Start a streak

What have you done every day, every week or every month for years?

For example, I’ve written a weekly column for the Flathead Beacon since 2006.

I don’t get a week off from the column if it’s Christmas or the Fourth of July. It just gets done.

Some find that a massive, if not surprising, achievement. Others see it as if it were a ball and chain.

Me? It’s just something I need to get done every week. Some weeks, it’s harder than others – but I still make sure it gets done – and yes, I’m better at getting that done regularly than I am at some other things because I’m accountable to the community who reads it.

The value of that accountability shouldn’t be discounted. It’s a powerful tool and motivator.

Think about it

Think about the consistency of the tasks *you* perform to grow your business. Would more consistency in how you podcast, blog, tweet, vlog, post to Facebook, send an email, make a call, drop a mailing or send a newsletter mean more/better business? Would adding a new item to the list make more of an impact?

Of the things you do regularly, which of them produce the best response? (if you don’t know – fix that)

Would it help if that work was done more often? Think about it.

How much trouble do you go to for your customers?

Most companies go to a little bit of trouble to create content for their customers. Some go to a lot. Some exert little or none.

Hubspot exerts more than most for a video on their unsubscribe page.

How hard are you working for your customers?

Hat tip to PRDaily for the find.

 

Do you encourage your fans?

Linkin Park clearly understands their fans.

Some bands (or their “record” companies) would complain to YouTube or Flickr if a fan posted concert footage or photos. They’d ask to have them removed.

Not these guys. They post links on their official site that point to Flickr and YouTube videos taken by fans.

But it doesn’t end there.

From the LinkinPark website: “Each ticket purchased for the 2011 North American tour comes with an audio download of that night’s show.”

What are you doing to encourage your fans to become even more devoted?

Golf Boys – The PGA’s First Boy Band. Not Kidding.

Unlike Farmers Insurance, the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) hasn’t really ever come off as an organization with a sense of humor, no matter how funny some of their members might be.

While golf is full of decades-old (if not centuries-old) tradition and is traditionally thought of as a game for the well-heeled, it’s really about spending time with your friends, even when you’re playing a course that would make a good cow pasture.

Friends who golf aren’t just mostly-white, stodgy old geezers in funny-looking polyester pants.

The boy band may not have this on their agenda, I have to ask: What have you done to reach out beyond your traditional market?

PS: Farmers Insurance is donating $1000 to charity for every 100,000 views of this video.

 

Are you wearing Old Spice this morning?

Old spice
Creative Commons License photo credit: blvesboy

There was lots of noise this week when those clever folks managing the Old Spice social media campaign started making dozens of videos for a couple of days.

Old Spice’s team responded to Twitter posts, to Facebook posts, blogs and more, whether the posts came from celebrities or not.

The quickly made videos were funny and appeared to gag YouTube for a bit (might’ve been a coincidence). At any rate, it was a clever campaign to get some buzz about the product.

The other shoe

But did anyone buy Old Spice as a result?

Remember, that’s presumably the goal of running an advertising campaign, regardless of the media used.

What concerns me about actions like this – even though I tell you to have fun in your marketing – is that when a global company like Proctor and Gamble uses social media like this, I’m guessing that someone, somewhere wants to see ROI.

If they don’t, then we’ll have a global corporation (and their ad agency, potentially) pronouncing that “social media doesnt work” to anyone who will listen.

Bottom line: They want to see Old Spice fly off the shelves.

Will P&G be able to tie increased sales (over what period) to this campaign and ONLY this campaign?

I just don’t know, but I doubt it.

Unlike the Will-It-Blend campaign, which demonstrated the toughness of Blendtec’s blenders (essential for the market they serve), this campaign only shows that P&G’s marketing firm is smart, clever and fast on their feet – and there’s nothing wrong with that.

However…It doesn’t prove they know how to sell deodorant, body wash etc.

Don’t fall into that trap, no matter how clever you are.

