Friday, December 10, 2010

What people like, or don't like, about social media

According to a recent survey by Cone Inc., as reported by Mark Dolliver of Adweek, the average social media consumer engages with brands for the following reasons (in order of influence):
• 77% Offered Incentives (Coupons, Discounts, etc.)
• 46% Solved a Problem
• 39% Solicited Feedback (Surveys, Research, etc.)
• 28% Entertain the Consumer
• 21% Market to the Consumer (Point per Click)

With a positive brand experience, 59% of social media consumers are more likely to buy a brand they engage with. That's a pretty large pay-off!

On the flip side, social media can also have the opposite affect and turn consumers OFF to your brand. Here are the three biggest mistakes to avoid:
• Don’t Act Irresponsibly Toward Consumers
• Don’t Over-Communicate or you will wind up in the Spam Filter
• Don’t Become Irrelevant by over-selling your product/service or by rambling on about things that are of little or no importance.

With studies suggesting the average marketing value of every Facebook “Like” at $130 plus, there’s a lot to gain here. And a lot to lose.

So engage, entertain, become a trusted resource, provide value, have fun ... and reap the benefits of social media!

June Bisel

Partner, BBG&G Advertising

Monday, November 22, 2010

Our Message Needs to Change as our Audience Changes

It's no big secret that women are now the major decision makers when it comes to consumer products. And, as marketers, we need to learn to change the way we talk in order to connect with our consumer.

I know I pick on local auto dealers regularly, but I just can't help myself. Once again, they are the perfect example of some very terrible advertising. All the screaming and yelling on the radio. The print ads that are busy, loud, and stressful. When are they going to realize that this just doesn't work anymore?

With 80% of consumer spending being made by women, the businesses that speak in a way that would appeal to women will be the businesses that suddenly find themselves ahead of their competition.

June Bisel
Partner, BBG&G Advertising

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Marketing to Baby Boomers

At the Elant breakfast last week, author Matt Thornhill spoke to us about the impact the baby boomer generation is having on various industries, and in particular on the healthcare industry.

For those of you who are not sure who fits into the baby boomer category, anyone born between the years of 1946 and 1964 are included. And, it seems that as we go through life, we have been changing all the rules as we go along. Just making up new rules to suit our fancy. In fact, one of the rules that we have changed is the fact that we really do not want to age! And in our heads, we're not. Hence the saying "50 is the new 30".

Matt's presentation was so enjoyable that I even forgot to drink my second cup of morning coffee. It sat there on the table getting cold, as I turned my back to it - really not like me at all! But Matt had us all captivated, and we laughed as we realized that the reason what he was saying was so funny was because it was so true!

I just went online and ordered his new book at Thought you might want to do the same. Should be a good read, and I know that if you are in business, chances are you are marketing to the boomers and the information in this book should be very helpful.

June Bisel

Thursday, November 11, 2010

How to use Content Campaigns to increase Conversions

As consumers spend more and more time online, businesses are looking to increasingly connect with them (and promote their products and brands) through online content campaigns.

How exactly do content campaigns work? And how are consumers interacting and sharing this content?

Surveys show that adults consume plenty of content online and often share that content with friends and family members in the following ways:

  • Consumers who read and share online content: 75%
  • Nearly half of consumers who share on a weekly basis: 49%
  • Main route for content sharing for consumers over age 35: Email
  • Main routes for content sharing for consumers ages 18-34: Email and Facebook

For marketers to benefit from content campaigns, they need to understand how to first attract customers, and then what happens after a person receives a shared content item.

If you want people to read and share your content, make sure it's interesting, useful, educational, or amusing. This will not only capture their attention, but prompt them to pass it along. For all surveyed populations, email (86%) leads as the chief form of content sharing while Facebook comes in second (49%). Consumers share content because they find it interesting (45%) and believe their friends and family will have a similar reaction.

