Archive | July, 2011

Confused.com ’18 Million Strong’ Claim Banned

July 29, 2011

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The price comparison site had made a claim in one of their ads which were screened in November 2010. The ad featured a voiceover that said, “Confused.com, 18 million strong and growing”. It later updated the number to 20 million.

However, the ad watchdog ruled that the ad was misleading and they examined and found out that their customer records was significantly under 18 million. Though the number was not provided due to commercial issues.

Thus, ASA has asked Confused.com not to use this TV ad again as is unless they make changes to remove those false claims.

This brings to a very interesting question, what does “18 million strong” claim referred to exactly. Confused.com told ASA that this number referred to the unique number of customers who had registered for an account and processed a quotation. The company also said that they had excluded customers who had closed their accounts.

No comments have yet being received from confused.com yet to confirm everything.

Courtsey: Brandrepublic.com

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Isaiah Vs Fabio in Old Spice Internet Duel

July 27, 2011

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Old Spice has this time topped the advertisement creativity with the launch of a live streaming experiment at their online video channel of Youtube.

I really liked the interactivity of this campaign. It sure has set the standards of online ads high now. Way to go….

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Are You Also Confused with the Increasing Social Media Sites?

July 25, 2011

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Everyday, new and new social media websites come up to market your products, and your friends invite you to join them. I personally keep getting several mails from my friends asking me to join their network on websites whose names I have never heard. So, how do you go about screening the websites and using ones that are relevant to your interest.

Some sites are good in SEO and some are not. One of the most important indicator is the frequency of update of that website and how quickly it is being indexed by Google. Some of the tools that can come handy are Google Alerts, Yahoo Search Explorer and Google Webmaster Tools. Usually if your blog is good, the post would be picked by Google within 5-10 minutes of publishing. For instance, my blog is crawled almost instantly and I get an alert on Google alerts for my search terms i.e. “future digital marketing”.

So, if you have signed up for a social media website and it does not come up in Google alerts for few days, then it is not good for your SEO. Moreover, if the anchor links from those social media sites are not showing up in your Yahoo search explorer backlinks for 30 days, then you can be sure that the links from those websites will not count towards SEO and you can avoid spending your time on them unless you have a lot of it.

Sometimes the social networking sites would claim to give a boost to your networking circle. To test their potential, try to post some content on those website and see the comments and responses that you are getting. Put a dedicated email ID in that profile and track how many people are actually communicating with you through that website. If the response is low or of no quality then you can leave that website and make efforts on some other websites that would actually give you some benefit.

So good luck in the social media web space. If any of you marketers or webmaster have had experiences of getting invite from annoying social media sites, then do share those in the comments. Thanks for reading…

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How to Detect a Bad SEO Company?

July 22, 2011

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Well, no matter how much the online tutorials say that SEO is very easy and you can start doing it on your own in no time, it is not everyone’s cup of tea. Thus, many companies at some point have decided to outsource their SEO work.

So how does one go about differentiating the good guys and the bad guys?

Recently, Hubspot published a guide explaining how to spot a bad SEO company. Details about their ebook can be found out here.

To summarize, the guide provides you with 5 questions to detect a bad SEO company:

  1. Q1 – Are the promises too good to be true? Just watch out for the catch phrase when they say they can guarantee #1 spot on Google. No one can and you shouldn’t believe anyone who says that.
  2. Q2 – Targeting wrong keywords, they do not provide you with the relevant suggestions and instead give you a broad list of many keywords or a lot of narrow keywords which have no competition at all.
  3. Using automated techniques like 100’s of submissions. That should be a strong indication of their bad practices as quality of links matters and not the quantity of links.
  4. What is their client portfolio? Do they have some experience or they are just talking about everything in the air.
  5. Did they ask you about your target audience, did they do any demographic or market research? Search industry today is not driven by just the number of backlinks and pagerank. It is very important to be ranked on right terms depending upon the audience and in the right verticals as well.

The key in any search engine strategy is to be able to provide quality information to the web users, something which makes them find you.

Lastly, I would say just one thing, if any company is making fake assurances without evaluating your market and industry, avoid it. A company that analyzes your audience, creates and markets content to the right people and is able to build your brand and credibility in the industry is the right choice.

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Should You Outsource Your Social Media?

July 20, 2011

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Nowadays, most of organizations are promoting their brands through various social media channels like Facebook and Twitter. But unfortunately most of them are unaware of how to use the full potential of the social media. So, should these companies outsource their social media to other agencies or manage in-house?

Many companies these days do not have the time or skills to manage such marketing channels and prefer to outsource their social media work. In such scenarios, there is a strong possibility that the company that manages the social media is not aware of the brand, culture or is not putting it forward in the right way. There is no harm to outsource the social media marketing work but it is very important to have an internal person who acts as an intermediary who is able to understand the good ideas and the bad ideas with respect to the company’s brand.

The head of Facebook in Australia and New Zealand, Paul Borrud, said marketing professionals talk a lot about “knowing your language and brand” so it would be difficult to manage social media completely external to the organisation.

Social media is not like a landing site or a microsite which can be put live for a short while and then forgotten. Social news and messages propogates instantly and can make or break a company’s reputation within seconds.

So, what do you think? Should companies outsource completely or manage in-house partially?

