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Out of the Blogs of Babes


Scout Popcorn is an innovative sales blog. In fact, it's the first blog I've seen that ties commerce with a blog. Nice marketing strategy.

The story is complements of Pheedo: Taylor and Zachary (8 and 9 years old) are cub scouts who are selling popcorn and blogging about their experiences. Their goal is to earn money for things like camping, outings and Pinewood Derby.

Need some sales training...read Zack's 9/24 post on Learning about popcorn selling. Zach's got it down...be professional, courteous, focus on your product and don't take it too seriously.

The Right Ways To Sell Popcorn
1. Dressing up in uniform
2. Being polite
3. Really thinking about selling popcorn

The Wrong Ways To Sell Popcorn
1. Going up to a door not in uniform
2. If they say know saying okay let’s go play something else

Buy some popcorn. The store will be open until October 15. And a little viral marketing buzz would be nice too!

Show Me The Money


What do you do if you're an entrepreneur with a dream but lack capital? Find an investor to help bank roll your idea. Easier said than done! Last week Donna Lynes-Miller, president of GourmentStation, invited me to attend the Tennessee Valley Venture Forum (TVVF) with her. Interesting look at a world where deals are made and dreams can either soar or crash and burn.

TVVF is a trade show (sponsored by Technology 2020 and the city of Chattanooga) that puts selected companies (the exhibitors) in contact with prospective investors (the attendees). The business owners also have an opportunity to present their "babies" front and center to the money people - in a 12-minute sales pitch. Talk about a stressful moment in the sun.

A panel of venture capital experts concurred that we're coming out of a flat period and deals are beginning to flow. If you're an entrepreneur who is thinking of going the investment route, here are a few tips from Chris Kyriopoulous, general partner of FCA Venture Partners III, L.P. (Clayton Associates), on what the VCs are looking for in a portfolio company. Chris, thanks for your slides.

Critical Investment Factors
1. Management Team - Bet on the jockey. "We'd rather back an A team with a B plan."
2. CEO "Passion Meter" - Has the CEO invested in herself?
3. Clear Exit Strategy
4. Concept - Is it valid, unique and proprietary?
5. Cohesive Business Plan - Must get it in 15-minutes or less
6. Proven Revenue Model - Does it work?
7. Size of the Market and Growth Characteristics
8. Time to Market
9. Do We (the investment firm) Know The Business - There's a strong comfort level in doing deals in repeat industries.
10. Key Strategic Relationships - Investors, vendors, portfolio. Are they a "fit" for any of companies in the investment firm's portfolio?

Tips on Raising Equity for Entrepreneurs
1. Do your homework!
2. Maintain a focus on your business
3. "Pitch" to firms who know your business (industry) See #9 Critical Investment Factors
4. Find the lead investor first
5. Be flexible: be willing to give up equity

Key takeaways: Passion-Vision-Truth-Communication-Persistence

Read More
-Innovations Publishing
-re:invention - check the left nav bar
-National Venture Capital Association

Vote Carrie: Blog Campaign Strategy


The innovative folks at TBS interactive marketing are using a double-edge blog strategy to promote Sex and the City. A blog and ads on blogs. One might say that TBS has created an integrated blog campaign.

Strategy: Vote Carrie Adverblog - Carrie Bradshaw is running for president on the new Cosmopolitan Party ticket. Like all savvy politicians Candidate Carrie has a blog - votecarrie.org complete with interactive polls, survey results and of course Candidate Carrie’s platform. It's all in the details...note the ".org" extension.

Yeah...it’s a “fake blog” but unlike other fake blogs e.g., Dr. Pepper's Raging Cow blog, Vote Carrie doesn’t pretend to be more than it is…a lighthearted play on politics with a goal of promoting the TV series.

Strategy: Vote Carrie Blog Ads – Running on sites like Blogcritics, Wonkette, Instapundit and MetroBlog.

The entire campaign is fun, interactive, supports the brand and is so Carrie! I had to find out the story behind the strategy. Richard Turner, Director Interactive Marketing for the Superstation, kindly and generously provided a behind the scene explanation along with a few insights about the campaign.

Vote Carrie Marketing Strategy

"All of our interactive efforts are designed to convert passive viewers into active participants and, eventually, active viewers." Richard Turner, TBS Director Interactive Marketing.

What were the goals/objectives?
Primary goal for all of interactive and promotional efforts is to drive ratings; the following is a sub-set of this overarching goal:
-To increase consumer awareness of Sex and the City on TBS by capitalizing on topicality of election and popularity of blogs
-To 'live' our brand with a fun and humorous take on political blogs
-To generate press coverage of innovative promotional effort
-To potentially drive site traffic (through links as well as increased relevance for search engines)

How were the ads placed?
We had a set budget and working within that budget we hand-picked an equal amount of liberal and conservative political blogs. We also folded in independent/nonpartisan political blogs as well as pop culture and opinion-maker blogs.

