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DSC00064Marketing Misfire Photo of the Week I couldn't resist taking this photo while walking around in Manhattan. I'll leave the company name out of it but this was their main marketing message on the front of the building. They may want to consider...

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video-300x300Beginner's Guide to Video Marketing Disclaimer: I'm am not a professional video producer. If you've read my blog for a few years you'll know I typically embrace the latest mediums in marketing, learn them, and implement them in my teams'...

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Clean ShirtsHome Delivery Dry Cleaning Case Study: How Performance... Many of my readers are marketing professionals so stick with me on this post until the end. Although it looks like a post reviewing local dry cleaners it was actually inspired out of seeing first hand...

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Hotel Video Marketing - Good Tool or Not? I recently wrote about an experience I had in Europe staying at Ibis hotels. I was impressed with their marketing of their services and the backing of that brand marketing by hotel staff. The post was...

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Yoda.sized5 Steps To Analyzing That New Marketing Effort I was recently watching the original Star Wars movies with my kids. An absolute timeless series, but it's amazing how much more suspenseful that was when I was much younger. Graphics and special affects...

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Packer Brand Appeal – in Honduras?

Category : branding

8

A bit of a sidetrack for this site, but WOW – talk about global brand appeal.

I was with my family on vacation right after the Super Bowl. We were on a bus in Roatan, Honduras when I saw the Packer banners hanging from this tiny bar tucked away near the West End beach in Roatan. I knew the NFL had increasing international appeal but I never thought it was quite that far.

Granted, the NFL is taking steps to globalize their version of football by starting the season with international games and opening up offices around the world, but I still see the organization as primarily US-centric. The Bleacher Report had a good article from a couple years ago about taking the NFL global which is worth a quick read. To me, it was fun to see the interest in a US sporting team and event in a place with so little US brand exposure.

Or, I could be making a bigger deal about this than it is and the banners could be hung by a random bar owner with ties to Wisconsin!?

Who Hijacked The Lonely Marketer

Category : blogging

7

Well, very simply – life did. Life hijacked the author of the Lonely Marketer. The Teeter-Totter of balance in my life tilted too far in one direction and needed re-balancing. My guess is that many of you have felt the same thing somewhere on your path where something had to give. I was offered a nice career opportunity that I jumped at coupled with two amazing, young children and an incredible wife. At the same time, I was really hitting my stride with this blog. I was invigorated by the flow of conversation and the thought that I was providing material that other people read and enjoyed. Then, KABOOM! Work was much more demanding. I wanted to spend time with my kids and enjoy their every move. And oh yeah, maybe even see my wife in person, rather than on Skype, once in awhile. Something had to go on hold and unfortunately it was my website.

I come across some of the wonderful contacts and friends I made through this experience once in a while and the common questions is, “where did you disappear to?”. I can’t blame them for asking. I felt like I vanished as well. The subscriber count, the traffic, the mentions on other sites, the links, etc. weren’t what I missed – It was the ability to keep up with the conversation and the people. I’ve kept up with some of you and hope to re-engage with those of you who I’ve missed.

But, it’s time to jump back in. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be staring at a blank screen again with tons of white space waiting for my hands to cruise over a keyboard and fill it with thoughts, stories and insight. There may not be three posts a week as I’d done previously, but I hope to jump back into the conversation with a post every week or so.

I look forward to catching up with all of you and again working together to figure out the maze of marketing options available to us!

Resurrecting The Lonely Marketer

Category : Uncategorized

10

I can’t imagine there are a ton of readers out there still waiting on my next post since it was…uh….er…..over a couple of years ago. It seems like quite a long time since I wrote the story about my friend Jill and her Chair. That was one of the most gratifying pieces of writing I’ve done since it highlighted a good friend and an incredible corporate effort.

Well, the good vibes from that post and all the incredible people I met through blogging never left my veins and I feel like now is the perfect time to jump back in to the conversation. The site is under a bit of construction and will be taking on a new look and feel. Stay tuned and if you’re still out there….I can’t wait to reconnect.

A True Story About a Chair

Category : general marketing, strategy

140

jillchair.jpgThis is a true story and you need to read it.

While out to eat with friends recently, I heard a story that so caught my attention that I couldn’t wait to write about it. A former co-worker and now close friend of my wife and I humbly relayed something she’s started at work. She’s not the type to boast or draw attention to herself and to further put this in perspective, she’s the antithesis of the corporate, political-playing title climber. She’s got an incredible personality, truly enjoys people, and rarely is found without a positive glow. So, can you imagine that she’s potentially changing the way a Fortune 500 listens and communicates with its employees and customers?

