Online Marketing

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Pull Marketing

The following is an examination of the overarching, marketing technique known as "Pull Marketing."  I refer to it as an "overarching" technique as it is an overall method as opposed to a specific tactic. 

My reasons for discussing pull marketing stem from a variety of perspectives I have on the subject.

Marketing Executive

First, as an executive in a marketing agency I hear this term used at times in reference to individual executions and at times as the focus of an overall campaign.  It is a term we throw around frequently, at times attaching it to work that truly exemplifies the term and at times to elements that really only loosely apply.  We are all aware of the importance of pull versus push marketing as well as just how difficult it can be to design and execute a proper pull campaign.

Independent Internet Marketer

The second perspective from which I contemplate the term pull marketing is as an independent Internet Marketer, conceiving, developing and marketing information products and software.  In the world of IM (Internet Marketing) we are seeing more and more pull marketing being employed, even if the specific term is not applied to it.  When one considers the fact that the vast majority of the Internet (even the hidden Internet) is made up of freely available information accessible to just about everyone wanting to access it… we realize the Internet is a near perfect pull marketing medium.

When one examines the most successful marketing campaigns (that is multi-million dollar campaigns that took place within the incestuous little IM world) of recent months it becomes very apparent that they were built upon the provision of high-quality, in-demand, free content.  The ultimate buyers of the programs and products being offered were drawn to the "answers" to their problems that were being made available in audio and video.  By the time the product being sold was made available it was all folks could do to keep from being cut to ribbons by the frenzy of credit cards that were all but thrown at the sellers.

I could go on talking about just this one perspective for quite a while… but am going to save that for a latter installment of this examination.

The Consumer

Now, on to perspective three which would be as the consumer.

This aspect requires close and in my opinion immediate examination as the landscape of advertising and marketing is now changing rapidly.  Never before have advertisers had so many channels through which to disseminate their messages.  Likewise, never before have consumers been hit with such a deluge of messages.  

The marketplace has never been as crowded as it is today, with an unprecedented number of products and services vying for our attention.

We are all painfully aware of the volume of email (much of it unsolicited) that hits our inbox each and every day.  That is just one single channel.

The traditional media channels such as mail, print, radio and television are all but clogged up with advertising messages that are constantly thrust in prospects’ faces.  Add in a variety of marketing mediums on the Internet such as banners, pay per click advertising, video, audio etc. and it is really almost overwhelming.

The majority of this marketing is push marketing and often very aggressive push marketing.

Here is where the problems arise as the natural reaction to this constant bombardment is consumers becoming more and more savvy and more and more jaded. 

In plain terms, people learn not to look at the right hand column on a set of Google search results.

The immediate reaction of most advertisers when push messages are becoming overlooked is to look for alternate channels through which they can push their message, or they simply stay right where they are and… just push even harder.   The bottom line on this is consumers are getting pretty damned sick of it all and will seek out Tivo-like solutions to employ wherever and whenever possible.

Seems to me a change needs to come about which is all but screaming out for pull marketing methodology.

The Psychology Behind It

The final perspective from which I will examine pull marketing is from a psychological standpoint (yes, besides expertise in marketing, and being a trained chef, I also hold degrees in both Psychology and Biology).

I will not even start into a discussion regarding the psychology involved in pull marketing right now as this post is already getting lengthy.  Suffice it to say, I will cover it in great detail later on as I personally find it fascinating and I feel full understanding of the mechanisms in place and the forces at work is critical to being able to properly harness and use pull marketing effectively.

The image at the very top of this post is a reflection of what can happen when pull marketing is properly used.  A virtual avalanche of attention can result that ultimately may be all but impossible to stop.  It starts with a single attraction and snowballs as more and more

My goal in this series is to answer a base set of questions within the framework of these various perspectives:

  • What is it really?
  • How does it work?
  • Where is it being used?
  • How can I use it?

Please feel free to share your own comments, thoughts and questions on this topic as we go.

Onward & Upward!

Sam Knoll

Filed under Blog, General Musings, Offline Marketing, Online Marketing by  #

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Hmmm, I just finished reading an article distributed by the AP regarding Google’s ad revenue this last January.

Yes, they still had 532 million paid clicks in their system in January but that was a full million lower than the same period last year.

Why did this happen?

The immediate conclusion is that a slump in the economy has caused everyone across the country to do a little less clicking. 

Now wait a second though…if I recall correctly it doesn’t cost any of us a penny to click a link does it? 

Yes, it costs the advertiser (the clickee) whatever they bid but it doesn’t cost the clicker anything.  Yes, if people are tightening their belts some then maybe they aren’t shopping as actively, hence fewer clicks. 

