After much consideration, it has been decided that the mplans blog will be shutting down shortly. We have rolled most of the marketing posts into a new blog: Business in General.
We hope you all follow us to the new home.
And thank you for your continued support.
Social Media Marketing Manager
Palo Alto Software
So Google, which grew up on well-placed and well-managed text ads, is looking for greater user experience ads in the future. Sean Ammirati quotes Google's Sheryl Sandberg on Next-Generation Advertising in a good post today on Read/WriteWeb. He points out the irony of talk of greater experience from the text-ad giant. He summarizes her talk at the SuperNova conference.
He was surprised as well with the suggestion that "Advertisements need to continue increasing personalization." And not surprised that she highlighted social networking and consumers creating content as other trends.
-- Tim Berry
This also appears as a post on the bplans.com blog, but it is as, if not more, relevant to marketing.
I'm coining a new marketing Web metric here---Pay-Per-Ignore.
This summer we are selling the family house in a Great Lakes state. I live in Oregon, so I've been using the faithful search engines to contact painters, realtors, estate sale agents, dumpster haulers...the works.
I found plenty of listings and associated Web pages. They have lots of pictures, good text, mission statements, service descriptions, and, very important for me, "For more info, contact…" links and built-in email frames. But the results from my contacts have been dismal!
I contacted three estate sale agents. One never responded -- Ignored. A second sent me an email in a couple days, asking for more info, and then nothing -- Ignored. The third emailed me right back and followed up with a phone call the next morning. Guess which one is going to get my business?
I emailed two trash haulers about a dumpster. Neither responded -- Ignored. One of two painters emailed me back. The other ignored me. The list goes on. Now, maybe these companies are in the enviable position of having so much business that they don't need new customers, but I doubt it.
So here is the question: how much Internet marketing money are these businesses spending in Web design, hardware, infrastructure, search-engine optimization, etc., to attract me as a potential customer, only to ignore me? What is their Pay-Per-Ignore?
What do YOU spend on YOUR P-P-I?
Bill Brelsford makes a good point today in Small Business Building Blocks: Do You Need More Traffic Or Conversions? It isn't necessarily as simple as just generating more traffic. You need targeted traffic because ultimately the objective is conversions, not just traffic.
The underlying importance of targeting is the point of my fishbowl post in Startups, Planning, and Stories a few days ago. I also remember when we learned why simple prize offerings to generate traffic at www.paloalto.com did us no good; we wanted targeted traffic, not just any traffic.
Nice post Bill.
I posted this on my blog.timberry.com blog first, but it seems to belong here as well ...
Ok, the title of this post sounds a bit like the spam we all receive on a regular basis, but believe it or not both Google and Yahoo! offer great opportunities for you to promote your business for free and often times get top search rankings simply for entering a little bit of information about your business.
These top rankings and marketing opportunities are through Google's and Yahoo!'s local search programs. Essentially, both companies offer a free yellow page-style listing to any business that takes the time to fill in some additional data about their business. What's great about doing this is that you not only get the opportunity to easily provide users with answers to common questions (location, hours, payment types, etc.) but you also get the opportunity to provide a link to your website, if you have one. You can even upload pictures of your business or your products.
On top of all of this, local search results are often featured at the top of search engine results. Try searching for "pizza, eugene oregon" to see what I am talking about.
Finally, these local search listings are free and a great alternative to a full-blown site if all you need to do is provide information similar to what you might find in a 1/4 or 1/2 page Yellow Pages ad. And if you do have a website, this is yet another tool in your search engine marketing tool chest.
Here at Palo Alto Software we are beginning the packaging design process for the next version of Business Plan Pro. As we start this process, I was reminded of the great Apple/Microsoft parody video (about a year old now) that shows how Microsoft would re-design the original iPod packaging. If you create any kind of packaging for your product, it's worth watching.
Failing to plan for an effective sales call could result in
your client saying this to you. Some sales people make the mistake of
assuming that their clients want to hear everything that they want to tell
them. Not true. Smart sales people will ask the customer in advance
what is important to them, using this information to plan their presentation
and sales call.
To use an example, I used to be a sales manager for a fraud investigations company. I accompanied one of my sales people on a call to a major insurance company that was looking for a new investigations firm. "John" as I will call him, started off the call by showing a very lengthy PowerPoint. He focused on our technology, our brand power, and our size and coverage. After his 20 minute spiel, the confused customer said “Yes, I already know that. What I really wanted to hear about was the background and experience level of your investigators.” Ironically, our company led the market in that area, yet we missed the boat to showcase ourselves since “John” had not done his homework prior to the call.
Keeping your presentation simple, accurate and focused on the client’s needs will help you to win them over. Take a look at this hilarious (yet true) satire highlighting the abuse of the PowerPoint presentation. http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoID=1529637984
I have to go now. This blog post needs to be spell cheeked.
Robert Frank in the WSJ wealth report says "never before have so many Americans become so rich so quickly. The number of millionaire households at every level ($1 million, $10 million, $100 million) has more than doubled over the past decade. And there are no signs that the wealth explosion will slow."
"The real story behind all this wealth, however, isn't in the numbers. It's in the people, and how they're changing the culture and the character of wealth in America."
The comments to this story are amusing too. "You're pluggin your book dude."
I can't help suggesting we all watch Stephen Colbert plugging Iphone at D5 yesterday, because that moment wreaks of great marketing on so many different levels (remarkable? managing scarcity? the power of managing media?) ... but also because he's just very funny, too.
Nice post and comments over at the Signal V Noise blog on the new iPhone ads. The simplicity of the ads is stunning and the fact that all Apple is doing is showing off the product is refreshing. As one commenter mentions, it would be a great parody to see an ad done in the same style but with a "regular" cell phone.
What the ad really points out, and what most companies still don't seem to quite get, is that at the end of the day it's about the quality of your product. The product has to speak for itself. It has to get people talking about it. It has to be "remarkable," in Seth Godin terminology.
Does marketing work for your company? I like Bill Brelsford's answer to this question in his Small Business Building Blocks blog, specifically his post this morning titled Tips for Small Business Advertising. Here are some of his tips summarized.
About your ads, Bill suggests a direct response approach. That means get your customer to do something, now: call, visit a website, whatever. "The ad should sell your free offer, not your services."
Read more ...
Good marketing works. Do funny ads work? Creative ads? Different ads that are, in Seth Godin's context, remarkable? Take a look at these visuals that the author calls Think Outside the Bag.
When I was in Journalism grad school 30-some years ago no self-respecting publication wanted even the appearance of flavoring editorial with ad revenues. Of course lots did, black eye or not, because of all the obvious cynical reasons. And they still do today, according to this survey. At least in tech publications. Of 35 online computer-related publications, 23 (66 percent) refused editorial influence in exchange for advertising. Of remaining 12, seven publications agreed to editorial service in exchange for advertising or cash.
-- Tim Berry
Really interesting exchange going on about PR at Guy Kawasaki's How to Change the World. It starts with a guest post last week listing mistakes clients make, which generated comments as interesting as the original post. It goes on today with a second very interesting post on DIY PR. Lot's of interesting comments, good discussion.