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Marketing Technology Landscape January 21, 2014

Posted by StrategicGrowth in local marketing strategies, location-based technology, marketing strategies, Marketing-changing technology, Mobile Marketing, Social Media, Virtual Technology.
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Today's Marketing Technology Landscape

Today’s Marketing Technology Landscape

What is your New Year’s Resolution for Your Business in 2012? December 11, 2011

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Mobile Marketing, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Video Marketing, Virtual Technology.
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4 comments

This is an updated re-print our our resolution article from 2010. We had a lot of requests to update the article and re-distribute it. We hope you find it of value.

____________________________________________________________

I had someone ask me today about their business, “If I could do one thing better, what would it be?”.  As a business consultant, I am frequently asked some version of this question, but today it got me thinking that the close of one year and the start of another is probably a great time to pass along one of the answers to that question that I give to everyone who asks it of me.  Are you ready?  Here it comes!

Resolve for 2012 to fully embrace technology and to completely integrate it thoughout every aspect of your business; from your marketing, to how you work with and interact with clients and staff, to how you manage your administrative tasks and operate your business, etc.

What I mean by this is:  integrate and take advantage of all the benefits that today’s technologies have to offer, including:  webinars and other types of virtual events (including virtual environment events), social media, mobile technology (and I don’t just mean mobile marketing), cloud computing software options, video, email and any other type of technology that will help you increase efficiency, productivity, and profitability. 

Those that don’t choose to embrace technology will be left behind very quickly because 2012, I believe, will be a ‘game-changing’ year for how business is being conducted.  Mobile technology in particular is having significant impact on the way we live and the way we conduct business today. If you continue to do business as you always have, you – and your business – will very quickly become irrelevant.

Think about your business in a new way, for example:

  • could mobile technology enable your customers to order and pay for your products or services via their cell phone?
  • can you use social media to interact with your customers and potential customers on a more in-depth level so you can be certain you’re providing the products and services they need?
  • will location-based technologies enable you to more effectively target potential customers?
  • do you have an email marketing program to keep clients, vendors and staff aware of what’s going on in your business?  If not, why not?
  • can you make your field staff more productive by dispatching them with tools provided by GPS mobile technology?
  • can you get more immediate response to special offers by sending them directly to your existing customers via their cell phones?
  • can cloud-computing technology allow you to access information from wherever you are as long as you have some sort of mobile computing device (think smartphone or tablet anyone?)?
  • can RFID mobile technologies help you manage your warehouse more efficiently?
  • can you be more available to your staff for those decisions only you can make if you’ve embraced the use of a SmartPhone or tablet device?
  • can you cut down on travel costs, and yet increase the number of people that you can effectively interact with to present your products or services by engaging in virtual sales and training programs?
  • can bluetooth or QR code mobile technologies help your firm in the manufacturing or supply chain processes?
  • can mobile marketing technologies make your marketing more effective?
  • can you get more people to engage with your website or product videos by enabling them to reach it via QR code technology?
  • would video technology help you more effectively communicate the benefits of your product or service?
  • can mobile technology help you increase the viability of the leads you receive at the next trade show you participate in?
  • can participating in virtual trade shows help you decrease travel costs for your staff, and the ‘down time’ that results from that travel, while increasing the number of viable leads you receive?
  • could social media, mobile and virtual technology increase your ability to recruit new employees with higher rates of effectiveness?
  • could the use of mobile technology increase lead generation at trade show events your firm participates in?

So far, I’ve not found one business that I’ve spoken with or worked with that would not be positively impacted by increased integration of technology in their business.  Given that, I now challenge you to consider how technology can help to improve your business – and as a result, your life.  If you would like some assistance in evaluating your business and the options available to you, please contact us, Strategic Growth Concepts is here to help!

Here’s to increased efficiency, productivity and profitability in 2012!

___________________________________________________________

The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant for Strategic Growth Concepts, a marketing / management consulting firm focused on start-up, small and mid-sized businesses, as well as the Executive Director of the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan (MTAM), a trade association for Michigan’s mobile /w ireless industry.  Linda is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years of experience in a wide variety of industries. 

Linda is available for consultation, and can be contacted at Linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.  The company website can be viewed at http://StrategicGrowthConcepts.com .  MTAM’s website can be viewed at http://GoMobileMichigan.org .

And Yet Another Business Who Doesn’t ‘Get’ That Customers WILL be Rating You on Social Media August 18, 2011

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Social Media, Twitter.
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And yet another example of a business who would rather be ‘right’ than smart! I wonder when business owners will begin to understand that we are now doing business in a world in which consumers WILL rate and review your service, your products, your facilities, your staff, etc. It’s not a question of ‘if they do’ its a question of ‘when they do’ and ‘how many will do it’!

The example below that I came across about a Houston restaurant who chose to ask a customer to leave because they didn’t like what she Tweeted is yet another example of a business that doesn’t get it. Instead, the business owner should have had a discussion with the bartender who made the remark the customer found offensive; though he’s entitled to his opinion, the CUSTOMER is entitled to not have to hear it.  Customer service and professionalism…need I say more?

I lived in Houston many years ago, I don’t recall the restaurants and establishments I frequented as being so anti-customer. Perhaps things have changed; I hope not. One of the best things about living in ‘the South’ was the friendliness of the people.

Read and let me know your thoughts.

______________________________________________________________

Restaurant kicks out customer for ‘twerp’ tweet

By: , CNET News

When large egos meets instant criticism, sparks tend to fly in real time.

So it proved in a Houston restaurant the other night when the management took exception to a customer’s socially networked opinion.

