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Best of 2007: Articles and Blog Posts on Strategy and Branding

The first step in crafting a marketing plan is to determine overall strategy, and among the first questions to ask when thinking about the strategy are "What do I want my brand to stand for?" and "What are best ways to communicate my brand message?"

Here are a collection of the best online articles and blog posts to help you think about the big picture and answer the big questions about brand-building and marketing strategy.

All-in-One Guides: Marketing strategy by TechTarget

A comprehensive guide for B2B marketers with advice on everything from preparing a marketing plan and using marketing automation technology to designing and executing effective marketing campaigns.

Marketers Can Buy Buzz by MediaPost Online Spin

Max Kalehoff of Clickable presents some interesting findings on the (highly positive) correlation between media spending and word-of-mouth "buzz." While the research was focused on commercial packaged goods, the findings likely apply across a broader range of B2C and B2B products and services. The bottom line, according to Kalehoff: "traditional media strategies are not dead, and buzz tactics can’t necessarily live on their own in a vacuum. Neither is right or wrong, but they are both part of a complex communications and customer landscape."

Small Business Marketing Rules of Thumb by Smart Marketing

Blogger and author Jay Lipe offers three highly useful "rules of thumb" for small business marketers in this brief but valuable post.

Trash Talk & Delete Buttons: A Candid Letter from Your Prospective Customer by Selling to Big Companies

Jill Konrath, blogger and author of Selling to Big Companies (the book and the blog) lays it on the line here with a post written from the perspective of your target customer: "In your well-intentioned but misguided attempts turn me into a 'prospect,' you fail woefully to capture my attention. I'm going to be really blunt here: I could care less about your product, service, solution or your company." Ouch! Fortunately, she also serves up guidance on how to effectively cut through your prospective buyer's clutter of emails, phone calls and endless meetings: "Occasionally a savvy marketer or seller captures my attention, gets me to raise my hand asking for more information and even entices me to request a meeting. What are they doing? They're completely focused on my business and the impact they can have on it."

A Little Advice On Presenting and Selling by MediaPost Online Spin

In this excellent companion piece to the post above, Cory Treffiletti advises sales people and marketers to do a bit less talking and a little more listening: "The best presentations are simple; they are the ones where you talk little, listen a lot and provide solutions aimed at meeting the challenges of the person you are talking to."

Quit using Email to train your leads to ignore you by Marketing Interactions

Marketing strategist and blogger Ardath Albee lays out a detailed, step-by-step guide to creating an effective email marketing campaign, as opposed to the spam-like programs too often created even by marketing pros who should know better. "The (marketing emails) that really irritate me are the offers that get sent repeatedly with the exact same messaging. If it doesn't catch my eye the first time, why would they think I want to see the same thing 5 more times in two days?" Follow the advice in this post and you'll avoid that fate.

Rethink your brand Saturn by The Origin of Brands Blog

Best-selling author Laura Ries tells the painful story of how General Motors first successfully launched then just as successfully screwed up the Saturn brand, and how the proper marketing and product strategy could have given the tale a much happier ending. As Laura astutely diagnoses, GM's problem was on the strategic side, not the creative: "In 1994, the S series Saturn outsold the Civic by 7 percent. In 2004, the Civic outsold the S series replacement (the Ion) by 197 percent. In 2002, Saturn tapped Goodby, Silverstein for some new advertising. Sales continued falling to 212,017 in 2004, its worst performance since 1992. Despite the poor sales results, Goodby’s work won lots of advertising awards and accolades and did plenty to reaffirm the shop as one of America’s premiere creative agencies. But it did nothing for the Saturn brand." A cautionary tale for almost any company.

Selling the Benefit: Duracell by Marketing Genius from Maple Creative

Blogger Skip Lineberg praises a Duracell campaign that creatively and effectively focuses on product benefits in crucial situations—such as in heart monitors and fire alarms—to differentiate a commodity product.

Can you buy customer loyalty? by Loyalty Marketing Blog

Jonathan Treiber makes the case that customer loyalty can't be bought, only earned. Coupons, promotional pricing and discounts can help induce trial, but over the long run, superior customer service is what produces customer loyalty. "Providing active customer service is a way to listen to your customers’ needs and solve their problems (before they occur). This, in turn, will build customer loyalty over time because your customers will know that you are focused on meeting and exceeding their expectations."

Never Give Another Lead to Sales by Marketing Interactions

In another interesting post, Ardath Albee very correctly points out that "Sales doesn't need leads, they need opportunities," then goes about providing a strategy for effectively linking marketing activities to sales processes to increase revenue.

Time To Plan by THINKing

The brilliant Harry Hoover outlines a process for developing a marketing strategy for the new year, taking into account audiences, messaging, and a review of communications plans.

Search and the Pareto Principle by Search Engine People

Blogger Jeff Quipp demonstrates how the 80/20 rule applies to planning and execution for SEO and SEM, for example, "20% of content is responsible for 80% of site traffic and/or links."

Organic SEO vs. PPC? by WebProNews

A bit tactical, and somewhat elemental, this article presents a video discussion between SiteLab Executive Vice-President Dana Todd, a regular speaker at Search Engine Strategies Conferences, and Jeremy Schoemaker of Shoemoney Media Group. Dana sums it up best: "everybody can benefit from organic SEO...(each form of) Advertising has a completely different place in your media mix. We would never recommend...that you do one or the other; you always do them both wherever possible."

