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With all the great debate swirling around primaries and parties this season, I have become oddly intrigued by a rather unusual issue, one that has absolutely nothing to do with my politics.  Read the rest of this entry »

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I had the privilege of attending a recent client event in Charlotte that reminded me of the importance of corporate social responsibility and serving broader industry needs in branding and reputation management. Read the rest of this entry »

It’s that time of year again when our thoughts turn to home, hearth, family, and for me, one of the single greatest PR tactics ever invented — the Butterball Turkey Talk Line. This year marks the 30th anniversary of the lifeline millions of Americans have used to save their holiday feasts. Read the rest of this entry »

Every PR person has one: The ultimate war story, the craziest thing they’ve ever worked on.  Mine happened 8 years ago this week, when an unsuspecting Cubs fan reached out for a ball and, in the opinion of many Chicagoans, stole the Cubs’ chances of finally getting to the World Series in the process.  Sports fans the world over remember a name that I will never forget: Steve Bartman. Read the rest of this entry »

A recent conversation with my nearly five-year-old daughter has reminded me of the basics of crisis communications.  She started the discussion as follows: Read the rest of this entry »

I went to a local mall at noon today to grab lunch and noticed a group of people standing at the entrance with yellow mall vests and clipboards in their hands. Since I’m in the marketing business, I immediately assumed they were taking a survey.

A very nice young lady asked me if I had a moment; when I said yes, she told me that the mall sponsored their presence to remind shoppers of the importance of car safety. She asked if they could check my car and suggest opportunities for improved safety. Why not, I figured – who wouldn’t want a free car check?

They walked with me to my car and checked the tires, windshield wipers, lights, and all the glass. They noted that my windshield had a small crack, which I frankly had not seen. They also informed me that in our state this could be repaired for free under my comprehensive insurance coverage. The closer was that they represented a local auto service center that could remedy my problem, and they provided me with a business card and discount coupon.

What a great approach to marketing a service! In B2B marketing, we sometimes forget that providing educational information and content about a subject, or a free performance analysis/inspection of a system, can be quite persuasive. Often times this free service can even uncover a need that you can fulfill for your customers.

How could you apply this same technique for your company? Perhaps consider ideas such as:
• If you service or manufacture electric motors, offer a vibration analysis or energy efficiency evaluation.
• If you manufacture a component for OEMs, provide a list of the top ten design options for using this type of component to improve the efficiency of the end product.
• If you sell OSHA safety material, provide a free annual safety audit.

I’m sure you can see how this works and think of plenty of applications for your company.

When I reflect on the time between my teenage years and now, I realize that I’ve used at least a dozen different tools to communicate with others – house phone, pager, snail mail, e-mail, chat room, instant messaging, cell phone, texting, tweeting, facebooking, video sharing, and blogging. While some of these tools have phased out, others are beginning to emerge and grow.

As on a personal level, there are several ways to communicate professionally. It is important to remember, however, that whichever method of communication is selected, your message must be clear and easy to understand. None of these tools are effective if you cannot convey your message correctly. Read the rest of this entry »

This holiday season, I traveled from Atlanta to D.C. on board a standard Delta aircraft. While everything seemed to be the same as usual – beverage service, small overhead compartments, pretzels and peanuts, tiny bathrooms, etc. – I was pleasantly surprised to find that they now offer Gogo, a service that allows you to connect to the internet while in the air. At 30,000+ feet and essentially nowhere to go, this is a dream come true for me.

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Some people call LinkedIn their digital Rolodex, which it can be, but it offers much more. It can also be a tool to help you form business partnerships, research trends, ask questions, form and join groups, follow discussions, and show thought leadership.

linkedinAs a company, you can set up a corporate page, which details the organization, including location, employees and website. By starting a group, you can invite people to join, start conversations, and build a community with your audience. As an individual, you can build your personal profile and become part of groups or associations. Why is all of this important? Like Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn is yet another way to connect with your audience on multiple levels.

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TwitterTwitter. Facebook. LinkedIn. They are all tools in the ever-growing world of social media, but how do these internet-based services play out in BtoB? I’d like to take some time over the next few posts to demystify what they really do and share some helpful tips on how they can impact your business.

Twitter

Call it silly, but with 140 characters or less, you can accomplish great things. Think of Twitter as the invitation to the party. It’s a way to entice your audience to greater things, such as your website, blog, a video, a news release, and the list goes on. I often get this question from our clients, “I understand the importance of Twitter, but what do we tweet about?” Well, the short answer is: a lot of stuff! Below are a few examples to help get the social media juices flowing:

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