*Pause while laughing subsides*

Welcome back folks to another installment of my mentally stimulating conversation on marketing and the web.

*Pause while laughing subsides*

So this week in class we discussed some of the aspects of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and some of the results of SEO. We always talk about goals, set them smart and you can’t go wrong. This has led me to wonder what are the goals of SEO, the ultimate goal is to get that top slot for Google’s search results. What is so important about getting your website to send out signal flares to Google’s search spiders? Well just that Google is the go to search engine for more than 60% of all internet users. WOW!! Marketers should almost be licking their chops now. With Google bringing together that many people into one place to search for information it is vitally important for organizations to survive in today’s fast paced digital world. By reaching the top you increase your visibility, and the more visible you are the more likely people are to choose your site. The average user only ever searches the first couple of results before clicking away from Google. And millions of people click away from Google, disappointed that they did not find what they where looking for everyday. So what does this show us, all the people clicking away that is? That many websites out there, while people want to see them, do not take advantage of SEO. This simple act of not choosing keywords and not developing a solid PageRank score will keep them in the lower echelons of the millions of pages offering the same thing as yours. Essentially non-visible websites are going to have no impact on the net or the consumer.

So what else does SEO get web savvy marketers, well frankly, it gets them their most favorite thing in the whole world-wide web. Measurable results. Results that can be quantified, qualified, examined, and dissected for the benefit of the marketer and the firm as well. This is what is really unique about SEO is the measurable results that allow marketers to examine how well they are doing. Without which we would still be stuck in the stone age of marketing. And no matter how much money you through at some problems, they may not disappear. Essentially, SEO gives the marketer the opportunity to learn from what they are doing and to change what they are doing as they do it. This is a unique function that arises and that can be the most beneficial to marketers I think. But the catch is we have to be smart enough to take advantage of it. And the problem with that is that a great deal of us are stuck in the ‘old school’ rather than the new age of Marketing 2.0. I will leave off with that thought, and catch you all again next week with more of my mentally stimulating marketing discussion.

 

Social Media,Marketing 2.0, and the Digital Native

Sorry to my readers, this posting comes a little later than most of them. Still within 7 days from my last Marketing 430 class though (that is for the Proffessors interest). So now that thats out of they way we can get on with the juicy stuff. This week in class we talked about social media (ie. Facebook, Twitter, etc). This has become a savvy marketers best friend. What!? You say. That can’t be. Well it can and is. How do marketers take advantage of social media? Well they turn to companies like Rapleaf, or Spokeo. So what do organizations dedicated to people search do? Well according to Spokeos splash page “uncover personal photos, videos, and secrets…Gauranteed” So how do these magnificently pervasive marketing tool dig up all that information on a person? Well Spokeo has developed their search algorithms to scour the deep wed for your info. According to the CEO of Spokeo “even though most people think the size of the Web is basically the Google crawl index, there’s actually a lot of information that Google doesn’t crawl,” says Harrison Tang, founder and CEO of Spokeo.

So what does this mean for the Digital Native? Well folks we gotta watch our butts. Every little bit of ourselves that we put out there is being analysed, studied, and interpreted in ways that help separate money from the wallet. So what are some of the implications of this kind of market research. Well the first thing that pops into my mind is the Market of One. Whats so special about that? Well if we look into the definition, level of customization and customer service at which a customer feels that he or she is an exclusive or preferred customer of the firm. Essentially no more geographical, social, or monetary segmentation. Now we segment by person. Imagine that, no more wasted marketing dollars. Why/ Because we know that little Sally Johnstone likes to only eat at Arby’s, hates the way her pants look, and can’t wait to hear the latest Pearl Jam album. Uh-oh, that’s a whole lot of information that a good marketer can use to their advantage. And the timing seems right too. This kind of people search has been around for long enough that it is starting to become a little more main stream. On the net, as we know, when something stops being new and shiney, and starts o be taken for granted is when something really starts to permeate society. With that in mind I will bid you ardu and urge you to check back next week as we continue our discussions into the roles of marketing online. Thanks.

What is This Brand Engagement Thing?!?!

