Don Schindler

Executive Reputation Coach & Digital Marketer

Month: March 2015

It’s not “If You’ll Be Disrupted”, it’s “When You’ll Be Disrupted” – Crowd Companies at SXSW 2015


Customers don’t care about your brand if you don’t care about them.

The quote above came out of a private session with Edelman and Crowd Companies and I thought it was very appropriate to the food industry.

Many things are changing with our customers.

Are you keeping up with the changes or just wishing things would go back to what they were before?

My grandpa used to say “You can wish in one hand and spit in the other, which do you think will fill up first?” Well, it might be a little different than that but this is the G version.

Anyway, Crowd Companies with Jeremiah Owyang (you should follow him) pulled together a great lineup to speak about disruptions in their industry and how they were handling them.

Whole Foods spoke about their relationship with Instacart. – for those of you that don’t know Instacart deliveries groceries to you in an hour. Instacart was also featured in American Foods 2.0 (another session I attended).

WF was noticing more and more Instacart employees in their stores getting groceries.

This could have been seen as highly disruptive to Whole Foods – I mean, their stores are meant to attract people and keep people inside to enjoy their shopping and sampling experience (this is why they spend a lot of time on educating their employees on customer service) and clearly Instacart is taking away the customer experience.

Instead of kicking them out and banning them from the stores, Whole Foods met with Instacart and figured out how they could work together. How could they make the Instacart/Whole Foods experience like going to Whole Foods.

So they started experimenting with things like they have set up remote registers so Instacart can easily ring things up as well as putting refrigerator units near the doors so Instacart people can get things quickly and efficiently. They worked on integrating their customer service people so Instacart could answer food questions like Whole Foods does. How smart is that?

One of the speakers said, “How can we figure out how to disrupt ourselves before someone else does?

That’s important as you look at the image above with gallon jugs in the refrigerator section. The dairy industry is ripe for disruption in all aspects of farming, production, packaging and experience.

That’s why I think the Common Voice network (if you want to know more about Common Voice, just email me) along with many of our new initiatives are important to the industry overall. Common Voice brings up these kinds of questions and we work together as an entire industry to figure out solutions.

You have to anticipate where the customer is going and meet them there with the products they want at the time they want it.

The gallon jug? It’s still useful in bulk capacity for some customers but there’s a lot of other ways people could get milk or a milk beverage. But right now, there are tons of other choices and few are milk based.

Hallmark was also there presenting and they spoke of the new maker movement – where people create speciality items and sell them online for special occasions.

Instead of ignoring this new movement of creators, Hallmark embraced them and showcased their goods right alongside the standard Hallmark fare as well as brought in these artists to teach others how to make these speciality goods.

They didn’t have to do this – they could fight the good fight and keep wishing that their past customers would come back and fill the stores wanting the exact same experience in identical stores – but they did and it’s successful at getting people back in the stores.

This showcases Hallmark as an organizer of hard to find handmade goods for special occasions not just “dustables” as they referred to them. Love that term by the way.

Next up was Verizon and they spoke about their special projects in helping the auto industry use their technology to turn car ownership into car rental-ship by using their mobile devices. This from a telecom?


Finally, I’ll finish with Jeremiah’s Crowd Companies Disruption chart. He’s charting out companies that are disrupting industries and could possibly end up becoming the newest leaders in our new economy – the sharing economy.



Courtesy of Jeremiah Owyang and Crowd Companies

What do you think?

And if you think that disruption isn’t really a thing – that’s it’s still too new – consider that I used Lyft instead of traditional taxis almost the entire time I was at SXSW to get around. I was more comfortable having a stranger pick me up in their car vs. waiting on cab.


Because I love the technology. It’s shows me the driver and his car, the ratings, it tracks where they are on their way to get you, and I don’t have to use cash or credit card. And they were faster. They changed my habits and I’m happy for it.

Is ag ready for this disruption?

I think we should be thinking about how to disrupt ourselves before someone else comes along and does it. Get involved with Common Voice. It’s the smart disruptive thing to do.

