$10.00 NOVEMBER | 2011
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Social Media TRENDS...
How it impacts OUR LIVES
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Vol. 8, No. 11 2011
8 Social Media Helps Spur #OccupyWallStreet Protests 12 It’s all about the Benjamins: Social Media Marketing Drives Sales
departments: 6 7 15 16 18 20 22 22 25 26
publisher’s letter contributors: Real people in the industry with real perspectives solutions: Y ou Can’t Hide Bad Service Social Networks Share Customer Complaints With the World
foresight: Are You LinkedIn? travel: Tourism Trends marketing: R eal Life Lessons from a Fake Bakery No Discounts At Doughby’s Bakery.
exhibit: A Back-up Objective for the B to C Exhibitor promotion: O xygen for the lifeblood of any Business ad index advice: Before You Fight, Think About The Aftermath
4 Brilliant Results
• November 2011
At the beginning
of the year, the editorial staff again decided that the November issue of Brilliant Results would focus on trends. As this issue goes to press the one trend that stands out from all the rest is the impact of social media in the lives of the citizens of the world. Social media is changing the world and the way business is done. We have witnessed the power of social media during the ‘Arab Spring’ as the political systems of entire countries were changed before the eyes of the world through social media channels. Every day people are communicating their experiences with various businesses over social media networks and by posting video comments on the Internet. Savvy businesses are now making interaction on the social media plain a part of their overall marketing strategy because this powerful new player will not be ignored. That point was certainly driven home to United Airlines when a video on YouTube about their response to a broken guitar garnered over 11 million hits and counting. Outreach potential of that magnitude demands attention by companies that want to prosper in this new era. The digital world is also having an impact on the world of publishing, major publishers from Hearst to Ziff Davis have launched new digital strategies from traditional websites, to mobile websites, to tablets and digital editions. Magazines are experiencing a rapid conversion from print to digital editions. As a result of this tidal change in the publishing world, we at Brilliant Results are also focused on growing our digital and social impact in the coming year. As you prepare for the holiday season and the dust settles on my home rebuilding efforts, we at Brilliant Results will be working to bring you more content over this exciting new medium. …As always remember to…
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Michael Crooks, Eric Deckers, Barton Goldsmith, Arnold Light, CTC, Jason Fells, Dave Ribble, Barry Siskind, Team Position 2, John Tschohl, Steve Woodburn
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Brilliant Results is published monthly by Brilliant Publishing LLC, 9034 Joyce Lane Hummelstown PA 17036 (717) 608-5869; Fax# (717) 566-5431. Postage paid at Michigan City, IN and additional offices. POSTMASTER please send address changes to Brilliant Results, 9034 Joyce Lane, Hummelstown PA 17036. Volume 8. Number 11. Brilliant Results subscription rates: one-year $120; Canadian $160 USD; one-year foreign $225 USD. All subscriptions are non-refundable. Copyright © 2011 Brilliant Publishing LLC. All rights reserved. The publisher reserves the right to accept or reject any advertising or editorial material. Advertisers, and/or their agents, assume the responsibility for any claims against the publisher based
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6 Brilliant Results
• November 2011
does not reflect the views of the publisher. The imprints, logos, trademarks or trade names (Collectively the “Marks”) displayed on the products featured in Brilliant Results are for illustrative purposes only and are not available for sale. The marks do not represent the implied or actual endorsement by the owners of the Marks of the product on which they appear. All of the Marks are the property of the respective owners and is not the property of either the advertisers using the Marks or Brilliant Results.
Position2 is a leading Search & Social Media marketing firm that delivers continuous growth for its customers through the proprietary, Surround & Intent Marketing and methodology. Position2 works with leading global brands that include Barnes and Noble, Lenovo, Acer, Lyris and Freedom Financial, to name a few.Position2 was founded in 2006 with funding from Accel Venture Partners, and has offices in Palo Alto, Bangalore and Mumbai. Position2 is a certified agency with Google, Yahoo, Bing and is also part of the Google Adwords advisory council. Please visit http://brandmonitor. position2.com Email: email@example.com http://www.position2.com
Michael Crooks, owns Crooks Advertising Alliance, an advertising and promotional marketing firm that specializes in creative problem-solving. The 27-year advertising veteran is internationally recognized as a thought-leader for his ability to strip away the status quo to reveal the obscure obvious. To learn more about his creative, writing and speaking services contact Crooks through www.CrooksAdvertising.com.
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D. For more than two decades Fortune 500 companies, educational institutions, and government organizations have relied on Dr. Barton Goldsmith to help them develop creative and balanced leadership. His columns appear in over 500 publications. He may be contacted through his web site www.BartonGoldsmith.com.
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Dave Ribble is writing articles and a book about Innovative Thinking. He is President of The Company Image/TCI Innovation, an award-winning Promotional Marketing & Consulting firm that has worked with just about every type of industry of every size. Dave can be reached at: Dave@TCI4Me.com.
Barry Siskind is an internationally recognized trade and consumer show expert. He is the author of six bestselling business books including Powerful Exhibit Marketing. Read his newest book, Selling from the Inside Out for an in depth guide to a successful sales career. Visit Barry at www.siskindtraining.com.
