Category Archives: Advertising

Marketing Pass/Fail Friday: Bark Box “Dog Butt” Case Study

Case Study – Bark Box “Dog Butt” Commercial

Interest enough…I would love to have been in on the meeting when the Marketing Dept suggested that Bark Box spend 30 seconds of a commercial staring at a dogs butt because it is a dog commercial.

While there are mixed results of humor and annoyance, it does give the human element something to look at while they depart their marketing message.

In truth, it might be curiously cute the first time, but after you have seen it – it is a one-trick pony (or dog).

However, it stops people with simplicity and light humor while driving home the message “Bark Box” is about dogs…not humans…and for the humans that agree.

The commercial panders to dogs…and centers their brand around people who put dogs at the center of their focus as well but putting the dogs and people on their team.

Conclusion – Pass

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Best April Fools Day – EVER! If you read

Best April Fools Day – EVER! If you read…then you know what is wrong with people who commented that they read! http://ow.ly/vrAxe

Crowdfunding – Six Social Media Marketing Failures to Finding Funding

authr-crowd-funding“If you build it, they will come,” is a fantastic slogan for inspiring a baseball game in Field of Dreams, but not all the bright lights of Hollywood are able to fix some of the submission for crowdfunding.  In haste to create a revenue source for their dreams, hundreds of people everyday eagerly post projects on sites like Kickstarter, GoFundMe, and Crowfunder, and IndieGoGo.

In truth, most projects are a little like Tom Cruise screaming “show me the money” in Jerry Maguire.

Apologies for the digression into movie history!

First – Lets Talk About Crowdfunding Demographics

Although GoFundMe boasts “over $75 million dollars raised since 2010,” the reality is that most projects that fail to receive funding lack the six essential social media elements that create a strong approach to answering the most basic marketing questions.

Indicators show in a study by American Dream Composite Index the demographic for crowdfunding as:

  • Age. Individuals ages 24-35 are much more likely to participate in crowdfunding campaigns; those over 45 are significantly less likely to back campaigns.
  • Gender. Men are much more likely to take a risk on an unknown startup.
  • Income. Those earning over $100,000 per year are the most likely to invest in startups through crowdfunding.
  • See:  http://bit.ly/crowdfunding_demo for more in-depth information.

Next – Habitual Behaviors of Crowdfunding Investors

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In truth, there are three levels of crowdfunding investors:

  • Level 1 – Initial Investors:  These investors are the people who buy in early because they love the concept or idea.  These people usually also enjoy the reward connected with the contribution and the ability to say they helped fund the idea.  These are the early adaptors of most markets and technologies.
    • Marketing Motivation:  Making your crowdfunding campaign sharable and rewarding is very important to this type of investor as well as creating a steady update stream for monitoring growth such as pictures, video, and social media.
  • Level 2 – Get On Board Investors:  These investors are interested in watching the project progress to see if it will be viable.  For them, the burden of proof – even if it is slight – is overwhelming.  These people need to see some justification for investment through either press coverage or other investor interest.
    • Marketing Motivation:  The stream of social media with newsletters combined by way of press releases, images, and video help move an investor to get on board while they can because these options open the door to sharing and seeing others participate in the growth process.
  • Level 3 – Home Stretch Investors:  There are two types of home stretch investors.  First, the Finalists are people that have just found out about the project through a friend / family member or a “Get On Board Investor” with a stubborn streak who decided not to be left out at the last minute.  Second, the Secret Santa’s are the people who dig deep to invest a little more to the project in order to push it over the top.
    • Marketing Motivation:  Investors are attracted by being a part of the winning team.  These people are usually not new to the project or crowd sourcing in general.  The marketing needs to accept these advanced investors with special rewards and recognitions with contests, informational presentations, and product placements in social media.  For example, ask for their opinion on color selection, optional features, and functionality that allow them to claim some ownership in the production or outcome.

Finally – Let’s Get Social!

crowd-fundingWhen adding up the money, the dollar signs are indeed staggering as words like crowdfunding and crowdsourcing became the new buzz words for every new invention or service.

