Category Archives: Marketing

Valentine might be long gone, but the sentiments remain

Taken from the great people at marketo, can you believe they have about 50 full time staff to create content for their blog? The rumour might be exaggerated, but they are indeed a prolific bunch!

“You Know You’re in Marketing When…”

Sweet heart

…Candy wasn’t your first choice but it tested better than flowers. (cookies would have been better)

…You wait until your girlfriend’s lead score is above qualified threshold before you decide to propose.

…You Refer to a Blind Date as “Anonymous Lead”

…You track online dating success in terms of conversation rates.

…You met the love of your life at Dreamforce and she was referred by a friend.

…Your valentine’s day card looks more like a whitepaper.

…When you are happy with a 5% click through rate on your Valentine card.

…You surprise your crush by converting from an Anonymous to a Known Valentine.

…Your Valentine card includes an infographic, #ValentineHashtag, QR Code and a call to action. (now I wish I did this!)

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Timeline is coming! Let’s all panic and hide our murky past

If you have been listening to the prophet of Facebook doom, or Triple J’s Hack then you’re probably deleting and hiding all your not so witty or drunken facebook updates. Timeline is coming and it will be enforced whether you like it or not. I rather like the new layout, but have to admit I was a little alarmed at how easy it was for anyone to traipse through the last 5 or so years since I first ventured forth into the world of facebook. Like most other Australians, I joined Facebook around 2007 and by 2010, Australia had one of the highest take up of social networking sites like Facebook.

If you’re looking for a quick what to do to keep your public profile sanitised, PCWorld has a decent article .

On top of that you might want to check your privacy setting to see just what kind of applications from days of yore are still hanging around leeching your data. I have 70 apps on mine and most were from clicking friends’ links.

I didn’t even realise I have Flixster on my list! Or they have this much access to my data! Delete, delete and purge it all away!

Oh and surprise, this shows up when trying to access the older apps to remember what exactly they were…

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Starting a business in 2012? or why Infographics are great viral content.

First week of 2012 and like most people, I am still powered by pre New Year Resolution adrenaline. This year will be different! I will do more, see more, be more and climb a mountain…or maybe a hill, perhaps a small hill, maybe some stair cases…

For those of you thinking of starting a new business, perhaps the following infographics will strike a chord. I found it while wandering around the internet and saw it plugged as a “cool infographics to pass on” this site. The general message that owning your own business I get, but I have no idea who Arise is and why there are information on why 88% of respondent prefers talking to US based customer representative. A bit of digging later and it turns our Arise is a company that provides Customer Service (sales and support) through their network of contracted agents. A clever concept and probably the first company I’ve seen that have rolled out the model globally.

So the whole message of “be an independent business owner” in this infographic really about “be an Arise contractor”. It makes perfect sense when you see the infographics in the context of their website, not so much when it goes viral. Definitely would have helped to have some content on “how to run your own business with Arise” rather than putting credibility facts on why use Arise stads out. The message is a bit confused, are they trying to target contractors or potential clients?

Lesson learned:

  1. Infographics are great viral material
  2. BUT they might end up being used in unexpected ways
  3. AND make sure you know the audience of your message.

virtual call center job opportunity

For those who are thinking of starting a business or looking for a way to make extra cash, you might want to check out TaskRabbit, a brilliant idea on finding people to do odd jobs. It’s only available in the US unfortunately, but quite a number of people who become TaskRabbit are doing so on a full time basis. For a snapshot on what errands a TaskRabbit might be asked to do check out the infographic here, taken from BostInno.

PS: this year part of my new year resolution is to blog more. Little tidbits on musings similar to these, catch you soon!

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Survey love – a love letter to Survey Gizmo

Workload had been insane lately and I barely had time to breathe this month. Being stranded in Melbourne one week and Gold Coast did not help in the least. It simply amazes me how bloody useless Virgin Blue’s site was when it comes to timely information. Which genius decides that the average stranded passenger would look under “About Us”, then “Press releases” as the most logical path for new information?