Previous articles in this series:

Best of 2007: SEO Analysis Tools
Best of 2007: SEO Keyword Research Tools
Best of 2007: News Articles on Social Media Marketing
Best of 2007: Blog Posts on Social Media Marketing
Best of 2007: Articles and Blog Posts on SEM
Best of 2007: Articles and Blog Posts on Google AdWords
Best of 2007: Articles and Blog Posts on SEO (Part 1)
Best of 2007: Articles and Blog Posts on SEO (Part 2)
Best of 2007: Website Design
Best of 2007: Blogging for Business
Best of 2007: Marketing Research
Best of 2007: Interactive PR
Best of 2007: SEO Copywriting


Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom


Lisa Anderson said…
What a useful list of articles! So much great information, I could spend all day just studying it.

Ardath Albee's article on misuse of email as a marketing tool really caught my interest because my company has a piece of software that keeps in touch with leads through email, fax, and phone calls in a highly interactive manner--you would never see the same ad 5 times! Hahaha--you still may not want the product, but at least you wouldn't be bored. :) The best feature of the software is that it is integrated with dialers so that when people enter their contact info in your webform they can immediately be called.

All Time Greats

Digital Marketing for Law Firms, How Hard is it?

A lot of "verticals" or industries make sense for digital marketing and the whole process can be very easy and intuitive. For instance, if you are running a Search Engine Optimization company, it's very straightforward to content market:

1- Write blogs or articles about SEO
2- Try to answer questions people have about SEO
3- Optimize those blogs around what the questions are and what you are saying.

But what about an industry that is a lot more complicated and not very straight forward? What about marketing for lawyers?

ACE, one of Philadelphia's top Law Firm Marketing companies, just posted this extremely helpful blog about why SEO is important for Law Firms. It delves into exactly how to do the job for a complex industry like the law and its practitioners.

One of the key points in the entire article is: "If your customer journey does not have a use for search services, then you'll never see SEO campaign results."

We recommend reading the whole thing. …

Tip #3 to improve your digital marketing

Do Your Research You may have ideas for what is going to work best for your audience based on past experience with your ads, but taking the time to conduct thorough research and have data to support your actions is important. You may anticipate that your customers will behave a certain way, when in fact they go in a completely different direction. It’s essential to be prepared for this ahead of time and use the information you collect from research to planning your marketing strategy. Elliot Simmonds explains this concept below:

“ A lot of people use sponsored posts and other paid advertising, and it seems that many are happy to simply pay the money and watch the views and clicks roll in - even if some of those clicks are from individuals tangential to the product or service they're promoting. Most platforms allow you to specifically target your sponsored posts and ads, and my tip is to do so following a period (even if it's only a short period) of actual research. Your gut i…

Tip #2 to Improve your Digital Marketing

Spend Wisely Each platform used to market online provides you with a different value. You need to analyze which outlets you should invest more time and money into, and which ones are not as important. Some platforms that work well for one company, yield little to no results for another. You need to find the one that suits your business goals the best. Digital Marketing is all very specific to your brand, and you need to plan your budget accordingly. Determining what each platform is going to do for your specific advertising efforts should be the basis for the decisions you make with your campaigns, explains Hitesh Sahni, Marketing Consultant at Smemark:

“It’s imperative to understand the value each channel offers. Search advertising platforms, such as Google Adwords, work best when there is a clear demand for your product or service, and you want to target people who search for your product or service online. Search advertising is less effective for a startup that has created a new an…

Does SEO Actually Work?

I wrote this for my new Doctor Digital column over at Results Driven Marketing's Blog. But I wanted to share it here too.

It's the most basic question of all: Does SEO Actually Work?

Yes it does! But not like you think it does.

This graphic should explain it pretty well:

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, Y'all!

Tips to Improve Digital Marketing: Tip 1

Digital advertising has become a major component of modern day marketing strategies. Here are tips on how to improve your digital marketing strategy:

1. Be Creative Your business has visual elements that make it stand out from your competition. Use that to your advantage in your marketing efforts. Whether it is a logo, mascot, font, or color scheme, having it included can help make your brand recognizable. You want to catch the eye of the audience, but you also want to maintain their attention and have them remember your brand. Incorporating unique and creative visual elements into your ads is crucial to the success the ads will bring you. Sarah Maloy, Content Marketing Manager at Shutterstock points out that you want a variety of creative images, but they should be consistent: "When advertising on social media, it's important to refresh your creative often so that it is relevant and so that users aren't seeing the same post more than once. When testing variations and tryi…

AHREFS tops the marketing blunder list of 2018

It’s Early in 2018 and AHREFS tops the marketing blunder list It’s only the first week in February and you are reading about the Metrics/Data supplier that has provided us with fodder by creating a huge marketing blunder, Ahrefs.

Ahrefs is world's biggest third-party database of search queries with refined monthly search volume and research metrics.  Their data is used by untold numbers of digital marketers across the world.  Arguably they are the industry leader in this type of data.  The only thing that they changed was how a tiny item in their metrics was being calculated. 
About a week prior to the effective date of the change, Ahrefs notified users that a change was coming to how they calculated a domain rating or DR.  They also stated that many sites would see their rankings drop.  I agree that a need for change was warranted.  What I don’t agree with how they calculated the change and its ramifications for roughly 75% of all websites.  

This past Friday evening around 11 P.…