Seth Godin on Sliced Bread and Marketing Delights from TED

September 19th, 2010 No Comments


Dilbert on Social Media

September 13th, 2010 No Comments


Crisis Communications Round Up

September 11th, 2010 No Comments

Crisis can strike at any time.

Here is a round up of The Cline Group’s articles on crisis planning, management, and communication.

Learn more about Crisis Communications and Workshops offered by The Cline Group.


POST It: How to Develop a Social Marketing Strategy

September 3rd, 2010 No Comments

As our president Josh Cline wrote, strategy is the most important component of any marketing endeavor. This is truer in the digital marketing arena. Inbound marketing and social media marketing are  strategic marketing tools. In order to succeed in your marketing efforts, marketing strategy is necessary.

In online marketing endeavors, because of its newness and freshness, there has been a tendency by some to rush into social media, talk about Twitter and Facebook, but have no real goals and objectives, understanding of its audience, or ways to measure success. This is not social media marketing, or any kind of marketing. This is putting the cart before the horse. As digital marketing is still a relatively new field (only 15 years old!), many of those who are most conversant with technology are least conversant with marketing strategy and many of the traditional strategists are not familiar enough with technology to understand and develop a comprehensive plan.

At the beginning of the social media era, it may have been acceptable to wade in the pool and experiment, even without a strategy, as the potential of social was still unknown and only early-adopters were engaged. Today, however, as social media has matured, social media marketing strategy is a necessity and not an option.

In order to be truly successful in any digital marketing endeavor – whether it is social  media, mobile, e-mail, or any other – the first thing that needs to be done – prior to talking about tools or tactics – is to talk about strategy.

Luckily, Forrester Research has developed a useful framework to develop a social strategy.

Forrester Research developed a strategic methodology called the POST method.

P is People. Don’t start a social strategy until you know the capabilities of your audience. If you’re targeting college students, use social networks. If you are reaching out to business travelers, consider ratings and reviews. Just do not start social without first thinking about it.

O is objectives. Pick one. Are you starting an application to listen to your customers, or to talk with them? To support them, or to energize your best customers to evangelize others? Or are you trying to collaborate with them? Decide on your objective before you decide on a technology. Then figure out how you will measure it.

S is Strategy. Strategy here means figuring out what will be different after you are done. Do you want a closer, two-way relationship with your best customers? Do you want to get people talking about your products? Do you want a permanent focus group for testing product ideas and generating new ones? Imagine you succeed. How will things be different afterwards? Imagine the endpoint and you will know where to begin.

T is Technology. A community. A wiki. A blog or a hundred blogs. Once you know your people, objectives, and strategy, then you can decide with confidence.

POST Method

Lacking in strategy leads to companies abandoning their social media efforts too soon. Promised “to go viral” (which is not a strategy!) companies go about this process backwards picking the technology first, saying “We need a blog” and “We need to go on Twitter” and then give up after a few months.  As Scott Opplinger wrote, “They might not get the results they want because they had no idea what results they were trying to accomplish in the first place and in most cases had no clearly defined method for measuring those results had they defined clear goals.”


TED Talk: What Physics Can Teach You About Marketing

September 1st, 2010 No Comments

Google’s UK, Ireland, and Benelux Marketing Director Dan Cobley lectures at TED about the intersection between physics and marketing. Didn’t know they had something in common? Think again.

Here are Dan’s principles:

a) Newton’s Law: The more massive a brand, the more baggage it has and the more force it takes to change its position. The bigger a brand, the more difficult it is to reposition it.

b) Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle: Observing consumers changes their behavior. For example, people aren’t honest in focus groups and surveys. However, with digital marketing, it’s much easier – we can measure what consumers actually do rather than what they say they do. This is why user testing is so important — we can measure actual behavior with digital marketing.