Dr. Peter Tarlow is the founder and president of Tourism
& More Inc. Dr. Tarlow has appeared on Nationally televised programs such as Dateline: NBC and on CNBC. Dr. Tarlow organizes conferences around the world dealing with visitor safety and security issues and with the economic importance of tourism and tourism marketing. For additional information visit www.tourismandmore.com
g John Tschohl,
the internationally recognized service strategist, is founder and president of the Service Quality Institute in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Described by USA Today, Time, and Entrepreneur as a “customer service guru,” he has written several books on customer service and has developed more than 26 customer-service training programs that have been distributed throughout the world. John’s monthly strategic newsletter is available online.
h Steve Woodburn works with clients to develop creative
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and measurable solutions that solve their marketing needs using promotional products, uniform programs, online company stores, point-of-sale initiatives along with rewards and recognition. He builds long-term relationships and becomes a trusted advisor and consultant his clients can turn to for all their brand extension needs. You can reach him at Staples Promotional Products: stephen. firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor’s Note: The use of social media was initially a personal medium, but perhaps the most significant trend during the past year has been its emergence as a potent political tool and its development as a significant force in the day-to-day efforts of businesses to reach and market to their target audiences. This article as well as others in this issue illustrates the power of the social media trend.
Social Media Helps Spur #OccupyWallStreet Protests
By: Team Position²
Social Media for a Social Change What started off with a small group of people protesting against economic inequality and social greed in New York City has now turned into a growing, global movement. While some people are drawing an analogy to Tahrir Square, the Anti-Wall Street protests clearly highlight how important social media can be. With demonstrations being held outside financial institutions and federal banks from LA to Boston, the protesters have taken to social media, hoping for a social change. From Twitter hashtags that are being used to spread the word, to Facebook posts and countless YouTube videos, the movement continues to gain mileage every day. Unlike a few years ago, when protests and campaigns briefly grabbed the attention of the world via traditional channels, only to fade away with time, the real-time nature of social media has changed the way campaigns are organized and broadcasted. Here’s a brief overview of how social media expanded the reach of the campaign that began with a few dozen demonstrators camping in front of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE): July 13, 2011: The Adbusters magazine posted a call to Occupy Wall Street on their blog . 8 Brilliant Results
• November 2011
Following the protests outside NYSE on September 17, people took to various networking sites to further garner support for their cause; this saw the emergence of additional support groups like ‘Occupy Chicago’, ‘Occupy Boston’, ‘Occupy Philadelphia’ etc.
Within a few weeks, the leaderless protests witnessed +200 Facebook pages and Twitter accounts emerge, urging volunteers to join the movement in their respective cities. www.brilliantpublishing.com
The Occupy Wall Street Facebook page  currently boasts +200,000 ‘likes’ and has over 123,000 people talking about it on the networking site. The increasing Facebook updates and likes, as well as the Twitter hashtags and handles , were just the beginning. The digital space is flooded with videos featuring dozens of demonstrations  that were held around the world on October 15th, taking the campaign to a global level. As the OWS movement arrived at the one month milestone (on October 17th, 2011), the number of ‘Occupy’ Facebook pages overreached geographical barriers, with the Occupy the London Stock Exchange , Occupy Brazil , Occupy Berlin , Occupy Sydney  and Occupy Tokyo  pages propping up. Users also joined Meetup.com and Foursquare to find likeminded people and to organize protests. Whether it was capturing Julian Assange’s remarks to protesters in London , or the violence that broke out during a large rally in Rome, the protesters shared with the world, in real-time, everything that was happening in their cities. The ‘Occupy’ Movement: Tracking the Social Media Buzz Analysis (for the time period between 17th September 2011 and 17th October 2011) by the Brand Monitor Team at Position²  indicates a gradual build-up in conversation
volumes. The protests then gained steam, with the highest buzz registered on 6th October 2011 (33,347), followed by 32,875 posts registered on 3rd October.
Overall Media Sources Breakdown Of the 449,561 total posts, discussion forums recorded the maximum conversation volumes at 33%. This was followed by blogs at 26%, with people taking to various blogging platforms including Tumblr  to talk about problems ranging from unemployment to social inequality. Twitter, which established itself as a crucial social media tool for communicating about the movement, also registered considerable buzz at 22%. While #OccupyWallStreet  is one of the commonly used hashtags, other hashtags like #revolution , #ows , #99percent , #OccupyPhilly  etc. significantly contributed to the social media buzz and accelerated the rate at which conversations travelled across the digital space. When compared to other channels, the buzz on Facebook was not as much (2%). However, the 9,263 Facebook posts included not just pages from the USA, but also from other countries across the world. Perhaps one of the reasons for the negligible Facebook traffic could be the users’ concern about the reaction from their employers.
The ‘Occupy’ Movement:
November 2011 • Brilliant Results 9
Demographics Top Country Breakdown Since the USA was where it all started, it came as no surprise to see the maximum buzz (84%) registered here. Frustrated US citizens, especially the unemployed Americans and those belonging to the lower socio-economic class were rather vocal in their opinion about how the banks were making all the money (the 1%), while the rest (the 99%) were deprived of their basic rights.
Gender and Age Distribution At 65%, the men were more active in conversations pertaining to the anti-Wall Street protests when compared to women (35%). The +65 age group was not vocal about their thoughts and opinions (0%). We attribute their silence to the fact that this age bracket, which is mostly comprised of the retired population, was not as concerned about day-to-day financial issues as the <65 population was. The 20-35 age bracket was the most vocal at 34%. This demographic is largely comprised of those who are either already employed or those who are looking to start their careers. Therefore, it is unsurprising that they were highly opinionated about the financial institutions and banks. This was closely followed by the 36-50 age bracket, at 26%.
