Don’t Make This Silly Mistake with Your Facebook Page

facebook mistake

If the only thing that you are posting on your Facebook business page is discounts to buy your product or service, you are wasting resources. And, you may be creating downstream problems for your business. There are several reasons why only posting discounted products on Facebook won’t work.

You are not adding value to your followers’ Facebook feeds

People appreciate getting a discount on goods and services but they don’t necessarily go to Facebook to look for them. They are on Facebook to keep up with family and friends, to be entertained and to find relevant content (think news). Posting a daily, weekly or even monthly sale does not satisfy these needs. Posting a discount will not keep followers coming back to check out your Facebook page. Instead, you should be posting content daily to your page that is relevant for your followers.

You are conditioning customers to expect discounts

You can encourage more trials of your product with discounts but do you really want to give a discount to every customer on a regular basis? Probably not. If your discount is a loss leader, you are likely losing money on the sale. So, for prospective customers, this discounting tactic should be used infrequently. When you do offer a promotion, be sure to in use a promo code (for tracking) and a promotional end date. Limit the offer to new customers only if your existing customers are likely to repurchase without it.

You are damaging your brand

If you have been posting only discounts on your Facebook page, go to that page right now. Scroll through your content. Put yourself in your follower’s shoes. What did you learn about your company? What did you learn about your products? What does the company stand for? If all you found out is that the company offers discounted products, what does that say about your brand? At best, nothing. At worst, that your company offers products that can only be sold at a discount and no one should every pay full retail value for them. Ouch!

You are not encouraging engagement

If you know that Facebook users use the social media site to be entertained, entertain them. If they are connecting with family and friends, give them content that they will want to share with their friends. If there’s news in your industry worth sharing, share it. Don’t just share sale promotions on your page. Share content that is going to get your followers engaged.

Diversified relevant content will improve your followers experience and engagement with your Facebook page. Start with developing a content calendar for your Facebook business page. Contact us to discuss how.

6 Tips to Launching a Successful Cause Marketing Program

cause marketing

Cause marketing is a term used to describe a company’s efforts to partner with a solution to a societal problem.  Nowadays there are a number of “social enterprises” that exist to sell something AND bring awareness to or solve a social problem.  But, even if your business is not a social enterprise, you may benefit from creating a cause marketing program that customers an rally behind.  Consider these tips before launch your program.

  1. Align program with your corporate marketing strategy.  You can drive awareness of and preference for your brand through cause marketing.  An effective program must aligned with your overall marketing strategy.  If consumers cannot make the connection between your support and the charitable cause, it’s less likely that your program will have a positive effect on your brand.
  2. Develop criteria for potential nonprofit partners.  It’s best to develop a list of criteria for your nonprofit charitable partner.  There are a number of charity evaluators (like Charity Navigator) that offer criteria for consideration.  You should also consider criteria that are specific to your needs.  For instance, if you are trying to grow in a specific region, you may want to identify a nonprofit who serves in that region.
  3. Interview other donors of your potential partner.  It’s always a good idea to talk to references.  Charitable partners who have good relationships with other donors will want you to talk with those donors.  Once you find a partner, ask for reporting that helps you evaluate your program. Other donors or partners have likely asked for something similar.  Find out if they delivered as expected.
  4. Define success.  As with any marketing program, you should have specific goals that delineate what a successful campaign will look like.  Are you looking to increase the number of clients served by the nonprofit organization?  Are you expecting to improve your own brand image?  Defining goals will help you measure progress after the program is implemented.
  5. Identify an executive champion.  Your internal champion should be from your leadership team and well-versed in your cause marketing strategy.  This leader should ensure that the program is integrated with your other marketing efforts.  They can also serve as your spokesperson regarding the cause and your commitment to it.
  6. Measure results.  And, refine as needed.

2014 Super Bowl Ads: the Winners and the Losers

2014 Super Bowl

Ahhhh…the allure of over 100 million viewers.  It would make any deep-pocket, consumer-facing company want to throw their brand in the mix.  At $4 million for a 30-second spot, I expected more from the advertisers.  My quick takes on the 2014 Super Bowl commercials:

What did they do for their brand?

Budweiser is still King.  Puppies, Clydesdales, iconic brand that still has its polish.

Cheerios kept its brand fresh with a memorable commercial, which included an interracial couple—still a rarity in ads despite the blending American population.

Bank of America and U2 kept their respective brands positive with a (RED) donation tie-in.  Free download for a good cause.  Smart.

Radio Shack reminded us that they’re still around, which is good because most of us have forgotten.

The Heinz commercial was memorable.  The Carmax commercial was forgettable.

H&M told us about their David Beckham line.  How can we forget Beckham—with or without his tidy whities.

Auto manufacturers spent the most but were a mixed bag.

Super Bowl ad time is about building brand.  Brand recall is essential and I don’t think most Americans remember which manufacturer had Muppets and which had the Matrix.  Volkswagen did a great job of reminding us that German engineering is keeping their brand at the head of the lifetime-value pack.  Chevrolet entertained with the romancing cows…and subtly reminded us that their trucks have great towing capacity.  Ford’s creative was underwhelming.  I guess Jaguar has more mass appeal now, given the volume cars like the X type and Maserati is pushing down to a more affordable ride with the Ghibli.  The latter two brands are not quite for the average household but they aim to push their brand into more households.

