Monthly Archives: April 2011

The Daily Deal Phenomenon

I love a screaming deal. And for those of you like me this is our heyday as deal-of-the-day sites explode offering us insider prices on everything from cocktails to photo books and Pilates classes.

At just two-years-old Groupon, the leading daily deal coupon site (despite their disastrous Super Bowl ads) is valued at as much as $25 billion. This coming just months after they turned down a measly $6 billion bid from Google. Today Groupon has 70 million users in 500 markets and from the looks of their job board has no intention of slowing growth.

LivingSocial, the much talked about runner up is a fierce(ish) competitor with 662,994 daily visitors and roughly $50 million in revenue per month. They just secured a $175 million investment from Amazon and are making big claims to leave Groupon in the dust this year. Beyond the estimated 320 daily deal sites the web kingpins are rumored to be plotting to join the market too, Google with Google Offers and Facebook with the expansion of Deals.

The U.S. daily deal market is predicted to reach $3.9 billion in 2015 and grow by as much as 138% this year alone. But analysts question the true valuation of these companies and also raise concerns about the longevity of the market. Will we get daily coupon fatigue? Will the competition crumble the market? Will retailers rebel? Will daily deal startups be able to maintain the high revenue-generating model? My guess would be no, no, no and probably not, but only time will tell.

What’s Next

Consumers will eventually weed out the failed piggy backers or the leaders will swallow them up one by one. But the fittest will also be forced to evolve. What group deal services lack now is a fully social experience. Deal-of-the-day services need to take some tips from Facebook and Yelp and let me know, “Hey Robin, six of your friends are buying this deal, three of your friends love this business and Morgan says she is in if you are.” Elevate the experience for potential consumers and make the decision to purchase that much easier.

It looks like LivingSocial got the hint to expand upon the social aspect as they have purchased, a digital advertiser that leverages people’s social relationships in ad units, for $3 million in stock. One thing is for sure — it will be interesting for us as consumers and PR pros to see how this market continues to grow.


You can follow me on Twitter @RGDwyer

Try Less

Working in social media can be stressful, sometimes even more stressful than it really needs to be. Maybe because a paycheck is tied to it or because we don’t want to let our bosses or clients down, but sometimes we lose sight of the main point of social media… the social part.

Pop Up and Do Less

With so many brand messages and engagement opportunities to face everyday sometimes the mere task of being social with fans can be lost. In an effort to bring myself back to core of what we do, I often have to remind myself of the saying from the film, “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” when the main character is trying to learn to surf. His instructor tells him, “Do less.”

Turns out doing or in my case, trying less can be difficult but necessary. Trying to plug every detail in a post or fit that last period into a tweet can drive you mad and can eventually keep you from writing something simple and awesome that fans will really connect with.

So, my golden rule whenever I get flustered in the social sphere is to stop, take a step back and try less. Be social. Isn’t that the point of social media?

What do you think? What other tricks do you use to stay up on your social game?


Follow me on Twitter @MereEpp

End Of The Line For Trade Shows?

Are trade show becoming passé? With some companies now spending upwards of $500,000 on major shows, can that investment be justified by the new business that may result? Leads are generated, but still that’s a lot of widgets to sell to break even. And you have to wonder how many people stop by a company’s booth just for a shot at winning an iPad.

I recently attended a show in Las Vegas, the ultimate convention city. Turnout wasn’t terrible, but not up to the level of pre-recession days. Cabbies told me business is as bad as they’ve seen.

Having been involved in the standard trade show routine — news releases, media interviews and a lot of schmoozing — for years, I wonder if there isn’t a better, more economical way to reach potential customers.

One thing I noticed at this show was a huge growth in the use of Twitter to promote company events to the media and other attendees. That led to some interesting conversations within the Twitterdom and added a spark to the show. That same effort, carried forward year-round could maintain a continuous buzz with the growing number of younger corporate buyers who already use Twitter daily. Tweets can also effectively promote web sites, white papers and webcasts and product launches.

What’s even more interesting to me is the virtual trade show. This allows “attendees” to get information and view a sponsoring company’s products from an office or home computer. These may not yet generate the same number of leads as a convention, but those leads are generated at a much lower cost. And these events can easily be regionalized or aimed at specific vertical markets.

So are trade shows dying? Not likely anytime soon, but I think we will see fewer of them as corporate travel budgets tighten and as social media and other web-based activities gain greater acceptance. My biggest regret is for the service people that count on the convention circuit for much of their income. And, OK, I’ll admit I’ll occasionally miss a mini-vacation.


