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“The Spirit and Soul of the 21st Century Marketer”

December 21, 2012

Earlier today Forrester’s Marketing Tech analyst Lori Wizdo opined about Oracle’s acquisition of Eloqua. It can be found here and is a must-read if you currently or plan to leverage tech as part of your marketing mix. But one passage really resonated with us:

Winner:  The spirit and soul of the 21st century B-2-B marketer.

The CMOs and marketing leaders I talk to all seriously get it.  They know they need to completely change their engagement model (what they used to call marketing) to be audience/buyer/customer centric.They know that driving sustained, predictable, profitable revenue growth means that lead value, velocity, and volumes are maximized; and that this has to be done more efficiently and effectively.  They get that this complex set of interrelated goals requires an integrated, holistic process automation approach that spans the marketing, sales, and service organizations of a B2B enterprise.   And they know they don’t have that.  They know they need to meet this tough challenge with a mixed automation toolkit that only makes a challenging job harder.  Hurray!   A knight in shining armor riding a white charger with bright red livery is coming to the rescue.

We love this passage for it reflects much of what we have been discussing over the past year,  in particular:

  • Engagement model is what marketing is all about
  • Marketers must deliver value as defined by “sustained, predictable, profitable revenue growth
  • The way to achieve the above is to manage a “integrated, holistic process automation approach that spans the marketing, sales, and service organizations”
  • This inherently recognizes the increasingly blurred distinction btw the Marketing, Sales and Customer Service functions in most companies.  It comes back to the concept of engagement where-ever they are in the non-linear funnel.

The only thing we would quibble with is the B2B distinction.   We feel this applies equally for B2C marketers.


Paid vs Earned vs Owned Media at-a-Glance

November 24, 2012

Looking for a device to help you visualize the new world of e/social marketing?

We love this graphic describing the interrelationship of Earned, Paid and Owned media as well as the disciplines that own each:

Venn and the Art of Social Media Management

by domlane. Browse more infographics.

What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From The Obama Campaign: Big Data, Social Media and a Risky Bet.

November 9, 2012

Since we are all about winning new markets, we wanted to reflect on the President’s reelection tactics to see if there’s anything we might learn.

Creating awareness, interest, desire and action within your target market is job 1 in sales & marketing and Obama did it better because he won.  We’ve been piecing together unique things that set Obama’s campaign apart and found two stories, published over the past couple of days, that offer fascinating insight for New Market Entrepreneurs.

As the puzzle pieces are beginning to be assembled, this campaign, and– specifically– the marketing tactics it deployed will redefine the business of big-time politics.  It seems like politics is heading the way of  Wall Street… ‘gut decisions’ are being replaced by big data aided by sophisticated quant-jock models.  But as the story shared below will illuminate, none of it would have been possible if not for a gut, bet the house decision by our President re-elect.  Whether you are happy with the election outcome, or in deep despair, there is some great learning here.  {Update 11/10:  Please see the footnote at the end of this post describing new revelations concerning an epic tech-fail in the Romney camp}.

First, let’s start with the end result:  Mitt Romney and most Republican strategists never believed the polling numbers going into Tuesday’s election.  Rather than the neck and neck situation the blended polling suggested, they believed the prize was Romney’s.  In fact, it has been widely reported that Romney was so confident that he would win, he never prepared a concession speech.  But as election results began to come in Tuesday night, a dark fog of stunning despair set in.  The Obama turnout in key swing states far surpassed the Romney Camp’s expectations.  And key-market demographics came out in droves to support their man… in much bigger percentages than the Romney camp predicted in their worst-case scenarios.  To make matters worse, many supporters Romney was counting on never even showed up to vote.

The power of this operation stunned Mr. Romney’s aides on election night, as they saw voters they never even knew existed turn out in places like Osceola County, Fla. “It’s one thing to say you are going to do it; it’s another thing to actually get out there and do it,” said Brian Jones, a senior adviser.

How did Obama do it?  Big Data, Social Media and a risky bet.

