Is This Marketing?

A Service of PromoSta

Refreshing

Someone else realizes (dares to say out loud) that the rush for “Content Marketing” has been a lot of bluster with very little in results… So many people want to pitch or engage or relate to, or … you get it.. insert ridiculous way to connect your product with disparate audiences with random postings in even randomer outlets and expect it to turn sales into a 600% increase over Easter Weekend….

If we could all take a pause, and think it through and do an actual marketing plan that takes a realistic view of content marketing and apply it cohesively, and sensibly… Maybe? just once?

Content Marketing Grows Up

Or we could just keep creating clip art business logos with 100 year old unused words like “sundries” and call whatever it is a business:

How to brand your business

Reputation Marketing

It’s a new and exciting world in relationship management and reputation building on the internet.

This morning, the news announced a local pizzeria won 2nd best in the nation based on reviews on TripAdvisor…. I may have walked past this particular pizza joint a 1,000 times in the last 5 years and I’m pretty sure I know where they are talking about. Never been there.

Amazingly, they are the only location in the CNN article without a link to a website!

They have a minimal presence on facebook, and I couldn’t care less if they have twitter or instagram… If I was looking, I want a menu and hours of operation.  Still haven’t found a menu.

How can a tourist pizza place have a #2 rating int he nation with little or no internet presence? Good Ol’ Foot traffic and signage marketing.

They are located on a busy pedestrian only street and they certainly have the visibility necessary. Another prime example of Word of Mouth and location, location, LOCATION!

Here in this tourist town (Saint Augustine, FL) we have many businesses geared toward building traffic from visitors. Another interesting tactic i used by the Saint Augustine Distillery – They offer a ree tour with a museum, film about the local ingredients and farmers partnered with the organization, a guided through the distillation process, a free sample of hooch at the end, and before you can exit through the gift shop, the guiide asks quite nicely to rate the experience on trip advisor, facebook, or any other reputation building tool available.

It works.

I’ve never been on the free tour with less than a full house and I’ve one to the free booze tour more than once!

Customer Service is Marketing

Customer Service has become a recurring theme here at IsThisMarketing.com. Your Customer Service team is the front line contact with customers who have an issue, need, or interaction with your company. Train that team to service the customer as efficiently and appropriately as possible. A solid solution from your Customer Service Department with a client will pay off in repeat business and referrals.

Bad Customer Service results in negative publicity such as this.

The newest issue is online customer service, further enforcing my belief that researching a company on the internet is very important, however, when purchasing a product, when possible. Pay the extra couple bucks, and buy it from a local retailer, and keep a person who actually speaks to you like a human employed.

Recently I needed to purchase a camera. As is the norm these days I researched products throughout the interwebs, and decided on a specific camera, and found it cheapest through Google Shopping at ShopKingCamera.com.

What an absolute disaster this transaction has been.

First the site was not updated to reflect they were closed for a week to observe a holiday I have never heard of. So after 5 days wondering what was the issue with my overnight delivery, Google was able to “contact the seller” verify they were closed, and inform me that I should allow the merchant an additional 5 days to respond.

When they finally returned to the office it took them another 2 days to catch up with the backlog. I called to find out what this delay was, and asked why there was no notice they were closed despite them taking orders, and verified that my change of address had been updated through Google Checkout to them. The representative who was short with me on the phone acknowledged the current address in Florida.

Can you believe my surprise when the item was shipped to Michigan?

So I called again. The representative said that it did indeed look like their mistake but since it was “an expensive item” they would like to try to get the package back from the post office (since they didn’t require a signature for the overnight delivery, the item was left at a vacant doorstep). I told the rep, “Yeah I know it’s expensive, I paid for it and am still waiting for it to be delivered to the correct address.”

So after another week, I submitted a refund request through Google Checkout as the camera shop has stopped taking my phone calls. Google “contact the seller” again and said the seller thinks I should go to the vacant house and see if I can find my camera as they have done all they need to in the delivery process. Complete Lies. So Google suggests that I initiate a chargeback on my credit card for the product.

Here’s the rub. I picked this retailer because they offered the Google Checkout. Here’s what you need to know.. Google Checkout offers no buyer protection, nor do they have any interest in mediating any of this issue despite their records being the transaction tracking that identifies every misstep by the merchant..

Needless to say here I am a month later $250 poorer discussing this issue with my bank, and still no camera to shoot photos with..

Be wary of Google Checkout, and by all means DO NOT SHOP with ShopKingCamera.com

2010 Marketing Salary Survey Released

Aquent Marketing Salary SurveyLast month Aquent and the American Marketing Association (AMA) released a comprehensive marketing  salary survey with robust search capabilities for those of us with interest in the industry.

While online surveys have a tendency to be over inflated as the respondents are likely to inflate their numbers not only to increase their personal importance but also to drive up the “expected industry average” this survey does shed some interesting information.

