Volkswagen's Customer Intuition

Have you seen the startling ads for the VW Jetta? The ones where you are riding along with the occupants when suddenly out of nowhere they have a collision. The ads are designed to highlight the “safety in light of the unexpected” aspect of the Volkswagen Jetta. Dave over at our sister blog BeTuitive call the ads risky but they connect with him as he has experienced an accident and can relate with the sudden impact of these commercials.

Seems to me to be an intuition moment on the part of Volkswagen or at least their ad agency. These ads are most likely the result of market research that shows that safety ranks high in customers and prospects minds, therefore commercials dramatically promoting the safety performance of their vehicles.

How are you responding to the discussions that your customers and prospects are having about your business or products? Are you responding in advertising? In your email newsletters? On your blog?

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | |

May 23, 2006 in audio publication, award winning magazine, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Building Customer Community, bulk email marketing, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Business publications | Permalink | Comments (0)

Daily Candy to Sell at Auction for $100 Million

Here's a word from the B2C email newsletter world that will give you pause. Daily Candy a trend spotting shopping daily email newsletter service is poised to sell for $100 million. Wow! there is a lot of value in building a targeted permission based audience.

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Daily Candy's business is a simple one: It produces urbane email newsletters that make daily recommendations on shopping, entertainment, food and media. Originally written for a clutch of trend-obsessed New York City women, the site produces 11 electronic newsletters, including editions for Chicago, San Francisco and London. Advertisers pay for access to the newsletter subscribers.

Wall Street Journal: Former AOL Official Pittman Puts Web Firm Daily Candy Up for Sale

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | |

February 16, 2006 in audio publication, Award winning publications, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, bulk email marketing, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Business publications, Business relationships, CMO, company blog, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NPR's 17 Podcasts Are Getting A Lot of Downloads

If you're still wondering if all this buzz about podcasting will amount to anything consider this:

NPR's podcasting numbers are blockbuster: 4 million downloads in the two months since it launched.

It may not be time to start your own but it is time to start following the podosphere and developing a strategy for how your company can participate. Whether advertising buys, sponsorships or content creation it's clear that podcasts are a growing highly targeted marketing opportunity.
NPR's Podcast Numbers

Technorati Tags: | | |

October 31, 2005 in audio publication, award winning design, award winning newsletter, blog publish, Building B2B Relationships, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, CMO | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

What XM Satellite Radio Should Be Doing at the World Series

On the heals of my post yesterday about Story-crafting I can't resist commenting on XM Satellite Radio's plans to market to baseball fans by passing out coupons good for their portable receivers to all 40,000+ ticket holders to game one of the World Series in Chicago on Saturday.

This is old school marketing where the marketer tells the story and the consumer has to listen and respond in the narrow way as prescribed by the marketer. In fact fans who received the coupons have to buy at least three months of the $12.95/month service to get their radio. Way to build a nice barrier to entry XM. It's passive buy before you try marketing.

What XM Should Do

It's all about sampling the content not the hardware. By simply giving out coupons they don't allow potential customers to do either.

XM should:
-Develop special one station receivers to give to every fan on the way into the game.
-Partner with MLB and Fox to provide the best content possible.
-Do pre game and post game programming to cross promote XM content.
-Produce the game coverage with as much listener participation as possible. Use fan interviews, call-ins, contests, trivia quizzes, etc.
-Allow fans to trade in their receivers for discount coupons good for discounts on hardware and service.
-Consider broadcasting to those receivers that aren't turned in for a week following the game as further promotion of XM content.

A freebie that's got a hidden cost to it is doomed. You're bait and switching potential customers. Those prospects will feel cheated before they even hear the content. Pay per use media needs to be all about sampling. You don't buy a car without test driving it. You don't buy concert tickets to bands you've never heard before. What makes them think people will sign-up for audio content they have never heard before?

A single use sampling of the experience provides true motivation to buy. If customers feel that they can participate in the creation of the consuming experience they will take ownership and passionately evangelize the product, service or experience.

Bask in headlines like these, XM, because that's all you're likely to get out of this promotion.

Satellite Radio Outfit Outfits Baseball Fans

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |

October 20, 2005 in audio publication, Award winning publications, Brand enhancement, Current Affairs, Sports, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Storytelling vs. Story-crafting

These days marketing is all about the story. It's the story of the idea that lead to the creation of your business, the history of your company, the creative uses of your product, the experience of your service, the transformation that results from your experience. Whatever it is, it's all about the story and thus the storytelling. The storytelling techniques and venues are constantly changing. Just as mass communication grew through newspapers to radio to television the new media is evolving communication and storytelling. Electronics and internet connectivity are changing the game from mass communication and storytelling to individual communication and story-crafting.

Story-crafting is different than storytelling because the listener takes an active participatory role in how they consume the story. User generated content builds on the base framework created by marketers to create new narratives that are much more powerful and relevant to consumers. A forum or blog comment section that collects customer experiences, tips, recommendations, reviews, suggestions etc. is much more relevant to consumers than traditional marketing speak generated by the in-house copy writers. Trust has shifted. Consumers believe their fellow consumers perhaps more so than the company line.

