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Monday, February 28, 2011

Simple Marketing Now Update - February 2011

Simplify Your Marketing!


Change is in the air! I've decided to ever so slightly modify the perspective shared in this monthly post.  Although I'll continue to update you on what happened last month [in this case February] in the world of Simple Marketing Now, I plan to do so while giving you a glimpse of what's to come in the month ahead - in case you might be able to join me or share ideas...

As always, your feedback is welcome!

[If you are new to Flooring The Consumer, I also write the Simple Marketing Blog where I discuss marketing strategy and creative, practical, simple marketing approaches and share best practices - many of which may be relevant to you and your business as you consider what's possible. The blog also acts as newsroom for Simple Marketing Now.]

Big News for March 2011

This is big. I mean really big... My very first inaugural online webinar with MarketingProfs!  It takes place on March 10, 2011 at noon EST. Here's the post I wrote about it: Managing Your Reputation in a Social World: MarketingProfs Online Seminar [I'm working on the press release] or you can go directly to MarketingProfs to register for the event. Would you help me get the word out? I'd really appreciate it. [FYI -  I just learned that my sister will be attending. Very cool! :-).]. I've created an event on Facebook, and plan to get one created on LinkedIn, too. I apologize in advance if I bombard you multiple times with messages about Managing Your Reputation in a Social World. It's just that I'm *really* excited!

If you plan on attending Coverings 2011, March 14 through 17, 2011 at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV, please let me know. I have two presentations scheduled and describe them in Press Release: Coverings 11 - Practical Marketing & Business Survival Highlighted [Note: Coverings showcases the newest in ceramic tile and natural stone.]

This week - Wednesday & Thursday, March 2 & 3, 2011 - I'll be at Columbia University and would love if you could Join Me For BRITE '11, in NYC.  I'm looking forward to an intense dose of innovation, technology and branding...

Yes, things are busy!!!

In Other Simple Marketing Now News, February 2010

I finished 2010 'house' cleaning with 2010 Interview Archives - Simple Marketing Now.

Social Media Marketing Resources:

Have you been thinking about how to raise your online visibility? If so, you aren't alone. Here are my most recent thoughts on the subject in Improving Visibility Online: Advice For Businesses.

My latest article on the MarketingProfs Daily Fix blog is 10 (Business) Reasons to Participate in Social Media. What are your reasons? I love what David Reich from My 2 cents added... Join in on the conversation in the comments section.

At BRITE '11, I'll hear more from David Rogers about his new book. In the meantime, here is an interview with him: The Network Is Your Customer By David Rogers.

As always, Thank You for reading.

Have a wonderful March!


Friday, February 25, 2011

Retail Experience in the News - 2/25/11

Wordle: #retailexp Here is the February 25th, 2011 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

Lots of lovely ideas for connecting here with customers - both using technology or simply via practical ideas. I particularly enjoyed Dave Huffman's ideas for easing wait times...

Retail Experience and Customer Service

  • Phone calls better for customer service than Twitter http://ow.ly/3ZtSX #retailexp
  • Why feedback matters: 6 laws of customer feedback. Guest post fr @opiniator: http://ow.ly/40mM9 #retailexp
  • What consumers hate about supermarkets http://ow.ly/3ZthB | the shelves complaint is a big deal #retailexp
  • The art and science of retailing from Steve Madden customer experience exec: http://ow.ly/401cq #retailexp

The Economy/Consumers

  • ExactTarget data on why consumer quit brands on Facebook, Twitter, Email: http://ow.ly/4018D #retailexp

Retail Experience Ideas

  • Top retailers make employee health, happiness a priority: http://ow.ly/401Pq fr @retexperience. What a concept! #retailexp
  • Love this: retailers trying to reestablish relationships w/ customers. Go local, be relevant, loyalty http://ow.ly/3ZtKl #retailexp
  • The American mall: back from the dead http://ow.ly/3ZtRG #retailexp

Integrating Online with Offline

  • Social media bakery success: engage with yr ambassadors http://ow.ly/3ZtOQ #retailexp
  • Facebook most popular marketing tool for localbusinesses http://ow.ly/3Ztbe - #retailexp
  • Lovely ideas for easing customer wait times fr @davemhuffman http://ow.ly/3ZZYl #retailexp #CMI
  • RT @benitopagotto: RT @francklemoal Growing Trend w/in retail biz: Retailers experiment w iPads http://t.co/7nSW0dz #retailexp
Enjoy and thanks for reading!

