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20 Sep 2013

October 2013 Newsletter


Register today for the THURSDAY, Oct. 3 MarCom breakfast!

When Negativity Reigns: Handling Negative Nancys in a Smart Manner

Haters Gonna Hate! When an anonymous person says something bad about your company or organization on the Internet, how do you handle it? What about when a news outlet asks about a negative perception? Or when a reviewer gives your product a negative review? Do you fight back, or do you let it simmer? Join us on THURSDAY, Oct. 3 and hear from a panel of local marketing and communication professionals that have wisely and successfully risen above the negativity.
Panelists include:

THURSDAY, October 3
7:00 am - 7:45 am Networking & Breakfast
7:45 am - 9:00 am Introductions & Program
The Lincoln Center* – 1316 N. Lincoln Street
*Parking is free!
Register Now

Note: If you haven't noticed already, the October breakfast is on the first THURSDAY of the month. See you there!

Meeting fee details: The meeting fee, which covers breakfast, is $20 for members at the door, $30 for non-members, $5 for student members and $15 for student non-members. (Only full-time students qualify for reduced rates. School I.D. is checked at the door.)



Happy Happy Joy Joy

Trolls. Haters. Newsjackers. Don’t you just LOVE these types of people? They have all become part of the landscape as we’ve expanded our communication efforts to be more social and interactive with our audiences. You didn’t like that meatball sandwich from the restaurant down the street? Let’s tell the whole world that it was the worst thing ever! I have to wonder who first said, “Hey, wouldn’t it be great if people could comment on our website when we posted news and launched products and tell us exactly what they really thought?” Um… no, that would NOT be great.

Now, before you go and think, “Leslie doesn’t want to hear from her customers – shame on her!” let me clarify. I love having feedback from my customers and my team even when it’s negative. I’m realistic enough to know it’s not going to be “Happy Happy Joy Joy” all the time. Positive feedback is great but only hearing wonderful things about your brand makes you stagnant. Negative feedback provides the opportunity for improvement. Even if you didn’t think there was a problem, but your customer does, you’ve got something to fix.

With that said, trolls, haters and newsjackers are NOT my customers. Even if they buy my product and just don’t like it, if they chose to tell me that in an uncivilized way, they aren’t the type of people I want as a customer. Granted, there are some people that can be converted and made happy again if they had an unpleasant experience with a company. Those are the people worth fighting to keep. But if they are looking to create chaos instead of a dialogue (which you can quickly tell from the tone of the comments), it’s not worth the time and headache to try and keep them as a customer. Frankly, go buy your engine heater somewhere else because I’ve got better things to do with my time. (NOTE: Yes, technically newsjackers aren’t negative in their comments. They just want to redirect the attention to themselves to promote their brand. I still find them bogus, opportunistic and irritating. If you’re so great, make your own news and stop hijacking mine!)

Unfortunately, these types can’t be avoided. If you haven’t had a run in with a troll, hater or newsjacker, odds are you will. A side effect of our 24/7 connected world is that the door is wide open for you to hear anything and everything. And if you’re hearing it, so is your CEO, your board of directors and the media looking for the next big story. Trolls, haters and newsjackers revel in their anonymity and vitriolic opinions. Avoiding or ignoring them can be disastrous. Our panel of experts for the October 3 meeting (which is a THURSDAY meeting by the way) will each share their experiences and successes going up against negative types. Their tips and takeaways will help you form a plan of response for when you’re attacked. Together we can be victorious when battling these people who should have stayed in Middle Earth and off your blogs!
- Leslie Czernik, MarCom President


Protecting Your Future From Your Present
By Damon Pilgrim, Shriners Hospitals for Children®- Spokane

In the late 1970s, the Swiss corporation, Nestle was under fire from American consumer advocate groups who were becoming increasingly critical of infant formulas being marketed in the early 70s in less developed countries (LDCs). These complaints ultimately led to a massive boycott of all Nestle products. Among many complaints, advocates criticized tactics that unfairly influenced mothers in these poor, less educated rural areas. Tactics included sales representatives dressing as nurses, offering false authority and not offering proper education about the health deficiencies of the formula at the time when compared to a mother’s breast milk. This is one of many examples that highlight the importance of using a strong ethical framework when developing a marketing strategy and applying tactics.

To help guide professionals, the Consumer Sovereignty Test (CST) is a framework providing guidelines to modern marketers on measuring justness of marketing decisions. It lists three dimensions (capability, information, and choice) to consider when examining aspects of a given decision. Applying this framework to the Nestle controversy reveals several violations.

The capability dimension involves judgment of the consumer’s ability to make a rational decision. Are there any vulnerabilities that need to be considered?  In the case of new mothers in LDCs, there are several. A mother’s instinct is to offer the most protection and care she can provide to her infant. Especially in the case of an inexperienced mother with her first child, she can be fearful and insecure.  She will look to authority for direction. To dress sales representatives in uniforms similar to nurses is to offer a falsely impartial authority. Another vulnerability more specific to the rural villages in LDCs is the lack of education. Poor rural mothers simply do not have the wealth of knowledge to be properly armed to make good judgment decisions.

The information dimension involves making sure the consumer is properly informed in order to make a purchasing decision. Again we see a potential violation in the early marketing efforts. Proper emphasis was not placed on the importance of breast feeding and on the shortcomings (e.g. lack of immunity boost) and potential pitfalls (e.g. inadequate sterilization of water and instruments) inherent in formula usage. This, like the failures to comply with the capability dimension, was later remedied, but not until it was too late.

The third and final dimension is choice. In a market of perfect competition, consumers can choose between brands, products and options. In the case of the formula market in LDC’s, this final dimension seems to be satisfied. Nestle was not the only supplier of formula present in the LDC markets at the time.

In today’s world, modern values are being used to scrutinize yesterday’s behaviors. Accepted customs of yesterday produced behaviors that people are being held accountable for today. Paula Deen is a recent public figure to experience backlash from this retrospective judgment. This tendency to look back and reflect should teach us a lesson.  What people do now, whether in their job, schooling, or as a consumer, will not be judged later in the same context. Some thought must be afforded to examining what we are doing today by how it will be viewed tomorrow.  Applying a framework such as the CST to marketing decisions can be an effective way of protecting your future from your present. More importantly, you can be confident that what you’re doing is right.



Remember to renew your membership by September 30! Members with 2012-13 Annual Memberships will expire September 30, so NOW is the best time to renew and get member rates for October's program.

This year, multiple membership levels are available, including the new option to have transferable memberships. Click here to learn more about membership.



Sixth Man Marketing is a data-driven online marketing firm in beautiful Spokane, Washington. We help our clients increase revenue by optimizing their presence on the Internet. We do this by working with them to establish business goals and supporting KPI’s (key performance indicators), increasing relevant traffic (from sources most likely to buy), gleaning insight from analytics, and turning website visitors into customers.

Our multi-disciplinary team of online marketing professionals bring together decades of experience in their respective fields of: Analytics, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), Usability, Conversion Rate Optimization, and Marketing Communications. Learn more about Sixth Man Marketing at