These six essential social media marketing strategies touch each type of crowd funding investor in the wheel-house of their marketing motivation:

  1. Social Media Share:  Social media avenues help build an input channel for potential investors and build an audience accustomed to sharing viral information.  At the same time, certain social medias like Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and blogging creates searchable content for Google.
  2. You Too YouTube:  Youtube is the number two search engine in the world.  Is that enough reason to have video as a part of a crowdfunding campaign?  Yes!  Without doubt.  More importantly is the video evidence of each successful step of the process.  From the initial demonstration of the product or service to latter stages of development, video has the ability to gain buy-in instantly because investors can see that the product actually works and how it works.
  3. Picture Perfect:  Outside of the initial design sketches or ideas, most projects have the basic pictures of drawings or images taken with a camera.  Seriously, it is time to shine up those images because a picture is truly worth a thousand words.  When a potential investor can see someone using the product to solve a problem, there is the advantage of being able to become a part of the situation and the solution.
  4. Good Newsletters:  Without a good newsletter, a crowdfunding campaign fails on several levels.  First, this is the best way to stay in connection with funders to update progress.  Second, newsletters are sharable from one investor to others with a simple click of a forward button.  Third, newsletter gives potential investors the opportunity to answer MAYBE if they are not ready for YES and would decide NO.  Lastly, a newsletter engages investors and keeps the project in front of them so they can fund again if needed or necessary.
  5. Press the Press:  One huge often overlooked social media strategy is approaching the press through magazines, newspapers, and industry related bloggers.  Armed with a strong press release that explains the best of the project, coverage from the media – online and offline – can give great exposure, fantastic links, and high level creditability to any project.  Most investors will trust a review from the New York Time or a respected industry blogger.
  6. Web Ready:  Many projects rely on crowdfunding websites for information and interaction with potential investors; however, a website devoted just to the project and marketing materials can be a useful tool in encouraging fast communication with press and reliability for investors.  With a minimal space and restrictions of a crowdsourcing project guideline, a website gives project owners room to spread out to share information instantly.

mmw-crowdfundingRealistically, crowdfunding is just like selling a service or product WITHOUT the service or product on-hand ready to ship.  In many cases, the marketing must work harder to convenience potential investors of the value proposition.

Last Stop – The Crowdfunding Mentality

Even as Kickstarter touts that there are over $606 dollars pledged every minute with over 50,000 people funding more than 10 projects, there is only a 43% success rate with some categories significantly skewing the curve upward.

If you want to see the stats for Kickstarter – http://bit.ly/kickstarter_data.

Consider this – As the link above shows, if your product or service is in the realm of frequently successful categories for crowdfunding, it does not mean that the road is easier.  In fact, it probably means that your social media needs to be more on track and targeted to reach the audience segmentation.

Without proper social media marketing, potential project owners should consider buying a lottery ticket instead of working through the process of creating and executing a crowdfunded marketing campaign.

Facebook Faux Pas: 5 Ways to Turn LIKES into DISLIKES

In every Facebook fan page campaign; there are three phases that go together like the 3 Musketeers – the group of sword fighting men, not the candy bar.  Those three phases are planning, design, and execution.  Even in the most carefully planned and designed Facebook fan page, the execution is the place where most people fall flat in gaining and maintaining an audience of customers.  In fact, when executed incorrectly, a Facebook fan page can have your nearest and dearest friends avoiding you in the supermarket!

Most people don’t make these mistakes on purpose (although there are a FEW that I have kindly noted the mistake and then UN-LIKED when they persisted).  These are usually the people who see me out at dinner and tell me that their Facebook fans have dropped over the last month.  I shake my head sadly…knowing the answer is probably one of these five mistakes that will turn LIKE into DISLIKE on Facebook:

Tag Lightly – Never Hit Too Hard.  In every Facebook class, we discuss the ways to tag other people and Facebook pages to draw traffic to your own Facebook page.  Sometimes, without understanding the effect, people over-tag certain Facebook pages or people in an effort to get attention (or just because they don’t understand the result!).  Every time you tag someone or a Facebook fan page, it posts your content on their page.  Even with the best of intentions if done too often or in too many places, it is tag-spam (the equivalent of email spam!).

Example:  During a recent social media party, we allowed all of our Facebook fans to post a link to their Facebook fan page to get the community connected.  We asked in return that the posters go to each other’s Facebook fan pages, LIKE their page (to build fans), and leave a hello from the visitor.  One person took this to heart!  She went to all 87 pages that participated and tagged our Facebook fan page as the referrer.  Her posts showed up 87 times on our Facebook fan page!  We had to delete them as they went  down for pages and pages of 87 link-backs from the tags!

Our next post will discuss Facebook Faux Pas #2:  Tresspass Posting!

Facebook Vanity URL: Claim Your Name

Ready to get rid of your prision number for your Facebook fan page?

Here are the criteria:

  • You have to own the facebook fan page (or be admin of the facebook fan page!)
  • You have to have atleast 25 fans or likes.
  • You can only set your vanity URL once!  SO make sure it is SEO and people friendly!

