Monday, August 11, 2008

Malibu Boats Twittered into a Column

Just found this column by Lisa Cruz on She writes about Twitter and mentions Malibu Boats along with companies like Southwest Airlines, Dell Computers and Zappos. That's pretty good company!

This kind of exposure is a nice little benefit of participating in new ways to communicate online. Go social media!

Thanks for the digital ink, Lisa! You can bet I'm gonna Twitter this.

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Content Drives Action Online

“Great content in all forms helps buyers see that you and your organization, ‘get it.’” David Meerman Scott, The New Rules of Marketing and PR. This is a great book. Check it out.

Examples of content driving action for Malibu Boats. When web visitors originated at these supplemental social media content locations these are the changes in traffic we saw.

  • Malibu: E-newsletter
    • We saw 37% more leads the week of a Malibu e-newsletter release.
    • News releases can work this same way.
      • You can send a social media news release and see these same results.
  • Malibu: Channel
    • People coming from our YouTube channel spent 1 min 15 sec more time on average
  • Malibu: Malibu Boats Blog
    • People coming from our blog spent 3 min 44 sec more time on average.
    • People coming from our blog spent 3 more actions per visit on average.

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

How Do You Track the Effects of Social Media and PR on Sales?

I was e-mailed this questions a few times after the webinar earlier today so I thought I would answer the question on the blog. Here’s a brief overview of the analytics process we use at Malibu Boats to track our effectiveness with PR and social media online.

Here is a list of the tools we use. Nothing fancy and nothing too expensive.
GetClicky $100 per year (
Google Analytics (free)
Channel Blade Technologies (lead management)
warranty card submissions

So we analyze the traffic to our web site with Clicky and/or Google Analytics. We look at where people are coming from and what part of our site their going to. For example... Are they coming to the Malibu Boats web site as the results of an e-newsletter we sent out, a news release, or are they coming from the Malibu Boats YouTube Channel or the Malibu Flickr gallery. We also pay attention to whether or not they fill out a lead. If they did, we track that lead via our lead management system to see where it ends up in the buying process with our dealers. Then we crosscheck that lead with our warranty card submissions to verify a sale.

This is pretty round about, but we have found it is accurate in getting us ROI for our PR and social media efforts. What this process doesn’t tell us is whether or not these types of PR were the only determining factor in the buying decision or if they based their decision on other influencers like the nearest dealer, a friend, magazine advertisements, etc. Of course, in reality that could all be considered PR. We assume that they are learning about Malibu Boats through several sources so we take the social media ROI data with a grain of salt.

It all comes down to managing relationships. If the customers you talk with, or communicate with via the web, are generally happy with your product and services that is a big indicator of your success, our analytics process simply gives us the number of actual sales that were affected by our online PR efforts. currently we still use other type of Marketing and PR to get the word out about the Malibu Difference.

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Spoke in a PR Webinar for Vocus and PRSA Today

I was part of a PR webinar today. Pretty cool. The other speakers and myself presented some really interesting information about the New Role of PR for Public Relations. You can listen to a recorded version of the webinar free at the Vocus web site.

Here's some brief information about the webinar...

How has the role of public relations changed over the past few years and where is it headed? How can you prepare for and take advantage of new opportunities? Tasked with building corporate image, managing brand recognition and complementing marketing and other company initiatives, public relations now extends far beyond its traditional role.

Join Jeffrey Julin of PRSA, Jerry Swerling of the USC Annenberg Strategic PR Center and Amy Mauzy of Malibu Boats for “The New Public Relations Role; Connect to Strategy.”

More and more public relations professionals today are reporting to the C-suite and supporting the company’s strategic planning and growth. Hear from our panel how the public relations function has expanded to help align and lead other company initiatives and will continue to grow moving forward.

The New Public Relations Role; Connect to Strategy


Jeffrey Julin, APR, Chair and CEO, PRSA Board of Directors
Jerry Swerling, professor, USC Annenberg Strategic PR Center
Amy Mauzy, public relations manager for Malibu Boats

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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Use to Increase PR Coverage and Sales

At first glance seems like over kill. Why create a web site to house bookmarks? My browser does that. But bookmarks are only a part of The real power is in tagging and sharing.

Using in your PR strategy can increase your company's coverage in the media and give retail customers a more complete picture so they can make a more educated buying decision. By categorizing your bookmarks with tags and publishing the URLs to your various tag categories in your news releases, you can make your media contacts' jobs easier. By cutting down on the leg work journalists and media contacts have to do when creating an article on your company or product you will increase your media penetration. By capitalizing on tags and bookmark sharing you will also give your customers a more complete view of your company and products during buying research.

Take a look at these bookmarks we collected to go along with a news release about Club Malibu members getting VIP treatment at the Malibu Open this July. We have also publicized the RSS feed for this page so media and individuals see any additions made to this page in the future. We have added bookmarks to this page and tagged them with the "ClubMalibu" tag if they have can offer additional information on Club Malibu. As new web pages are created as a result of the Club Malibu VIP news release we will add those bookmarks to this page and tag them with "ClubMalibu" as well.

Media Benefits:

  • Focused research: A list of bookmarks fine tunes your media contacts' research so they can get more relevant information.
  • Saving time: gives journalists a list of links to follow for their research they do not have to create this list on their own.
  • Third-party coverage: Bookmarks pointing to third-party coverage of your product gives your media contacts the tools they need to corroborate your claims.
  • Continued updates: As your bookmarks are updated subscribing media contacts can visit those additional web pages and have the ability to publish continuing coverage of their own.
Customer Benefits:
  • Focused research: A list of bookmarks fine tunes a buyer's research so they can get more specific information on the product they are interested in.
  • Complete picture: The collection of bookmarks will give customers a more accurate view of your company and product.
  • Third-party coverage: Your bookmarks pointing to third-party coverage of your company and products adds credibility to your information.
  • Continued updates: Customers can subscribe to your RSS feed to see an updated list of bookmarks on a particular topic and ultimately have access to more information about your company and product.
Explore and see what it can do to increase your media coverage and sales.