Generally, when consumers receive information via social network channels like Tell-a-Friend or Twitter, click-through rates tend to be higher than for email. However, it's important to remember that emails contain all of the information necessary to understand a discounted offer while a Twitter user must click through to get this information. It's also important to know that conversions, the goal of an online marketing campaign, are higher for email shares than for shares that stem from social networks. If you really want to measure the return on investment of a content campaign, then look at conversions.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Press Releases and the Media Attention They Bring... Or NOT

Do you have pie-in-the-sky expectations of what a little PR can do? Does this sound like something that might come out of your mouth? "I'm looking for someone to send out a press release announcing my new product to every media contact in the nation. All I need to do is get on the Today Show or Oprah and this product will take off like gang-busters."

Aaaah, if it were only that easy.

Similarly, many people just don't really understand that editors won't publish press releases that aren't of particular interest to their readership.

If you have a story that you think people will truly be interested in, you will need to write a press release that is short, concise, and to the point. Make sure your email subject line gives the proper information to catch the editor's attention. And only send to the publications that have a particular interest in your production, service, or cause.

Editors receive hundreds, even thousands, of emails everyday. Make them want to open yours, and then glad that they did. Don't waste their time.

Then, after you send the release.... follow up.... follow up .... follow up.

If you repeatedly miss opportunities to send out press releases about your business, you are missing a valuable opportunity. PR is time-consuming and when your business is on the line, it's often best to hire a professional who has on-staff copywriters and relationships with the media.

If you're a small business, or a non-profit who is going it on their own.... Good luck! And keep these tips in mind.


Monday, September 20, 2010

To Tweet or Not to Tweet

Twitter. Facebook. Social media. Terms once banter among teenagers, techies, and Internet fanatics are suddenly making their way into the board room. Everywhere you look – on business cards, letterhead, even email signatures – someone is asking that you follow them or their business on Twitter, and join their Facebook page.

Why? read more

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sunset Cruise on Classic Harbour's 80' Schooner

Last night my boyfriend Vinny and I had the opportunity to sail aboard 'The Adirondack', an 80' Schooner that is a part of the Classic Harbour Line at Chelsea Pier. Thanks Meghan!

We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful evening! The sunset was stunning and since it's been getting darker a bit earlier lately (something I've been regularly complaining about until last night) we had the opportunity to enjoy the Manhattan skyline from the Hudson as the sun set and the lights illuminated the sky.

Captain Jim, a native New Yorker, could answer any question we threw his way, and has spent his life sailing. Once the sails were up, the crew kept busy getting everyone drinks throughout the cruise. Wine, beer, soda and water were all available throughout the evening. And although they didn't serve food on this particular cruise, you could bring a bag lunch, or snacks. Many people brought cheese and crackers, grapes, hummus, etc.

Everyone on our cruise were adults - I would guess the range is age was from about 20-60. The thing that struck me as SO funny was that all the "under 40s" sat around outer edge of the boat in what I consider the really "cool" seats. I always envisioned I would sit there. But, as we boarded the boat, I found myself immediately heading for the "safer" seats with full backs to them. And about halfway through the cruise, as I was observing everyone on the boat having such a great time, I realized that the more comfortable, "safe" seats with backs were being used by those of us who are a bit more mature, and I thought "when did I become this person who chooses back support over doing something really cool?" LOL!

But, back- support or no back-support, this experience was Really Cool! I can't imagine one person on that boat not considering for at least one minute how very lucky they were to be there.

For those interested in taking a cruise for themselves, contact Classic Harbour Line. Their web site is Tell them June sent you - and enjoy!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Good, Clean, Country Fun at the Dutchess County Fair

As I sat at the Joe Nichols concert Saturday night at the Dutchess County Fair, I took the time between entertainers to just look around me and take everything in... the lights, the sounds, the people, the animals, the smell of that food I just love and only allow myself to have on special nights like this, the stables and horse paddocks to my right. Two young ladies had brought their horses out for some late-night grazing and a run around the field.

Just being there makes me happy. And after sitting in hours of traffic to get there, I didn't think being happy would be possible. I was pretty cranky by the time I parked my car, but my mood changed pretty quickly as I walked through the main gate and entered the fair. As I sat on the Grandstand taking everything in, I couldn't imagine anywhere else I would rather be. And I couldn't help but think how very lucky we are, here in the Hudson Valley, to have such a great county fair every August.