Sidebar: Ads were placed through Blogads. "Just sent out an avalanche of blogads, our biggest single order yet, for Sex and the City. Something I really wouldn't have expected a year ago." - Harry Copeland, Blogads

From Investors: "The growth of blog readership shouldn't be ignored, according to Copeland, whose company brokers blog ads and takes a commission. He said at the start of the year his group of online publications was delivering 5 million impressions a month. The number has increased almost 1,000 percent to 45 million now."

What was considered to be “success?”
Unfortunately, we can't demonstrably prove increased ratings, so our criteria was number of editorial/press hits and traffic to the blog. By both measures, we consider it a success (although not a cultural phenomena like JibJab's This Land).

Marketing Questions: Is the Vote Carrie strategy a preview of future marketing trends? Will more brand-blogs use ads on blogs to drive traffic to the adverblog? Would a double-edge blogging campaign work for your brand?

Read More
Fake Blogs as a Marketing Tool - TSMI Trade Show Marketing Report
Ranging Cow The Interview - Business Blog Consulting
Ads on Blogs Blogs as Ads - ClickZ

Real Secrets of Marketing Your Blog


Jump over to NevOn for a delightful read about the Real Secrets of How To Get Your Blog Noticed.  While you're there be sure to click on if pets could blog. (Actually that cat is pretty scary.)

Designer Vote Ts


Diva Dahlings this is one is just for you - designer "vote" Ts by Issac Mizarhai, Richard Tyler and Todd Oldham. Slip on a pair of Jimmy Choos and you've a fashion statement to wear to the polls.

Thanks to Halley's Comment for the fashion tip.

What does this have to do with a marketing blog? Brand extension clothes? New category for designers? Target marketing strategy to Gen XYZ????

Marketing Lesson: Chihuly in the Garden


If Chihuly in the Garden comes to your town see it. Gorgeous Chihuly glass art works interwoven with leaves, flowers, fountains and statues. Sounds simple. Sounds easy. Sounds obvious. It took the vision of the ED, cooperation of two teams of experts and the support of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens to turn this dream into a reality. It's a lesson in creativity and risk taking come to life.

-Creative endeavors should appear seamless to viewers. Marketing strategies should appear seamless to customers.
-Successful marketing strategies are the result of team work.
-Creative marketing strategies take risk and courage.

Quick Thoughts


Just never know who will pop into visit your blog. Was listening to Sean Hannity's interview with Lynne Cheney (is her title the "Second Lady?"). Mrs. Cheney has a list of favorite blogs...she didn't name names. One more confirmation that more people are turning to blogs for news and information.

And one more lesson from our journalism friends...marketers take heed. You never know who is lurking. Customers, prospects, the press, stakeholders or another blogger who will link to your post. Credibilty is the name of this game!


Friday Fun


Received lovely eMails from THE Doc (Searls) and Fun Coach Bernie from last Friday's Friday Fun post. Bloggers are the friendliest people!

Only a marketer would think that clicking on the best of websites would be a fun way to spend a couple of minutes on a rainy Friday. The Web Marketing Association posted the winners of its eighth annual WebAward Competition. Competition was intense this year - more than 1,300 sites from 19 countries submitted entries. Judges assumed the role of a target user. Sites were evaluated on design, copy writing, innovation, content, interactivity, navigation, and use of technology.

Get ready for more chuckles. Those funny guys at JibJab are coming out with another short animation for the 2004 Election.

Divas, think you're having a bad hair day? Nucifora Consulting's Mind Candy Page has more photos of stars who are not on their way to a red carpet stroll. And while you're visiting the site you absolutely must check out how brands can use condoms as an ad marketing promotion strategy! Bad_hair_day_star

Blog Search Engine Strategy


Blogs are no longer getting a fast ride on some mainstream search engines. Oh no Mister Bill! Will top 10 rankings go the way of key word buys? Will marketers add blog search engine strategy to internet marketing plans? Will SEO/M companies add one more service to their offerings?

LLRX.com posted an important article written by Christina K. Pikas - Trends in Blog Searching.

"Most of the larger search engines have changed their algorithms so that blogs are not the most highly ranked sites. My recent testing of Google shows that they have made some changes to their engine so that the blog posts are generally pushed down to the third or fourth page of hits."

High search rankings are a powerful benefit to bloggers. Watch the blogosphere for more posts as people jump on this on critical issue.

Found it on Scoble.

Dating For Brands


Fun post that hits the target on branding on Cheskin's Fresh Perspective wiki by Michelle Vasquez - Getting Personal – A Female Point of View on "Dating Your Consumer"

1. Just say hello – Nothing happens without hello.
2. Engage to be engaged – Long term relationship is more than just one date or one purchase.
3. Be reliable and consistent. - Delivers on your brand promise.
4. Be trustworthy and accountable. - Admit your mistakes and and don’t shirk your responsibilities.
5. Get married. - Long term relationships and repeat business equal financial success and brand happiness.

Sidebar - Cheskin is a consulting and research firm that has been blogging for several years. Well worth a look at an example of an well crafted corporate wiki including a photo wiki.