Monday, December 29, 2008

Ratings for Websites

The UK follows Australia in a call for ratings systems for websites. The Telegraph reported on Sat., a call by the UK's Cultural Minister for a ratings system similar to cinema for websites. The UK is reported to be interested in working with the US to develop the first of the kind standards for English language websites.

The standards would likely include a time limit for sites to take down questionable content when it is brought to their attention. This standard would be targeted at sites like YouTube and Facebook that are dominated by user generated content.

"If you look back at the people who created the Internet they talked very deliberately about creating a space that governments couldn't reach," Andy Burnham told The Telegraph. "I think we are having to revisit that stuff seriously now."

As a marketer, what are your thoughts about ratings? Join the discussion on the AMA Pittsburgh blog by submitting your comments or topics.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Looking at the Year in Online

Online and new media had another year of growth in preliminary numbers reported:

Time Spent Online ................ +8%
Online Video Views................ +40%
Blogs....................................... +20%
Online Advertising................ +17% (Through the first 3 quarters, expect it to be lower when 4Q is reported)
ECommerce........................... +17% (Smaller than previous years, but still respectable growth)

Online is now the 3rd largest advertising medium.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What is Viral Good For?

Following up from last week's post on tools for viral marketing, comes a new chart this week from Marketing Sherpa detailing what marketing activities viral is good at. Survey respondents ranked brand building the highest:

Join the discussion by submitting your topic or comment to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Viral Statistics from New Study

From Marketing Sherpa's new online video benchmark survey, comes their first chart detailing what respondents state are the best ways to go viral. The survey is very mixed, which leads me to the take away that there is no magic pill and testing and trial will determine what is best for you:

Join the discussion on the AMA Pittsburgh blog by submitting your topic or comment.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Online Video Growing

From Forester Research and Marketing Profs, this survey shows online video as the single largest increase among marketers:

Join the discussion by submitting your comment or topic to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Social Media Consolidations Around the Corner?

Most industries go through consolidation where smaller companies merge with others to get bigger or bigger gobble up smaller to expand. Web pioneers went through consolidation to form more sustainable enterprises. Sometimes consolidations did not work out so well in the long term. AOL comes to mind as an example.

It is inevitable that Web 2.0 will have similar consolidations.

Web 2.0 is in its infancy still in my opinion, but there are some large players with cash. My Space has the Fox bank behind it. Google is in position to be a player. Facebook has some power as well.

The current state of the economy could accelerate this trend. My Space was bold enough to state that those knocking on its door have cheaper asking prices. Yahoo is of course in play. Facebook was recently courting Twitter.

As cash will be tight for many start ups in the future with investments being closely monitored and advertising dollars in decline by cash strapped brands.

One thing is for certain social media will be interesting to watch and work with in the next year.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Recession Impacts on Marketing

It is Tuesday so it is time to share a chart from Marketing Sherpa. This is a very timely survey as news came out yesterday that the US has been in recession since December of last year. The survey shows spending cuts from marketing organizations with travel, vendors and staff taking the biggest hits.

Join the discussion by submitting your comment or topic to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Texting Demographics

From Marketing Charts:

Adults in the US who use the text-messaging feature on their cell phone are 49% more likely than the average American to be between age 18-24, 14% more likely to be Hispanic and 24% more likely to be African American, according to (pdf) a survey from Scarborough Research.

The study also found that El Paso, Texas is the top US city for text messaging, with 57% of all adult cell-phone subscribers (age 18+) there reporting they use the text-messaging feature on their cell phone, compared with 48% of adult subscribers nationally.

