Monday, July 30, 2007

The Power of the Experience

Consumers Notice When You Over-Hype, Under-Deliver

People pay attention when they feel worse than they expected, reports a recent University of Georgia study. The research, which was published in the March issue of the Journal of Consumer Research, found that while people are keenly aware when an experience under-delivers, they are less likely to notice when a product is better than expected. According to analysis of the research, too much hype can hurt a company if consumers' expectations aren't met.
The study's authors contend that satisfaction, repeat-purchases, and positive word of mouth are more impactful than brand hype, which can prove detrimental. The authors also assert that companies can help themselves by encouraging consumers to pay attention when they do feel better than expected -- something consumers are not naturally inclined to do, but can be prompted into doing.

source WOMMA Editor on May 4, 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

A Second Life?

A friend of mine was telling me about this web site the other day is an Internet-based virtual world with a downloadable client program enables its users, called "Residents", to interact with each other through motion avatars, providing an advanced level of a social network service combined with general aspects of a metaverse. Residents can explore, meet other Residents, socialize, participate in individual and group activities, create and trade items (virtual property) and services from one another.

And look what the staffing company Manpower is doing with Second Life.

Manpower Inc. Launches Island in Second Life With Live Panel Discussion on the Evolving World of Virtual Work

Manpower Inc. (NYSE: MAN) announced today the launch of the Manpower Island in Second Life (, the online virtual community where residents, known as avatars, live and work in a variety of 3D environments. Manpower Island is a place where job seekers, employers and entrepreneurs can come together in an interactive forum to learn about and explore the World of Virtual Work, share ideas and identify new opportunities in traditional and non-traditional meeting spaces ranging from an amphitheater to a relaxing spot on the virtual beach. Built as a learning community, Manpower Island features a variety of virtual work resources, including an orientation trail to teach "newbies" how to move around, interact and teleport around Second Life; and a series of work-related stations offering advice on creating a virtual resume, preparing for both Real Life and Second Life job interviews, obtaining appropriate attire and finding a job in the virtual world.

Manpower's presence in Second Life will be launched with a live virtual event where an expert panel of Second Life avatars will discuss the range of employment issues arising in the World of Virtual Work, from recruiting and job-seeking to virtual collaboration and cultural rules of engagement in virtual worlds such as Second Life. Hosted by Manpower chairman and CEO Jeffrey A. Joerres and moderated by CNET's Daniel Terdiman. "Manpower's mission is to help people, companies and governments understand what's coming next in the changing world of work. The virtualization of the labor market is a key issue for all of these groups and our presence in Second Life will enable us to further define the next stages of virtual work, which are emerging in 3D worlds," said Johns.Virtual working is defined as work done outside of the traditional physical office or work space, where individual workers or teams are based physically away from each other, either at home, in different departments or countries, or in a virtual environment like Second Life. Telecommuting and outsourcing are currently two of the most common forms of virtual work."The virtual labor market is similar to emerging labor markets in many countries of the world, facing many of the same infrastructure challenges as it develops and matures," said Joerres. "Manpower's decades of experience in helping employers and employees navigate the ever-changing world of work means we are ideally placed to help them make the transition beyond current definitions of virtual work to take full advantage of Web 2.0 opportunities."Manpower has developed a short informational video about the World of Virtual Work, which is available at The video examines how, in an environment of global competition, virtual work has become a powerful way to connect skills and demand, regardless of the distance between them. Today's challenging labor market demands these contemporary forms of working, which will define the workplace of the future.More than five million individuals now have a presence in Second Life alongside the more than 7,000 businesses operating in this virtual world, which include some of the largest organizations in the world as well as thousands of small businesses that exist only in the virtual world. Manpower has helped individuals and organizations large and small understand and benefit from practices such as telecommuting and outsourcing, and will bring the lessons learned from these experiences to bear in the virtual world in this next phase of virtual work.

Wow with all this who needs a "First Life"??

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Get People Talking

Get people talking. How do you get people to talk about you and your brand?

1. Do something the competition would never do

Ex. Free dessert Tuesday's. Open 24hrs on Friday and Saturday. Send you Mascot to the busiest place within the 3 mile radius of your store and hand out coupons.

2. Have the best customer service

Ex. Do what ever it takes to retain your clients.

3. Brand Evangelist

Ex. Start building up your list of "certified brand evangelist" theses are the clients you know love your product/service and will tell everyone about it. Reward them with free meals, trips, sporting event tickets. Just keep them more than happy and they will do all the work for you.

4. Direct Mail

Ex. Do not forget you need to always be recruiting new clients. Send out a free offer in the mail and run an FSI in the local newspaper. Make the offer worth looking at and make sure the piece is professional done. Lots of clutter in direct mail you need to make it stand out. Also be consistent and clients will be looking for you every time they open the mail.

5. a part

Ex. Sponsor your local teams and community. Be part of the community. when people think of Pizza they think of only one pizza place...Yours. Because you sponsor everything. Sponsorship can be just giving a away a free service....your time. So don't ever rule out a sponsorship because you think it will cost to much. Most organizations will let you do what you want to get you involved.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Rent a DVD at McDonalds?

Last week I talked about how Netflix is using a mix of direct mail and word of mouth to get to its customers. Now Redbox is throwing there hat in the DVD rental game. but they are coming to market with a strategic partner..McDonalds. Yes that's right the you can now rent DVDs at the golden arches! Very smart move on the part of Redbox to partner with McDonalds...right? But I am not sure the consumer is going to think "hey lets go to McDonald's and get a big mac and a movie" I hope Redbox has a word of mouth and direct mail campaign to let the consumer know about renting Redbox movies at McDonalds...because they may run the risk of there brand being swallowed up by Ronald and friends.
Let me know what you think!

