TWEET: Mobile food trucks coming to you?

Where are you?” a follower tweets to the cupcake fan page.

A responsive mobile cupcake truck posts on Twitter and Facebook, pinpointing their current Chicago Loop location along with a “10 more minutes” message. That means this sweet treat will be mine! … As long as they haven’t sold out or have yet to drive to the next location.

Chicago customers are starting to embrace the food truck movement: a novelty in Chicago. In cities like Los Angeles, New York and Austin, mobile food trucks continue to thrive and serve tacos, sandwiches or desserts.

Combined with social media updates available on a desktop or smartphone, food trucks create buzz and urgency to get these tasty items while supplies last. Customers like the spontaneity, curbside convenience and affordable bites. It’s a positive for the business also to expand their audience and create more jobs.

Navigating the mobile food business has been challenging for many entrepreneurs. Currently the tight Chicago laws allow only pre-cooked and packaged food that was prepared in a licensed kitchen to be sold on a food truck. This is unlike other cities where food must be prepared on board the mobile food facility only.

A food truck ordinance was proposed to the City Council late July, so hopefully by mid-late Fall, more food trucks will be on the road. Many consider Chicago a culinary destination and even big-name chefs are supporting the mobile food truck trend. For foodies and those who like cheap eats, let’s hope there’s even more food trucks coming to a street near you. And while you’re in Chicago, may your toughest decision around lunch be: which food truck do I purchase food from today?


"Listening" For New Customer Prospects on Social Media

Good and bad user comments on your company's Facebook Wall have word -of-mouth credibility. Twitter hashtags (#) can spread news and lies faster than any press release you deploy. But marketers who "listen" to social media can turn criticism into customers.

Social media doesn't prevent marketers from controlling their message, but it does require marketers to pay attention. Reply to wall comments and show a willingness to engage your customers in a positive way. Set up your own hashtags on Twitter to actively entice comments, and then address those comments directly. These are highly reliable portals for customer relationship management (CRM), if you use them the right way.

There are many simple techniques for "listening" to what's being said about your company and your brand. These are also excellent ways to find new customer prospects, and help prevent current customers from leaving you.


TWO TIP: Like Facebook's Like Button to Attract Customers

Social sharing is a very effective way to increase the visibility of your marketing campaign, and Facebook leads the way with a simple tool for integrating websites with social media: the "Like" button. This easy-to-install plug-in seamlessly attracts Facebook users to your website.

Put the "Like" button on your home page and product pages of your website. When "Like" is clicked, news of this is added to the Facebook user's public activity stream and all the user's friends will see this favorable action.

The friends can click on this action and go directly to your web page. They, in turn, can repeat the process so their friends can refer even more new visitors to you.

This simple action is an excellent way to prompt a viral marketing effect.


Email Marketing: The Perfect Compliment to Direct Mail

Looking for a cost-effective way to reach your customers without sacrificing maximum impact? Interested in opening a new, alternative channel of communication with an existing customer without being redundant? You should consider using or expanding email marketing.

“Email ad spending will jump to $677 million in 2011, from $492 million in 2008.”–eMarketer, “Social Media and E-Mail Spending to Rise”?

E-mail marketing is an efficient way to provide timely updates, targeted, personalized messages and beneficial promotional information to your customers. Designed to encourage and prompt the recipients to take immediate action–buy, download, sign-up, or direct them to the nearest store location. Besides offering a unique creative palate for direct marketing solutions, the benefits of a well-integrated email marketing component as part of your overall strategy are numerous:

1. Inexpensive - no postage costs.

2. Multi-Channel Strategy - compliments all components of your strategy.

3. Measureable - analyze results: open rates, click-thrus, and conversion rates.

4. Easy to test - try multiple offers, introduce a product before rolling out

5. Targeted - segment your audience and vary messages for each recipient.

6. Top of mind - keeps your company name and contact info in front of customers while generating awareness about new products and services.

7. Builds relationships - often resulting in customer loyalty and trust.

8. Increases credibility - increases awareness and brandishes image as industry expert with timely news and valuable tips.

9. Quick turnaround - perfect for communicating time-sensitive information.

10. Immediate action - sales, downloads, inquiries, and registrations instantly

At The Weinstein Organization we’ve been integrating email marketing within our clients’ overall marketing campaigns since 2004. We deploy over 600,000 emails per month and the results have been impressive to say the least. For more on how cost-efficient email marketing can complement your direct marketing efforts, contact your TWO account representative today.


TWO Talents : Graphic artist by day, musician by night

Chris MacCarthy started taking drum lessons at age 13, guitar lessons at 16, piano lessons at 17 and started song writing at around 16.

How long have you been playing and singing?

I performed my first original songs at high school recitals, then at cafes and bars/clubs while in college. I formed my first band at 18 while a freshman in college. It was a 3-piece with me on guitar and vocals, a bass player and drummer.

Who is your favorite group/singer?

My favorites are always changing, and there are too many to mention all of them. To name a few...Sonic Youth, Hovercraft, Viva Voce, The Frogs, Joni Mitchell, Radiohead

What famous people or venues have you played with/at?

I’ve performed in Santa Monica, San Diego, and Minneapolis. The majority of venues are in Chicago, including: Subterranean, The Beat Kitchen, and Uncommon Ground. I once performed at an event at The Hideout with Billy Corgan, Rick Nielsen (Cheap Trick), and others.

What are your future plans, aspirations?

I’ve recently started playing with a new band, wish to continue playing shows around Chicago and I am recording a new album with them. My past solo work has been fairly mellow and soft. My latest band is fairly loud and heavy.

How can someone hear your music?

My music can be found on iTunes, amazon.com, or @ chrismaccarthy.com