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Education resource for the group travel supplier


Recently, a colleague asked me: “What was the most rewarding mistake you ever made in business?”

It’s a great question and I quickly had an answer for him, because it was an incredibly painful mistake. However, it proved to be an invaluable lesson that has served me well in the years since. I’m sharing so perhaps you can learn it the easy way.

The lesson: Don’t ever stop marketing because you think you’ve reached the point where you don’t need to. And, secondarily, believe the old adage that warns, “Don’t put all your eggs into one basket.”

There’s a story, of course! 

Years ago, my public relations company connected with a large publishing house that served many prestigious authors. The first few of its authors we accepted as clients had such successful campaigns, we quickly became the publicity firm of record for this publisher. I thought we’d tapped the motherlode! The publisher kept a steady stream of clients flowing to us, and eventually, they became about eighty percent of our business.

We were so focused on delivering for these authors that we became much less focused on getting our company name out to prospective new clients. We slowly stopped marketing. Our newsletters ground to a halt. We didn’t waste time networking. We quit our efforts to get the same publicity for our company that we get for clients. Why bother? We didn’t need new clients!

We had a whole basket full of beautiful perfect eggs and we were happily skipping along with it. 

And then … it broke.

The publisher ran into some serious problems with its investors and the business came crashing down. And guess who almost went with it?

Our eggs were cooked.

Faced with only a few clients and no prospects, we got busy fast and cranked up the marketing department (me!) again. It took awhile to regain the momentum we’d lost, but, thankfully, we had a side business that could help pay the bills in the interim. Slowly but surely (this was before the age of social media, which really speeds things up), we built up a new list of prospects and clientsonly this time, from a diverse array of sources.

It was a terrible but powerful experience that demonstrated very clearly: No matter how great things seem to be going, you never stop marketing. It needs to be a constant hum, because if that hum stops, you know there will be a big problem ahead.

I stopped marketing because I thought I had all the clients I needed. Over the years I’ve seen others make the same mistake, but for different reasons. Here are a few: 

One great publicity hit is a really bad reason to stop marketing. I’ve talked to people who believed if we could just get them on The Oprah Winfrey Show (before 2011) or The Ellen DeGeneres Show, that was all they’d need. They’d be done. Yes, a big national show can give you a tremendous launch, but you won’t keep soaring unless you do something to stay in the public eye. I guarantee you, there are plenty of people you never heard of who got their “big break” and then disappeared because they stopped marketing.

Most of us won’t get those huge hitsand that’s not a reason to stop, either. I haven’t been on Oprah, but I often hear from prospective clients that I or my business was recommended to them by someone I’ve never met and don’t know. That’s what good, sustained marketing does. It may not always create fireworks, but that doesn’t mean it’s not working for you. 

Yesterday’s story is old news. Look for fresh new ways to stay in the public eye. The publicity you get today can continue to work for you online, but eventually, it’s going to be old news. We encourage our clients to post links to their publicity on their websites; it shows visitors that they have credibility with the media. But if those visitors see only publicity and testimonials that are five or ten years old, they’re going to wonder why no one’s been interested in you more recently.

Just as I put all my eggs in one basket by relying on one source for clients, it’s also a mistake to rely on just one marketing tool. Maximize the reach of the publicity you get in traditional media by sharing it on social media. Put a blog, or other content you can renew and refresh, on your website. Write a book. Do speaking engagements (for free, if necessary). Your audience is likely not all huddled together in one corner of the world. To reach them, use a variety of marketing tools. 

Whatever it is you’re promotingyour business, your product, your book, yourselfkeep the momentum going. If you want people to know you’re out there, you have to stay out there.

Written by:  Marsha Friedman 

You've seen the show "Undercover Boss" by now, right? The premise is simple, but brilliant: Ask senior executives to go "undercover" within their own companies as frontline employees to investigate how their company is really doing and how they might improve and better satisfy their customers.

The executives get an up-close-and-personal look at how their company does business with customers—and what that customer experience looks like. From tip to toe. Why? So they can get a better handle on the customer experience their company fosters—from the eyes of the frontlines.

Here are four outside-the-box ideas to get a better handle on your company's customer experience.

1. Ask your managers to answer one simple question.

What are your customers able to do differently or better because of your product/service?

Simple question, right? What you're after here is a frontline understanding of what your staff is solving for customers, not what you're selling.

2. Be a customer all the way through the customer experience.

What happens? And how do your target customers feel as they learn about your brand or service for the first time? How do they try you out and buy, yes, but also, how do they use your product or service to solve the need that triggered them to act in the first place?

And here's a big one many marketers spend little time on: How do customers' needs evolve over time? Are you anticipating those as new demand, or are you simply using purchase algorithms to drive cross-selling?

Do this exploration as a customer, and use metrics that demonstrate value to customers and your company at each step. Only by looking at all these stages will you get a complete picture of the experience from both your customer's and your organization's points of view.

You'll make decisions and meaningful changes that will drive profitable growth and value if you are armed with ALL this insight.

