Archive for April, 2009
Okay, I’ll admit it. I am a huge fan of the show House M.D. Yes, I love House’s snark and repartee with his team. But what intrigues me the most about this show is that he cannot solve any of the mysterious illnesses that are presented to him and his team unless they find that one kernel of truth. How they find that truth is by digging through symptoms, testing out different theories and, finally, by forcing the unfortunate patient to fess up to a secret (no matter how minor) that they’ve been hiding.
Now, what does this have to do with social media you might be asking? Well, as marketers we hire often agencies and consultants to help us solve our marketing challenges…whether it be launching a new product or trying to figure out that one lucky campaign that will generate tons of buzz and leads. And in hiring agencies and consultants we pour out our marketing symptoms…this is the target audience, the target audience isn’t responding, this is the message, this is the approved message but it isn’t working, this is what has worked, this is what hasn’t worked, this is the problem from our view, etc. The agency/consultant goes off on their merry way to diagnose all the marketing symptoms and to try and solve the mystery.
But there’s one little issue…we haven’t told them our secret.
Typically, not telling our secret either ends up in a failed campaign, wasted budget and/or a fired agency/consultant (in extreme cases). But today, in our socially connected world, customers, employees, investors, analysts, bloggers, etc. will help uncover that little secret and it’s only a matter of time. And then…your secret will become public.
What’s the moral of this little House M.D. and social media metaphor?
Tell the truth. If you are considering utilizing social media as a marketing communications channel for your company, non-profit, agency (creative or government), the truth is your friend. Be sure to tell your agency/consultant the truth about all your symptoms (internally and externally). Otherwise, you aren’t giving them all the facts they need to understand to properly help. (And this is simple & good advice for traditional marketing as well.)
If your marketing campaigns are failing because your content doesn’t provide value to your customers, admit it. If they don’t work because the VP of Marketing or CMO doesn’t get interactive marketing, fess up. I could go on, but I am sure we all carry different marketing secrets around with us.
Secrets can sabotage and lead to…
- Brand management crises
- Community challenges & confusion
- Public relations nightmares
- Failed campaigns
- Wasted budgets
All of which are unhealthy for a company and the agencies/consultants that serve them.
Your thoughts? What’s your secret? What advice would you offer to marketers burdened with a secret?
[Image: Monsters and Critics]
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I’d like to introduce you to Ramon De Leon of Domino’s in Chicago. How I met Ramon is quite simple: Twitter. This morning I tweeted out Tom Martin’s latest post “Is Pizza Hut’s Twintern Job Post Ethical” and I got the following response from @DPZRAMON: “Could be just a publicity stunt for Pizza Hut. Why advertise in NYT? @tommartin is rt- that shows they don’t get it.”
By clicking on DPZRAMON’s Twitter bio I could see that he was with Domino’s in Chicago. So, I asked him the obvious question: “Hi there! As a Domino’s owner, how are you dealing with what happened? Is it affecting business at all locally? (Agree, PH stunt)”
“The effect was minimized b/c since Tues(4.14) I went after the Chgo convo’s about this.Did not hide;made myself extremely visible.”
“I used monitter.com and joined as many Chicago Tweets on this issue as poss;I started answering B4 ppl were asking.Tks 4 asking”
Obviously, from a social media perspective, I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about Mr. De Leon. Ramon honored me with a phone call so I could get the scoop on how he uses social media to connect with customers. What I found out was indeed quite interesting!
Ramon De Leon (aka DPZRAMON) – King of Online Sales
Ramon has been engaged in online sales of Domino’s pizza since 1999 and has been engaged in social media since 2005 (long before the term it’s known by now). Ramon has long been a Facebook member and has connected with students for the past 4 years. His Facebook strategy is simple: Connect with local university/college students, give them the best service & pizza ever, and develop relationships that will last beyond their college years (as in delivering pizza to their place of business). According to Ramon, “it’s a social cycle.”
Social media, potholes and pizza
What do these three uncommon things have in common? Ramon, of course. When Ramon heard that CBS2 was doing a story on potholes, he reached out to them to share his collection of pothole videos (made with 12seconds.tv). Why potholes? Well, Ramon has 75 drivers who encounter these potholes often while delivery pizza all over Chicago. Apparently, if hit just the right way, potholes can really mess up the quality/appearance of a pizza, thus affecting customer service. Ramon was featured in nearly half of CBS2′s 3 minute story…all while wearing his Domino’s shirt.
