Younger employees help senior executives unlock social media mystery

Both groups benefit in reverse-mentoring programs

From 10/25/09 Chicago Tribune Online
By Barbara Brotman

Janet Cabot couldn't wait to show Ashley Spohn her latest accomplishment.

"I am so all over this Delish thing," Cabot bubbled, punching up on her computer in her office at Edelman, a Chicago-based public relations firm.

"Oh, you're doing so well!" Spohn said delightedly, counting the recipes Cabot had collected on the food lovers' Web site. "Look, you've got so much!"

Her pride was as evident as the exchange was notable. Though Cabot, 56, is Edelman's central region president with more than 30 years in the business, she is the student. Spohn, a 23-year-old account executive on the firm's digital team, is the teacher.

Many organizations eager to strengthen their presence in the online world have discovered that they have the perfect consultants on their staffs: 20-somethings who live in that world.

"We grew up with social media," said Matthew Clay, 23, a media executive at Edelman. "We spent eight hours every day on AOL IM." For more of this article, click here!

How to reach moms in the marketplace!

Great post on by Stacy DeBroff who is founder and CEO of Mom Central Consulting (, about how to target moms.

• Moms increasingly go online to connect with like-minded Moms, actively seeking out friendships online to fill the void of a lack of best friend or strong inner circle. Brands now have an opportunity to pull them together in forums with others who share their interests. The result? Increasing loyalty to brands that facilitate Mom-to-Mom connectivity.

Key Take-Away: More than ever, brands should focus on providing Moms with opportunities for connectivity, both online and offline, rather than just information, expertise or coupons. Tactics such as forming Mom Ambassador programs offer them significant opportunities to build relationships and leads them to effusively thank the brand for bringing them together.

• Geo-Targeted Local Gatherings: With the frenzied pace of today's Moms, many women find that friendships and relationships often fall to the wayside. With just 19% living in the community where they grew up, Moms desperately seek new connections and they struggle: 58% report experiencing loneliness in the past month, and 4 out of 5 need more friends in their lives. Offline events give them the opportunity to meet fellow Moms they know from online communities.

Key Take-Away: In developing Mom-focused consumer campaigns, brands have to think locally while reaching globally. Robust geo-targeted programs with both online and offline components enable Moms to relate brands to their daily lives, and offline events help them build local relationships and connections with fellow Moms in their communities.

• Rise in Social Network Participation Due to Friendship Seeking: Millions of Moms turn to sites like (Mom groups), along with Twitter (shared passions), Facebook (reconnections with family and friends) and Linked-In (business-related) for connectivity.

Key Take-Away: By facilitating connectivity and community on these platforms, brands can build tremendous and lasting loyalty among their Mom brand enthusiasts.

For a copy of this research study, please contact Tracey Hope-Ross, VP Social Media and Research: or 617-244-3002. Freakin' Genius Marketing can help you leverage relationships with this integral target market- from list development to social network participation, we have you covered.

The Very Important

Yesterday, I met with an entrepreneur who owns a healthy IT business. He contacted me to network a bit. He shared some wonderful leads with me and then we brainstormed as he discussed some growth opportunities and ancillary business ideas he is exploring.

When our meeting ended, and we walked towards the door, for a moment my balance was askew. It was then that I realized there was something that just felt different. It took me a few moments, but as I shook his hand and looked into his eyes, I got it! I realized WHY this meeting had been so different.

For 10 months, perhaps even longer, 90% of my meetings with clients have been to discuss and offer strategic support for their struggling and sometimes desperately faltering businesses. Their product repackaging, their lead generation reinvention, their reinvestment of greatly reduced marketing dollars, and their downsized staff restructuring. Here, was a meeting in which the topic of the “truly urgent” was not at hand. He wasn’t looking for strategic insight on his day-to-day marketing, his customer profile, or his changing channels of distribution, he was looking to brainstorm his strategic plans for growth in the next 3-5 years and beyond. It was a paradigm shift for me. He was, indeed, addressing the “very important” of his professional life.

Perhaps this is a sign that the economic downturn is waning?

I am excited to work with this new client on his “future scope” of potentially exciting new opportunities and am grateful for the recognition that I can be a strong resource for him.

I have hopes that in the next few months more people will approach Freakin’ Genius Marketing with longer-term matters, shifting from their “truly urgent” hats to their “very important” suits! The difference is really about making the choice of not letting their businesses run their lives, and instead building the business of their dreams. Addressing the “very important” means preparing for the future, and that future is looking better and better every day.

