Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Landing the Buzz

Dan Tudor at Landing the Deal just did a 10 part interview with me. I answered the questions and he added the color commentary. Good fun. He did an excellent one with Jeffrey Gitomer and is going to do one soon with Seth Godin, so I feel in especially good company. Here is part one of my interview: Follow the links as they are in order and you can navigate each question. For those of you wondering if blogging is valuable, consider that Dan and I met through blogging, we both have learned a lot about each other and he is interviewing all kinds of authors and experts, as well as establishing his own expertise. His interviews are a great sample of how to create value with a blog without even having to create all the content yourself.

What are 5 things you can do today to create a little buzz?

  • Tell one success story about where you work to someone that does not understand what you do well.
  • Give a good business referral to someone.
  • Surprise someone with an email or letter that is unexpected.
  • Email a blogger or post a comment on a post. Make it thoughtful enough that they may highlight it in another post.
  • Surprise someone with great customer service that goes above and beyond.

While one person doing these once is not going to create a lot of buzz, creating a culture of buzz will make any organization stand out from the crowd.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Success in Word of Mouth

I got the Make It Great newsletter today and saw this quote:

"Success is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out..." - Robert J. Collier

Our philosophy on buzz is the same. Buzz is the sum of small efforts, repeated day in and day out by all the people that are passionate about the success of a product or service.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Word of Mouth Marketing Study

I hate when competitors do something better than me, but oh well, let's not be stingy. Todd Tweedy at BoldMouth has put out a very good and comprehensive word of mouth marketing study that is a great intro to the topic and a convincing argument that, if you are not on the band wagon yet, you need to get hopping. Here is what he wrote:

Wanted to let you know about a study we published with Osterman Research titled Perceptions, Practices, and Ethics in Word-of-Mouth Marketing.

Here’s a link to the pdf: pdf link

I’d love to get your feedback on the recommendations section.

P&G Moms

Tim Raines pointed out a post about P&G recruiting moms for word of mouth marketing campaigns. I am not sure this is new news, but interesting none the less.

Landing the Deal - Dan Tudor

Dan Tudor had a post about firing your customers. I left him a comment on not making a snap decision and he reposted the comment as a blog post here. Not only is this particular post interesting, but it is also a good lesson in how blogs scratch each others back. My comment added content to his blog post. He then used that content to create a new blog post, linking back to me, now I am blogging about it here linking to him. It is a win/win with content and links. Dan also sent me some interview questions, so he got more content and I got more exposure. Seems simple, but how often are you reaching out to people and creating these win/win scenarios?

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Are you a business composer?

In honor of American Idol, which I do not watch but I understand a few other people do, I am writing this blog on music composers and how they are exactly like business owners. A composer and singer may sit down and compose 20 new songs in a year, record them, test them, create a fancy wrapper and then wait and see what happens as they try to get people to buy it. If you are a small business owner, you are probably creating new programs, new packages and new products in an effort to meet customer demand and expand your income and reach. In both cases, most of the ideas/songs seem great. However, we all know how rare a CD full of hits is. My point is this. Create your packages and products with the same dedication and understanding of the audience as a musician has. You are trying to create an emotional response that makes people want to have what you are offering. Accept that some efforts will be good and others that seemed great will not hit. Any one might be a top 20 and make up for all the duds.

Happy Birthday

Today is Buzzoodle's 1st Birthday. Wow. We have had some successes and failures. The DIY Buzz Software was not the hit we thought it would be, but the message, the brand, the courses, speaking engagements and training programs have all been fantastic and the plans for the coming year are even bigger. Thanks Jessica, who runs our Outstanda Referral Program for pointing out the important date.

Buzzoodle Challenge #11

Buzzoodle Challenges #11 is a Buzz Marketing challenge to get you to connect, create some buzz and get out of your comfort zone. To see the first 10 Buzzoodle Challenges, visit my Squidoo Lens. #11 Go to a conference, expo or convention that is outside of your industry. Meet lots of people and learn about how that industry works. I was recently invited to attend the Book Expo America by David Lorenzo at Career Intensity. I do work with some publishers, but the industry as a whole is not something I know well. The expo opened my eyes to how it works, what opportunities there are to work with authors, and gave me a chance to meet some great people and strengthen some existing relationships. What will come out of it remains to be seen, but I can assure you I made some great connections and I am coming back to Ohio and discussing with authors here some ways to improve sales and exposure. Find something that interests you and go to one of their events. You will meet new people (Since it is not your industry) and learn new things. Unless it is a secret serial killer convention, it should be nothing but upside.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

