Category Archives: small business

Being Dazzled by Zazzle and What Brown Did For Me

I admit I’m like the plumber with leaks but, unfortunately sometimes we marketing folks don’t have time to tend to their own chores.   It’s the old “do as I say, not as I do” adage.

But, if you’ve dropped by when I HAVE taken the time to write, you know that I am B-I-G on customer service.  (So much so that a recent guest blog post of mine at {grow} was centered around companies who do and don’t listen.) If you get it wrong, I will call you out and if you do it right, I will sing your praises to anyone who listens.

This is such a story. It’s a long one, but it shows amazing customer service and companies who are listening.

It is a story of a tradition, a pig and a goof.  All 3 of which belong to me.  Every Twin City SAMyear our family joins with our besties in hosting a rather large pig roast for our friends.  A few years ago we added themes and logos to the mix and this year was no exception.  A good friend of ours designed the logo, bestie cleaned it up and voila! We have the Pig in Zen 2010 look.  I go to my favorite POD (print on demand) site – Zazzle and place an order for the family to have similar (but not matching..that’s just weird) shirts. 10 days til the party.. figure no problem.

Flash forward to this past Thursday at approximately 2:20 pm – Einstein here figures it would be a good idea to check the tracking of the shirts and make sure that they were on time for delivery from our friends at UPS. And that’s when I realized that my shirts that I’d ordered for a party on Saturday were scheduled to arrive on Monday.

Oh crap.

I send a text to my husband, commiserate on Facebook and then tweet out a little vent on Twitter. Didn’t ask for help. Didn’t really complain – just frustrated at myself. Within 20 minutes, the following messages ensue:

zazzle @KristenDaukas Have you already contacted our support team about this issue?

Me: @zazzle It’s not you.. Out of your hands..I never thought it would take 10 days to get here. Only @UPS can help me now. Or Santa.

zazzle @KristenDaukas Well, it can’t hurt to try! Shoot an email w/details: http://bit.ly/11XytN

UPS @KristenDaukas Let’s see if we can help. Please send your contact info + tracking # to twitter@ups.com.

Me: @UPS You will be my hero if I get these shirts in time for my party on sat. Sending info now.  ( I scurry off to send requested info while crossing all fingers and toes.. )

What happened after that was nothing short of AMAZING customer service.  I get a phone call from Chris Coleman (@ChrisatUPS) in the Corporate Customer Relations department of UPS who listens to what happened.  He then asks if I think we can get new shirts from Zazzle printed up and shipped overnight to me – at UPS’ expense.  As much as I want the shirts and as important as they are to me, I couldn’t possibly think that UPS should take on that big of a cost. It wasn’t Twin City SAM and UPSthe fault of Zazzle or UPS that I didn’t have my shirts.. I simply hadn’t opted to have the shirts expedited to me.

Dear @UPS and @zazzle you guys rock. I hope we can rescue the package but if not, you have shown amazing #custsvc today.

But that is exactly what Chris does.  He gets in touch with Selena at Zazzle and they reprint our shirts and overnight them to me.  They end up arriving about 24 hours after I had sent the first tweet. UPS and Zazzle – if you read this – those two folks deserve some major back slapping from the powers that be. Lunch would be nice, too.

I didn’t yell. I never asked them to replace the shirts. UPS and Zazzle chose to do the right thing for their customer. I am a small business. I do 99% of my work online.. I don’t ship a lot. They really had no reason to go over and above the call of service. But they both did.

Guess who my chosen shipping provider is going to be moving forward? Guess who I will continue to use for my POD (print on demand) needs?

What Does Your Horn Sound Like?

In order to save miles on our family car, we rented a car for our recent trip to Philly over the 4th of July weekend.   At some point during the drive up, I happened to hit the horn. What came out of that car was enough to make all of  us bust out laughing (LLOL – literally laugh out loud).

It was the lamest, weakest, “tinniest” sounding horn that I have heard in my life. Ever.  I wish I could insert a sound here as opposed to a picture, but it was similar to “mmmeep-mmeep”.   If I blew that horn in downtown Philly, I would be laughed out of the city. It didn’t say  “watch out!” or “get out of my way”. It said anything but “take me seriously”. It sounded twin city sam kristen daukascheap, it sounded insincere and it sounded hollow.

Why am I telling this story?  Because lately there has been a HUGE amount of companies/agencies/consultants/GURUS rolling out social media marketing packages that are nothing short of a joke.  I’m not sure if they’re clueless of what to charge or if they’re going for the extremely budget conscious client.

I do know this.. no one is taking them seriously. These are the same folks that slap a “guru” onto their LinkedIn or Twitter profile.  I feel quite certain that once the economy turns around most likely, they won’t be around to toot that horn.  Which will leave their clients in a bit of a quandary..

I don’t aim to have a horn that sounds like a Mack Truck (although plenty would say that’s how I am but that’s another story) but I will make sure that my agency is a solid Chrysler 300.

I believe that social media and digitial marketing are just like everything else – you get what you pay for. I’m not the cheapest in town and I’m not the most expensive.  Knowing what I do for my clients, I’m hard pressed to believe that one of the discount agencies is willing to do what I do for $30 a month. I know that our area can’t carry the national average of $3,000 a month, but that’s a big gap don’t you think?

