An Interview with Advocate Health Care: Case Study #StoriesOfTheGirls

11/06/2014

Breast cancer logoBreast cancer still impacts too many lives. Advocate Health Care launched a unique program to bring attention to breast cancer prevention, treatment and support.

Understanding that women gain strength and the comfort from the stories they share and are shared they used digital and social networks to tell the  #StoriesoftheGirls . Through the following interview Christine Piester, VP Marketing and Christine Bon, Manager Digital Marketing and Communication graciously provided us with a case study of the program.

This post is dedicated to my sister Susan who I know is dancing in the stars.  Susan atl

About Advocate Health Care. Advocate Health Care is the largest health system in Illinois and one of the largest health care providers in the Midwest.

Advocate operates more than 250 sites of care, including 12 hospitals that encompass 11 acute care hospitals, the state’s largest integrated children’s network, five Level I trauma centers (the state’s highest designation in trauma care), three Level II trauma centers, one of the area’s largest home health care companies and one of the region’s largest medical groups. As a not-for-profit, mission-based health system affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the United Church of Christ, Advocate contributed $661 million in charitable care and services to communities across Chicagoland and Central Illinois in 2013.

 Our Story Tellers

Advocate Healthcare_ Christine Priester, VP, MarketingChristine Priester, VP, Marketing

 

 

 

 

Advocate Healthcare _Christine Bon

Christine Bon, Manager Digital Marketing & Communication

 

 

 

 Diva Marketing/Toby: How did the idea of #StoriesoftheGirls evolve? Was it a difficult sell to management including the hospital administrator?

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine Bon: Obviously, the idea of #StoriesOfTheGirls remains a very edgy concept. Anytime you introduce a double entendre (“the girls”) as part of your campaign you take a risk. However, the Chicago health care market is noisy and we had to figure out a way to break through the clutter. Not only did we have to sell this concept to the health system leadership, we had to convince the 12 hospital presidents that this was the right idea, at the right time and with the right audience.

In order to gain the necessary buy-in, our CMO hosted numerous sessions where she outlined the campaign and addressed any questions and concerns. The vast majority of our internal leadership were overwhelmingly supportive, there were a few unsure outliers, but they soon became believers once they saw the results.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What was success for the campaign and how was it measured?

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine BonWhile we wanted women to join the conversation at StoriesOfTheGirls.com, we really wanted women to take advantage of our patient added-value proposition.

We were the first in the market to offer same-day, no-referral mammograms.  This breaks down access barriers and allows women to schedule their mammogram on their terms, when they have some extra time as life might be too busy to schedule this test a few weeks out, months out, but there is no time like the present. 

  • So, that said we measured the growth in mammogram appointments (up over 10% across the system), web site visits, and engagement in the conversation (social media).

 Diva Marketing/Toby: The micro site is rich with content about breast healthcare. For many visitors to the site, I’m guessing the most compelling content is the video stories told by the breast cancer survivors and physicians.  How were these women indentified? What were their reasons to publically participate in #StoriesoftheGirls? 

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine BonAdvocate Health Care treats more breast cancer patients than anyone else in Illinois, and more of our patients become survivors than any other system.  Through our over 30 mammogram locations across the system, we were able to tap into our internal resources to identify patients with compelling stories that were willing to participate in the campaign.

And, we had, and continue to have no problems with patients wanting to tell their story. All of our survivors say if telling their story can just save one woman’s life it was worth it. They also appreciated the real tone and voice of the campaign.

  • They have all grown tired of the traditionally depressing look at this disease and wanted to show that women’s relationships with “the girls” is much more than a cancer diagnosis.

This year we have some wonderful new videos that include not only survivors, an update on one of last year’s featured patients, but patients currently going through treatment, Sue even shaved her head on the video as her hair was falling out – emotional stuff!

 Diva Marketing/Toby: I would love to be able to chat with these amazing people. Did you explore incorporating real-time conversations through social networks, perhaps a Tweet Chat or a G+ Hangout?

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine Bon: Glad you asked this question. New in the 2014 Stories of the Girls campaign is a message board prominently on the StoriesOfTheGirls.com microsite. We knew that we had to take this campaign to the next level in terms of the conversation so this is an exciting element this year (just launched on 9-15-14). Here, you can chat with survivors, you can talk with other families and their friends going through this journey with a loved one, you can ask our doctors questions, and you can simply ask about other breast health issues from puberty and first bras, to breastfeeding, boob jobs, and changes during menopause. Anything goes! We’d be happy to put you in touch with any of our featured survivors, check out their amazing stories through these videos.

Advocate Health Care theta theta girls

theta theta girls video

 Diva Marketing/Toby: The most exciting social tactic I saw was a #StoriesoftheGirls Instragram contest. Would you explain the concept for the Diva community?

Advocate Health Care/Christine BonThe #StoriesOfTheGirls contest was another extender of the conversation. We wanted women to share their inspiring photos, but also just women in general living healthy lives. Women were encouraged to share their photos and in turn were entered to win a gift card to a specialty bra store in Chicago. Since we had just launched our Instagram account the month prior, this was a great way for us to gain some new followers and boost engagement.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What was the most surprising aspect of the Instagram contest?

Advocate Health Care/Christine BonThrough the contest, we uncovered some very inspiring stories and one that we are now featuring in this year’s campaign: Kia. We also saw a side of our own associates (employees) who shared their breast cancer journey through photos as well. We were excited to see how quickly we gained new followers who were interested in our content and still engage with us on the social platform.

 Diva Marketing/Toby: In addition to Instagram what other social media tactics were included? Which one was your favorite and why?

Advocate Health Care/Christine BonIn addition to Instagram, we also used Facebook as a social platform to drive awareness of breast cancer by creating a daily calendar of trivia questions about breast health. There was a new question posted each day. Once the daily question was answered you were automatically entered to win a handmade breast cancer awareness crystal bracelet. You were able to enter a total of 31 times for a chance to win the grand prize of gift card to a specialty bra store in Chicago.

We also used Facebook as a platform to share all of our patient’s incredible stories, and also to promote our Instagram contest. Both of our social promotions were well received and we got some great submissions and are continuing to engage through new social promotions with the campaign this year as well and we are seeing even greater results!

Diva Marketing/Toby: How are consumer generated stories/photos being used to extend awareness of #StoriesoftheGirls and  breast cancer health?

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine BonOur videos and patient stories have been picked up by many local media outlets as further promotion. Our patients also blog and are the subject of many stories on our brand journalism site ahchealthenews.com  View some of them here.

We also have a partnership with the Chicago Cubs, Bulls, and Bears and we are able to leverage those relationships to have breast cancer awareness events where are patients are honorary captains, sing the 7th inning stretch, and more! It’s a year-long commitment to keep breast cancer awareness at the forefront, not just during October.

Diva Marketing/Toby: The #StoriesoftheGirls campaign kicked off October 2013 to support Breast Awareness Month and appears to be continuing into the summer of 2014 and beyond. As one might say in the theatre, what makes this a long-running show?

Advocate Health Care: Christine Priester/Christine Bon

  • This campaign is authentic and real and that’s what gives it staying power. 

Act 2 of the show is in market now and we couldn’t be more excited. An element of this campaign remains in market year-round, however.  We want to make sure we’re promoting early detection of breast cancer through mammography 365 days a year. And, we want to make it easy for women to get their mammogram and new this year they can find out their results in less than 24 hours – talk about reducing worry that often times accompanies the wait on this test.

