“If your company doesn’t have anything to talk about, then you need to work on it,” is the reply Steve Spangler gives to marketers who list no content as the reason why their firms don’t participate in social media. As the CEO of Steve Spangler Science, an e-commerce site and catalog that sells science project experiments and educational toys, Spangler blogs, twitters, runs a Facebook fan page and participates in the overall social media sphere. These efforts are rewarded with 4 percent of the site’s traffic and 12 percent of its sales being generated by the blog alone—no discounting program involved.
In the course of story research, I spend a good deal of time on the Web every day. During my online travels, I’ve come across some wonderful resources that keep me up-to-date on terminology, the current consumer ethos and even postal rates. It recently occurred to me that you might find these sites helpful, too. In the spirit of sharing promulgated by Twitter and Facebook (but stopping short of oversharing), I open up my bookmarks list to you:
In this fast-moving, short attention span era of communication, nothing embodies that high-speed, quick-hitting environment quite like Twitter. The newest social networking fad, Twitter limits all communications to 140 characters or less, giving users the opportunity to quickly hear all about NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal’s latest thoughts on his former team, the Los Angeles Lakers, winning the NBA championship to what your mother is making for dinner.
Vegas.com thought it had a slam dunk. But the travel services Web site headquartered minutes away from the Las Vegas Strip decided to make sure. So this year, the site chose to use direct marketing techniques to promote its sponsorship of the 2009 College Slam Dunk Contest.
According to a recent comScore report, traffic to free online gaming sites grew by 27 percent in 2008, and time spent playing games increased by 42 percent. It's no secret that the role of online games is growing, and marketers understand that games are no longer a marketing afterthought, but rather an integrated part of an entire campaign.
As the Internet gained popularity in the ’90s, Publishers Clearing House recognized this new medium was suited for our business model. While making the transition, we were mindful of the steps necessary to maintain PCH’s brand integrity. What follows are five tips we observed when creating the Publishers Clearing House Online Network.
As an outsider-insider to my clients, my role is often “questioner-in-chief” (to use a borrowed term from management expert Tom Peters). Recently, I was leading a brandstorming session with a financial services client when one of the employees pulled me aside during a break and said, “I didn’t want to ask this question in front of the group because I was afraid it would seem silly …” and then proceeded to ask me a very important and profound question pertinent to our strategic planning work.
Two summers ago, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey was exposed for using a pseudonym to post negative comments about rival organic grocer Wild Oats on Yahoo Finance. At the same time, he was gushing about both his business leadership skills and his company’s value. What some chalked up to a bizarre display of self-aggrandizement, others pegged as unethical and possibly illegal behavior given that Whole Foods went on to purchase Wild Oats. The most important of those “others” is the Federal Trade Commission, which now is reviewing its advertising guidelines that relate to endorsements and testimonials.
Writing about the economic downturn in a direct mail package can be a sensitive subject. To date, only a handful of direct marketers have attempted to do so and gotten it right. You don't want to remind consumers of how bad things are and get them in a penny-pinching state of mind when you are trying to promote your product or service. But if your product or service provides added value to protect consumers during a downturn, then the faltering economy can, in effect, become a selling point.