Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Is your business Social?

The world today has every business talking about Social Media, Online Reputation, Content Management and other terms which may sound Greek to the average person.  Terms that have turned that geek from your high school into today’s millionaire.  Automotive Dealerships, Churches, Attorneys, Real Estate Agents, and almost every type of business have added so-called digital media experts to their labor pool.  Sometimes starting salaries in upwards of $60,000 to $90,000 have been awarded to twenty-year-old-something wonder kids.  Unfortunately, the results have not always been favorable and many of these companies are no better off than when they first started entering the digital highway.

First things first!  Every business should have a plan.  This is where most companies fail when trying to play in the digital playground.  It starts and ends with leadership.  Many company leaders are very good at what they do, but they do not know how to promote their business digitally.  It’s not because the leader isn’t smart enough.  It’s because they are afraid to learn digital.  These are the leaders that say, “I don’t use Facebook, or know what a Tweet is.”  That doesn’t mean their potential customers are not congregating here, and it certainly doesn’t mean to act like an ostrich burying your head in hopes that the situation will change.  Embrace technology, and have your management team embrace it too.  You don’t have to be an expert, but you do have to use common sense.  Now, I know that isn’t you so keep reading along.

In days passed, leaders understood demographics of who listened to what on the radio (before Satellite), what shows were popular on cable television (before TIVO & DVR), how many newspapers were in circulation (when newspapers still existed), and what highways had the most traffic (Flying cars are on the way, we hope).  The internet isn’t any different.  These same potential customers are now spending thousands of hours in front of their computer getting entertainment, news, and information.  They utilize handheld devices (smartphones, tablets, handheld gaming systems, phasers) easily identifying the trends of the day.  The only difference in 2014 versus 1990 or even the year 2000 is the shift of where potential customers are lurking.   No longer are the days where every progressive city has a mall to attract consumers to shop.  It doesn’t make sense to build these massive structures for shopping just like it doesn’t make sense to throw your money in the wind (toilet) when it comes to advertising and marketing.

If you are still with me, you have completed the first stage by admitting that you have a problem.  This is the biggest hurdle.  So where do you go from here?  It’s easier than you may think.

Now, I am assuming you have a website that tells your story.  If not, stop reading now and start focusing on your website today.  Before you focus on your website, make sure you fire anyone and everyone in your company that has anything to do with your marketing team and the decision not to have an optimal website.

However, if I have not lost you yet then you are probably a company that has Facebook, Twitter, and perhaps even a YouTube account.  You may even have a verified Google Plus and Yahoo page accompanying your digital network or you may even dabble in Pinterest.  This is a great starting point and now you need a plan to make them start working for you.  You can also look in the mirror and be happy that you can briefly understand that your kids are not reverting back to their infant years when they are talking about where they were hanging with their friends (Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook, SnapChat, and Instagram).  (You don’t have to like it, but you do have to accept it.)

Key point number one is to understand that the consumer does not want to know you are advertising to them.  Social Media hot spots are where Person A gives a Shout Out to Person B, or Person C shares a moment on Thursday that happened 10 to 15 years ago.  That doesn’t mean you can’t advertise to potential customers.  You just have to understand there is a way to talk with the consumer without invading their space.

Let me back up my point here.  Facebook has 1.28 Billion active users.  YouTube has a large share of 1 Billion.  Google has 540 million while Twitter grows each day, currently with 255 million users.  Instagram boasts 200 million while LinkedIn has 187 million.  Pinterest is sitting at 70 million and Vine has 40 million.  What highway, radio station, television show, or newspaper has that kind of reach? If your business is not social, and you are not planning to embrace the future, fire yourself!

Are you still with me?  I’m glad because although it makes for an interesting dinner conversation about how you fired yourself, it isn’t pleasant or good for your ego.

Be careful here.  Every 20-something with a computer who wears tight jeans, a t-shirt with a clever saying, and tennis shoes claims to be a social media expert.  Colleges even offer this as a course, and some of you reading this blog have paid for it.  

Social Media was meant for two or more people to hangout (virtually I might add) or communicate in a (virtual) common place of interest.  Now something that you might like to know when it comes to your business.

Social Media has become a place for Person A to brag with Person B through Z and all of B through Z’s friends and family about Little A’s Certificate of Appreciation for enrolling in the running club.  Then you have someone else chime in saying how happy they are for Person A and subtly tell the group how excited they are for their little one who earned the Perfect Attendance Award.  (I know this award has been around forever, but really?  We still give an award for doing what you are supposed to do?)

Social Media is not about posting your product or service three times a day on Facebook.  It isn’t about placing your commercial on YouTube.  It’s not about using 140 characters to remind us to try your widget or read your blog about free-range chickens (or whatever you’re into).  Too many so called social media companies love telling you they manage all of their channels.  Then they are excited to show you how many times they have posted to your network.  Next time asked them point blank if they have ever posted that same content to another one of their clients.  That is not social media.