Diva Marketing/Toby: What lessons did you learn and can pass along to others in healthcare that maybe considering creating digital/social campaigns?

Advocate Health Care/Christine BonTake a risk, it’s worth it!

Content is critical.

Don’t tell your consumers about new equipment, this or that accreditation, they don’t care. 

Make your campaign about them, not about you.

Speak to your audience how people have conversations in their real life and reach out to them how they like to receive the message (social media, email, direct mail), everyone has a preference, learn it!

  • And, amazingly, you do this, they will talk back to you, and then you have a two-way, engaged consumer conversation and you create brand loyalty.

Toss of a pink boa to Sarah Scroggins for her help in coordinating this interview.  Advocate Health Care _ Sara Scroggins

10 Reasons Avon Is Not Too Late To The Social Media Party

05/14/2012

Avon good housekeeping oct 1953

In 1886, Mr. D. H. McConnell launched what was to become one of the most beloved brands... Avon

Let’s flash back 126 years when women were expected to be housekeepers, wives and of course mothers. In steps a man who defies convention when he builds his sales force with a team of women. D. H. McConnell intuitively understood that as salespeople women could relate to other women and bring a passion to his new perfumes better than men. 

Based on its direct sales approach, which was built on developing relationships and sharing conversations, Avon has been called the original “Social” Brand. However, its competition has left it in the 18th century “social media” dust.

Avon has seen a 75% decline in operating profit over the last decade. A Wall Street Journal Avon sales stats article, Avon Is Late to Social Media’s Party, reported sales for cosmetic products have steadily moved online. Although Avon does have online channels it's not been as aggressive as other cosmetic companies.

Recently Warren Buffet and Coty experssed interest in this iconic company now in crisis. In a 5/13/12 media release Avon said it would  "..consider Coty's letter.."

Update: 5/14: Coty has back off of its offer. "Your total lack of engagement with us leads us to believe that you remain reluctant to explore a friendly, negotiated combination on a reasonable timetable," Coty Chairman Bart Becht said in a letter to Avon dated Monday and made public. "Two months is enough." - Reuters

When my pal and social media colleague, Rob Petersen, founder of BarnRaisers and co-writer of this blog post, invited me to collaborate to bring Avon some 21st century social media ideas I was there. So Avon bebe .. this one is for you! 

10 reasons Avon Is Not Too Late To The Social Media Party

Subtitled: But the clock is ticking, the cake is getting stale and the tinis are getting warm.

1. BUSINESS STRATEGY: Of any brand, Avon has one of the most powerful social business strategies available. They have a brand community of  5.8 million reps. There are great examples of brands that put their community to work and turned their business around. Take for example, Harley Davidson. This may seem like an odd comparison but stay with us.

On the brink of bankruptcy in the 1970's, Harley Davidson overhauled their business to realize their most valuable asset was their riders. In other words, the people were even more important than the product so Harley: 1) Spoke to the shared interest of their community before product benefits 2) brought advocates together and let them help build new relationships. Avon needs a business strategy, not a social media strategy. Now, here's what they can put it to use.

2. "AVON CALLING" ONLINE COMMUNITY: Avon's famous slogan could now be a live, online community where their sales reps offer daily advice about Avon products, deals, help customers with a cosmetic question, refer someone to the Avon rep in their area and talk about who they are as people (e.g. where they like to go on vacation).

By the way, this is what Harley does daily at HDTalking.com, a customer created content community of close to 400,000 members.

P&G also has a highly successful online community, Being Girl, for their Tampax and Always brands that has achieved a 4-to-1 ROI over traditional channels. Avon even has an online community in the UK, Avon Connects, demonstrating they are not late to the party, they just need to join in.

3. "LIKE" US ON FACEBOOK (AND SEE WHAT HAPPENS): Every brand wants you to "Like" them and Avon has a pretty robust but commercial Facebook page that 660,000 people already like. They could use their sales reps more and show a human side.

For example, Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, recently produced a video called "Likeapella" to celebrate the people who like them. Not to suggest that Avon do the same thing but to make the point that major brands need to use social media to make a more personal connection. Here's what Kraft did.

4. AVON CUSTOMER APPRECIATION DAYS (VIA TWITTER SEARCH): If Avon representative wanted to build 1-to-1 relationships in larger venues, they could go to high traffic locations in their area like a mall; then, if they use Twitter Search, they could find other women in the same mall and begin a conversation they very same way with the very same techniques they use when selling door-to-door.

5. KLOUT PERKS: With 5.8 million sales reps, they must have a very large number who have high Klout scores. Why not demonstrate to how powerful they already are in social media. Put this social influence to work and see how many rewards Avon reps can get through "Klout Perks." This would show how much social influence sales reps already have.

6. AVON PINTEREST: The newest darling of the social networks, Pinterest, aligns with Avon’s targeted female demographic. Online products provide Avon with the base for creating a Pinterest page that has multiple benefits from reinforcing community with boards that highlight new and seasonal products, provide lifestyle the “Avon way” with beauty to showing the caring side of Avon through its nonprofit work. In addition, likes, repins and comments offer Avon new consumer insights.

7. AVON PINTEREST CONTEST: Taking Pinterest one step further is the idea of a “Pin It To Win It” contest. Avon has the opportunity to engage with its customers in creative ways that includes both customers and sales representatives. For example, many of Avon’s products are colorful from its nail polish to lip glow. A red, white and blue Fourth of July themed challenge could create fireworks of fun.

8. AVON SALES REP SOCIAL MEDIA TRAINING: Avon has created an innovative online training program, Beauty of Knowledge, for their sales reps. Topics range from how to start your new Avon business to money management, logistics, goal setting and traditional marketing support.  However, in my research I came across sales reps who had posted on social networks the need and their desire for social media courses to be included in their training.

In April, I had the honor of speaking at the Possible Woman Conference about social media marketing. Among the brands represented, by over 400 women attending the event, were sales reps and leaders from Avon. I saw first hand their enthusiasm mixed with confusion and frustation about how to leverage social media. After one of my sessions an Avon rep spent two-hours talking about her social media efforts with a speaker from the panel.

Sidebar: Founded by the visionary Linda WindPossible Woman is an excting conference that brings inspiration and leadership training to women in business.

Although Avon sales reps are currently involved in social media many still have challenges regarding how to start and/or how to take their initiatives to the next level. In addition to the training we suggest that Avon consider developing a series of template models for Twitter, Facebook and blogs.

9. AVON MOBILE APP: Smart phones and tablets have opened additional eCommerce channels and created new ways to engage with customers. With the ubiquity of smart phones branded apps continue to grow in popularity. Research conducted by Women at NBCU’s Brand Power Index found that women are more likely to have gaming apps on their smart phone (75%of women versus 67 % of men). What fun it would be for Avon to explore developing a gaming app and of course, a mobile commerce app.

10. SOCIAL MEDIA MEASUREMENT: Including social media as part of a marketing communications strategy can help accelerate achieving your goals. However, with so many moving pieces, Avon doesn’t need more measurement, they to identify the ones that matter most, their Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) and report, track and be prepared to take action on them.

Maybe, if Avon follows this plan, it would let Warren Buffet and Coty know just who they're dealing with .. a Top 50 Cosmetic Brand. No matter how this plays out Avon's legacy of empowering women will be part of history.

Avon ad 2012

Some great brands have turned their business around by realizing and reaching out to their strongest asset .. their community. After all, they call it Social Media for a reason.

What are your thoughts? Do you think it's not too late for Avon and their 5.8 million sales reps to join the Social Media party or is the cake too stale?

