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August 2009

JCPenney Marketing Wakes Up

JC Penney is one of the three department store...Image via Wikipedia

Is it just me, or did JCPenney appear to wake up from a deep slumber.  Did they suddenly remember that they are a retail MARKETING company, one that needs to continually appear relevant in order to grow sales.

Out of no where they opened a Manhattan store, boldly planting a flag in the middle of the retail universe, just down the block from the garment center, the Parsons school of design and FIT.  JCPenney is all over movie screens, the Disney channel and other visible venues.

Now the question is can they continue the momentum.  Can they engage the consumer in a dialogue, not just conduct a new one way conversation that demonstrates what is one sale that week.

This is a unique opportunity in JCPenny's history.  They have the momentum.  Now the question is, can they capitalize on it by going beyond just scratching the surface.

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How to Start an Online Business

How to start an online business is a question on many peoples minds since it is a path to financial independence and additional experience in digital marketing.                  The greatest barriers for most people are knowledge, confidence and time.

The best course is offered by Sitesell Education ,  Learn more by following the link or by viewing this video:

The course uses a step by step approach for how to start an online business and starts at the very beginning of the process.  The only prerequisite is desire, an internet connected computer at home and the ability to write a simple business email. My hope is in the classroom, my experience can help you accelerate the progress you can make with the Sitesell system. 

For those that have a bit more experience, the course teaches affiliate marketing and search engine optimization fundamentals.  Pay per click or advertising you pay for is not a focus, and is really best left to other courses.

We'll spend the first 5 weeks of the course researching business ideas in order to validate their viability on the internet.  Then you'll spend the next 5 weeks putting the foundation for the business up on the internet.

The result is an online business that they can be operated from home or part time. 

This approach doesn't focus on fancy web design (although if you have the skills that is fine), but on the business itself and how to make it successful using best practice internet traffic generation techniques.  Millions of people search the internet every day for information and to purchase products or services.  Google and other search engines reward quality websites with traffic.  We'll learn how to attract that traffic and then how to convert site visitors into profits, with a focus on affiliate marketing.

This is not a get rich quick approach, but one that with some hard work, should lead to success for students that enroll. Our goal is to help visitors to student's websites get the information they are looking for and to make sure that the search engines know that we are the best resource for offering that information.

In terms of time, an online business can be developed on your schedule.  It's the perfect way to earn money while watching TV or commuting on a train or bus.

If you want even more detail on the course - see FAQ frequently asked questions listed on my blog that is dedicated to entreprenuerialism.

Everything you need is available for $300, which is actually what convinced me to take the course myself.  I figured the most I can lose is $300.  It includes all of the research tools and 12 months of web hosting.  This alone without the course makes the $300 a good value.

Personally, any time that I invested in education, it has paid off, since at minimum you can learn how to do your job better, or provide information for getting your next job.  I do get a small commission from the $300, but I wouldn't risk my reputation unless I had tried it myself.  Just click this link to learn more:

 Sitesell Education on how to start an online business 

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SEO Tools You Can Use

I'm always coming across different SEO tools.  I finally decided to start listing them.

SEM Rush!
Excel Plugin
MSN Social Intention Tool
MSN Tools
Search Funnels
Hub Finder

For Finding Hot Keywords and Capitalize on Them First:

Google Insights - to find rising trends

Google Trends - Understand trends over time

Link Building
With Twitter

Search Tools
Search Google and Twitter at the Same Time (grease monkey plugin for Firefox)

Tool Sets (for a fee)
Wordtracker (firefox plugin)

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Mail and Email List CPM Benchmark Data

If you are looking for direct mail or email benchmark CPM data, a great resource is Worldata Research.  Listed below is their 2009 trend data.

Overall, prices are stabilizing across the board with a downward trend. The largest reported decrease was in B to C permission based lists (-29.41%)   Sample CPMs are as follows:

International Email Lists - $404/M

Permission based email B to B - $288/M

Public Sector - $174M

Donors - $84/M

Permission based B to C - $50M

Newsletters - $170M

Attendees/Members - $128M

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Bill Bernbach Advertising Wisdom

One Show Hall of FameImage via Wikipedia

Bill Bernbach had many inspiration thoughts about the advertising business.  I copied a set of those thoughts listed on Rodney Mason, CMO of Moosylvania design.  He posted them as a reflection of the recent loss of the VW account at Cripin Porter in their attempt to go mainstream.  Not sure what a mainstream car is, but good luck to VW, and their desire to sell plain vanilla cars.

1) The most powerful element in advertising is the truth.

2) Word of mouth is the best medium of all.

3) It is insight into human nature that is the key to the communicator's skill. For whereas the writer is concerned with what he puts into his writings, the communicator is concerned with what the reader gets out of it. He therefore becomes a student of how people read or listen.

4) Nobody counts the number of ads you run; they just remember the impression you make.

5) You can say the right thing about a product and nobody will listen. You've got to say it in such a way that people will feel it in their gut. Because if they don't feel it, nothing will happen.

6) Forget words like 'hard sell' and 'soft sell.' That will only confuse you. Just be sure your advertising is saying something with substance, something that will inform and serve the consumer, and be sure you're saying it like it's never been said before.

7) Just because your ad looks good is no insurance that it will get looked at. How many people do you know who are impeccably groomed... but dull?

8) No matter how skillful you are, you can't invent a product advantage that doesn't exist. And if you do, and it's just a gimmick, it's going to fall apart anyway.

