No Luck of the Irish Needed for Great Websites

Just in time for the annual ‘Season of St. Patrick’ that starts March 1 – and for the Great Guinness Toast that starts tonight at 11:00 p.m. at Irish Pubs throughout the world – we’re proud to report that our launch of a new Website for our good friends at Riley’s Pour House in Carnegie, PA is doing great!

In it’s first 2 ½ days of existence, the page views for Riley’s new Website outperformed the former proprietor’s Website performance for the entire year! Yes, you read that right!

What’s our secret? A little luck of the Irish maybe?

Maybe a little luck – we were lucky to land a great client that’s for sure.

However, far more credit goes to having a good solid brand to promote with good old fashioned hard work, Public Relations, Social Media Marketing integrations and excellent SEO writing inspired by a few pints of Guinness!

Yes my friends, Guinness is good for you!

Slainte!

P.S.: To help you along in March, here’s an old post about the 15 Marketing Lessons of St. Patrick’s Day – enjoy!

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Thanks for Making a Dent in Our Universe

Our world lost a great man yesterday – Steve Jobs.

Jobs impacted my life in numerous ways through not only his great innovations and style, but also in his words.

Here’s my top 10 list of Steve Job quotes that have resonated with me over the years.

God bless you Steve and many thanks.  You’ll be missed.

Steve Jobs Top 10 Best Quotes

  1. “We’re here to put a dent in the universe, otherwise why else even be here?”
  2. “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”
  3. “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.”
  4. “That’s been one of my mantras – focus and simplicity.  Simple can be harder than complex. You need to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple, but it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”
  5. “I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneurs from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.”
  6. Remembering that you’re going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose.”
  7. “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”
  8. “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
  9. “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone elses life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
  10. We don’t get a chance to do that many things and every one should be really excellent because this is our life.”

…And, one more thing!

10+.    “You know a design is good when you want to lick it.” … And, “Design is not what it looks like.  Design is how it works.”

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100 Social Media Marketing Listening Tools

My father told me many times when I was young that God game me two ears and one mouth for a reason…to listen! In my early days in marketing, while doing marketing research, I came across a great quote from Frederick the Great, “I can excuse being defeated but never being surprised.” And, I agree with him too. For, in this day and age of the Internet and social media there is so much free and easy information at your fingertips that it’s inexcusable for being surprised much less shocked about anything.

However the tough thing with information for me and so many others these days is organizing it into actionable data.

Here is a list of more than 100 listening and learning tools we’ve organized for our firm and use for reference. So much these days is made about content creation and publishing in social media – which I agree with – however, not enough effort is made about tools to speed up your research efforts with brand listening and competitive intelligence tools.

I hope this post helps you become a better marketer and feel free to use and add to the list because it’s certainly not exhaustive. And, remember one final quote:

When you take information from one competitor it’s called stealing.
When you take information from more than two competitors it’s called research.
Anonymous