 

Kotex + Pinterest = An Innovative Campaign: A Case Study With Yael Linen-Zuchman

03/30/2012

Pinterest_creative KotexSeems we can’t turn a virtual corner without bumping into a post about the hottest social network Pinterest.

What started as a playground for mostly women to share life style images is morphing into a serious business platform. Many brands, B2b, B2C, as well as, nonprofit and even the military and higher ed are pinning.

Recently I was contacted by an Israeli agency about a Pinterest campaign that they launched for Kotex: Kotex Inspiration Day.  Smoyz logoThe strategy capitalized on Pinterest in an innovative way beyond brand pins on a board. Let’s call it a “Pinterst” relationship strategy a la blogger relations. In fact, it might be the first. But I can assure you it will not be the last.

Yael Linen-Zuchman, CEO of the agency smoyz, kindly agreed to fill us in on the back-story, offer her insights about the strategy and share some lessons learned. 

Yael Linen-ZuchmanAbout Yael Linen-Zuchman, CEO of smoyz. She is a 30 year-old who graduated with a BA in business in 2009 at IDC Herztelia Israel. She established smoyz, a creative agency in 2010. She's "always looking for the next (simple yet brilliant) big thing."

About smoyz. A creative agency founded in 2010. smoyz is an agency for unique marketing on New Media, specializing in creative and novel content activities and building optimal platform for the brand on the web. Eran Sion – Digital Marketing Manager at Hogla-Kimberly

In several questions Yael asked Eran Sion, Digital Marketing Manager at Hogla-Kimberly to share his views. We have a unique view of the campaign from two perspectives: the brand and the agency.   

 

Diva Marketing/Toby: Yael, let’s start at the beginning. How did the idea to reach out to pinners come about?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: To communicate the launch of "Kotex Design" designed pads and panty liners by Kotex. We searched for an innovative social platform where women can express themselves freely and openly in a unique way.

Pinterest, and especially pinners, were found to be the best candidates because of the simple and brilliant (and not too invasive) way Pinterest works. In one simple action (pin) you can express yourself.

Diva Marketing/Toby: So, if I understand you, it seems that before you could reach out to women to give them the unique gifts from Kotex you first had to identify them and Pinterest was how you chose to do that.

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: That is correct!

Diva Marketing /Toby: Although you were going into a new area of social marketing… call it social visual communication, as marketers we seem to always be held to the standard of achieving goals/objectives. What were the goals/objectives that the client wanted to achieve for this program? 

Eran Sion/Hogla-Kimberly: Kotex is "the underdog brand" at the feminine category in Israel and Kotex logo therefore we looked for a unique and unconventional activity that will encourage Israeli women to talk about the products and rethink their habits and attitude towards the brand. 

Diva Marketing /Toby: Since this was a novel approach to Pinterest, what did you/smoyz want to learn from the experience that might have been different from Kotex’s goals?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: We generally think the same as Hogla-Kimberly. We were looking for an activity that would generate buzz around the product/brand. My brief was to create the conversation and maintain the brand as the creator of the move.

Diva Marketing /Toby:  Creating a YouTube video to tell your story of the brand strategy was nothing short of brilliant. Note: if you have not seen the video it's worth a click and watch.

In the video you indicated that 50 women were contacted. Let’s dive into what many marketers would like to understand .. your process of the hows and whys. Now, we’re not expecting you to give away any trade secrets Yael but a high level over view would be great. 

How were the women identified? In other words was it done manually or through technology?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: The women were identified by a few categories: viral, trendsetters and active on pinterest (many profiles on pinterest are open though not active enough to be relevant for this campaign). The women were identified first via social media monitoring and analysis technology  and then manually picked the most inspiring ones.

Diva Marketing /Toby: Did smoyz and Kotex develop a set of criteria e.g. age, country, type of interests, etc?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: We looked for profiles / pictures that could creatively be transformed into "real life products."  

Diva Marketing /Toby: I guess it goes without saying, the women were from Israel (smile).  Was an “influencer” or “power pinner” part of your criteria? If so how did you define that e.g. by number of pins, followers, ect?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: Yes, an influencer & power pinner were part of our criteria; we looked for profiles which are both active and both viral (followers wise).

Diva Marketing /Toby:  What were some of the challenges that you encountered?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: The main challenge was to make the pinners cooperate with a commercial activity owned by Kotex. Because we were very accurate and relevant to the Pinners, we received fantastic collaboration.

Diva Marketing /Toby:  From the video it seemed as though the gifts were a surprise. I’m curious as to how the women’s addresses were located.

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: After monitoring an inspiring pin we prepared the gift and pinned a photo on our Pinterest profile (Get Inspired). Then, on each pin that we monitored we commented and added a link to the gift, in order to receive the gift all they needed to do was repin our photo.

The repin was a signal of their interest, the addresses were taken via personal message approach. We used both the @ symbol and both the pin & like in order to get their attention properly. 

Diva Marketing /Toby:  Your results were beyond impressive; especially since the women posted across multiple social networks. How did you track the analytics? Note: almost 100% participation.

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: Technical social media monitoring and manually monitoring these 50 women.

Diva Marketing /Toby: Yael , I’d love to see how the women positioned their pins? Can you share a couple of the Pinterest board with our community?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyze: The profile we created, was deleted and no longer exist, that's why you can't see the photos. We decided to open the Kotex Pinterest "Get Inspired" profile temporarily and closed it after the campaign. (Note: Eran addresses this approach further below.)

Following are some of the women who participated in the Pinterest Kotex campaign.

Products I Love . My StyleLegally Blonde . Urban Wilderness

Diva Marketing /Toby: My friends (and I admit me too!) are so curious .. what were some of the presents that were in  the boxes? That must have been a fun part of the project .. making sure the gifts reflected the pinner’s interests.

 Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz: This was the most amazing part of the campaign. After locating each womens inspiration smoyz team went out for an inspiration treasure hunt.

We went to markets, malls, searched the internet..and finally bought 50 unique inspiring gifts. After buying these gifts artists designed on these gift the new kotex design look. Among the gifts:

Kotex_kittyA women pinning cat photos received two bowls designed and with her cats names. (Note: Maxie pup approves!)

A women that pinned sweets, got a kotex designed jar full of hearted sweets.

A women that pinned cupcakes & got kotex designed cupcakes.

A young girl pinned diaries & got a pocket diary with her name painted on the diary.

A women that pinned pastry-cooking stuff received a cooking kit designed with her initials.

Kotex_gift1 Kotex gift_2
Kotex gift 3

Diva Marketing /Toby: Yael what fun .. buying presents. I want that job! By the way, does Kotex have a Pinterest page? And if they do would you be so kind as to give us the link? If not are any plans in the works that you can share with us?

Eran Sion/Hogla-Kimberly: We believe that any activity on behalf of the brand, should give true value to our consumers and reflect the core values of the brand. The latest activity did just that. We are in a constant search for a platform that will enable us to provide added value to our consumers – It does not have to be a long lasting engagement, short term relations are also welcome.

Diva Marketing/Toby: Interesting approach to Pinterest and social media. Not only short term boards for campaigns but taking them down after the run of the campaign. Eran, I'm curious .. why wouldn’t Kotex want the long-term awareness that the board would bring?

Eran Sion/Hogla-Kimberly: The main goal of our digital platforms is to promote awareness to the brand and we support them constantly. Nevertheless it would be ambitious to create constant excitement on behalf of Kotex on a Pinterest profile; but due the success of the "Kotex Inspiration Day" activity, we will examine our long term presence on the platform. 

