and demonstrate why it cost so much, addressed concerns in a blogpost and turned the story into a non-event in an hour [see Clark Lane: DM Scott says "Lose Control of Your Marketing".]

Other real-time examples that David Meerman Scott brought up:

Here are two examples I came across that bring to life Real-Time Marketing:

From Social Times, True Blood, Mad Men and 30 Rock - 10 Hilarious Sesame Street Videos on YouTube
and from Tonic, Twitter Me Elmo: "Sesame Street" Schools Social Media.

Does it get much better than this? Let me know.

Happy Bathroom Blogfest 2010!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mad Men as Conversation Generator: Bathroom Blogfest 2010

Bathroom Blogfest 2010
Susan Abbott from Customer Experience Crossroads - creator of the Bathroom Blogfest 2010 logo - is responsible for getting me thinking about Mad Men and realizing what a conversation generator the show has become.

Her July post MadMen shows us a stratified society: things HAVE changed had me thinking about society, culture, business, the work environment.  It inspired the theme for Bathroom Blogfest 2010. After reading Susan's post, I realized that I was missing out on a profound cultural phenomenon - somewhat like the Sopranos, but even more universal since mobsters from New Jersey have limited appeal. 

I have a confession: I haven't watched much of Mad Men. For that matter, I haven't watched much TV lately. The timing is bad; it conflicts with my daughter's bedtime; it distracts from my most productive writing time. I did manage to watch 20 minutes worth but realized I wouldn't be watching much more. To compensate, I read Mad Men Unbuttoned: A Romp Through 1960s America and have been paying closer attention to the Mad Men phenomenon, uncovering in the process a multitude of conversations that span many worlds - from PR, to leadership, fashion, social behaviors and even Sesame Street!

Here are a few examples:
I wondered about conversation patterns generated by Mad Men interest. Here's what I discovered.

The chart below captures conversations from my social media marketing database during the past 6 months that refer to Mad Men. Notice the spike when the season started and the sustained level of conversation generated since.

Mad Men generate social media marketing conversation
Contrast that with approximately the same number of conversations from my retail experience database for the same six month timeframe. Notice how the conversations ramps up more gently at season launch and get more intense by season ending.

Mad Men generate retail experience conversation
Mad Men generate conversations!

Finally, to highlight what a cultural phenomenon Mad Men has become, check out the Sesame Street version:
[Subscribers, click on this YouTube link for Sesame Street's Mad Men.]

What's your take on Mad Men? Have you found signs of it wherever you go? Does it generate conversation? I'd love to hear.

Happy Bathroom Blogfest 2010!

Note: charts generated through eCairn Conversation.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bathroom Blogfest 2010 Begins.

Bathroom Blogfest 2010 Begins.
You've seen the press release about Bathroom Blogfest 2010.  I'm here to confirm that Bathroom Blogfest 2010 has begun!

I'm also here to share with you what I have planned for the week:

On Flooring The Consumer:  I'll be examining how Water Matters, exploring ads and activities related to Bathrooms from the bathroom brands, and addressing bathrooms and the retail experience.

On Simple Marketing Blog, I'll touch on Don Draper from Mad Men fame, share with you the last segment from Content Marketing Institute's engagement series, discuss real-time marketing and even touch on SEO. All with a BathroomEXP angle.

On Carpetology Blog, I'll share with you February 2010 bathroom experiences from Surfaces and Las Vegas.

On The Smoke Rise & Kinnelon Blog, you can count on local New Jersey Bathroom and plumbing experiences.

Definitely a full week.

Stay tuned here, but also visit - I'll be issuing regular updates. 

Like Bathroom Blogfest on FacebookFollow us on Twitter.

Be part of the fun!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Which Tools Help You Measure Engagement?

CMI: Which Tools Help You Measure Engagement?
Continuing on with the Content Marketing Institute series on engagement, next is More Than 20 Tools to Measure Content Engagement.

Previous posts included What Does Engaging Content Mean to You?, 10 Ways to Make Content More Engaging and How To Measure Engagement.

