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Showing posts from 2007

Merry Christmas from WebMarketCentral

Merry Christmas and best wishes for a blessed and joyous holiday season from WebMarketCentral. It's the time of year to enjoy time spent with friends and family, see the priceless expressions on the faces of children, and remember those less fortunate by giving back in any way you can.

The WebMarketCentral blog will take the Christmas to New Year's week off, but interesting stuff is planned for January. In the meantime, season's greetings to one and all, and enjoy a couple of photos—the Pick homestead at Christmas time, and Santa watching over the neighborhood from the tree deck.

Social Media Now Top Information Source for B2B IT Buyers

Following up on its first study on the value of Web 2.0 social media sites by B2B IT decision-makers, researchers at ITtoolbox have just published their second report on the topic. ITtoolbox/PJA IT Social Media Index Wave II updates the earlier findings and concludes that "IT decision-maker and influencer audiences (now) spend more time consuming or participating in social media than they do consuming editorial media or vendor content." IT buyers spend an average of 3.3 hours per week consuming user-generated content (such as blogs, podcasts, wikis, social networking sites and online forums) versus 3.1 hours for published editorial content and 2.9 hours on vendor-produced content.

Other key findings from the new study include:

Executive decision-makers spent more time with social media than any other level, at nearly four hours per week. This group was also the heaviest consumer of online content in general.
Discussion groups and peer-to-peer networks were the most frequently…

The Top 4 Ways to Use Social Networking for B2B PR

As noted here previously, from both the B2B vendor perspective and buyer perspective, social media is becoming an increasingly important channel for B2B communication. It's no longer just about teenagers discussing their favorite bands. Vendors are using social media to raise awareness and build market credibility, while B2B buyers are using these sites to seek out "the real story" on suppliers, products and services. With that in mind, here are four ways B2B vendors can use social media to spread their messages.

1. Get connected on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Creating and maintaining a profile on both sites, then creating connections to other people you know, can pay B2B PR dividends in at least three ways:

- Profiles (particularly those on LinkedIn) show up well in searches for terms related to your position (so make sure your profile includes those key terms). This makes you—and ultimately your company—easier to find.

- You can link names of your executives used in press r…

Wii Would Like to Clarify

I came down a bit hard on Circuit City in yesterday's post—not unfairly, but a brief clarification is in order.

Essentially, at the corporate level, Circuit City appears to have a policy against treating customers with dignity and respect. Their automated email on the topic of Wii game systems basically states, albeit politely, that we don't have any Wiis so quit bugging us. Their automated phone system (try this: 1-800-843-2489, option 1) somewhat courteously says: we can't help you, goodbye (CLICK).

At the store level, however, beleaguered but decent managers are doing their best to take care of understandably frustrated shoppers, despite corporate policy. The corporate folks could learn something about customer service from these individuals.

Wii Don't Want Your Business

If you're a parent of a child anywhere from five to 17 years old (and quite possibly even if you're not), you know that THE hottest gift this Christmas is the Wii game system. You also know that these overpriced, screamingly popular yet appallingly underproduced gadgets are as elusive as Vikings Superbowl victories.

The ultimate blame for the situation of course falls squarely on the manufacturer, Nintendo. This product has been on the market since March--one would think that, in nine months, the company's management team would have figured out a way to beef up production for this obviously hot item.

Where the rubber hits the road with consumers, however, it at the retail level. True, retailers have no control over the supply of Wii consoles or their allocation, but they do control their response to the situation. That response to date has ranged from blatant price-gouging to forcing potential customers to wait in absurd and often ultimately pointless lines, sending most hom…

WMC Interviews: Jeff Rusinow

I recently spoke with Jeff Rusinow, a very busy guy who now heads up the Web 2.0 site TopNetPix, which has been described as "a combination of Mahalo, Yahoo and Netvibes." Jeff has been an active member of the early-stage venture capital community in the Midwest since 2000, when he founded Milwaukee’s first angel network, Silicon Pastures. He earlier spent 22 years in retail management, holding senior executive positions at Macy’s, Gimbel’s, the Hudson Bay Company and, most recently, Kohl’s Department Stores, where he served as an Executive Vice President until leaving the company in 2000.

Here's our conversation.


WebMarketCentral (WMC): What did you do before TopNetPix? What’s your background?