The Freakin' Word: Spotlight on Genius in Action

The Freakin’ Word's Lori Gertz
Lynne Jankovec, owner of Olivias Past, www.located in Long Grove IL

FG: What is the secret to your sauce Lynne? 17+ years in a historic town that is off the beaten path with minimal shopping hours, and a shrinking retail base? How do you do it?

LJ: My store has a cozy feeling and is merchandised to make the shopping experience both relaxing and exciting at the same time. Many people have described it as a “treasure hunt” through the small space that is packed with interesting clothing, jewelry, art and gifts. My customers are loyal and come to shop frequently because the size of the shop enables me to turn over the merchandise and feature new lines regularly. The secret to my sauce is a combination of people who enjoy shopping the quaint shops and the historic ambience of Long Grove plus those who know I have my finger on the pulse of what’s hot and what’s stylin’ for my demographic market.

FG: You are a rock solid buyer and have a real nose for clothing trends, how did you define your market? Did your merchandise self define or did you decide who you would buy for?

LJ: I buy from my heart using instinct. I love creating a versatile merchandise base of fun and interesting options for non-cookie cutter shoppers. My demographic is wide, so I have to be cautious to vary the merchandise for an array of shoppers.

FG: What have been the greatest customer acquisition methods you have used to build your loyal base of customers?

LJ: Word of Mouth! Yep, word of mouth and repeat business from my loyal customers is the biggest part of my success.

FG: What would you say is your greatest point of difference?

LJ: I’d like to think it’s my merchandise mix and my bubbly personality that differentiates me from other small boutiques. There is definitely a cache to my location in a tourist driven town though.

FG: Your store’s eclectic interior, like the cottagy exterior, is so unusual. What part of the customer’s experience in your store is sensory and what part is driven by a clothes shopping expedition?

LJ: I hear a lot of comments all the time about how much people love the “feel” of the store. I use a particular air essence and it has its very own sensory trademark, but honestly, it’s hard to say what “makes” any shopping experience…it’s a very personal thing.

FG: Tell me about what the general sense of business owners in Long Grove is as it relates to weathering the downturn in the economy.

LJ: As it relates to the national average, the empty storefront rate is below the average. Meaning, Long Grove is doing better than the average downtown shopping areas around the country. Of course, there’s a lot more creativity in marketing the town through the merchants association, of which I am a part. It’s a great group of committed business owners dedicating themselves to keeping the spirit of this historic place alive.

FG: Given that Long Grove has gone to event marketing, do you find yourself creating marketing tactics in line with those events, or are yours rather, in spite, of the events. Some events would include the annual Long Grove Strawberry Festival, Apple Festival, Chocolate Festival, etc.

LJ: The creative events sponsored by the town of Long Grove are great for driving traffic but we also plan many of our own events that we think appeal to our customers. Trunk shows of up and coming jewelry artists, fashion shows, private parties, have all helped us to create traffic for ourselves.

FG: What is the best tactic for getting your existing customers to visit?

LJ: Personal relationships are key. When I get a new item in, I CALL, yes, the old fashioned way of reaching out, I pick up the phone and call my customers to tell them when something arrives that I know they will love. I enjoy the direct contact with customers and am utilizing email to reach them with news of new and interesting items, promotions in the store, etc.

FG: Tell me, what would you advise if someone just starting out in the specialty women’s clothing business came to you and asked for advice?

LJ: Retail, especially women’s clothing, is a very difficult business to break into. It is most important to set your goals, be aware of your market, monitor expenses, and most importantly, follow your instincts. This is not a business whose success can be defined by a spreadsheet. It is one of passion, determination, and a LOT OF LUCK!

How to Best Measure Your ROI Using Google Analytics

by Jeremy LaDuque

Google Analytics is a free service that produces statistics about the visitors to a website. It can track visitors from which search engine or website they were referred by, email marketing, online PDF documents, and pay-per-click networks.

1. Understanding Traffic Building Behaviors through Statistics
If you know which online campaigns, keywords, and adwords are working and which ones are not, you can focus on the tactics that have been proven successful and change the ones that are not producing sales.

2. How to Build Meaningful Reports
Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) help you track what matters. Every industry is different, therefore goals are different. The best way to track KPI’s is to come up the ones that are useful in reaching your goal.

