Tag Archives: challenge

6 Marketing Myths Busted!

Marketing Myths Busted!Some days I get down when reading blog posts, discussions, seeing speakers talk about new marketing channels like social media or paid search.  I have to remind myself that we live in a world where everyone is getting their mega horn on to blast out opinions.  Some are on target, others a bit skewed and some are extrapolating case studies into generalizations.So here’s my take on some current marketing myths I see.  Please note that I’m not saying these tactics don’t work in a well developed marketing plan that works in conjunction with multiple marketing channels.  I’m debating those presenting these tactics as a single, standalone strategy.

  1. Social media will kill email.  Email can be a burden and require time to manage the flow of messages, archiving, etc.  It’s true that social media channels like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn allow us to message and communicate with other in place of email.  But these new communication channels are not killing email, they may be reducing it for some users, however email is not going anywhere.  Corporations are not going to use Twitter, Facebook or texting to communicate directly with customers for e-commerce ordering and other secure communication, for example.
  2. Paid search is all you need to drive traffic and conversions to your website.  For some business, paid search is a great tool for driving online conversions, acquiring customers and generating revenue.  These businesses tend to be e-commerce with short sales cycles and low price points.  For businesses with longer sales cycles, more expensive and intensive purchases, paid search may drive people to your site but will not covert into a sale immediately.  Paid search can generate some awareness but other forms of advertising may be best for specialty products and markets with complex buying cycles.  For these companies paid search may not be the best spend of their marketing budget.  Also paid search works best with a strong organic SEO plan that continues to drive traffic when the paid search budget dries up!
  3. Book authors are experts because they have been published.  Some authors are experts because they have demonstrated their expertise through years of experience and professional work.  Others may be great writers that have worked in publishing and see the value of a specific technology.  While others may just be lucky enough to be first to market and in the right place at the right time.  I follow Tom Webster’s advice and tend to be skeptical until I see some evidence and thought leadership that supports claims of expertise.
  4. Anyone can be a blogger.  While it is true that anyone can create a blog easily with platforms like Blogger and WordPress a blog is more than just writing posts and a blogger is more than being the writer.  It involves being an advocate for your readers, staying abreast of your subject matter, digging for answers to questions,  creating an editorial calendar, focusing on a subject and being consistent.  Heck I don’t even consider myself a blogger.  I’m a marketing professional that writes a blog.  A blogger is someone so dedicated to their audience they post 3-5 times a week.  There’s a difference.
  5. Social media is the only channel that allows you to have a conversation with your customers.  True that social media allows for interactive communication between a company, its employees and customers.  But it does not allow you to communicate with all your customers since not everyone is on social media and you it may not be a preferred channel of communication for every situation.  Email, phone conversations and going into a store to talk to a real person are all still alive and well and will always be viable alternatives to a social media conversation.
  6. Traditional marketing is dead.  While social media has created a new channel to communicate with customers, it’s not a replacement for traditional media.  The challenge for marketing professionals always has been and always will be to find the right marketing mix for their customers.  If the majority of customers are heavy social media users then yes social media can be the primary channel.  Yet we still see billboards, commercials, print ads, posters and other traditional forms of advertising that have not died since the social media exploded the past few years.

What do you think about these myths?  Do you agree or disagree with my myth busting?