c) The Scientific Method – We cannot prove a hypothesis, we can only disprove it. One contrary data point can blow a theory out of the water. In marketing, you can invest in a brand but a single contrary observation or positioning can disprove a consumer’s belief. For example, BP spent millions positioning itself as environmentally friendly – but then the Deepwater Horizon oil spill happened. Toyota was seen as reliable, until millions of cars needed recalls. This is why marketing requires constant 24/7 attention. Even when things are going along, you still need a marketing team or a marketing agency and long-term commitments.

d) Entropy — Entropy will always increase. If we go back 20 years, one message controlled by one marketing messenger could control a brand. But today, with digital media, there is more chaos and it’s easier to lose control of your message. With digital comment creation and distribution tools, it is impossible to control your message. This is why digital marketing is more complex, digital marketing management may even be more costly, because it has higher risks – and more rewards. You can’t fight it, so embrace it!


Stephen Colbert on Social Media Privacy

August 27th, 2010 No Comments

Privacy online is such an important component of our everyday life today. Anything posted online (and these days, that’s just about EVERYTHING) is public. That’s why any company needs online policies. Social media and computer use policies, incorporating social media use – both personal and professional – are so important. Charlotte Li recently wrote about it in her book Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead about how companies can maintain some level of control.

But, in this video below, comedian Stephen Colbert has another suggestion — use common sense.

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word – Control-Self-Delete
Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election Fox News

Social Media Marketing in 3 Minutes

August 20th, 2010 No Comments

Watch this video to learn about the business benefits of social media and some of the things that need to be done in order to do it.


The Future of Search: Google’s Marissa Mayer in Israel

August 16th, 2010 No Comments

Check out Google’s VP of Search Product and User Experience at Google talk about the Future of Search during her recent visit to Israel.


7 Steps to Marketing Web Design Success

August 13th, 2010 No Comments

The web has been around for over 15 years and today a website is more than just an online brochure but an overall content hub for your customers. Research and “word of mouth” is done by visiting your website. Yet, design trends and need change all the times and something that was appropriate in 2008 may not be appropriate in August 2010. Something that was put together quickly but lacked strategy may also not be providing you the customers you need.

But when redesigning your website, there are a lot of considerations, including these seven tips for web design success.

  • Investigate What Your Current Site Visitors Are Doing. – Use tools like Google Analytics, omniture, Verify, and examine and test your current site. I was shocked to see on a recent client’s site that more than 1/3 of all of their traffic comes from Macintosh  users and on another client’s site, the most popular page was the Contact Us page. There is no real way to know this without checking the actual data – and it’s there and it’s valuable.
  • Record All Incoming Links to Your Current Website – It is tedious and time consuming but do you want potential customers to turn away because instead of getting to your site, they got an error page.  Instead of ranking high for your ideal keyword, you rank lower because you lost link bait? Links are currency and valuable and take care to keep them!
  • Define Your Target Audience – The “P” in the POST method. Different users use the web differently and they have different needs. Make sure you are addressing their needs.
  • Carefully Consider Your Theme and “Look And Feel” – Your offline and online marketing collateral should match and be consistent. Your website should look modern and not like something that belonged on GeoCities in 1994. Nor should it be so full of Flash that no one can actually use it.
  • Define Your Strategic Goals – Looking like someone else isn’t really going to help you. Instead of trying to “keep up with the Joneses,” “Document the purpose and quantifiable goals for your redesign.” Think about what is actually going to be different after your redesign.  Are all aspects of your redesign in-line with your goals?
  • Focus on Content Creation – Content is still king. How will your site incorporate content? If you have a flashy design but two sentences and a bunch of misspellings, or it’s stale, how is that going to help you? Consider future growth areas as well.  Test your content with your customers. Consider a blog. You need more than just an About Page and Contact Us page (though they are important). What are your customers looking for that is useful for them?
  • Choose Keywords Carefully SEO isn’t just about keywords. Make sure that your site uses appropriate keywords that fit your branding, describe your product or service, and that will help you in the search engines and fit with your audience’s needs.

Do Tag Clouds Hurt SEO?

August 4th, 2010 No Comments

Are tag clouds so good for SEO? Matt Cutts gives his opinion.

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