Oct 29, 2014

You are not your best customer

Photo courtesy of MSNBC.com

Photo courtesy of MSNBC.com

Last week I wrote about the importance of defining your best customer(s) and the influencers that send them your way. This is important when you’re defining an overall campaign and determining their hangouts. ( sorry for the pun, Google) There is, however, an insidious problem with many business owners when it comes to marketing messages, audiences and customers. If nothing else, here’s what I want you to remember. YOU ARE NOT YOUR BEST CUSTOMER.


You may have been the best customer at one time, or  knew one really well. Or perhaps you  were an influencer. But the minute you decide to start your own business, or manage the business, you become biased. Here’s a great example: (more…)

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Photo courtesy of MSNBC.com
Oct 21, 2014

Know Your Best Customer

James J. Hill CenterThis morning I gave a presentation at the venerable James J. Hill Center in downtown St. Paul. Beautiful place!  The Center has created a new business program based on a similar, quite successful program in London. My talk was one of a series of free lectures open to the public.

I am passionate that businesses understand and know their customers  really, really well. It’s not enough to be personal with your customers. These days you have to get intimate in order to find them and keep them. I’ve embedded the slideshare below, but here are the main points I hope my audience walked away with this morning.


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James J. Hill Center
Oct 19, 2014

3 Ways to Use GIFs In Your Marketing Campaigns

shutterstock_184633280Although Twitter introduced animated GIFs to their website earlier this year, most social media sites are not compatible with GIFs. Twitter has become GIF-friendly with the creation of GIFV, a looping video with a smaller file size and consequently a faster loading time, states Imgur. This change has made it possible for these movie-image hybrid files to be used in marketing on a variety of platforms.


As noted above, one of the best ways to take advantage of GIFs is on Twitter. If your company has a Twitter account (and it really should), tell the world about your services or products with a GIF. Not only is it more eye-catching than a string of images but it also takes less time to watch than a video. In the Information Age, time is of the essence, which means you can no longer expect your viewers to watch a product video that’s over five minutes long. Use a site like GIFMaker to upload your images and create a short animated GIF. For example, Gap did a brilliant job with a GIF that both promotes their famous 1969 jeans and this year’s tagline, “Dress Normal.”


Using GIFs in marketing emails is a great way to make your brand stand out. However, there are some points to keep in mind. (more…)

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Oct 15, 2014

Why they didn’t name it Vision…the Cision Vocus deal

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When I heard about the Vocus and Cision merger at the PRSA conference this week, all I could think was….oh shit. Both companies seem to be long on salespeople (my dinky little company has had 9 different Cision reps in the last 3 years) and short on customer support. And, I admit, I’m as guilty as the next person of having my intern sit in on webinars to earn a Starbucks coffee card from Vocus.  Oh, and together they bought Visible, which apparently is a great company.

“…Coupling the company’s social intelligence SaaS platform and insights experts with Vocus and Cision’s powerful PR tools creates a comprehensive solution for tracking and analyzing earned, owned and paid media that elevates brands and drives business results.” Or, as another release said “Cision is now better placed to provide quality solutions that will serve the PR and communications professional’s complete workflow.”

Boy this takes me back. Those of us in IT services remember the 90′s when flush with cash, we decided to go out and “merge with partners”.  (By the way, someone always buys someone. Mergers are just a way of making the smaller guy feel better about it.) The idea was that if you could sell the entire “lifecycle” you could own the customer. We can do it soup to nuts!  And after quite a bit of partying and initial hoopla, the reality sets in. Wow, this doesn’t work.

Here’s why it doesn’t work:

  • First, it’s the usually the biggest company with the worst brand that has the most money. And gets to keep the name. Therefore the better brands get sullied.  The brilliant Katie Paine just wrote about this yesterday :

“Instead, they chose Cision, a brand that Vocus and everyone else has been bad mouthing with good reason for years. In a move that was both baffling and incredibly fitting, they promoted themselves by bringing a large dinosaur to the trade show area of this week’s PRSA International Conference. ….My feelings about Cision are no secret. I’ve told anyone who has asked that using the CisionPoint  system is like having a root canal — incredibly painful, takes a long time, and when its over you’re left with a feeling that something’s missing.  Personally, I’d prefer root canal.” (more…)

Oct 14, 2014

How can social media benefit online casino sites?

With both online casinos and social media very much on the rise, there are a number of ways that social media sites can prove beneficial to online casino ones – as the casino companies are rapidly discovering.


The big social media sites such as Twitter or Facebook are used by millions of people around the world, making them a superb way for a company like an online casino to reach a wide audience very quickly – with Facebook allowing casinos to target potential customers with adverts. These sites can be used to reveal news of their latest promotional offers, innovations or new games – but it doesn’t even have to be the casino sites themselves doing the promoting. Should a user of these sites go on social media and mention their casino gaming, this is likely to bring new visitors to these sites.

Direct contact

Social media provides a superb way for casino sites like www.gamingclub.com/au/online-pokies to connect directly with their customers – which in turn allows them to use feedback to better tailor their services to the needs of those who use them. Twitter, in particular, allows companies to talk directly with customers. Whether it is a problem with site crashes or information needed, the casino site can deal rapidly with these issues and ensure customer satisfaction levels remain high, which is crucial to continued success.

Interactive gaming

Providing games that can are integrated with a popular social network like Facebook brings a whole new audience to casino sites – who may not have previously considered visiting them. Zynga poker is an example of a casino game that has become huge through being available as an app on Facebook. Playing this way lets people share the experience with friends and makes online casino feel like more of a social experience for people, rather than just being about gambling.