3. Look backward from performance outcomes.

Steven Covey said "start with the end in mind." The effectiveness of any customer experience is measured in the outcome for your customer and the outcome for your organization. So a great way to better see your customer experience is to look backward from these outcomes.

4. Find the tipping points in your customer experience.

Have you ever noticed there are a few "tipping points" in any customer experience that have a disproportionate impact on its success?

It might be the moment you slip between the sheets of a heavenly bed at a Westin, or find yourself smiling and relaxed watching the safety video on an Air New Zealand. Or the moment you received all the charges for your son's broken arm in one easy-to-read and no-surprises bill from your health plan (I made this last one up, but we can dream, right?).

If you get them right, tipping point moments seem to have a halo effect on everything else. And if you get them wrong, you're forever climbing out of a big hole of negative customer perceptions.

Do you know what the tipping point is for your customer experience? Finding it, and getting it right, can mean the difference between creating an army of brand advocates and loyal customers...or an apathetic slog of customers who feel chained to your brand.

 Source: MarketingProfs

Written by: Linda Ireland is co-owner and partner at Aveus, a global strategy and operational change firm. Linda's book, Domino, covers how leaders can define customer experience and use it to tip everything in a business toward better financial performance.

Twitter: @LindaIreland

LinkedIn: Linda Ireland

Tuesday, 25 June 2013 10:38

Are Slogans Good Here?

Written by

Creative Portland Corporation has been working on a public relations campaign to draw creative professionals to Portland, Maine, and to develop a clear distinction from Portland, Oregon.

One of the first steps in the process was to create a new city slogan: “Portland, Maine. Yes. Life’s good here.” The slogan is adapted from an essay by John Preston, a gay rights activist and author who lived in Portland in the 1970s.

The slogan is easily adaptable by local businesses, according to Creative Portland. For example, a coffee shop could include the company logo and say “Portland, Maine. Yes. Roasting’s good here.” Portland’s Mayor, Michael Brennan, is in full support of the slogan and considers it a “’key part" of the economic development plan for the city, according to the Portland Press Herald.

The simplicity and wording of the slogan has generated some discussion from the community on Facebook. Public opinion varies, but some commenters are suggesting that the slogan “doesn’t say anything,” or is too closely related to the well-known Life is Good clothing brand.

Jennifer Hutchins of Creative Portland says “if it sparks a vigorous discussion about what’s good and bad in Portland, it’s working.” We’d love to hear your opinion on the city’s new slogan! Or, if your brand has developed a new slogan, share it with us here!

Source: Business 2 Community

Social media is still a new frontier for many marketers. With the emergence of what seems like an inordinate amount of social sites and tools, figuring out how to get started and ramp up your efforts with social media marketing could be confusing. So you’ve set up your Facebook page, Google+ page, and your Twitter profile. Now what?

Here are some quick tips to set your organization up for social success.

1) Unless you are speaking directly to someone on Twitter, be sure to put a character before someone’s Twitter handle when tweeting at or about him/her. For example:

@GrpTrvlSupplier You are awesome! (This is a conversational tweet that goes directly to me and only people that follow us both will be able to see this.)

. @GrpTrvlSupplier is awesome! (This is a tweet about me that can be seen by all of your followers because there is a character in front of the @ sign.)   

 2) Hashtags are your friend and your enemy.

Using hashtags on Twitter is a great way explain the topic you are tweeting about (i.e. #grouptravel), and to get your content found on Twitter. However, there is such a thing as too many hashtags. Using too many hashtags could come off as annoying to your followers, and runs the risk of looking like spam. A good rule of thumb is to keep it to three hashtags per tweet. 

3) Share other people’s content (OPC)!

When you attend a conference or event, you’re there to hear thought leadership from multiple people speaking on a variety of topics. Treat your social channels the same way. Provide multiple viewpoints, from multiple sources. Hint: People like it when their content gets shared! This is also a great way to network, as it can provide a great opportunity for engaging someone in conversation, and encourage others to share.

4) Repost your posts. 

It’s OK to tweet out an old blog post that you’ve tweeted before. Odds are not every single one of your followers will see every one of your tweets. When you come out with a new blog post, tweet about it that day, two weeks later, and then three months later (assuming it’s still relevant). You could even say in the tweet that it’s an older blog post, for example: “3 Ways to Engage Prospects [URL] <older but still valuable post.” 

5) Take LOTS of pictures

Let’s be honest: Who doesn’t love seeing pictures of themselves or people they know? Pictures are an amazing way to stay engaged with your fans, followers, and customers. The best part? They work for virtually every social channel. Pinterest is all about pictures, and so is Instagram. With one photo, you can post it on Instagram, tweet that out, AND have it upload to your Facebook page in one swoop. 

Bonus tip: Schedule posts, but don’t lose engagement. There are a plethora of social media platforms out there that allow you to schedule posts on Twitter, Facebook, etc. (Check out Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, or Buffer; they all are free tools.) If you decide to schedule out your tweets or Facebook posts, make sure to carve out time throughout the day to respond to, thank, or otherwise engage with anyone who has responded or retweeted your posts.

Source: Lauren Harper. Adapted from eloqua's It's all about Revenue blog. eNews Photo: tungphoto,

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