This was followed by countries like Canada and UK, which accounted for 4% and 3% of the conversations respectively. Further analysis shows that New York, where the initial demonstrations began, registered the highest conversation volumes at 34,284. This was followed by Massachusetts (3.941) and Washington (2,828). 10 Brilliant Results
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When it started nearly a month back, the Occupy Wall Street Movement was a nation-wide campaign that witnessed American citizens protesting against various issues ranging from corporate greed to the influence of corporate money on government. Within a matter of a few days, the campaign that had caught on the social media bug, rapidly spread, conveying the message of the frustrated ‘99%’ to the rest of the world. Despite the recent arrests, the Anti-Wall street protests are showing no signs of slowing down. Social networking channels like Facebook and Twitter, along with Tumblr blogs and numerous videos are functioning as communication tools, breaking geographical barriers and giving a global voice to the campaign. As the above analysis indicates, the USA registered the highest volume of social media conversations. However, the movement has only just started to spread abroad. While www.brilliantpublishing.com
Greece is poised to join the ‘Occupy’ campaign, Spain is amongst the recent countries to have expressed their solidarity. With countryspecific hashtags and Facebook pages being created every day, it is only a matter of time before we see online traffic pick up in different parts of the world. Although some people who are concerned about reactions from their employers decided to keep a low-profile on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and discussion forums are abuzz with conversations, where opinions are exchanged, videos are uploaded and updates are shared. Whether it is the Occupy Wall Street movement or the Women2Drive campaign , it is evident how powerful social media can be. The last few years have witnessed a change in how and why social media channels are used. What initially started as a fad is evolving into a tool for bringing about social change. What we do know is that social media as a communication tool is something that cannot be ignored. As for the Anti-Wall Street protests, we are eager to see how influential social media can be in bringing about a social change.
URL s in this qrticle:  Occupy Wall Street on their blog: http://www.adbusters.org/blogs/adbusters-blog/occupywallstreet.html  The Occupy Wall Street Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/OccupyWallSt  Twitter hashtags and handles: http://twitter.com/#!/OccupyWallSt  videos featuring dozens of demonstrations: http://mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/15/social-mediagives-wall-street-protests-a-global-reach/  Occupy the London Stock Exchange: http://www.facebook.com/occupylondon  Occupy Brazil: http://www.facebook.com/OccupyBrazil  Occupy Berlin: http://www.facebook.com/OccupyBerlin  Occupy Sydney: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Occupy-Sydney/120610411376686  Occupy Tokyo: http://www.facebook.com/OccupyTokyoInternational  Julian Assange’s remarks to protesters in London: http://bambuser.com/channel/bc_tmh/broadcast/2046380  Brand Monitor Team at Position²: http://brandmonitor.position2.com/exclusive_offer/index.php?utmcampaign=bra ndmonitor&utm_medium=webvisit&utm_source=position2blog  Tumblr: http://occupywallstreet.tumblr.com/  #OccupyWallStreet: http://twitter.com/#!/search?q=%23OccupyWallStreet  #revolution: http://twitter.com/#!/search?q=%23revolution  #ows: http://twitter.com/#!/search?q=%23ows  #99percent: http://twitter.com/#!/search?q=%2399Percent  #OccupyPhilly: http://twitter.com/#!/OccupyPhilly  Women2Drive campaign: http://blogs.position2.com/social-media-fuels-women2drive-campaign  # OccupyWallStreet on Social Media, B2B Social Business Marketing & much more… | Best of the Week: http:// blogs.position2.com/best-of-the-week-oct-21-2011  # WikiLeaks: Impact on Social Media and Global Organizations: http://blogs.position2.com/wikileaks-impact-onsocial-media-and-global-organizations Copyright © 2010 Position² Blogs. All rights reserved.
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targeting Excerpted From: Jason Falls’ and Erik Deckers’ book
It’s All About the Benjamins: Social Media Marketing Drives Sales No Bullshit Social Media: The All Business, No -Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing Stop thinking like a traditional marketing nimrod! Yes, you can turn on a Twitter or Facebook profile and start dropping links to your online sales portal and drive sales. If you have a product that already has a recog nizable brand name, high demand, or some timely news item or endorsement that puts the product top of mind for consumers, you’ll even make some money and see a nice return on something so simple. But if your product is like 99% or more of the products out there, you’re not likely to attract much of an audience for your traditional, one-way, sales-spewing fire hose. Without some level of recognition that joining the conversation, engaging with your customers, and treating social media as a two-way, or even multidirectional, line of communications, any success you have will be short-lived. The spray-and-pray approach in the social media realm requires a heck of a lot more than the typical prayer for success. Brands that are just yelling through megaphones and never turning it to their ear more often than not find themselves ignored. You can’t afford to be ignored if you’re going to invest time and money into social media marketing.