For previous issues of Retail Experience In The News, see Retail Experience News.

Simple Marketing Now, a marketing communications consultancy, helps organizations integrate social media and content marketing with traditional marketing to better connect with customers and improve business profitability. Simple Marketing Now issues the Social Flooring Index which monitors the social state of the Flooring Industry, Flooring The Consumer, about marketing to women and the retail experience. For more information, and the Simple Marketing Blog, about social media and content marketing to better connect with customers.

Graphic Created Via Wordle.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Opiniator 6 Laws of Customer Feedback

Opiniator's Matt Selbie
Matt Selbie, president of Oberon3 and creator of Opiniator, is passionate about customer feedback. In fact, that's how he and I connected. My post Big Bob's Flooring Outlets Customer Comment Cards got us talking about the customer retail experience and customer service and led to another post, Meet Opiniator's Matt Selbie.

This past Surfaces 2011, Matt and I met in person. We spoke about the customer experience and the role of feedback. After his presentation, "How to use customer feedback to improve cash flow", I invited Matt to share more customer feedback perspective on Flooring The Consumer.

Why customer feedback matters even in flooring or... The Opiniator 6 Laws of Customer Feedback

My recent Surfaces 2011 presentation on "How to use customer feedback to improve cash flow" is based on a very simple premise: if you retain your current customer base through the use of actionable customer feedback, your business will make more profit. I argue against the indiscriminate use of marketing dollars to acquire more business, when the business has no systematic way to review whether what it is currently doing is enough to retain its current users.

For a quick snapshot of the rationale, check this 5 minute Youtube video:

The presentation generated the following question from a hardwood flooring installer:

"In an industry like ours where the time between successive purchases by a customer could be ten years, why should we bother collecting feedback?"  

It's such a critical question that I thought I would lay out - no pun intended - here the six major reasons why, no matter how long the period between purchases, feedback matters. Here, then, are the Opiniator 6 Laws of Customer Feedback.


Customer Feedback Law 1: Knowledge over Speculation

Most businesses will never get direct feedback from customers, no matter how hard they try and no matter the quality of the job. What this means is that businesses don't KNOW what customers really think. If no one complains, this should not be the green light to assume the business is doing well.
  1. The only true metrics here should be repeat business and customer ratings (via feedback). 
  2. Systematic customer feedback across all aspects of your business delivers knowledge. 
  3. Knowledge leads to better thinking which leads to better decisions. 
Here is the kicker - every time we have delivered a feedback system to a business, it has resulted in at least one big surprise and one confirmation of something suspected. So even if the customer will not buy for another ten years, s/he will deliver knowledge about your business that could be of benefit to next week's customer.

Customer Feedback Law 2:  Purchase Cycle unknown

Anything can happen, so it may be much less time than you think before an old customer considers flooring vendors again. Maybe he has more properties, maybe she wants maintenance, maybe you have other products to sell, maybe he becomes a subcontractor for someone else. A customer once active is always an opportunity no matter the average time between purchases.

Customer Feedback Law 3: Negative Publicity Exposure

Through social media, both B2C and B2B, the opportunity for adverse publicity because of poor customer reviews is enormous. Whilst this customer may not buy from you again, or not for a while, the impact in the short term could be massive. 

Googling 'Flooring Install Complaints'  returns 5.6 million results !!! That's a lot of customers telling everyone why they should NOT buy from you and most of this can be prevented if you engage and get feedback whilst performing the service. It's always much better to salvage and fix ONE issue than try to recover credibility from a poor review.

Customer Feedback Law 4: Continuous Improvement

Every business has room to improve - period. Without relevant, actionable customer feedback, the business CANNOT know what it has to do better. Furthermore, WITHOUT customer feedback, the business is jeopardizing opportunities to win new business. It's simply arrogance, folly or ignorance to assume you know or can guess what the business has to fix.