Monday, July 16, 2007

The Power of a 4 year old

As the week has gone on my 4 year old daughter has not stopped talking about our Sea World trip this past weekend. It got me to thinking that Word of Mouth marketing is not only for "adults" but, what an impact even a 4 year old can have on your brand. Example: she went to school today and told all her friends about her trip to Sea World..they in-return will be going home to tell there parents about the the parents will tell there friends and so on and so on. She told her neighbor friend and parents..her Aunt in New York..and off it goes.
But what a powerful experience a child can have on your brand. In this day in age when you cannot mass market toward children, I believe that WOM and Social Marketing will save many brands. Also for a place like Sea World...never underestimate the power of the experience, take care of the people who come and experience your brand. Retain those customers and send out thousands of little "Brand Evangelist" into the world to spread the good news......AMEN!

Friday, July 13, 2007

Austin Music...

Being in Austin we have the privilege of having so many great live bands. Its Friday and I wanted to share one of my favorites.... Social networking works so well for bands..can you imagine just 5 years ago how hard it was to find out about bands that were not in you city...or even in your city. So all of my Austin friends...get out a see South Austin Jug will enjoy yourself..and pass it on!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sprint Ahead?

One of my major lessons in talking about Word of Mouth Marketing is to create happy clients (Brand Evangelist) I am not sure if Sprint got the memo. In this article you will read about Sprint cutting of some of there clients due to excessive customer service calls. I would assume the reason they are calling is to have a problem solved and it has not been solved so...they have to call back. Here is a part of the letter they sent to there clients.

"Our records indicate that over the past year, we have received frequent calls from you regarding your billing or other general account information, While we have worked to resolve your issues and questions to the best of our ability, the number of inquiries you have made to us during this time has led us to determine that we are unable to meet your current wireless needs."

They are throwing away clients they worked so hard and spent so much money trying to get and why...because they call to much? I think a better way to solve the issue would have been a letter asking if a senior level manager at Sprint could call them and talk to them about there issues and lets see if we can resolve the issues. Win for Sprint as they look like they are taking a huge step in fixing there client service and showing the really care. And Win for the client as the problem will be solved by someone who can make the decision. And instead of the client being cut of and spreading negitive Word of Mouth to all of the people they know...positive Word of Mouth would be spread to all the people they know! A Win..Win

I hope sprint learns from this and takes a hard look at the client services and what negative Word of Mouth can do to the bottom line.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Ask Your Front Line People....

Ask your front line people and you may find the answer to your problems.

I was on the phone today with my insurance company....I have been putting it of because of the usual response I receive from them..lots of Customer No Service! But this time, April the very nice CSR was polite and solved my problems right away. So seeing we were having a nice conversation I asked her a few questions. Earlier in the conversation she was complaining that the problem I was having with billing has been happening for years and her company will not listen to her and the other CSR's and fix the problem. I asked her if they have a system in place to report such problems to upper management? Her answer was no and went on to say she did not think they cared to hear it from CSR's. Know she was not bad mouthing her company, she told me in a sincere way that she really enjoys the job. My advice to her was to come up with a standard form, one that will allow for suggestions and solutions to the problems and forward it on to her immediate supervisor. Also in the email ask for a meeting date and time..give she/he two different times to choose from and a time frame on your follow-up. I gave her my cell number to call me and give me an update on her progress...

As a business owner your greatest asset are your people..ask them to be proactive and put process in place for them and your brand to succeed!

Friday, July 6, 2007

Retro is King

What is old is new again...right? Check out this great Retro Sports retailer out of Atlanta.

I found this place a few years back on my journeys to the Atlanta area on business. I could not believe people would pay $45 for a classic logo t-shirt...but there I was flashing back to my younger days and buying a classic Houston Oilers hat for $30. I usually wear it on my flights home and I get so many people saying "great hat; where did you get it?" So the next time I went into the store I asked for some business cards so I could pass them out to people that ask me in the airports...the store associate looked at me like I was crazy, but gave me a stack of info cards and I continue to pass them out. Word of Mouth at work again.

Retro is the new start growing those side burns and shop at Distant Replays for that classic shirt that will bring you back to your childhood.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Bithday!!

Happy Bithday to the biggest BRAND of them all...The United States of America!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Word of Mouth gets it done for NETFLIX

NETFLIX is a brand I have admired for sometime and I was very happy to see an article about there marketing in Deliver Magazine titled "NETFLIX IS EVERYWHERE" Below is a great quote from the company who uses my two favorite marketing mediums..Word of Mouth and Direct Mail.

The most effective channel, according to Swasey, has been word of mouth. “We poll members all the time,” he explains, “and more than 90 percent say they talk about us with friends.” Moreover, based on the company’s polling, more than 85 percent of new Netflix members say they joined because of a friend’s recommendation. The company occasionally nudges its members with an e-mail gently asking them to spread the Netflix word — what the company calls its “tell-a-friend” campaign.
One of the company’s most effective marketing avenues has been direct mail. According to Swasey, Netflix has employed direct-mail marketing since early 2000 — relying primarily on two pieces of mail: a bright red 5×7 or 6×9 postcard shaped like a movie ticket, and an envelope with a three-to four-page letter from the marketing department, explaining the service and showcasing Netflix’s inventory of DVDs. Swasey describes the items as “standout, attention-grabbing, and response-initiating.”