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Mark Traphagen
Works at Stone Temple Consulting
Attended Westminster Theological Seminary
Lives in Durham NC
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Mark Traphagen

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Broken Brand  Promises: the Disconnect Between Marketing & Customer Experience
+Kerry Bodine at #MozCon  2014

Supposedly it pays to be among America's most hated companies:

But 81% of consumers say they would willing pay more for better customer service. 70% have stopped buying from a brand because of bad service.

Brands like United Airlines think loyalty matters. Making a lot of explicit promises to their customers. But Kerry had a story about a friend getting very bad service right after getting an email from United promising better service.

Brands also make implicit promises. For example, you would expect a Twitter account @DeltaAssist to be, well, helpful. But took 9 hours to get a response to an urgent need.

Simple: When expectations based on a promise don't meet what is delivered, bad feelings are inevitable. Be very careful about what expectations you raise re: what you are able to deliver.

Customer journey maps from the real world: (the value of creating a journey map that tracks how a typical customer interaction really goes)

People often have an up-and-down roller coaster experience throughout a customer service interaction. Companies need to be aware of where the down points occur, what is happening to the customer there, and what they could do to fix that.

Who is responsible for brand?
Who is responsible for marketing?
Who's responsible for customer experience?
Answer: EVERYONE in the company.

Create a service blueprint based on findings from the customer journey map. Map out every touchpoint the customer has with your company and what kind of interaction typically happens there. 


1. Come to terms with what your brand really stands for (hint: it's probably NOT your slogan. Example: Best Buy: Try It Out Here Before You Buy it on Amazon). Use a collage of real customer impressions about your brand.

2. Determine your brand journey and create a customer journey map. Elements: 1. Your brand promise 2. Evidence in actual customer experience 3. Your brand reality (the promise that you're actually keeping)

3. Help employees to discover the role they play in the customer experience. Needs to go beyond just having a brand standards guide. Need to empower people to create better CX's. Ask them to take each brand promise, think about what that should feel like for a customer, and then think about what they could do to deliver that promise.  

But don't just pay attention to the problem spots in the journey. Also focus on the spots that are already really working, and incorporate those into your current marketing messages. In other words, make sure your marketing messages emphasize promises that you know you currently can keep. 

Put those promises front and center in your branding messages. Emirates Airlines has their experience as the first item in their site navigation. 

In other words: KEEP your promises first, THEN make them!
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#MozCon opening day #Seattle

posted by @mark #plusonly
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I wish i was there +Mark Traphagen , are you speaking??
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At speaker prep meeting for #mozcon #plusonly
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Looks fantastic! Good ludk +Mark Traphagen!
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Mark Traphagen

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Help Rand Fishkin run an SEO test.

+Rand Fishkin
Do You Have 20 Seconds to Help Run an Experiment?

If so, please visit Would love help sharing and spreading to get as many experiment takers as possible. Thanks so much!

p.s. Results from this series of tests will be published soon (a few more still to run) :-)
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There's Always an Excuse for Not Blogging. Here's 33 More

Great stuff from +Ryan Hanley
33 Excuses for NOT Blogging About Your Business
and why none of them are valid.

When something is difficult, different or uncomfortable we don't do it... even if it's important to our business.

This is why many businesses aren't blogging. 

So they make excuses...

Here are 33 GREAT excuses for not blogging.

What's your favorite excuse?

#contentmarketing   #blogging   #writing  
Deep down you know that you should be blogging. Here are 33 excuses for NOT blogging.…
Mark Tietbohl's profile photoChuckyzknightjr Knight's profile photoJeff Sieh's profile photorajesh saharan's profile photo
Blogging is a medium by which you can tell more about your business in a problem solving way. Surely its take an ample amount of time but the  value it gets is priceless.
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Mark Traphagen

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+Ricardo Blanco had the FTW comment on this: modern driers need an "I'm Feeling Lucky" setting #plusonly
I'm pretty sure "optimal" is the only setting you need. My new dryer confuses me.

