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Powerful Word of Mouth

Joe Bush wrote an amazing piece for the Path to Purchase Institute on the power of Word of Mouth Marketing (WOM).


“Gone are the days when ‘word of mouth’ was simply a free benefit to deserving brands.”  Bush reports that WOM marketing is now an increasing part of companies operational expense.

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association defines WOM as ‘any business action that earns a customer recommendation.’  Online, offline, promotions, in-store activations, etc. are all different campaigns designed to spark positive WOM.  These campaigns use brand ambassadors, but often times the ambassadors will work for product instead of money.


Bush writes about effective WOM marketing campaigns highlighting Nestle USA’s creation of hype.  The brand was participating in Walmart’s Ice Cream Social sampling event – Nestle wanted to create buzz before the event, and drive even bigger numbers to the sampling event.  Using a collaboration of 110 bloggers, Bush says, “the result was a 37% sales lift over the six weeks from Memorial Day to Fourth of July.”


Shopper marketing manager for Nestle, Andi Pratt, told Bush, “shoppers are more and more engaged in user-generated content, whether it be from people they know or people they don’t.  Those are heavily weighted in the decisions they are making every day.  It doesn’t feel as forced… Brands that are able to do social in a genuine way will start to stand out.”


Key Insight #1:

Genuine Brand Ambassadors = Sales Lift
Dell, Inc. knew genuine Brand Ambassadors were important, but they also know that training was just as important.  Dell currently uses more than 100 paid Brand Ambassadors across the country to promote, present Dell products, as well as manage its online presence.  In just a year Dell watched 135,549 people like them on Facebook and 388,827 follow them on Twitter. Dell and its marketing team knew that this program would only work if the brand ambassadors were the “right fit.”  Location, knowledge of town, connection to campus all played a major role.  Monthly brand messaging meetings kept ambassadors up to speed and focused on trackable goals.  Dell University brought the company to the local level – instead of hoping the students would go to them.


Key Insight #2:
Local Brand Ambassadors = Greater connection to customers = increase in sales.

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The Little Freshman from Titlewave on Vimeo.


Thank you Kelly May and Titlewave

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Key Strategies For Mobile Commerce

Mobile marketing has now expanded to routine holiday shopping. While many companies anticipated the use of remote access to sales by facilitating “Cyber Monday”, many retailers find a new phenomenon of “Scan and Scram” customers. Buyers today flock retailers for sales armed with the QR and barcode scanner programs. This technology allows purchasers to shop around before settling in the store. By scanning a product barcode, they can now view what other locations, brick and mortar or online, offer the same item- but possibly at a lower price. What does this mean for retailers?

1. Mobile sites are a must. As consumers can now price shop very quickly, mobile friendly viewing is required. Customers simply will not linger on a site waiting for it to load or reformatting content to find what they are looking for. There are plenty of other retailers who have designed fully functioning sites that display quickly and correctly to ease shopping.

2. Tech Savvy businesses who get ahead of the “Scan and Scram Customer”. Businesses such as Home Depot, Target, Sears and Nordstrom are now making stores Wi-Fi enabled and providing gadgets to employees who can price match or provide additional coupons in the heat of the moment. All in all, our buying environment is changing. Businesses who embrace this technology will continue to see sales, while others are left behind in the dust. The best part is, there are now companies who cater to social media and mobile marketing; companies no longer have to develop strategies on their own. By getting on the QR code and mobile marketing bandwagon, you can actually pull customers in first and beat the competition before the price match even begins!

To Read More About Mobile Commerce: Click Right Here


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Review of UnMarketing: Scott Stratten’s Guide to Stop Marketing. Start Engaging

Favorite marketing book right now? That would have to be UnMarketing by Scott Stratten.

In his webinar to give an overview of his book, Scott examines marketing in the world we know today and identifies some amazing takeaways.

The most important insight is that executives need to stop marketing and start engaging! Every interaction with the company, whether online through Facebook and Twitter, or offline with the front desk receptionist, MATTERS. Companies have to realize that in today’s world, consumer feedback is instant and people are not afraid to share their negative opinions. Did you know most people are more likely to tweet or share a negative interaction than a positive one? That means companies need to implement a staff wide initiative to make every interaction count. Every person in a company has the opportunity to be a marketer, so make sure to empower employees to represent the company well and with a unified message.

Scott also touches on customer retention. He asserts that first impressions are monumental. Therefore, the employee you may think has very little interaction with the client, i.e. receptionist, meeting scheduler, actually plays a huge role in setting the tone of the customer’s experience from the beginning. Scott even goes as far to say that receptionists should be renamed VP of First Impressions.

