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Archive for the ‘Viral Marketing’ Category

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10 (+1) Tips to Maximizing Your Trade Show ROI, Part II

By | March 12, 2014

In my previous post about making the most of your tradeshow dollars, I discussed proper components of press releases, using paid search to attract online searchers, writing multiple blog posts, and hosting pre-show breakfasts to showcase industry knowledge. Today you’ll find 10 additional tips – plus a bonus tip – to help you maximize your tradeshow ROI.

#1: Find out who’s attending – If a list of attendees is available prior to the tradeshow, check to see if any members of the press will be in attendance. If a list isn’t available, a quick Google search may show you which media outlets are attending or writing about the show. Distribute your press release to that media list, as well as through PRNewswire, Businesswire, or PRWeb. (See my previous tradeshow post for what to include in your press release.)

#2: Mind the media – Create a press kit for journalists, editors or bloggers attending the tradeshow. Buck the traditional trend of a paper press kit and place everything on a convenient and easy-to-carry USB drive. Be sure to include your (brief) company overview, latest press releases, product data sheets, and company spokesperson contact information.

#3: Coordinate with your marketing team – Most booths will have some sort of tchotchke, from bubble gum and stress balls to branded ink pens and flash drives. Take heed, however: Don’t spend a lot of money on trinkets; your ideal prospects are looking for solutions rather than tchotchkes. If you’re giving away free products, be sure to let everyone know in the Advance Show Guides distributed to attendees to help drive more traffic to your booth. Also, work with your marketing team to determine appropriate presentations, slideshows and/or videos for display at your booth.

#4: Got moving equipment? – If you have a remote-controlled truck zooming around your booth, hopefully you’re at an auto or construction show. Otherwise, make sure that any moving gear at your booth enhances your products or services, not distracts. Moving equipment can be a definite draw to your booth; just make sure it makes sense.

#5: On the subject of video… – Any product demonstrations, customer testimonials, interviews, or visuals about new services offered that you can play on video loop at your tradeshow booth will help enhance your prospect’s experience. It is also likely to draw additional people to your booth.

#6: Have list, must send – If you’ve been collecting email addresses through a lead nurturing campaign, now is the time to share with your customer list that you’re attending the tradeshow or conference. Consider offering a discount to attend the show as an incentive for visiting your booth. Invite current and prospective customers to your booth for a demonstration of your products and services.

#7: To tweet or not to tweet, that is the question – Whether at a tradeshow or conference, many attendees are likely using Twitter to communicate with others and to share with their followers anything of importance. Whether you’re tweeting live from the exhibitor’s floor or inside a session, be sure to use the show’s designated #hashtag so other attendees can keep up with your posts. Twitter can be a great note-keeping tool to help jog your memory when it’s time for a blog post recap of the event. Best of all? If you keep up with chatter from the hashtag, you may find that a prospect is seeking information via Twitter. If you have the answer to that question, you may have found a new customer.

#8: More blogging – In my last blog post, I talked about how vital blogging is. Well, here’s another blog post idea for you: interview other tradeshow attendees, speakers, influencers, etc. This is a great way to show thought leadership on your website to prospective customers and others in your industry.

#9: Snap, snap, snap photos – Break up content on your blog with pictures from the event. Showcase your team greeting people at your booth and photos from within the sessions on your blog and all social feeds. On each of your social media channels, be sure to use the tradeshow or conference hashtag so that those searching will find your photos and other content.

#10: Goals = Great – Keep your staff engaged and focus on specific goals throughout the tradeshow: number of qualified leads, prospects, appointments with existing customers, etc. Send any potential leads to your sales team for follow-up, post-show, along with insightful notes as to why you deemed those worthwhile leads.

#11: Say “thank you” – After all leads are entered into your CRM, be sure to follow with a “thank you” email for stopping by your booth, and to reiterate any information on products/services that are of interest to them.

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Online Reputation Management: What Amy’s Baking Company's Online Disaster Proves

By | May 15, 2013

Warren Buffet said it best, “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” And unfortunately, 5 minutes on the Internet is even more damaging when negativity can go viral in a matter of seconds. Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro, a restaurant in Arizona, did not consider how its online reputation can seriously affect its offline reputation. When the company was featured on an episode of Kitchen Nightmares, Gordon Ramsey, the show’s host, stopped working with them because they were considered too difficult to work with. Publicizing their restaurant on a well-liked (and watched) television show obviously resulted in some negative feedback and comments online.

