March 2008 Archives

6

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."

push.jpg

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:

PULL.gif

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  #

2

Ok gang, I’ll get back to talk some more about Pull Advertising/marketing in just a bit as I find it quite fascinating, and based on the number of emails I received from mailing list subscribers so do many people.  The tough part for many folks is coming up with good examples of pull concepts.  I’ve got some and I think once you see what they are you’ll start to notice others all around you.

In the mean time though I wanted to share one of the cooler tools I’ve stumbled upon in a good while.

We all know, have read, have heard, have seen or are at least aware of the impact online video is having on the Internet world and almost more profoundly, on the offline world.

One of the more innovative tools that has helped contribute to the online video craze is Screen Capture Video.

Yes I agree that all too many of them are pretty poor examples of video, what with a voice um’ing and ah’ing its way through a tour of a product or site, but the fact remains they can be very useful and informative.

The issue to date has been what software to use.  I own a number of different applications ranging from the free Camstudio (on which Nick "The Geek" has been diligently working for some time) to Camtasia 5 which will run you about $300 as a first time buyer.  We’ve been waiting for a Camstudio 2.5 coming out (Nick please hurry!) and there are other alternatives as well (the new ScreenFlow for the Mac), but the fact remains that Camtasia is the top dog.  With their Camtasia 5 release came some pretty awesome enhancements for hot spots, sharing, and a variety of other elements.

Once folks get past the price, the next issue with Camtasia is that it does take some time and effort to learn how to properly output your videos and it also takes some time just to do it and get them up on line.

Well, I now have an alternative for you…

TechSmith (the company that puts out Camtasia and Snagit, both of which I highly recommend) has recently launched The Jing Project

2008-03-05_1128.png

This is an extremely easy-to-use screen capture system that enables you to capture live footage from your computer screen as easily as I am typing this in right now.  The next thing you do is tell the simple interface that you are done with the capture and, depending on the length of the video, you upload it to your own ftp site, get the code to embed it in a web page or upload it to screencast.com (you get a free account) and distribute the link to it in less than a minute.

I used Jing to grab their logo above.

Here is a link to the video I just shot as I typed this post:

This is a jing capture – without audio

Including audio with the capture above is as easy as hooking up your mic (I didn’t want to do that here in the restaurant).

It’s just too darned easy.

All you do is drag your pointer across your screen to establish your capture area (which you can then adjust) and then hit record.

Imagine communicating with a support staff via chat and being able to grab a video of your issue and provide them a link while you are chatting with them. 

How about doing a quick recording and IM’ing it to a programmer or friend.

The other cool aspect of this is you don’t have to host the video.  You can host your clips at screencast.com which is TechSmith’s video hosting service.

Basically by using this software you will be providing TechSmith data on the demand for a service such as this, frequency of use, band width demands and storage demands.  They will then use this to determine the viability of the service as a paid option.

Regardless the reason, it produces great quality videos, is free and is super easy to use.

Grab it an give it a spin.

Onward & Upward!

Sam Knoll

Filed under Blog, Free Resources, General Musings, Internet Video by  #

4

iStock_000003583062XSmall.jpg

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  #

2

The following is a fantastic ad demostrating the ability to manipulate what we see and perceive.

I love ads like this as they are beautifully outside the box.

This is also (IMHO) a great example of pull advertising.

Just watch the video below and see what your reaction is then let me know what you think:

 

Filed under Blog, General Musings, Internet Video, Online Marketing by  #

Made with Semiologic Pro &bull