As anyone can see, I have not kept up my blog. There are not enough hours in the day to do all that I want and need to do. So, my blog has gone by the wayside for now. Apologies.
Karma marketing is the powerful idea that by doing good within your target market, you will create a positive brand reputation and strong business results.
karma (kär-muh) : the totality of a person’s actions in any one of the successive states of that person’s existence, thought of as determining the fate of the next stage; good actions beget good fate; bad actions beget bad fate.
marketing (mär-ket-ting) : the act or process of selling or purchasing in a market; the process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service.
I have been using this term for quite a while as the foundation for effective brand management and marketing strategies, but this concept is more important today than ever before due to the adoption of social media.
As social media channels like Facebook, Youtube and Twitter have gone mainstream, marketers in all industries have incorporated social media marketing programs for brand marketing, new product introductions, public relations, customer acquisition and market intelligence. Many marketers have been disappointed in the lack of direct revenue generation and the difficulties they face in tracking results. I would argue that these disappointments and difficulties are the result of two things: 1) a lack of understanding the nature of social media; and 2) lack of understanding the concept of Karma Marketing.
The premise of social media marketing is to engage with your target market within the social circles where they frequent online. However, how you engage with them is even more important than where you engage with them. Consumers today are more inclined to seek products and services as they need them (pull marketing) and more resistant to responding to broadcast ads and banners (push marketing). Furthermore, within social media there is a strong etiquette of social ethics – blatant self-serving involvement is not tolerated. If social network users perceive that you are spamming promotional information within these networks, they will “flame” you and report you, thus tarnishing your brand reputation and defeating your marketing efforts.
The first step in utilizing Karma Marketing in social media is transparency. If you are active in social networks as a provider of products and services, be upfront and honest about that. Never, never, never try to hide that fact or pretend to be someone you’re not.
The second step is to honestly contribute to the online social community. Give away free information, resources, opinions and entertainment. Do it with your target market in mind, that it will appeal to them, but don’t do it in a quid pro quo fashion. If your attitude and execution is truly designed for the benefit of the community, trust that you will see the return in the long run.
If you apply the concept of Karma Marketing in social media, and throughout your customer and prospect relationships, it will ultimately be for your own benefit. Do this conciously, conscientiously and consistently and you will see many returns in brand awareness, brand reputation and finanical business results.
Web Host 4 Life Continues to Fail Me
Well, the incompetency and sheer indifference continues from Web Host 4 Life, uh, I mean Web Host 4 Death. Here is part 2 to my first Web Host 4 Life blog post. I have moved my personal blog (yes, this blog) to Go Daddy over the weekend and am in the process of moving my other sites over this week. As I write this post I was chatting with WH4D (Web Host 4 Death) since my Bible or Not site was down, again. Here is the chat, which took 30 minutes, you make the call about how bad this company is.
Hi, this is lawson. How may I help you ?
my site is down
i got a 502 error
now i get nothing
ok,let me check
still not loaded after several minutes
have updated the DNS record for your domain and it will take about 1 hour for DNS propagation
could you please kindly wait and check it later ?
why should it be ok for my site to go down?
I mean I have synchronized the DNS for your domain , I did not change anything
so how will that fix my site?
your domain did not point to correct IP
whi changed it?
who changed it?
hello? [no response after 5 minutes]
who changed my IP settings?
when I ping your domain name ,it points to 126.96.36.199 which should be your new server IP ,but your account has not been migrated to new platform
so you’re saying, you have not migrated my site, but you changed the IP address to point to the new server where it has not yet been migrated to. tight?
Seems yes. could you please double check it in one hour ?
no. IP address is not changed.
it should be under DNS propagation
sorry for the inconvenience.
Is there anything else I can do for you ?
Since you did not respond for a long time, I have other customers to attend to and will close the chat. If you have any further inquires , please feel free to contact us at any time,take care , bye.
End of Chat
So, I had issued a support ticket on Jan 6, nearly 8 weeks ago, and they don’t care. I hope to move everything else off by the end of this week.
A Marketing Case Study in Customer Relationship Management
I recently went skiing in Killington, VT and stayed at the Killington Grand which I have considered to be the best ski resort in the east. This time the Grand had the opportunity to demonstrate what makes them truly the best. A core tenant of the Killington Grand’s marketing strategy is great customer service. While I typically enjoy being treated very well when I stay there, something not so good happened this time – they lost my skis on the last day of my stay there.