This week's post addresses What tools can content marketers use to measure engagement?  Certainly a valid question given the pressure to demonstrate ROI and how many tools have become available.

The following prominent content marketers contributed their perspectives on which tools they use to measure engagement:

Barbra Gago (@barbragago)
Doug Kessler (@dougkessler)
Sarah Mitchell (@globalcopywrite)
Elise Redlin-Cook (@redlincook)
Nate Riggs (@nateriggs)
Elizabeth Sosnow (@elizabethsosnow)
Stephanie Tilton (@stephanietilton)
CB Whittemore (@cbwhittemore) <---- me!
Keith Wiegold (@contentkeith)

Here is my response to the question: which tools I use to measure engagement:
Tools abound for monitoring and measuring engagement – some free, some not. As marvelous as many of the for-pay tools are, I consider it important to learn, explore and calibrate what you obtain meaning from using free tools. By the way, this also allows you to determine whether your business goals are realistic and appropriate for your content.

Two of my favorite tools for measuring blog and web engagement are Google alerts and Google Analytics. In Google alerts, I like to monitor my URL, my brand or blog name and my own name. Alerts let me know when conversations sparked by my content take place beyond my site.

In Google Analytics, I like to monitor traffic patterns to understand which content resonates the most with readers and which words they may have used to discover my content. By the way, those patterns may suggest ideas for new content. I also pay attention to how much time readers spend on-site as a result of specific content or whether they ‘bounce’ off.

On your website or blog, you may opt for a social sharing widget [e.g., AddThis], and even a Facebook Like button. Both offer feedback on engagement. For other digital platforms, such as Twitter, you may want to use a URL shortener to measure the engagement of links you share [i.e., Bitly or Owly or Supr]. YouTube, Facebook and Slideshare offer stats and counts, too, and blogging platforms will keep count on your comments.

What’s important, given how many options exist for measuring content engagement, is determining the purpose of your content so you end up measuring interaction relevant to your goals and don’t get so caught up with the data that you lose sight of the human aspects of engagement.

What's your take? Which tools do you consider most valuable for measuring engagement? Why? I'd love to hear.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Press Release: Bathroom Blogfest 2010

For Immediate Release: October 18, 2010

Bathroom Blogfest 2010 Draws 33 Bloggers & 41 Blogs To Focus On Experiences 'Stuck In The 60s
Perspectives Reflect Universality of Bathrooms with Mad Men Twist

Kinnelon, NJ – The 2010 Bathroom Blogfest, now in its fifth year, brings together 33 bloggers from the U.S., Canada, the UK and India to address the 2010 Mad Men inspired theme “Stuck in the 60s?” A blogfest brings together writers who direct their blog posts around a single subject while making the subject relevant to their readers during a specific timeframe. Between October 25 and 29, these experts in marketing, customer experience and service, public relations, library sciences, museums, home & interior design, life, retail, flooring and healthcare IT/RTLS will call attention to improving the overall bathroom experience for end users via their 40 blogs during Bathroom Blogfest 2010.

“This year’s theme “Stuck in the 60s?” is inspired by Mad Men, the show that has captured the imaginations of many for its portrayal of life in the 60s when social and cultural taboos meant that many critical aspects of life – like bathrooms – were ignored, glossed over and treated dreadfully,” said Christine B. Whittemore, who manages the Bathroom Blogfest. “The result is that end users suffered. By calling attention to modern day instances that are “Stuck in the 60s?”, we can reinforce the value associated with being more responsive to the end user experience be those users customers, clients, patients, patrons or consumers,” said the chief simplifier of Simple Marketing Now, Kinnelon, N.J.

The Bathroom Blogfest began in 2006 as the brainchild of Stephanie Weaver, Experienceology author and consultant, and Susan Abbott, a business consultant and consumer researcher in Toronto. “They wanted to generate awareness for bloggers passionate about the customer experience at a time when blogging was more experimental. The Bathroom Blogfest created a forum for focusing on spaces that are not a subject of conversation, even though they should be,” added Whittemore. “As an event it builds relationships and conversations about the user experience demonstrating how universal the relevance and appeal is regardless of the industry.” Participation in the 2010 Bathroom Blogfest has increased 65% compared to 2009.

