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Gaining Business Leader Buy-in: 7 CEO personas

June 21st, 2012 No comments

You may have an incredible plan to improve your company’s marketing performance, but unless you can do a little selling, you’re never going to be able to start marketing.

I’m talking about internal selling. Often, when marketers want to make significant changes to their company’s marketing performance, it takes some budget to get the ball rolling. That may be budget to buy a new tool or platform, work with an agency, or hire some new employees.

If you want to get that budget, you have to convince the CEO (or perhaps CFO or other executive, depending on where you are in the organization) that you can deliver some serious ROI.

And yet, ironic as it may seem, marketers are usually not the best at selling, especially internally.

At last week’s Optimization Summit 2012, I had the pleasure to introduce Kristin Zhivago, President, Zhivago Management Partners, when she presented “How to Optimize Your CEO’s Anointing of Your Marketing Efforts.”

Her top piece of advice was, “You have to be the one in the company that has the personal knowledge of your customers.”

Much of your internal ability to get things done will come from being the trusted advisor who can speak on behalf of the customer to the CEO and business leaders.

To do that, she recommends actually calling customers and interviewing them. “Sales people are dogs. Marketers are cats. We’re shy,” Kristin acknowledges. But she encourages marketers to overcome their inherent introversion and get customers on the phone.

 

Your CEO’s ‘functional persona’

Beyond knowing your customer, Kristin advises marketers to know their CEO as well. In this presentation, she broke down CEOs (and, really, all business leaders), into seven “functional personas” to help you understand how to work with, and become a trusted advisor to, your business leaders.

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Where to Find Email Marketing’s Low-hanging Fruit

June 19th, 2012 2 comments

At Email Summit 2012, Luke Thorpe, Multimedia Specialist, MECLABS, grabbed his camera, I grabbed a mic, and we traveled the vast recesses of the expo floor at Caesars Palace to ask attendees and sponsors where the low-hanging fruit is for email marketers. Here’s what they had to say …

 

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Social Spam: Don’t let spammers interrupt your customer conversations

June 15th, 2012 2 comments

I have a good buddy, and our friendship dates way back to middle school. We don’t get to talk on the phone much anymore, but when we do, I really value it. Just getting to focus on him and his BUY VIAGRA! life and see how YOU SHOULD BEGIN WITH CHEAP RALPH LAUREN CLOTHES!

As you can see, the topic of today’s MarketingSherpa blog post is social spam. Social media is, inherently, a conversation. And, some marketers really understand that. They speak to their customers, listen to them, and don’t engage in antisocial media.

Even for the marketers who do get it, it’s so frustrating to deal with social spam. You’re trying to have a real conversation with your customers, and then some knucklehead autobot posts 50 comments about cheap Ralph Lauren clothes.

It’s an issue we deal with here on the MarketingSherpa blog. We use Akismet to filter out obvious spam, and monitor the rest of the comments manually. We have a high standard, so occasionally real comments get accidentally blocked (if that ever happens to you, just email me). Our goal is to make sure you draw value from the conversations taking place on this blog, not to simply up our comment counter.

To help you deal with social spam in your own social media marketing efforts, I talked to a few experts in the field.

 

The social spam challenge

“Email spam is a well-understood problem for which a large number of commercial solutions exist,” said Mark Risher, co-founder and CEO, Impermium.  “Conversely, it’s still early days for social spam. Most social platforms lack an adequate content cleansing solution to address the multiple forms of abuse.”

That is why social spam is so prevalent. Mandi Frishman, Marketing Manager, Make Me Social, ran a quick test for the MarketingSherpa blog.

“I just went to Pinterest and typed ‘eggplant’ into the search bar. Of the first 14 pins, eight were from spam accounts. I’m overwhelmed by the sheer volume of social spam that I see each day, especially when running data pulls on behalf of clients.”

 

Click to enlarge

 

Of course, Pinterest isn’t the only social sharing website facing this challenge. Tim Howell, Community Manager, Make Me Social, created a brief chart showing the prevalence of spam and Tweet Zombies in the electrical industry.

“We pulled 60 days’ worth of data from Twitter, which is typically the most common source of social spam,” he said.

