Michael Daehn Supports City Net to Help End Homelessness

 City Net and Local Police Helping our Homeless Neighbors at the OC Flood Control Channel (riverbed) in Cypress, CA.

City Net and Local Police Helping our Homeless Neighbors at the OC Flood Control Channel (riverbed) in Cypress, CA.

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I am proud to support City Net, a team of nonprofit professionals who work to end street-level homelessness in a city or region through the coordination of community efforts and activities. I have been looking for a charity to support through my business and after hearing how City Net works with our homeless neighbors, and praying about it, I was convinced this was the best choice.

I will be donating 10% of gross profits from my marketing consulting business (Rent My CMO/The Marketing Guy) to support the efforts of City Net. But here is the cool thing, when you hire me you are also supporting an awesome cause, helping our homeless neighbors.

If you are like me, you struggle with seeing members of our community living on the street. As I was told by our friends at City Net, “No one wants to be homeless.” But what do we do? Do we give them money? Food? Old furniture? I’ve never been sure what to do.

City Net takes a holistic approach to homelessness. They give people a hand up, not just a hand out. They work with people to get them off the street, back into society and reunited with their family members. And they partner with churches, city governments and members of the community to make a difference.

So a big thank you to all of my clients. Thanks for helping to support a worthy charity doing great work in our cities.

You can learn more or donate directly to City Net on their website.

The 7 Keys to Marketing Genius Quick Start Marketing Plan

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1: Find Your Advantage

·         What is the unique competitive advantage of your product or service?  (The best way to determine this is by performing a SWOT analysis)

·         How can you meet the needs of the target audience better than the competition?

·         What is the positioning of your product or service? 

2: Define Your Purpose

·         What is the mission or purpose of your company? 

·         What goals do you want to accomplish with this particular product or service? 

·         How do these goals fulfill the mission of your company? 

·         How will you communicate this to the entire organization to make sure everyone is on the same page?

3:  Create an Image

·         Based on the competitive advantage, positioning, target audience and mission of the company what image best represents your product or service?

·         Do you need professional assistance in creating a logo and marketing communications materials? 

·         Is the look and feel of your marketing communications materials consistent and congruent?

4:  Implement Promotions

·         Which of these marketing communications do you plan on utilizing?

o   Advertising

o   Public Relations/Publicity

o   Sales Promotion

o   Personal Selling

o   Direct Marketing

o   Internet/Interactive

·         What marketing communications can you afford? 

·         What marketing communications make the most sense for your situation?

·         How can you achieve the greatest return on investment with the least amount of wasted exposure?

·         Are your marketing communications linked and integrated? How?

·         Are your marketing communications consistent and congruent? How?

5:  Build Relationships

·         How are you building relationships with customers?

·         Are you creating positive word of mouth?

·         Are you developing advocates for your product?

·         Where in the funnel do your promotions hit? 

·         How do your promotions push people down the funnel?

6:  Gain Feedback

·         How are you measuring results?

·         Have you implemented ways of gaining feedback from customers?

·         Have you implemented ways of gaining feedback from employees?

7:  Adjust to Changes

·         Are you making changes based on the feedback you have gained?

·         Has your market or target audience changed?

·         Do you need to revise any marketing messages to remain current?

·         Are you maintaining up to date and relevant information on the website?

·         Do you have an ongoing dialogue with current customers?


Want to learn more? Read the full book by Michael Daehn: The 7 Keys to Marketing Genius.

 

REVIEW: The McDonald's App Experience

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Order Ahead

or get back in line

I've been using the McDonald's App for about a year now. It is pretty slick and gives you some good discounts and acts as a punch card for items like coffee that give you a free drink. I usually open it on my way there to see what deals and coupons they have.

This week I opened it and saw a coupon for $3 off $10. Apparently, that deal was only good if you ordered ahead of time. So when I got to the window the lady said I needed to order ahead of time. I asked if I could order in the app since I was already in line. She said I would need to drive out and get back in line.

Hey, I get it, the idea of this deal is to get people to put in their payment info and use the app. What I recommend to McDonald's, however, is to let people like me who are regular customers and learning the new rules they are imposing to use the discount this time, and advise me to order ahead next time. Giving the cashier the ability to give me the discount would have made her job easier and me happier.

I did drive around again because I am a marketing geek and wanted to see how this whole thing would play out. I also knew I was going to write a blog post when I got home.

Is McDonald's going to read this and change their policy, probably not. I am writing this for you. When putting promotions into action, make sure you allow for some wiggle room and make sure your employees can make good decisions at the moment to help the customer.

