Guest Post: Australian Wineries Join Forces, Tout Family to Gain Shares in Global Market

A recent guest blog post, as featured on the Emerson Graduate IMC Blog, January 24, 2012:

Most wine drinkers, even wine neophytes, know where the best wines in the world traditionally come from: France and Italy. Wine drinkers are ingrained to think of Bordeaux, Champagne and Italian Reds as some of the best in the world –but if there’s one thing wine lovers know even more than where to find the finest pours, it is where to find bad wine and how to avoid it.

Australia is a notorious offender in the bad wine department.

Although parts of Australia have been producing wine for over one hundred years, recently Australia’s global wine production reputation has been tainted, thanks mostly to large wine corporations that make up 75% of Australia’s wine exports annually and mass produce cheap, low quality wine for export.

In addition to a poor reputation, Australian exports also began suffering because of increased competition in the global market – a market that Australian wineries had once captured large UK and US market shares due to a lack of competition from other emerging wine producing regions like South Africa, Argentina and Chile for mainly political reasons. Now that the UK, US, Canada and other global market were importing inexpensive wine from these other regions, Australia had much more competition in the low priced international wine market.

In 2009 a group of family owned Australian winemakers formed an alliance called “Australia’s First Families of Wine” and underwent a large scale marketing initiative to differentiate these 12 families, their vineyards, and their wines from the rest of the Australian competition. In August 2009 they a  marketing initiative to set them apart from the negative connotations of mass-production and low-quality that the much larger Australian wine corporations had created for Australian wines. Their aim was to “change the global perception of Australian wine,” as announced by their Chairman Alister Purbrick at the launch, “We don’t believe as individual companies we can stem the avalanche of news stories about Australia producing nothing but cheap industrial wines. But together we can present a powerful showcase of terrific regional wines of great diversity.”

Read more on the Emerson Graduation IMC Blog…

Guest Post: 6 Ways to Spice Up Your Email Marketing

My most recent guest blog post, as featured on Wednesday, January 4th post on Hubspot blog:

Do you remember creating your first email marketing campaign? Those emails were going to catapult your business to new levels, blow your content’s ROI through the roof, and make you an instant digital mogul in your industry.Spice Up Your Email Marketing

How long did that excitement last? Are you still in the honeymoon phase, or do you find yourself staring at your email templates bored, uninspired, and unsure of where to go next?

Whichever way you feel about your email marketing, whether you’re on your first campaign or the hundredth, emails can fall flat and lose the appeal they once had for both you and your subscribers. So how do you bring the spark back into a boring email program and inject some va-va-voom into your campaigns? It’s all about approaching your email with a little creativity. Here are 6 ways to spice up your email marketing the next time your creativity (and email marketing ROI) needs a jolt.

1. Try On-the-Fly A/B Testing

For a marketer, there are few things more appealing than knowing whether your campaigns are successful while they are still in motion. In this sense, A/B testing is the sexiest email marketing feature there is! Nowadays, many email service providers (ESPs) have a feature built into their platforms that allows marketers to send and compare the performance of variables like subject line and “From” sender names to sample audiences, with the winning email getting deployed to the remainder of the audience.

2. Crowdsource Your Next Email Campaign

As hard as you try, it’s sometimes impossible to know exactly what your subscribers want, which is why your next email should flat-out ask them. Survey your customers to see what they want more of, less of, or what would make them visit your site more. Not only do prospects and customers appreciate your consideration of their opinion, but you may also be handed a brand new email campaign that your marketing department never would have thought of.

Although many ESPs have basic survey tools included, you can also collect information on your website through a customized landing page or a survey collection tool. Suggestions for what to ask might include their topic preferences for articles you produce, what sorts of deals would entice them to purchase more often, what additional products and services they’d like your company to offer, and what sorts of service updates would be helpful to hear from your company.

[Continue Reading on the HubSpot Blog…]

Guest Post: 5 Lessons Trick-or-Treaters Can Teach Us About Inbound Marketing

Original post featured on the HubSpot blog – October 31, 2011

5 Lessons Trick-or-Treaters Can Teach Us About Inbound Marketing:

Each Halloween the ghouls, goblins, and princesses come out and parade their costumes en masse across towns and cities everywhere. With hundreds of houses and apartments to pick from, what makes some places a raging success, while others can’t get a ‘treater to save their lives? It turns out all of those little super heroes and skeletons can actually teach us a thing or two about our own inbound marketing efforts.

Lesson 1: Make Sure They Know You’re Home

Remember those houses with the lights off, no cars in the driveway, and no decorations adorning the walkway? Not only were they spooky, but you had no idea whether anyone was home to give you candy! Although the occasional trick-or-treater might be brave enough to run up and ring the bell, these houses are generally overlooked even if they have great goodies inside.

Marketing Takeaway: Make sure people know you’re open for business. For marketers, this means always keeping your website up-to-date and providing fresh content through your various online channels such — posting often to your blog and social media accounts, making sure your landing pages are optimized and filled with valuable offers and content, etc. No matter where your visitors stop by, they should always feel like “someone’s home” to help them out.

Lesson 2: Tell a Great Tale

Whether it’s like a haunted mansion, a spooky graveyard, or a zombie apocalypse – what makes your house stand out from the rest? Pull in the candy-grubbers with a great, consistent tale about your home and goodies. Parents and kids alike always remember the places that surprise, enchant, and entertain them, so slap those bolts to your neck, get out the green face paint and lab supplies, and get your Frankenstein on!

Marketing Takeaway: Telling compelling stories is a major part of getting your new audience’s attention. Captivate them by telling the tales you know best. While for trick-or-treaters, this might mean tales of ghosts and gore, for your business, this means sharing riveting case studies, addressing industry problems on your blog, orcreating a valuable ebook to attract and generate leads at the top of the funnel.

Lesson 3: Give Out the Good Stuff (But Don’t Just Give it Away!)

If telling great stories is a major part of getting new ‘treaters to your door, then another big piece of the pie is: what kinds of goodies do you have? The best houses don’t hand out lollipops and hard candies. Instead, they give out the chocolatiest chocolate bars, the chewiest gummies, and the sourest sour candies! Make sure you’re offering the best of the best, and never just leave your goodies on the doorstep unattended. The smart candy-givers know it’s a two-way street: trick-or-treaters request their loot, and candy-givers get a chance to enjoy their goofy little costumes and squeaky thank you’s!

Marketing Takeaway: Give away valuable content freely, and always interact with the folks who stop by! Find your customers’ pain-points, have the conversations they want to hear about most, and talk about the technologies you see revolutionizing your industry in the next few years. Then create ebooks, webinars, podcasts, and other content around these great topics. Just like you require a “trick-or-treat” in exchange for candy from the kids who knock on your door on Halloween, make sure you’re distributing your marketing content in exchange for lead information; use landing pages with lead-capture forms and plan to follow up on visitors’ clicks, form submissions, and downloads with a phone call or a timely lead nurturing campaign.

Lesson 4: Be Prepared. Don’t Run Out.

When you decide to open up your doors to the candy-frenzied masses, don’t get caught off guard when your house is a wild success. Be prepared to bring out more goodies, as the zombies, witches, and dinosaurs keep asking for them. Remember those houses that *gasp* ran out of candy when you were little? Definitely don’t make that same mistake.

Marketing Takeaway: There’s nothing worse than disappointing potential new customers with false hopes of content. Letting potential enthusiasts down on their first visit can almost guarantee they won’t make a second. For marketers, this means having a long list of ideas and content lined up as users come to your site looking for more great resources. Create content calendars, crowdsource new ideas from your employees and customers, and collaborate with like-minded businesses to make sure you can keep delivering those “delicious” goodies that feed your visitors as well as your inbound marketing programs.

Lesson 5: Reward Your Biggest Fans

Remember that pirate who’s been coming to your haunted house for years and bringing new friends every time? Don’t forget to say thank-you and give him the candy bar you know he likes best. Or maybe even an extra one for good measure.

Marketing Takeaway: When it comes to your business’ top fans who absolutely love what you’re doing – send the appreciation right back their way! For Halloween, this might mean a King Size candy bar for your loyal ‘treaters, but for your business, this likely means sending the retweeting love, celebrating your Facebook fanswith “insider” perks, or running a special contest for your biggest advocates. No matter how you choose to thank your best fans and customers, just remember to pay it forward. Who knows, down the road they might even help keep those naughty older ‘treaters from egging your house!

What else can trick-or-treaters teach you about inbound marketing?

Image Credit: scott feldstein

Guest Blog Post: The Collective Power of One

Collective Power of One

Originally posted on the ExactTarget Blog.

The Collective Power of One

We all learned at a young age that the easiest way to avoid answering the “which is your favorite” question is by saying enthusiastically, “I liked them all!” Well, during a conference featuring “The Power of One” as the connecting theme throughout – “I liked them all” sounds rather like a cop-out. But that’s my answer to the question “Who was your favorite speaker at Connections 2011?” I loved them all. Collectively.

It wasn’t the power of just one of the speakers that moved and impacted me – it was the Collective Power of One (ahem, maybe the secret theme of Connections 2011) that made their stories the most powerful. After all, how can you compare the quality of the content of a speech from a man like Aron Ralston, who survived 127 hours alone, pinned by a boulder in the desert and amputated his own arm because he felt a tremendous drive to return to his loved ones – to – a panel of industry leaders having real-time conversations about real-time emarketing topics that mean the world to our work and our businesses?

Jimmy Wales, the CEO and Founder of Wikipedia, was thoughtful, intelligent, and even quite humorous – but I also spent my Wednesday morning enthralled in excellent conversations and panels on social media marketing and content marketing for B2B businesses. Both were tremendously valuable, thought provoking, and informative. I wouldn’t have wanted miss one for the other under any circumstances. I also can’t forget all of the product contributions and visionary conversations of the ExactTarget executive team of Scott Dorsey, Tim Kopp and Scott McCorkle; without their updates and edge-of-your-seat announcements Connections would not be complete or worth attending! And I of course cannot dismiss the powerful messages of education and giving that we heard on Day Three: between Soledad O’Brien’s poignant message about the Power of One education and impacting One life with One donation, and the panel of education equality advocates that joined the conversation at Connections 2011 – the message was overwhelming.

So, it is with some hesitation and some resolve that I stick to my guns and say that Connections 2011 wasn’t about the power of One speaker but rather the collective power of all of the “One” speakers and attendees – brought together by One conference that enables email and digital marketers around the globe to harness the power of One communication tool to reach millions and millions of “Ones” out there. Cheesy, I know, but I’m sticking to what I learned in 3rd grade when it comes to weighing in on a really tough decision: “Well, I guess I just really loved them all!”

ExactTarget Guest Blog Post: Takeaways from Connections 2010

After attending ExactTarget’s annual emarketing conference, I was featured as a guest blogger on their blog. Read full post on ExactTarget Blog

Connections 2010

Kim’s Biggest Takeaways from Connections 2010

Digital Marketing. Email Marketing. Social Media. Conversations. Content. Blogging. Tweets. Research, research, research. Sir Richard Branson (whaaat?!?), Scott Dorsey, Joel Book, Jesse Engle, Ann Handley, Jeff Rohrs, Morgan Stewart, ExactTarget, CoTweet, BestBuy, Groupon, Coca-Cola, Citi,, McDonald’s, Threadless, Forrester Research, and the list most certainly goes on. Train! Wooo!

Where else could you possibly find this many people, tweets, and conversations all surrounding the future of online marketing? Flying into Indianapolis from Boston on Sunday night, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew there was a jam-packed schedule, plenty of learning, and “just a few” opportunities to have a good time as well. Whelp, I was –to be perfectly honest– blown away. It all started with ExactTarget Academy on Monday morning where I learned a bit about pitching my brand as a Partner Reseller before I scooted over to my CoTweet learning session. Oh boy, although the pressure was on, I passed my test (by the skin of my teeth!) and became one of the FIRST EVER certified graduates of ExactTarget Academy (I’m sure my mom will be proud!). Tuesday and Wednesday just seemed to blend into one giant connected orb of great networking and too much learning to fit in this little brain of mine. I couldn’t BELIEVE just how much #ET10 had to offer to its participants (and I’m not just talking about delicious mini-sliders and mashed potatoes in a martini glass!) and seriously, all of the thought-leadership, collaboration, and insightful research has made me a lifetime CONNECTIONS Brand-Fan. There’s no chance that I wouldn’t suggest Connections to a fellow marketer; it’s just too valuable and the ROI, though perhaps immeasurable, is certainly palpable. So, as I sit in the Marriott listening to the final thoughts of some of the smartest marketers in the U.S. (and perhaps the world?) and the biggest thought leaders in the industry without a doubt – I can’t help but clear my calendar for #ET11, (and #ET12, and #ET13…).