Choosing Your Audience Without Apologies

choosing audience without apologies Choosing your audience without apologies is traditional advertising of tv, radio and print as these spots tend to reach the watchers of a certain show, magazine/newspaper or station and not necessarily those that would ever purchase. This holds true on the web as well with sites that have ads that reach the target market and then some who are viewers of the site but do not fit the exact target of the ad. Sure, we look at the numbers provided by the media outlets and strategically place ads based upon the demographics provided by them and see where our target is there and bam, we place and run. There is always an audience that is not the target and some may become and for others, the spot is falling on deaf ears. That is the nature of traditional advertising as regardless of how technology betters, we can never solely attract our target audience. Do we need to apologize for this? No. We have become accustomed to receiving advertising messages that are not for us. Sometimes we listen or sometimes we do not. Advertisers hope we do as they just want a return on their investment.

No Apologies

Discount retailers who are targeting a certain segment never apologize for having discount merchandise or attracting for new customers. They never apologize for not having the size scale or ample amount of merchandise that a non discounter has. They lure us in by giving us merchandise that is sold at a lesser price, which gives us more to enhance our lives in family time and enjoying the opportunity to have new things. They embrace living on a budget and exploit it. They are not trying to make the wealthy like them or dislike them, they are honing in on their target market through targeting them in the moment and creating the story for them and never apologizing for creating the “good life on a budget” story.

Bloggers do not apologize for the reach they get when their article is retweeted. Actually, we thank people for sharing. We apologize if someone does not like our writings but never apologize for the new set of eyes. If we apologize for the new audience then we are making a crucial error as our business model will be flawed. Yes, we need to map out our target market but there has to be a path to growth and expansion. Build your blog community and company by understanding and directly talking/selling to your core audience to create brand loyalty but also be mindful of the larger audience that may not know of your existence. There is no apologies needed to build a stronger business and attracting new customers to help enhance their lives. There are no apologies needed when we are gaining attention for what we believe in and want others to believe in (unless of course it is destructive in nature and sets out to cause  harm). Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+ are not apologizing for attracting new people in drones. They are not apologizing to those that choose not to pay any attention to them. Why should other advertisers? Why should we have to apologize if our message is received by someone who would never buy? They make us by lashing out and we are compelled to, to protect the reputation and integrity of the blog/the company.

Creating the Apology

Creating the apology is done when when a tweet or an ad goes bad and people swarm all over it. This is more than people listening, it is where people are listening and reacting. The more popular the negativity becomes, the more attention that is given and people start listening to what you are saying in your apology. Many times this is people who may have never heard of us. This starts to snowball and while it can spiral out of control, it can also attract some new eyes and broaden your audience. No apologies here for bringing awareness so long as it has a positive outcome. When the awareness brings in negativity from the new audience and it continues to linger in the media, it can be damaging. We saw this with Ragu with saying men are incapable of cooking a family meal as that is a woman’s job. They were empowering women as the queen of the kitchen and not apologetic for dissing men who are the king of the kitchen. While we can all appreciate empowering people through advertising for them to relate to the product and the story it is telling to persuade them to buy but when it lends itself to the stereotypes, it starts to turn off certain audiences. Was this damaging enough to Ragu to hurt sales or was it just one select target market that had their attention and it was ignored by their loyal customers who championed them for supporting women with all that they do each day with work and caring for the family?  Competitors had a new target market opened up to them with those that were outraged and certainly were not apologetic to attract this new target.

Do We Ever Need To Apologize When Choosing Our Audience?

Do we need to apologize when we miss the mark? Missing the mark happens where the targeting starts to get broader and we generalize. We select certain criteria about  our target market and hit up those that meet the criteria. There is no way of ever knowing exactly if every single person we are targeting meets all the criteria so we run that risk of pissing someone off. If Hanes started inundating me with mens’ boxers emails, tweets, etc (and while I love Jordan), and I never clicked on, responded or bought, I would get annoyed. I would recognize that they are reaching out to women who would buy for their significant other and while the lil man loves his boxers,  I am not in the market for mens’. Would they need to apologize for targeting me? If I said publicly said something in a tweet I would think they would and remove me from their target list (while adding me to the boys targeting efforts) but do they really need to apologize? They generalized that women, especially of a certain age, with child(ren) would be buying for their man and they may attract new customers with this generalization. Do they need to apologize to me because while I fit MOST of their criteria, I do not fit all (in this scenario, the biggest part)? I do not think so.

