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Showing posts from October, 2008

How To Mastering Marketing

Between the two of them, John McCain and Barack Obama will spend close to $400 million trying to convince you to vote for them next week. Four hundred million dollars. One would think, with that kind of money to spend, their marketing would be a whole lot better.

I decided to save all of the direct mail I received from one of the candidates for a while, just for the heck of it. This is three weeks' worth of mailings. From one candidate. I sometimes got two or three letters in a single day. This isn't environmentally friendly, it can't be cheap, and worst of all, it's not even effective.

Rather than wiping out our forests to produce more junk mail, here are a few ideas the political parties and candidates might want to consider (they work for businesses as well):

Be creative

Both sides have been spending a ton of money on video, both TV ads and online. Has any of it been memorable? Has anything from either campaign gone viral? Everything seems very standard, safe, formul…

Why PPC Will Always Cost More Than SEO

In The Disconnect in PPC vs. SEO Spending, Rand Fishkin demonstrates that "SEO drives 75%+ of all search traffic, yet garners less than 15% of marketing budgets for SEM campaigns. PPC receives less than 25% of all search traffic, yet earns 80%+ of SEM campaign budgets," then asks: "Why does paid search earn so many more marketing dollars?"

No doubt the comments to Rand's post will reveal many reasons for this differential, but here are three that spring immediately to mind:

1. The perception that people click on natural search results when they are seeking information, but on sponsored search ads when they are ready to buy. This presumption certainly justifies proportionately greater spending if it's valid. I suspect that just the opposite may in fact be the case, but don't have sufficient data to back that up.

2. The "media cost" is inherent in PPC. Companies can spend very similar amounts for SEO activities and SEM program management--in fac…

LinkedIn B2B Surveys - Will They be Social?

LinkedIn yesterday announced a new service that enables market researchers and investors to conduct market intelligence research using LinkedIn’s network of over 30 million professionals worldwide, approximately half of whom are IT and business decision makers.The news was quickly picked up by numerous bloggers including Doug Caverly and Bill Holmes (an indication of how adept the PR folks at LinkedIn are with interactive PR).

Essentially, companies that want to conduct market research among difficult-to-reach B2B and IT decision makers will now be able to slice and dice profiles of LinkedIn's large member base to reach groups with very specific attributes. From the participant side, "LinkedIn members who participate in a survey can choose from a variety of rewards including gift cards from Amazon, Starbucks, Best Buy, or make a donation to charities."

This is all good—vendors can get valuable feedback from the right sample groups based on accurate LinkedIn profiles, Lin…

Fishing for B2B leads? Choose the right bait.

Fishermen (fisherpeople?) choose their bait based on the type and quantity of fish they hope to catch. On the lakes of Minnesota, worms and small leeches are great for catching sunfish, and if find a good spot, you can catch a lot of them in a short time. However, it's likely that you'll also end up throwing many of them back because they're too small to be "keepers." Bait such as sucker minnows or spinner lures will attract larger, more exciting prey like northern pike. These larger fish are more elusive, so you likely won't end up catching many, but each one will be larger and more fun to catch than a small panfish.

The same principle holds true in b2b lead generation. Different types of b2b lead generation programs can be used to draw visitors to your landing page, but once there, your incentive for response is the bait that determines the quality and quantity of leads you'll "catch." The greater the involvement you require of respondents, t…

The 8 Layers of a B2B Web Marketing Plan

One way to think about designing a B2B technology web marketing plan is as a series of layers, like an onion. At the core is SEO—simply making your website "findable" through organic search to buyers who are looking for what you offer. Working out from the center are concentric layers of additional investment and sophistication.

Small companies and start-ups with modest budgets will focus most of their efforts on the inner layers or rings, which are primarily designed for lead generation. As the company and its marketing budget grow, efforts can be expanded to the outer layers, which are aimed more at branding but support lead generation efforts. Ideally, a company eventually reaches the outer layer where pure branding activities (such as print advertising) help to maximize the effectiveness of lead generation programs (such as SEM) near the center of the circle.

This diagram shows how different types of web marketing programs can be prioritized in order to maximize the return…

Five Strategies for Improving Channel Sales

Channel executives at IT hardware and software companies are being asked to sell more through their reseller channels, and both they and their channel partners know what kinds of programs can help make resellers more successful. Yet new research indicates that, despite knowing what to do, technology vendor channel chiefs don't always act on this knowledge.

A channel sales effectiveness study just concluded for PRM vendor BLUEROADS by Sirius Decisions shows a "clear link between the types of partner programs that top channel executives emphasize and their impact on revenue growth in the indirect channel." Of executives "who said they focused on sales ‘effectiveness’ strategic activities such as lead management and deal registration, 62% reported an increase in revenue. Paradoxically, 80 percent of the channel investments by the vendors that were surveyed focused around tactical issues such as training, partner portals, and partner communication tools – all activities …

Examining Google's Practices

In the Disney movie Smart House, "Pat" (for Personal Applied Technology) turns from a helpful cyber-maid who makes life more efficient and convenient into an intrusive, abusive and overbearing omnipresence who attempts to take complete control over what her charges are able to see and do.

Is Google turning into Pat? I hope not; I remain a fan and prefer to believe there's still hope for Google—and I'm not saying that merely out of fear of retribution. (Actually, I think that's past tense, considering that this copycat page gets a spot on the first page of Google while my original article on how to get bloggers to write about you doesn't show up in the top 100 positions. That's just not right.) But the search giant seems to be doing everything it can lately to alienate all of its core constituencies.

Death to SEOs

In order to determine how well their tactics are working (and to report results to clients), SEO practitioners use automated tools to determine how…