Which Social Site

Love this Infographic from Neil Patel. I’ve written about the importance of not getting totally carried away and joining every social site here, here and over here too. Obviously new channels Snapchat and What’s App and a few other developing sites are not on here yet, and the stats are a bit out of date, but this is a nice overview of the largest platforms.

info on socil

It’s tempting when you look at big brand sites and see them all over every platform to try to be there too. But, social media is like any media and is growing more like them every day – there are a multitude of choices, you need to pick the ones that work for your product and  target market. This is particularly critical due to the total time suck that social media can be, whether you are a billion dollar company or an entrepreneur…especially if you are trying to grow a company.

Taking the time to think through a strategy and decide which platforms are best for your brand can make a big difference in your marketing program and is you are a do-it-yourself-er…your life.




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Tips For Making The Perfect Logo

It’s amazing to me how many poorly designed logos are created by talented designers.

I take that back.

As the client/designer relationship is often fraught with misunderstandings and imperfect knowledge, I’m not surprised. Regardless, there is a way to improve that knowledge, mostly by having a road map to creating effective marketing materials. Since many of our clients have expertise in fields other than marketing, I found the infographic below provides a great starting point for discussion on making a great logo. Thanks to Tim at Daily Infographic  .

perfect-logo-design-infographic-2 (1)

Pioneer Today – Leader Tomorrow


I read an interesting study, titled Digital pioneers now, CPG market leaders tomorrow: GMA. It went on to discuss how proactive CPG companies that use digital marketing today are ahead of the game and positioned to be leaders in the future, apparently leaving those not currently investing in digital marketing in the dust.

The urgency of getting on the digital train is backed up with statistics showing exponential growth in e-commerce for CPG goods. I’m not exactly sure I would use that particular statistic to back up the fact that forward thinking CPG brands should be using digital marketing.

First off, until we find the secret sauce for selling fresh grocery items on the web, e-commerce for CPG goods is unlikely to take off. That said, once again a new round of entrepreneurs are tinkering with the same ideas that WebGrocer and other online grocery start-ups failed miserably at 15 years ago. Technology has come a long way since then, though so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that this latest bunch will find success.

The more important reason that CPG companies should pursue a digital marketing plan is because of the change in the traditional purchase decision making model. Consumers are much more likely to research brands than in the past and look for thought leaders online for validation. The decision-making process clearly involved the consumer spending a substantial amount of time online prior to purchase. That should be as good enough of a reason as any for CPG companies to step up their digital marketing programs.

Photo Credit Rick Bolin on Flickr

headshot newMaryanne Conlin is an CPG trained marketer and an award-winning digital expert. She specializes in helping growing brands develop strategic digital marketing plans and execute them effectively.

Social Media Marketing For Socially Conscious Brands

Just returned from the Natural Foods Expo in Baltimore. What a great show! I’ve been attending the Expo West show for the last 5 years or so and have watched it explode until now it is bursting the seams at the Anaheim Convention Center. It looks like Expo East is headed in the same direction!

Lots of interesting sessions and some innovative new products. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to be part of the program and talked about my approach to social media – Integrated Digital Branding, in this presentation. Thanks @momcentral for attending and the kudos after the session. A special thank you to the man in the back of the room who yelled out, “this is the clearest presentation of social media I have ever seen!

SmartPhones Taking Over Shopping!! Can We Please all Calm Down.

Headline after headline screams about the coming mobile shopping revolution

Shopping ‘popular activity with mobile phone users’ claims one article, then goes on to say a full 37% of shoppers have bought something on their hand set. Wow! That sounds like a big number.  Oh.  Lost in the details it is revealed that most of that is music, books, games, DVD downloads and movie tickets.

Mobile Taking Over E-Commerce proclaims another post and goes on to say…” By 2017, smartphones will account for 27% of retail mcommerce sales”. OK. Fine. But if the numbers above are indicative of exactly WHAT consumers purchase with their smartphones  –  much of that is going to be downloads and tickets.

While this is certainly actionable news for e-commerce sites that focus on downloads and service sites that sell tickets to everything from airlines to concerts…retailers and manufacturers of physical goods should probably put this on the “things to worry about later” list.

While tablets of various types, do and will see continuing growth in ecommerce sales of everything from groceries to tool sheds and brands should ensure they have a shopping friendly platform, I just don’t think the smartphone will revolutionize the sales of clothes or food or even consumer electronics.

That said, the way consumers USE their smartphone in store is something to which we should all be paying attention because How Mobile Is Transforming the Shopping Experience in Stores  is actually a big deal.

headshot newMaryanne Conlin is CEO of RedRopes Marketing, a consulting firm focused on green and sustainable industries, fresh produce, food, Hispanic marketing and marketing to Moms. See her at ExpoEast Natural Foods Expo in Baltimore, speaking on Social Media for Socially Conscious Brands, September 27, 2013 Connect with her on Twitter @maryanneconlin

The Smart Watch – Revolutionary or One More Thing to Carry Around?

gearThe big buzz in the tech world this week is Samsung unveiling the Galaxy Gear at Berlin’s IFA trade show. Though the tech press has been gushing about the Smart Watch recently and consumers have been scratching their heads, this trend has real potential to change the way consumers access mobile and…change their shopping/buying/socializing habits as well.

