Tuesday, January 26, 2010

"Success in social media, just like anything in business, takes a lot of work and time. Don't fool yourself" Scott Stratten (Twitter: unmarketing)

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Marriott launches "Spirit of Aloha" experiential marketing tour.

Marriott Hawaii announces the launch of their 2010 mobile event road show set to visit 12 cities called the "Spirit of Aloha". The tour starts in Scottsdale, Arizona which begins the 5,530-mile journey aboard the 45-foot-long tour bus emblazoned with tropical images of Hawaii that will visit 11 additional U.S. cities through February 12. Texas and then to Atlanta, Charlotte, Nashville, St. Louis, Omaha, Denver and Salt Lake City with a final two-day stop in Los Angeles, Feb. 11-12. Tour partners are Hawaii Visitors and Convention Bureau and Hawaiian Airlines. This trip follows two successful promotional tours on the U.S. mainland and Japan last year.

The experiential marketing objective is to encourage visits to the islands, the traveling road show will bring the sights and sounds of Hawaii to the mainland. Traveling on the bus will be Marriott Resorts Hawaii leaders, including general managers and directors of sales and marketing from each of its resort hotels, who will visit with travel partners, groups and media, while performers from the Polynesian Cultural Center will provide Hawaiian entertainment at each stop. Traveling on the bus will be Marriott Resorts Hawaii leaders, including general managers and directors of sales and marketing from each of its resort hotels, who will visit with travel partners, groups and media. Performers from the Polynesian Cultural Center will provide Hawaiian entertainment at each stop.

Marriott Resorts Hawaii will provide continuous updates from the road on Twitter and Facebook and a blog on the Marriott Hawaii Web site. "Our aim is to encourage folks to travel to the Hawaiian Islands in the coming year and stay at one of our beautiful Marriott Resorts on Kauai, Oahu, Maui and Hawaii's Big Island," said Chris Tatum, vice president of Marriott International -- North Asia, Hawaii and South Pacific, in a statement. "Hawaii is already popular across the U.S. -- our goal is simply to raise the level of awareness and give people the extra nudge to come see us." This is the third bus tour Marriott has conducted in the U.S. The company also conducted a similar tour last October in Japan. Despite these efforts, Hawaii's tourism has declined, sorely affecting the state's economy.

Excited about visiting the tour when it comes to Los Angeles I could not find exact tour stops after visiting Marriott's corporate website, Facebook fanpage and Twitter. I also noticed others requesting information with no response back from Marriott as of this posting. The Twitter updates are not conversational in context just updates as they stated.

Recommendations: (These are just a few Conversation Marketing strategies that can be developed when you engage in an experiential marketing tour).
  • Create a separate page on the website (with links to Facebook Fanpage and Twitter) for this mobile road show including tour stop exact locations, promotion announcements and VIP Marriott rewards program participant tours.

  • Video - create a Youtube channel and create spots.

  • Pre-marketing email campaign focused on tour stops. As a Marriott Rewards program participant I did not receive any marketing on this tour.
  • Invite selected tour stop participants to Twitter, Facebook and blog about their experience.

What would you suggest?

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

To be or not to be "Authentic"

In the last several days (and I am sure everyday) there is an article somewhere that either "outs" a company/person or states what we all already knew. What, are we stupid or something? Not with my surrogate brain called "Google".

Busted - "The killer app that busted a ski resort", recent title from a story about how a new iPhone app busted a ski resort for overstating their snow base (conditions). The new app developed by skireport.com lets users compare the ski resort snow information to first hand accounts from the slopes and lifts. Once the app was embraced around a year ago, the snow jobs suddenly ceased.

Busted - By now (24hrs after) the announcement from Mark McGwire that he admitted to using steroids and HGH has filtered throughout the Internet. Duh, like we could not tell that he was lying to us and the congressional committee. During his career he blew up like one of the balloon animals clown's make. This admission now does do some justice, but how much?