Here’s our list of 100 Social Media Listening and Learning Tools

  1. 123People. 123people searches for people related information publicly available on the Internet. Through its proprietary search algorithm, 123People helps you tfind name related information consisting of images, videos, phone numbers, email addresses, social networking and Wikipedia profiles and more for free.
  2. 48ers. This free search engine searches conversations through different social networks, including Facebook, Twitter and more to uncover what people are saying about topics and brands.
  3. Addictomatic. Addictomatic searches the best LIVE sites on the web for the latest news, blog posts, videos and images. Keeping up with the hottest topics.
  4. Alltop. Guy Kawasaki’s Alltop is the “online magazine rack” of the web. We love it.
  5. Alterian SM2. A business intelligence product that allows you to access customer thoughts and opinions. You can find data from social media channels to monitor your brand on blogs, message boards/forums, microblogs, wikis, video/photosharing, social networks, classified sites, and review sites.
  6. Backtype. Helps brands measure their social engagement.
  7. Bing. A free web search engine from Microsoft that finds and organizes the answers you need so you can make faster, more informed decisions.
  8. Blog Perfume. Provides WordPress users both free and paid for resources including all the useful WordPress themes, plugins, and blogging resources for pro-bloggers.
  9. BlogPulse. Free search engine for Blogs that also discovers trends on daily activity in the blogosphere
  10. BoardReader. Free search engine that allows users to search for keywords in posts and titles of online forums and search multiple message boards simultaneously.
  11. BoardTracker. Forum search engine, message tracking and instant alerts system, provides relevant info quickly and efficiently while ensuring you never miss an important forum thread no matter where or when it is posted.
  12. Cision (CisionPoint). CisionPoint is a PR and media solutions, technologies and services offering powered by the world’s largest media database. With CisionPoint, you get the ability to plan your campaign, connect with your audience, monitor your coverage, and analyze your results, all from one place.
  13. coComment. coComment is a service for managing, powering and researching conversations online. You can keep track of your comments across any site, share them with friends, and get notified when you get a response
  14. Commentful. A service that watches comments/follow-ups on Blog posts, Digg submissions, Flickr pictures and other types of content. Whenever there is an update, such as a new follow-up or comment, Commentful notifies you instantly.
  15. Co.mments. Co.mments helps you stay on top of the conversation by keeping you updated of new comments. Just bookmark, track and follow.
  16. Comment Sniper. Comment Sniper automatically checks leading Blogs within your industry in real-time & notifies the moment a new post has been made. This allows you to get the first mover advantage on comment posting, for more targeted Website visitors and better link popularity.
  17. Compete Site ProfileTM. Provides Website traffic history and competitive analytics; a list of available promotional codes across thousands of online retailers; and site-specific trust scores based on up-to-the-minute data from Compete and third party security services.
  18. Compete Search AnalyticsTM. Paid for platform that uses tools that help optimize search marketing campaigns, create brand awareness, drive site traffic and increase sales.
  19. Compete Referral AnalyticsTM. Paid for platform that provides powerful traffic referral and destination data that you can use to drive online marketing effectiveness.
  20. Compete Ranked ListsTM. Paid for platform that provides lists of the most popular sites across the Internet, ranked by any metric available on Compete.com.
  21. Compete BlogTM. Free access platform highlighting how people are use the Internet and where interesting, useful sites can be found.
  22. Compete Category ProfileTM. Available exclusively to Compete PRO Enterprise customers, Compete Category Profiles combine the best data in the industry with powerful exploratory and research tools that enable you to discover, take action, and measure marketing performance across the online landscape.
  23. Copernic Tracker. Copernic Tracker automatically looks for new content on Web pages, as often as you like. When a change is detected, its Website tracking software can notify you by sending an email, including a copy of the Web page with the changes highlighted, or by displaying a desktop alert.
  24. Cotweet. CoTweet is a comprehensive Web-based social media engagement, management and reporting solution that helps companies of all sizes engage, track and analyze conversations about their brands across the most popular and influential social communities today, Twitter and Facebook.
  25. Crimson Hexigon. A social media monitoring and analysis service that helps uncover consumer opinions and insights about brands, products, industry, competitors and more.
  26. Crowdbooster. Provides online influence analytics that aren’t based on numbers connected to your business and your social media strategies: impressions, total reach, engagement, and more. Also includes tools and recommendations needed to take action and improve each one of these metrics.
  27. Delicious. Delicious is a Social Bookmarking service, which means you can save all your bookmarks online, share them with other people, and see what other people are bookmarking. It also means that you can see the most popular bookmarks being saved right now across many areas of interest. In addition, the search and tagging tools help you keep track of your entire bookmark collection.
  28. Delver. Delver is an intelligent social search engine that enables you to find, experience and benefit from the wealth of information created and referenced by your social world. The search engine allows you to discover and benefit from the collective wisdom of your friends, friends of friends, and people whose knowledge and value you admire. People around you are increasingly creating and sharing useful content online through: blogs, videos, reviews, articles, websites, music… and the list is only growing.
  29. Digg. Digg is a place for people to discover and share content from anywhere on the Web. Digg surfaces the best stuff as voted on by its community. They provide tools for the community to discover content, discuss the topics that they’re passionate about, connect with like-minded people, and make new friends.