Today customers or fans self organize into different levels of loyalty and devotion to your product, service or experience. In so doing they seek out different levels of connection to your brand. Some just buy your product, some refer you to friends and colleagues, some subscribe to your email newsletter, still others read and subscribe to your blog, a few subscribe to your podcast and somewhere out there somebody wants to tatoo your logo on their body. There's a hierarchy of brand loyalty and devotion. The examples are obvious and oft written about. Apple, Microsoft, Volkswagen, Disney, Harley-Davidson, Tom Peters, Starbucks, etc.

What's needed today is a comprehensive integrated approach to the use of the new tools and communication channels available to today's marketer. The tools keep coming. It's too easy to just grow haphazardly from email newsletters to blogs/RSS to audio podcasting to video pocasting with wikis, forums, chat rooms thrown in along the way. We're seeing some dazzling failures along the way as companies attempt to use these tools without understanding how best to integrate them into an overarching story-crafting strategy.

Today's marketers need to understand new media tools and just how they can and should be used to allow customers and prospects to enter into a participatory relationship with your brand that allows them to connect at a variety of levels with your ongoing stories. Not everyone will utilize all of your communication channels but their needs to be a strategy so that all the elements move the story forward and don't frustrate customers by simply duplicating messages across different media.

That's why it pays to consider outsourcing your customer communication like email newsletters and blogs to a company like BeTuitive Marketing, LLC because we bring a lot of experience and understanding of these new media tools and can help you craft overall strategies for building your relationships and sales with your existing and prospective customers.

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |

October 19, 2005 in audio publication, award winning blog, award winning magazine, award winning newsletter, Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Blogging Tools, Blogs, Brand enhancement, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, bulk email marketing, Business editorial, business magazine, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Business publications, Business relationships, CMO, company blog, Television, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Personal R&D: Reading and Discovery

Your plane was just delayed and now you have 30 minutes on your hands. What to do?

Sure you could get a coffee, browse a bookstore, watch Hurricane news on the overhead monitors or....

You can deliver as much value to your network as you possibly can. Open your email address book. Scan the list and look for connections waiting to be made. Who should be introduced. What news stories, magazine articles or blog posts have you read recently that should be forwarded to someone in your network. Don't just tickle people for the sake of keeping the relationship live. Always deliver value to the relationship. Build the understanding in your contact's mind that communication from you whether it's a meeting, email or phone call will always be worth their time.

How can you constantly be ready with something for everyone? Well, you can't. Not everyone all the time but you can be ready for the right people at the right time.

The key is managing your personal R&D. In this case reading and discovery.

Read Strategically - Let your reading list grow out of your relationship network. When considering what to read consider who you know who is reading this same thing. Scan the desks, coffee tables, bookcases, carry-on bags, purses, briefcases, etc. of your coworkers, customers, prospects, competitors, etc. Discovering what someone is reading will give you clues to how they think and thus how you can work with them and add value to their lives.

For example: You're on a flight and you meet an executive across the aisle. She's in an industry you don't know a lot about. You sense there is an opportunity to follow-up and open a sales conversation with her. You notice a copy of a trade journal tucked into her laptop bag. After the flight find and read that trade journal so that your follow-up communications can include discussions of issues relevant to her business. She will feel that you value the information she values. It's a good first step to building a relationship.

Discovery - Cultivate your curiosity. Develop your power of observation. Make a game of it. Pretend you are an intelligence officer and practice noticing everything in your environment. Look for connections, patterns and cause and effect relationships. Watch human behavior. Notice advertising. Study new products when you come across them. Meet new people. All these things will develop your social skills and help you understand differences in how people behave and react to what you say and do. Most importantly actively noticing, observing and analyzing your environment and the people around you will help to make and keep you interesting. You'll always have insightful stories, humorous anecdotes and fresh ideas to share with the people you know and those you meet.

For example: You're in sales and marketing for a software company. On the subway ride to the meeting you notice just how many people have white wires running out of their ears. iPod listeners. When walking through a customer's office you notice that many of the young staffers are listening to iPods. In conversation with your contact you learn about half a dozen training needs the company has that surround your products. On the way back to your office an iPod ad reminds you of the article you read last night about podcasting. The light bulb goes on! The next day you propose a series of podcasts addressing the training issues you learned about the day before.

It's obvious that people are drawn to those who they know are interesting, funny and insightful. It's more important than ever to be that person. Being knowledgeable is the baseline. Being entertaining, insightful and helpful is more important than ever.

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |

September 21, 2005 in audio publication, award winning magazine, award winning newsletter, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Books, Brand enhancement, Building Customer Community, Business newsletter, Travel | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

UPS vs FedEx: One Experience...Shared with more than a few friends.

Everyday there are examples of the power of blogging to influence customers and prospects. Here's a little post for the very popular Signal vs. Noise blog.

A comparison of some real-world contingency design at two leading shippers.

I had to call FedEx and UPS this week and pick up packages at both locations because I missed the deliveries at my house.

