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Posts Tagged ‘Zappos’

Toby Daniels, CEO of Crowdcentric, on Connecting, Engaging With Customers

toby article

As CEO of  Crowdcentric and founder of  Social Media Week, which kicked off globally this week and runs through Feb. 21, Toby Daniels has a mission of connecting people and believes in the power of community.

Of his company’s approach to social media, he said: “You can’t engage halfway; so, each platform receives solid and consistent attention and strategizing for ensuring we’re being respectful to our audiences on it.” Customer satisfaction is a key to brand success, he explained:

All relationships are built on trust. Without it, there is not a relationship; it becomes just transactions then. So, whenever you’re engaging with someone, online or off, you must be thinking about the long-term relationship. Zappos is a great example. It’s not about whether they lose money on return shipping. It’s about ensuring their customers feel like they are a part of something important and will always get what they need out of it.

To hear more from Daniels, including his thoughts on content marketing, read: So What Do You Do, Toby Daniels, CEO of Crowdcentric and Founder of Social Media Week?

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Zappos Gives Kanye Some ‘Sh-t’

If Bret Easton Ellis hosts a podcast and nobody listens, does it make a sound?

It does if the guest is Kanye West and his latest beef goes about as well as his beefs with Vogue and Jimmy Kimmel and everyone on Twitter.

After accusing Zappos head Tony Hsieh of sellng “all this s–t product to everybody, his whole thing is based off of selling s–t product”, the least popular Kardashian got a response from the company itself as Hsieh announced that everyone’s favorite place to buy Tom’s does indeed sell “s–t product”:

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Oh haha. That’s some dope s–t.

Can we pause for a minute to think about how Kanye doesn’t seem to realize that Zappos doesn’t manufacture anything and that Hsieh has nearly three million Twitter followers despite only tweeting three times this year?

StubHub’s Goal is to Score with Fans, Says CMO Ray Elias

Whether you’re a “social fan” actively networking, a “fanatic” attending every game, or a “premium fan” perched in front-row seats, StubHub serves the preferences of all three segments, said CMO Ray Elias. He spoke at The Incite Summit in New York on Wednesday about the brand’s customer service, social media and mobile efforts.

“Tickets are scarce, perishable goods, and StubHub manages the secondary ticket marketplace. We focus on the buyer and seller experience and the intersection of supply and demand”, Elias said. The market has evolved, and he identified key elements behind StubHub’s success.

Customer Service: Fans of entertainment and sports events didn’t used to receive the red carpet treatment. “We recognized the frustrations consumers were experiencing with ticket purchases”, Elias explained. “Traditionally the process wasn’t fan-friendly, so we applied the customer service models you’d find with Nordstrom and Zappos.”

A core issue StubHub regularly deals with relates to the authenticity of tickets. Elias said they need to deliver on the proposition that “our tickets are real and the fans will be able to get in”. He acknowledged that’s not so easy to convey from a marketing perspective. (Although he didn’t discuss their “Ticket Oakad campaign, it offers a reassuring presence, and according to a Forbes article, the ads have improved key brand perceptions).

Customer service plays a critical role in delivering on the brand’s promise, and Elias described StubHub’s service as ‘heroic’. “We have local reps on the ground, and ‘Make it Right’ customer service” to resolve on-site issues. “We’ve empowered fans, and that has fueled our growth.”

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Peter Shankman on His New Book: Why ‘Niceness’ Is the Best PR Strategy

Author Peter ShankmanYou may know Peter Shankman for his work as a commentor, strategic advisor and author of books like Can We Do That?!, an overview of crazy PR stunts that actually worked.

Shankman’s new book Nice Companies Finish First (which hits stores today!) is a little different. Its thesis holds that the big secret behind some of the most successful brands around is a decision to simply be nice or unexpectedly generous to customers on a regular basis. We spoke with him last week to figure out why:

Where did you find the inspiration for your new book?

Well, when I sold my previous venture HARO (the publicity service Help a Reporter Out) to Vocus, I realized that they were really buying my audience. I’d spent four years cultivating and building that audience and I really felt like every member of HARO was a friend, so I wasn’t going to sell it just anybody. I chose Vocus because they were our largest advertiser and, since I wrote all the ads, I believed that they understood that level of respect I had for my audience, and the level of trust my audience put into me. I knew they wouldn’t violate that.

And this realization led you to the subject of “niceness”?

Yes. I started doing research into companies and how they behave in order to see whether companies who treat their customers and investors nicely make more money. I found it to be true — companies that are doing “the little things” a little better than everyone else almost always fare better.

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10 Brands That Do Customer Service Right on Twitter

Here’s an interesting fact: 30% of top brands now have “dedicated customer service Twitter handles”. This makes perfect sense, right? Customers value great service above all else, they love the instant gratification of social media and they really, really hate waiting for reps to pick up the phone. Also: by establishing separate Twitter handles for customer service, brands can “divert negative attention and activity” away from the primary feed.