For more information about the blogfest, visit Follow Bathroom Blogfest on Twitter @BathroomBlogfes, look for the tag “#BathroomEXP” on flickr,, Technorati, Twitter and Google or ‘Like’ on Facebook. Or, contact Whittemore at

Participating bloggers for the Bathroom Blogfest ’10 include:

Susan Abbott - @susanabbott - Customer Experience Crossroads -

Paul Anater - @Paul_Anater - Kitchen and Residential Design -

Shannon Bilby - @shannonbilby - My Big Bob’s Blog -, From The Floors Up -, Big Bob’s Outlet -, Dolphin Carpet Blog -, Carpets N More Blog -

Toby Bloomberg - @TobyDiva - Diva Marketing -

Laurence Borel - @blogtillyoudrop - Blog Till You Drop -

Bill Buyok - @AventeTile - Avente Tile Talk Blog -

Jeanne Byington - @ jmbyington - The Importance of Earnest Service -

Becky Carroll - @ bcarroll7 - Customers Rock! -

Marianna Chapman - @ResultsRev - Results Revolution –

Katie Clark - @practicalkatie - Practical Katie -

Valerie Fritz - @Awarepoint - The Awarepoint Blog -

Nora DePalma - @noradepalma - American Standard’s Professor Toilet -, O’Reilly DePalma: The Blog.

Leigh Durst - @LivePath - LivePath Experience Architect Weblog -

Iris Garrott - @circulating - Checking In and Checking Out -

Tish Grier - @TishGrier - The Constant Observer -

Renee LeCroy - @ReneeLeCroy - Your Fifth Wall -

Joseph Michelli - Dr. Joseph Michelli’s Blog -

Veronika Miller - @Modenus - Modenus Blog -

Arpi Nalbandian - @TileEditor - TILE Magazine Editor Blog -

Maria Palma - @mariapalma - People 2 People Service -

Reshma Bachwani Paritosh - The Qualitative Research Blog -

David Polinchock - @Polinchock - Polinchock’s Ponderings -

David Reich - @davidreich - My 2 Cents -

Victoria Redshaw & Shelley Pond - @scarletopus - Scarlet Opus Trends Blog -

Sandy Renshaw - @purplewren - Purple Wren -, Around Des Moines -

Bethany Richmond - The Carpet and Rug Institute Blog -

Bruce Sanders - RIMtailing -

Steve Tokar - Please Be Seated -

Carolyn Townes - @SpiritWoman26 - Becoming a Woman of Purpose -

Stephanie Weaver - @experienceology - Experienceology -

Christine B. Whittemore - @cbwhittemore - Flooring The Consumer ¬, Simple Marketing Blog, The Carpetology Blog

Ted & Christine B. Whittemore - Smoke Rise & Kinnelon Blog -

Linda Wright - LindaLoo Build Business With Better Bathrooms -

# # #

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

Friday, October 15, 2010

Blog Action Day: Water & AOC3

Blog Action Day: Water & AOC3
Blog Action Day takes place on October 15th. Today, it's about Water.  Because it's about water, it's also about AOC3, otherwise known as The Age of Conversation 3. In honor of Blog Action Day, I'd like to invite you to purchase copies of AOC3 TODAY! In so doing, you support charity:water.

Blog Action Day is truly a global experience when bloggers from around the world come together and blog about the same topic on the same day, thereby drawing intense, focused attention to a topic critical to us all.

In 2009, the topic was Climate Change [I related it to the Retail Experience, too].

In 2008, the topic was Poverty.

In 2007, the topic was The Environment.

October 15, 2010 and the topic is Water.  Why Water? As the Blog Action Day site explains:

Right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us. 

Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Children are especially vulnerable, as their bodies aren't strong enough to fight diarrhea, dysentery and other illnesses. The UN predicts that one tenth of the global disease burden can be prevented simply by improving water supply and sanitation. 

But, water moves beyond just a human rights issue. It’s an environmental issue, an animal welfare issue, a sustainability issue. Water is a global issue, deserving a global conversation.

