23 posts categorized "Word of Mouth"

December 07, 2006

No, It's not all in our heads...

By now many guys think that customer inequality no longer exists. That women and men get the same treatment as long as the card clears. WRONG! It happens even to successful and tech smart women like Elizabeth Albrycht. Elizabeth runs her Corporate PR biz from France and recently reviewed In Women We Trust (thank you!) starting it off with a personal testimony and punch line...

The book is full of examples that I am sure most of my female readers can relate to:  shopping for electronic equipment or cars are two iconic ones.  I still seethe when I think about how I was treated at a major electronics chain a few years ago when I went there to buy a digital camera.  Standing at the outside of the square counter, with the (male) clerk behind it, I was ignored completely while he waited on at least four other men (some of whom arrived after me), then when he finally asked me if he could help with a sigh, I launched into my questions, which he really didn't listen to (he barely looked at me) and then, when he was interrupted by another man with a “quick question” that turned into a lecture on the benefits of pixels, I simply walked away, left the store, and vowed never to buy anything from them again.  And I spread the word among my female friends.  I bought the $600 camera at another store.

A) She walked away from the moment and the person and the store never knew why they lost the $600 sale. B) She "still seethes" thinking about it. C) She was kind and didn't mention the store's name in her well read blog, but she did tell her friends.

Is that what you want ? A seething customer who talks to her friends? I know, I know, it's customer service 101 and oh well... can't win them all... But that's the point. You CAN win them all, if you treat all customers with the same level of respect and acknowledgment. She didn't walk because the sales rep was busy, she walked because of his attitude towards her.

By the way, check out her full write up for the top tips that resonated with her.

Thank you, Elizabeth, for the wonderful review and also for letting other's know what's in your head.

November 29, 2006

I passed the Dove Video on, did you?

Dear Gal Pals... I'll admit, I received the Dove Video via a blog and then passed it on to others in a blatant act of consumerism. Many individuals add up to big residuals and that means higher profits for the right reasons. Do you want to change the world? Start with the SEND button.

It's a profit thing. Low advertising cost (as in NONE for word-of-mouth) means more cash to companies. To get that, however, companies must provide a product and a message that people will want to spread. Are you a consumer word-of-mouth activist? If you passed along an "ad" you are, and that little act of "endorsement" can change the world faster than politics. Companies have no borders, they want products that will resonate and sell globally. What we buy here, defines what the rest of the world is offered as well. The higher the pass along rate, the more companies will want to do whatever resonated with the consumers.

Here's how Vox Marketing summarizes the numbers...

"Dove Evolution," a 75-second viral film created by Ogilvy & Mather, Toronto, was uploaded to YouTube on Oct. 6 and has been viewed over 1.7 million times since, Ad Age reports. While that total is impressive, it pales in comparison to the sudden traffic spike the site Campaign For Real Beauty has enjoyed from the viral success of the "Dove Evolution" film. According to Alexa, the jump in traffic earlier this month more than tripled the surge that Unilever enjoyed from Dove's 2006 Super Bowl spot.

The buzz generated for the video has also been fueled by bloggers, who have made the video one of the Top 15 most-linked-to videos among bloggers, according to blog-tracking service Technorati. The popularity of the film has spilled over to mainstream media, with featured segments on television shows "The View," "Ellen," CNN, "Entertainment Tonight" and Fox's "Geraldo," all within the last two weeks.

The numbers that will definitely grab advertiser's attention is that a 30-second spot for the 2006 Super Bowl cost $2.5 million, but there was no cost for Dove to upload "Evolution" to YouTube.

Lessons learned for consumers:
- Numbers talk.
- Participate in the pass-along world only if you want to vote for a product. Numbers send a message regardless if you passed it along for the entertainment value or want to endorse the product - high numbers get noticed.
- KNOW that the moment you pass along an item, that you are endorsing a portion of it.
- If you don't agree with the message. DON'T pass it along.
- Low numbers talk, too.

September 09, 2006

Amen, Amen, Amen for the Mac store experience

If you own ANY kind of store, other than a Mac, you need to read this. Pamela Slim over at Escape from Cubical Nation provides you with a not-so-secret shopping experience she had while buying an ipod. 

For companies who are reading over my shoulder to see what women want and trust? Follow Mac's example.

Thanks for sharing the moment Pamela - it reinforces that women do embrace tech (and spread the word) when the tech experience becomes user friendly.