I “Love” It

We’d all like to think everyone loves us. But that’s not very realistic, even possible. There’s always someone lacking in good sense and taste that will overlook our incredible charms.

So what do we do? Get a new haircut? New clothes? Create an entirely new personality?

Let’s look at one food manufacturer has done using social media to turn around the way consumers think of a product. Kraft Foods got the message that while some people love its Miracle Whip mayonnaise-like spread, many don’t. Rather than trying hide that, Kraft took a bold step with a “We’re Not For Everyone” campaign.

Love it?

Visitors to the Miracle Whip Facebook page are given 70 characters to tell why they have a “sweet spot” for the spread or why it leaves a “bad taste” in their mouths. Those that like it can download a $1 coupon for Miracle Whip. Those that don’t like it get nothing. That’s fair enough — who’d want to save money on something he or she didn’t like? Since the campaign started last August, Miracle Whip has gained about 14,000 new likes on Facebook.

A companion effort on a Miracle Whip YouTube site features unscripted commentary from a host of celebrities — not all of whom like the product. Visitors are asked if they “love” or “hate” Miracle Whip. There’s a running counter on the page and so far the Loves are outnumbering the Hates about 12:1.

This isn’t a very scientific survey. But the entire campaign is very cute and funny. It’s also proving that the use of social media can be a highly effective way to promote products and services, even those that may not be well liked. Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and blogs are places where you can take chances. The payoffs can be huge.

Anyone willing to try this out on his or her own Facebook page? All in the name of personal development, of course.


Survival of The Fittest: Twitter Tools

There are endless blogs about 3rd party Twitter tools to help you manage your twitter stream, search content, find followers, find unfollowers, receive some witchcraft created quality score…and the list goes on. But finding twitter tools that truly fit your need isn’t always easy.

As Twitter begins to crack down on the 3rd party developers, to keep their platform consistent and avoid “diffusing the customer experience”, there could eventually be fewer applications available. I don’t blame them but where would I be without CoTweet?

I recently stumbled upon was Twazzup, which has quickly moved to the top of my “Useful and Actually Works” list. In a convenient 140 words: Twazzup provides a real-time social briefing on any given topic, quickly bringing you up to speed with news, tweets, hashtags and images. It is an appealing 360-degree social view that begs the question, are Google and Bing heading towards a similar format?

I say, give everything a try once and narrow the list to a few Twitter tools that prove useful to you. That is until the next best thing comes along or Twitter drives us all back to the mothership.


Follow me on Twitter @RGDwyer

Winding Up… And Here Is My

Pitch! Funny that word: pitch. It embodies what I do. I’m not just “throwing it out there,” I’m aiming for awesome coverage, a home run! While I was always the last one picked for teams in gym class, the PR pitch is one I can do.

Recently I sat in on a conference call moderated by the PR guru Peter Shankman himself. He invited reporters from top publications like The Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Crain’s to ask them about pitching preferences and what catches their attention. Cha ching! Goldmine! (No, this had nothing to with my crush on Peter Shankman; I was genuinely interested in stepping up my pitching game.)

Peter Shankman of HARO

Anyway, I took away five lessons from this conference call:

1. Not knowing a reporter and what they write about- Avoid this PR faux pas at any cost. Pitching blindly, especially to top level journalists is insulting to them. Not to mention it could ruin your chances of getting any coverage with them in the future.

2. Not identifying a news peg immediately- These guys want to know “why now?” Is it part of a broader trend? Is it happening in the news? Tell them why they should care or you will probably strike out.

3. Writing a book instead of a hook- Journalists generally don’t have a ton of time to stop and read a long email pitch. Craft one that identifies the news hook right away; and only say it’s exclusive if it really is. Remember…bullet points are your friend and don’t exceed three paragraphs. They want the pitch you would tell your friends over some beers.

4. Entitling an email- “quick question”- it’s hard to get a reporter to respond to a pitch… believe me I know. It can be tempting to do this, but the truth is-they know you‘re just trying to pitch them. Be upfront and give it to them straight. Ask them what they are working on and if you can be of any assistance.

5. Not following up- While most prefer email nowadays, don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. A good motto I like to follow: There is always someone more annoying than you.

So much more was discussed in the conference call that was helpful to me, so I hope you can use this too. You’re welcome and happy pitching!

– SG