Category Archives: Marketing (General)

“I’m here…now what?”: Location Based Services For Business

Location Based Service…?

“…is an information and entertainment service, accessible with mobile devices through the mobile network and utilizing the ability to make use of the geographical position of the mobile device [1] [2] [3]. LBS services can be used in a variety of contexts, such as health, work, personal life, etc. [4]. LBS services include services to identify a location of a person or object, such as discovering the nearest banking cash machine or the whereabouts of a friend or employee…They include personalized weather services and even location-based games. They are an example of telecommunication convergence.” (Wikipedia)

In an earlier post, Who Cares What You’re Doing?, I talked about people and their interaction with social media.  People are naturally curious and it applies to Location Based Services (LBSes) like Foursquare.  One would ask, why would I ever tell people where I am by checking into Foursquare?!  I suggest reading Meredith Eaton’s article Top 10 Reasons People Check-In to Foursquare.  You’ll understand why people are doing it; now let’s focus on her #10 point, growing your business.

In general, what has social media done for the brand of a business?  It has brought back brand loyalty, local and word-of-mouth marketing.  Big name brands are actively engaging their fans and followers, and small businesses are close behind them.

Take a look at Gap.  They recently had a “Foursquare friends, Saturday only” promotion that they simultaneously promoted on Twitter and Facebook.  Check-in, get a very consumer friendly discount.  Read the article here, Gap Uses Foursquare For Unique One-Day-Only 25% Off Check-In Offer.  With check-ins on Foursquare posted to Facebook walls and Twitter streams (with the users permission, of course), imagine the reach of all those viral messages during that Saturday.

Evaluate your business, be it consumer driven or B2B, and ask yourself, what can I offer those that check-in on Foursquare?  What’s something special I can give the Mayor while here?  You see, Foursquare is simply a game that people enjoy playing.  Be ahead of your competition and use this game to your advantage.  Give them something for playing and showing loyalty towards your business.

Stay Social,


Race to 1,000,000…

Wouldn’t we all like our businesses to hit 1,000,000 followers, fans, or subscribers, quickly? You’ve seen all sorts of promotions both online and offline to get to 1MM fans for different businesses. Whether it’s getting a free Bloomin’ Onion or joining something bigger than yourself, companies and organizations have been successful getting their fan base built, quickly.

As social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube level the playing field for the little guys, able to compete with the big guys, its easy to build your fan base quickly.

But let me rattle the cages a bit…
Do I really need 1,000,000 fans and followers?

When I help people with their social marketing strategy (online or offline, folks), I am always sensitive to the audience that they are trying to reach.  Just as with direct marketing, our social media tactics should be targeted, deliberate, and consistent.  I would rather have 1,000 community members than 1,000,000 fans.  As marketers, we always have to be in the customer’s shoes and assume they ask–what’s in it for me?  Well, I say to you, it’s not a one way street.  As an organization, you should be asking–what does my fan base do for me?  Note: that answer doesn’t necessarily have to do with top-line revenue either. 

So with that said remeber this:  you’re not building a fan base, you’re building a community.

Stay Social,

Who Cares About What You’re Doing?!

I recently sat down at a meeting with a veteran colleague of mine–ok, he was old but I’m trying to be polite–who asked me the question, “Who cares about what you’re doing?!” on the social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

Despite all the hype about the obvious benefits that social media brings to businesses and personal brands of all kinds, I could understand the frustration I heard in his voice.  This is a question that a lot of people have and I’m going to answer it now.

It’s not about ‘what you are doing’ but ‘what you are doing that could benefit me.’  People do care about what you are doing, particularly when the information you are providing is relevant to them.  Humans are naturally curious creatures.  We just want to know!

Social Networking is a way to take word of mouth marketing to the web and make your message viral.  Just as going to a trade show, attending a networking event, or having lunch with business colleagues is a way to exchange business information and leads, online networking is doing just that. 

I often tell people that they shouldn’t expect to close a $50,000 deal from tweeting (at least not yet), but expect to engage in your network with material such as: industry content, trouble shooting, customer service, event promotion, crisis management, product launch announcements, industry opinions,etc, etc.  You add value.

Any way we can add value to our network by providing content that people can use, is how we leverage our social networks and boost our brand.

So I say YES! people do care what you are doing, as long as it adds value to them and their network.

Stay Social,

Are You S.M.A.R.T.?

 Well…are you?! 

I should know better by now, but I always ask the same stupid question when people come to me to talk about their marketing initiatives or campaigns.  What do I ask them, you wonder?  “What are your goals for this campaign?”  Every time I ask this I wish I could take it back, because the same answer is always, “Increase sales and make more money!”