So tell me.. what’s you horn sound like?

Kristen Daukas

Twin City SAM

@TwinCitySAM

Sometimes being smaller IS better.

This is a true story..

8 years ago I worked for a company in PA that was a leader in business continuity software.  The main part of the company was well-funded, well-known with an entire marketing division.  The sales team that worked there had very few challenges in getting their story heard and ultimately, their software bought.

But there was another part of the company that wasn’t nearly as big and virtually unknown.  The sales team was much newer and smaller and given virtually nothing to work with.. just word of mouth and a marketing person.  This team had a much harder time getting their foot in the door and convincing the management teams of their prospects that they were part of a big, legitimate company and worthy of their time.twin city sam kristen daukas winston salem nc

I was part of that smaller department.  It was a tough little department.. the little engine that could.  We knew that in order to succeed, we would have to be more determined.. get creative and use every conventional and unconventional resource available to us.  (I happened to earn President’s Club that first year with the help of Twelve Horses and an amazing marketing VP who taught me a lot, but that’s another post..)

Recognize any similarities here?

You have the BIG department (traditional marketing) that is well-known, everyone is comfortable with and gets all the funding versus t the smaller, newer department (digital marketing/social media) that no one is sure what to do with, leery to give money to or thinks will succeed.

Just because something is new doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t be given a fair try. It may have to work a little bit harder .. stay past 5 and state it’s case time and time again, but rest assured.. if you hang in there and give it the time and respect that it deserves, it will eventually pay off for you.

That small department that I was part of, eventually produced almost half of the company’s revenue.   How did it happen?  It was given the time, respect and resources to allow it to grow and get out of its infancy stage. It was expected to hit a speed bump or two.. not produce big numbers immediately and acquired some bruises along the way.  But, the powers that be had faith in us and it ended up being well worth the gamble.

I think the same will happen with what we’re experiencing with social media and digital marketing. Just hang in there..stay diligent with the job you’re doing and the rewards will pay off very soon.

Be Social..

Kristen

Chief Chick

Twin City SAM

A New Beginning

Kind of weird to say that when we’re just getting ready to celebrate our 1 year anniversary but that’s what today feels like.  Today is the day that the new Twin City SAM site officially launched. Well.. a soft launch, but that’s just a minor detail.

Now the real fun begins.

We’ve spent the past year growing, learning and figuring out what we wanted to do.  We’ve added clients and friends. Tried on this hat and that.  I’m proud of what we’ve done and who we’ve become. I’m honored to have met local folks like Danielle Hatfield, Brandon Pierce, Kim Williams, Scott Dickson and Susan Morris just to name a few.  I have big hopes, dreams and goals for SAM.

I know we can make a difference one client at a time.

We won’t be a Mullen anytime soon. That’s cool with me. I like who we are and what we do.  This big, beautiful new site just reaffirms that the decision that I made last year was the right one.

Stay tuned.  We’re just getting started 😉

Kristen

Chief Chick

Twin City SAM

He Can Sell a Popsicle to an Eskimo..

There was a lot of chatter today about hiring a social media consultant.

Can we reel it back in for just a moment?  Can I jump up on my soap box for a second?

If you are a small business owner you need to check your facts. Period. Sure you may not be able to afford a big marketing house, but do you really want to cut corners and hire someone who is “just” a social media consultant?

No.

You wouldn’t take a piece of pie to Thanksgiving dinner would you? No, you’d take the whole pie.

So as you go out and RESEARCH someone to bring in to your company to help you with your marketing, PLEASE find someone who’s a marketing professional that ALSO gets Social Media. Not someone who just “does” social media.

Who is SAM and what on Earth does she have to say?

I am SAM.  I am a professional sales and marketing person who has always been passionate about small businesses and their owners.  So much in fact, that I decided to join their ranks.

I was tired of waiting for the economy to turn around.  I was tired of hearing “we love your work, but we can’t afford to hire you…even though we need you”.  I was tired of watching small businesses around me working too hard ON their business that they couldn’t work IN their business.  I was just plain tired.  You know what they say… neccesity is the mother of invention.

So here I am. I am SAM. And I am here to help you – the small business owner.

  • I will walk you thru the social marketing maze… because even though it’s “free” it’s far from free when you calculate the time investment.
  • I will (wo)man your booth at a trade show… because not everyone knows how to network at a trade show nor do they have the luxury of shutting down shop to attend for the day.
  • I will help you find the perfect graphic designer to re-brand your website.
  • I will write your blogs.
  • I will design your newsletters and send them out.
  • I will create and manage your complex database of clients.
  • I will write and distribute your press releases.
  • I will be your very own Marketing Department and you don’t even have to give me an office or coffee in the morning (unless I stop by to say hello).

Think of SAM as a Ghost.. instead of a Ghost Writer, SAM is a Ghost Marketer!

In the weeks to come, I will begin to feature a small business owner here within my blog.  How you are unique.. how you face challenges on a daily basis but more importantly, how you solve those challenges.  If you’d like to be featured in SAM’s blog, drop me a line and tell me something neat about you and your business. Or, if you have a special topic that you would like to see covered, let me know that, too!

In the meantime, I look forward to working with each of you to get your business’s name out to the wonderful people of the Triad!

Fondly,

SAM