Diva Marketing /Toby:  Diva Marketing is all about learning from each other. Yael, would you please share a couple of the overall lessons that you learned?

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz:

  • In my opinion New media marketing in 2012 is all about creating intimate moments with the brand.
  • These amazing platforms enable the brands to touch their audience in the most intimate way. 
  • Conventional advertising and marketing cannot stand alone today without a simple yet brilliant touch to blow people away and create a real organic engagement.

Diva Marketing /Toby: In the tradition of Diva Marketing interviews,  you get the last word. So the virtual stage is yours .. wrap it up any way you’d like.

Yael Linen-Zuchman/smoyz:  Would it be cheesy if I quote my most favorite one? Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication -- Leonardo de Vinci

Pinterest Pinning For Business Learning Series 

It Takes A Village To Grow A Blog .. Along With Your Girlfriends

03/01/2011

 Friends hugging fundraiser blog Subtitled: You Gotta Have Friends!

A few months ago I was chatting with Jeff Hillire, president of the Atlanta hot, interactive, agency Enguage, about, you guessed it .. social media marketing. I mused (do you like that word? I rather do.) that it might have been fun to work with a brand or large agency.

He smiled his too wise smile and said something that went like this, "The innovative work you've done in social might not have been possible within the politics of a large company."  Hmm .. never thought of that.

So with no one to tell me No! on Valentine's Day I launched another innovative social media initiative. All The Single Girlfriends, or as we fondly call it -- atsGf. I am excited to tell you about this adventure and to get your feedback. The back-story.

Unlike Diva Marketing and the eBook Social Media Marketing GPS atsGf is a run for the roses. Our goals are to monetize and capture the niche of single girlfriends 40+. In doing so we hope to provide a platform for women to tell their stories and voice their opinons in ways that reinforce there is no one right way to be single. Oh and by the way, brands and advertisers we have more disposable income than our mommy sisters. You're missing a huge opportunity .. pay attention to us too. 

Okay, you might be thinking, but Toby there are hundreds of women communities on the web what makes All The Single Girlfriends so special?  Think .. The View for real women who just happen to be in the demo (single and 40+ smart, savvy and no way boring .. but fabulous!)

It's girlfriends-talking-to-girlfriends about what Gf dish about .. relationships, love, careers, family, sex, dreams, challenges, loss, new beginnings and just life. What is amazing is the posts are from the heart stories interwoven with smart.  Banner  

There are about 20 GF authors and growing. The Gf authors bring diverse backgrounds, a range of ages, passions and experiences. As important each offers a unique idea of what it means to be single after the big 4-0 birthday.

If you've been around the marketing social media web you'll find some of your friends: Yvonne DiVita, BL Ochman, Jody DeVere, Sunny Cervantes, Connie Reece, Elana Centor, Jacki Schklar, Jane Genova, Tish Grier, Marianne Richmond, Susan Cartier Liebel, Mary Schmidt, Kelley Connors  .. and me! 

However, there are girlfriends with a passion to be part of this new venture who are new to the social world: Debra Pearlman, Dorothea Bozicolona-Volpe, Maggier Buerger, Bonnie Simon, Polli Graham, Rebecca Crichton, Tani Wolff. 

But back to Diva Marketing. The focus at Diva is to help you learn about social media often through my own trials and challenges. Here are my first two lessons learned or perhaps I should say relearned:

1. Let's call this the startup syndrome on a zero budget. It takes a village to grow a blog when there is no brand awareness . Your social media pals can certainly help with a jump start but it takes time and creativity to build new relationships in a new social "village." Going viral over night is usually a lucky fluke.

2. Let's call this Nancy White, Full Circle, was right. Several years ago Nancy told me that when a social site is set free to the world it is no longer yours ago. If you're lucky, your commuity will make it its own.; in doing that your vision or concept maybe changed. Hold on tightly .. it's a ride not for the faint of heart.

Come visit us on All The Single Girlfriends, Like us on Facebook and Tweet along @atsGf. Would love your feedback and ideas. I don't know where this one will go but I promise to keep you posted!

Since this is Diva Marketing .. a toss of pink boa Pink boa

to Marianne RIchmond who has been my cohort and the web GF.

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The Secret of Marketing With Women - From The 19th To The 21st Century

03/15/2010

Last week Kelley Connors invited me to join a few smart people:  Rob PetersonTom Andersen and Cassie Holm on her popular BlogTalkRadio show Real Women on Health for a chat about How To Gain Women's Trust and Advocacy With Social Media.  FACEBOOK AD  

Pre show Kelley & I were talking and we agreed the emphasis should be Marketing With not Marketing To Women. One world changes the entire concept and impacts strategy.

The culture of social media along with those funny tech tools like blogs, Twitter, social networks, etc., gives us an amazing opportunity to create a collaborative environment where marketers and customers can together create the brand experience.

Our podcast conversation explored a lot of issues, however, at the end of the day, we agreed women want to know that they/we matter. Savvy marketers are trying to build emotional connections by:

1. Listening to what is important to each customer segment.  

2. Realizing that women relate through not only information but stories that speak to their/our personal experiences.  

3. Understanding that the segment "women" is comprised of many niches and what captures one women's attention or heart may not work for another. 

In our world we encounter thousands of marketing messages every day. We are bombarded with traditional advertising to new media ads on Facebook fan pages and Tweet messages to logos on t-shirts and even on our own bodies e.g., tattoos. Women (and men!) pay attention to what is relevant to them. Stories are a powerful element that can create emotional connections, that in turn, help a target market relate to the brand/product.

Not to crush any brand marketer's ego .. but, although many in the social media marketing world would claim it as their own, telling stories that resonate with a specific niche is not a new idea.  Shh .. believe it or not savvy marketers have known the secret for over a 100 years .. probably longer. 

Take a look at the ad for Mellie's Food which came from Scribner's Magazine December, 1897. It is a mom's story about how this brand of baby food helped her daughter to be a healthy, happy, little girl. The photo of  a "real baby" adds credibility and solicits an additional emotional response. An added bonus from Mellie is their offer of a free sample. 

Ad merlins food scribners 12_1897 Copy: 

Rhea Elizabeth Dobbrow. 

A Melli's Food Girl

I am pleased to send you a picture of our baby girl, Rhea Elizabeth Dobbrow. She was nine months old when this was taken and a fine healthy baby. She's had Mellin's Food since she was six weeks old, which I can recommend very highly as being an excellent food for babies. - Mrs. Augustus A. Dobbrow. Alton, R.I. 

Write to us (a postal will do) and we will send you a sample of Mellin's Food free of expense. Doliber-Goodale Company, Boston, MA.

So girlfriend, perhaps we should be taking our learnings not from 21st century brand marketers but those from the 19th century! Combining those lessons with the tools of the social web we can create exciting environments where where people come together in supportive communities to share experiences, information and of course their stories. 

Read More

Tom made available a primary research study on marketing to women through social networks

Note: Borden's print ad is from The Saturday Evening Post Septemeber 11, 1949. Cost of the publication: 15 cents. Yup .. we've come a long way Girlfriend!

Atlanta Women In Social Media Marketing_2

06/02/2009

Part 2 of Where Are the Atlanta Women in Social Media Marketing?
Part 1

For me, the secret sauce of social media marketing is in how the tech tools with odd sounding names like blogs and wikis and Twitter can build and nurture old fashion corner grocer store relationships. While my travels in social media extended my network across the States and several oceans a few weeks ago I realized I knew few women in social media marketing in my own home town - Atlanta.