Now…check out this Facebook Vanity URL:  Claim Your Name video!

Video Voice: Facebook Badges for Websites and Blogs

Many people ask about how to get a facebook badge on their blog or website.

Facebook Badges for Websites and Blogs will walk you through the process of getting the code you need for your website or blog.

If you have any questions about how to maximize your social media efforts, please email us at questions (at) magicmarketingusa (dot) com.

Customer Service Stabbed Marketing in the Office with a Knife

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Do you have a clue what is killing your marketing efforts?  Whether you are a small business or large corporation, it is likely at least one of these customer service issues is planning the death of your marketing dollars!

Recently, I had occasion to travel across several states on business and pleasure.  Traveling provides a unique opportunity to view the world of customer service from the good, the bad, and the ugly.  While noting that the holiday season brings out the worse in both customers and customer service, it was particularly apparent that most companies do not take enough time to think through the rationale of integrating customer service into the marketing department instead, as is traditional in most case, into the sales department.
 
As an even bigger offense, if for some unfathomable reason, customer service is a department unto themselves because the divide between performance and evaluation increases at alarming rates.  Without doubt, more marketing dollars are needlessly wasted each year on ineffective customer service than any other marketing endeavor.  Clearly, the most preventable cases the murder of marketing dollars is easily fixed by addressing these five customer service issues:

Man-Handling:  Many times, service representatives react with overzealous pressure on customers.  Upon asking to be left alone (clearly) to browse for shoes, I was continually followed and addressed by a sales person.  When I requested, pointedly, that the sales lady go away, she did only to be replaced by another salesperson from the same charm school.  As a result, my shopping experience was ruined and I left the store.

Cow-Towing:  For some service reps, good customer service is equated to bowing and scraping before the buyers.  The buyer feels horrible that the company or the service individual is fawning over them like an entourage following the diva of the week around the store.  With a strange mixture of discomfort and annoyance, the customer exits the store as quickly as possible.

Passive-Aggressive:  Interestingly enough, in the past few weeks, I have encountered this behavior in several professional settings. When asking for a call number in the library, the Librarian literally snatched the paper from my hand to go get the book from me with a curt, “that is my job!”  As I stood in shock staring at her back, it seemed an odd sense of customer service that resounded of policy filtration.  In another case, I was seriously asked, “What do you want?”  Looking around a large, brand name bookstore, I humorously ordered, “a double cheeseburger with fries and a chocolate shake.”  In both instances, marketing dollars are wasted as customer service is isolated from the rest of the company structure.  NOTE TO CUSTOMER SERVICE WORLD:  The customer does not care if YOU are having a bad day, so that excuse does not fly for me.

Know-Nothing:  In contrast, customer service employees that know nothing about the product or services offered by a company are the worst waste of marketing money.  When customers fill the store seeking details about services or directions to products, a customer service representative should at least have general knowledge.  If the product or service base is so large that no one could have a strong working knowledge, the product specialist should be assigned to aid the customer.  I watched as a bookstore employee advised a beginning PhotoShop7 (yes, I know….groan from the audience….PhotoShop7!) to buy the PhotoShopCS3 Bible because it was about the same thing.  Needless to say, I stepped in to advise her to look online for a copy for a Dummies or 24-Hour book appropriate to her version of Photoshop.  “What’s the difference?” she asked me politely.  “About $75, years of needed Photoshop experience, and the frustration of trying to follow a book that does not represent your software,” I replied with encouragement.

Techno-Interruptus:  Shopping for a new cell phone urged me to add one more criminal act of marketing murder to the sphere of customer service.  Although I do admit that technology is a wonderful thing for business, it might well be the worst thing ever created for customer service.  Encountering service reps texting or talking about a party on their cell gives the worst impression of a company and completely sends me toward the door.  If that customer service rep adds a deep resounding huff of “you are bother me” to the mix, then I might ban the store from coast to coast from my shopping experience.

In most cases, customer service initiatives can enrich the return on investment for every marketing dollar spent by a company.  Marketing expenditures can lead to increased sales and heightened positive brand awareness with the help of informed customer service force as part of the marketing team.

5 (FREE) Time Saving Social Media Tools

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“Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.”—Chinese Proverb

So many times, people embark on social media marketing with the idealist understanding that it is as easy as tweeting a thought in 140 characters or posting a few words to followers every few days.  In reality, social media marketing involves more hand holding than direct marketing.  Why, then, are literally millions of businesses joining the social media movement every year?  Because, quite literally, companies can reach out to potential clients with less cost (provided they understand the time vs. money formula of social marketing) and gain market share through brand exposure.