First off, I’m not charging enough.

Additionally, companies that are still employing their marketing department are paying for what they are getting. there are unfortunately a number of companies out there that are reducing their staff and salaries while demanding better marketing  results and measurables.

As we see this large cost to companies to have a staff onsite, there is a larger number of companies that have moved to the outsourced model. Many companies find that paying on a per project basis, or outsourcing web hosting and management at a fixed rate is significantly cheaper than having a full time marketing staff.

PromoSta and Detroit Marketing Services, can be your low cost alternative to a full time staff of on site employees. If you would like to expand your existing marketing, review your expenditures and results, or look at lowering your costs. Contact us if you are ready to increase your web presence and reduce your marketing cost.

A lesson in telemarketing

I used to be a marketing manager at a software company a few years back. We had a team of telephone sales people who spent the day telemarketing to our existing clients and selling to leads.

We had all the requisite coaching. Sales people were expected to have a bright cheery voice whenever they answered the phone. It was certainly a job I couldn’t do myself. I always think of those brave souls whenever my phone rings. I take a deep breath, exhale whatever I was working/thinking/obsessing about and cheerfully answer, “Hello, this is Russ how may I help you?”

Recently, my greetings have been answered with a nearly unintelligible voice on the other end of the phone trying to sell me on outsourcing my web development needs to their technical center on the opposite side of the planet. Usually the pitch starts out with, “I was looking at your website..”

O.K. here’s the thing: If you actually were looking at my website, you would have noticed I’m located in the United States, and probably speak fluent English. Like many ugly Americans, I’m so self important I think that someone trying to sell me something on my phone should speak my language or at least a reasonable facsimile of it.

While I appreciate the offers to help out in these tough times, with my overwhelming workload, I really can’t see myself doing business with a company who’s best telemarketing phone voice I can’t understand. I would assume the technical people I will need for back end development are going to be more native speaking than the “international sales person” who just called.

So I think back to those sales people we coached all those years ago and realize, I sent them out into the world without a very important piece of advice…. Speak the proper language of your target audience.

Professional Courtesy

Detroit Marketing Services recently relocated to North Florida as PromoSta.com Modern Marketing. While I expected to have some client flight with my relocation, the majority of my great clients stuck with me and support my move to an economic climate with more  sunshine.

Professional CourtesyI understand completely that some clients would prefer a local provider, and wish them the best with their new maarketing companies, I was taken aback by one I worked with in the transfer of my client’s website.

When I first spoke with the new web host and developer I was immediately concerned as he was telling me a completely different story than my client had told me.. but whatever the case may be, the client has made their decision, and I feel no need to be confrontational with the competition nor the client.

A week later the host called me and was asking some questions about the e-mail accounts, it turns out that he never bothered to set the client up with e-mail and a weeks worth of web contact forms have been sending to electronic limbo… I’m still a little miffed that my client got shafted on this, however, still not my plce to say anything to the client. Here’s where I couldn’t believe my ears!

The new service provider started griping to me about the communication barrier between him and the client.. O.K. Now you already stole food off my table, and I’m still trying to help in the interest of the client, but you have the professional discourtesy of bad mouthing the client to me?

Remember, no matter who you are talking to, in whatever channel, you are doing marketing. From a professional standpoint this web designer in Michigan has lost my respect as a professional, and that’s saying a lot, since I’m pretty laid back when it comes to professionalism.

Listen to Feedabck

While the intent of this blog is never to be political, I am moved to address the actions of Senator Carl Levin.

I sent feedback through his website regarding my concerns regarding policy. To be short I disagree. In follow up, I have been receiving a number of e-mails on policy that are contrary to my views and do not address my concerns regarding the policy.

When you set up a tool to collect customer feedback on your website or through a third party system, Please use this information as it should be intended. If you want to engage your customers then address their exact points and discuss them logically. If there is a disagreement make sure that you address them correctly and explain your position or product.service direction.

Plain blanket form mails that disregard your feedback from the customer will lead them to vote otherwise on your product or service. In this case Senator Levin may be playing with his career. In your case you may be playing with your success.

On the other hand I have a client who has looked to gather customer feedback based on their performance as the customer sees the, They have implemented a plan to increase customer service and address specific customer concerns based on this feedback. So far the customers and client have found success in increasing their service and sales to existing customers.

If you need help developing a customer feedback solution to better serve your customers, feel free to contact Detroit Marketing Services.

