Archive | September, 2010

It’s not what you say you do

28 Sep

It is what you do.

  • Do you live up to your commitments?
  • Do you deliver the goods?
  • Are you reliable? Responsive? Responsible?
  • Do you reply to people or just to tweets?

There are a lot of folks out there in the social media stratosphere developing massive followings, writing blogs, sending enewsletters, even writing e-books, but all they are doing is saying what they do. They don’t actually do what they say they do. They seem to think talking makes up for acting.

For instance, if you are in public relations, you need to create a strategy for your client. Tweeting all day is not a strategy–it is a tactic, and if it is not part of a larger, thought-out plan, it is good for nothing.

Although social networks are valuable, the people you know in real life may be more valuable because get this, you actually know them and they know you.  If you are blowing off your in-the-flesh connections so that you can develop lots of virtual friends, you will be left with lots of virtual reality and little real reality.

Use social media, but use it to do stuff, not to say you do stuff.

The above is a commentary by the author of this blog. It represents her views in every possible way.


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Don’t buy your own PR

24 Sep

In the age of self-publishing and social media, it’s easy to put out information about your brand or yourself out there. It’s easy to gain “followers.”  The lack of filters makes it easy to connect directly with people. But that doesn’t mean that what you are saying is true. Keep that in mind. Just because you put in on your blog and somebody shared it on Twitter DOES NOT MAKE IT FACTUAL OR TRUE OR EVEN RIGHT.  It just means that someone liked what you have to say.

In fact, just yesterday the disheveled leader of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmanidejad, claimed to the United Nations General Assembly that the U.S. was behind the 9-11 attacks and that most of the world believes that. To a rational person, this is hogwash, and yet there are nutcases out there who agree with this maniac.  Let me emphasize again: having followers does not make you right or true.

Many people and companies are falling prey to the lure of large numbers.  They believe that because they have large numbers of followers, they are “all that.” They may be, but they should question it. Just today, I read a blog post by a book author, talking about herself and her concentration. It was purported to be about happiness, but it really was all about her. Another popular blog shared this morning what the blog author does as a morning routine, as if this is what we all need to do. What is happening is that because it was easy to get ideas out there, and to get positive publicity for such ideas, these people believe that everyone cares and everyone agrees with them. But that is just not accurate.

I am not saying that you should not self-publicize or promote yourself or your brand. I am just saying you should not fall prey to the numbers game. Just because you have supporters does not mean everyone supports you (go over to the Washington Post and read what happened to Mayor Adrian Fenty if you want a real-life example of buying your own PR at the expense of a reality check).

If I can paraphrase a famous line: publicity corrupts, absolute publicity corrupts absolutely.

(And for some comic relief, read Christopher Elliott’s interview with Delta’s head of customer service, who thinks Delta has the best customer service. Clearly, she hasn’t flown Delta.)

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Don’t go knocking traditional media

20 Sep

Last week I wrote that social media is not all that.  Even if I do believe in the importance of social media, I don’t think everyone HAS to be on it.  And now, Pew Research has found that 1 out of 5 Americans do NOT use the Internet. This means if you are still aiming for high coverage you cannot rely on Internet ads/social media marketing alone. Traditional media (I know, it sounds old-fashioned) is still viable when attempting to reach those Americans who won’t or can’t access the Web.

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Is social media all that?

17 Sep

There’s a lot of hand wringing about whether the “C-suite” (fancy jargon term for the higher ups in a corporation) is on social media.  Does it matter? Does the CEO have to be on social media for it to be worthwhile? The answer is no.  For social media to matter it has to be the conduit to your audience or your supporters.

Say for instance you are the CEO of a kid’s cereal manufacturer. You advertise your highly sweetened concoction on children’s shows on Saturday morning. Do you also have to watch those shows, or even those TV channels? No! Of course not. Presumably, your marketing department did some research and found that a certain percentage of your target audience watches shows and therefore if you advertise your cereal there, those kids will be begging their parental units to buy it for them.

Social media is not for everyone. But that does not mean it is not effective in reaching some people. It is more effective for certain applications and among certain demographics. This is why social media is part of the arsenal in your marketing mix.

Let me emphasize again: social media is part of the marketing mix. There is more to marketing communications than social media, and if your chief executive is not tweeting or blogging or Facebooking, that is OK.

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Personality and style communicate

15 Sep

All the advertising in the world is not going to make a frog into a prince. People respond to things personally–especially to things (like politics) that affect them directly.

In Washington DC, incumbent mayor Adrian Fenty lost the democratic primary to his opponent council member Vince Grey. Why? Partially because people preferred Grey, but in larger part, because people did not like Fenty’s arrogance and leadership style. You can read an article in the Washington Post that further delves into this here.

Would you vote for someone you don’t like? Probably not, even if he or she had the nicer ads, the flashier website.  My advice to political strategists is people respond to people they like more than to ads they like.

Is customer service your best marcom strategy?

8 Sep

Perhaps no other sales strategy is better than good customer service. Think about it, when you get good service, you develop a good impression, right?

I just had the pleasure of flying on Taca Airlines, a Central American airline. It was great. The flight crew were pleasant, helpful. They served a snack, free of charge. I got to my destination on time, on a clean, comfortable, new airplane. I made my reservations with an agent who was patient and who did not charge me for ticketing. Given my druthers, I would fly Taca again in a heartbeat.

I have never seen an ad for Taca, but had heard word-of-mouth how good their service is. It’s true. I am sold and all because of great customer service.

Your thoughts?

Labor Day thoughts

3 Sep

Here we go into the last “official” summer weekend of the year. It is September and soon enough, the bustle of Fall, back-to-school, holidays will be upon us.

On a long weekend, the best thing you can do is chill out, relax, take it easy. Too many people today are busy working all the time, or at least being connected all the time. Believe me, as of next week, everything will accelerate and you will wish for some breathing room.

We celebrate Labor Day by taking the day off–seems ironic. And we celebrate Labor Day by having sales. Shopping is how we celebrate in the United States.

As you think about the back to work and busy season that is Fall and the end of  the year, how will you make the most of the remaining third of 2010? What steps will you take to get more business? Will you revamp your marketing strategy? Redesign your website? Blog more? Get on social media? Learn something new? Attend more networking events? I will be doing all of the above!

With that said, I wish you a great, relaxing and re-charging Labor Day Weekend. When we meet here again next, we can get back to the business of marketing!

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