  30. Empire Avenue – The ‘Social Stock Market.” Empire Avenue is a social networking game that allows you to connect with individuals based on “value relationships”. It’s a great way to get your brand in front of new, engaged audiences and connect with relevant customers in a fun environment across 150+ countries.
  31. Facebook Search. A useful search tool for the Facebook social network powered by the Facebook Open Graph API and returns data that is publicly available. Users can search across posts, photos, people, pages, groups and events without the need to login or have a Facebook account.
  32. FeedCompare. A tool to compare the numbers of subscribers to a Blog with other Blogs. This feed comparison application lets you compare up to four feeds at a time and presents the results with a nice flash chart interface. You can also do comparisons based upon different periods of time. Free service for comparing Feedburner feed subscribers.
  33. Feedky. A tool that constantly scans popular video networks like YouTube, DailyMotion, Metacafe, Vpod, Google Video, Flickr, etc. looking for the new videos matching the tags you enter as interests.
  34. FourWhere. Helps you find comments, tips for venues left by Foursquare, Gowalla and Yelp users. FourWhere automatically retrieves and aggregates user comments and visualizes them on the map.
  35. Google Alerts. Google Alerts are email updates of the latest relevant Google results (web, news, etc.) based on your choice of query or topic.
  36. Google Blogsearch. Google Blogsearch a useful search tool that focuses specifically on finding and returning information from millions of feed-enabled Blogs.
  37. Google Insights. Compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, time frames and properties.
  38. Google News. Google News is an automated news aggregator provided by Google Inc. The service covers news articles appearing within the past 30 days on various news Websites.
  39. Google Reader. Google Reader lets you subscribe to your favorite Websites so new content comes to you when it’s posted. Reader keeps track of which things you’ve read so that you only see unread items when you come back.
  40. Google Realtime Search. Abandoned recently – allowed users to get information from social networks, and most notably Twitter, as soon as it happened. Looks like it may re-appear with Google+.
  41. Google Trends. Compare the world’s interest in your favorite topics. Enter up to five topics and see how often they’ve been searched on Google over time. Google Trends also shows how frequently your topics have appeared in Google News stories, and in which geographic regions people have searched for them most.
  42. Google Video (Advanced Search). Allows you to easily search for a video by narrowing down your selections through the specification of a language, duration length, date, quality, domain, etc.
  43. HootSuite. Hootsuite is a Website and online brand management service, which publishes to Websites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Foursquare, MySpace, and WordPress. Also features custom analytics, team collaboration, and the ability to schedule messages in advance across all social media platforms.
  44. HowSociable. HowSociable provides a simple way for you to begin measuring your brand’s visibility on the social web.
  45. IceRocket. IceRocket is an Internet search engine which specializes in real-time search. The IceRocket site is a free resource for people looking to monitor their brand, it is ad supported.
  46. Keotag. Site that allows you to enter a subject and search various social media sites for what’s being said about that subject in real time.
  47. Klout. Klout compiles engagement and activity levels for brands in social media, and then assigns each user a Klout score on a scale from 1 to 100. Scoring available for Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Foursquare.
  48. Looxii. Social Media tracking tool for small to medium businesses: Facebook, Blogs, Twitter, Flickr, Delicious, Forums, Identica and YouTube.
  49. MentionMap. A visualizer tool that lets you assess the most influential Twitter users in various sectors.
  50. Metacafe. The first and only entertainment destination solely dedicated to showcasing the best short-form videos from the world of Movies, Video Games, TV, Music and Sports – programmed for today’s young male Entertainment Drivers.
  51. MonitorThis. A search engine tool that allows you to search for new entries in 25 different search engines.
  52. Monitter. A real time search tool that helps you monitor a set of keywords on Twitter. You can narrow a search to a particular geographic location, allowing you to find out what’s going on in a particular part of the world. Let’s you monitor Twitter for keywords, phrases and topics being discussed online at a glance (We still prefer Hootsuite).
  53. MyTweeple. Checks out your Twitter account and analyzes who is following you back — a good way to monitor reciprocal relationships.
  54. Northern Light Search. Providing strategic research portals, business research content, and search technology to global enterprises since 1996.
  55. Omgili. A (Oh My God I Love It) forum search engine that lets you find communities, message boards, discussion threads about any topic.
  56. OpenBook. Lets you do a live-search of Facebook member status updates in real-time by searching people’s Facebook posts. The results are from public status updates where the Facebook member has their settings public.
  57. Page2RSS. A service that helps you monitor Websites that do not publish feeds. It will check Web pages for updates and deliver them to your favorite RSS reader.
  58. PeerIndex – Track you online influence with an array of influence metrics on your various social networks. Easily connect your profiles and pages and PeerIndex analyzes them for activity, audience, and authority. This is a great option to help you discover authorities and opinion makers around a particular topic.
  59. Plancast. Discover events your contacts plan to attend as well as other cool events coming up in your area through signing in via your Facebook or Twitter account.
  60. Pleegs. A free search engine that uses 16 other search engines to give you the most up-to-date information about anything you desire. Pleegs allows you to track a product, link, brand or name and gives you the option to receive new information by RSS, email, or directly on your blog with a widget.
  61. PostRank. A platform that tracks where and how users engage, and what they pay attention to — in real-time. PostRank gathers where and when stories generate comments, bookmarks, tweets, and other forms of interaction from a host of social hubs. Lets you uncover your influencers, identify which social networks give you the greatest traction and benchmark yourself against the competitors