When I purchased ONE Giants shirt years ago as a gift and was still getting direct mail and emails to buy more when I bought a ridiculous amount of JETS merchandise from the same company, I was concerned. How can a company continue to send out direct mail and emails that never get opened? I suppose that this is a topic for another post but for right now, do they need to apologize for clogging up my email or my mailbox? I purchased an item so I was added to their targeted list. They had no idea that I would not buy more Giants merchandise. But year after year when the emails went  unopened and offers in direct mail never were acted upon, they should have gotten the hint. Did they need to apologize? No. They just needed to review the information better. This is being lazy and growing the numbers and not paying attention to the buying habits. Maybe they need to apologize for that. Hmh. That would be something. If a company came out and issued a formal apology for not paying attention to the buying habits of people and continued to email them as if they were a regular buying customer (and not creating marketing messages geared to decrease attrition). In other words, we were lazy and did not pay attention and we will improve that. Interesting concept and again probably best flushed out in another post.

When we are targeting with intent to expand upon our audience and improve customer conversion we do not need to apologize unless we offend an entire group. Mistakes happen. Outside of a bad mistake, we are targeting and reaching them to let them know we exist. We are trying to create awareness and the potential customers’ story by identifying the opportunity to buy and fulfill a need or want. It is right here in front of them with the underlying message to trust and act now and buy. Again no apologies for that. It is business and they key word in the headline is choosing. We do have a choice to target them or not.

Thoughts? Do we ever need to apologize for choosing our audience?

photo credit: Arenamontanus

WE Built This Social Media City

city of social mediaIn my quest to get the body moving each day through music, I seek out new music to listen to. I stumbled across We Built This City … on Rock and Roll by Jefferson Starship. Catchy tune that when you sing it and listen to the words you are singing, you stop for a minute and think, yeah, ya know WE, the social media folks built a Social Media City. Sure, the developers built the platforms but we used them, we used them so much that we drew so much attention to our City, our very own Social Media City that now has blossomed into its own communities. These communities are all a part of OUR City and when one community needs help, we are there, when a member of OUR City has stumbled, we criticize only to try and help as they are not showing our City in the best light. We, ourselves, do the same when we viciously attach one another. We have spent years building this City only to show the outside world that our City is crumbling internally. We do not all have sit by the camp fire at night singing kumbaya while roasting marsh mellows but exposing our weaknesses only give the naysayers or those on the fence reason not to continue to build and preserve our City.

Our Social Media City

We can think back to the early days of blogging – or journals as they were called. Who were these freaks writing things online thinking people would read? We had books, magazines, newspapers, etc for that. Enter LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and the failed Google platforms and now Google+. If those early freaks journals did not exist, would we be where we are now? If the developers did not take a chance and create the platforms and we as users did not embrace them and show how to integrate social media into a marketing plan, we would not have OUR City. That is pretty powerful to think about as all the new jobs that have been created, the communities we have developed, the friends we have made and the opportunity that has come for thousands of businesses to meet their customers.

Is Our City Thriving?

For each Twitter, Facebook, Google+ user account that is receiving praise, there are many that have lost their way or did not spend the time in learning that social media is marketing. Marketing is about building relationships and talking with the customers and not talking to the sale. The ultimate goal is to drive sales but the route taken to build the relationships is where there is the disconnect. We have expectations of how a brand should engage. We, as well respected members in our City, have expertise on what strategy will be best for them. Sometimes they listen and many times they do not.

Abandoned accounts, accounts that act as traditional advertising mediums where there is brand talking about themselves as an extension of a billboard or print ad and not interacting with their community or those that have no presence at all hurt our City. We can think of examples of those brands who are better served not having a presence at all in social media which when we think that way, it stagnates the growth of our City. When a brand stops updating or does not answer customers, potential customers or just a general question from a stumbler/surfer, it hurts our City. People stop believing in what we have built. They forget about the Pepsi’s, the AJBombers, The Dunkin Donuts who are leaders in brand social media.

Did Our City Grow Too Fast?

Did we? I lived the expansion in Las Vegas which ultimately was/is too much too fast. The numbers were showing the fastest growing city so they built and built and built. The problem is that the city could not sustain the growth with only one major industry. The reliance upon the casino industry to stimulate prospects from other industries faltered and while the volume in people and housing grew, the industrial sector did not.

Did our Social Media City grow too fast? Did some get left behind and not have the guidance to really learn the tools and how social media is not just a chat room but a part of an actual strategic marketing plan where the target market is researched, how they interact with one another, how they interact with the brands, how comfortable they are with using the platforms, the tone, the reputation that will be created through the tone used and the level of knowledge about the brand itself the social media accounts will showcase? This and a whole lot more matters. Those that are invested in our City and the City leaders know this but those that are new or just doing social media because they have to and forget it is marketing are missing out on opportunity but are also hurting our City.

Building and Preserving Our City

How can we attract new people to our City when they are met with disarray? When brands falter in social media the users suffer and so does the industry as a whole. We can think of Detroit and how their major industry has crumbled and rebuilding Detroit has become an entire community coming together taking action. Chrysler has built an entire campaign around Detroit. Did it sell more cars? I do not know. Did Chrysler  do its part as a City leader to help stimulate growth and put Detroit back on the map? They did and we can too.

How? We can look at brands and make them more responsible by calling them out. If they are not going to reach out to us, which clearly they have not, then we have to draw attention and help them to listen to us. The brands who do social media are not listening or know better than the social media city leaders and place the social media efforts in the hands of an intern, a recent grad who has no working experience in marketing and no one to guide them. They are hired at under $25K a year, a job that any experienced marketer would never apply for.

In advertising and marketing agencies, there are positions that are geared for the new grads with Jr. Account Exec, Associate Account Exec as they work their way up through guidance. In social media, ok you know Twitter, Facebook, You Tube and Google +, great, you are hired. You have to wonder how quickly an account would go under review if an agency went to their brand client and said, “your agency team will now consist of recent grads and interns.” It is not ok with the creative so why is it ok with the social media? This hurts the communities we have built. Our City is being torn down right before our eyes. Every single brand that treats social media not as marketing but as a billboard or forgets that the intern has left and the profile is dead stifles the growth of social media. If your BFF stops calling you back, do you keep on calling? No. If your internet is down more often that it is up, do you stay with that company? No.

There is no excuse for a brand to tear down our City. This is an uphill battle as brands will continue to hire based upon knowledge of the tools and not the reason the tools are used. We know they do not want to invest big dollars into someone who will be the voice of their brand and really anyone can do it. It is this attitude that needs to be changed. Not everyone can be the voice of a brand. Not everyone has the experience, professionalism, maturity and understanding of the expectations of a brand. We can make change, we can build and protect our City.

photo credit: SouthernAnts

Talking Too Much

talking too much

 

We have all been guilty of this or been exposed to this where we want to scream in our head SHUT UP to ourselves or someone else. Didn’t they see or I see where the eyes were wide open and we should have just shut up? Sometimes we do but sometimes our signals are never going to resonate. Talking too much is one of my very bad habits as when I am away from my “comfortable surroundings” I either hide or span the globe for the constant variety in a sports fan. I can talk then as that is my default. Sports is easy … until the person I am interacting with HATES sports. Imagine, I know but really not everyone loves sports. Not everyone loves politics, not everyone loves news, not every loves what you love OR want to talk about. Uh … that is right my friends, not everyone wants to hear what you have to say.

Talking Too Much

Talks too much – we avoid them until we realize that is us. Sometimes we get subtle hints, sometimes we see the body language when the trying to escape but other times we are on a mission and we are oblivious to the signs but we keep on trucking as it is better than than that awkward silence. We hate the awkward silence which is a lot why Twitter, Facebook and Google+ thrive, as we do not have to face the awkward silence. You see, it is about transparency. I will always stand strong on we tell people what we want them to know. Sure, there are times we are vulnerable, angry, jumping on the bandwagon, where we create and image but if that image is just talking and talking with nothing to substantiate it, we are just talking too much. We want to be recognized and wanted for what we say or better, listened to and trusted. But, not everyone is trusted, not everyone is listening and not everyone is going to care, no matter what.

Brand Talk

Brands talk. They talk every moment of every day. The brand is the message that they talk too much to us about through commercials, ads on any video we pull up, any billboard we see … they want us to develop a positive lifestyle brand image and buy them. If we see them multiple places and featured, it must be good, right? No, not always as in the summer months we are inundated with promos for new shows in the fall; well mostly the ones that are probably not as good as others so put it everywhere and people will tune in. This backfires many times and viewers do not tune in. We have seen the promos so many times, nothing is left for us to see in the actual show. In product marketing, the results tend to be different. We are enticed to try them out as if everyone is talking about it in a positive way (with some negatives as no one or anything is 100% perfect) and we have to take a peek.

It All Comes Down to Performance

We know this. We can talk the good talk but can we walk the walk? Small to mid-sized business owners feel it every single day. Big brands not so much. They are too far removed to feel the impact that a small business would. The employees feel it but corporate does not. I remember my days of working in a men’s clothing store when our “regulars” were not always walking through the doors. I spent 15 years at the store part time so, I was, as we would joke, a part of the furniture. I had so many “watch me grow up” but in the last few years as the trends changed and the staff changed so frequently, the performance changed. The merchandise did not but the “where everyone knows your name” diminished. Performance matters. Lysol Disinfecting Wipes losing me as a customer to Target Up and Up Wipes is not a big deal to either company however when we look at a small business losing a customer, it not only hurts the wallet, it hurts the entire business. Talking too much hurts a business. Talking too little hurts a business. The performance helps the business and many times does the actual talking.