The character of a person, and likewise a business, is revealed in times of negative circumstances and stress. In this instance a guest with similar skis checked out, taking my skis thinking they were his. Here is what The Grand did.
First they recognized that I needed to be on the mountain and not at their front desk. So they hooked me up with demo skis from the on-site ski shop. We agreed that I’d come back at the end of the day to give them some time to figure out what happened. From the kid at the ski check, to the front desk staff, to the manager Claire, there was an immediate sense of empathy and recognition that it was their fault and they were committed to make it right.
So I skiied the day on a nice pair of Nordica Nitrous Hot Rod skis and had a great time. These handled the mountain superbly doing both goofy stuff and screaming down the black diamonds at full speed.
At the end of the day The Grand had not located my skis but thought they were on their way to Boston. I was quite disappointed since I was planning to ski Camelback in the Poconos the following week, which I of course told them. Even though they hadn’t found my skis, they had a plan: they would continue trying to track down my skis, make sure I had good skis at Camelback, and if they couldn’t find my skis, they’d buy me a new pair.
The following Tuesday I showed up at Camelback Mountain in Tannersville, PA in the Pocono Mountains. At guest services I told them my name and they knew who I was and that I was coming. I was immediately given a voucher for high-perfomance rentals. Hmmm…these were not demos. I was then directed to the rental manager, who knew who I was, and she called down Charlie the VP of Base Operations, the guy who essentially runs the place. Charlie also was familar with my situation and had made the arrangments for me with The Grand. When I told him I wanted demos he walked me over to the on-site ski shop, called the owner of the shop, and wouldn’t leave until I had been set up. I was treated like a VIP although I was just an ordinary guy wanting to have some fun in the snow. All Charlie cared about was to get me on the mountain with great equipment as quickly as possible (it was snowing that day, it doesn’t get any better). So I demoed the Volkl AC 30 skis for a few hours then swapped them out for Salomon Tornadoes later in the day. Both were excellent, I liked the Salomon’s better, and the demo rentals were fully paid for by the Killington Grand.
It’s a week later and The Grand could not find my skis so they sent me a pair of Nodica Nitrous Hot Rod skis, saweet! Among the Nordica, Volkl and Salomon skis I liked the Nordica the best so I’m feeling pretty good about this. The skis they sent me weren’t new though, they were 2009 demos, still a very good ski but a bit beat up from rental/demo use.
So did The Grand stand behind their brand and marketing strategy of great guest services? I believe so. They treated me very well in light of the problem, and they did make good on their commitment to replace my skis if they could not find them. And the skis they sent me are excellent performance skis. The only downside is that they are demos near the end of their rental life, so the cost to The Grand was likely negligible and the condition of the skis isn’t the best.
So, while I do feel good about how the situation was handled, I could feel better. I will definitely stay at The Grand in the future, but I have requested some free nights and lifts tickets to give them the opportunity to truly take guest services to the highest level.
So, for the empathy, communications and the replacement skis I give The Grand top marks and would easily give them a testimonial. However, by giving me demo skis that were near the end of their life they do not get the highest marks I could have given them. If they recognize this and come back with some complimentary rooms or lift tickets for my next stay there (and yes, I will be going back), that would convince me that The Grand is hands down the best ski resort east of the Mississippi and I’d be a faithful brand advocate. I’ll keep you posted.
Stay away from Webhost 4 Life at all costs!
I am usually an amiable guy and don’t like to say bad things about people or companies, but I have my limits. Last fall I decided to move to a new hosting provider because I had fewer and less demanding websites and wanted to scale back on cost accordingly. I did a little research and and found Webhost 4 Life and thought I’d give them a shot since they claimed fast and reliable service or your money back. I now refer to them as Webhost 4 Death and am in the process fo finding a new provider. I am not alone – here is an article on CNET about how Webhost 4 Life sucks.
One of my hobby sites is Bible or Not, a site where I put up famous quotes that could be from the Bible, or not. I love playing with words and phrases and am particularly interested in the origins of such. Here is a summary of the site’s performance, and mind you, it’s a simple wordpress blog with less than 100 pages, limited images and no flash or video.