  62. Pulse of the Tweeters. A service that uses data mining and sentiment analysis to mine millions of tweets and find the most influential people on Twitter around your cause or sector.
  63. Quantcast. A free direct audience measurement for all Website owners including traffic, demographics, business, lifestyle, interests and more. Audience targeting for buyers and sellers of digital media also available to reach millions of new prospects just like your best customers (Quantcast Lookalikes).
  64. Quarkbase. A tool that scours the Internet and pulls together a report for you about any Website.  Learn about the social popularity of a site, how often it’s getting bookmarked, who’s Twittering it, who’s Digging it and so on.
  65. Radian6. A complete platform to listen, measure and engage with your customers across the entire social web. Platforms start at $600.
  66. SamePoint. Enables clients to effectively integrate social media into their business processes.
  67. Scout Labs. A web-based application that finds ‘signals’ in the noise to help your team build better products and stronger customer relationships.
  68. Seesmic. A suite of social media management and collaboration tools that provide businesses and individuals with everything they need to build their brands online.
  69. Sideline. A Yahoo! service that lets you create and group custom queries by topics of interest.
  70. Sitemeter. A comprehensive real time website tracking and counter tools give you instant access to vital information and data about your site’s audience interests.
  71. SiteTrail. A comprehensive website analysis platform for breaking social media and technology news on the Web.
  72. SocialMention. Provides a picture of how terms get used, tracking strength (brand mentions), sentiment (positive/negative tweets), passion (percentage of people discussing your brand), and reach (range of influence).
  73. Socialoyster. A tool that lets you share your online social activities with friends. This site offers three features, the Oysterpass, the Social Search Engine, and the Oysterline, that let users showcase their activities and interests.
  74. Spy. Empowers users to listen in on any social media conversations of interest, without having to take part of it or showing that he is listening at all.
  75. Technorati. Technorati Authority measures a site’s standing & influence in the blogosphere.
  76. Touchgraph. Use this free Java app to explore the connections between related websites.
  77. Track. A little-known Twitter feature that lets you track keywords and have them sent directly to your mobile phone as soon as they’re posted.
  78. Trackur. Trackur allows you to monitor your reputation, your news mentions, your PR campaigns, your employees, or your competition.
  79. Trendpedia. A multi-lingual social media monitoring and research tool provides insights into what the world is saying about your brand.
  80. Trendrr. Digital and social media business intelligence platform.
  81. TruCast. A social intelligence software solution that transforms masses of unstructured social media.
  82. Twazzup A dashboard program that monitors Twitter and will let you know whenever your keywords are mentioned in a Tweet.
  83. Tweetbeep. An online reputation management device that keeps track of conversations that mention you, your products, your company, anything, with hourly updates.
  84. Tweetburner. Allows you to track statistics on the links you share with Tweetburner, like on Twitter and Friendfeed.
  85. Tweetdeck. Connects you with your contacts across Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn etc., and allows you to customize your Twitter with columns, groups, saved searches and automatic updates.
  86. Twendz. A Twitter-mining Web app that uses the power of Twitter Search, highlighting conversations that lead trends, conversation topics and points of view.
  87. Twilert. Sends you emails when it sees keywords on Twitter that you specify.
  88. Twitter Advanced Search. Isolates Tweets about a targeted sector. Look for keywords, search by location, date or with other filters.
  89. Twitterfall. Helps you to keep up on conversations about an event, or an online chat, using hashtags. You can use its geolocation panel to see discussions in a geographic area.
  90. Twitter Grader. A free tool from HubSpot that allows you to check the power of your Twitter profile compared to millions of other users that have been graded.
  91. Twitter Search. Allows you to check what is being said on Twitter about your brand/business.
  92. Twitscoop. Lets you search and follow what’s buzzing on Twitter in real time.
  93. Twingly. A Blog search engine featuring a SPAM-free, faceted, social search for the global blogosphere.
  94. UsernameCheck. A simple service that will let you find out where your username is registered in an instant.
  95. Video Alerts. A service that allows you to get an email notification when new videos are uploaded to YouTube, on whatever topic you choose.
  96. Viral Heat. The first measurement platform that’s social. Subscribers share a collection of profiles and charts ranging from your favorite brands, products, or topics so you can glean important insights in real-time.
  97. WatchThatPage. Enables you to automatically collect new information from your favorite pages on the Internet. You select which pages to monitor, and the service will find which pages have changed, and collect all the new content for you.
  98. Website Grader. Website Grader is a free SEO tool from HubSpot that measures the marketing effectiveness of a Website. It provides basic advice on how the Website can be improved from a marketing perspective.
  99. Wikipedia. A free, web-based, collaborative, multilingual encyclopedia project supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation providing community-edited information.
  100. WhosTalkin. A social media search tool that allows users to search for and join in on conversations surrounding the topics that they care about most.
  101. Yahoo! News. Yahoo! News is an Internet-based news aggregator provided by Yahoo! It features Top Stories, U.S. National, World, Business, Entertainment, Science, Health, Weather, Most Popular, News Photos, Op/Ed, and Local news.
  102. Yahoo Pipes. A powerful composition tool to aggregate, manipulate, and mashup content from around the web. Simple commands can be combined together to create output that meets your needs.
  103. Yotify. A free, personal Web scout service that enables you to track anything on the Internet, enlists your friends to help, and reports back only what you want to know.
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Social Media Builds Small Biz Awareness

