Lately I’ve been getting to know more folks and more groups here in Chicago that are involved in “Social Media.” People like Barbara Rozgonyi, Andrew Coffey, Liz Strauss, and Daniel Honigman. “Social Media” is a term that accountants and lawyers may know but only from, perhaps, their experience with Facebook or Linked In or similar connectivity tools. I wrote recently about Deloitte’s foray into Social Media, both as a consulting firm advising clients and as a company trying to respond to the need of their own employees to talk about their firm, both positively and negatively.
https://francinemckenna.com/wp-content/francine-mckenna.png 0 0 Francine https://francinemckenna.com/wp-content/francine-mckenna.png Francine2008-07-31 08:05:002008-07-31 08:05:00Plugging In – One Post At A Time
For me, it’s like many other things I become interested in that are outside my own area of experience. I look with a detached, outsider’s eye and try to psyche it out since I am not, after all, part of the group that is dependent on belonging. And so I have come to realize that I am doing things and accomplishing things with this blog that some charge good money to talk about and that others are starting to think is pretty neat.
I was invited to a workshop here in Chicago called Word of Mouth Crash Course. It’s run by Andy Sernovitz, who is famous in his area of expertise and has many of the marketing gods, like Seth Godin (???), in his corner. Andy kicked off a local, stay at home version of his crash course yesterday to a mixed group of corporate professionals, social media mavens at companies like Yahoo, bloggers, and the already converted like me.
Why “Word of Mouth” marketing versus traditional marketing?
1)You can replace paid marketing with “free” marketing
2)Word of mouth is sustainable, renewable
3)Leads acquired are cheaper as your word of mouth impact expands geometrically
4)Grassroots impact translates into more creative press coverage
5)According to Andy, it works!
Well, you don’t have to tell me. I realized that I was already doing many of the things Andy was talking about in my small way in the blog, mostly because as a non-monetized venture, I try to spend as little as possible. The site is free. I do all the work. I mostly write from home and from existing sources. I do my own PR. The only things I spend money on are travel, expensive hotels, champagne, and shoes (for when I go to Washington DC and New York.) But I would do that anyway, so the marginal cost to the blog venture is minimal.
I would highly recommend Andy’s book and seminars to anyone looking for new ideas, a new way of looking at simple activities in light of their marketing potential and a crash course in what kinds of tools and technology are currently available to make it happen. All of this is at least helpful if you still end up hiring an agency to help you with “interactive marketing communications.” At least you will know that they’re talking about.
One great example that came out of the day went like this:
Andy was talking about the thoughts behind his choices for the course goody-bag takeaway. We received a small transparent zippered pouch, suitable for airline travel, filled with two small bottles for liquids, a big chocolate bar, a mini funnel for filling the bottles, and an orange electrical plug with three outlets for those travel situations where you need to charge your phone, your laptop, and help a fellow traveler.
Eric Rochow, creator of the Garden Fork and Real World Green Social Media empire, says, “Yeah Andy, that’s great, but you should have branded that plug somehow with your logo.”
And Jamie Goren, President of Plastic Decorators Inc., a Quebec Canada company that prints all kinds of things (and brother of Mark Goren) says, “Hey I can do that!”
And the impact is that Jamie will earn back his fee for the course from new business for Andy and Andy will tell the story of Jamie’s company every time he talks about the plugs in future seminars and workshops.
This is the essence of Andy’s message. Make an impact. Make the impact the old fashioned way: Get your customers to talk about you rather than have your advertising talk at your customers. Multiply that impact.
My take away from yesterday was something Andy calls the “Matchbook effect.” He lamented the fact that since smoking was losing favor in some many places, many restaurants and bars no longer printed matchbooks with their name, address, and sometimes a very creative logo to help customers remember them. That really hit me, since I collect matchbooks, even though I do not smoke. I have traveled all over and to many unusual places. I have returned to many places more than once but not always frequently. I collect matchbooks so I remember great restaurants and bars and can find them the next time I’m in town or recommend a place to a friend who is going to that city. I have many unique ones, in particular from Latin America and Paris. I have some from all the way back to 1987 when I made my first trip to Brazil.
I am thinking about how I can generate the matchbook effect with this blog. How can I leave you with something you’ll remember so you know how to come back to me and know how to tell a friend about me?
I did make one immediate change during the class. I added a line to my RSS feed to thank you for reading, ask you to tell a friend, and give you a way to get in touch directly if you like. In the days ahead, I may be testing out some other ideas on you, things like communities, forums, events and other ways that anyone who is interested in these topics can keep talking about them. We’ll see….