Everything is in moderation but is it really? We can talk too much or too little but are we talking when we should be and about what we should be? Are we over saturating the market with what we want them to know or what they need to or should know? Every business struggles with this as there is always a line that is crossed – positive or negative. Are we able to stop talking to see which one?

It is funny, as much as I love to talk, I am not so much a fan of talking in depth about me. I will scratch the surface but then the itch goes away as a big part of me is complicated that it confuses me sometimes. Is this doing my brand harm? Maybe or maybe it is helping the brand. Regardless of owning a company or working for someone, you are still a brand. That personal brand can make or break a company. I saw it today where DJ Waldow unsubscribed from a reputable company’s emails due to one employee. Talking matters, but is the right talk or just too much talk?

Ignoring the Conversation

As much as brands talk is it more flapping the gums and ignoring the conversation at hand? We can steer a conversation to where we want it to go. It is easier when we are able to rally the troops and get everyone on board but when there is some that come out and point out the negative and get some traction, what does the brand do? Carry on with THEIR conversation or create a new one that is more reactive? Social media has taken this to a new level. Ignore the conversation and it can have repercussions … or not. We all ignore conversations that we are not comfortable talking about. For a brand it can be very damaging or it could show how much they care about customers by reacting and addressing. In the end, we want the inside story and the reaction that they give with an apology that is honest and addresses the issues matters. And this is not always for the negative. This for the positive as well. Talking too much when no one is listening or you have them listening and are not performing turns them away. Talking too much with out something substantial, turns them away. Giving more answers than leaving them with questions is performing.

I think a lot about this especially after I am face to face with people. Did I talk too much about this and not enough about that? Should I have, how could I have … I am not different, just maybe more unique in that I would rather get into your shoes (whether that be the PODUS or the one man show small business owner) to learn and see where a big brand can feel the impact of losing a customer. Maybe just me and wanting advertising and marketing to be where we are in awe of what we see and not rolling our eyes over “this again?”

Your turn, what do you think? Do brands talk too much or not enough?

How To Opt Out Of And ManageThe Most Important Google+ Settings

 

 

Google Lego LogoGoogle+ is the rave. It did not take long for the social community to fall in love and abandon their beloved Twitter and Facebook accounts and be incredibly apologetic about their absence. It so far has been living up to the love it has been given however, with any new platform we have to spend a little time learning the ins and outs before we are met with the annoying side. There is always one and Google+ is no different. The people are not annoying, the opted in privacy settings are. I guess if you are going to create a profile that is similar to Facebook, you also have to ensure that most settings are opt-out instead of opt-in. After spending a week or so with Google+, I became quite intimate with the settings after my Gmail nearly exploded.

How to Opt Out of the Most Important Google+ Settings

1. Email Notifications. It is wonderful when you are added to a circle. However, what is not wonderful are the individual email alerts that have overrun our Gmail accounts. To opt out of these notifications is actually very simple.

a. In your Google+ account in the right had corner next to “Share” click on the gears icon which brings a drop down menu.

google+ gears icon

b. At the drop down menu, click on Google+ Privacy Settings.

Google+ Privacy Settings

c. A new window pops up which clearly displays all of notification settings. Uncheck those that you wish not to be notified about and the setting is automatically saved. In other words, no need for a “big ass save button.”

opt out of google+ notifications

2. Emails. Your Google email address is not exposed however, if you do not opt-out, anyone on the web (if  you have it set to that) that finds your profile, can send you an email. There are different settings contained within a drop down that you can opt for or you can opt out completely of people sending you emails. This of course is a personal choice, and, as people are still playing around with the platform, the emails have not been that overwhelming but, like with anything, there are folks out there that once they get wind that this email feature is available, it will be abused. To change your setting and/or opt out of receiving emails all together it is not as visible as the notification emails.

a. Repeat steps a and b above.

b. Click on “Profile & Privacy.”

c. Click “Edit visibility on profile” (to the right of Public profile information)

d. Under your photo and above your circles information, there is the “send an email” box with an icon next to it. Click on that icon.google+ send an email e. Depending upon which setting you wish to have (anyone on the web, extended circles, your circles, only  you and custom. NOTE: each has its own icon so when you are clicking the icon, it may not be the same as which is shown above). A box pops up asking “Who can send me an email?”  If you wish to opt out completely, uncheck the “Allow people to email me from a link on my profile” box and save settings. If you want people in your circles to be able to send you an email, leave the box checked and select from the drop down. When you click “Custom” it allows you to select certain circles and/or people you wish to share with.

opt out of Google+ emails

NOTE: if you opt out, a padlock will appear next to the send an email meaning it is locked.

