Greg Magnus

AIM Custom Media Websites Blogs Glen Allen, VA 23059

Category: A WOM Approach – Word of Mouth (page 1 of 2)

Sharing Files – Services Compared

Sharing files with others is an everyday occurrence. Most people shuffle files via email, but there are other options.

TechCrunch does an outstanding job reviewing the concept and four file sharing services. Check it out at:

Techcrunch » Let’s Share Some Files

[tags] file sharing, techcrunch, eoecho.com, eoecho [/tags]

Great Marketing by Mercedes – Latest Mixed Tape Release

Mercedes-Benz – Mixed Tape Current Release

Another 15 free MP3 files from Mercedes-Benz; great music for those with a high-speed connection. The complete set takes a while to download, but it’s well worth it and you can download individual songs.

Interesting marketing strategy for a car company, but I think it works.

Should You Turn Your Website Into A Blog?

Do you need to call a web developer every time you want to change your website content or add a link? Is your annual website maintenance fees slowly raising month after month? Or worse, you website still says, "Coming Soon." We have a solution for you.

Consider a content management system. Check out Tom Kane's post on his Legal Marketing Blog as a follow-up to my previous post, Blogs Merging With Websites – Imminent?

Here's the link: Legal Marketing Blog: Should You Turn Your Website Into A Blog? Tom adds a few parenthetical comments to the discussion that you may find of interest.

Let Go and Thrive in the New World of Customer-to-Customer Conversations

Consumer generated content is slowly being accepted by main stream marketing gurus and I’m finding case studies on blogs more commonly. It took awhile to work the strategies through the halls of the ivory towers, but many are now on the right page. Unfortunately, many marketing managers working at mid-size companies have yet to open the book.

When I discuss these strategies with potential customers I usually lose them after the second or third sentence. And when I hear “we need more new media ideas,” I just cringe. New media is old folks. Today’s reality is a marcomm strategy you need to digest slowly. It requires a variance from the norm that you don’t expect and it takes time to understand the implementation techniques.

It’s probably time for me to write up an article or two outlining the strategy with examples. I’ll see what I can put together during my flight to Chicago. I’ll send it out to my clients and post a summary here on my blog later in the week.

In the interim, if you have a subscription to Advertising Age magazine or their online content, you can read Scott Donaton’s article, How to Thrive in New World of User-Created Content: Let Go. I don’t have a current subscritpion and AdAge tells me, “Greg, the article you have chosen costs 1 credit. You currently have 0 credits in your account.” It is likely you don’t subscribe either so just Google GM and Chevy’s consumer generated ads and you’ll find plenty of free content on the subject.

It is refreshing to read about Chevy’s consumer generated ads and GM’s willingness to air uncomfortable, yet effective, commercials astray of the norm. They get it.

Thanks again to Katie Paine for pointing out the article above.

[tags] Customer-to-customer, marketing strategy, Advertising Age, WOM, User-created, content, word of mouth, eoecho, eoecho.com, Greg Magnus [/tags]

Integrating Marketing and Communications – Who Really Gets It?

Early this month we talked about integrating customer-to-customer conversations using new media. A common WOM technique, it is an effective means of promoting products and services. Are there benefits from harnessing the power of your customers?

While further researching the topic this week I came across an excellent article written by Bob Liodice, President and CEO of the Association of National Advertisers.

Bob published a series on “Integrated Marketing Communications.” Take note of his observations concerning new media and the shifting power from the marketer to the consumer. We’re both on the same page.

Integrated Marketing Communications – 2nd Pillar in Reinventing Marketing

For those with limited reading time, here’s an example from Bob’s post that supports our discussion rather well:

So who really “gets” what integrated marketing communications is all about?

One company that does is Daimler-Chrysler. They’ve recognized that the traditional demographic approach to marketing planning is outmoded in today’s fragmented marketplace. So they’ve transitioned to a lifestyle approach – deeply integrating their brands into the popular culture through a breathtaking array of experiences: sports, fashion, entertainment, music, technology … and an equally breathtaking array of innovative channels: video-on-demand, event marketing, gaming, IPTV, text messaging, pod casting and webisodes, not to mention sweepstakes and public relations.

