Why Word of Mouth Advertising is So Important

24 11 2008

We interrupt this blog for a very important post about customer service and the importance of word-of-mouth.

Saturday while in Manhattan to take care of some wedding appointments, we decided to head over to Chelsea Market where the Food Network has its offices and most of their studios.  Since I’m at a restaurateur and chelseamarketfoodie at heart, I was very excited to visit Chelsea Market and it had been something I had been meaning to do while in NYC for a while now.  Though there was no access to the Food Network, there were a lot of fantastic little markets and shops.  As we meandered in and out of them we decided to stop at a little tea shop called T Salon.

Our group totaling 7 people bought a variety of drinks and small items. We thought it would be nice to sit down and enjoy our drinks before venturing back out into the frigid, windy city.  As we sat down we placed a couple shopping bags and drinks on the tables which were set up with couches and chairs around them.  After a few minutes of enjoying our drinks a woman who did not identify herself and was not wearing anything suggesting that she was an employee came over to our table.  She asked us how we were doing and then proceeded to say to us: “You need to remove your bags from my table because they cost $1,500 each”.  As she said this she took a couple of the women’s purses and put them on the ground without asking if it was ok to touch them or anything.  There were several other people sitting around, one who was working on their laptop and another couple who had a bag on another table.  She never said anything to them but instead asked them how their days were going.  After this all happened she proceeded to offer us the services of an on-site astrologer and samples of soup that they were selling.  She acted as if the incident that had just happened about 5 minutes earlier never happened.

A few minutes later my fiance’s mom told us that prior to the rest of us placing our orders, she had sat down outside of the shop on one of the chairs that was there.  There was a sign which stated that you couldn’t sit there if you were talking on your cell phone or had a beverage.  She wasn’t talking on her phone and didn’t have a beverage (yet) so she sat down.  The same woman came outside and told her she had to move because she wasn’t drinking any tea.  The way she spoke to my fiance’s mom was rude and she said she felt as if she was being talked-down to.  Had we known about that none of us would have gone inside and ordered anything from this shop.

Now I can understand how expensive furniture can be and that some furniture can damage easily.  If that is the case, wouldn’t it make more sense to post a sign stating so?  Or she could have come over, introduced herself, asked politely and not mentioned the cost of the tables and we would’ve been more than happy to move our stuff.  But she decided that we weren’t important.  She decided that she did not value the 7 of us, 2 of which work and live in Manhattan, as customers.  She doesn’t care whether we return or not.  If she does care about all of that, then she failed at the chance to have a positive interaction with 7 new customers.

We will never go back into that store or any other locations that may be open or may open in the future.  Why? Because whether she’s an employee, manager, or owner, she is representing that entire company with every interaction she has with every single customer.  Every customer is a chance to build a lasting relationship and to continue building loyal fans of your brand, your product, and your company.  Every single customer matters! Bottom line.  Word-of-mouth is everything!

What are your thoughts?  Have you had a positive or negative experience that has burned a lasting memory?  If you’re an owner, manager, or employee, what do you do to ensure every customer interaction is as positive as possible?

Update: I just wanted to clarify that besides my experience at T Salon, Chelsea Market is beautiful and a great place to go when visiting NYC.  I visited many of the bakeries and other small shops and had a lot of fun. 🙂

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

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Photo by: Chris Breeze


How to Measure the ROI of Social Media

18 11 2008

One question that is constantly asked by organizations who are considering venturing into new media is concerning what the ROI for their efforts will be.  Typically they want to turn to this traditional measuring tool to judge whether or not it is worth their time and investment to get involved.  If you are someone who is the social media ninja for your company or consults for companies on social media, then I’m sure you’ve faced this question before.  As Jason Falls explains in a similar post on the ROI of social media:

“The problem with trying to determine the ROI for social media is you are trying to put numeric quantities around human interactions and conversations, which are not quantifiable.”

Just like everyone else, I face this question constantly, especially from my efforts in social media with my Argentinean steakhouse and food blog.  I thought Jason’s quote above nailed everything that I had been thinking because I don’t try to measure the specific ROI on my efforts.  But, it is a lot different when you’re the owner versus when you need to explain it to a prospective client, investor, business associate or anyone else for that matter who is outside of the social media circle.

