Marketing Feed

Words that Inspire Engagment on Facebook


Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBase

Great post today in Mashable on how to get attention on Facebook.  The post summarizes research conducted by Buddy Media that identifies factors such as time of day, and language that leads to some type of action from the consumer.


Engagement was boosted by factors such as time of day (best to post after work hours), day of week (Thursday and Friday are best), and best day depending on the topic. (eg; business and finance are best mid-week, entertainment as we get closer to the weekend. Sunday is the best day to post as a retailer.

Interestingly, urls that were full length had 3x the engagement of those that were shortened using a service like tinyurl.

Words that sparked the most Likes include Take, Submit, Watch, Post, Check, Comment, Click, Shop, Visit, Become a Fan, Tell Us, Share, See, Order.  Words the caused the most comments include post, comment, tell us, check, like, submit, share, click, take, watch, visit, see, become a fan, shop, order.

To encourage "likes" ask the customer with a phrase such as "Like us if....".Click the links above to learn more.





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Website Registration Best Practices

New data released by Janrain/blue research indicates that 75% of consumers take issue with being asked to register on a website and would change their behavior. That said, 66% like social sign in (using twitter, Facebook etc.) as an alternative.  The study shows that those that prefer social sign-in also are more likely to spend more.


 For more information see our summary of website registration best practices.

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A Rebuttal of the Rebuttal

Official presidential portrait of Barack Obama...Image via Wikipedia

As marketers, we can learn a great deal about persuasion and language from the State of the Union address and the Republican rebuttal. The way the conversation unfolds, the tone of the speech, the reaction of pundits and congress all set the tone or context for how Americans will interpret all kinds of messages, from the political to those used by marketers to sell products and services.

In terms of context, it's clear that American's are tired of blame, tired of the lack of respect politicians have for their money, and a need to get American back on track.  We want to accelerate our recovery and prepare the country to be successful in the future.  What happened in the past shouldn't be repeated, because we're moving on.  Take out the pork and replace it with ideas of substance.

When President Obama got up to the microphone, instead of telling us what we didn't do, what we should have done, he focused on the future.  How we are going to create more jobs and meet the challenges of education, energy etc.  Obama hit his leadership stride by the end of the speech, by taking the highroad, talking about our "Sputnik Moment" and move to renewable energy.  He stayed out of the weeds and spoke to our aspirations.  

As a listener it's interesting how we all grabbed onto the "Sputnik moment" and can't recall a thing about the bogged down details in the middle of the speech.

For the most part, President Obama read the mood of the country right.  The country wants reconciliation, and we want our leaders to work together(or at least pretend).  They even sat together for the speech.  The country is ready for progress, and for a brief moment, it appeared as if congress got it. In fact, by Congress sitting in an intermingled way, President Obama became our American president instead of a Republican or Democratic President.

That is, until Congressman Paul Ryan's Republican rebuttal.  Now, to give him credit, he started big.... for about 5 seconds.  My expectations were that he would talk about fiscal conservatism as a way to get the country on a path for growth.  He'd be glad to hear about President Obama's desire to do big things, and how Republicans want to go even further.  If President Obama was planning to solve the energy crisis, Ryan was going to solve the energy crisis and more.  

After rightly acknowledging Congresswoman's Gabrielle Gifford's shooting, he started out strong.....

"As Chairman of the House Budget Committee, I assure you that we want to work with the President to restrain federal spending. In one of our first acts in the new majority, House Republicans voted to cut Congress's own budget. And just today, the House voted to restore the spending discipline that Washington sorely needs. The reason is simple. A few years ago, reducing spending was important. Today, it's imperative. Here's why. We face a crushing burden of debt. The debt will soon eclipse our entire economy, and grow to catastrophic levels in the years ahead. On this current path, when my three children - who are now 6, 7, and 8 years old - are raising their own children, the Federal government will double in size, and so will the taxes they pay. No economy can sustain such high levels of debt and taxation. The next generation will inherit a stagnant economy and a diminished country. Frankly, it's one of my greatest concerns as a parent - and I know many of you feel the same way."