To borrow a phrase from my friends at BlogHer I wondered, "Where are the Atlanta women working in social media marketing?" I'm on the search find the talented Hot'lanta social media divas and in doing so create a resource list that will shine a light on them.

Criteria: using social media as a marketing strategy for your business ventures or helping clients use social media as a marketing strategy. Look for the Atlanta Women in Social Media Marketing posts over the next couple of weeks.

Atlanta Women In Social Media Marketing

Jacki Schklar Jacki Schklar Funny Not Slutty @JackiSchklar

1. What does social media marketing mean to you? - It means having a forum to become friends with comedy producers in the UK and Tel Aviv and working together with them remotely. It means introducing a talented Australian artist to new fans in the US.

2. My favorite social media tactic is bonding with humor.

3. In 140 characters what is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub?- I think of a social media hub in terms of industry or interest, not geographical location. I get emails from people who think I’m in NYC or LA on a regular basis because of my affiliation with those cities.

4. 2 sentences about your company. – Funny not Slutty features comedy for women created by female producers, writers, humorists and comedians. Our content may be a little smarter and a little deeper than your average web humor (sometimes).  Focus is on B2B and B2C.

5. Began in social media marketing - With the promotion of my animation project, How to Live and Eat like a Southern Jewish Princess, in 2008. I had previous interactive and journalism experience so it was an easy transition.

Laura nolte Laura Nolte Green Theory Interactive @Laura_nolte

1. What does social media marketing mean to you? -Social Media marketing is a very accessible and cost effective way to learn about and engage my client’s customers and prospects. This medium is unmatched in terms of the breadth and depth of targeting that it offers.

2. My favorite social media tactic is contributing to the content and community in highly specialized LinkedIn groups to generate B2B leads. This is particularly effective when targeting C-level executives.

3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub? As a city with a big media presence including TBS, Atlanta is poised for social media growth. The key will be getting  Atlanta’s big brands to support this medium.

4. 2 sentences about your company. - Green Theory is a marketing consultancy that works primarily with venture backed startup companies. We develop marketing plans, install marketing technologies and hire marketing teams. 60% of my focus is on B2B marketing and the other 40% is on B2C marketing. 

5. Began in social media marketing - I started using social media in 2001 by interacting with food blogs and I started using social media as a marketing tool for clients in 2004 by testing content and advertising on blogs.

Barb giamanco Barbara Giamanco Talent Builders Barbara Giamanco @barbaragiamanco

1. What does social media marketing mean to you? - For me, social media marketing is the opportunity to create community, conversation and connection with people anywhere in the world. Used effectively, you can build brand awareness, demonstrate credibility and capability, and create relationships with potential buyers long before you meet them.

 2. My favorite social media tactic is sharing valuable content. I use a variety of social media tools like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, BlogTalkRadio, Delicious, Blogs and more to keep abreast of information that I then can share with potential clients, current clients or colleagues that I know will find value in the information. I’m all about “give to receive”.

3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub? - Atlanta’s current challenge is the “flash in the pan – look at me I’m an expert” types claiming to understand social media.  They don't.  **Add this if you want too…I wanted to stay within the 140 character request. And a hub implies interconnectedness, but I notice more individual focus versus a willingness to team up with others to create something powerful. Ironic given the nature of what “social” media is all about.

4. 2 sentences about your company – About Talent Builders: We help business owners and sales teams accelerate the sales cycle by better qualifying sales opportunities on the front end. The result is faster close rates and a reduction in wasted money and time. Our talented team of professionals brings to the table an impressive array of experience, skills and abilities to assist you in achieving your sales goals. My primary focus is B2B.

5.  Began in social media marketing - Since 1997 while still at Microsoft, I began working with the early tools. I headed up Microsoft’s first sales team to support Internet retailers like Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble. My corporate career was in technology, so I’ve always been an early adopter and a closet “tech geek”. I have been proactively using LinkedIn, email marketing and internet radio since about 2004. As other tools came out like Delicious, Ning, Twitter, etc. I jumped on early and learned how to integrate them into my sales/marketing strategies. Blogging took me some time to get in a groove with, but now I’m a very active blogger.


Sue rodman_2 Sue Rodman Field Trips With Sue @suerodman

1. Social media marketing offers people and brands the opportunity to find, build and nurture relationships online, making offline activities more meaningful. If I follow someone on twitter or see their status or photos on Facebook, I have some reference for discussion the next time (or the first time) we meet in person.

2. My favorite social media tactic is my blog fieldtripswithsue.com. It gives me an excuse to do fun things with my kids, has become a conversation piece with friends old and new and opened up doors professionally. It's also been a great learning tool.

3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub? - Time. Everyone wants results tomorrow. Social media is about building relationships, it doesn't happen overnight. But when it does, it's extremely powerful.

4. 2 sentences about your company. - Fieldtripswithsue.com is about inexpensive things to do in and around metro Atlanta with children. It's been nominated as best local blog in the Nickelodeon Parents' Pick Awards (vote early and often, each day until July 15). The blog also serves as a testing/ proving ground to
learn more about social media and how to use it for marketing and public relations.

5. Began in social media marketing - February 08  - I attended SoCon. The big takeaway was that you have to jump in and do something. Field Trips with Sue was started in Nov. 08 so I could do something and learn. (It took a while to determine what that something would be.)  

Sherry heyl Sherry Heyl Concept Hub, Inc @sherryheyl

1. What does social media marketing mean to you? - Social Media gives everyone a voice. It is as important as the printing press was and has disrupted every business model that exist today and is challenging every assumption we have held about what we are capable of.

2. My favorite social media tactic is status updates throughout my various networks which helps me to share information and stay top of mind.

3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub? Learning to work together as a community.

4. 2 sentences about your company - Launched in 2005, Concept Hub, Inc is a full service social media agency.  Services include; Social Media Business Plans, Customized Training, and Campaign Management.
I primarily focus on: B2B, B2C, Nonprofit, Education

5. I began in social media marketing Oct 2005

Nadia bilchik Nadia Bilchik Nadia Speaks Nadia Bilchik @nadiabilchik

1. What does social media marketing mean to you? - Social Media Marketing is a way for me to communicate my expertise with many people in a new way.

2. My favorite social media tactic is using Twitter to tell people about my experiences.

3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub? - Atlanta’s biggest challenge is not embracing social media more!

4. 2 sentences about your company. - Greater Impact Communucation is a Media and Presentation Skills training company. We focus on getting individuals to leverage their Personal Presence and to Elevate sales and the trajectory of their careers. Focus is b2b, particularly broadcasting. PR, and pharma.

5. First began offering social media in networking for success workshops for Coke in 2007. Brought in a Linked In Guru to give webinars for my clients. Now its a big part of Virtual Presence in Professional Presenceseminars.

Atlanta Women in Social Media

Donna Lynes-Miller GourmetStation
Grayson Daughters WaySouth Media
Lya Sorano Lya Sorano.com
Melissa Galt Today By Design
Jeaneane Sessum allied
Melissa Libby MelissaLibbyPR
Amber Rhea Being Amber Rhea
Jacki Schklar Funny Not Slutty
Laura Nolte Green Theory Interactive
Barbara Giamanco Talent Builders
Sue Rodman Field Trips With Sue
Sherry Heyl oncept Hub, Inc
Nadia Bilchik Nadia Speaks
and me! Toby Bloomberg Diva Marketing

Girlfriends, I ask you .. Where are the Atlanta women in social media marketing? Where are the women on the client/brand side? If you want to be included or know of anyone who meets the criteria please leave a comment or shoot me an email.