REQUIRE that your marketing campaigns return a trackable ROI, no matter what the media.

Update: This morning’s article in Fast Company (online, of course) discusses a little of the behind-the-scenes for these videos as well as addressing the question I discussed here today – translating all of this into sales:

One of the questions that keeps coming up is people saying, “Ok, this is great, but will it make me buy more Old Spice?” If you look at the comments that are publicly saying, “I’m going to go and try Old Spice after this, I’m going to wear more Old Spice,” the groundswell of people saying that they are going to consume more Old Spice, I don’t know whether that is true or not, if people are actually going to go to the pharmacy and buy Old Spice, but I bet a whole load of them are going to go into the aisle and take the top off an Old Spice and smell it.

Update: Mashable comes up with some hard numbers related to the videos…but no sales info.

I’m still following this. We’ll see if they have devised a means of bringing this home to the cash register.

Being unsociable is a poor choice for the SEC

Night Train
Creative Commons License photo credit: dickuhne

Yesterday’s heads up from Mashable about the Southeast Conference’s (SEC) proposed new media policy had the social media world (among others) buzzing in a hurry.

The bottom line? No social media usage will be allowed at SEC sporting events.

What exactly does this mean?

It means no Tweeting from the stadium to your buddy 1500 miles away just to annoy him (even more) about missing the game due to an out of town meeting.

It means no Posterous live blogging from your phone by email.

It means no bouncing, fuzzy YouTube video of your team’s band playing your favorite song (see below), no LSU dance team shots on Flickr ( not even to your daughter who is trying out next year) and absolutely, certainly no pics or video of the Texas Luvs on your Flickr page or photoblog when UT visits your SEC school.

We just talked about the SEC and their new network on ESPN last week, using them to illustrate a lesson for competitive strategy, so it’s interesting to compare that to this because they’re both about competition.

“Protecting the brand”

The spokesperson will talk about how they’re protecting their brand and that their TV network has exclusivity and so on.

And I can understand that. Really, I can. And I understand what happens if you don’t protect and defend your trademarks.

But it’s still a bad idea because it doesn’t build the brand. It doesn’t build fans. It doesn’t engage your fans.

Instead, it ticks them off.

Some would say that the SEC is protecting their members’ brand, but they are already well in control of that.

Don’t believe me? Just try putting a Gator, “‘Bama”, the LSU Tiger or a Razorback on anything for retail sale without an explicit license to do so.

Some would say that social media will cause TV coverage to “leak” viewers (and thus money due to ad buys, etc). While I disagree, it’s easy to see how the SEC would view that as diluting their brand if they approach this from the wrong angle.

Fact of the matter is, it *strengthens* their brand by being everywhere, increasing the ability of fans to become rabid fans by consuming even more information about their team. For rabid fans, its one more way to attempt to satisfy their need for info.

A reader over at Examiner.com hit the nail on the head, noting “This is another case of big business not “getting it”. This reminds me of when the sports venues freaked out about televising sports events because they thought no one would come to the stadiums any more.” (the rest of the comment can be found at the Examiner.com link).

529,000

If I’m SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, I don’t want to find 529 Google hits on “LSU band neck site:youtube.com“, as I found today.

I want to find 52900 or 529,000.

If I stumble across a YouTube video of rural village kids in Ghana calling the Hogs, I’m not furiously dialing the YouTube CEO to complain, instead I’m thrilled that our fans are so rabid that they are spreading the word – even in Africa. I might even have someone dig around and find similar things to show off to the press and fans.

If I’m the SEC commissioner, I want the entire South er no, I mean Nation planet to eat, drink and sleep my conference’s sports.

I want to walk into a street cafe in Paris and hear someone talking about last weekend’s Georgia-Florida game – with a French accent.

I want people clinging to SEC football and basketball long before they start clinging to guns or religion.

And as a little side benefit, I want the other conferences to go to sleep at night dreaming they could do what my conference does.

