Posts filed under ‘marketing’

Is IBM building a SPAM list using Jigsaw?

I had to share this email that I just received from IBM…

*****

Dear John,

We are pleased to have found your business contact information on Jigsaw (www.jigsaw.com), an online directory of business information. We think that your business is a valuable contributor to the technology industry, and we look forward to sharing valuable insights, information and offers with you that can help drive your business forward. There is nothing you have to do to take advantage of this opportunity. If for any reason you prefer that we not share information we think will be valuable to you and your business, you can also choose to opt out from IBM communications.

Sincerely,
The IBM Marketing Team

You may also mail a written request to IBM at:
IBM DMC, 777 E . Wisconsin Ave., 31st Fl., Milwaukee, WI 53202

******

Now is it just me, or am I reading correctly that good folks at IBM Marketing have decided that a good way to build an email list is to pull it off a public directory and opt me in to more communications. I’ve read Todd Watson’s blog before, and I wonder if he would approve (Todd is the Social Media and Search Marketing Manager, IBM Software Group).

Part of me wants to think that IBM would not do such things, so I did trace the route on the link. It goes to a domain “IBM-jgs.com” which is either IBM or a person involved in copyright infringement. The domain is registered to ClickMail Marketing of Foster City, California.

In any case, I wanted to post and hopefully hear back from either IBM or ClickMail clarifying their business practices.


April 9, 2010 at 9:34 am 1 comment

The Real Twitter, Courtesy of Guy Kawasaki

I had the good fortune of being invited to attend an EO Vancouver dinner and presentation tonight, featuring Guy Kawasaki (thanks to Dean Gagnon of CityMax for the invite). I had never heard him speak before, but I have been reading his thoughts now for many years and have been reading his latest book, “Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition, off-and-on since Christmas.  I do maintain that he is one of the most influential marketing geniuses of the technology world.

He gave the audience a choice tonight: his standard stump speech, open Q&A, or his rundown on Twitter. The audience voted for doors 2 and 3, and what transpired was a very insightful 2.5 hours of “everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-Twitter-but-were-afraid-to-ask” discourse and conversation (mostly about Twitter).

And as noted from in this post here about my thoughts on the Northern Voice 2009 conference, while I was starting to see the value in Twitter, I didn’t truly see its power as a marketing vehicle until tonight. And while I can see a lot of growing pains erupting over the coming months and years about what the medium can and cannot be used for, its powers are there for all to see. And it is not just because @GuyKawasaki has 97,000 followers [he did self-proclaim himself to be the “Tiger Woods of Twitter” and the fact that he has 21,407 tweets to his credit (approximate 50 per day if you work out the average since he started Twittering)].

Twitter is powerful in that it provides a clear opportunity to spread a marketing message en masse in some instances, while in others, it is one of the purest forms of one-to-one marketing ever to be invented. Person A tweets “I like green apples”. Company A responds “Well what do you know, we sell green apples”.

The marketing message is simple and direct. But then it grows.

Person A replies back to Company A (and to the 1,000 followers of Person A), “I tried your green apples and they were delicious. How about red apples?” Pretty soon, through retweets, engagement, and brand fulfillment, there are a whole lot of apples being promoted [and no… I didn’t intentionally try to create a blog post that would get Guy Kawasaki and Apple mentioned in the same paragraph to boost my SEO].

That may not be the best example, but the possibilities are endless, and whether you are pitching apples or golf courses, the possibilities could be very fruitful.

April 1, 2009 at 1:26 am Leave a comment

The science of marketing

Before I started typing, I checked the Category as “rambling” as I don’t know where this post is going, but I was thinking while driving home this evening (always a dangerous prospect). My conclusion: marketing is no longer an art. Marketing is now a science.

Back when I was at UBC, I obtained a Bachelor’s of Arts (English & Art History). And while marketing was not even on my radar at that point, I never considered myself a man of science. I mean, I always enjoyed Science Fair projects, but I really was not a fan of Biology, Chemistry, Physics, etc. Math was something I dreaded going to. The benefits of Science at UBC, was the 432 and some of the beer gardens.

