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Being an entrepreneur is like riding a lion. People look at you and think, “This guy’s really got it together! He’s brave!”
And the man riding the lion is thinking, “How the hell did I get on a lion, and how do I keep from getting eaten?”

ridingalion

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A truism of branding – just because you can do it, doesn’t mean you necessarily should do it.
Meaning, you can extend your brand way beyond what it stands for or what makes it valuable to consumers.

Conversely, just because you are not comfortable with a media – specifically social media – doesn’t mean your company should not use it.

In a conversation with a friend who heads an interactive agency, he agreed that the hardest sell is a company CEO who doesn’t understand social media or believes it can be handled by some “interns.” We agreed such businesses are never successful at social media. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. To their detriment.

Because of the amount of time spent on the Internet and the sheer numbers on a computer or digital device daily, it simply is a foundational media.

According to eMarketer, adults now spend more time with digital daily (just over 5 hours) versus television (4 and 1/2 hours).  In case you are trying to figure out how that adds up in a day, here’s how.  Over 50% are using a digital device while watching television.  And, this increases to  74% for smart phone users.   Televison viewing is not declining, it has held stead over the past four years.  Clearly, though, multi-tasking is happening at home, just as it does for many at work.

Do you get regular emails from Linkedin announcing this person has “added new skills?”images

Come on, don’t you have just a tinge of envy that somehow you are not keeping up with skills development like your friends?

Personally, I think some new skill categories should be added … maybe a few more creative ones.
Like, “adept at dodging deadlines” or “great storyteller” … or simply, “sarcasm.”

According to recent surveys, 1.8 billion loyalty-program memberships exist in the United States. The average household participates in 14.1 of these programs. Yet, more than half of these memberships are inactive, meaning the customer has stopped paying attention to the program, and possibly the brand itself.

A thought to consider? Loyalty is a company or brand COST of doing business, not an elective on the part of your customer. From our viewpoint, companies build products, programs and service deliveries that create loyalty. In turn, the customers who are most delighted become Zealots.

loyalty-cards1In traditional marketing parlance, loyalty is earned by the customer. The customers who buy your product or service most often are rewarded with discounts of some kind.

In our world of Zealotry Marketing, loyalty is demonstrated and earned by the business. The result is customers who are passionate about your business and who willingly exhibit zealotry actions. The reward is not loyalty. The reward is customers singing your praises – in reviews, in social media, in referral and in return sales.

Traditional:

Customer -> repeated purchase -> receives discount or rebate

Zealotry Marketing:

Marketing focused on the right targets and messaging -> Business delivers experience -> customers are delighted -> the customer rewards the business through zealotry actions

Brands are profoundly vulnerable to social media. Loyalties can shift fast, as communities rally behind or against brands. Brands must be monitoring, influencing and promoting themselves in social forums, including your own company’s Twitter or Facebook pages, etc. to ensure that social channels help, and not hurt.

CURE named the beneficiary of the Atlanta Santa Speedo Run 12/8 – http://ht.ly/eyNKN

Since the many changes to Facebook since the Timeline update to Pages, we’ve found great successes in utilizing Facebook Advertising.

A recent campaign we ran for specialty-retail client Swoozie’s produced a .35 cost-per-acquisition (CPA) of new Fans to their Facebook Page, helping us to reach the 15,000 Fan level in a very cost-effective way.

A few best practices we’ve found to be helpful in driving success for your campaigns.

Be Goal-Oriented

Set a single, very specific goal for each Ad you run. The more focused you are on your goal,the easier it is to accomplish. Facebook Ads are shown to produce better results if what you’re trying to accomplish lives on the same platform, for example, driving Facebook Event RSVPs or new Likes to your Fan Page, as opposed to driving a contest on your brand website.

Dive Into Your Target

Go deeper than the standard demographic targeting you’d normally use. One of the best things about Facebook Advertising is the specificity in which you can target by lifestyle, behavior, interest and so much more. And, remember you can use the visual component of the ad to mimic the segment you’re targeting.

Be Organic

If you’re campaign goal is to add new Fans, always run a “Sponsored Stories” ad type as part of your campaign to help drive Likes. To the average consumer, this Ad type feels less like an ad and more like a functional feature of Facebook so they’re more likely to take action. And, remember to target only those people who are not already connected to your Fan Page.

Tap into the Power of Referral

Add a deeper level of referral to the “Sponsored Stories” Ad type by also targeting “friends of Fans” of your Fan Page. The old saying is true – birds of a feather flock together. Friends are more likely to trust and join in the fun because they see others in their peer group are taking action. I bet you’ll find this to be one of your top producers campaign after campaign.

