I was aware of Harry's, of course. They were not far behind DSC in launching, and came out with a much different look.
Dani, who's in marketing over there, emailed me to say, "Hey, I notice you're a Dollar Shave Club member, would you try us? Oh, and by the way, I see you're into philanthropy. Check out our giving program."
Now that is targeted marketing. She knew I was a member of a competitor and she knew I had a history of passion for something the company does that's different from other companies.
She also asked if she could send me the product to try.
I have to say, this is the best five-blade razor I've ever used on my head (even though they suggest not using it on a head), and my wife loves the smell of the shave gel.
While their primary charity is in New York City and so not local at all to me, it's cool that they're giving. If they grow enough, it'd be awesome if they could ask customers to pick one.
Short answer: When I switch to the final blade they sent, I'm going to pause Dollar Shave Club and give Harry's a shot for a while.
Note One: If you want to give Harry's products a try, I've seen them for sale in Target, though they're more expensive there than from Harry's directly, which I suppose is what happens when you take the middleman out of the B2C experience. Two fewer people to be paid (distributor, retail store) means the customer pays less.
Note Two: I know a lot of you folks are safety razor people. I just am not, sorry. Tom Robbins wrote, "You're born, you die, and in between, there's maintenance." I'm not a maintenance guy. I don't want to actually have to learn how to shave again, because that's what that thing is.
Disclaimer: Product provided by company for purpose of review.
Six years ago, when I reviewed her previous book The Zen of Social Media Marketing, I wrote about how smart Shama Hyder is. So, when her team asked if I'd review her new book, momentum, I said absolutely.
momentum landed at my doorstep at a tumultuous time in my life, and I'm embarrassed to say I sat on it for a few months until I could find the focus.
I'm glad I found that focus, though. The book is absolutely worth a read if you're starting a business, in business, or need to rethink your social marketing strategy.
It's most important if you're not integrating your online and real-world marketing strategies.
Hyder details five principles: Agility, customer focus, integration, curation and cross-pollination. She also includes a bunch of tools and takeaways, and I'm not going to spoil those, or you won't need to read the book, which means you won't need to buy the book, which means she would have sent me a book to read for free and then I gave away the good stuff. Instead, I'll clue you in to my notes.
I will say, first, that the book is astoundingly simple to follow. Hyder includes real-world examples, and runs a narrative of a fictionalized sports drink company throughout the book, so you'll be able to see what the strategies she outlines look like in action, rather than having to figure out how the strategies apply to you.
I have two different note-taking strategies for books. One is to use a single notebook, which has the drawback that if I'm taking notes on multiple things concurrently, they get mixed. The other is to use Post-It Notes upside-down (so that the sticky bit is at the bottom), so that when the note is full I stick it to the last page I took a note on and the notes are right-side up. That has the drawback of a bunch of little pieces of paper, but more continuity.
I used the latter method for momentum. Here are some of the highlights from my notes. Bold items are my favorites.
• Targeting very specific individuals is now very easy.
• Marketing used to be an outward push; now it's an inward pull.
• It's easier than ever to analyze effectiveness and change strategy mid-campaign
• There's a ton of data now; use it to be agile. Track and adapt.
• "Agility in marketing leads directly to marketing momentum" (p. 20) — when the lights went out in the Super Bowl in 2013, Oreo took to Twitter for an unplanned campaign
• Nothing is sacred
• Identify your goals, make them clear and understand who is in charge of them
• Be specific about your targets
• Create overall strategies, then drill down to individual campaigns, and be willing to change those individual campaigns
• Be patient, track, change and automate
• All your online activities should be integrated
• People use social media to show themselves off, not to connect; that makes it easy to figure out how your target customers present themselves and you can then make that happen with your product
• Sometimes going viral is luck, but by making a campaign personal, you can get there predictably
• Use existing data to answer specific questions about your customers
• Create a customer persona with a detailed background — it will help you understand the customer better
• Survey, analyze, listen and test
• Conversations are better than monologues
• Connect with influencers among your customer groups
• Your customers should have a consistent brand experience whether they find you on Instagram, Twitter, a radio ad or a billboard
• Stop separating your digital and traditional marketing groups
• Find ways to integrate your digital and traditional marketing, such as posting radio and TV ads on YouTube and asking someone to like a Facebook page on your company's business cards
• "Information is not a substitute for knowledge." (p. 99)
• Outside content is important — don't only push your own content.
• Partner with your partners — if a store that sells your product is having a sale on other items, promote that sale and maybe people will pick up your product, too.
• Close the loop: Introduce your partners to each other
• Return on investment (ROI) is no longer about money coming in, it's about relationships being built
I hope you go pick up a copy of momentum, wherever you are in your business. Take the advice personally, and take it seriously. It's meant for everybody.
Disclosure: Book provided for the purpose of review.
When I was in high school, there were two factions with regard to Nike. In one, you might shoot someone or get shot for a pair of Air Jordans. In the other, you wouldn't touch a pair of Nikes and you wrote letters to headquarters about their overseas labor practices.