Last week I had the opportunity to attend Social Media Jungle (full video stream here) which was organized and hosted by Jeff Pulver.  During the conference, one of the speakers was Ben Grossman who spoke on just this very topic.  I really like how Ben addressed the question of ROI for social media by discussing using ROBI (Return on Brand Investment) and ROCI (Return on Customer Investment) as measurements instead of the traditional ROI.

If you have 20 minutes to spare, I highly recommend viewing this video of Ben’s presentation.

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So, what are your thoughts?  What do you tell your clients, friends, family or business associates when they ask you what the ROI for all of “playing around” on social media is?

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Being Better Than Zero and Appreciating It

12 11 2008

One of the things I really enjoy doing is to dig through blog archives and read older content. Why? Because most of the time it is still relevant today. Also, it allows you to see the progression of a blog and the person or people behind that blog.

Tonight I decided to dig through the archives of Gary Vaynerchuk because all of his video blogs are entertaining, informative and motivating. I came across a video where Gary states that “everything is better than zero”. Part of Gary’s point was that you should take everything you can get and be appreciative of it – whether it’s 1 subscriber or 1,000; whether it’s 1 advertiser with a $10 spot or 25 advertisers each with $1,000 spots….whatever it is and no matter the quantity of it, the point is to appreciate it all!

When I first started blogging I wasn’t sure where it would take me but so far it continues to lead to nothing but good things. One of the most important things that blogging and social media has provided me is a group of awesome people who I get to interact with on a daily basis.

So, as I prepare this post in the wee hours of the night since I’ll be attending 3 social media events and hosting a wine dinner in the next 36hrs, I wanted to say thank you to all of you who read this blog and find what I have to say interesting.  You continue to motivate me every day!  It is very humbling to receive comments, emails, pings on various social networks and talking with people in person who tell me that they enjoy reading the blog or what I talk about on Twitter or any of the other networks that I’m active in.  I look forward to continuing to grow this blog and hope that you stick around for the ride!

Thank you, you are all awesome! 🙂

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Don’t Forget About the Importance of Internal Marketing and Communication Strategies

10 11 2008

marketingplanSo you’re really psyched because you’ve been working hard on the marketing plan for your company’s hot new product.  You’ve worked on creating catchy packaging with eye-popping colors and a really cool, trendy logo.  You created a social media press release that you’re going to launch on PitchEngine.  You’re planning on setting up a Facebook fan page because thousands of people are going to flock around this product.  You’ve even started to figure out this whole social media and blogging thing that everyone keeps talking about.  This is definitely going to be the next coolest thing that everyone never realized that they needed but now won’t be able to live without.

A few weeks later your company launches the product and your inbound marketing plan is working perfectly.  People are subscribing to your opt-in newsletter, signing up for demos, tweeting, commenting and digging everything they can find about your company and this new product.  The phones are ringing constantly.  But, then you find out something pretty disturbing.  The sales team is having a hard time converting all of these leads to customers.  Immediately you begin to blame them.  I mean, they’re wasting the leads that you worked so hard to get for them!  Finally, one night you’re out for drinks with a friend of yours who is on the sales team.  You ask them why can’t the sales team convert any of these leads and they tell you it’s because they never received any training on the product, they didn’t know about the timing of any of the marketing campaigns, and that made them unprepared.  So, when they’re talking to leads, they’re fumbling through the call because they’re learning as they go.

This little story highlights something very important but often overlooked.  As marketers we sometimes get so wrapped up in planning and executing our marketing plan to the rest of the world that we forget that we also need a marketing and communications plan for our staff.  We can’t just assume that they know everything that’s going on just because we do.  It is important that we are constantly aware of this so that we avoid operating in a silo or out on an island.

As I was thinking about this stuff over the past couple days, I came across a post by Douglas Karr on this very same topic.  Thanks to him, I found this funny video on the topic of internal marketing and communication plans.

If you have problems viewing this video in your RSS reader, you can view the video here.

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Photo by: hulksjedi

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Crafting a Successful Buzz Strategy

5 11 2008

Today Maria Elena Duron takes over my blog for a guest post on creating a buzz strategy.  Maria is CEO of Buzz to Bucks which provides online profile management, social management and reputation management services to its’ clients.

buzzstrategyThis week I sat down with several clients to talk Twitter.  Their questions ranged from “how to?”, “what’s this?”, and “how much time do you spend”?  Developing a great buzz strategy begins with the greatest questions of WHY and WHO/WHOM.

  • Who do you want to be seen and know as?

