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It's Good To Do Good

01/31/2006

Sometimes bloggers have the coolest opportunities to have fun and do good too. Blog buddy Susan Getgood, Marketing Roadmaps, is helping HP with an innovative fund raising project for Habitat for Humanity...an eBay auction of autographed photos, printers (yes printers!) and more. HP's sponsorship at Sundance Film Festival  provides access to celebs galore. To support the project HP launched a blog - Backstage at Sundance - real people blogging their experiences at the festival. Great use of blogs. The auction begins Feb 6.

Finally - experience counts! The non profit organization Civic Ventures is doing more than just celebrating innovative ideas from an overlooked segment: people over 60. Civic Ventures is looking for 5 people 60+ who are "taking on society's biggest challenges..and creating new opportunities, programs and making lasting changes." Civic Ventures are showing them the money! The Purpose Prize Awards $100,000 to each innovator. Submission deadline is Feb 28.

Heard it from: Marianne Richmond, Resonance Partnership

Interested in Non Profit Marketing? You still have time to register for the American Marketing Association's Non Profit Marketing Boot Camp. You're in for a treat  - Sybil Stershic, Quality Services Marketing, is teaching the session. She is wonderful! The workshop is Feb 9 and 10 in Atlanta.

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Beware! Blogs On The Runway

01/27/2006

Fashion_week_nyc_glam_1When Julie aka Almost Girl invited me to participate in the State of the Fashion Union Carnival, well how could a diva refuse?  As soon as I said "yes" my thoughts turned to, "Oh, no but I have nothing to wear."

Dahling how does one dress for a fashion carnival? Maybe a new pair of Claudia Cicti? Perhaps Harry Winston will loan me a fabulous bling? Should I go classic YL or how about Prada?

Girlfriend, the fashion industry has gone digital and bloggy. The Fashion Carnival is part of New York Fashion Week, Feb. 3-10, 2006.  Almost Girl, Fashiontribes.com, Glam.com and Pajamas Media are bringing fashion to the blogosphere with live blogging, vlogging and podcasting. There's even a workshop about how blogs are changing the fashion media - Blogging is the New Black. Great name..wish I thought of it!

Light bulb moment! That's how I'll virtually dress for New York Fashion Week..I'll add a vertical twist on how to use blogs as a marketing tactic. Sometimes it's easier to understand an idea through the glasses of your own world.

Blogs, as a gateway to customer communications are not only finding their way into events like Fashion Week, but savvy models, like my blog buddy anina, get that it takes more than knowing how to walk a runway to create a successful career.

Between all the glitz and the glam there is still a business to be managed. Building and fostering relationships are as important to a model as her (or his) unique style, a great agent or the best photographer in the biz.  For the models who are visiting Diva Marketing (and marketers) a few bling bloggy thoughts.

  • Blog Benefits
    Promote your unique style through your thoughts, photos and videos. Clients are looking for ways to discover who you so let your personality shine through.
    Build a repeat client base by profiling your projects (posting mag covers, photos, videos) you can give your clients some extra visibility.
    Promote your career with an internet presence that is frequently updated. The more you post the more pages those cute little spiders have to find and then to pull up into the search engines like Google or Yahoo! or IceRocket. The more pages the more opportunities that a fashion reporter or editor my find your blog and feature you in a story.

Blog Post Ideas

  • Tell the stories about your daily life as a model, the funny happenings when you travel and the interesting people you meet.
    Write about what it's like behind the scenes at a shoot or the madness before you step out onto the runway.
    Write your posts as if you were telling these stories to your friends.
    Start a blog idea folder to capture your thoughts.

Blog Marketing Ideas

  • Create a memorable blog name that can also help in search engine rankings
    Develop subject post titles that intrigue and are searchable
    Add your blog url to your business cards, portfolio, facebook
    Send emails to your network e.g., your agent, clients, photographers, friends about your new blog
    Add your blog url to your email signature
    Link to other blogs

Blogs are a the perfect medium to share your passion about a world that Pink_boa_10few people get to experience. Throw that pink boa high and walk the blog runway with style!

Thanks to Glam.com for the graphic

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The New Interactive Marketing

01/26/2006

We knew it of course, but it's nice to have research validate that people are forming valuable relationships online. A fresh off the press Pew Internet report: The Strength of Internet Ties, which was a joint project with the University of Toronto sociologists, "shows that the internet helps cultivate social networks and put them into action at times when people need help on important matters in their lives."

When I have decisions to make, I frequently tap into a world wide network of great friends, some met thru online forums and blogs; I also conducting globs of website research. And I'm not alone. According to Pew about 60 million people acknowledged that the internet (including email) "played an important or crucial role in helping them deal with major life decisions."

