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5 good reasons to work at GasPedal

My company, GasPedal, and its brands, SocialMedia.org and WordofMouth.org, are growing fast. We’re looking for talented, passionate people to join our team in Austin and Chicago.

Here are five reasons why we love working here — and why we think you will too:

1. Good Mission:
Make real change by helping the good guys win.
2. Good Jobs:
Do challenging, interesting, and satisfying work.
3. Good Workplace:
Enjoy a healthy culture, sensible policies, and a personal life.
4. Good People:
Work with hardworking, passionate team of people you’ll like.
5. Good Living:
Earn nice pay at a stable, growing business, not a long-shot bet.

Check out our open jobs here.

In the coming weeks I’ll share details on our hiring culture, each of our open positions, plus more on the people we’d love to work with. Find out more about our culture here.

Newsletter #1006: The “Problem Solved” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I'd Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Every once in a while, a product comes along that solves an issue everyone understands in a way that no one’s thought of yet. It’s the kind of stuff that’s so simple, yet so remarkable, it makes people say, “Damn! I wish I’d thought of that!”

Here are three examples:

1. Shoe vending machines
2. A better butter knife
3. An easier way to unsubscribe
4. Check it out: Duolingo

1. Shoe vending machines

Rollasole sells flats that roll up so you can conveniently carry them as a backup when uncomfortable high heels threaten to end a night early. (I hate when that happens to me.) That’s a remarkable idea. But what’s even more remarkable is that in Las Vegas, you can buy them from vending machines outside of nightclubs.

The lesson: Being in the right place at the right time is all about knowing when your customers need you most. For Rollasole, it’s not in the mall where customers aren’t feeling the pain of stilettos — it’s at 2:00 AM on the street where their other option is carrying their heels and walking barefoot in a bar district.

Learn more: Consumerist

2. A better butter knife

The Stupendous Splendiferous ButterUp is a butter knife/grater that turns a stick of cold butter into strings that are easy to spread on a piece of bread. Why did it take so long for someone to come up with this? People forget to innovate on stuff that’s been around forever like butter knives, coolers, and electrical sockets. That’s why when someone does, it makes it all the more remarkable.

The lesson: How many people are frustrated by ruining a perfectly good piece of bread just by trying to butter it? Your customers run into little frustrations like these every day. There’s probably one you can help them out with.

Learn more: Wired

3. An easier way to unsubscribe

Email marketers have a problem: Many of their readers find it easier to mark their newsletters or email blasts as “Spam” instead of searching for the tiny “Unsubscribe” link at the bottom, checking all the right boxes, or jumping through more hoops to get off their list. So Gmail made it easier for readers to unsubscribe by adding a one-click option at the top of every email. That’s great for the reader because they get off of the company’s list faster, and it’s even better for the sender because it gives them better metrics on true unsubscribes and spam reports.

The lesson: Win-win improvements like these are always appreciated (and earn twice the word of mouth). You don’t always have to sacrifice one customer’s happiness for the other’s.

Learn more: Business Insider

4. Check it out: Duolingo

Duolingo.com lets you learn languages like Spanish, French, Italian, Dutch, and a bunch of others through gamification — and it doesn’t cost a thing. You can earn points by answering questions correctly or “lose a life” when you answer incorrectly. When you sign up, you can either start with the basics or test your current knowledge of a language to begin at a more advanced stage.

Check it out: Duolingo

Why do the most sophisticated marketers still use YouTube?

Exacttarget youtube

I noticed this video about a product launch for ExactTarget/Salesforce.com. It’s hosted on YouTube.

Q: Why would one of the most sophisticated marketing tech companies put their videos on a free site like this? (I’m sure they have some super-duper video tool they can use.)

A: For the same reason that people used to advertise in the Yellow Pages — that’s where the customer are.

YouTube is where people are looking for video — so you get discoverability: People find your content. Put it on a private server, and nobody ever stumbles across it.

More important — you get sharability — because everyone knows how to share, embed, post to Facebook, etc., YouTube videos. Do it any other way, and you’ll get a worse result because people have to learn how to share before they share.

Kate Alini on BMW’s super-fan surprise and delight social media campaign

This is a post from my company, SocialMedia.org’s blog. Check it out for more profiles and stories about the people running social at really big brands.

BMW Social Media and Emerging Technologies Manager Kate Alini sat down with us to talk about an amazing case study she presented at our Member Meeting in Dallas. We’re proud to have had Kate as a member since 2013.

For all of the loyal fans and fanatics big brand carmakers enjoy, they also have their fair share of criticism and skepticism — sometimes from those die-hard fans. That was what BMW faced as they prepared to launch their new 4 Series.

“We had some enthusiasts who were cynical about the introduction of the new 4 Series. The 3 Series is such an iconic series and key part of our product portfolio that we had some disappointed fans who didn’t understand why we were introducing the 4 Series.”

And of course, they were hearing about it primarily through social media and third-party blogs.

So when it came to defending their 4 Series, BMW took to social media to earn some advocates.

The plan: surprise and delight two die-hard BMW fans with one of the best surprises a BMW enthusiast can get, a weekend-long test-drive with a vehicle that hasn’t even reached dealers yet. Then, BMW would document their “#Un4gettable Weekends” on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.

But they weren’t going to pick just anyone.