So you have to remember the fundamentals: Listen first. Be responsive. Be honest. Provide value. Sell last. This doesn’t mean you should sit around on your hands and not sell for months, weeks, or even days. It just means there’s a lot more work to do in building relation ships, establishing trust, and building an audience through social channels for succ ess to work. You don’t just open the door and ask if someone wants to buy. Remember that social media marketing is about building relationships, not 12 Brilliant Results
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receipts. The receipts will come, but only if you invest the time and attention it takes to build relationships with your customers. Think lifetime value, not sale value. First, understand that there’s a difference in driving business from social media sites and driving business through social activity. The majority of this book is focused on the latter. For the former, you can buy advertising on Facebook, LinkedIn, and many other social media sites. Often, this type of online media is more effective than traditional advertising or even standard online media purchases (such as banner advertising or pay-per-click ads on search engines) because the social networks allow you to hyper-target. For instance, Facebook advertising allows you to choose targeting qualifications based on almost any type of user data it collects. Think about all those interests you listed on your Facebook profile. When composing an advertisement for Facebook, you can target using those interests. What this means is that if you know your ideal target consumer is a 40- to 50-year old male in Arizona who enjoys golf and gardening, you can deliver your advertisement only to Facebook users who meet those profile requirements. Hyper-targeting is only possible through social networks because they are the only types of websites that ask users for more than basic demographic information. Although dozens of factors go into an advertisement’s effectiveness, Facebook advertisements have been known to provide higher clickthrough rates than Google pay-per-click advertisements, lower cost-per-lead than traditional channels, and higher returns on awareness and recall than other mediums. Social networking sites have more information about their users and can thus better target messages to users. In advertising, relevancy always wins. If you can use a traditional method like online display advertising on a new media channel like Facebook and see
positive results, we would be insane to recommend you not do it. If no one in your organization, including you, has the interest or desire to engage in conversations with customers regularly and in the online realm, then advertising on social networks may be a good alternative for you. But understand that advertising is advertising. It typically does little to foster trust between your audience and you, build relationships with customers, or engage them in any sort of unique or interesting way. The one benefit to advertising mechanisms on social media sites is that they allow for hyper-targeting. Having that laser focus on your customers or prospective customers and delivering them relevancy—the right message at the right time and in the right place—often delivers you conver sions or sales.
Advertising Is Outbound. Social Media Is Inbound. That laser focus, though, is not exclusive to advertising on social media sites. The other side of the coin—driving business through social activity, not just from social media sites—offers your business hyper-targeting as well. In fact, social interaction done well attracts more than just impressions or eyeballs. It attracts customers who consciously engage and interact with your brand or organization. Advertising makes you throw up a message, drive impressions (which is an incredibly vague metric), and hope the user or viewer then consciously interacts with the advertisement by reading, watching, or listening to it with some level of comprehension. This is outbound marketing, the kind that takes place when a company sends a message outward to its customers. Social media interaction and engagement, on the other hand, is inbound marketing, the kind that takes place when customers or audience members approach the brand or company because they want to interact. Inbound marketing is achieved through social media marketing when your business asks and answers questions, provides information or engagement through content, or simply shows up when audience members are having conversations about the
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Putting Metrics Around Sales
owner and VP of Creative Services at
Professional Blog Service in Indianapolis, IN, provides content management and social media consulting to companies of all
sizes. He has worked for the last 17 years in marketing, sales,
PR, and crisis communication. He co-authored Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself.
Jason Falls, principal of Social Media Explorer in Louisville,
KY, provides strategic counsel on social media marketing, digital marketing, and public relations for midsized and large companies.
Formerly vice-president of interactive and social media at Doe-
Anderson, his brand experience includes Jim Beam, Maker’s Mark, Humana, Backupify, and the National Center for Family Literacy.
industry, the company, or sometimes anything at all. By having a social presence—a seat at the online table, if you will— your company becomes one that consumers are accustomed to seeing and hearing from, interacting with, and even trusting. Think about it: Instead of advertising that interrupts the audience, consumers begin to see your company’s name pop up on Twitter, Facebook, or even in their email Inbox because someone they know has shared a great piece of advice they found on your blog. Over time, they see it consistently enough that they click through and consume a piece of your content. They decide you’re being very helpful and the advice or value you are providing is interesting to them. Then they subscribe to your blog, follow you on Twitter, or “like” you on Facebook. Your quarterly webinar, coupon special, or event promotion comes up and they see it, offering up their email address to receive access—and you have yourself a new business lead. The consumer in this case has come to you. He has taken notice because your marketing actions—providing content, engaging with the greater community online— are not interruptive, but participatory. He likely found you through a recommendation from a friend, which is exponentially more reliable than other mechanisms of product or service discovery. Consumers like this take their time in getting to know you, investigating your content and interactions over time to ensure they can trust you’re not just in it for a short-term buck. And when they do come to you, they’re far more ready to listen, convert, or purchase than almost anyone clicking through a display advertisement.
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Your plan for using social media marketing to drive sales should be steeped in measurable objectives that prescribe what metrics you will focus on. But don’t limit yourself to measuring just direct sales. Anything that moves the needle on the bottom line—that sells a product or service or leads to the sale of a product or service—should be quantified, reported on, and tracked to help you understand what your return on investment in social media marketing will be. Keep in mind you’re not limiting yourself by measuring ROI—by now you should understand it’s not about ROI, but what you get out of social media marketing. But sales is the primary area we can apply financial metrics to and report as a monetary return. Some other areas to consider measuring include the following: •• Leads •• Lead value •• Cost per conversion •• Retention rate •• Time to close
• Cost per lead • Nonsales conversions • Repeat purchase value • Average order value • Referrals
Although many of these might wind up being KPIs (Key Per formance Indicators) rather than final program metr ics, each one can be tracked and monitored over time to help you fine-tune your social media marketing efforts related to sales. Some can also be tracked and comp ared with similar metrics from other channels to prove efficiencies. You might find that you get twice as many leads using pay-per-click advertising, but pay three times as much for them than those you garner through blogging or social networking activity. Even subtleties in your measurements can uncover insights that save your company thousands of dollars or make your cost-per-acquisition exponent ially smaller. We’ve talked a lot about planning, setting goals, accounting for measures of succ ess, and applying metrics to what your company does in each. You now have a better foundation of what strategic planning is and how it applies to social media marketing. But strategic planning is only half the battle. Executing on your plan, incorporating social media marketing into the dayto-day operations of your organization, and moving toward a more socially aware and enabled business is the other half. You need to understand how to take the goals you lay out for your efforts and activate them within your company. We’ll now look at developing internal and external social media policies and then move through important ideas on managing and activating social media marketing efforts. After all, if you have a plan on paper but fail to put it to action then what you get out of social media marketing is just a plan on paper. That isn’t enough.