The Houston Press was the first to digest what happened. It seems that Allison Hiromi was having drinks at a place called Down House–perhaps not the cheeriest name for a restaurant.

She overheard a conversation in which a bartender said something none too flattering about another Houston bar-owner.

The culinary world in Houston–with which I have some small familiarity–is at least as touchy as it is touchy-feely. Hiromi reportedly was not enamored of the words she’d heard. So, as many a a diner does these days, she tweeted that the derogatory speaker–a Down House barman–was a twerp.

(Credit: Screenshot: Chris Matyszczyk/CNET)

She also added the slightly off-color hashtag #jackoff. Whether she meant to refer to the great Croatian composer Jakov Gotovac is unclear.

What is clear is that the restaurant was graced with a phone call from its general manager, the rakishly named Forrest DeSpain. He wanted a chinwag with Hiromi.

You will be tempted to tip your chin into your consomme when I tell you that there now exist slightly different versions of this chinwag. Or at least different versions of its tone. The substance was clear. Hiromi was asked to leave.

Naturally, she tweeted: “Left @DownHouseHTX in tears after GM called up & asked the bartender to hand me the phone. He proceeded to curse a me & ask me to leave. Wow.”

In what some might see as a heinous reprisal, the restaurant reportedly unfollowed Hiromi on Twitter and even blocked her. You might imagine that there is a personal element here. Hiromi, indeed, has received a Houston Web award for her tweets (Best Late Night Twitterer), so she can’t be described as an ordinary customer.

The restaurant business, though, is surely one where criticism is entirely first nature. For many customers, a restaurant only has one chance to get it right. Many restaurants are incapable of doing that on a regular basis. In just the last few weeks, I have been served a cadaver-cold $28 steak, a $10 salad that had been swimming in an indeterminate solution for at least 24 hours, and a $13 glass of cabernet that was more hairnet.

And yet, if you own an establishment and one of your customers is rudely downing your Down House, surely your first instinct would be to toss them. Indeed, as Down House’s owner, Chris Cusack, told Houston’s Channel 2: “Any business is allowed to set the tone of their establishment. If you go to someone’s house and start calling them names, I wouldn’t really expect to stay too much longer after that.”

To imagine, though, that there aren’t diners who will tweet from the table and offer their instant feelings is to imagine that there is no food so great as that in the Google cafeteria.

Indeed, wouldn’t it be wonderful if more diners used Twitter in order to express their instant opinions? It would be so much more polite than having to use code to a server. (“Did you enjoy that?” “OH, YES!!”)

How much fun it would be if the general manager would rush over to table after table offering: “You thought our veal escalope tasted like poached raccoon paw?” Or: “You really believe the beouf en croute tasted like sauteed slipper?”

DeSpain has surely set a trend. Here was a general manager so dedicated that, late at night, he monitored his restaurant’s Twitter feed. Perhaps the next time you’re in Houston–let’s hope it’s on business–you might go to Down House and tweet about the food. I wonder how many courses you’ll last.

See the original story HERE.

Social Media Revolution 2011 June 8, 2011

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Social Media.
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2 comments

I’m often asked about the impact of social media on a business, on an industry, and what changes it’s making in how business is conducted.  As most of you know, quantifying ROI in social media is not yet an exact science as marketers are used to with radio ratings, tv ratings, etc.  However, I recently ran across this video by @EKutsko and @equalman (in social media, of course!) that I thought did an excellent job of explaining the value and putting it in perspective in a way everyone can understand. It also provides some excellent social media statistics that I believe you will find of value.

Social Media Monitoring; What’s the Value and How Much Should a Business Spend? April 28, 2011

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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When helping our small and mid-sized clients with their social media needs, we are often asked the following questions:

  • how can I know if social media is working for us?
  • how can I measure the ROI of social media to know if its worth the time and effort we’re putting into it?
  • there are many social media monitoring tools out there, how do I know what to use to meet our needs?
  • what should I be paying for an effective social media monitoring tool?

And there is no one-size-fits-all answer to any of these questions, because that’s really the point, social media is meant to be customized to the company, its goals, its target audience, etc.  So we at Strategic Growth Concepts are always on the lookout for new resources that will help us in effectively guiding our clients in obtaining answers to these questions in relation to their own situations.  Recently, we’ve found what we think is a excellent resource, a study and resulting infographic published by oneforty that provides an excellent overview of how businesses are monitoring their social media, what’s working, and how much they’re investing in the monitoring tools they’re using.  Visit our website to learn about this excellent resource!

And if you would like to learn if your firm is effectively utilizing social media to promote your firm and its products or services, sign up to receive our Social Media Audit!

What is your New Year’s resolution for your business in 2011? December 29, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in email marketing, location-based technology, marketing strategies, Marketing-changing technology, mobile, Mobile Marketing, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Virtual Technology.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
4 comments

I had someone ask me today about their business, “If I could do one thing better, what would it be?”.  As a business consultant, I am frequently asked some version of this question, but today it got me thinking that the start of a new year is probably a great time to pass along one of the answers to that question that I give to everyone who asks it of me.  Are you ready?  Here it comes!

Resolve for 2011 to fully embrace technology and to completely integrate it thoughout every aspect of your business; from your marketing, to how you work with and interact with clients and staff, to how you manage your administrative tasks and actually operate your business, etc.

What I mean by this is:  integrate and take advantage of all the benefits that today’s technologies have to offer, including:  webinars and other types of virtual events (including virtual environment events), social media, mobile technology (and I don’t just mean mobile marketing), cloud computing software options, video, email and any other type of technology that will help you increase efficiency, productivity, and profitability. 