Oct 13, 2014

IMC – Fast and fearless at the PRSA International Conference

IMCI’m always amazed at the ability of PR people to accomplish things in about a third of the time it would take the rest of us. But I think it’s a necessity. News moves practically at the speed of light these days. Trying to stay ahead of that cycle (which is what public relations professionals have to do) takes a giant amount of energy, alacrity and mojo.

I was incredibly honored to be asked to speak at the PRSA International Conference yesterday. True to form, the staff asked me to present an overview of Integrated Marketing Communications, or IMC. In an hour. I did a webinar version of this talk in August, and the general consensus after that session was they wanted less “what and why” and more “how to.” Makes sense right? There’s very little time to look at the pretty train and enjoy the comfortable seats. No my friends. The train has left the station and PR people are leaping on the roof, dashing into the cars and at times hanging onto the caboose with their fingertips.  I love that energy!

I’m not entirely sure I delivered what they needed yesterday. Technology was not on my side and I probably tried to present way too much information. (Here it is on Slideshare if you’re interested) It’s hard to say. Here’s what I’m really hoping they took away from all my mumbo jumbo: (more…)

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Oct 10, 2014

For the Love of PR

NewspaperMolly Borchers, Senior Communications Strategist at (W)right On Communications, recently published a pull-no-punches post on The HuffPo Blog about the love/hate relationship between journalists and public relations professionals, and why the hate part of the equation is pretty darn unfair.

We’ve all seen the disparaging tweets and snide blogs that journalists casually let fly about PR pros, and sometimes that scorn is earned. There are definitely people in public relations who are clumsy, clueless and waste the media’s time. But that’s not the majority of us, so we shouldn’t all be painted with the same brush.

All you have to do is search Google for “bad press release” and you’ll find plentiful examples of PR gone wrong. What journalists need to remember is for every irrelevant or poorly-written pitch they receive, there are many others that are on-target (even if the timing doesn’t always fit into their editorial schedule) and handled professionally. PR continues to exist because it works, and journalists would have to do a lot more work themselves to find sources and stories without the help of public relations. (more…)

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Oct 3, 2014

A personal reminder that marketing is a good thing

downloadThe power of marketing has really been proven by the amount of awareness, funding and treatment advancements in breast cancer since this whole pink ribbon thing started. All the #pink during Breast Cancer Awareness Month may seem a bit tiresome, at least it was to me until I reaped the benefits this past summer. And it brought home to me the fact that marketing is a GOOD thing. That marketing drives the conversation and helps promote not only sales (which is good for the economy) but awareness and funds to help save lives.

In May of this year I went in for a routine mammogram at the University of Minnesota Breast Center. Although I hadn’t had one since a false positive several years earlier, my mom was being treated for lung cancer and I felt it was time. Also, I had a weird burning sensation in my left breast.

One diagnostic mammogram and subsequent biopsy revealed I had high grade DCIS, which some call Stage 0 breast cancer and others precancer. (more…)

Oct 1, 2014

Post-Google Authorship: How To Manage Your Website’s Authors

shutterstock_213616528Death is often temporary and perplexing in the world of search and Google, a fact only further proved when John Mueller of Google Webmaster Tools announced that Google would no longer support rel=author markup. Consequently, SEO professionals who preached authorship as the future of content ownership and recognition are losing trust from online marketers and authors who dutifully followed suit to maximize their content marketing strategies.

But the loss of trust is premature; when you separate Google authorship from Author Rank, a path for managing your digital content becomes clearer and just as impactful.

Why Should I Still Care?

As Search Engine Land describes, Author Rank is derived from Google’s 2007 agent rank patent and its relevance was renewed after CEO Eric Schmidt’s comment in his 2013 book.

“Within search results, information tied to verified online profiles will be ranked higher than content without such verification, which will result in most users naturally clicking on the top [verified] results. The true cost of remaining anonymous, then, might be irrelevance.”

We now know that authorship markup and Google+ will not be a catalyst in identifying content ownership. (more…)

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Sep 26, 2014

5 Futuristic Trade Show Displays That Raised The Bar

Screenshot 2014-07-28 16.14.24By Jocelyn Cunanan

Jocelyn is a Creative and Quality Improvement Manager at Display Creatives. She loves keeping up with all the newest technology innovations as well as attending as many tech shows and events as she can. She strongly feels incorporating technology into any business is essential for productivity, marketing and customer service-plus its fun!

Building displays for trade shows here at Display Creatives for years has taught us one important thing – truly impressive displays are what draw traffic and generate buzz. A well-designed display can dramatically increase the ROI that a company receives from attending a tradeshow. Whether through word of mouth, social media, or simply visual beauty, innovative displays can gain attention that a normal display would not. So there’s little surprise that companies are continually finding innovative ways to design displays. They want to impress attendees and competitors that are attending the tradeshows. Futuristic trade show displays have been particularly impressive at trade shows, raising the bar regarding what can be accomplished within the specific parameters.  Here are five futuristic trade show displays that have really raised the bar:

One: WorldSpace Display

Based in Silver Spring, Maryland WorldSpace was a satellite radio network that had most of its subscribers from Asia. Their trade show display had an innovative design that utilized a combination of materials such as metal and wood. The futuristic shapes added to the innovative presentation. Other features of the display included a conference room, and a dynamic setup that showcased the brand values and story of the company in an immersive environment.

Two: TLC Tradeshow Display

TLC (The Library Corporation) is a company that services libraries with technological products. Based in Inwood, West Virginia they built an innovative trade show display with a lit arch structure that was composed out of ethereal, lightweight materials. At the front was a curved and streamlined receptionist desk and sleek stools. The display also featured a backlit wall and demo stations. The TLC tradeshow display sought to present themselves as technologically advanced and elegant. The lightweight materials along with the excellent lighting created a calming environment with an elegance suited to a company that services libraries.

 Three: NASA Display


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NASA Trade Show Display
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