Kate explains the process for finding the two lucky winners, “While it’s easy to find a couple hundred or a couple thousand fans of BMW at anytime who can rattle off information, specs about our vehicles, and our history, when you get down to those fans who are aware of a new model that isn’t even here yet, it narrowed our pool down pretty quickly.”

The #Un4gettable Weekend participants they chose had to be big fans — really big fans.

According to Kate, the participants’ social media presences weren’t a big factor. What really mattered was that they were true BMW fans, and more specifically, that they were excited for the 4 Series.

“When we first looked at a list of 15 or so candidates to be our super fans, some of them seemed more influential than others — whether they had noteworthy careers or were very active in social media. Of course, you want to find interesting people to feature, but in the end, we chose two individuals whom we felt were the most deserving to be rewarded for a cool weekend like this,” Kate explains.

She describes how one candidate looked great on paper — a photographer who was very active on Instagram and who could talk the talk about BMW. But when it came to his interview, he immediately started criticizing the 4 Series, which ultimately got him crossed off the list. They wanted someone with a positive attitude.

Other qualifications: a great Skype interview to make sure they’re comfortable in front of a camera, a personable and outgoing demeanor, and a background check to make sure they weren’t marketers or BMW employees.

Ultimately, Kate’s team chose two BMW enthusiasts who blew them away.

Kate says, “We chose two guys who were die hard fans and who were truly worthy of a weekend with this very special vehicle.”

On the East Coast was Rashed, a fan that Kate’s team called a walking BMW encyclopedia (he could tell the type of leather used in a BMW by its smell). On the West Coast was Nate, a guy with so much BMW gear that they ran extra background checks to make sure he wasn’t actually a BMW employee.

Both guys were surprised with the keys to a new 4 Series for the weekend. BMW’s team took them on scenic test drives, let them do hot laps around race tracks, and left them with USB sticks loaded with photos from the whole experience.

Throughout the experience, Kate’s team documented video recaps for YouTube and photos and pic stitches for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Although they typically tailor different types of content to each of the different platforms, she says their strategy for this campaign was fairly similar for each social channel — which turned out to be a success.

The results showed higher engagement than any other campaign across all of their social channels.

On Facebook, their posts reached their highest level of engagement for all of 2013, and on Twitter, their first paid tweet became their most successful one on record. For Google+ and Instagram, the engagement was well above average.

But most importantly, BMW now had two extremely happy advocates on their side.
“As it turns out, our West Coast fan, Nate, was more socially engaged and a power user on Twitter. He tweeted throughout the weekend and leveraged social to share his experiences in real time,” Kate explains.

“But Rashed was more about blogging after the fact. He is a participant in a BMW blog, and after his weekend was over, he wrote a very long blog entry of every detail of his weekend experience. Instead of real-time social media commentary, he documented it all at the end with a blog post,” she says.

For national campaigns like these, Kate’s team makes sure local dealerships have an opportunity to do something similar.

“We often create one or two-sheet activation guides that give them idea starters so they can create one-of-a-kind experiences for their customers. These guides talk about how local dealerships can do something similar on an equal or smaller scale as well as parameters for what works and what doesn’t work,” she explains.

She says that while they can’t do something as big as document and film giving two people the keys to an unreleased vehicle, they also have great opportunities to use social media as a marketing tool.

“We give them ideas in a box, if you will, and then they can execute at whatever degree they want. Even if it’s on a smaller scale, our local dealerships can do something that’s also really meaningful. For example, they may be able to call some of their loyal customers and say, ‘Hey we have one of the first 4 Series in our showroom right now, and we’d like to let you take it for the first test drive.’ People love to be the first to do something so we want to give them that badge of honor to give them early or exclusive access to our brand experiences and our vehicles. So an idea like the Un4gettable Weekend could work at different scales and with any vehicle.”

Say hi to Kate on Twitter or check out her case study presentation to hear about this campaign and another unexpected opportunity they faced to surprise and delight a fan.

Your problem is the simplest thing

faultyUSB

Webcam doesn’t work.

Could be the drivers, sound card, software conflict, cables. Hours of troubleshooting. (And once you start messing with setting and software, you’re causing new problems.

Or maybe it’s this cute (but crappy) USB hub.

Lesson: Always check the simplest thing first.

When is the wrapping better than the gift?

Amazon gift cards come in this great metal gift box. Same gift card, much more impressive gift. Bonus for Amazon if the recipient saves the box and thinks about Amazon every time they use it. Presentation and packaging matters when your stuff is just like your competitor’s stuff. Change the game by changing how it’s delivered. […]

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Check it out: Do a lot of people do this?

There probably aren’t many repeat offenders.

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Video: How Southwest Airlines’ employees start meaningful word of mouth conversations

This is a post from our WordofMouth.org project. Check it out for more great word of mouth marketing tips like this every day. If you fly with Southwest Airlines, you might not be surprised to see singing flight attendants or a cookie cake when your flight arrives. In fact, you may have already seen this […]

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Join us and do meaningful work with people you’ll like

My company, GasPedal, and its brands, SocialMedia.org and WordofMouth.org, are growing fast. We’re looking for talented, passionate people to join our team in Austin and Chicago. We believe businesses everywhere are discovering that honest, ethical customer love is the most powerful kind of marketing. We help these people behind big companies win by surrounding them […]

(1) Comments - Read & Join the Conversation