Jetstar at least put the latest news on their front banner, but I was not impressed that notification of cancellation was sent hours before my flight was due to go. It also says a lot that the most up to date information comes from their twitter account @jetstaraiways. Whoever was manning that account actually showed that there is a human side to the big, orange airline.

Enough about airlines and more about surveys! At one point,  the tool we were using  was SurveyMethods. It’s a nice little on-line survey tool, fairly inexpensive and has some nice basic features as well as built in timer for the survey, but it is incredibly limiting. The layouts are ugly for one thing, and it’s not possible to create a table containing different types of survey formats. An example being a table with radio buttons and drop downs or text as columns.

After I finished creating the survey, even I find the user experience was pretty average to say the least. Being in the age of software as a service, thankfully there are a number of competing tools on the market. Surveymonkey , the big gorilla in the current marketplace has some really nice features, but is only a step above from SurveyMethods. By happenstance, I received an email from Marketing Sherpa to complete an on-line survey for B2B and discovered Surveygizmo as a result.

For me, Surveygizmo’s biggest appeal is the question level skip logic. Most surveys only allows skip logic on a page level. This can be frustrating when I want the user to skip a question rather than an entire page which breaks the rhythm of the survey. What I love is the ability to pipe responses from one question to another. For example if in one question survey participant specifies “Other” and types an alternate answer, in another answer you can use their response to be part of the multiple choice.

Q1: Who are your favourite characters?

– Mini

– Mickey

– Other…Donald

Q2 How much time do you like watching the following character on TV?

– Mini

– Mickey

– Donald (piped from Question 1)

Other things that makes it stand out from the pack are:

  • Integration with Mailchimp
  • Live survey edit (can still edit a survey when it’s accepting responses)
  • Multiple unique URLs to track response rate by different channels, e.g. email, Facebook or twitter

Relevant Insights and Socialbrite wrote a much more comprehensive comparison between various on-line survey tool. For me it’s the combination of price, functionality and reporting that made Surveygizmo be the top choice for me. It would be difficult to find a better survey tool, unless they have everything that Surveygizmo has to offer, with the added functionality of localising the survey based on the responden’t IP address.  Questions that features currencies or languages can definitely benefit from an automated localisation process.

As sad as it might sound I am currently watching the number of surveys completed go up on Surveygizmo and resetting the page every 5 minutes or so to check how people are going. So far the response rate has been gratifyingly better than the expected 1%, so can’t wait to start analysing the data properly!

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Social Media, measuring the intangible

As part of the many projects I am running, we’re revising the Social Media strategy and the journey so far had been fun. Part of the challenge with Social Media is measuring what exactly do you get out of it, and how do you measure it?

Mashable did a study where  84% of Social Media Programms don’t measure ROI  in addition, more than 40% of respondents said they didn’t even know whether they could track ROI from their social tools. Not really surprising, in most cases “fluffy” Marketing finds it difficult to quantify any marketing activities. My gripe with Marketing and the way it’s taught is that it doesn’t encourage logical alignment between the hard bottom line and activities such as Social Media. The sense with Social Media is that, “it’s cool, we have to do it, because everyone else is doing it”, without identifying any type of goals. No point in trying to make any attempts to show that it works, if you have no idea what it can do. Even worse, trying to tie it directly to sales and by doing this missing a number of steps altogether.

Looking around, a few presentations rocked my boat like the one from Olivier Blanchard’s of The BrandBuilderMarketing:

Yes the phrase Social Media ROI is incredibly misleading. Social Media needs a measure, but it should not be tied into direct financial impact. Blanchard’s Power Point refer to it as “Non Financial Impact”, leading to more impressions, web visits, click through resulting in more qualified leads resulting in sales. So indirectly it will lead to more sales down the track, assuming the model of any sales cycle starts is a funnel. The more leads fed into the top of the funnel, the number of sales resulting at the end of the funnel will be bigger than when less leads were fed into the funnel.

For me, the challenge is to be able to build metrics for what before looks like compared to now.  As Blanchard points out, Social Media is not free, supplying interesting tidbits on an ongoing basis without any real plan or goals is frivolous.