Busted - College players accepting money and gifts. What, you are surprised? Some players arrive to practice by walking, taking a bus while others roll up in an Escalade. In the last 24 hours reports are streaming out regarding Pete Carroll's resignation from USC coincidentally during a time when an investigation into the schools Football team escalates.

This list could go on and on but I need to stop here (to get to the point).

Authenticity for our actions have been greater than we have experienced with the rise of the Internet, especially social media.

The Internet allows us to quickly find information about companies, people that work at companies, what people support ect all in the matter of seconds. With social media, we can then share, comment and export that information and opinions to the world. The era of "Do as I say not as I Do" are gone. Of course, unless you are okay with being a slime bag and think that is the best strategy.

We receive inquiries daily for links exchange request, product reviews, interviews etc. at WCNGroup (for subsidiary companies http://www.threepeasco.com/ and http://www.skittertoys.com/ ) in which before responding we do our research to find out critical information that will save dollars and time in the future. Some of that research even includes connecting with our network of business associates who can quickly respond back with information.

Authentic business marketing is the easiest form of marketing. Just do what you say you are going to do. Don't tell me your product is 100% Eco if it is not, don't tell me how your system will allow for me to track visitors without having a PhD in statistics, don't tell me you never did something than come out years later when your conscience gets the best of you, just do what you say!

Friday, January 8, 2010

We are Human!

Yes, you read the title correctly, "We are Human"!. At first you may wonder did he fall of the deep end finally or did he have a moment of clarity. Probably a combination of the two but the bottom line is this, in the B-B marketing world we tend to forget that we are marketing to people, just like you and I. Please excuse me for categories you with my, my sincerely apologize.

During my daily discover of scanning newsletters, articles, blog post ect., I came across this wonderful piece by one of my favorite companies called www.Oneupweb.com (more info here). In there blog piece that talked about this basic marketing principle which made me jump for joy that I am human. The business to business marketing article talked about who are the decision makers behind the businesses and it came back to humans (for the time being).

The article also discussed how businesses of all types must go where your customers are and interact with them. Cold calling percentage of winning business is as good as direct mail, usually a 1-2% closing rate. Not a very good closing rate for an activity that takes hours upon hours (research, pitch development, calling, not answering, leaving messages, writing notes, ect...).

I personally do not like unsolicited calls but will sometimes have fun with the person especially if they did not do their homework on me or business. Had one the other day in which I asked a few questions that they could not answer then I politely said not interested. From the caller I heard a huff of disgust and then a dial tone. Do you think that I will be doing business with that company? Quite the opposite which leads to authentic and transparent, both keywords from last year that will still be resonating this year because of the continued growth of online social networks and the ability for all humans to have a voice online.

So, please, be human, think human and market human because that is who we are behind those phones, computers, social networks and doors.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Can't Get No, Satisfaction

As companies struggle to negotiate the challenging economy by reducing cost (marketing budgets, sales budgets, operational cost, lower inventory...) workers that remain are reporting more desponded attitudes. The Conference Board research group who has conducted the study for the last 22 years reports the lowest level of satisfied workers at 55% of the workforce. This is 4% decline from 2008.

Workers have grown steadily more unhappy for a variety of reasons:

*Fewer workers consider their jobs to be interesting.
*Incomes have not kept up with inflation.
*The soaring cost of health insurance has eaten into workers' take-home pay.

As a result of this study experts predict that innovation and competitiveness will fall thus producing companies that will struggle to survive and the development of younger workers will fall short.

The challenge is to not only find workers that are passionate about the company's products/services but also workers that have a passion for their job responsibilities. In further, workers may not be in the industry that they are completely passionate about but are doing a job that they have a passion for. Example would be a person that has worked in logistics for a wholesale food service company but with economy must now find work as a logistics manager for a trucking company that is a CPG distributor.

As leaders we must find what employees "hot buttons" are then inspire, motivate and provide feedback.