This is the beginning necessary for an effective BUZZ STRATEGY.  WHOM is it important for you to interact with?  WHO needs to see more of you to get to know you?  WHO needs to know what you do and how you save the day?  WHOM can you engage to speak positively on your behalf?  WHO can do business with you or refer business with you?  WHO would be a good contact for you?

Answering these questions provides direction as to what methods to use to connect with the WHO, and even how often to connect with them.  Identify WHO they really are and include their likes, dislikes, and activities, along with the standard demographic stuff.  Then, go out and find groups of them. Where do bunches of them hangout?  Is it online?  In Twitter, in a forum, or in a chat room? Is it in LinkedIn groups, Rotary, Mother’s Day Out? Where you find many of them congregating is where YOU want to be.

  • Why do you want to be seen and known by them, and interact with them?

Every English paper that reviews stories always starts with questions like “what’s the purpose?” or “what’s the plot?”  These are the same questions you need to ask yourself, and then you can craft your success story on interacting with the WHO.  What’s the overall outcome you want from this?  Envision the happily ever after of this.  And ponder on whether the tools you’re using to get there are actually getting you there or whether they are just interesting.

Do not go any further until you, quite in detail, answer the first two questions of WHO/WHOM and WHY.  Doing anything else without answering those questions is merely a waste of time.

Visibility is first so that people will get to see you or even know that you exist.  Next comes developing credibility.

  • What can you do to create visibility with whom you want to interact with?

Easiest answer is to hang out where they hang out.  Frequent their hangout spots!  Watch and identify how often people need to hang out there to be noticed.  For example, if you’re considering Twitter as one of your visibility tools, then check how often people that you know (who mirror the people you want to know) are Twittering.  Now, if they’re not Twittering, why are you there?  If it’s interesting research, recognize that it is and move on. It’s not a visibility tool – it’s something you’re checking out, that’s it.  As you choose visibility tools, it’s important to remember not to confuse “activity” with “accomplishment”.  Where do you really need to be to be seen?  Pick TWO and get really good at being seen on those.   Think of things that you want people to know about you and that you wouldn’t mind repeated. 

  • How do you develop credibility?

Credibility comes from interaction.  People need to sample your character and competence.  There’s an old saying that states, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  How do you show you care?  You interact.    Let’s say someone sends out a great link to a site that’s very helpful for you?  Then, let the person who sent it to you know.  Give them feedback.  Be lavish with gratitude.  Be helpful.  If someone is seeking resources, has a question or a need, help them.  Send links or articles or another connection you have that would be able to help them.  Refer them to books.  Recommend sites.  Be helpful.  There’s a myth that “You give – then you get” in networking.  And, while I think “Givers gain” is a catchy little phrase, I believe it leaves the impression that if you give to someone then you can expect to get something from them.  That expectation may taint the interaction and actually keep you from gaining anything.  It can leave someone with the taste that you’re not helping sincerely.

Better to think “give, give, give, give, give, and you will get from the great feeling of giving”.  Then, when you get something directly from that, it’s a delightful extra!  The goal in building credibility is creating relationships.  Relationships, whether online or offline, still take time.  In our instant gratification microwave society, relationships still take time, yet they are solid when built.  People speak positively about people they know, like and trust.  It’s important to find a few that you feel compelled to help and connect with, and develop, know and like – trust will come.

The object is to help people learn how to carry the message of you to people they know – that’s what BUZZ STRATEGY is about.  Write down the WHO/WHOM and WHY.  Then, find TWO avenues that you will use to connect with them.  Then, find TEN people that you’ll interact with and watch the BUZZ grow.  Establish this first – then we can talk more about EXPONENTIAL BUZZ GROWTH!

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Photo by: Unhindered by Talent

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Marketing to Buyer Personas and Inbound Marketing – David Meerman Scott’s Keynote at Inbound Marketing Summit

3 11 2008

This past weekend I started re-reading David Meerman Scott‘s The New Rules of Marketing & PR.  As you know from previous posts, I’m a huge fan of David because of his thought leadership in the space of inbound marketing.  As I was reading I realized that I hadn’t shared his keynote from the Inbound Marketing Summit with all of you.  This keynote was excellent and definitely a “must watch”.

If you can’t see this video in your RSS reader, you can view it here.

[blip.tv ?posts_id=1300552&dest=-1]

Are you marketing to different buyer personas?  What are some of the ways that you are executing an inbound marketing campaign?  I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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