Still not particularly visionary, but nothing to disagree with.  Now here's where there was some hope, Republicans and Democrats working together...

"Our debt is the product of acts by many presidents and many Congresses over many years. No one person or party is responsible for it.

There is no doubt the President came into office facing a severe fiscal and economic situation."

After this I said wow, they are really going to step up.  To share responsibility (good or bad) for the spending of the past.  I'm thinking, I could really like this guy......until he said...

"Unfortunately, instead of restoring the fundamentals of economic growth, he engaged in a stimulus spending spree that not only failed to deliver on its promise to create jobs, but also plunged us even deeper into debt.

The facts are clear: Since taking office, President Obama has signed into law spending increases of nearly 25% for domestic government agencies - an 84% increase when you include the failed stimulus.

All of this new government spending was sold as "investment." Yet after two years, the unemployment rate remains above 9% and government has added over $3 trillion to our debt.

Then the President and his party made matters even worse, by creating a new open-ended health care entitlement.

A swing and a miss. We went from President Obama and his vision for a great America to Paul Ryan giving us a history lesson on past mistakes.  Instead of telling us of what is possible (how about growing GDP so that tax rates naturally rise), he told us what we will lose.  His speech was about the bad Democrats and how Republicans were going to undo what they did....a message exactly contrary to what we were hoping to hear.

I"m not trying to espouse the Democratic or Republican agenda or point of view.  Simply to point out that context drives acceptance and persuasion.  Here, the context was achievement and fatigue with blame. Into that context Congressman Ryan failed to deliver.  He failed to anticipated what his audience was willing to accept.  His failure is the failure of the Republican party (check out, the Republican National Committee website, anyone want to buy a "I Fired Pelosi" T-shirt).

What does the future hold for Paul Ryan? I bet that instead of being invited to the next Tea Party, he'll be sitting on the sidelines, wondering why the next Reagan of his party passed him by.


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2011 Trends

JWTImage via Wikipedia

Great presentation by JWT on 2011 trends to watch.  The top 10 are:

1. 3D Digital Printing (a printer that creates a 3D dimensional model based on a computer generated illustration. Very cool.

2. Africa's Middle Class

3. Apps beyond mobile

4. (introduces you to different artists/styles based on your tastes)

5. Auto apps

6. Automatic Check ins

7. Bamboo

8. Banks branch out

9. Banner Ads do more

10. Beer Sommeliers

You can see the full list of 2011 trends here.

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The Reinvention of the Coupon

On Long Island, my home, buying without a coupon is heresy. If you don't have a coupon in hand at Shop Rite, Kohls, or Macys, you can easily be voted off the Island for failure to demonstrate that you are frugal.  I expect to be stuck behind someone at the supermarket checkout arguing that their out of date coupon for the product that kinda sorta matches the one on the coupon, is valid (my favorite was the woman at Dunkin Donuts that insisted on using the "free small coffee" coupon as a down payment against a medium coffee).

On Long Island It's common to over pay for whatever the latest "it" item is, but then feel good about the purchase since you bought it with a coupon or on a secret,that everyone knows about "friends and family" sale that just happens to be available to everyone.  Bloomingdales will even hold your purchase so that you can come back and buy it on a sale day.

Unfortunately this coupon hysteria is now spreading on-line. The recent news that Google was trying to acquire Groupon was a wake up call to marketers that coupon marketers are starting to dominate PPC results and may start to influence SEO rankings as well.

Groupon logo.Image via Wikipedia

Long story short, the coupon sites such as Groupon, ebates, Living Social etc are buying PPC keywords that say something like <your brand here> discount coupon.  The consumer than clicks the link back to the coupon site for the offer.  Given the millions being spent in PPC by the coupon sites, and the quality of the information provides, a consumer discount, these sites are supposedly getting high quality scores from Google.  This translates into lower PPC pricing and a competitive advantage for these sites.  Said another way, a company's acquisition costs can potentially be lower by working with a coupon site.


