Month: September 2013

How ‘Breaking Bad’ can Help You be a Better Marketer – Special Post (CAUTION: SPOILERS!!)

By Sue Brady

What a great series Breaking Bad was. Vince Gilligan is genius. Basking in the after-glow of such a great season finale made me consider the marketing lessons that could be learned from Vince, Walt and the gang.

And so I bring you my 10 top Breaking Bad Marketing Lessons:

  1. Know your customer and give them what they want. Vince Gilligan’s customers were his viewing audience, and he couldn’t have delivered a better product. Lydia’s customers wanted purity and when she could deliver, they would pay top dollar.
  2. Understand your competition, and make sure your product is better. This will create demand for your product. Deliver quality, always. If your product slips, your buyers will not be happy. Gus sized up the competition and exploited the Mexican Cartel’s weaknesses for his own gain.
  3. Make sure your product has a unique selling proposition to drive its success. Walt’s was product purity. What’s yours?
  4. Don’t let emotion drive your strategy. Todd let emotion drive his desire to continue doing business with Lydia, and in the end that was his downfall.  Clearly Walt’s ego was his downfall, right down to his final realization that he was doing ‘all this’ for himself, not his family.
  5. Take pride in and promote your brand with consistency. Have an A-1 Day!
  6. Learn from your mistakes. Walt and Jesse first tried to enter the drug trade using three of Jesse’s non-professional pals. Quickly they realized that their operation could be more sophisticated and profitable, so they moved onto bigger game.
  7. Always have a plan and be prepared to adjust. Gus and Walt always had plans, and anticipated what might happen. They also had contingency plans that they were not afraid to execute. Some plans can be implemented flawlessly, but most require adjustments along the way.
  8. Know what’s important and focus your energy there.  Walt focused on two things: Purity of the cook and the payoff. He could control the purity so that became routine for him. And his battle to control his payoff became the crux of almost every action he took.
  9. Try new things (test, test, test), but make sure you control your environment. Environmental control was key in Walt’s lab (remember the fly episode), just as controlling outside factors is key in any marketing test.
  10. Love your job. “I liked it. I was good at it. And I was really—I was alive.” Walter White

“Buy the RV. We start tomorrow.”


How to Handle an Internet Troll

By Sue Brady

One of my clients recently had an issue where a troll had hijacked their Facebook page.  Every time my client would post a picture or make a statement about their product, the troll would post, often multiple times, comments and pictures denigrating the product. He also started answering posts from other potential customers who were asking for product feedback. Those were actually his favorites posts to respond to because he could further his own agenda directly with a real person.

Sadly, this is not an uncommon scenario.  It is in fact a reason I hear all the time from clients regarding their hesitation to ‘jump into’ social media.  “What if someone posts really bad things about the company and the president/board member/my boss sees it?”  The truth is, if you jump into social media, you also have to have a plan for managing trolls. There are few, if any companies blessed with 100% positive comments. But social media is such an important tool to use to engage your customers, it’s worth the risk of weathering some negative comment storms.

When you develop your overall social media strategy and plan, make sure you include specifics about how to handle negative feedback. Ask yourself these questions: Should you send the customer to customer service, should you publicly help him, is one person in your company going to be the owner of handling negative feedback? And also, you should make sure that management is prepared to see some of these negative posts. You don’t want it to be a surprise.

So what can you do when a troll is acting like a dog with a bone? You have options, and I recommend trying them in this order:

  1. Try to engage the poster with a comment like: ‘Please message me with your email address and/or phone number so that I can have someone from Customer Service contact you.’
  2. If the poster continues to post, try messaging again, but with a more direct message: ‘Mr. XYZ, I recently sent you a message to see if I can help you privately. Please send me…’. This way, others reading the posts can see you’ve been trying to help.
  3. Block the poster. If the poster won’t stop, this might be your only option. Note, the troll is likely to look for other outlets, so this solution might have to be broader than one social tool.
  4. Delete the posts. This is a nuclear option. If deleting posts becomes public, it can affect your credibility with others.

In the case of my client, they spent several weeks trying to engage the poster to no avail. They eventually had to block him. Finally, when they were able to connect with him one on one, they unfortunately had to be very generous from a customer service perspective. But this troll was costing them business, and they felt it was their only option.

The moral of the story is, have a plan and don’t let a negative poster throw you off course.

Next Post: Creating your own Content

So You’re Jumping into Social Media – 7 Tips to Get You Started

By Sue Brady

Jumping into social media

You’ve decided to engage your audience online. Congratulations!! You’ve made the decision to jump in, you’ve gotten management buy-in, and now you have to make sure you’ve got a plan.

  1. The very first thing you should do is to write down your goals. What do you hope to accomplish with social media: are you looking for awareness, loyalty, sales? Whatever you decide, this will drive your presence online.
  2. Next you need to figure out where your audience is (as in, where do they hang out online).  Use that to decide in which channels you will maintain your presence. There are of course many sites to consider and all have unique advantages.
  3. Make sure you know what success will look like for you. Are you after Facebook likes, or are you looking to spread awareness of articles that you or your company authors? Whatever it is, understand what you want to have happen.
  4. Once you’ve decided where you want to have a presence, you should develop an editorial calendar to keep topics you want to write about and post organized by site. This will also help ensure you are posting with sufficient frequency.  If you have nothing of interest to post, it’s best not to post anything that hour/day/week. Make sure that the content you are going to share is relevant to your audience. You want your customers to come back to visit you, but if your content is not interesting to them, they’ll have no reason to return.  Remember that content does not necessarily translate well to different social media sites, so make sure you are creating your pieces knowing where they will appear. If you have a visual product, perhaps your audience would react best to pictures. Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram may be good choices for you if that’s the case. Also decide who is responsible for writing the content and make sure everyone agrees to the time table.
  5. It’s important to have a social media policy for your employees. This policy should be a part of your overall employee policy document and cover things like: code of conduct for your company, roles and responsibilities of employees who will be posting, who can post on behalf of the company, company policies such as the treatment of confidential information, external laws if appropriate, and best practices for online behavior. You’ll want a lawyer to review your policy to make sure all is good. Here’s an example of a well-written social media policy by Coca Cola: (source: Andy Sernovitz)
  6. Have a plan for monitoring your sites. Are you going to do it yourself, or do you need a product like Hootsuite to help you organize posts to your sites? Social media is not a ‘set it and forget it’ tool.
  7. Be prepared to hear negative comments from customers. Have a plan for how you’ll handle these. Everyone hears negative comments. The key is to have a plan for dealing with them. You can read about handling ‘trolls’ here.

Check out this post too for more detailed information on getting started.