Pittsburgh makes the top half of the list:

Other key characteristics of texters:

  • They are among the country’s highest spenders on cellular services. On average, they spend $87 on their monthly cellular bill. In contrast, all cellular subscribers spend an average of $75 monthly.
  • They are 46% more likely than all cellular subscribers to typically spend $150 or more on cellular service monthly and are 12% more likely to plan to switch services.
  • They use a wide variety of phone features - such as picture messaging, streaming video and email -at a rate higher than that of the average cell user.
  • They are avid technology shoppers and are more likely than the average cell-phone subscriber to live in a household that owns - or plans to buy - a wide variety of hi-tech items, from HDTVs to MP3 players to video game systems.
  • They most often shop at Best Buy for audio-video purchases: 39% of Texters live in a household that shopped this retailer during the past year vs. 27% of all consumers nationally.
  • Other leading stores for Texter households include Wal-Mart and Target. 35% of Texters live in a household that shopped Wal-Mart for tech items during the past year, while 20% shopped Target.
  • They are leading online spenders. One-fifth (20%) of Texters spend more than $1,000 online annually, vs, 17% of all cellular users.
  • Internet applications permeate all aspects of their lives, from household tasks (such as bill paying) to entertainment (such as downloading movies or TV programs) to interaction (such as blogging and downloading a wide variety of content).
  • Texters are active, on-the-go consumers. They are 37% more likely than all cellular subscribers to have played basketball (as a leisure activity) during the past year; 29% more likely to have gone jogging/running; 29% more likely to have played tennis, and 23% more likely to have practiced yoga.
  • Texters are 12% more likely to have attended a professional sports event, and 57% more likely to have gone to an R&B, rap or hip-hop concert during the past year.

Join the discussion by submitting your topic or comment to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Value of Marketing in a Recession

Just a quick post today with a link to an article for further reading. I know many of you are facing marketing cuts or struggling with strategies in a slowing economy. I found this article interesting on the value of marketing in a recession:

Happy reading. Remember to submit your topics or comments to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Newsletter Writing Tips

The following comes from author David Gruttadaurio of You can visit the site for additional tools for newsletter marketing.

7 Newsletter Writing Secrets That Will Retain More Clients for Life

According to the Harvard Business Review, 91% of small businesses do absolutely nothing to retain their existing clients. That means only 9% of small business owners ‘get’ these facts:

• The average American business loses 50% of its customer base every 5 years.
• An existing customer spends an average of 67% more than new customers.
• It costs 7 to 9 times more to acquire a new customer than it does to retain an old one.

Mailing a monthly newsletter can eliminate all of these problems -- if you do it correctly.

A successful newsletter doesn’t just ‘happen’. It’s composed of very specific elements. Without them, you might as well be sending your clients a comic book.

7 Elements Your Newsletter Must Have If You Want to Retain More Clients

1. Content that IS NOT all about you. Many businesses feel compelled to tell everyone how wonderful they are. Forget it. People don’t like braggers. Instead, feature content that is interesting and useful. When you've engaged your reader with articles they actually want to read, you’ll have earned their trust and respect. This will lead to more sales.

2. Exciting, new and original content. Your readers should look forward to your newsletters each month. If your articles are boring, people will stop reading -- and you won't get any of the benefits that sending a regular newsletter can bring.

3. Sense of professionalism. Your newsletter is an extension of your businesses. You pride yourself on providing personal, professional service or selling quality products. Your newsletters must match your reputation. Make sure there are no spelling mistakes. Write appealing articles. Have an attractive layout design. Print your newsletter on high-quality paper. If it looks like it was published by your 7th grader, you’ve wasted your time and money.

4. Personal touch. Continue the initial connection you made with your client by revealing a little about yourself in your newsletter. A personal touch will get your newsletter remembered and enhance your image as an expert. Some people choose to reveal something about their personal lives (maybe they play golf or went on a vacation) or share tidbits about their families.

5. Offers and calls to action. You should give people a reason to act NOW. If they wait, they’ll probably do nothing. So make a special offer available only for your clients. And place a deadline on it, for example, for one month only. Changing your offer each month will also help you track the effectiveness of your newsletter -- you'll easily see who buys and who buys consistently.

6. Consistency. Many businesses try to save money and send their newsletters quarterly or even semiannually. Don’t bother, if that’s you. You’re wasting your time and money. Sending your newsletter out every month just like your clients favorite magazines will help make your newsletter part of your client’s daily lives.