Water truly is a precious global resource that should be accessible to all.

Enter The Age of Conversation 3 [AOC3].

Proceeds from sales of The Age of Conversation 3 are donated to charity. The charity we've chosen is charity: water. As co-editor of AOC3 Gavin Heaton explains, charity:water "is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 100% of public donations directly fund water projects.  Amazingly, just $20 can give one person clean water for 20 years. An average water project costs $5,000 and can serve 250 people with clean, safe water – so purchasing a copy of the Age of Conversation 3 really can make a difference to someone’s life!"

Learn more about why charity:water is so focused on water! It's a big deal!

In honor of Blog Action Day 2010, I invite you to purchase one or several copies of Age of Conversation 3. Proceeds from your purchase will be donated to charity:water and make a difference for those who need clean water.  Simply click on this link which will take you to Amazon to purchase Age of Conversation 3.

Thank you and Happy Blog Action Day!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

How To Measure Engagement

How To Measure Engagement
The Content Marketing Institute series on engaging content marketing continues with How To Measure Engagement.

Previous posts included What Does Engaging Content Mean to You? and 10 Ways to Make Content More Engaging.

The following prominent content marketers contributed their perspectives to this week's question "How should marketers measure engagement?":

Barbra Gago (@barbragago)
Doug Kessler (@dougkessler)
Sarah Mitchell (@globalcopywrite)
Nate Riggs (@nateriggs)
Elizabeth Sosnow (@elizabethsosnow)
Stephanie Tilton (@stephanietilton)
Jennifer Watson (@ContextComm)
CB Whittemore (@cbwhittemore) -- me!
Keith Wiegold (@contentkeith)

Notice how many responses urge looking beyond the data to take into account the human factor.

Here is my response:

Although how you measure engagement will depend on your business goals, I believe that it’s critically important to remember that quality matters far more than quantity.

The online world offers all kinds of measures: visits, page views, subscribers, comments, etc.  So many in fact that you can lose sight of the bigger picture by focusing too much on the details.  The bigger picture takes into account that you are looking to interact and engage with people, not data.  Although the data offers perspective and insight on people and what they engage with, it is still data and doesn’t fully capture the human aspects of engagement.

For example, depending on your audience, you may find your content generates more offline interaction.  Or perhaps intense email exchanges. After two years writing a blog focused on the sights, sounds, history and community of my local neighborhood, word-of-mouth has led to two to three emails per month filled with personal stories and anecdotes – and photos.  Those exchanges are poorly captured in data, but they are powerful signs of intense engagement with an audience more comfortable with traditional forms of interaction [e.g., email] rather than blog comments.

Look for signs, both online and offline, that allow you to appreciate quality rather than than quantity and gain context for the engagement you’ve created. You’re much better off with fewer well-qualified visitors who are eager to consume your content – because it’s relevant to them – than with an army of readers bouncing off your [to them] irrelevant content. That way you can fine tune your content, strengthen the engaging qualities and possibly even capture more quantity!

What's your take on how you should be measuring engagement? I'd love to hear your response!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Connecting With Customers: Nufloors Advice

Nufloors Friends by Lake Okanagan, Kelowna, BCHow do you go about connecting with customers, establishing relationships with them and then figuring out how to best stay in touch - particularly in categories where the replacement cycle takes years rather than days? These were some of the questions explored this past September 2010 during my visit with Canada Nufloors Group members in Kelowna, British Columbia.

[If you remember from Press Release: Nufloors Turning Flooring Customers Into Advocates, Canada Nufloors Group Inc., represents leading Canadian floor covering retailers with locations in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario.]

In addition to sharing my presentation titled "Retail Hospitality or Customer Service Before, During and After the Sale" about connecting with customers, I got to hear wise advice from Cynthia Dean, General Manager of Nufloors Coquitlam, as she shared her experiences ‘Turning Flooring Customers Into Advocates’

Here are points she addressed that particularly resonated with me.

Survey your customers.  You'll find out that you don't know what you think you know. You'll also discover that customers are passionate about you and will give feedback.