Jeff Rusinow (JR): I've been on the Board of Directors of a number of private and public companies over the past several years. Most recently, I was Chairman of Internet retailer Buyseasons, Inc., which was acquired in 2006 by Liberty Media. I'm currently Chairman of Neuro…

A Readers Review: Your Inner CEO -- Unleash the Executive Within

When I first began reading Your Inner CEO: Unleash the Executive Within, the eighth book from best-selling author and executive consultant Allan Cox, I honestly didn't think I would get much value from it. "Too squishy," I thought. "Not going to be much here I can use." The book begins with such lines as "Successful CEOs, I have discovered, share power with others...and treat all stakeholders in their enterprise with kindness, generosity and humility" and "By looking at boundaries (those ubiquitous dividers you seldom see) in a new way, you'll master the art of redefining your life on a daily basis, consistently connecting to a spiritual dimension that adds richness to all aspects of your work and life." See? Squishy.

However, as if anticipating just such an objection, Cox writes on page 34: "Does all this strike you as too touchy-feely, too abstract and philosophical, too ephemeral and ungraspable? Trust me. It's not. I'm …

How to Write a Strategic Marketing Plan

With so little written on this topic (at least according to Google Blog Search), one could easily conclude that marketing professionals must be born with knowledge of how to write a strategic marketing plan embedded in their genetic code. If you didn't enter the world with this capability hard-coded into your DNA, you may find the following helpful.

The first step in developing a strategic marketing plan is to identify your target markets. Include both current customers (can we sell them more of what they are already buying, products and services in addition to what they are already buying, or a more premium version of our products/services?) and new prospects. For new prospective buyers, develop a separate plan for each micromarket (e.g. hospitals, insurance companies and community banks, all of which buy very differently).

Next, ask the question: what do these prospects need in order to buy from me? (NOT "what do I need to sell to them?"). Divide this into three secti…

An Excellent Podcast on Interactive PR

When two of the smartest people in blogging and interactive PR have a conversation, it's worth listening in on. Paul Dunay at Buzz Marketing for Technology yesterday posted his podcast interview, PR's Role in New Media, with Cece Lee of the PR Meets Marketing blog. Here are few of the highlights:
PR professionals are taking advantage of online marketing tools and back-end analytics to increase and track coverage of company announcements. For example, they are no longer just search-optimizing press releases, but also using keyword selection tools and trackable URLS.
Corporate blogging has to be more than product promotion or another avenue for distributing press releases. It enables companies to share their perspective of the industry and establish a dialog with customers and prospects who choose to interact that way. But while a corporate blog shouldn't mimic the firm's PR, it can't contradict public statements either—the market will notice.
For PR professionals to

Helpful SEM Advice from MarketingSherpa

If you missed it, MarketingSherpa hosted a webcast on New Research: Top 5 Tests to Raise Landing Page Conversions earlier this week. Key findings from their presentation:

Marketing results are generally getting better—either marketers are getting landing page design down to more of a science, or the strong economy is fueling more buyer interest, or some combination of the two.
The most popular test was dynamic pages—changing the information displayed on the landing page to reflect the exact search term. Considering that half of the respondents don't or can't do even simple a/b testing, it's surprising that a sophisticated technique like dynamic landing pages would generate this level of response, but that's what their data showed. Here is MarketingSherpa's example of this practice, though it doesn't work quite right (I actually searched for "stratocaster guitar," not "stratocaster parts").
Other popular tests included registration forms (short…

SEO is Insanity

If you've been in the business world for any length of time, you've probably seen the following somewhere—in a building lobby, on a website, or on a nicely framed poster in an office:
The Definition of Insanity: Doing the same thing, the same way, and expecting different results.
Seems reasonable and intuitive, so if you accept that statement as true, you'd also have to accept the logical extension of that statement:
If you do the same thing, the same way, you should expect to get (roughly at least) the same results.
This holds true across many if not most areas of business and life in general: manufacturing, research, software development, teaching, cooking...but not SEO.

Before I began doing SEO work for clients, I'd done it for a number of other websites: my own, friends', and corporate employers. I coded, I tested, I read articles and blogs. I applied the methods learned to client websites, and got excellent results. Here's one example:
55 total search terms
Be…