Category Archives: General

General thoughts and info about marketing.

Who Benefits from Daily Deals Sites?

Groupon, Living Social, Eversave, Facebook, Amazon, these sites selling deeply discounted deals are everywhere.  And, views about their use and value are also across the board.  Especially, for business owners.

Personally, I love a deal.  It means I have more money to spend on something else or save it for later.  As a business owner, I’m not a fan.  Let’s be realistic, frequent discounts or deals can devalue your product or service.  Eventually, no one wants to pay full price and it becomes harder and harder to cover costs without reducing the quality of the service.

So, how did we get here?

When this new concept of pre-paying deeply discounted deals came out, the attraction for the consumer was that they “would never pay full price again”. Of course at the same time, the merchants were being told, “you’ll get new customers who will stick around and pay full price”.  Anyone else see the issue?

There are numerous success stories.  But, lately it seems there are far more complaints from businesses that find these deal seekers are harder to please and more critical on the social networks.  Which leads me to ask the question, are these deals worth it for businesses?

Geek Humor

I needed a humor break today. So, I am going to share a few techie/web thoughts that made me laugh.

IMPORTANT: This blog post may contain information that is confidential privileged or unsuitable for overly sensitive persons, no sense of humor or irrational beliefs. No animals were harmed in the creation of this blog post, although the mutt next door is living on borrowed time, let me tell you.

Marketer to coder: “You start coding. I’ll go find out what they want.”

“My software never has bugs. It just develops random features.”

“No trees were killed in the creation of this message. However, many electrons were terrible inconvenienced.”

Software isn’t released, it’s allowed to escape.

Technical support is how much a minute? Only one other industry charges per minute to talk to you, and at least you get some degree of pleasure out of that!

Three things are certain: Death, taxes, and lost data. Guess which has occurred…

“If things get any worse, I’ll have to ask you to stop helping me.”

“I do know everything, just not all at once. It’s a virtual memory problem.”

Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to use the Web and he won’t bother you for weeks.

Don’t make me use uppercase…

The truth is out there? Does anyone know the URL?

Have any more to add?

Social Media Community Building

What is social media community building? It’s where people come together because of a ‘bigger’ idea. They have a common association or feeling that’s related to a person, product, organization, or event.

For me, creating a community online for a business is really the same as throwing a party offline.  You invite people to an experience and hope to keep them entertained with clear expectations and outcomes.  That way they can choose to spend time where they feel they can make a difference.  The problems arise when companies let their true goal (making money) become the main focus in social media.

The line between marketing and selling in social media is where many people and organizations get stuck.  Many people are ok to be marketed to in social media.  It’s when they are blatently sold to, they leave.  So, where’s the line?  People aren’t going to interact with you via social media so you can throw sales messages at them.   And, they aren’t going to come together and form communities so you can promote your product and grow your business.  Once you recognize that, then you can start using social media in the same way that your customers are, and for the same reasons.

There are three steps to building a community: exposure, awareness, motivation.

1. Exposure-Size matters.

Having influential people in your audience is important.  Audience size and influence does matter. You need to have both engaged followers, and a large number of followers.  Otherwise, your message will just not be heard.

2. Awareness-big and loud still works.  Personalize.

There’s almost an unlimited amount of options and noise in social media.  So, to get through, big ads, viral campaigns, videos, and exposure still work to get attention – to a point. Eventually, being the center of attention at the party gets old.   That’s where personalization becomes critical.  Once you get someone’s attention, you need to talk to them. Ever heard your name over the top of the noise in a crowded party? That’s selective attention; utilize it in your marketing.

3. Motivation-why do people share?  To make them look good of course!  So, help make your audience look cool.

Nobody likes to talk to the guy at the party who only talks about himself. Don’t be that guy on social media.  Your goal should be to motivate people to share stories and experiences.  Preferably positive one’s about your brand.  Some ways to do that: be relevant-focus on topics that your community will find interesting; use tools to increase the reach of your community such as sharing links, calls to action, and networking tools; provide something of value such as how-to/instructional information, warnings and alerts, even humor.  Be original but familiar.

One online community that has been very successful is Nike’s Nike+ running community. It meets every need of the consumer: ease of logging workouts, running accountability and connecting with others who have running in common.   It also has a coolness factor that lends to the passion the runners have for the sport.

Whether you have a social media community already or are just starting out building one.  The main thing to keep in mind is to be a good host.  Make sure to devote enough time and energy into encouraging involvement, responding to member’s comments and questions and making sure enough solid content continues to be published to give members a reason to come back.

