Pass the Popcorn, Please

I love using the power of a good story in my classroom. As a part of my class this fall, each student takes a turn, sharing a story about an entrepreneur’s inspiration and journey to the marketplace.

This week, it was Stephanie’s turn to share her story about Brian Taylor, a guy whose relatively ordinary name might lead you to believe he might have nothing distinctive to offer the world. A philosophy major at the University of Michigan, his friends begged him to share the fabulous popcorn seasonings he created – and the idea was born for Kernel Seasons. Using money from his summer jobs, Taylor worked with flavor experts to develop fourteen flavors without butter, salt or MSG and upon graduation, launched his business.

Stephanie could have just taken us to the website and read a written report. But this sharp student understood a basic element of connecting with her audience; she drew them in with not one, not two, but six lunch sacks with popcorn samples flavored with different Kernel Seasons products. (Little did she know that one of her professor’s longtime favorite addictions is popcorn.) So, as she regaled us with this entrepreneur’s story, we happily munched on garlic parmesan, kettle corn, ranch, nacho, butter, and white cheddar popcorn. And, being the thoughtful gal that she is, Stephanie also provided us with napkins, handwipes, and a bottle of water.

Without being told, Stephanie knew a pivotal secret of connecting with her intended target market: the more senses you employ, the more memorable (you and) your information becomes. She had the visual stimulation of images projected, taste of the Kernel Seasons products, and the delicious smell (the sense which connects most powerfully with our memory) of the popcorn going for her.

So, how can you make your next presentation stronger?? (Oh – and pass the popcorn, please.)

Kathy Snavely

Photo courtesy of carabou on Flickr, “Popcorn Cupcake,”

@DannyBrown to be SPECIAL Guest on #MMchat!

Very excited to relate to all of you #MMchat tweeps out there that the inimitable @DannyBrown has agreed to grace us with his jocular presence on #MMchat on November 1st at 8:00pm eastern!!

And going it even one better, together we have agreed that for the first time, the topic for @DannyBrown ‘s #MMchat will be crowdsourced from all of you #MMchat tweeps out there!

So please send us your suggested topic for @DannyBrown to wax poetic or type frantically about, and he’ll pick the best one for our firehose chat with him on Monday November 1st. Simply @Msg or DM @TheSocialCMO your suggestion by midnight Monday October 4th if you’d like it to be considered. We will of course recognize the selected suggestor and they will even get the honour of posing the first question to @DannyBrown on their topic.

Hope you’re all as excited as I am to have @DannyBrown join us and we look forward to gettng some amazing topic suggestions from all of you who make #MarketerMonday Chat matter! Remember #MMchat makes Mondays MARVELOUS!!


Jeff Ashcroft


Dump your followers!

Picture credit: NathanHulls.Com

This post was prompted by a conversation I had in the #MMChat with SPECIAL guest @GlenGilmore on twitter, that takes place Monday nights. We got a little hung up on the whole “engagement” thing.

I get tired of being told that:

“It’s all about the engagement”,

“It’s all about the conversation.”

Time for a reality check. A minimum of 95% of the connections in mostpeoples networks are passive in social-media channels. It’s a bit like the number of people who have real conversations with others outside of their immediate circle or acquaintances in a bar, not very many. Social, often reflects real life.

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Social Media and the Power of Business Etiquette

With billions of Facebook posts, tweets, and YouTube uploads, there’s never been a more appropriate time to evaluate our social graces—in real life and in social media. The relaxed communication style of emails, texting, and the public timeline can present an illusion of relationship. After one tweet, we find ourselves sharing personal information with total strangers and risking a breach of business decorum.

Inextricably woven into the art of doing business is etiquette: a combination of common courtesies, mutual respect, and common sense. Learning how to build appropriate relationships in business is crucial to business success. By focusing on three core areas—actions, appearance, and words—we can gain a clearer understanding of the messages we send to colleagues, managers, and customers.

Make it easy for people to do business with you. We all want to work with smart, perceptive, well-mannered people. If your actions and personality get in the way of your clients’ receiving what they need from you, change. Are you hard to please? Critical? Unappreciative of colleagues or vendors? You’ll lose clients and employees with a history of these behaviors.

To discover how to attract and keep clients, find the best leaders and emulate them. Notice how they lead, how they conduct business, and how they treat their team. Interestingly, people’s personalities aren’t disguised on social media channels, they’re actually magnified. When one executive showed me his 3-page resume, I smiled and said, “We might not need traditional resumes from job seekers now, we’ll just Google them. We can learn immediately who they keep company with, how disciplined they are, and if they show respect to others.”

Common courtesies in business begin with punctuality, a firm handshake, and attentive listening—online and in person. Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval have captured valuable business lessons in their book The Power of Nice, How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness. They explain that “Nice makes more money. Nice is healthier. Nice spends less time in court.”

