Bonitamedia’s Weblog

Creating a lasting impression for small business

Real-life power of Social Media

Most people who know me, know I am generally patient.  I will take a lot before I snap – but when I do, look out, it may get ugly!  Well – ugliness happened today…

high voltageI have been having severe problems with my phone and internet service for the past 3 days.  Both are packaged together through Comcast Business services.  My decision to go with Comcast was pretty simple – they offered a great price, static IP addresses, 4-hour response time and most of all, they were a past-client.  It all seemed to make sense.

Well – I have had some serious service issues over the past year, most of which I let go without raising a stink.  Today I snapped.  My phones and internet have been more off than on for 3 days.  I was told Monday the problem was fixed.  I was told yesterday a tech would arrive to fix the problem (after 6 hours, not 4).  Tech shows up to inform me the problem is outside (already knew that) and another guy would be out to fix it.

This morning I come in to the office expecting things to be fixed – nope…  Now I am really ticked off…  I dropped calls all morning – one to a new client (hopefully doesn’t think I am bush-league).  Frustrating and embarrassing.  So – here was my answer…

Pull out the cellphone and tweet “Day 3 of no internet service from Comcast… so much for business class’s 4hr response time… anyone else find similar service issues?”.  Of course this ended up on Facebook as well.  However, things got much better from this point forward…

I received a tweet from@comcastbill stating this was “unacceptable”.  Turns out Bill is with Comcast corporate offices in Philadelphia.  I of course was skeptical – I had never heard of him – but @sellphone assured me he was legit.  Bill called me and agreed the issue should be resolved and communication should be better.  Within minutes, Bill Evans, a local manager with Comcast Business Services called me to apologize.  Mr Evans assured me the issue wouldbe resolved and a crew was on the way to handle it.
Comcast does a great job monitoring social networks.  I never asked them to contact me – I was asking the public for their opinions.  @comcastbill did a great job diffusing the situation.  Comcast’s internet speed is the best in our area, but reliability is key.  Lack of communication at the local level caused me to flip.  I thank @comcastbill for his handling of the situation.  I hope we never have to chat under these terms again, as he is genuinely a great guy and really does want to keep his clients happy.

Thanks Comcast, @comcastbill and Bill Evans for going above and beyond what was expected!

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February 25, 2009 Posted by | SWFL Hodge Podge, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Rules (of Engagement) are Changing…

I was sitting down Friday the 13th, having a cup of coffee at Bad Ass Coffee Co. in Estero with a friend, discussing different ways of using text messaging (SMS), blogs, social media and so on in a large, corporate environment when she says in amazement “The rules of engagement have changed!” Not only do I agree, but I had to write down “Rule of Engagement” so I didn’t forget to write this post!

Think about today’s consumer. How are decisions made? How have things changed? Remember the days when advertising and marketing would drive the consumer to use or try a product? Ads would be created touting each product as #1, The Best, New & Improved (btw – if something is new, how could you improve it already?) and Innovative. This trend was followed by “news worthy articles”, under the guise of a third-party, in an attempt to educate the consumer about a product. A brilliant step into consumer education, but like all things, this process was abused and the consumer became jaded. Then it was any product from a foreign land was the best, whether it came from the Amazon, German Engineered (BTW – German Engineering is indeed fantastic, but the phrase has become overused) or from some ancient secret recently unearthed. Consumers have been constantly bombarded with these marketing styles and in most cases, are able to pick up and tune out the message before any valuable information (if there is any) is received.

Today, the rules of engagement have changed. The purchasing cycle has changed – and here is an example that happened to me yesterday… My Sony TV died. I love my TV. Center-piece for family entertainment. Turns out it was just the projection bulb. OLD WAY: Drive to parts store and pay $250 for a bulb, $100+ for service call (Or buy a new tv). NEW WAY: Google “Sony Wega 50 TV DLP bulb” and find the instructions for replacement online and find multiple outlets to buy the bulb ($79 including shipping). I am grateful to have found the bulb, from a supplier that provided instructions and a 6 month warranty, for about 1/5th of the cost to do the same thing locally.

business handshakeThe Rules of Engagement have changed. Today’s consumer has more information at their fingertips than ever before. Learning how to engage your customer at the point of inquiry is key. Your advertising dollars need to stop being spent on flashy ads that are ego-centric and start driving consumers to the point of education for your company. Your client doesn’t want to see your ads. They know they are interested in your widget. What they want is the information they need to make the right decision. Welcome to the the new era – Digital Word-of-Mouth…

Editor’s note:  I found this post today – very concise and right on topic. Be sure to take a look!

