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News & Press: Arizona Business News Updates

Great Marketing From Successful Companies

Monday, December 17, 2012   (0 Comments)
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Wist and the Great Customer Service/Social Media combo

Wist is amazing at the fun marketing technique, combined with some of the best customer service you will ever find – and we’re not just saying that because they’re ASBA’s new office supply partner. They have consistently won The Best of Arizona Business since 2006 and it doesn’t look like they’ll be stopping any time soon.

Wist’s social media marketing combines two key marketing techniques: creating content around interesting fringe topics and producing engaging content that doesn’t overtly push a sale. The first one can be difficult for companies with "boring” products. If the marketing director at Wist had said "Office products? Who gets excited about office products?” then no one would be excited about Wist’s products. Instead, they created a relatable marketing campaign, using random information and bringing it back to their products. (Check out their "This Day in History” posts on Facebook) The second component to these posts is that they are not overtly asking you to buy something. With posts promoting their suppliers or Local First Arizona, they are gaining your trust by not pushing a particular item on you. The marketing team is simply showing you what they have to offer: local, friendly service and great products that can be conformed to your needs.*

Apple and the anti-Social Media, pro-Education

Apple is on the other end. Until July 2011, they pretty much ignored Facebook. And while 8.2 million people "like” them, they don’t post anything on their page. It’s barren, unofficial, almost forgotten, and that’s how they want it to be. As Todd Wasserman puts it, "Apple is a great example of a brand that's too busy -- or likes to present itself as too busy -- for social media because it's improving its products.” Simplicity is key for Apple. Walk into an Apple store and you won’t find a million products being shoved into your line of vision – they are all lining the walls, leaving the majority of the space for their customers to engage with their products.

It’s important to remember that Apple also spent millions on ad campaigns, partnered with higher education facilities and managed to completely reinvent our way of communicating and experiencing media (iTunes, anyone?). So, while Apple has avoided social media, they have thrown themselves into other avenues of advertising and increasing sales.

One example is their partnership with universities. In the late 80’s, Apple began pushing for their products in places of education. Most who went to school in the 90’s remember Apple computers, and many universities in the States continue to buy Apple. Why? Because Apple worked with 28 leading universities in the United States and Canada to create a product specifically designed to meet their needs. The benefit to Apple would be gaining a loyal base of consumers – if college kids started off their education using a Mac, maybe that loyalty would follow them into their workplace. Essentially, this was product placement in the real world. Unfortunately for Apple, while they continued to have a loyal customer base with educational facilities, they failed to see that transfer of loyalty with the consumer until the 2000’s – right around the time that social media got big. While they did not promote through social media, Apple created products that enhanced the online and communication experience. So, more important than a transfer of loyalty, was Apple’s ability to adapt its products for the customer’s needs – first with education, then with the internet age – and allowing their marketing to adapt with them.

Geico and the Gecko
Quick! Name the insurance company with the Gecko!

Created after some confusion regarding the pronunciation of their name, Geico has successfully created a brand image through its cockney accented spokes…lizard. And they aren’t the only ones. "Mayhem” from AllState has a popularity of over 1.4 million people on Facebook; the laid back "Mac” from Apple’s 2006-2009 commercials increased the company’s sales by nearly 40% in their first year; and "Flo, the Progressive Girl” has 3 million more likes than "Mayhem”, was heralded as "the commercial break's new sweetheart" by the Boston Herald, and even inspired a few Halloween costumes.

You might recognize "Boom” from He makes the rounds at local community and ASBA networking events, representing the company in his green spandex super-hero costume. And he’s a great example of a local business’ mascot or spokesperson who is memorable and great for marketing. Which isn’t surprising considering that Loud Rumor is a marketing firm. But don’t let that deter you. Create a memorable mascot and promote, promote, promote!

Just beware of the Quiznos creature. Ultimately deemed too disturbing for customers, they were stopped after the negative reaction affected business. So, no spongemonkeys, please.

American Express and Small Business Saturday

We, here at ASBA, got just as excited about Small Business Saturday as American Express. And while not everyone was as enthusiastic, there is something everyone can agree on: American Express gets a lot of "free” marketing through this campaign. So, what can Small Business learn from Big Business in this case? Promoting good things can really pay off. With small business sales reaching $5.5 billion on just that Saturday, you can guess how much American Express made through fees and promotion.

This is actually a very easy and affordable way to get your name out there. While AmEx gave everyone a $25 gift card or rebate for spending money on that Saturday, you can do something as simple as sponsor a little league team or charity walk, have your staff volunteer for a cause, encourage a charity to promote through your business. (a local company, headquartered in Scottsdale) sponsors Danica Patrick, who also has worked as the company’s spokesperson, and gives to a list of charities. ‘Tis the season for giving. This might be the perfect time to give back and promote your business at the same time.

*ASBA members! Wist is offering an 85% discount, with an additional 10% discount at checkout. There is no minimum for free, next-day delivery, and through December, they are offering 2 free Harkins theatre tickets for first time orders of $100 or more! See? This is part of the reason we love these guys!

Useful links

7 Content Marketing Tips from the Best in Social Business

Hey Small Business Owner: Maybe Social Media Isn’t for You

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