October 14th 2009

Hello again my three viewers. Have you been sitting by your computer rabidly awaiting my next post? No of course you haven’t, why would you ? What exactly is here that is actually going to entertain you other than my 4-600 words a week.  There is no Brand Engagement. Other than that quaint little header that I use there is not a whole lot stimulating stuff going on.  However, if you jump over to Starbucks Facebook site by chance. You may find that there is not a lot of difference between our sites. With one glaring exception of course, as of today Starbucks has approximately 4.5 million friends. I have 3. The two people who have left comments on this blog, and the one that I know is reading, and not leaving comments. 🙂

What allows Starbucks to be the #1 ranked social media brand engaged site in the world? Brand Engagement. People want to be seen with Starbucks. They want other people to know that they like Starbucks. From a marketing standpoint: WOW! That’s some powerful stuff. But how did they get there. I mean, back in 2006 they (marketers in general) couldn’t even decide how to measure online brand engagement, or social media engagement. For the most part brand engagement was essentially throwing piles of money at an issue in the hopes that it ‘will make things better.’ So how did Starbucks get ranked #1? Well a combination of marketing through multiple channels so as to expose their values more so than any specific product and Starbucks spent bucket loads of money, at one time, to promote their ‘third place’ concept. Essentially, it’s not home, it’s not work but it is somewhere that you can come and just be comfortable and have a cup of coffee. Not only that but they have so many channels to choose from today, that they can  choose the best suited to them, and go from there.

For Starbucks a site like Facebook is gold. People show up and say small things like “I can’t wait to get a Caramel Macciatto” and then people can respond to that. All the Marketer has to do is set up the page by registering on Facebook, upload an image of the company logo and they can sit back and watch their user base grow. So what is their advantage to having something like this? Measurability! according to Avinash Kaushik “It would be criminal not to…” Social media spreads like a virus, it slowly creeps along and mutates with every generation. Look at the difference between MySpace and Facebook.  This gives the marketers at Starbucks a major advantage, because not only can the marketers from Starbucks then measure their failures and successes, through web analytics. But as the social media cloud spreads to encompass more users every day, so does the brand engagement that big organizations, like Starbucks, need to continue being profitable into the future.

A Brief History of the Universe…I Mean Web Analytics

October 6th, 2009

Welcome Back one and all to the fourth installment of my wonderful blog. This week we are going to talk a little more about web analytics.  But I want to switch it up a bit and look at how web analytics emerged and evolved into what we have today. More pointedly what Avinash Koushik calls Web Analytics 2.0. So where did we, as marketers, start with web analytics? Well any digital native worth their digital spurs can tell us that. The good old Hit Counter. Remember those things? They used to be able to tell us how many times we had checked our website to see if anyone had visited. Fantastic!! But what did they really tell us? Well from a marketing perspective not a whole lot, but what they did accomplish was to make marketers realize that there was information just waiting to be quantified, analyzed, and assimilated into fantastic marketing practises. This occurred roughly between the years of 1995-2000, at least according to Ballardvale Research.

Once marketers started to realise that there was all of this potentially powerful information for the taking, we started to see companies spring up that analyzed click stream traffic. One of the oldest, and innovative, firms in this field was and is WebTrends. Founded in 1993 they claim to be the developer of Web Analytics. Whether they are or not, I am sure is open to debate. For the sake of argument we will say that they are. WebTrends started with click stream traffic and has grown over the last 26 years to become one of the biggest web analytics corporations in the world. So what happened to web analytics between the years of 2000 to now, well essentially there where a few heady years where companies sprang up one day, and were gone the next. All trying to get a piece of the web analytics pie. But what this really did was to help standardize the industry into a semblance of what it is today. Company structure, practice, and standards started to coalesce into a solid foundation for the advent of web analytics 2.0. Now in todays market there is complete standardization between differing web analytic firms, each offering essentially the same service.

So in essence Web Analytics 1.0 was just the beta stage for marketers. The testing ground where all the bugs are worked out of the system and the best features kept and the vestigial offerings withered and died (or fell off). And web analytics 2.0 is where it really begins. Avinash desribes it as:

Web Analytics 2.0 is:

(1) the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data from your website and the competition,
(2) to drive a continual improvement of the online experience that your customers, and potential customers have,
(3) which translates into your desired outcomes (online and offline).

This is where twenty-odd years of development have led marketers. To a point in time where we can make effective and timely use of the information that we can collect. Just imagine what we can do in another twenty years. In theory one could get real-time data and use that to develop real-time ad campaigns that would be broad cast right to the user within minutes, or better seconds, of their visit to a web site. For marketers this would allow instantaneous marketing. Which, if we read the last two blog posts I made about web analytics, and the digital native goes to show that this is where the future of marketing is going. Parallel ideas and random access thoughts which is going to next wave as the net generation comes into their own is going to require this kind of marketing just to get their attention. So until next week thanks for stopping by and remember, marketers are watching.