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Posts Tagged ‘promotion’

Humanizing your brand

Posted by Vicki Moulton on February 22, 2011

Borrowing an idea from a Mashable article I just read about preventing “badvocacy” (which is a new way of describing how certain unhappy campers can badmouth your business through social media channels), I’m thinking today about how brands can and have become completely dehumanized.

It’s easy to think of a huge corporation with a well-known brand as having no soul, as though everything were completely automated and run by robots. When something goes wrong with that company’s product or service, it’s easy to get angry at the machine. It’s not personal; it’s business. (Hey, didn’t Tom Hanks’ cutthroat bookseller character say that in the movie, “You’ve Got Mail”?)

So what happens when it’s your small business that draws the ire of an unhappy customer? And then, when that unhappy customer goes on Yelp, Facebook, and Twitter to complain about your company, how are you supposed to react? It certainly feels personal when you’re the only person behind your brand, like someone is mad at you–not your company, but you personally. It’s really hard to combat a growing chorus of online negativity if you don’t already have a personal association with your brand.

Now think about the positive side. If your business succeeds in making a customer happy enough that she wants to help other customers find out about you by singing your praises on Yelp, Facebook, and Twitter, does that feel like personal praise for you as a person or like good publicity for your brand? Any kind of feedback in this fast-paced online world reflects instantly on your brand, positive or negative. And that also reflects on you, the person behind the brand.

If you want to help your customers feel like they’re either shaking your hand in thanks or slapping your face in anger, put a human face on your brand. Post your photo on your About page, and use it as your avatar when commenting on posts and websites. It’s much harder for the viral feedback machine to go completely negative and out of control if your brand image is personal, warm, smiling, and human–just like everyone else.

Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing, messaging | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Open for discussion

Posted by Vicki Moulton on June 20, 2010

I’ve posted a couple of discussion starters on the Movick Marketing FB fan page discussion board, in the hopes that readers would offer an opinion and get a dialogue going.

Topics:

These are hot topics among the marketing communications folks I know, especially one-person shops and small businesses. I’d love to know what you think, so please share your two cents. Thanks!

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Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Shameless self-promoting

Posted by Vicki Moulton on February 11, 2010

I’ve been snowed in for several days, and fortunately it’s resulted in a lot of productivity for my business. So, in the interest of tooting my own horn (after all, that’s what blogs are for), here’s the latest news from Movick Marketing:

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…Created a new page on the website–Featured Biz–listing and linking all woman-owned local “biz of the day” daily shout-outs from Twitter

…Added new social media package: Ghost-Blogging Special, for those folks who are ready to admit they need a little help writing a blog (you know who you are!)

…Got a whole bunch of new Facebook fans–enough to finally get that vanity URL! Now located at facebook.com/MovickMarketing

…Inserted AddThis sharing button on all pages and into most blog posts

…Now advertising social media marketing packages on three different websites: Market Mommies, Melissa Meman Designs, and Melissa’s blog

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Helping a sister out

Posted by Vicki Moulton on February 8, 2010

Using the Twitter bully pulpit, Movick Marketing is now featuring woman-owned local businesses!

I started last Friday with the first tweet to promote Melissa Meman Designs, and today I tweeted for Lisa Koehler’s Singer Source.

Look for a new section on this website with a complete list of links to all featured businesses. I’m starting local, with people I know well and/or businesses that I have patronized, to show how the social networking community gives back to its own. In the case of Melissa’s jewelry business, we are old friends and I wear the jewelry myself, and Lisa is my friend and professional singer’s agent.

But beyond that, I really admire what these two dynamic and talented women have done with their business ventures–while simultaneously raising their families.

If you’d like for your business to be featured, email me or comment on this post. Come on, let’s give back to woman-owned small businesses! And don’t forget to become a fan of Movick Marketing on Facebook. The more fans I get, the more value I can add to the fan experience!

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Posted in communications, MarComm, marketing, networking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Walking the talk

Posted by Vicki Moulton on January 30, 2010

After spending the past couple of months crafting some quick-and-easy social media marketing solutions for clients (and prospective clients), I finally decided to start using my Twitter account. 

Yes folks, it’s true: you can find me on Twitter @movickmarketing! I figure it’ll be much easier for me to convince my clients that Twitter can help with business promotion if I actually use it myself.

Yesterday I placed an ad at marketmommies.com for the social media marketing packages–in partnership with Fern Carbonell of Exemplus Virtual Assistant Services (tweeting @Exemplus_Fern)–which I’m cross-promoting through my Facebook fan page and Twitter, and on this website… look at the top of the left rail!

It feels like something great is right around the corner. Maybe it’s just as simple as finally taking my own advice.

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Risking growth

Posted by Vicki Moulton on January 27, 2010

“What would it look like as a newspaper headline?”

This was one of the thought-provoking questions posed during a presentation I attended last week on strategic partnerships. When you imagine your company’s name in a headline, is it announcing an exciting new development… or a disastrous scandal?

The presentation focused on how to choose the right partner, what can be gained, when to say yes, and what to watch out for. Doing your homework before making such a big decision as forming a strategic partnership means researching everything about the other company so that there would be no surprises, such as the hypothetical newspaper headline revealing an unsavory skeleton in the new partner’s closet, right as your strategic partnership is announced.

Scary stuff, right?

Taking a risk–opening the door to new possibilities–can mean staring down your greatest fears of failure. What if I lose money on the deal? What if my new partner doesn’t live up to her end of the bargain? What if my company’s reputation is hurt by this association? All of those questions are valid. But so is the flip side of that argument. What if this partnership could bring me new clients? What if my business flourishes? What if my company grows so much that I need to hire an assistant to handle the extra work?