This highly integrated and diverse approach recognizes the fundamental change in consumer behavior from yesteryear – namely that people aren’t passively sitting at home watching their TVs. Rather, they’re actively engaged in and controlling their media experiences. To connect with these consumers, Daimler-Chrysler’s lifestyle strategy is seeking them out, wherever their heads and hearts might be.”

Side Note: There are a few posts on my blog concerning Mercedes-Benz use of “free music,” (brand and pop culture integration).
[tags] Marketing, Communications, Daimler-Chrysler, Mercedes-Benz, Bob Liodice, Association of National Advertisers, customer-to-customer, eoecho, eoecho.com [/tags]

Blog Usability: Top Ten Design Mistakes

As a previous publication owner (print magazines), I learned from my art directors and graphic designers the importance of layout, design, and usabilitiy. When it comes to blogs their importance cannot be overstated. Your readers will have their first impression of your blog in only a few seconds. Make the first impression count.

Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox has a great piece on blog usability and design mistakes. I like the way he approached the topic,

To reach new readers and respect your existing readers’ time constraints, test your weblog against the following usability problems.

Weblog Usability: Top Ten Design Mistakes in Blogs

After reading the article, I found there are a few things I need to do myself. If you have anything to add to the list please let us know.
[tags] blogging tips, graphic design, weblog design, blog traffic, blog marketing, Jakob Nielsen, eoecho [/tags]

Leveraging Customer-to-Customer Conversations – WOM, RSS, Ratings and Reviews

All of us are aware that [tag]testimonials[/tag], [tag]product reviews[/tag], and [tag]word of mouth[/tag] [tag]referrals[/tag] are highly valued. But what sparks praise from a client to spread like wildfire through parched grassland? Are there strategies to help ignite the process?

In the past, a proud business owner posted client letters on the lunchroom bulletin board and sales managers stuffed them in every packet that left the mail room. Subsequently, a few customer reviews migrated to the company website and there they sat, much like the dust that clings to the screen of your monitor. Then, things started to change.

Amazon was one of several early innovators quick to promote the collection and dissemination of customer reviews on the web. Several factors lead to their success, but clearly a major contributor was their ability to become a catalyst for [tag]customer-to-customer[/tag] conversation. The basic concept, encourage customers to talk amongst themselves. Also, they had the foresight to make the necessary technology investments and use a resource initially overlooked by their competition – free labor (i.e., their customer’s knowledge and time).

Although the landscape continues to change, there are key elements that remain the same – the value of your customer’s knowledge and time, and the need to make the necessary investments in technology.

On the cutting edge today is the use of “push technology” coupled with strategic word of mouth (WOM) marketing campaigns. As we peruse the Internet for new client strategies, we find a 130 year old brand, W. Atlee Burpee & Co., adopting new technology tools to drive growth – email marketing and RSS feeds linked to, well, you guessed it, customer reviews. And the result? Measurable growth in sales after attaching reviews to product RSS feeds.

We also find research supporting customer preference for Amazon and Circuit City over Best Buy and Walmart when making online purchases. Why? Amazon and Circuit City provide customer ratings and reviews where the others do not (see links below for references and more info).

It’s not a secret that customers respond to other customers more readily than they respond to canned marketing messages. You know and we know because we help our clients implement these strategies everyday.

Add to del.icio.us

Additional Resources:

At Bazarrblog: Burpee Leverages Customer WOM Via RSS

Research at eVOC Insights: Ratings, Reviews and the Customer Decision Process: Amazon v. BestBuy v. CircuitCity v. Walmart

[tags] WOM, eoecho.com, [/tags]

Fishing for Clarity – Revisiting Jack Trout's Comments

Give Jack Trout credit for inviting pro bloggers to participate in a roundtable discussion concerning his recent comments on word of mouth marketing (WOM). The event precipitated after Trout’s recent article slapped WOM as limited in value. The response was more “ineffective article” than support for his comments, but Trout responds with a roundtable discussion.

Did Trout provide additional evidence during the roundtable to support his article and limited faith in WOM strategies? You decide.

