Caliber Group has launched to help businesses stay abreast of the latest consumer behaviors, opinions and marketing trends to survive and thrive. Our agency excels at building brands and relationships. We’re well versed in the use of both traditional and social media to educate, influence or persuade audiences. To deliver an effective message, we know you have to understand your clients/customers: what they want and what they need.

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Bare Essential Message Strategy

Happy Thursday and here's your latest Caliber Pulse kudos to a company that clearly understands how to get our attention. (You bunch of cheeky monkeys!) Apparently Air New Zealand was a bit concerned that passengers weren't paying attention to the safety demonstrations at the beginning of each domestic flight. So they hit on a novel way to grab, and maintain, passengers' attention.

Buy low, sell high marketing

“Buy low, sell high” applies just as well to market and mind share as it does to stocks. Astute marketers recognize that the current weakness in economic activity can be turned into an opportunity for growth. In fact, a recent global survey of chief executives conducted by McKinsey & Company found that 20% of organizations plan to increase their marketing budgets over the next year. Now, what do these firms know that the 45% planning to reduce budgets don’t? Simply that advertising investments during a recession can pay off handsomely.

Cutting Out Negative URL Potential

NBC Universal, parent company of the newly-rebranded SyFy Network, realized there might be hecklers that didn't approve of the station's new focus or look. The executives bought to combat this, leaving Internet trolls and detractors one less avenue to damage the company's reputation or marketing campaign. This was a smart move for the company, especially since they knew a majority of their viewers were avid Internet users. If fans were unhappy about something, they would most likely find an avenue on the Web to address it. Some places like got through, but the damage was minimized.

Dell makes $3 million from Twitter

For those businesses that don't think there's money to make via social media, think again! Check out this Wall Street Journal blog about how Dell has surpassed the $3 million mark using Twitter to promote product sales and discounts. Dell seems to have broken through the glass ceiling of social media, successfully turning it into a business tool that directly drove profit for the computer maker.

Tweeting for Business

Tweetdeck offers a nice search function that some entrepreneurs (hello #Bradford Shrimp!) are using to find business leads on Twitter. How? Type in a search phrase like "Wordpress help" and find everyone who's talking about your topic. Then follow them and offer interesting content/tips they can use. Run a restaurant? Try searching for the phrase "happy hour," or if you're a grocery store chain, "coupons" or "groceries." It may take a couple tries to get the phrase or keyword that works for you, but a little research could yield a new customer/client you weren't reaching yesterday. If you're not in the business of directly selling something, you can use the search function on Tweetdeck to network within your industry.

Using URL Shortener for Marketing Efforts

Twitter has done a great job of making Internet users write more concisely with its 140 character rule. It helps that URL shortening services let us share links that may be too long in their original state. TinyURL and are great ways to condense a link into a small amount of characters for tweeting and retweeting purposes. The advantage to using is how it doubles as a marketing tool for departments and companies investing their time and money in Internet marketing and social media.

How Do Your Customers Really Feel About You?

It's pretty common knowledge in the business industry that building on existing customer relationships is more cost effective than trying to attract new customers altogether. But before you start trying to upsell your existing customer base, it might be a good idea to find out how they really feel about your business. Such information could help you come up with a winning strategy that entices them to buy more of your services. However, asking a customer at the counter what they think of your business is kinda like asking your significant other if he or she thinks you've gained weight. Some couples have the kind of open and honest relationships that allow them to successfully navigate such a sensitive topic. Other couples might squirm and feel awkward.

Social Media Workshop a Success

More than a hundred attended our Smart Marketing Workshop on Social Media yesterday morning! “Using Social Media to Build Your Brand and Business” offered a introduction to social media while representatives from Metropolitan Tucson Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Arizona Daily Star, KOLD News 13 and Buffalo Exchange discussed how they’ve used social media to improve their businesses. Some of the takeaways I Twittered during the workshop, in case you missed either: If your demographic isn't using social media, don't wait another six months, get there before your customers do. Best Western has been using a travel blog to allow visitors to share tips and great experiences. Result: Best Western's site has grown 50 percent since creation. Customers who want to identify with a cause can identify with Kenneth Cole and interact with the clothing brand and its fans on its Awearness blog. Result: The clothing brand is reaching a niche customer demographic interested in identifying itself as socially conscious (Gen X anyone?). Hewlett Packard created a scavenger hunt using Twitter, offering free products and building brand awareness for HP. Result: they increased traffic to their Web site around the holiday season - great timing! Domino's Pizza used social media (YouTube) to successfully manage a crisis situation involving former employees and food safety. Result: Social Media proved an important PR tool as they reassured their customer base that their food is safe. Nature Conservancy used Digg to raise awareness by posting articles like, "14 easy ways to be an environmentalist." Result: they substantially increased the number of visitors to their Web site.

Social Media Workshop Was a Full House

Wow! What a turnout for our Smart Marketing Workshop on social media this morning! I Twittered throughout the workshop all the great takeaways our speakers covered. If you couldn't make it, don't worry. We're already looking into a follow up session. We'll also be posting the PowerPoint presentation on our Web site's home page. Check back later tonight for a recap of the session! If we did see your smiling face there, let us know what you thought. Did you get any cool ideas for how to use social media in your business? We'd love to hear from you! (Like what you're reading on Sign up for an e-mail alert and we'll let you know when we post something new! Just look to the right side of the page!)

Facebook Gives Users Personalized Web Addresses

The Facebook Blog announces this week we can now personalize our Facebook pages by using our usernames in the address. So instead of directing friends to, we can now refer our friends to Why do we care? LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter have become the business card of choice for social media savvy businesses. So now you can advertise your business Facebook page as It's definitely more reader friendly for marketing and advertising materials. To register, go to Then consider adding your Facebook address to your business cards as a great way for potential customers/clients to interact with and get to know your business. Take a look at what Radisson Suites Tucson and Gadabout Salon Spas are doing on Facebook to build relationships with customers/clients. Sharing special VIP events and sales is just one way for a business to gain "friends" online. How has your business successfully used Facebook? (Thanks to Hello Laulo for the picture!)

Business down? Give away money!

I've experienced two great marketing campaigns in the last two days - both resulting in money for me! First up, my favorite local lunch destination when I need fast, comfort food: eegee's. They're giving away coupon cards for every $5 donation customers make. The coupon card gives you half off your lunch purchase once a month for a whole year. Not a bad exchange rate since I paid around $7 for my lunch yesterday. And in two months - my coupon card will have paid for itself. And the icing on the cake? The $5 donation benefits the CareGiver Training Institute, a nonprofit that trains individuals to be nursing assistants and caregivers. So not only do I get a once-a-month lunch discount, I get to feel good for helping pay for someone's education. The second impressive marketing campaign arrived on my Blackberry via e-mail yesterday - Starbucks credited $10 to my Starbucks Gold Card for being a valued customer. Now granted, I probably spend more than that in a week at Starbucks and should really have stock given how much I've single-handedly held up this company.

Protecting Your Online Community and, Thereby, Your Brand

Stephenie Meyer, the author of the best-selling Twilight series and other novels, recently said she is resigning from social media. Regardless if you are a fan of her or the vampire stories she tells, this speaks to a larger issue of people using Internet applications to attack or even disguise their identities – people commonly called trolls – to say what they want. As more companies use social networking to reach their customers or humanize their brand, the growing number of trolls online could intimidate a brand from jumping into to the social media pool. So, how can businesses keep trolls under the bridge where they belong and out of their online communities? It’s not easy, but it can be done.