But then there are still more people on the Internet now than ever before and a greater percentage of them have highspeed connections which translates into ease of surfing.  Seems to me there should then be MORE clicks not less.

So why then would a shift in the economy bring about fewer clicks?

A change in Internet users interaction
with the right hand side of the search page.

Maybe it has nothing at all to do with the economy and everything to do with a change in Internet users interaction with the right hand side of the search page (as well as those Google ads all over Adsense sites).  Maybe people are becoming a little more jaded when it comes to ads on the Internet and are glazing right over them in greater numbers than they have previously.  Maybe what we are seeing is the beginning of the end, as Google’s ads start to go the way of the banner!

I have been in this game long enough that I am aware banners can still be effective when used properly.  The bottom line though is that banners are nowhere even close to being as effective now as they were 5-10 years ago.

Let’s stop for a moment and look at this from 3,000 feet.  In the big picture of things Google’s ads are effective because of the sheer numbers to whom they are served plus the fact that they are in context with the topics for which people are searching.  It is pretty smart in the way it works and I for one can attest that it can be extremely effective, efficient and profitable when used correctly.

That being so, lets go up a bit higher, say 5,000 feet, and look at what Google is doing in terms of basic advertising principles.

Basically, Google is facillitating all of their users being able to stick their ads out there in front of any and everyone visiting google’s search results.

In short, Google is PUSHing their users marketing message in front of people.

This is one example of a classic concept called "Push Marketing."

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The bottom line is you are pushing your ad in front of people.

Now, what is your reaction to the prospect of having a marketing message pushed at you?

Do you think that maybe, just maybe, over time you might start having an averse reaction to being PUSHed around?

Here’s my take on this whole thing from 10,000 feet…

Consumers, heck just plain web surfers who aren’t even in shopping let alone buying mode, are getting tired of having marketing messages pushed to them and have, and will continue to change their reactions to such advertising.

Push advertising is not going to go away but the folks who start to diverge from it are the ones who will start enjoying the real success.

What is the alternative besides push marketing?

The answer is:

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Yes, instead of pushing our message under prospects noses… what if we generate content, products, services, etc. that will PULL them in.

Why not serve up exactly what they want to the point where they all but can’t help look for what it is that they can buy from you?

PULL marketing is powerful now and my
prediction is that it will rapidly become
the way of the successful marketer.

That’s all for now though.  

We’ll talk about PULL marketing next, what it really is, and get into some great applications and examples of it.

Until then…

Onward & Upward!

Sam Knoll

 

Filed under Blog, General Musings, Online Marketing by  #

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I’ve just launched my newest software application.

The name of it is The Ultimate Exit Popup and it is pulling in great reviews.

This is a super, easy to use desktop application that enable anyone to add unblockable exit popups to their pages in just five simple steps… taking less than 60 seconds.

The main sales page is located at www.ultimateexitpopup.com and the "Advanced version" which comes with Master Resell and Rebranding rights is available here: UltimateExitPopup Advanced (there is a special offer on the advanced given to all buyers of the personal edition).

I’ll be adding a demonstration video to the sales site in the next few days and I’ll also post it here as well.

That’s all for now.

Onward & Upward!

Sam Knoll

Filed under Blog, General Musings, Online Marketing, Software by  #

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Ok, I’ve decided to ramp things up a bit here.

A good while ago I made available a video and ebook set that detail a little known technique that I and a handful of other marketers use to identify potential Super Affiliates to promote our products and services through the roof.

In the past I only made this available as a pretty sizeable download.

You can still get it that way if you like, but now I have also decided to make it available streaming as well.

So, without further ado here it is:

 

 

Filed under Blog, Gifts from Sam, How To..., Online Marketing by  #

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Ah yes, Web 2.0 or as the uninitiated call it at times… Web two dot oh.

The answer to the question "What is it?" will be vastly different depending from what segment of the business world the respondent comes.  According to Wikipedia, web 2.0 is defined the following way:

The phrase Web 2.0 is a trend in web design, development and can refer to a perceived second generation of web-based communities and hosted services — such as social-networking sites, wikis, and folksonomies — which aim to facilitate creativity, collaboration, and sharing between users.

In short it is the next step in the evolution of the Internet. 

Web 2.0 websites allow users to do more than just retrieve information. They can build on the interactive facilities of "Web 1.0" to provide "Network as platform" computing, allowing users to run software-applications entirely through a browser.  Users can own the data on a Web 2.0 site and exercise control over that data.