Marketing's Bad Rap

Marketing has a tough time in business especially in a tough economy. I certainly know from experience that marketing is usually the first thing cut when things get tough, or after a successful system is set in place. Marketing is a talent, and an necessary part of business. I was reminded of this today while reading the morning Dilbert Comic Strip (a morning ritual here at Detroit Marketing Services)

Dilbert.com

Certainly there is a lot of soul robbing that goes on in any office environment, and marketing is no exception. Unfortunately, marketing usually takes the brunt of the jokes as we are frequently misunderstood, or the least valued aspect of a business process. While corporate communications and development of advertising can be an exercise in half truths, it is essential.

That being said, enjoy the comic, but remember that cutting your advertising and marketing budget cuts into your profit margin. If customers or clients are unaware of your product, features, services, or improvements, news etc, then you are less likely to sell any of them.

Remember every communication is marketing.

Presidential Marketing

While I was awaiting my mighty New Orleans Saints to take the field in SuperBowl XLIV, during the unending pre-game coverage we saw a “sit down” interview with Katie Couric and Barack Obama. My compatriate asked, “why is he on the pre-game?”

What a great question.

What a disappointing commentary on American politics.

President Obama had just finished his state of the union address to the American Public on 9 networks a week earlier, yet it was necessary for him to build support for his presidency and platform through a controlled interview on the Superbowl pre-game. Why? Because more people would see it.

Just like the premium price demanded by networks for ad time during the Superbowl the reason is audience size. This Superbowl was watched by the largest television audience ever!

This sit down interview allowed Obama to re-iterate his message to a larger audience than the State of the Union address and in a more “everyman” delivery than the podium and suit delivery in front of Congress. Let’s face it, Obama’s marketing team is clever, and sharp at getting his message out to voters keeping his message and concerns in the forefront. It doesn’t hurt to recruit Katie Couric to softball the “questions” and make it look like and interview.

I think it’s a very successful subtle marketing technique to bring his message to a wider audience, since that is what all marketers are trying to do, tell their story to a wide audience of people who need/want/should know the information. This was the grandest stage and perfect veil to make it seem like he was speaking directly to this American generation. I know very few people in my age bracket that would watch the State of the Union, and none in younger years who could be bothered.

Bravo Mr. President. Now if you could only follow through on campaign promises as effectively as you eloquently market your message.

Customer Service is your best marketing

Again I’ve been faced with the inevitable failure of customer service that makes me wonder where companies in this economy get all the business that allows them to piss off customers. Apparently having repeat customers is not important to this week’s winner – Delta Airlines.

On Feb 11, I stood outside the door to the plane as they closed it, and left 20 people stranded (in Detroit of all places) who had paid good $$ for plane tickets. Since I could reschedule my business in my destination I decided to move away from the ticketing agents who were getting an earful from the other 18 people who were screwed out of their vacation plans which included catchign a cruise ship… I worked my way down tot he customer service office, since that seemed like a better place to take up my issue.

Granted there was a snow storm on the east coast. Apparently that affects how many seats they have to ticket sold ratio.. and since I was going from Detroit (with three inches of snow) to Jacksonville Florida (No snow but a chilly 50 degrees that day) I expected the weather to be no affect of my trip…

After 2 hours (Yes that’s TWO hours) in line, I was nearing the service counter which had been sporadically staffed during my wait. At about that time, the other 18 people who had been stranded at the gate showed up, rightfully indignant that they had been held up there for hours and still hadn’t seen any resolution (and it sounds like their cruise ship was leaving.)

So as I was taling with the rep who couldn’t believe the situation that I was explakning to her, I heard the other rep calling the DETROIT POLICE to come deal with the situation with the other 18 staranded people who were facing being out a week long cruise… Police… To deal with a custoemr service issue… Customers who have been without an answer for nearly 3 hours.

So after I explain my situation repeatedly to the rep, then to her manager, and then to some other representative on the phone because no one apparently can make a decision aat the Detroit Metro Airport, I was told they would gracefully waive the fee to transfer my ticket to another time, but I would be liable for any difference in ticket price… Also if I wanted the next available flight was a week later.

Ok I understand that things are difficult, weather is an issue, and the customer service rep didn’t order the wrong plane to be delivered for my flight, but a simple effort to placate me on a very expensive purchase and disruption to my schedule, and potential loss of business for me, would have been appreciated. I felt as though I was out of line to expect the representative to actually be concerned about the inconvenience..

As you can expect, I would never spend another dime on the Delta experience.. I would have rather had my money refunded so I could purchase services from another airline. This is ridiculous and ineffective use of customer service. If this could have been dealt with effectively,, cheerfully (I was being as polite as possible and never had the cops called on me) I may consider giving delta another shot.. but this is no way to retain customers or their loyalty…

And with a little research I found that I am not the only person who has had these types of issues with Delta..

Delta Really SucksDelta Sucks FaceBook

Oh and the day after this debacle I tried calling again to deal with this rescheduling fiasco, and the customer service number has a recording that states they cannot answer my call because of the weather.. Apparently weather stops phones from working….