You Can’t Hide Bad Service:
solutions BY: John Tschohl
Social Networks Share Customer Complaints With the World Never before has timing been as critical to an organization’s success as it is today. While it certainly is critical to, for example, the introduction of a new product or the infusion of cash, it is equally critical when it comes to solving a customer’s problem. Technology—specifically social networks—has driven the need for timely customer complaint solutions to a new high. Those networks have put businesses throughout the world under a technological microscope, as disgruntled customers share their experiences with thousands, if not millions of people, in a matter of seconds with a simple click of a button. In the past, customers who had a problem with a company would tell, on average, 20 of their friends, coworkers, and family members about it. Social networks, however, allow anyone anywhere to share their customer service complaints quickly and with people in every corner of the globe. The power and appeal of social networks is undeniable. Consider this: More than 800 million people are active users of Facebook, and each of them has an average of 130 friends. More than 350 million of those users access Facebook through mobile devices such as cell phones, which means they are in touch with their friends even while they’re on the go. What do those numbers mean to you and your organization? It means that, if one of your customers has a problem, and you don’t solve that problem quickly, that customer can— and probably will—blast you to hundreds, if not thousands, of friends. And their comments and complaints often remain on social network sites for years. Let me give you an example: When United Airlines broke a passenger’s guitar in 2009, that passenger put a posting about it on YouTube. It’s still there—and it has had almost 11 million hits. Another YouTube video, posted in 2006, involves a Comcast technician, who fell asleep on the customer’s couch while he was on hold for an hour with the company’s central office. That video has had almost 1.7 million hits. www.brilliantpublishing.com
Consumers of all ages are increasingly turning to social network sites before they make decisions on where to spend their money. My daughter Christina is 31 and lives in China. Before my wife Pat and I visit her, she logs onto various social network sites to check out hotels and restaurants for us. My friend, Vicki, is 62 and uses Google—which has 1 billion visitors each month—to be directed to sites, including Trip Advisor, that provide customer reviews on hotels before she finalizes her travel plans. Other popular sites are www. my3cents.com, and www.screwedbyforums.com. You can spend millions of dollars on advertising and marketing, but if you don’t solve your customers’ problems, you will suffer bad publicity that will cost you millions more in the loss of potential customers. No longer do you have the luxury of waiting a few days or a week to handle a customer’s complaint; you must do it within a matter of minutes. That means you must empower your frontline employees to do whatever it takes to satisfy your customers. If you don’t, your sales, along with your chances of survival, will plummet. November 2011 • Brilliant Results 15
FOReSIGHT BY: STEVE WOODBURN
Are You Men in the
Be accurate in all of the information you post. This is your online resume and it’s important your work experience, job titles and employment dates are all correct.
cosmetics industry are savvier with online networking than women, but would you believe the reverse is true in the fields of ranching and tobacco? Although those statements may seem counterintuitive, that’s exactly what the surprised data researchers discovered recently after analyzing the activities and networking ratios of LinkedIn’s 100 million members worldwide. These same members are 97 times more likely to have a college degree and 80% more likely to influence business decisions at their company. Does that sound like the kind of people you’d like to connect with? Since ancient times people have used networking as a way to move ahead in their business and personal lives. Launched in May 2003, LinkedIn is the 21st century’s way to stay connected and connect with people in your professional life whether you are looking for a job, doing research on people or companies or just want to have a safety net of contacts should you need to make changes in your career. If you Google LinkedIn you’ll find hundreds of articles on how to join, why it’s a good tool along with the features and benefits. In this brief article I will assume you are already a member and touch on the do’s and don’ts of using it.
What to do To look as professional as possible, complete your profile 100%. As you fill in the information it will tell you how complete your profile is and taking the time to fill out all the areas will give you the best results. Add a professional looking picture so people can see what you look like. Make it a recent picture and although not required, this will make you more personable and looks better than the blank space that will automatically populate if you don’t have one. The Summary is where you can highlight what makes you unique from the 100 million other members. Take some time and think of it as your 30-second
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elevator speech. This will be one of the first things people see and it needs to stand out and help them remember who you are and why they should care. Be accurate in all of the information you post. This is your online resume and it’s important your work experience, job titles and employment dates are all correct. To stand out, fill in those sections that most don’t: what books you are reading, a link to your blog if you write one, a link to you or your company’s website (if applicable) and recommendations you may get from colleagues and friends.
