Word of Mouth Advertising: Give ‘Em Something to Talk About

Something to talk aboutEarlier this week I awoke to find my car vandalized. In the middle of the night someone smashed the windshield, stole my stereo and broke the steering column.

Stressed and frustrated I called my insurance company, GEICO. I was dreading the conversation, expecting to speak with a callous insurance agent that couldn’t care less about my situation. Although I had never before filed a claim with GEICO, I developed a preconceived expectation based on the hundreds of customer service reps I’ve been on the phone with over the years.

To my surprise, the GEICO agent (I wish I remembered her name!!!) went above and beyond.

“Ms. Morris” she said, “I’ve noticed that you’ve been with GEICO for over 7 years. Thank you for being a dedicated customer. I know you might be worried about how this will effect your premium. This is covered under the comprehensive portion of your policy and since it’s a not-at-fault claim, your premiums won’t increase. I’d be glad to help you find a body shop in your area and arrange for you to drive a rental car while your car is being worked on.”

Wow. Thank you for talking to me like I’m an actual human being and not just a number. You exceeded my expectations and now I am telling my friends.

The lesson? People will talk if you give them something to talk about.

If you meet my expectations and nothing more – I have no story.

If you are terrible and don’t meet my expectations – I will bash you.

If you are stellar and exceed my expectations – I will praise you. This is the key to Viral Marketing.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Web 2.0 Burnout?

squidoo-small.gifHere’s a riddle for you, what do you get when you cross a traditional website with Web 2.0?

The answer? A whole new ballgame.

Squidoo.com (a project with marketing guru Seth Godin at the helm) calls their new ballgame a lens – aimed at providing easy searches, low-maintenance and affiliate/PPC advertising incentives. According to the Official Squidoo Lens,

“We believe that when you go online, you don’t search. You don’t even find. Instead you are usually on a quest to just make sense…There ought to be a way for you to talk about what matters to you, what 10 things matter to you, without the pressure of keeping it up daily (like a blog); and you ought to be able to make some money if someone buys something because you recommended it.”

Interesting concept – I signed up for my first lens last week. Although it’s still in its infancy, you can check it out by clicking here.

Zude.com is scheduled to launch May 1st. Its main feature is the ability for users to “drag and drop” modules to create their own pages. Zude’s creators hail it as the “next generation and ultimate evolution of web interaction.”

Regardless of the tool, one thing is clear – Web 2.0 has increased the demand for user-friendly, intuitive online interaction. And yes, these sites do provide branding value and the potential for passive income.

But how much is too much? Is it possible to suffer from Web 2.0 burnout?

Personally, I think so. Between my website, blog, myspace, meetup, technorati, squidoo, dogster, livejournal, my yahoo! and the countless other sites I belong to – it can become overwhelming. And with the plethora of new tools on the horizon, users may not be as eager to jump on board as they were a year ago.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Joost.com – Inflated Viral Marketing

Joost Beta InviteLooking to build buzz about your business? Take a hint from Joost.com – a new online TV service from the founders of Skype that’s sure to knock the socks off traditional cable. Through a deal with Viacom, Joost.com offers name-brand channels like MTV, VH1, BET, and Comedy Central. And negotiations with other networks (like CBS) are happening as we speak.

In order to participate in Joost.com beta, users must receive an “invite” – which is a brilliant way to boost buzz. People will always want what they can’t have. Bloggers sense scarcity and post their desired demand.

It’s no surprise some holders are looking to capitalize on their invitation’s value by posting them on auction sites like eBay or joostswap.com (where bidders offer everything from web hosting services to Belgian chocolate and beer)

This is a similar concept to the crazes of toys such as Cabbage Patch Dolls, Tickle Me Elmo or XBox 360. Low supply + High Demand = Lots of Buzz & Inflated Value

So what does this mean for Joost.com? Blog posts are tangible evidence of demand – which is a big chip to play when negotiating with networks and advertisers.

Only question is – will the product live up to the hype? Bloggers are posting about their desire for the concept – not the product itself. This can be a risky move. It opens up the gates for competitors if Joost.com doesn’t meet the high expectations they have set for themselves. We’ll just watch (if I get an invite) and see.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Congrats Ad Man!

Congratulations to my friend Geoff Livingston of Livingston Communications who celebrated the first-year anniversary of his business!

As he puts it…

“We’ve had great experiences, from promoting Godsmack lead singer Sully Erna’s new book “The Paths We Choose,” and the Washington Nationals to well over a dozen stories placed in the top 50 newspapers in the country.