DC Book Expo America 2006

At the Book Expo America in DC this weekend. Why should you blog and how it is related? About a year ago David Lorenzo of Career Intensity emailed me and said he liked my blog and the theme. He asked me to review his book and I was happy to. Around the same time, Phil Gerbyshak of Make it Great emailed me and we got to know each other over time. I also reviewed his upcoming book. They also met each other through blogging. David has a booth at the expo and he could get more tickets than he was planning on using, so he invited both of us to the Career Intensity Book as exhibitors. So this weekend we all met in person for the first time. So I traveled from Ohio, Dave from New York City and Phil from Wisconsin. It's been a blast and we have been all getting to know each other. - And selling some books for dave, and making some buzz and connections for ourselves.... It was also smart on Dave's part. Extra sales people at no extra cost. That is why you build advocates before you need them and then give them something to talk about and a fun way to do it. Thanks Dave.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Buzz in Germany

I hired Marion to work with us for a month on finances. He then went to Germany. He is a recent graduate looking for a marketing job with an big, international company. He is interesting because he combines strong quick books and accounting skills with marketing. Here is the email he sent. [Yes, I was the one that made him start a blog] Hi Ron, Just wanted to drop a line and let you know the address to my Blog It details my daily experiences here, which really are great! Unfortunately, I am not able to keep it quite as current as I would like, given all the German beer I am consuming in conjunction with our tight schedule. Oh, and I can't forget. I spoke to someone in Germany who had already heard about your company. Yes, you're international presence is quite impressive. His name was Jason, and he is a Kent State student (computer science) interning here in Dresden. He said he's heard good things about Liquid Learning. [Buzzoodle Parent Company] Schuss, Marion

Book Expo America

Last night I met Phil Gerbyshak in person for the first time and then we are off to help with the Career Intensity booth because David Lorenzo got us tickets into the expo. Fun stuff. Watch this blog and Phil's to see who we meet.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Book Expo - Buzzoodle Book Buzz

I am off to the book expo in DC tomorrow. Thanks to David at Career Intensity for the tickets. He is also the person that mentioned to me that there is a lot of demand for a comprehensive Book Buzz Marketing package. We have worked with authors in the past, but doing something truly complete and big is an entirely different strategy. We did up the Buzzoodle Book Buzz program to address the need and help busy authors get on the road to having a best-seller. Check it out and let me know what you think.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Word of Mouth Effect

Look at the word of mouth impact on your company. I first found it on Dan Tudor's site, Landing the Deal. - Anyone that understands word of mouth and takes an organized, 12 month + approach to the issue should be able to increase the positive WOM. If you are not doing this yet, you had better start.

Is your Marketing Strategy full of home runs?

We are always talking about creating buzz through many little Buzz Incidents. People are in love with the jackpot buzz, but that is not the realistic approach. (It will happen as part of a steady buzz effort, but not as the sole goal of the effort) Seth Godin backs up this philosophy with a home run analogy.

Bad Service - Crying Kids

Want to create really bad buzz? I made arrangements for a two bedroom apartment for my stay in Washington DC this week. With only a few days to go, I get this email:

We are unable to honor your reservation here due to many current guests having extended their stays with us causing the building to be over booked. I truly apologize for this situation and the inconvenience this is going to cause you. Unfortunately it is some thing beyond our control. We cannot demand current occupants of our apartments to leave if they wish to extend their stays. Should you wish us to assist you with alternate accommodations please call our reservation center at ...

The result is: I am embarrassed because I am meeting a business associate for the first time and he is counting on that space too, and my family is coming to sight see while I attend a conference. They may not go now. So my daughter was crying, I had to apologize to someone that I have not even met yet, and I am wasting my time trying to find a new place at the last second. That is not only bad for this particular business, but bad for the industry. I will not trust this kind of service again. Just not worth the headaches. It is one thing to give a person bad service, it is entirely another thing to disrupt someone's life and upset the balance. You don't just make unhappy guests, you make enemies.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Does everyone know about your successes?