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Mark Traphagen

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5 Trends in the Search Marketing Industry: Rand Fishkin at MozCon

Opening remarks at #mozcon  2014 by +Rand Fishkin 

1. Expect more regulation. Unfortunately, most of the regulation of search does more to increase needless panic than to increase privacy.
2. "Inbound Marketing" is losing out to "Content Marketing" as the defining term of our industry
3. Google's penalties have taken a toll on spam, but hurt many businesses too.
4. We are nearing the end of SEO as a job title. From 2011 on less SEO is my job title, more "SEO is part of my job."
5. Google is shortening the searcher's journey. On the surface, this appears to hurt publishers, but the reality is probably more complicated. Possible positive: If this increases user addiction to searching, maybe creates a bigger pie for us all.

Two logical responses:

1) Diversify your traffic channels
2) Become more important to Google's searchers than Google traffic is to you.

(Personal note: nice to see out +Stone Temple Consulting site used as the example in Rand's MozBar slide!)

New at +Moz an Actin Dashboard in Moz Analytics.
Christopher Smith's profile photoMitch Bozeman's profile photoLela Phommasouvanh's profile photoAl Remetch's profile photo
Rand's mustache is a trend so obvious and big, you can see it from space. So doesn't even need to be mentioned.
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On stage during #mozcon speaker prep session. #plusonly
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+Mark Traphagen, when I saw the photo of the pile of clothes on your bed ready to pack, I did the wife thing, "oh my gosh, his clothes will be so creased!" I can see now I needn't have worried. :-)
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Running with the bulls Seattle Light Rail style #seattle #mozcon

posted by @mark #plusonly #ocho
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Missed ya today!
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The Salt Lake airport uses the Siri voice for PA announcements #themoreyouknow
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No just the same voice
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Mark Traphagen

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Plus Your Business Roundup

Just a sampling of the great content you have access to if you join this community. #plusonly
‘Plus Your Business’ Community - Weekly Roundup!
Check out the top stories, questions and announcements from your fellow PYB Community members. Read more…

Three posts you may have missed from the PYB team

1. The Words We Use and The Impact They Have... by +David Amerland

2. Twitter Indexing by +Eric Enge

3. How to Create People-Powered Content That Works for Your Brand +Jay Baer

For the entire thread see post link...
1. Q. "How do I search all of the photographers in GPlus and locate photos tagged...”?from +Ruth Howard 
A. Several people chimed in with options: Use #topic and/or @photographers @hashtag in the “search box”, Communities and Photo’s.
Post -

2. Q. “How do I provide customers with a direct link to ‘Write a Review’”? from +Suzanne Baracchini
A. +Luis Galarza had a brilliantly simple response. “The only thing you need to do is add this code *?review=1*at the end of the Google Local Page URL and that will bring visitors to the review landing page inside G+”.
Post -

*3. Q. “I have a question about connecting a YouTube channel with a Google+ Page.“?  _from_ +Anne Shenton
A. +Bernd Rubel provided the solution that worked well in this situation.
Post -

4. Q. “Google search autofill is now bringing up G+ profiles as options”! from +Tony Melling
A. Lot’s of excitement around this new development. +NOD3x made a gif to show folks how!
Post -

5. Q. “Is it possible to run a query in G+ based on the information available in a profile”? from +Janine Marriott
A. +CircleCount weighed in and the conversation evolved into the up and coming PYB Neighborhoods (stay tuned)!.
Post -

And some exciting things from the past week include...

1. “Google+ for Business Presentation”...+martin shervington
Read more:

2. “The PYB Show -Special Edition with Time Stamps by Debi Davis”featuring +Debi Davis and +Nazim Beltran
Read more:

3. “The Long Awaited Launch of Level 2, leading into Level 3, of the PYB Academy”+martin shervington Read more:

4. Must read or watch articles you may have missed from PYB collaborators recently!
a. “Can You Boil SEO Down to Just a Few Simple Practices?” +Mark Traphagen
b. “Looking Behind the Scenes of Profiles and Posts” +Brian Jensen
c. “G+ Tool Party”
d. “Amy TV#25 Getting Your Business Message Across Loud and Clear” +Amy Harrison  
“Lazy Legos” by Angus MacLane@Flickr...
Even PYB G+ heros need relaxation time. Hope you had some couch potato time this weekend! 