August 17, 2006

Of Wine and Women

Over on WonderBranding, Michelle is stirring the vat with her take on the wine industry marketing to women.

I see many comments are about word-of-"mouth" being the best way to sell wine. In that case, I think that companies like reseller Got Great Wine have done the best job of positioning and selling to women.
1. Provide 6 bottles to taste at a party for $59. (Cheap party booze)
2. Provide a wine tasting expert for free. (cheaper party entertainment)
3. Bring in boutique California wines that you'd never find anywhere else except at the vineyard. (provide guests with a unique experience)
4. Make a buck besides (hosts can get wine gifts, ala Tupperware)

Everyone wins, everyone learns, everyone goes home happy... now THAT's how to market to women and WITH women.

August 15, 2006

Are the meek inheriting the capitalist earth?

And the conversation continues over on Susan Getgood's blog regarding white male dominance (still) in business, advertising and blogging. How after all this time, the 'club' is still the club. Sighhhhhhh....

Perhaps it's time to sit back and take the same stance as the mother in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when she said something like, "He may be the head of the family, but I am the neck and I can turn the head in any direction..."

In other words, we (as women) don't have to push to be heard anymore, all we have to do is try, buy, (complain) and capitalism will turn the heads of those talking in a new direction. It is happening already thanks to some great push work that set the foundation.

Within my lifetime, women gained educational opportunities. Title IX did that.
Within my lifetime, women gained political clout. The Women’s Rights movement did that.
Within my lifetime, women could buy their own home. The above, did that.

Within my lifetime, masses of women found their voice and are now using it. The Internet and blogs did that.

With all that in place, the "meek" (as some see women) are reclaiming their place on the earth. How? Follow the money…

- An estimated 2/3rds of the Gross Domestic Product is made up of consumer goods.
- 80% of who buys or specifies those consumer products are women.
- Will companies do whatever they can to win the majority customer over? You bet.
- Can that affect social change? It already has. If you believe in the 1% rule, it doesn't take much.

In three years Super Bowl ads went from disgusting to practically Disney. Women have complained for decades, but now we have money and access to public opinion. Business had to change or lose customers - better, more responsible and resonating advertising was the result. 

Follow the money...

The forefathers of this country were able to evoke change and put a constitution into place because they were the land owners with cash and clout. If history has taught us one thing, it's that cash and clout carries more weight than a good speech. If you were a company, who will you be listening to, the men blogging away and linking to each other or the women who may not be top bloggers, but who actually buy your stuff? Follow the money...

Fortunately for humanity, the women coming into their own cash and clout are also adding their heart and soul to the mix. And, if there is anything that this world needs more of right now, it's heart and soul.

Can women change the world?
In a customer driven market? Yes.  The more that the average woman knows that she is in the driver’s seat the more SHE (all alone) can hold corporations to a higher level of ethical behavior as well as better products and services.  Does it really matter if men link to men and women link to women? Only if you're in marketing and then you want every woman linking to you. That won't happen unless you earn their friendship and trust.  How are you going to do that guys? Humm, maybe linking to our blogs and sites is a start... Until that happens, we'll just keep linking to each other and building our own infrastructure.

Are women meek? Not when they have the right leverage... follow the money.

August 11, 2006

Just Say QuizNOs

Ok, I'll admit, I've enjoyed my share of Quizno's subs even though they are priced too high for what you get. Having read this, however, I have an additional reason to try the next franchise in the mall.

We can't blame a whole franchise on one kinky marketing guy, but he did more than hit on a 13 year old. According to the Ad Age article, "he" the Senior VP of Marketing "has been involved with some much-maligned campaigns at Quiznos, from the shrieking 'spongemonkeys' to a wisecracking character with the body of an infant but voice of an adult named Baby Bob who hit on adult women."

He wasn't the only one approving those ads, however, and we hope Quiznos goes back to marketing their quality product. The price paid for this kind of advertising is pretty high, too.

August 08, 2006

INSIDE: Women4Success

Karen_morrison_women4success_1 We’re talking with Karen Morrison, the president and CEO of Women 4 Success (www.women4success.com) It’s a small group (under 100) women, but the structure and the lessons learned from the dynamics are worth noting – especially if you’re a trying to sell into a women’s organization via word of mouth.

