Saturday, June 23, 2012

Will Facebook Go the Way of Yesterday's Yahoo? This Expert Says “For Sure.”

Facebook will lose dominance as a major Web company in less than a decade, Eric Jackson, founder of Ironfire Capital said in a June 4 video interview broadcast on CNBC's Squawk on the Street.

"In five to eight years they are going to disappear in the way that Yahoo has disappeared," Jackson said. "Yahoo is still making money, it's still profitable, still has 13,000 employees working for it, but it's 10 percent of the value that it was at the height of 2000. For all intents and purposes, it's disappeared."

Jackson assumes that Facebook will not be able to evolve any better.

“When you look at Web companies … there have been three generations of Web companies over the last 15 years: Web portals, social Web, and, currently, companies that are purely focused on Mobile (phones or tablets)…. No matter how successful you are in one generation, you don’t seem to be able to translate that into success in the second generation, no matter how much money you have in the bank or how many smart PhDs you have working for you."

Jackson forecasts Mobile as Facebook's Achilles heel. "I think Facebook will have the same sort of challenge moving into Mobile … The world is moving faster. It’s getting more competitive, not less, and those who were dominant in their prior generation are really going to have a hard time moving into this newer generation."

Google, too, will struggle, Jackson predicts. "Specifically, with Google, in five to ten years, the world of typing into a blue box on your desktop PC to get search terms? That’s going away. In the world of mobile, search is far less profitable for Google."

How can a company with 900 million subscribers disappear? It won't. "I think Facebook is NOT going bankrupt … but something new is coming along that we haven’t seen yet probably… People will be fascinated by it and attracted to it …[As for Facebook] what makes you successful in generation one, doesn’t make you successful in generation two. [In the world of mobile], Facebook is still a big fat website.”

-- Scrubbed by Marketing Brillo
Source: Cadie Thompson, Technology Editor,

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Why Associations Should be Afraid, Very Afraid

A few weeks ago, I blogged about how free flowing content exchange on the Internet -- both video and written --  is striking a blow at the heart of what trade and non-profit associations have offered members for so long: industry-specific information, straight from experts. 

Today, I find out that the Internet also is attacking another major association strength: networking with peers.

When I signed on to LinkedIn this morning, I had an invitation from Citi® to join "Connect" their "premiere network for professional women." In the words of the "invitation," Citi® and LinkedIn are teaming up to bring you a premier group experience designed specifically for professional women that provides career advice and networking opportunities.

How much does that sound like a typical "Join our association" pitch? Except for one thing: it's free.

So, really, why wouldn't I accept this invitation? It could have some benefits. And it costs me nothing to find out.

I hadn't envisioned Citi® partnering with LinkedIn, which goes to show that the CMO at Citi is a lot smarter than I am and tells me that big players (like banks and financial institutions) will continue to refine social media marketing -- using it, in this case, to bypass traditional "associations" and involve themselves directly in the networking and social activities of prospective clients (women).

So how might this work? One dimension of the Citi/LinkedIn effort assists the formation of geographically aligned "small groups," to wit: Network in Your Neighborhood. Does anybody care to network in their neighborhood? Apparently, yes, says their pitch. "A number of you have expressed interest in meeting up with women from Connect who live near you ... If you want to start a group or are looking for one, use this discussion to let us know where you are!"

LinkedIn is a brilliant partner in this effort, of course, because it possesses a superior database of exactly the individuals Citi® wants to reach. Databases, of course, lie at the heart of all social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Flickr, StumbleUpon, ad nauseum.

Talk about effective direct marketing! Really, it doesn't get much better than this.

Expect more of the same ... much more.

-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

Monday, June 18, 2012

Smart Marketers Are Already Mastering Gamification. Should You Be Playing?

According to, 50% of Facebook log-ins are specifically to play games like Farmville, Zynga Poker, and Words with Friends.

Yes, we love ourselves some games -- and smart marketers are using the gaming passion two ways:

1. To increase efficiency, customer loyalty, and engagement
2. To improve results in marketing campaigns.

Gamification is the term being used to describe this use of traditional game mechanics in non-game businesses.

According to Gartner Group, gamification is the newest type of loyalty marketing. The analyst firm predicts that by 2015, a gamified service for consumer goods, marketing, and customer retention will become as important to companies’ marketing engagement efforts as Facebook and Twitter. Gartner further predicts that in less than three years, more than 70% of Global 2000 organizations will have at least one gamified application. 

Among respondents to the Acxiom/Loyalty 360 survey, only 14% of respondents already use gamification in their customer retention efforts, but nearly one-third (29%) plan to add gamification. At the time of the survey, more than half (56%) said they have no plan to try ramification and will be putting their resources elsewhere. Ha! We'll see about that ...

The Gamification Summit, which is meeting in San Francisco tomorrow through Wednesday, notes that "Gamification is radically changing the way companies do business, driving unprecedented engagement with customers, employees and stakeholders."