Think about the type of dramatic improvement to the business if you asked these two questions to every customer.
  1. "Please rate your satisfaction with us on a scale of 1 - 5 where 1 is very dissatisfied and 5 is very satisfied"
  2. "Now what is the ONE suggestion you have for us that would get us to 5 or ensure you select us for future work"
Side note - if you have lots to fix, how do you know what to fix first?? Again, the only way to go here is to prioritize what matters to customers, and this simply CANNOT be done without customer feedback!!


Customer Feedback Law 5: Word-of-Mouth is the Highest Return

In most cases, simply asking for feedback is guaranteed to generate positive word of mouth. The reason is engagement and the fact that you are pro-actively asking for collaboration to become better - and customers respond by telling others. 

Word of mouth is:
  1. Free
  2. Builds the brand
  3. Can be leveraged 
  4. Is viral - 
  5. And of course means you no longer have to spend as much acquiring new customers. 
Now tell me any better form of marketing! And this would not be available if you DON'T ask for feedback.

Customer Feedback Law 6: Strategic Answer Opportunity

How often does a business have a genuine opportunity to ask and have answered the more strategic questions? For example:

- If you did not buy from us, who would you have bought from (choose from competitor list)- generates a list of competitors
- How does our pricing rate to the market (choose from % above or below market) - determines your relative pricing
- How did you hear of us (choose from a media list) - determines effectiveness of media mix
- Why did you choose us (choose from proposition list) - determines your greatest perceived value
- What other products / services should we provide (choose from list) - determines cross sell opportunities

My view is that if a business does NOT ask the above then it incurs a huge opportunity cost. The data, generated from customers who already buy from you, is of huge value in determining strategy.

These are the Opiniator 6 Laws of Customer Feedback: why every business must ask for customer feedback. The bottom line - it will generate more cash by ensuring what you are providing is what customers want.

Next blog post: How do you get the feedback?


Thank you, Matt!

Comments, feedback, reactions?

Image Credits:

Friday, February 18, 2011

Retail Experience in the News - 2/18/11

Wordle: #retailexp Here is the 2/18/11 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag this past week.

Retail Experience and Customer Service

  • Creating long lasting loyalty: Ace Hardware - note the local emphasis http://ow.ly/3VnRi #retailexp
  • This article about Home Depot CFO Carol Tome gives perspective on role technology plays in #retailexp http://ow.ly/3VfEE
  • Kitchenware News - key voice of housewares&kitchenware industry-w/ guest column from Micah Solomon http://bit.ly/emuLrp #retailexp #custserv #custexp

Retail Experience Ideas

  • I love case studies of better retailer winning out: Canadian UN Luggage vs. the competition http://ow.ly/3VnEJ #retailexp
  • Fast Fashion in the US: how retailers R responding http://ow.ly/3Vi9o #retailexp
  • RT @mikewittenstein: 2011 the Year of Retail Redesign got voted Top 10 on #retailexp http://ow.ly/3UYmu
  • Love reading about successful mall reinvention. Here, Westfield Culver City: http://ow.ly/3Vibp #retailexp
  • Using analytics to improve Chico's business http://ow.ly/3Vjw9 #retailexp

Integrating Online with Offline

  • Mobile apps to draw shoppers into stores http://ow.ly/3VnBx What's yr experience? #retailexp
  • Fashion houses use Twitter to revitalize business http://ow.ly/3VfMG #retailexp
  • What's next for Foursquare? How 'bout adding value? Note History channel mention http://ow.ly/3VnOZ #retailexp
  • Location based marketing about to explode for diners. Fascinating http://ow.ly/3X5OA #retailexp

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

For previous issues of Retail Experience In The News, see Retail Experience News.

Graphic Created Via Wordle.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Customer Loyalty & Social Media: Customers Rock Video Series

Becky Carroll from Customers Rock! and author of the forthcoming book The Hidden Power of Your Customers: 4 Keys to Grow Your Business Through Existing Customers invited me to participate in a video series back in 2008 about customer loyalty and social media.

