Doing It Right!

A couple of weeks ago I was having trouble finding my favorite flavor of AmarettoCoffee-Mate. Never bothered asking the local Hy-Vee about it because I figured it would show up sooner than later.

Three weeks into the "Amaretto Coffee-Mate Drought" I popped off a Tweet to @Coffee_Mate who responded, timely by the way, "We're sorry but Amaretto has been retired why don't you try..."

WHAT?  No Amaretto Coffee-Mate?  My mornings were going to from sleepy to sad...very sad.

Over the past couple of weeks I Tweeted my disdain to my former friends @Nestle and @Coffee_Mate. Ya know, photos of the Coffee-Mate section without Amaretto. A friend of mine even chimed in with #FreeTheAmaretto for Twitter.  The brand was sorry for my troubles and suggested that maybe some new "Caramel and Coconut Girl Scout" flavor might be a replacement. What?  Who thinks of this stuff?

This past Sunday I included @Hy_Vee in my tweet...moaning about the loss of the Amaretto flavor. Within a few minutes I get a Tweet back suggesting that I send an email to hvcs@hy-vee.com with my concern. Told them the flavor was retired but went ahead and sent an email anyway. On Sunday! Within the hour I got a response...from a real person...with a real name and a real email address.  

Amaretto Coffee CreamerShocked!  Who does this?  What no Bot response...but a nice note from Kourtney?  

I responded back...just to make sure it wasn't a Bot and she wrote back, "You’re most welcome Michael! We run a 24/7 operation here so if you ever have any store requests or Fuel Saver inquires there will be someone here to take care of it!"

Oh...so what did I do?  Made my own!  Another friend on Twitter supplied me with this recipe and BAM we're in business...and, of course, I picked up the ingredients from..."My Hy-Vee".

Welcome to Des Moines Price Chopper...you've got some work ahead of you.

 

Well played Hy-Vee...very!

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How To Buy Stuff - Chapter Two

My friend and I have been working on a book idea.  Both he and I believe How to Buythere are enough "How to Sell" books.  What business needs is a book on "How to Buy Stuff".  Tips on how to move your business forward by paying attention to sales and marketing...not yours...but "The Pitch" and then how to and how not to take action.

Chapter Two, we've decided is "How Not to Allow Deadlines to Assist in Not Buying". Ready?

Here is the set up: Let's say you manage or own a business and every day of the week you are called on to listen to a pitch. (Here's what I think about your duty to listen to every one!)  When the pitch is complete you say to the salesperson, "This is fantastic! It's exactly what we need. Let me get back to you in a week."

Then the week goes by and the salesperson, who has kept in touch with you during the week hears nothing back. Crickets!  

The day comes and the salesperson finally catches up with you and you say, "I know today is the deadline for the offer but, I just can't get it done today.  I'm sorry!"

So, we went from "Gotta have!" to "I don't have time to put my signature on a document."

The customer used the deadline to help him/her fail to follow through with the buy.  Sad.

What should happen is the buyer, during one of the interactions between the pitch and the deadline, should have said was, "Look we considered this but, in the end, it's not going to work for us because..."  It's important the salesperson hears the "Why.." because perhaps the objection is something you just don't understand.

Or...you just made up your excitement during the pitch which is phony and not a good way to do business. 

Your thoughts?

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The Folly of Digital Start Ups?

I am about to peek behind the curtain.  You know, that old bit from The Jack Matthews March 2015Wizard of Oz, "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!"  This is not intended to cast doubt or to discourage our digital start-up community. It is intended to point out that the goal of business is to produce a profit. Making money, we would think, beats out the latest "wowza web-based, app infused techno company".  Stay with me on this.

Over the past several years I've asked dozens, if not hundreds, of "digital dreamers" if they are making money.  I get answers like, "Not yet but soon." or "I'm doing this for the love of creation." or "We're building it to sell and that will come."  Meanwhile they compete for angel investors, first round financing and the attention consumers with an ever growing array of tech choices.  The work, the dedication and the dream are all celebrated...but who is making money?  

Meanwhile, Jack Mathews, the close to 80 year-old newspaper guy who retired two decades ago, gets bored. He sees opportunity with a hyper-local news site.  Our Grinnell launches in 2007...long before folks knew what "hyper-local" meant.

