Monday, 28 March 2011

Are you a marketing do gooder?

This blog is brought to you by BrightBlue Marketing team member: Andrea Lamarsaude.

It’s always nice to be able to witness something amazing. I’m on the board of the DFW American Marketing Association. Two weeks ago the Dallas Social Media Club contacted us and asked if we could help promote an event they were putting together to raise money for Japan. The event was to be held March 24th. When they contacted us they had a name – Dallas4Japan and had posted it on ( and that was about it.

They still needed ways to promote the event, a venue, and sponsors to offset food and drink costs. We agreed to promote the event on our website and in our weekly event email but were worried for them that they would not be able to get everything to come together in just one week.

That’s when the something amazing happened!

Other marketing organizations quickly jumped on the bandwagon to lend a hand as well. Aloft Dallas agreed to host the event, Eventbrite DFW became a corporate sponsor and other companies soon followed. In just over a week a successful fundraising event was born! The capacity of our country and its citizens to rally together in times of crisis never ceases to amaze me and the Dallas4Japan event was a perfect example!

Have you or your company done something good lately?

Tiffany Monhollon, lead blogger for ReachCast, writes in her article Rallying Behind Social Good: 3 Lessons from Digital Response to Japan’s Earthquake Crisis, “Getting involved with social good is a great way for local businesses to support charitable causes they care about and to build goodwill within the community. Plus, it’s good for business.”

She offers three great tips (all of which the Dallas4Japan event put into play):

1. When supporting local causes and rallying behind social good programs, don’t just share the information on social networks. Use tools like Twitter hashtags, Facebook groups, and blogs to organize information from your company and from participants.

2. Make getting involved in your social good programs a social experience by hosting events and adding social elements to your awareness campaigns. Encourage attendees to invite their friends, making it easy through online event invitations using tools like Eventbrite or Facebook Events.

3. Offer and encourage different levels of giving and support for your social good programs. For example, ask people to donate their time, talent, and money to help support your cause both online and offline, but also make it easy to give a small donation by offering the ability to give small donations online and via text message.

We’d like to hear from you!

Is your company involved in social good programs?
If so, what are they?
What type of marketing campaigns have you launched to support them?
What works?
What doesn’t?

-Andrea Lamarsaude, Marketing Manager BrightBlue Marketing, President-Elect DFW AMA

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Friday, 25 March 2011

Creating Loyal Customers

A few weeks ago I attended a luncheon put on by the Metroplex Technology Business Council (MTBC) in Dallas where the CTO of Southwest Airlines, Bob Young, was the Keynote speaker. Many people are aware of Southwest’s somewhat radical views of customer service, but I was again struck by how deeply that permeates throughout their entire operation. The companies all consuming motto is this (taken directly from their website): “We like to think of ourselves as a Customer Service company that happens to fly airplanes”.

How do they actually do this on a practical level?

Here are a few of the points Mr. Young mentioned:

• They hire people based on their personality more than experience – a job can be taught, but a personality can’t
• They listen to what customers are saying about them and their competition and they act on it.
• Travelers hate the baggage fees on the other airlines so; they are the only ones that don’t charge.
• Complaints continue to mount about the extra charges for snacks, drinks, pillows, etc. and, they don’t charge for theirs.
• Customers are concerned about the environment so, they have looked to various types of technologies as well as zeroing in on calculations of thrust to weight ratios, etc. to lessen their carbon footprint.
• Southwest has also created technology that allows most everything to be done on your Smartphone. One day you will be able to just walk through the airport doors and have your confirmation, boarding passes, etc. come straight to your phone.

But, here is the biggest challenge in the midst of running a business – they take the time to CARE about their customers beyond the travel experience.

For example: There is the story of one passenger that had a note on her boarding information for the flight staff that she was on her way to having a heart transplant so, they would be aware if any medical needs arose. When she arrived at the gate the Southwest employee that scanned her boarding pass and saw this just looked up at her and told her that everything would be alright. This meant so much to that passenger and it took perhaps a minute for that employee to say. A Southwest employee on the other end of her flight that saw the note took the time to call the hospital later to find out how she was doing and ended up being connected to that passenger’s family in the waiting room.

Granted, this took more time on the employee’s part, but what is that going to mean for their business?

• Do you think that entire family will choose Southwest Airlines the next time they fly?
• Do you think that passenger’s family and friends are going to tell a lot of people that story?
• Do you think that story is going to get people to choose Southwest Airlines over their competition?

It took some valuable time away from that employee’s “regular” job, but the result is possibly hundreds of loyal future customers that will choose Southwest over their competition every time it is possible.

What would change in your company if you made customer service the main product or service and what you sell as second?

Further Reading:

Southwest Airlines Customer Service Commitment

How Southwest Airlines Became a Model for Customer Loyalty

Lessons in Loyalty: How Southwest Airlines Does It – An Insider’s Point of View

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Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Developing Successful Marketing and PR campaigns

The Marketing Think Tank call hosted by BrightBlue Marketing and Big Noise Communications was facilitated this month by Andrea Lamarsaude of BrightBlue and focused on the topic of: Developing Successful Marketing and PR campaigns when resources and budget are limited.

The following are the points we discussed:

1. Examples of good marketing/PR tools that would fit this cost savings criteria:

-Social media and email. Email is especially good because of all the available analytics. Social media is improving in the ability to monitor your success there as well. Social media is a big arsenal to have in your pocket for free or low cost marketing/PR tools. It has become a “go to” for marketing, but the excitement is wearing off and people are trying to figure out how to harness the power it has. Check around to see what works best for your target market. Be sure to spend a couple extra hours each day to mine for opportunities within your local newspaper or online articles to stay on top of all the options available for social media.

-PR is never as simple as people think it is. If you end up coming out of the gate with a bad approach with a member of the press they will black list you quickly. You want to be sure you have good information that the media wants or needs. PR is something you can figure out on your own but you have to take the time to do the research.

2. Ways to develop a successful PR campaign with limited resources and budget:

-Create a library of messaging with compelling and coordinated content to use in all your social media outlets tweaking it to fit each channel.

-Partner with others to sell for you to their networks with a referral payout plan and also share the cost of joint campaigns with viable partners.

-Make each dollar count by establishing goals for each dollar spent on a campaign before you commence.

-Make sure that you understand that even when working with a PR company that you will still have to be involved in the planning and execution of any campaign – not just handing the money over for a PR company to do it all.

3. Specific social media tools that play a more effective role when money and resources are limited:

-Which tool that will work the best for you depends a lot on your market, target audience and goals.

-Blogging is a great way to get out there as a thought leader in your field because you can become known as an expert and you will be able to get clients engaged in a conversation with you. You must have good content for blogging to work. If you don’t feel like you can write compelling content, then you can have someone that is a better writer interview you and put it in your words into a more compelling blog.

-A Facebook fan page is a form of social media that can also be used effectively; however, it should not be more important than your website. Your Facebook page should point to your website as well as add another format to reach your customers.

-Realtor created a Twitter page of one of her house addresses as the Twitter name and gaining followers to market that home for sale. What about a Realtor or service type business to use Facebook? A realtor created 3001 things to do in Austin. They can list things to do in the area where they have a house for sale. You can also make a page or events of top 10 most unique homes for sale in town; you can create an event and take a group around to see those unique homes.

4. Examples of how email marketing is a strong tool to use when resources and budget are limited:

-Successful email marketing comes from analyzing the results and following up with those that clicked through. Focus the links in your email on specific pages on your site so you know specifically what that person was looking for when they clicked through. With specified click through information, an email is a great telemarketing tool to get more specified information before ever calling on the client.
-Create a contest for your contacts to get their contacts involved by giving a prize for the most clicks from their contact list, etc. This makes it fun for your contacts and also brings you new contacts that are already interested in what you do.

5. Marketing effectively at a trade show or event with a limited budget:

-First and foremost, make sure that you choose the right tradeshow/event for your marketing goals.

-Partnering with other companies that compliment what you do or sell. Get creative with sponsors who will donate their services to help your booth be more attractive (catering, booth graphics, etc.). Find a partner company where you can both send contacts and leads to and from each other.