I only recently [re]discovered the series and have been blown away with how relevant the comments are. When I think how much has happened since October 2008 [note: that's before Simple Marketing Now for me], the perspectives below make me appreciate  how timeless the topic is and how particularly suited the tools of social media are to building relationships and developing loyalty with customers.

That's why I'm sharing with you all eight of the video clips in Becky's series and hope you will watch each one. Most are under a minute in length; the longest  is 1:25 minutes. Speaking to Becky and answering the question "how does social media impact customer loyalty?" are some of the finest social media practitioners, all equally passionate about customer service, customer experience and what the tools of social media make possible for connecting with customers. All that's missing is Becky answering the question!

Frank Eliason, then with Comcast as @ComcastCares on Twitter; now with Citi

John Bernier from Best Buy and co-creator of @Twelpforce

Logic + Emotion's David Armano now with Edelman Digital

Connie Reece from Every Dot Connects

Mack Collier from Viral Garden and MackCollier.com

C.B. Whittemore [yes ;-)]

Chris Brogan from ChrisBrogan.com

Brian Solis from @BrianSolis.com 

Gary Vaynerchuk from garyvaynerchuk

Thanks, Becky, for creating this video series about customer loyalty and social media and for inviting me to be part of it. It's timeless!

What's your take on social media and customer loyalty?

P.S.: Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Retail Experience in the News - 2/11/11

Wordle: #retailexp Yes, it's taking me a while to get back into the groove! Fingers crossed that I'm there especially since here is the 2/11/11 issue of Retail Experience in the News...  recapping the latest articles and links shared on Twitter with the #retailexp hashtag these past weeks. Yes, weeks.

Retail Experience and Customer Service

The Economy/Consumers

Retail Experience Ideas

Integrating Online with Offline

Enjoy and thanks for reading!

For previous issues of Retail Experience In The News, see Retail Experience News.

Graphic Created Via Wordle.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Simple Marketing News Update - January 2011

Simplify Your Marketing!


Greetings! How was your January? Have you started to see signs of renewed consumer interest? I was particularly encouraged when Judith Huck from Classique Floors in Portland, OR, shared with me that she is seeing a considerable pickup in showroom traffic in the past month. Is it the same for you?

In other news, I am just back from Surfaces 2011 and still digging out from under...

However, it is still early February so here follows the January 2011update from Simple Marketing Now with posts categorized into Social Media Marketing Resources and Simple Marketing News.

[If you are new to Flooring The Consumer, I also write the Simple Marketing Blog where I discuss marketing strategy and creative, practical, simple marketing approaches and share best practices - many of which may be relevant to you and your business as you consider what's possible. The blog also acts as newsroom for Simple Marketing Now.]

Simple Marketing News for January 2011

The big news in January revolved around Surfaces 2011.  Hence Press Release: Surfaces 2011 Education Sessions Focuses on Connecting With Customers and a summary of our interview with FloorDaily's Kemp Harr in Surfaces 2011 Workshop: Basics of Competitive Marketing.

In terms of preparing for 2011, I prepared Press Release Archives - 2010.

Social Media Marketing Resources:

If you are intrigued about what's ahead for 2011, you might enjoy Social Media & Content Marketing Predictions for 2011.

If you feel as strongly as I do about the value of content, I think you'll enjoy Attract Customers With Content: Magalog Guy Interview. You'll find the very best content marketing resources in this post about Junta42 Best Content Marketing Blogs Updated!

Sometimes it helps to hear from those who at the early stages of making sense of social media marketing for their business. Here is my blog interview with Susan Negley, Floor Covering Institute Blog Editor.

Some of you may have experienced the marvelous reports we used for conversations with flooring retailers in my Solutia Wear-Dated days. In this blog interview, you'll meet the person who helped me create a sustainable process for reporting: Meet Blue Lacuna's Eric Glaser.

Finally, here are the latest links to articles and news about practical marketing on Twitter, coded #PracticalMktr:  Practical Simple Marketing In The News - 1/11/11

As always, Thank You for reading.

Have a wonderful February!

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