A Social Media Lesson from The Art of Marketing, in Vancouver

Avinash Autograph

Avinash Kaushik’s Autograph: “Happy Analytics!”

By Ava Naves, Principal

The Art of Marketing happened here in Vancouver in November of 2011 and brought us some very high-caliber speakers:

  • Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image, speaker and author of “Six Pixels of Separation”;
  • Bill Taylor, Co-Founder of Fast Company and author of “Practically Radical”;
  • Avinash Kaushik, one of the only men in the world for whom I’d cook dinner (the other ones being my Dad, my Beau and David Gray), author of “Web Analytics 2.0″ and “Web Analytics: An Hour a Day”; Digital Marketing Evangelist at Google and Co-Founder of Market Motive;
  • Gary Vaynerchuk, author of “The Thank You Economy” and “Crush It!”
  • Guy Kawasaki, a Canadian in a Hawaiian’s body, hockey aficionado, and co-founder of Alltop.com. Guy has been the chief evangelist of Apple and is the author of several books, the latest of which being “Enchantment”

There were several great takeaways from the event. I would require a very, very long post to assimilate all the great insight in one single entry, so I shall cover only one — it being the very first point that was brought to us, by no other than Ron Tite, the Master of Ceremonies at the conference. He’s the Vice President, Innovation Practice at Euro RSCG, and a speaker in his own right.

Ron reeled the crowd in with an anecdote about his experience with a “certain” air carrier that had lost his luggage. And boy, could I ever relate to this. “Said” carrier has lost my luggage not once, not twice, but thrice.

But I digress.

Ron’s suitcase was eventually returned to him, but days later than when he was promised, and not before he set up a Facebook Group petitioning the airline to return his belongings.

Here’s where it gets juicy (and Ron, if I’m not relating the story properly, please jump in and leave a comment): a luggage company heard about his trials and tribulations, and sent him a brand new suitcase which had some very… how shall I put this… special items inside:

Plastic handcuffs… Condoms… Wine… Clean underwear…

Accompanying the luggage there was a note along the lines of:

“We’ve heard about your experience and thought that we’d make things better by sending you a new suitcase, containing some items that we can just presume were inside it”.

At this point, conference attendees laughed, the ice was broken, and a great lesson was conveyed:

In social media, find someone’s trouble — a problem which you can fix.

Offer them a solution, even if the issue is not directly related to your product or service.

How could this relate, say, to a mechanic shop? Keep an eye on Facebook Groups and blogs around the area, and look for the poor soul who may be experiencing a gripe with another auto centre. For example, if someone received a less-than-stellar tune-up at a nearby establishment, offer to solve the problem for them, at no cost.

In the case of a cosmetics company, if it is brought to your attention that your competitor’s customers are having issues receiving mail orders, what can you do? Strategically select one of those people and send them products similar to what they had ordered.

Guy Kawasaki calls this providing assistance. Providing value.

I call it “building good business karma”. You know… the “what goes around comes around” type. The “you’ll receive it back a hundredfold” type.

People will remember you, and will talk about you. You’ll become memorable, for all the right reasons.

I ask you: do you have any stories to share about a business that has gone out of its way to solve your problem? Go ahead, don’t be shy, and share them in the comments!

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2 Responses to “A Social Media Lesson from The Art of Marketing, in Vancouver”

  1. Glenn Hilton says:

    Wow, you acted fast! Linda must have really struck a chord. I’m going to have to get my writing butt in gear now considering our commonality of perfectionistic writer’s block. :)

  2. Ron Tite says:

    Thanks for the mention. I’m glad you found the tale valuable.
    One small clarification: The “fake” luggage with the note was not from a luggage company but rather, an editor named Brian Noon from The Empire. Brian has cut many of the commercials I’ve worked on and we certainly have a pre-existing relationship.

    But I think that makes his actions even more appealing.

    Brian had very few direct benefits from his actions. What he did was show that he was simply listening what one his customers was going through and decided to help out by providing some levity to the situation in a funny and creative way.

    It wasn’t about him. It was about me. He didn’t include a stress ball with his logo on it or a coupon for his services. He listened. He was empathetic. And he acted. In the process, he solidified our existing relationship. Simply put, I’d work with Brian again in a heart beat.

    Gary Vaynerchuk had a similar tale. He found out one of his customers really liked an NFL quarterback so he went and got him a signed Jersey. It wasn’t a free bottle of wine. There wasn’t a call to action. It wasn’t an excuse for a sales call. It was simply a gift that the customer truly appreciated.

    Thanks for mentioning this. And welcome back to Blog world.