Share what you learn from customers with your entire organization. Make everyone a part of the solution. From analyzing the responses, create an action plan that you implement. Then repeat the process. Be sure to measure results. What you measure, you can manage & improve. Furthermore, the process creates a halo effect from focusing on customers on an ongoing basis.

Simple ideas are effective in delighting customers. For example, have umbrellas with Nufloors imprinted available when it rains. Then, walk your customer to her car with the umbrella deployed!

From a practical perspective, Cynthia recommended the following process for dealing with customer survey results:
  • Once you get feedback, don't get overwhelmed.
  • Take the easy ones first
  • Stay focused on 2 or 3 to work on
  • Be sure to research so you have hard data vs. gut feel
  • Develop an action plan.  Tackle problems at their root cause. Make one person responsible for the action plan. Monitor progress once a month, and stay committed.
[A theme that has been coming up repeatedly lately is the importance of focusing and prioritizing.] 

Here are my presentation slides:

Finally, several resources in case you'd like to dive deeper into the subject of Connecting With Customers.

Customer Service [aka Retail Hospitality] Articles

From Tom Peters' marvelous free resources, a document titled "The Independent Retailer Edge: 49 Points of Potential Dramatic Difference."

A Good Hug is Worth based on a presentation by Jack Mitchell, author of Hug Your Customers: The Proven Way to Personalize Sales and Achieve Astounding Results.

Businesses find benefits in giving customers the white-glove treatment.

Wharton: WOM Customers 16% More Valuable

Excerpt from The Gender Intelligent Retailer: Discover the Connection Between Women Consumers and Business Growth, by Joanne Thomas Yaccato

Statistics-Customer Service & Quality

Why Customer Service Buzz is the New Marketing

Will You Recommend This Article to a Friend?

Why Your Customers Don't Want to Talk to You

Classics on Connecting With Customers

As you read through all of this, what comes to mind for connecting with customers? What have you found most successful? How do you establish relationships and develop them consistently over time?

By the way, Kelowna is as magical a place as Rob Banks led me to believe, with vineyards, orchards, mythical beings - if you look carefully in the photo, you'll catch a glimpse of the Ogopogo, cousin to LockNess and active on Facebook and Twitter, who has promised to eat me next time I visit - and unexpected encounters. It's definitely worth a visit to savor marvelous wines - we visited Ex Nihilo Vineyards, Gray Monk and Arrowleaf Cellars - and feast your eyes on brilliant scenery.

Friday, October 8, 2010

eCairn's Top 150 Social Media Marketing Blogs

eCairn's Top 150 Social Media Marketing Blogs
If you are looking for ideas about social media marketing blogs to explore, go no further than eCairn's recently released Top 150 Social Media Marketing Blogs: Sept '10 from September 29, 2010.

I am a big fan - and user - of eCairn Conversation  [see Social Flooring Blog Index - August 2010] and have experienced firsthand the robustness of the platform. This list definitely includes the finest thinking and most engaging content related to social media marketing.

It also makes me very excited to discover that Simple Marketing Blog, launched in March of 2009 in a crowded segment of the blogosphere, ranks #87 out of the top 150 most influential social media marketing blogs that eCairn Conversation tracks.

Pretty darn cool if I say so myself!

Simple Marketing Blog, an eCairn Top 150 Social Media Marketing Blog
A major Thank You to all of you for subscribing, reading, commenting and being part of what's going on here on the Simple Marketing Blog!

That said, I do hope you will explore the other social media marketing blogs listed in eCairn's Top 150 listing.

Let me know which are your favorites.

PS: I'm partial to #18 MarketingProfs Daily Fix - not just because I'm a contributor ;-) - and many others written by friends.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

How To Make Content More Engaging

How To Make Content More Engaging
Last week, Content Marketing Institute asked What Does Engaging Content Mean to You?  This week CMI asks How To Make Content More Engaging.