With that in mind, keeping customers happy is also pivotal. Happy customers equal referrals and continue to generate business. Scott mentions, “people spread awesome”, so as a company make sure to make your interaction with the customer out of this world at all times to guarantee return customers and referrals. These perspectives are so fundamental, easy to do and generate results! Scott is simply reminding us about good business ethics and treating people how we want to be treated to create an overall successful business environment. One of the best parts of his webinar and book is that all of these insights are creatively conveyed through real life examples and stories, thus making for a pretty easy read. Thanks again Scott for reminding us that companies are more than just one CMO and a marketing team; marketing is really a function of the whole company uniting together to provide an awesome customer service experience!

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The Four Essential Phases of Social Media Adoption

Tom Pick, very accurately details the steps in planning a company’s social media strategy, in the article linked to below. The way he creatively conveys social media through a story explains that social media is composed of multiple parts that need to be viewed as a whole, rather than compartmentalized. His steps include:

1.       Observation: When developing social media strategies, you must start by noticing the online environment. Who are you targeting? Where do these people interact online? What are they talking about and how can you get involved while making your company seen?

2.       Preparation: Rather than jumping into things, a plan should be constructed to facilitate the use of social media. Many employees are probably already using social media and directly or indirectly talking about your company. It is best to regulate these discussions by establishing the goals, limits and rules to the company’s social media approach. Additionally, guidelines and consequences should be conveyed so as to avoid costly social media mishaps.

3.       Participation: Time to get in the game! Participation in social media should encompass more than just blasting your consumers or other business with information. The goal is to engage people and get the conversation going. Make sure to always provide interesting, relevant content.

4.       Integration: Social media is much more than just PR and marketing. All departments in the company can use social media in one way or another. HR can get involved, recruiting and screening employees prior to hire. Customer service can address customer issues in real time while also promoting how well things are solved. Sales can generate leads while building credibility. And finally, one of the most important applications, Product Development can gather important feedback from those who truly matter to construct a better product or service.

Ensuring that all steps and departments are coordinated and working together to paint one social media picture will guarantee success.

Read the full article:


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Feedback: You May Not Always Like What You Hear

With any aspect of business, consumer or client feedback is essential to future improvement. It’s time to put the ego aside and ask the people what they truly think!

There are many ways to gather feedback, but the simplest is a basic survey that addresses key points you are trying to gauge. Surveys should be short and to the point. You do not want to overwhelm the respondent; otherwise, they will begin to just mark down answers rather than conveying their true beliefs. There are many survey programs available to create an email survey. A good free, basic option is Survey Money. Companies can use this website solution to create multiple choice, ratings, or even yes/no questions. Survey Monkey does offer further customization at a price if needed.

Some basic survey criteria to utilize includes:
• Suggestions for company improvement
• Overall campaign/product/service rating
• Rating of specific job/service/product attributes

Survey Monkey will track who has responded and let you browse responses while also providing percentages for each question. In analyzing the results you will be able to narrow the scope to zero in on the areas most needing improvement. Remember to actually listen to this feedback and implement changes; no company will ever be perfect but your client or consumer will truly be the best perspective to help along the path of perfection.

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Online Campaign Ratings- Nielsen Has Finally Provided a Solution

While online media continues to play an important role in the consumer advertising world, few businesses really know how to utilize all aspects or decide where to direct funds. Nielsen has taken the time to create numerous products to aid companies in the navigation of online campaigns. Recently released are Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings. Nielsen noticed the need for a consistent metric across media forms and decided to develop the solution. Out of Nielsen’s 3 facet approach to ad effectiveness, Reach, Reaction and Resonance, Online Campaign Ratings focus on Reach.  The system helps business more accurately determine who did their ad reach. Some of the biggest problems with online advertising measurement arise when companies find their ad does not always hit their targeted market and metrics available for online ads cannot be compared across media sources. How are you supposed to invest money in a marketing tactic if you do not even know it is hitting the right audience? Sure you can measure impressions, but impressions measure volume rather than the directness of the ad. On top of that, what if you cannot actually compare the effectiveness in using online sources versus print, which has been used for years?

These issues make it hard for businesses to invest in the new way of advertising. In fact, many big brands have been slow to transition due to all these objections. But, now is the time! Nielsen has broadened their horizons and teamed up with online retailers to facilitate a very smart transmission of information that will ultimately benefit the business in planning online advertising. The way this works- Nielsen assigns a tag to your ad. This tag records who views the ad. Retailers come into play by allowing the pass through of this tag on their sites too. Ultimately the information ends up at Nielsen who calibrates the findings with panels among other sources. Data providers, such as Facebook, also play a key role with the information they gather from users. Overall, Nielsen has created the pass through of extremely important information that could ultimately shape the way companies can compare and value online advertising.

To watch the webinar:


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Making or Breaking a National Network: Communication

Communication is all about transmitting meaningful information.  Brand Managers know that communication and messaging in advertising is critical.  As critical as this is to brands, it is just as critical for us to communicate effectively within our national network of ureps.  Every communication MUST be meaningful when calling to action such an influential and eclectic bunch.

