Don’t do anything an exec wouldn’t do.


People get excited about social media. Finally, executives have stopped thinking that digital engagement is just a crazy fad, or hiring their teenage nephews to launch platforms and strategies. The pendulum has started to swing in the opposite direction!

There appears to be a perception of “If we build it, they will come.”  And for many brands – that may be true. Because of an overall, effective, integrated marketing strategy – there are some companies that are almost guaranteed some digital engagement on their Facebook pages, and blogs. Tweets will be re-tweeted, and and there will be comments on updates.  But for others? Simply starting a blog or releasing a podcast or video just isn’t enough.

And executives remain baffled. They’ve bought in, they’ve heard the success stories – so why isn’t anyone creating new “viral” videos to promote their medical supplies? Why isn’t anyone blogging about their new pencil, or entering the essay or photo contest about sock research.  Why isn’t community spontaneously forming around our product?

And alas, the poor, beleaguered digital strategist tries to engage.  “Well, you see – we need content.  Real, authentic content. Can I film you using the new product? Or can you respond to some of the tweets in a livechat?  Have you signed up for the community and blogged about your experiences with the product?”

And so often, the answer is “no.”  No, the executives don’t have time to tweet, or blog or create a profile. They are busy people, it’s not “worth their time,” or they can’t figure out how to participate.  

So, the idea dies on the vine. And the community fails, and everyone scratches their head. Where are all of the promoters and fans creating content and engaging?

Why is that senior management expects that their fans have the time to tweet and engage and create content around their product, when they don’t have the time to do so themselves?  Why aren’t more executives leading the charge around social engagement?

Now, this doesn’t mean that in order for a campaign to be successful that the execs need to be involved – far from it! But what I am trying to say is that in order for a campaign to really take off, the expectations need to fall in line with reality. Sure, executives and senior management are often comprised of very busy people. But, so are your end-users. They are single parents, or caregivers, or executives of their own organizations. They have scheduling issues and different levels of digital-savvy.

Create campaigns that people want to be involved in. Be authentic and real, and don’t ask more of your customers than you would ask of your biggest internal fans.


The BBB Has a Serious Racket Going


It never fails – more often than not, after a bad customer service experience, the aggrieved party will threaten to call the BBB on the company, or a friend gives them the advice to report the company to the BBB. And I think back in the olden days before social media and crowd sourcing – they may have not sounded like such an empty threat. But now? It just doesn’t strike fear into the heart of this marketer.

When was the last time you checked the BBB for a review on a product or service before you purchased? If you are under the age of 40ish, I’m going to guess the answer is “never.”  You may have checked Yelp, or did a quick Google search or checked the review on Amazon, but the BBB? Never. And yet, I hear people, even my own age offer the BBB as a potential effective recourse.


I think there’s a mistaken belief that the BBB is some sort of government or regulatory agency, with the power to shutter a business or issue sanctions. When in reality, from what I understand – it’s just a proto-Yelp. A proto-Yelp that a business owner needs to pay for for an accredition.

Now, that doesn’t mean a business shouldn’t be concerned at all about their ranking. No one wants negative press about their company, and you should strive for positive reviews in all consumer-accessible media. And given the knee-jerk reaction to call on the BBB for help, I think a BBB logo on the website counts towards respectability. But as a consumer, if you really want to get your point across that you mean business and want the world to know – don’t invoke the BBB. It just makes you look out of touch.

I’d love to hear some counterpoints on why the BBB is still a relevant avenue for consumer complaints, or why retailers should care!