 

To celebrate our birthday, we’ve published an interview on our Buzz Bin blog with Laura Ries, co-author of the celebrated books “The Fall of Advertising and the Rise of PR” and the “Origin of Brands.” The latest in a series of interviews with great marketing minds, Laura discusses the impact new media is making on brands. You can view this interview at http://www.livingstonbuzz.com/blog/?p=246. We’ve also launched a new version of our web site at www.livingstonbuzz.com.

 

Again, congrats Geoff and may you have many, many, many more successful years to come!

 

 

To your success,

 

Andrea Morris

Write Ideas Marketing

The Secret to Spectacular Writing

Idea PaintingMany of us search for the perfect words to help sell our product or service. We tweak the recipe until we have a proprietary blend of personality and professionalism. The words jump off the page and the reader feels connected. That is great writing.

I’ve discovered a secret during my career as a copywriter and marketing coach. Toning ideas down is a heck of a lot easier than jazzing them up.

My first few projects started from a logical point of view. I wrote and edited at the same time as most people do. The words were acceptable, but they lacked that certain je-ne-sais-quoi. It needed some sparkle – but adding sparkle to swill isn’t easy.

One day I decided to give my thinking a makeover. I set a goal to find all the outrageous ideas lurking in the far corners of my brain and get them out of my head and onto my computer screen.

I decorated a piece of card stock with silly symbols and the words “JUST THINK” and covered my computer screen. Somehow the paper removed the tiny editor that sat somewhere in my head trashing ideas before they even got to the screen. Since I couldn’t see my work, all my crazy ideas (not just the logical ones) made the journey from my brain, through my fingers and onto the computer.

The result? I discovered many of the ideas that normally wouldn’t have made the cut were more effective than the so-called logical ideas. With a little tweaking and toning down I had writing that worked. The process also saved me time and was fun to boot.

So the next time you’re experiencing writer’s block try covering your screen and opening your mind. Then sit back and watch your ideas blossom.

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Interactive Ads – Make me notice you on ABC.com

As a Grey’s Anatomy fan I’ve been relying on the interactive player at ABC.com to get the latest gossip of McDreamy & McSteamy. I like watching episodes online better than TiVo a) because I travel and don’t have to worry about being home b) don’t have to schedule anything & c) limited commercial interruptions.

Over the past few weeks, a couple of ads caught my attention – not because they had the latest and greatest graphics – quite the opposite actually. While most ads featured the same streaming video I had seen on normal TV, Fidelity Retirements and Florida Orange Juice implemented simple flash players that relied on interaction from the viewer. The result? I noticed.

Fidelity Investments had a funny “easy” theme – including an interactive quiz, “the wheel of easy” where you spin and it randomly selects an “easy” task such as blinking an eye, and a trivia quiz that consists of questions such as:

Dogs are covered in:

a) fur
b) sequins
c) cat

After the ridiculously easy questions, the end of the flash program states, “We’ve also made retirement planning easy. click here to learn more. Don’t worry your show’s not going anywhere.”

Florida Orange Juice’s campaign began with a video of a children’s party where breaking a pinata resulted in exuberant children going nuts over celery as if it was candy. It proceeded to a game where you the viewer “break” an interactive pinata. The final commercial break was an interactive quiz about OJ and its health benefits. Although I enjoyed the quiz, I found the game a bit disappointing. After 10 unsuccessful attempts to break the pinata, I resumed my show feeling unresolved.

The point? Take into account the end user’s point of view. How can you engage them? Will inteacteraction result in interest?

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com

Write while the juice is in ya

When I talk to my friends who have a “regular job” (meaning they sit at an office from 9 to 5 M-F) they are often mesmerized at my hours.

I like to say that my office is wherever my brain and laptop are and I work when there’s work to be done. This tends to send the misconception that I go out and sit at coffee shops for most of the day not really doing anything. However, they don’t see this side – the fact that I’m up at 3:24 in the morning because I had an idea for a client that I needed to get down right away.

Why? Because right now the juice is in me.

Being a writer is somewhat of a two-sided coin. I write every day just to keep myself disciplined. I also consider myself “on call” with the muse. If an idea pops into my head, I’ll work with it right away (no matter what time it is) because I know that I’ll never be able to replicate the vigor of my original thought.

So today my office hours are at 3:30 in the morning. But hey, it still beats the heck out of a desk job!

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Andrea Morris is a marketing coach who specializes in helping visionaries, entrepreneurs, consultants and small businesses use high-ROI strategies to get the right message to the right people. For more information, please visit writeideasmarketing.com