There wasn't much in between.
Once we got past that time, Nike got beyond their corporate reputation and focused on their branding. They had some pretty cool ads for a while, but then they did something I love: messaging.
Like in the Michael Jordan failure ad.
Jordan isn't exactly someone we associate with failure.
"Find your greatness" is a no-brainer with the Olympics. Olympic athletes are great, and one of my favorite things about the Olympics is the ability for me to watch sports I don't get to see often. Handball. Water polo. That kind of stuff.
Great athletes play those sports, and while they might be as athletic as Michael Jordan, they'll never reach his level of fame, wealth or just general ubiquity.
With that, though, is a series of ads featuring regular people finding their own greatness. Like an overweight 12-year-old from London, Ohio, trying to drop some pounds getting into jogging.
While I see a lot of athletes in my day-to-day life (pro athletes, people who run marathons and do triathlons for fun like it's their life), more than two-thirds of the people I see are like Nathan.
They're finding their own greatness.
Let's be clear, too, that this isn't just about sport, it's about life. Your greatness is within reach, you just have to find it.
I got off the softball diamond this morning to this text message from a Syracuse-area phone number I don't recognize:
Im starting new business managing estate sales. Where can I get a business cards?
Here are the things that bother me about this message.
Don't make an inquiry by text message unless you know it's the right way to ask. First, don't assume, unless we regularly text back and forth, that I know who you are. At least tell me who it is asking. Also note that texting is the least professional way to go, so unless we've explicitly had a conversation that included the phrase, "Text me if you ever need something business-related."
Be professional in your asking. The grammar in this text message is terrible. If you know me, you probably know I'm a grammar guy. And if you don't know that, assume it anyway. You're representing your business poorly, and I'm less likely to want to help you if I think you're going to half-ass things (because you've definitely initiated the conversation in a half-assed manner).
Don't assume I'm going to give you free advice. I give away a lot of good information that I have in my head. I do it willingly, and happily, and I think it's important. I assume your business model is not managing estate sales for free. So why assume I'm willing to give you free advice? An initial consultation with me will cost you $150, and if you hire me, that will be put toward your project cost, but I don't go around giving away good ideas for nothing.
Ask yourself if you really need to ask the question. If you were asking specifically about where I got my business cards, or if I knew any locally owned design-and-print shops I would recommend, that would be one thing. But where to get business cards in general? How lazy can you be? Use Google. Or the phone book. Why would I do your leg work for the simple stuff?
Where to get business cards
You want free advice on business cards? Here are some options. And now, whoever you are, you'll need to share my advice with everybody.
Locally owned. I would start by searching the Syracuse First business directory. Not only are all the businesses in the directory locally owned, they have specifically said, "I want to be recognized as a local business, and I support local businesses."
Also, check out Dock 2 Letterpress. They're a Rochester-area design firm with an honest-to-goodness moveable type press in their warehouse. They do some awesome stuff.
Free. Go to VistaPrint. They have a whole bunch of free templates. You pay shipping, and they put their advertising on the back (you can pay to get the advertising taken off).
Cookie cutter. Walk into your local Staples, Office Max, Kinko's or any other print shop. They'll walk you through putting together a business card and they'll print them for you.
Business card tips
A couple of things you should do.
• Proof your cards before they go to press. I've seen some really bad proofs, and I've had cards handed to me without phone numbers, with spelling mistakes, and without names, among other things. Big no-no.
• Make your business card stand out. Make it an unusual shape (but still make it easy to carry). Add a QR code, or a fun photo. Or print something funny on it so that I'll keep it in mind.
• Make it clear what you do. I have two primary business cards. One says "Community Manager, Gold's Gym." It lets you know I'm employed by a gym, and I'm their community manager. I have another that says "Internet Marketing Consultant." It lets you know that I consult with people and businesses on marketing, particularly in the online realm. It does not say "free advice for lazy business owners."
What is Brand You? In Morgan Spurlock's TED talk (above), there's one segment in which he goes around and asks people what their brand is. They primarily define their brands by their clothing and hair styles. He also asks the folks who market Ban deodorant how they describe their brand – and they couldn't, mostly because you put their product in your armpits to keep you from stinking (although Axe seems to have been able to define their brand just fine, thanks, even though they're essentially the same product).
So, what is Brand You? If you buy into the whole Fight Club "revolution" of you are not your job, you are not your clothes, you are not your possessions, how do you describe your brand?
Brand Josh is passionate, creative, energetic, hardworking and generally likeable. How do I know? I work hard at being those things. I have a fair bit of self-knowledge because I've worked on it, and I listen to the feedback of people around me.
Which brings me to Chris Brogan's recent post on Gary Vaynerchuk. (Now there's linkbait if I ever saw it: both of them in one sentence?) I've never had a face-to-face conversation with either of these gentlemen, but I think they're both really smart. And I think they're really smart because of what I see of them – the face of their personal brands.