No kidding…that’s what we all want but its not a S.M.A.R.T. goal.  So let’s get smart about S.M.A.R.T. goals and talk about how to develop them and increase your market share.

What is a S.M.A.R.T. goal?  They are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.  These 5 elements are crucial to set up a S.M.A.R.T. goal; each campaign or marketing task that you take on should go through an analysis of these 5 elements.  The best part is, IT’S EASY!!!  OK, let’s go…

Craig is a lawn care service provider looking to take his business to the next level.  Let’s go through this process of establishing a S.M.A.R.T. goal with Craig.

  • Specific – We all have goals of increasing revenue, gaining more customers/members and increase awareness.  A specific goal pertains to one item that can be focus of the campaign.
  • Measurable – It’s important to make sure that any marketing initiative that takes place can be trackable and analyzed to enhance the ongoing or future campaigns.  Most importantly, if your goal was asked as a question, can you answer it?  “Did you hit ‘$X’ in new revenue, or gain ‘X’ new members?”
  • Attainable – Can we truly reach the goal we set?  We would all like to gain an exponential  amount of money or new customers; but if we don’t set an reachable goal, success is hard to reach.
  • Relevant – Does this goal directly pertain to the marketing campaign?  This is where you think about your clientele or prospects; does your product fulfill a need that will be best suited for your clients?
  • Timely – Delivery is key.  Hitting the market can be tricky at times, but this is an important element in the process to develop our goals.  No matter how great our concept is, if it’s not hitting the market when the buyer wants your product, your campaign won’t be successful. 

So lets take Craig’s business to help him establish a goal.  He’s looking to expand his customer base with a sales increase of 25% over his current earnings for basic lawn care services: mowing, fertilizing, debris removal.  For arguments sake, it’s February. 

Example:  Craig’s goal is to increase his customer base by 10 homes within the next 3 months which is equal to about 25% increase in revenue, to homeowners in the suburbs, 1-mile radius around his office, to people age 55+.

  • Is this goal Specific?  Yes, he’s looking for increase is client base by 10 homes and has set a time frame of 3 months with a certain demographic.  Whereas he did not say, “I want more customers this year…”
  • Is this goal Measureable?  Absolutely.  With each new client acquisition he can tell how far he is from meeting or exceeding his goal at any given time throughout the 3 months.  Moreover, since he is also great with numbers, he knows when he is on meeting revenue goals or not.
  • Is this goal Attainable?  Craig thinks so.  This element is a bit more subjective and requires a good self-evaluation of your business and YOUR selling ability.  Craig feels that his current client base would be willing to refer him to neighbors or friends; 10 new homes should be attainable for sure.
  • Is this goal Relevant?  His target audience are those that probably can afford to have lawn care done for them, or are people who may be looking to hire someone to do the manual labor.  Moreover, he is looking for homeowners, as they decide on the purchasing decisions for the home.  Renters, for example, do not.
  • Is this goal Timely?  Yes.  You have to think about your product and its market.  Lawn care starts early Spring and goes through the Fall.  Because it’s February (remember, for arguments sake), now is the time to start to build interest around your brand.  When Spring comes, people will already have your name on their minds.  If Craig started in June, it would be too late.  You may pick up a few clients, but will be no where near meeting his S.M.A.R.T. goal.

It may take you and extra 5-10 minutes to develop a S.M.A.R.T. goal, but you will be smarter for doing so.  You will start to see that when you meet these goals, you will know exactly how you compared to your original plan.  On the other hand, if you do not meet your goals, you are intelligent enough to know where you may have lost focus and can track back to the problem.  You can then fix it for next time.  At least now you know.

Be S.M.A.R.T.

A Teacher and a Marketer walk into the store…

So what do a teacher and a marketer have in common?  Well, let’s see…

  • They both engage and educate their audience
  • They both set goals
  • And, they are both looking for outcome

I often receive gasps of amazement when I tell people I was an elementary/special education teacher.  “And now you work in marketing…?!”  I think well, yeah, why wouldn’t I be in marketing

When I made the switch, I knew to apply the same rules of a teacher to my marketing campaigns.  As marketers we have to educate our audience about our products and services.  We show value and the return on the investment.  Educators teach children about investing in their education, and their futures will be brighter; Marketers teach customers that investing in their products, they will be better service providers for their customers.

We both set goals to make sure that we hit our benchmarks, learn from our mistakes, and repeat those techniques that have worked well for us in the past.  We look for outcome.  We help people get to their outcome.  To a teacher and a marketer, each definition of success is different, but the ways in which we get there is remarkably the same.

So I ask you, would you be able to tell the difference between a teacher and a marketer if you saw them at the store?