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Emerging Trends in Social Media: #MMchat with Glen Gilmore

Our thirteenth MarketerMonday Chat #MMchat was an overdue visit by our SPECIAL guest, Glen Gilmore. Glen, also known as The @Trendtracker, is an attorney, social media consultant & adjunct w/ Texas A&M’s @NERRTC

This is only the thirteenth #MMchat we’ve held and see #MMchat for more details on MarketerMonday Chat our previous SPECIAL guests, transcripts and our upcoming schedule.

Thanks again to @GlenGilmore as well as all of you AWESOME #MMchat tweeps who joined us and participated in this enlightening tweetchat on Emerging Trends in Social Media!

Check out the full transcript of the chat at and please join us next week as @DannyBrown struts his stuff at November 1st at 8:00 pm EST when we’ll be talking about the Increasing Role of Content as Engagement and Marketing Tool ! See you all then!


Jeff Ashcroft


Successful Social Media is More Than A Campaign

Mild rant forthcoming.

I see so many case studies for social media being presented – in their entirety – as:

  • social discounts and coupons
  • a video campaign
  • a clever Facebook contest

But this drives me crazy insane. Here’s why.

Social media is not just direct marketing parked online.

Ultimate social media success by my definition is far more than whether you took advantage of the latest application craze to market the same stuff you always have.
Part of the trouble is that we rarely distinguish between Social Media, The Tools and Tubes and Social Media, The Business Philosophy. And they’re different.

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Deliberately uninformed, relentlessly so [a rant]

Many people in the United States purchase one or fewer books every year.

Many of those people have seen every single episode of American Idol. There is clearly a correlation here.

Access to knowledge, for the first time in history, is largely unimpeded for the middle class. Without effort or expense, it’s possible to become informed if you choose. For less than your cable TV bill, you can buy and read an important book every week. Share the buying with six friends and it costs far less than coffee.

Or you can watch TV.

The thing is, watching TV has its benefits. It excuses you from the responsibility of having an informed opinion about things that matter. It gives you shallow opinions or false ‘facts’ that you can easily parrot to others that watch what you watch. It rarely unsettles our carefully self-induced calm and isolation from the world.

I got a note from someone the other day, in which she made it clear that she doesn’t read non-fiction books or blogs related to her industry. And she seemed proud of this.

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How Duct Tape Marketing legend John Jantsch uses social media

You probably already know John Jantsch from his wildly (and still) popular book Duct Tape Marketing. The book, and the movement it spawned, is based upon simple, back-to-the-basics, marketing systems any business owner to apply TODAY to grow business. John’s taking things a step further in his new book, Referral Engine. He’s a kindred spirit: he starts with a working definition of marketing and then builds a process based upon it.

I especially appreciate where he places social media in the process. Too many of us present social media like it’s a cure-all or the ultimate marketing toolkit. Many have even gone so far as to proclaim the death of direct mail, death of print, death of newspapers, all listing the killer agent as social media.

John has a gorgeously balanced approach. He says, “While the notion of community-building online has become a very commonplace practice, the opportunity for community-building offline is richer than ever.…The converged business [the business blending John’s balance] uses every advance in technology as an opportunity to forge a deeper, more personal relationship with its customers.”

Marketing is a series of decisions and actions. John says, “For the converged, high-tech, high-touch business, the primary decision filter for every marketing process, customer touch point, and tactic is how technology can make the customer experience more fun, more convenient, more engaging, and more frequent.”

Bravo. It’s not about tools or tactics or even policies and profits. It’s about using everything possible to create something for someone ELSE.

John is as delightful in person as you’d imagine he would be. It was fun to grab a few minutes to talk with him on camera while we were together at Conquer & Grow, hosted by InfusionSoft.

Trey Pennington

Is Social Media Just Another Channel? The Potential of Social Media for B2B Markets.

Is Social Media just another channel? Yes, it may be, but it is so much more than that. Social Media is forcing corporations (brands) to look at how they engage with their clients, how they use information, and how they respond to events. It is forcing companies to treat Social Media as part of their overall value chain.

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B2C vs B2B Marketing: Do the Differences Really Matter?

As a professional marketer, you have to know your customers and what motivates them to make a purchasing decision. But are the buyers of products and services in the B2C world really that much different from their counterparts in the B2B world?

The primary differences between B2C and B2B marketing are derived from the emotional perspectives of the buyers. Often, the consumer is focused on quality, comfort, and price, while the business buyer is concerned with increasing profits for his/her company.

“As a general rule, B2B marketing relies more heavily on rational–rather than emotional–product or service benefits,” said Kim Hennig, a B2C marketing veteran and principal of Kim Hennig Marketing, who has delivered record sales, award-winning advertising, and profitable marketing plans for some of the nation’s best-known brands, including McDonald’s, 1-800-Flowers, and Subway. “This is certainly not to say that the business buyer doesn’t have emotional connections to the brands he or she purchases, but there is a far greater need to justify how the features or benefits of a product will have a demonstrable impact on the company’s bottom line.”

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