What Not To Do Don’t put a picture of you with friends or with a drink in hand, alcoholic or not. If you show up for an interview and you look drastically different than the picture it can create doubt about the rest of your profile. Don’t lie. As with any of the social media venues you never know who is looking at your profile and misinformation
of any kind will eventually be discovered and it could lead to consequences that won’t play out well. Don’t list any sort of personal information on your profile. Home addresses, social security numbers and year of birth could open you up to identity theft and there is no business reason to add them. Don’t spam your contacts with business offers or MLM schemes. Don’t ask to connect with others unless you have a valid business reason and don’t share your thoughts moment by moment. This isn’t Twitter or Facebook and your connections most likely don’t care that you are going to bed or attending a birthday party for your best friend. Remember, LinkedIn is a network for people to connect professionally. Keep your business and personal lives separate and remember the people on LinkedIn are typically more affluent, better educated with higher household incomes. Your profile is out there for the world to see, literally, so make sure what others see is a true reflection of your career and professional interests.
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travel BY: DR. PETER TARLOW
Tourism Trends Tourism, like almost
any consumer driven industry tends to have trends. Places that were in at a particular time are all of a sudden out, and places that were far from trendy have suddenly become hot items. Here are some of the trends that have helped some locations become “trendy” and other trends that have hurt other tourism locations. November is one of the busiest travel months in the American year, and although Thanksgiving travel is one based on family and friends, during the other months, the smart tourism professional seeks to be ahead of the trends in order to have brilliant results. There is no doubt that in the twenty-first century good security combined with good customer service is a winner. There are lots of ways to provide good tourism security and those places that have worked hard at providing the best security are now reaping the benefits. While the public wants to feel secure, it does not wish to be hassled. TSA’s ill-fated total body scanners were an example of what not to do. The machines were introduced poorly, used all too often by people lacking in customer service, and never really improved security.
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Educational tourism is a growing trend to watch. This trend is especially important in the “young senior” market. These are people who have newly retired and have the economic and physical capacity to travel, but want to do something more than merely relax. They are seeking to improve current skills or learn new ones or take short-term classes. A subset of this trend is composed of seniors who while visiting their children and grandchildren, want to be active during the day while their children are at work or their grandchildren are at school. Health and healthy eating are now in style. Restaurants from fast food to luxury have noted the continued trend toward healthy eating. Both tourists and locals want to enjoy the flavor of local foods, with the least number of additives possible. That means that menus have to be adjusted to seasonality. Furthermore, restaurant goers are demanding less salt, more natural seasonings and calorie specific menus. The trend to bundling (called package tours) has also returned. Due to irregular fuel costs and the need to be economical while on both business and pleasure trips, travelers seek ways to budget before they hit the road. Travelers tend to seek places of lodging that include breakfast, newspapers and free Internet service. Many mid to upscale motels are now offering “enhanced” happy
hours that can serve as a light supper, and some hotels and even visitors bureaus are seeking ways to include the cost of a tank of gasoline in the price of the stay. Buses are back. All sorts of new buses have been introduced especially between major metropolitan centers. The busy Washington DC to New York corridor is now filled with a whole host of new bus options offering first class service at a lot less than airline fees. Additionally the baby-boom generation, having traveled around the world, is now beginning to look at the bus-tour as a viable and desirable vacation option. Bus tours allow people to view the passing scenery, avoid the hassles of airports and not have to worry about baggage charges. More men and women are learning to mix of business with pleasure. The business traveler plus family is often now replacing the lonely business traveler. Business travelers are mixing business travel with post-business family vacations. The rise of the single parent family also means that these travelers are seeking bonded babysitting services and restaurants that off child friendly entertainment and restaurant menus. Good service and a smile never go out of business. The hotel industry this year proved to the traveling public that hospitality is still alive and kicking. While many hotels did not provide a lot of new gadgets they did improve customer service and offered “caring touches” such as cookies at check-in and more lenient checkout times. Airlines, however, never quite got this message and so the trend has been to find other alternatives from computerconferencing to rental cars as a way to avoid the hassles of air travel. The bottom line in tourism is that some trends come and go but great customer service always results in brilliant results!
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MARKETING BY: MICHAEL CROOKS
Real Life Lessons from a Fake Bakery
No Discounts At Doughby’s Bakery. My 15-year old
daughter is taking a Marketing class in high school. This week’s assignment is to come up with five promotions for their “business”. My daughter said, “The teacher said coupons and discounts are a great way to promote.” “WHAT????? Are you kidding me?!” I thought. But I said, “With all due respect to your teacher, and understanding that you need to do what you need to do to get the grade you want ... I disagree.” I then enrolled her in the Crooks Institute of Advanced Promotional Studies. First a little background. My daughter first had to develop a new business that would survive in our community based on a feasibility study. (And a Unique Selling Proposition and marketable difference lesson from me.) She chose a bakery that focuses on Scandinavian pastries, while offering the usual kinds of donuts, bread and cakes. No one else in town offers “exotic” pastries. The bakery’s name is Doughby’s. Donut holes are called Doughbies. She created a graphic of “Mrs. Doughby” with the body being a 3-layer wedding cake and other pastries are the other body parts. She also created a “back story” about traditional Scandinavian pastry and where the recipes came from that are now used by the Kristoffersen’s, who are descendents of the original Scandinavian bakers. Special offers will be called “Kristoffers”.