How do they respond? They take to Facebook in complete outrage and begin a war with commenters, resulting in one of the most damaging ways you can destroy your company image online by lashing out through social media.



Like you can guess, this soon caught the attention of the most popular online publications – Reddit and Buzzfeed published stories about these enraged bakery owners. It was the bakery’s response to the initial negative sentiment online that pushed their story viral. When the episode first aired, only 4 new reviews on Yelp were added, but in less than 24 hours of their Facebook meltdown, more than 800 reviews were posted on Yelp. Note the sarcasm of those with more than one star:



It doesn’t stop there. The company’s page on Google Places went from having only 12 mixed reviews to almost 300 mostly negative reviews. Conversations and poor recommendations on the bakery’s Facebook page started flooding in within seconds of each other. While the Facebook likes increased (pushing them from around 2,000 to over 50,000), the negative sentiment around the brand also increased dramatically. Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time this brand has taken negative online comments to the extreme; once the owner verbally attacked someone on Yelp who posted a negative review.

While you as a business owner or marketing/public relations professional know the importance of not reacting too quickly and how ridiculous these responses are, it’s important to mention how important customer service is vital offline and online. Your online reputation should be monitored closely, especially when 80% of global consumers research products online before buying in stores. We also know sometimes your online reputation is not entirely under your control. Sometimes a response is necessary, and the way you craft and deliver a response is instrumental in encouraging positive brand sentiment.

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Burger King’s Twitter Account Hacked: Social Media Implications?

By | February 18, 2013

Fathom Digital Marketing

Burger King’s Twitter account has been hacked and it’s causing quite a buzz in the social media world. Just a few minutes ago, the account was suspended after Burger King’s Twitter picture changed to a McDonald’s logo, and obscene drug and racial references were peppered into daily posts. Some may call this a social fail, but digital marketers know better – as the age old saying goes, “there’s no such thing as bad publicity”.

Image courtesy of Susan Law Cain /

Before being hacked, Burger King had over 89,000 Twitter followers, according to an ABC News report. Over the next few days, we fully expect to see the number of Burger King’s Twitter & Facebook followers spike to an all-time high, and for the company to capitalize on this social media blunder in a positive way.

Below is Google Trend’s interest report for the term “Burger King” over the past seven days – in two days, we’ll be editing this post to show you the true effect of today’s social media shenanigans on the brand’s visibility.

Social media management is about relationships & reputation – not all things are great 100% of the time. Brands get bad reviews. Customer service reps aren’t always friendly. Accounts sometimes get hacked.  The most important things to keep in mind when handling reputation issues are:

  1. Negative posts are sticky – be sure to have someone monitor your profiles as often as possible during a crisis situation, and respond to those sites that appear to be ranking well for your brand name. It’s important that your brand’s comments be among the others, so visitors see both sides of the story. Tools like Trackur, PeopleBrowser & Google Alerts make this job much easier.
  2. Honesty is the best policy – be transparent, handle issues head on and be sure to provide your company’s side of the story. Honesty is always the best policy.
  3. Call on your brand advocates – if you’re generally a good company with strong differentiators and a loyal customer base, don’t be afraid to encourage your brand advocates to speak up for you. Consumers are more likely to trust other consumers and their opinions. Whether you incentivize your brand advocates or simply ask for their help in battling a reputation issue, don’t forget to include them in your PR crisis management plan.

For more reputation management tips, check out this blog post: Top 11 Reputation Management Tips

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The Winners of the Social Media Super Bowl

By | February 4, 2013

Every year, people gather around to watch the Super Bowl with hopes that their team will take home the winning title. But when it comes to this game, it’s more than just football and a seemingly endless amount of game-time snacks. There’s the anticipation of the live halftime show and the singing of the national anthem. And over the years, there has been another reason to watch the Super Bowl – the commercials. According to a Harris Interactive study last year, 66% of women and 45% of men watch the big game as much for the ads as the action on the field. While watching Super Bowl commercials and discussing them at the water cooler the next day is not exactly a new trend, social media presents a new way to join the discussion in real time. Indeed, it played a pretty big role in yesterday’s game, especially for advertisers.