February 18, 2009 Posted by | Business tips, Marketing in SWFL | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Evangelist or Shepherd?

message from heavenAn Evangelist is one that travels from town to town and from church to church, spreading the gospel…

Interestingly enough, many people become evangelists of products, services, business and the like because of an experience so outstanding, so unique and so wonderful that they can’t help but “spread the good news”! Isn’t that what we are trying to create – evangelists and raving fans to create a level of trust and to strengthen our referral and word-of-mouth business? But how do we nurture these relationships once formed? Does it get old hearing the same message over and over again?

A FLOCK OF GOATS AND SHEEPOn the other hand, we have the shepherd, guiding the flock from infancy to maturity. The shepherd’s job is to lead, protect, educate and so on. The shepherd cares for the safety of the flock – often times putting him/herself into harms way. The flock develops a level of trust for the shepherd that is difficult to break, following wherever they are lead, under any circumstance. Maybe this is how we should be treating our customers.

Or – is there a time and place for both? Aren’t our marketing and sales efforts both evangelical and shepherd-like, depending on the situation? Most businesses want a steady stream of loyal customers they can depend on. Consistency, after all, makes planning easier (not to mention less sleepless nights!), budgeting easier and the overall business atmosphere more pleasant. The evangelist’s job is to get someone excited – to try a product once and then move on. They want to “get the ball rolling” or create the inertia in a relationship and then pass it off to the shepherd to be handled and managed.

If you are an evangelist for your business, your chances of repeat business is slim because you are great at getting the ball rolling, but no so great at keeping the momentum. If your a shepherd, you can cultivate a loyal following, but may have a hard time generating new business.

Which are you? How can you learn to put your evangelical hat on and change roles into the shepherd? Keep in mind the situation: spread the good news whenever it truly is news to the target. Nurture those relationships already familiar…

February 12, 2009 Posted by | Business tips, Marketing in SWFL | , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Impromptu 10-Minute Presentation…

Rolling the dice with some random ramblings..

dice on white tableAt this morning’s BNI meeting I was discussing different Social Media ideas with some members when I was asked to fill in for our 10-minute presenter because her material wasn’t prepared.  Never being one to turn away the opportunity to speak, I said “Sure – I can cover for you” without having any clue what to speak about.  Then it hit me – continue the discussion about blogging, Twitter, Facebook – maybe even talk about last night’s post.

Here are the random thoughts(in no particular order) I penned at BNI.  I would love your input!

There is a HUGE difference between Baby Boomers and Gen Y – besides age!  As an early Gen-Xer, I can tell you I was raised with a certain level of modesty.  However, today’s younger generation (Gen-Y and Millenial) are less modest.  You can tell by what they post online (both text and pictures).  They appear to be more comfortable with the “transparency” that the internet brings.

With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility“(Ben Parker – SpiderMan).  As noted in my previous post, anything digital must be assumed to be permanent.  Anything you do, say or post is subject to immediate and perpetual scrutiny.  The power of Social Media is tremendous – use it wisely.  Knowing that we are rapidly moving towards “Big Brother” may actually create a more morally-conscious society, while at the same time, creating an underground society that is darker and more secretive than ever before.

What are the consequences if you hire a “ghost writer” to handle your blogging, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter accounts?  Think about how well received you and your company would be at a cocktail party or networking function if you sent the equivalent of your sports agent or PR firm in your place…

All of these topics are blog-worthy (if not research paper fodder).  Thanks in advaznce for chiming in!

February 11, 2009 Posted by | Business tips, Marketing in SWFL, SWFL Hodge Podge | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Dangers of Poor Planning…

A very short discussion broke out on Twitter tonight (ok – maybe 3 or 4 total comments – more of an extended thought than a discussion really). I commented on how poorly-planned Social Media campaigns can be just as fruitless as their traditional-media counterparts. However, it was quickly brought to my attention by @pattyg23 that a poorly planned SM campaign will probably be worse. After thinking about it for a few moments, I tend to agree – and here’s why…

Everything done via SM is digital – and therefore unlikely to be destroyed. Think about it for a moment. Open up a separate window and go to Google. Type in your Twitter ID, or your Facebook or Myspace name (or alias) and see what you find. Your tweets are public (in fact I had one of mine used recently in a newscast in AZ – thanks @Careypena3tv) Nothing done on the internet is private anymore. NOTHING. Not just the pics you wish were never posted when you were drinking too much at a nightclub (or taking a bong hit in SC), but every word you type – no matter what your mood, reasoning or context, is saved somewhere in this surreal place known as CyberSpace. Any mistake you make may come back to haunt you in the future. It’s very difficult to put a spin on any written mistakes, but easy to spin other mistakes. An example would be Alex Rodriguez’s recent apology for steroids. It was easy for him to say “I haven’t taken anything since 2003” when he hasn’t been tested since then (no “paper trail”). However, it would be much harder to overcome this little PR nightmare had he told someone online he was juicing in 2007.