-You can piggy back onto other events by inviting your clients to an event that has already been planned by others or attend an event without purchasing a booth with some sort of gimmick that gets you noticed, just be sure to adhere to the guidelines of each tradeshow.

-Do something unusual at your booth that is a little out of your comfort zone but gets positive attention. Make it fun because people buy from people they like.

-Be likeable.

-Don’t spend all your time trying to get new customers and forget about taking care of your current customers. It is easiest to sell to those that are already your customer!

6. How to set expectations for a client: Should you have lower expectations of ROI with a reduced budget?

-A reduced budget many times just means a slower build and not necessarily a lower ROI - just maybe a slower build of ROI.

-Using people that are willing to help for a lower cost; such as employees that are not necessarily professional marketing/pr people, can work, but this will slow the ROI slightly.

Suggested further reading:

1. Use Marketing to Stay Strong in a Weak Economy
By Tami Hernandez -

2. Ask Emma from - 5 ways email marketing can help you save money:

3. Twitterpated by Joey McGirrhttp:

4. Establishing an effective marketing budget when resources are tight - Michael Littman - SVP - CMO Doe-Anderson:

5. What is Automated Marketing? - Brint Driggs/Brint Driggs and Associates - BrightBlue Marketing guest blogger:

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Monday, 7 March 2011

Is your Marketing Approach like a Leaf Rake or a Leaf Blower?

This blog is brought to you by a partner of BrightBlue Marketing, J.R. Atkins. J.R. is an Author, Speaker and Consultant in the areas of Social Media, Mobile Apps and Sales & Marketing. Learn more about JR and his company at:

Marketing to prospective clients has changed greatly with the proliferation of online tools such as websites, email and most recently, social media. Prospects can turn to so many sources for information about you, your company, and your products or services. A recent day of yard work prompted me to explain the shift in marketing to a colleague as being “more like using a leaf blower then a rake.”

The Leaf Rake Approach

Prior to the proliferation of on-line tools, I collected contact information from prospects such as their name, address, phone number and fax number and stored them on 3x5 cards. In the early 90’s I started using ACT, a contact management system or CRM (Customer Relationship Management) system, to keep up with prospect information and to schedule phone calls, meetings, and direct mail campaigns. Armed with this information, I could mail, call, and fax prospects about my products and services. This shows the emphasis on collecting contact information, much like raking leaves into a pile.

The Leaf Blower Approach

Today, I tak
e a different approach that is more like a leaf blower. As I meet prospective clients, I connect with them on-line via email and or social media. I have shifted from collecting and hoarding data, to giving and sharing data. In other words I blow information into the wind and wait for those who are interested to reach out to me.

Social Media is a great tool for “Leaf Blower” marketing. Once a connection is made via LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, a blog or YouTube, the prospect get’s to choose if they would like to follow you and if so, they can choose their preferred method of communication. Some prospects will discard the information you share, others will collect it and save it for the future, and some will find if valuable and share it with others, while some will act on it by reaching our my email, social media or phone. The main idea is that the prospects who are interested in you and the content you publish will “follow you” and when they are ready to buy, they will reach out to you.

Yet, there is a key point with this approach. It requires the marketer to publish content that is interesting, valuable and giving in nature. This kind of content will be shared with others and your message will take on the viral affect where it gets passed around to others very rapidly.

When using the “leaf blower” methodology, your goal is to draw prospects to you by “blowing out the information” and letting those that are interested come to you.

You probably need both

To be effective in my yard work, I need both a leaf rake and leaf blower to get the job done. In business, we need both approaches to market effectively. We should use the leaf blower approach to share good content through a website, email newsletter, LinkedIn, Facebook Fan Page, Twitter, a Blog and a YouTube Channel. Then, we can identify those prospects that have an interest in our content and target them with direct mail, email blast and direct selling content and methods.

By using both approaches we can continue to grow our business while allowing the prospect to connect with us in the way that works best for them. My hope for you is that you “rake in the money while blowing away the competition.”