They Sold You Out: Screw You Orbitz, Shutterfly, Fandango, and more…

I only called out Orbitz, Shutterlfy, and Fandango because I’m a big customer of theirs. Fandango not so much since I hardly ever go to the movies anymore, but I use it almost every time I go. Each company built great technology and delivered a great product until they got greedy and decided to break an ethical line I never would have thought possible in 2009.

Watch out for Post Transaction Marketing Scams
Watch out for Post Transaction Marketing Scams

It’s called Post Transaction Marketing and Tech Crunch broke this story last week. The way it works is that you make a legitimate online purchase and afterwards they say something like, “Enter your email address for a 20% coupon on your next purchase.” I’ve seen this many times and I assumed that this was a way to sign you up for spam lists. Not great, but definitely not anything to get terribly upset over. Any time you hand over your email address you should expect to spammed unless they explicitly say they won’t.

It turns out the fine print said that entering your email address gave them the ok to enter you into a useless “Web Loyalty” program that charged your credit card up to $10/month. The online retailer you just did business with happily handed over your credit card information without your explicit consent. Sure it was in the fine print, but by asking for your email address they broke a well established social norm that said you were ok as long as you did business with reputable companies who followed standard checkout procedures and never entered your credit card number.

Tech Crunch has the full list of companies who made a million dollars or more for this and it’s despicable. I wasn’t personally ripped off by this scam, but I can’t believe their management allowed it to happen. If they want to make amends they should refund every dollar they made off of it today.

I’m going to do everything I can to move my money away from these companies immediately.

Beer Camp Philly Recap

On Friday I participated in Beer Camp, a homebrewer kickoff to Philly Bar Camp and was hosted by Two Guys on Beer and Indyhall.

My first hand modeling gig
My first hand modeling gig. Photo by Paul Drzal

It was a blast. Congrats to @howdiz and @SymbiotDesign for their award winning brews. Howie brewed a Smoked Maple Porter (which I dubbed the Bacon Beer) and Symbiot’s was a Pumpkin Spice. The beers were paired with ridiculously good sandwiches from Paesano’s by Unbreaded.

I ran out of beer in an hour and twenty minutes pouring 4 oz at a time. 128 oz in a gallon * 4.5 gallon batch / 4 oz sample = about 144 people who were able to try my beer. I think I had a few repeat customers. The highlight of the night for me was when a girl walked up, held out her glass, and said, “I heard you’re the good beer dude.”

I brewed an ApeRicot Ale, of which I’ll post the recipe down below. I was totally happy with how it came out. Getting feedback from the crowd was spotty, since they were all afraid we’d be offended. Next time I want a sign or a shirt that says, “It won’t hurt my feelings if you don’t like my beer.”

Paul Drzal
(check out Paul’s site,
Steve Kradel’s
Courier Post’s

A few videos of the event (you can hear how loud it was).
Kessler’s Video

My twitter list of all BeerCampPhilly related people (let me know if I missed you!):
BeerCampPhilly list

Here are some of my photos:

Is that Billy Mays?
Is that Billy Mays?
One Guy on a Chair
One Guy on a Chair
Steve Kradel is throwing his gang signs
@skradel is throwing his gang signs
@howdiz working the crowd
@howdiz working the crowd
Delicious hops
Delicious hops

Continue reading “Beer Camp Philly Recap”

B2B Social Marketing: What to do when your customer isn’t a person

Just typing “B2B Social Marketing” in the title made me want to slit my wrists, but there is a huge obstacle facing companies like mine on how to utilize social media. The formula for consumer marketing is simple and effective, but B2B is more complicated. The business model for consumer driven companies is for people to love and buy their brand, so customers are natural fans, friends and followers of your product. Consumer marketing tries to make products part of your identity, so it’s only natural that people will opt-in for that connection.

But what if your customer is not a person?

Garvey makes conveyors and accumulators for the packaging industry. Our customers are large, mass producers of goods. We’re trying to reach the decision makers in these companies and establish a connection with them. Are there individuals whose identity is centered around the packaging machinery they buy? Yes, and they are insane and we love them, but for most people we are a means to an end. We help them achieve their production goals, but we will never have the identity power that¬†@HarleyDavidson, @dogfishbeer, or @CocaCola has.

So how do you reach those decision makers? In an ideal world the decision makers would all follow @garveycorp, but since they have complete control over their social media input (that’s one of the greatest things about social media, btw) why would they give up that valuable space to me? I certainly wouldn’t be interested in following most of my suppliers because there’s no way their tweets will be more interesting than my friends’ and idols’.

@garveycorp vs @bengarvey @bengarvey
@garveycorp vs @bengarvey

Not enough of my customers will ever follow @garveycorp, but would they follow @bengarvey? If I can be interesting and funny enough, maybe customers will follow me and in return, tolerate the occasional conveyor technology link. Could putting a face on the corporation change my marketing strategy from B2B to P2B? And by engaging them in things they’re interested in (what they tweet about), can I then earn the relationship that allows me to become a resource for them and ultimately a supplier.

There are a ton of risks in this. I have posted tweets that could be offensive to some people. It doesn’t scale well. I may not be as interesting as I think I am (hah).

But I think it’s worth a try.

So far I have one customer following me, so in my next post I’ll probably call it a success because I increased it by 300%.