Those that don’t choose to embrace technology will be left behind very quickly because 2011, I believe, will be a ‘game-changing’ year for how business is being conducted.  If you continue to do business as you always have, you will very quickly become irrelevant.

Think about your business in a new way, for example:

  • could mobile technology enable your customers to order and pay for your products or services via their cell phone?
  • can you use social media to interact with your customers and potential customers on a more in-depth level so you can be certain you’re providing the products and services they need?
  • will location-based technologies enable you to more effectively target potential customers?
  • do you have an email marketing program to keep clients, vendors and staff aware of what’s going on in your business?  If not, why not?
  • can you make your field staff more productive by dispatching them with tools provided by GPS mobile technology?
  • can you get more immediate response to special offers by sending them directly to your existing customers via their cell phones?
  • can cloud-computing technology allow you to access information from wherever you are as long as you have some sort of mobile computing device or a computer available?
  • can you be more available to your staff for those decisions only you can make if you’ve embraced the use of a SmartPhone or tablet device?
  • can you cut down on travel costs, and yet increase the number of people that you can effectively interact with to present your products or services by engaging in virtual sales and training programs?
  • can bluetooth or QR code mobile technologies help your firm in the manufacturing or supply chain processes?
  • can mobile marketing technologies make your marketing more effective?
  • would video technology help you more effectively communicate the benefits of your product or service?
  • can mobile technology help you increase the viability of the leads you receive at the next trade show you participate in?
  • can participating in virtual trade shows help you decrease travel costs for your staff, and the ‘down time’ that results from that travel, while increasing the number of viable leads you receive?
  • could social media, mobile and virtual technology increase your ability to recruit new employees with higher rates of effectiveness?

So far, I’ve not found one business that I’ve spoken with or worked with that would not be positively impacted by increased integration of technology in their business.  Given that, I now challenge you to consider how technology can help to improve your business – and as a result, your life.  If you would like some assistance in evaluating your business and the options available to you, please contact us, Strategic Growth Concepts is here to help!

Here’s to increased efficiency, productivity and profitability in 2011!

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  Very interesting article on a related topic on TechCrunch; click here to read, ‘Seven Technologies That Will Rock 2011’

___________________________________________________________

The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant for Strategic Growth Concepts, a marketing / management consulting firm focused on start-up, small and mid-sized businesses.  Areas of specialization include:  mobile technology optimization and marketing for increased productivity and profitability, social media marketing, and virtual events production.  Linda is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years of experience in a wide variety of industries.  She is also the Founder of the Mobile Technology Association of Michigan, a mobile industry trade association, and the Co-founder of Mobile Monday Michigan, a mobile industry networking and education organization.

Linda is available for consultation, and can be contacted at Linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.  The company website can be viewed at www.StrategicGrowthConcepts.com

Twitter Soon to Provide Detailed Analytics – Hurray! November 19, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Social Media, Twitter, Web 2.0.
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3 comments

Great news recently announced by Twitter for all of you trying to effectively measure the ROI of your social media.  Twitter’s new Analytics Tool is detailed quite well by Diana Freeman of Hubspot with graphics by Mashable.  See below.

_____________________________________________________________

by Diana Freeman, Hubspot

Want to be able to measure your Twitter ROI? Would you like to see how many clicks, retweets, replies, and faves your tweets have received? Soon you’ll be able to, right on Twitter.

Twitter has started inviting a select group of users to test their new Twitter Analytics dashboard. Users will be able to see all sorts of data about their account, such as which tweets are most successful, which tweets caused people to unfollow them, and who their most influential retweeters are.

How Twitter Analytics Dashboard is broken down: 

Timeline Activity

This view lets you see your tweets broken down by filters defined as Best, Good, and All, and see which of your tweets gained the most traction in terms of retweets, replies, and faves. 

Twitter Analytics Timeline

Promoted Tweets

 This view measures the ROI of all your promoted tweets, with detailed stats such as impressions, clicks, retweets, and replies over time. 

Twitter Analytics Dashboard

Screenshots are via Mashable.

Twitter hasn’t yet specified when they’ll be rolling out Twitter Analytics to all Twitter users. Although the analytics feature is expected to roll out by the end of 2010, Evan Williams did not elaborate on the official analytics product at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco. 

High-impact Marketing Strategies for Non-profits and Small Businesses September 18, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in local marketing strategies, Marketing Plan, marketing strategies, mobile, mobile coupons, Mobile Marketing, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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5 comments

I recently had the privilege of being interviewed by Brian Prows, Director of New Media Marketing for MobileBeyond, on the topics of Mobile Marketing and Social Media for small business and non-profits.

When Brian contacted me about doing a podcast interview with him, we discussed a myriad of topics that we both deemed to be of great importance to our respective audiences.  In talking it through, we finally decided that if we focused the interview on small business and non-profit organizations, and strategies designed to help them grow, that we would be addressing a very large audience who would be able to find value in our discussion.

During the interview we discussed a wide range of marketing-related topics that will be beneficial to both non-profits and general small businesses; from marketing strategies, to marketing plan development, to social media marketing, location-based marketing, consumer review sites and mobile marketing.  A primary focus of the interview related to the need for small business owners to identify specific marketing strategies that are high-impact and cost-effective, and then to develop them into a comprehensive marketing plan which can be measured against to effectively track results.

I believe both small business owners and marketers, and non-profit organization management staff, will find valuable information within the podcast and I highly recommend that you have a listen.  The article and podcast can be found on MobileBeyond.  It can also be found on iTunes.