 

“In the first pull, we brought in the full, unfiltered flow of posts from Twitter on a wide range of topics, brands and products in the electrical industry,” Tim said. “For the second pull, we applied a few filters to remove the most common signs of spam activity. It’s nearly impossible to remove all spam posts from this data, but even the most basic filters reduced the amount of spam by over 130,000 posts.”

But, you don’t only have to worry about competing with social spam on well-known social networking services — you have to keep your own sites clean as well.

“It not only plagues major platforms like Twitter and Facebook, but it affects the comment sections and forum boards of practically every news site and blog with a decent page rank,” Mark said.

“The Q1 samples we pulled from the Impermium global defense network revealed 4-8% of social Web traffic is spam, up from 2-5% just six months prior. While these numbers may sound relatively small, consider that in 2011, 90% of all social media users experienced some form abuse.”

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Event Recap: Notes from the Optimization Summit 2012 roundtable sessions

June 14th, 2012 No comments

On the afternoon of the first day of the MarketingSherpa and MarketingExperiments Optimization Summit 2012 in Denver, attendees had the chance to interact with ten expert practitioners in a roundtable format.

Event participants were able to choose an expert, sit at the table for a quick presentation, and ask questions and interact with each other on the topic at hand for 15 minutes before switching to a new table and a new subject.

Topics at the different tables ranged from optimizing social media to high-impact call-to-action button copy that converts.

I wanted to provide SherpaBlog readers with a sample of some of the high-impact material the experts shared during this roundtable session. These examples of roundtable content illustrate the wide variety of advice Optimization Summit attendees were presented during the session.

 Here are some key takeaways from several of the roundtable experts:

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Landing Page Optimization: 3 quick recommendations from the stage at Optimization Summit 2012

June 12th, 2012 3 comments

“What is the objective of this page?” Dr. Flint McGlaughlin asked audience member Maile Keone at the Pre-Optimization Summit LPO Workshop in Denver.

“To get people to call.”

The problem is the page isn’t achieving the objective — at least not to the extent the marketers (including Maile) at VacationRoost want it to.

The page was plastered on two huge screens at the front of the room here at the Denver Marriott Tech Center with 150 marketers from around the world scrutinizing it.

 

Click to enlarge

 

So, to help Maile and her team from VacationRoost, Dr. Flint McGlaughlin offered some recommendations for ways to improve the page.

To begin, we need to ask three critical questions from the perspective of the customer, Dr. McGlaughlin noted:

  1. Where am I?
  2. What can I do here?
  3. Why should I do it?

When we ask these questions, three optimization recommendations for the page come to mind.

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Marketing Research in Action: 84% of SMBs saw increase in business thanks to mobile marketing

June 8th, 2012 No comments

How can small and medium businesses take advantage of mobile marketing? Aman Devgan, VP of Marketing, Web.com, joined us in the studio for the latest episode of Marketing Research in Action to talk about how you can apply discoveries from recent research by Web.com and MarketingSherpa …

 

If you’d like to jump ahead in the video, here is what Aman and I discussed:

0:32 – 84% of SMBs saw an increase in new business activity due to their mobile marketing efforts

1:12 – Surprisingly, providing better service to existing customers is a bigger motivator to invest in a mobile presence than attracting more local customers

1:54 – Top 2 hurdles in leveraging mobile marketing

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The Boston Globe: An inside look at launching a paid content site

The Boston Globe has been in the content business for a long time. The newspaper published its first edition on March 4, 1872. Now in the digital age, it offers a free online version. At the end of last year, the company decided to include a premium, subscription-based digital version as well.

This blog post reveals an early, inside look at the approach The Boston Globe is taking to launch a paywall, complete with an honest look at a few bumps the marketing team hit along the way.

Peter Doucette, executive director of circulation, sales and marketing, The Boston Globe, will present further information about the newspaper’s marketing efforts at the MarketingSherpa and MarketingExperiments Optimization Summit in Denver, June 11-14.

 

THE CHALLENGE

The marketing challenge for The Boston Globe is maintaining two Internet offerings, one free and one paid.

Peter says the issue is to grow digital consumer revenue while at the same time maintain and grow digital advertising revenue.

“In the end, how do you take a prospect and turn them into a customer?” he asks.