If you want your employees to create more buzz, you need to give them things to talk about. Sharing your organization's success stories is a critical aspect of Buzzoodle Buzz Marketing. What are the different ways that your organization can get the word out?
  • Newsletter
  • Group Email
  • Bulletin Board
  • Intranet
  • Blog
  • Message Boards
  • Staff Meetings
  • Paycheck Stuffer (Note)
  • Luncheon
  • Speech – Live or Video
  • Podcast Interviews
  • Testimonial Handouts

It is just as important to let them know how to let you know of successes as well. This discipline will result in better buzz and better employee moral.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Long Trail of Steady Buzz Build

Seth has a post today with a look at building something that will last and building something that picks up steam and does not burn out. Just like we always talk about with our buzz strategies. It is better to create steady, growing buzz than to hit the jackpot and then fizzle out. His blog post is also a lesson on how to add popular keywords to your blog to get more traffic. When he writes:

Want to guess what these musical acts have in common? The Rolling Stones The Eagles Elton John U2 Paul McCartney

Intentionally, or unintentionally, he is adding some powerful keywords to his blog. Along with his high rating, he could end up getting a lot of website hits on this article. And by using this example, now I might.

2 Lessons in one. This morning is a bargain!

Monday, May 08, 2006

Creepy Guy - Not Buzz Marketing

OK, it is true that I often tell people that they should spend a little extra effort trying to make an interaction with a customer special, and yes, having conversations. However, this does not mean everybody all the time. I was out with my daughter on KidsRoar business today and we stopped to get something to eat. I am not going to name the place because we do like it, but the experience was not as good today. We were tired from three meetings and driving all over, and we were having some of that rare father daughter time, when a busser decided to try to become our best friend. I noticed he talked to people at another table for about twenty minutes. I thought it must be his family. Then those people left and he wheeled his cart down to our table and struck up a one sided conversation. I am not stuck up. I worked in restaurants and such, but we just wanted to have lunch. He tried way too hard to talk to us, and there were several uncomfortably long pauses that were clear signals to go work and stop trying to talk to us. He was not rude, but the impression I got was he just wanted to talk to customers so he did not have to work. He finally left, but it took a 30 second awkward pause before he moved on.

Be sure your employees know the difference between friendly and creepy.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Charity Auction and Product Testing

If you have a group of products you are looking to test, try a charity auction. I just attended one tonight were we had several similar products people could bid on. Some people paid more than the list price for and others sold for about cost. It was an auction where people write down the bid, so we hung out and listened to people discuss the products and watched the reaction. Very insightful and for a good cause. The cost was the donation of the products and the resulting observation of the interaction and the final prices things sold for was fascinating to watch.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Dan Tudor - Landing the Deal

Dan Tudor at Landing the Deal has been saying a lot of nice stuff about us, and adds important comments on what we write. His latest is about our campaign effort. We couldn't agree more.

While Dan's site is a little heavy on the ads for my taste, it is worth it because he is putting up a lot of very interesting stuff. (Even when he is not talking about us.)

Thanks Dan!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Word of Mouth in Elections

Obviously word of mouth is powerful in elections. I am just overjoyed that our first work in that field was successful. The local school system here passed the levy, thanks to a lot of people. We did a limited engagement and met with most of the 600 employees to talk about the importance of creating a positive connection with the community. Most of them were already aware of the effort, but we helped put it into a brighter light and gave them goals and stories to work with. The levy passed last night by under 500 votes, and the staff reported 1,677 instances of creating buzz and word of mouth over the last 3 months. I am sure a lot were not reported as well, since creating buzz can easily be slipped into one's life but filling out forms cannot. Whether our effort tipped the vote is hard to judge, but in a close one like this, it must have helped.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Ben Yoskovitz - I Got News For You

Ben Yoskovitz sent me a link to a site that sends out custom, funny news to the person you designate. Could be just one more thing in your arsonal to keep in touch with people. Check out if you enjoy that kind of thing.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Rock Star or Resource Center

When building a web strategy to get you noticed online, there are two broad approaches you can take. Which approach you choose depends on the client, the product or service and what you want to accomplish. Resource Center - This is building up your website with so much great information that people come back regularly. They benefit from your free information and at some point will buy something from you, but maybe not today. Rock Star - The resource center is more help oriented. The Rock Star also produces regular, interesting information but is more centered around one person as the expert. This person can be more opinionated and the primary goal is to build up that person as a leader in the industry.

For a company, the safer approach is to have a resource center that can be maintained even if the writer quits. For an entrepreneur, the Rock Star approach is better because they are the face of the company.

In some cases, companies may want to develop a Corporate Evangelist to be the rock star, but they should know what they are going to do when that person moves on.

If you cannot put your website into one of these two categories, you probably have a corporate brochure or a mess. Either way it will not create the kind of buzz you seek.