Saturday, January 28, 2006

Converting Customers into Evangelists!

I ’ve never been evangelical or so I thought.

But you may change your mind, too. Check out Ben McConnell’s and Jackie Huba’s “Church of the Customer” blog site .

They offer some great tips to creating customer evangelists:
◆Customer plus-delta : Continuously gather customer feedback.
◆Napsterize knowledge: Make it a point to share knowledge freely.
◆Build the buzz: Expertly build word-of-mouth networks .
◆Create community: Encourage communities of customers to meet and share.
◆Make bite-size chunks: Devise specialized, smaller offerings to get customers to bite .
◆Create a cause: Focus on making the world, or your industry, better.

The new nirvana of marketing we all should strive for—not just loyal customers, but customer evangelists.

Who are these evangelists and how do you create them? Look around. They’re everywhere. Examples are the customers of:
Virgin Atlantic Airways and Richard Branson
Black Berry users or
the woman who sent a check to Southwest Airlines after 9/11 because the airline needed the money more than her.

How do you transform your routine, everyday customers into evangelists?
Start by analytically asking yourself if your customers are atheists (people who simply don't believe in your products but use them out of habit), agnostics (those who would believe if you gave them a reason to) or the believers (a core group of righteous product users who deeply believe). Don’t be surprised if you have lots of atheists.

Seek out the "believers" and study them. See what makes them believers and then turn them loose. Empower and enable them. Create additional products and programs that recruit and attract more just like them.

This creative form of marketing isn't easy. But if you can crack the code, it's the most efficient and effective marketing effort you'll ever make.

Types of organizational DNA, plus a quiz!

By Gary Neilson and Bruce Pasternak

Is it Unhealthy?
Passive-aggressive: "Everyone agrees, but nothing changes."
Fits-and-starts: "Let 1,000 flowers bloom."
Outgrown: "The good old days meet a brave new world."
Overmanaged: "We're from corporate, and we're here to help."

Or is it Healthy?
Just-in-time: "Succeeding by the skin of our teeth."
Military precision: "Flying in formation."
Resilient: "As good as it gets."

What is your organization's type? Find out at

Terms you need to know to converse in Web 2.0 language

Glossary By C. David Gammel, CAE

...programs or services that allow you to subscribe to RSS feeds and track the updates to many sites through a single screen. A newsreader allows you to follow dozens of sites in the time it would take you to manually browse to just a handful. There is newsreader software for your desktop as well as numerous hosted services on the Web. Most are FREE!

...stands for Really Simple Syndication. It is a technical standard for providing the most recent headlines from a Web site as an XML document, which is then readable by other programs and services. RSS was popularized with blogging, since most weblogs provide an RSS feed of their entries so that others may easily track new updates without having to visit the site. Users track sites with RSS feeds subscribing to the feed with newsreader software. RSS is also used to provide feeds for podcasts.

...basically an audio weblog in which the content is provided as recorded audio files rather than text. The most common way of listening to podcasts is to download the audio files onto a personal MP3 player (such as the ubiquitous iPod) and listen to them on the go. Podcasting has often been described as do-it-yourself Internet radio shows except that listeners can download them whenever they wish rather than having to be tuned in at a particular moment in time.

Weblog (or blog)
...a Web site that displays a reverse chronological listing of short text entries added by a single or small group of authors. The writing is typically informal and from the personal perspective of the author. They are often more provocative than traditional publications and can have readerships ranging from single digits to tens of thousands.

...a Web site that can be edited by anyone. Wikis provide an easy way to rapidly develop a body of Web-based content without having to learn a complex content management system or develop specific procedures for authoring. The most prominent example is Wikipeida (, an online encyclopedia in which the entries all are collaboratively developed by self-organizing volunteers. A central body manages the infrastructure of the service but otherwise provides no central coordination for authoring and editing entries. Small groups that are working together on a common theme or idea also use wikis to collaboratively develop a Web site. Within companies, wikis can be used for project management and writing documentation.

Sites of interest:
BlogHer Conference
Self-organized conference for women bloggers.
Social bookmark service.

Social photo sharing services.

Pragmatic Programmers
Technical book publishers who pioneered the idea of issuing beta books during the authoring process.

Free, user-edited encyclopedia.

Marketing Outlook 2006

Adapted from Marketing News January 15, 2006

It will not be advertised, publicized, direct mailed, telemarketed or demonstrated at a trade show.

It will be podcasted, Web seminar-ed, provided its own satellite radio channel, blogged about, buzzed about and IMed around the world.