The resulting post titled 10 Ways to Make Content More Engaging captures perspectives from 12 prominent content marketers:

Shelly Bowen (@shelbow)
Heidi Cohen (@heidicohen)
Barbra Gago (@barbragago)
Doug Kessler (@dougkessler)
Patsi Krakoff (@Patsiblogsquad)
Sarah Mitchell (@globalcopywrite)
Elise Redlin-Cook (@redlincook)
Lisa Petrilli (@LisaPetrilli)
Nate Riggs (@nateriggs)
Stephanie Tilton (@stephanietilton)
Jennifer Watson (@ContextComm)
CB Whittemore (@cbwhittemore) --- me!

Notice how often 'human' comes up.

Here's my response:
Making content more engaging requires truly understanding your audience and the world they live in.
Can you “walk in your readers’ shoes” to better understand them? Can you identify individual reader and buyer personas so you can customize the recommendations and wisdom you offer in your content? Do you know what terms they use to refer to your product or service? How is your product or service relevant to them given where they are in the buying cycle?

Making content more engaging requires careful, thoughtful and active listening so you can anticipate needs and questions and uncover patterns. The more you do so, the better you can craft uniquely engaging perspectives.

Don’t forget to check your ego and company- or product-centric notions at the door so you remain open to engaging with your readers.
What's you take on how to make content more engaging? I'd love to hear your response.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Practical Simple Marketing In The News 10/5/10

Practical Simple Marketing In the News
Are you ready? Here's the latest issue of Practical Simple Marketing In The News. These are links and resources shared on Twitter this past month with the tag #practicalmktr and grouped into categories.

I hope you find these resources as exciting as I do. John Cleese on creativity is a gem and I loved the "Outside In" article from Wharton. Pretty cool, too, the growing list of brands and industries successfully experimenting with social media marketing.

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

Simple & Practical Marketing Data

    Practical Marketing Advice

    Community Relations

    Content-Related Advice

    Employee-Related Advice

    Practical Examples & How Tos

    Simple Marketing Inspiration

      Brands Being Practical With Social Media

      Which articles did you find most interesting?

      Here's a link to previous issues of Practical Simple Marketing In the News.

      Thank you for reading!


      Image credit: “#PracticalMktr” Wordle by CB Whittemore

      Friday, October 1, 2010

      What Does Engaging Content Mean to You?

      CMI: What Does Engaging Content Mean to You?
      Are you interested in finding out more about B2B Content Marketing? You're in luck because Junta42 and MarketingProfs have just released research on 2010 B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends. One challenge identified in the report relates to 'producing engaging content.'

      To offer guidance to content marketers, Content Marketing Institute has asked its contributors to detail "what does engaging content mean to you?"

      The resulting post titled "Want to Develop Engaging Content? First Step: Understand What Engaging Means" captures perspectives from 18 prominent content marketers:

      Newt Barrett (@newtbarrett)
      Shelly Bowen (@shelbow)
      Heidi Cohen (@heidicohen)
      David Drickhamer (@leanroi)
      Barbra Gago (@barbragago)
      Colleen Jones (@leenjones)
      Doug Kessler (@dougkessler)
      Patsi Krakoff (@Patsiblogsquad)
      Wendy Marx (@wendymarx)
      Sarah Mitchell (@globalcopywrite)
      John Nawn (@perfectmeeting)
      Elise Redlin-Cook (@redlincook)
      Lisa Petrilli (@LisaPetrilli)
      Nate Riggs (@nateriggs)
      Stephanie Tilton (@stephanietilton)
      Jeremy Victor (@jeremyvictor)
      Jennifer Watson (@ContextComm)
      CB Whittemore (@cbwhittemore)  --- Me!

      The post is definitely worth reading for perspective and inspiration.   

      Here's my response:
      “Engaging” to me means grabbing a reader’s interest and attention, drawing him/her into reading more – because the content is incredibly relevant, informative even entertaining – and causing him/her to accord value to the content – ideally, enough value to take an action.

      ‘Engaging’ content has nothing to do with me, and everything to do with my audience. It requires understanding the world that my audience lives in and communicating with language and terms that genuinely resonate with my audience.
      What's your take on engaging content? What does it mean to you? I'd love to hear your response.
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