Three Months In – An Update

An update – ‘Just Read It’

I apologize for the radio silence the past three months. Things have moved rapidly at Razorfish to say the least. To be honest, I walked into my new position with an expectation that things would come easy because of the great experiences I’ve had at Lawrence/KC-area ad/social companies. Then I was reminded – nothing good comes easy.

Without boring you with all of the nitty-gritty, here are three eye-openers I’ve learned during my first three months with Razorfish Seattle and Nike:

1) Paid v. Organic Content – Same Platform, Different Strategy

This part was probably the most difficult to wrap my head around. My time with @KUJournalism and @Spiral16 really only focused on content creation/curation. And with keeping up the conversation within my communities.

Paid requires a different mindset, even though the communities are the same. Knowing which content will make an impact with the client’s communities is a prerequisite. With paid, the hard part is anticipating the effect of that content and deciding which of those tweets or stories is best suited for the bulk of the always-limited budget.

2) With Digital, the Sky is the Limit

There are traditional banners, social media and search. And then there’s an entire other world of amazing opportunities (if you have the money). Working on a national client account means being able to strategize around executions that have never been done before.

It can be daunting, but after every campaign there comes a wealth of knowledge and experience for the next time.

3) Reporting Doesn’t Stop at the Click

There’s more to your report than click-through rate. Think in-depth campaign reporting is only for direct-response campaigns? Think again. Any good publisher will be able to give in-depth interaction metrics with each ad unit. We’ll know how long you spent hovering your mouse over the ad, whether you took action and how many times you shared content.

This is one of the truly exquisite aspects of digital marketing. There are few questions as to whether or not an ad execution worked – even if the goal is simple awareness or brand building. Did we own the conversation? How much buzz did we generate? Do people care? These are questions that metrics answer, turning into actionable insights for the future.

Advice for SMBs

Ask your digital marketing providers about the items I’ve discussed here. The technology is there – but often times sales reps are only told the bare-bones, or perhaps that’s all they’ll care about to make the process simple and the sale easier. Digital is vague and ever-evolving because people still do not like ads. So if you’re getting fed the same boring contract with the same tired ‘solutions’, it’s time to mix things up.

If you’re vetting digital marketing providers – have them deliver a portfolio beyond the normal. You might be surprised at the impact you can have and the experience you can create for the right audience – at an affordable price. You just have to know the right questions to ask.

Burger King_King_Localgrowth Blog_Joe Garvey_Advertising_Marketing

Down With The King! (Why Wendy’s Took #2 Spot From BK)

On Monday it was announced that Wendy’s took the #2 fast-food chain spot away from Burger King, for the first time ever since its creation in 1969. They have to be excited about that. And why not? It only took them 43 years.

Burger King has gone through some changes since 2010 when owners switched, some good, some bad. I think Burger King lost its way, both in product and marketing. But it dumped its former AOR, Crispin Porter + Bogusky a year ago this month and have since gone back to focusing on food as opposed to random strangeness (good thinking fast-food guys).

Here are a few thoughts on why Wendy’s has been able to take advantage:

1) Burger King stopped focusing on its burgers and started focusing on…well…everything else.

Remember fried chicken fries? Ribs in a french-fry box? Funnel cake? Yeah few people do, because no one would buy ribs from Burger King. Instead of perfecting and promoting the delicious Whopper, you had product creations and subsequent ad launches that celebrated these random inventions.

2) Burger King’s ad messaging was more random than its new products.

Ever see this masterpiece?

Burger King Sponge Bob Ad

Yeah, not only was it considered offensive to many people, it was just weird and creepy, as was the entire ‘King’-focused ad strategy.

3) Notoriously poor customer service/experience.

If I were to personally rank fast-food restaurants based on quality of service, Burger King would invariably come in last. It didn’t matter if I was living in Lawrence looking for a late-night post-bar snack, or move-in day here in Washington, or driving through Wyoming, Burger King would make me wait. “We’re out of coffee”. “We’re out of burgers (really?)”. When you do get served, the quality is hit-or-miss.