Turning the camera on CBS 2
When I was checking out Ramon’s blog (before I learned his back story) I found something that amazed me. Ramon was able to turn the cameras on TWO CBS2 reporters and interview them (be sure to take a look at the two videos) after they interviewed him for their potholes story. I don’t know about you, but it’s the first time I’ve ever seen that happen. But here’s a hint: the only way that it happens is if you develop a relationship with reporters by giving them something newsworthy to begin with!
But wait, there’s more!
Not only does Ramon use social media for customer service, video blogging and public relations, he also monitors what customers are saying and when necessary uses social media to apologize.
A passion for pizza and social media.
If you speak with Ramon it is so obvious that he is passionate about Domino’s, customers, and social media. In fact, he constantly monitors social sites for mentions of his stores and he provides a flyer that includes all his social sites on a flyer, which is taped to all Domino’s pizza boxes leaving his stores just to make sure customers can find him online. He also attends a lot of social media conferences to keep up on the latest social media best practices. If you don’t believe me when I say Ramon is passionate, maybe you’ll believe Gary Vaynerchuk.
The million dollar question(s)
So Ramon, we all want to know…is all this social media stuff increasing your bottomline? Ramon’s answer: YES!
And, of course, we are all wondering…why isn’t corporate taking some lesson’s from Ramon? Well, it appears they are, but let’s give them some time to wrap their heads around it, okay?
- Monitor conversations
- Engage customers on & offline
- Provide quality
- Relationships are job #1
- Reporters can be your friends
- Be honest
- Be passionate
- Have fun!
DPZRAMON is the pizza guy to know in Chicago! Thanks Ramon for your time and sharing your story with us!
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Sorry, dreaming…back to the subject at hand. Last night Jim Turner of BlogWorld made an off the cuff statement about having Oprah keynote this year’s BlogWorld that, as you can image, led to a very interesting conversation (be sure to check out both Twitter Searches). The debate ranges from Oprah isn’t a social media expert to Oprah could drive more social media use and increase BlogWorld sponsorships.
Here are my thoughts on all of it… As social media purists-who believe that social media is actually changing marketing and business as we know it-is it fair to give celebrities (as businesses) a pass because they are famous? Would you give Steve Jobs or Richard Branson or any other business (large, medium or small) a pass? Let’s face facts, some celebs have way more time on their hands to Twitter (insert any other social media tool here) than the average CEO or VP of Marketing and yet the business folks are constantly scrutinized and beat up daily for their social media missteps.
Marketing, pure and simple, is about making people part with their money, right? Whether it’s a business, non-profit, government agency, university/college, etc…they are all trying to get you to dig into your wallets and part with your cash. Celebrities are no different. They don’t act in movies or host TV shows because it’s fun. Nope. They do it to entertain you so you will give them LOTS of your money.
When we discuss this brave new world of social media and marketing, we social media purists advise companies that they need to start conversations with customers, prospective, that they need to become part of the community and more. Celebrities are no different. Yes, I get it, some people on Twitter will never care if Ashton or Oprah talk back (that is if the Oprah account is really hers) or if they have ghost bloggers/tweeters or if they never engage with the community. And yes, celebrities could use social media tools for a one way push of messaging (well, not Ashton so much). I get all of that. But…
What if it were really the celebrities blogging/tweeting, etc.? Wouldn’t they experience as much of a reward from social media that we promise to businesses? i.e. more brand evangelists, more revenues, more dialogue that leads to better product, etc.
What do you think? Should celebs be held to the same level of accountability as businesses?
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You know I am a big fan of marketers educating themselves on trends, best practices, etc., so I just wanted to let you all know about two great upcoming events. I will be speaking at Learn About Web and I’ll be attending MarketingProfs as a blogger.
MarketingProfs’ Business-to-Business Forum 2009 – June 8-9, Boston MA
You probably know this by now, but I am a HUGE MarketingProfs fan! I have been a member since around 2000 when “Profs” actually stood for professionals and professors (image a site that worked for me on both fronts!). And the ability to get to know Allen Weiss and Ann Handley over the past year has just made me a raving lunatic…um, I mean evangelist. I also am part of the Daily Fix team, which is a complete honor.
I attended MarketingProfs’ Digital Marketing Mixer last October and all I can say is that I walked away with a complete marketing high. My passion for marketing was somehow even more invigorated. Crazy, I know. The speakers were superb, the food was great, it was well-organized, and the ability to meet so many new people (a lot whom I only knew from Twitter) was wonderful.