Nearly 40% of American small businesses use social media marketing (SMM) to build their brands – up from 10% last year and since everyone is looking to more effectively and efficiently hook up with their customers and its no surprise to me to see the growth of active brands in SMM.

Among brands using social media marketing, 39% say it has increased it’s brand exposure however 17% say their  brand has seen no benefit at all.

Why the difference? My bet is that it all comes down to strategy, execution and measurement.

Here’s how the the social media tool usage breaks down by the numbers: 27% – Facebook, 9% – LinkedIn, 8% – Twitter, 5% – Blog.

In my personal brand experience (e.g., with my own brand site and client sites) if only 5% of SMB’s in the study are using Blogs, then I’m not surprised to see their disappointment. Blogs ROCK by adding rich search engine friendly copy and help guide and customers. A Blog is a natural extension to your Website and email marketing and to not have one is a big mistake.

Blogs are a low cost platform for 1 to 1 and 1 to many conversations and discussions and they boost website traffic and help you manage your online reputation and so much more. And, I can’t think of a brand that could not benefit from having a Blog. And, a better Website! Lots of small businesses are not keeping up with putting forth a great Website presence – all of this interactive/social stuff needs to be integrated people!

You need to  remember that your customers now have their own audience and are a communication channel and the more you can improve your brand experience and customer relationships and be connected to them via social media marketing you will build bridges between you and them and their friends and family.

Sure this stuff takes time, but anything worthwhile usually does! And, the multiplier effect of this low cost communication tool (remember this stuff can help you save on advertising spending) will pay off far more than the time you invested in it if you truly ‘bring it.’

 

As people move more to mobile computer use, social media communication will skyrocket and all communication networks will be social.

We’re getting there pretty fact already – about 30% of Facebook users access their accounts via their phones now (check out Facebook Connect)!

Sources: eMarketer the American Express OPEN fall 2010 “Small Business Monitor.”

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Five Marketing Lessons from Tornado Boy

Earlier this week on March 23, a devastating tornado swept through Hempfield Township (Greensburg), PA – a community about 40 miles east of Pittsburgh.

Young 15-year-old Tyler Tubbs’ first person account is now sweeping the internet with remixes and parodies. His video of the tornado has nearly 200K YouTube views and has earned national acclaim and coverage via media channels such as CNN. And today, Pittsburgh’s “Tornado Boy” is now being compared to “Double Rainbow Guy” with over 1 million views!

The tornado left in its wake widespread destruction. And, while several families lost their homes, thankfully no one died and injuries were minor.

It’s easy to laugh now at Tyler’s hysterics because no one died or was seriously injured.  And, it’s especially funny to me as a Pittsburgher because his “Pittsburghese” comes shining through loud and clear! You got to love it!

OK, since this is a Marketing Blog and not the Weather Channel, what can marketer’s learn from Tyler’s ordeal? Well, here are five marketing lessons you can take away from Tyler’s experience to more effectively tell your brand’s story.

