April 29, 2011

Study: Fewer than 2% of online borders came from social networks

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 7:23 pm

Companies that think social media engagement is the key to increasing online retail purchases may want to reconsider.

A new Forrester/GSI Commerce report called “The Purchase Path of Online Buyers” found that fewer than 2 percent of online orders from Nov. 12 through Dec. 20 resulted from buyers coming from a social network.

Email marketing and search advertising, meanwhile, proved to be more effective in driving sales.

The study also reveals that:

“45 percent and 53 percent of hard and soft goods transactions, respectively, touched at least two marketing touch points. This data highlights opportunities for retailers to think beyond the traditional ‘last-click’ measurement they typically attribute to marketing programs.”

Fiona Dias, executive vice president of strategy and marketing for GSI Commerce, reasoned that the data could be explained by taking a look at Sunday church services. She told Mashable:

“If you go with the theory that you should market where the people are, then you should be running off to market during church services. Facebook has the same analogy. Buying things from retailers is maybe tenth on the list of things they want to do on Facebook.”


April 21, 2011

The 3 R’s of PR: Learn them and earn R-E-S-P-E-C-T

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 6:15 pm

I don’t think PR professionals give our industry enough credit—and it starts with the fundamentals. As in those of us practicing them aren’t claiming them.

That’s our fault; we should be.

Why should we claim things that “everyone” should be doing? Because when we don’t continue to talk about doing the three R’s well—research, relevancy, and relationships—bad pitches like this one gobble up all the PR headlines, tweets, and Google results.


When you’re doing media and blogger outreach, do you research the people you’re pitching before you contact them? It seems ridiculous even to pose that question, but then again, I’ve read the Bad Pitch blog.

Sure, research should be a fundamental element of every PR outreach campaign we conduct, but there are plenty of PR pros who don’t take the time to do research. Instead, they blast and mail-merge one-way messages across the blogosphere—often to the 34 percent of bloggers who don’t even talk about brands on their blogs.

Research is also about doing the right thing for your clients, because you understand their business and the audiences they are trying to reach.

Let’s say you get the chance to work with Snap Bracelet World. (Don’t pretend you don’t remember snap bracelets.) One option is to start brainstorming ideas left and right, throwing up Facebook pages and Twitter accounts, drafting “snappy” media pitches.

Instead, you could sit down with your new snap bracelet friends and talk about what they’re trying to achieve.

There really is a big difference between jumping into the tactical weeds versus asking a client about their goals and objectives and then creating strategies and tactics to achieve them. When you take the extra time to do the research, claim it. What’s obvious to you may not be so obvious to someone else.


One of my colleagues always uses the following example when explaining relevance: If you were a cat food company and you were pitching a story, would you rather earn placement in your city’s newspaper or in a cat blog?

If you had to pick one, wouldn’t you pick the cat blog? I would. I know that audience is predisposed to my message. The city newspaper audience might be much bigger—but it may not give a rip about cats at all.

Spending all your time pursuing A-lister media only overlooks relevance, but at least it is done with a potential publicity goal in mind. Too often, we see completely irrelevant pitches that turn a blind eye to what makes the most sense for the client as well as to PR fundamentals.

That’s how a pitch targeted to a mommy blogger ends up in the inbox of C.C. Chapman, who manages Digital Dads. That’s how a pitch focused on the latest and greatest toy for children gets sent to a woman with no kids. And that’s how a pitch developed for an ultra-conservative brand ends up getting covered by a blogger who doesn’t write a post without four-letter words.


If you’ve spent any time building relationships, you’ve learned one thing—it takes time. It isn’t something you can do by flipping a switch, so don’t treat it that way.

We live in a “who do you know” world, and communications is no different. Reporters, bloggers, peers, friends—all have a platform online and have always had one offline.

In many instances, whom you know will align with what story you’re trying to tell. For example, maybe you’re working with a nonprofit trying to raise money and awareness for a cause and you have a group of people in your network who (a) support that specific cause or (b) are just plain charitable.

At that point, your relationships become part of your PR toolbox and what you bring to the table. Position them in that way to your boss or a client, even if you say to yourself: “I couldn’t do this job without building relationships. I do it every day.”