I dare you to recall which brand advertised the Doberman+Chihuahua ad.  (Don’t Google it until you have a guess.)  Funny commercial but for the multi-million dollar price tag, I want you to remember my ad.

New brands need to tie content to their brand.

Squarespace is relatively unknown—before and after the Super Bowl.  Their content should have told us more about what they stand for.  Chobani yogurt did a better job, with the bear looking for “natural ingredients.”  Dannon Oikos introduced humor and was a bit risqué with its ad.  The company got our attention with John Stamos but I think most Americans would be hard-pressed to recall which brand aired this commercial.  SodaStream got a big Hollywood start (Scarlett Johanssen) but their commercial fell flat (pun intended).  Beats is not a new brand but new-ish and they won.  Ellen Degeneres dancing to music.  Stellar!  Stephen Colbert sold some pistachios but for who?

JCPenney Needs a New Loyalty Program

loyalty program

JCPenney hired an Apple store executive as CEO with hopes of reviving the brand.  The new CEO has a vision for JCPenney but not a good enough view of the company’s customer base.  The company now needs a loyalty program to keep its current customers from deflecting.

Sales were in decline before Mr. Johnson’s arrival

You can’t really begin the JCPenney story with Ron Johnson, CEO since late 2011.  JCPenney’s sales were in decline before Mr. Johnson joined the company.  Unfortunately, they’ve taken a nosedive since he joined.  If we examine what happened, it’s rather easy to see that Mr. Johnson moved full speed ahead with a new strategy without understanding all of the issues and without really understanding the JCPenney shopper.

I’m sure Mr. Johnson understood that you can’t get Apple margins from a retailer like JCPenney.  And, I’m sure he understood that competition is more fierce in the apparel retail space than the technology retail space.  This isn’t a buy-the-iPod-because-there’s-no-equivalent-available game.

Keep your current customers happy

First thing, when you have $18 billion in sales, you want to keep your current customer happy.  A loyalty program will do that.  Changes likely will not. Seems that the first thing that happened was that the new regime said to the customer, you need a different in-store buying experience, you need to be weaned from discounting and you need to see JCPenney differently (change the advertising!).  Too much, too soon.  I personally like the new in-store boutiques at JCPenney.  They are fresh and modern and, I believe, still relevant to middle America.  BUT, taken with the other changes, customers thought they were footing the bill for the new showcases.  Not something they were willing to do.

Don’t ruin the sport

Shopping is a sport, of sorts.  Finding a bargain is the goal!  JCPenney took away all the goals.  No fair…and no fun!  But all is not lost for the company.  They can still bring back former shoppers; they are going to have to reward them for their loyalty.  Perhaps take a cue from the Starbucks loyalty card.  Discounts with frequent shopping, but, in the end, a greater share of wallet. If the company can develop a winning loyalty program, they may not go the way of Kmart.

I Love to Get My Groupon, but…

Groupon deal

Like most people, I love a good deal.  I tell my mother, my sister, my friends, anyone who will listen about any bargains I find and snag.  So, I signed up for Groupon and I’ve opened nearly every email they’ve sent me.  BUT, I just took a look at the new Groupon IPO filing and I’m not sure it makes sense to add “Groupon” to my Microsoft Word dictionary.

Here’s the problem.  Now that the creative accounting has been adjusted, it’s very clear that the company isn’t making any money and they have much to do to get to profitability.  According the filing, Groupon spent $6.40 to acquire new subscribers in first quarter of 2011.  (That was $208 million in marketing expenses for the incremental 32.5 million customers added in first quarter.)  But, Groupon’s gross profit—the money it gets after paying merchants from gross proceeds—is just $3.25 per subscriber.  (Compare $270 million in gross profit to 83 million total subscribers.)

How will Groupon close the gap?  They have several options:

  • Reduce marketing spend (Highly unlikely.  As Groupon notes in its filing:  “[W]e expect our operating expenses to increase significantly in the foreseeable future.”)
  • Increase the number of subscribers who become actual Groupon purchasers
  • Increase the number of Groupons each customer purchases
  • Increase the average revenue on each Groupon sold
  • Increase the number of relevant deals offered
  • Demand a higher percentage of the merchant deal (though this strategy is fraught with danger, given that the company currently extracts about 50% of revenue on every deal)
  • Focus the marketing spend on prospects that yield the highest conversion (subscriber-to-purchaser) rate
  • Optimize the presentation of deals so that more deals are sought out and “opened”

Here’s the tough part, Groupon purchasers are, by definition, looking for a deal.  They are accustomed to finding good deals and are being conditioned to do seek them out as more online couponers enter the market.  Deal-seekers aren’t usually brand loyalist.  So, when Yelp or OpenTable or Livingsocial or your local direct mail vendor-turned-online couponer presents a deal, the lowest-priced, relevant deal is the winner.  So, competition can and will significantly lower margins in this business.  The question is: Can Groupon get profitable and sustain profitability as more copycats enter the market?  We will soon see.