Difficult times call for unique measures and messages

On Friday, February 6th I pulled away from the Sign Advantage with my sassy persona all over my ride.

I have to admit, as excited as I was to get my company name all over town (literally) I was caught a little off guard at the staring and the pointing and the responses my sassy cow gets in traffic, at lights, and even as I stroll down lone residential streets looking for the houses of my children's playdates.

On Monday, Febuary 9th I was visiting a few clients when I received a voice mail from a newspaper reporter who had seen my car, looked up my website, located my phone number and was calling to interview me on social marketing and networking and to discuss my novel approach to marketing in a tough economy. I told her my philosophy is based on only having one opportunity to make a first impression, and that as she could see from the way she had found me, I practiced what I preached.

The article she was writing has yet to be published but was an interesting investigation on the role of virtual networking and social network marketing in business today.

I have enjoyed many opportunities as a result of networking sites like Linked-in and Facebook, but expressed that my fear of people utilizing them the wrong way will eventually compromise their overall value and fewer people will use them as a result. For example, last week I received a Linked-In email from someone who had searched me out under the term GOLF. I serve as the outsourced Chief Marketing Officer for Natural Golf and this is on my profile, so they used the Company and Topic search strategy to locate me (novel and tenacious...I like this in a salesperson!). This person was interested in discussing some golf related marketing opportunities he had relative to the PGA and LPGA. I wrote him back almost immediately. I try to be responsive and respectful to everyone who emails me as I find Linked-In a valuable tool and am glad people are finding me there. So...I wrote him that at this time, Natural Golf is not looking at any new marketing opportunities and is busily holding tight during a rough and tumble economic downturn. I thanked him politely but was clear with my message that at this time, I was not in a position to look at any new marketing tactics for them. I was surprised to see him in my email box again just 5 minutes later when he responded having completely ignored my response with more specifics and pricing. This was a clearcut misuse of a Virtual Network Marketing "touch" and made me wince to think that he might be part of a growing group of Linked-In users who could use a little Virtual Marketing Etiquette 101 class.

I think Social Network Marketing is a viable and targeted means of making new contacts. Business practice is business practice though and one needs to be respectful of other's time. As for making that first impression...it takes a lot to make that first impression in a world where anything new hasn't been tried before. The way I see it, to add vitality to ones Branding and develop a Unique Selling Proposition depends entirely on creativity and messaging that plays to the buyers needs and interests. It's why I chose to use my FJ as a means to let my community know I am open for business, and it's why I blog til the wee hours professing my passion for unique marketing strategies and tactics. It's why I network with others in Linked-In groups where I have the most in common with others and we share ideas on what works and what doesn't. It's why Facebook is an integral part of my marketing because I can let everyone who knows me tap into what my business is doing and gather bits and pieces of marketing advice off the Freakin' Genius Marketing blog.

I sent an email off right away to my Sign guru as a testimonial to his work! Less than 6 hours into my first business day with my mobile Freakin' Genius Billboard I was being interviewed by a reporter. I think that's one heck of a good ROI!

Lori Gertz is the Chief Freakin' Genius at Freakin' Genius Marketing in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. Lori prides herself on excavating her client's genius and providing strategic momentum for change and growth in small to mid-size companies.


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