Using Meetup to Sharpen Your Marketing Skills

Well, I already missed a day of the blog challenge but I have a good excuse. Yesterday I attended a Meetup group and didn’t get home until late. If you haven’t heard of Meetup before, it’s a social networking site for local groups. No matter where you live, you can type in your zip code and find local groups that you can join or events for you to attend.

How can you use Meetup to sharpen your marketing skills?

  1. Join a business-related group that would appreciate input from a marketing-minded individual. You’ll be challenged (in a good way) to think about another product or company and make recommendations or suggestions based on your perspective. This gives you the opportunity to think outside of the box and daily routine of your usual work.
  2. Find a marketing-related group and talk to fellow marketers about emerging trends or campaigns that you’ve tried. We can all learn from each other. Maybe you’re experiencing a problem and you need help. Who better to ask than a group of marketers?
  3. Do something besides marketing! There are art meetups, food meetups, even wine-enthusiast meetup groups! Get involved and get your mind off marketing. If you can relax, your mind will start thinking more creatively. There’s no better way to relax than chatting with a group of new people over something that you all enjoy, like a glass of wine.

Have you used Meetup before to advertise your own group or to find something fun to do? What was your experience like?

The Blog Challenge: Post Everyday for One Week

Have you heard of the blog challenge?

A-Done-Something-Is-Better-Than-A-Perfect-NothingIt’s supposed to encourage you to write. Whatever is in your head, no matter if it’s a “perfect” idea or blog post. The idea is to commit to posting one blog article each day for a week. Get the creative juices flowing. Get your thoughts out.

I’m going to accept this challenge. Here’s why:

  • Collecting Thoughts: Writing helps us understand things that happened during the day. Problems that we experienced are likely something that someone else experienced elsewhere in the world. Why not share those solutions?
  • Discipline: By making a commitment to one post per day, it should make it easier for me to stick with one post per week. Or at least I hope so.
  • Analysis Paralysis: I have over 30 drafts of blog posts that I never clicked “publish” on. I get so wrapped up in trying to make it perfect that they often never make the cut. Committing to one post a day should help me “shake it off.”

I’m sure there are more reasons why this challenge interests me, but I’m going to hit “publish” instead of “save draft” and move on.

Would you want to take on the challenge as well? How about being my accountability partner?

The Reason Purified Tap Water Exists [Hint: it has to do with you, the consumer.]

water bottle lids blurredLots of people like to hate on water brands like Aquafina or Dasani because their process consists of filtering tap water and bottling it. Mother Jones recently released an article that the water comes from the most drought-ridden places in the U.S, adding an opinion of disgust that it’s bottled tap water.

I’m here to tell you that’s the point. Maybe not that it comes from drought-zones in the U.S., but that it’s filtered tap water. It’s intentional. These brands aren’t trying to hide it from anyone.

  • Aquafina openly states that it’s purified water, and even provides buyers with the steps in their purification process.
  • Dasani does not market itself as water from a fresh mountain stream. It clearly says “purified water” on the label.

Pepsi and Coca-Cola did a ton of consumer research before launching their purified water brands. Consumers told them that they didn’t need their bottled water to be from a spring. In fact, many of them would drink the “spring water” and then fill up the bottle with tap water. Why?

Consumers wanted convenience.

They wanted to grab a bottle, know that it was safe to drink, and go to the gym, work, or stick it in their purse for later. These soda brands intelligently and deliberately extended their product lines to include an option for the health-conscious consumer. They positioned and designed their product differently and as a result, they are able to offer bottled water at a lower cost.

If you want spring water, then purified water brands are not for you. Choose a company that advertises “100% Natural Spring Water” such as Poland Spring or Deer Park.

No need to hate on purified water companies. We just need to read the labels, find out where our water is coming from, and make the best decision based on our knowledge and budget.

Everyone is different. That’s why we have so many choices.

Avoid losing email subscribers -give them options.

Avoid unsubscribes by giving the reader more options.

Avoid unsubscribes by giving the reader more options.

I’ve decided that I get too many emails that I don’t read, so it’s time to tidy-up my inbox. As I’ve been doing this, I noticed a few things. There are a lot of newsletters that I don’t actually want to unsubscribe from…I just want fewer emails!

You can avoid losing subscribers completely if you give the recipient more flexibility to manage their settings. Consider adding these options to your email campaigns:

  1. The “Frequency” option: This is the “I still want to receive emails from the ABC Company, but I don’t them everyday” option. If the only option you provide readers is to unsubscribe, then you are losing people unnecessarily. Add an option to receive daily, weekly, or monthly emails from your company.
  2. The “Categories” option: the recipient might like your emails notifying them of a HUGE sale, but don’t want emails about company news. Divide your emails into categories and give them more flexibility. The subscriber will pick and choose what communications they want to receive from you.
  3. The “Update Contact Information” option: The emails that include this option are minimal. What if I changed my email address but I still want to receive your correspondence? You need to make it REALLY easy for me to update my information, so that you don’t lose me completely. If I have to “unsubscribe” and then go to your website to subscribe with my new address, chances are I’m not coming back.

Remember, if you use email to market your business, you must be compliant with the CAN-SPAM Act. If someone wants to unsubscribe, let them unsubscribe. Don’t hide the link or make them go through unnecessary steps to get off your email list. They were never going to be a customer anyway.

Did I miss anything? Leave me a comment.

A Plea for Commercial Variety

I like to watch video segments from CNN or the Today Show on my computer while I multitask. It helps me get through mundane tasks. Like most viewers I’m watching for the show segments, not the commercials. I know commercials necessary, and that companies need to bring in revenue to support these shows we enjoy watching.

What I don’t understand is the complete lack of commercial variety. I want to watch the entire Today show online but it’s really difficult when I have to watch the same Charmin commercial 20 times. I end up turning it off, changing to a different website, or selecting only the videos that I really want to watch. (Or perhaps I should record it on DVR and then fast forward through the commercials.)

I wonder how many other people are just as frustrated. Can’t the stations see that a little commercial variety would be beneficial for everyone?