Tag : Marketingtwo

18 ways to use social for business

Social CRM chartJPEG

Jeremiah Owang has just published a solid report on how to use social techniques and technologies for sales, customer service, CRM, innovation. In other-words, all those critical functions that help a company build stronger relationships with customers.  I found his assessment of the market readiness of CRM use cases, based on market demand and tech maturity, to be especially insightful. Here’s the report.

A word of mouth story based on fear

I love spreading word of mouth about things that are remarkable. But last week a small restaurant tried shut me down in my efforts to do so.

Whenever I go to San Francisco I schedule my business calendar so that I can have breakfast at Boulette’s Larder in the Ferry Building. The food is extraordinary, the restaurant  design remarkable. So while waiting for my breakfast I took out my Droid to snap a couple of photos to share with you.  Because no words can quite capture the beauty of this small little space.

After the click, owner and renowned chef Amaryll Schwertner came over and asked me to stop taking photos immediately. It was against her policy.

“But why,” I asked. “I wrote a book about word of mouth and like to spread the word about great experiences, and photos are a great way to do that.”

“We’ve had a lot of problems with people taking photographs and stealing our ideas,” she explained. “Photographs of our restaurant have ended up in places without our permission. We need to control who takes photos.”

The exchange left me cold and wondering. Just what could anyone “steal” by taking a picture of a  little restaurant?  A restaurant’s assets are its food, its service, and its vibe. How can one steal that total experience in a one-dimensional photo?

And why be fearful of letting people take a picture and spread word of mouth, the most vital marketing for a restaurant. Sure, my photos aren’t professional but I doubt I would hurt the restaurant’s image.

My advice for all businesses and Boulette’s Larder is to let go of  fear, and let people who love you spread the love, especially with photos. The greater the love, the less likely that any negative remarks or pirate photos will ever hurt your reputation.

Here’s a photo of the restaurant taken from Boulette’s web page. I hope I don’t get reprimanded again. :)


Lessons learned

Here’s a little secret for every project summary or report: add a section about “lessons learned.”

  • What you learned
  • What you would do differently in future
  • What new processes or training needs to be put in place for the organization

This simple section is more valuable than the “results” section because it helps us to keep learning and sharing that learning with our colleagues.

A side benefit is that it can  calm down anxious bosses who think things weren’t “good enough.”  Acknowledging that you know what didn’t happen perfectly and why — and will  do differently in the future — diffuses tension and focuses on the positive nature of learning and improvement.

The more new the area,  like social media, the more important and valuable “lessons learned” is.

Sisters, Raise Your Hands


Sisters, raise your hands and stand up for how good you are.  Otherwise no one will notice you, especially in this age where “personal branding” is so powerful and, perhaps, necessary for career growth.

Clay Shirky, of New York University and author of my favorite social media book “Here Comes Everybody,” writes a thought provoking rant on his blog this week aptly titled “A Rant About Women.”

Shirky’s point is that talented women are often overlooked by less competent men because we women don’t know how to raise our hands and say how good we are. Without being assertive and advancing our own cause, we get overlooked. Way too many of the male “arrogant self-aggrandizing jerks” (Shirky’s words)  get the book contracts, the promotions, the funding, the keynote speaking slots.

However, even in an ideal future, self-promotion will be a skill that produces disproportionate rewards, and if skill at self-promotion remains disproportionately male, those rewards will as well. This isn’t because of oppression, it’s because of freedom.

When I speak at conferences I’m usually the only woman. When I look at my library of professional books I see almost all male authors. When I look at annual reports the faces are male. It’s not that women aren’t as competent, it’s just that we find it distasteful to be self-promoters. Yesterday I saw  tweets from a former male colleague: “My book’s still selling big.”  “I’m on another best seller list.” Oh puhleeze, I thought. But the fact is that he is on the best seller list even though the book is only so-so.

Sisters, it’s time to put ourselves out there more and not worry about failing publicly. It doesn’t hurt that much (believe me!) and you still make a giant step compared to the baby steps when you’re invisible. Let’s stop  worrying what people might say about us. (Chances are it will be good anyway.) We have to become much more comfortable with tooting our own horns ’cause no one else is going to do it. Raise your hand and say “I can do that.”

This is road to advancement.

If you’re ever worried or hesitant about taking a chance, reach out to me and I’ll give you a boost.  Or follow Valeria Maltoni, a brilliant marketer who is generous in helping other women and also recognizes that women need to raise their hands more often.

Let’s show the world that you can advance your career by standing up and stepping out — without a trace of the arrogant jerk.

Nonprofit marketing recipe: Hope + individual stories + progress


Hopefulness and individual stories of transformation and progress. Those are the ingredients for successful marketing, particularly for non-profits and humanitarian organizations, writes New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof  in the Outside magazine article  “How to Save the World and Influence People.”

The lessons,  derived from numerous social psychology studies as well as Kristof’s personal experiences in writing about global atrocities, are certainly compelling for NGOs. I  think these ingredients are also relevant and often overlooked for for-profit organizations.  Here’s what triggers action:

  • Hopefulness, aspirations, possibilities: we respond to stories of hope  and transformation, not stories and statistics of desperation.  Making people feel guilty or overwhelming them with statistics of despair rarely moves people to action — or donating money. Showing them what’s possible does. Look to profile heroes, not victims in marketing efforts. “All the psychological research shows that we are moved not by statistics but by fresh, wet tears, with a bit of hope glistening below,” says Kristof.
  • Individuals, not groups: people  want to help  individuals not causes.  We respond to stories about a person, not a group. “As we all know,” writes Kristof, “one death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic.”   Kristof shares the example of how early movements against apartheid focused in freeing political prisoners without much success. But when the organizers refocused on one individual — Free Mandela! –  it resonated far more widely. There was a face on the movement. Paul Slovic, psychology professor at University of Oregon, has found that our empathy wanes when the number of individuals profiled reaches just two.
  • Success makes people feel good: Knowing that our money is working makes us  feel good about giving. (And we do good things, say the social scientists, because it makes us feel good.)  To keep people engaged, show progress and share stories of triumph. (Making people feel good that their donations are working.) Research also shows that people want to save a high proportion of people, not just a large number of lives. One experiment found that people were far more willing to pay for a water treatment facility to save 4,500 lives in a refugee camp with 11,000 people than they were to save lives of 4,500 people with a camp of  250,000 people. Go figure.

For marketers, the lesson is clear: find stories about individuals overcoming adversity and succeeding in ways they never thought possible — and make sure your donors  feel fortunate to be a part in that person’s success. This, says Kristof and Professor Slovic, are the often overlooked ingredients to  to non-profit marketing success.

While the tragedy in Haiti today requires no marketing to nudge people to help. Six months or a year from now, aids organizations will have to work harder to raise money. Let us hope stories of individuals who rose from the rubble to build a new Haiti are plentiful.