Last year Jack went back to publishing a newspaper (yep...a NEWSPAPER!) that shares the back story of economic development. The Grinnell Business Journal started as a quarterly, now is published every two months.  The goal, says Jack, "Is to make this a weekly business news publication."

One other thing, Jack is turning a profit.  And he's doing it with an old school media piece called a "newspaper".

Just like my friends that are in digital design he has passion.  He has, just like they do, talent and knowledge of the business.  He also has a product that is tangible, familiar, usable and adds value in a space that is not currently covered.

We just think it's a great story and something for business to think about. How can you add value to a niche of consumers that are under-served?

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We Do Voodoo...

Not really, but it sometimes seems that way.  Our craft is advertising and Voodoo Imagemarketing; getting more people to know who you are and then purchase your product or service.  How?  By creating well crafted advertising and marketing plans. We don't do what you do...we do...voodoo. We even tell folks that we do it. Have a listen: 

Insight Advertising VooDoo March 2015

Look, if you're happy with the return on your advertising dollars stick with it. But, if you would like to increase your ROI let's talk.  We'll share with you marketing methods, why they work, what we think you should do and how you can measure success.

We're Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communications a full service advertising agency.  Let us do some voodoo for you...too. 

 


Nah, We're 8 to 5 - Weekdays Only!

Over the past several weeks we've been following various brands (local, Woman 8 oclockregional and national) and surprised at the vast number of businesses that are posting to social media channels ONLY during the work day. Weekends? Crickets.

It's like their Social Media Ninjas are saying, "Hey, we work eight to five Monday through Friday.  If you wanna follow our brand engagement do so on our time."

Do they know something we don't or are they just doing what they get paid for?

So we did some digging around to learn who is connecting with social media channels and when.  Some interesting consumer trends:

  • Nearly half (47%) of smartphone users visit social media networks every day (Nielson);
  • Want Re-Tweets? Best time to Tweet is 5PM EST (KissMetrics);
  • Best days to Tweet - Midweek and Weekends (KissMetrics)
  • Facebook Shares - Best day is Saturday followed by Sunday (KissMetrics);

And, not every social media channel is the same.  For example posting on Pinterest outside of noon and the weekends isn't advised, "Pinterest is for daydreaming" says Fast Company.

Instagram users ages 18 - 29 make up 53% of all users and 49% of them use the channel daily (Pew Research Center)

LinkedIn users abandon the channel on the weekends and you'll get crickets between 10PM and 6AM (Fast Company).

We could go on and on but the POINT is that if your brand is failing to engage your consumer base when they are using social media...your brand...fails.  It all goes back to the central point of social media and using it correctly...wait for it:  You need to know your consumer; where they are, what they want and how to engage.  Oh, and HOW do you know where your prime demographic is...without spending tons on market research.

Ask them...

Finally, with all the social media tools available to you there is no reason why you can't match your engagement with consumers on...their time.

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Us?  Here is our advertising agency website, you can follow us on Twitter @InsightADV and Facebook?  Sure.  Also we are the fuel that powers Insight on Business the News Hour. (Here is our searchable/mobile friendly Podcast Page or you can download the business interviews from iTunes.  Nifty huh? 

 


Six Hours and Swag

On Friday I spent six hours with 125 others during an American Marketing Association - Iowa seminar on brand engagement and, all I got AMA Iowa Swag was a bag of...swag.

Not!

Look, I do marketing and advertising for a living.  It's my craft to engage, for and with our clients, consumers in the key demographics they wish to reach. So could I learn something from a bunch of thirty-somethings? (Well, then there was Mike Wagner...) Sure!  I love learning how others share their messages, build their brands and engage consumers. Perhaps I'll learn something new. Maybe pick up some new tips or confirm what we're doing for our clients is spot on.