Congratulations to Guest Relations Marketing Director, Engagement and Social Media, Ashley Schoenith on her new bundle of joy, Wyatt Boone Schoenith! Ashley and husband Shane welcomed their new addition to the family on November 26th.

Wyatt weighed 7 lbs. and was 20 inches long. Both Ashley and Wyatt are at home and doing well. Congrats again to the Schoenith family!

Recently, made a major purchase.

The brand and company are unnamed to protect the guilty.

The initial sales experience was great. The follow-through was pathetic, quite frankly. And, the personnel involved knew it. No real empathy or apology. Just routed me along the way. And, no manager stepped up to even introduce themself and see if there was an issue that could solve.

But, here is the real kicker. They employ a multi-faceted customer response program. I received an initial mail piece. On a scale of 1 – 10, gave them a 5. A losing score by any standard. Received about a week later, an email asking me to do another survey. This online survey had literally a 100 questions. They didn’t ask, but I would have given this “customer satisfaction” survey a 1 (lowest score). Does it really take a hundred questions to figure out what I thought of the experience?

Meanwhile, I’m noticing a get a long-distance call about the same time late every afternoon. They never leave a message. Finally, I happen to be available and answer it one afternoon. “Uh, this is Mary from (manufacturer). We would like to ask you a few questions about your recent purchase. It will take about 10 minutes.” Sorry, I’ve responded to all the surveys I care to.

Moral to the story:

1. A customer satisfaction survey is 3 to 5 questions. No more.

2. If you are going to do a survey, then have a game plan to follow up on it.

3. If your goal is “checking up on your employees and retailers” then follow the above scenario. If your goal is to turn customers to zealots, then make such surveys the beginning of a satisfaction program that is not delegated to phone operators … and gets sales managers out of their back-rooms and engaged with customers.

An “F bomb” got posted, apparently inadvertently albeit very carelessly, on Chrysler’s Twitter account by their social media agency.  Chrysler fired the agency.  Ad Age made it a headline story.  And many have used it as an example of the ills of social media or allowing an outside agency to post communications on behalf of their sacred brand.

First, no excuse for the person responsible.  You were paid to represent your client.  Sloppy, irresponsible and in extremely poor taste. But, no excuse for the reaction about social media – many comments in Ad Age from ad professionals.   Many noting the need for greater control.  A lot of sanctimonious “protection” of the brand.

Here’s something to think about.  There are many other posts out there.  And quite a few are not terribly kind to dear ole Chrysler. The days of controlling everything said about your brand is history.

Something else, how about employing the rapper Eminem for network television spots?  A rapper that phrases all kinds of verbal trash.  How responsible to their vaunted brand is that?  So, its okay if you stage it, but not okay if it happens accidently?

Another thing.  Consumer Reports and many other consumers don’t think very highly of your product quality.  How about those posts?

Chrysler, despite your continued ills – poor taste in advertising endorsers, poor product and using taxpayer money to stay alive – you show no mercy to an obvious mistake of your social media agency?  Your PR people may be patting themselves on the back for a quick media cleanup, but your brand remains tarnished.  And, not because of an inadvertent Twitter post.

“Let advertisers spend the same amount of money improving their product that they do on advertising and they wouldn’t have to advertise it.”  Well stated, Will Rogers.

It is not going to make the Digg list for March 1, but we are pleased to announce that Guest Relations is officially 5 years old today!  It has definitely been a roller coaster ride.  At times, it has felt like the 5 year old in this video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p9OHT0ejBf8

We are pleased with our work at Guest Relations Marketing and the fact that we have beat the economy, the fall-out in the real estate market, the normal growing pains and still managed to join the club of just 20% of businesses that actually survive to 5 years.

What has made this a great ride to date is the true chemistry of our group – both our inside staff and our terrific resource specialists.  Each has genuinely embraced a collaborative spirit in creating distinctive work.   The only drama has been determining what is exactly the best approach for our clients.   You can’t fake culture and the impact it has on a business.  We’re thankful to our staff for that.  Even on the bad days, it has been an inspiring and uplifting place to practice our craft.

Most importantly, we are very thankful and grateful for the trust and confidence that our clients have shown to us over the years.   We truly strive to be “zealots” for our clients.  We hope that has been in evidence in our work and in our attitude.  We are stronger, more competitive, wiser and more focused as a business today than when we started.

Thanks!  It has been a very good ride.

Mike and April

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