My thanks to Brian for the interview, and for helping to spread the message of Mobile and Social Media for small businesses.

Restaurant’s Response to Yelp Review Causes Lost Customers and Media Backlash August 4, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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5 comments

Social media, for some a marketing opportunity unmatched by any medium to come before; for others, the worst thing to happen to their business.

Those who have read previous articles on social media on this blog are aware of Strategic Growth Concepts position that social media is meant to provide an opportunity to effectively communicate with a business’ customers and potential customers.  Using social media correctly enables a company to gather opinions from consumers, to shape consumers’ opinion, to share information, and to interact in a way that not only enables their business to grow, but also makes consumers feel that they’ve had a role in helping the business to do so.

However, using social media incorrectly can cause a myriad of problems, not the least of which is the loss of customers and a potential public relations nightmare over which a business will have no control.

Unfortunately a pizzeria owner in Scottsdale Arizona is now learning  about this the hard way – though she doesn’t yet seem to be learning the lesson.  Below is the story.

As most of you are likely familiar, Yelp is a social media site that enables consumers to provide reviews of businesses they interact with, and to provide opinions about things like customer service, a business’ facility, it’s products and for restaurant’s – ratings on the food that is served, pricing, atmosphere, etc.  In recent months the site has garnered a lot of national attention and a signficant increase in consumer participation.  Many articles have recently been written in national publications and the blogsphere about the need for business owners to be aware of the potential that consumers are rating their business on Yelp and similar sites, and that other consumers are paying attention to these ratings – very close attention.  Further, many articles have also been written advising business owners to become familiar with the sites, and to learn how to effectively interact with consumers using them so that any negative situations have the potential of being turned into positive ones.

It appears the previously referred to Scottsdale Arizona restaurant owner hasn’t read the articles, because she did the exact thing that business owners are warned not to do; she took the occasion of a negative review on Yelp, responded very inappropriately  to the customer via the site, and now because of the tenor and content of her response, the whole incident has become a media firestorm and a public relations nightmare!

Joel Latondress, the customer, wrote a Yelp review of the pizzeria, Amy’s Baking Company, that indicated dissatisfaction with his experience when eating at the restaurant.  When Amy’s Baking Company’s owner responded, she attacked Latondress personally, likening him to a tramp and a loser and telling him to “Do us a favor and keep your ugly face and your ugly opinions to yourself.”  Click HERE to read the complete story and see a video by a Phoenix area publication.

Owner Amy is now dealing with the repercussions of that decision.  Not only has the incident garnered an incredible amount of national press, but consumers are now responding with extremely negative reactions to Amy’s response to Latondress and vowing to never visit her restaurant.  Therefore, one negative review has now lost Amy’s Baking Company thousands of potential customers because of an inappropriate response.

Could this situation have been handled better and received a different result?  ABSOLUTELY!  If Amy had done her homework and been aware of the appropriate way to use social media (as well as had a bit of common sense), she could have responded to Latondress’ posting with sincere empathy for having provided him with a less than positive experience during his visit.  She could have invited him back with a substantial discount, or even for a free meal, to provide the restaurant with an opportunity to change his opinion to a positive one.  She could have shown concern that her business did not meet his expectations as a customer, and vowed to improve.  At the very least, she could have apologized for his dissatisfaction and asked for an opportunity to change his mind at some future date, expressing her concern as the business owner that all of her customers be left with a positive experience after visiting her facility.

Any of these responses would have resulted in, at the very worst, one negative posting being on the site if Latondress had decided not to enable the restaurant to have another opportunity to change his mind, and that would have been the end of it.  Instead, Amy’s owner has taken the negative experience of one customer and turned it in to a nightmare, for herself and her business, one which the whole world is watching.  Personally, I’ll be surprised if her business survives, and reading the postings that are continuously being added to her Yelp site, it appears that a majority of consumers would prefer that it didn’t.

Let this be a lesson to all business owners, CONSUMERS ARE GOING TO BE TALKING ABOUT YOUR BUSINESS ON SOCIAL MEDIA.  Therefore, do everything you can to insure they have a positive experience to talk about; and if by chance they report a negative experience, use common sense and basic customer service skills to do everything you can to turn that situation into a positive.  Don’t end up like Amy!

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  7:37 P.M. 8/4/10:

I have been monitoring the community forums on Yelp to keep up-to-date on this situation.  Unfortunately, it appears Amy is unreceptive to all the advice that is apparently now coming her way about the way to interact with customers on social media.  Below is a quote from her that ran in the Phoenix NewTimes and was re-posted in the forums:

“Based on Amy’s most recent comment on the New Times article, she is very clear that no one should feel bad for her.” Julia T.

Amy B says:

If you are all so ignorant and naive to believe that my restaurant will close because of your ridiculous comments then you are all in for disappointment.

My husband and I opened this restaurant for Fun and as a Hobby. We paid to keep this place closed for ONE YEAR while I was in Prison.

I sincerely appreciate all of the attention that this is bring to our restaurant. What is that age old saying? “There’s no such thing as Bad Publicity?”

None of you were my customers before that Tramp Joel came into my restaurant trying to Hustle a free dinner out of us. And none of you will ever be welcome in my restaurant!

We have the pleasure of choosing our customers, who in turn always end up loving us and becoming members of our family.
All of your verbal attacks and advice to use a PR Firm or hire some “Social Media Group” only proves my initial impression from the beginning of this entire situation. You are all so willing to advise me to hire a PR firm and you are all sending me tweets and emails offering your services so what is this some feeble attempt to try to “Shake Me Down?” You people have no idea who you are playing with.

