I’ve always felt very comfortable walking up to strangers and starting a conversation. Since I was very little, my CEO father took me to business meetings with him and forced me to walk up to his friends and say hello – most often, I had never met these people before. Sometimes he would go with me, but usually he would just point to someone, and say “now I want you to go walk up to Mr. so and so and introduce yourself. Shake his hand and make sure to say your full name.” Memories of this go back to when I was five or six. I remember being very nervous but it always ended well and made my dad happy, which was obviously why I kept doing it. I hold on to a number of memories like this one, being in professional settings with my dad when I was younger. Whenever my dad introduced me to someone, he always followed the introduction with the detail of where they were from, and what they did for a living – sometimes he would even remember something about the person’s kids or recent news in the person’s life. He has a notably exceptional ability to remember nearly everyone he’s met as well as a detail about them, and this was always well received by those he was introducing me to. Over the years, meeting what seems like thousands of people when I was with my dad meant that I had many opportunities to sit back and observe my dad interact with someone, or watch someone before I met them.Sometimes, my dad would tell me to watch someone from across the room, and “read” them. He would ask me later that day what I observed, and teach me things about that person’s personality from what I told him of their demeanor, body language, and sometimes attire. I’m sure my dad wonders where all of that training went when I started dating, somehow early on in my dating life, those skills didn’t transfer. What all of those experiences did do for me was make it feel natural to approach people, and be able to have a conversation with nearly anyone. It helped me to feel like everyone I met was a friend, with no pressure to accomplish anything during the conversation other than learn more about each other and have a good time. I learned the value of humor and letting your own personality come through. People know when someone isn’t being genuine, is trying to put on a façade or is only saying things to get what they want. This is my advice – be yourself, be interested in getting to know the person you’re talking to, not the reason they are at the meeting, conference, etc. Make your sales pitch or your business need second after getting to know the person, and you’ll find greater success. Not sure how to start a conversation, or what to say to keep it going? Here are some tips from Fast Company
Tags: people skills, networking
General | Marketing | Randomness
This post is not about sharks.
Watching various shows on Discovery's Shark Week made me think about why the Discovery Channel chose to focus on sharks for an entire week; does their Neilsen data suggest that more of their viewers watch "shark" based programming? How many new, loyal viewers do they gain each year after Shark Week?
There's no doubt it's an ingenious move; reach viewers who may not typically watch the Discovery Channel by highlighting a topic that invokes various emotions; fear, fascination or interest in gaining new knowledge.
According to Neilsen data, this year's Shark Week kicked off with over 3 million viewers watching the opening segment, Great White Invasion, taking the No. 3 spot for that evening's primetime cable lineup. The next show, Jaws Come Home, ranked No. 1 with another 3 million viewers in the 18-49 age group.
What is it about this type of programming that draws so many eyes? It's actually a spin on where the news media has been going for years; higlighting tragic events, extreme individuals or groups of people (think Sarah Palin or Jersey Shore), and generally bringing attention to the smallest but most unique/extreme people and events.
There is something innate in the human race that makes us curious and fascinated with events that are different from our "normal" lives. The Holocaust, terrorists, gangs, celebrities, politicians, and of course, Jaws.
If we do at all, how do marketers use this angle constructively? What examples have you seen of campaigns or products being sold via controversy or off-beat tactics?
Tags: marketing strategy
Exsilio Homepage | Marketing
Fast Company is one of my favorite publications; they expertly deliver information on three of my favorite topics: design, technology and leadership. Just over a year ago, Fast Co. started a series of interviews called 30 Second MBA, a video series on topics like leadership, technology, connectivity, team work, customer relationships, and more. They have interviewed professionals from all industries and careers: musicians, artists, marketers, vice presidents, CEO’s; from GE to indie marketing shops.
Fast Co. says this about 30 Second MBA, “The great lament of any reporter is what to do with the jewels that routinely get left on the cutting room floor after a really great interview. Enter the 30-Second MBA, an ongoing video “curriculum” of really good advice from the trenches, directly from people who are making business happen.”
These videos are just that—30 second interviews with thought leaders on a variety of topics as mentioned above. Relative to my interests as a [mainly] digital marketer, I’ve chosen three interviews that are immediately applicable to my projects at Exsilio, and to my peers on our marketing team—and hopefully to you: Professor: Gayle Weiswasser, Vice President of Social Media Communications, Discovery CommunicationsTopic: How to develop a social media strategyProfessor: Linda Boff, Global Director, Marketing Communications and Digital, GE Topic: How do you strengthen your brand without going overboard?Professor: Ernst Lieb, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USATopic: The Customer Is the Boss of YouIn all, the consistent theme in these “courses,” is that effective marketing means having real relationships with your customers by listening to them and putting money and resources in to learning more about them in order to earn their loyalty.
Tags: Marketing theory, marketing strategy, Relationship Marketing
Following up on Brian B's post, "Why Customers Dump Brands," this post elaborates on what Brian shared, that brands and marketers need to keep communications relevant and actionable. Not every brand, company or entity should be using social media.Three questions should be considered before joining the rest of the crowd:1. Do you have a long-term customer engagement plan?I've seen (and been able to correct) many instances of marketers using social media as just another advertising channel. Social media is not an advertising channel, it's an engagement channel. In this interview with Dan Zarrella, author of "The Social Media Marketing Book," Guy Kawasaki asks Dan some basic questions about engaging customers through social media.
Marketers are given a great opportunity through social media to engage their customers in a unique way that creates lasting relationships between customers and a brand; this is something that advertising cannot do. While tweets and Facebook posts may seem tedious and time consuming for the poster, fans and followers look forward to learning more about a brand and, maybe, benefit from a special offer or Twitter-only coupon. Customers are savvy, and they expect more from marketers than to use them for a click-through.2. Are you ready to have an actual conversation with your customers, one that ADDs value to their daily online lives?When a customer decides to follow or "fan" you, it's not a decision that's made lightly--they are agreeing to give you a portion of their time online, space on their wall or feed, and adding to your follower count. What are you giving them in return? As I stated above, followers expect more than to be advertised to. Make sure your content is relevant and engaging, your number of posts aren't overwhelming, and you're there to listen if you're asked a question. Many brands have done a great job (Virgin America and Zappos are good examples) of providing customers with an unexpected bonus when that customer asks a question or voices a concern. Free credits, free shipping upgrades, and ensuring the customer leaves the conversation with a positive outcome are all unique opportunities for higher levels of customer engagment which foster long-term brand loyalty. 3. Are you ready for your brand to be publicly discussed every day in an open forum, where information travels at light speed?A Re-tweet on Twitter, or a "share" on Facebook both take about five seconds for a user to complete, and all of a sudden, your tweet or post has just been amplified to another 500 potential or current customers. If the content was positive, than congratulations. If it was negative...you've got some work to do. In the latest example of this, the Red Cross did a great job of damage control when one of their employees, responsible for posting content on their social media sites, accidentally posted a personal tweet, talking about getting drunk on Dogfish Head beer. How the Red Cross responded will be looked back on for years as the right way to react to a situation like that. Not to mention, DogFish Head helped them along with their recovery. How would you handle a similar, or worse, situation? Are you prepared? What if a customer posts something negative on your wall or tags you in a tweet sharing their disappointment with a recent purchase or experience with your product? Hundreds, if not thousands, of people are waiting to see how you will react.Answering "no" to any of the above may be ground to re-consider your involvement in social media. Remember--social media is a unique relationship with your current and potential customers--take it seriously.
Tags: marketing strategy, Marketing theory, social media
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