Think about it like you’re trying to explain the value of relationships to Aunt Edna—and take credit for getting to know these people.

Bonus R: Respect

You might feel silly when you sit in front of a client during a results report and remind them you actually spent time “aligning strategies with their objectives.” Or that you called on relevant peers, media, and influencers with whom you’ve built relationships to help share a campaign.

You know what’s really silly? Making assumptions. When we assume that everyone else knows the PR industry as well as we do, we cheat ourselves out of recognition and credibility we deserve.

So don’t hesitate to claim the three Rs when you’re looking for some of the fourth R. I believe Aretha Franklin called it R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

By Justin Goldsborough | Posted: April 21, 2011

Justin Goldsborough works at Fleishman-Hillard in Kansas City, where he specializes in digital strategy and education. Previously, he worked at Sprint for two years, managing the company’s employee social network, Sprint Space, and led efforts to improve customer outreach via social media, specifically Twitter.


April 7, 2011

Marketing’s forbidden word

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 2:05 pm

And that word is . . . words.

At least it sometimes seems that way to us. All the talk these days seems to be centered on the media, as in “conventional media”, “social media”, “multi-media” and the like. It’s as though we’ve forgotten that the building blocks for marketing communication are words; as in the effective use of them to deliver a marketing message that induces the desired action.

The success of our marketing communication will be in direct proportion to, neither the media chosen, nor the graphics, nor that announcer’s soothing voice, nor that attractive model, nor that persuasive spokesperson, nor the typography, but, rather, in the way words are arranged in, around, through and over the other elements of the marketing message.

When we stop to think about it, few would have cause to argue with this point, yet we seems to have become a bit lost amid our frantic dash to try the latest media trend as served up by what has become a decidedly media-oriented genre of marketing gurus (not to mention media salespeople).

A PR authority’s revelation about words

Of course, to our peril, words can be misused, or for a variety other reasons they often do little justice to the idea, concept or product being promoted. And now, it has been brought to our attention by PR strategist Adam Sherk that words also can quite possibly be overused. Indeed, this learned contemporary of ours conducted a little survey, and reports some interesting findings:

Taking 23 of the most popular buzzwords in marketing and PR, he compiled a list of the top 100 in June, and then ran 25 of them through PRFilter, a website that aggregates press releases.

The results: “Solution” led the pack with 243 appearances.

Whoops! – Shortly after he published the post, PRFilter set the record straight: “Solution” did not appear in press releases 243 times; it appeared 622 times. Yet, it was only the second most common buzzword.

The most common word is “leading,” which showed its face 776 times – in one 24-hour stretch!

Here’s the full list:

1. leading (776)
2. solution (622)
3. best (473)
4. innovate / innovative / innovator (452)
5. leader (410)
6. top (370)
7. unique (282)
8. great (245)
9. extensive (215)
10. leading provider (153)
11. exclusive (143)
12. premier (136)
13. flexible (119)
14. award winning / winner (106)
15. dynamic (95)
16. fastest (70)
17. smart (69)
18. state of the art (65)
19. cutting edge (54)
20. biggest (54)
21. easy to use (51)
22. largest (34)
23. real time (8)

So, we would conclude, it’s not just how – but how often – we use (the same) words that can have a marked effect on how, for instance, a press release is received. Can it be any different for other forms of marketing communication? We think not.

The lesson: Use words correctly, persuasively and not – at least the same ones – too often. I would add that this would be the “leading” and “best” “solution” to our marketing communication problems, but if I did, I’d be overusing the three most overused words.

So I won’t. Happy marketing!


April 5, 2011

Address Your Real Competition

Filed under: Marketing Quick-Tip — admin @ 8:18 am

Add Your competition is no longer just the other offerings in your category. In today’s environment, there is a bigger concern.

Your Real Competition Is the Extreme Clutter of the Marketplace

Every day our choices are increasing in complexity. The number and scope of the products, services, features, advertising messages, and delivery channels that we are subjected to are rapidly growing.

Ironically, most companies react to this by adding more clutter. You cannot fight clutter with more clutter. You must find or create your own “white space” to stand out.