I was fortunate to trade emails last week with a number of individuals who understand what it means to engage with the social customer. Whether through blogs, social networking systems, or wikis, these companies understand what it means to give customers real transparency into the organization, and to interact with them not as “assets,” not as something with a “lifetime value,” but as people. Over the next couple of weeks I’ll have the opportunity to share the results of these interviews, as well as some more thoughts and context on this trend.
What follows are comments made by Scott Benish, Brand Manager for Clip-n-Seal. Thanks for your time, Scott!
These guys get it.
Christopher Carfi, Cerado: Why did Clip-n-Seal decide to embrace blogs?
Scott Benish, Clip-n-Seal: For us, it was a no-brainer. We’re bloggers by nature, and we were blogging even before Clip-n-Seal. So when we brought Clip-n-Seal to market it just make sense to blog about it and tell our friends (many of whom have their own blogs) about it.
At the same time, being involved with blogs, we realized the power and potential of tapping in to blogs as a way of spreading the word about our product. So we embraced blogs because we were bloggers, but we also knew it made good business sense to embrace this community and utilize this burgeoning communication channel.
CC: Is there an example (or two) of an instance where Clip-n-Seal feels it has gotten closer to its customers as a result of the blog initiative?
SB: There are probably more than that. Our entire marketing so far has been based on blogs and we’ve had tremendous success in that space.
Last April we emailed an Industrial Design blog about our product because we thought they might find it interesting. They wrote a post about us and within a week 3 other relatively large and prominent blogs had posted about us or linked to us. There was a huge spike in site visits and orders.
Of course it’s not necessarily that easy. We had a product that was of interest to these audiences and we approached them in a low key, honest way. So it fit really well. It’s not as simple as just emailing a bunch of blogs and sitting back and waiting for the traffic. Blogging is a very personal medium and it requires a personal approach. People coming from mass media who want to hop on the blog train will almost certainly fail to see this and fall flat on their faces.
Another specific example is a blog contest we did:
In addition to all the brand building and orders that came from that, one of the winners wrote us a glowing letter telling us about how much she loved the product, loved the prize we sent and was planning on telling all her friends about it. Those kinds of fans that champion the product to their friends are worth their weight in gold.
CC: What have been the challenges / downsides to Clip-n-Seal as a result of blogging?
SB: None that I can think of. Not for us anyway.
I guess one challenge is keeping in front of people. You have some blogs post about you, and you get a bunch of traffic, but then 6 months later most people have sort of forgot about you. So how do you get back on the radar, catch some new blog readers, remind people you exist, etc. It’s the same thing as any sort of marketing, but it’s a bit harder. With traditional advertising, you just run more ads. With blogs, you can’t email your friend and say “Hey, orders are down, post about my product again”. Well, I guess you could, but that’d be lame. So you just need to keep things fresh, introduce new promos, products or contests. Which is not a bad thing at all, just a challenge.
CC: Are there any other things that you would suggest to other organizations that are considering blogging as a part of their business?
SB:Well, there are a lot of things. More than can be reasonably covered here. Like most things, it’s way more complex than it seems from the outside.
The biggest thing is probably that it’s unlike any other medium and you really have to know your audience and tread lightly. It’s a fickle, critical audience and if you are clearly there just to make a quick buck or shill some lame product people will see that and they will tell the world. If you make a lame TV ad, no one hears the groans – but if you make a misstep in the blogosphere you’ll get called on it and could end up doing more harm than good.