Let’s take a look at the first two, Big Data and Social Media.  Followers may recall this post back in June which observed that O was up to something big with social media.  In this post: Great Marketing Whether Or Not You Agree With The Message/Messenger we observed, “Simple messages.  Compelling images.  Clear calls to action.  All are the hallmark of strong web advertising.   Now, coupled with the marketing data machine we recently tweeted about, (story found here)… make no mistake, these ads are showing up with intentionality.  And we bet they are getting huge results.”

Actually, we had no idea.  It was bigger and cooler than we ever imagined.

Time Magazine’s 11/19 issue (I know, who reads Time?!), features a riveting account of the machine behind what we were observing in June.   Inside the Secret World of the Data Crunchers Who Helped Obama Win tells the story of “The Cave”, a sealed top-secret room filled with quant-jocks at Obama’s Chicago HQ, and how they used big data and social medial to identify their target market personas to will the election.  Some excerpts:

In Chicago, the campaign recruited a team of behavioral scientists to build an extraordinarily sophisticated database packed with names of millions of undecided voters and potential supporters. The ever-expanding list let the campaign find and register new voters who fit the demographic pattern of Obama backers and methodically track their views through thousands of telephone calls every night.

That allowed the Obama campaign not only to alter the very nature of the electorate, making it younger and less white, but also to create a portrait of shifting voter allegiances.

Exactly what that team of dozens of data crunchers was doing, however, was a closely held secret. “They are our nuclear codes,” campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt would say when asked about the efforts. Around the office, data-mining experiments were given mysterious code names such as Narwhal and Dreamcatcher. The team even worked at a remove from the rest of the campaign staff, setting up shop in a windowless room at the north end of the vast headquarters office. The “scientists” created regular briefings on their work for the President and top aides in the White House’s Roosevelt Room, but public details were in short supply as the campaign guarded what it believed to be its biggest institutional advantage over Mitt Romney’s campaign: its data.

On Nov. 4, a group of senior campaign advisers agreed to describe their cutting-edge efforts with TIME on the condition that they not be named and that the information not be published until after the winner was declared. What they revealed as they pulled back the curtain was a massive data effort that helped Obama raise $1 billion, remade the process of targeting TV ads and created detailed models of swing-state voters that could be used to increase the effectiveness of everything from phone calls and door knocks to direct mailings and social media.

A large portion of the cash raised online came through an intricate, metric-driven e-mail campaign in which dozens of fundraising appeals went out each day. Here again, data collection and analysis were paramount. Many of the e-mails sent to supporters were just tests, with different subject lines, senders and messages. Inside the campaign, there were office pools on which combination would raise the most money, and often the pools got it wrong. Michelle Obama’s e-mails performed best in the spring, and at times, campaign boss Messina performed better than Vice President Joe Biden. In many cases, the top performers raised 10 times as much money for the campaign as the underperformers.

Chicago discovered that people who signed up for the campaign’s Quick Donate program, which allowed repeat giving online or via text message without having to re-enter credit-card information, gave about four times as much as other donors. So the program was expanded and incentivized. By the end of October, Quick Donate had become a big part of the campaign’s messaging to supporters, and first-time donors were offered a free bumper sticker to sign up.

The magic tricks that opened wallets were then repurposed to turn out votes.

It was this database that helped steady campaign aides in October’s choppy waters, assuring them that most of the Ohioans in motion were not Obama backers but likely Romney supporters whom Romney had lost because of his September blunders. “We were much calmer than others,” said one of the officials. The polling and voter-contact data were processed and reprocessed nightly to account for every imaginable scenario. “We ran the election 66,000 times every night,” said a senior official, describing the computer simulations the campaign ran to figure out Obama’s odds of winning each swing state. “And every morning we got the spit-out — here are your chances of winning these states. And that is how we allocated resources.”