Karen has her Masters in clinical psychology from Pepperdine and was on her way to becoming a marriage counselor until she had her first child. At that point she needed to do something that allowed her to be a parent and a professional. “Women are the ones who generally have to restructure their time and day around the kids,” she said. “I had to be realistic and find something that would let me be a parent, use my education and also provide a living wage. I also wanted something that would provide real meaning in my life,” she continued, “Which is goal that many of our members have as well.”

Karen then did just what she tells other women to do now, she hired a coach. During that time she took a hard look at all her skills and determined that coaching others is what she wanted to do as well. She already was doing it in social services, this was just taking it a step further and back into her home. The difference between what Women4Success does and what other business training courses might do, however, is that she helps clients be successful and still have a personal life.

Mary: How did you decide to work only with women?

Karen: When I started, I wasn’t focused on women, but it evolved that way.  Men, for the most part just want an action list as to what to do next. Women have a lot more going on in their lives. They need to work through those fears and the things that overwhelmed them before they could get to the point of making a list. I discovered that my coaching style and experience just worked better with women.

Once I was into it, I found that women were hesitant to pay the high prices with one-on-one training and that’s when I started the Women4Success model which allows women to join at a low entry fee of $27 a month, It’s less than the cost of a typical networking luncheon and it is focused completely on helping them succeed.

Mary: I see that entry level members get a teleconference call once a month, tell me about that.

Karen: During that call, members can ask anything they want of myself, another coach or the group. As they get to know people on the call, they start to building up their network of people to know better at a quarterly live event or during our once a year annual retreat.

At a higher membership levels, they can have one-on-one sessions with the peers or industry experts. It’s much like having your own personal board of directors. They can participate in everything the entry level member can, but they get personalized and focused attention based on their industry.

Mary: Do women come, get their coaching and move on?

Karen: Some do, but others have told me that they come for the training and then stayed for the camaraderie. That’s why we host events, so that the women can really get to know one another and share their experiences. During an event like kayaking, they get to know each other’s weaknesses and strengths. That’s where they take off the masks. Later on, and back inside a group session, they know that it’s a safe place to tell the truth of what’s really happening in their business and life.

Mary: Is it different coaching women than men?

Karen: For one thing, women are more comfortable coming together and not staying alone. They’re already used to the concept of community and know how to operate inside of one. For them it’s a low emotional entry point as well as low cost.

Second, for them, being in a group with other women is less challenging than being in a mixed gender group. I’ve noticed that women show up more as themselves when it’s an all women group than when men are part of the mix. Here they can embrace their own ‘womanhood’. It’s more about coming as you are to learn, not coming as you aren’t to network.”
Mary: Who is your typical member?

Karen: Generally a sole service professional like a lawyer, web designer, realtor… those who tend to feel isolated and not have anyone to bounce ideas off of. I think the structure works for them for two reasons, first they aren’t buying coaching, they are buying what coaching will do for them and second they understand the community concept. They join to get inspiration and talk though their issues and to be told what to do next by those who have been there. There are tons of books on everything we offer, but women just want answers and they want other women who have gone down the path before to steer them.

Mary: How many chapters do you have?
We have groups of 16 and many individuals that we coach. The groups are in Orange County, Riverside County, San Diego County, Ventura County, Los Angeles County, and launching in Arizona in the fall of 2006.

Mary: How about your training sessions themselves, how do conduct them for optimal learning?

Karen: I always tell them that I won’t be lecturing for two hours, instead, I give 15-20 minutes of context and then we break into groups to share, discuss and finally do the work. Listening can be inspirational, but it does nothing to implement the idea into their life. By talking with others they come up with ideas that work, throw out the ones that haven’t worked for others and then form their own action plan.

Mary: What has held you back, if anything?

Karen: It’s one of those cons that I turned into a pro… I’m younger than most professional women, but I’ve always worked on my own. During that time I’ve been told that I’m ‘too emotional’ and yet all the success that I’ve achieved has happened because of that emotion. Now I coach others to own and use their strengths, emotional and otherwise and to show up in public as yourself. One of our members followed that advice. She thought she had to be an excellent public speaker to be a success, but she hated giving speeches. Instead, she went a route that fit her better and her business tripled. It’s about trusting yourself.

Mary: What do you do to keep the group together?

Karen: We have a monthly newsletter, through it people get to know me, my professional partners and each other. I asked one new member if she had any additional questions and she said, ‘No, I’ve read all the newsletters and I feel like I know you already.”