Atlanta Women In Social Media Marketing_1

05/26/2009

A couple of weeks ago Mashable held a smashing mash in Atlanta for over 400 of its closest friends .. who signed up before the fire marshalls could call Stop! no more people. I shared a glass of vino or two with friends, got to hug a live pink boa, complements of Jungle Disk, Live pink boa and met new people. However it became crystal clear that although Diva Marketing celebrated its 5th blog-birthday my social media network is more global than local.

I found myself asking, "Who are these people and what do they do? What is happening in Atlanta social media marketing? To para phrase from my friends at BlogHer ..Where are the Atlanta women in social media marketing?"

A few months back BBF Dan Greenfield suggested that I interview the women in Atlanta who are involved in social media marketing. Last week ideas synergized .. why not create a resource list that highlights the women in Atlanta who are working in social media marketing? But not just a boring list .. a series of mini interviews where we can get to know these women better. Along the way perhaps new friendships will take online offline.

Criteria: using social media as a marketing strategy for your business ventures or helping clients use social media as a marketing strategy. Look for the Atlanta Women in Social Media Marketing posts over the next couple of weeks.

Atlanta Women In Social Media Marketing

Donna Lynes-Miller Donna Lynes-Miller - GourmetStation Delicious Destinations Blog
@gourmetstation


1. What does social media marketing mean to you? Social media marketing provides GourmetStation with non-conforming, non-traditional, casual and comfortable ways of communicating with our customers outside of our website. All social media tactics provide our brand with a means for different aspects of our brand personality to shine through.

2. My favorite social media tactic is our travel and culture blog, Delicious Destinations which include guest writers from around the world.

3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub? With Internet driven social media tactics, I believe it will be difficult for any city to be a hub. The Internet is the great equalizer giving all regions the chance to participate.

4. 2 sentences about your company. - GourmetStation is a national food gifting company specializing in 3 & 4 course gourmet dinners, steak & seafood dinners, soup samples and dessert gifts. GourmetStation products also include dining certificates and monthly dinner clubs used by both consumers and businesses. I primarily focus on: B2C and B2B

5. Began in social media marketing: 2005

(Bloggy disclosure GourmetStation was one of my first social media marketing clients .. and proof that clients can be dear friends.)

Grayson daughters Grayson Daughters - MediaConnection.tv WaySouth Media, Inc

@SpacyG

1. What does social media marketing mean to you? Social media means staying relevant and informed in very turbulent times. Without social media, there's not much I could offer clients, or show potential ones, that could possibly set me apart from the pack. 

2. My favorite social media tactic is is the distribution of a video, or other original media I've created for myself or for a client, via Twitter. So easy. So fun. Such immediate feedback.

3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub? In the corporate arena, Atlanta's greatest challenge is getting over the tendency to do things the way they've always been done. For decades. Right now is just the crazy time to try something oh-so-bleeding edge. In an economy like this, what could it possibly hurt?!

4. 2 sentences about your company. - Grayson Daughters is the founder of WaySouth Media, Inc. - producing and promoting new media. She blogs at Mostly Media, and you can follow her on Twitter as SpaceyG. Her very latest online venture is MediaConnection.tv. 

5. Began in social media marketing - I started using social media in 1995! (I think that's when I got my first dial-up/AOL account.) I started the first AOL Melrose Place chatroom on AOL, jointly with some dude from LA named J.T. Bug. I'll never forget that name, nor that first live chatroom experience. I published a southern culture webzine called WaySouth from '98-2000. I've been blogging since May of 2005, and was an early adopter of Twitter and Facebook (when it went beyond colleges). 

Lya Sorano 1008 headshot - small Lya Sorano LyaSorano.com Great Southern Speakers Georgia Gardener
No Twitter – I’m too exhausted!

1. What does social media marketing mean to you? Social media marketing opens up channels of communication and potential sales that did not exist before. Opportunities pop up that twentieth century marketing did not provide.

2.
My favorite social media tactic is to provoke discussions.
 
3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub?
Traffic! People sit in commuter traffic all day and are too exhausted to peep – much less care about social media.

4. 2 sentences about your company. - The Oliver/Sorano Group, Inc. provides marketing and PR support, including social media strategies, to clients in a variety of industries. I primarily focus on: B2B.

5. Began in social media marketing around 2006-07.

Melissa Galt Melissa Galt -Today By Design Melissa Galt.com
@prosperbydesign

1. What does social media marketing mean to you? Social marketing is about the ability to connect to your target market cost effectively, frequently, and succinctly with value content.  It is about using multiple channels and layering communications for ultimate effectiveness.

2. My favorite social media tactic is the variety of tools and applications available on Twitter, acebook, and LinkedIN that add fun, convenience, and facilitate the sharing of information. Strategically I am a fan of Tweetlater as it allows me maximum control of my time while still maintaining by exposure and my reach.

3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub? Atlanta has a golden opportunity to truly land on the map of social media, but to do so will require more leaders to step forward and claim their place.  The city is home to many great entrepreneurs and creatives, yet still the value of social media is not always understood.

4. 2 sentences about your company. - I speak, consult, train and mentor small businesses who think BIG and want to harness the power of social media and new marketing taking their business to the next level, and unleashing unlimited success.

5. Began in social media marketing - I have been using social media since 2008, and have been offering to clients this year.  I primarily focus on: B2B, B2C, Nonprofit, Education.  I believe it is the single factor that can keep many businesses afloat in tough economic times as it provides simple, effective tools to reach targeted buyers and decision makers whether business to business or business to consumer.  Social media is the cornerstone of relationship marketing and with women becoming an increasingly significant force in both consumer and business goods, new marketing as social media is considered, is essential.

Jeneane sessum Jeneane Sessum allied  Jeneane.net
@jeneane

1. What does social media marketing mean to you? Social Media Marketing means reaching customers and communities on behalf of my clients using social spaces on the Internet, where people come together to do/discuss/create/laugh/complain about what interests them.

2. My favorite social media tactic is monitoring and participating in the range of social media discussions to identify what Really Urgent Community Need a client can help solve to make something better for an existing or potential customer.

3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub? To replace the “broadcast and sales pitch” mindset with genuine listening and understanding. To talk with not at.

4. 2 sentences about your company: Sessum Creative is an Atlanta-based marketing and public relations consultancy focused on helping clients talk with their markets using the power of social media and the Internet. Working with clients at home and internationally since 1998, we help clients with strategy, messaging, content development and media relations. I primarily focus on: B2B, B2C, Internet startups

5. Began in social media marketing - I entered social media as a blogger myself in 2001 with my personal blog allied). My first social media clients were Elimitaste Gum, Qumana, and Cox Communications. I helped these clients develop a blogging strategy and put in place processes to make sure that strategy worked. The primary goal was to use blogs as an effective way to talk to customers and build thought leadership.

Melissa libby Melissa Libby  MelissaLibbyPR Atlanta Dish blog

@melissal

1. What does social media marketing mean to you? Social media is public relations at its best. It is old fashioned communications with new technology. You must create relationships and spend quality time with people in order to have a genuine dialogue.

2.
My favorite social media tactic is Facebook status updates and photo postings.

3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub?Too many advertising focused minds.