My family and close friends actually plan our vacations around the fair, because none of us want to miss it. So if you've never gone, or haven't been there lately, make sure you mark your calendars for next year. Bring your family and your friends and have a day of good, clean, country fun at the Dutchess County Fair!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

6th Annual heirloom Tomato and Music Fest
W. Rogowski Farm plans biggest tomato celebration ever on the Black Dirt

Everyone will be seeing red, and tasting it too, at the 6th Annual Heirloom Tomato and Music Festival on the W. Rogowski Farm on Glenwood Road in Pine Island on Sunday, August 22nd. "We're planning a bumper crop of family fun from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.," says Cheryl Rogowski, 2nd generation farmer at the Rogowski's Pine Island farm in the Black Dirt region.

Since the farm grows over 250 varieties of produce each season, crop-tasting will be high on the menu with the heirloom tomato in the spotlight as the special of the day. Tomatoes will be a main ingredient, but not the only one, in the culinary demonstrations taking place throughout the festival.

No matter how you slice it, this celebration will include far more than just pleasures of the palette alone. Cheryl says there will also be arts and handcrafts exhibits, agricultural workshops, raffles for baskets and prizes along with other entertainment like pony rides and face painting.

Musical accompaniments for the festivities will include performances by local musicians, such as Marty Koppel, Mike Sinatra, Project Mercury and Uncle Shoehorn. The Black Dirt Dance Company is planning a special performance.

Tickets are $3 for adults (two adults for $5). There is no admission charge for children under 15 years. Each ticket entitles the bearer to a free raffle ticket and a tomato tasting.

“We live in a rural community, but many people aren’t familiar with their local farms or with farming practices in general,” says Cheryl. “This is a chance to understand what goes into growing our food and why it makes a difference to buy locally,” she adds.

The W. Rogowski Farm is family-operated and proudly shares old-fashioned family values. The family also is progressive, utilizing ecologically friendly and environmentally sound practices to provide healthy, wholesome, nutritious food to the Hudson Valley and beyond.

For more information, contact Deborah Garry at 845.695.1880, or the W. Rogowski Farm at 845.258.4574.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Working with people you like

We hear it time and again, business is all about relationships. People work with people they like. This could not be more true in our business. As important as it is for our clients to know that we are marketing savvy, and will spend their advertising dollars wisely, it is also very important that they genuinely like us -- that our personalities complement each other.

It is also much easier (and rewarding) to do great work for clients or customers that you really like. People who treat their staff and their customers with respect. People who treat you with respect. Honest, hard-working people.

I am happy to say that I work with lots of those types of people. I brag about my clients all the time, because I believe in what they do, I know they really care about doing the best job that they can, and I know that they are honest, good people. That being said, I must take this opportunity to brag about Homewood Suites by Hilton at Newburgh's Stewart Airport . I have never seen a hotel that is more devoted to customer service and to making everyone feel so welcome and comfortable. They strive every day to out-do themselves. Their recent Quality Assurance rating of 97.3 from Hilton is what has inspired me to write this blog.

There are people and companies out there who are in it just for the money. Unfortunately, it is those types of companies that make us wary in business dealings. So, when we do find businesses that are exceptional in their offerings and in their character, we should take the time to tell others and to brag about them.

People DO like working with people they like. And they also are more likely to work with someone if they come through a referral.

So, take some time today, and brag about someone you enjoy working with. Someone who is honest, hard-working, and you know will do a great job. Hopefully, they will return the favor some day.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Diversity in Advertising

Recently an article in the Times Herald Record noted how local business owners in Ulster County were calling for a change in direction in how their county's tourism dollars were being spent. Cannot say I blame them in asking for diversity – funneling all your funds into one media is rarely a good idea.

Tourism Marketing, like just about every other industry, requires an integrated approach. Travelers and tourism consumers aggregate their information from multiple channels – both online and offline. And though our Hudson Valley depends heavily on revenue generated by out-of-towners, we can't forget our local audiences, whose dollars help drive and support the $46 billion spent state-wide in 2009, the $13 billion generated in state and local taxes, or the 660,000 direct industry jobs sustained by visitors to the state.