Probably the most impressive of the “quants in the cave” many cutting edge tech tactics was the use of Facebook’s Open Graph (FOP) to their advantage.  We have written extensively about how the FOG is a secret weapon for marketers.   We believe Obama’s quants won him the election with it!  They were able to tap into a myriad of data  of supporters who downloaded the Obama Facebook app as well as their friends and cross reference this data with what they already knew from other databases to refine their marketing.

Online, the get-out-the-vote effort continued with a first-ever attempt at using Facebook on a mass scale to replicate the door-knocking efforts of field organizers. In the final weeks of the campaign, people who had downloaded an app were sent messages with pictures of their friends in swing states. They were told to click a button to automatically urge those targeted voters to take certain actions, such as registering to vote, voting early or getting to the polls. The campaign found that roughly 1 in 5 people contacted by a Facebook pal acted on the request, in large part because the message came from someone they knew.

The other story that will resonate with New Market Entrepreneurs ran the day after the election in the Wall Street Journal.  As entrepreneurs we make bets every day based on imperfect information.  This story lays out the facts behind a bet-the-house decision Obama was asked to make last Spring– and did– to spend almost the entire war chest against conventional wisdom) to go on the offensive to define Mitt Romney on their terms…

One Sunday in May, Mr. Messina, the manager of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign, went to the president along with other top advisers and proposed an unorthodox strategy. The campaign, he said, wanted to spend heavily, starting immediately, on ads blasting away at Republican nominee Mitt Romney.

The idea, explained to the president in a PowerPoint presentation in the Roosevelt Room, was to shape voters’ impressions with a heavy expenditure before Mr. Romney had the money to do it for himself. The plan defied conventional wisdom, which said a campaign should start slowly with a positive message and save money for the stretch run. And it could leave the president exposed later.

“If it doesn’t work, we’re not going to have enough money to go have a second theory in the fall,” Mr. Messina said, according to people in the meeting.

The president gave his approval. And within weeks the Obama campaign was blasting away in a late-spring offensive, forcing Mr. Romney to respond to charges about his business record and personal finances rather than making the president defend his record.

Mr. Obama won his re-election battle, amid persistent economic anxieties, in significant measure because of that bet on defining Mr. Romney early.

Read more–

Key take-aways…   Social media and big-data are changing everything.  While the Obama campaign had over a billion dollars to make it hum, New Market Entrepreneurs operating on lean budgets can take a similar approach and not break the bank.  If you aren’t, there’s probably an “Obama” in your market who is who will kick your butt!   Second, it’s ironic that even in these days of big-data-driven decisions, it still seems that many success stories have as at their essence a big bet based on a gut feeling.   Always trust your gut… especially when you have the best quant-jocks in the business making the recommendation!

Full disclosure:  I am one of those who is in deep despair over this election.  But I believe in giving credit where it is due. 
Update: 11/10-  Since publishing this post several accounts have surfaced regarding a Team-Romney project code-named Orca that appears to be the polar opposite of the ‘Quants-in-the-Cave’.  Read here, and here for well documented accounts of the Orca ‘mobile app that wasn’t’ and how it caused chaos on election day get out to vote efforts.

B2B Marketing Key Success Factors

November 3, 2012

Below is an excellent infographic entitled “The B2B lead-gen Manifesto”, published by a landing page technology platform, Unbounce.   Along with the infographic, Unounce published some great Key Success Factor (KSFs) Nuggets for B2B marketers looking to step up their game via Content Marketing summarized here.  But we strongly encourage you to click over to check it out.