Jealousy

When we went over the story about the new SEC/ESPN network last week, it was clear that other conferences are ticked off. Even Notre Dame seems torqued, perhaps because they’ve enjoyed that level of exclusivity for years.

The rest of the gang? They wish they had the same “problem” that the SEC has.

Now imagine that you’re the Big12 or PAC-10 commissioner.

First thing you do the day that the SEC announces that wacked-out social media policy?

Fly in GaryVee, call a press conference and have Gary announce a new Big12 social media contest, website, program and what not. We’re gonna show the best ones at halftime and on tv so you can enjoy them as you munch on a big bag of Doritos. Maybe you even come up with a way to get the crowd fired up during the game with crowd-created videos – even those made earlier in the game.

Use your imagination. Remember our “go after their strength” discussion.

Think long term

Perhaps the biggest problem I have with this is the long-term damage that this could cause to SEC schools.

If I’m the guy looking for endowment money or selling season tickets, the last thing I want to hear about is a stadium cop tossing a fan out of a game because they are filming a jerky, not-exactly-1080p high-def video of the Razorback cheerleaders on their iPhone.

If you do that today, that fan will remember that for the rest of their lives.

It is entirely possible that their memory will likely be strongest when you call to ask for endowment/scholarship money, season ticket renewal or when their kid starts talking about going to your school.

A prime example: Former Arkansas athletic director Broyles made numerous and valuable contributions to the rise of Arkansas sports during his accomplished tenure.

Despite that, you don’t have to look far among Arkansas alumni to find someone who vividly remembers the student body being yanked around by Broyles during the last 30 years. Some still stew about it after 2 decades.

So when you find that SEC school’s potential booster and you ask them to help out your school, what kind of memory do you want them to have?

A Frank Broyles moment? A stadium cop moment? Probably not.

Engage and Enable

The SEC should be encouraging discussion and interaction about SEC sports.

They should be engaging new fans and enabling their fervor to grow, rather than finding a new way to tick off an entire generation of college students – the same folks that your successor will be looking at for high $ donors 20-30 years from now.

UPDATE: Seems the SEC has been a tad surprised by the substantial negative reaction to their proposed social media policy. As a result, they’ve relaxed things a bit (Twitter and the like are OK now), but video is still off the table.

@GaryVee: Don’t be average, Average Joe

Normally, I hold guest posts till the weekend, but folks, that wouldn’t be fair to you. This video is a gift that keeps on giving and you need to see it now. Enjoy.

Whether you run a specialty retailer in Billings, a publishing company in Winnipeg, an e-commerce store in Colorado Springs, a niche business services operation in San Francisco, or something else entirely, you simply have to absorb this.

(video has been removed from the net – sorry. If I find it, I will repost the link here)

There are numerous instructive moments there for everyone and they should be drop dead obvious. It might take more than one listen, but do it.

Average Joe

If you read the comments, you’ll see someone ask “What’s in this for the average Joe?”

Beyond @gapingvoid’s “Don’t be average” comment, if you can’t easily take away a dozen lessons from this video, you really need to decompress and watch it again and again until they sink in.

Gary’s one suggestion to anyone who would challenge him in the wine market: “Be better”, suggesting that if he saw Gary Vaynerchuk in his market, he’d go after him big time.

Her 4 life-changing minutes

Luck of summer rain
Creative Commons License photo credit: lepiaf.geo

You like to sing. In fact, you’ve been singing since you were 12.

You’re 47, but at first glance, you look a bit older.

You’ve never been kissed.

You live with your cat.

Kids on your street make fun of you.

She’s real

While it sounds like a stereotype that I made up, she’s real.

She has 4 minutes to change her life.

Luck? Jim Rohn describes it as the intersection of preparedness and opportunity.

If you had that opportunity in your business, are you ready to hit it out of the park?

Preparation and opportunity. The latter you can’t often control. The former is a different story.

