Category Archives: Marketing


Conscious Capitalism: Finding Your Higher Purpose

A special thank you to Tim Tucker, co-owner of Express Employment Professionals ( for the great following submission!

For some time now, businesses have been gaining a bad reputation. Ideas like capitalism, profits, wealth, and entrepreneurship once inspired and garnered praise, but now they are increasingly being vilified. There are many reasons for this, some justified and some not, and the reality is that some blame lies on both sides of this argument. But, as business owners, it is within your power to help change this image and show that at least your business has a conscience.

In the recently released book “Conscious Capitalism,” authors John Mackey of Whole Foods Market and professor Raj Sisodia “argue for the inherent good of both business and capitalism.” They propose that “entrepreneurs are the true heroes in a free-enterprise economy, driving progress in companies, society and the world.” To support this, they present four specific principles that companies should follow to not only communicate this reality to the world, but also grow their organization. The first principle to consider is to find your higher purpose.

Make a Difference:
Forbes defined the process of finding your company’s higher purpose as uncovering the difference it is trying to make in the world. This is something the most profitable and highest esteemed companies have in common – they all know their purpose. Disney exists to use our imaginations to bring happiness to millions. 3M is in the business of improving every company, every home, every life. The American Red Cross is daily enabling Americans to perform extraordinary acts in the face of emergencies. Do you know what your business purpose is?

Create Value:
Mackey and Sisodia believe that “business has a much broader positive impact on the world when it is based on a higher purpose that goes beyond generating profits and creating shareholder value.” Psychology has shown that it’s vital for individuals to find purpose and meaning in their lives. And it’s just as important to the business itself. Finding a higher purpose for your organization is all about creating value, an idea that is all too often confined to just marketing or advertising. Walter Robb, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, explains their stores “are our canvas upon which we can paint our deeper purpose of bringing whole foods and greater health to the world.”

Discover Your Business’ Purpose:
Defining the value that your company brings to the world is a step that some owners naturally do during the strategic planning part of the start-up process, but sometimes that purpose can get lost. For other business owners, this is something they never even consider. But it’s not too late. You can uncover your company’s ultimate purpose by asking and honestly answering some questions:

• “Why do we exist?”
• “Why do we need to exist?”
• “Why is the world better because we’re here?”
• “Would we be missed if we ceased to exist?”
• “What core values animate the enterprise and unite all of our stakeholders?”iStock_000011979035XSmall

As you uncover your business’ purpose, it’s important that you don’t negate growing your company or being profitable. Mackey and Sisodia believe that profitability is best achieved by not making it the primary goal of the business. After all, you can’t fulfill your higher purpose of fueling growth and progress within your community if you don’t generate profits. As a business owner, you have the unique opportunity to run an organization that serves a higher purpose and to change peoples’ lives for the better, which will ultimately prove that businesses have a conscience, too.

7 Steps to Productive Business Use of Social Media

forbesForbes posted and article written by Ric Dragon, an expert on online marketing, about the best ways that a business can use its social media. Here is our summarized version of the article.

1. Focus on desired outcome first

Figure out what your “platform” is. Is it to increase brand awareness, lead generation, service and support, management? And make sure you focus on it. Pick one or two

2. Incorporate brand personality and voice

Make sure that all team members that administer your social media use the same voice. Customers these days want a “humanized” voice.

Ex: NPR has a twitter account called “today in 1960″ that tweets headlines from the corresponding day in 1960. How unique is that?!

3. Find the smallest segments of your constituents

Dont make your tweets, Facebook posts or what have you so general. Try to create a community that will engage with you and feels a connection with your company.

Here’s an example, Lady Gaga refers to her fans on twitter as “Little Monsters” and she is “Mother Monster.”Of course we do not suggest you calling your customers this, but you get the idea.

4. Identify the communities for these micro-segments

This aligns a lot with number 3. The best communities become your best advocates.

5. Identify the influencers of these communities

In the generation of social media, feedback is immediate compared to the old days of waiting months for results. Use this to your advantage and spend those months “influencing the influencers”

6. Create an action plan with metrics

Create a plan that aligns with your goals. The most common/useful plans include a listening plan, channel plan, SEO plan etc. Also make sure that you are using social media to build relationships and to start conversations.

7. Iteratively execute and measure results

You cannot expect to get the results you want immediately. So you have to make sure to tweak and adjust your plans according to the results you get. And its not something you do once.



The Chamber of Commerce Opportunity

I came across this blog while conducting some bench marking for a marketing project I’d undertaken. Blog author, Phil Buckley, was able to succinctly drill down to the main point behind my project: Chamber membership makes GREAT sense and should be viewed, at least in part, as (very) SMART advertising/marketing. Brilliant!

Here’s Phil’s blog:
When you run a brick and mortar business one of the places you would like to be listed at is your local Chamber of Commerce.

The links that come from your Chamber of Commerce site offer two real values. First is a local citation that is a trusted organization that is over 100 years old. Second is a link that has the potential to bring both customers and better rankings. I’ve looked at about 10 chamber of commerce pages and noticed some strengths and some areas that could be improved.