Barry Wellman, University of Toronto, termed this "networked individualism." People are now less dependent on local groups and are "increasingly tied to looser and more geographically scattered networks."

This puts a whole new spin on the concept of interactive marketing. Let's look at "networked individualism" from the perspective of our marketing world, where a click of the mouse can now bring us customers come from all corners of the world.

Think about the layers of networking available to our customers to learn about our products or services. The top of the virtual onion might be reviews on amazon.com and product websites where the reviewer is available via email to provide further information. The next peel down might be from message boards and blogs where over time trusted relationships are formed. The next layer might be email exchanges with family and friends. Granted this is simplistic view of a complex subject, but I think you get where I'm going with this one. Bakery_customers_1The neighborhoods where corner grocery store relationships were once built are now virtual and viral.

Our world it is not a changin' it has changed. My question to you, dear divas and divos, how is your brand keeping up and capitalizing on this new interactive marketing concept?

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The Online User Experience

01/25/2006

Aima_logoAiMA (Atlanta Interactive Marketing Assoc) pulled off another great event. Tonight's meeting focused on how to develop successful online user-experiences.

Donavan Panone, VP Online Behavior at Spunlogic, put together a panel of brand stars: Laura Hunnicutt - Delta, Jason Kleckner - Target, Jill Hewitt - UPS and Chuck Konfrst - InterContinental Hotels Group.

Highlights
The web is all about interactive. It's getting people to do something. It's about measurement.

  • Integrate the user experience from the start of a website development project
  • Bad online experience = bad for business
  • A successful user experience blends the users' needs with the business objectives and bottom line results (sales, conversion, customer loyalty, grow revenue, save costs, create buzz,  customer delight, etc.)
  • Brand perception is critical
  • Research/customer feedback was important during all phases of development, as well as, after launch
  • All panelists felt testing was critical. Techniques used included: online surveys, panels, usability labs, paper tests.
    Sidebar: I asked if the panelists were using consumer generated media data or monitoring. Several people said they looked in on Flyer Talk - discussion boards. However, no company had a formal cgm program.
  • Fresh eyes are critical before you launch and/or before you present to a client. If you can't afford a formal usability lab/testing at least pull in some people who haven't worked on the project. Give them a few tasks to perform. What seems obvious to you may not be that way to the user.

Laura Hunnicutt clued us in on the (high level) process that Delta used to redesign their site. Only one person in room (there were over 125 people) had not visited the Delta.com site. Not a big surprise since this was Atlanta ... Delta land.

Conduct Needs Assessment
Test/review current site
Participant tests/needs
Build models
Accuracy/speed
Visual development and layout style (focus groups)
Messaging
Behavioral validation
Lessons learned: Less is more in terms of  advertising messages.

What do these user experience experts see in the crystal balls? More customization and personalization. Better intuitive navigation.

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WOMBAT Wrap

01/25/2006

Word_of_mouthWoW WOMBAT was intense on two accounts - back-to-back blogging and information take aways. The WOMMA WOMBAT blog has a wealth of information - posts and podcast interviews. John Moore told us that the posts were so rich he barely took notes. Thanks Doc!

If you want to jump right to chase, WOMMA has posted all of the presentations Free for download.

A few WOMBAT Take Aways
Josh Sinel, Kaava - Consumer Generated Media provides an opportunity to listen to the voice of your customer in the language of your customer.
Zane Safrit, Conference Calls Unlimited - There is a difference between happy customers and engaged customers.
Virgil Simons, The Prostate Net - For my $, The Prostate Net gets the WOMBAT award for the most innovative word of mouth strategy. Virgil tapped into barbers and barbershops to build word of mouth buzz to educate men about prostrate cancer. What's more he's getting results. BiG results. If that's not enough he's turning barbershops wired.

Lots of pink boa tosses: to Dana VanDen Heuvel for pulling the bloggers together and to WOMMA's Andy and Michael for their support in the bloggers' efforts. It was fun to finally meet and blog with Marianne Richmond. Very special thanks to Josh Hallitt for going beyond blogger friendship with rides to and from the airport.

Graphic from artist Michael McConnell

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Marketing Researchers Talk About Innovation

01/24/2006

Ama_ei_logoFrom the moment I stepped foot on the Camelback Inn property I felt pampered. I just may never go back to Atlanta. I wasn't as smart as my dear friend Michelle Elster, VP Rabin Research, who came in a few days earlier for some R&R at the spa with her husband Larry.  After spending last week at WOMBAT - hows that for WOM?

I'm in Scottsdale speaking at AMA's Executive Insights Conference: Insights Through Innovation. Beth Round, MarketTools,  the chair of the program, asked that I help this group of senior marketing research professionals understand blogs and how consumer generated media is fast becoming a tool that researchers cannot afford to overlook.

