Where Did My Heroes Go?

Several years ago, I traveled the search engine and online marketing trade show circuits and made friends with some very smart people in the space. Over time I was able to weed out those who simply were part of the marketing echo chamber (a great majority of the so-called “rockstars” fit this category) and others who really really thought for themselves, citing real data and experiences and developing notions and strategies that could and should be implemented. The latter group I would call my marketing heroes.

Over time my heroes’ value to businesses has grown to the point where they are now getting hired by Fortune 100 companies more than not. But this has ruined them for me. Back in the day, they were a God-send for small and mid-size businesses (SMBs). They were immersed in the SMB world and had great empathy for their needs and requirements. Unlimited budgets weren’t part of that paradigm.

Now many of these heroes of mine are writing articles and blogging about much more philosophical topics and less about pragmatic effective strategies to be implemented on the cheap. But there are two exceptions to this worth pointing out.  Continue reading “Where Did My Heroes Go?”

How to Avoid Falling into the Coupon Trap

coupons-discountsI seem to keep having this conversation so hang in there while I engage in a little blogging therapy as I think aloud in this article trying to align my messaging with my thought processes.

Fact: The people who come to your business with a coupon in hand are less likely than even your children to return any time soon, that is unless you bribe them with another coupon offer.

This means you are giving away product to the people who are the least likely to come back and do profitable business with you. And a lot of these coupon redeemers would have come in with or without the coupon. I know in my household, we will decide to purchase something and on the way out the door someone will say, “Wait, I think I saw a coupon for that.” So with these facts on the table, why would a business owner ever want to use coupons?

I’ve heard all the rationales. They include: Continue reading “How to Avoid Falling into the Coupon Trap”

Businesses Turn to Social Media During Harsh Weather

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The very Northwestern corner of Washington State is mostly at or near sea-level and as such rarely sees temperatures below freezing. So it was very inconvenient and uncomfortable to endure temperatures in the teens with near zero wind chill during the last 24 hours. With several inches of ice and snow mixed in, it made for a “better to stay home than go out” scenario.

Local businesses have recognized this and many chose to let staff and customers stay home. This also created the need to communicate this news to them before they set out. Conventional news channels were utilized but more significant was the tremendous uptick in the volume of Facebook posts and Twitter tweets by local businesses in the last day. More than twice the norm by my tally.

I can’t see it from my vantage point but it would be very interesting to know how this burst of activity from the business side of the equation affected the level of engagement from the customer side.

Anyone care to share whether they saw customer responses and other means of engagement from posts or tweets that you would be closed due to the weather?

Top 10 Whatcom Companies on Facebook

Facebook logoIt’s time to recognize businesses who are putting it all “out there.” They have not only made the leap of faith to participate and engage the marketplace using Facebook but are also rocking it daily. In some cases, you will see them posting in the evening hours and weekends alerting followers about what’s happening in their store, kitchen or on stage right then (“You won’t want to miss this!”) or breaking news about what’s just arrived in inventory (“You better get here quick if you missed out last time.”).

So without further ado, and in no particular order, here is the first ever Whatcom Marketing Top 10 Busiest Facebook Rockers List:

Continue reading “Top 10 Whatcom Companies on Facebook”

Content Curating for Fun and Profit

A quick scan of active Twitter accounts with Whatcom County locations revealed something interesting. There are Twitter accounts not associated with any particular person or organization that are repurposing news, event info and other tidbits of local interest. They appear to exist to fill voids in existing services, providing a public service of sorts by compiling the most relevant local information from a number of sources.

A couple I found are:

BellinghamBuzz  @bellinghambuzz
We curate the best Twitter feeds to broadcast breaking news, things to do and daily deal around our Bellingham.   Bellingham WA · http://breakingbellinghamnews.com

Bellingham Weather @bhamweatherBham
Follow Me and Join the Yahoo! Group for Bellingham/Whatcom County weather year round. Bellingham, WA · http://groups.yahoo.com/group/bhamweather

 

Continue reading “Content Curating for Fun and Profit”

Make every day Small Business day

American Express has created a merchant promotion declaring  today, the day after “Black Friday,” “Small Business Day”  for the second year. While drawing attention to the benefits of doing business with Small Businesses it’s simply geared to move the needle one day. I suggest all small business owners make every day “Small Business Day” and in doing so make the rest of the year dwarf AE’s efforts to move the needle one day.

Continue reading “Make every day Small Business day”

Creating retail holiday buzz without being a Scrooge

It’s tough. You are in business to make a buck by providing worthwhile products and services and the end-of-year holiday season can make or break many your businesses. So how do you create a message, handle a promotion, or produce marketing that rises above the noise, draws in a large crowd and encourages community involvement? It’s not that hard really.

Continue reading “Creating retail holiday buzz without being a Scrooge”

Buy Local but maybe not for the reasons you think

Being the student of economics and dynamic systems I am, the “buy local” mantra never really sunk in with me. It didn’t help when a brilliant local economist confirmed my suspicions stating that it actually hurt the community more than it helped to reward merchants based on their locale more than on their ability to be competitive.

So for years I have been shaking my head over the feel-good proposition to forego doing business with national or regional chain stores with their usually better-than-wholesale-pricing and broad selections and instead seek out stores with usually higher pricing and less selection just because because they have local ownership.

Continue reading “Buy Local but maybe not for the reasons you think”