Given that our local counties are working within budgets of varying sizes, some Hudson Valley tourism offices may be in a better position than others to implement all the tactics mentioned below. But with judicious planning, a strong in-house team, and the support of an experienced agency resource, most should be able to plan and put into practice an integrated program.

How to build a solid Tourism Marketing Toolbox
  • Leverage Public Relations for cost efficiency.
- amplify your print, radio, TV, and internet presence
  • Integrate Social Media.
  • Use the web wisely.
– advertise online, selectively
– have great content on your site
– make it easy for people to find the information they need, plan a trip, take advantage of a package, and share about their experiences
  • Package seasonal attractions and build partnerships to maximize promotional opportunities.
  • Utilize FAM tours to drive group and international tour business, and publicity.
  • Integrate local, regional, and national high impact media. You can't be everywhere, so make where you are count.
  • If you can, participate in key trade shows. Partner up to save money.
  • Do not be afraid to think outside the box.
If you would like to hear more about our ideas for marketing your tourism venue or destination, give us a call! We would be happy to help. 845-695-1880

Grant Opportunities for Ag Marketing

Last week, BBGG coordinated an Information Meeting to facilitate an opportunity for Valley farmers and agricultural producers to learn more about the funding opportunities available through the USDA Value-Added Grant (VAG) program. We all gathered at the offices of Dutchess County  Tourism, generously offered for use by Mary Kay Vrba, Director.

The USDA VAG program provides funding for the "soft" costs associated with marketing agricultural products through Planning and Working Capital Grants.

Planning Grants can be used to develop business operating plans, develop marketing plans, and obtain legal advice and assistance related to the proposed venture.

Working Capital Grants can be used to implement a marketing program, pay for advertising, web site design, packaging design, or pay operating costs (such as salaries, supplies and supplemental raw product costs) of the value-added enterprise.

Gary Pereira of Rural Development, USDA, presented on the requirements of the program and the basics of the application process to those attending.

In a nut shell, these USDA grants are appropriate for:
- bringing new products to market, or
- bringing existing products to a new market

Gary explained that agricultural products qualify as value-added if they:
- have experienced a change in physical state – such as dicing tomatoes, processing milk into cheese or grapes into wine.
- are produced in a way that enhances their value – organic production, grass-fed beef, eggs and meat from free-range chickens.
- are locally-produced or raised and marketed within 400 miles.

Although held in Dutchess, farmers at the meeting came from Orange, Columbia, Ulster, and Dutchess Counties. Interest was high, and Gary emphasized the importance of starting early on the application process. It will take time, he counseled, and he advised on beginning the process as soon as possible. FarmNet, the Cornell Cooperative Extension, and the Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation all have programs and services in place to assist producers in putting together the business plans and feasibility studies necessary to pursue a Working Capital Grant.

For our part, we'll continue to connect farmers and producers with the USDA and other services that can help them, and facilitate as many Hudson  Valley farmers as possible to pursue these grants. We can assist in writing the narrative piece of the application.

Please feel free to contact me, Deborah Garry, at 695-1880, or Gary Pereira directly at (315)-736-3316, x129

Monday, April 26, 2010

In Advertising, We Cannot Afford to Assume Anything

Recently, I was presenting at a Marketing Conference for the local Equine Industry. We were discussing the importance of clear communication, when one of the attendees mentioned that for years she has had a sign out on the street stating simply “Lessons”.

Recently, she replaced the sign with a new sign that reads “Riding Lessons”. To her surprise, a neighbor said to her “I never knew you gave riding lessons.”

Wow, what a HUGE lesson to the marketer in each of us.

So often, we assume that people will know what we are selling and we leave out really important information. We talk in our industry lingo. We use abbreviations and acronyms. What we fail to do is to put ourselves in the place of our audience and realize that they don’t necessarily know everything that we know about our product or service.

Now lets get back to the horse farm sign. We now know they offer riding lessons, but I can’t help but wonder what type of riding lessons are available. Do they teach english or western riding? Can I learn how to jump? Or maybe I would rather learn how to do barrel racing like in the rodeo. Do they have horses there that I can ride, or do I need my own horse? Do they teach beginners or advanced? They are still assuming a lot. Maybe they are assuming that I will just stop by and ask all these questions … but I’m a pretty busy person. And, I’m not even sure it would be OK to just stop by.