Raleigh, North Carolina has a very typical Chamber page. It has a few featured members, some news and a way to search their membership for companies. What I want to focus on is what a company can get from a Chamber of Commerce membership that impacts their rankings in the search engine results.

As with almost any website, the Raleigh Chamber’s homepage offers the biggest bang for your link building buck.

There are only 21 outbound links on their homepage. According to Open Site Explorer, the homepage has high page authority (73/100) and domain authority (67/100). Those are exactly the type of pages you want to get back links from. The fact that they are not properly canonicalized makes the link even better than it first appears. The page metrics are almost as strong for the domain without the www.

A link from the homepage of Raleigh’s Chamber of Commerce website is going to pass 4.6 MozRank to your website. That’s extraordinary. There are very few opportunities to get such a powerful link that is viewed by Google as natural. Those companies who have their businesses highlighted in the right rail have made a smart investment.

But what if you don’t have the budget to put an ad on your Chamber of Commerce homepage? There may be additional opportunities that are slightly deeper in the site, but still a step up from your basic listing.

Member directory
Many visitors will make their way to the member directory to see if a business is listed or to search for a business in a specific niche. As you can see from the screenshot on the right, there is not a single member taking advantage of the second best opportunity on the site.

The member directory has only 3 outbound external links. The MozRank passed from this page is 3.39 That doesn’t mean that a link from that page is 75% as good as the homepage (because it’s a logarithmic scale) but it’s still an excellent backlink.. I would imagine that the opportunity to get your company listed on this page would cost significantly less than the homepage, and the link love is immediate for your website.

The drop off
If all you’re doing is filling in the details of your business on Chamber’s website, you’re missing out. By the time you drill down to that level, those pages are not sending any MozRank for the link you have included.

Good enough isn’t good enough
Like most everything else in life, the standard version isn’t giving you the best bang for your buck. You need to step up your game if you want to outrank your competitors.

Joining your local Chamber of Commerce is a smart move. Joining and then taking advantage of the additional exposure, traffic, branding and backlink juice from the front page is even smarter.

Here’s what I found across the US Chamber of Commerce websites:

Every Chamber of Commerce site is different, so make sure you do your homework first.If I was an advisor to a Chamber of Commerce I would suggest:

  • Let your members know about the linking opportunities available from your website
  • Make sure you have areas available for “featured members” to upgrade to.
  • Try to construct your site so that even the basic membership offers a valuable backlink

If I were advising a local company I would suggest:

  • Get your company on the homepage
  • Get your company on the directory page
  • Think of the Chamber as an advertising opportunity. Don’t just send in boilerplate and wait for magic to happen.

Social Media Do’s and Don’ts

As the 2012 Presidential election has come to an end, I find myself intrigued by the extent of social media both candidates churned out during their presidential campaigns.  ABC News stated that the 2012 Election, as a whole, was one of the most shared and commented-on events in social media history.

Via Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms, both campaigns attempted to build personal relationships with voters to gain their support.  However, even a slight mistake on social media, and it might have not been easy for either candidate to make amends with their supporters.  Does that mean then that all businesses should stray away from social media due to the risks associated? NO! Social media is a great research tool and monitoring platform for businesses to utilize.

Whether you are just starting or already use social media these Do’s and Don’ts will help your business bypass common mistakes and effectively employ social media.


  1. Implement a plan before you start.
  2. Build a strong network and engage regularly with your network.
  3. Keep your messages relative to your business.
  4. Employ social networks that are relevant to your public.
  5. Respond to input quickly to show that their feedback is important.
  6. Identify negative comments and respond in a professional manner.
  7. Use hash-tags to focus your message to a certain target.
  8. Include visual content.
  9. Use monitoring tools to track your businesses’s buzz.


  1. Overuse the same responses.
  2. Bash competitors.
  3. Share political opinions.
  4. Use more than two hash-tags in a comment or tweet.
  5. Engage in social media if the benefit isn’t worth the cost.
  6. Rely on one application.
  7. Continually sell your product or service.
  8. Use generic marketing techniques.
  9. Forget to thank people when they promote your business on social media.

Adapted from, “Social Media Etiquette: 15 do’s and don’ts” by socialmediatoday.

Marketing, Advertising, and Measuring Your ROI

Just yesterday, I was emailing a brand new Chamber member of only a few of weeks. I decided to attached their referral report – a handy-dandy report that details how many times their business information was viewed on The Chamber’s on-line directory, how many times their website link was clicked, and how many times people mapped their business location.

As a marketing person, I was really excited by what I saw in their referral report!

This brand new Chamber member’s listing had already been viewed 212 times!  Of those views, 14 people actually clicked the link taking them to the business’s website and 12 people mapped how to get to the location!

Real-numbers, measured in real time.  A marketing person’s dream-come-true, and something that every business should look at.  Thanks to the referral report, this Chamber member can easily quantify the results of their Chamber membership investment in terms of marketing because, “numbers don’t lie.” Continue reading