When I got into marketing, I was focused on the copy writing, communications, branding, programs, and the like. I have been calling it “extroverted marketing” now for several years… though this is mostly to differentiate it from the “introverted marketing” that I was doing over the past 5+ years. Introverted marketing is the product marketing, market requirements, technical specifications, product road maps, and the like.

In conversations with my father-in-law (an Engineer), marketing has always been second fiddle to a man of science. We were the ones that wrote the “spontaneous quotes” to feed the executive team. Science was what made the world go round. But at some point in the past few years, marketing has become a science. I don’t know the exact moment it tipped, but it has.

This really hit home when I was reading a very good post from ClickEquations called “The Economics of Quality Score”. In this article Craig Danuloff wrote:

So What Is Quality Score Worth?
Knowing this is how cost-per-click is calculated, we’re able to determine the specific impact of any quality score on your cost-per-click.

And therefore the exact cost or savings from any single-digit increase or decrease in your quality score.

Yes that’s right – we can tell you the specific change in your CPC that is due to the quality score you’re getting for each of your keywords.

For example, your QS=10 keywords are enjoying a 30% CPC discount as compared to if they were QS=7 and in the same position. And your QS=4 keywords are paying a whopping 75% premium for their position.

This excerpt was followed by a very good analysis of the importance of quality score and how it can dramatically impact your paid search marketing activities. Check our the piece for sure…

But here I was, a self-professed math-o-phobe, reading with interest the statistical analysis of quality score. This is, of course, on top of the bi-weekly Marketing Experiments webinars on landing page optimization. More science.

Every day, I am pondering the stats and metrics of my assorted paid search campaigns. What gives?

You see. Marketing has changed. It is no longer an art. It is a science.

What does that mean to the world at large? Well perhaps the next marketing recruits will no longer be coming out of the art schools. Perhaps agencies should be scouring the Physics and Math departments of university campuses. I don’t know… maybe they already are?

Years ago, I was brought back to UBC by the Arts Undergraduate Society to talk to 1st and 2nd year students in a session called “Beyond the BA”. The focus was on what a person could do with an Arts Degree. Of the other panelists, I was the only one to go out and get a ‘real’ job. The rest had gone on to a technical program (BCIT), onto Education [when in doubt, teach], or onto Law.

The advice I had for the students at the time was that it was OK to go out and learn business on the job. Use your BA as an opportunity to learn how to learn, how to communicate, and how to synthesize. These traits would be useful wherever life takes you, and at the time this took me into the marketing of software.

But in hindsight, seeing at where marketing is at presently, perhaps the advice I should have given was this. If you want to be a good marketer, forget about studying English and Art History as yours truly did. Go out and look at the hard sciences and learn to do research. Think about the math programs so that you could discover the next formula for optimization. Be a scientist. And with it, you will become a better artist.

March 26, 2009 at 11:12 pm Leave a comment

Vancity Savings – an example of great customer service

I had a great customer service experience at Vancity Savings, the credit union I deal with. And as they say, when you have bad customer service you tell 10 people, and when you have a good experience, you tell 1. Well I think that is wrong, so I am telling the world.

I was doing a wire transfer out today from an account that, in its classification as a “high interest savings account”, required that a $5 fee be imposed should I withdraw funds while interacting with a teller. It sounds like one of those rules that a bureaucrat makes up, though I assume it had some thought put into it.

Anyhow, after I said “that’s fine” and was more than willing to pay the fee, the teller offered this up, “How about I log out of my terminal, log onto our website, and then you could transfer funds from this account, into another one of your accounts. From here, we will do the wire transfer out of your other account, saving you the $5 fee?”

Pardon? What happened to the concept that all banks are evil, money-hungry, and only interested in their bottom line?

Well maybe they are still interested in the latter point, but the empowerment of the frontline staff to suggest things like this would generate way more revenue for them than a measley $5 fee. After all, not only do I do a lot of business them, but with good service, I will tell someone else. And that is exactly what I am doing.

Kudos to Vancity and the staff in Maple Ridge. And thank you.