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The other part of her Unique Selling Proposition is that each month she will offer a baked good that will only be offered that month. Twice a month she’ll offer the opportunity to learn how to make the featured baked good. At the end of the month, the featured baked good will no longer be offered until, perhaps, the next year. However, anyone who took the class will be able to make it anytime they want. And yes, she will sell the “exotic” ingredients as well. So, if a featured baked good is a hit, there will be a demand for it the following year. The goal is to develop 12-featured goods that are only available 30 days a year. You either need to take the class or wait a year. No other bakery around offers classes. I asked my daughter, “If you’ve gone through all that trouble to carve out a Unique Selling Proposition and a solid marketable difference — why do you need to offer discounts right off the bat? Why do you want to give up profit and lower your margins?” My main point to her is this: If the objective is to build a loyal, money-spending client base then the emphasis MUST be on finding those who will pay full boat for the product/ service. And that means the focus must be on ensuring that the product/service/ value proposition is in balance.
One idea is based on Geo Caching which she is calling Geo Caking”. People obtain their first set of coordinates in the bakery. They follow the clues to the final spot where they grab up a token. They bring that in to the bakery and, because everyone should be a winner on some level, receive an imprinted promotional product- to be determined. In addition they will be entered into a drawing where one person will be selected to work with my daughter to create a Signature baked good named after the winner. The item will be on sale at the bakery for one month. If sales are good, it will be added to the menu permanently. The whole promotion is to highlight the “Pastry Adventure That Awaits You at Doughby’s.”
I told her that she’d just identified one of the biggest problems in promotion, marketing and advertising... people skimp on the thinking part.
Too often, a business cuts the price to make up for inferior service or an inferior product. Then, when the customer base dwindles because the price/value proposition is unacceptable, the business must have another price-cutting promotion to lure in new customers. Sad fact is, a lot of businesses and companies find it easier to cut the price than to enhance the value proposition. In my opinion, price-cutting, discounting and couponing to first time customers as well as special offers to “new customers only” is the easy way out. It’s what you do when you have no marketable difference… no unique selling proposition… or lack the will or ability to roll up your sleeves and do some heavy creative lifting.
Which brings up another point. My daughter said that “ thinking time” really isn’t allowed in class because it looks like you’re not doing anything. I told her that she’d just identified one of the biggest problems in promotion, marketing and adver tising... people skimp on the thinking par t.
Back to my daughter’s promotions…we discussed and developed three promotional ideas with the goal of creating loyal, money-spending customers based on the merits of her UPS.
In the Donut Hole Sculpture promotion, you sign up and are given 24 donut holes with which to create a sculpture. Sculptures will be on display in store and people will vote for their favorite with pennies. All monies go to a specific local charity. All entries will be featured on the Doughby website. Intent is to create goodwill and word of mouth by supporting and helping to promote a local charity as well as drive traffic to the website where people can learn more about the classes and monthly offerings and all that is uniquely Doughby’s Bakery. She has developed 3 other promotions that are also not based on discounts or coupons. She now has five solid promotions that will help her build a loyal, money-spending client base. And, she has built in components to capture data so she can more easily communicate with her clients. In addition to imprinted promotional items … inducements and prizes include her products and her classes … but no discounts and no freebies.
I admit, I sometimes forget that this isn’t real. She’s not really starting a bakery and she’s not really my client. I actually picked up the phone one day to check into permits when my daughter said, “Daddy, this is pretend.” I sheepishly replied, “I was making a pretend phone call.”
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exhibit BY: barry siskind
A Back-up Objective for the B to C Exhibitor The secret to exhibit success lies in your ability to focus all your resources on a single, achievable and measurable goal.
But there are situations
where focusing on one goal may mean lost opportunities, particularly when you are exhibiting at to
B to C (Business
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Typically exhibitors, who participate in shows that attract the end user, focus on selling products, setting appointments or writing orders. None of these are bad and for many companies provide an immediate method of gauging success. The opportunities that may be slipping through your fingers are with those attendees who are not ready to buy your product or commit to the appointment and need more time before placing an order. To address this challenge we need to go back to the beginning and look at your marketing plan. When you developed your plan to bring your products and services to the market, surely you weighted the pros and cons of each marketing tool. Some of these tools include; print, e-marketing, social media, direct mail, brochures, trade shows and events. In addition you had undoubtedly considered adding special events to your rostrum of activities. These might have included: open houses, seminars, newsletters and special discounts.
Now, the next step is to integrate all your marketing tools to support the events you are planning. For example if you are planning an open house you may be printing invitations and mailing them to a pre-qualified list. If you are offering a special discounted price you may be considering an e-mail blast. You can tie these marketing activities into your exhibit planning when you include as a secondary objective, attracting visitors to attend one of your other marketing events. For example if a visitor at your booth is not prepared to buy now and you have assessed that there may be long term potential, why not invite them to a tour of your facilities or an educational session? Your secondary objective could be as simple as building a database of interested people who will receive your newsletter. In order to realize this additional benefit of participating in a trade show you need to carefully plan your approach. Here are the steps you need to take. Plan a post show event within 20 – 30 days after the show. This way you can promote the events and they will stay fresh in your visitor’s mind. Promote the event at your booth. This could take the
from of a poster or sign-up sheet. Create a profile of the people who will get the biggest benefit of attending this event and train your booth staff on how to identify these people and qualify them. Develop a lead sheet, so that your staff can record the visitor’s information as well as additional bits of information that will help you target your post-show marketing. Ask for the commitment. If they have agreed to purchase your product, after the sale is completed invite them to a post-show event. If they are qualified but are reluctant to finalize the sale immediately, you can invite them to your post-show event. If you don’t ask, they won’t volunteer. Follow-up with these people immediately after the show to remind them of the upcoming event or the date of the release of your newsletter. When you look at your marketing plan as a holistic component of your business success and you move away from focusing on one show at a time, you will achieve better results. Studies have proven that when you add this secondary objective to your exhibit plans, your ultimate show related return on investment could grow as much as 50 – 60% and that’s well-worth the effort.
