Monthly Archives: August 2010

What is Word-of-Mouse?

By Craig Campana

I have received inquiries from individuals who like the concept, but trying to understand the concept of word-of-mouse. Numerous individuals thought I had mis-spelled the word “mouse” for the word “mouth.” Then I would explain the concept that defines word-of-mouse. The term was coined many years ago, and just recently hit the mainstream as a way to attain considerable traction among social mediums.

In this excerpt from the term is better explained:

“Word of mouse is an electronic version of the time-tested idea of word of mouth. Numerous advertisers have jumped on the word of mouse bandwagon, using a variety of innovative techniques to get their message out to consumers, and businesses all over the world rely on word of mouse to promote good reputations. As electronic media grew in importance in the late 1990s, word of mouse became a new holy grail of marketing, with a host of books, articles, and commentaries on getting good word of mouse.

In the rise of the electronic era, the concept of word of mouth began to be translated into a new medium, and the idea of “word of mouse” started to arise. Thanks to the instantaneous nature of electronic communications, word of mouse can spread very rapidly, and numerous forums have enabled the transmission of ideas in an increasing number of ways. Word of mouse can be passed along from person to person in the form of electronic mail, but it can also manifest in a number of other locations.

Word of mouse can be built up on review sites, which allow users to post reviews and commentary on businesses, and it can also be generated on forums, chatrooms, and social networking sites. Social networking sites are regarded by many advertisers as a very fruitful arena for generating word of mouse, with many advertisers creating profiles on such sites and engaging with the community to build up word of mouse.”

So, including this excerpt, I am hoping my readers will better understand the concept of word-of-mouse as I share my interviews with local business owners using word-of-mouse, that can be shared with others electronically.


A Community to be Proud Of!

By Craig Campana

Entry Date: August 14, 2010

This Saturday was an amazing day of fun community events. We had multiple things to do (PureWater Days in Chippewa Falls, SummerFest and Chalkfest in Eau Claire, Strongman Competition and Chippewa Valley Chase both in Eau Claire.)

Of course my son and I started our Saturday is the usual fashion – heading to Farmer’s Market, both to pick up fresh, locally grown vegetables, and also to connect with the friends that we meet at the market.

Knowing my son would not have the energy to handle all the activities, he stayed home while I took in Summerfest and Chalk Fest.

What a sense of satisfaction and pride I had as I saw the throngs of people who turned out for both events. We live in an area of great beauty, as well as an abundance of activities and events for all. I am very proud of all we have to offer here in the Chippewa Valley, and thoroughly enjoy being in a capacity to promote it and its local business longevity.

I hope you enjoy some of the photos I took at the events that I attended.


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Technology – Can’t Live With It – Cannot Live Without It

By Craig Campana

Entry Date: August 14, 2010

I’m glad that for the most part we survived the hot days of summer last week, however my computer didn’t fare very well with the storms that came through the area Wednesday and Thursday. When I was all set to publish my blog entries for August 14, I found that the settings on my computer were all messed up. Unable to post to the original blog site, I created a new blog site with a better title (which several have commented on.)

After taking it easy on Saturday, August 14 with the many community events going on, I am trying to catch up on my blog. I am a bit behind now, but will reveal more business features over the next few days.

I am also continuing in my blog interviews this week to bring you information on some unique businesses that rely on local business.

As you read my entries, feel free to comment as you see fit. The feedback is appreciated. If you see my Silver minivan on the street with the RelyLocal logos on it, be sure to wave, and be sure to visit my website to see what new members are participating to generate business locally.

Business Owner Feature – John Effertz, ATS Service Center

By Craig Campana

Entry Date: August 13, 2010

I am pleased to feature John Effertz, owner of ATS Service Center as my first featured business for this blog. I had the opportunity to meet with John several times this week, both as a consumer and as a blog author.

I started my week this week by taking my minivan in for an oil change at ATS. This was the first time I had my van serviced at John’s new facility, so I was curious about the events that led up to John moving into his new facility, so I asked John to fill me in on a bit of his career path and what led to the move.

John started his career with 2 years at WITC Tech school in Rice Lake. Following graduation in 1986 his first job was working as a mechanic for a service shop in Minnesota. From there he moved to a Dodge/Oldsmobile dealership and worked 2 years there. In 1991 he moved to the Chippewa Valley. He was really drawn to the area by the vast opportunities available here, the small town feel, and friendly people. He enjoyed doing the many activities available in the area, but also felt an asset to moving here was the amount of medical resources available locally.

After his move here, he worked at the Ford dealership for 15 years. In 2003 the entrepreneur in John was revealed when he decided to open ATS Service Center. His location on East Clairemont started as a 3 bay shop. Eventually John had the opportunity to acquire 5 additional bays at a garage next to his service center had gone out of business.