4. Include 2 sentences about your company. Melissa Libby & Associates was founded in 1992 and specializes in PR and social marketing for restaurants and anything edible or quaffable. I primarily focus on: B2B.

5. Began social media marketing - I attended a social media seminar at the University of Georgia in October of 2007 and it changed my business model immediately. On the way home I spoke to a client, Fifth Group Restaurants, and the owner agreed for his restaurants to be our guinea pigs as we figured everything out. We dove in. By December 2007 I had restructured my company to accommodate the social media function and now have two full-time employees who do nothing but SM.

Amber rhea Amber Rhea Being Amber Rhea Georgia Podcast Network Sex 2.0 Conference
@amberlrhea  - To keep us honest Amber provides us a "point counter point."

1. What does social media marketing mean to you? Honestly? Most of the time, when I hear phrases like “social media marketing,” the first assocation in my head is “obnoxious.” That might be unfair; but I guess I've just seen a lot of companies/individuals where I want to scream, “You're doing it wrong!”  I don't really use social media for marketing. It's an integral part of my life. I've been doing the social media thing since before anyone used the term “social media,” and it touches all areas of my life. I don't want to get ranty but I have to say one thing I've been disappointed with in the “social media scene” (such as it is) in Atlanta is how there is so much focus on business, marketing, PR to the exclusion of anything else.

If that's not your primary focus with social media, you're really looked down upon by a lot of people; some of them can't even conceive of someone not using social media purely as a marketing tool. It's frustrating because the people who are busy building their “personal brand” and establishing themselves as “thought leaders” wouldn't be doing what they're doing if it weren't for those of us who got into blogging, etc. years ago, back when the business world as a whole scoffed at us.

Example: At SoCon07, a fellow attendee argued with me when I talked about (how) transparency and being real are important things online. He was actually very condescending and was stuck on the idea of, your life will be ruined if someone sees you doing something dumb on YouTube. But funny thing, at SoCon08, he was back, and this time he was a social media consultant.

2. My favorite social media tactic is being accountable to myself and others.

3. In 140 characters - What is Atlanta's greatest challenge in becoming a social media hub? Entrepreneurs in Atlanta need to think outside the box for real and be proactive, not reactive.

4. Include 2 sentences about your company. The Georgia Podcast Network isn't really a company, except for tax purposes! It's portal site for Georgia-based podcasts. If you live in Georgia and want to start a podcast, you can host it on the Georgia Podcast Network for free. It also includes a directory of podcasts based in Georgia that are hosted on other sites. The show Rusty and I cohost, Mostly ITP, was voted Best of Atlanta 2006 by Creative Loafing, and Best of Atlanta 2008 by Atlanta Magazine.

I primarily focus on:  Life, friends, activism, work, technology, sexuality, politics, learning, thinking... and whatever else happens to strike my fancy at a particular moment.

5. Began in social media - I started my blog in April 2002 - so I recently had my 7th blogiversary. I've had a web site since 1996, though (or a "home page" as we called them back then) and have been writing about my life online since then. I wrote a little bit about my history on the internet

Friday Fun: #BringBackTheBlog

05/22/2009

Friday Fun is Diva Marketing's virtual happy hour from cosmos to Jack to lemonade. A waiting for the weekend 'playground' time to be sophisticated-silly. Or sometimes just plain silly.

Blog read blog This post was inspired by Mark Story, Where Online Intersects With Offline. Mark is running a series on Mondays he's calling #blogmonday. With all the chatter about social networks and widgets and videos and podcasts and apps and tweets and gizmos (oh that's the next Big thing) the traditional blog has gotten lost in the digital maze. So I thought I'd use Friday Fun from time to time to #BringBackTheBlog by highlighting some of the great work that continues to be done in the blogosphere.

Seems only fitting that the first up should be Mark Story's post - Help Doug Haslam Ride. Blogs are wonderful social vehicles to tell from the heart stories and also to raise awareness for causes. In this post we learn about Dougn Haslam who is riding in the Pan Mass Challenge to raise money for the Jimmy Fund. Through his post Mark gives us a peak into his life as a dad and shows us some of the values that are important to him -helping others.  Follow the Jimmy Fund on Twitter.

Sidebar: The Jimmy Fund is a Boston-based nonproft supporting the Dana Farber Cancer Institute that helps children and adults.

Mary Schmidt's posts on Marketing Troubleshooter always make me think. She's smart, witty and quick to the draw proving that blog posts don't always have to be long to position yourself as a thought leader. In her post The price is a surprising happiness to you Mary combines two complex marketing topics - price and email marketing .. and makes her point about both.

It has always amused me and confused me that marketers think no Believe that marketing is vastly different from business-to-business, business-to-consumer, products and services.  While there are of course challenges within verticals and sectors the principles of marketing and relating to people's needs remains the same. Francois Gossieaux, Emergence Marketing, addresses that issue in his post about social media communities - B2B and B2C communities - no difference, it’s all about h2h. Francois uses his blog post to present his point of view including a few examples.

I'm going to let you in on my new secret. Shh! If you tell anyone Max might have to howl at you .. he never bites. Mommy blogs. (I'm not a mom so I don't frequently hang out in that blogosphere village though I do pop by to visit friends like Geek Mommy, Mom-101, MomInTheCity.) Remember this is #bringbacktheblog post so I'm talking blogs not necessarily "influencers" .. thought a great mom blog will often be home to a women who is sought after by marketers. Some of the best designed blogs are coming from this 'village' of the blogopshere.

My new favorite is Cool Mom Picks - a multiple author blog led by Liz Gumbinner and Kristen Chase. The branding is clean and consistent and the writing fun and engaging. Take a look at the side nav bars that are used not just for sponsorship ads but for value content. You'll find links to guides and internal content pages .. brilliant!

Sidebar: If you do want to know more about Moms Influencers catch the Diva Marketing Talks podcast where Liz Gumbinner and Susan Getgood join me to dish about Blogger Relations. It's a fun show with lots of great information.

Many Ways To Listen & Learn

05/15/2009

Heart_5 One important outcome of social media is the ability to listen and learn from our customers, and even our employees, through the unfiltered conversations of consumer generated media. However, there are other ways to understand our target audiences and that of course is through primary research.

Skipping around the blogosphere I found three posts that included research studies that might be of help to you:  women in social media, engaging employees and marketing to African American women. I'm leaving a few virtual bread crumbs for you to follow and perhaps travel down a few new paths.

One - A must read is the BlogHer Second Annual Women and Social Media Study. Elisa Camahort, BlogHer, explains the history of the study. The research takes a close look at the habits and attitudes of heavy users - women who participate in any social media activity at least weekly. 

Participants, who were online were more likely to spend less time engaging in traditional media activities like watching TV (30%), listening to the radio (31%), and reading magazines (36%) or the newspaper (39%).

A few more findings - Women are nearly twice as likely to use blogs than social networking sites as a source of information (64%), advice and recommendations (43%) and opinion-sharing (55%), while they are 50 percent more likely to turn to social networking sites as a means of keeping in touch with friends and family (75%),

Two -  Continuing my virtual blog travels I found that Sybil F. Stershic at Quality Service Marketing wrote a great post based BlessingWhite’s 2008 Employee Engagement Report. We're learning that social media influences more than marketing. It's not just about the brand <-> customer relationship. Social media impacts the entire organization from who is hired to management's trust of employees. It becomes even more critical for mangers to understand how to inspire and engage their staff.

Three - Michele Miller, Wonder Branding, concentrates on marketing to women. She well understands that success is dependent on realizing that this segment is more complex than it may appear. There are niches within niches. One important segment is African American women.