If Joel had a valid complaint and truly there was something wrong with his Pizza that night I would have graciously offered him something else, however from the moment he sat down he was trying to get something for free. He wanted to order the $3 olive Tapenade but changed his mind when he found out it the bread was an additional $3. Is his way of trying to support local business coming in on a Saturday night to order a $3 appetizer? If this is the type of customer that you all represent then PLEASE feel free to go to any other restaurant in this State! My husband and I save our energy for our true customers who don’t have a hidden agenda. And as for me being vicious and mean perhaps you should all take a look at the things you are saying and see who is truly being vicious. All I did was stand up and defend my business. Since when become a crime to fight back against negative reviews when they are untrue? My loyal customers don’t care about negative reviews that are being written or the verbal attacks you have launched against us. They are smart enough and classy enough to not lower themselves to your level.

Here is the link to the chain of comments.

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  9-7-10

The following comment was received today from restaurant owner Amy B.

From amy b on Restaurant’s Response to Yelp Review Causes Lost Customers and Media Backlash #

We have actually been very busy, so I suppose your article is incorrect.

Given Amy’s response, apparently her restaurant has not been adversely affected by the media frenzy surrounding her postings, but in this author’s opinion, she also hasn’t really learned any lessons about appropriate communication within social media.  A more appropriate comment, in my opinion, would have been to apologize to Joel and those who were offended by her postings, to reiterate how much she cares about the opinions of her customers, and to list a few of the lessons learned during this ordeal.

I hope for Amy’s sake this article is wrong and she is not experiencing the business reductions that the social media commentary would seem to indicate, but I would find it surprising.

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE:  5-14-13

We are disappointed to see that it appears that almost 3 years later Amy has not changed her behavior, though she has apparently gained an even larger audience – on Reality TV.  http://now.msn.com/kitchen-nightmares-couple-are-posting-angry-comments-on-facebook .  All we can say at this point is WOW! Frankly, am very surprised that this restaurant is still in business, but apparently the people in her community have a high tolerance for horrid behavior.

____________________________________________________________

The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant for Strategic Growth Concepts, a marketing / management consulting firm focused on start-up, small and mid-sized businesses.  Areas of specialization include:  Mobile Marketing, Social Media Marketing, and Virtual Events production.  Linda is a recognized small business marketing expert with 20+ years of experience in a wide variety of industries.

Linda is available for consultation on Mobile Marketing and other topics, and can be contacted at Linda@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com.  The company website can be viewed at www.StrategicGrowthConcepts.com .  For more information on Mobile Marketing please visit the Mobile Marketing section of the Strategic Growth Concepts website.

Mobile Integrated Into Marketing Strategy = Success & Increased Revenue, Part II May 16, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in marketing strategies, mobile, mobile coupons, Mobile Marketing, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts.
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
6 comments

Part II – Low-Cost / No-Cost Methods of Mobile Marketing

In Part I of our multi-part Mobile Marketing series we learned that Mobile Marketing is most effective when incorporated into an overall marketing strategy, and used as a supplement to the mediums you are already using. 

In Part II of our series we’re going to discuss a variety of low-cost or no-cost methods of Mobile Marketing that a small business can utilize to promote their firm.  So let’s look at some ways a small business without a substantial budget can incorporate Mobile Marketing into their existing marketing strategy:

  1. Local Business Listings – These are the free yellow page listings by Google, Yahoo, Microsoft and many other directories; and these directories are the resource that consumers will use to find your business – particularly when they are ‘on the road’ and searching on their mobile device. There are over 60 local business listing websites on the Internet in five different categories. They include the search engines, social communities, 411 websites (aka yellow page type websites), GPS websites and the age old business directory.  Most of them are free but need to be ‘claimed’ by your company in order to insure they contain accurate information that drives customers to your business.  Failure to ‘claim’ your listing may mean that inaccurate information about your firm is posted to them from other sources, or that someone else may hijack your listing for unscrupulous purposes.  To effectively ‘claim’ your listings can be extremely time-consuming and tedious, therefore, an alternative option is our Local Business Listings Management Service which can handle this task for you.
  2. Google Mobile Coupons – Google is just one of the search engine directories where your business should be listed to insure it will be found via Internet or Mobile search, however, Google offers a distinctive advantage.  For over a year now Google has been offering all businesses with a Google Local Business Listing the ability to include Mobile Coupons as part of their listing.  The Mobile Coupon tool is FREE to use, and you can include multiple coupons with your listing.  Then when your firm comes up in the search listings, potential customers will also see your Coupon.  It could be just the advantage you need to make them pick your company over your competitor’s!
  3. Social Media – many of the most prominent social media sites now allow members to access them via their mobile phones, in fact, Facebook which boasts 400 million users, recently publicized statistics which indicate that more than 100 million of those users are using mobile phones to manage their account.  This means if your firm already has a presence on social media, that you are likely already benefitting from Mobile Marketing without taking any additional actions.  However, if you’re not yet participating in social media, then it’s time to get on board!  If you would like to learn how social media can work for your firm and help to increase your Mobile Marketing presence, or if you would like assistance in developing and managing a social media program, please go to the social media section of our website.
  4. SMS Messaging (text messaging) – According to the Director of Research at Nielsen Mobile, “People look at every text message they get”, and they do so within 15 minutes; in fact, studies show that 97% of cell service subscribers read any text messages they get within 15 minutes.  Can you think of any other advertising medium where you are almost guaranteed that every person targeted will see your message?  In today’s “on-the-go” world, studies show that 84% of mobile phone users keep their device within 10 feet of them at all times.  Considering that over 85% of potential consumers have a cell phone, that’s a huge potential customer base that’s easily accessible (as long as they have opted-in to receive messages from you)!  Recent surveys also indicate that consumers are very accepting of mobile offers sent to their phones as long as they are from companies in which they have interest.  The really good news is that the technology has advanced far enough that there are now SMS Mobile Marketing platforms where you can easily create your own text messaging campaigns within minutes – and starting as low as $25 per month!  Learn more about your text messaging options on our website.  Some ways you might use SMS messaging might include:  coupons, contests, regular ‘tips’ about your product or service, and incorporating your KEY WORD and SHORT CODE in your print, billboard, radio or TV advertising to encourage people to opt-in to your mobile list so you can then contact them via SMS on a regular basis with offers designed to encourage them to do business with you again.
  5. Mobile Website – In the last 5 years it has become an imperative rather than an option to have an Internet website.  Now, it is also becoming an imperative to have a mobile version of your website.  These sites are optimized specifically for easy viewing on the wide variety of mobile phones available today and are NOT just scaled down versions of your Internet website.  However, technology advances have also made this option much easier to implement, and services exist where you can build your own mobile website or have it done for you typically for several hundred dollars or less.  Learn more about mobile website options on our website.
  6. QR Codes – Another very viable and cost-effective Mobile Marketing option are QR codes.  These are 2-dimensional graphics (similar to the barcodes on products you buy at the grocery store) that contain information that can lead your customers to a website, display a coupon, provide driving directions or a map, provide contact information, or many other valuable uses. In order to ‘read’ a QR code a consumer downloads a QR code reader into their phone (though the software comes standard in Europe and Asia, that is not yet the case in the U.S. but likely will be soon), then they take a picture of the code with phone’s camera and the software automatically sends them to whatever content you had embedded within your code.  You as an advertiser can place these codes in your print ads, on websites, on billboards, on t-shirts, in emails, or on any other printable or digital medium where a camera would be able to take a picture of it.  Learn more about using QR Codes on our website.