Compare that to McDonald’s – fast and consistent, even if you know what you’re eating is toeing the line between ‘food’ and ‘inorganic lab material’.

4) Wendy’s spent time perfecting its core.

Wendy’s wants to be known as a quality burger place. The new products they release reflect that. Their advertising reflects that. So instead of going the McDonald’s and BK way with one-shop stop product extensions, they just focused on their core and ended up taking that share of burger-craving people away from, seemingly, BK.

So there you have it and lesson learned. Narrow your focus, broaden your appeal. They may have a long way to go before coming close to McDonald’s numbers, but by overthrowing the King, they’re that much closer.

Subway Promoted Tweet_Localgrowth Blog_Joe Garvey_Seattle

Subway’s Social Media Fail

This July 2011 post is an update from my former ad rant blog – The Creative Briefs.

‘Promoted Tweets’ seem like a good-enough idea right? Not always. In fact, Promoted Tweets can result in some ugly feedback from customers. Last summer I came across the following Promoted Tweet from Subway. In all honesty it seems like more of a product fail than a social media fail – but both the business and the consulting agency should have known better.

Subway Promoted Tweet_Localgrowth Blog_Joe Garvey_Seattle

The Tweet that started it all

These are the results of this tweet, and what Subway should have learned once it blew up in their faces:

1. Giving consumers the control of your product launch is always risky

Social media is scary in that it gives the everyday person a chance to shape the story of your brand. Twitter is probably not the place to introduce a risky new product.

Subway Twitter Result Part 1_Localgrowth blog_Joe Garvey_Seattle

2. The consumer decides what your brand and reputation is

A brand is a reputation, and a reputation isn’t what you say about yourself, it’s what others say about you. Entering the world of social media means that you’re letting the consumer take a huge role in shaping the story about your brand. Here are some comments that might be off of Subway’s ‘brand strategy’.

Subway Twitter Result 2_Localgrowth Blog_Joe Garvey_Seattle

3. Social media evens the playing field

We’ve seen it time and again. Some joker on his laptop is able to take down an entire campaign, an entire brand or company. The random 17-year-old in his parent’s basement has as much chance of his tweet going viral in a trending topic as the celebrity (as long as it’s funny). And if the post is shocking or hilarious, people are likely to share it or talk about it.

Subway Twitter Result 3_Localgrowth Blog_Joe Garvey_Seattle

So now they know. Brands no longer have the luxury of pushing a plethora of cutesy messages down the throat of the consumer and expecting it to go well. The consumer is smarter than that. Especially when the advertising doesn’t reflect the product, and the product doesn’t fit the brand.

Charlie Sheen_Pinterest_Localgrowth blog_Joe Garvey_Seattle


How big is Pinterest?

If you’re a retail shop with great looking clothes, books or products – it’s huge. From blogs to micro-blogs to tweets, and from comments to ‘Likes’ to re-blogs to re-tweets, we’ve seen social sharing get easier and easier with each new site. Pinterest is the next step.

Here are a few facts about Pinterest’s users, courtesy of the Huffington Post Tech and WebProNews blogs.

  • Nearly 30% of users have a household income of $100,000/year or more
  • Nearly 70% of Pinterest users are female
  • Pinterest users log in on average 3 minutes longer than Facebook users, and 12 minutes longer than Twitter users
  • 50% of users have kids
  • Pinterest refers more website traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined
  • Pinterest is gaining and retaining users 2-3 times more effectively than Twitter at this point in its history

What’s your business doing about Pinterest? Keep in mind – your audience might be there, but unless you have a lot of products you can show, it’s probably not a good fit for you. If you are a retailer with lots to share, check this link for installing ‘Pin It’ buttons on your web and product pages.

While you’re at it, follow me on Pinterest!

Joe Garvey_Pinterest_Localgrowth blog_Seattle

My Pinterest boards

Happy Pinning!

Show the Fruits of Your Social Media Labors

Interested in taking your social media tracking to the next level? Google Analytics offers URL Building, a way to generate custom links to your website content which show you the specific social media sources. These links show up in your Analytics reports, explicitly showing the fruits of your social media labor.