The gamification blog notes that enterprise gamification designers and marketers face a unique set of challenges. "We must advocate for the concept and win budget," says Tyler Altrup -- who also says that gamification is a marketers' business, not the stuff of platform managers.

Altrup describes four familiar marketing steps for good design/marketing gamification : set goals, define behaviors, establish rewards/incentives, and -- listen up: here's the key point -- framing the result according to status. "Every gamification program must be framed as a component of a meaningful status for the user," he says.

For more about gamification in the marketing context, check in with this video from Bunchball's founder and chief product officer, Rajat Paharia.

Game on!

-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Seven Design Tips for Your "Call to Action"

Magdalena Georgieva who blogs for Hubspot has written Mastering the Design and Copy of Calls-to-Action, a great little primer with tried-and-true (and easy) tips.

Here are seven design strategies that encourage action:
  1. Make it big 'cause you want to get noticed.
  2. Use "special effects" that grab attention: color, contrast, white space.
  3. Feature the call-to-action above the fold so readers don't have to hunt.
  4. Make your call-to-action button stand out by using a contrasting color.
  5. Try interactive effects like the hover animation or zoom-in/zoom-out.
  6. Try unconventional shapes (rare, asymmetrical, out-of-the-ordinary) to capture the eye.
  7. Point to the call by using arrows, eyeballs, or any other graphic that forces the visitor to look.

Download Hubspot's Free Guide to Mastering the Design and Copy of Calls-to-Action here.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Why Direct Marketers Should Not Fear Mobile

by *Jason Wells

Mobilemarketing is taking over the marketing world. It is getting huge. There is nothing you, or I, or anyone in the direct marketing world can do to stop it. Here are some facts to consider:

• 91% of all U.S. citizens have their mobile phones within arms-reach 24/7 – Source: Morgan Stanley, 2011.
• It takes 90 minutes for the average person to respond to an email. It takes 90 seconds for the average person to respond to a text message – Source:, 2011.
• There are roughly 7 billion people on the planet. 5.1 billion own a mobile phone. 4.2 billion own a toothbrush – Source: Mobile Marketing Association Asia, 2011. 
• 7 out of 10 mobile searchers take action within one hour – Source: Mobile Marketer, 2011.
• Mobile Internet usage will surpass desktop Internet usage by 2013 or 2014 - Source: Google, 2012. 
• 90% of mobile searches lead to action, over half leading to purchase - Source: Google
• 70% of mobile searches lead to action within one hour. 70% of online searches lead to action within one month - Source: Mobile Marketer, 2011.

And because of these fairly mind-blowing statistics, many in the traditional marketing world—especially direct mail—are, frankly, feeling some fear. We talk to direct mail firms, publishers, and even online marketers that feel some serious trepidation about the vast unknown universe of mobile marketing.
They see the marketing world turning to mobile and not returning to more traditional directresponse methods of marketing. This concern is not unfounded.

But, our message is simple: Rather than being afraid of mobile, traditional marketers should view mobile as an opportunity, not a challenge. Traditional direct marketers are uniquely positioned to succeed at mobile. Why? Here are some reasons:

1. Same Concepts – Traditional direct marketers understand the basic concepts of mobile marketing. Think about it. Mobile marketing demands—and often produces—an actual response. Its primary purpose isn’t branding or public relations. Sound familiar?

Direct marketers who know nothing about mobile marketing already know more about it than they think. Direct marketers ‘get’ mobile. It is marketers that are concerned with branding, public relations or merely driving web traffic that ought to be concerned. Direct marketers, on the other hand, already understand how mobile works.

2. Targeted Focus – Mobile works because it is hyper-targeted, location-based, focused on reaching the correct group of people. Mobile succeeds because it can focus on people most likely to buy and then measure results. Sound familiar?

3. Same Goals - The goal of a mobile marketing campaign is a phone call or a text message—in other words, a response. Similarly the goal of any direct marketing campaign is a response.

4. Vast Opportunity for Integration – Because there is so much commonality between traditional direct marketing and mobile marketing, there is a great opportunity for integration. Direct mail firms, for example, could set up automated textback to mobile callers, thanking them for calling, or even giving them a specific mobile offer. (Imagine being able to offer something like that to clients).

Online marketers should create a mobile website and optimize their landing pages for mobile search. (And, if you did this you’d be at the forefront of innovation. Google says that 79% of marketers still don’t have a mobile site of any kind). And if your not ready to go totally mobile, you can test mobile microsites and landing pages for specific campaigns as an alternative to rolling out a full mobile site.

Don’t Fear the Mobile Beast
My point here is simple: Of all the people in the marketing world, direct marketers have the most to gain from the mobile marketing explosion. You share the same concepts as mobile. You share the same goals. You share the same desire to measure and demonstrate success and to target focused and highly selected groups.
So, even though mobile is a beast, view it as a friendly beast. A beast you can tame if you are prepared.