March 20, 2009 at 11:11 pm 3 comments

Personalization in Email

I just read some interesting observations by Justin Premick over at AWeber with regards to personalization and email. It made me recall a story from several years ago (as in 10+)  when I was working for a banking automation campaign that was focusing on helping banks leverage 1-to-1 marketing and CRM to focus on the most profitable customers in a bank.

This could be an urban legend, but this is how I remember it:

A junior employee at BankBoston was using mail merge software to send messages to their most 1000 most profitable customers… as in people with a very high net worth. As a placeholder on the mail merge instead of “Dear {!firstname}”, he used the placeholder of “Dear {Rich_bastard}.

And yes, he lost his job when the 1000 most valued clients received the communciation with exactly that in the personalization field.

February 27, 2009 at 11:44 am Leave a comment

Advertising Golf on FaceBook

Well I finally succumbed to the masses. I joined Facebook. Not as in the sense that everyone could ‘poke’ me or add me as a friend (I am still a holdout on that side of the ledger), but in the sense of that I am now starting to advertise tee times using FaceBook’s contextual ads for my TeeTimes.net venture.

First impressions (3 days in)? I expected to receive poor results, but I didn’t think it would be that poor. Here are some details:

  • Averaging 3800 impressions per day
  • Affinity targeted to those people who like “Golf”, “Golfing”, “Playing Golf”, “Vacations”, etc.
  • Geo-targeted to people from whom I receive a large percentage of web traffic for golf trips

The results:

  • CTR = 0.00%
  • Clicks = 0

The good news:

  • Ad Spend:  $0.00

I mean, I have heard that Facebook converts poorly and that the latest eye tracking is showing an increasing amount of banner blindness [one would expect that the results are higher for really sticky websites that people interact with on a daily basis like FaceBook], but I would have thought that I might have gotten at least one accidental click or something. But nope. Nada. Thank goodness for PPC.

With regards to Facebook’s business model, I am sure that monetization through advertising is not a sustainable strategy. And with Facebook expected to have a negative cash flow of $150 million for this next year, one has to hope (for all those addicted to their community), that they could figure out how to capitalize on the traffic, and more importantly, the knowledge of the “who”, the “what”, the “when”, and the “why”.

What are your thoughts? Will social network advertising ever work? Or should Facebook and others just hurry it up and get on with other business models?

I heard someone compare Facebook to broadcast television a while back [I don’t remember who] with the arguement that if NBC, ABC, et al could monetize the eyeballs with advertisements, why can’t Facebook. I don’t buy it. My interpretation: NBC and ABC are now fighting to prevent people from skipping over  the ads with Tivo and other PVRs, injecting commercials into programming and finding other ways to monetize.

Anyhow… my thoughts for the day

February 27, 2009 at 10:27 am Leave a comment

International Text Messaging and SMS Marketing Service

Happy New Year! A new year brings new opportunities, a new US President, and new business ventures — one of which launched today under the domain Texts.com.

I have been working on this domain for several months now and am excited about the possibilities. While I have described much of the thinking that went into the business over on the Texts.com blog (so I won’t regurgitate here), I did want to highlight some of the more marketing- and domain-centric thoughts that went into the business development.

Like many ideas, the business started with a great domain name [tip to Seth Godin]. And when you have a great domain name, you can jump-start your business and your marketing activities. In this instance, the domain even has significant enough direct navigation traffic for people who are looking for the products and services that we are promoting. In this instance, the navigators are looking primarily for text messaging-related services (though some are looking for textbooks).

Of course a domain like this also has the added benefit of ranking well in search engines (having a key search phrase in the domain is helpful for ranking well). And for any paid search marketing efforts, it will receive more clicks due to the perceived increase in relevancy by the searcher. And of course, there is the simple psychology of the end user in play, lending legitimacy to the business over competitors who are not so effectively branded.

One of my domain development colleagues identified that the number one thing that he looks for when he procures and builds out a domain name is “size of market” … and does the domain adequately reflect the market. While there is some debate about what constitutes “Text-Messaging revenue”, one has to think that the Amsterdam-based Acision has it pretty close when they predict that total revenues could double to $165 billion in the next three years [by 2011].

Any way you slice it, that is a lot of texting.


January 6, 2009 at 6:00 pm 1 comment

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