3. Edit Posts, Delete Posts, Disable Reshare & Comments. Each of your posts can be edited or deleted by clicking the icon to the top right of that post. Also contained in this drop down is the ability to disable reshare or comments. The are some posts, not many that you do not want reshared. On Twitter, if you tweet about your awful bout with heartburn from that fast food you should not have eaten, it can, and for some, be retweeted a gazillion times. While some will say if you tweet it, it is free reign to be retweeted, we know that sometimes we are just letting it out and really do not want it retweeted. To disable resharing or comments on the post, click it in the drop down. You can change your mind and enable the resharing or comments the same way.

disable google+ resharing, disable google+ comments

4. Photo GeoLocation. Your photos when taken with your smartphone contains the geolocation information. If you do not wish for this information to be public (although as we know once it is uploaded, it is available) Google+ will not display the information. To disable photo geolocation,

a. Once again repeat steps a and b above and scroll down to under the email notifications to Photos and uncheck the “Show photo geo location information in newly uploaded albums and photos” box.

5. Photo Tagging. Some like to be photo tagged or cannot spend the time to approve each person who wishes to tag them. For those that are not fans of the open photo tagging and want the ability to approve photo tagging, you can disable automatic approval for photo tagging or set which circles can automatically photo tag.

a. Scroll down to under the email notifications to Photos. To disable automatic photo tagging all together, delete all circles that are contained in the box under “People whose tags of you are automatically approved to link to your Profile.”  If only certain circle can automatically tag you, then add that circle(s).

google+ photo tagging and geo location

6. Web History. Unsure of what you have searched for or how long it has been tracked? In the drop down menu in the gears icon has “web history” which will show you your searched performed by time and date for every single search (unless you had paused the web history tracking. This does not stop Google tracking you, just stops collecting the searches into your web history. Pausing does cease tracking the data to be used for personalization search). To opt out of web history all together, you really cannot. You can sign out of your Google account but once you sign back in, it will start tracking again, unless you pause it. To pause the web history, click on the gears icon, web history and at the top, Pause web history. You can change it back to resume however, as you can see, there seems to be a delay in the notification that it is back on. pause web history

My web history was tracked back to May 2009. You can delete your web history by selecting Remove.

7. Leaving Google+. Break-ups happen and when it is time to go, it is time to go. Some leave a memory or two behind whereas others grab it all and get out of dodge as fast as they can. Google+ understands and has provided some options if you wish to say good-bye.

a. Delete Google account(s). This is the most drastic measure but hey, when it is time to go, ya just gotta go. If you do delete your account, you will be losing access to ALL of your Google accounts including Gmail, Google Docs, etc.

b. Delete profile and remove associated social features.  This will only delete your Google+ account and all of your postings.

To delete entirely or just your Google+ and the contents therein, click on the gears icon, Google+ settings as we have explained above.

a. Click up on the top left, “Account Overview.”

b. Scroll down to “Services” and select your desired option and follow any additional steps as prompted by Google.

delete google+ account

c. Hide Profile. If you are not ready to completely leave a trace of you on Google+, you can hide your profile by changing your visibility settings. Your name and photo (unless you delete it, will be still visible as will any postings in comments, on other user profiles, etc). To change your visibility, click edit my profile, click on each section and determine how visible you wish this to be. Note, the icons that are next to each section tell  you how your information is currently shared. Spend some time learning these icons or at least familiarizing yourself with them as you will see them over and over.

These are the most important settings that I was able to find. They are relatively easy to find and also edit. The icons for each of the levels as to who can see your information seem to be Google’s way of teaching us new visuals to remember. Once you get the hang of it, it is easy to look at  your profile and see which parts of your settings you need to manage. Most are set to everyone on the web so if you are not looking to have this profile open or only part open (if you do not delete your phone number which is just clicking the X when in edit mode) or changing who it is visible to, it will be exposed. Many will leave it in as their number is on their website but then again, bringing people who want to contact you to your website is not a bad thing.  It does deter them from having to find it and not having it front and center on your Google+ profile.

Thoughts on Google+? Most I see are using it to manage their social community and cleaning up their Facebook. It makes a lot of sense as Facebook is a permission based platform and Google+ is not. Or maybe it is just a fad and we will return back to Facebook once Google+ gets too noisy?

photo credit: dullhunk