Thursday, June 24, 2010


Interesting tweet:
Who wants free late-night shots @ Mercadito? @foodietheapp does! Head in after 10pm, everyone order all-u-can-eat tacos, get shots. Easy.

My query is did Mercadito go beyond their tweet to generate viral buzz better known as OMG.

Read On:
We all agree that Web 2.0 has provided us with the tools that facilitate real time conversation. As a result, we are now experiencing a “pull” economy. Brand marketers are rushing to field their social media presence on the Internet – follow us on Facebook and Twitter being the standard play. What puzzles me is how limited the focus has been on generating positive viral buzz, especially in the food industry. To date most of the viral buzz has been negative word-of-mouth. Two examples that illustrate my point:

- Greenpeace's assault on Nestlé Kit Kat bars usage of palm oil a byproduct from deforestation, thus calling them out on the carpet to clean up their supply chain. Their
Have a break videos have been uploaded 1.1 million times and still counting. They have facilitated a community of “not fans” on their Facebook page prompting their Chairman, Peter Brabeck-Letamthe to post a letter calling for a moratorium on destruction of rainforests.

- Danone had to counter a
viral attack in Argentina on its Actimel yogurt brand being harmful.

So what about designing movements to generate positive buzz in the food industry? One master is
Ramon DeLeon out of Chicago. He learned the hard way when his Domino’s crew made a servicing mistake, thus coined the expression: “Put social media fires out with social media water.” Now, thanks to engaging with his customers via numerous social media tools, Ramon has created positive viral buzz.

Back to Mercadito’s original tweet which was retweeted, a form of viral marketing. However where was the OMG factor (Oh My Gosh; Oh My God!)? Why did they not walk up to a table of all you can eat taco guests and say “Tacos on us”? Imagine if they did, plus videoed/photographed, then posted their reaction on their Facebook location or Flickr. Why did they not announce they would be rewarding another free table at midnight? I bet the tweets/texts would have been flying off their guests’ fingers. Why did they not walk up to an individual and present a $50 gift certificate for being the best dressed? Again a video/photograph of that individual’s reaction would have generated positive viral buzz and potential organic growth for Mercadito and Foodie.

The food industry needs to begin capitalizing on the positive viral buzz that is at their finger tips when it comes to spreading the good news. It is that simple. Oh my gosh! LOL.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


“Don’t ask, don’t tell”, the controversial military policy will hopefully be resolved by 2011. In the interim, while a majority of Americans are finally recognizing the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender) community; savvy marketers are meeting today in Los Angeles for
AdweekMedia's Gay & Lesbians Consumers Conference.

Read On:
The acronym LGBT originated in the 1990’s, still ignites controversy. Members of the community view the lettering as an attempt to be politically correct or a categorization not truly representative of the issues pertaining to each individual group. Regardless, marketers, especially when targeting consumer groups, always tend to develop buckets that best describe their target audience – demographics like women 35 to 49, college educated, $70 thousand plus income etc. AdweekMedia’s two day Gay & Lesbians Consumers Conference is another convenient bucket created to help businesses across a broad range of industries target the $700 billion gay and lesbian market.

IKEA back in 1994 was the first company that actively targeted gay consumers, when they aired a commercial depicting two men shopping for furniture. Soon after IKEA’s strategic move, it was estimated that 36% of Fortune 100 companies began advertising directly to the gay and lesbian market. Extrapolating data from multiple sources, advertising expenditures targeting LGBT, today are in the neighborhood of $300 million (gay print media, LOGO gay network, B2B, digital, etc.). However, critics argue that targeting gays and lesbians is not an indication of social acceptance, but an attempt to tap into an affluent market. Some research nuggets that advertisers and network executives are spotting – gays and lesbians index over twice as likely to be professionals or managers with an average household income of $85 thousand plus.

Here is the irony of directly targeting the LGBT community. A study released earlier in the year by SF based Community Marketing Inc., revealed that purchase decisions were impacted more by what you do, not by what you say. Only twenty-two percent of the respondents indicated that advertising in LGBT newspapers and magazines influenced their buying behavior in comparison to forty-five percent by a company’s social policies – non-discrimination in hiring or recognition of domestic partners. Top tier companies perceived to be gay-friendly identified in a consumer study (Prime Access/Planet Out Inc.) are Bravo Network, Apple, Levi’s, Absolut, Starbucks to name a few.

As a marketing geek, I always find product positioning, especially when it comes to identifying the target audience challenging. I plan to review the outcome of AdWeekMedia’s conference. For me, when it comes to addressing the needs of the LGBT community, it is not about a company’s advertising, but more about its overall corporate policy. If a company decides to advertise specifically to the LGBT community, then it needs to get its messaging correct, a lesson McDonald’s is now learning, thanks to its controversial French TV ad,
"Come as your are."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

ATP Revisited

Last month I conducted a radio interview about a networking modus operandi I value, ATP (Authenticity Touch Points). As a result, I was reminded of my 2009
ATP post, specifically as it related to navigating LinkedIn. It is time for a six month ATP review.

Read On:
For starters, LinkedIn has grown by 15 million people and now is a worldwide business oriented community of 65 million registered users and still growing. Personally, I have made numerous new connections, some of which are not even in my immediate sphere of business. Regularly I only engage with a hand full of people. I even engage with an individual on the other side of the globe in Australia. Notice I use the word engage, versus saying that I am connected. That is the spine of why I wanted to revisit my concept of ATP.

I have lost track of my time vested in LinkedIn in the last six months, but this much I have concluded. There are two buckets into which networkers fall: Situational and Sustainable.

Situational networkers are driven by the “what’s in it for me” networking philosophy. They are looking for connections to either expand their personal or company’s network. Situational networkers have bought new definition to the word ephemeral. A typical example: I post a comment to an individual’s discussion in a group, they respond with a thank you, plus an immediate invitation to connect on LinkedIn without even knowing what business I am in. Once we are connected, I invariably receive one of their huckster solicitations. Oh by the way, I am amazed by how many of the situational networkers are coaching gurus with 500+ connections expounding “How to Build Your Business”.

The second bucket, about 10% of the people I have met via LinkedIn are sustainable networkers. People that value people relationships long-term, thus expend the energy to nurture these relationships on a continual basis. Nurturing takes engagement. That is where ATP (Authenticity Touch Points) comes into play. The initial step is to ask questions – classic phone calls or emails are a great way to learn about each other’s businesses, background, etc. Information exchange via articles/links is another element of ATP. Thanks to travel, I even have had the opportunity to physically engage live with LinkedIn connections over drinks or coffee, but unfortunately, Australia is not in my immediate travel plans.

I value being a sustainable networker. Thanks to experimentation, I have honed my ATP skills, which now serve as an excellent filtering tool as I selectively connect and then engage with new people in the LinkedIn community.

ATP Revisited is the first installment of my three blog June Alphabet Series. My next post is titled LGBT.