It’s All About the Blog

Today is the last post in my 30-Day Blogger Challenge and it has been a fun and at times tiring experience. I have posted a few blogging lessons learned during the course of the challenge and wanted to write today about this blogging experience in terms of how it impacts marketing.
I started this challenge to get myself in the habit of writing more and maintaining a consistent, albeit for only 30 days, schedule. In several presentations and webcast of Web 2.0 and social media marketing the topic of establishing a blog and maintaining it has been emphasized as one of the key strategies. I could not agree more.
One of main reasons for this strategy is that blogging helps with search engine marketing. Google and other search engines look for fresh content and can give higher result rankings for sites that have blogs posting regularly. I Googled my name and the term marketing today and I was 8 of the top 10 search results!
Blogging is also a great method to get customers to your site. In my own experience I’ve seen my visits increase 573%! To break it down some more, in the last 29 days my blog has had 290 visitors with 188 unique visitors, just under 500 pageviews and my bounce rate dropped by 3%.
If you tell a small or medium size business that they could increase traffic to their site with no advertising by over 500%, do you think you would have their attention? Of course you would, but the real challenge is that it would be up to the customer to keep it going.
The real power of blogging is what social media is all about, being social and communicating. The conversational and informal blog tone reads more like someone telling you a story versus trying to sell you something. As consumers and customers become more savvy of traditional marketing and sales messages, they seek out someone they can relate to and gives them input, direction and comparative experience.
I plan to keep blogging, but not every single day as I have done the past month. I will take the weekend of and try to post at least two times a week.
What’s your 30-day challenge?

Marketing Toolkit v2.0 Social Media and Collaboration Tools

My first exposure to social media was back in 2000. I was hired to implement a new web site for a trade association that would enable communication and collaboration using the early Web 2.0 tools. The web site would feature e-commerce applications as well to streamline the members’ online experience. It was a very exciting project, unfortunately it failed like many other e-commerce projects of the time. I think the rate of failure in the industry was around 80%. One of the major reason for failure of early adoption of these technologies was that it was too advanced for the general public at the time. Many non-technical workers were still getting online for the first time and mastering email, much less online chats, file sharing and buying goods and services online.

Today we find ourselves in the full adoption of social media in the business world. Brands are racing online to social media sites like Twitter and Facebook to attract consumers and fans at a rapid pace. We are witnessing a similar trend to the dot-com boom of the late 1990s where technology niche companies are popping up, being gobbled up and can cease to exist in less than a year. This week alone there was speculation within minutes of the Facebook and FriendFeed acquisition that Twitter was done for, dead and over.

Web 2.0 tools allow companies today to create the interactivity that was sought out by ambitious companies nine years ago. Only now the social networks are large enough to engage customers. The network of people on sites like MySpace, Facebook and Twitter warrant the desire for companies to get on and connect. Before these networks grew the challenge was to build a site that would get users to visit and come back day after day. In the corporate world this was not going to happen until some network did it well enough to get their attention.

Much like I wrote about how desktop publishing helped me get my first job, today’s young marketing professionals will need a strong knowledge of Web 2.0 and social media tools to succeed. As corporations extended their online presence into social networks, they will need resources that are ready to deploy versus having to train current staff. For more experienced marketing professionals like myself, social media is the latest technology we need to learn how to incorporate into our marketing strategy and planning.

How has social media changed your marketing strategy and planning? Do you look for these skills in your new recruits?

Social Media Case Study: Triangle AMA

Triangle AMAOver the past few weeks I’ve written several articles about member based associations using social media. I thought today’s post would be a good time to reflect on a case study that I personally have been working on over the past year. I serve on the board of the Triangle Chapter of the American Marketing Association (AMA) as the Vice President, Newsletter.

Getting started can be difficult with new technology. As a group we knew we wanted to start a blog, but what do we post on it? My responsibilities as the newsletter editor required writing, editing and laying out the monthly HTML email newsletter. This proved to be the best starting point to put content on the blog.

Blogger was chosen as the blog platform for its ease of use and quick ramp up time. I knew that getting a WordPress blog would be nicer in terms of features but would take more time to get built. Blogger allowed for a quick and easy deployment. The page was modified to include the AMA logo, chapter description and link to the web site.

The site is located at http://triangleama.blogspot.com and includes meeting reviews, photos and interviews from socials, video and multimedia embeds of presentations and podcasts. Additional links to other social media sites and RSS feeds have been added to the layout. Since launching in December of 2008 the site has recorded over 920 unique visitors and 2,440 page views.