  1. Communicate with authenticity, transparent honesty and enthusiasm – Tyler was ‘in the moment!’ You feel his amazement, excitement, fear and heartfelt storytelling.  His repetitive “tornado” announcements and varying pitch of his voice reinforced his message.
  2. Always show and tell – Adding video to a story always adds more drama than simply reading a story in print with no visuals and adds to the experience.
  3. Publish now – Don’t hesitate with new news. Tyler didn’t wait to add music, supers, slick transitions or even edit the film to make it a mini movie of the week.  He immediately published and reaped the rewards of viewership. How many of us wait until something is perfect before we launch only to find that others have caught up to us and the parade passed us by?
  4. Always be prepared – Tyler had his camera with him and immediately acted. I’m sure 95% of all the folks in Hempfield had a cell phone camera of some sort, but they did not act – if they did, they certainly did not move as fast as Tyler.
  5. Get key influentials/networks to spread your viral effort – This isn’t quite true for Tyler – yet – but when Jimmy Kimmel tweeted Double Rainbow Guy’s video, his views took off!

We can’t expect to have a key influential like Jimmy Kimmel spread our good word, but today – with social media dominating  just about everyone’s lives these days and tools such as Facebook and Twitter making it so easy to spread news via our own networks of a few hundred friends and family – nearly everyone is more influential than we were 5-10 years ago making good news travel amazingly fast!

Remember that you are an influential and to publish NOW!

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Don’t Waste Your Marketing Dollars

The famous merchant John Wanamaker (b-1839 – d-1922) is credited with saying, “I know half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I can never find out which half.”

I’m sure he meant what he said over 100 years ago, but I’d bet if he was living today, he’d certainly would not be wasting 50 cents on the dollar with his ad campaigns with the various ways you can prove the impact of marketing investments.

The sad thing about Wanamaker’s quote is that marketers today continue to use it and hide behind it. See my Super Bowl Ad Blog rant from yesterday.

Speaking of quotes, I’d like to quote some troubling facts about the crisis in mass marketing per the book – Connected marketing: the viral buzz and word of mouth revolution edited by Justin Kirby and Paul Marsden — Oxford : Butterworth-Heinemann, 2006.

Here are just a handful…

  • 3000 Ads Reach People Daily
  • 256% Increase in TV Ad costs (CPM) over 10 Years
  • 117 of ‘02 Prime TV Spots = 80% of Adults – 3 in ‘65
  • 100% Increase Needed in Ad Spend to Add 1-2% in Sales
  • 84% of B2B Ad Campaigns  = Negative ROI
  • 54 cents = Ave. Return in Sales per $1.00 spent on Ads
  • 18% TV Ad Campaigns =  Positive ROI

And, here’s a few more…

  • 90% – People Who Can Skip TV Ads Do
  • 80% – DVRs w/Ad Skipping Tech 2008
  • 69% – Interested in Skip/Block Ad Tech
  • 95% – Failure Rate for New Product Intros
  • 65% – Are Bombarded w/Ads
  • 56% – Avoid Brands Who Over Promote
  • 14% – Trust Advertising

The book was published in 2006 and most likely researched and written over the prior few years making the data at least six years old.

So, do you think any Super Bowl ad last Sunday returned a profit on its $3 million dollar investment? If so, do you think they can prove it?

Now, can you see why these Super Bowl ads offend me as a marketing professional?

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10 Profitable Groupon Marketing Tips

I’ve been a fan of Groupon since one of our Pittsburgh restaurant clients launched the city’s first promotional campaign. And, I’ve become a bigger fan since other hospitality clients have achieved success and after discovering that Groupon founder Andrew Mason is a Pittsburgh (Mt. Lebanon) native – you go guy!

If you read the marketing trades you’ll find some complaints about the lack of profitability of using Groupon as a marketing tactic, but I’d bet that those complainers were not prepared to take advantage of the popular loss leader strategy.

Here are ten profitable Groupon marketing tips.

1. Say “NO” if you’re below. Below average that is. In short, you do not want to feature your brand in a Groupon campaign if you don’t “bring it.” That is, if you sell lousy food (even marginally or mediocre OK), have poor service etc., you do not want to do Groupon! If you do not “deliver the goods”, Grouponers may simply put you out of business earlier than you would normally through negative reviews online etc.!

2. Get buy-in to prevent crying. Far in advance of your scheduled launch, talk through the campaign pros/cons of Groupon with your staff. Get their buy-in early on and clearly explain why everyone needs to be engaged in this huge loss leader effort and why you’ll need all hands and minds on deck to flawlessly execute the campaign. Tell them, “what’s in it for them!”

