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Showing posts from December, 2008

Can Social Media Save Detroit?

Roxanne Darling at Bare Feet Studios recently wrote an outstanding piece on the use of social media at Ford. In How Ford Can Ramp Up It’s Social Media Turnaround Story of 2009 (nicely summarized by John Cass on Social Media Today), she outlines a social media strategy to help Ford become more transparent and connect more effectively with customers. She recommends new initiatives (such as getting executives using Viddler to answer questions directly from consumers) as well as building on the social media efforts already being led by Scott Monty.

Christopher Barger at GM has also been innovative, not just at getting the company involved with bloggers, but in the underlying concept of social media in general: listening to consumers and responding with sincerity and transparency. For example, at one gathering he insisted on seating Hummer executives at the same table with green bloggers. While the two groups certainly didn't come away agreeing with each other, they did at least increas…

7 More Things Few People Know About Me (and even fewer care)

Paul Jahn over at the LocalMN Blog has tagged me, along with a few other people I need to get to know, in the spirit of the holidays, to write seven things that most people don't know about me. So here goes:

1. I've coached youth sports for six years—four years of baseball, two of soccer. I s*ck as a soccer coach, but the kids had fun which is all that matters.

2. I was an engineer for five years before I went back to the U of M, got my MBA and moved over to marketing. This proves that both sides of brain work (or at least that they are equally dysfunctional).

3. My original career aspiration, however, was to be a rock star. When I realized that would actually require musical talent, I decided getting a tech degree sounded good. Plus, I didn't really have the hair for it.

4. Speaking of musical talent, I'm a fan of Chris Sligh. I think this was the single best performance ever on American Idol (at least priot to last season):



5. I firmly believe in the miracle of East…

Getting More Out of Each Click, Part 2: Docmetrics

It's a widespread and persistent quandary for marketers, particularly B2B marketers who use white papers as a lead generation incentive for response: on the one hand, if you place a contact form in front of your content, you'll get a very low conversion rate (on average, 95% of visitors will simply leave the site, and one-third of those who remain will enter bogus information). On the other, if you leave your PDF content open, more people will download your materials but you get no information: who are these visitors? Are they actually reading your content? Printing it? Passing it along? Leaving your content open may actually produce more leads in the long run, but you have no way to measure that with any precision (or even know for sure if that's the case).

How do you maximize the return on the investment you've made not only in producing valuable white papers and other content, but also in driving traffic to it through search engine advertising, email marketing, bann…

Best of 2008 (So Far) - Website Design, Part 2

What are the most important factors to consider when designing (or redesigning) a website? Where should you start? How can you ensure that your site works well on mobile devices as well as conventional browsers? Which tools can help make your efforts more productive and effective?

Get the answers to these questions and more in the pieces below, some of the best articles and blog posts from the past year.

The 4 Essential Elements of Web Design by Spinfield

Designer Jason Nester offers highly practical advice (i.e. Flash, widgets and Web 2.0 colors need not apply) about the most critical factors in site design. It's heartening that he refers to SEO as "probably THE most essential element of Web design."


Why Web Design Matters by SEO Book

SEO expert Peter Da Vanzo serves up his take on the 10 most important factors, beginning with "Purpose—Know Your Audience," which should be the starting point for ANY marketing activity. Clarity, branding and speed are also among t…

WMC Interviews: Anne Holland

Over the past three years, I've had the honor of interviewing many brilliant marketers, including Laura Ries, bestselling author, blogger and TV personality; Mike Schultz, president of the Wellesley Hiils Group; and Janine Popick, co-founder and CEO of hosted email marketing platform VerticalResponse.

But last week, I had the unique pleasure of corresponding with Anne Holland, founder of MarketingSherpa and legendary marketing guruess. Though Anne announced her retirement on November 10, she graciously agreed to share some of her collected wisdom and plans for what's next. Here's our discussion.

WebMarketCentral (WMC): Thanks so much for your time today, Anne. First off, why do think MarketingSherpa has been so successful, over a long and turbulent period, in a market where so many paid content providers have failed?

Anne Holland (AH): We were always obsessed with market research. We focused on a single primary market (marketing professionals in corporate America with $3 mil…

Why Marketers Should Act Like 3-Year Olds

Granted, some people think we already do.

But, here's the thing—if you've ever had a three-year old try to carry on a conversation with you, you know it often goes something like this (and if you haven't, you can apparently buy a 3-year old on eBay; another example of why web marketers need to be careful with variable text insertion):

3-year old: Why is grass green?

You: Because it has chlorophyll in it.

3-year old: Why?

You: Because that's what helps it turn sunlight into food.

3-year old: Why?

You: So it can live.

3-year old: Why?

You: Because grass WANTS to live.

3-year old:Really?

This conversation often continues until either the three-year old loses interest or you decide it's time for an early cocktail.

Still, marketers could benefit from being more like this. No, not annoying, but tenaciously inquisitive.

For example, your online lead generation goes up this month (or down). Why? Well, because more (or fewer) people clicked on your ads. Why?

Sometimes the answer is…

Getting More Out of Each Click with "Post-Click Marketing"

With the economy now officially in a recession (as if we didn't know that), marketers are under increasing pressure to do more with less. On the interactive marketing side, few marketers will get budget increases enabling them to drive more clicks. The challenge, then, is to maximize marketing productivity—to get more leads out of the same number of clicks. This is the first of two posts that will look at how to improve conversion rates to get more value from each click.

One answer to this challenge is provided by "post-click marketing," a.k.a. lead automation management vendors. While the specifics of each service vary, all of them essentially:
automate the process of extracting visitor IP information from your log files;match the IP address to an organization;filter out ISPs; and map the company name to one or more external databases to provide additional information (company size, industry, key contacts etc.). The better services also use geo-location filtering to dete…

Best of 2008 (So Far) - Web Marketing Research, Part 2

The best research tells you not only what's happening, but why. Check out these posts, more of the best so far in 2008, on web marketing and Internet research to sate your curiosity, make better marketing decisions, and arm yourself with online trivia knowledge.

Which blogs do reporters read? What are the top uses of the Internet after email and search? What type of online advertising is growing while banners and PPC ads flatline? What's the next big trend in blogging? Which information sources have the greatest influence on consumer purchasing decisions? Read on to learn all of this and more.

Top Blogs Used by Reporters & Journalists by Mequoda Daily

There are lots of "top" blog lists out there, but which blogs really have influence with traditional media? This article reports on a study of the blogs read by more than 450 reporters in technology, lifestyle, health care, travel, and politics. It would have been nice to see more than a handful of results in each cate…