This is just a brief overview a few of the many ways in which Mobile Marketing can be utilized to promote your business cost-effectively.  If you would like to learn more about the ways Mobile Marketing can help your business specifically, please contact us via our website or email us at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com .

In Part III of this series, we’ll review case studies that show a variety of ways Mobile Marketing is being utilized by other small businesses so you can begin to consider how to apply this high ROI  technology to your business.  Future segments of the series will continue to explore Mobile Marketing, and attempt to answer any questions submitted to us about the medium.  If you would like to have your questions about Mobile Marketing incorporated into our series, please submit them to us directly at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com and include “Mobile Marketing Questions” in the subject line of the email.

Social Media for Crisis Management: Watch BP to learn what NOT to do May 3, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Web 2.0.
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Anyone who has watched the news lately is likely familiar with the horrors of the situation currently taking place as a result of an oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, which has resulted in 11 deaths and a continuing and ever-expanding oil spill.  This rig was owned by international oil company, BP Global, and several investors.

As I have continued to see news coverage of this horrific incident, I was struck by the fact that I’m hearing from the news media, various industry experts, politicians, and just about anyone else who has an opinion – the only one I haven’t heard from is the CEO of BP.  So I started doing some searching to see if I’d missed it.  First I searched the Internet to see if I could find any statements from BP’s CEO, then I searched their website to see what news releases had been issued.  My findings were interesting.

The incident happened on April 20th.  Three days later the company finally issued a news release with a statement from the CEO, stating that employees were the first priority and they were cooperating fully with the Coast Guard etc. to insure everything possible was being done for them and their families.  It wasn’t until today – May 3rd – that the CEO finally made a public statement himself on MSNBC (at least that I could find); and in that statement proceeded to indicate that BP is not to blame, to tell you who else should be blamed, and also noting that they would, of course, be responsible for clean-up.  From what I could find, I didn’t see any evidence that BP had made any effort to communicate other than basic posting of news releases to their website and some minimal distribution of them to the major news outlets.  As a result, very few of the search results came from BP, but rather from anyone and everyone else who has something to say on the subject.

Here are some of the articles I found:

For BP, Oil Spill is a Public Relations Catastrophe

Feds Raise Pressure on BP Over Oil Spill

Oil Spill’s Blow to BP Image May Eclipse It’s Cost

BP, TransOcean Lawsuits Surge As Oil Continues to Spill

BP Had Other Problems in Years Leading to Gulf Spill

BP Chief: Failed Equipment Caused Explosion, Spill

When I look at this situation from a PR perspective and consider how Social Media could have helped them – instead of the immense damage it has done to them since everyone else is talking, but they aren’t; I saw this as an educational opportunity for small businesses.

If you Google ‘BP Oil’, you can find hundreds of references to the incident – on blogs, on Twitter, on YouTube, but none of it by BP themselves.  This is not to say that active participation in Social Media could have made the problem go away, but it could have given them a chance to better inform, to answer questions, to gain sympathy from the worldwide community by showing that they cared deeply for the lives lost and the on-going damage to the environment, and the resulting economic challenges that will be faced by the regions affected.  Instead they have chosen to distribute limited information, and when they do speak, it’s all about trying to shift the blame elsewhere.  So much for the years they’ve spent crafting an image as an environmentally-conscious firm; that’s up in smoke now (or covered in oil may be a better phrase)!

The mistakes in their strategy are so numerous I can’t even begin to count them; therefore I’ll suffice it to say that the company has provided us with ample opportunities to learn from their mistakes.