9) Our job is to sell our clients' merchandise... not ourselves. Our job is to kill the cleverness that makes us shine instead of the product. Our job is to simplify, to tear away the unrelated, to pluck out the weeds that are smothering the product message.

10) Advertising doesn't create a product advantage. It can only convey it.

11) Advertising is fundamentally persuasion and persuasion happens to be not a science, but an art.

12) Properly practiced creativity must result in greater sales more economically achieved. Properly practiced creativity can lift your claims out of the swamp of sameness and make them accepted, believed, persuasive, urgent.

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Web SEO PPC vs. Organic Search - New Benchmark Data

Clipart of bills and coinsImage via Wikipedia

Web SEO PPC vs. Organic search results usually bias organic over PPC.  A new study by Engine Ready adds new insight.  Based on a study they conducted of 26 e-retail sites during a 12 month period ending June 30, 2009, individuals that click on a paid search ad are 50% more likely to buy.

Conversion from Paid Search: 2.03%
Conversion from Organic Search: 1.26%
Direct Navigation: 7.38%
From email or another e-commerce site: 6.58%
Overall Conversion: 3.6%

Study Specifics: Analysis of 20.8 million visits and 108 page views to 26 e commerce sites from 7/1/08 - 6/30/09. 

For more study details see PPC vs. SEO Benchmarks

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Managing Social Media - The Conversation Prism

Company logoImage via Wikipedia

Interesting presentation on branding and how to manage social media in the corporation by Brian Solis from FutureWorks PR  at Affiliate Summit East 2009 yesterday. 

Brian reviewed the conversation prism, and how that needs to be actively managed from with the corporation.  By visiting the site you can buy a poster that outlines all of the media that form the prism and need to be monitored.

He listed several tools that can be used to monitor the conversation such as:

Lisa Barone on her blog Outspoken Media does a great job outlining the framework for measuring the prism:

  • volume: How ma

    The Conversation Prism - 1900pxImage by jmiguel.rodriguez via Flickr

    ny mentions are there out there?
  • frequency: How often is that keyword appearing in a time period?
  • reach: How many eyes did it get? How many RSS subscribers does the blog have? How many followers do they have?
  • sentiment: He manually documents sentiment because its really hard to do with tools. They’re very flawed. An algorithm doesn’t know if it’s positive or negative.
  • perception
  • share of voice: How many times were you mention on a certain social network compared to your competition.
  • response candidacy and ownership: Most companies that are engaging are limiting it to only Twitter and they’re not responding. And those that are, are just chatting.
  • sCRM:
  • trends
  • ideation
  • adaption
  • unmarketing

Her blog also outlines the elements of defining a brand, which is similar to the approach used by Aaker for those branding fans out there.

It was great to see a PR company defining social media in a way that can be managed by communications groups within companies.  A quality presentation from what I assume is an equally high quality PR resource.

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Affiliate Summit East 2009 Kicks Off

Company logoImage via Wikipedia

Great first day yesterday at Affiliate Summit East.  It's interesting how the digital marketing world has stratified between the mainstream marketers and the media companies that service them - the Ad:Tech crowd, and the in the trenches affiliate marketing crowd.

For those whose survival depends on SEO, SEM and other direct marketing tactics there is no substitute for Affiliate Summit.   I think presenters that aren't in the trenches were taken aback by the sophistication of the questions being asked, and the inability of "marketing experts" to truley understand what was being asked.

To stay sharp, I'd suggest that anyone with an interest in digital marketing pay attention to what is going on at Affiliate Summit.  It's the leading edge of the marketing industry.

Kudos to Shawn Collin, Lisa Picarelli and team for pulling together a great show.

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Yoo Hoo Mrs. Goldberg - A Marketing Pioneer

I never  heard of Mrs. Molly Goldberg.  I never heard about how she invented the modern sitcom, as both a writer and actor.  How she paved the way for future stars such as Lucille Ball and even the pitching,  style of Howard Stern.  I never heard about her winning the second best actress Emmy Award and dominating the ratings in both TV and radio for years.  I never heard how in the 30's and 40's she took an ethnic Jewish family and turned their stories into a hit TV and radio show.  How she broadcast over the radio coast to coast her Hanukkah Seder, demystifying Judaism for millions.  Even when she was no longer on TV and Radio, she won a Tony award for her work on Broadway.  It's amazing that I never heard about Mrs. Goldberg as both a role model, a role model for pioneering women and a Jewish pioneer.

As a marketer, I never heard about Mrs. Goldberg as a pitch woman. Every show began with Mrs. Goldberg leaning out of her Bronx apartment window where she imparted her wisdom of the day on the audience.  Wisdom such as the wonders of instant coffee and how next to creation itself, instant coffe and specifically Sanka coffee is a wonder of the world.  If Mrs. Goldberg said buy, America bought.  And if instant coffee was a wonder, you can only imagine the world changing impact you extolled over decaffeinated coffee.  I bet you could credit Mrs. Goldberg with building the Sanka brand.

It was Mrs. Goldberg that taught marketers how to pitch and endorse a product.  She was the Billy Mays of her time.  She could even out pitch Howard Stern, another great marketer. (did I mention she wrote and acted in 12,000 episodes of her programs)

I'd suggest that every marketer get to know Mrs. Goldberg and see the documentary "Yoo Hoo Mrs. Goldberg."  And then you too will have "Yoo Hoo, Mrs. Goldberg", the opening of her show, stuck in your head and part of your marketing psyche.


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