That’s our week in review! Great to see you all this week and can’t wait to see what the next 7 has in store. Cheers!
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Mark Traphagen

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Best of Stone Temple Consulting Last Week

Reporting in case you missed it!
The STCats Take You Inside the Stone Temple: Week Ending 12 July 2014

Each #caturday  our   #STCats  prowl deep in the CATacombs of the Stone Temple to bring you the best of our online content from that week. These are posts and shows here on G+ and from the web that you might have missed. Our cats battle the mummies and zombies that lurk beneath the Internet so you don't have to!

(This coming week +Mark Traphagen and +Eric Enge will be out in Seattle at #MozCon sponsored by +Moz.  Please say hi if your are attending!)

Here are our recent highlights:

How Does Google Index Tweets? 
+Eric Enge has published our massive study on how much of Twitter activity is actually indexed by Google. Lots of surprises here, and several commonly-held assumptions, especially about the effect of Twitter on Google search rankings, may be crushed by this data.
Read it at

Author Photos are Gone: Does Google Authorship Still Have Value 
An in-depth examination by +Mark Traphagen that covers the history of Google Authorship, the radical change it underwent two weeks ago, why Google may have made that change, and what the future might hold for Authorship and author authority in search.
Read it at

Digital Marketing Answers Show
Gut Check Time - What's Up With Semantic Search?
Our monthly show with guest co-host +David Amerland. The concept of semantic search has been around for a while now, and thanks to David's book ( a lot more of us know about it. In this episode we do a "gut check" and ask David where semantic search is at right now. How far has Google implemented it, and what can we expect to see next?

Digital Marketing Excellence Show 
Content Marketing: Separating Success From Failure
+Rand Fishkin (the "Wizard of +Moz) was our guest. Rand explained three myths commonly believed about content marketing, and as usual packed in plenty of tips, inspiration, and good humor on his topic!

I'm Eric Enge: Ask Me Anything! (Reddit) 
+Eric Enge was asked to do an AMA (Ask Me Anything) for the BigSEO sub-Reddit. The thread racked up well over 100 comments as users asked Eric about not only SEO but his love of fine wines and legendary foosball prowess!
View it at

Blogging 411: Blogging Myths! 
#Blogging411 - Blogging Myths! {Part Deux} with special guest Mark Traphagen
+Mark Traphagen was the guest of +Nikol Murphy and +Randy Brown who challenged him with 10 popular beliefs held by many bloggers about marketing and SEO. #blogging411  

Coming This Week!

NO Digital Marketing Answers Show this Tuesday (because of MozCon)

Digital Marketing Excellence featuring Larry Kim on Paid Search Advertising
This Thursday at 5 PM EDT +Eric Enge will interview +Larry Kim of +WordStream, who will help you understand the benefits of including paid advertising in your search marketing strategy, and offer you tips on how do so more effectively. Event Page:

Social Media Hangout Show 
Even though Eric and Mark won't be on the panel this week because they'll be en route to MozCon in Seattle, the cats still recommend this weekly roundup of social media news and tips from people you know on the Plus! This week's show will feature special guest +Pam Moore, one of the best-known people in social media marketing. RSVP at and tune in at 3 PM EDT this Sunday!
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Sr. Director of Online Marketing: Social Media Marketing - Google+ Marketing - Content Marketing - SEO - Organic Link Building
SEO, social media marketing, link building, content marketing, writing, content production, blogging, speaking
  • Stone Temple Consulting
    Senior Director of Online Marketing, 2014 - present
    Responsible for strategic planning and implementation of the online branding, promotion, and reputation of Stone Temple Consulting, as well as specialized consulting with selected Stone Temple clients.
  • Virante Inc.
    Director of Digital Outreach, 2011 - 2013
  • Virante Inc.
    Internet Marketing Analyst, 2009 - 2011
  • Westminster Bookstore
    Manager of Online Marketing
  • The Covenant School (Charlottesville VA)
    Assistant Administrator of Lower School
  • Abbot Laboratories
    IV Products Sales Representative
  • Uarco Business Forms
    Account Manager
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Durham NC
Youngstown OH - Columbus OH - Dayton OH - Muskego Lake WI - Menomonee Falls WI - Indianapolis IN - San Antonio TX - Cedar Grove NJ - Ramsey NJ - Cortland NY - Lynchburg VA - Hoolehua HI - Charlottesville VA - Glenside PA - Wyncote PA
Contact Information
Social Media | Google+ | Content Marketing - Sr Director of Online Marketing for Stone Temple Consulting

What can you expect me to talk and engage about? Social Media Consulting + Social Media Marketing + Content Marketing + Inbound MarketingInternet Marketing + Google+ Business Pages + Paid Search Advertising and anything to do with connecting on the web!