The podcast summary (link below) let’s you hear the players in a one-on-one, unrehearsed healthy discussion. I’m a strong believer in using WOM strategies given their effectiveness when targeted, implemented and managed correctly. However, there still appears to be significant confusion in the understanding of “purpose, approach, and results.” The clash lies in the communication gap between two merging schools of thought, but that’s another article in itself. I’ll write it up and post it here on my blog next week.

Trout does a great job painting the “big picture” landscape as seen by companies such as Coke – seasoned product, flat brand and declining sales. Let’s face it, a very small percentage of Coke’s target market is surfing blogs and casting pods. And on the surface WOM appears to be a hard sell. Are there opportunities for Coke and similar brands to implement effective WOM strategies? Listen to the podcast summary and you’ll find out how the pro bloggers responded.

The Podcast Summary: Jack Trout ends his series on word-of-mouth marketing with a roundtable discussion with Edleman’s senior marketing strategist Steve Rubel; Rick Murray, executive VP and GM of Edleman’s Diversified Services Group; and Errol Smith, founder of The Affiliate Nanocasting Network and producer of Trout Radio. You’ll find a comment from Errol Smith, a link to the podcast summary and a link to the Forbes article here.

Additional Resources: Bloggers with discussions on the topic include: Buzz Marketing and Maneuver Marketing Communique. What’s your view on the subject?

[tags] WOM, word of mouth, social networking, Forbes, eoecho [/tags]

Institute for Public Relations

Institute for Public Relations Measuring the results of your marketing and PR efforts is always recommended. Most large corporations use one or several of the various tools available to [tag]track results[/tag] and provide marcom executives with dashboard metrics. For those looking for an overview of the various measurement tools, we recommend visiting The Institute of Public Relations "Measurement and Evaluation" page. It includes several excellent articles. [tags]Public Relations, Dashboard, Marketing [/tags]

The Bottom Line on Blogging – The Kansas City Star

The Bottom Line on Blogging – The Kansas City Star Companies find all that Web talk builds business. By DAVID HAYES at The Kansas City Star Hayes does a great job researching the topic. He includes lots of quotes from several influencial bloggers. Here's a sample from the article:

“Blogs are wonderful for helping small companies build a national footprint,” said Steve Rubel, New York City-based author of the Micro Persuasion blog and a senior vice president with marketing public relations firm Edelman.

It is an excellent article on blogging. It's rather long, but comprehensive. Thank our friends at Duct-Tape Marketing for pointing it out to us.

The Social Customer Manifesto Podcast – AMA Hot Topic Series Review

The AMA Hot Topic Series – The Social Customer Manifesto Podcast The American Marketing Association's Hot Topic series – Feb. 15, 2006 – included discussions on: podcasting, video blogging, word of mouth marketing (WOM), RSS, interactive social networking, etc. Christopher Carfi and Leif Chastaine review this AMA Hot Topic series, give an update on the state of the blogosphere via Jupiter Research, Pew, and Technorati, and shine a light on "Charter Street," the new blog from Paul McNamara and Greg Olsen. Note: The podcast is 38 minutes – huge file to download, but worth it if you have a high-speed connection. 

Is Jack Trout at Forbes.com All He's Cracked Up To Be?

Is Word Of Mouth All It's Cracked Up To Be? – Forbes.com With more than 40 years of advertising and marketing experience, Jack Trout still doesn't appear to get it. He states in his recent article,

I certainly would never tell a CEO, "B.J., I just put a big chunk of our budget into word-of-mouth." If you did, all I would say is "good luck."

Yes, Trout is right when he states WOM isn't new, but who believes it is? Adopting "WOM" nomenclature is relatively new, the concept of using electronic as well as offline communication strategies to get people talking about your company or ideas isn't. Measureable results from WOM campaigns are readily available and campaigns can be controlled to a certain extent if your communications are concise, clear, honest and your marketing department knows what they are doing. Trout's recent article at Forbes.com includes several good points, but his conclusions are behind the curve. When implemented and measured properly, WOM is an effective, yet sensible, non-traditional marketing strategy in today's rapidly changing world. Everyone now has a "printing press" and there's no need to worry about a shortage of ink. TAGS: WOM, social networking, word of mouth, Forbes, eoecho

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