First, some somewhat surprising stats:

  • 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales
  • Nurturing leads make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads
  • 85% of people would rather provide an email for an ebook vs. paying with a tweet
  • Companies that use Twitter get 2x the number of leads per month
  • 64% of decision-makers read their email via mobile devices

Next, some KSFs:

  • Principle #1. Thou Shalt Create Content that helps people achieve greater success for their business and will be willing to share their personal data for.
  1. eBooks and whitepapers: Help to establish you as a thought leader which can lead you the acquisition of customers.
  2. Blogging: Your lead can be in the form of an RSS subscriber.
  3. Videos: Add a CTA at the end.
  4. Infographics: Highly shareable content can give you greater brand exposure. Couple them with some surrounding content (like this post) and link to a landing page to generate leads.
  5. Webinars: Leverage well-known experts and co-marketing to bring in special guests from other companies to add to the desire factor.
  • Principle #2. Thou Shalt Optimize Your Lead Gen Pages.  The simplest rule to learn here is that every lead gen form – or the page it’s on – can be better. This is where A/B testing and conversion rate optimization come into play. If you’re part of an in-house marketing team or agency, you can break up the optimization workflow between your team members.  Things to test to achieve higher conversions on your B2B lead gen pages:
  1. The size of the prize: Match the perceived value of your giveaway with that of the level of data you’re asking for. I.e. don’t have a form with 10 required fields for a 5 page eBook.
  2. Try before you buy: This is a proven technique used repeatedly in B2C circles (think of Amazon’s “Look Inside”), so why not use it for your B2B campaigns? Add trust to your page by offering a totally free preview of the best section.
  3. Social proof: If you’re advertising a webinar, show a live count of registrants to encourage herd mentality. Also get your Marketing Manager to reach out for customer testimonials.
  4. A/B test your pages: Continually come up with new hypothesis to test against your original page.
  • Principle #3. Thou Shalt Market After the Conversion.  Confirmation pages are a highly neglected conversion hotspot that should be taken advantage of while your lead is at their warmest. This is known as post-conversion lead generation.
  1. For webinars: People get busy, forget, or have to attend meetings, so they inevitably miss webinars. In the case of Dan Zarrella’s world record breaking webinar (31,100 regis.trants) – 65% of registrants didn’t show up. But don’t let this be the end of the story, you now have a list of business leads, so follow up with a recording and invite them to your next event
  2. Give a bonus: To make people feel extra special, give them something else after they convert, such as another eBook.
  3. Social sharing and following: The confirmation page is the place to put your sharing and follow widgets, it removes clutter and distractions from your landing page.
  • Principle #4 – Thou Shalt Embrace the Mobile Market
  1. Make your CTA buttons big enough for fat fingers
  2. Don’t send ANYONE to a homepage: All that nudging and stretching on a smartphone is annoying and makes people hit the back button
  3. Keep your forms short: Tolerance for typing on mobile devices is low
  4. Click to call: If your prospects need a little handholding, have a clickable phone number as well as the form
  • Principle #5. Thou Shalt Nurture Your Leads.  A common marketing expression is that you should sell the fire, not the fire extinguisher. In other words, use a soft sell approach. You can do this via email by sending useful content to your leads to keep them engaged and looking at you as a subject matter expert. Over time this will create the persuasion required to turn a fence-sitter into a customer.

-read more-


Source: via Mike on Pinterest

Getting Product Right Is Imperative. But Don’t Diss Marketing!

October 20, 2012

For most New Market Entrepreneurs in the Tech space, it is religion that success is about building great product that both delights and solves real problems.  Until you do that, then nothing else matters.   That’s why most start-ups in their early days are staffed 100% with product-focused people.   But after version 1  is built, there seems to be a divergence of opinion.

Some will argue you never need anything else because good product will go viral and your users will become your sales and marketing minions… for free!  Others have the opinion that once the product is right and the concept is proven from a business model perspective– it’s time to fill the marketing tank with VC cash to fund the evangelization phase of the company’s development.  We’ve seen countless examples of both scenarios working great and also flaming out miserably.

But because we are Entrepreneurial Product and Marketing guys we think there’s an important yin/yang to this equation where both work hand-in hand.  We have shared our thoughts where great product has marketing built-in via intuitive social sharing features.  We have also echoed the important ideas of people like Steve Blank and others who passionately share the agile development philosophy that product and customer development is continuous:

For Product and Marketing-driven Entrepreneurs, there is inspiration:   The Secret Behind Pinterest’s Growth Was Marketing, Not Engineering, Says CEO Ben Silbermann

Pinterest, which CEO Ben Silbermann describes as a tool that helps people find inspiration, is now the third-largest source of referral traffic on the Internet.

