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Posts Tagged ‘Marketing’

Linkology: The Best of the Internet for 4/9/10

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The truth goes like this: it’s a big vacation week, opening day here in Detroit, and I thought — naively, as it turns out — that I could get away with not worrying about the Friday links post.

I was wrong.  Turns out some colleagues here in the office, while I was wrestling with the byzantine processes that govern streaming MLB games and the even despairingly more complex blackout restrictions guidelines, told me that if I didn’t put up a Friday links post, they would lie down on train tracks until I did.  That last part is a lie: they didn’t threaten any railroad sit in.  My unpopular indifference to baseball led me to prefer to write this post rather than listen to baseball audio, which is all we can get even though we subscribed to MLB.com and don’t even get me started on the relative uselessness of a product that (a) is supposed to enable live streaming but (b) cannot stream live games for local teams due to the aforementioned ridiculous blackout guidelines.

So without too much further ado (and the irony that the preceding paragraph was indeed a lot of ado is not lost on me), here is this week’s collection of very fine HTTP products.

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Trouble in the Middle Market

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You might think that in our fragile economy companies that target the huge, amorphous mid-market would be thriving.  You’d be wrong.  The ‘mushy’ middle market — served by brands like Sony, Dell, GM and others — is getting cannibalized at the high end by brands like Apple and Hermes, and at the low end by Ikea and H & M.  The New Yorker’s James Surowiecki explains:

The products made by midrange companies are neither exceptional enough to justify premium prices nor cheap enough to win over value-conscious consumers. Furthermore, the squeeze is getting tighter every day. Thanks to economies of scale, products that start out mediocre often get better without getting much more expensive—the newest Flip, for instance, shoots in high-def and has four times as much memory as the original—so consumers can trade down without a significant drop in quality. Conversely, economies of scale also allow makers of high-end products to reduce prices without skimping on quality. A top-of-the-line iPod now features video and four times as much storage as it did six years ago, but costs a hundred and fifty dollars less. At the same time, the global market has become so huge that you can occupy a high-end niche and still sell a lot of units. Apple has just 2.2 per cent of the world cell-phone market, but that means it sold twenty-five million iPhones last year.

The Best PSA You’ve Ever Seen

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From the UK’s Sussex Safer Roads comes perhaps the best public service ad I’ve ever seen. It’s cinematic, creative, paced perfectly and, in the end, quite poignant.

From concept to casting to photography to execution, this is nearly perfect. Love it.

(Via Jason F. over at 37signals)

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MIPRO Consulting is a nationally-recognized consulting firm specializing in PeopleSoft Enterprise (particularly Enterprise Asset Management), Workday and Business Intelligence. You’re reading MIPRO Unfiltered, its blog.  If you’d like to contact MIPRO, email is a great place to start, or you can easily jump over to its main website.  If you’d like to see what MIPRO offers via Twitter or Facebook, we’d love to have you.


Will SEO Be Important in 2010 With a Real-Time Web?

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Robert Scoble:

The writing is on the wall. Small business marketing is moving away from focusing on SEO. Why do I say that? Because, well, Google and Bing are changing the rules so often and are getting so good at figuring out the real businesses that deserve to be on pages. Search Half Moon Bay Sushi and you get real answers from sites that didn’t focus on SEO. Yeah, there are exceptions, but they are increasingly getting rare.

With other searches, like one for Tiger Woods, you’ll get a page filled with stuff that SEO just doesn’t affect much anymore. In the middle of that page is a real time box that brings items from Twitter and Google News. The boulder seo companies are hard to come by, this one is the best by far! It no longer is good enough to be just an SEO expert to get items onto pages like these. You’ve gotta be great at creating content that gets Google’s algorithms to trust it enough to shove it onto these new hybrid pages.

But there’s something deeper going on. Google has built systems that aren’t Page Rank controlled anymore and are giving far better analytics to small businesses than they did a year ago. They know a LOT more about your behavior now other than you clicked on a link, even to the extent that they know whether you called that business or bought something and THAT is changing the skills SEO/SEM types need to have.

No longer is it about optimizing search engine results and the new breed is going beyond just search engines to provide holistic systems that find and track customers not only on search engines like Google and Bing, but on social networks like Facebook and Twitter.

I see the same thing.  I do very little SEO/SEM work on this blog or our main website, but our search performance has skyrocketed over the past year.

Why?

As near as I can tell, consistent content creation.  We try to post something to this blog every weekday, and we’ve done a pretty good job of this all year.  No author of this blog writes for keyword karma: we simply post content that we think will be useful or interesting to our customers, prospects and industry colleagues.  The rest just happens, and I attribute that to consistency.

