Peace of Mind, Guaranteed

billsavittYesterday, for no apparent discernible reason, I said something to my wife about “P.O.M.G.”

For those of us who grew up in Central Connecticut a few decades back, that’s “Peace of Mind, Guaranteed.” A tagline and acronym relentlessly pounded into our impressionable little brains in the 60’s and 70’s by Savitt Jeweler’s in Hartford (hey! – Google has just helped me discover that they’re still around!)

Bill Savitt rode that expression on the radio and TV airwaves for years. And here, many decades later, never having gone to Savitt’s for anything, or thought about them in forever, the tagline still sticks.

Do you doubt the power of a great tagline, reinforced through repetition? Don’t. Put your creative juices to work trying to create a hook that will endure. You’ll gain a piece of mind. Guaranteed.

(Some interesting backstory on Bill Savitt, and image credit)

Five in the Morning 120308

Me Me Me Me Me Me Me. Maybe it should be called Social Usdia. Read a good one by Gennefer Snowfield. Then have a chuckle with Ike Pigott (who is one of my favorite tweeters of keen insight mixed with humor).

Yet another top marketing blogs list – but this one has some pretty neat-o caricatures, so well worth a scan!

Who are your yacht buyers? Interesting thoughts for difficult times, from the fun and friendly Steve Roesler (guest-posting on Drew McLellan’s blog). Oh, and if you missed it, some good stuff from Jason Falls on using social media for listening. Please, nobody tell Drew that while he’s been gone on vacation and having guests post, that THEY’re getting all the Five in the Morning traction…

Your Customer Really is King. From Inside-the-big-enterprise-company blogger Kelly Feller.

Dissing blogging – worth a thought-provoking read. However, this author has such a narrow view of the value of blogging (equating it with journalism), and such a lack of understanding of the connection-building power of blogging as a component of the various forms of social media, that I think it’s safe to say that he MISSES THE POINT. What think you? And, if dissing blogging isn’t enough for today, Valleywag disses Twitter (company and platform). Actually, some valid points are made here. We who are in the microblogging community have to be careful not to have an overly-inflated view of what we’re doing, and seek to avoid patting ourselves (and each other) on the back so much that we forget to add value to others…but here’s a brief business success story as counterbalance. And read about this upcoming series from fellow North Jersey blogger CB Whittemore, on bridging the New and the Old with Social Media.

FUN BONUS – Top 10 People to Unfollow on Twitter. From someone I’ve followed for a long time (and wouldn’t consider unfollowing unless he morphed into one of these clowns), Shannon Whitley.

And finally, a question for you readers. What are the blogs/sites you find most helpful, that perhaps would be Five-worthy? – and specifically, I’m thinking business/entrepreneur/inspirational sites that aren’t necessary known much inside our social media “bubble.” Would like to continue to expand our universe of worthy and helpful voices…(leave a comment with suggestions – thanks!)

(Image credit)

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Five in the Morning 112408

5-dotHow NOT to: Build your Twitter community. Good tips from Sarah Evans. Oh, and the other side of the coin – How TO.

Growing through delegation/outsourcing – valuable thoughts here from Chaitanya Sagar. I’ve walked this same path and probably have other decisions to make in the future…and I agree that outsourcing (rather than do-it-all-yourself or hiring) is a very valuable and important strategy. There is potential business strength and growth on both sides of this equation.

Drew McLellan on the Best Way to Grow your Business. You might be surprised at his answer – but then again, I hope you’re not. Plus, this poignant remembrance of an effective leader.

42 Content-building ways to Attract and Retain Customers. From Joe Pulizzi over at Junta 42 blog.

Building your Brand through Networking. Walter Akana interviews Liz Lynch, author of just-released book Smart Networking: Attract a Following in Person an Online.

(Image credit)

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A Return to Lowe’s – Strike 2, and a Home Run

A short while back, I wrote up a post about a very frustrating e-commerce (de-commerce) experience with the Lowes.com website, from which I tried to order a simple gift card. Let’s just say it was a total fail – you can read the backstory here.

I decided to write a follow-up post because of one very remarkable customer-service experience that I heard about from a fellow soccer coach. And that will be described below. But first…since one of the Lowe’s web developers had talked to me after my snarky original post, I decided to go back to their site and see if they’d fixed the problem.