When I called FedEx I got through to someone in about 12 seconds.
When I called UPS I actually called three separate times because I was on hold for over 10 minutes each on the first two calls and hung up. On the third call I had to wait 21 minutes until someone answered.

When I visited FedEx, their location was bright, fairly friendly, carpeted, and overall pleasant. My package was brought to the front desk within seven minutes of giving them my info slip. When I visited UPS, their location was dungeon-like: a windowless steel door marked “CUSTOMER PICKUP” in poorly aligned all-caps, a cracked cement floor, cold florescent lights, a TV in the corner with horrible reception, afterthought plastic chairs, and a woman behind the desk with a matching attitude. I swear it felt like an interrogation room. It took too long for them to bring my package to the desk.

Just one experience, but a lasting one.

Typical customer service type rant right? The kind of thing that circulates among coworkers and friends everyday. What's different here is the ability for others to join the conversation. As of this writing there are 46 comments. This is not surprising when you see that their are over 13,400 subscribers to the blog.

UPS and FedEx can't really worry about those conversations about them that few people hear. This however becomes something else all together. This is why you need to use web services and tools to track and participate in important conversations that are relevant to your business. Step one is hearing the conversation. Step two is responding appropriately. Hint: A C&D letter is like gasoline on the fire. There are better ways. It's perhaps the number one reason to hire a blogging consultant that can help you formulate your responses in a way that's well received in the new world of the blogosphere.

UPS vs FedEx: One experience:

Technorati Tags: | | | | | | |

September 15, 2005 in audio publication, award winning design, award winning magazine, Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Blogging Tools, build credibility, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Promotion Fatigue

Last week I had to go shopping at a clothing store I prefer to avoid. They were the only store in the area that stocked what I needed. The problem I have with this store is promotion fatigue. Their everyday pricing is clearly inflated to support their promotions. Playing their promotional games requires that you shop their stores on certain dates to receive savings coupons that are good only on certain days a month out. It's blatantly manipulative and I resent it. If you want me as a good customer don't make me jump through your arbitrary hoops. Don't make me shop on the days you want me to shop. I'll shop at your competition when I want to shop.

It's a fine line between sales and manipulating customers to make your numbers.

Have you talked to a customer lately to gauge their response to your pricing and promotion practices? Oh, look, there's a phone right there on your desk.

Technorati Tags: | | | |

August 29, 2005 in audio publication, award winning newsletter, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Brand enhancement, Business newsletter | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Trade Show Booth Tale

 Booth Images Img 0912BAnybody in the marketing game is well versed in the ins and outs of trade shows and conventions. You've either staffed a booth or you are considering doing a booth at some upcoming event.

The visual image of your booth is important. The all important first impression for customers and prospects.

Fed up with the high costs and limited options available one software company engineer built his own with a few tools and lots of trips to Home Depot. Inspiration for some, cautionary tale for others.

Building a Trade Show Booth on a Budget

Technorati Tags: | | | |

July 24, 2005 in audio publication, award winning newsletter, blog publish, Building Customer Community, Business newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Creatively Sponsoring Podcasting

By now you have heard something about podcasting. It's a niche audio programming system that allows anyone to produce an audio recording that can be easily downloaded and transfered to a portable audio player for playback at a listeners convenience. As the phenomenon catches on thousands of individual podcasts are popping up across the internet. Because individual podcasts are usually associated with an established blog the audiences tend to be segmented and very focused. This naturally appeals to marketers looking to expand the number of channels they use to communicate with customers.

Click Z reports that Warner Brothers is sponsoring a podcast. Warner Bros. will provide some exclusive music and interviews for an entertainment focused podcast.

The article includes this kernel of an idea for the future of podcast sponsorship:

"He'll incorporate that this is a sponsored message," said Bill Flitter, CMO of RSS marketing firm Pheedo, which brokered the deal. "It's basically paid placement. The music becomes the advertisement. The way I sold both these sponsorships is [that they're] enhancing what someone's already doing and adding value to it, as opposed to the interruption mode."
The challenge of sponsoring podcasting is understanding that traditional, radio style, interruption advertising is inappropriate when the listeners have the ability to fast forward right through the spots.

The approach of value added content contributions is a far better approach. This is a no brainer for music producers but other types of businesses can contribute as well. Consider interviews with the CEO or product designers/engineers, audio documentary style customer profiles, site visits, etc.

Another tactic mentioned in the article is to include an exclusive promotion code that listeners can use at a company website to obtain special services, discounts, exclusive products, etc. This technique has the added benefit of being measurable.

Bottom line is to keep an eye on the growing world of podcasting. While your business might not yet be at a place to start your own podcast you may want to track the emergence of prominent podcasts that are relevant to your customers and prospects and then consider creative sponsorship opportunities.


tags: | | |
What's a tag?

March 22, 2005 in audio publication, award winning design, award winning magazine, award winning newsletter, Award winning publications, Blog Outsourcing, blog publish, Blogging Tools, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Business Marketing, Business newsletter, CMO, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack