Hashtags and Ham Sandwich Marketing

ham sandwich marketingAs I was reading every possible book and resource on blogging, I came across the great title: No One Cares What You Had For Your Lunch: 100 Ideas for your blog. It turned out to be one of the most important marketing lessons, about blogging, micro-blogging (Twitter), social networking (Facebook), and business networking (LinkedIn).

Now, we add the posting of nonsense hashtags to Twitter and Facebook to a long list of pointless activities. And not just nonsense hashtags, but many, on a single post. Don’t think it looks hip or smart, momentarily, but there is no upside impact, particularly on Facebook. In fact, the reverse is true.

Each HASHTAG should have a purpose…

The essence: In all forms of advertising, marketing, social media, and networking you are vying for people’s attention within brief and/or limited time constraints. It is important for your words and images be pithy, crisp, motivational, interesting, and memorable.

To rambling about topics which don’t pass the ‘Who cares?’ test is not just a waste of a reader’s time, it increases the likelihood they will tune you out in the future.

Facebook offers many options for people to lessen your presence, including demoting you to acquaintance status or turning off the appearance of your updates in their news feed. So, with those choices (and others), to unfriend or block someone and likely offend them; you can simply silence them.

Just what is Ham Sandwich Marketing? It is my buzzword phrase, inspired by the aforementioned book. It is my notation of meaningless posts and status updates that are useless and annoying to everybody but the person who initiated them.

Example: “Just had lunch at Wolfgang Puck with Susie, Johnny, and Big Al.”

My response (Either mentally or actually, by Direct Tweet, Direct Message or Public Facebook Wall Post): “Did you have a ham sandwich?”

ham sandwichIt’s my not-so-subtle sarcastic way of nudging the poster or blogger with the subtext: “I read your item. Am I supposed to know who Susie, Johnny and Al are? Am I supposed be impressed you lunched at Wolfgang Puck. Why don’t just tell me you had a ham sandwich. That would be equally unimpressive and unnecessary?”

If you’re lunch was outstanding, take a picture of the ham sandwich. post about the freshly made Dijon mustard, the soft fresh-baked roll, and what variety of ham was involved. Then there is possibility of being entertaining. Otherwise, you’re just engaging in Ham Sandwich Marketing.

In today’s fast and furious world of communications, being boring is a big crime. Being irrelevant is a felony offense.

Don’t waste people’s time. Be interesting or be gone!

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

10 Traits of a Successful Volunteer

10 Traits of a Successful VolunteerMy friend, Darcie Swedelson (A Dazzling Day) read the recent post, Connecting Face-to-Face through Coffee and Conversation. She asked this question: “Beyond showing up, what makes a successful volunteer?”

OK, here are some of the traits of a good volunteer. In the context of this blog, we are talking about volunteerism with industry trade associations, wedding networking groups, and the like. We are not talking specifically about community service, although some of these groups do community service work.

  1. The best volunteers don’t wait to be asked. After joining an organization, they immediately attend meetings, member orientation (if offered), talk to chapter officers and senior members, and seek out the right opportunities for involvement.
  2. Ask good questions: It would be nice if leaders asked you good questions about you, but don’t wait for that, either. You know your skills and interest. By doing some investigation, you’ll be able to decide how you might best fit in.
  3. Don’t over commit: Sell raffle tickets at ONE meeting. Serve on a Project Committee, of limited length.
  4. Serve on a committee: Have the time and interest for an ongoing task, step up.
  5. Serve as an elected board member or committee chair: This is where the work increases, and your visibility goes way up.
  6. Donate your time in a way that is NOT self-promotional. Sometimes, you can do more bonding and relationship building stuffing envelopes with other members. Look for these types of participation opportunities.
  7. Make judicious donations of your product or service. With rare exception, only donate in situations that will showcase you appropriately. Don’t wait to be asked (see #1).
  8. Don’t say “No.” Say ‘”That’s really not a good fit” or “I’m not available this month, how about next month or the month after?”- All too often, people ask for donations, too close to a meeting, or they have a need to fill, but do not consider what the benefit would be for you.
  9. Confirm how you will be credited for a donation, in particular: Will it be on the website? Do you receive a certificate and verbal recognition in front of the entire group? Will you be listed in a meeting. program? Confirm those items in an email. Then reconfirm them, just prior to the meeting.
  10. Develop a pattern of involvement: If you are involved on a regular basis, your reputation as consistent volunteer and team member will be solidified.

When you do #10, you will have become a core member of the organization. People will look to you as a leader. You will have the cachet to pick up the phone and call any member to ask any question.

It’s not really hard. Just make a plan, and follow it through.

Andy Ebon - wedding marketing expert
Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Expert
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Technology: it’s how you use it

Just finished attending, and speaking at, DJ Think Tank. This is an elite group of entertainment companies that gather, twice yearly. I have been working with the group since its inception in 2003, and contributing my rare blend of DJ industry experience and up-to-date marketing experience.

I was slotted for a 90-minute catch-all presentation of marketing and technology. Some reminder; but mostly solid explanation of recent developments, and some unveiled of the latest in technology, marketing, and software.

In preparing the presentation, I had a hunch about the iPad and how to cover it in this presentation (I have not bought mine, yet, for a variety of reasons that are not particularly important to this point. I do expect to buy one in the next couple of months).

First, it was interesting to look around the room and see what laptops people were using. Apple has a market share of 10% or less in laptops. In this room, one could see MacBooks in the hands of about 60% of the attendees. That was unusual.

My slide showed a handful of iPads and a headline stating: It’s an iPad world. I told a few stories abut what I have read and observed, and conversations I’ve had recently, with people who have been using an iPad.

Then, I asked for a show of hands: How many people own an iPad? Only about five hands went up. Inside, I was disappointed and thought, for a moment, that the next 30 minutes might go ‘in the tank.’ Not so fast my friend.

I asked the iPad owners how they were using their tech-toy in their businesses and room fairly exploded with ideas and applications. For reasons of confidentiality, I am not going to share all their brilliant ideas, but I am going to share two items that were very instructive.

1) I asked my friend, Ron, to share his experience about his iPad and his 7-year old. Ron has had his iPad for about 10 days. After having it just a few minutes, he put it in the hands of his daughter, and she went to work. She turned to him and asked, “Can I download this game…. it’s free..”

“How did you know about where to get the games?” he asked. “They show it on the commercials, Daddy.”

So much for that mystery. Within minutes, this youngster was using the iPad without hesitation or instruction. Shockingly intuitive.

2) At the end of 30 minutes of iPad sharing and  brainstorming, I asked the BIG QUESTION. “After this brief discussion about actual and possible uses of the iPad, by show of hands, how many expect to buy at least one iPad in the near future?” In a split second, the hands of three-quarters of the room shot up.

Owning a piece of new technology is not the point. The point is understanding the various ways one can utilize it to stand out and garner a competitive edge.

Use technology with purpose!

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Marketing is EVERYTHING the customer sees and hears

marketing is everythingI’m midway through a 10-day, 9-night trip, with stops in 4 cities and 3 states. At this midpoint, I’m spending a couple of days in an airport hotel, getting some rest, recharging my batteries and doing some work.

There aren’t many intrusions, so while it’s not terribly scenic or romantic, it’s an ideal situation to dig in for the last leg of the speaking tour.

I’ve had a pretty good experience at this hotel, but this morning, while trying to enjoy the complimentary hot breakfast, I thought my head was going to explode. It was a madhouse. Some guests, depending on their hotel book, received coupons for the free breakfast, hosted in Hourigan’s Restaurant, in the hotel.

The problem was simple. The restaurant was understaffed. Only one server, Pam, to attend to any and all patrons. They appeared understaffed in the kitchen, who were one or two steps behind. At one time or another, they ran out of hot food, milk, coffee, bread and rolls, silverware… the works.

Poor Pam was overwhelmed as hotel guests kept arriving in bunches. I’d observed the situation for long enough, picked myself up and went to the front desk. I explained the situation, rather emphatically, that Pam needed help, and it was needed NOW! The front desk attendant still didn’t quite read my urgency. I suggested that they were lucky Pam hadn’t walked off the job, and she still might. Now, I had her attention.

Marketing is everythingAbout 10 minutes later, the cavalry arrived, in the form of one, recently hired chef (I found his identity out later). Behind the kitchen area, he berated Pam about something related to the coffee. I was about to have a New York moment.

I caught his eye, and with one finger (my index figure), I waived him over to my table. Mr. Clueless asked if he could clear my cereal bowl. No, I suggested he shut up and listen. Now, he was fully engaged.

Essentially, I told him that berating Pam, under these circumstances, was completely inappropriate. He apologized that I had overheard it. I explained, sharply, that what I heard was not the point.

The point was that he had been called in to assist, not supervise. The room was understaffed, and Pam was doing the best she could, in an impossible situation. He needed to bus tables, stock the buffet or wash dishes. Whatever Pam wanted him to do, was what he should be doing. He should be thanking her up and down for having to deal with this untenable situation, and knock off the superiority act.

He thanked me for the attitude adjustment, and I departed.

At dinner, I found the actual restaurant manager, and made sure she had the first hand story, for the record. Maybe I felt the need to insert myself is because I live in Las Vegas and see working stiffs, every day, being overwhelmed by under-staffing. Big corporate management stupidity is evident in too many places.

Most people don’t take the time to analyze why they received bad service. I do.

Avoidable problems should be…well…. avoided. Hopefully, I had some small lasting impact on the restaurant scene, at the Ramada Milwaukee Airport.

Berating an employee, in private, or worse, in public, is not management. It’s stupidity. When a customer observes it, it’s marketing…. of the worst kind.

Care to share your observations?

Andy Ebon
The Wedding Marketing Authority