Well, she is and she’s doing it with a chair.

She works in Communications for a very large retailer based in the Midwest who has thousands of stores worldwide, thousands of employees, and a bustling technology-filled corporate campus filled with energetic people trying to climb the ladder and change the world of retail.

Then there is Jill. She had a simple idea that – at first – was met with opposition. But, her perpetual optimism won over management and they told her to give her idea a try.

So, she plopped down two chairs in the heart of this busy corporate campus and put a sign over the two chairs calling out a topic for the day. She occupied one chair and then waited. And waited. And waited for another employee to sit down and discuss the topic she had posted. No technology. No motives. Just a person genuinely interested in her co-worker’s thoughts and feelings.

Well, her wait was short. People started to sit and talk. One at a time, Jill sat and spoke with employees. Taking notes on employees concerns and feedback, she promised their input would be anonymously passed on to upper management – and it is.

Would you believe that at times there are lines waiting to talk with her? They trust Jill and love sharing their thoughts with her. There are plans to not only increase the frequency of when she’s there to talk, but now she might sit at stores and talk with customers about their experience.

Again, two chairs. A topic. No technology. The whole world of business broken down to its simplest form – face to face, honest communication.

Here’s the copy that is used to advertise The Chair:

“The Chair” is designed to spark open, face-to-face, one-on-one conversation with employees in the simplest way possible: by offering employees a topic to talk about, an empty chair to sit on and an Employee Communications team member to listen to them (really listen – without a laptop, cell phone or Blackberry in the way). “The Chair” gives us a pulse-check on employee opinions, thoughts and ideas, while giving employees a place to be heard. “The Chair” is set up every other Wednesday from 10:30 a.m. to noon for corporate employees, with plans to expand it to store employees in the future.

With all the texting, blogging, IM, emailing, chatting, Twittering, etc. isn’t it awesome that a simple thing like this is having such a dramatic effect on a very large company? With any company, constructive feedback from employees and customers is not easy to get. As a marketer, I practically jump off the ceiling if I can get a customer or employee to sit down and tell me honestly what they think of our products or marketing plan.

Honestly, I’m not sure just anyone could pull this off. If you could meet Jill, you’d instantly know why this is working. But, I think more companies need to try. Listening is so important to understanding, and understanding customers and employees is what empowers businesses to improve.

Like a lot of corporate environments, people are falling all over themselves trying to take credit for the idea, but in the end it was all Jill. She’s loving it and has truly carved out a niche for herself in corporate America.

If you’d like to learn more about this effort, let me know and I’ll put you in contact with Jill.

What are your thoughts on The Chair?


Are Trade Shows a Waste of Time and Resources?

Category : trade shows

90

Tradshow ROIIf the answer to any of the following questions is true, the tool below might be for you.

1. Have you ever wondered if trade shows are more of a drain on your organization than a benefit?
2. Do you start to sweat when the business leaders in your organization begin asking about the return on trade shows you attend?
3. Are you routinely asked to attend trade shows that you do not believe will add value?
4. Do you have people in your organization that are emotionally charged about attending a show?

Deciding which trade shows to attend can be a difficult decision when emotions enter the decision process. It seems that every show has a strong advocate trying to convince the organization to attend.

Statements such as, “all our customers will be there”, “the market will think we have disappeared if we don’t attend”, “the trade publications won’t think we are a serious player”, and “this is the largest show in our biggest market segment” are a reflection of feeling, not fact.

Conversely, with very tight budgets and demand to show ROI, deciding which show to attend can prove to be just as difficult.

While establishing better goals and metrics is a usual course of action to prove marketing return, trade shows can be particularly challenging.

To ensure the show success it is important to set up quantitative and qualitative metrics prior to deciding to exhibit. If you establish goals such as the number leads, number of customer meetings, and the number of brand impressions you can mitigate emotional decision making.

Driving to Trade Show ROI

To measure ROI it is important to fully capture the costs and benefits of a show. Below I propose some metrics that can be used to demonstrate the benefit of a show. Three metrics in particular are the calculation of Advertising Equivalence, cost savings from customer meetings, and monetizing brand impressions with speaking engagements.

I would recommend the development of a standard template that includes the elements listed below. It is also important to consider the timing of when you validate the results. I have found that it is important to check at least three times: Immediately, within a month or so and then again when deciding to attend the show again.

