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NMOA Direct Marketing Article
Multiplicity and The Digital Soap Box: Reputation Management for the 21st Century
By Jayme Pretzloff

The internet has changed the marketing landscape by introducing new and innovative ways of reaching potential customers. Some marketers would argue that it's made marketing and client acquisition easier because of these tools, but I argue that it has increased the difficulty. Not only are there more places that businesses have to be, increasing the time and monetary commitment to these marketing avenues, but it has also made reputation management much more difficult.

The Digital Soap Box
Prior to services like Yelp, Google Local, Twitter and Facebook, the average business was only concerned with word-of-mouth backlashes from unhappy customers to their neighbors and coworkers. Social sharing platforms now get the unhappy customer a vast array of publishing and sharing power where they can rant and rave, from the biggest soap box imaginable, for the entire world to hear.

This digital soap box can affect your business in multiple ways even beyond the obvious drop in sales. This could severely hinder hiring and recruitment efforts. When I was applying for my first career out of my undergrad, I Google searched companies prior to applying and didn't apply to several because of poor feedback from past employees and customers.

The Cream Rises to the Top
Your marketing activities will also be adversely impacted because of poor reviews online. Smaller organizations must be weary of the possibility that Yelp and City Search reviews will appear in organic search results for their brand. If you have unhappy customers who take to the internet to tell their unsavory story, there's a good chance that potential customers will see it. Google's new local algorithm, Google Local, penalizes companies that have negative reviews and boosts local businesses with many positive reviews higher in the organic search results.

The Bad Gets Worse
This should go without saying but it's imperative that you make every attempt to appease your current clients because otherwise they'll deter future clients from doing business with you. It is unfortunate that typically it's unhappy customers who take to the keyboard and hash out bad reviews of your organization online. When someone has a great experience with your brand, he'll likely tell a couple of his friends but if that same person has a bad experience, he'll be telling the whole neighborhood.

It is important to be aware that customers are talking about you everywhere online-some of it may be good, but chances are a lot of it is bad. Hell hath no fury like a customer scored.

About the Author:
Jayme Pretzloff is known as one of the youngest up-and-coming digital marketers today. He serves as the Online Marketing Director for Wixon Jewelers, a Minneapolis jewelry store and is the Marketing Advisor for
Blue Line Defense. You can follow Jayme on Twitter, @jpretz.


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