Want a 13% Increase In Sales? Boost Your Word of Mouth Marketing Efforts – SXSW 2015


Great session at SXSW 2015

Another session I attended at SXSW 2015 was the landmark study of the Return on Word of Mouth (you can get the study by filling out their form) by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association.

Yes, I know this is what they do and, of course, the study was probably pushing towards a good return but I was impressed with the results and the fact they used some major companies to prove their point.

Here are the five points from the Return on Word of Mouth Study.

Word of Mouth has a 13% increase in sales.

We always knew that WOM increases sales but we really didn’t know by how much. A 13% increase is nothing to sneeze at.

Paid marketing on the other hand account for 20% in sales.

Paid marketing is everything you are doing internally – even the stuff to get your Word of Mouth going. But then consumers take care of the rest. So 27% of your sales can be attributed to paid and WOM.

Word of Mouth amplifies the effect of paid media by 15%.

The good thing here is that if you want a boost to your paid marketing you need to incorporate social media. It’s worth the time and effort considering how much you would need to pay paid efforts to get that boost.

When you break down WOM into offline and online (and most WOM is offline – estimates are around 90%), online accounts for 1/3 of the boost to sales.

That’s a great statistic for online Word of Mouth especially when it’s only 10% of overall WOM.

Finally, WOM has an immediate effect.

A common myth of word of mouth marketing is that it takes forever for you to see the effects but this study shows that WOM after two weeks of exposure to a product, offline word of mouth has 65-80% of total impact while TV ads have only a 30-60% of total impact for the same time.

So what does this mean for the dairy industry?

When it comes to product marketing, you need to be tying all paid marketing with social media to get the boost you need.

For instance, instead of laying out my traditional buys for product marketing first, I would look at how I could drive word of mouth both online and offline and then use traditional marketing/advertising to drive awareness to the word of mouth campaigns.

Normally, we use in store samples. How about instead of thinking about in-store samples, we use online store samples – can we ship to customer’s homes and then ask them to share their experience online via social networks?

Can we use our TV advertising to drive people to online sign-ups to get the product to test?

Or maybe we decide to do the in store sample. Then if they like it, we offer them the whole product if we can get them to take their picture with the product and post it online? Or write a favorable review of the experience on our website?

Traditional advertising and paid marketing is a necessity but when combined with the interaction of social, we can drive some serious ROI.

And here’s a cool infographic they put together for it.


You are wrong 50% of the time or what I learned at SXSW’s “What Marketers Can Learn From Political Campaigns”


These are some impressive results from the 2008 presidential campaign.

On my first day at SXSW, I attended “What Marketers Can Learn From Political Campaigns”.

I was thrilled to hear Rich Mintz talk again – I first met Rich at Notre Dame when he came to speak with us about Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign. Rich went over how they used their digital programs to build a very energized and active community of advocates in a short period of time and then used this community to get the president elected.

Now I don’t know where you fall in politics and frankly I really don’t care. You can check out my social media posts if you want but I never really discuss politics. To me, we get it from both parties way too much but that’s about as far I get with politics.

When it comes to how a campaign community was built and then used to activate people – I’m all in. And Blue State Digital is one of the best at doing this.

Here’s what they said the panel would be about and they didn’t disappoint.

“From the emergence of mass media via Television, political campaigns have used the medium with great effect to build belief in their candidates. From Eisenhower’s patriotic “I like Ike” campaign, to LBJ’s “Daisy Girl” commercial, campaigns used the broad appeal of television to create belief.
Today, technology has democratized conversations and put power into the hands of real people—emphasis on real.

What can Madison Avenue learn from this transformation?

In this panel, we’ll discuss how brands and marketers can adopt the road-tested tactics of successful political campaigns, including smart data segmentation, rapid response, emotional storytelling, and influencer engagement. By moving supporters up the ladder of engagement and asking them to take more and more meaningful actions on behalf of the things they care about, brands can create a community of advocates prepared to act on their behalf anytime, anywhere.
Presented By Team Detroit.”

Here’s who was on the panel. You should definitely think about following these smart people.

David Murphy – President Team Detroit
Michelle Mullineaux – VP of Marketing, Blue State Digital
Peter Bouchard – Director of Media, Civis Analytics
Rich Mintz – Executive VP, Blue State Digital


Here are my key takeaways from the panel that could help the dairy industry as it works to build advocates via their farmers, industry professionals and our wonderful customers.

1. You need to have the big data captured with the proper tools then turned into smart data to be able to adjust with the speed of campaign.

In order words, you need to make sure you have the proper infrastructure in place. Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Email, Social Media, Advocacy specific tools all connected together then tie this to your listening and analytics tools so the big data turns into smart data.

This is a big change for the industry who has traditionally allowed other partners within the industry (mainly retailers and some processors) to have those trusted relationships with customers. We need to be connecting directly and engaging as well.

Because with data today, everything is knowable and the data and analytics of it can create a culture of curiosity in an organization.

2. SPEED and OPPORTUNITY are everything to a campaign.

Continue reading

What to do when a friend turns into a troll


She said she was going to tell your dad!

A friend of mine asked me what I would do when they came across someone hating on social media (not hating social media but being mean to someone online).

First, I hate that crap. There’s really no reason to not be decent to everyone. Even if they are being mean to you, take the high road or just laugh it off. Nothing upsets a troll more than if you just don’t care.

But I wanted to give my friend some practical advice.

So what do you do when you come across someone going off on another person online.

1. First thing first. Remember that you are not the decency police on the Internet. Unfortunately this type of thing happens and you can’t control the actions of others. If you insert yourself into the conversation in a you-can’t-do-that tone, you’ll likely get both of the people upset with you.

2. If you have a relationship with the person spewing the hatred, then feel free to reach out as a friend privately and speak to them about how others might see their attack or hate post. Is this something you want others to think when they think of you?

3. If you don’t know the person, check for a friend in common then you might want to ask them (not point it out) about the post in question. Something like “wow, I’ve never seen them post like this. Are they ok?”

4. If the attacks are personal and getting heated to the point where it could turn into something violent, then don’t hesitate to report the issue to the social network. But I see this as only a last resort.

Hope this helps.

How to fix a high bounce rate on your website


People that bounce your website consider it a fail – like this.

If you have a website, you have a bounce rate. It’s inevitable that someone will find your page through a search, click the link, read the content and decide this wasn’t what they were looking for.  Instead of clicking anything on your website, they will back out, close the window or click on a link that leads to another website that is on your website.


My bounce rate for the year

This is a bounce. And if you have Google Analytics running on your website, Google will let you know how many times this happens to your website.

But Google is also watching from the search engine side of the business and if you get too high of a bounce rate for a certain keyword, they won’t be showing your website for that keyword much longer.

So what can cause a high bounce rate?

1. Technical Issues

Slow page load times – if your website takes longer than 3 seconds to load (and even 3 seconds is pushing it), then the bounce rate is gonna go up. People don’t have time to wait on your big image carousel (hate those things) or all those cool widgets from Facebook and Twitter that display your content.

If you want to see how fast your page loads, use GTmetrix or Pingdom and it will tell you what is taking too long.

Not being Mobile First – When it comes to where the web is going, mobile is leading the charge. There are more mobile phones than toothbrushes and it’s how the majority of us access the web, read our email and play games.

So if you website isn’t mobile-optimized (which means that it can function for the user on a mobile phone – most relevant content for a mobile user is easy to find and operate with a thumb) and responsively designed (one website that shifts size and content depending on the device accessing it) then you are going to have a high bounce rate for mobile and tablets.

Cheap crappy hosting – maybe you have a website and you decided to go with the lowest possible payment (Web Hosting for only $1.99 a month). Even with net neutrality, a crappy provider could put your website with a few hundred other small websites on one web server without a load balancer and your website gets punished for slow load times.

Loading popups – now don’t get me wrong, I’m all for an email capture pop-up after the user has been on the page for a while. But if your email capture pop-up launches the minute someone arrives at the website, that’s annoying and it can slow down the website load time.

2. Website Content

Low Quality Content – unfortunately most websites suffer from this. The content just sucks. It’s full of marketing fluff or it promises to teach you something and just doesn’t deliver. Continue reading

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