Web 2.0 web sites tend to have an "Architecture of participation" encouraging users to add value to the application as they use it.  These newer web sites also very often include  social-networking aspects which facilitate further growth as conversations arise between users.

This stands in contrast to older, more traditional websites which limit visitors to viewing and whose content only the site’s owner could modify.

No one would deny that social media and the interactivity with new websites is BIG and will only get bigger.

The next question that most businesses are asking is how can I incorporate and leverage social media and web 2.0.

These days I find myself in a unique position as I’ve spent the last 5 years now operating in that wonderfully incestuous and competitive world know as Internet Marketing.  One of the most exciting aspects of that community is the fact that it keeps itself, and all of us in it, on the forefront of new technology and ideas.  As soon as a new concept comes out there is a great clambering as people dash to figure out how they can take advantage of it for financial gain.

I have also now spent the last 7½ months working as the Director (the actual title is "Commander") of Analytics and Internet Strategy for a marketing firm called The Republik

(Stick with me because this is where it gets interesting.)

What I am getting to do is apply all of the wonderful Internet Marketing tactics and technology to relatively traditional companies Internet Properties and strategies.  In many cases, these companies have a web site because they know they should have one and that is it.  The problem is they most likely paid a lot more than they should have to get what is more often than not, an attractive site but nothing more.  It is rare that almost any proper Internet Marketing elements have been incorporated.  In situations like this, even small changes can often amount to big improvements which works great for me.

There are also difficulties that come with a situation like this.

These are companies for whom  Web 2.0 seems a strange and mysterious world, played in by the younger generation. 

Their marketing directors are used to using very traditional push marketing channels.  Often times, large sums of money are spent to put a message out in front of an audience, but not necessarily the right audience. 

Most of them are aware of blogs, what they are and at least the fact that they have become main stream enough to be able to influence the goings on of the political arena.  Unfortunately, very often their knowledge and exposure stops right there.

It can be difficult to convince a CMO that they should switch their budget away from print advertising and instead focus their energies on viral video.

They would often rather pay hundreds of dollars a month to build and maintain what becomes an severely underutilized email list than pay just under $20 per month for an Aweber account.  This makes sense though when you consider that the only effort they put into building that list is a "Subscribe" link.

The issue is usually that even if I can point to successes by a handful of other companies who do get Web 2.0 and how to work with it, they just can’t see how it would work for them.

Well, I’ll give you the solution to this which also happens to be one of the more exciting aspects of playing in the social Internet arena.

Properly incorporating Web 2.0 technologies and techniques to marketing creates the all but perfect "Pull Marketing" environment.

This is a term that any Marketing Director should understand.

Rather than shoving your product or service into a prospect’s face (push marketing) you create a situation where the prospect feels they made their own informed choice to go visit your site and buy your product.

When incorporating social media and interactivity into marketing you empower a large pool of prospects to have a conversation about you. This is one reason Amazon has consumer submitted reviews on all products.  Rather than ask a consumer to believe what you say about your own product or service, let other  impartial people tell them.

If you want to sell women’s shoes, create a blog (sponsored by your shoe brand) where you ask women to tell you what they feel are the best shoes in the world.  Better yet, ask them to tell you which shoes and why.  Let the conversation start and before you know it you can have your very own community of people all of whom you now know care a lot about women’s shoes. There is wonderful potential for some very rapid, viral growth in a situation like this.

As that blog develops, the sponsoring shoe brand gets borrowed credibility from other brands and begins to be perceived as holding an important position is the world of women’s shoes.  As this happens, more and more women will take it upon themselves to go check out and then buy your brand. 

The next step is to work the PR world around your special shoe blog that so many women are visiting and you find you get even broader coverage and resulting traffic.

All we started with was a blog.

I am sitting down with a pair of local entrepreneurs to discuss a new social platform they have created that pulls in all of the best elements from the many other Web 2.0 concepts.  These guys spoke with a broad range of agencies prior to approaching us and in every situation before they met me, they ran into very traditional marketers who (despite what all of their trade magazines say about social marketing) just can’t see how Web 2.0 and the social marketing within it could work for them.

All I can say is "Amazing" but somehow also not very surprising.

This is the sort of marriage that can put our agency at the true forefront of marketing within the Web 2.0 environment.

Now, I can’t release the name yet as they are not yet ready for a big rush of business.  What I will do though is report back on it and keep you posted as to how we are using it for our company and for our clients.  I will also make sure to give you access the moment they say they are ready.

I know that may have been a bit rambling but… such are the thoughts of a very busy marketing executive.

Onward and Upward with "Web two dot oh"

Smile and have a Great day!

Sam Knoll

Filed under Blog, General Musings, Online Marketing by  #

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