Image representing LivingSocial as depicted in...Image via CrunchBase

No where is this change more pronounced than in the affiliate marketing space, where coupon sites are quickly becoming the go to affiliate partners.  For those just catching up to the affiliate conversation, affiliate marketers pay a percentage of sales to the affiliate partner in exchange for the lead or sale.  It is estimated that 10% - 20% of all ecommerce moves through the affiliate channel.  Affiliates promote product via PPC, SEM publishing, email, twitter, newsletters etc.

The coupon sites are also teaching the consumer not to buy before searching for and using a coupon.  This is further reinforced by the ubiquitous "coupon code" request on the check out screen of most major on-line retailers.

Coupons are going be a top story in 2011.  Marketers need to get on board in now.

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Is Obama a Clinton or a Dole?

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 03:  U.S. President Bara...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

One of the more interesting marketing questions is the riddle as to why President Obama is not connecting with more constituents.  Television pundits are quick to blame the economy, the constant attacks by Republicans and failures of the democratic party to effectively defend his positions, but it doesn't add up.  While all are probably contributing factors, the very fact that he is able to be so easily refuted indicates that there is something fundamentally wrong in the way his positions are communicated.

This problem reminds me of the Clinton vs. Dole election where Clinton continually talked about "bridges to the future" while Dole focused on policy issues.  While Clinton provided a vision for America to embrace, dole focused on specific issues that needed to be addressed.  Dole looked small, while Clinton rose as American's embraced his view of the future.

My advice to President Obama is to separate himself from the implementation of his policies and start to stand for the vision of his policies.  For example, he should return to the vision of "universal healthcare" and leave the details to be worked out by others in his party. By President Obama continually linking himself to implementation, detractors were able to brand the policy as a negative, or "Obamacare".  This had the effect of taking a grand vision, figuring out how to provide healthcare for all Americans (the true intent of President Obama's policies) and equivalizing the vision to the negative aspects of the policy.  I'd like to see any Republican go head to head with the President and argue that everyone shouldn't have health care. 

Other visions can include:

Education: All Americans should be able to reach their potential through education.

Immigration: We invite the best and brightest to once again come to our shores. Those that are already illegally here can compete with those that are not.

Energy: We will develop the technologies to become energy independent in 10 years

Jobs: Funding of venture funds that support business growth and formation in strategic industries

Space: We will once again explore the frontiers of space and the ocean

American's want their leaders to identify and articulate the core values of the country.

Jeff Immelt, GE CEO, in a speech to West Point cadets shows what true leadership sounds like:

"While some of America's competitors were throttling up on manufacturing and R&D, we de-emphasized technology. Our economy tilted instead toward the quicker profits of financial services.

Our country was built on great undertakings that brought out the best in government and business alike. But that kind of economic vision, that kind of focus on essential national goals, has been missing.

We need a new strategy for this economy. We should clear away any arrogance, false assumptions that things will be "OK" if we stick to the status quot. Rather, we should dedicate ourselves once again to be the most competitive country in the world."

President Obama has a choice. He can dust himself off from the election day drubbing and refocus the country on his vision of tomorrow, or he can join Bob Dole and get lost in the issues of today.

Mr Obama, it's time to be President.





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Are Friends Customers?

We are all surrounded by customers.  If you take a broad view of the definition of a customer...a person that you help, your customers can be anyone.  This includes friends, co-workers, partners, suppliers and people that purchase a product or service from you.

With this context, here is some great advice published in the Print Industry Networking Group on LInedIn by Collin Thompson on how to provide outstanding customer service.

Principles of great customer service are summarized below:

1. Get the Cooperation of Others - empower the people on your team.  Enlist their knowledge, energy and resources.

2. Determine the Key People to Empower - Look at the people closest to you such as your family and spouse.  Next is your co-workers and peer, and boss.  Then all of the people you interact with.

3. Always be Positive - The thought is to put "power" into everything you do and refrain from disempowering others by reducing their enthusiasm.

4. Satisfy the Deepest Needs - The deepest need in each person is self esteem, the sense of importance. Boost their self-esteem and personal power.  Do onto others....