So what are the lessons learned from observing BP? Let’s reflect (I will only comment on mistakes and lessons as they relate to Social Media, not BP’s specific message):

  1. Don’t wait until a crisis happens to think about the ways that Social Media can assist your company; establish a presence on all appropriate Social Media sites and incorporate them into your everyday communications strategy, that way, they’ll already be there when you need them.
  2. Place links to your Social Media sites on your website to insure that people interested in your company know that you have a presence on Social Media and they know where to find you.
  3. Right now –  develop a Social Media strategy for your firm that incorporates everyday communication and crisis management, and put it in place so that it already exists should you need it for managing a crisis situation; should you need assistance in this area, Strategic Growth Concepts will be happy to assist you.
  4. Having an established Social Media strategy in place prior to a crisis will enable you to build a constituency of customers and followers to which you can explain your position and provide information if and when a crisis occurs; this constituency will help you disseminate your message virally through the Internet.
  5. When a crisis does occur, immediately step up your communications!  Develop a message plan and start distributing those messages through every Social Media platform that is appropriate.
  6. Communicate as often as possible through every means possible; issue news releases and insure they are distributed to related blogs and Internet search engines – not just the standard press; utilize YouTube to show videos of the situation if its appropriate, or of your CEO making a public statement; use webcasting tools such as BlogTalkRadio to engage in two-way live conversation with those interested in talking with company representatives about the matter – and then distribute it as a podcast via Facebook and Twitter (assuming of course that your company already has a presence there!).
  7. Don’t talk ‘at’ people on Social Media, talk ‘with’ people; engage in conversations, answer questions, ask for input.
  8. Put a ‘face’ on the company; take advantage of tools such as YouTube to distribute a message and speak plainly about the company’s thoughts on the situation.  Allow people to see how it affects the executives at the company emotionally.
  9. Monitor all Social Media – even those in which you are not participating – so you can address any issues being discussed there about your firm and its crisis situation and pre-empt some of those discussions that are just getting started.

Obviously it’s unlikely that your firm will ever experience a crisis of the magnitude of the one currently being experienced by BP Oil.  However, situations are relative – while it may be an incident of a much lesser magnitude, its impact upon your company and its customers may still be significant.  The best thing you can do is insure that your company is prepared to handle it in the best way possible.

In closing, we urge you to be pro-active in considering how Social Media can assist your company in communicating, and insuring that you have a plan in place in case a crisis situation should ever affect your company.  Should you need assistance in developing a Social Media strategy, we at Strategic Growth Concepts would be happy to assist you by evaluating your needs, and then developing and implementing a plan with you.  You may easily contact us at info@StrategicGrowthConcepts.com or via our website.

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting and training firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

Ten things you should know about Mobile Marketing February 24, 2010

Posted by StrategicGrowth in mobile, Mobile Marketing, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts.
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by The Mobile Marketer

The Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB) mobile council has produced a list of the top 10 things it believes markets absolutely have to know about mobile advertising at the moment.

It follows research from the IAB and PriceWaterhouseCoopers that mobile advertising is set to become part of the mainstream marketing mix over the next two years.

  1. It’s an always on medium: Consumers love their mobile phones so much that researchers found when they took peoples phones away for a day they claimed to feel a phantom ‘tingle’ in their pocket that normally proceeds the excitement of a text/call. Stephen Upstone, managing director of European business development, AdInfuse.
  2. Social media is driving growth: IAB research in 2009 found that updating social network sites via mobile handsets is increasing with 25% of all social networkers logging on to check or update their pages. 16 to 24 year olds are the biggest mobile social network fans with 44% saying they have updated via mobile, compared to 17% of over 55s. Amy Kean, senior PR and marketing manager, IAB.
  3. It provides immediate interaction: Mobile phones allow the consumers to interact immediately with advertising. Upon seeing an advert the consumer can text, call or download content instantly. It can help maximise the effectiveness of other media, a short code is a great example of this. Rachel Wright, business development director, Phonevalley.
  4. It’s got a lot to offer: Mobile Marketing is much more than banner adverts within internet content; a wide range of formats can be delivered as campaign components from text links in SMS messages through to full screen static or video display adverts within applications or mobile internet sites. Jeremy Copp, CEO, Rapid Mobile Media.
  5. Application crazy: iPhone users have downloaded over 1 billion applications worldwide to their handset since launch. Applications are not restricted to iPhone however; advertisers can create useful applications for consumers for the majority of handsets. David Fieldhouse, mobile manager, MediaCom.
  6. It’s popular: The number of mobile media users in the UK has reached the tipping point with over 30% of all UK adults accessing mobile media every month and a large proportion of those going online everyday according to ComScore. Stephen Upstone, managing director of European business development. AdInfuse
  7. Smartening up: Over the last 18 months the number of UK Smartphone users (iPhone, Nokia N96, T-Mobile G1 etc) has grown from 3.6m subscribers to 6.3m, a 73% increase, and these users are over three times more likely to browse for News and Information on their phones than non Smartphone users (Comscore/MMetrics). Tim Hussain, head of mobile advertising, Sky.
  8. It’s out of your hands: If you’re not sure if your brand should be on mobile, consumers have already made the choice for you. 0ver 4 million consumers are already using their mobiles to search for information on products and services and search volumes are growing 4 times faster than online. Jon Mew, head of mobile, IAB.
  9. It can reach you: Target through to point of purchase – no other medium allows such precise targeting, from location based services like local search through to in-store Bluetooth marketing you can reach consumers wherever they are and provide relevant and engaging advertising. Paul Lyonette, head of mobile advertising, Microsoft.
  10. Consumers like Mobile! The Orange Exposure study shows 70% of mobile media users find innovative ad formats appealing. In an ad funded games trial 89% said they liked or were neutral to advertisements appearing on the Orange World portal and 88% said they were happy to be exposed to advertising in exchange for free or discounted content. Alex Kozloff, media research manager, Orange.