3. Map your cap. Cap the total number of deals you provide to Grouponers. This creates urgency and protects margins since the offer deadlines are long. Plus, you need to make sure you can handle the traffic.  Sure you want to make short term money – you always do – but your eyes need to be on the prize of repeat business!

4. Don’t wreck your average check. Make sure your deal/offer does not match you average check/purchase to allow for upsell and add-on sales opportunities. And, a lower price tag protects you as well on total customer acquisition costs. Keep in mind that you’re earning around 1/4th of what you’d usually make in an average sale which means you’re losing 3/4ths on virtually every sale.

5. Don’t laugh – add staff. Trust me – make sure you add staff to handle increases in store traffic, phone calls and web hits during and after the sale. You’ll need it!

6. Right your Website. It’s highly likely that your Web site has never seen the kind of traffic it will see on your Groupon day. Make certain your brand’s value proposition is clear, meaningful and relevant throughout your Website and especially on your home page because it’s going to get pounded. And, fix your typos, broken links etc., – net, clean it up! Also, monitor your Groupon comments on your “game day” and answer questions there as well on your social media channels.

7. Up-sell, cross sell and do well. Train your customer facing personnel to up-sell and cross-sell and guide all Grouponers to more profitable add-ons. However, make sure you have lots of exciting ones to offer too.

8. Train to explain. Carefully review (and test their knowledge) your Groupon procedures and rules of the game with all team members so they in turn can explain the campaign to customers, friends and family. You need to do this crucial step to ensure viral communications and no surprised/unhappy customer experiences. Make certain everyone is happy to take Groupon customers and consider putting someone in charge to answer escalated questions and make on the spot decisions to satisfy customer concerns.

9. Retain and gain. Since Groupon does not give up its email database and/or the contact information of customers who take advantage of your offer, it’s critical you have a system (recording system and/or additional incentive for customers/staff) in place to capture valuable new customer contact information (e.g., email addresses, mailing addresses, cell phone numbers, birthdays etc.,). You’ll also want to track your success with regard to add-ons, average check/transaction, redemption rates,  repeat business and more to determine your success and key learnings should you do it again – consider a customer survey too!

10. Show how to WOW now. A ton of your Grouponers will be new customers (and might be bringing other new customers in with them) and may be unfamiliar with your unique value proposition, but you have a great – maybe once in a lifetime – opportunity to WOW them, make them repeat customers and spread your good word. Make sure you take advantage of this opportunity. Be a servant leader and SERVE lights out!

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How to Improve Your Email Marketing Results

Email keeps rocking on as the killer app in online marketing (per DMA email’s ROI is over $40 to $1), and I continue to  be amazed that most brands don’t take the time to refine and improve their email marketing efforts. So many of us are far too quick to move on to the next new marketing tool without striving to flawlessly execute email marketing.

What a waste.

Forrester reported in a recent survey, that just 7% of American consumers believe the emails they get blasted with, are important or relevant.

With the ton of consumer data most brands have at their disposal, it’s a simple case of lazy marketing.

As this MarketingSherpa chart shows, there are many easy ways to improve your email marketing open and click-through rates.

For example, at a minimum brands could  testing subject lines, offers or calls to action, send time or day of week, copy and layout, landing pages and from lines, hyperlink quantity, placement and more.

The kicker is you got to do it…you got to “bring it.”

As the chart points out, over 50% of the surveyed brands have yet to take advantage of these easy ways to improve their performance.

In addition, you need to “bucket” your email addresses into databases of similar behaviors and/or event-based activities such as:

  • Life changes (e.g., new home buyer, new mother etc. )
  • Brand activities and interactions (e.g., purchase or complaint etc.)
  • Industry/environmental shifts (e.g., interest rate changes, price shifts etc.,)

Then, you move from this simple exercise to a “next best action” tactic whereby based on a customer’s previous interaction (e.g., purchase), your marketing follow-up message is related (e.g., promote service guarantee, insurance etc.,)

With any new effort, it’s wise to walk before you run with new activities you’re not accustomed to doing.

For example, one of our restaurant clients does a ton of wine tastings, so we simply started with separating our “wine enthusiasts” into a separate database and emailed wine event information only to them. Then, we only sent reminders to those who opened the initial email invitation and significantly increased open rates, click through rates, reduced opt-outs and event attendance.