Of course, we have aircover from our Twitter and Facebook activity too, and as the new real-time web emerges, new content developed through these channels will factor into search performance.  Early this year, I was telling people how consistent, quality tweeting was important to draw new followers through Twitter’s official search engine.  Now, as 2010 approaches and social content is being integrated into Google and Bing search results, the importance simply cannot be overstated.

The ground is shifting away from static SEO keyword saturation and more towards behavior-driven merit systems.  Google and Bing are getting smarter at weeding out SEO farming description sites (save a few examples, like appliance searches), and during 2010 I think we’ll see the semantic web in the sense that search engines will understand intent much better than they do now.  That’s not to say the system won’t be gamed anymore, but increasingly new content, interaction and effort will be rewarded rather than metadata and keyword concentrations on business websites.

So.  All that said, what’s the real value of intelligent, consistent social media activity for business?  If it wasn’t massive before, it is now.

Do I Look Like a Guy With a Plan?

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Here’s some excellent business advice for the organization as well as the individual from Charlie Hoehn.  It centers around two basic precepts: (1) instead of calling something a failure, call it an attempt; and (2) the basic grist for the success mill is just doing things.

My favorite part of The Dark Knight is when the Joker is talking to Harvey Dent in the hospital, and he says: “Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it! You know, I just DO things… I’m not a schemer. I try to show the schemers how pathetic their attempts to control things really are.”

And therein lies the best career advice I could possibly dispense: just DO things.  Chase after the things that interest you and make you happy.  Stop acting like you have a set path, because you don’t.  No one does.  You shouldn’t be trying to check off the boxes of life; they aren’t real and they were created by other people, not you.  There is no explicit path I’m following, and I’m not walking in anyone else’s footsteps.  I’m making it up as I go.

It’s worth your while to read the whole thing.

(Via Kottke)

The Real ROI of the Press Release

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BNET’s Drew Kerr:

Well-written press releases have lost much of their power to generate actual news coverage. Journalists suffering from information overload rarely have the time to slog through the number of pitches they receive daily, so publicists bank on their relationships with them to get coverage. If press releases have any potency now, it comes from showing up in Web searches and, hopefully in the process, raising a company’s profile online. Thanks to online distributors like PRWeb, your release can become virtually ubiquitous on the Web. But don’t be fooled. That’s not the measure of success.

I’ve been saying the same thing myself for over two years now. The press release is all but dead when it comes to garnering real journalistic coverage.  Unless you have something truly noteworthy, the attention economy dictates that your “news” won’t be read by very many.  The value of the press release lies in its ability to help get your web presence escalated on search engines, and even then there are caveats you should be aware of.  Kerr’s article covers most of them.

(thx @mipro_dave)

Your Blog Is Your Mothership

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Thought-provoking and spot-on post by Amber Riviere over at Web Worker Daily:

Yesterday, I read the “Unconventional Guide to the Social Web,” and although I found a lot of useful information in it, one quote has stuck with me since reading it: “Your blog is your mothership. Don’t neglect it for lesser tools.”

This is an important thing to keep in mind when marketing your business online. There are tons of ways to build a web presence, including a variety of social media and networking sites, but nothing is as important as your blog.

Maintained correctly, your blog is the one tool that will get you the most traffic, and it’s the tool over which you have the most control. If you set out with the intention of posting three to five times per week, within a year, you will begin seeing significant activity around your site. Within two to three years, you could easily be an authority in your particular niche.

I am physically incapable of agreeing with this more.  Since the first few months of this blog’s life, we have multiplied monthly traffic by a factor of over 20x.  We generate more discussions, more relationships and more opportunity via providing good content to our readership than trying to direct them to static marketing web pages.  In fact, this blog considerably outperforms our main website, which is to be expected when a blog is active, relevant and (hopefully) entertaining.

I will say something that I don’t say enough: if you would like to talk to us, ask us a question, or simply drop us a suggestion for something you’d like to see us write about, here’s the easiest way.  We get to every email, and we love hearing from you.

Thanks for your readership and support.  We’re honored, thrilled and flattered more than you can possibly fathom.

Study: Social Does Pay

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One of the most interesting things we’ve done, marketing-wise, as a company is engage our customers and the community via social media.  Not always an easy sell internally, it’s an idea that has helped set us apart from our competition and form relationships with clients we wouldn’t have otherwise.

It’s hard to put a solid ROI on social media efforts across all platforms and business goals.  But the numbers are coming:

Much has been said of late about what should and shouldn’t be done in the social marketplace, but if you’re still wondering if social marketing pays or is simply another place to play, read on. According to a recent study from Altimeter Group and social platform Wetpaint, brands active in the social space saw revenues increase by about 18% over the past year.

That is quite a jump when you take into account the soggy economy, both global and in the US.

Brands who were not socially active saw sales decrease by about 6%.

More importantly, when prospects, customers and new employees come to you and say they found you via your social media presence, you know you’re onto something.

(Via @coretek)