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IBM Launches Cloud Based Analytics Suite

July 18, 2011

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IBM announced the launch of a cloud-based Web analytics and digital marketing suite to help automate online marketing campaigns across digital channels.

This new suite combines the software IBM got in its acquisitions of Coremetrics and Unica and provides analytics data that can help better determine the effectiveness of new products and services and tweak the marketing campaigns.

The technology is part of the IBM’s Smarter Commerce initiative, which aims to help companies to more effectively market, sell and secure greater customer loyalty.

This combination of Coremetrics and Unica software enables the companies to understand their consumer’s preferences in the digital world in a better way. For e.g. businesses would be able to evaluate Facebook or Twitter activity, and offer customers tailored promotions delivered to their mobile devices on the fly. IBM’s suite also enables businesses to deliver and fine-tune digital marketing programmes based on what customers are doing offline. For instance, a consumer who purchased a new tablet in a brick-and-mortar store would receive special offers via email to purchase tablet accessories. The benefit to the customer is a consistent, relevant brand experience that reflects all their online preferences, not just what they did, read or saw on one specific site, IBM said.

Their optimization suite automates a company’s ability to deliver a tailored online experience and marketing promotions through real-time personalized recommendations, email ad targeting and more. Apart from this the suite offers many other features including advanced segmentation, A/B testing and deep brand analysis.

“We’re seeing increasing client demand for a single source of truth in understanding customer online behaviour and buying trends as businesses strive to identify and seize new revenue streams,” Yuchun Lee, vice president and general manager of IBM Enterprise Marketing Management, said in a statement. “We are defining a powerful, integrated and data-driven approach to marketing, one that drives higher-margin sales while using analytics to place the customer’s needs squarely at the centre of all campaigns and promotions.”

This suite is the newest addition to IBM’s products of Smarter Commerce solutions. With its smarter products, IBM is going full fledged in the new market of analytics that it estimates to be $20 billion by 2015.

Do share if anyone has used this suite yet.

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Why Google+?

July 14, 2011

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Google, the most popular website is getting all worked up about the increasing popularity of its rival Facebook. That’s why it keeps on trying again and again to get some market share in the social web. After numerous failed attempts like Orkut, Wave and Buzz, Google has not lost hope and this time things look promising for the search giant.

Google+ is the new buzz word and an another attempt at taking down Facebook. This time it looks as if Google has got itself something to look forward to. Just like it increased the popularity of Gmail, Google has adopted the same marketing strategy and is letting Google+ spread virally. You cannot just go and signup unless you have an invite. The human tendency of wanting to be part of something which is open only to the priviledged has made a big buzz word in the social web with people hunting around for invites. Even though it has slightly over a million users so far which is not even close to 750 Facebook users, but watch out for the network effect which can make it most popular.

First look and you would feel that you are on some Facebook skin site. Posts, News Feed, +1 button and all will give you the nostalgic feeling of using Facebook with a different UI. But dig a little more and you would find a very big difference – Circles.

On Google+ you can simulate the social circles of your real life in to Google Circles. You can categorize your friends, acquaintances, Family, etc. The possibilities are unlimited and you can create any circle that you want just like you would do in your real life.

Moreover, unlike Facebook where there is no option of selecting with whom to interact, in Circles, everytime you share a photo, a post or a link, you have an option of selecting which circle receives it. You get to share things only with people who deserve to know without broadcasting to 500 odd people who have no business knowing your personal activities.

The best feature is the hangouts. Its like videoconferencing wherein up to 10 people can join a chat at the same time using their web cams. There is even a Youtube button that lets everyone watch Youtube videos on a big screen just like you would do in a movie theater.

Even though its integration with other third party sites and apps is awaited, but I would say this time Google has a winner. Personally I would prefer to switch from Facebook to Google+ unless Facebook comes up with something even better.

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Future Digital Marketing Strategies for Strartups

July 12, 2011

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Have a new startup and feeling lost as to how to promote it? Well, you are not alone and it is very common for new entrepreneurs to be confused about how to promote their business.

Once you have done the planning and launched your business, the next important steps are to make a website and do its basic SEO. If you have the budget to spare, then you can also opt for paid advertisements like PPC.

Content and social media are incredibly important and must work together for the best results.

The following are some aspects of digital marketing that will help to ensure that you get the most optimal results for your digital marketing investments:

Content

The old age saying does not go without a mention, “Content is King”. It is very important to write the proper content which can convince your customers and build trust. Some of the tips of making content appear compelling are:

  • It should be able to connect with the audience
  • It should be unique and relevant, no fluff
  • It should be transparent, include price, features and benefits
  • It should be up to date. Do not put expired content

Further to being compelling to human audiences, your website content must be equally compelling to search engines.

Social Media

Social media is now the new trend of the web 2.0 world and it drives most of the marketing strategies. The new businesses should definitely look into LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter depending upon their audience demographics.

How to properly merge content and social media?

The most important is the context. There needs to be a correlation between what you publish on your website and what you write on various social media platforms. This builds up trust and confidence in your audience and most likely helps them convert into your customers.

So, understand your customers and architect the content in a way that makes it relevant for them.

The blend of SEO, website, PPC, content and social media form a good recipe for the digital media strategy for startups.

 

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