Mary: In closing, what would you like the readers to know that different, new or novel – something they can’t turn away from?

Karen: Wow, no pressure there… I think business owners need look for ways to break out of the superficial relationships that typify the usual networking meetings and look for ways that really show them off as people. Our networking and approach mimics how women talk to each other when no one else is watching and I think that’s why it works so well.

Mary: Thanks Karen for an insider view at a women’s group in work and play.

Lessons learned: 1) Make friends FIRST then follow with business. 2) Lead with your heart, and your soul will follow.

You may contact Karen at kmorrison@woman4success.com. If you would like your group founder profile, contact me.

BlogHer or Blogger? Who cares, just learn the tool.

Susan Getgood's posting on BlogHer set off discussions in many directions. I'm going to focus on one -- when does a "women-only" thing go from being an event identifier to a name-calling insult for an attendee?

As I was reading Susan's post and others the issue fell into two camps A)women being heard in the first place B) how to be taken seriously in the mainstream if you're the one segmenting yourself out of it. (by being part of an all woman event). A third unspoken issue also came out, is it limiting and in socially poor taste to identify with being a BlogHer instead of a blogger? (in the same way that women would rather be "lawyers" not "woman lawyers.")

It's the same discussion that's been held since I entered the business world three decades ago. Back then, women were forming business groups and associations primarily to have their voice heard or to learn things about their profession that weren't being shared in the workplace. They had no choice, they either sat in the dark or created their own spot of light.

Today, you would think that the world has evolved enough that separate groups aren't needed, it hasn't. Women are still struggling to learn how to voice an opinion and then have that opinion taken seriously. We've only had this "seat" for a few decades, cut us some slack. Knowing how to blog, pushes the process and sure beats standing on a rock and screaming.

What's the difference between a BlogHer and a blogger? The first is a business name, the second is a person.

Can closing the knowledge gap close faster if it's inside a woman-focused event? Yes. Sitting side-by-side sets off the women-helping-women gene. To answer my own question at the top, is it self-limiting to attend an all woman event to get information that you will be used in a mixed gender world? No. It's quite the opposite. Do whatever you have to do to learn and then apply the knowledge. For some that's being left alone, but for women, it's talking it out and learning from each other.

July 26, 2006

Who's really holding the cards (as in credit cards)

I'm going to BlogHer on Friday - it's formation evolved from the question, "Where are all the women bloggers"? The question emerged as male bloggers kept taking the top ten lists like Marketing Sherpa's top blog sites. In 2005, hundreds of women bloggers met at the first Blogher and compared notes. This year Blogher is a sold out, as thousands (more likely millions) who can't attend, watch and read about it virtually.

Companies are taking notice and aligning themselves with this crowd. Even GM will be there offering test drives of their new hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, trying to stir up excitement after losing $3.1 billion this last quarter. For GM's sake, I hope it works.

Here's the irony. If guys hold the top thought leader positions, why would GM bother with this girly group? Why not just go to the guys? Oh, that's right, because guys don't buy 80% of the consumer products, women do. Women hold the (credit) cards when it comes to consumer buying. They also hold each other's advice in high regard since they have "been there, bought that."

Companies will always follow the money - or at least those who make the decision about how and where to spend it. What happens offline will happen online.

Offline/online, women buy more stuff - game over.

Offline/online, men will always try to outdo each other - game never over.

If you're a company selling stuff, you'll want to be with the women bloggers even if there are less of them and they aren't on a top ten list. Their audience is your audience.

Where are the women bloggers? Standing right next to the male bloggers. If you want opinions, go to either. If you want sustainable sales with a high word of mouth advantage, go to the women holding the "cards."

July 20, 2006

Ask Patty... how to talk to a car dealer

My thanks to Jody DeVere, for the nice review of In Women We Trust. Jody is the President of Ask Patty which is a division of CarsMagazine and is also the current President of the Woman's Automotive Association International.

In both roles, Jody hopes to eliminate the frustration women feel while buying or servicing a car. For example on August 15 at 3 p.m. EST "Ask Patty" is hosting a webinar titled, "Learn How to Communicate with Service Advisors." Presenting the information is Sandra Wingate, The President of Concept Schools an automotive dealership service advisor training school.

Sessions like this help women gain confidence by knowing what to ask and to expect before going into the dealer. The more women know about the process, they more they will trust the process (and the dealer).