Trade Show Costs

Event Sponsorships/Exhibition

  1. Exhibit costs
  2. Speaker costs
  3. Sponsorships
  4. Individual registrations
  5. Other

Transportation

  1. Booth / Equipment Shipping costs
  2. Other Transportation

Travel

  1. Number of attendees x the average cost per day x the number of days

Promotional gifts/collateral

  1. Promotional gifts
  2. Printer materials
  3. Other promotional items (pre-show mailers, etc.)
  4. Graphics /Banners / Signs

Resource Costs (Time x salary)

  1. Attendees
  2. Creative services costs (agency, writers, designers, etc.)
  3. Show planner
  4. Marketing manager
  5. Product manager
  6. Other

Customer Meetings

  1. Meeting room
  2. Food and beverage
  3. Marketing materials
  4. Other

Show Benefits (Included both quantitative and qualitative measures):

Leads

  1. Number of leads
  2. Total revenue resulting from closed leads
  3. Increased Brand Awareness and Reputation
  4. Estimate impressions (total attendees at show that see sponsorship of a general session)
  5. Booth traffic impressions (Track for a period of time and then extrapolate)
  6. Brand survey results (taken at the booth)

Public Relations

  1. Press Release Coverage (Number picked up by trade publications)
  2. Speaking engagements (Number and survey results showing interest)
  3. Ad Equivalency (Cost for a full page advertisement / the amount of coverage space in an article)
  4. Press meetings/ new relationships developed

Customer Relationship Development and Savings

  1. Number of customer meetings
  2. Savings from travel to individual customers (number of meetings x number of staff x travel costs – total cost of travel to individual meetings)

Market Research Insight

  1. Number of research surveys completed
  2. Document and key learning from customers at the show
  3. Competitive information gathered

When using criteria such as the above, you should be able to add the total costs and the total benefits and ultimately be able to calculate the shows ROI (benefits-expenses/expense).

Hopefully, this provides some additional insight into the measurement of trade shows.

Do you see anything that is missing from this list?


Announcing a New Contributor To The Lonely Marketer

Category : general marketing

18

Tom TeynorIf you’re a regular visitor to the Lonely Marketer you’ve no doubt noticed that regular posting on the site has slowed a bit. A combination of a more demanding job and a growing family have been the culprits. But, I’ve missed the writing and interfacing with readers and am hoping to get back to a more regular schedule soon.

In the meantime I’m very excited to announce that Tom Teynor – a successful marketing professional and good friend – has agreed to be a guest contributor on the Lonely Marketer. I was excited to hear that Tom will be an author here because he brings tons of good experience from many areas of marketing.

Tom has over 10 years of sales and marketing experience and is currently the Sr. Director of Marketing at Wolters Kluwer Financial Services – a B2B software and services company. Tom is currently responsible for go-to-market strategy and is responsible for marketing management, internet marketing, creative service pricing, and market research. He has also led product management.

Aside from work he enjoys spending time with his family, biking, kayaking, golfing, and snowboarding.

Tom’s first article will be published tomorrow. Welcome Tom!


Need Content Marketing Ideas? Check This Out.

Category : general marketing

17

Junta42We all can come up with fun, new ways to market our products or services, but at the end of the day it all comes down to content. Content marketing is what really sells. The well-written content is what truly attracts new customers.

Joe Pulizzi has been a long-time contributor to the Lonely Marketer community so when I saw his site, Junta42, come out with an incredible list of blogs that focus on content marketing, I knew I had to write about the effort. The Junta42 Top Blogs has a little something for everyone and is a very well put-together, comprehensive list of some of the top marketing blogs around.

Here are the top 42 (and yes, that is the Lonely Marketer proudly sitting at #33):

  1. Straight Talk with Nigel Hollis
  2. web ink now
  3. Conversation Agent
  4. Marketing Interactions
  5. Buzz Marketing for Technology
  6. ContentMarketingToday
  7. Copyblogger
  8. Web Strategy by Jeremiah
  9. Daily Fix
  10. Influential Marketing Blog
  11. Logic + Emotion
  12. CK’s blog
  13. Rexblog
  14. BeTuitive
  15. Consumer Generated Media
  16. Diva Marketing Blog
  17. The Origin of Brands
  18. The Viral Garden
  19. What’s Next
  20. Bernaise Source
  21. Drew’s Marketing Minute
  22. Made to Stick
  23. Writing White Papers
  24. Greg Verdino’s Marketing Blog
  25. Writing on the Web
  26. Joe Wikert’s Publishing 2020
  27. AttentionMax
  28. Brand Autopsy
  29. Branding & Marketing
  30. Eat Media Blog
  31. Passion2Publish
  32. Think Tank – King Fish Media
  33. The Lonely Marketer
  34. Custom Publishing Council Blog
  35. ExperienceCurve
  36. Marketing Whims
  37. Seth’s Blog
  38. THINKing
  39. Inspire Action
  40. Pandemic Blog
  41. Relevant and Valued
  42. The A-Ha! Blog

I’ve actually found some great new blogs in here that I didn’t know about before which is why these lists are so fun!