My mission is to help you get seen and heard, to get your message out and bring in people who want and need what you have to offer. My special know-how is in the intersection of social and search.

I'm the Senior Director of Online Marketing for Stone Temple Consulting, one of the leading online marketing agencies in the United States.

On Google+ you'll see me posting and sharing mostly about social media (Google+ tips in particular), and how we can more effectively use it to collaborate and transform our world.

My Google+ Creds: 

Here's a timeline of my Most Popular Google+ Posts Ever (good place to hunt down my Google+ Tips!).

Read and subscribe to my Flipboard Magazines. I daily curate there the best online marketing related news, tips, and articles I run across all over the web:

Available to speak at your conference on Google+ for business. See what recent attendees at one of my presentations had to say. Contact me through this profile or the email address below.

Google+ Communities I Moderate

Want to get the most out of Google+? I've discovered Google+ to be extremely powerful for getting your message spread far if you know how to use it right. Here are my free Google+ Guides that will help you use brand pages effectively, implement and use Google Authorship and Author Rank, and grow a powerful Google+ network.

New to Google+? Forget the "official" recommended users list. Lots of celebs who either never post or let their publicists do it. If you want to find real people who know their stuff and really engage on Google+, start with this awesome list of shared circles in dozens of topics. Shared Circles are groups of users you can add to your own circles with one click. And here's a great guide to the awesome features of Google+.

Personal Stuff

Married for over 30 years to Karyn Louise Murphy Traphagen. Two grown-and-married daughters; six grandchildren. #nerdfighter #DFTBA!

Here's my Vizify interactive social media bio.

I've competed in The Monti storytelling event (winning a StorySlam and runner-up in a GrandSlam), and joined a New Orleans-style second line band called the Bulltown Strutters.

Current cover photo courtesy of +Ray Hiltz. Profile image by Jennifer Rich.

All posts and opinons expressed by me on Google+ are entirely my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer or any other organization with which I might be connected.


My home blog is at Stone Temple Consulting. I write the Social Media Marketing column for Marketing Land, I also contribute to Moz, Search Engine Land, Maximize Social Business, Social Media Today and many other top digital marketing sites.

I have spoken at numerous industry conferences, including MozCon, Pubcon, SMX (Advanced, East, West & Social Media), and SearchExchange.

I tweet at @marktraphagen

Finally, let me leave you with a benediction, courtesy of my friend Eli Fennell:

In nomine Google, et Long Tail, et spiritus AuthorRank.

Bragging rights
Old enough to have an Early Adopter Badge from Foursquare for Planet Earth | The Monti StorySlam Winner & GrandSlam Runner Up | 2011 Communicator's Award of Distinction from International Academy of Visual Arts
  • Westminster Theological Seminary
    M.A.R. in Biblical Studies, 2004 - 2009
  • Liberty University
    B.A. Interdisciplinary.
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trappermark, the Foolish Sage, sagethefool
The Sichuan is authentic and delicious. Be adventurous!
Public - 6 months ago
reviewed 6 months ago
We asked our relatives to recommend one of the best restaurants in Ithaca and they sent us to Mahogany. They called it right. We were so impressed with everything from the appetizers to the entrees to the cocktails. This is a place to be savored, so it upsets me that people took away a star because the service wasn't "fast." Try McDonalds.
Public - 6 months ago
reviewed 6 months ago
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Public - 7 months ago
reviewed 7 months ago
Don't be deceived by the humble exterior. Best Mexican food on Rt 13
Food: ExcellentDecor: Very goodService: Excellent
Public - 11 months ago
reviewed 11 months ago
27 reviews
Just good home cooking. Mac & cheese like mom used to make.
Public - 6 months ago
reviewed 6 months ago
Always excellent service. Items are always ready when they say. They take the "dry" out of dry cleaning with their cheerful employees!
Public - 9 months ago
reviewed 9 months ago
Tiny but charming gift shop. No junk. This is the home of the famous pony penning posters.
Quality: ExcellentAppeal: ExcellentService: Excellent
Public - 11 months ago
reviewed 11 months ago