Here are some examples of formulas used with these goals in mind:

Have more people visit the website: Visitors > Visitor Trending > Absolute Unique Visitors
Ensure there’s a return on marketing efforts: Traffic Sources > AdWords > AdWords Campaigns Have more people buy products and/or services from the website: E-commerce > Conversion Rate
Have more people register to be a user on the site: Goals > Conversion Rate
Determine your newsletters’ effectiveness: Goals > Conversion Rate
Increase the percentage of returning visitors: Visitors > New Vs Returning
Increase the number of “branded visits”: Visitors > Visitor Trending > Visits

3. Establish KPI’s that measure ROI
Albert Einstein brilliantly said, “Insanity is doing the same thing and expecting a different result”. The same concept applies to your online marketing efforts. How much return on your investments are you actually getting from your online marketing strategies?
You need to determine what matters most to you (your conversion matrix) in order to decide what to track.

Here are some examples:

For Brand awareness, things to track include:
• traffic
• new visitors
• time on site

For Building leads, things to track include:
• landing page success rates
• website signups
• newsletter click throughs

For Sales, things to track include:
• conversions to sales
• abandoned cart percent

4. What is your Return On Investment for each web initiative?
• How much is email list acquisition?
• How much did the newsletter cost to design?
• How much did it cost to send out?

Twitterati Unite! Makin' Twitter Work for your Business!

Twitter.....It's getting a lot of buzz, but few know how to truly make money from this site...

You may already have a Twitter account. But there's a good chance you've missed one or more of the critical steps I'm about to explain on how to set up a Twitter profile to bring you clients.

If you don't have a Twitter account, this is your chance to jump in and start profiting within the next few minutes! Let's get started...

STEP 1: How To Sign-Up For Twitter In Under 5 Minutes
Go To (click “Sign Up Now”)
COMPLETE BASIC INFORMATION (name, username password, email)
SPECIAL INSIGHT: make your username “human/personal” NOT corporate or weird. And even though you are allowed up to 15 characters for your username, make it as short as you possibly can (10 characters or less is optimal). More on this in step 2...
DOCUMENT and SAVE your username / password.
SKIP the FRIENDS part for now...(select “Skip this step” at the bottom.You can return to SETTINGS later if you wish to do this).
SKIP the NEXT STEP (“Look who else is here...” Don't do this unless you are a celebrity's not going to bring you business in your local market).
CONGRATULATIONS (your account is tweet ready - but needs tweaking).

Don't Tweet yet, it's time to set a few things up so that you don't look like a Twidiot!

Click SETTINGS at top of your profile. (

STEP 2: How To Set Up Your Account Like a “Twitter Twenius”
That's Twitter-speak for “Genius”!
You need to optimize FIVE areas of your profile on Twitter...

A. Real Name and User NameInvest some forethought into your Twitter username. I needs to be 15 characters or less; so make it short, memorable, relevant, personable, and easy to spell. You will also be able to associate a 20 character (max) REAL NAME with your username. If you are a local business or if you use a 800 hotline, it may be possible to incorporate that phone number in the real name. You could also categorize what you do as part of your real name. This is a very visible part of the Twitter system...choose wisely.

EXAMPLE, I could use the following:
Real name = Lori G (800) 555-5555 -or- Lori (BiZStrategy) SPECIAL INSIGHT: Keep in mind that your REAL NAME is used in search results, thus it has SEO value (so think about your “keywords”).
User name = lgertz

HINT: Your USERNAME steals away character spaces when others want to “reTweet” you (re-post your Twitter message), thus a 10 character or less username is better, even though you are allowed a 15 characters max.

B. Location: Make sure you add your LOCATION, in other words, where on earth are you located? Unless you are intentionally hiding-out from the FBI or debt collectors, a Twitter location is highly recommended. If you are using your account for a local business, adding a very specific location can be extremely beneficial. People seek local connections...make it easy for them to find and follow you.

HINT: You can also search and add people in your local area who are on Twitter by using the Advanced feature of Twitter Search.

C. “One Line Bio”: Definitely optimize your 160 character BIO which appears on the upper right of your Twitter profile page. It does not have to be a typical bio, it can be an interesting message or statement if you prefer. In most cases the goal of the bio line is to get the reader to think you are “follow worthy.” Make it real, make it fun, make it interesting, make it YOU. Literally make your bio in to Twitter “follow bait.” If you are fishing for followers, the better the bait, the more followers you'll catch.

HINT: Many savvy followers find the people they want to follow by searching Twitter BIOs. With this in mind, it makes sense to pepper your Twitter BIO with keywords and keyword phrases that will attract the type followers you seek. After all, it's not followers you seek, it is “targeted followers” that want to hear what you are tweeting.