If you had her heart, where would you be?

Be prepared.

Update: A little more about Susan Boyle, the woman featured in the video. She is the youngest of nine children in a coal-mining town, who spent much of her life caring for an aging mother. She was diagnosed with a learning disability as a youngster and was bullied in school. Nobody knew of her talent…except for the patrons of a pub where she sang karaoke, and they were all watching the night she performed on the show, waiting for the world to learn what she could do.

CPSC’s Vallese interview review re: CPSIA

Tonight I managed to get around to looking at the raw footage of CPSC spokesperson Vallese’s interview with KBAL (Baltimore) regarding the CPSIA.

The reporter did a nice job of trying to pin her down on specific issues. It was a shame that the interview ended without a discussion of component testing or homemade products for kids.

The whole interview was more or less about the impact on thrift stores.

A few quotes stuck out in the seven minute video.

“That law is not defined”

The reporter asked Vallese how thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army are supposed to deal with the CPSIA. Vallese replied that testing is not required by thrift stores and resellers, but that  “there is a lead level limit of 600ppm that has to be met”.

When pressed on how a thrift store is supposed to figure out what to do (in the face of that apparent contradiction), her comment was “that law is not defined”.

I felt it was too bad that the reporter didn’t ask her “How do you enforce a law that is not defined?”, but she did continue down a parallel trail, pressing the CPSC spokesperson for a usable strategy for thrift store businesses.

“a level of confidence”

At that point, Vallese indicated that the business owner needed to arrive at a “level of confidence” regarding the lead content of the products they are selling. The reporter clearly wasn’t satisfied with a partial reply and repeated the question a bit differently.

Vallese replied “they simply need to make a business decision at a level of confidence that the products that they are selling meet the law.”

When asked how they could determine if items met the law, the reporter pressed on, asking what Vallese would suggest to arrive at an acceptable “level of confidence”.

Vallese’s response offered three alternatives:

“they can look at it and make an informed decision”, “they can call the manufacturer”, or “they can test”.

Gee, that’s pretty helpful. I’m no lawyer, but I’m guessing that isn’t something I want in my arsenal when I go to court:

Well, I looked at it and made an informed decision. I tried to reach the manufacturer of this 9 year old item (who was in the Philippines) but they didn’t reply. I didn’t have $38,000 for a XRF scanner and I can’t afford to send every piece in my store to Jennifer, so Vallese’s ‘informed decision’ was the only option I had left. Have mercy on me, your honor!

“screening but not a deciding measure”

That opened up the discussion of testing (again, a shame that the issue of the cost of testing did not come up).

When the reporter asked about testing technology, Vallese indicated that the suggested screening technology is XRF.

When pressed about how the CPSC uses XRF, Vallese indicated: “We use XRF technology as a screening tool but not a deciding
measure.”

Wasn’t that useful? You can use it, but we don’t make decisions based on it.

“mommy bloggers spreading misinformation”

Oh yeah, there was also that “mommy bloggers spreading misinformation” comment.

<Captain Kirk voice>Must. Use. Restraint.</>

As I noted a few days ago: Motrin and many others have learned this lesson the hard way. They could have avoided all that simply by asking the nearest married man.

Husbands like myself already know the “DONT TICK OFF THE MOMS” rule. Not only has the CPSC torqued the so-called mommy bloggers AND the moms and others who own businesses affected by the CPSIA, but they’ve called them out by specifically insulting them.

I think there must be a tad too much lead in the paint in the CPSC offices. Maybe that’s why Vallese resigned.

If your business uses PPC ads, your world just changed. Again.

Google is starting to offer the ability to advertise inside YouTube. Rather than repeat the YouTube / AdWords connection story here, I suggest you take a look at Website Magazine’s coverage of the YouTube advertising story.

If you are already using pay-per-click advertising in your business, the time to get your strategy figured out for this new search/ad opportunity is now, not a year from now. The lead dog has a better view.