December 2011 Archives

Inbound Marketing: What is it?

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"Inbound Marketing" is a keyword I've been seeing more and more lately. I think that I understand the basics, but am looking to learn more.

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My aunt and uncle own a boutique agency that focuses on marketing, but offers planning through execution as well. More about Weidert Group can be found at www.weidert.com.

I asked my uncle more about Inbound Marketing and to what it is in 100 words or less. Here is what he said:

Inbound marketing is a strategy and associated tools & processes focused on content creation, search engines and social media, engineered to drive online awareness and attraction of your business and feed your sales funnel with the best prospects.

I needed a little more than just a definition, so I asked him to tell me why it was essential for companies. Here's his response:


What makes it essential is the evolution in human behavior resulting in the increasing importance of search as a critical element of any purchase decision. Whether we're acting as a private individual or as part of a business or formal organization, we rely more and more on search to find product and service providers, research their skills and qualifications, look for corroborating recommendations or referrals, and ultimately guide us to selecting a provider. So if your business isn't fully engaged in performing well in the search game, you're in trouble, because your competitors are hard at work.

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I've been working to gain a better understanding of the concept to benefit me in the future. A great resource has been Weidert's blog, Whole Brain Marketing.

The Art of PR

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In a class wrap up today, my public relations professor compared PR to something that made perfect sense. I had never thought of it this way, and haven't stopped thinking about how this was something that perfectly described what PR professionals do in their everyday life. She said PR was like..

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Spinning plates!!

Okay, so this picture may be exaggerating a little, but PR is like spinning plates.
Here's why:

-You'll start one thing at a time, but you'll continue to add more and more projects as time goes on

-You have to focus on the plate you're beginning to spin, but at the same time, you need to maintain all of the other plates

-It is the ultimate in multitasking

-You may be working alone, but you may also be with a group, in which instance you'll not only have to pay attention to the plates that you're responsible for, but also coordinate with your group to be sure all of the plates are spinning in conjunction with one another

And finally? You have to be super talented to do a great job :)

Next time somebody asks me what my major is, I'm totally going to tell them "spinning plates."

"For never was a story of more woe. Than this of Juliet and her Romeo." The conflict between Romeo and Juliet can be compared to the relationship between journalists and public relations professionals. They rely on one another, but there are many forces that split them apart.

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PR professionals and journalists have a sort of love hate relationship. They need each other, but don't always want to admit it. Their biggest divide? One hint: It's not the difference in family names.

Understanding one another is the most critical skill for PR professionals working with journalists. The single most important thing for a PR professional is to understand how a journalist's job works, and how a news story becomes what we see on TV. Jamie Yuccas, reporter at WCCO says that the best PR professional are those who have previously worked in news.

More suggestions:

-Recognize that journalists have strict deadlines.

-Build a reputation: This means only sending relevant pitches, being cooperative, and always be ready when the journalist calls back.

-Don't send a ton of generic pitches to every reporter in a station (or a city!) The journalist is just going to delete your emails.

-Don't get disappointed: Journalists are assigned stories. This means they may have to write a negative piece about your business. Make it better by pitching positive stories about your company in the future.

The fate of Romeo and Juliet was not good, but it doesn't have to be the same for public relations and journalists. From Jamie Yuccas, "There's no need for us to kill ourselves, everything works out in the end."

Public Relations & Customer Service

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After writing my post about TCF, I spent some time thinking about customer service and the impact it has on public relations for a company. Without strong customer service, a company is probably going to have a hard time thriving in the public relations realm.

I started to think that maybe I had too high of expectation of TCF. I don't often write complaint letter, but last year, it was necessary for me after a NIGHTMARE experience with Delta. It was my first time flying alone, and I got stuck in Milwaukee overnight due to technical issues with a plane. Without going into the gory details- I stayed in a hotel and came back to the airport at 3 am to see if I cleared standby for the flight I was switched to.
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I went to speak with an attendant to get my standby ticket, and she looked at me, looked at her coworker and said "I'm way to hungover to deal with this. I can't believe I have to deal with these people today." I kept calm, but was incredibly disgusted at the attendant. At least wait until I'm out of earshot...

After I finally made it to Florida (my bags didn't make it), I sat down and wrote a calm email to Delta explaining my frustrations. I wasn't ready to boycott Delta completely, I just wanted to make someone aware that they need to step up their standards a bit.

I received a personalized email from a customer service rep explaining how sorry they were, and talking about my personal situation. This did give me a voucher to cover some of the cost of my next flight, which was also a bonus.

Of course I told everyone about my awful flight, but I also let everyone know how impressed I was by the quick response by Delta and what they did to remedy the situation. I have flown Delta ever since, and even though they still make mistakes, I know that I won't have trouble with their customer service department.