TwitterChat 101

This week I am hosting a twitter chat on the twittersphere on Thursday, May 20 at 5pm EST, 2pm PST.  I’ve actually been following #mrktchat for the last nine months since Milena Regos @milenaregos (Diamond Peak Resort, NV)  and Eric Hoffman @eric_hoffman (Park City Mountain, UT) got the ball rolling.  It has been very successful in bringing together people with similar Snowsports industry interests from across the US, overseas and Australia in a virtual roundtable atmosphere.  Just read below and then join us!

So what is a “TwitterChat”?
Picture an informal meeting with a facilitator and a topic.  Only difference is that this meeting only involves typing.  No phone calls, no videos, nothing complicated.  Just a good ‘ole use of words.  Like instant messenger or texting for a group.

The way the group finds each other is by the use of a hashtag (the number sign plus a keyword).  There are tens of thousands of groups out there.  You can find them here  The #mrktchat group I’ll host today focuses topics around travel and tourism marketing.  It is always available and open to anyone.  But, every Thursday people come together to discuss for an hour a specific topic or snowsports industry related issue.  Its a great way to connect and learn.  Its informal, but every week there’s been great topics and different facilitators.

What’s Needed?
Basically, two things.  First you need to join Twitter and have a username.  Second, you will need a computer and/or a cell phone to be able to connect, follow, and post.

There’s a few different ways to track and post to the chat.
1. You can either use a web page such as or
2. Use twitter related software you can download to your computer or iphone.  I use Tweetdeck and set up a column using the search function for #mrktchat.  Actually if you use Tweetdeck, all you have to do is click on a tweet with the hashtag #mrktchat and it will automatically create a column for you.

How It Works
Ok, so what will happen at 5pm EST today?
a) First, I will welcome everyone to the “tweetchat”.  Anyone that’s online and following the #mrktchat will usually introduce themselves to say they are there.  I will then ask some questions and look for responses.
b) Once the topic is introduced, people to start asking questions and making comments using the regular twitter rules (limited to 140 characters).  Normally we try to stick with a topic for 5-10 minutes then I will bring up another question/topic.  This goes on for the hour.  Other people are also welcome to bring up topics or other related items.

So, if it is a topic you want to say something about, do it.  Or, if you want to clarify anything or respond to a particular person, go for it.  Just a few things to remember:
1. Keep the #mrktchat tag in all conversations you want to be seen in that area.
2. If you are responding to a person in particular, then, make sure to include their twitter name (ie @srufo) AND the #mrktchat tag.  That way that person knows something’s been mentioned on twitter and can respond if needed.
3. To respond to a person without the entire group seeing it but you want to let the rest of the twittersphere see then just reply using their twitter handle (ie. @srufo).
4. To respond privately, direct message them.  But, don’t forget, you can only direct message people that follow you on Twitter.
5. Keep in mind your responses are public.  And, there is no “delete” button on the Internet.
6. Want to sell something?  Don’t do it here.  That’s better done somewhere else.
7. Have fun!

Have more questions?  Just let me know.

Laugh Wednesday-Real Headlines. Real Amusement.

Sometimes I think we all need to say, “what the hey?” and have a good laugh.  Unfortunately, the writers of the newspaper headlines I am going to provide below probably didn’t realize they were writing comedy at the time.  On a side note, writers are asked many times to squeeze headlines to fit space requirements, which in turn can completely change the tone of the headline and promise a pretty different story.  My comments follow each headline.  Feel free to leave your own too.

Can you try to figure out what they were really trying to say?

“Kids Make Nutritious Snacks”
(Good thing I am watching my diet)

“Marijuana Issue Sent to Joint Committee”
(No wonder why we can’t get anything done)

“Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers”
(That will teach them)

“Panda Mating Fails; Veterinarian Takes Over”
(Hope he was well paid!)

“Denver Chapter Will Have Senator for Breakfast”
(That’s one way to deal with the healthcare and aging issue)

“Cops Quiz Victim in Fatal Shooting”
(Can they contact Harry Houdini too?)

“Jail Releases Upset Judges”
(Maybe they were involved in the Marijuana Committee?)

“City Council to Discuss Nudity in Private”

“Litigant Has No Right to Lay Advisers in Chambers”
(I should think not!  Unless of course they are all agreeable)

“Deans Promise to Stop Drinking on Campus”
(I thought the guy doing a keg-stand at the last party looked a bit old)

“FBI Adds to Reward for Killing Suspects”
(That’s one way to fight crime)

“School Board Member Suspected of Honesty”
(Wouldn’t want that to happen, would we?)

“Steamed Pudding and Crap Dip”
(What is this?  A recipe from a Survivor Cook Book?)

“High School to Colege?  It Depends”
(Yes.  Yes. It would for you)

“Socks Lower in Tokyo”
(Well, maybe the stock market had something to do with that)