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Press Release Grader

Just tried this Press Release Grader I read about on What a cool tool! It still has a few little bugs, but those will be worked out soon.

The people behind this utility are really on it. I just offered some feedback and almost immediately Dharmesh replied to me and on a Saturday no less. You can tell they are interested in making this thing work well.

Here's a link to the Press Release Grader report for my Club Malibu VIP release. My grade is only a C right now, but after a few of the bugs are worked out, I'm hoping that will climb. The Grader was having problems with my e-mail links and marking me down because of that. Dharmesh is on it.

I ran this press release through the tool just to check it out. Even though this one already went out I wanted to grade it. I'm glad I did. I learned a few things.

  1. I need to think more about my anchor text. I didn't even understand what anchor text was. I looked it up and found a great blog entry describing the term as well as the best way to optimize it for search engines. published
    It's not just being linked, but how you link - anchor text. This raised my grade.
  2. I should use keywords in my link text. According to the Press Release Grader report, "Press releases should generally contain one or more links that use anchor text incorporating relevant keywords." I wasn't aware of this, but it turns out I did a pretty good job in this area. Who knew?
  3. I also learned that I should ### at the end of my releases. I always used -end-, but this works too. Correcting this raised my grade.
  4. One area I did well in was "Gobbledygook Words". I was surprised by this. I always thought I made these errors, but not in this release. Cool!
This tool worked well in analyzing a traditional press release, but I am getting into social media news releases. I wondered how it would work with those types of releases, so I tried one. Works great! I analyzed the SMNR version of the Club Malibu VIP release and got more great feedback. I am a PR Grader fan. Can't wait to keep testing.

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Sunday, April 27, 2008

My Employer Actually Cares

Believe it or not I work for a company that practices caring more than policy.

I just read Seth Godin's post for today, Pretending that you care, It actually made me feel really good. Once you read his blog entry for the 27th, you will be asking yourself, why? How could the lack of caring and courtesy he describes make me happy. You're right it is a little depressing, when taken at face value, but when I read something like this I feel proud and happy about my job and the company I work for. Posts like Seth's remind me how special Malibu Boats is and how fortunate I am to work there.

Malibu Boats is World's #1 selling water sports boat. The company was started by Robert Alkema back in 1982. Since that time Bob and the people he employees have worked hard to build the best boat. But the cool thing about Malibu isn't the great boats we build. It's not about the boats. It's about the people.

Starting with Bob, the founder and CEO, the people at Malibu Boats care. We care about each other. We are a family. I have only been at Malibu for the last ten years and in that time I have witnessed countless examples of this caring. (I say "only" because I am still new by Malibu standards.)

About a year after I started at Malibu I went through a divorce. I was 23 and extremely upset. Now in a 500-person company I would expect that the people closest to me would offer sympathy and help, but I never would have imagined that the CEO of the company would care. Bob called me into his office and basically told me everything was going to be ok. He didn't have to. It probably wasn't a smart move as far as "policy" was concerned, but he did it anyway.

The caring is not limited to Malibu employees. It covers everyone in the Malibu Family, which includes boat owners, dealers and vendors. I know this sounds like a PR warm fuzzy, but it's true. We operate as if everyone buying and selling the boats are family. I'm not saying we are perfect. We have had some customer service hiccups, like any company, but the difference is Malibu makes it right. The reaction to these problems is never based on policy. Everything is handled on a case by case basis while showing the customer the compassion and respect we would show our own families.

Don't believe me? Take a look at this thrid-party Malibu owners site. Post something... ask the question about Malibu. Do they care? You'll be amazed by the responses. You may get a few decenting opinions, but if our customer service department gets wind of those people, they will be attended to.

I could list a ton of cool stories about how much Malibu Boats cares, but I think this one says it all. Check out the this post on the forum. Keep in mind that we manufacture and sell new boats. This post is about a boat that is six years old and was purchased used, not from Malibu.

Thanks for bringing this up, Seth. Writing this post reminded me how fun it is to work for a company who cares.

Friday, April 25, 2008

More Than a Baby Mama

My ambition, creativity and curiosity didn't fly out of my womb with my kids. I am still the same person I was before I was a mama. Don't get me wrong, my life is better now that I have a family, but my kids and my husband don't define me. They are a part of me, a big part of me, but there is more here. And I don't think I should feel guilty because I like the parts of me that are not about being a mother and a wife. If I had to choose among the versions of me, I would choose my family, hands down. Luckily, I don't have to choose. None of us do. We can have it all. I am a more than a baby mama!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

When Your Chopping for Charity There's No Drama

Well, I finally did it today. I have been meaning to get my hair cut for several months now and today was finally the day. You've got to be asking, "What the heck took you so long?" Let me see if I can explain it simply. About a month ago I had a baby. Enough said?

Ok, so you need a little more explanation than that? The last time I had my hair cut was about 18 months ago. Yes, I am a woman? But I am very lazy. I hate messing with my hair. So most of the time it is long and I do not do anything but wash and dry it. Sometimes I put it in a ponytail. And the only time I get it cut is when it gets long enough to donate it to Locks of Love. (

Hair dressers are amazed that I am not more emotional when my hair is being lopped off. Well... This is the third time I have donated my hair. I am used to it by now. Plus, the hair is going to a really good cause. That makes the separation really easy. It is the least I can do to help children with permanent hair loss. And so today I begin the process again. I will let my hair grow out and donate it again. No drama.