The choices are endless and they have one thing in common:
Somebody else is pulling the strings. The tipping point has been reached and your fate lies in customers’ hands as they take charge of the marketing and brand experience. And it’s no longer about the product or service, but about the experience the user has with your product or service. Your best bet appears to be one that’s hedged with a multipronged approach, according to many experts we consulted from various segments of the industry.

According to Scott Cone, Sr. VP of Lanham, MD-based Merkle, In., a direct marketing services company, "The big trend will be multichannel, where mail drives consumers to custom sites and email is timed to coincide with direct mail or supplement mail in a planned series of contacts."

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

How to Build a Better Blog, or "If you build it, they may come, but will they come back?"

how not to get fired
Originally uploaded by missyblankenship654.

What is a Blog? A great definition...

Here are some great FREE resources to add special features to your blog template: FREE banners my favorite FREE blog hosting resource is Blogger; there are others as well, though cool things to put on your blog, quizzes, etc. FREE hit counters burn your feed so others can subscribe great search engine for blogs, podcasts, etc. sometimes blogger has problems uploading pictures, so I have Flickr (Google-based) as an alternative; they also allow a great flash graphic of your pictures! add a Map feature so your readers can place themselves on the map; you'll be surprised at the international following you will build add a FREE search feature within your blog add FREE polls to your blog download your own RSS Reader and add this add-on feature to your blog so others can subscribe to your blog feeds great site meter with superior reports on blog hits FREE survey to add to your blog be able to search for other blogs and add tags to your own for better search results so others can find you add a Guest Book to your blog

HTML Help:
everything I know about HTML came from online help from others, i.e. self-taught HTML code definitions easy HTML code

Recommended blogs to help you with your own blog creation:

Other Cool Stuff: search for people, companies, etc. on the web; similar to Google Search but way better results Blogger has even added an easy way to blog from within MS Word...couldn't get any simpler!

Helpful Hints:

ALWAYS add your blog address to your signature online and in print, even add it to your business card, share it with others whenever you can; ask to trade links with other bloggers with which you want to be associated. Create word-of-mouth with your blog.

Link your company's website to your blog and vice versa. No, your blog is NOT a replacement for your website, but it could be. You can have multiple blogs, too, targeting your business, your personal life or family, your hobby, etc.

Become the expert in your field or hobby. Remember expertise is a perception. We tend to believe (and give greater value) to information we see in print or online. So build the perception!

Add pictures to break up text. Sometimes posting to your blog with just pictures can make a powerful statement.

Post as frequently as you can to keep content fresh and to generate interest.

Add links to websites you find, articles you like, etc. Add links to organizations to which you belong or recommend. Remember, your blog is YOU (or what you want the world to see as you)!

Happy Blogging!

P.S. I'm sure there's more FREE STUFF out there and more Great Ideas, so please share with me when you find them!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

AMA Marketing on a Shoestring

Marketing on a Shoestring...a subject near and dear to my heart. Why?

(1) I wear multiple hats in my current position, that of Sales and Marketing and
(2) I work for a not-for-profit where, despite commercial successes, marketing cannot be too glitzy for the sake of the donor development side of the organization and
(3) Every penny counts no matter where I work.

I attended the AMA Central Virginia Chapter's program tonight on this subject. Good attendance. Good presenters.

Although, I would challenge the marketers of Central Virginia to move into more out-of-the-box directions than traditional medium (i.e. TV, radio, newspaper), especially where shoestring budgets are concerned.

And, move into the world of blogging and podcasting, for instance, where developing word-of-mouth followings cannot be measured in normal metrics, where customer and brand loyalty can become unfathomable.

The Chapter President took a bold step in videotaping the program in the hopes of developing a podcast. And, I say "three cheers" for superior out-of-the-box thinking on his part!

As an AMA Member, you can search the AMA Website for lots of information and articles on Blogging. AMA is a little behind the iCurve with podcasting, though. I've learned everything I know about podcasting (a guilty pleasure) from Apple and iTunes.

And, check out my favorite business blogger at whom I know through DMAW. Be sure to download your RSS Reader (if you haven't already) and subscribe to her blog as well as my AMA Chapter's blog .

Downloading an RSS Reader and subscribing to my blog is as easy as seeing the links in the Right-Hand column. Happy Blogging!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Friends Photo Album 2006

Katie and Kayla

Missy and Katie at VA Beach

Jeff and Hee in New Zealand in January