Experience Today’s Marketing Manager Needs

Category : general marketing

18

Juggling ActI found myself recently in the position of backfilling a position that I held as a small business Marketing Manager. Not only was I overly picky about selecting candidates to interview, but I found myself amazed at the amount of experience for which I was looking. Today’s small business Marketing Manager position has evolved into so much.

This is not your large company marketing group. We don’t have a group for web marketing, a group for developing sales campaigns and related marketing tools, a group for print advertising, and on and on. I found myself looking for someone that has a little experience in alot of things rather than someone that was specialized in one area of marketing.

Now, if you are specialized don’t freak out about what I’m writing. Larger companies, agencies, and self-employed marketing professionals are all excellent locations for someone that has specialized. I’m writing from the small business perspective and what I need in that role. Here are some of the major elements of experience for which I was looking:

  • Content Writing: I wanted someone that had exhibited writing experience. That could be white papers, application notes, web content, ad copy, etc. Marketing starts with content!
  • An Understanding of SEM/SEO: I was not looking for someone that had proven experience optimizing a website. What I did want is someone who understood the concept and why optimizing web pages and paid search campaigns for search engines was so important in today’s marketing mix. If they mentioned anything to do with keywords, they made it to the next round. Interesting note - one of the candidates was touting his Google Adwords experience so I turned my monitor around, handing him the keyboard and asked him to show my top performing ad group. He had no clue how to find that most basic element.
  • Lead Generation: I was betting I wouldn’t get this experience, but I actually did. I was happy to have candidates in for interviews that had displayed experience in lead generation campaigns. The best candidates talked about “Qualified” leads.
  • Exposure to Social Media: Oddly, this was tough to find. Maybe it’s because I’m so connected with social media that I expected to see more experience with some aspect of the communication medium. No one I interviewed had direct experience (I’ll be curious to see what two years down the road brings). But, the candidates that displayed and articulated the importance of social media in the marketing mix proved to me they were current. I will say that each of my final round candidates did invite me to hook up on LinkedIn. Very nice touch.
  • Sales Campaign Experience: It was important to me that the candidate had some experience in working with sales on sales campaigns.
  • Market Research: Everyone seemed to have this. But, many could not spell out the steps they took in their research.
  • Creativity: I needed some display of “out of the box” thinking. Something that would lead me to believe the candidate could lead us in new directions and challenge me in my thinking.
  • Ability to Learn: I’m not crazy – I didn’t expect to find every characteristic I listed above. But, I wanted the candidate to have some of the experience and proven track record for learning “on-the-job” and quickly.

I found the whole process very interesting. I never took a step back before to really put down on paper the experience that I thought the small business marketing manager should have. It’s a fun and exciting juggling act that at times can be stressful and at times be immensely gratifying.

AdWords Local PlusBox A Great Addition

Category : paid search, search engine marketing

12

The announcement of the new Local PlusBox by Google Adwords which places geographical information in the top paid search location changes the PPC strategy for those using more local targeting. The new expandable feature allows advertisers to bid to the top spot in an effort to have the opportunity to display such valuable information as a map, address, driving instructions, and phone number, in addition to the location name that appears beneath the last line of the paid search ad.

You can read the rest of my thoughts on this new feature in my article – AdWords Local PlusBox A Great Addition – over at Search Engine Guide.


Why Not To Blog

Category : blogging

23

Many bloggers preach about the benefits of blogging for business, personal fulfillment, networking, social media participation, etc. The list could go on and on and I 100% agree with all of them. The satisfaction and personal/business gain can be incredible. But, one thing you should know once you jump into the world of blogging is that there are times when you should step away from the keyboard. Here are a few:

  • You’re tired
  • You’re happy hour went a few drinks too long
  • Writer’s block has set in
  • Experiencing a period of high stress
  • No inspiration
  • You’re angry, sad, or just plain grumpy
  • No topic grabs your interest
  • You’re trying to squeeze in too little time to produce quality work
  • You’re watching the kids and trying to write a post
  • Your passion is taking a day off

Remember, no post is better than a low-quality post. Your readers and community are subscribed to you because they value the message you deliver. When that message is compromised for any reason, it may be time to take a day or two off.