The name of the game these days is customer experience, also known as CX. Those businesses that are good at it will have a huge advantage over their competition.

HOW TO: Make Work Not Feel Like Work

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No matter how much you may love your job, there are always parts of it that are no fun. As my Dad used to say "They call it work for a reason."

But what if you could take those unpleasant parts of the job and make them fun? 

When I pledged my fraternity (Pi Kappa Phi) I had certain jobs I was required to do around the house as an associate member before I was initiated. The week before initiation my class gathered at the house nightly to perform tasks. These are tasks I have never enjoyed like cleaning the bathrooms, painting and removing a large tree from the front yard. 

But guess what - I had fun.

There is something about doing work with your friends that makes the duty seem light. We were laughing, telling jokes and removing a 50 foot tree and it's debris at the same time.

In the fraternity this is what we call Brotherhood. In the military it's called camraderie. In the Church it's called fellowship.

Leaders, you are responsible to build a team that gets along and respects each other and works toward a common purpose. Sprinkle in a good sense of humor and make the work fun.

Should Managers be Friends with their Employees?

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Quick answer: Yes.

Recently I had a manager leave my company. As she was leaving she said she would like to come have lunch sometime and be friends with the people on our team. She explained she could not be friends while she was the manager.

I know this is popular thinking, but it is not accurate.

Good managers are also good leaders. To lead you have to be able to influence your followers to achieve the desired objectives.

I consider Jesus to be the best leader who ever lived. He developed and trained 12 core followers that eventually transformed the world. How did he treat his followers? He called them friends. And how did he define a friend? Someone who he would be willing to die for.*

So why are managers afraid to be friends with their employees? Most of the time the reason is learned behavior. This is what they have been told or shown by their leaders.

But those who truly understand what friendship is may shy away because of the commitment involved in truly sacrificing for the benefit of your followers.

An objection is that if you act like a friend then you would not be able to discipline or fire your subordinates. This is not true. I have been fired and needed to fire others. If the situation warrants it this is appropriate behavior. If someone is in the wrong role it is not "friendly" to have them continue.

A parent gives and loves sacrificially for their children, but the best ones still provide discipline when necessary.

So who influences you more: People who are committed to your success or people who are looking out for their own interests?

The best managers, and leaders, are your friends.

*John 15:13

HOW TO: Pass the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (IQ) test (GAIQ)

Yes, I passed, w00t!

I did not even know there was a Google Analytics certification a week ago. When I stumbled across the designation I said "I should get me one of those." I've been using GA for years and figured a certification was within my grasp. It took me about 8 hours of study and $50, but I got it done.

OK, this is more the story of how I passed the test than an authoritative guide, but I hope it helps. I did the most logical thing first, I Googled "Study Guide for GAIQ." I found some great advice, but I think this post did the best job:

Passing the Google Analytics Individual Qualification (GAIQ) Test

Everyone who has taken the test says to watch all the videos provided by Google in Conversion University and I concur. I usually hate watching videos for training because they tend to suit the slowest learners. I like to read, skim and hone in on things I don't already know. These videos are well done though. They are really more like slide shows with a few videos dispersed throughout. They go quickly so I paused and re-watched a few slides that I needed to study more.

I had a second laptop setup as suggested, but I found it was easier to open a second browser than to change computers. Note: You need a second browser not a second window in your browser. I used Chrome for the test and Firefox to look up answers I was unsure about.

One thing I did not like about the test were all of the questions that were not in the study materials. A few I could not find even after Googling for answers and scouring the GA help section. I took my best guess on those.

I did learn some new things by going through all of the training materials. Definitely worth the effort. If you are a regular user of GA, I recommend getting this certification. Good luck!

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OVERVIEW: Getting Started with Google Analytics

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I put together this quick overview of Google Analytics for my clients. Google Analytics is a fantastic tool that every website owner should be using. It has so many powerful tools it can be overwhelming, but don't be intimidated.

Every site owner should have some key performance indicators (KPI's) that they track. Things like visitors, sales and traffic sources are easy to set up and follow.

And like a lot of Google products, Google Analytics is free. So get started by visiting Google.com/Analytics.

My Kid is the Speling Bee Champion

I have to brag. My 8 year old, third grade daughter, Isabella, won the school speling bee. She beat all of the third fourth and fifth graders at her school.

Tonight she will be competing against the other shools and junior highs in the district. She will even be competing against eigth graders.

How long has she been studying? She hasn't. We did not know about the speling bee until she came home and said she won.

If she should win tonight, which I think is a tall order against eighth graders, she will not move on because she is too young.

