Your Website Should Provide an EXPERIENCE!

Written by on November 22nd, 2008

Do your visitors leave your website talking?

Four Bells

Jimmy Hendrix emblazoned in the minds of nearly every Boomer who listened to FM radio in the late sixties the phrase,  “Are You Experienced”.   A generation of youth wandered the country trying to figure out what experience Jimmy, the new king of Rock and Roll was talking about.  Was he talking about drugs, love or dropping out!

Later, Joseph Pine and James Gilmore put a new definition to experience in their book,  “The Experience Economy”.  This is one of my favorite books, a must read for ANY business professional.  In their book, Joseph and James remind businesses that consumers are willing to pay MORE for an experience. They point out examples of businesses that are in commodity markets who charge a premium price simply by adding a unique “experience”.  The lessons learned from this book could position you ahead of your competitors and ahead in your bank account too!

Stay with me, I’m going to give you an experience that will make you RICH! (…More…)

Huggies Integrates Online Marketing with Traditional Event Marketing For Fantastic RESULTS!

Written by on October 18th, 2008

6 things to keep in mind when building an integrated marketing strategy

Huggies and Alison Sweeney of Biggest Loser Huggies, a Kimberly Clark Company knocked the ball out of the park with a   well thought out and orchestrated B2C online and offline marketing campaign to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their Huggies brand.

Targeted at the first generation of moms that probably wore Huggies as babies, the campaign was designed much like the TV program Seinfeld and to capture a video statement about moms everyday experiences as a mom.

Back in the old days, The Queen for The Day TV program (1956-1964) featuring 4 down on their luck moms who’s story would be “rated” by the audience “applause meter”. The winner, or better said, mom with the biggest loser story would be rewarded with a washing machine and new fangled appliance that would make their lives easier. It was a great marketing channel for brands to reach their target audience. The program ran for a total of 20 years on both radio and TV.

Today brand advertisers like Kimberly Clark are learning how they can reach a similar audience using traditional event marketing and online social media.   (…More…)

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…)

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…)

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…)

NBC Reverses Declines by Embracing Behavior Changes

Written by on August 26th, 2008

Social media, online community, interactive websites provide businesses new opportunities

A central theme of my book Internet Dough is that the behavior of consumers have significantly changed by the introduction of practical, compelling and in most cases free services on the Internet.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were having to discuss “who provides the Internet?”, “Why is it free?”, “Who then pays for it?”  Later there were hours and hours of discussion about not putting personal information online and or using ones credit card.

All that started to change in 2004 as social media in the form on online communities, photo sharing sites and even ecommerce sites became more interactive and engaging.  Since that time, businesses of all types started to introduce Internet strategies to:

  1. Allow customers to “self serve”
  2. Deliver services faster
  3. Offer new products and services
  4. Reduce costs to the consumer
  5. Cut costs

In the process, by adopting Internet strategies companies world wide collectively began to change the behavior of consumers.  The more practical web based services offered, the more time consumers spent on line.  Today, according to a Time Magazine study, consumers are spending an hour more online per day than they do watching TV(…More…)

Lessons to Learn from Radio

Written by on August 5th, 2008

The Akron Beacon Journal, now a part of the Black Press newspaper chain, ran a great article about WKSU-FM, a radio station I worked for when I was in college, oh …so many years ago.

Paula Schleis the reporter zeroed in on how Al Bartholet, WKSU Executive Director used Internet technology, online community and archived content to create a profitable new product.

Bartholet had three issues he knew he had to deal with.  First, fewer young people were listening to classical music and as a result it was increasingly difficult to grow their listenership.  Second government support for public radio is continuing to decline and finally, maybe the worst of all,  the behavior of his listeners was changing rapidly.  They were becoming much more net centered!

A little brainstorming produces results!

Al had a very successful program produced by Jim Blum that aired on Friday nights.  Every program was recorded and over a couple years the station had develop a huge number of hours “in the can”.  As their team brainstormed about how they could embrace the Internet instead of worry about it, the idea floated up that they create an Internet radio station built around folk music.  For Public Radio,  this idea was not evolutionary, it was revolutionary! (…More…)