But growth wasn’t easy for the company, Silbermann told a rapt audience at Y Combinator’s Startup School at Stanford University on Saturday.

The way Pinterest grew had little to do with Silicon Valley wisdom. It was about marketing — mostly grassroots marketing — not better algorithms.

In 2010, three months after Pinterest launched, the site had only 3,000 users. But some of them were active users, and those people loved the site — and both of those categories included Silbermann himself.

“Instead of changing the product, I thought maybe I could just find people like me,” he said.

So Pinterest started to have meet-ups at local boutiques, and to take fun pictures of people who attended them, and to engage with bloggers to do invitation campaigns like “Pin It Forward,” where bloggers got more invites to the site by spreading the world.

Silbermann said he realized the strategy might just be working when he heard people at a meetup having real conversations with each other about their creative projects, rather than the BS that might come from a superficial relationship on Twitter or Facebook.

“A lot of people in Silicon Valley didn’t get, and I don’t know if they still get, Pinterest,” Silbermann said. “The fact that it made sense to someone is what really mattered to me.”

Still, Silbermann added that he himself thought for a while that the secret to Pinterest’s growth woes would be finding some undiscovered Stanford grad student to build a better algorithm.

But ultimately, Pinterest didn’t need better engineering, said Silbermann. It needed better distribution.

Every month we find ourselves in similar product vs. marketing conversations with clients, consulting prospects as well as among ourselves over our own start-up projects.  In web tech, product and customer experience is indeed king.  However, we see time and time again that ‘distribution’ is no less than Prime Minister if not the wealthy benefactor funding the king.

Social Logins and Why You Need Them

October 18, 2012

When you register on a website or mobile app via social login do you use a social network or identity provider like Google or Yahoo?  Increasingly, many people are for a variety of reasons not least of which is speed and the ability to bypass remembering which username/password combo you used next time you visit.  In fact, recent research shows 77% of people prefer social login to outdated registration processes.  And similar research shows that 86% of people say they may leave a site if asked to register the traditional way.   (source is here for both those stats)  This becomes particularly true for mobile user sessions that require registration.   Who wants to fill in all that info using their mobile phone keys?

Also increasingly sites that require registration, from ecommerce, to content and everything in between are making the social login option available.  Why?

The answer is easy.  It’s all about the data.  As we have discussed many time in the recent past, Facebook’s Open graph opens a multitude of opportunities for New Market Entreprenuers.  Among them, it allows facebook members to register on your site which also allows you to gain access to a plethora of their social data (of course, you must ask permission.)  Twitter and Linked in offer similar pass alongs.   The more you know about your site’s visitors, the better you can engage them, using social media, email or just good ol’ fashioned customer service calls.

We recently discovered some great data showing the trends for social registration thanks to Janrain.  Each quarter, they analyze social login and social sharing preferences across all of their customer websites.   Take a look at the data below and click here for the report (which shares additional data by vertical).  One thing is clear, Facebook dominates the social login world.  At a billion members strong, there should be little doubt.

For the first time ever since Janrain began analyzing such data nearly three years ago, Facebook’s popularity as a chosen provider for social login eclipsed 50%.  That said, a nearly equivalent percentage of people would rather use a different social identity, such as Google, Twitter or Yahoo!, to log in to sites across the web. When it comes to social login, people want choice. 

Q3 2012 Social Login Breakdown

Facebook’s share of social logins has increased steadily during the past three years.  Facebook’s 6% growth compared to Q2 2012 primarily came at the expense of Google, whose share dropped from 30% in Q2 to 25% in Q3.  And while Twitter’s share has not flourished at quite the rate we expected three years ago, Twitter checked in at 10% share of social logins in Q3, which is an all-time quarterly high for the network.

