Melanie Deziel | Branded Content Consultant & Speaker

Upgrading My Road Warrior Status, With AWAY Luggage

Those of you who follow me to any degree know that I do a tremendous amount of travel. Last year, I logged 110K+ miles, taking 56 planes, 14 trains, and 100+ taxis,  passing through 26 airports and spending the night in 38 different hotels in 7 countries (See it all in one infographic here).

All that travel has taught me a lot, but it took me WAY too long to learn that quality luggage is key.

A few weeks ago, I hopped off the train in Philadelphia for a weekend of speaker training. My hotel was less than half a mile from the train station; being a New Yorker, (and a FitBit wearer), that distance didn’t intimidate me in the slightest. Time to get some steps.

But three blocks from my hotel, one of the wheels on my random off brand suitcase completely gave out. It was bent at a 90-degree angle, and no amount of pulling or pushing (or—let’s be honest—aggressive kicking) was fixing it.

I carried my (non-)rolling suitcase the rest of the way.

I was beyond frustrated, and when I mentioned my traveler’s strife to a fellow road warrior and speaker between conference sessions, he gave the most glowing recommendation of Away Luggage. Being a marketer, like myself, he listened to my grievances and led with the guarantee and customer service. He’d had an issue with his once, he said, and they’d sent him a replacement in no time. Plus, it’s rugged, stylish and comes with a built-in battery for device charging. Yes, please. SOLD. I ordered it from my phone right then and there, in hopes it’d be delivered back home before I returned and set off for Charlotte three days later.

I’d first heard of Away through some well-targeted ads online, but had also seen one of the founders speak at an event and was really impressed with their philosophy on marketing. It’s not just about a well-crafted suitcase, they said, but about enabling travelers to have the best possible travel experience.

When I received my suitcase in the mail in a fabulous interior-printed box, complete with a branded dust-bag to protect the exterior, and a full-scale travel magazine, Here, I saw that philosophy at work. (I did a fun unboxing on Instagram Stories to share my excitement).

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I went with The Bigger Carry-On, since most of my trips are only 2-4 days, and I rarely need to check luggage. (I try to pack minimally, and keep most of my must-have’s already packed and ready to go). And I ordered it in black because, you know, that’s my brand.

Now that I’ve got a great bag, I finally feel like I’m stepping into the elite traveler status I’ve spent the last few years earning, and I’m excited for all the adventures this bag will be accompanying me on! A few major trips coming in the next year: Buenos Aires, Berlin, and Madrid! Bring it on.


If you want to give Away a try, use this link to save $20 on your first bag!
A friend passed the savings along to me, so I’m passing it along to you!

Heads up: This page contains an affiliate link, which means I get a reward for any sales I refer, at no extra cost to you. Since I only recommend products and services I actually like or use, hopefully this is a win/win!

On The Road Again: #CMWorld

It’s been almost three months since I hit the road for a conference; I spent the bulk of June and July navigating a two-stage move from NYC to New Jersey, and I’ve been hyper-focused on my work helping some local publisher and brand clients get their content up to snuff. I’m so excited to be packing up my new carry-on and heading to Cleveland for Content Marketing World!

I’ll be speaking Thursday September 7th at 10 a.m. on the BrightEdge Stage, teaching how to make the most of native ads (on all platforms) in a mobile world.

If you haven’t had a chance to grab tickets yet, there’s still time through Monday. You can use my link, here, and code “MDEZIEL” to save $100, too.

But as anyone who’s attended #CMWorld knows, it’s not just about the speaker sessions. More than 4K of the worlds top content marketers are gathered there, and the networking opportunities are endless. The social engagement is off the charts, the vendors bring out their top-notch swag, and there are endless chances to connect with industry influencers from around the world.

A shot from last year’s #CMWorld event

I’m honored to have been included in Traackr’s list of the top 19 influencers to know at the this year’s CMW event, with the likes of Jay Baer, Casey Neistat and Michael Brenner. Check out the full list to see the caliber of folks who are going to be there.

CMI also included my perspective in this roundup of expert advice for avoiding common content marketing mistakes.

I’ll be sharing my #CMWorld experience across platforms, so if you can’t make it out to Cleveland for the event, be sure to follow along on Twitter (@mdeziel), Instagram (@meldeziel), Facebook (Mdeziel Media) and anywhere else you consume your content.

Courting Your Customers With Content

I make a lot of analogies when I talk about content strategy to try to make it more relatable, and relationship and dating analogies seem to work well. (One of my previous blog posts, which used Tinder as a framework to help you Swipe Right on the best practices and Swipe Left on common mistakes continued to be a favorite.)

These analogies seem to work particularly well when we think about content as a way to build a relationship with customers.

In a way, buying banner ads or making incredibly sales focused content is like walking in to a bar and proposing to everyone you meet, the moment you meet them. You assume that merely because they showed up to the same bar, they’re qualified and that they’ll be open to your invitation. You can almost feel the hot sting of rejection that would follow a swift slap on the side of your face.

And sure, you can keep proposing to everyone you pass. And maybe… eventually… someone will actually take you up on it and come home with you. But the chances of them being the right person, who sticks around and creates the long-term value you’re dreaming of, is pretty small.

Your chances of entering a healthy long-term customer relationship are much higher if you put in the effort to build the relationship, nurture the connection and lay the proper groundwork before going in for the proposal.

It’s not all about you. You need to listen to your consumers, both the things they explicitly tell you and they things they shouldn’t have to. Read the comments, take the calls, and take a long, hard look at the data. See high bounce rates on content like someone leaving a date early: was it something you said? Nobody accepting your invitation to click through to your content? Maybe you need a more compelling invitation, or a more compelling party to invite people to.

Give them gifts
Maybe not flowers and chocolate (although that’s nice too) but you should be offering your potential customers valuable information, resources, discounts, access to events, and entertaining content. You should be offering something that’s more for them than for you, showing you care about them and their happiness, that you respect their time and money, and that you want to be additive to their life. With brands as with friendships and dating, those are the people we keep around.

Put in the time
Like fine wine, saplings and caterpillars, some things take time to teach their true potential. Customer relationships are one of those things. A great first impression or interaction is just the beginning, a first date that went well. To keep that relationship growing in loyalty and value, you need to continue to cultivate it over time. Keep showing up. Keep bringing value. Keep listening.