The reaction of the horse farm owner was “We are a horse farm, what kind of lessons did she think we give?” The fact is, she probably just didn’t think. Chances are, she did not care enough to put much thought into it. People are bombarded by marketing messages every day, at every turn. Most of them, we do not even notice. It is the job of the marketer to provide information in a manner that is appealing, that is easy to understand, and that is informative.

Do not waste your money on marketing messages that are ineffective. Put yourself into the shoes of your audience. Give them the information they need. Give them a reason to choose you! Do not assume they know why they should.

June Bisel

BBG&G Advertising, Inc.

Visit us on twitter at BBGGadv

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Coffee Lovers Take Small Steps to Make a Big Difference

Did you see the recent article (February 1) in the Hudson Valley Business Journal - - titled "Coffee that's for the Birds"? Up to a few months ago, I had never heard of Birds & Beans coffee, or even knew what "Bird Friendly" certification meant. I had no idea that rainforests are being cleared to grow coffee.

Who knew that what coffee I drink can make such a difference to the songbirds I love to watch in my gardens and at my bird feeders every spring and summer? In fact, on warm summer mornings, I love sitting out on my deck - cup of coffee in hand - listening to the birds and enjoying the peacefulness of the morning.

Bird Friendly® coffee, I have recently learned, protects our North American songbirds. Grown on family farms, under the most stringent environmental requirements, Birds & Beans coffee is 100% shade-grown, protecting and providing 92% of the rainforest habitat. It is also 100% organic, Fair Trade and/or Rainforest Alliance. Other coffees labeled shade-grown, by the way, may contain as little as 30% shade-grown beans. Only Bird Friendly® coffee is 100% shade-grown.

As it turns out, the birds I love to watch in the spring and summer spend their winters in Latin and South America – coffee country. If they find no habitat down there, or habitat that is sub-par, they may not be able to make the 3,000 - 6,000 mile trip back up north. We have already lost about 40% of our songbird population over the last 30-40 years.

By making educated and conscientious choices, we can make a difference. We are increasingly seeing the difference that building green, recycling, using alternative energy, as well as using environmentally friendly cleaners can make. That list could go on and on. So, here's another way we can make a minor change that could make a big difference in the future.

Birds & Beans coffee can be found at Nature's Pantry in Newburgh and Fishkill, the Cornwall Community Co-op, Near & Natural Cafe in Bedford Village, Otto's Market in Germantown. Or you can order direct online at

My friend has formed a buying group. A number of us order every month and share the flat shipping charges, so shipping comes down to pennies per bag. Contact me if you're interested.

June Bisel
BBG&G Advertising
(845) 695-1880

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Targeting the Bridal Market

I just returned from the Bridal Expo at Anthonys Pier Nine in Newburgh and have to say I was a bit disappointed. I hate to be negative, but I just have to share a couple of things that I think we can all learn from.

If you are in the market for a DJ, then the Expo was the place to be. With 81 vendors there, 21 of them were DJs and 15 of them were photographers! That really does not leave much room for variety in other areas.

The other thing that was disappointing was the Fashion Show, which was put on by Bella Couture in Newburgh (one of only two bridal shops I saw there). A little variety would have been nice. My daughter and I actually left after about 10 or 15 minutes because every single gown looked the same ... literally. Now, I know that strapless gowns are really in fashion now, but certainly there must be some variety ... no?

If I had to pick "Best in Show", I would vote for Ranita Productions of Chester. While I could not tell you exactly every service they provide (even from looking at their brochure), I can tell you that their display was beautiful and that they would bring a uniqueness to every wedding. They are not a florist, but work with you to create table displays that are personalized for each couple. They even had a unique way of displaying the table seating chart. If I were to get married, Annabelle would be one of the first people I would call to help set the stage for a beautiful and special day.

Another cool thing, if you are a bride or wedding planner looking for elegant accommodations and safe travel for your guests, Homewood Suites/Newburgh and West Point Tours have a package that is perfect. If you call them at 845.567.2700, they will customize a package just for you!