Spent last night catching up with another research friend, Joan Treistman - EVP at M/A/R/C. We had a lively conversation over dinner about CGM and blogs with Beth Shriver, FirstEnergy and Caroline Horstman, PETsMart and Randall Wahl M/A/R/C.

Even Oster, Barcardi Global Brand and I explored how Barcardi could enter the blogosphere without the negative splash made by Captain Morgan.

Conference kicked off with Seth Godin telling this group of marketers that their world is not just broken ... it's pretty much dying on the vine. In Seth fashion his high energy and storytelling kept the audience entertained and looking forward to reading Purple Cow and downloading his lasted book available next week on his blog.

Interesting to note that many of the speakers complemented Seth's presentation by talking about consumer relevancy. Following are a few high level take aways.

It's a new game
The old model not just changing it's dying
WOM is important
Emotional connections with your customers is critical
The message is in how you tell your story
Relvancy is key

I'ill add links later...off to the conference!
[Update. Links are done.
From my conversations with attendees seems some people are going to get into this game. Or at least begin to explore how they can make it work better. 
Made my pitch  again  - research needed about the blog biz from consumers' perspective; hope someone picks up on it.
Interestng question: Do bloggers write about negatives or the positives?
Thanks to  Clara  Nelson and her great team Cher and Charles who, as always, make it look seamless.]

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WOMBAT: Day One Ends With A Laugh

01/19/2006

Bob Mankoff, Cartoon Editor of the New Yorker's Cartoon Book, was the perfect ending to an intense day of back-to-back sessions. We kicked back a notch as Bob shared some classic New Yorker cartoons within the framework of how the Power of Humor can be used to foster customer loyalty.

Bob must be hangin' with his pal Renee from Edelman (oops Renee lost your card!)... he talks in great sound bites...or is that just a cartoonist's communication mode?

Bob Mankoff on Cartoons and Humor
(Perhaps a wee bit paraphrased)
Humor is where we are the most human
People ask me how many cartoons a day they should draw. I tell them do 10. 9 out of 10 things don't work out. With 10 you've got a shot.
Humor makes an emotional connection. -
Humor/cartoons are not just jokes, they're ideas.

Hugh...you may have some company if Bob decides to blog!

And on a high note, we headed off to the Disney Animal Kingdom for some much needed, and well deserved, food, beverages and more networking!

Sidebar: WOMMA had some great goodies in the cool blue backpack .. many of the speakers' books and Intuit Turbo Tax software...but alas! a copy of the Cartoon Book was not included.

[Note this is cross posted on WOMBAT Blog]
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Pre WOMBAT

01/19/2006

How nice it was to be greeted at the Orlando Airport tonight by fellow WOMBAT bloggers Josh Hewitt and Marianne Richmond. My flight from Atlanta was delayed but they waited for me. And then we waited for Steve Rubel whose flight was late coming in from NYC.

When I was registering I met WOMMA attendee, James Kim, who recently launched a new blog search engine opinmind. opinmind is an interesting twist on the traditional search engines that pull in everything related to your key world search. opinmind sorts the positive and negative opinions of bloggers - based on a keyword search. The results are displayed in 2 columns..thumbs up and thumbs down. Its a more analytic approach to search then we've seen thus far.

With Nielsen's announcement of Nielson BuzzMetrics this plays right into the hot consumer generated media space.
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Nielsen Owns Consumer Generated Media

01/17/2006

Although consumer generated media, as a research tool, is still in the early stages of development, vendors are consolidating. Received an email from, Max Kalehoff VP Marketing at BuzzMetrics (must be on a blogger media blast list), that BuzzMetrics will acquire Intelliseek to create "the new global standard for measuring and understanding word-of-mouth behavior and influence."

What makes this announcement important is one of the big guns in research, ACNielsen, owns BuzzMetrics. Just so there is no confusion about who who owns CGM - BuzzMetrics will operate under the "Nielsen BuzzMetrics" brand. With 2 of the top guns of CGM, under the auspices of one of the largest traditional research firms, CGM research is set to blast off as a credible research methodology.

The race is on..to learn, to undertand, and to implement. Market researchers, on your market, get ready, get set, Go!

Media Release - VNU Brings Together BuzzMetrics, Inteliseek to Create Nielsen BuzzMetrics Service

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SPAM For Seniors

01/17/2006

Spam. Where else can you resolve your credit problems, improve your sex life and find a mortgage just by clicking on your email?   
ThisVernon_woods_2 one is a first for my in-email folders. It's spam for seniors.
(And no I am not ready to collect social security yet!)

Now you can find your retirement home..via a spam ad...well actually this is for assisted living. I guess that's a step beyond retirement.  If the company is hip to spam do you suppose the community is at least wified?

What's next...spam co branding campaigns?   Consider:
"New residents receive a 6-month supply of Viagra."