Q3 2012 Social Login Trends

Mobile Social Login Trends

Mobile Q3 2012 Social Login Trends

On mobile applications, Facebook saw a big jump in popularity as a social login provider in Q3, while Google experienced a small decline.  Not surprisingly, these trends closely mimic desktop web preferences.

Social Share Trends

Q3 2012 Social Share Trends

Social sharing is not just for sharing articles anymore. People are now able to share comments, purchases, reviews and other content from the web to their social networks. As a result, social networks have become a recommendation engine for web users. As we all suspect, Facebook and Twitter are far and away the most popular networks for sharing, but LinkedIn and Yahoo! maintain preference on niche sites that are catered to their audience (B2B sites for LinkedIn, as an example). During the past year, Twitter has rivaled Facebook, with nearly 40% of people preferring to share content they interact with across the web to their Twitter stream.  It’s also worth noting that, since Janrain introduced the capability to support sharing via email to Gmail contacts in June 2012, we are already seeing adoption within that channel.  2% of all sharing activity on the Janrain platform occurred via Gmail in Q3, a trend that we expect will only increase over time given the continued popularity of email as a preferred channel for sharing.

If your New Market project includes the registration requirement, we strongly urge you to look into the social registration option.

DAZZMOBILE, a LaunchPad Startup, Announces First Mobile App Releases

October 12, 2012

We are excited to announce that a LaunchPad start-up company, DAZZMOBILE released its first two Showdazz Event-Mobile apps to the Apple and Android app stores!

DAZZMOBILE is taking a unique approach to event mobile.  Whether for consumer (Fandazz) or business (Showdazz) or anything in between, we believe mobile apps must facilitate deep, enriching engagement before, during and after the event.

DAZZMOBILE is proud to be working with Deltek and Software AG as our first Showdazz customers!  While these apps are attendee-only private, they signify a new set of feature-function capabilities focusing on interactive engagement including games, gamification (point accumulation), trivia and much, much more.

Selected DeltekInsight Screenshots


                                             see us in in GooglePlay or iTunes

Selected SAG ProcessWorld  Screenshots


                       see this app in GooglePlay, iPhone version coming soon. 

More about DAZZMOBILE & Showdazz

Showdazz  is designed for business-focused events from trade shows to customer forums and everything in between. ShowDazz delivers experiential solutions that fully embrace the power of a connected mobile audience in a way that captures the unique essence of the event.

All events are not created equal.  We know this.  We produce them .  What Trade Shows, User Conferences, Sales Meetings and Industry Conferences have in common is the need to attract and engage attendees and offer enough value to make them want to return and bring their friends and colleagues.  From here, the similarities end.  In fact every event is unique.  No trade show is alike.  No user conference is similar.

Enter mobile and social technology! New ballgame, baby!  Our custom branded social / mobile platform + content can uniquely engage attendees by offering a bevy of integrated smartphone, desktop, and experiences designed to elevate involvement and attendee engagement.   And our platform + content approach assures your event’s ‘snowflake uniqueness’ will be captured, defined, and celebrated.  But it doesn’t stop there.

Business event administrators have a myriad of technology point solutions at their disposal to manage registration, lead retrieval, multi-media, scheduling, polling and more. But that’s the problem!  Disparate solutions are hard to implement, manage, and get attendees to engage with.

In a marketplace jam-packed with one-off solutions, let DAZZMOBILE show you how we can springboard you toward offering your attendees, exhibitors, speakers and sponsors a platform that tracks and engages like no other.

What sets DAZZMOBILE  apart is our 25+ year heritage in event production– creating and implementing strategies to better engage live audiences–  and the unique set of insights and execution skills this experience brings.  While we have leveraged technology for decades, we are not a technology company attempting to push the same cookie cutter across the universe.  Instead, we are a content company that brings a unique ability to harness the power of today’s mobile technology, combine it with interactive content and social sharing / discovery to deliver powerful, monetizable audience engagement experiences.

Want to know more? get in touch.  Email mike at or click here to get to our site contact form.

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