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PROMOTION BY: DAVE RIBBLE
Marketing, Advertising, Promotion, Public Relations and Social Media
Oxygen for the lifeblood of any Business “Approximately 2 million new businesses will be launched this year and by the fifth year more than 80 percent will belly up.” This was one of many articles easily found by simply going on line and asking for stats about businesses and how many of them fail every year. In particular, this quote was attached to something someone wrote back in 2004, a year that officially recorded just 5.5% unemployment in America, easily half or more of what it is today. The American Dream of owning one’s own business is still alive and well however, and I hope it will always be the desire of entrepreneurs of any age to want to strike out and put their individual stamp on a business they wish to run. Some will start their businesses because they are particularly good at creating something, like special cupcakes or wool throws. Others will offer special services, or typical services but with their own personal style that sets them apart from everyone else. And, to a person, every one of them, with few exceptions, will be underfunded by the time they reach year 3. Year 3, if not before, is when the new owner starts to hit the slumps, the ups and downs of cycles, the stiffness of competition coming in. The owner will, in typical fashion, start to tighten up on everything that is, in the owner’s mind, not critically important to the continued overall success, and survival, of the business, and the first thing that will go on the chopping block is Marketing. The irony of that is that without Marketing, without continually promoting the business to new prospective customers, the business will continue its downward spiral. It seems so logical to read my words and wonder, but it is something we see every day. America needs new businesses. Successful, thriving, wonderful success stories of entrepreneurship at its finest. It needs jobs, which lead to more jobs, which then provide 24 Brilliant Results
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needed tax revenues to pay for things we take for granted and demand of our governments. Everyone wins when a startup makes it past the fifth year of business and beyond. Instead of bootstrapping the whole enterprise from Day 1, what small businesses must do is set aside, from the very first day, 5% or 7% or whatever percentage of revenues or profits they can afford and devote those funds, no matter what, to on-going marketing, advertising, promotion, public relations and social media as it relates to the business. This must be regarded, frankly, as expenditures ahead of hiring more employees or buying a more expensive desk or moving to a more expensive location. There are exceptions, of course, but what we see is that the new owner gets ahead of him/herself when the business flow is working well. They jump the gun and start to believe that they are the exception. But, instead of treating marketing as the oxygen the business needs to breathe to survive and thrive, competition hits, higher costs show up, perhaps a glitch in product quality or a disgruntled customer causes setbacks and Bam! the Marketing, Advertising, Promotion, Public Relations and Social Media strategies seem to the owner as things he can skimp on, right at the time when these support mechanisms are more critically, crucially important than ever to the survival of the business. Strategies and tactics, using all these tools, must be put into place before Day 1 and they must be regarded as sacred, not to be altered down in priority, but UP if necessary. There are many ways to help a company do this on any budget. All we would like to see is that the budget is placed there in the first place and kept there through the tough times. It’s that important.
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November 2011 • Brilliant Results 25
Advice BY: Dr. BARTON GOLDSMITH
Before You Fight, Think About The Aftermath When most people get upset and experience a meltdown, they usually don’t think about the repercussions. They don’t stop to think, “What will happen to my relationship if I yell at my partner?” Yelling in anger is never good, and if there are children present, loud arguments can be traumatizing for them. If you choose to get openly angry with a coworker, it could be grounds for dismissal. Unfortunately, these thoughts usually come up only after the egregious deed has been done. We have to learn that, although anger is a natural impulse, it has to be controlled. If you let it get out of hand, chances are you will ruin a relationship of some kind and you won’t feel very good about yourself. Many people get hurt by an argument that they themselves have started. We know that children will act out to get attention because, to them, even negative attention is still attention. And yes, we supposed grown-ups do the same thing. You’d think that by now, we would have figured out that putting out negative energy is the best way to get it returned, so why don’t we try something else? If you look at the potential aftermath before you vent, it will give you some insight and, hopefully, the willpower to pull back and rethink before you go off on someone or break something. By thinking first, you could avoid having to clean up a big mess. A friend tells the story of once becoming so angry after recalling a long-forgotten issue that she picked up a jar of grape jelly and was about to throw it. Suddenly, she realized that she’d end up having to wipe the Welch’s from the wall and decided to throw a pillow instead. It worked, she avoided a sticky ending, and she was able to laugh at herself and dissipate the anger as well. Thinking first and finding an alternative to letting loose at something or someone is going to save you a ton of grief. Most of us know this, but in the heat of the moment, we sometimes forget. Our powerful brains are shut down by rage and righteousness, as the blood rushes to our heads when we have those strong emotions. Then, we act before thinking, and that’s when the regret starts to get recognized. If this is a habit you engage in, the thing to do is to start training yourself to go into problem-solving mode as soon as you feel any anger. Stop what you are doing, look at what is going on around you, and listen to your adult self before taking any action. Making this course correction could save your relationship and perhaps precious objects from being destroyed. You will also be giving yourself a great gift because holding on to anger or having it simmer just below the surface is no way to live. By thinking about the aftermath, you won’t go down a path of pain.
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