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Microsoft Helps adCenter Customers Get Help

Getting support for any product is often a painstaking and time consuming ordeal. There are parts of Microsoft that I have personally had such trouble with.

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Make trade events deliver in 2009 (Cece Lee)

Tradebooth
Drew’s Note:
  As I try to do every Friday, I’m pleased to bring you a guest post.  Meet another  thought leader who shares her insights via
the blogosphere. So without further ado
Cece Lee.  Again. Enjoy!

As companies prepare to reduce travel and marketing budgets, marketers will be seeking ways to get the most out of the physical events that they’re committed to in 2009. Physical events, such as product demonstrations, summits, conferences and trade shows, are an integral part of one’s lead generation efforts.

When you prepare to attend a conference or trade show in 2009, the goal is no longer to set-up your booth at a conference. It’s how do you create a PR strategy to fully take advantage of your time at that event?

Public relations is a cost-effective way to promote your participation at any conference or trade show. When married with your in-person presence, you can make the most of your participation in 2009.

Here are three ways to maximize your participation:

Research speaking opportunities at the conference
Speaking at a conference is a great way to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. While securing your exhibit space or sponsorship, ask about speaking opportunities – either as part of your participation or how to submit a topic for consideration.

In the case the conference has a speaker proposal process (a call for speakers or proposals), the key to securing a speaking opportunity depends on relevancy, timeliness and educational value of your proposal. Research key issues within your industry or consider inviting a customer to present with you at the conference. Also highlight the top three or five action items that attendees will learn from hearing your presentation.

After submitting the proposal for consideration, continue following up with the organizer to inquire about the status and get feedback about your proposal. Through these conversations, you may be able to amend your proposal accordingly or uncover additional opportunities that you were previously unaware of.

Unfortunately, organizers receive about 10 proposals for each speaking opportunity. While you proposal may not be accepted initially, don’t assume that concludes your efforts with the organizer.

Due to family emergencies, illness or urgent business meetings, speakers do cancel occasionally. Check in with the organizer about 1 month before the conference to inquire about cancellations. Or due to your conversations with the organizer, you may get a call the day before the conference to step in for a speaker!

Write and distribute a press release
An event based press release highlights the what, when and where of your participation. By posting the release on a free or paid newswire, you increase your online presence as a newswire can distribute your release to an average of 12 – 20 online websites.

Due to the distribution of the release, you also have to consider the search engine optimization impact of the release. Evaluate which keywords drive traffic to your website or are frequently search terms for your industry.

To increase the relevancy of your release in search engine searches, incorporate these 5-10 keywords in your press release. Furthermore, hyperlink key phrases to related pages on your website. Like keyword relevancy, search engines also look at the number of external links pointing to your website.

Besides posting the release on your website, the press release is also a great opportunity to connect with your customers or prospects. While they may not be able to attend in person, this provides an excellent way to stay top of mind when they are ready to purchase your solutions and services.

Connect with media and bloggers
While you’re inquiring about speaking opportunities, ask about previous or anticipated media attendees at the event. Since these reporters (I include bloggers as reporters) are taking time to attend the event, you know that they are interested in the event’s content.

In case the organizer doesn’t have a media list, then reach out to local media about the upcoming event or do a quick search on Alltop.com, a website that lists the top blogs on specific topics, to find a short list of bloggers writing on your industry.

Before contacting each reporter directly, first research what she has written on in the past. Does she look at products only or does she write trend pieces? She may have also included pointers on how to contact her such as likes and dislikes. By arming yourself with this information, you can send a targeted email introducing your company, why she would be interested in your company and invite her to meet at the conference.

While I don’t suggest attaching any press releases or photos, I do recommend including a link to a relevant press release or offer to provide photos to enhance the article visually.

Conclusion
I don’t believe that physical events will disappear as marketers reevaluate their budgets. Rather, it’s how can you do more with less. Public relations is an inexpensive way for you to get the most out of your event participation.

Cece Lee is the author of PR Meets Marketing blog and senior marketing communications manager with ON24. While not writing posts for her blog or working, Cece enjoy taking care of the newest addition to the family – Snowy, a white goffin. Note: The thoughts expressed in this posting are not representative of ON24 and are personal views of the author.

Every Friday is "grab the mic" day.  Want to grab the mic and be a guest blogger on Drew’s Marketing Minute?  Shoot me an e-mail.


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How dumb do you think your customers are?

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We give a lot of lip service to the idea of authenticity. 

But come on…do we really think hotels don’t want to wash our sheets and towels every day because they care about the environment?

I’d have a much higher opinion of the hotel if they said…if we can save a few hundred thousand dollars every year by not washing unused towels and sheets — we can keep your room rates down and pay our people better.

Tell the truth.  No one is fond of someone who talks to them like they’re a moron.

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Remove the irritant – Amazon attacks Wrap Rage

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We hear a lot of buzz about innovation.  Everyone is trying to create the next iPod. 

But sometimes, the most powerful way to reward current customers and gain new one is not by inventing something new…but instead, by removing an irritant.

Amazon announced on their home page yesterday (I think) that they’re waging war on Wrap Rage.  This is the frustration people experience when they try to open something they’ve bought that has been sealed as though it contained the key to Fort Knox. 

In a letter from Jeff Bezos, the company announces it’s multi-year initiative to create Frustration Free Packaging from Amazon.  (Read the announcement here.  Click on it once to enlarge enough to actually read.)

They go on to announce that they’ve partnered with Fisher-Price to unveil this initiative with the first results of their efforts.

Bloody brilliant.

In addition to waging war on Wrap Rage (who knew it had a name?), they’ve also created a place where customers can upload videos or photos of their own wrap frustrations.

Two big takeaways for all of us:

  1. Sometimes the most innovative thing you can do is eliminate something that’s a barrier or problem.
  2. When you create an easier, better, faster way — shout it to the world.

What is the biggest frustration your customers experience?  If you don’t know — ask them.  If you do know, why not remove it?

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Feel like a manic juggler?

Animation of 3 ball cascade , also known as a ...Image via WikipediaI don’t know about you but sometimes it can be a little overwhelming.  Okay…that’s a lie.  It can be incredibly overwhelming.

We’re all juggling as fast as we can and no matter how many balls we have in the air, there’s always another one being tossed into the rotation.

There’s a new project (or three) at work, a new book to read, 5,000 new blog posts in your RSS feed reader, six fresh social media tools to explore and 200+ e-mails.  Daily.

That doesn’t even take into account your family, friends and just carving out some down time.  Have a hobby?  Like to travel? Well, sleep’s optional, right?

Never before in my career have I seen a more turbulent time.  Turbulent is not necessarily a bad thing.  There’s just so much swirling around us, our customers and the work we do.  And it’s exciting.  Intoxicating.  And important to continuing to be relevant in our jobs.

So…how do you juggle it all? How do you stay sane AND productive?

Here’s my plan.  Help me spread the word that we’re looking for Sanity/Productivity tips.  Once we get a good collection here, I’ll create an free e-book that we can offer to others suffering from the same manic juggling that we are.

Come on…share a tip, idea or solution that works for you.

 

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