Friday, October 16, 2009

The Basic Strategy

We've decided on a basic strategy and have defined the Social Media components that will support our goals for the project. Marketing's goals have been created in support of the upper management's goals, which are pretty specific and, not suprisingly, short term revenue oriented. Luckily, the projects that support long term growth are low-budget ticket items that easily fall within our budget. So the short term projects can take the dollars for now. Our goals for the remainder of 09 and 2010 are as follows:

- Drive x-mas re-orders from existing customers
- Acquire new customers
- Create a comunity of our retail stores/partners directly via Facebook
- Create a community with our consumers to drive awareness, adoption and disemination

So I've mapped out the tactical components that will allow us to reach each goal:

1. Drive x-mas re-orders from existing customers. Our cusotmer base is made up of small collegiate stores who have relationships with a local sales rep that carries our product line. We're starting the x-mas demand by offering a product incentive for our customers... the details for that incentive will be housed on our Retail Buyer's fan page on FB. Once connected we will have a direct, multi-directional (us to customer, customer to customer) communication channel that offers value far beyond an email blast.

The sales reps are our customers as well. They're being offered an incentive program to increase revenue in 09, as well.

2. Acquire new customers. This is a hefty project but is attainable. The first part of the project will be to increase non-existent traffic to our e-commerce site. We've invested heavily on an outsourced SEO strategy along with execution. To support this goal in the longer term we're emplacing an SEO stragey in coordination with a social media plan (FB, YouTube, Twitter... others) and grass roots marketing efforts.

A sales rep incentive program will be created rewarding the opening of new retail stores.

3. Create a comunity of our retail stores/partners directly via Facebook. The better dialogue we have with our retailers the more we can count on them in tough times. This is a long term/low cost/high effort tactic to make our customers love us and want to help us grow.

4. Create a community with our consumers to drive awareness, adoption and disemination. The holy grail of social media success. Creating a meaningful connection with your customer via social media. The possibilities are endless and mind-blowing. The goal in 2009 is to win 500 followers. The goal for 2010 is to win 5000 followers.

We're trying to sew social media, which is low cost but high effort, into our existence to make it meaningful and support our vision and goals. I'm beginning to see these tools as integrated parts of our strategy rather than 'extra' or duplicative.

As usual, your thoughts are welcome.


Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Me Tube? YouTube

For the last few days I've been pondering what to do with YouTube. It's not as screaming obvious to me like the LG presence was on Facebook (not that it's perfect but at least I can see where it can go). LimbGear is a consumer products and fashion or apparel company... and there doesn't seem to be a concrete formula for how to leverage YouTube.

One successful video marketing campaign that went viral a few years back was for Ray Ban sunglasses (i think). The video was shot in a grainy style and was positioned to be done by college age guys recording footage of stunts, all including sunglasses. At the time video hoax had not yet been over-exposed so people spent time clicking through the video trying to ID whether this kid was really able to throw his sunglasses onto his buddy's head as he drove by in his car. I watched it a number of times as did many of my friends. But there was no connection to a social network so no real value discussed and propogated. Just a one-time viral pop.

I've also seen companies upload their b-roll of action sports footage using their gear, which seems like a mundane use of such a cool medium. But when connected to other social networking mediums maybe this is a stronger use of YouTube? I'm not quite sure yet.

We're working on a few options. We have a team of college aged people working on some video footage and campaigns. I'm going to approach them about what they envision for the footage, where it can go, how people will connect to it and what it says about our brand.