7. Print it. Yeah, yeah, yeah… printed newsletters are more expensive. But think about this: How many companies are willing to do this? Your clients aren’t stupid. They understand the value of receiving a great newsletter every month. Plus, printed newsletters are more effective than email newsletters because:

They don't get caught in spam filters

Everyone is sick of being bombarded by content online.

Printed newsletters have a physical presence in someone's home. This means they are likely to be kept, acted upon in the future and will probably get passed on to others because they are viewed as literature.

So put an end to your dwindling client base. Save tons of dollars by marketing to proven buyers. Capture and keep customers that would love to spend their money with you forever.

Just send your clients a proven marketing tool: A well-written monthly client newsletter.

Join the discussion by submtting your topics or comments to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Proofing Tips

From our friends at GACC Printing comes suggestions on how to proof your printed piece:

Reviewing Color Proofs

Great Piece Color can have a tremendous impact on your print design, but to achieve great color, you have to know it will print the way you visualize it. The printer's contract proof provides a preview of the finished piece to confirm that it will match your visual intent and expectations. With the complexity of today's creative applications, it becomes imperative to have an accurate, hard-copy proof to bridge the gap between the digital and the physical.

Review Proofs In Neutral Light

Natural light is preferable to fluorescent light in most instances. If your piece will primarily be viewed in a specific lighting environment, you might want to confirm that it looks acceptable under these conditions as well.

What To Watch For

Here are the most important factors to consider when reviewing a proof:
  • Is it in registration, i.e. are all of the register marks on the edge of the proof aligned?
  • Do the various color elements, be they text, line art, or images, register correctly in relation to each other?
  • Are all color items represented in the correct color? Are all of the tints used the correct shade?
  • Do flesh tones look real? Do any other items that contain familiar "memory" colors look real?
  • Does the main subject of each image pop the way you want it to? Put another way, is there enough contrast?
  • Are all the bleeds pulled past the trim edge?
  • Is the proof 100% of the size you specified enabling you to correctly judge color, placement, size, etc.?
  • Is all the type legible? Are any characters or words broken, missing, the wrong color, etc.?
  • Is your text free of misspelled words? Are there any grammatical errors?

Join the discussion by submitting your topics or comments to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Digital Marketing Adding

Marketing Sherpa published a new survey result today featuring the shift from traditional to online:

Join the discussion by submitting your topic or comment to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Recession Proof Your Business

This article was sent to us from Eric Gruber:

Recession Proof Your Business – How to Avoid Business Failure & Increase Sales in a Lagging Economy

When you’re a small business owner there’s no “Golden Parachute”, no Massive Severance Package or Stock Options to cash in on and there are definitely no bailouts. The success or failure of your small business is all on your shoulders!

Here’s Are 5 Things to Do If You Want Your Business to Fail During a Recession

1. Don’t Do Anything

2. Don’t Do Enough

3. Don’t Encourage Referrals From Other Clients

4. Don’t Create a “WOW” Experience

5. Don’t Take Massive Action Now

Now, if you want to build your small business, there’s good news.

You don’t have to sit back and become a victim of the times. Right now there are businesses and market segments that are making record profits. US Steel just posted record profits for the second quarter after losing huge orders from the auto industry.

Here’s How US Steel Achieved Record Making Profits – And So Can You:

  • They found new markets at higher prices
  • They were open to new opportunities
  • They were pro-active

Here Are 10 Quick and Easy Strategies to Increase Sales and Profits During a Recession

1. Implement systems that measure and track the results of ALL of your marketing, advertising and publicity efforts

2. Look for new ways to re-position products or services you provide to attract a new market segment. Example: Re-position Yoga as “Fall Prevention Strategies for Seniors

3. Find new distribution channels for your products whether it’s through the Internet or other retailers who are selling complimentary products or services.