Besides the afore mentioned misunderstanding about the true investment in time for a successful social media campaign without remembering that time is money, people often feel overwhelmed by the sheer complexity of managing multiple social media streams scattered all over the webosphere!

As a social media marketer, these are a few there tools I use to make m y life much easier! 

•Seemic (http://seesmic.com):  This is one of my favorites.  If you have a Facebook and Twitter account, the split screen view of Seemic makes it easy to follow what is happening in each account.  With the ability to add any pages you manage on Facebook and directly post / report information in one screen, my favorite thing about Seemic is that I can post to Facebook and Twitter at the same time!  Of course, that means that you have to limit the Facebook post to 140 characters, but what a time savings it is to have one place to call home for your Facebook and Twitter accounts.  If, like me, you have several accounts for each (Magic Marketing USA and Networking in High Heels), then the ability to import all of those accounts into one places brings order into chaos.

•TweetDeck (http://www.tweetdeck.com):  If you are truly wrapped up in the tentacles of social media, then TweetDeck is the application for you!  With the same multiple accounts split screen view, TweetDeck brings the management of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and mySpace within easy grasp.  The main difference between Seemic and Tweetdeck is user preference.  If you are limited in your interactions to Facebook and Twitter, the Seemic is amazing at delivering both of those to your virtual doorstep.  If you want to include outside accounts like LinkedIn and mySpace, then Tweetdeck gives you all of that in one simple place.

•Social Oomph (http://www.socialoomph.com):  All I can say is OMG!  When I first tried Social Oomph (which was TweetLater to those of the old school of last year!), I thought I had died and gone to Twitter management heaven!  Although this application is only for Twitter, Social Oomph gives you the advantage of customizing a message to send to everyone who follows you, lets you decide how to accept followers, and…ready for this?  Social Oomph lets you schedule tweets!  While I definitely DO NOT suggest that anyone spam their Twitter list, there are many times when I want to share what I am doing with others without stopping several times during the day to put it in 140 characters.  When I am traveling, this is the perfect way to let people know where I will be or send out reminder tweets about upcoming events.  Remember, NOTHING replaces actual interaction with the people in your social media sphere.

•SMS (your cellphone!):  It is safe to say that almost every social media application these days has a way for you to update your profile or status via your cell phone or smart phone.  While it can definitely make life easier when you can just text in 140 characters or do a quick update to your FBP (Facebook profile), it is addicting too because it connects you every single minute that you carry your phone.  Mostly, this has been responsible for the incidents of texting updates during church or in the bathroom.  If you are going to take this route, then please be conscious of the people around you before your spouse reaches over and drops your phone in your water glass at dinner (I swear…I saw this happen!).  And, realize that NOT EVERYTHING needs to be shared.

•Automatic Updates:  There are positives and negatives to completing the circle of social media.  If you enable automatic updates in your social media accounts, then you should be aware that mean EVERYTHING you tweet, blog, and post hits every possible avenue immediately.  In creating 360 degree coverage of all of your materials, promotions, and ads, this is the quickest way to make sure all bases are covered.  BUT…and this is a biggie…be sure that you really want everything to feed directly into your accounts especially if some accounts are for business use and some are for personal use.

Quick point in fact:  Before I go on, I want to make sure that it is clear to every breathing person on the web that Facebook has business accounts and, if you are using Facebook for business, this is the type of account you should be using!  There are many reasons, but transparency and market segmentation are two of the biggest reasons.  My next article, Facebook for Business: Fan or Friends, will explain this in depth, but using a personal level Facebook account for business not only violates Facebook TOC, but it also isolates you from the privacy protection and promotion of your business.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled program, automatic updates can be set up for bring blog posts into your LinkedIn account, share LinkedIn updates on Twitter, and add a tweet your Facebook entries and blogs.  The one exception is, in a business account, Facebook does not update to Twitter.  As of now, Facebook only updates Twitter if you have a personal account.  Solution?  See above for one of the great FREE applications that allow you handle all of these tasks in one place!

Although there are tons of other applications and time saving tips for social media management, any these will get you started.  As they are all free, I suggest that you try each one on for size to see what works best for you.  The most important part is to save time and produce quality information to connect with followers, friends, and fans.   Even though most of these applications might sound difficult, they are each easy to install with a wizard that walks you through it.  Since it is easy and FREE, what else could be better?

With the time you gain, check out our new group, Networking in High Heels, at www.networkinginhighheels.com.

