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Tracey Parsons

An Open Letter to Customers from The Brands

by · December 18, 2014

Dear Customer,

So glad you like the stuff! We do make great toothpaste and laundry detergent and we really appreciate your loyalty. We’re really glad the food is good and the car works well. But, we’re worried about you. The fact is, we don’t know why you buy, and we don’t know what the triggers are. We would love to figure that out.

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An Open Letter to Brands from Your Customer

by · December 17, 2014

Dear Brands,

Thanks so much for the amazing products and services. I really like my toothpaste and my laundry detergent. So much so, I will not buy anything else and there is no coupon in the world that will make me switch. Unless my husband shops; then, all bets are off! Sorry about that, he loves him some end caps! I also really appreciate the food that ends up on my table. Especially when I do a good job cooking it; it’s delicious. Same as above, I will always buy the same brand of hot dogs and corn chips because, well, they are delicious! Oh and about that car, works great, thanks so much. Totally gets me where I am going with very limited problems. “The White Whale”, as I call her, is a great car that fits my family and a ton of other stuff. And when someone else is using the car, that car-sharing service totally kicks ass. Love it all.

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Mission-driven business will always win

by · December 4, 2014

Last month an article was written and widely circulated about a former employer of mine, the who is not important, what was important was the assertion that they lost their mojo because they shifted focus from being all about the “mission” to maximizing shareholder value. These types of articles always cause me to pause because the downward spiral of a business is not one decision, but a series of decisions. But, the fact remains when you stop delivering value to your customers; you are exponentially less likely to follow a growth trajectory.

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Listening And Measurement Is Useless Without Action

by · November 6, 2014

The past few weeks, I have been writing about listening and measuring to learn what matters most to your audience. I’ve taken a look at my own startup CredHive.com as well as served as an active advocate for my clients about listening deeply to the customer conversation in your category. I am wildly passionate about connecting customers to brands and to do this, I think it is really important to know what customers want. To understand what a customer wants means you need to listen to understand and really know your metrics.

The net of both of these posts (and many of my earlier posts) are about advancing the customer relationship and adding value to the audience’s day. The goal of course is to help your brand stand out in the social and digital landscape by really studying what’s working, what’s not and where any existing white space may live. I think measurement and listening are incredibly efficient ways to do all of these things.

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Enough with Busy!

by · October 29, 2014

Busy, busy, busy. Aren’t we all so charming with how very busy we are? It feels like we are all competing over who’s the busiest. Don’t believe me, just look at your social feeds. Everyone is really, really busy (of course not too busy to take the 2 minutes to update their status with how busy they are, but whatever) We are all just so darned busy with work, and our families, kids sports, events, holidays, special projects and hobbies… Just. So. Busy. And we just keep adding things to our to-do list to be busy with little thought being placed on if we should add these things to the list. We just are mindlessly adding tasks. It’s as if busy has become a sport these days and frankly, there are no winners.

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Getting Past the Social Echo

by · October 20, 2014

Listening is an important part of social strategy. It is important to know what’s being said about your brand where and by whom. I would argue that it is more important to listen to the conversations in your category or industry. In the past, I have called this delineation listening to respond (branded listening) and listening to understand (category listening). And here’s the big problem, when you are listening to just your brand, all you can hear is the echo of your own voice. Brands are creating more and more content each day and this content is being shared on their social channels and it is not following the 80/20 rule, so, the conversation is usually about you. And when you listen to respond, you will see your word clouds be, well, all about YOU. Which doesn’t tell you a whole heaping lot about the conversation. You might see that your brand or product is being mentioned frequently in social channels. And you might be cheering about that, until you see that the mentions are coming from YOU.

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Love & Measurement: A Startup Case Study

by · October 14, 2014

Measurement scares the snot out of a lot of marketers. I’ve written about it here and here, in case you forgot. Sometimes is scares me, too. The thing about tracking things is you never know what you’re going to see. It’s like stepping on a scale. When you know it is going to be bad, you won’t look at it. When you know you’re doing awesome, you can’t wait to peek.

But, sometimes, you’re not sure how you’re doing. On those days, it just feels better to guess. Because guessing means you can’t see the holes in your product or campaign’s funnel. And that means you don’t have to actually DO anything about it. But then you think better of it and put on your brave pants and look, for the stuff you can cheer about as well as the areas that offer you an opportunity to improve and grow. You know, like I did recently. Like many of you reading this, I have a passion project. And after months of development and bootstrapped marketing, it was time to really look at the data. And I admit I was pretty scared to look.

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Focusing to level up

by · September 18, 2014

Fall for me is more of a new year. I have always been mentally on a school calendar. Fall means taking a look at things anew. I don’t make many New Year’s Resolutions because I do most of my assessments in the fall at back-to-school time. And in the spirit of leaves turning, let’s take a look at where we are to start thinking about where we can go next.

How can we graduate from where we are to get closer to where we want to be?

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Is Fun Content Over-rated?

by · September 11, 2014

So your friend would be Bender if he were in the Breakfast Club according to BuzzFeed. How about that? And people are clicking all over that stuff and sharing liberally. Someone somewhere is getting your feed’s attention and it wasn’t you. You know why? Apparently that stuff is fun. Not for me, per se, but for the gaggle of people I know on Facebook it must be the most fun thing in the world. And guess what, people like fun. At first, I thought this was all about the fun, but then I realized, it is exactly the type of fun people like. They like fun that is all about them.

So, if you can make your content fun and totally focused on the id and ego of the reader…#win. But what if your brand isn’t inherently fun? There are a ton of products and services in the world that are not at all fun, no matter what. What if you’re a bank or a cable company or other utility? No offense banks and cable companies, but it is the rare individual who views your products and services as “fun”. Yes, cable companies provide entertainment, and banks can help you buy something fun like a motorcycle, but they are merely the conduits to fun. They aren’t the backbone of fun.

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About Tracey Parsons

Tracey Parsons

Since 1995, Tracey has been developing digital solutions. Currently SME Digital’s lead strategist, she continues to be dedicated to bringing cutting edge, thoughtful and measurable solutions to marketers. With more than 15 years in digital, Tracey not only brings vision, but the tools and strategies to execute against complex next generation concepts. She has worked with some of the world’s most recognized brands to develop and devise cutting-edge social, mobile and digital marketing practices.

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