4. Create Joint Venture Arrangements with other complimentary, not competing Businesses. For example an accounting firm could go to their legal firm and offer to hold a seminar on “Tax Reduction Strategies” for the their (legal firms) clients as a special bonus. The accounting company may get new clients and the only cost is their time. One stipulation, the accounting firm must offer a special seminar to their clients on “How To Structure Tax Shelters for Estate Management”. Both companies benefit.

5. Have a “Rewards Referral Program “ for your existing customers and let them experience how it will work.

6. Know the numbers in your business. Find out what products and services make the most profits and which ones make the least. Start promoting or up-selling those first. Do you know the average transaction value which is the average amount each consumer pays you at the point of purchase? Go find that out now and then ask yourself the question “How can I increase that amount by 10% by adding or bundling in extra value?

7. Position yourself as the “Knowledgeable Expert” in Your Field and write articles for the newspaper, or trade journals and radio interviews. You can even write and submit articles online using The print and online media is always hungry for information to provide their readership. They are always on the lookout for new information that solves people’s problems or helps them save them time or money.

8. Differentiate yourself from the competition and give the consumer the “Reason Why” they should do Business with you versus your competitors.

9. Join a Mastermind Group or Coaching Program to improve your skills as a Marketer. Tiger Woods has a golf coach to help him. Professional baseball teams have hitting and pitching coaches. And you should have a business and marketing coach to stop the downhill slide before it becomes uncontrollable.

10. Build a stronger relationship with your customer base through frequent contact, special offers, and newsletters. Survey your existing customers to see what they want and then sell it to them.

This is just a short list on the many things that are possible. Now the question is, do you want to recession proof your business and achieve massive results or do you want to lay down and play dead and hope things get better? It’s you choice!

About the Author:

By revealing missed profit opportunities, Marketing and Sales Expert Ron Romano increased the sales and profits for more than 10,000 small and medium sized businesses, entrepreneurs and independent sales agents. Now, you can use his FREE MARKETING AUDIT at: to magically uncover all the hidden profit-making opportunities you’ve been missing out on. What you may find out might just change your life forever.

Join the discussion, submit your topic or comment to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Do It Yourself SEO

This product release was provided to us from Vizad, Inc.:

About Lotus Jump

Lotus Jump was designed specifically for individuals who have no prior SEO experience, enabling them to effectively optimize their websites in-house rather than outsourcing to an expensive SEO firm.

For companies looking to cut their marketing budget without sacrificing quality, Andrew Pincock, COO at Vizad says, “Have one of your employees who knows how to use the internet spend 15-30 minutes a day on LotusJump and you’ll be able to optimize your site as effectively as if you had hired an SEO firm to do it for you.”

Based on the information provided during registration, LotusJump creates a queue of customized SEO tasks relevant to the client’s site and selected search terms. Each task includes detailed step-by-step instructions, simplifying the notoriously complex task of SEO. The more tasks a client completes, the more effectively they can increase their site’s rankings and generate more traffic.

If you are interested in learning more about LotusJump visit for more details.

Join the discussion on the AMA Pittsburgh blog by submitting your topic or comment.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Social Media and the Election

Articles flooded the web and blogs all over the world echoed this sentiment. The Democrats used SMS, social networks, and viral video to raise money, get out the vote, and drum up support. In fact, they used it like a well oiled marketing campaign would and sometimes more effectively than corporations have had to date.

To say it tipped the election in their favor would go to far. However, the Republicans have not fully embraced new media as part of their major campaigns as of yet. I look back on Howard Dean’s advisers as pioneers in political new media and Barack Obama’s advisers built upon this foundation. Third party candidates also showed adoption of new media, but to lesser success. The next election cycle could truly be one that social media plays a leading role.