Social Media: The Sexual Predator

As a marketer and web designer specializing in social media marketing, I have one rule that is never broken. No personal pictures of children. I would rather lose a client because I know that the web is a scary place filled with anonymity and people with no value for children. While parents protect their children from those hiding in the shadows of secrecy in real life, many parents unwittingly expose their children to thousands of sexual predators and molesters who are simply a click away.

If there is one message that I would love to give every parent who engages in social media or marketing for their business it would be: the web is not your friend!

Here are six NEVER DO things for social media and websites to protect your children:

1.  Never use pictures of your children as your profile picture. So many parents use pictures of their children instead of themselves as profile or avatar images. While I appreciate the need for parents to retain obscurity, think about the exposure of your children and their image to mass populations of people.

2.  Never put pictures of your children on your website or blog. Perhaps the most accessible way to gain pictures, a website or blog surrenders pictures with just a right click and SAVE AS. Posing a double threat, many website and blogs are directly traceable to a location by phone number or direct address.  Might as well place a google map on your child with a large YOU ARE HERE arrow.

3.  Never share pictures over social media.  Having seen people post a link to vacation pictures or family fun on Twitter or Facebook, the warning light bulb burns white hot upon the realization that thousands of unknown people exist in each account. Even in the strictest of social media sites that require you to validate your “friends,” people can sneak in to your connections. Further, when connections comment on your photos, your photos show up in the highlights of their connections! In certain social media, your pictures can be shared and re-tweeted to a whole new group of people without your knowledge.

4.  Never send pictures over email. If you send pictures of your children to company email addresses, then they go through a server administrated by people. As email can easily be viewed, saved, downloaded, and forwarded, grabbing these pictures of your children is not difficult. Most servers automatically scan downloads and attachments for viruses and generate reports to administrators.

5.  Never forget that someone does not have to touch your child to exploit them. When placing the pictures of your children in any online electronic format, never forget that you are exposing them to exploitation by one simple right click. In the thousands of people on the internet and in social media profiles, consider the chances that one of them is either a pedophile or sexual predator. The chances are very good!

6.  Never let innocence block your view of the truth. So many parents see their children with innocence rather than the potential for exploitation. Innocent pictures of children in the bath tub or playing in the backyard sprinkler are graphic to a sick mind. Although it might be painful to think in that manner, there are many consequences more painful than protecting your child by seeing the truth.

People often protect their financial information more stringently than their children because they feel safe in tucking their children into bed at night.

Not quite…in reality, it takes less than 10 seconds to right click on a picture and upload it to a new webpage. In those 10 seconds, a charming picture of a 7 year old girl in her new bathing suit splashing around in a pool can hit a child pornography website and be up for sale to thousands of pedophiles for a few dollars.

Sickening? Yes.

Are you ready for worse? Social media pages and websites often have exact locations connected to the parents’ profile. Even more directly, many social media profiles have websites that list as a location and phone number on the website or in a domain search. In less time than it takes to post that innocent picture to share with family and friends, a child molester can find the exact address of your child. When posting pictures of children, many parents post their names and ages with the picture.

Is there anything more persuasive for a child than a person who knows their parents name as well as their own? It is quite an advantage for sexual predator.

After watching a recent episode of Raising the Bar, it was very clear that my own experiences with parents reflects the comfortable naiveté of reality in how often people forget that the web is not their friend because we have grown up with the web as a part of our lives. I suggest this episode to every single person responsible for the well-being of children who uses the social media or the web as part of their connection with family, marketing for a business, or expansion of a social network.

Raising the Bar http://www.tnt.tv/dramavision/?oid=49111&eref=sharethisUrl.  

Remember: The web is not your friend!

Dynamically Brand Your Company for Growth and Success

Advertising, Blogging, Business, email marketing, facebook, linkedin, Marketing, project managers, return on investment, roi, social media, social networking, twitter, Viral Marketing, virtual assistants, wordpress

Do you have the answer to these three questions about your brand:

–Is your brand killing your company growth?
–Is your company brand ready to expand to meet your needs?
–Is your company brand reaching out to multiple audiences at once?

Dynamic branding is the backbone of any successful marketing campaign and business venture!

Find out today how your brand is holding back the growth of your company and limiting your marketing success at http://tinyurl.com/nrkftk.

Learn to earn today using “Leave Your Mark” Marketing!

Best,
Diana Bourgeois

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If you are in the virtual neighborhood, please feel free to join me on Twitter @magicusa, Facebook through http://www.facebook.com/diana.bourgeois, Biznik at http://biznik.com/groups/women-in-business, or Women in Business Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/kl2trj.