Now to training 101.  What if you were able to get Person A to share with Person B through Z and all of their friends and family about your product or services you provide?  What if conversations continued about your great product and services on all of the social media channels?  In addition, what if every time you earned a new customer they became another virtual mouthpiece for your company’s product or service.  Not because you asked them or tricked them into singing your praises, but because they wanted to sing your praises.  We are living in times where ordinary people want to promote the businesses and products they enjoy, whether it be a tweet about how excited they are for the latest summer blockbusters, sharing a link on Reddit of a website with really funny T-Shirts, or making a status update about a tasty new flavor of Gatorade, if you use social media to get people excited about your business – they WILL!!!

This is working Social Media.  Now, go be Social!

DeliveryMaxx is a full digital service provider for Social Media Marketing, Online Reputation Management, Search Engine Optimization, and complete Content Management program.  Clients include automotive dealerships, attorneys, church organizations, non-profits, hotels & hospitality and many more.   For more information visit or contact 888.936.6299.

STUDY: 75 Percent Of TV Viewers Multitask, And Facebook Is The Social Network Of Choice

David Cohen on June 17, 2014 5:35 PM

It’s no secret that the television screen no longer commands undivided attention in most households, but Facebook wanted to dig a little deeper into the viewing habits of its users, commissioning a study of more than 500 people by global market research agency Millward Brown.

Findings of the study, reported in a post on the Facebook for Business page, included:

  • 75 percent of respondents liked to multitask while watching TV because it made them feel productive.
  • 33 percent said they multitask in order to continue to be entertained or communicate with friends and family.
  • The No. 1 activity during TV shows or commercial breaks was checking email, with 82 percent of respondents doing so during commercials, and 70 percent during shows.
  • 71 percent of respondents said they visit social media platforms during commercials, while 64 percent did so during shows.
  • Of those who visited social networks, Facebook was the most preferred, by far, at 85 percent, with 65 percent saying they spent more than 15 minutes on the site.
  • 94 percent of respondents who use Facebook said it was their preferred digital platform.
  • 41 percent of respondents said seeing ads on TV caused them to interact with those brands or products on their computers, tablets, or mobile phones.
The social network said in introducing the results of the study:

Once upon a time, families gathered around giant wood-paneled television sets that they switched on with the turn of a dial. As shows flickered across bulging screens, people talked, read the newspaper, or did chores.

Flash forward to the present. The TV is now a flat screen on the wall. It is still an integral part of our lives, but as modern families watch their shows of choice, many of them engage with another screen — a laptop, a desktop, a tablet, or a smartphone — that provides access to a stream of content and conversation.

Why are people looking at these other screens while watching TV, and what are they looking at? These are some of the questions we sought to answer in a study we recently commissioned of more than 500 people from global market research agency Millward Brown. The study explored people’s changing behavior while watching live primetime TV in the U.S. and the resulting implications for marketers.

And Facebook provided the following takeaways for marketers:

Brands have an opportunity to be part of the new way we watch TV across multiple screens. 41 percent of respondents said that seeing an ad on TV led them to interact with that same brand or product on their devices.

As multiscreening becomes the norm, marketers can turn what could be perceived as a distraction into an integrated and enhanced brand experience that extends from TV across multiple device screens.
Facebook — viewed as one of the main online destinations while watching live primetime TV — can help augment and maximize the reach of TV in the living room and beyond.
Readers: Did any of the findings by Millward Brown surprise you?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Opening of King Stutz Tomb: a short story about A.K. Miller

Alexander Kennedy Miller was an eccentric recluse who operated Miller’s Flying Service in 1930 out of Montclair, New Jersey.  He provided mail and other delivery services by means of an autogyro as well as listing “Expert Automobile Repairing” and “Aeroplanes Rebuilt and Overhauled” on his business card.

After retiring from the Air Force in 1946, Miller and his wife moved to a large farm in East Orange, Vermont.  His house had no central heating, antiquated plumbing and limited electricity and hot water was created by metal coils inside the wood stove.  The neighbors often worried that the Millers were poor, and sometimes made offers of charity.
Alex and Imogene Miller eked out an existence on a small farm. Alex would scrounge rusty nails from burnt buildings to repair his roof. At times, to raise cash, Miller would sell "spare parts" to other Stutz owners for their repair/restoration projects. However, rather than selling the actual parts (which he owned a large quantity of), he would painstakingly fabricate them himself from scrap metal, using his own cars and spare parts as templates. He was known to other Stutz aficionados as a shrewd but cheap businessman.  He drove a ratty VW Beetle, and when it died, he found another even more ratty, and another...the rusting carcasses littered his yard. Alex died in 1993, and Imogene died in 1996. The local church took up a collection so they could be buried in the churchyard, and as no heirs were found, the IRS moved in to assess the value of the estate (taking a particular interest in collecting the years of back taxes the Millers had owed).   That would have been the end of a sad story, except there is so much more to this interesting story.