John’s goals in starting his business were to help people keep their vehicles running properly, and to offer the most cost-effective way to provide durability in his auto repairs. He hoped that the customers would find value in his service and come back for other services again and again, which they did! His business grew very well, however he began to outgrow the location, and the parking lot for waiting vehicles, so he began looking into expanding his operation by building a service center on the west side of Eau Claire.

He and his 7 staff members were excited to open their new facility in February 2010. ATS now offers 8 service bays, with a comfortable customer lounge featuring a kids zone to keep children occupied. John features a beverage bar for patrons to enjoy coffee, hot chocolate, chai teas, flavored water, and even has free wireless, so customers can bring their laptops and work while they wait.

For those who cannot wait for their auto repairs, ATS provides a courtesy shuttle that will take the customer to work or home until the repair is completed and pick them up again to return. Having utilized that service several times, I found John’s shuttle drivers to be very friendly and they seem to really enjoy providing the great customer service they do!

ATS just employed a new service that provides an email follow-up reminder system, that will send out a notice (email and text)to customers to remind them of their upcoming appointment with ATS. Another feature of this system gives patrons and opportunity to provide an evaluation of their ATS experience.

Several endorsements John shared with me from recent customers sum up the service that John provides to the Chippewa Valley communities.

“ATS provided excellent customer service, quality repairs done on time. ATS, a superb experience – they took the stress out of car repair. We will definitely use them for all our future auto repair needs.”

“Friendly and knowledgeable staff. Very neat and clean waiting room. Prices are competitive and fair.”

When I asked John if he has accomplished the goals he set out for in creating a great auto servicing experience, he indicated he has a great deal of pride that his goals have been achieved.

If you have not had the opportunity to visit ATS for your auto servicing, consider John’s fair, honest and dependable service, and stop in to see what they can do for you.

Check out his website at: and his link on RelyLocal:

Daily Word-of-Mouse blogging

Entry date: August 12, 2010

It is interesting to see the expressions on people’s faces when I tell them I plan to blog about a different Chippewa Valley business onwer each day in the RelyLocal Blog. A few have looked at me as if I am crazy, while mentioning that they have never tried blogging, and would be cautious about the time it would take to carry it out, much less daily.

The way I look at it, I am genuinely interested in business owners of Chippewa Valley Area businesses, such as what prompted them to start their business, why they opened their business in the Chippewa Valley, what their goals are, and if there are areas of assistance they need.

Over the next few days and coming weeks as I introduce the business owners I have met with, I encourage you to get to know them, visit their website, stop into their stores to peruse the selections they have on hand, or the get to know the services they offer.

I am enthusiastic about opening RelyLocal in the Chippewa Valley, because there are many opportunities to help local consumers know about local businesses. When we work together, we can accomplish great things, and as a result local businesses will thrive and our local economy will be strengthened.

I hope you will will join me in this journey and check often to survey the products and services of local businesses.

Enthusiasm is running!

By Craig Campana

Entry Date: August 5, 2010

Today was a great day out there promoting RelyLocal – Chippewa Valley. The businesses I talked to are excited about what RelyLocal will offer the area, and are ready to jump on board. Those I talked to also provided referrals of other local businesses that seem excited about the possibilities. Those I interviewed for my blog (which will start next week officially) are looking forward to seeing their feature as part of this blog’s following.

Now to shift gears and get ready to indulge in the company of 1000 or so who attend the concert series on Thursday nights, and enjoy a night of networking, listening and relaxing at Phoenix Park. I always bring my journal and find inspiration through the music that is shared, and the word pour out of my thoughts onto the pages of my journal.


RelyLocal is doing “Word-of-Mouse” Networking

By Craig Campana

Welcome to my first of many “Word-of-Mouse” blog entries. As I start this venture, the thought of doing a daily blog is a little daunting, however I am excited about the content, and believe that will make it enjoyable to provide a daily update for you to read.

I am working hard to prepare blogs that will appear each day starting Wednesday August 11, 2010. There are so many talented people operating the businesses that thrive in the Chippewa Valley and they need your support, so each of my daily blog entries will feature a different Chippewa Valley business owner. I am enjoying devoting time to get to know them and have become a community advocate for their business. I hope to create some attention to them each day, and will encourage you to stop in to their store or visit their website and get to know their businesses. Some of these businesses will have coupons available on their listing on so you can save some money when you stop in to visit them. Be sure to let them know you read about them in the “Word-of-Mouse” Blog.

I hope you enjoy each day’s content.

PS: If you would like to feature your business in this blog, simply email me at and we can arrange to complete a 20-minute interview by phone or in person so I can get to know you and your business better.