Curiously, the problem the smart watch solves, has already been solved by smart phones. With fewer functions than the typical smartphone, one might wonder how a smart watch addresses an existing consumer need – since you don’t actually REPLACE your smart phone with a smart watch….you add it to the tech you carry about with you.

Frankly, I haven’t worn a watch in years! Why would I start wearing one again when my cell phone does such a great job of keeping me on track and on time?

Not so fast, though. Remember back when the iPad was introduced? It was positioned as a “mobile computer” – intended to replace lugging around a bulky laptop, Instead the tablet computer has actually formed its own niche, one that most tech writers and manufacturers did not predict – as an entertainment tool, for use in the home as much as on the road.

So regardless of how Google and Samsung and the raft of other players intend consumers to use this watch, it will find its own function within the closet of technology consumers currently tote around – or not.

Looking beyond these first generation watches, can a wrist computer replace a smart phone? Do we all need to switch from thumb texting to “middle three fingers of the right hand” keyboarding? Is the screen big enough to let me read my email, play my games and post pics on Facebook? How do I hold my wrist to take a picture anyway?

These are just some of the questions that come to mind – the ergonomic ones anyway.

Looking at the bigger picture, I think the accessibility of a Smartwatch can defiantly increase interaction by consumers at store level (much easier for moms to snap a QR code with toddlers are in tow) – revitalizing that waning technology. Improvements in voice activation could fuel demand for this technology as will GPS functionality which would make it much easier to access our maps while biking or walking…even driving.

The big question still come down to screen size and the consumer’s willingness to tote around yet another piece of technology. The eventual niche smart watches fill could surprise us all.

professional content creationMaryanne Conlin is CEO of RedRopes Marketing, a consulting firm focused on green and sustainable industries, fresh produce, food, Hispanic marketing and marketing to Moms. See her at ExpoEast Natural Foods Expo in Baltimore, speaking on Social Media for Socially Conscious Brands, September 27, 2013 Connect with her on Twitter @maryanneconlin

How to Make Content Go Viral – Land on the Mars

photo courtesy http://www.nasa.gov

photo courtesy http://www.nasa.gov

With all due respect to the author, this article on How To Make Content go Viral  answers the question with one example of a large company that does a good job using viral marketing in a fairly common way. Linkedin was able to raise awareness by sending out information to current users about their ranking on the network. In truth this is a “feel good tactic” that most social networks use from time to time.

The second example (couldn’t you think of anything else?) simply tells of a news worthy event (by definition information that should go viral) the landing of the Mars Rover and how Mars candy was caught off guard by the sudden interest in Mars candy. Umm…that happens all the time, when a news event brings to mind a brand, searches for the brand go up.

What most brands really want to know is how to create content that spontaneously goes viral with little to no investment on their part. Cheap Marketing. A Low Cost Publicity Stunt. Something For Nothing.

But…usually, sorry to say: You Get What You Pay For.

We all have heard stories of the surprise hits – from low budget movies that become blockbusters to bloggers who get book deals to Twitter accounts that end up on screen. Those are the outliers and as is usual, as little exploration of the backstory usually reveals lots of hard work, some seriously good connections and a little bit of luck.

The real story of how things go viral in the second decade of the 21st century is truly a story of calculated planning, good PR strategy and judicious use of budget. The spaghetti approach to churning out fun and whimsical content and waiting for someone to notice has its drawbacks –most importantly – the other 3.66 billion other web pages out there, each with multiple pieces of their own content! Kinda tough to get noticed.

The better approach for most brands is to create a mini wave in your own pond. It’s not free, but it’s more likely to get noticed by exactly the consumers you want to see it.  Creating good, solid and fun content is the first step, of course. But from there it’s all money and expertise. Reaching out to a limited number of brand advocates with strong social connections in an exciting and personal way and compensating them for their efforts can drive the exact traffic you want to your content and ultimately to your brand.

And that’s really what you want anyway, right?

headshot newMaryanne Conlin is CEO of RedRopes Marketing. Connect with her on Twitter @maryanneconlin

Crowdsourcing Needs Expert Opinion

courtesy another great post on crowdsourcing http://tinyurl.com/qbk4xul

photo courtesy another great post on crowdsourcing http://tinyurl.com/qbk4xul

The headline for this article caught my eye since…it just seems to me that so much could go awry.

Crowdsourcing Gone Wrong: How Brands Can Avoid Messy Marketing Mistakes

Like focus groups…if you ask the wrong question or in the wrong way, the answers you get will be umm… at the least inaccurate, at the most disastrous.

I spent some time in my career in market research doing focus groups and original research for big brands…and some time in call centers, down in the trenches listening to how questions are asked and their responses.


If there is a recommendation for how to use crowdsourcing most effectively, it would have to be take your time. In our rush to use Big Data and quickly crowd source the marketing process, we’ve forgotten those small but important qualitative touches – what we used to call “mother-in-law” research.

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