Michele points us to an interesting study by Lattimer Communications  that found " 86% of African-American women say that advertisers need to do a better job of understanding and marketing to them." Lattimer-communications-six-personas-black-woman-2008 Lattimer has developed six psychographic profiles.

Interview with Heather Morgan Shott of Meredith's Mixing Bowl Social Network Community

04/21/2009

New social networking communities seem to be on every virtual corner these days. Marketers understand that social media can be a powerful strategy that supports niche or segmentation marketing. However, when brands build out communities it's obviously a business decision that has incurred significant resources - including dollars.

I wondered how do they integrate marketing objectives, while ensuring that the "social" aspects,  the heart and soul of the community, are authentically and transparently developed and nurtured? When Chris Kieff offered the opportunity to interview one of his Ripple6 client's from Meredith Corporation's recently launched Mixing Bowl, a food and recipe community - I said yes!

Mixing bowl About Mixing Bowl

Editors touch every piece of content that exists on our branded sites. We post recipes after they’ve been triple-tested in our kitchens, write how-to articles, and so on. We don’t run Mixing Bowl that way because we want it to be a site created by home cooks for home cooks.

I’m (Heather Morgan Shott) very present on Mixing Bowl (my username is CoolCookie), and my profile page states that I’m a Mixing Bowl editor, but I’d never censor conversation or edit content. I’m there to answer questions as well as contribute to the community just like a typical member would by posting my own recipes, sharing my opinions, and joining groups. From a business point of view, Ripple6 offers advertisers access to a very sophisticated and extensive analytics system.

Heather morgan shott  About Heather Morgan Shott

I'm the Senior Food Group Manager for the Better Homes and Gardens Network, which includes five websites. On Mixing Bowl, I mix it up like any member might--but if there’s a functionality problem I’ll address it.

For example, we had some members who were unhappy with the way in which our contest application worked when we first launched the site. Entries were randomized so members started having problems finding the recipes they wanted to vote for once lots of recipes were entered. They started posting their complaints on the site, and we responded very quickly by tweaking the system so that the entries were static.

Suddenly ‘thank you CoolCookie’ threads started to pop up. Of course lots of people worked to resolve that issue, but I’m the person that the community knows is listening to them, because I’ve established a very visible presence on the site. When I’m not working, I’m cooking, restaurant hopping, drinking wine, shopping, or hanging out with my husband. We live in New York City.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Mixing Bowl is not only a new social media community but a new brand for Meredith. That said, Meredith’s reach with women is wide and established. How did you use those assets to help build membership and promote the site?

We’ve been working with all of our magazines and websites to promote Mixing Bowl. American Baby, Fitness, Family Circle, and Better Homes and Gardens, for example, have all created groups that tie to specific departments in their magazines. Ladies Home Journal features questions and answers from Knowledge Bowl in each issue. We have another magazine that will be sponsoring a contest on Mixing Bowl this summer. Online, we’ve been promoting Mixing Bowl in newsletters. We’ve got lots more to come; this just marks our very early efforts.

Toby/Diva Marketing: There are other social networks that focus on food and recipes. What is Mixing Bowl’s point of difference? Why would I want to join and spend time on Mixing Bowl versus another community?

Heather Morgan Shott: By filling out your profile, Mixing Bowl can deliver a totally customized experience just for you. For example, if you check off quick and easy, desserts, and cooking for kids as your interests, we'll bubble up all the recipes and groups that mesh with those interests. So we’re offering a vastly different experience than you get on other sites where you log in and see everything that everyone else does, and you literally have to wade through hundreds of pages of information to find what’s relevant to your life.

Toby/Diva Marketing: The quality of online peer-to-peer relationships builds over time. How is Mixing Bowl encouraging and nurturing “community” among with its members?

Heather Morgan Shott:I’m dazzled by so many of the people in our community, and I meet new, amazing members every day. When we launched Mixing Bowl, we tried to start things on the right note by inviting some incredible content creators, such as past winners of cooking contests and bloggers, to get in the mix early on. None of them were professional cooks but they all had a certain level of expertise in cooking or baking, so we knew they’d be able to provide high-quality content. We also knew that they had the kind of passion and enthusiasm that we wanted to foster on Mixing Bowl.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Mixing Bowl is a very rich platform, built by Ripple6, that offers multiple ways for people to contribute their favorite recipes and as we love to say, “Join the conversation.” At this early stage in its development which areas or groups are getting the most activity? 

Heather Morgan Shott: There’s no question about it, our community loves to bake. We have an extremely rich Ethnic category, with 16 groups covering a range of different cuisines (Chinese, Colombian, Mexican, French, Indian, Italian, Japanese, Parsi, Persian, Polynesian, Puertorrican, and so on); in this category many of the group leaders are actually based overseas, so they’re posting truly authentic recipes. We’re also seeing tremendous growth in areas that we’d expect—quick and easy, healthy recipes, desserts, and entertaining.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Has that surprised you?

Heather Morgan Shott: So far just what we hoped would happen has happened. Our goal was to engage home cooks who specialized in specific topics. What better way to learn how to cook Indian food than from someone based in Mumbai? Who better to get baking pointers from than an owner of a boutique bakery?  Who knows picky eaters better than moms raising kids who are picky eaters? These are real people with real solutions and inspiring ideas.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Since this is part of Meredith’s business strategy can you tell us what constitutes success?

Heather Morgan Shott: Our goal is to continue to grow membership on MixingBowl.com. We’re extremely pleased with where we are right now, and we will continue to work to develop an even richer and more robust community.

Toby/Diva Marketing: How concerned is Meredith with, let’s call it “traditional website metrics?”

Heather Morgan Shott: Page views and unique visitors are extremely important, but our top goal is bringing in new members.

Toby/Diva Marketing: I was watching a video where Dan Hickey, Vice President, Digital Conten, discussed marketers (advertisers) participating within the community to add value. Can you give us some current examples and tell us how Mixing Bowl ensuring transparency?

Heather Morgan Shott: Toby, we’re still working on this. We haven’t really rolled anything out yet… We're cooking up some great stuff, and I can't wait to tell you about those efforts once we've rolled them out. Check back with me in a month or two.

Toby/Diva Marketing: Understanding that the site has been live only a few months, what are some of the lessons you’ve learned at the start-up of this venture?

Heather Morgan Shott: In a community, it’s extremely important to be involved, to mix it up with your members. It doesn’t work to just build a community and then abandon it. You need to listen to what they’re saying and you need to respond quickly. You need to show you care, or they’ll go somewhere else. It’s also critical to be flexible and be willing to change something that isn’t working.

Toby/Diva Marketing: At its heart, or in your heart, what is your vision for Mixing Bowl on a long-term basis?

Heather Morgan Shott: We want MixingBowl.com to become the largest community food site out there. We’d love for it to be the number one destination for everyone who loves to swap recipes and join cooking groups. And we’d love to continue to draw in more members from overseas so that we truly become a place for cooks from around the world to connect.

Heather Morgan Shott On Social Media
It’s thrilling, and I can’t imagine life without it. Oftentimes content isn’t all that exciting until people actually start talking about it – and that’s why social media platforms like Mixing Bowl, Twitter, and Facebook have become so central to our lives. They enable us to take one thought or idea and connect about it with hundreds of others, regardless of where those people are in the world. We gain multiple perspectives, oftentimes from people whose views are vastly different from ours, and in turn our own thoughts and ideas become much richer.

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