Be Contagious

Buzz is Better than Ads

Buzz is Better than Ads

Great article in BusinessWeek about Chipotle's success without traditional advertising. If you've never been to one, Chipotle's is a burrito place. They used to be owned by McDonald's but got spun out and went public in 2006. Since then their share price has tripled. They've experienced double-digit growth for nine straight years! Here is the kicker: they don't do traditional advertising.

Actually, they do a little traditional advertising. Some billboards (see image with this post) and radio, but they spend less than 1% of their revenue on advertising compared with 4% or more for McDonald's and Taco Bell.

According to Steven Ellis, the Chipotle founder and CEO, "Advertising is not believable." When he opened his first store in Denver he had no money for advertising so he decided to let his burritos do the talking and started giving them away free. They recently opened a location in midtown Manhattan and gave away 6,000 burritos. People stood in line for two hours. It cost $35,000 (about the cost of an ad in The New York Times) and they got 6,000 promoters plus a mention in BusinessWeek out of it. Not bad.

What are you doing to get your customers talking?

The Happiest customers tell on average 8 other people. Who are your happiest customers? Promoterz knows. Learn more

Self-Multiplying Customers!

Self-Multiplying Customers!

I received a newsletter today from the folks at Nova Mind. Nova Mind makes a great mindmapping application that I use quite a bit. They also have a project management package for the Mac that looks good. I have yet to give it a try. Anyway, one of the lines in their newsletter caught my attention:

We often find that there is a single license sold in a particular place, and then within a couple of weeks there is a huge cluster of licenses sold within that same area, and we would like to thank all of you who think of your friends and associates now and recommend NovaMind to them.

What a beautiful thing! Isn't that what we all want? Self-multiplying customers! Nova Mind has some great products. They work well and have a significant impact on your productivity. It is hard not to talk about them (ask Joe and Dan how many mindmaps they have seen from me).

As we all know, in today's chaotic marketplace new customers are hard to get. Once you get them, it makes a whole lot of sense to not only keep them, but keep them so happy they multiply.

Need some help? See our sponsor Promoterz

You work hard to make sure your customers are happy. Don't waste happy customers. How easy is it for your customers to share with their friends? Learn more

2,998...2,999...3,000! Sleep at last!

2,998...2,999...3,000!  Sleep at last!

Business Week's question of the week this week asks with ads everywhere "is advertising today creative--or creepy? How far should Mad Ave go?" I found the 3 responses they included interesting:

Joe Gardner, features and business affairs editor at The Onion, notes that if people "don't read all blogs with a discerning eye, they deserve any deception that's heaped upon them."

Kalle Lasn, co-founder of Ad Busters magazine, responds that "3,000 marketing messages a day seep into the average North American brain. That level of advertising is stressing us out."

And Ted Murphy, CEO of says that younger generation knows that to get free content they have to put up with product placement. In his estimation "it's a trade off they're willing to make."

As business owners, the real question for all of us is in this kind of environment is how do we effectively let those that would be interested in our product or service know we exist? There are probably many answers to that question, but near the top of the list has to be our customers. Those who have used our product or service should become our greatest and most powerful advocates in spreading the word.

Disclaimer: in an effort to help you avoid any deception being heaped upon you, this blog is sponsored by Promoterz, a great tool to help business owners turn their customers into advocates.

More happy customers. More repeat sales. More referrals. Learn more

76% Think You Are a Liar

76% Think You Are a Liar

The Word of Mouth Marketing Association has some great statistics and presentations available on their site. The title for this post comes from the finding that 76% of consumers think that businesses don't tell the truth in advertising. That fact and other nuggets can be found in this presentation.

The obvious follow on question becomes, who do consumers trust? The answer is also obvious: each other. From the same presentation 92% cite word of mouth as the best source for new product ideas, up from 67% in 1977. The fact is that as the marketplace clutter continues to build, word of mouth becomes more and more of a necessity to grow a business.

I posted a few weeks ago about the Hawthorne Effect and the role it can play in helping to develop advocates or promoters for your business. Dr. Paul Marsden of the London School of Economics, has written extensively about the Hawthorne effect and how Consumer Advisory Panels can be a tool to harness the power of the Hawthorne Effect to increase word of mouth.

We like the way Paul thinks and decided to do some testing of our own to see what business owners think of Consumer Advisory Panels, the Hawthorne Effect, and our system Promoterz, which can be used to setup and manage online consumer advisory panels. If you are a business owner and would be willing to take a few minutes to share your thoughts with us, we'd love to know what you think. Click here. You'll be asked to watch a brief video and answer five quick questions.

Customers who feel that you are listening to them are more likely to recommend you to a friend. How do your customers know that you are listening? Learn more

The Pumpkin That Sold Me a House

The Pumpkin That Sold Me a House

This morning I found this pumpkin on my doorstep--again. The Coen's are the realtors that helped us buy our home nearly three years ago. Every year at this time we get a pumpkin and an invitation to their Christmas party. They did the same for my brother. In fact, when I was preparing to move to Mesa and asked Joe if he knew any realtors, he said "Oh yeah, we just got our pumpkin from the Coen's. Here is their number."

Just a gimmick? For some it could be, but we've been to the Coen's party. We didn't feel like customers. We were friends. My point is the pumpkin is a nice way to get attention (and there are countless other ways to get attention) but if you don't back it up with a genuine relationship it will be nothing but a gimmick.

Looking for a house in the Phoenix area? Contact the Coen's.

(Looking for a remarkable real estate web solution?)

The Happiest customers tell on average 8 other people. Who are your happiest customers? Promoterz knows. Learn more
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Seeds from the blogworld
We search the business blog world looking for posts that illustrate principles, or "Seeds", that if followed, or "planted", will help small businesses grow. We list them here for your convenience. Enjoy.