Before you move on to the next new shiny tool in your marketing toolbox, make sure you can truly hammer out great email campaigns. You need to realize that you never quite arrive in this business, you got to keep striving, keep testing, keep doing – net…keep on keeping on.

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3 Secrets to Achieving Social Media Success

If you want to be a successful, profitable brand via Social Media Marketing, first remember one thing above all – it’s not about the tools, so don’t be one!

The secrets to success in life and business are so basically simple (certainly putting them to practice requires focus, hard work ) that we get so caught up in tools, investments and processes that we lose sight of the easiest ways to get from Point A to Point B.

For example:

  • If you want to lose weight, eat less and exercise more. Burn up more calories than you consume.
  • To find love in your life, first be a loving person. Give and you shall receive. Knock and it shall be opened etc.
  • If you want to be treated nice, follow the Golden Rule and on and on

Brands today get so caught up in the the “new new” tools of Social Media (Blogs, Twitter Facebook etc.,) that they lose sight of the true secrets of success. The reason I call them secrets is because most brands are unaware of them, avoid them or think they’ve already uncovered and accomplished them, but they’re not even close.

And, these secrets are not tasks you complete once and move on, rather they’re they’re three pillars of success that need to be strengthened every day through a brand’s daily actions.

Here are my three secrets to Social Media Success.

1. Build a Rock Solid Brand of Character and Integrity – Are you a stand up brand when no one is watching? Do you keep and deliver on your promises? Do you follow your ethical standards in tough times? Not easy to do, but certainly doable.

Check out Gallup Ethical Standards ranking of people in the various fields listed below. Take for example, “business people” – only 12% say they have very high/high standards. Don’t you think we can all work a bit harder on building our reputations than another Facebook Fan Page?

If/when you do, your customers and acquaintances in the Social Media world will be banging their Social Media Marketing drums, praising your name!

Gallup Ethical Standards 11.09

2. Deliver REMARKable Products and Services – Do you simply produce a product or service to get by or do you really “bring it and WOW people!” Are your standards and expectations higher than the norm? Do you sometimes hit them or blow them away all the time? Do you work hard to surprise and delight your team members and customers? Do you deliver a truly unique, meaningful and memorable experience?

When the REMARKable Susan Boyle performed awhile back on Britain’s Got Talent, her authentic, transparent and awesome talent delivered a a truly unique, unexpected (can you say, “WOW”) meaningful and memorable experience?

And, in a few hours/days, 100+ Million Youtube Views were achieved and she became a richer person and a household name.

The REMARKable Brand of Susan Boyle

3. Be a Servant Leader – Lead from Behind

Finally, brand leaders would do well to remember that the most successful ones long-term lead best by serving the needs of their people. In a servant leadership based brand, the leader’s role is one of a resource (people, capital etc.,) steward and encourages leaders to serve others while staying focused on achieving results in line with the organization’s values and integrity.

People (customers, vendors and employees) want to be aligned with brands they respect, value and admire and servant leadership driven brands deliver on every one.

10 Key Servant Leader Traits

If brands today would simply work hard to lead and improve their business in these three key ways, the social media world would take care of the rest and freely spread their good news and great stories using their Social Media Marketing tools!

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Social Media Marketing Presentation

Yesterday, I was honored to give a Social Media Marketing presentation at the Pennsylvania Restaurant Association’s Western Chapter’s Harvest Your Profits Fall Summit (click here to download presentation). The presentation certainly had a restaurant, hospitality focus, but it’s applicable to most any retail industry.

Having worked in hospitality and restaurant marketing for over 20 years, it’s close to my heart because it’s one of the toughest, yet most gratifying industries. If you’re looking for leading edge marketing, look no further than the folks in the hospitality industry because the great ones know that they need to “bring it” every day – the successful ones know that they’re only as good as their last meal!

You got to love people with that kind of attitude and passion – it’s contagious – and a BIG reason I love working in the industry.

And, you got to love the people who volunteer their time and expertise to associations like the PRA and staffers such as Heidi Howard. They selflessly work hard to help move the hospitality industry forward  to make it better for themselves and their customers and at the same time defend it against government controls – many of which are unconscionable efforts to blatantly rob them (e.g., crazy drink taxes) of their hard earned money.

My thanks to PRA Western Chapter president Steve Musciano of ARAMARK and his board for inviting me, Susan Sansale, owner/operator of the beautiful venue The Chadwick (and incoming PRA Western Chapter president) for hosting the event and super organizer and board member extraordinaire Murrie Emamzadeh for orchestrating a super event!

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