Monthly Archives: May 2013

How Industrial / B2B Companies Can Leverage Twitter’s Paid Promotion


It’s no secret that industrial companies promoting their brands via Twitter by sharing their rich content, knowledge and experience. (If you aren’t yet, SLAP! what the heck are you waiting for?)

Twitter is evolving. It has no choice. Like all social networks, it started out as a “pure” exciting method of digital communication. The key to its success? Maximizing minimalism. Well played, Twitter. But over time, it got expensive to run. (Forgive me, Sister Pat, I started a sentence with “But”). Servers, bandwidth and engineers to support 400 bajillion users don’t come cheap. Until recently, Twitter wasn’t selling anything – no income other than investor support. As a Wharton MBA once told me, no business can survive long term without positive cash flow from customers. (Kidding. I actually learned that lesson first hand!) So Twitter had no choice but to “sell out”. Purity vs. sellout – their chosen approach suggests that they are painfully aware of this conundrum. Twitter elected not to flood screens with display ads that may scare “traditionalist” users away. Instead, they took the higher road less traveled (yep, two clichés in one), and are promoting companies less intrusively.

Now you can turn their opportunity into yours, by utilizing one of their various methods of “advertising”. A few of my favorites:

Twitter Cards – these expanded Tweets let you share more than just 140 characters – such as images and interactive functions. The latest flavor is the “Lead Generation Card”, which helps drive targeted leads via direct calls to action, such as “Give us your email address”. That’s gold to us digital marketing folk. Use this to promote your latest white paper, or build your email marketing/newsletter list.

Promoted Accounts – these feature your account to targeted viewers. So, if you are looking to reach aerospace design engineers, you can have your brand show up their screens. This is a fast way to build an active community of thought leaders and “brand ambassadors”.

Promoted Tweets – These are like typical tweets, however they are displayed to users outside of your network. This is another great way to reach new eyes. You can target by interest, device, geography, and similarity to existing followers.

Promoted Trends – if you are seeking brand dominance via significant exposure, and have the cash to support it – this is the avenue for you. Here, your promoted trend is featured at the top of trend lists – oceanfront property in the social world.

Do you see the common thread here? Each method is designed to promote your Twitter account and build your audience. As such, you must actively maintain your profile, adhering to best practices (You know, talk about interesting stuff other than your company; regularly and consistently…) The required time is in stark contrast to other effective forms such as directory listings, or banner/display ads, which typically drive targeted traffic to your website or landing page. These often require less maintenance. The lesson here is don’t spend money on promoting your account if you are not actively using it.

Also, you must regard my golden rule: There is no silver bullet to online marketing. You must employ a well-balanced digital mix, that takes time to refine, and is never perfected.

Happy (promoted) tweeting!

(c)2013, by Phil Paranicas


Don’t Make a Brand Promise You Can’t Keep


My wife and I bought our cozy home thirteen years ago from a retired couple that used it as their weekend home. Lucky them. Lucky us. While we were negotiating, the then “Mrs. of the house” asked me what we plan to do. I said, “We’re definitely going to get a new oven, since that one (with me pointing to it) is an antique.” She asked, “Why? It works perfectly!” And my wife agreed – if it ain’t broke…

We Surrender

So, year after year, we coped as it died a slow appliance death. Knobs faded leaving food over or under cooked, and eventually broke. I even replaced a few thanks to the Internet! Then the bottom half died, taking the broiler with it. Good bye delicious steaks and chops (sorry vegetarians). Finally, ½ of the top oven went. Correct. Only ½ of it went – leaving just about every meal ½ cooked, ½ burnt, even if rotated ½ way ½ way through cooking. We raised the white flag of surrender.

So, I did what all good sons of engineers do and consulted the Consumer Reports to start the new range quest (kinda sounds like the name of an over-budget Kevin Costner flop, huh?). Anyhow, my requirements were simple: reliable and stainless steel. Oh, and hopefully under $750. After a bit of research (and input from Dad, of course), a certain GE model was agreed upon. I found a few stores nearby that sold it. I started with PC Richards, well known as “the appliance giant”. They had a similar model, it was acceptable, but nobody was around to offer assistance. Needed a warm and fuzzy as I was about to drop some serious Benjamins. So, across the street to Home Depot.

It turns out they had the next model up available. More bells & whistles, and large appliances were 10% off. It was a pretty easy decision. One problem though – since this was just a range, I would still need to fill the top void. My friendly associate showed me a nice matching microwave – without hesitation, both were purchased. The deal included free delivery and haul away of the dinosaur.

A week later, the ovens arrive. I am not so much with the handy – so neighbor Joe, doer of all things, installed both for me with my (rather limited) assistance. It only cost me a vodka drink. Great deal!

I slip into a near coma-like depression

Not a few days go by, and the wife tells me upon coming home, “the new microwave isn’t working.” My face went blank, and I slipped into a near coma-like depression. Just couldn’t accept that after all of those years of coping, then finally fixing the problem: here I was again, faced with a broken appliance.

WTF are you talking about, GE?

So I did the logical thing – and called Home Depot. Since the item was direct shipped from GE, and I knew Home Depot didn’t stock it. The helpful associate tells me, “Oh. You have to call GE customer service. That would be covered under you manufacturer’s warranty.” “Um. What? You’re not going to help me?” “Just call GE. They will give you a number so you can exchange it.” While it didn’t make sense, I accepted. So I called GE. I explained the predicament to the customer service associate, she then explained to me that since the over stopped working after 7 days – that they needed to actually send out a repair tech to inspect and possibly fix the oven. “WTF are you talking about GE, this is a brand new oven!?! I want a new one!”. She remorsefully explained this was the policy, but did offer a $50 gift certificate to keep me happy. (That’s Dad’s favorite part of the story.)

Hooray for us!!!

Several days later the tech shows up. Takes the microwave off the wall and declares that the magnetron (my new favorite word, BTW) was shot, and that the unit was not repairable and should be replaced. He told my wife to just throw it in the car and show up at Home Depot. (Yeah. Right where we started.) So, again, knowing that they didn’t stock this item – I called and asked how to handle this. This time, I get the associate that sold me the unit. She explains that GE should just replace the it – effectively, there was nothing they could do since they didn’t stock it. So I got my Greek up, and she said she would call GE and work this out, and call me back. A few days later, I got an email from GE (and a voicemail), saying that the replacement request has been approved. Hooray for us!!! I just need to wait for GE delivery to call to arrange the swap.

Imagine It Works

SO, here we are ONE MONTH SINCE THE BRAND NEW MICROWAVE BROKE, and it’s still hanging out in my kitchen, useless. Now, if you are wondering what the heck this has to do with marketing (and you stuck with it this long, and the title didn’t give it away), here it comes:

GE’s slogan is “Imagination at Work”, or better said, “Imagine it Works”. While Home Depot boasts “More saving. More doing.” Whatever. I think you see where I am going with this: Both clearly failed to deliver on their brand promises. As a result, I will never buy an appliance from Home Depot again, and the next appliance I purchase will certainly NOT be a GE. Moral of the story: don’t make a brand promise you can’t keep!

(c)2013, by Phil Paranicas

%d bloggers like this: