Kids are back to school and it’s time for me to get back to blogging. Making some changes first though. Here at The Adventures of Reddsmitty the focus will be family, humor, and personal adventures. My professional articles are moving to a new site…Who’s Your Data? Hope you enjoy both!
Meet my friend Calvin. He’s a simple guy. Quiet. Reserved. Works for his local government designing and managing websites for the Mayor’s Office, City Council, and City Departments. He’s a graphic designer at heart and an avid twitter user (You can follow him @mayhemstudios) . He tweets so much that he has amassed a lot of friends. 62,740 to be exact. This following, coupled with Calvin’s kind and transparent online personality, has earned him a Klout score of 75 and a lot of perks. Suddenly he’s a marketer’s dream. Brands such as Audi, HP, LG, Toyota, Virgin America, and many others have been sending Calvin to conferences (both domestic and abroad), providing test drives of cars and tech gadgets, all in the hopes that his followers will be influenced by his tweets and pictures. He was even featured on Forbes.com as a “Twitter Marketing Phenomenon”.
What is happening here? Why Calvin? Sure he’s popular on Twitter and a nice guy in real life too but he’s not in a luxury buying demographic. He’s not the CEO of a sexy start-up in San Francisco either. He can’t even afford most the products he’s been asked to test. Why all this focus on consumers who may never be a customer? What is it about having a large Twitter following that creates a feeding frenzy for marketers? … It’s their voice.
Back in September of 2010, I had the pleasure of attending Alterian’s Engaging Times Summit in Chicago. Barry Peppers, of Peppers & Rogers Group ( @BarryPeppers) gave the closing Keynote. He shared with the crowd a story about how for one of their clients they studied the differences between customers who had the highest Total Customer Value and those customers who talked the most about the brand positively. They discovered that these two groups of customers were mutually exclusive. Allow me to repeat this for full effect: The customers who evangelized the brand and the customers who spent the most with the brand were mutually exclusive. Once that surprise marinated and they looked closer they concluded that the customers with the biggest voices were actually MORE valuable than those who spent the most money with the brand over a lifetime. Yes, your predictive models and traditional definitions for Most Valuable Customer have just been turned upside down and inside out.
Social Media has not only caused a collision between Public Relations, Marketing, and Customer Service it has redefined how and to whom we market. What are you doing about this shift? Have you thought about how this impacts your customer segmentation and lifetime value scores? Will you treat online socialgraphics differently than offline demographics? Have you begun to consider updating your models to include these elements? Have you even begun to market to online voices and evangelists?
I’m looking forward to seeing my friend Calvin next month at SXSWi.
This post was originally published on 2/25/11 on fifthgearanaytics.com
All photos courtesy of Calvin Lee.
Reflections on 2010: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
Much like the first day of school the new year provides a fresh start and an opportunity to build upon what we learned during the previous year. I learned A LOT in 2010, both about myself, and the world around me. 2010 was a crazy-fun-busy-scary-amazing-tumultuous year for me. Below are the events of 2010 that were most impactful.
- FEBRUARY: After 10 months without a paycheck, I found my dream job at San Francisco start-up Rapleaf! By far the most brilliant and dedicated group of professionals with whom I have ever had the pleasure of working.
- MARCH: Attended SXSW Interactive in Austin Texas. This is one incredible conference. Best part for me was meeting many of my Twitter friends face-to-face. There is something inexplicably precious and rare about these friendships.
- MARCH: Turned 40. 40 is the new 20. I don’t look or act my age, but some mornings my knees feel like I’m 90. Finally, I’m the age of a “grown-up”.
- AUGUST: Terror strikes. Diagnosed with Cancer. WTF?!?! No one wants or even expects to hear the words “Malignant Melanoma”. Frightening stuff. I was extremely lucky. Early stages. No radiation or chemo necessary. Surgery was a complete success. I’m proud of my 5-inch scar. I am eternally grateful for the outpouring of love and support from my friends near and far. The experience would have been much scarier without you.
- AUGUST: My twins entered Kindergarten. How is it possible that my babies are old enough to attend school already? And who knew there would be this much homework already? My little men make me proud every day.
- DECEMBER: Resigned from my “dream job”. Though I will miss my friends and colleagues at Rapleaf, both the job and the dream changed. Time for a new chapter.
Looking forward to the new challenges, opportunites, faces, and places of 2011!
What were your big moments of 2010?
How To CRUSH Your Next Sales Call: Part One Via Phone
It’s hard to believe I’ve been in sales for over 20 years ( and no I am not including lemonade stands!). I have sold everything from men’s shoes, campground timeshares, and legal secretaries to custom trade-show booths, million-dollar databases, and now social media data solutions. No matter the product or industry there are certain rules that I follow and steps that I take to ensure success. Here are a few nuggets:
1) Prepare the night before: Have your questions ready, your homework done, and the phone number handy. Leave nothing to chance.