Risk and reward are two sides of the same coin. You can’t expect your business to grow without taking at least some kind of risk. Putting your company name out in public, marketing your services online, shaking hands at a networking event during flu season: all of these things involve risk. If you let your fear of risk dictate your business philosophy, you’ll never get anywhere.

When planning to start something new, you should always do your homework and be aware of all the risks. But remember to follow your instincts and balance the potential for failure with the potential for growth. As I’m learning with an exciting new strategic partnership between Movick Marketing and Exemplus Virtual Business Services, great things can happen when you open yourself up to new possibilities!

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Giving it away

Posted by Vicki Moulton on January 11, 2010

It’s the secret weapon in every entrepreneur’s closet–the willingness to offer services or products for free just to keep the business moving. I’ve been (and still am) tempted to offer free marketing services to people who really seem to need my help but just can’t afford it, are related to me, or are really nice to me and deserve a break (like my dentist). I think of it as pro bono work that helps me sharpen my skills while giving my company free publicity.

This is my favorite story about freebies. There was a woman sitting next to the window on a flight last October who was very nervous about flying. My daughter was sitting (squirming, actually) on my lap and being occasionally adorable enough that the lady by the window smiled at her through white-knuckled anxiety. Eventually she even laughed and made funny faces at my daughter. The flight seemed to go by quickly, and once we landed, the lady reached into her carryon and pulled out a little paperback book. She gave it to me with a smile, thanking me (and my daughter) for helping her get through a scary experience. She said that it was a book written and self-published by her mother, who had instructed her to give it away only to people who helped her in some meaningful way. I was honored by the gesture–and quite amused by the hilariously dry wit in the short little book. So, in the interest of helping this nice lady’s mom sell more books, you can find “Helpful Household Hints for the Domestically Challenged” by Carma Allen on amazon.

The lesson I took from this savvy bit of self-promotion was this: if you’re going to give something away for free, it helps to set up some rules beforehand. Give away only a very small supply of your latest product. Decide how often and under what circumstances you’re willing to work for free. Offer free stuff for a limited time period, like 10 days. Write down your pro bono rules and stick to them. You’ll be less tempted to work for free in the future if you’re actually making money in the present.

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Pricing by value

Posted by Vicki Moulton on October 12, 2009

100 percentWhen you run a small business, especially during a recession, it’s tempting to set your prices on the lower end of the spectrum to attract more customers. But that strategy is sending the wrong message about how your services should be valued.

Here’s an argument all freelancers and small business owners might want to consider, from SmallBizTrends “Best-Kept Marketing Secrets: Editor’s Picks”:

“While important, the price we ask for a product or service is far less important than you might think. Our customers want value. They are paying for solutions. They expect results and they are not put out by paying a fair price to get what they need. We entrepreneurs are often guilty of prematurely lowering our prices, perhaps out of a sense of fear or perceived competition. We need to be in the practice of adding so much value that our customer does not even blink at our price. We must learn to present our expected price with confidence, without flinching.”—Daniel Sitter, Idea Seller

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Being authentic

Posted by Vicki Moulton on October 4, 2009

abstract panelsThe experts agree: authenticity is key to building a memorable, believable, and irresistible brand.

Be yourself. Embrace and tell your story. Find and follow your true passion. All of the experts that participated in the “Brand Reinvention Summit” said pretty much the same thing. Either they all drank the same kool-aid before they were interviewed, or this is good advice. I’m betting on the latter.

Here are some selected nuggets of wisdom from the Summit (specifically from the 6 out of 10 interviews I had time to listen to):

“As you build your business, you are the torchbearer for your brand.”

“Your website needs to reflect a live presence, someone who is taking care of their brand. The lights need to be on, and someone needs to be home.”

“Your website is an extension of your brand—a living embodiment of your company. If you don’t keep it current, you’re shooting yourself in the foot.”

On using social media effectively: “If there’s something you really love, let it come through. Whatever makes you excited is something good to convey to the world.”

“We use war metaphors for marketing… launch, campaign, etc. Marketing isn’t war. Effective marketing is really more of a seduction. You take someone out, turn the lights down low, pour the wine, and make them fall in love with you.”

“If someone challenges your thinking, that opens up a new opportunity to think creatively. Welcome diversity and invite challenges. This brings more energy into your communication.”

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Branding bonanza

Posted by Vicki Moulton on October 2, 2009

grafittiSo far I’ve listened to 3 out of 10 of the 1-hour interviews with branding experts that make up the “Brand Reinvention Summit” webinar (see previous post), and that took the better part of one day… with constant interruptions, of course. I have until tomorrow morning at 10am to get the other 7 done before the “free” part of this webinar disappears.

There is absolutely no way that I can get through the whole interview library before tomorrow at 10am, unless I stay up all night. That means I have to make do with the information that I have time to listen to (and hopefully get some notes from a friend who also signed up for this).

The way this thing is set up, there is no possible way to download anything for later listening. In fact, you can only listen from beginning to end, with a pause capability but no fast-forward or rewind. To get those conveniences, one must fork over hundreds of dollars to the webinar creator, Mary van der Wiel (“call me Van”). This is a brilliant business move on the part of Van, but it’s incredibly annoying for (full disclosure here) working moms like myself who (a) never get more than 15 minutes at a time to focus on work while the kid is awake and (b) don’t want to pay such a high price.

Anyway, so far I’m finding the content to be pretty useful, if a bit heavy on jargon and light on substance. I will post a more comprehensive review over the weekend, highlighting the information that I think will come in handy for clients and colleagues alike. Stay tuned!

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