Posts Tagged ‘word-of-mouth marketing’
Posted by Rob Ropars on April 10th, 2009
Recently I stopped into my local Kohl’s store to pick up some odds and ends for a business trip. As usual, there were tons of great deals throughout, and that allowed me to put together a nice combination of affordable items.
At checkout, I was asked if I would like to join their email list with an email coupon as an incentive. Being in the email business, my inbox is constantly full with a variety of email communications and I tend to be very selective when adding to the fray.
Since I frequent this store and extra coupons were involved, I figured one more couldn’t hurt. And since it was near closing time as I filled out the handwritten opt-in card, I figured it would be awhile before the emails start coming…
Fast forward to the following morning. I opened my Gmail account and there was an email from Kohl’s! In less than twelve hours, my handwritten card had been entered into their system, which obviously fed into their national database.
I was then pulled into the next day’s automated welcome with a special coupon valid through the end of the month (in this case only two weeks away). Adding this exclusive, limited-time offer ensured I would need to be back shopping within the next two weeks or risk losing the offer (and on the back end gave them something to use for redemption analysis).
Since that initial welcome message, I am now in their main subscription queue, and receive weekly emails and occasional very limited-time offers for online purchases or notices for same day 12 or 24-hour sales.
Of course it’s all a game, Kohl’s basically always has a variety of items on sale. But when it came to the welcome message-I did go back in and use the coupon-a good deal is a good deal.
As it turned out, I needed a tie to go with a shirt and was able to get a more expensive one without spending much more than lower priced ones. Had I not signed up and gotten that email so promptly, I probably would have procrastinated and might never have gotten it.
So the moral of the story, which we share with all of our email marketing clients, is that you can never make a second “first impression.” Kohl’s welcome message program got our conversation started quickly and triggered the intended response by getting someone (me) back in to purchase. They got that first impression just right. Their motto is “Expect Great Things”-and so far that’s the case.
Of course being in the business I could note some of the things they could improve upon to maximize their emails, but I want to keep focus on the positive so I’ll refrain from undercutting what they’re doing right. Besides I’ve just gotten their latest email and looks like there are some “Last Chance” offers I’m in danger of missing if I don’t stop in again soon!
Posted by Dave McCue on January 23rd, 2009
For anyone still unsure if social media fits into their company model, yesterday’s BlogWell event in Chicago made it abundantly clear that, at the least, it’s a path worth exploring.
Speakers from The Home Depot, Mayo Clinic, Procter & Gamble, Sharpie, Allstate, Molson and H&R Block (recognize any of those names?) shared their stories about social media use at their companies and the challenges they faced.
One of the most common themes among the case studies seemed to be overcoming an initial resistance within the company from individuals who were not well-versed in social media. Susan Wassel of Sharpie (a Newell-Rubbermaid brand) mentioned the importance of explaining that a foray into social media can produce great word-of-mouth results with a relatively minor investment.
What social media is not, as mentioned by Home Depot’s Nick Ayres, is a tool for driving sales. Rather than promoting special offers or pushing products, some of the Home Depot’s greatest social media successes have involved the use of Twitter to communicate with customers in the southern U.S. during hurricane season—which THD locations would be open extended hours, where certain supplies could be found for home repair, etc. According to Ayres, the goal of social media should be engagement, rather than short-term sales, and sites such as Twitter allow a large corporate brand to take on a more personal tone.
- Andy Sernovitz from GasPedal (hosts of the event) gave an interesting talk about the importance of honesty in social media. Like anything else, those who abuse social media or operate within the “grey area” reflect poorly on all those who attempt to use social media for its true purpose—personal connection.
- Sernovitz also mentioned the 10 magic words that should be used (literally or implied) during social media interaction, in the interest of full disclosure: “I work for ____ and this is my personal opinion.”
- Interesting point from P&G’s Stan Joosten (paraphrasing): Your brand is no longer what you tell your audience it is, it is what they tell each other it is.
- Rather than arbitrarily saying “you there, you are now responsible for our company’s social media identity,” the best way to have social media success is to identify qualified individuals within your company—individuals who are passionate about social media and see its potential—to contribute to social media efforts.
Posted by Dave McCue on January 19th, 2009
This past Wednesday (1/14/09), SubscriberMail sponsored the Chicago Association of Direct Marketing’s seminar: “Social Networking: How does it fit the marketing mix?” The event featured a panel including representatives from Google and Kraft, most notably, who shared their experiences in social media and fielded questions from the audience. Several members of our team attended. Here are a few observations:
• In conversations prior to the panel discussion, it was very apparent that while most are anxious to slay the social media beast, others are still skeptical as to the merits of Facebook-ing on company time. Social media is still such an abstract concept for some that it’s difficult to even articulate why it belongs in a marketing plan, let alone allocate any sort of budget.
• The audience seemed slightly shocked when it was mentioned that the average user of Facebook is 27 years old, while the average MySpace user is 34. However, as Facebook was originally only available to students, many post-grad social media users got their start on MySpace, which certainly contributes to an older average audience. With Facebook closing the total user gap between the two giants by the day, that age disparity is likely to decrease as older MySpace users seek out a less teen-oriented platform.
• The panel tried to dispel the notion that social media was for teenagers rather than respectable businesses. When mention was made of the Motrin/Twitter situation from a few months ago, I saw plenty of heads nodding in recognition. How best to make use of social media is still the million-dollar question, but it’s potential for affecting marketing efforts is beginning to gain wider acceptance.
• A major hurdle that needs to be cleared when beginning a social media campaign; accepting what is beyond your control. In response to questions from the audience, the panelists made it clear that the open forum style of social media naturally lends itself to positive and negative feedback. The panelists from Kraft took the opportunity to share a story about a social media user who had posted negative comments about the company. Catching wind of the comments through the company’s social media presence, Kraft reached out to the disgruntled customer and resolved the issue. This prompted the same customer to subsequently sing the company’s praises to the social media world.
The lesson? The conversation with your audience made possible by social media may not always be positive, but it provides insight into your company’s standing with customers that normally wouldn’t be possible. What you do with that insight is up to you.