Building the trackable links is easy once you know the process. All you need to do is differentiate your campaigns and plug in the descriptive labels: Source, medium, term, content and name (shown below).

How Do i Tag My Links?_Google_Joe Garvey_Localgrowth blog_Seattle


Google says for non cpc-related campaigns, you only need to plug in three of the five available custom link fields:

  • Source: Referring website, examples: Google, AOL search, Facebook, Twitter
  • Medium: Qualify the ‘source’, examples: organic search, cost-per-click, email (for newsletters), social, banner
  • Name: Specifically mention a product? Plug that information in here. Examples: product name, promo code, slogan
Google Custom Link Build Fields_Localgrowth Blog_Joe Garvey_Seattle


Once you’ve generated the links, us them in a Facebook or Twitter post – and if people click, you’ll know the source.

Example Custom Link_Google_Localgrowth Blog_Joe Garvey_Seattle

Finished product with three fields displayed

Keep in mind that you do not need to do this for a Google AdWords campaign – those links are already specifically separated in the reports.

Happy tracking!


Making Changes

“If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs

Followers, I’m happy to announce that on March 5 I will be joining Razorfish Seattle as a Digital Account Manager!

I had a wonderful experience with Scripps Media – as a sales and digital campaign analyst with the corporate team and a touch point for small businesses interested in growing their audience and online revenue here in Washington. Scripps is a wonderful company, full of sales rock stars, who truly believe in their products and services and that they are the catalysts for small business growth. I wish them all the best of luck!

At the end of the day, the opportunity to join Razorfish was a better fit for my long and short-term goals. They’re a top marketing agency that focuses almost exclusively on digital and tech to create experiences for top brands. I’ll be working with a passionate and talented team, contributing to strategy and analytics and keeping in touch with the latest tech and digital marketing trends.

One piece of advice I’d share with my readers – when you feel like you need to make a change, take action and make the change. You won’t regret it.

I will miss my clients, and hope to keep in touch with all of them during and after the transition. And of course, I’ll continue to share what I can about small business marketing trends through this blog!

Thanks for reading and happy marketing.

Razorfish Masthead_LocalGrowth Blog_Joe Garvey_Seattle

Razorfish was born digital. Sharing_localgrowth social media blog_Joe Garvey_Seattle

‘Larryville KU’ – A New Way to Find and Share News Online

Where does your audience get its news? There was a time when a newspaper was the only song and dance in town – everyone picked it up, everyone read it, everyone talked about it. That time ended decades ago. The fact that you’re reading this blog is one piece of evidence of a new development in how we consume news – people are increasingly wanting (and willing) to create their own news and share it with their friends.

That traditional news outlets like newspaper and radio stations have suffered from the fragmentation of audience over the past few decades isn’t new to anyone. And there are some media companies who are adapting to the evolution in media consumption and will capitalize off new ways to generate revenue in an increasingly online world. Some sadly, are not so willing and times are tough. But one traditionally print-centric news group, The University Daily Kansan (KU’s college newspaper) has embraced the change and is even leading the way on grabbing news-hungry and web savvy readers in a way they can accept and share.

I had a chance to speak to you Becca Ross, The Kansan’s Digital+Interactive Manager about the launch of, their effort to create a forum in which their college audience can share news stories, events and favorite places to shop and eat on their desktops and mobile devices: Home Page_localgrowth social media blog_Joe Garvey_Seattle gives KU students a forum in which to share their college experiences

1) What was the goal or philosophy behind
Becca: LarryvilleKU was a grant project from the journalism school to make the software program LarryvilleKU more relevant and useful for a news organization. When Jon (Sales and Marketing Advisor) told me about the project, he assigned me to come up with the entire sales model of LarryvilleKU, which is designed in a small-business membership buy-in.  At the end of the day, I want people to plan their days around LarryvilleKU, and use it as a resource to find out everything that is happening in Lawrence at that specific time and day.
2) Tell me a little bit about how the site works, from the user perspective
Becca: The site is a geotagged news source that allows the user to see bargains, events, tweets, police reports, photos and specials in Lawrence. If I am on campus and I want to know when the next Ad Club meeting is, I can pull up LarryvilleKU and see it on the map with the room and time. If I want to know 23rd Street Brewery’s specials for Monday, it will be the first thing I see when I click on 23rd Street’s icon. The user can pin point locations, neighborhoods, blocks and exact addresses for specific information happening in that area. Even Kansan articles can show up on the map as long as it has an address, so users can see where the story actually happened.
The ideal user will not only look to LarryvilleKU for the business side, they will also post their own content onto the site. For example, if they are having a Super Bowl party they can post that to LarryvilleKU, to let their friends know the address, time, attire and any information they want to put up. Also, users can tweet to LarryvilleKU by putting their location in their tweet and #LarryvilleKU. Map_localgrowth social media blog_Joe Garvey_Seattle Map with customizable and geo-tagged news/info icons

3) Why did a site like this make sense for The Kansan and Kansan Digital?
Becca: Every day the world is becoming more digital. Students are constantly on their computers, phones and tablets trying to look for information in the easiest way possible. They use so many tools to spread information such as Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Blogging, Google+ and many more sites that getting a message to them gets more and more difficult everyday. Therefore this product was a perfect way to combine all those tools into one source of information. Now students can customize exactly what news they want to take in and share it with their friends digitally.
This is a major leap for Kansan Digital, because most of our products are geared toward an older audience and out-of-state audience. LarryvilleKU has completely expanded the clientele of the digital team, who have lists up to seventy clients each. There is no business that isn’t right for LarryvilleKU, because the business can customize the news they want to post.
My personal favorite feature of the site? The ability of users to share their own stories, or re-share an interesting article, great local deal or event in their local community. Sites like Pinterest have made sharing and re-sharing so much easier and its massive recent success just reinforces the idea that people don’t want or need to be told about your brand and business – they’re already forming (and sharing) their own opinions. Sharing_localgrowth social media blog_Joe Garvey_Seattle


The Answer to “What Do I Post On Twitter?” in Two Words

Want to know what was the most important communication lesson I learned during my time as an ad sales rep? I’ll give you a hint, it’s the driving force behind my social media/marketing/advertising/public relations philosophy – add value.

A question I’m asked all the time from my small business clients is “What should I post on Twitter/Facebook/LinkedIn?”, and while my answer can be quite thorough depending on the situation, it invariably comes down to the business owner’s ability to add value to the online conversation.

Great salespeople know how to do this better than anyone, in part because people don’t like when salespeople call them. The only way to break down those barriers and build trust is what sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer calls a ‘value-first’ strategy, or the belief that being a true resource and problem-solver will win more clients’ loyalty than sales pitches – and the same applies to your activity in social media networks.

Value Added, localgrowth blog

Antiquated notion of the "But wait, there's more!" approach to marketing, website and social media content

So how do you determine if you’re adding value to your customers’ and network’s lives? Answer these three questions:

  • The first step to discover whether you’re adding value to your customers’ lives is to look at your website. How much of the content is going to simply selling something?
  • The second step is to look at the content you’ve already posted on social media sites. Is it the same, tired old pitch to ‘come to an event’ or ‘visit the store during a limited time sale’?
  • The third and final step is to look at how your customers engage with you (or if they’re not). Is it clear that they see you as a resource, or at least a source of valuable entertainment and education in their daily social media habits?

Asking these questions will determine whether you’re truly adding value to your networks. While that content will change depending on the audience and the goal, it always answers the question: “What do my followers care about?”. <- That’s what you should post. Add value. When you finally reach the point where you know your audience well enough to consistently post what they care about, you’ll start to see the results you want. Followers and fans will be more engaged, see you as a resource and spread the word about your online personality and business.

Pike Place Market, localgrowth blog, Joe Garvey

What's my favorite local example of 'value-first'? Pike Place Market. The wonderful experience doesn't cost a thing.

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How to Turn Google Analytics Into Social Media Results

This post is part 4/4 of a Twitter and social media etiquette strategy. See archives for parts 1-3.

One client of mine, a speciality retailer in Bothell, has been interested in expanding their social media presence and growing the number of websites who link back to their own – an important factor in organic search engine optimization.

To do this, I simply pulled a recent Google Analytics report from their SEM campaign and flipped to the ‘Referring Sites’ section. Google makes it easy – it ranks top referring sites, or those sites who sent visitors to your own site, in order of most referrals to least. The dashboard shows overall monthly referral activity, and looks like this:

Referring Site Dashboard, Google, localgrowth blog, Joe Garvey

The Google Analytics Referring Site dashboard shows which websites linked to your own in a specific time period, and how many visitors they sent overral.

As mentioned, Google provides a list of referring sites, in order of most visitors sent to fewest. That gives us a great starting point by which to begin a little social media research:

Referring Site List, Google Analytics, localgrowth blog, Joe Garvey

Google Analytics Referring Site List shows websites who have sent links back to your own site, a great starting point for any social media strategy.

The next step is to type in a Google, Twitter and Facebook search for the represented businesses and organizations (“Weed Patch Store Twitter”, for example). A search on the above businesses and organizations resulted in a great list of active Tweeps and Facebook users. From there, you’ll be ready to link back to them and make sure you’re keeping the conversation and linking consistent.

Weed Patch on Twitter, localgrowth blog

The Weed Patch store consistently links to my client's website, so we plan to link back to them consistently, as well as engage with them on their social media networks.

This simple practice ensures you a strong place in your local social media community. It also helps you use other business’ loyal fans and followers to your own advantage. As a metric, the client and I are hoping to see increased inbound links from these referring sites – a sign that even more interested visitors are finding your information and hearing your business message. Plus, it helps answer the question, “What should I tweet/post today?” as the list provides you with content from others you should be sharing.

Ready to add a new piece to your social media strategy? Installing Google Analytics to your site is easy – just make sure you remember to install the code on every page. Google Analytics sign up can be found at this link.

Google Analytics, localgrowth blog

Sign up for Google Analytics to learn more about your website visitors, traffic and potential social media contacts and strategy ideas.

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Make It Easy for Your Customers to Buy, Or Your Competition Will

How easy is it for your current and potential customers to do business with you?

Let me tell you about my day in the city last Thursday:

As I’m new to Seattle, I’m not yet in the know about the best places to grab a good cheap lunch. So, I went to my phone. I checked out Groupon Now, a great new program (for restaurants) from the otherwise questionable daily deal service that offers discounts during specific time periods. I found a great little Mediterranean restaurant in about two minutes and bought the coupon.

Next I switched to my Google Places to find the location – took me about 30 seconds.

I picked my meal (gyro special with baklava dessert), paid the owner and enjoyed a delicious and heavily discounted lunch.

It’s important to note that the average buyer’s mentality hasn’t changed. I wanted something cheap, local and fast and I found it. And what people buy hasn’t changed either – they want to feel like they’re getting a lot of value for not a lot of money.  But how people buy has fundamentally changed even in the last year. With a total of four keystrokes on my phone and two minutes of my time I was able to find a new restaurant, pre-order my meal basically, and map out where I needed to walk.

So if you are a restaurant, how easy is it to find you? Do I need to happen upon one of your former customers who is willing to give you positive word-of-mouth, or are there other channels with which you’re able to reach me? If you’re a salon, doctor’s office, event space, etc., how quickly can I set up an appointment or buy a ticket? Do I need to call some 800 number and speak to a machine, or can I do it with a few smartphone keystrokes?

The sale will go to the business who makes it easiest on their customers to buy. The more walls you throw up, the more conversions your website will lose. The technology is there, what are you doing to harness its influence?

You’ve invested all the time, money and effort to bring them to your site – don’t lose them to comparison shopping when they’re almost at the purchase point.

Google Places Logo, localgrowth blog, Joe Garvey

Google Places is similar to Yelp. Businesses can control their own page's info and manage comments.

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