5. Continually Express Appreciation - express appreciation for everything someone does for you,.  Thank you spouse, thank your children and friends.  Even thank those at work who improve the company so that your livelihood is more secure.

Advice for putting these customer service ideas into action:

1. Look for ways to make people feel more valuable and important.

2. Express appreciation for everything anyone does for you, large or small.

To quote Collin Thompson, the author of the advice provided above....

"Now go and keep them customers!"


Affiliate Summit Almost Sold Out

There seems to be a conference on digital marketing scheduled every week in New York.  While each has its merits, one of the best is Affiliate Summit East at the New York Hilton from August 15 to 17.  Most conferences focus on a cross between marketers trying to get more ROI out of digital marketing programs and advertising agencies that are looking for new ideas to bring to clients.

Affiliate Summit is different in that the focus is exclusively on affiliate marketing and the entire conference is made up of practitioners, people that make their living from executing ROI positive SEO and PPC campaigns. There is a big difference between receiving your paycheck from an advertising agency based on advice packaged for a client, and paying your mortgage based on insights into how to use digital media.

The event kicks off on Sunday August 15th with a few presentations and the meet market, one of the highlights of the event.  The purpose of the meet market is to provide an informal gathering where affiliate marketers and the affiliates themselves can meet.  It's a great opportunity to pick up new ideas and network.

This years keynotes include Frank Lutz, author of the incredible book Words that Work: It’s Not What You Say, It’s What People Hear (on my list of must read books for marketers) and Jim Kukral, who frequently writes and consults on digital marketing.

The conference is expected to sell out by July 31st, so you need to act now if interested in attending (when was the last time you attended a conference that sold out).

I'll see you at the show!

It Sucks to Be Number 2

Image representing Android as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

A friend shared a fantastic You Tube video on the battle unfolding between the iPhone and everyone else.  For the few that read this blog, I'm a believer in the "laws or physics of marketing." Simply, consumers have enough room in their brain for a leader and maybe, and that is maybe, a number 2 brand.  According to the landmark book by Trout and Ries, Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind , number 2 brands never, repeat never become number one (if you read one marketing and advertising book, this is the one). 

Most #2 brands resort to some type of "my features are better than your features campaign" (usually because the analytical types that populate companies understand direct comparison vs a more conceptual basis for comparison).  The only problem is that everyone buying the #1 brand couldn't care less.  Do you really care that a Chevrolet has better gas mileage than that Nissan Altima you have your eye on.

Every category has a defining benefit.  The brand that owns this benefit or characteristic wins.  Period.  The only time share changes is when the #1 brand forgets they are number 1 and stumbles, such as the trip and fall by Toyota (are you wondering like I am why there wasn't 1 auto maker that stepped in to steal perceptual share), or when the leading brand changes marketing/advertising direction and forgets to reinforce ownership of the very characteristic that got them here.  For example, in the luxury segment, the #1 luxury characteristic, engineering, is not owned by anyone right now (share doesn't count, as it is a just a statistic that may reflect a confused marketplace - e.g; HP being #1 in laptops). As an aside, the new Cadillac campaign is obtuse, Lexus is recalling cars, BMW and Mercedes are not saying anything and on and on.

for all of these reasons, It also makes you wonder why Google is launching a Facebook competitor, (really, they are nuts for doing this) and why the iPhone will prevail and trounce all of the Droid phones once released by Verizon in January (even though Android is #1).

Here's why:

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It's a Big Internet and an even Bigger World

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...Image via CrunchBase

Great stats on the Fred Wilson blog today regarding the size of the internet.  According to Fred/Comscore 2010 there are 1.25 billion people on the internet. out of 6.7 billion people or 20% of the worlds' population.   This number grew 12% y to y.

Fred goes on to compare large web networks to governments that have rules, but no boundaries. This is an interesting notion with even more interesting implications as the "population" of these networks influences the rule of behavior etc.  The context for Fred's particular post is regarding "safe" vs. dangerous networks and how these need to be addressed.For context, the Facebook monthly user count equals 150% of the United States population.  Google's user base equals 70% of the population of China.

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