Twitter was the most popular social media channel among advertisers; it was used in 50% of the spots. Other social media channels took a back seat to Twitter: Facebook was only mentioned 4 times, and YouTube and Instagram were each mentioned once. Overall, social media factored in much more heavily than last year, when Facebook and Twitter were only mentioned 8 times out of 59 commercials.  So, which brands had the best use of social media? Here are our winners:

Most Facebook and Twitter Buzz

Winner: Budweiser Ad – The Clydesdales: “Brotherhood”

Why? The heart-warming commercial moved everyone so much that they turned to social media to discuss the ad. It quickly started trending on Twitter and Facebook reported “Clydesdale” and “Budweiser” as part of the top ten most-shared terms after 10:20 PM.

Best Twitter Hashtag

Winner: Doritos

Why? Both of its ads had the same hashtag that trended for a long period of time during the game. It was simple and easy to remember (#Doritos), unlike some other brands that seemed all over the place with their hashtags. Subway, for example, used two different hashtags, but its Twitter account focused on only promoting one. Go Daddy’s “#YourBigIdea” hashtag and commercial seemed random after the first off-putting commercial.

Best Overall

Winner: Oreo

Why? Its commercial was clever, and the brand easily differentiated itself using Instagram for social media. Instead of including a hashtag to follow at the end of the ad, Oreo gave pretty clear instructions on how consumers can participate on Instagram. Also, it wins this award for creating a great real-time Twitter campaign around the Super Bowl power outage. The timely tweet (pictured right) was retweeted 10,000 times within an hour.

If you haven’t seen all of the ads, check them out on Mashable. Comment below and let us know what other advertisers you think won the Social Media Super Bowl.

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What the Old Spice Guy Teaches Us About Measuring Viral Marketing

By | July 21, 2010

Hello Ladies.

OK, me typing it is not the same as the Old Spice Guy saying it, but those two words have worked their way into our vocabulary quickly.

A lot of us in the viral marketing world are struck with Old Spice Guy envy right now. And I don’t mean just over his abs.

Some are calling the campaign the most successful viral campaign ever. Why? Well in just a few short weeks the campaign can claim

  • Nearly 90,000 followers on Twitter, including a host of celebrities.
  • 100 million views and 100,000 subscribers on YouTube
  • 666,000 fans on Facebook

A great campaign? By the above measures, absolutely.

Then today, news breaks that Old Spice sales have dropped 7% since the campaign started and critics are out in force talking about how viral marketing doesn’t equate to sales.

Having worked with more than 100 clients over the last 4 years, we’ve learned what the first question, last and middle question should be when sitting down with a client:

What is the goal of this campaign?

Initially most companies will tell you that it’s all about revenue, they need to show an ROI. We love to hear that, and as an agency, we love to focus on that, but allow me to play devil’s advocate:

  • Sometimes driving ROI may mean messaging is inconsistent with your brand. If we say you sell “cheap laptops” we can sell a lot of laptops. But that phrase may make your skin crawl. It may drive qualified visitors via search, it may convert incredibly well from your ads, it may bring in hundreds or thousands of buyers via social media.  If your goal is to sell stuff, there will be some aspects of your brand you will have to let go.
  • Understand the value of keeping something cool out of the hands of competitors. Is some marketing manager at Dove or Dial or Lever getting screamed at right now for NOT coming up with the Old Spice Guy campaign? You bet. About a year ago we presented a status update on a viral marketing program. I went on and on about the site’s activity, membership growth and media attention. At the end, the VP of Marketing looked at me and said, “That’s all great, but the biggest value of this campaign is that our competitor DOESN’T have it.”
  • ROI isn’t always the sexy stuff. There have been times when a client has insisted that ROI is all that matters in a campaign. We do the research and identify where busy mom’s in Chicago gather, we determine their top health concerns, we put together a program to reach them. We build the projections demonstrating an ROI of 30% when we reach the top influencers with a sampling program. The client looks at the plan and says, “We were thinking more Twitter.” The fact is, the highest ROI campaigns may not use Twitter, Facebook or videos of monkeys.

Does this mean that ROI campaigns can’t be true to your brand and sexy? Of course not. But my best advice is to have clear goals in order before you start a campaign. If the Old Spice folks defined upfront that they wanted a campaign to increase the online buzz around Old Spice by 100x, gain thousands of media pickups, build a network of fans and advocates and reach a new audience with its product, while being absolutely hilarious and immensely entertaining, this program was an overwhelming success. If the goal was to increase sales by 10%, the program failed.  Having the goals defined upfront keeps all stakeholders on the same page and allows for a very clear call on the success of a campaign.

Now look back at me.

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