The recession has had an impact on wedding planning. Heck, the recession has had an impact on almost every industry. But if your business in any way caters to the bridal market, this is a marketing investment you should have made. This was your chance to spend an entire day in front of your target market. Invest some money in marketing materials to hand out - it doesn't have to be a huge investment. Create a display that is eye-catching. Have personable, knowledgeable people working the show. Hold a raffle so you can collect names, addresses, and email addresses. Then continue your investment and make sure the time is taken to follow up with the attendees. If you make the investment of time and money, it will pay off. Trade shows are still a very effective form of marketing, especially a very localized, targeted trade show like the Bridal Expo.

If your business can benefit by marketing to brides and wedding planners, and you are located in Orange County or the Hudson Valley, make sure you have a presence at next year's Bridal Expo. The brides will be looking for you!

June Bisel
BBG&G Advertising and Public Relations

Monday, February 1, 2010

A Lesson to be Learned

As a marketing person, sometimes I feel like I am repeating the same messages over and over. And, each time, I try to communicate in a different manner, say it in a different way -- all in an effort to get my messages across about the importance of customer service, going above and beyond what is expected, creating a strong brand and living up to it, building strong working relationships with other local companies (sometimes even those who you feel may be your competitors).

While many companies do a few of these things, very few do all of them. So, when I see a company that is doing everything right, I cannot help but applaud.

I spent last night at Homewood Suites by Hilton over at Stewart Airport. The hotel is beautiful. Just a few years old, and really designed well. We stayed in a one bedroom suite, and after being there about a half an hour, we were joking about selling our house and moving in.

But all joking aside, the place is just great. All the comforts of home, without the hassles of home. The staff were so friendly and helpful, you felt like you were coming home to family -- well, the kind of family you would want to come home to :)

The artwork throughout the hotel was purchased from local artists. From speaking with the sales staff, we learned that they shop locally whenever possible. The management is amazingly savvy when it comes to marketing and building win/win relationships.

Carrying the name Hilton brings with it certain expectations. The parent company has created a strong brand that stands for quality. We all know that sometimes these expectations are not met and we are disappointed. That happened to me about ten years ago with another hotel chain (who's name I will withhold - not sure why). But, that was certainly not the case this time.

In fact, our stay at Homewood Suites in Newburgh, NY strengthened my loyalty to the Hilton brand. It was more than I expected. We're talking about making this a tradition. And, we are making reservations at the Homewood Suites down in Florida for our vacation next month.

Now, there's a company that is doing everything right. That's what branding is all about -- carrying that brand through to everything you do.

Kudos to Homewood Suites, Newburgh!

June Bisel
BBG&G Advertising, Inc.

Friday, January 29, 2010

New Media: Changing What Consumers Want

New media, such as Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Flickr, YouTube, online games, and mobile devices, along with web sites and email, has enabled consumers to have a voice more than ever before and to feel that they have an effect on business and corporate responsibility. In fact, according to the 2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study, an online survey by Opinion Research Corporation, 62% of users polled believe they can influence business decisions by voicing their opinions online.

Consumers are using new media to research products and the corporations that make those products, and are making buying decisions based on what they read. Positive information leads to sales, while negative information leads to consumers switching brands and even boycotting certain brands or products. This is particularly true of issues concerning the environment, health and wellness, safety, ethics, and human rights. It wasn’t that long ago, if you recall, that a large number of consumers were boycotting all products made in China because of the safety issues with several children’s products made there.

New media is giving consumers a voice, and a way to share information in real time.

They want to know what is in products and how they are made. They are interested in the community involvement of corporations, their philanthropy, and even in the way they treat their employees. For the most part, they trust what they are reading through new media channels and feel confident that companies who engage in conversation through new media outlets are being honest and transparent.

Companies can utilize new media to build trust with consumers, to find out what is important to them and to make changes as needed. New media is forcing corporations to be more responsible members of the community at large.

If you haven’t joined in the conversation yet, now is the time to get started. Social media should be a part of your 2010 Marketing Plan. It is expected that 59% of businesses will be adding social media to their marketing mix this year.

Once you’ve started, utilize traditional media on a regular basis to generate interest and lead consumers to the online conversation. Then, keep them engaged.

June Bisel
BBG&G Advertising, Inc.