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July 2007
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September 2007

August 2007

Corporate Blogging Success

I'm embarking on a project to implement a corporate blogging program.  What I'm learning is that it will only work if we are able to fill it with compelling content, add new content daily and attract customers and internet searchers to the site.

I've put some guidelines together for the Executive Team to get them blogging based on a great study conducted by Northeastern University and Backbone Media .

Guidelines for Blogging Success:

  1. Write a “Good” Title
    1. Short – 3 to 6 words (search engines tend to stop reading after 6)
    2. Accurately describe the topic
    3. Use a phrase that a customer might search for.  A good test is to do a Google search on your title.  If Adwords come up in the right column, it means that your title is something people want.
  2. Transparency – Honest portrayal of Mimeo that matches their experience/expectations
  3. Entertaining Writing Style and Personalization – a blogger’s writing style and how much they are willing to reveal about their life, experience and opinions brings human interest to a blog, helps build a personal connection with readers and will keep people reading.  Humor, unique personal experience or subject matter passion all work.

    Blogging is a great way to build personal credibility, particularly when approaching the press to do a story .  I'll let you know how we do.


DVR Penetration up to 1 in 5 Households

DVR penetration in the US is now ubiquitous.  We've all seen this coming and now it's here as confirmed by a 2007 study of 1300 randomly selected US households just completed by the Leichtman Research Group and the Center for Media Research.

- 1 in 5 households have a DVR up from 1 in 13 - 2 years ago
-  60 million households are predicted to have one by 2011
- 95% of TV viewing is still live

The fact that 95% of TV watching is live points to the continued opportunity to innovate in the way advertising messages are integrated into the medium.

B to B Marketers Shift Spending to New Media

Interactive media works incredibly well for B to B companies.  People searching for solutions or education on a particular topic have a sense of purpose that results in accelerated conversion from lead to sale.  Compare this to a direct marketing campaign where only 1% of individuals reached may convert.  In search conversion levels are closer to 34% for some B to B products with lower cost and staff time.

This trend is confirmed in a study published by Kate Maddox in BtoB magazine and the Association of National Advertisers.  To quote the article, "31% of BtoB marketers allocate 20% or more of their total media budgets to new media platforms, compared with only 5% of BtoC marketers"

While this isn't surprising it does confirm that success many of us are seeing on-line.

Broken China

Great article by Denny Hatch on the Public Relations debacle being orchestrated by China.  Chinese products have been accused of poisoning our pets and our children via lead paint.  How is it possible that a country with so much invested in commerce is not using crisis management techniques to manage its reputation?   From a PR perspective they are committing malpractice.  From an ethics perspective they are doing the same.

Got Me A Cadillac

Cadillac has done a masterful job of appealing to its current customers while creating products that appeal to the next generation of customers.  The Escalade has become a prestige car of the hip hop set AND upscale families that need to haul multiple kids to soccer games.  When soccer moms and rappers are driving the same car you know that a marketing master is at work.

What Cadillac has done is interesting since it goes against contemporary marketing thought.   Tlhey are using sub-brands to target diverse groups under one masterbrand without detracting from that brand.  The secret appears to be a common psychographic among the older and younger drivers. My guess is that people that buy Cadillacs look for a car that is a good compromise between an acceptable expression of wealth/prestige and design.   The cars are big, bold and contemporary.

At first I was confused by Cadillac and their marketing tactics.  I saw the Escalade on display at a Senior PGA event and then received a direct mail piece that would be more at home in a Matrix movie than playing golf.   The very fact that I rejected the piece as not being me probably speaks to Cadillac's understanding of who buys the car and the precision they are bringing to their marketing efforts.



Micropayments - The Next Thing in Online Commerce

There is buzz all over the place regarding sites that take mircopayments - small payments for anything on the web.  The buzz machine continues in today's New York Times  with an article by Dan Mitchell.  He interviews several people that believe that web publishers will unify under common payment systems. 

Joe Pine once told me that imagine if I charged $1 to enter my store or in this case the opportunity to read my blog.  How would it improve the experience.  I"m not sure anyone would pay me a $1 to read this.  Would they pay a few pennies?  Probably.  Would I invest more time in it if it generated revenue?  Absolutely.

The Public Relations Content War

I'm engaged in a public relations war where the enemy is known, the artillery is content and to the victor goes traffic and revenue.  Judy Shapiro from Comodo was nice enough to compare notes with me on approaches to content and public relations strategy.

What I learned is that there are new tools from Google such as Google Trends that aid measurement of both search activity and PR activity in comparison to competitors/companies you are benchmarking against.  The tool identifies causes of PR spikes and does it over time.  The tool isn't perfect since it is difficult to break out a division from a parent company (eg; FedExKinkos vs. Kinkos), but it is a great starting place.

I'm excited about this since it shows that we are just scratching the surface when it comes to public relations.  Hats off once again to Google and their initiative to bring together all forms of communication and media measurement.

Social Network Marketing Toolbox

I had an interesting thought this morning sparked by Joe Marchese from Archetype Media.  He compares social media to fashion.  He makes the analogy that getting someone to blog about your brand is the equivalent of getting someone to pin your band on their clothing (think fashion label or statement of how a brand defines how you think/feel/act).

My thought is that preparing customers to write about a brand requires the preparation of a brand messaging toolbox placed in a Web 2.0 friendly place.  Tools can include:

- Creation of a mythology around the brand that bloggers can write about.  This can include a brief story about the founder or a unique tale about how your company went to great lengths to rescue a customer.  At it's the use of a Lear jet to deliver a last minute order.
- Facts and Figures - What are the key facts about your company that we want people to refer to.  For us it would be how many business documents are printed every night.
- List of Qualities that Make Your Offering Distinct - What are those things that distinguish your product or service from the competition.
- Artwork/Images - Besides being searchable, images that include what you manufacturer/sell and packaging could complement blog entries.  I often see images of our product taken with a cell phone camera.  Imagine if those were high resolution and widely available.

This all reminds me of some work we did in the music industry when we created multiple music tracks that represented a brand theme for the Haru restaurant group. We then gave the tracks to top DJs to mix and represent as their own.   The project did so well that one of the mixes hit the Top 20 on the billboard dance chart.  It's the only time I know of where a commercial piece of music ranked.

Marketing through social networks requires advertisers to provide the tracks that make up the brand.  Publishers will co-create the brand through the way they uniquely combine these tracks.  Wow.

Making Friends

New study just came out from Nickelodeon, MTV and Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions on how children and young adults are using technology.  No surprises, but some great reminders.  Good summary by Seana Mulcahy in Mediapost .
- This was a global study showing that behaviors are globally consistent vs. different.  Everyone now is connected.
- Kids have 94 numbers in the mobile phones, 78 people on their buddy lists and 86 people in their social networking community.
- Technology is helping build more friendships between kids.
- TV is still important (you figured this given the sponsors).

My marketing thought.  If young adults are always connected via their buddy list, and people interact with brands as if they are people, than shouldn't companies by on the buddy list as well.  Shouldn't my company, be always available in the users buddy list vs. a separate live chat link on our site. 

I'm adding it to our "to do" list now.