Sabtu, 25 Agustus 2007

Blog Marketing Reviewed by Bloomberg

Blog Marketing Reviewed by Bloomberg
December 27, 2005 @ 9:39 am · Filed under Reviews & Testimonials
Bloomberg.com issues an generally positive review of Blog Marketing.
Blog Marketing is apparently good at laying out the nuts and bolts of what blogs are, why to blog and what strategies to use. It also moralizes a bit much, has too many typos and doesn’t mention enough products specifically.
Thanks to Joan Oleck for the honest review. It’s always hard to see a year of your life pulled open for the world to see, and the issues sounded honestly, but I can honestly say I’m glad she did. Obviusly I’ll be working harder on subsequent books to deal with these issues in my writing style.
Here’s a quick excerpt of the review:
Blogs also have spawned many tools that make blogging more efficient, Wright tells us. Software in the Really Simple Syndication format sends to e-mail inboxes “feeds'’ that alert bloggers when other bloggers have mentioned them.
Technorati provides a blog search engine. Typepad or Movable Pad software make starting a blog feasible for everyone from your nerdy cousin to General Motors Corp. Vice Chairman Bob Lutz, whose Fastlane blog went live last January.
Because the average executive might not penetrate the “blogosphere'’ as easily as Lutz, Wright’s biggest strength is assembling in one place the nuts and bolts of what blogging can do for businesses and what decisions owners need to make about software (blogware) and linking.
You must have blogrolls, or lists of links, because you aren’t really a cool blogger, Wright tells us, unless you link to other blogs in your subject area. NewsGator, a plug-in for Microsoft Outlook, makes new feeds arrive the way e-mail does. PubSub offers a tracking system for feeds.
Wright makes all of these programs fairly clear, though the book would have benefited from some hints about which software packages are essential.
Read the whole article at Bloomberg.com.

The following is an excerpt from Blog Marketing by Jeremy Wright. You can buy the book now at Amazon!

CHAPTER 2 - GETTING INTO THE BLOGGING MINDSET
For decades, businesses tried to determine what their customers’ wanted using focus groups that offered feedback about how well customers liked certain products. As the business world got more complex and markets became more competitive, the kind of information that could be gleaned from focus groups became inadequate for most businesses. They didn’t provide enough information, nor was the information valuable after a product was already release.
Realizing the limitations of focus groups and similar marketing practices, companies decided that they needed to know more about who were their customers, how they interacted with the company, and how the company could reach out to customers in a meaningful way. This idea of getting a “360-degree view” of customers was a nice concept, but it was never really achievable within the limited spectrum of marketing and communication tools that were available.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software was designed to try to pull together information from various systems to provide an idea of not only whether a customer had interacted with your business, but what kind of interaction occurred, who was involved in the interaction, and what it meant to the company. Unfortunately, most companies could get only limited answers to these questions: whether a customer had bought a company product or ever called in with a question or comment, and whether his or her current contact information was valid.
CRM software didn’t contextualize any of the information it collected. It simply created a repository of information. It didn’t create any data on what the customer actually thought, nor did it allow a way for customers to provide direct feedback. To supplement this CRM data, businesses began to hire customer relationship specialists and product evangelists—individuals whose sole job was to make customers aware of the company products on a one-to-one basis—to interact with customers directly.
For most businesses, this created some sense of value, but the practice simply couldn’t be applied to a large number of customers. Because each individual customer relationship staffer had only so much time, the staffer typically spent most of his or her time nurturing the relationships that had the greatest return—the big spenders—and the majority of other customers were left out in the cold.
KNOW HOW TO TREAT YOUR CUSTOMERS
Every successful company uses some type of measuring stick when comparing itself to other similar companies. But businesses looking to succeed in the current interactive, customer- and conversation-driven marketplace must consider factors other than the financials. Companies need to value the knowledge made available to them through employee and customer input. One way to do this is by never confusing customers with the popular marketing term: consumer.
A customer should never be called a consumer. A consumer is someone you use for profit; a customer is an asset. Customers are your best product managers, your best evangelists, and perhaps the only people in the world who will tell you the truth about your company. Listen to them. The easiest way to help customers become more involved in a positive, passionate, way about your business is to talk to them and treat them as equal partners.
JetBlue CEO David Neeleman realized early on that without talking to his customers he would never be able to build a customer-centric airline. As a result of his unique approach to customer interaction, Neeleman has been featured in a variety of business magazines. When he flies, he flies just like everybody else, in coach. He even drives himself to the airport. Once there, he waits in line—just like you and me. He is, for all intents and purposes, just another customer—at least until the plane gets into the air.
Then he walks up and down the aisles, talking to customers, hearing what they have to say.
At the end of the day, every company lives and dies by how well it serves, supports, and interacts with its customers. Every customer experience is put on the global scale of “success” or “failure.” Neeleman is doing everything he can, not only to reduce the number of negative experiences with JetBlue, but to create a positive environment where he leads by example—showing that employees need to care about customers.
CUSTOMERS ARE ASSETS
Too often, businesses look at their customers as they would rows in a spreadsheet. Businesses spend time figuring out how to get more money out of them, analyzing how often they come back and how much they spend on each trip, and figuring out how much a customer will spend on a particular item. But customers can and should be much more than just an income stream.
Customers’ experiences can range from completely unhappy to glowingly positive. Both types of customer can greatly influence your company’s reputation.
Generally speaking, customers fall into one of five categories:
Saboteurs These customers have had so many negative experiences (or perhaps only a handful of incredibly negative experiences) that they will go to whatever ends necessary to do whatever harm they can to your business.
Occasional sufferers These customers don’t enjoy your product or service, but they buy from you when they have to, and only because they have to. Some people who eat at fast food restaurants fall under this banner—although they will never evangelize or even talk positively about what they’re buying, they’ll buy it when absolutely necessary.
Reluctant consumers These customers have had negative experiences with your company—often many negative experiences—to the point at which they simply expect a negative experience or a poor product every time. Occasionally, they’ll be pleasantly surprised and will leave contented, but generally they simply accept that they have to buy from you and they move on. In many ways, these customers are living a balance of positive, negative, and blas√© experiences.
Regular customers These customers enjoy your product or service. They may admit it’s not the best in the world, but they buy it because it has value, it is the cheapest, or they haven’t found anything better. They’ve had enough positive experiences that the negative ones seem paltry in comparison.
Evangelists These types of folks have had so many positive experiences with your company and/or product that whenever a subject even mildly related to your company, products, or services comes up in conversation, they just have to tell everyone about it. Many different companies enjoy this type of customer—for example, Apple Computer evangelists can be so passionate that they’ll say Apple is a religion. These customer evangelists are the types of passionate people that will transform your business, and the currency they deal in is positive experiences.
Each of these personalities is created over time through a pattern of individual experiences with your company. Successful companies strive to create positive experiences for customers through positive environments, well-trained staff, great value, and quality products; whatever your customers are looking for, that you are able to provide, is a potential positive experience.
Do you provide a storefront? Investing in a positive shopping space is vital. Do you provide food or hospitality services? Smiling, courteous, and energetic staff are a must. Do you provide analysis or consulting services? Knowledgeable consultants, value-added services, excellent communication, and constant follow-up will create positive experiences for your customers.
Most customers don’t look for reasons to be unhappy; in fact, most are looking for positive experiences, and often it takes only one of those in a given industry to transform the way customers look at every single service provider in that industry. The influence wielded by businesses who create positive experiences is disproportionate to their size: Apple Computers isn’t the largest or most popular computer manufacturer (not by a long shot), yet it is one of the most-watched tech companies on the planet.
BMW and Mercedes don’t sell the most cars in America, but the consumer desire to own one is palatable. Starbucks may make great coffee, but people aren’t necessarily buying just the coffee—they’re buying an overall positive experience.
But creating positive experiences isn’t really about being a luxury supplier like Apple, BMW, and Starbucks are in their industries. You can create positive experiences no matter what business you’re in by having friendly and knowledgeable staff members, offering exclusive discounts, and generally building your business by contributing to their experiences.
Positive experiences create emotional responses, and nothing is worse than a customer who feels no emotion toward your business: no emotion means no loyalty, so customers really have no reason to stay.
This is the beginning of the second chapter of the book Blog Marketing by Jeremy Wright. There’s lots more information online, but if you’ve read this much, you’ll undoubtedly find the book of great value!
The following is an excerpt from Blog Marketing by Jeremy Wright. You can buy the book now at Amazon!
CHAPTER 3 - THE POWER OF BLOGS FOR BUSINESS
Now that you are familiar with how blogs have added a new dimension to corporate communications and how engaging in the conversation is absolutely essential for your business’s success in the blogosphere, you are ready to begin looking at the powerful possibilities blogging offers your business. You’ve likely been asking yourself such questions as “How can blogging benefit my company?” and “What would my successful blog look like?” since you started reading this book.
This chapter covers the practicalities of business blogging and what it means for you, including how it can impact your bottom line and how it will bring in customers and affect mindshare. It also examines several companies from a variety of industries that are succeeding at blogging; these early bloggers have paved the way for later blogging luminaries—like you.
HOW BLOGS CAN HELP YOUR BUSINESS
Let’s get back to business basics—not because I think you don’t know your own business, but because I honestly believe that blogging can help each core fragment of what makes up a successful and viable company. The core needs for any business are as follows:
• Decent ideas• A great product• Visibility• A well-trained team of people who work hard to make the company succeed
You also need good marketing, great customer relations, an awesome sales force, decent customer support, and a host of other factors. But if you have ideas, a product worth selling, a solid team behind it, and potential customers, the rest will follow naturally.
CREATING GREAT IDEAS
Every company has a lot of great ideas waiting to come to the surface. The problem with bringing those ideas to the surface is threefold: giving ideas space to develop, helping ideas get improved, and implementing the best ideas.
Often it takes only one person to come up with a great idea, but it may take 100 or more people to support and implement that idea. If the idea loses support, the company will need another great idea to keep going.
Great ideas can increase a business’s costs and people power, but they can also increase a business’s revenue and marketing power. This is why large companies who live or die by their great ideas employ researchers who spend their time seeking epiphanies.
The challenge for companies who invest in ideas is often that the best ideas don’t get to the top, don’t get reviewed, or don’t even get considered. This idea barrier could be killing your company. A truly open and internally viewable idea blog, or even individual employee blogs that allow people to float new ideas for peer review, should allow the best ideas to rise to the surface for selection and review. We’ll look at the concept of idea blogs more in Chapter 6, as they are an exciting way to empower your employees and generate thought.
CREATING GREAT PRODUCTS
The next challenge is deciding which great ideas get turned into products. After all, what good is thinking up the greatest idea in the world if your business can’t actually sell it?
Smart companies hire people who are able to turn a great idea into a great product. These people, often called product specialists or product managers, know customers, know the market, and know how to deliver new products on time and on budget.
However, to do their jobs well, product specialists need to talk directly to customers. This is where focus groups, customer demo days, and other customer-listening techniques come into play. Some companies even employ staff evangelists to work one-on-one with individual customers to maintain a good relationship.
We all know cases in which even the most well-intentioned products underperformed. Relying on a small sample of customers to reflect what the entire world desires is risky at best, and foolhardy at worst. If you can’t ask everyone in the world what they want, you’re unlikely to be able to deliver what everyone truly desires. With blogging, you can ask—if not the entire world, then at least your entire blog readership, who are probably connected to and/or reading other blogs all over the Net. Once you have insight into what a large community of readers wants, you can begin delivering it.
INCREASING VISIBILITY
Marketing is all about visibility—making the right people aware of the right product at the right time. Allen Weiss, founder of MarketingProfs.com, says that marketing is about customers, and he’s right. The hard reality, though, is that often marketing isn’t about individual customers. Often, it’s about creating a global message to which individual customers will respond.
New methods of effective marketing include creating “viral” campaigns, customer-centric events, and otherwise helping customers spread the word through incentive programs and contests. Visibility is also sought through media reports, event sponsorship, and interactive Web sites.
However, these visibility campaigns lack effectiveness on the one-to-one level. Companies assume that millions of people will be contacted, but only a small percentage of these people will respond. This method of marketing has its upside, but it doesn’t do anything to create relationships with customers, create positive experiences, or create customer evangelists.
HAVING A GREAT TEAM
One of the best ways to build a great business is to create a great team. Great teams will think up great ideas, build visibility, and spot defects in products, which they will then correct. A great team can fix just about any problem, given the right resources, and is happy to take on just about any challenge.
Unfortunately, great teams can be difficult to create and keep motivated. Anyone who’s built successful teams knows that more often than not some particular “X Factor” will make or break the team: often the ability to find common ground and common interests can be a make-or-break issue.
A team comprising colleagues with common interests, backgrounds, or passions will be able to rely on those commonalities, even in the most adverse circumstances. The challenge is to find employees who fit together; few employee profiles include information that will help you find the common ground.
To solve this dilemma, many large corporations are turning to self-forming and self-sustaining teams. These people have found that they have things in common and they work well together. Companies post internal team opportunities that “ultra teams” can choose to tackle or ignore. Sometimes projects will be assigned based on need, but, generally, having a team own a topic is a more effective tactic.
The challenge for companies looking to enable these dynamic teams is in figuring out how to enable employees to connect based on passion. Passion is an important part of any successful team—without passion, a team will not only find itself quickly in a rut, but it will likely find its members unable to gel, have fun, or help the company in a meaningful way. You’ll learn how to create dynamic internal teams in Chapter 6.
This is the beginning of the third chapter of the book Blog Marketing by Jeremy Wright. There’s lots more information online, but if you’ve read this much, you’ll undoubtedly find the book of great value!

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