Last Christmas we attempted to merge a traditional advertisement to a YouTube video... and we got some hits but it was not nearly as successful as we had hoped. And more importantly it did not translate into revenue. (which could also have been a problem with our site) In the end, we did it for our own entertainment, which isn't wrong, as long as you know that going in. The ad read 'What will Santa do when he get's his mp3 enabled skulcap from LimbGear this Christmas'... and when you clicked on it this is what you were blessed to see:

Luckily for the world our marketing strategy has matured since then. But that's really the only thing that's matured.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Top Brands and Social Media

In July a report was published by Wetpint and Altimeter where social media strategies (and sometimes lack of strategy) for the top leading world-wide brands were analyzed and QUANTIFIED (!!) against one another. It's a fairly concise read, pretty direct and compelling with a very predictable ending. Luckily for the publishers they're not in the novel business so, although the ending was obvious from the cover sheet, the devil (and fun) is in the details. Spoiler alert! A sound social media strategy and execution is directly proportional to revenue growth or profit in some sectors. WOW! Now you know. Go home. Nothing to read here.

Brand like Starbucks (the kings of social media), Toyota, Google and Apple were categorized into one of four categories based on their social media trends:

1. Mavens- involved in 7 or more channels and engage very often and effectively.
2. Butterflies- involved in 7 or more channel but engage much less often and effectively
3. Selectives- involved in less than seven channels and engage effectively and often
4. Wallflowers- like Jacob Dylan, they're a flash in the pan (sorry J. I know you'll come back with a vengance). Involved in less than 7 channels and not effective or often engaged

Which do you think you are? Where do you think you should be? I know where I think LimbGear is today and where we'll be in 6 months. What I'm not sure about is the effectiveness of a Maven strategy for a company building a niche market.

I won't go into too much detail about the report (and probably shouldn't!) but go to to get a copy. I'm no Oprah but I recommend!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

It's go time, buddy!

When I was a kid I thought it was cool to have dice hanging from your rear view mirror. I also thought Charles in Charge was non-fiction and Kimmy Gibler was the best character on Full House (bar none). But I digress. It may have been the moment that the Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire rolled up to the house in the cab that had dice in the mirror that I began to correlate mirror dice with the dream lifestyle. Ignore the fact that it was a cab and concentrate on the bigtime arrival onto the SoCal scene... ok enough with the ramblings.

I want some dice.

I've recently taken over the responsibilities of marketing strategy and planning for LimbGear, a nascent player in the action-apparel market. Specifically they are the creators of the Performance Technapparel category, which eventually will be an ever-present category. Performance Technapparel is an intersection of performance apparel (think UnderArmour) and technology (think iPod or any mobile device you might take on the go)... the place where the athlete, casual or professional, might go where he needs to get in a run but needs to stay connected. LimbGear makes it convenient for people to take and manipulate their digital devices with them while they are on-the-go.

So, as I'm mapping out my strategic plans for the 09/10 year, I'm aligning my goals (sell sell sell) with my budget (ouch ouch ouch). I've been a marketer and sales person since college. For the vast majority of time I've sold technology. So I have a firm understanding of marketing fundamentals. And for the previous 3 years I co-managed the operations at LimbGear, which gave me some keen insights into the apparel and consumer goods universe... which, by comparison to tech, is like (i'd envision) a Vietnamese yard sale.

We've toyed with traditional marketing in the past, including some expensive ad space in a popular outdoor magazine and a failed commercial . I thought it was genius and hysterical... viral waiting to happen. The video ad was directly tied to a print ad/online media which had a discount offer to go at the website. No cha-ching. We targeted the right audience (college kids on one campus) with the right message and product at the right time (x-mas). So what didn't work? It's my belief after months of research that we didn't engage them enough. Would our ads have worked in 1995? I think so. 2005? Maybe. Today? Not a chance.

So, it's go time. I know you know where I'm headed, where everyone is headed. To the door that reads 'Social Media Marketing Campaign'.

For the next year you'll get a week by week breakdown of strategy creation, tactics and results from a startup marketer whose betting the farm on a Social Media Marketing strategy. I'm working with an agency, Speak Advertising to build a strategy and execute against it to reach our goal of conversing with our consumers to launch and grow our brand.

So please stay tuned as I lay it on the table (for god sake you already saw the director of operations in a Santa outfit) blemishes and all. We have no shame. Please jump in to the fray and we'll make it conversational.

Thanks and talk soon.