NOTE FROM STRATEGIC GROWTH:  Worldwide sales of smartphones increased 24% to 172.4 million units in 2009 according to Gartner, Inc.  In the fourth quarter  of 2009 alone, smartphone sales surged 41% from the year-earlier period to 53.8 million devices.  The proportion of adult U.S. subscribers owning smartphones jumped to 17% last year from 11% in 2008 and 7% in 2007, according to new data from Forrester Research.  The number of total mobile phone subscriptions worldwide has reached 4.6 billion and is expected to increase to five billion in 2010, according to the U.N. telecommunications agency.

Should you be interested in learning more about mobile marketing and how it can help grow your business, please review the mobile section of our website, additional mobile marketing articles within this blog, or contact us directly via the website or email at info@strategicgrowthconcepts.com for a FREE initial consultation.

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting and training firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

Even Santa and NORAD Understand the Value of Social Media Marketing December 4, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in FaceBook, marketing strategies, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Twitter.
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Just when you might think you’ve heard it all, now small businesses can take a lesson from Santa!  A recent article describes a comprehensive social media strategy recently put in place by NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command) to track Santa’s progress this holiday season. 

While obviously meant to be a fun activity, closer reading of the story actually displays a well thought out and comprehensive Social Media Marketing Strategy that small business owners would do well to emulate in their own marketing efforts!

Click HERE to learn how Santa and NORAD are on the cutting edge of Social Media Marketing, and how you can put a similar strategy to work for your company.

How Are You Promoting Your Business – the Old Standby Methods or Utilizing New Technology? October 31, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in email marketing, Marketing Plan, Mobile Marketing, Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Video Marketing, Virtual Technology, Web TV.
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dma-expected-change-in-media-use-by-medium

Expected change in media use by medium

As the economy continues to be a major factor affecting the ways in which small businesses promote themselves and go about the business of obtaining new customers, we at Strategic Growth Concepts have also found ourselves seeking new, higher impact, more cost-effective ways of promoting our business to prospective clients, as well as ways to help our clients promote their businesses. Our interactions with our clients and those in our many networks tell us that most small businesses are also interested in learning all they can to make the most of these new marketing and advertising tools.

Therefore, we thought we would conduct a brief study to determine the methods of marketing and advertising currently being used by small businesses, as well as to determine which methods are being explored. We will use this information to develop a series of articles and radio shows to help small businesses review and evaluate the marketing and advertising options available to them, and to assist in their determination of which methods will work best for their business. Click HERE to take survey.

We will share the survey results, as well as information about the various marketing methods, in upcoming articles and broadcasts. In the meantime, we would love to receive your comments in response to this article with your thoughts about the results various forms of marketing have produced for your firm.

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The author, Linda Daichendt, is Founder, CEO and Managing Consultant at Strategic Growth Concepts, a consulting and training firm specializing in start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. She is a recognized small business expert with 20+ years experience in providing Marketing, Operations, HR, and Strategic planning services to start-up, small and mid-sized businesses. Linda can be contacted at linda@strategicgrowthconcepts.com and the company website can be viewed at www.strategicgrowthconcepts.com.

Who’s Using Twitter? Do You (and Your Business) REALLY Know? October 19, 2009

Posted by StrategicGrowth in Social Media, Strategic Growth Concepts, Twitter, Web 2.0.
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You’ve probably heard of the Morgan Stanley report that declares “teenagers do not use Twitter,” based on a sample size of one 15 year-old intern named Matthew Robson. Morgan Stanley rightfully disclosed that they do not claim that his study is representational or merits statistical accuracy, so we thought we could provide both with our NetRatings panel of 250,000 U.S. Internet users.

Twitter’s footprint has expanded impressively in the first half of 2009, reaching 10.7 percent of all active Internet users in June. Perhaps even more impressively, this growth has come despite a lack of widespread adoption by children, teens, and young adults. In June 2009, only 16 percent of Twitter.com website users were under the age of 25. Bear in mind persons under 25 make up nearly one quarter of the active US Internet universe, which means that Twitter.com effectively under-indexes on the youth market by 36 percent.

While the metrics in the chart above only represent the website and branded “front door” of Twitter, it would be a big stretch to assume that the gap in the youth demographic is being made up via other clients and platforms. For example, more than 90 percent of popular Twitter client Tweetdeck’s audience is over 25.  Furthermore, Twitter.com’s reach is 6.6 percent for kids, teens and young adults, whereas it is 12.1 percent for those over 25; implying that adults are trying Twitter at nearly double the rate.  To see more detailed information regarding Twitter demographics, click HERE, HERE and HERE.

But does it really matter if the kids don’t get it? The fact remains that Twitter has grown to be a major online presence and is being driven forward by significant buzz. To illustrate this point: the volume of Twitter mentions on blogs, message boards and forums has reached the same level as Facebook, a property four times its size. We’ve also seen that Twitter’s growth is very highly influenced by buzz around current events as they are happening such as the Iran election or the death of Michael Jackson. All it takes is one celebrity or major news story to rekindle the Twitter buzz machine, but do these one-off shifts create one-time curiosity seekers or lead to more permanent users?  That’s the unanswered question.

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Portions of this article were posted originally in Nielsen News.