BTW, the site is currently down and I am on hold with tech support. I’ve been getting 500 internal server errors and now web pages will not load, and I lost a post in the middle of writing it. In chatting with tech support I got the same response I’ve gotten for the last 2 months: “it’s working fine on my end”. Their trouble shooting technique is to load the home page, and if it load for them, it sucks for me.
So, you tell me if this perfomance is good as they claim:
According to my Google Webmasters account:
On average, pages in your site take 13.2 seconds to load (updated on Feb 16, 2010). This is slower than 96% of sites.
According to Webpagetest: http://www.webpagetest.org/result/100218_58QW/
Load Time First Byte Start Render
First View 9.151s 5.404s 7.458s
Repeat View 8.680s 5.383s 6.486s
So I sent this info along to support my dozen earlier support requests. Their answer, to paraphrase was “works on our end, issue resolved.” Sucks for me, eh?
I am leaving Web Host 4 Death, any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. And my advice is to stay away from Webhost 4 Life at all costs.
I’ve been playing around with some basic social media tools and thought I’d share my thoughts. Recently I’ve been playing with Twollow, Hootsuite and Social Oomph and will make a post on each, starting with this one.
Twollow – A Twitter Auto-follow Tool
Twollow is a tool designed to help you build a following on Twitter. The principle of Twollow is to “auto follow” Twitter users through selective keyword matching. The manual way of building a Twitter following is to post tweets regularly, search on topics relevant to your interests, follow those whom you deem worthy, retweet posts you deem worthy and hope that some of those whom you’ve followed will follow you back. This is the beginning of creating your network, and at the end of the day it comes down to the value you are adding to that network. The more value you add, the more likely will you gain followers, the more likely you will be networked to those who can help you, the greater your ability to influence the conversations.
The way Twollow works is 1) you select a set of keywords relevant to your interetsts; 2) Twollow does an ongoing automated search on those keywords within Twitter posts; 3) Twollow then auto-follows users that mention one of your keywords in their tweets; 4) you can auto-unfollow those who don’t reciprocate to your follows.
Twollow provides very basic stats on follows and the keywords last followed. Not sophisticated, very basic, no bells or whistles. It’s a very simple Twitter auto-follow tool, and that’s about it.
Twollow is a good tool to get the networking process started, I reiterate “started”. Like any other type of media, if you’re pushing trash, people smell it out and get disinterested very fast. Focus on adding value and the principal of karma – provide value to others and it will return to you. You should be monitoring those whom you follow and cull your list periodically, and know that other users are doing the same.
There are much more advanced techniques to building a Twitter following and extending your personal or professional network, but there is one principal that ALWAYS holds true: give and it shall be given to you.
If you have a blog and want to get into Technorati, there are a few simple steps to take. The folks at Webupon have a good article here, or you can just go to Technorati and register. They also have a blog claiming FAQ which is helpful.
Once you register and create your profile you can “claim your blog”. During the process you will receive an email point you to your account, which will include a claim section providing you with a claim code (mine is BNX3GMCY2KDK). Simply publish a post on your blog that includes the claim code, return to your Technorati account, and verify your claim token.
Voila, you are then registered and have a valid claim for your blog on Technorati.
I am now back on Google and ready to start using my blog to document and share my thoughts on digital marketing, ecommerce, search marketing, technology, etc.
I am happy to report that Google is beginning to crawl my site and has indexed a few pages. Not the Any Old Green Shirt page yet though. It turns out that when I changed my WordPress template the security settings got reset to keep search engines out – yikes! I went through all my settings, added an auto-xml-sitemaps plugin, resubmitted in Webmaster tools, yada yada yada all the normal things. Now I just need to get some inbound links and everything will be just fine.
I’ve been in San Francisco this week and nearly forgot why this is such a cool city. Back home it was 15 degress so I’m enjoying the warm weather while spending time in business meetings. So, cable cars, great food, beautiful sites while planning technology-based marketing strategies for ecommerce is more than fun. Wish you were here (you know who I mean ).
A cable car going by the Intercontinental Mark Hopkins Hotel. A great room and a great spot on Knob Hill in San Francisco.