Online Communities can HEAL the Wounds of War

Written by on September 21st, 2008

Iraqi FamilyThe American image around the world has just about reached the lowest point we can get. The war in Iraq and now the incredible mismanagement of Wall Street, banks and ethic issues created by businesses like Enron has tarnished our reputation, respectability and trust.

In the midst of the mind numbing deficit numbers (now 11+ trillion debt) that we are being forced to absorb I was thrilled to run across a story on the Daily Camera, a newspaper in Boulder, Colorado. Apparently 10 years ago, residents of DUSHANBE, Tajikistan, a sister city of Boulder, gave the city the Dushanbe Teahouse as a gift from their city. (I’m assuming their town is known for tea!) After a decade of discussion and fundraising the city of Boulder reciprocated with funding ($1,000,000) to develop a Cyber café in Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

The Café will feature food from both countries, books and information. If they do it right, it will become a powerful International relations tool. Kudo’s to the City of Boulder , it’s Mayor Shaun McGrath and it’s people for showing us how to use the Internet to bring people of different countries and cultures together!

Online Communities to bring Iraqi and American Families together

Reading their story, reminded me about an idea I floated to Congressman Dennis Kuncinich, from Ohio on April 8th 2003 soon after we started the war in Iraq. It was a concept I called, Adopt a War Effected Person or Family.    (…More…)

When Mass Marketing Channels Meltdown – Where will YOU Get NEW Customers?

Written by on September 15th, 2008

Social Media and Online Community are your future marketing channels!

I started writing blog posting today, focusing on another issue, but after reading about the incredible events over the weekend of Merrill Lynch being bought for 50b by Bank of America in order to avoid an uncertain future (they’ve lost 8 billion this year), Lehman Brothers filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection – that on top of last weekend’s U.S government takeover of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,  – I’m kind of in a despondent, doomsday mood!   We are potentially facing a financial MELTDOWN if not today, very soon!

(industry experts are suggesting that the past two weekend board room decisions represent the most extraordinary period in Wall Street since the 1929 crash).

So let me take this moment to start freaking you out MORE by suggesting that traditional mass marketing channels are also in a meltdown phase! The newspaper, radio, TV, magazine and other mass marketing channels are witnessing a steady decline that is rapidly reaching a tipping point that will result in mass exodus of customers – which will give you access to less customers, which will result in higher customer acquisition costs and lower profits.  Interested?  Read on!

Changing behaviors

Why O’ why are we suggesting that mass marketing channels are heading for a meltdown?    It all starts with changing consumer behaviors, broadband reaching 70 percent o American homes, some 350 million plus people participating in online community and more adopting one or more social media tools (blogs, photo sharing sites, etc)    (…More…)

Chief Marketing Officers Video Testimonials – Use Social Media the Right Way!

Written by on September 14th, 2008

People buy from People!

Willis Wolf my friend and mentor told me that over and over.  My predilection was to use technology and automation in my sales and marketing process.  Willis’s repeatedly reminded me that people don’t have time to evaluate the ever increasing complicated products and services available today.

To a larger degree, people are referring to their trusted networks of business and social groups to cut through the myriad of advertisements, PR and marketing they receive on a daily basis.

That’s why I’ve been a huge fan of video testimonials over the past 4 years.  In both my books, Alumni Online Engagement and Internet Dough, I suggest groups and organizations should make a strategic decision to focus on using customer testimonials and endorsements.

Today it’s far easier to do.  You don’t have to create a $50,000 budget to create a video testimonial program.  Rather think about using readily available social media tools to accomplish it.  For example, a simple email to your customers could solicit a video testimonial using their cell phone, web cam, video capable still camera or video camera.  We’ve even suggested that our clients consider buying a $130 Flip it camera and send it to customers who don’t have the skill sets or interest in using the first tools mentioned.

Chief Marketing Officers Club

A good example of an organization who is beginning to use video testimonials is none other than the Chief Marketing Officers Club founded by Pete Krainik.  (It’s good to see them setting an example for the rest of us!)    (…More…)

Internet TV Right for Your Organization?

Written by on September 6th, 2008

Libraries, Franchise, Retail, Distributors, Police, City Hall, Dentists, Sales, Real estate benefit!

The cable industry revolutionized the delivery of television programs by providing you 500+  channels.  Now the Internet is opening an opportunity for thousands, no millions of TV channels to deliver news and content to consumers computers and cell phones.

This is presenting opportunities for your organization to reach consumers to educate, inform, advertise and gather data. One of the more successful case studies I could share with you revolves around wine!   In my 30’s Jack Daniels gave me the courage to dance on tables. Today, I look forward to a glass of wine at the end of a long day to relax and slow down my brain!  It works.  (ask me later about my Wine diet!)

Probably the most successful way you can use Internet TV is to educate your customers. That’s the direction Gary Vaynerchuck took when he created Wine Library TV.  Like the Internet, wine can be a mysterious and confusing thing.  It has its own language.  Gary’s concept is simple.  He has a webcam pointed at him as he sits behind a table lined with bottles of wine, glasses and a bucket to spit out the wine he’s tasting.

It’s not a sophisticated presentation, but it works.  Gary is by no stretch of the imagination a Brad Pitt or your every day TV personality.  He not only looks like Joe Pesci, but he sounds like him too!  His rapid fire unscripted conversation gets the job done with minimal preparation or time.    He  demystifies  wine and helps consumers feel more comfortable and confident.  His reasoning?

  • The more his audience knows, they more they will buy
  • And when they buy, they will remember they guy who taught them and that they trust!

And it works. (…More…)

Lobster Fishermen Use Social Media & Internet Strategy to Bring in More Dough!

Written by on September 1st, 2008

Tips to use social media to increase profits!

The ridiculously high run up of gas prices in just one year is requiring even lobster fishermen to rethink how they do business.  When times get tough, the tough have to think smarter, not work harder, right?

In the past lobster fishermen were about as far removed from their customers as the Chinese worker who assembles the products you buy from Walmart.

Brendan and John Ready, lobster fishermen from Cape Elizabeth, Maine (both in their mid 20’s and college graduates) started using social media and their website as a strategic business tool to help them by pass the wholesale distribution system and go right to their customer.   Brendan and John decided to use the Internet to not only reach directly to consumers but also engage and involve them in their business.

To do that they built a website which they called, Catch a Piece of Maine. Their unique value proposition is built around creating an experience for their customers. They want to be your private lobster fisherman who works just for you and deliver your lobster to you via overnight delivery services. James Gilmore & Joseph Pine in their ground breaking book, The Experience Economy, suggested that people are looking for more than a commodity product and are willing to pay MORE for an experience that is tied in with the product.   The brothers understood this and decided to use the Internet to build a unique experience for their customers. (…More…)