Sure enough, the site design/navigation was re-vamped and better structured. Yay! Also, I went through the process of ordering a gift card, and sure enough, now it was talking about shipping the card to me or to the recipient, etc. etc. – Yay! But once again, at the final step, IT WOULDN’T LET ME ORDER ON-LINE – it insisted on directing me to local stores by asking for my zip code, and I could NOT, in fact, do the transaction on-line – GRRRRR!!!! C’mon folks, get this right!

OK, that’s the bad news. Strike 2. Now, here’s the home run. Last evening, a fellow was describing the fact that he had ordered cabinets from Lowe’s, and most of the order had come in right, but 4 times (that’s four – as in 1, 2, 3, 4) a specific piece was not ordered in correctly. OK, that’s not good. Talking to the manager about this repeat failure, he was asked if he was also looking for a grill (he was). She directed him to just pick one out and pointed to the section. He protested that this was too much for his trouble, so she said she’d take 50% off. When he selected a rather high-end model and brought it to the register, he found that he was only charged $1.00. Circling back to the manager, she smiled and said that she knew he wouldn’t go through with it if she said it was free, so she floated the 50% thing to help him over that hump – but in fact, he was going to get it free for his trouble. Sneaky! And very memorable.

Did she end up creating a customer for life? Probably. Did she have any inkling that the story would be told in a format like this, engendering good will toward Lowe’s across who knows how many time zones? I doubt it. But if we can use social media to point out the bad, we should also use it to highlight the good. And that’s what I just did.

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A Zin Moment: Case Study of a Brand Advocate

The dream goal for any brand is to create – somehow – a set of brand advocates who go out, on their own initiative, and “evangelize” the company’s product or service. Nothing is more powerful than having customers who sell for you – this is marketing nirvana.

And so here is a story of brand advocacy. This case study is one I’m intimately familiar, because I’m the one out there giving free exposure to the brand.

I’ve written previously on this blog about Ravenswood Winery, and how the way they’ve promoted their brand has made me (and others) a fan. As I speak, behind me on my bookshelves is a little “No Wimpy Wines” bumper sticker from Ravenswood, and when I work out at they gym, a t-shirt with the same message is part of my regular rotation of attire.

Ravenswood makes a variety of varietals but they specialize in Zinfandels – hence the No Wimpy Wines tagline. They also happen to make a killer BBQ sauce called Ragin’ Raven, and here is where the story gets richer. You see, I like their Zins, but I absolutely love Ragin’ Raven, and I tell people about it. I give it away. In fact, I just sent 58 bottles of it to my clients and partners, even creating a marketing campaign for my consulting business around the theme of: Are you Ragin’ or Ravin’? Ragin’ Raven BBQ sauce has received tremendous exposure within a very high-income and influential group…why? Because Ravenswood has bribed me? No. Because I’m an advocate. Ravenswood doesn’t even know (I think) about their unofficial East Coast marketing arm who has probably bought more bottles of their BBQ sauce than anyone on the planet. And, of course, via blog posts, now there is exposure to an even wider audience.

The product is good, but let’s face it – there are lots of good wines and great BBQ sauces out there. But because their branding included the phrase “No Wimpy Wines” and a name like Ragin’ Raven, I’ve latched on and enjoy evangelizing them.

Are you trying market your product or services, and hoping to create the magnification effect of word-of-mouth advocates? Take a look at the fairly straightforward steps that Ravenswood has taken to distinguish themselves. Find a way to stand out in a crowded market, with a branding message that resonates. Can you make your brand rise above the others with a bit of fun, a dash of cheekiness, and a message that makes the customer feel like he found something special?

Later this week, we’ll look at a brand that has created something beyond advocacy, crossing the line into the cultivation of…well, a cult! (Here is the link – this post on the “cult” of Harley Davidson is published on the Marketing Profs Daily Fix blog!)

P.S. – here’s a review by someone who did a tasting at the Ravenswood winery…

(Image source – wine bottles)

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Tribal Marketing

Why are companies beginning to pay attention to the potential of social media?

It’s pretty simple. People believe people they have connections to. People are now trained not to trust traditional advertising.

Traditional advertising often tries to carpet-bomb a bunch of “strangers” with a message. However, these strangers now understand that they are viewed as wallets, not friends. Objects to be exploited, not collaborators in the product development process.

Social media allows us to interact with friendly tribes, and thus, we are armed to resist the overflights of one-way, exploitative marketers.

Kind of like…well, these folks who have been in the news this week. ->

How can you reach those who don’t trust you or your message?

Think about it.

(Here are some interesting related thoughts from Christopher Penn)

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