I'll post an update tomorrow to let you know what happens.

 

Here's Why My Website Never Goes Down: Squarespace

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I'm in my 5th year of using Squarespace for my website hosting. I was attracted to the ease of use and the unique look I can create with their site building software, but something else has gained my attention as of late. Their hosting. My site never goes down.

I listen to a lot of the podcasts on Leo Laporte's TWIT Network. It's great fun for tech geeks like me. They have quite a following. So large that every time they mention a website that website is inundated with traffic. And it goes down. Unless it's a Squarespace site.

Squarespace has their act together. When a site gets more traffic than usual, they are able to relieve the stress by balancing the load on their servers. Cool stuff.

But wait, there's more...

I got an email from team Squarespace last week explaining that their servers are located in lower Manhattan and that fuel to their last generator was running out. Hurricane Sandy had taken it's toll. I had a few hours until my site, and all the Squarespace sites lost power.

I kept checking my site, but it never went down. So what happened? Did they hand carry fuel up 17 flights of stairs in total darkness to keep MichaelDaehn.com from going down?

Yep!

I got the email below telling the story.

Way to go team Squarespace. You have increased my respect and admiration for your fine company. Keep up the good work.

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Hurricane Sandy Update

A little over a week ago, I sent out one of the most difficult emails that Squarespace has ever delivered to our customers.

Peer1, our data center in downtown Manhattan, was so severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy that it suffered a total loss of power despite multiple levels of redundant systems. At the time, there was no resolution in sight. Our backup fuel reserves and building infrastructure had been destroyed by Sandy's storm surge, which flooded many buildings downtown. As you may be aware, this was a historic and unprecedented storm for the entire tri-state region, bringing about the largest storm-related power outage ever in Con Edison's history.

I am proud to announce that throughout this event, Squarespace customers experienced absolutely no downtime related to the power outage. This is an amazing outcome considering the extraordinary circumstances we faced last week. What remains is an incredible story.

For those of you that haven't been following our updates, employees from Squarespace, Fog Creek, and Peer1 manually carried fuel up 17 flights of stairs for three days to save our generator while an interim fuel supply and pump could be installed. These efforts to provide uninterrupted service for our customers were chronicled by numerous publications including All Things DBetaBeatComputerworldFast Company,TechCrunchThe New York TimesPando Daily, and The Verge.

We now have a working pump system delivering fuel to the roof generator, more than enough fuel on site, and a redundant street-level generator connected and tested as of last night. These systems will remain in place for the foreseeable future. Our building has still not been able to connect to Manhattan's power grid, as the building's two sub-basements were submerged in 30 feet of water that took four days to pump out. We will continue to post updates on status.squarespace.comas we resume normal operations.

Of course, such heroics should not be necessary to keep operations running smoothly. We initiated a plan to build a geographically redundant operation this past summer and expect to have it online in early 2013. This gives us the ability to route around areas affected by natural disasters much more effectively.

We take the responsibility of running the hundreds of thousands of sites on Squarespace very seriously . Our homepage states that our scalable, reliable cloud infrastructure eliminates downtime, and our customers all over the world count on us to keep their websites online no matter what. Wanting to keep that promise is what propelled us forward and helped us persevere during this most challenging of times. Thank you all for being Squarespace customers - it is with your continued support that we can continue to fight for great design, amazing products, and exceptional service.

We know that there are many in our area that were impacted far beyond what we experienced - if you can, please take a moment and contributeto hurricane relief efforts. A little goes a long way.

Thank you.

Anthony 

New Compose Page in Gmail - Revolutionary?

I've been trying the new compose page in Gmail. It's one of those "what took you so long?" ideas. Many times I have opened Gmail again in a second tab when composing to get information while composing.

It is missing a few things like CC and BCC that made me go back to the previous version to finish my message, but overall I think it is a step in the right direction.

What do you think? Have you tried the new compose page in Gmail?

 

 

Red Robin's QR Codes on POP and Collateral Provides Smart Feedback

This is a great idea. If only I had thought of it 3 years ago.

A lot of places will reward you for taking a survey. Allowing customers to give feedback right away provides:

  • Greater incentive - Get rewarded right away
  • Easier to use - Don't have to login at home
  • Better quality results - customers can remember their experience better in 5 minutes than in 5 hours or 5 days 

QR Codes are everywhere these days. Some people use them well, like Red Robin. Others are out of their minds - QR Codes on TV Commercials. Good marketers use the right tools, the right way for their product.

 

Provide Hope and Change Today, Quickly, and for Free

Vote for Change Agent Network on Facebook to get a grant from Chase Bank. If you want to know why, keep reading.
 
I tune out when I see commercials about starving kids in Africa. Sure I feel bad, but what can I do about it? I want to send money, but I'm on a pretty tight budget. Besides, if I gave money to everyone who needed it I would be in the poor house myself.
 
So I change the channel. And feel guilty.
 
My long time friend Heath Vogel has a strong connection with the African nation of Liberia. His parents have been missionaries there since the 70's and Heath spent several years there as a child. Following in his parents' footsteps, Heath has taken a few missionary trips there himself.
 
I don't know a lot about Liberia aside from what Heath has told me and what I have read on his entertaining blog: Blogging Without Maps. I do know that Liberia is a struggling country ravaged by war. If you have seen the movies Blood Diamond or Hotel Rwanda you get an idea of the kind of chaos and carnage that prevailed.
 
Watching those movies gives me that "it's terrible, but what the heck can I do about it?" feeling.
 
I heard Bono talking about Africa. He expressed the same type of emotion, but said the situation is not hopeless. It's malleable. We can do more than we think.
 
Here's something you can do to make a difference today, quickly, and for free. Vote for Change Agent Network on Facebook to get a grant from Chase Bank. Chase Bank is giving away millions to organizations that get votes on Facebook. So please take a few seconds to vote for this worthy organization.
 
Heath has told me about being discouraged by a lack of progess in Liberia, particularly by missionaries. His demeanor changes, however when he talks about Change Agent Network and it's Director, Eric Wowoh. 
 
This organization has created shools and educational opportunites for thousands of children. They have also worked with groups in the US to transport unused computers and technology products for use by the next generation of Liberians.
 
Three things I love about this non-profit:
 
1. Teaches People to Fish- Change Agent Network is giving educational opportunities, not handouts. This means that the next generation will be able to make changes and pull themselves out of poverty.
 
2. Liberian Leadership- Director Eric Wowoh is a Liberian citizen helping his own community. Missionary school 101 teaches that native people are far more effective at reaching their peers than missionaries.
 
3. Proven Results- Want to see what they've done so far? Check out the Change Agent Network website.
 
OK, that's my pitch. Here's the link again so you don't have to look for it:

 

If you could also share this link or story we would all appreciate it. Do it for the kids. 

TEDxOrangeCoast Event Recap

I had a wonderful time at the TEDxOrangeCoast event this week at Soka University. I must say I was surprised by how beautiful this campus is. I have been to larger universities, but Soka is most impressive.

The event consisted of 4 hours of footage from the TEDGlobal2012 event in Edinburgh, Scottland. TEDxOrangeCoast aired the best of the presentations. I learned about everything from human genomes to the hacker collective Anonymous. And there was even a magician/mind reader.

This was just a taste of the awesomeness that is TED.

If your appetite is whetted, I recommend you check out the LIVE TEDxOrangeCoast event coming up this October. It should be a blast. See you there.

Join us in Orange County for TEDxOrangeCoast Next Week

TEDxOrangeCoast is hosting an event next week - June 28th at the Soka Performing Arts Center in Aliso Viejo. They will be broadcasting live from the TEDGLOBAL2012 event in Edinburgh, Scotland.
 
I discoverd the about 5 years ago and since then I've spent many a lunch break learning from some of the greatest minds on the planet. TED (which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design) has been around since the mid 80's. They have fantasic speakers sharing ideas that can help everyone- they are ideas worth spreading.
 
Part of why I got hooked on the site is that the talks are typically 18 minutes or less. One of the first videos I watched was by my favorite marketing author Seth Godin. Having read nearly all of his books, I loved how he was able to encapsulate some of his best thoughts into a single speech.
 
  
Since then I have continued to visit the TED website to watch videos and I dream of one day attending or better yet presenting at the conference.
 
A few years ago TEDx was created in order to make the event accessible to a larger audience. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.
 
So if you live in the Orange County, CA area don't miss out. Whether this is your first time hearing or you have wanted to go for years this is your chance. 
 

HOW TO: Use Facebook Apps Privately

If you are like me, you like to check out Facebook apps, but get a little nervous about letting them post on your behalf. I have inadvertently spammed my own wall with posts from apps.

If you don't want others to see these posts, but still want to use the app you simply need to adjust your settings. 

When you first use the app, a screen will appear that lets you customize what the app posts. Simply click on the dropdown and set to "Only Me" and only you will see posts from this app. 

Don't let posting permissions keep you from trying out some cool apps on Facebook.