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Best of 2007: Marketing Research

How is online consumer behavior changing? Which SEO tools and techniques produce the best results—according to the experts who use them? Does advertising on social media sites really work? What do marketing professionals need to know about online video? Get the answers to these questions and more from this collection of some of the best articles and blog posts from 2007 on marketing research.

There’s Still Room on the Web for Small E-Tailers by

Writer Fredric Paul cites a study showing that smaller web-based retailers have an opportunity to take share from more established sites by implementing solid SEO. Many larger e-tailers (and B2B vendors as well) have left the door open to more nimble competitors by failing to search optimize their own sites: "only 20 of the top sites were considered 'well-optimized' while another 20 qualified as 'moderately optimized.' On the other hand, 34 were 'nominally-optimized,' and 27 showed 'no signs of optimization.'"

The 18 Mistakes That Kill Start-Ups by Paul Graham

After pointing out that the single mistake almost universally responsible for the failure of start-up companies is "not making something users want," Paul Graham goes on to detail the "list of 18 things that cause startups not to make something users want," including picking a marginal niche, relying on a derivative idea, launching a new product or service too early, and "not wanting to get your hands dirty." Graham provides an excellent list of strategic mistakes to avoid for any start-up enterprise.

People Do Read Online -- Who Knew? by Marketing Interactions

After citing research showing that online readers are more likely to read an entire story, or a least a significant portion of it, in an online source than print, blogger Ardath Albee drives home the key takeaway from the research for marketers: "People want to read content that has benefit to them...a story about how their lives will change if they use your products, or even better, why they should disrupt the status quo and bother at all, in the first place."

Creativity & You by THINKing

Blogger Harry Hoover comments on the results of study into the roots of creativity. The good news is that we all have more creativity within us than we probably give ourselves credit for. Among the keys to unleashing that creativity are training, practice, and most importantly self-confidence.

Most Searchers Have Two Words for Google by Search Engine Watch

In this brief article, Enid Burns quotes research showing that two-word searches are most common across the major search engines, accounting for nearly a third of all searches. Searches using four or more words collectively account for about 26%. For SEOs, particularly in the B2B space, it's important to point out that although multi-word searches are less common than for shorter phrases, searchers using longer search terms usually have a much better notion of specifically what they are looking for, and—if they are potential buyers—are likely to be further along in their buying cycle.

Best SEO Resources, Practices & Conferences : Reader Poll Roundup by TopRank Online Marketing Blog

Search guru Lee Odden provides a mega-post detailing the results of 14 separate online polls tallying the votes of SEO professionals on questions such as how many conferences they attend each year, which online communication and networking tools they use most frequently, favorite keyword research tool, and best search marketing newsletter.

The writers of the MediaPost blogs also frequently do a great job of covering online research findings. Here are some of the best marketing research-related posts from MediaPost bloggers last year.

Happy World Internet Day by MediaPost Online Spin

Seana Mulcahy provides a brief history of the Internet, some interesting statistics, and her list of favorite web research-related sites.

Pure Viral Marketing - A Pipe Dream? by MediaPost Online Spin

Max Kalehoff notes research showing that viral marketing campaigns aren't like a pyramid, where you tell 10 friends, who each tell 10 friends, who each etc. until the entire planet has seen your content, but more like bouncing a basketball--if you throw the ball against the ground, you'll get a big first bounce, followed by a series of successively smaller bounces. The key to viral marketing success, therefore, lies in getting as big a first bounce as possible.

Advertising On Social Networks: Risk or Reward? by MediaPost Online Spin

Seana Mulcahy observes that while social media offers a powerful way to reach prospects, traditional advertising probably isn't the way to do it. "Web users do not view social networking sites as a place to buy products and services." Instead, marketers should view these sites as medium in which to track user feedback on their products and services, offer valuable content, and build relationships with prospects.

Generation Net-Obsessed by MediaPost Online Spin

This post provides some interesting statistics and observations about the "net generation," 16-to-29 year olds who have "grown up with computers, video games, the Internet, instant messaging, online music and the like." It provides that top ten themes of research on this generation, and not surprisingly notes that "77% of the net generation could live without television but could not live without Internet access."

Just An Online Minute… Web Video Watchers by Just an Online Minute

In this short but informative post, Wendy Davis provides some interesting data on who's watching online video, what type of content they watch most frequently, and how frequently they watch.

Online Debate #2 Today, As Survey Delves Into Who's Watching by Online Media Daily

Citing research into the use and consumption of online media for political campaigns, Les Luchter finds that although "traditional media reigned as the overall choice...for getting 2008 campaign news, with 86% planning to use TV and radio for info about the candidates, and 63.5% planning to use newspapers and magazines," online sources are becoming more important, and the demographic group most likely to tune in to online debates may surprise you.

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


Contact Tom Pick: tomATwebmarketcentralDOTcom


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.…