Step 1.2 for us is to claim back all Social Media channel, continue posting, but with the idea of building ongoing social media presence as well as create traffic back to our site.

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Royal Mail’s workers strike is place on hold

Royal Mail

Royal Mail

I have been paying close attention to the Royal Mail strike saga that had occupied most of 2009. The confontation between the union and Royal Mail started early in the year when the chairman of Royal Mail’s pension trustees considered plans to close its retirement schemes to existing members after legislation to part-privatise the postal service was blocked.

The ensuing strikes in the next few months created havoc for the postal system, with mail order businesses being affected. I could only imagine the head ache that this would cause to anyone trying to run direct mail campaigns when your timing is uncertain.With Christmas around the corner, the union and Royal Mail had just this Friday agreed to a cease fire for the next two months with continued discussion being planned in the new year.

Being a direct mail geek, I always have a soft spot for institutions like Royal Mail and Australia Post. For Royal Mail in particular, you can understand why it was keen to slash expenses any way it can. In a number of ways it had been harmstrung by increased competition within the letters/ mailing industry. Royal Mail’s charter will not allow Royal Mail to monopolise the industry in any way, thus they were forced to watch as private companies had cream off the more profitable part of the industry generated by organisations with large volume of mail. With the high end part of the business being saturated and the low end of the business being costly to maintain and acquire, RM had been concentrating its effort on the SME sector.

Mailshots Online was a rather clever brainchild that married the best of Royal Mail’s delivery strength with  the significant drop in price in digital print. The idea is simple, it allows SMEs to create direct marketing pieces, with a turn around time of 24 hours with a minimum volume of 1 (depending on the format chosen). In addition to the mailing functionality, Royal Mail has plugged their address database into the back end of the system, allowing business owners to purchase mailing list as part of the process.

The idea isn’t new and Australia Post’s eLetter Solution had predate Mailshots Online by a good 18 months. I think part of the issue with this service offering is that ironically Royal Mail and Australia Post are not too sure how to market the product to SMEs. Aside from one off trade shows and individual effort by BDMs as well as their own website, I have yet to see a great deal of excitement generated by what I would consider exceptional product offering.

Perhaps it is too early in the product lifecyle with only a number of innovators willing to try it, I guess only time will tell.

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First post and companies to tweet to

Beware gap when boarding

Beware gap when boarding

Social media by using twitter or facebook are pretty much part and parcel of the digitally connected these days. When I wake up in the morning I’ll check my email, then my facebook, scroll through my tweeting friends and then carry on with whatever I need to do for the rest of the day.

It always fascinates me to find out how corporates are using these media. In a number of cases some industries are better suited and are comfortable with using whatever new media is at hand. I am rather in awe of how the publishing industry are taking to it like duck to water or in Penguin Australia‘s case like penguin to virtual water. With their twitter account being manned by real people and their facebook page being used as an extension of their website, it just makes so much sense! Wired magazine is also another example of how doing it well is all about being able to utilise new media in a way that is relevant and makes sense.

On the other end of the scale, engagement using various forms of social media range from the tragic to the non existent. Take twitter for example, aside from Dell who managed to find a way to use it to make money through referral, most companies are still scratching their head. At its most basic a twitter account is usually used as an RSS feed, think ABC News , advertise events ADMA events, or exists just because everyone else has one.

Wandering around the web I randomly searched for companies I would like to follow. Cityrail was noticeably absent, the same with RTA as well as Australia Post. To my amusement someone has create unofficial twitter accounts fro Cityrail, RTA as well Red Cross by grabbing their RSS feed and streaming it through the unofficial twitter accounts. The fact that an external source, unpaid is willing to do some of the group for an obvious need by the public is mind blowing, particularly as to date none of these organisations have done anything about embracing these new media.

It also surprised me that organisations that have twitter accounts are not using it to their advantage, or including as part of their official online presence. Take ADMA events for example, there is no indication on their website at all that they even have a twitter account! It seems like such a waste of opportunity to use direct marketing for a Direct Marketing body.

I’m curious to hear whether anyone have similar lists of organisations that are missing from the twittering mass.

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