Once the blog was set up Twitter was the next obvious choice. Twitter’s simple messaging allows the chapter to communicate upcoming meetings, chapter announcements, blog posts, podcasts, and links. Triangle AMA’s Twitter account @triangleama quickly built a strong following of members and other marketing professionals in our geographic area and over 565 followers.

Triangle AMA’s LinkedIn Group was created in November 2008 and quickly started having members request to join. One of the challenges in creating and launching the group was deciding if the group would be restricted to dues paying members. The decision was made to allow non members to join the group as long as they were marketing professionals based in central and eastern North Carolina. It is important to monitor groups on LinkedIn as we had some people join that were spamming or only interested in selling to our members. This also created the need to write some guidelines for discussions to alert groups members of the purpose of the group and put policy in place. Currently the group has over 575 members and displays content via the chapter’s Twitter, YouTube and blog RSS feeds.

You Tube was selected out of a need to broadcast a phone interview of an upcoming speaker. The audio was matched to simple slide animation with the speaker’s photo, title and company logo as well as a call to action slide with chapter web site URL. The Triangle AMA YouTube channel was set up using some of the materials already developed for Twitter and Blogger. Two original podcast have been created for chapter events with more planned for the upcoming year. Another featured that YouTube offered was to add video clips used during speaker presentations as favorites. These clips have also been embedded in blog posts recapping chapter speaker events. The Triangle AMA YouTube channel has over 420 channel views and 92 videos watched.

Selecting a photo site proved out to be more difficult than expected. One of the hurdles was to create an account that multiple users could login to upload photos and did not have bandwidth restrictions. After some initial testing of Flickr, Slide and Picasa, Slide was chosen. Over a dozen photo albums of for monthly meetings, socials and the 2008 holiday party are viewable. Photo and slideshows are embedded in blog posts for respective events.

Other sites currently under development for Triangle AMA include SlideShare for sharing presentations and creating a portal. The portal would include all chapter content as well as content from AMA Nationals, members, sponsors and other sources.

I want to note that several people were responsible for making this happen for Triangle AMA over the past year. Committee volunteers, board members, guests and members have all participated at various levels including being interviewed by me during socials.

More Blogging Lessons Learned

Today is Day 25 of my 30 day blogging challenge and I wanted to share some more tips and other wisdom. I have to admit today was a tough motivational day. I still have some topics on my list that I started with at the beginning of the 30 days. But none of them really jumped off the page and inspired me enough to write about the topic.

Staying motivated is a challenge in any process, especially after the “newness” wears off. The first 12 days my energy level really jumped and my brain was buzzing. I was able to have some really clear thoughts on some tough problems because my brain was moving. But after 20 plus days the euphoria can wear off and you are relying on discipline and will to maintain your journey towards the final goal. Of course if I was being paid to write that’s a whole another story. Some of the best motivation has been reading other blogs and meeting a few bloggers both online and in person.

Content is king and finding an interesting topic for you and your readers is tough. I have written posts on topics that I did not have on my initial list which is great as it gave me fresh content such as attending a trade show and speaking at Ignite Raleigh. I think the more active you are the better, and this has been a more active time for me over the past two weeks.

Maintaining a consistent subject matter can be difficult. When I started this blog I wanted to document my work experiences and create an online portfolio. Now I realize that I have been writing about past experiences, current events and topics and where marketing is going. Keeping a marketing and communication focus is important but not required. Tagging also helps keep your blog concise, if you are creating new tags frequently then look at your tags to see if they are relevant to your subject matter.

Blogging is different than writing in many ways. The length of typical blog posts tends to be shorter than newspaper or magazine articles. From a writing perspective I am more used to a longer format to explain the details and influencing factors to the story. Blogging to me seems to be shorter creative burst of ideas without delving too deep into the analysis. Blogs allow us to get a quick gist of the topic and tend to link or relate to another source even within the blog itself.

Well five days left and then I have met my goal. I like that I will be ending on a Friday so I can relax next weekend!