While preparing the estate for auction, the sheriff discovered a cache of bearer bonds taped to the back of a mirror. That triggered a comprehensive search of the house and outbuildings. The estate auction would eventually be handled by Christie’s, and it would bring out collectors from all over the world.  The following are pictures of the hidden treasures found on his farm.

Pictured: a '28 Franklin ($4500 US) and a '23 HCS ($14,500 US) lurk inside.

It seems that Alex Miller was a Rutgers grad, son of a wealthy financier. He lived in Montclair, NJ, where he founded Miller's Flying Service in 1930. He operated a gyrocopter (look it up, it's too much of a digression) for mail and delivery service through the 30's. But the Millers had a secret, and they moved from Montclair when they needed room for it.
1913 Stutz Bearcat went for just $105,000 US.
Choosing to live low profile, and paranoid about tax collectors, Miller moved to the farm in Vermont, and took his collections with him. Most of his cash had been exchanged for gold and silver bars and coins, which he buried in various locations around the farm. He carefully disassembled his gyrocopter, and stored it in an old one-room schoolhouse on his property. He then built a couple of dozen sheds and barns out of scrap lumber and recycled nails. In the sheds he put his collection.

1916 Stutz Bearcat ($155,000 US).

In one of the sheds, authorities found a 1920 Bearcat in excellent condition.  ($50,000 US).

Alex Miller had an obsession with cars. Not just any cars, but Stutz cars. Blackhawks, Bearcats, Super Bearcats, DV16's and 32's. He had been buying them since the 1920's. When Stutz went out of business, he bought a huge pile of spare parts, which was also carefully stored away in his sheds.
A Springfield Rolls Piccadilly Roadster ($115,000 US), made in Illinois.

Sometimes he would stray, and buy other "special cars", including Locomobiles, a Stanley, and a Springfield Rolls Royce. He never drove them. He'd simply move them into his storage sheds in the middle of the night, each car wrapped in burlap to protect it from any prying eyes. Over the years, the farm appeared to grow more and more forlorn, even as the collection was growing.
A snappy car: 1921 Stutz Bearcat ($58,000 US).

Occasionally he would sell some parts to raise cash. Rather than dipping into his cache, he would labor for hours making copies of the original parts by hand.
Stutz factory spares. Cylinders and pistons from a brass era Stutz in foreground.

Collectors knew him as a sharp trader, who had good merchandise but was prone to cheating. His neighbors had no clue at all, they thought Alex and Imogene were paupers, and often helped out with charity.
Wheelbarrow blocks a '28 Stutz Blackhawk Boattail Speedster ($78,000 US).

The auction was a three day circus, billed as the "Opening of King Stutz Tomb." It attracted celebrity collectors, as well as thousands of curiosity seekers. The proceeds were in the millions, some items went for far more than their value in the frenzy. In the end, the IRS took a hefty chunk of the cash for back taxes, which proves the old adage about the only two sure things in life.
A vanilla '31 SV16 Stutz Sedan ($10,000)
Bargain of the show: a '29 Stutz Blackhawk sedan for $7000 US
A beautiful Stutz DV32 Sedan ($27,500)
Anyone need a new Stutz engine? Still factory fresh.
A'23 HCS ($12,000 US) lurks in the darkness of the barn.
A Lebaron dual-cowl Stutz from 1929 ($68,000 US)
A '27 Stutz AA Sedan for $6500 US
1925 Stutz Speedway Six ($9000 US)
T-Head engine in a '21 Bearcat
Build a '22 Stutz touring car from this pile of parts for just $10,000 US 

The final tally of the Miller’s loot!  The auction earned $2.18 million with $1 million in gold, $75,000 in silver, $400,000 in stocks totaling over $3,655,000. 

And they never got to enjoy it!  Or did they while they were laughing up above?

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Woman Football Player Welter To Play In Revolution’s Season Finale In The Allen Event Center on June 14

ALLEN, Texas – The Texas Revolution will be playing female running back against playoff contender Nebraska at their home finale inside the Allen Event Center on June 14.

The 5 foot 2 inch, one hundred thirty pound running back made national headlines once making it through the indoor football team’s training camp and has appeared in 3 games including one against the IFL’s reigning champion the Sioux Falls Storm. The Revolution marked Welter on short term injured reserve for a part of the season; battling back, she maintained her position on the practice squad and played in some key match ups for the Revolution.
Encouraging young women of all ages and taking a strong hold in the community, Welter has inspired, and been someone that any athlete can admire. “I like the way she comes to work every day, always ready to go.” Said Revolution Head Coach, Chris Williams.

Dr. Jen Welter played Rugby for Boston College, 13 years in women’s professional football having played for team USA twice and now has been the first female to carry the ball in a men’s professional team in a highly competitive league. Featured on several major entertainment and media outlets through the season becoming the darling of professional football.

The Texas Revolution are members of the United Conference in the Indoor Football League and play all home games inside the Allen Event Center in Allen, Texas. The Revs take on the Nebraska Danger (9-4) on Saturday, June 14 at 7PM inside the Allen Event Center.