To ensure quality communication not only goes out, but transmits back and to the masses, we recruit the most ambitious, brightest, and connected Brand Ambassadors to become ureps from business schools on college campuses all across the U.S. Once they become ureps, we offer on-going support on each campus to these influentials and core group of leaders by developing them through our college urep BA Intern Program. Our urep BA Intern Program predominantly consists of leaders within the Business School- Marketing, PR, Journalism, or Communication majors. We emphasize recruiting leadership from clubs, sororities, fraternities, and professional marketing and entrepreneurial groups on each campus.

The urep BA Internship Program in turn helps us to hand pick key Millennials – confident, chameleon-like, and connected college students that are looking for hands-on marketing and sales experience.  Our urep Manager and staff provide ongoing leadership development opportunities to keep our interns engaged with our company and active in their urep role.

Because our interns have large networks of talented friends and contacts, they can draw from them to provide an ongoing supply of manpower to execute any of our client’s brand building campaigns.  Through Brand Adoption’s proprietary tracking and reporting tools within the urep website portal, our ureps are able to share and convey meaningful and valuable insights about their interactions taking place within our national urep network.  Therefore, if we fail to communicate to our urep network, we fail to exchange valuable information.

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urep Network: The Power of One

Social Media and Word of Mouth drive adoption of so many things we use in life.  We successfully capture this magical and extraordinary power in our urep network.

Our ureps live online, and on average have 970 Facebook friends.  So now imagine when ONE urep shares a personal recommendation of a brand to his or her network of friends.  With just 10% of their friends relaying the message/post to their 300 Facebook friends, one urep can generate 30,000+ quality impressions.  This power can be harnessed through a single urep’s social network of his or her friends, family members, and co-workers.

With the lion’s share of ureps in our network currently enrolled in college, they naturally recommend or shoot down products and services to their network in the course of their day-to-day interactions.  Year after year, Nielsen consistently reports that 90% of potential American customers trust Word of Mouth from friends and family over all other forms of advertising.

Now, what happens if we multiply the number of a urep’s on a given college campus or key market by 10, 1000, 5,000 or even 10,000 that are on hundreds of college campuses across key cities in the U.S?

We start to visually see and wrap our arms around, not only the power of ONE urep, but the power of an entire network of ureps – now that’s Social Media with Legs!

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I Shout, You Shout, We All Shout For…Reports!?!?!

It is one thing to say how successful a campaign has been, but in this day and age, success is nothing without the proof to back it up. Every little detail of a campaign should be reportable and recallable at a moment’s notice. In order to set up your business for future reporting, steps should be taken throughout the campaign to gather the needed information. During our most recent national campaign, we felt it was important to receive reports on a weekly basis. Depending on information needs, your company may decide to have reports submitted daily or twice throughout the week.

Each week, our team leads were sent an email reminding them to submit reports by our established due date. It is essential to have a firm day and time that reports are due.  Reminders may feel redundant, but a quick weekly reminder email will ensure that all employees remember to submit things on time, which can make a world of difference.

We found three different weekly reports to be extremely important in gathering the information we may need down the road.

The three reports we focused on were:

1.       Weekly Feedback Report: This report required our leads to log what locations they sampled and how many samples were distributed. Additionally, we asked them to record consumer feedback regarding the product being sampled. This proved to not only be beneficial for our internal tracking of samples distributed, but also became very beneficial to the client. Our client was very happy to see what the consumers were saying out on the streets and took the feedback to heart when making some important product modifications.

2.       Expense Report: As we provided advanced expense money to our team leads, it was absolutely necessary to track what was being spent and the current outstanding balance due to or from the lead each week. Receipts are also absolutely necessary when reconciling expenses.

To be honest, this form of reporting evolved as a learning experience. We did have one lead that came up short at the end of a campaign once things were reconciled. We were able to follow our company expense policy and deduct the balance from their last payroll, but we did learn the lesson that all expenses should be tracked in real time.

3.       Time Sheets: Weekly submissions of hours allowed us to track each team and their use of resources. It is great to have team leads that plan their own schedules, but sometimes things do slide by. Each week we made sure the leads were taking full advantage of the hours available to them to schedule, without costing the company extra in over time.

The main point of all the reports we requested was to keep our eyes on all aspects of the campaign. When running a national campaign, you cannot possibly be at each market location every day. The best you can do is request that your leads stay in constant contact and report on a regular basis. Weekly reports can help the campaign stay focused and provide all information needed to compile campaign end reports or whatever else your client may desire. Reports serve as a benchmark for success. Overall, they are a very important tool for managers to determine what areas are doing well and what needs improvement, before it is too late.

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