2) Do your homework: Hoover’s, Yahoo Finance, Wikipedia, their web-site, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and of course Google. Leave no stone unturned. Find out everything you can about your prospect. Know their stock price before you dial. This should prevent you from asking stupid questions.
3) Confirm the meeting time/phone number: Make sure everyone has the correct time zone, dial-in instructions, etc.
4) Smile: Keep a mirror handy so you can see yourself smiling. Folks on the other end of the line can hear it. I don’t care if you sat in Poison Ivy AND your dog died this morning, you will put on a happy face or you will sell nothing!
5) Don’t Vomit on your shoes – There’s nothing worse than an obnoxious sales person droning on and and on about their latests and greatest features.
6) Ask open-ended questions: For example, “What happens if you don’t fix this issue in 2010?”
7) Take notes: You don’t want to forget any important changes, tasks, or names.
8 ) Give THEM homework too: Make sure both sides have homework at the end of the call – Whether it’s an MNDA or a visit to your site, make sure both partis have follow-up items.
9) Have a goal for the call: It can be as simple as a “Schedule another meeting”.
10) Be yourself: ” Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.” – Oscar Wilde Most important factor in your success is to be yourself and have fun. This is the only way to build relationships successfully over the phone.
Break a leg!
This is post #12 of the 28 Day Blogging Challenge
Photo courtesy of chuckthewriter and Flickr
Oh my Wordle! I love typography!
Where can I find Wordle? You can find Wordle at http://www.wordle.net
Why do I need/want a Wordle? There are several applications for using a Wordle.
- Blogging: Once you save your Wordle to the Gallery it provides HTML code for you to insert into your blog. The image is small so bear that in mind (see above). When creating your Wordle you can insert the text from a single blog post, or type in your blog URL to pull text from all your posts. You can dedicate an entire page to Wordles!
- Logos: By typing in your name, title, company name, and what you do, you can create a fun logo. You can change the colors, background and font or keep selecting Random.
- Birthday Cards/Holiday Cards: Type in the person’s name and words that describe them or how you want them to feel. You can weight certain words in the Advanced Functions to ensure they appear larger in the finalimage . You can print right from Wordle too.
- Brainstorming: Need a fresh take on a BORING brochure. Cut and paste the text into Wordle and see what jumps out at you as far as ideas.
The sky is the limit as far as applications for Wordle use. Let me know how you use it!
This is post #11 of The 28 Day Blogging Challenge
The Dichotomy of Valentine’s Day
My apologies for the blurry picture but I took this myself with my Blackberry this morning. Can you believe that Necco hearts have a Twitter reference now??!?!?!?!?!
Valentine’s Day has never been a very important holiday in my house, both growing up and now. I’m a little torn because it can be so commercial. 1 billion cards mailed each year. That’s second to only Christmas! I made handmade valentine’s for my kids . Not sure if they liked them better or not than the Hallmark cards they received in the mail. I don’t expect or want a box of chocolates (Have you SEEN my ass?!?! LOL!) and flowers are stupidly expensive on this day. Make no mistake I LOVE getting flowers (Especially pink roses! Hint Hint…) but not on Valentine’s Day.
My take on Valentine;s Day is this: Tell the people that you care about that you do and how much. You don’t even need to spend a fortune on cards ($4-$10 each! Ouch!). Now you can Tweet, Facebook, or Text Message the people you love and adore and spread Valentine cheer at virtually no cost! I found myself posting Valentine tweets and Facebook messages and feeling like this was “normal”. It felt great to spread cheer to those of whom I could not be present. So perhaps like the Necco hearts, Valentine’s Day is embracing social media. Chocolates and flowers may cease to exist IRL as V-Day gifts. The new “generous” is spreading the love over bandwidth.
This is Day 10 of The 28 Day Bogging Challlenge
So here I am on day 11 of the 28 Day Blogging Challenge and I’ve already missed two deadlines. Zoinkers! Time to throw in the towel? Quit while I’m ahead? Hell no!
When you experience setbacks you need to do 3 things:
1) Re-evaluate the situation: Why did the setback happen? Was it an anomaly or is it likely to happen again? How will you succeed next time? In my case, I started a new job, was working 12+ hour days, and traveling thousands of miles. When choosing between working, sleeping, and blogging, it was the latter that usually lost. Aret hese anomalies? No, this pave will continue
2) Create a plan to move forward: Make the necessary adjustments and plunge ahead. Anticipate future setbacks and roll with it.
3) Move forward: Don’t get discouraged. Keep your chin up and think about why you are on this path. The fruit of your journey will be even sweeter if there were obstacles you had to overcome.
So am I continuing the 28 Day Blogging Challenge? Absolutely! Am I making adjustments to ensure my success? Damn straight!
