Good Community is a Timeless Social Media Value

By Communications, Corporate Strategy, Marketing, Social Media, Uncategorized

We were at a client meeting last week presenting social media strategy, and Marijean was kind enough to mention my past history as founder of a company called Rowdy was known as a “social network” and was focused on NASCAR racing. We built a platform to blog, share photos, video, comments, and observations on racing. Facebook wasn’t out yet, so we had to build it ourselves.

We produced award-winning podcasts, video, and content on our own to get the conversation started, but our primary goal was to create a place where real fans could get to know each other and get closer to their favorite sport and those involved in it. Rowdy grew very quickly primarily because we gave the fans something they could not get on their own–a singular voice that was about the real sport, not corporate spin. Our tagline was “Rowdy: Tell It Like It Is” and that’s exactly what we did. It was truly cutting edge and and was one the best examples of online community available, regardless of the topic.

One of the participants at our meeting remembered the site and was truly complimentary. I think it enhanced our reputation and credibility just a little and I was flattered to have had a positive impact on a race fan through that effort.

Cool, you say. So what? That stuff is old hat now! The takeaway is that even though that site was shut down earlier this year (after a two-year stint as a property of The Sporting News), folks still remember the quality of the content and the friendships they had there. Many fans are still offline friends–one couple who met there are actually getting married! Fans remember fondly meeting IRL at the races after friending one another at Rowdy. It was a true bonding experience because it was real people, useful and engaging content and a friendly, open forum for sharing and celebrating a passion.

So…are you creating that environment for your customers? Are you providing an open, engaging resource full of good content, friendly people, and social connective tissue? Are you using the tools currently available to maximize connection and interaction? If not, why not? Quit acting like this doesn’t matter. It does.

Your Product IS Your Marketing; 3 Simple Ways to Enchant Your Customers

By Corporate Strategy, Marketing

I just finished reading a really great post on Gen Y Marketing by Patrick Evans I found at a site called YPulse. You can read it here, but the gist is this: “brands need to be clear about their offerings and find ways to entice consumers. After all, having a focused message and providing value, happiness, and good products are what matter most to Millennials.”

Um, DUH? Shouldn’t that be the premise behind ALL products, ALL the time, no matter the audience? Why do companies continue to try and find shortcuts? Why do they lie, obfuscate, cheat, sue, steal and hide rather than just do the one or two things they can actually control that will make the biggest difference in their long-term success?

What are those, you ask?

Make something really, really good. Strive to enchant your customer by exceeding their expectations in every area. Reward their loyalty and their trust with transparency and commitment. That’s it. If you do those simple things, none of the other crap will be necessary, and your customers will reward your with loyalty you cannot imagine. Apple and H&M have nailed it, says Evans. They understand that value and exceeded expectations are what works in a world where distractions abound and loyalty can be fleeting.

No, it’s not always easy. It takes commitment, focus on details, and courage to retain integrity when so many of your competitors don’t have the guts to stick it out and cave to the cheap, easy way to market. But if you want to still be around when these Millenials finally get some cash, you’d better starting planning for excellence. Because that’s what they expect.