Maybe 10 years ago we didn't think about our personalities as brands, but we most definitely do now. We may have always been selling an image – through our hairstyles, our clothes, our circles of friends, the music we listen(ed) to, the sports we play(ed) – but only in the past few years have we been able to market that image worldwide, and actually been able to make it pay off financially.
So what is Brand You? Are you what you do or what you look like? Are are you how you do? And what of other brands you represent? Can you be the face of a business brand and still have an individual Brand You? (For the record, as a community manager, I believe you can; I may be building a local gym's brand, but I'm definitely Brand Josh both inside and outside the gym's walls and website.)
You recognize that you need to be on social media. Your neighbor business to your left is bringing in new business after spending a year meeting locals on Twitter, then in real life, and the referrals just keep rolling in. The neighbor to your right is killing it with coupons they upload to their Facebook page and ask customers to print out. The folks across the street have had these Foursquare stickers in their windows for weeks and you see everyone who walks through their door whip out a mobile phone.
You haven't lost when it comes to social media, you're just not winning. You're behind, and you don't have the time, the inclination, or the knowledge (or some combination of those) to get going now. You'd like to bring someone in-house to be your community manager, but how do you find these people?
On the one hand, that person might already work for you. If you listen to your employees' conversations and you've heard words like "Twitter" and "location-based" sprinkled between the words you understand, you might have yourself a community manager.
On the other hand, talk to your customers. If you have customers who have been coming through your door for four or five years, you recognize them, you might make small talk, you might even know a lot about them. The one thing you can be sure of, though, is that these customers are loyal to your brand. They like you, your products, and/or your prices. Something about your business keeps those customers coming back. One of them might be the perfect brand ambassador for you.
I've recently taken a job as a community manager at the Gold's Gym franchise in Dewitt, New York. I've been a member there for five years; I really believe in what they do. I like the way they operate. I like the people. I'd already known many of the staff members and already recognized a lot of the gym members when I joined the staff. With the exception of the details (logging such-and-such in this book, using UPC A in Case 1 and UPC B in Case 2), I already had a good idea of how the gym operated.
In this case, I approached the gym; if someone who fit that description approached you, knowing you needed the social side and willing to do other things you needed, you'd likely have a hard time saying no. On the other hand, could you just reach out and ask someone? Try it. It might get you far.
I came across one of these notepads from the SUNY Oswego Metro Center (I snipped that image above; I figured you'd get the idea even if I didn't include all 20ish lines on the piece of paper). I love the Metro Center. It gives people the opportunity to take classes downtown. It opens its doors to groups like 40 Below. I even love these notepads: they're a good size, bigger than a shopping list, smaller than a journal. I even really like Amber Spain-Mosher, who handles the marketing for them.
But the Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn logos at the bottom caught my eye. Because in order to find them, we're supposed to search those sites. And that's fine – if you make yourself easy to find.
Facebook. Facebook has a really good search. In fact, as I was typing, it pre-filled the SUNY Oswego Metro Center page. Very good. The one problem is, take a look at the profile image they use – it's the statue in Clinton Square and The Post-Standard building, as taken from the front of the Atrium, which is the building that houses the Metro Center. There's no way to visually identify the Metro Center when you land on the Facebook page.
Twitter. Twitter has good content search. I ran two different searches and didn't find the SUNY Oswego Metro Center account. For the first search, I simply typed suny oswego metro center in the search box that runs in the right-hand column of a Twitter page. My only result was someone who checked into the Metro Center recently on Foursquare. Then I went to "Find People" and searched for suny oswego metro center (most people search lower case; so do I). I wound up with a list of 20 accounts, including CNN Weather and NASA's Stennis Center, but not SUNY Oswego Metro Center's account.
LinkedIn. You have to know how to search LinkedIn in order to be effective. It's actually fairly difficult. The search defaults to searching people, and it's an all-word search. When I searched for suny oswego metro center under people, I got six results – two were people who worked there (one as a graduate assistant), and the other four had gone to SUNY Oswego and had worked at places that included Metro Center in their name. Next, I tried to search under Companies, and received zero search results (they'd be combined under the SUNY Oswego umbrella).
There are a couple of ways to solve that. One is to list URLs. Unless 1,000 people like your page, that's unwieldy on Facebook (unless, of course, you were to buy MyBusinessNameOnFacebook.com and redirect it to your Facebook page), but then Facebook's search is actually good. My business cards don't list my Facebook URL, but they do list my company website, my blog, my Twitter and my LinkedIn.
Another way is to build a QR code (like the one on the left there). You can include a lot of information (about 1500 alphanumeric characters) in not very much space. As the smart phone market grows (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry, Palm, etc.), just about anybody is going to be able to read one of these – all they need is to download a free app and have an auto-focus camera. Most applications will give you a button to just add the information to your address book.
What challenges do you face when trying to market your online presence in an offline environment?