Monster.com: “11 Social Media Tips for Small Business”

You’ve put together profile pages on a few popular social media sites, made occasional posts, and responded when you were aware of activity. Isn’t that enough for a small business like yours? According to Lubin Marketing Professor Paul Kurnit, “A clear, compelling message should travel across platforms that are most relevant for the communication, not the other way around. The huge attractiveness of social media is price is minimal and buzz can be maximized.”

Paul Kurnit offers up Tip #8 to John Rossheim, Monster Senior Contributing Writer, on creating and maintaining a social media strategy that’s a brand-building, rain-making machine for your business.

 8) But remember, as with any branding, marketing or selling effort, your social media activity must have the ultimate goal of gaining and retaining customers and increasing sales.“Too many companies just throw something up against the proverbial social media wall, hoping something will stick,” says Paul Kurnit, professor of marketing at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business in New York.

To read all 11 social media tips from the Monster.com article which was picked up by a number of newspapers across the country including the San Jose Mercury News, click here

BusinessNewsDaily: “Five Technologies Your Business Should Be Using”

Looking to promote your business? Lubin Professor Paul Kurnit recommends the “very viral” Pinterest, which allows users to organize and share images of things they love on virtual boards, similar to a collage or scrapbook.

What is the latest technology you can use to boost your business?

Pinterest. This is essentially an online scrapbooking site, where people use virtual pinboards to group and post favorite images, including those of weddings, home decor, favorite recipes and more. 

“It is the new darling of the Internet, but businesses have not really tapped into its potential,” said Paul Kurnit, marketing professor at Pace University, in an interview with Kim Zimmerman of BusinessNewsDaily. “It is 80 percent female, but it is very viral and a younger audience.”

While the site is female-oriented at the moment, Kurnit added it could easily attract a more male audience, who might “pin” pictures of cars or the latest tech-gadgets they want. 

Deliver Magazine: “Direct the Marketing Focus at Women”

Lubin Professor Paul Kurnit on how direct marketing influences the spending of women, whether the product is doing itself a disservice by targeting women differently than men and the importance of reaching female spending power.

Despite the good dollars and sense it makes to create a direct marketing campaign aimed at women, getting it right can be a challenge — considering marketers do not want to stereotype or offend.

Avoid One Big Basket

“In general, I think businesses get too sloppy and greedy by trying to be all things to all people,” says Paul Kurnit, clinical professor of marketing at Pace University. “Brands that do this run the risk of being nothing to anyone.”

Kurnit points out in Deliver, a magazine for marketers from the United States Postal Service, that even the biggest brands clearly understand the need to customize their communications, messaging and media for different market segments. 

For example, a prominent women’s organization and one of the global leaders in the breast cancer movement doesn’t send the same information out to all women, but creates personalized direct mail based on demographics.

Make it Relational, Not Transactional

Segmenting women into various groups is a critical step in direct marketing, but choosing what to send to those women is just as essential.

Paul Kurnit of Pace University cites the luxury travel market as a perfect example. Today’s travel operators are targeting women with brochures that feature photos not just of glamorous destinations but of couples being together and having a good time in those places. “By focusing on the relationship, not just the destination, they are speaking to their female customers,” says Kurnit.

Think Beyond the Bedroom

As for the future of direct marketing, the real winners will be the companies that take an integrated approach and combine direct mail marketing with online activities, like the new Cards app. The application allows users to design the card online, but then it gets printed out by the third party, put in an envelope and sent by regular mail to the recipient.

“Today’s woman is online, but her lifestyle still demands a personal touch,” says Kurnit.

BestSouthwestNews: “Alternatives to ‘Buy Local’ Campaigns”

Recent research shows that buying local campaigns provide only limited and short-lived results for small businesses. So, as budget-conscious consumers turn to mass retailers, Internet and malls for bargains, what can small business owners do?

Tell a story

For consumers to view your shop as unique and deserving the premium that small businesses often need to levy, offer unique or even one-of-a-kind products and services, says Paul Kurnit, a business consultant and clinical marketing professor at Pace University in New York.  Then, make sure those items have a story to go along with them, he says.

Perhaps a store carries porcelain dishes that were hand-painted by a local artist. If that’s the case, include that person’s story with the plates. “The handmade idea is good, but it’s not the whole story,” Kurnit says. “In a tough economy especially, play up the customer connection.”

For additional suggestions, click here

BNET (The CBS Interactive Business Network): “Advertising Reality Check: Are You Leading — Or Lying?”

“Customers are very aware that it’s a new day in advertising,” says Lubin Marketing Professor Paul Kurnit, co-author of “Breakthrough! A 7-Step System for Developing Unexpected and Profitable Ideas” (AMACOM Books). “We are living in a customer-centric world where advertisers are trying to connect with consumer lifestyle throughout the day in relevant touch points that resonate and matter.

“The fragmentation of media is an opportunity if the planning is thoughtful and the customer is put center stage,” Kurnit continues. “Consumers know they are being ‘targeted’ through multiple platforms in a myriad of ways. Done well, they delight in it. Done poorly, they resent the intrusion and potentially the brand.”

Who doesn’t want to be at the leading edge of advertising, using the latest and greatest methods to reach customers?

“Smart advertisers are beginning to integrate their messaging across various communications platforms and are breaking down the silos and distinctions between traditional and other media, like digital, social and buzz,” says Paul Kurnit, a marketing professor at Pace University in an article appearing on BNET.com

But to a certain extent, it’s also the Wild West out there.  The line between leadership – pushing the boundaries of new media – and lying may not be so clear in this new world.

AOL’s DAILY FINANCE: “Walmart Woos Customers With Revived ‘Low Prices, Every Day’ Campaign”

Despite its dominance in the U.S. market, Walmart – the nation’s largest retailer – has endured seven straight quarters of falling sales at its stores. Lubin’s Paul Kurnit comments whether the Bentonville, Arkansas-based retailer’s strategy of revisiting a marketing gimmick it used to great effect once before – “Low Prices, Every Day” – is a good one.

Walmart’s prior advertising campaign – “Save Money, Live Better” – involved neatening stores and reducing the number of items for sale, but it failed to drive more consumers through the door. 

While that may have seemed a good strategy, it defined shopping at Walmart a lifestyle choice, causing consumers to perceive the popular retailer as moving away from the low prices and variety they had come to expect, says Paul Kurnit,  clinical professor of marketing at Pace University, in an article featured on AOL’s money and finance website.

“The Walmart that we knew three and five years ago was a pretty messy shopping experience, but that was kind of OK, because we were getting the lowest possible prices,” says Kurnit.  He adds that research shows that more items on retail-store shelves translates into bigger totals at the check-out counters. 

Offering customers a one-stop shopping experience that assures customers of low prices on a variety of goods is good strategy in these days of steadily rising fuel costs and economic uncertainty, Kurnit says.

With gas prices at $4 a gallon and higher prices expected, he says, “People are really feeling the crunch.”

SUCCESS Magazine: “The Facebook Age”

If Facebook were a nation, it would be the world’s third largest behind only China and India. Hundreds of new people join every hour. And at the helm stands fresh-faced self-made billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, who still wears T-shirts and jeans to work just as he did in 2004, when he co-founded the addictive social-networking site in his Harvard dorm room at age 19.

Lubin Marketing Professor Paul Kurnit comments on Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg’s leadership style, as well as how Facebook has changed the way we think, work and live.

Facebook is “the easy passport” to finding friends past and current without an email address or phone number. As Pace University clinical professor of marketing Paul Kurnit puts it in the May issue of SUCCESS magazine: “It’s about me, about us. It is the personal website that few of us could possibly build on our own.”

“Facebook is not driven by the leadership style of Mark Zuckerberg,” adds Kurnit. “It has become a runaway success function of Zuckerberg’s tremendous insight into what people want, how they relate and what socializing means online.  Kind of a ‘build it and get out of the way’ idea.”

TheStreet: “Morgan Stanley Mulls Smith Barney’less Future”

Morgan Stanley is thinking of getting rid of the Smith Barney brand, made famous by actor John Houseman (pictured) delivering the famous tag line: “We make money the old-fashioned way. We earn it.”

Is it a good idea for Morgan Stanley to get rid of a brand that’s familiar to customers and clients and has its own cache? “Smith Barney is a classic brand,” says Paul Kurnit, a marketing professor at Pace University’s Lubin School of Business. “But, it is quaint, not current, charming, not forward edge….Likely, if it goes away, it will not be terribly missed.”

Why are some bank brands kept while others are gone?  Bear Stearns vanished quickly when taken over by JPMorgan Chase, IndyMac became OneWest, but Bank of America incorporated the Merrill and U.S. Trust brands into its own. Travelers not only kept its name when spinning out from Citi, but paid big for the little umbrella symbol. 

TheStreet polls marketing experts such as Lubin’s Paul Kurnit as to whether it is a good idea for Morgan Stanley to get rid of the Smith Barney brand.

AOL SmallBusiness: “The Charlie Sheen Stimulus”

With T-shirts, designer cocktails and even medical marijuana, countless companies are starting to cash in on the outspoken actor and his colorful catchphrases. Winning!

According to Pace University marketing professor Paul Kurnit, Sheen and others are seizing upon a primal urge. “Like watching a car crash,” he says. “We just can’t take our eyes off it. The traffic comes to a halt, and the world stops to gawk at the accident. The longer the media give Charlie access and visibility, the longer the Charlie machine will be able to cash in.”

Is Charlie Sheen really winning?

“Sheen is acting just quite sane enough to cause wonder about the thin line between sanity and insanity,” says Lubin Marketing Professor Paul Kurnit. “One has got to wonder where the insanity is. Likely, the news media and we the public not only fuel the insanity…but, we are part of it.

“In this Access Hollywood, People and Us frenzied media world, the longer the media give Charlie access and visibility, the longer the Charlie machine will be able to cash in.  The longer the spotlights shine on him, the longer this circus will play on. “

DailyFinance:”Toyota Recalls – Why the Government Reports Aren’t an All-Clear”

Toyota’s bungled handling of big recalls involving its Toyota and Lexus vehicles led to a record $48.8 million in fines by the federal government. The media blitz that accompanied the recalls drove down sales in the U.S. and led to numerous lawsuits.

“I think Toyota blew it early on,” says Paul Kurnit, clinical professor of marketing at Pace University. “Acting not unlike a deer caught in headlights, Toyota management went into denial mode,” he says.

Will the official reports just released from NHTSA and NASA boost consumer confidence for the Toyota brand and give the company a leg up in its legal battles?  Pace Professors Paul Kurnit (marketing) and Steven Goldberg (law) discuss whether the world’s largest automaker can restore its battered reputation for safety and quality with David Schepp of AOL’s DailyFinance.