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This post was written for my customer segmentation class at Northwestern. I welcome your comments below, and hope to integrate your feedback into our class discussion!

Since its launch in 2008, Groupon has been celebrated, imitated, and criticized. Daily deals were already popular (think daily deals and the popularity with technogeeks). However, Groupon created a niche and set the stage for local daily deals that could appeal to the city masses. It was so different that Groupon’s daily deal offering has been labeled a disruptive business model. Many lookalike sites like LivingSocialGoogle Offers, and BuyWithMe have emerged creating a competitive market. Even so, Groupon and LivingSocial command about 90% of the daily deal market share.

To stay ahead of the competition, Groupon has evolved from simply offering one local daily deal to offering multiple deals in cities big and small. Now, it’s going to take more than simple, city-based segmentation to engage the Groupon customer base. Below you’ll find my top 3 ways Groupon can capitalize on customer segmentation to drive business.

1. Drive customers to personalize their deals. Did you know you could fill out your profile on Groupon so you can personalize the deals that are sent to you? No? Neither did I. Turns out Groupon began personalizing deals in 2010. Surprisingly, they don’t heavily push their existing or new customers to complete their profile in its entirety. If Groupon wants to build database information for segmentation, they’re going to need to drive their customers to provide this information. They need to guide registrants to fully fill out their profile – and possibly offer further segmentation opportunities through progressive profiling.

2. Customers love to give feedback, so ask for it. When you love a deal, you buy it. But what about when the customer doesn’t like the deal? Couldn’t Groupon collect information in order to understand why an individual doesn’t want a deal? A real-time feedback mechanism could help Groupon source new offerings AND begin to personalize an individual’s experience. By offering ways for individuals to actively ‘skip’ or ‘vote down’ a deal and provide feedback, Groupon could begin omitting irrelevant offers based on past feedback.

3. Don’t just ask customers what they want. Sometimes a customer doesn’t know what they want. Groupon could mine the purchasing data to start to understand the individual’s preferences, offering similar categories, offers, and discount levels. They could even incorporate email open and click rates to understand what offers are resonating with that particular customer.

Groupon has been wildly successful since its launch, but in order to continue to lead this competitive local daily deals market, they will need to become data-driven and drive the effectiveness of their offers. After all, the founding principal was all about group activity; doesn’t it make sense that Groupon’s success could come through the effective grouping of their customers?


Evangelizing social media can be tough, especially when you’re explaining it to people who don’t live in the social world. As I’ve shared before, we’ve been doing a ‘social media road show’ around my company and corporation to provide a high level overview of social media and the value it can bring to the business.

I wanted to share the basic outline of my presentation. Feel free to use elements, and I would suggest providing specific examples of how the slides apply to your company. (P.S. this is my first presentation on SlideShare – it was so easy to use!)

I look forward to hearing your feedback!

I also need to thank and give credit to some people and organizations that I borrowed some content ideas from:
Hubspot, Marta Kagan, and MarketingSherpa.

This post appeared on VitaminIMC – Medill IMC’s student-run blog.

No marketing communications professional looks forward to the day they must navigate a company crisis. Toyota’s recent floor mat and sticky pedal safety recalls are the most recent examples of balancing damage control with open communications. The safety recalls and Toyota’s subsequent responses open the potential for major damage to their strong brand built on safe, reliable, high-quality vehicles.

Meeting the challenge head-on, Toyota launched a comprehensive PR strategy to address the situation openly and honestly. Their website,, includes updates on what’s being done to address the problems and has videos with more information for consumers—such as what to do if they experience trouble braking.

Adding to the open dialogue, Jim Lentz, President & CEO of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., apologizes to customers in a video on the site, closing by saying: “Once again, I apologize for the situation and I hope you’ll give us the chance to earn back your trust.”

The newly released television commercial echoes his sincere words, telling a story of commitment and painting a picture that highlights 172,000 Toyota employees’ dedication.

But will this campaign be enough to calm consumers after months of bad news? It took nearly 10 days for Toyota to launch this response strategy, and consumer perception has dropped to a new low. If they hope to uphold their brand values, Toyota must avoid additional crises and continue to create open and honest dialogue to fuel positive brand momentum.

What do you think? Can Toyota restore the faith in their company?

Painting the Blue Moon Mural!

That's me... Painting the Blue Moon Mural!

Do brands ever do something that really catch your eye? Make you notice them? Actually engage you? It doesn’t happen often, so I was impressed when Blue Moon caught my attention not once, but twice.

Long ago (this past fall), in a place far, far away (Milwaukee), I was given a paintbrush and told I’d be painting a masterpiece. Right there at the Milwaukee Wine Festival, as I drank a Blue Moon Belgian White Ale in the Blue Moon Brewing Company booth, I hand-painted the billboard they’d be putting up somewhere in Milwaukee. I thought it was so cool I even asked my sister to take a photo. I signed my name on the artist block, and I thought that was it.

Then, as I was watching TV a few weeks ago, their first-ever television commercial came on. You may recognize the new ad (video below). The commercial instantly brought back my memory of painting, and I thought it did such an interesting job of carrying that feeling through the theme and bringing the artistry to the masses. I jumped up, ran to the fridge, and grabbed a Blue Moon.

Ok, so I didn’t do that (though I DO have Blue Moon in the refrigerator right now). The Blue Moon Art Project is a uniquely interactive campaign. As I’ve looked into it further, it builds upon their 2007-2008 contest that called for Blue Moon-inspired art.

I love this interactivity. I challenge Blue Moon Brewing Company to keep it up and embrace the digital art world. There are so many untapped avenues they can take to continue to be Artfully Crafted.

What’s the last marketing campaign that inspired you?

The things I’ve learned thus far in my Twitter conquest are quite interesting. No, I haven’t learned how to get rich quick or gain a million followers. Reflecting on the time I spend on Twitter, it’s such a different experience than with any other social media programs I’ve taken part in. When I explain what Twitter is to nonusers, I continually mention the same things over and over. The crazy thing: it’s not just applicable to Twitter – it’s applicable to your life, your work and your personal relationships. Crazy, huh?

So here are the top three things I’ve learned on Twitter (Twitter Teachings, get it?):

  1. Engage in the conversation: Talk with your followers. It’s not about how many people you follow or vice-versa; it’s about engaging in relevant conversations that are beneficial to both parties. While this concept is painfully obvious on Twitter, it’s amazing that more companies don’t realize the benefits of this concept. Engage in conversation with your customers, even after they’ve purchased! The more you engage and interact with your customers, the better you will be able to anticipate their future needs and thus meet them with your products. Better yet, the more you engage, the more you’ll uncover evangelists singing the praises of your product!
  2. Give more, get more: The more you give, the more you get. Seems self explanatory. The more you comment on blog posts, retweet (RT) topics, and give solid information in your arena, the more your networks responds positively to you and returns the favor. It’s cyclical. It’s karma. Pay it forward. Whatever you call it, everyone benefits (especially you!).
  3. It’s all about relationships: You begin to build relationships after a few sub-140 character exchanges. For me, it means adding you to my ‘favorites’ group on Tweetdeck. I don’t want to miss your Tweets and I was to be able to share my advice with you. In turn, I hope when I have my random ‘how-to’ or ‘have you ever’ questions, you will respond. You #followfriday each other. It’s a beautiful thing.

So get engaged in the conversation. Start adding like-minded people, begin contributing to the conversation, commenting on tweets and building your relationship. Oh, and add me so I can be a part of it: @brandiheinz

What have you learned on Twitter?

I realized today how many emails I get notifying me about Whitepapers, Webinars, articles and other information on marketing. It’s almost overwhelming! If you are away from your email for any extended amount of time during typical business hours, you return to an inbox full of relevant (and not-so-relevant) promotional email messages or eNewsletters. I have a hard time sorting through all the good information, no less sorting through the unneeded information. I’m always afraid I will somehow miss that one article I need to read.

In reviewing my email inbox, I’ve decided to compile the top sources that deliver marketing trends and information right to my inbox:

  1. B@B: As a B2B marketer, this email never wastes my time with B2C marketing information. I know the recommendations, tips and statistics are relevant to my marketing programs and I can immediately see where I stand. You can sign up here.
  2. MarketingProfs: I especially recommend the ‘Get to the Point’ series (I think I rave about this every week on Twitter). They are short little ‘snippets’ of relevant information, plus they only take a minute to read. You can opt in to any of the many versions of information. I personally am signed up for the Email Marketing and Customer Insight emails – AND as I write this, I just opted in to 4 more. I ALWAYS read these emails. Even if I’m running away from my desk when any of the versions hit my inbox, I always flag them so I can followup on it later. You can sign up here.
  3. MarketingSherpa: MarketingSherpa was one of the first programs I signed up for. They were studying email and online marketing trends long before most other programs I was subscribed to. There is a wealth of information available on their website, and their emails even give you special access to locked information. My favorite program from them is their ‘Chart of the Week’ that’s sent out every Tuesday. You can sign up here.
  4. MarketingExperiments: A division of MarketingSherpa, MarketingExperiments looks at the analytical side of marketing, testing EVERYTHING! Their monthly clinics are interactive and very interesting. You can sign up here.
  5. Your Vendors: Make sure you are signed up for your vendors’ email programs. You ensure that you are getting up-to-date product information, as well as tips and tricks on how to optimize your use of your products. The really good vendors also share general industry best practices and guidance. One of my favorite programs is from our email marketing program, Silverpop EngageB2B because there is always a solid mix of product info and email marketing advice in their emails. Oh, and Silverpop has B2C advice too! You can sign up here.

What are your favorite sources of marketing information? I’m always looking for more! I am particularly interested in more information on social media marketing. Suggestions?

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