This brings me back to my point: customer service departments are essential in forming a positive public image of a company. Without strong customer service, people aren't going to care what your company has to say. I follow Delta on Twitter and Facebook, and had they not given me good customer service, I definitely would not care what they had to say through social media. I would have formed a strong opinion, and my behaviors would reflect my attitude toward them. Delta may not have the best customer service reps in the airports, but as long as you're willing to take the time to contact Delta and let them know about your experience, they are going to treat you well.

TCF Bank & Customer Service

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I recently had a bad experience with TCF Bank. I wrote them a complaint letter (part of a class assignment, but I had definitely considered sending one on my own) and two weeks later, have not received any sort of response. The letter was calm and patient, and simply asked for a resolution for the problem that occurred.

This got me thinking about the way that customer service impacts a company. I know this goes back to the essentials; when a customer has a bad experience, they'll tell 9 people, but when they have a good one they'll only tell a couple, but it still surprised me that a company with a presence in the U of M campus area has had nothing to say to me about my experience.

I wrote an article about how social media is happening, even if a certain companies aren't involved. Just because the company isn't participating doesn't mean it's customers aren't. TCF Bank has lost even more respect from me, and even though I may not have a great social media presence, I will still let friends and family know about my frustrating experiences, and even more frustrating experience with no response to my complaint.

I could not find any official Twitter handles for TCF, but did find a variety of complaints. Maybe my next letter should include a social media campaign to improve the public perception of TCF.

Has anyone else had a bad experience with a TCF that didn't elicit a response?

Are Jon Huntsman's Daughters Helping or Hurting His Campaign?

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Are the #jon2012girls effective in promoting their father for the 2012 GOP nomination? The girls are on Twitter, tweeting about debates and issues related to their father's campaign. They are making videos and spoofing other candidates ads. Are their attempts helping their father, or are they hurting his chances?

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A recent Twitter post:

Jon2012girls Huntsman Daughters:
Pizza Special with breadsticks $9.99 at your local Godfathers. #possibleHermanCainannouncements

Here they are making fun of candidate Herman Cain for his announcement that he will be making an announcement. Is this appropriate in the realm of political campaigns?


My original thought was that the "typical" Republican candidate was not likely to be on Twitter to look for information about candidates. A study by Professor Heather LaMarre shows that there are twice as many individuals who consider themselves republicans on Twitter looking for information about candidates as there are individuals who consider themselves to be democrats.

So the question then becomes; do republicans find the "Jon 2012 Girls" amusing and create a higher approval rating of the candidate?

In a class discussion, we talked about how the girls are getting views, Jon Huntsman's ratings are not moving up in the polls.

Although entertaining, the girls' attempts for their father do not seem to be boosting his results in polls, but there are definitely gaining awareness. This may be a situation of "any publicity is good publicity." Huntsman's personal campaign efforts may not be getting in the news, but his daughter's definitely are. I will admit (even though it is embarrassing) that until a discussion came up about the Huntsman daughters, I did not know anything about Jon Hunstman beyond the fact that he was running for the 2012 GOP nomination.

What do you think about the Jon 2012 Girls? Are they hurting or helping Jon Hunstman's campaign?


The Animal Humane Society may not open until noon, but that doesn't mean that animals are sleeping in! Volunteers and employees are in the shelters working at 6 a.m. Every cage and animal receives care, so they must get started early. The Animal Humane Society has five Twin Cities' locations, and all of them depend on a strong team both inside their doors and out in the community.

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Volunteer Hat
Each volunteer and employee has a special place in his or her heart for the organization. They all have rewarding experiences with the animals and thrive on feeling needed by the animals. Many of the full time employees started as volunteers. "I began volunteer work in a local rescue group and found that not was I only good at it, I could also make it a career" said Deb Balzer, Media Relations and Marketing Manager of AHS.

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Education is another main component of AHS. The organization's mission is to engage the hearts, hands and minds of the community, and does this in part through education. Balzer says "Education is a very important part of the work we do and in fact, we have an entire education department dedicated to bringing awareness to children through summer day camps, after school programs, in-classroom programs and youth groups. We firmly believe that if we can help children learn responsibility and teach compassion, they will have that through adulthood."

Humane education is especially important to AHS. Studies show that if adults commit a crime, there is likelihood that they were cruel to animals as children. The startling information has prompted the Humane Society to offer Humane Education to schools and groups to help prevent violence against both animals and humans.

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The Animal Humane Society also educates citizen about legislation regarding animals and humane treatment. It is important for everyone to understand what types of legislation are being passed and how it could affect the humane society. "We are working hard to ensure Minnesota laws stay humane and are encouraging supporters to join us on the journey" says Balzer. By going to www.animalhumanesociety.org/takeaction, the public can sign up for action alerts and get involved.

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

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