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Social Media Marketing: 10 minutes with Brian Solis

June 5th, 2012 No comments

Focus on what people value.” That is my main takeaway from my interview with Brian Solis, principal, The Altimeter Group. As he sees it, Facebook is a democracy, and you can’t simply shove marketing messages down your followers’ throats (or in this case, into their Timelines) and expect to be successful.

In our 10 minutes together, he discussed so much more, including why many social media marketers are misinterpreting the movie “Moneyball” …

 

Luke Thorpe, multimedia specialist, MECLABS, and I grabbed Brian Solis after his keynote at MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2012, and he graciously gave us 10 minutes packed with interesting marketing insights.

Here are a few key points in the video, in case you want to jump ahead:

0:09 – Social media marketing metrics and Facebook EdgeRank

1:30 – The unlike button

2:24 – How to find out what your customers want

3:56 – The American Express Link > Like > Love campaign

4:38 – How to talk to business leaders about what really matters in your social media marketing campaign

8:46 – Social media is not just conversations; it is business data

 

Related Resources:

Email Summit 2012 DVD Combo Special (includes the Brian Solis keynote)

In Social Media, Your Return Represents Your Investment

Social Media Marketing: Finding and winning hyper-social consumers

Email Summit: Integrating mobile, social and email marketing channels

Inbound Marketing 2011: The 9 social media, content marketing, and SEO articles your peers shared most

Content Marketing: How scrapers impact your content strategy

May 22nd, 2012 2 comments

Content marketing is an important strategy for both consumer and B2B marketers, and it’s a major component of inbound and email marketing as well.

One issue that probably receives less attention than deserved is content scraping. This is a particular problem with easily digested material such as blog posts, whitepapers and articles.

Less than scrupulous website owners will go to your site, scrape your content and repost your work to their website.

This hurts your content marketing strategy in two major ways: one, it dilutes your brand awareness because some people will find your content on someone else’s website; and two, it essentially confuses search engines with the duplicate content and negatively affects your SEO.

To find out more about content scraping, and learn some tricks to combat the practice, I spoke with Rami Essaid, co-founder and CEO of Distil, a company that protects websites against unauthorized scraping.

As you might guess, this topic is near and dear to Rami’s heart, and he provides insight into how it happens and what you can do proactively to protect your content.

 

MarketingSherpa:  Tell me why content marketers should be aware of, and concerned about, content scraping.

Rami Essaid:  Marketing has shifted toward content marketing as the medium to drive traffic to websites. The reason it’s so powerful is because it provides valuable information to the end user, and allows marketers to brand within the content along with sending out the company’s message.

By having that content diluted and copied around the world, you are not able to capitalize on one hundred percent of the market reading your content.

When you think about any time you put something out there and it gets copied, scraped and duplicated, people are consuming it all around the world, but they are not consuming it from you, and you are losing the effectiveness of all of that hard work that you put into that content marketing.

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How to Write a Competitive Analysis (with 3 free templates)

May 18th, 2012 11 comments

“It’s not enough that we win; all others must lose.” – Larry Ellison

Personally, I disagree with Larry, and I think that the focus should be on the customer winning. Hopefully that’s often through your product or service offering, but sometimes your competitors can serve customers looking for a solution better than you can. In those cases, I think all parties (your company, your competitor and your customer) are better served by acknowledging that.

In fairness, Larry Ellison is the fifth richest man in the world, so if that’s how you keep score, he has much more credibility than I. On the other hand, he was paraphrasing Genghis Khan with his quote, so I guess it all depends whom you want to emulate with your marketing.

 

Learning from the competition

But, whether you agree with Larry or me (or even Genghis), I’m sure that we can all see the value in better understanding what competitors are doing.

So you can conduct a competitive analysis for the obvious reasons — to bludgeon the competition and raze their villages. However, you can also conduct a competitive analysis to help you better communicate with your customers about how you can best serve them (and even tell them what you can’t do) while perhaps honing the fine art of “coopetition.”

Moreover, a competitive analysis is an especially helpful tool to help you craft your value proposition.

 

Free competitive analysis templates

To help you conduct a competitive analysis, we’ve created a few free templates loosely based on the Summary Competitive Analyses we conduct for our own Research Partners here at MECLABS.

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