D. Picture: Make your personal picture (icon) a good one - in fact, make it great! Twitter is driven by personalities, so use a picture that expresses the “personality message” you want to get across. Logo's, text, and images without humans or animals are often too business-like and restrain the driving social force that propels Twitter.

E. Background: Upload a really interesting BACKGROUND (Twitter wallpaper image) under the “Design” tab of your Twitter set-up admin area. Here are 2 great places to look for backgrounds:

A quick search on Google Images for “Twitter Backgrounds”, “Twitter Wallpaper”, or “Twitter Templates” will likely help.
You can also check out TweetBacks for several great Twitter background templates that are easily customized.

STEP 3: How To Create a “Twitter Convincer Page” To Get Followers
Do not think that just because Twitter asks for your web address in the settings account area with the silly question, “Have a homepage or a blog?”, that this means you must put in your current web site or blog URL? In fact, in many cases that is NOT a good idea.

To get started you can link to your web site or blog. But what's even better is to enter a URL to a dedicated page made specifically to greet, excite, or manifest interest from the people that will be investigating that link. It's literally like a landing page (what I call a “Twitter Convincer Page”) and in should be designed to get people to follow you.

HINT: Your “Twitter Convincer Page” can be a simple blog post (where you create a post specifically for this purpose and link to that single blog post page), it can be a dedicated page on your web site, or it can be a profile page like a Google profile page.

STEP 4: How To “Tweet” : Interesting Topics To Get Listeners and LeadsWhat do you tweet about (post to Twitter)? Ah, that's the magical part. Now granted, what you post depends largely on your goals and purpose with Twitter, but in general this is easy... post: interesting stuff, preferably related in some way to what you do, who you are, and what you (and your followers) are interested in.

HINT: It pays to be interesting to your followers, but it pays more to be interested in your followers. Twitter is NOT a micro-advertising billboard. However, you can let your followers know if you have a new listing or an upcoming seminar for first-time long as it's interesting to the followers you attract.

Spend some time exploring other Twitter tweets and personalities. Listen to the conversations. Observe and take notes. What do you like, what don't you like? Try to ferment in your mind (and yes, a beer or glass of wine might actually help here) a “style” of Twittering that you like. Maybe you find someone's style you can mimic or perhaps you create a “mash-up” style that's all you.

Congratulations! Your Twitter account is set-up like a true Twitter “Twenius!” Here's an example of what your profile might look like...

Set up your Twitter account today to get involved in the social media “cocktail party” going on right now in your local area to maximize your exposure and grow your income.

What's in a name?

On Friday I attempted to choreograph my way through a product launch press release in which the new company, which is web based sans brick and mortar entirely, sports a domain name that is the same as the company name. The product or tool, however, a portal of sorts, didn’t really have a name. Well, I guess it had a name, the same name as the company, but I was struck with the quandary of how to distinguish between the company, the domain name and the actual product in a way that just didn't sound like gobble-de-gook in the launch release that was announcing both the new company and the new product.

It was clear that the name of the company reflects its mission. While that makes perfect sense as a company name, it’s not intuitive at all for search effectiveness, which of course, when you are a web-based tool, needs to work for you, not against you.

Anecdotally, I did a google search for the name of the company, which of course is also the domain name. I had results pages long of completely unrelated topics because the mission of this company, while being a goal, is not at all what its product is about. Using the product itself leads to the goal of the mission, but the search terms or keywords a potential customer would use would not be intuitive.

So, while the brand is effectively named…the product name was not optimized for search, which is key to driving sales on the internet.

One must always remember, a potential customer will search for what they need in terms of a description. Sometimes, if they already know a product, they will search by its name, or the domain name, but better yet, if the domain name is reflective of the product name, then the search will be that much more successful at finding the product.

So….what’s in a name? A name has as much importance as unlocking the door on the front of your brick and mortar business. You don’t want the customers peering into the window but not be able to open the door.

What do you want to achieve in 2010?

It's been a tough year....and a revolutionary decade with the evolution of Social Media and web-based solutions for nearly everything one needs.

Imagine taking control, establishing a return for every minute you invest in your company, and feeling that passion in your work again!

Freakin' Genius Marketing can faciliate your growth into the business of your dreams!

Do you want to gain awareness for your business?
Do you want to increase leads?
Do you want to nurture your current leads?
Do you want to keep in contact with current customers?
Do you want to take your business to the next level?

Email us for a free consultation!

We will help YOU make it happen in 2010!