*Jason Wells is the CEO of ContactPoint. Their new product, LogMyCalls, represents the next generation of intelligent call tracking and marketing automation. Prior to joining ContactPoint, Jason served as the Senior Vice President of Sony International, where he led the creation and international expansion of Sony’s mobile business line from London. Jason has spoken on marketing topics at SES New York, SES Toronto, Ad Tech, Digital Hollywood, Nokia World, CTIA and elsewhere. He holds an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. To read Jason’s work please add LogMyCalls to your Google+ circles and follow them on Twitter.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

In a Flourish of Solopreneurship, This Artist Uses Social Media to Sell Direct

Dora Woodrum's Twitter introduction says, "Hello! My name is Dora. I am a contemporary abstract artist from Cleveland, Ohio. I paint original abstract and contemporary paintings, landscapes, and much more. to view my painting please take a look at my website:"

I don't know Dora personally. I do know that, according to Twitter, she has 31,092 followers, but follows only 7,646. Granted, automated progams like TwitterListBuilder or TweetBuilder can put anybody's count through the roof, but, in my observation, that particular Twit game generally ends up with equal parts follower and following. So, Dora would appear to be playing the social media game rather well.

She also has a Facebook page: Dora Woodrum Art. There you'll find photos and evidence of the 1,354 "likes" her page has garnered. So, yes, somebody has been efficiently building this gal's online presence.

Meanwhile, her LinkedIn profile notes that 11 of her paintings will be seen in Hello, I Must Be Going, a Sundance film festival pick scheduled to be released in theaters September 7, 2012. Impressive!

Maybe selling art on Twitter works for Dora Woodrum and maybe it doesn't. Online art and craft sales have worked for Etsy's 800,000 storekeepers since 2005, so why shouldn't creatives of all ilk go directly to the source of buyers? Certainly, Dora Woodrum appears successful and -- for certain -- her follow persuaded me to both follow-back and check out her website. And write this blog.

In short, thanks Dora, for showing others that solopreneurs with products to sell can tweak the social media model to work for them.

--Scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

Monday, June 4, 2012

Is the US Postal Service Poised To Become A Direct Marketing Competitor?

Since January 1, the USPS has broken ground on a number of new projects, including its controversial Every Door Direct Mail service that seeks to work directly with small businesses to help them prospect new and existing customers.

Does that sounds like something a direct mail firm might do?

Paul Vogel
In the latest move, on May 15 the USPS circulated an internal memo announcing that it is creating a Digital Solutions group to be headed by Paul Vogel, who is moving from his position as USPS president and chief marketing/sales officer to become president of the new digital solutions initiative.

Taking over Vogel's old position is no less than Coca-cola's new growth platforms executive Nagisa Manabe, who, before Coke, was vice president of marketing for Diageo Guinness USA Inc. (think Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff, Guinness). She's definitely qualified for the job but, unlike Vogel who worked his way up the USPS ladder from clerk/carrier, Manabe is and always has been a marketer. In addition to Diageo, her heavy product development and branding experience includes stints at Procter and Gamble, Johnson and Johnson, Unilever, and Campbell Soup.

Does this sound like somebody a direct marketing firm might hire?

Hey, strangled by Congress with a ridiculous requirement to stockpile 75 years of health pension funds for future retirees, I don't blame the USPS for going after every mailing, gopost shipping, and marketing dollar it can find. I wish the USPS a smooth ride in staying afloat.

I'm just wondering though, if maybe, the USPS is seeing the advantage in being much more "direct" [if you know what I mean] .. and, ultimately, what that might mean to commercial mailers.

-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Copywriting <---- Still Great After All These Years

Lois Geller's March 22 post on AmEx Open Forum focuses on reasons why fundraisers in particular get such good results. Geller suggests that this group of copywriters has a “way with direct mail” that trumps commercial marketing copy. 

Her article had produced 46 comments when I checked this morning. That’s pretty good and definitely worth a point-to from Marketing Brillo. Here are some of the tried-and-true copywriting rules that Geller says many fundraisers follow:

• Use enevelopes rather than postcards
• Apply simple, easy-to-read layouts that feature lots of white space and large type.
• Make letters very personal in terms of a relevant storytelling style.
• Always include a premium.
• Keep letter copy as long as it needs to be.
• Feature testimonials.
• Write from one human being to another.

Commenters were enthusiastic; for example this power-packed gem from Michael McCormick built on Geller's theme. “Write a great brief with plenty of background info. Figure out your marketing allowable. Get a pro to do the creative. Spend most of your time on lists and offer. Test, track, fine tune and roll out. It’s like having your own a key to the mint."

Mike Taubleb added, “I hope all the email marketing whizzes will consider the lessons of direct mail can still apply, whether it's testing, testimonials, multiple calls to action, writing in a human voice and not relying on the lowest common denominator. I'm much more likely to open physical mail these days, because I get less than in the past. When I do physical mailings to prospects and clients, I've experienced very high response for the same reason. I have much less patience with emails.

-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

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