And it was "Yes" to all three areas.  Some key take-a-way items:

  • Brand Engagement Requires Thought - It's not enough to simply post something and hope it will stick. You've got to know who your target demographic is and speak to their passion/interests;
  • Rifles Are Better Than Shotguns - Sure you can scatter your message on whatever media you like but that may not be where your demographic is hanging out. Just because you like the 10PM News doesn't mean that is where your consumer is.  Besides, shotgun marketing is very expensive;
  • Branding Is Everything - Here we go again...branding is not your logo. Branding is everything from how you answer the phone, the outgoing voice mail message you do daily (you do that...right?), the way in which you respond to email, how employees conduct their social media presence, how counter people engage the customer....and on and on and on;
  • Social Media Ain't Free - I do an entire seminar on this for businesses and the bottom line is it takes...work;
  • Skinny Budgets Require Collaboration - How can non-profits build a solid brand by engaging others?  Ask Steven King from the Des Moines Arts Festival;
  • Don't Forget Volunteers - The NASCAR Iowa Speedway has 17 employees but hundreds of volunteers who share a passion for racing. Make sure you train your brand warriors in customer centric engagement methods be they paid or volunteers.

So, you get the point right?  Even "old dogs" can learn.  Oh...and get some cool swag!  Thanks for the opportunity!

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Giving Up Twitter!

This week I saw a Facebook Post about a friend who had "given up" on Twitter RejectedTwitter. "I have deleted my Twitter account but will continue Facebook for awhile."

That was followed by several others chiming in saying they "never really got or understood" Twitter.

I understand and that's OK. 

To explain Twitter and the power it holds for news and information doesn't much matter to folks who use social media for...being social. For those of us in business and/or the news world Twitter is a valuable asset.  Spending a few moments rolling through my Twitter TeletypeStream puts me in touch with other business professionals and allows me to digest lots of headline news.

Think of Twitter as an "old school" teletype that used to dominate every newsroom in the nation.  Every few seconds that teletype would spit out the news, weather, markets and more. Twitter is the same thing.  Sure it can be 100% social but it can also be a wonderful tool for business and for news. 

We're here to stay.  Your thoughts?

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Insight Advertising, Marketing and Communicaitions is a full service advertising agency based in Des Moines and the fuel that powers Insight on Business the Daily Business News Broadcast.

 


The New...Radio?

Back in 2007 we were "pioneers" when it came to podcasting and when we moved IOB Card Backfrom our television broadcast on Webcast One Live to 1350 KRNT for our daily business radio broadcast we took the podcast idea with us. Why? Because it's yet another link in the trend of offering news and information to the consumer when he or she wants to access it...not when we want them to get it.

Have a quick listen to the "new radio" that you get to experience on...your time. Oh, and if your business/service isn't podcasting...why?

 

 

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Contact What?

These are "Stories from the Road" real things that go on...that we could Man odd never make up.

I was visiting with a marketing professional who shared with me a story of a company in the housing/rental business who recently made the decision to stop all Internet, direct and email marketing and focus on, what they call, "Contact Marketing".

I was confused because what I know as "contact marketing" employs some digital efforts so I asked for clarification. "Contact marketing, to these folks, is printing up a bunch of fliers and going out to businesses and leaving them at the front desk or posting them on bulletin boards in grocery stores."

Without a digital presence.

I guess it could be called "Relationship Marketing" IF whomever is doing the legwork takes the time to build a relationship with whomever they are visiting with...but I don't think so because: 

They are selling a commodity.

At some point in my career I want to have discussions with the people who make these kinds of decisions...just to see how they...tick.

Your thoughts?

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Is Politics Good For Business?

Open Numbers 27 Oct 2014Let me be clear, not just business but marketing your product or service via email marketing.  Here is the set up:

Each week we send out an email newsletter with the guest list for our daily business broadcast, Insight on Business the News Hour. (You can take a peek at it here if you wish.)  The system we use, Emma, gives us feedback on how our email newsletter ranks against others using a ten-point scale.  The image here is the response from our October 27th send where it was opened by about 29 percent of the people to whom it was sent.  Now, remember, this is just before the election in November.

This past week we sent out our weekly newsletter and this image is from Open Numbers 25 Nov 2014that mailing.  About 33 percent of the people opened the newsletter and, as you can see the ranking moved from 7.2 to 8.4.

Our take from this?  During the election cycle, and shortly after, there is so much "in-box-email-fatigue" that many folks simply delete, delete, delete.

And, that...if you are marketing using email...is bad for business.  In fact, we'll go out on a limb and suggest that nearly any and all advertising/marketing done during the election cycle is bad for business because so many consumers are...tired.

So, what to do?  That's a great question for you to answer.  Got a tip?

We've got several suggestions but open to what you might think.  Go!

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