By clicking on the MarketingProfs badge, you can learn more about the event AND save $200!
Learn About Web – September 14-15, Denver CO
Learn about Web (LAW) is an event that Craig Sutton of BrightWeb Marketing is putting together. The first LAW was back in the fall in his home state of Washington. Now Craig is bringing LAW to Denver.
I first met Craig at Small Business Marketing Unleashed in September and I can tell you he’s a straight-shooter that has a passion for helping businesses grow…especially online!
LAW is a great conference for small businesses that are looking to boost their brands online and will be offering tracks in social media, web design, and search marketing that will be taught by some of the best in the business including:
- Jennifer Laycock
- Jennifer Leggio
- Andrew Hyde
- Mack Collier
- Deb Robison
- Amber Naslund
- Thu An Bui
- Anita Campbell
- Shashi Bellamkonda
- Douglas Waltman II
- Gennefer Snowfield
- Matt McGee
- Harry Brooks (sorry Harry, couldn’t find you on Twitter!)
But don’t take my word for it! Mack Collier has done a great job of capturing his experience at LAW last year. And if you use the code from the LAW badge, you’ll save $199!
The Fine Print
I have made a decision to not monetize my blog for two reasons. One, because this blog (it’s also the HMC website) is about sharing information on marketing, communications and social media and conversation…I don’t see a point to monetizing that. And two, because unless there is something in it for you, whether it’s a discount, free item, etc., you gain nothing from me slapping ads all over the place.
The fine print… While I personally find value in both of these events, like I stated above, I am also talking about them because I am attending the MarketingProfs event as press and will be blogging about the event while I am there and I will be speaking at LAW. And yes, by having ads here I do get an affiliation fee.
Even if I wasn’t attending either even and could share a discount with you all, I would. I believe in marketers continually keeping up-to-date on the changes in our industry and attending conferences are one way to do it. So is this monetization, yes…temporarily. By the way, please don’t take this as an invitation to ask me to post ads here, because I won’t. I have a relationship with both the folks at MarketingProfs and Craig Sutton and that just didn’t happen overnight (Hint: social media works).
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You might wonder why I am sharing this news here on The Harte of Marketing. Well, two reasons. First, Geoff Livingston is a good friend who I truly respect and learn from everyday. And… we just happen to think a lot alike on the topic of social media! So, I wanted to be able to share his good news about being acquired by CRT/tanaka with the marketing/social media community. Second, this is a trend that isn’t going away. I believe we will start to see smart agencies starting to acquire social media agencies and consultants that have solid expertise.
I had a chance to catch up with Geoff to discuss the recent news and asked him about how social media is changing the agency world as we know it.
According to Geoff, “the era of the social media consultant is coming to an end. Social media, as we know it, will need to integrate into all communications functions or else become marginalized. Social media is a capability and a toolset that needs to be incorporated across the communications frontline…including interactive, pr and advertising. It’s a toolset that every communicator needs to be aware of and needs to be able to engage in for the sole benefit of their clients. Social media is not a standalone silo and the social media department as a philosophy won’t work.”
I think those among us who truly embrace social media and want to see it implement widely within corporations, non-profits, universities, government agencies, creative agencies, etc. would probably agree on that.
Geoff’s decision to merge with CRT/tanaka is evidence that social media, even in its infancy, is still radically changing every day. For those who have been implementing social media as part of communication strategies for years know it’s time for the next challenge-and corporate-wide implementation is most likely it.
So, who is CRT/tanaka you might be wondering? Well, they are an award-winning public relations and marketing located in Richmond, Va., and New York, with offices in Los Angeles, Washington, D.C. and Norfolk, Va., CRT/tanaka has been recognized with nearly 300 national and regional awards for its strategic counsel, creativity, workplace culture and community service. [Wow!] Their clients include Air New Zealand, BISSELL Homecare, Inc., Charles Schwab & Co., Council for Responsible Nutrition, Council of Better Business Bureaus, GSK, Girl Scouts of the USA, Next Wave Pharmaceuticals, Performance Food Group, Sprint Nextel, Quebec Maple Syrup, Wines from Rioja (Spain), and VHA Inc. [I think we can safely say that they are experts in their field!]
Congratulations to Livingston Communications and CRT/tanaka!
[Image: David Alston]