2008 Archives

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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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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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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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I suppose I should say not TV in general but TV advertising (the state of TV as we know it today is another post on another day).

I find it very entertaining and interesting to watch advertisers restructure and redirect how and where their marketing dollars are spent.

Yes, most folks know that "social media" is pretty much the latest and greatest thing since sliced bread, especially if the conversation mentions the word "Web" and the numbers "2.0". 

The great riddle is how to harness it and even more importantly, how to monetize it.

Take a look around and you will notice all of the major television networks trying to generate conversation and interaction between viewers.  This, really in an effort to draw people into their websites.

That is what the networks are doing, but what are the companies that typically advertise on those networks broadcasts doing.

The answer is… not spending anywhere close to what they used to on TV ad time.

I recently read the results of a very interesting Forrester Study that details this exact topic.

Here are a few of the findings:

  • Sixty-two percent of marketers believe television advertising has become less effective in the past two years, but close to half of the advertisers surveyed have already started to experiment with new ad types to work with DVRs and VOD programs. Eighty-seven percent of advertisers believe branded entertainment will play a stronger role in TV advertising in the coming year.

  • Advertisers are eager to try new ad formats, including ads in online TV shows (65 percent), ads embedded in VOD (55 percent), interactive television ads (43 percent), and ads within the set top box menu (32 percent)

  • Over 50 percent of marketers reported that when half of all TV households use DVRs, they will cut spending on TV advertising by 12 percent.

  • Eighty-seven percent of respondents said they intend to spend more on Web advertising this year.

  • Seventy-two percent of marketers are very interested in having individual commercial ratings rather than average commercial ratings.

Ah yes, did you notice the mention there of the DVR.  That technology alone is singlehandedly giving TV advertising a hard spanking.  All one has to do is record, and then start watching a show 10 minutes into that same show.  Do that and you can fast forward through all of the commercials.  You no longer have to watch a single one.

So what next?

What will happen as more people do their TV viewing through the computer?

Can you say "Opportunity" for those individuals and companies that understand and can harness the Internet as an interactive, marketing channel.

Well, this is all new enough that the jury is still out, but TV and more specifically TV advertising seems to be a dying breed.

Filed under General Musings, Offline Marketing by  #

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It is quite easy to get caught up in all of our busy concerns, work, goals, desires, frustrations etc.

It is also quite easy to allow all of those pressures of life consume us to such an extent that we don’t make the time or patience we should for those important people around us in our lives.

All of the "stuff" that consumes our time and energy all feels so very important doesn’t it?

Well, let me ask you a question…

What is really important?

Before you even start to answer that for yourself I urge you to watch the short (11:32) video below… then ask and answer that same question of yourself.

 

 

 If you have any trouble viewing the video above

you can see it on Google Video Here

Onward & Upward!

Sam Knoll

Filed under Blog, General Musings, Videos by  #

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