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Monthly Archives: April 2011

No man is an island… unfortunately.

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I am so excited to have started my career at a time with no internet, no cell phones, no email, no satellite radio, no laptops, no iPods (much less iPads and iPhones) and limited connectivity.  If I had not started work in the 80’s, I don’t think I would hardly believe that such a world could exist.  How were we productive back then and what the hack is thermal paper?

The biggest early advances with wide use at that time were fax machines and fed ex.  I remember those times as just as hectic and fast paced as today.  You could just as easily put in long hours even if you weren’t texting a colleague, taking a call on your drive home or logging into your email.  And yet, you had more time for reflective thought, for independent thinking, for focus and for being decisive.  You were also more susceptible to relying on individuals and relationships to get things done.  No checking the web for reference or putting out bids online, you simply had to rely on the people you worked with.

Fast forward to today and I am just as addicted to digital mediums as the next guy.  I go from device to device from wake up to bed time checking emails, texts, apps, sites and voice mail.  In fact, television and books are actually fading from my daily repertoire very quickly.  The last time I went for a good walk in the woods, I actually wound up sitting on a stump talking through my bluetooth headset for over 40 minutes about the prospects of a new global ice show tour.

Much like this rambling post, I don’t know where I’m going with this.  And that may be the point.  I don’t think anyone knows where they are going anymore.  We are all just moving.  With the world of information available at our finger tips and instant access and communication always within reach, isn’t it ironic… a little too ironic, that we don’t seem to be very good planners anymore.   Last minute is the new plan ahead.  Facebooking your friends is the new writing down of goals.  Blogging is the new term paper.  I try to think what it would be like to source everything originally these days.  Or to take more than five minutes to source an opinion (most likely someone elses that appears to be an expert based on their SEO ranking).

I can only hope that somehow someday, my own kids will have to fend for themselves and find content from within to get through at least one business endeavor.  No man is an island, but it wouldn’t hurt to visit one every now and then.

Check this out for a fun look at 1980’s computer history.

Win tickets now.

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I’ve got two tickets to the Atlanta Tennis Championships an ATP World Tour event that kicks off the Olympus US Open Series this July 18-24. Come to opening night on the 18th to see the likes of John Isner, Mardy Fish, Sam Querry and other world top 40 tennis players serving up a Summer of Love at the Racquet Club of the South in Atlanta.

Just complete the poll and respond to this post, and you’ll be in the running for two great seats.

So what does this do for us?

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We all want to be in the digital game.  Text marketing, mobile advertising, device apps, data analytics… we just have to be there.  But man do I dread the question, so.. what does this do for us.

Take text marketing.  I have actually had a text marketing provider show stats to convince me to use their service that show an event with attendance of over 20,000 where 200 people responded to a text promotion with 100 actively signing up to stay active in the text “club” and then 50 being still engaged and not having opted out a few months later.  That is one case where we have to ask, so what is this doing for us?  I for one am not excited about .1% – 5% data capture rates for a mobile promotion.

Granted we sometimes have to play in a field until we get a complete understanding of its potential as an advertising and selling platform, but sometimes we might also be correct to simply punt and wait for the next round all together.

In the texting case, I actually believe it is a worthwhile endeavor for event promoters.  But, like in most marketing endeavors, you have to be willing to fully apply yourself to reap any rewards.  The problem with so many sports and events is that they actually don’t value the text platform enough, hence, they get paltry returns for their efforts.  No, I am not happy with less than 5% data capture (a number that would actually be at the high-end of most text promotions at events).  The investment required to make the promotion successful goes well beyond the cost of the text platform and its communication to your event going audience.  You have to also invest in the reward for the participants.  A t-shirt or a couple of tickets simply is not compelling enough, but a chance to meet a player back stage and fly with the team to their next away game might get you a shot at a much greater opt-in from the audience.

Much like traditional advertising where you would not spend $1 million on the media buy and then $1 hundred to create the spot… so too, you must remember that investments in digital and mobile platforms require more than just the technology for the execution.

Has anyone seen a truly successful text promotion out there?  Any examples of a promotion where you were compelled to text?

Here are a couple that have gained real traction in their text promotions:

Los Angeles Lakers

Pittsburgh Penguins

If you had to pick one new medium, which would it be?

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There simply is not enough time in the day for a one-person marketing department to implement all of the digital platforms available today.  So, what to do if you can only pick one? 

Let’s assume you have a product to sell and a limited budget.  Some of the digital avenues include:

  • Website
  • Blog
  • Text Promotion
  • Social Media
  • Mobile App
  • You Tube Video
  • E-mail campaign

One thing that seems to separate the digital from the traditional is the digital platform’s need for consistent updating and interaction.  With traditional media, once the creative is produced, you can just put it out there and wait to see what sales or leads are generated.  On the digital side, you have constant feedback as to what is or is not working.  In many ways, the digital front is simply very time-consuming and therefore requires a real gut check on just what your availability is for engagement.  There are certainly many forms of help in that arena, but most  require a budget commitment whether it be for an agency, consultant or software solution.

So, if we can’t do it all, what comes first.  While it may already seem old school, I would have to recommend the web site as the one first necessity in selling product.  As time and budget allow, more digital applications can and certainly should follow, but the first priority is getting the web site complete.  One interesting take on the web vs. blog consideration can be found in this You Tube video.  As time and budget allows, you have got to work on getting your site marketed and noticed.  Driving customers to your site much like getting customers to a retail store is critical to actually selling product.  Next steps in the digital realm include optimizing for search including SEO and web marketing like banner ads and pay-per-click. 

Traditional media can also play a role in driving traffic to your site.   The site, when executed correctly and generating sales can be the basis for moving into new digital platforms.  Natural extensions and additional traffic building methods can include a blog, social media, mobile apps and text promotions.  All can be added one piece at a time, which may be the only way a lonely marketing professional can tackle the digital landscape.

I enjoy Adam Singer’s blog that covers many facets of this very post.

Last night I programmed myself to dream about your space.

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In a now seemingly ancient reference, the character Norm from Cheers turns out to be great at decorating and he picks up the line, “last night I programmed myself to dream about your space.”  An integrated marketing professional can only wish it was that easy, last night I programmed myself to be knowledgeable of all things digital.  With traditional media, one had the time to become proficient in the ways of print, outdoor, television and radio.  Not so much time these days with new social media sites launched daily, new technological capabilities to reach consumers, new methods of content delivery and new devices for viewing content.

The leading marketers of the future will be required to adapt to the changing media landscape at a rapid pace and be able to absorb knowledge of methodologies and strategies just as quickly.  While the age-old principles of understanding the market, effectively delivering the message and achieving revenue related results will always hold true, the speed and openness for trial and error and rapid-fire decision-making will become greatly valued and even required to succeed as a marketer going forward.

While I’m not one for adding yet another membership or acronym to add to the list of things to join, I do believe there are a few worthy of looking into to keep abreast of the new media environment and that offer educational components.  The Mobile Marketing Association is one in particular that stands out. While some of the case studies can be a little too much infomercial, they are nonetheless chock full of examples of current mobile marketing campaigns and efforts. Some recent ones worth a look include Harley Davidson, Oklahoma Lottery and Adidas.

Are there any other useful sites, organizations or educational opportunities anyone can add to the list? Marketing today is like heading down the rapids, you’ve got to go with the current, keep from capsizing, steer clear of the hazards and find an occasional eddy to park in before heading back into the fast-moving water. Strap on your life jackets and helmets, it’s going to be a thrilling ride.