So – what does this all mean? First – don’t just jump into a SM campaign haphazardly. If you don’t choose to hire a professional to guide you through the maze, take the time to learn how SM works. Learn what makes members of each community tick, learn what the expect, learn how to earn their respect. In this digital age, news really does travel at the speed of light – and you never get a second chance to make a first impression, so make yours count…

Editors Note: As luck would have it, Marc Meyer posted on his blog (and subsequently on Twitter) some examples of mistakes he has made throughout his career.  He and Mack Collier both make the point that no one knows everything, and my post isn’t meant to deter anyone from participation, rather to think before you write(speak).   Thank you both for your insights! (BTW Mack – if you’re reading this, I still need to figure out the Tweet This code for WordPress!)

Just a quick follow-up…
We have all heard stories of someone getting in trouble for their antics in public haunting them online…
Here is a great example provided by Tamar Weinberg in her Social Media Etiquette post.  Tamar – great info… Thanks!

February 10, 2009 Posted by | Business tips, Marketing in SWFL | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

History is Destined to Repeat Itself…

…especially when we repeat ourselves. Not just the mistakes, but the triumphs as well.

There are countless blogs about marketing theory in recessions. Just Google it. You’ll see a ton of info out there. The case that I find most interesting is Proctor and Gamble…

P+G was founded in the 1837 by William Proctor and James Gamble, getting their start by selling soap and candles. Seeing as the company has survived every economic environment for the better part of 170 years I feel they are as good an example as any to learn from. P+G faced many obstacles as it grew into one of the largest and most successful companies of all time. P+G’s branding strategies encompassed everything from identifying markets and creating new brands specifically for those markets to creating competition from within (most notably in their line of soaps).

Even more interesting than how P+G managed to leverage it’s own brands to strengthen the entire company is their attitude toward marketing during recessions. P+G does not cut their marketing budget at all. Instead, they look for added value with current media and they look to new and innovative marketing ideas in order to break from the norm. An example of this would be the door-to-door surveys they did in the 1930’s. When the world was in the grasp of the Great Depression, P+G sent 3000 people to the streets to conduct door-to-door interviews with the consumer to find out what their concerns were, what products they were buying and why, and so on. The result was P+G was the only conglomerate to come through the Depression in about the same condition it entered it: STRONG!

Many things can be learned from their example. To me, the most important is this: Being Proactive is far better than being reactive. P+G decided to find advertising value by negotiating better terms and pricing with current vendors and taking the savings and investing into new programs. Sound familiar?

JustoutofHome and Wirespring have both pointed out a trap that many agencies fall into… “No one has ever fired an agency for buying 30-second tv spots” Not terribly exciting, and in today’s DVR world, not too smart either. Look at your current strategy and see where you can get better value for your dollar. Instead of saving, try new media like mobile billboards, digital signage, Facebook, Twitter, etc… You may find yourself pleasantly surprised!

If you are interested in learning details about Proctor and Gamble’s marketing strategies, I suggest Wikipedia is a good starting point

February 9, 2009 Posted by | Business tips, Marketing in SWFL | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Must Everything We Do Be Tangible?

I guess this would be a follow-up to a previous post – maybe an addition…

I have never been surprised when a customer/client asks “So – how can I really measure the results of…?”  It’s a great question, one I wish I had the answer to.  I don’t think there is any way to accurately measure individual parts of any marketing campaign.  When it comes to marketing, 2+2 doesn’t (or shouldn’t) equal 4, it should be more.  However, you may never see tangible results from one aspect, while others get all the credit.  I made the mistake myself this week.  Looking through my client list, I came across The Crexent Business Center. My immediate thought was “I was a client of theirs, that’s where the business came from”.  WRONG!  In actuality, I found them through the Bonita Springs Chamber of Commerce and became their client.  Then – about 18 months later they became mine.  So in reality, the Chamber is the real source of the client.

Schlüssel zum ErfolgEnough on that.  What I really want to know is this:  Will marketing/advertising/pr ever really be 100% trackable?  With all the variables and the ever-changing landscape of options, I highly doubt it.  Convincing a small-business owner that untrackable intangibles really do have value is the padlock on the door to earning their business.  Education is the key.

February 4, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment