Wednesday, October 12, 2011

MRA of Greater NY Social Media Seminar

Last night I spoke at the GNY Marketing Research Association Fall event. The topic was Social Media: Get In, Get Out, Get On with Your Day. A look at how to use social media to build your business or your personal brand. A few things covered included the questions to ask yourself before you dive into social media and how to create a manageable social media plan that fits into your schedule.

I had a wonderful time and met a lot of great people. Pics and more details to come.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

MRA Hot Seat with John Bremer

Check out the latest MRA Hot Seat Video with John Bremer of Toluna. Toluna used to be Greenfield Online, and part of the Greenfield family of companies that I spend many years in. So I was excited to hear what John had to say.

This is time around the Hot Seat is hosted by Paul Kirch and produced by me... as usual. We have some great guests coming up in the coming months, so stay tuned. And don't forget to pass on the link!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Rolling with the Facebook Changes

What do you think of the recent Facebook changes?

We’ve seen this before. We log into Facebook one morning and our world is turned upside down. Things look different, things act different and I haven’t even had my coffee yet.

Every so often Facebook likes to pull the rug out from under us and change their interface. They usually do this right after everyone has finally gotten used to their last batch of changes.

As you probably saw, the reaction to this most recent series of changes was strong. From some of the negative backlash I saw on my Facebook feed, you’d think the world was about to end.

I saw a great post the day after the changes hit that summed it up well. It read: “I’m appalled that the free service that I am in no way obligated to use keeps making changes that mildly inconvenience me.”

For the next few weeks we’ll be seeing posts from various friends complaining about the new Facebook and a few people will even threaten to leave. But I doubt very many actually will. More likely, people will simply get used to it. And they just might even discover that they like some of the new features. Maybe even love them.

Have you heard about the new Timeline feature that’s due to be unveiled on Sept. 29th? I saw a sneak peak of it over a friend’s shoulder and it looked pretty cool. There’s already a buzz about it.

Facebook’s face-lift seems to be in part a reaction to Google+, who’s “Circles” have caused quite a stir in the social media world as a smart and easy way to organize your contacts and protect your privacy. But I don’t know a lot of people who want to migrate over there and start their social network over from scratch. If Facebook can mirror that kind of functionality, it will be a welcome change for those who like to pick and choose who sees what from their Facebook posts.

And I am sure there are a lot more things in store that we have not even seen yet. So my advice to everyone is to calm down, take a deep breath and don’t rush to judgment on the changes to Facebook. Give it a chance and wait to see everything that they have in store for us. I’m sure there will be some bumps in the road… that’s par for the course when you change anything.

Who knows? Eventually Facebook may need to add a “Love” button for all of these changes. And if not, remember, it’s a free service and you are not obligated to use it. In other words, don’t hold your breathe for a “Hate” button.

This blog originally appeared on the Engage121 blog on September 23, 2011.

Nielsen Social Media Report

The Q3 Nielsen Social Media Report has been published. Here's a link if you want to check it out. (Click the image.)

Friday, September 9, 2011

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Opt Out is Not the Only Option

"Get out of my inbox, Joseph!"

That's what I found myself saying after a few months what seemed like an endless barrage of emails from Jos. A. Bank. It felt a lot like that climatic court room scene in Miracle on 34th Street, when the mailmen march in and dump piles of mail on the floor. Except these weren't heart warming letters to Santa, it was annoying spam.

Let me explain. A while back I bought a few things at Jos. A. Bank. I had been told that they constantly run sales and specials, so I went down and picked up a few shirts and other items. It turns out that the word on the street was true, I found a lot of good deals. I saved a few bucks and I received excellent customer service to boot. Awesome. 

But then I did something out of character. I gave them my email address while I was checking out. I always hesitate when a sales person asks for it because I know I am opening the floodgates for more junk email. But this guy was nice and really helped me out, so I broke down and gave him my email address.

Sure enough, for the past few months I have been overrun with emails.

Buy Two, Get One Free!
Buy Three, Get Two Free!
Save on select sports coats and blazers!
Pants, Pants, Pants!!!
You're Invited to Our "VIP Only" Sale! (Is this the only way I get on a VIP list? Uhg.)

I am not sure what the actual frequency of these emails are, but my perception is that I get them all the time. At least two or three a week. Whatever it is, perception is reality and my perception is that it is WAY too much. I simply don’t need that many suits, ties and jackets. I mean really, how many weddings and funerals can one attend?

Today I finally had enough and instead of just deleting the latest email, I decided to opt-out of their mailing list. That’s when Jos. A. Bank impressed me. When I went to unsubscribe, I was also given the option to lower the frequency of the emails. Wow, you hardly ever see that. What a great move on their part.

Sure, I was getting sick of the constant barrage of emails, but I did like knowing about sales once in a while. So for me, this was perfect. Email me once a month, or maybe just every other week. I want to be kept in the loop, but I don't want to be stalked.

Email lists are so hard to build and even harder to maintain. These days, people seem to pay less attention to your message and more on the amount of times you contact them.  Many of them want to hear from you, just not so often.

I have no idea how many people change their mind from opting out completely and simply lower their frequency, but you have to give Jos. A. Bank credit for making an effort to retain the right to contact their customers. 

It doesn’t have to be “All or Nothing” if you give me a “Not So Much” option too.

Have you checked your inbox lately? 

Monday, August 15, 2011

MRA Hot Seat Ep. 8 Part 2: Social Media and Market Research w/ Tom H. C. Anderson

Here is part two of my MRA Hot Seat interview with Tom H. C. Anderson, CEO of Anderson Analytics and founder of the Next Generation Market Research group, which is a major LinkedIn group and social media community that is changing the game in the research industry... both from a research standpoint and a personal branding perspective.

Friday, August 12, 2011

MRA Hot Seat Ep. 8: Text Analytics w/ Tom Anderson

Here's part one of my two part interview with Anderson Analytics CEO, Tom H. C. Anderson. Tom i is also the founder of the Next Generation Market Research Group: NMGR, one of the largest and most influential online market research communities. In our conversation we discuss social media, text analytics and the uses of social media in market research, marketing and personal branding.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Advocate's social experiment: Is Stamford more social media savvy than other cities? #StamfordSocial

Maggie Gordon, Staff Writer at the Stamford Advocate wrote about a new report that listed the most social media savvy cities in the country. It listed Stamford as No. 6. She asked her readers to chime in… via social media channels. I happened to reply on Twitter and you can see one of my comments in the article. Click here to read more.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

12 Most Amazing Examples of #Marketing Lagniappe (You’ve Never Heard of)

News from the World of Social Media

Here's the press release for the latest client I am working with. I am so excited to get the chance to work with such an imaginative and fun company like Tasti D. - Jack

Tasti D-Lite Adopts Engage121 as Network-Wide Social CRM Solution

Norwalk, CT, June 29, 2011 – In a move that is expected to influence both the franchise industry and the business of Social CRM, Engage121, Inc., a software firm specializing in customer relationship management through social media, announced that Tasti D-Lite has licensed the Engage121 Enterprise Edition.

Tasti D-Lite, the fast-growing franchise company that sells great-tasting, healthier frozen treats and has been featured on hit shows like Sex and the City and 30 Rock, is also widely known for their pioneering use of social media to attract and retain customers. The franchise company will use Engage121 to support and expand social media engagements between the company’s headquarters, each Tasti D-Lite store location, and consumers.

Tasti D-Lite’s CMO, Bill Zinke succinctly expressed his company’s commitment to Social Media in a recent article when he said, “Tasti D-Lite is committed to being a leader and innovator in social media and customer engagement. We will be looking very aggressively and progressively at ways we can continue to show our customers, our franchisees and the world that Tasti D-Lite is a brand that is not just up with the modern age of technology, but out on the leading edge. Social media will be one of the keys to how we build our brand in the future.”

Tasti D-Lite was featured in Twitter’s Business 101 Case Studies and recognized in 2009 among’s 40 of the Best Twitter Brands. The company received the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA) RetailNow Innovative Solutions Award for their social-friendly TastiRewards loyalty program. Tasti D-Lite also received the QSR Applied Technology Award in the consumer convenience category.

Tasti D-Lite’s VP of Technology B.J. Emerson said, "The functionality of Engage121 makes it easy to manage our campaigns at an enterprise level across all of the social channels as well as enabling us to listen more effectively and provide a greater level of customer service online."

Mr. Emerson is a frequent speaker at social media events and conferences and has appeared at WOMMA, Loyalty 360 Expo, Mobile Social Communications Conference, Location Based Marketing Summit, National Restaurant Association, and the International Franchise Association.

"It is especially gratifying to have a company that is far ahead of the social media curve, not only in the restaurant space but in the franchise space as a whole, to select the Engage121 Enterprise Edition as their social CRM solution," noted Engage121’s CEO Jon Victor. "I'm looking forward to a long and mutually-rewarding relationship with this innovative organization."

About Tasti D-Lite

Since its inception in 1987, Tasti D-Lite’s popularity has grown largely by word of mouth and has resulted in a huge base of loyal fans. Tasti D-Lite first launched its franchise program in 2008. Since then, the company has grown to more than 50 locations and has secured commitments to open over 300 locations in the coming years. Today it has locations open in 12 U.S. states. Internationally, the company already has stores in Mexico and the United Arab Emirates and will be opening its first units in Australia and Panama City later this year. Led by a world-class operating team, the company is undertaking a program of product innovation, customer engagement and service excellence. For more information, visit

About Engage121, Inc.

Founded in 1998, Engage121, Inc. offers the most comprehensive social media management solution for both national brands and organizations with local sales outlets. Its flagship product, Engage121, enables organizations to monitor, evaluate and respond in real time to social media activity across the widest range of platforms, including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube, as well as consumer review sites and blogs. Engage121 also allows content deployment in a centralized, controlled and compliant manner. For more than a decade, the company has provided a suite of media and communications services to over 1,000 businesses and organizations and brings this wealth of experience to its social media clients. For more information, please visit

Monday, June 6, 2011

New Purple Goldfish Podcast: Episode 37

A new video podcast is available over at Marketing Lagniappe:

Exploring the concept of a ‘Gift Economy’:

Sunday, June 5, 2011

MRA Tribute Video

This is a tribute video for a board member of the MRA that is stepping down. Paul Kirch and I conceived of the concept and questions. Paul executed the interviews and I put together the video.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Closet Full of Great Ideas

I ran two great workshops on the basics of social media today at the Plato's Closet Convention in Las Vegas, and I tweeted pics of the groups during the sessions. Here's a shot of one of the groups.

One of the great things about these events is that even though I am teaching a class, I also end up learning a lot. One of the biggest challenges facing small businesses, and franchises like this, is that the level of social media knowledge varies greatly from person to person. And all of these people, no mater their social media savvy, are all busy. So the objective today was to help them understand the social media landscape, rules of the road and the tools at their disposal. No small task.

One of the things I encouraged the group to do, especially the newbies, was to not jump head first into the deep-end of the social media pool. Start slow... get your toes wet. Start to surf the various sites like Facebook, Twitter and blogs. See what's being said and done. Get an idea of how it works. Get the lay of the land. Once you've done that, you'll have a better idea of where you want to start in social media.

Getting Started In Social Media

I'm writing today from Las Vegas, and what happens this time in Vegas is not staying here. I'm presenting to the franchisees from Plato's Closet about the basics of social media and leading a discussion about how to get your feet wet, what to think about and toss around a few ideas on what to do as your first few steps.

I can't wait to get started. The folks at Plato's Closet are a nice bunch of people, smart and raring to go.

More to come.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Purple Goldfsh Podcast Season 2 Begins

Season two of the Purple Goldfish Podcast is underway. Episode 36 is a quick recap of where we have been and a preview of what's next. Join Stan Phelps and I as we continue our quest for 1001 examples of Marketing Lagniappe... companies that do that little something extra, generate word of mouth and build a legion of rabid fans.

We are up to 800! Help us get to 1001. (Click the link or pic to jump to the site.)

Twitter Does't Bite

As a person immersed in social media, one thing I encounter on a regular basis are people who are unfamiliar with Twitter. There are usually two kinds:

The Twitter Virgin: These are people who have never been on Twitter. They've heard about it, maybe they have looked at the site, but they don’t have an account nor a clue about what it’s all about. They may be a little technophobic or they may just have not gotten around to it yet. A common phrase from a “TV” is “Why would anyone care if I’m on line at Starbucks or going to the gym. And what do I care if other people are?”

The Twitter Quitter: This person has actually set up an account, tweeted a couple of times, and then dropped off the map. They didn’t have much to say and they didn’t get much back to make it worth their while. So they simply stopped tweeting or paying attention.

Both of these types can be people who either use Twitter for business or personal use. Regardless of their potential motivations for Twitter, they just don’t get it. But often, these people continue to hear about Twitter and many of them want to get on the bandwagon… or back on the bandwagon, in some cases.

It’s not always easy to describe Twitter to someone unfamiliar with it. Ever try explaining a hashtag to someone? It usually starts out something like… “It’s a word with a number sign or the pound symbol in front of it… with no spaces.”

I usually try to start with the benefits of Twitter, like the wealth of information and news that is available on Twitter. Whether it’s news about world events like an earthquake or an election or maybe just the latest celebrity gossip or breaking sports news.

Or perhaps I’ll focus on the marketing and networking opportunities. There are countless amounts of people just waiting to be engaged. These can be potential customers, fans, employers, employees or new friends. I’ll also touch on the advantages of monitoring the Twitterverse for mentions of significant keywords, like your name or brand name

But this article is not meant as a Twitter tutorial. I just wanted to give you a little advice if you are curious about Twitter. To borrow a famous catch phrase: JUST DO IT!

No, this is not a sneaker commercial, but the fact remains that the only real way to learn about Twitter is to do Twitter. You don’t have to start off as a content generating machine. Just get on there. Start by signing up, surfing around and following some people. Follow your friends, favorite bands and celebrities and your favorite companies. If you have a smart phone, install a Twitter app.

Send some tweets and do some retweets. It can be as simple as commenting on your favorite show, a 140-character review of a movie or restaurant. (Maybe tweet from the line in Starbucks, just to see what it’s like.) Over the next few weeks, read a couple of articles on Twitter basics. Ask your “social media” friends about it. Learn how to search Twitter and set saved searches on your phone app.

I guarantee that after a while, you’ll start to get it. You’ll start to sift through the noise and find the value. You’ll even start to understand hashtags.

So what are you waiting for? It’s free, it’s not rocket science and Twitter doesn't bite. Twitter may or may not be the right tool for you in the grand scheme of social media, but you’ll never know until you try.

(This article first appeared on the Social Media Workbench blog.)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Top 5 on Cinco de Mayo

Here 's a link to my latest post over at the Purple Goldfish Project. We are up to 800 entries in our quest for 1001 examples of companies that go above and beyond.

Click here to check it out.
A Few Good Fish

MRA Hot Seat Ep. 5

The new episode of the MRA Hot Seat has been posted. This time Simon Chadwick of Cambiar Consulting. Presented by the Greater NY Chapter of the MRA, the Hot Seat video podcast is a spotlight for it's members, who are some of the brightest starts in the market research industry. The MRA Hot Seat is hosted and produced by Paul Kirch and Jack Campisi.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Twitter: Just #DoIt

I have a new post of the Social Media Workbench:
Twitter: Just #DoIt

By Jack Campisi:
As a person immersed in social media, one thing I encounter on a regular basis are people who are unfamiliar with Twitter. There are usually two kinds... (Click the link above to jump to the post.)

Social Media Workbench -

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Amtrak Selects Engage121 Social CRM Portal for Pilot Program in the Northeast Corridor


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Jack Serpa
Executive Vice President
Phone: 203-849-7246

"America's Railroad" to reach riders via Twitter during major service disruptions

, CT – Engage121, Inc., a software firm specializing in customer relationship management through social media, announces Amtrak is conducting a pilot program in their Northeast Corridor rail system using the Engage121 Corporate Edition social CRM portal to simultaneously reach their Twitter followers and the news media with alerts about major service disruptions affecting Amtrak train operations.

Engage121 will allow Amtrak to streamline the process of getting this time-critical and important information into the hands of customers and the media, provide Amtrak with customized capability to track the activity of service center employees and to gauge the effectiveness of the alert program.
“Northeast Corridor customers who want to receive service alerts through Twitter should go to @AmtrakNEC and 'follow' us," said Danelle Hunter, the Amtrak Media Relations Manager based at the railroad’s national operations center in Wilmington, Del. For purposes of the pilot program, the Northeast Corridor consists of the main line between Washington, D.C. and Boston, the Keystone service from New York City to Harrisburg, Pa. and the line from New Haven, Conn., to Springfield, Mass.

The Engage121 family of products is focused on delivering social media business solutions to both large and small organizations. The Corporate Edition selected by Amtrak, and customized to their specific needs by Engage121, combines innovative multi-platform messaging capability with customized permissioning and reporting options. An SMB Edition delivers straightforward social CRM to small and medium-sized business owners. The Enterprise Edition provides all of the standard permissioning, communications and reporting capabilities of the Corporate Edition, but is designed specifically to serve companies with a distributed sales model by enhancing customer relationships across the organization.We are excited that Amtrak selected Engage121 to customize a solution to allow them to distribute alerts regarding major service disruptions simultaneously and efficiently through both social and traditional electronic communications channels," said Jon Victor, Engage121 CEO. "This initiative will allow us to showcase the versatility and adaptability of the Engage121 social CRM solution in a real-world scenario, and we look forward to expanding this initiative to the Amtrak system nationwide after the successful conclusion of this pilot program."


About Amtrak®:
Amtrak is America’s Railroadsm, the nation’s intercity passenger rail provider and its only high-speed rail operator. A record 28.7 million passengers traveled on Amtrak in FY 2010 on more than 300 daily trains – at speeds up to 150 mph (241 kph) – that connect 46 states, the District of Columbia and three Canadian Provinces. Amtrak operates trains in partnership with 15 states and four commuter rail agencies. Amtrak also is a strong financial performer achieving an 85 percent cost-recovery ratio in FY 2010. Enjoy the journeysm at or call 800-USA-RAIL for schedules, fares and more information. Join us on Facebook at and follow us on Twitter at

About Engage 121, Inc.
For more than 10 years, Engage121, Inc. has provided communication services to over one thousand national franchisors, dealerships, direct sellers, and other communications professionals. The Engage121 application is the clear leader in delivering customer relationship management through the social media to national brands with local sales locations. The company continues to provide communications professionals its other, highly regarded communications tools, including Grassroots PR, MediaQ, MatchPoint and AP Planner. The MediaQ media monitoring application was the primary source of analysis to the primary participants in the recent Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, and its GrassrootsPR application provides local news distribution services to over one hundred thousand local businesses. For more information, please visit

Amtrak - Engage121 Press Release

Monday, April 4, 2011

Social Media: Get In, Get Out, Get On With Your Day

Recently I had the pleasure of attending a real estate convention for ERA Real Estate. I gave a presentation on social media called "Social Media: Get In, Get Out, Get On With Your Day".

There are two realities that real estate professionals face:
1. Social Media is here and you can't ignore it.
2. It's hard enough to learn all of the various tools, platforms and intricacies of social media without the added pressure of getting out there and selling houses.

First we covered the basic tasks of social media... what are the four basic things you want to do?

1. Listen: What are your friends, followers and contacts up to?
2. Explore: What's being said about your brand? Who is out there looking for what you sell?
3. Speak: Delivering relevant, compelling content, joining the conversation and engaging with people one on one.
4. Measure: Track your efforts, measure your results and determine your ROI.

Once we knew what we wanted to do, we then talked about how to do it quickly, consistently and effectively... and fit it into an already busy schedule.

In the coming weeks I will touch on some of the concepts we discussed and some of the real life challenges the people I met with face as well as some of the ideas we came up with to develop a solid and realistic strategy for your social media day and week.

MRA Hot Seat Ep. 4

Here is the latest MRA Hot Seat video, produced by yours truly.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sunday, February 13, 2011

No Reservations, No Clue

So last night I went and saw Anthony Bourdain in Stamford, CT at the Palace Theater. As you know, his main pet peeve is bad food. (The Olive Garden and Sandra Lee took the brunt of his assault last night.) It was a good time, but ironically, I ate at an all-you-can-eat sushi joint before the show and I picked off a friend's plate at Buffalo Wild Wings afterwards.

I guess you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him eat good food.

I also learned that it's bad etiquette to over dip your sushi in soy sauce and it's a sin to mix the wasabi up in the soy sauce as well. This came as a big surprise to me. I only started eating sushi in the last seven to eight years and that's how I learned it from others. Excuse me for being a naive American, but I didn't know. And in my defense... it tastes good and I enjoy it. So I'll keep on doing it that way unless I'm a guest of or in the company of Japanese people that might be offended. Thanks for the heads up Tony. Now I know.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Super Social Media Sunday

On days like Super Bowl Sunday I think maybe social media was invented specifically for the world to quickly express to each other just how bad a National Anthem or halftime show can be. It was a pretty good game, but I think I spent more time making jokes and reading witty comments on Facebook and Twitter about Christina Aguilera, the Black Eyed Peas and dancers that looked like something out of TRON.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Engage121 Will Be At Social Media Week

Jack Serpa of Engage121 was named a Panel Speaker at Social Media Week NYC:

The panel discussion will be held at 12 noon at 101 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10001 in the offices of The Morris + King Company, a public relations agency and media partner for Social Media Week. Panel participants include representatives from, Buddy Media, 2tor, Inc and Learning Express.

The Panel Includes:
  • Moderator: Meghan Peters, Mashable
  • Jack Serpa: Executive Vice President, Engage121
  • Ariel Faulkner: Communications Director & Marketing Manager, Learning Express
  • Joe Ciarallo: Director of Communications, Buddy Media & Contributing Editor, PRNewser
  • Alexa Scordato: Community Manager, 2tor, Inc.
More info here:

Friday, February 4, 2011

MRA Hot Seat Ep. 1

Recently I joined forces with the MRA Greater NY Chapter to present a new series of video interviews featuring and spotlighting the various members of the group. The series, called the MRA Hot Seat, is designed to present relevant and compelling content for the group as well as provide a platform for people to introduce themselves, share knowledge and even sneak in a quick plug for their businesses.

Here's the first interview with current Marketing Research Assoc. (GNY) Chapter President, Janet Baldi.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Do You Have the Tools to Mine the Facebook Fan Page Gold?

The rush is on. There's gold in dem there Facebook pages! #crm #engage121

Monday, January 31, 2011

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The View From My Window

Here's the view from my window at Engage121 on this unexpected winter's day. Rt 7 looks a lot nicer from here.

With our social media CRM platform, we can listen to, speak to and engage with the world via social media... and it seems we can also visit the snowy land of Narnia.

If I see a talking beaver, I'll be sure to tweet about it.

I'm heading off to the kitchen to see if we have any Turkish Delight.