So what goes into running a great customer service operation in the twittersphere? In order to find out, we poked around and found ten examples of brands that are doing it right, starting with some of the biggest.

1. Nike Support: This one is pretty much the gold standard. A quick glance at the account with all replies shows you how quickly and how often the feed’s managers respond to individual customers.

2. Xbox Support: Xbox boldly claims to hold the Guinness World Record for “most responsive Twitter feed”–and based on the number of replies their team posts every minute, we can see why they make that claim.

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Monopoly Bends to the Will of ‘Cat People’

Monopoly Hasbro catFellow cat people and farm girls, rejoice! Hasbro‘s month-long “Save Your Tokencontest concluded at midnight last night and it’s official: Monopoly will replace the classic iron with a new token of the feline variety.

While we’re sorry to see the iron go, we’re more than a little relieved to know that our favorite token is safe – well done, #TeamWheelbarrow! May you continue to transport your dreams of financial conquest across the board via manual labor for decades to come.

For those of you who weren’t following this bit of interactive marketing genius, beginning in early January, Monopoly fans could vote to save their favorite token (and nominate a replacement for whichever classic playing piece would be retired) by visiting Monopoly’s Facebook page. According to vice president of marketing for Hasbro Jonathan Berkowitz, fans from 120 countries, including Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, Guam and Liechtenstein, voiced their preferences. Even businesses got involved; Zappos created campaigns for the shoe, while Ames True Temper made a series of videos to help save the wheelbarrow (yes!).

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Creating a ‘Breakout Brand’ Through PR Outreach

A recent survey commissioned by rbb Public Relations and performed by IBOPE/Zogby International received a bit of media attention over the past few weeks, and with good reason: its most significant revelation was the fact that “83% of consumers would pay more for a product/service from a company they feel puts them first.”

The survey concerned the phenomenon of “breakout brands” that achieve the enviable goal of customer loyalty and steady market share by dealing directly with their customers rather than playing a never-ending game of Battleship with their competitors. And its list of 2012’s “Top 10 Breakout Brands” ran the gamut from universally-beloved names like Apple and customer service leaders like Zappos to controversial brands like Chick-Fil-A.

What led rbb to commission this survey? While researching older marketing strategies, founder Christine Barney noticed that brands no longer followed the classic “challenger” approach typified by the Avis tagline “We’re only No. 2 in rent a cars. So why go with us? We try harder”. This Don Draper-style message may have worked in the 60’s, but it’s no longer relevant. So how have branding strategies evolved?

Barney lists three primary traits of the “breakout brand”:

  1. They lead by putting the customer first, not distinguishing themselves from rivals. Customers don’t care about brand fights.
  2. They use market research and knowledge of their customer base to anticipate their customers’ desire. Did the public realize they wanted tablets before the iPad arrived?
  3. They communicate in ways that go well beyond traditional customer service, developing “rich feedback loops” with their customers.

Can any brand break out? Theoretically, yes—“breakout” does not necessarily mean new. Barney also lists three distinct types of breakout brands:

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Is ‘Micro-targeting’ the Key to Success in Politics and PR?

In this week’s The New Yorker, financial columnist James Surowiecki has a fascinating piece (thankfully available online for non-subscribers) about the science of political campaigning and, particularly, the revolutionizing of the political “ground game” through micro-targeting.

His central premise is this: until the late 90’s, political PR men had only one very blunt weapon–mass media communications. Flyers/mailers, TV attack ads and scripted phone calls were the only way to go. Now, however, technology has turned micro-targeting into an art. Campaign representatives use data drawn from “shopping habits, leisure activities, voting histories, charity donations, and so on” to identify and target two very specific groups of voters: Those who truly haven’t made up their minds and those who may need an extra push to make sure they get to the polls.  It is a never-ending process that is constantly being reviewed and refined.

Surowiecki’s most important point (and one we’ve noted before) is that TV ads are growing less and less effective—and that fact puts an even higher premium on micro-targeting and the simple act of knocking on doors and engaging potential voters in real-world conversations. Repeated surveys have found that the most personal messages are also the most effective. For example, “Just thanking people for having voted in the past significantly increases the chance that they’ll vote again.”

In this way, the evolution of campaigning mirrors changes in general PR practices.

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Are Zappos and Pinterest a Perfect Pair?

Shoe-seller/philosophy think tank/International House of Pancakes Zappos pioneered the concept of targeted ads, and they were one of the first companies whose ads would literally follow the user to other sites. Some found the practice to be slightly creepy, but it’s been incredibly successful for the guys in Vegas. They’re famous for their excellent customer service–so how might they customize the user experience even more?

Well, Zappos is great at making the most out of social media–for example, they earn an amazing $3.50 for every dollar they spend on Facebook ads. Clothing being a very visual field, Pinterest seemed a natural match—and now the shoe dudes have developed a new platform called PinPointing (check it out here) that uses pinners’ pages to recommend specific Zappos products.

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