This is Post # 9 of the 28 Day Blogging Challenge
Photo courtesy of A U D E and Flickr
There have been songs (“I left my heart in San Francisco”) and jokes (The coldest Winter I ever spent was a Summer in San Francisco”), but there really is something special about this City by the Bay. Some complain that you trip over homeless pan-handlers every two feet (I actually saw one holding out a frying pan!), but with that you also trip over three Starbucks, a sushi restaurant, and an art museum or two. I’ll take it!
Here are a few of my favorite things:
- No skyline jutting out of a grid, the buildings flow across the landscape from the hills to the sea
- The Bay area cities face each other like seats in an enormous arena
- The contrasts of the architecture: Ultra Modern vs. Victorian
- The “dinging” of the cable cars
- Gorgeous sunsets
- The moderate climate: Not too hot, not too cold, it’s just right!
- You can never eat too much Ghirardelli chocolate
- Home of Rapleaf World Headquarters (shameless plug for my new company!)
- The sushi
- The Shakespeare Garden inside the Golden Gate Park
- Temptingly close to Wine Country…
- The awe-inspiring bridges
- That tiny little chapel on the tallest hill in Tiburon (Happy Anniversary Michele and Rey!)
- The music and history of Haight-Ashbury
- Steep and crooked streets
- The barking roars of of the sea lions
- The art museums, galleries, and street art…everywhere!
- The aroma of sour dough bread
- The sushi (Did I already list Sushi?)
- The people
If you haven’t yet explored San Francisco, do it. If you have, please share some of your favorite things.
This is Day 8 (cough) of The 28 Day Blogging Challenge
Photos courtesy of Alaskan_Dude, PatrickSmithPhotography, and Flickr
Rules Of The Road: Travel Tips From A Fearless Road Warrior
Driving to the airport at 5am Monday morning and I realized I forgot to pack my travel pajamas (D’OH!). Guess I’m a little rusty. Regardless of whether you travel for business or pleasure, trekking (especially air travel) will go much smoother by following a few simple rules:
1) Pick A Side – Black or brown – not both. Everything you pack should coordinate. Spice things up with accessories (jewelry, ties, scarves, etc).
2) Pack An Extra Shirt – Bring one extra shirt/top for each day you’re gone. This gives you another option in case there’s a stain, tear, missing button, etc (or breakfast slaloms down the front of your shirt!).
3) Roll With It – Rolling is the way to go! Instead of folding t-shirts, jeans, and underwear now roll them. They really do pack tighter.
4) Use Dry Cleaning Bags For Your Hanging Clothes - This trick REALLY works! The bag eliminates the friction that causes wrinkles so your suit stays (nearly) wrinkle-free. I need an iron maybe 1 out of 10 trips. Another bonus is when you pack to go home you can toss the unneeded hangers leaving room in your carry-on for souvenirs
5) Try A White Noise Machine – If you have trouble sleeping in hotels due to noise from the hallway, street, elevator, other rooms, etc or it’s just too damn quiet (there goes my G-rating), invest in a white noise machine. I use the Brookstone model pictured HERE. Helps me sleep like a baby!
6) Ziploc Your Receipts – Ever lose a receipt you needed for your expense report? Two to three states in a single week?…and one massive pile of receipts? Before you walk out the door for your next trip grab an Easy Zipper Ziploc bag from your kitchen. Label the outside with your destination city (Use a ballpoint or Sharpie as roller-balls will smudge). If you forget to grab one from home you may be able to snag one at the airport security checkpoint. Every time you make a purchase shove that receipt into the Ziploc instead of your wallet/purse/briefcase. Even hotel receipts will fold neatly into the pint-size bag. If you are fortunate enough to have an administrative assistant to process your expenses, he/she will appreciate your newly found organization.
7) I’m Not Your Mother – Do I really need to remind you to pack an extra pair of clean underwear?
8 ) Hydrate – Once you are through security, pick up a large bottle of water. You may not finish it on the plane but it will come in handy in your rental car and/or nightstand. Not all hotels provide bottled water in the rooms.
9) Select A Loyalty Program – Choose one airline and hotel and stick with it whenever possible. Hotel perks can include free bottled water, snacks, room upgrades, free stays, and executive lounge access (which offers free breakfast/happy hour appetizers/cocktails). Airline perks may include free baggage check, early boarding, upgrades to First Class, standby priority, and Priority Access (which means you can bypass those long lines at security!).
10) Arrive The Night Before – If you have an important meeting, and time/budget allows, fly/drive in the night before. Not only will this prevent weather/mechanical delays from adversely affecting your meeting, you will feel more refreshed and ready.
So there you have it! My Road Warrior tips. What should I add to this list? What’s the worst thing you forgot to pack? Let me know. Oh and by the way, I am now the proud owner of some very comfortable new pajamas from Old Navy!
This is Day 7 of The 28 Day Blogging Challenge
Photo courtesy of FromTheNorth and Flickr