More importantly in my eyes, the election made a huge impact on social media. It was a large stage in which social media was showcased as an effective marketing tool. One that can be measurable and deliver results. I believe as marketers watched this election they gained a new respect for this new medium. A respect that will be its own foundation for future campaigns and exciting developments in social media.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Call for Marketer of The Year Nominations

The American Marketing Association of Pittsburgh is hosting its Second Annual Marketer of the Year Celebration Thursday, December 11, 2008 at LeMont on Mount Washington. The Marketer of the Year competition, Pittsburgh’s only results-based marketing competition, is open to any company, agency, not-for-profit, individual or government organization that developed implemented and sufficiently completed a marketing program in western Pennsylvania in 2008.

Finalists in 14 potential industries will be recognized and awarded and one overall winner will be deemed Marketer of the Year for 2008. Categories include: Consumer Products/Services, Education, Financial Services, Industrial & Manufacturing, Media & Marketing Services, Medical & Healthcare, Minority & Women Owned Businesses, Nonprofits, Professional Services, Public Relations & Advertising Firm, Real Estate & Construction, Retail, Sports/Entertainment/Hospitality, and Technology.

To submit your nomination or for more information, visit

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

LinkedIn Adds Apps

First of all, wanted to say welcome to all the new members of the AMA Pittsburgh Chapter LinkedIn group. If you are a current member you can join by going to

If you signed on to LinkedIn this morning then you noticed some changes. There is now an applications tab and you will see some apps highlighted on the right hand side as well. The new applications are from organizations such as Google and Amazon and further expand LinkedIn into everyday business life.

Members now have the ability to share files, presentations, reading lists, blogs, and travel schedules with colleagues. The changes are designed to expand on the job hunting and networking functions inherent in LinkedIn.

An application from lets users share and manage documents through a LinkedIn profile page, while's program offers co-workers a secure online "workspace" to swap ideas, and team up on projects. Other new applications include a Google service where users can embed presentations on their profile page, and Amazon's reading list feature, which displays what members and other people in their industry are reading.

Join the discussion by submitting your topic or comment to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Is Now The Time To Be Agressive?

The economy is on our minds and on the candidate's lips. Recession predictions are abundant and even GM and Chrysler have approached the government for a hand out. During slower times, the first impulse is to cut marketing budgets. In fact a recent Marketing Sherpa survey show that larger organizations have already begun are looking to cut expenditures.

In tough times, an organization that can be fluid and dynamic has the potential to build brand, trust, and ultimately take market share from competitors. As the chart shows, smaller organizations have been slower to make cuts and if funds are spent wisely, these organizations can position themselves against their larger competitors.
Areas that an organization can focus on are increasing service levels, shifting to direct or online marketing tactics, and programs that are brand building in nature.
Join the discussion by submitting your topic or comment to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Geeks to Inherit the Earth

From a recent Reuters story:

The Internet is not just changing the way people live but altering the way our brains work with a neuroscientist arguing this is an evolutionary change which will put the tech-savvy at the top of the new social order.

Gary Small, a neuroscientist at UCLA in California who specializes in brain function, has found through studies that Internet searching and text messaging has made brains more adept at filtering information and making snap decisions.

But while technology can accelerate learning and boost creativity it can have drawbacks as it can create Internet addicts whose only friends are virtual and has sparked a dramatic rise in Attention Deficit Disorder diagnoses.

Small, however, argues that the people who will come out on top in the next generation will be those with a mixture of technological and social skills.

"We're seeing an evolutionary change. The people in the next generation who are really going to have the edge are the ones who master the technological skills and also face-to-face skills," Small told Reuters in a telephone interview.

Join the discussion by submitting your topic or comment to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Marketers Say Don't Cut Email

According to the Email Benchmark Survey from Marketing Sherpa, email marketing should not be part of the cost cuts inherent in a challenging economy. Respondents were surveyed based on the effectiveness of email marketing as a tool. The results are below:

Join the discussion by submitting your topic or comment to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Contexual Ad Basics

Contextual ads are a bit different than your search ads. So we are on the same page, contextual ads are ads that are served based on the content of a website. For example, a website devoted to photography would carry ads for cameras.

So what makes these ads different from your search ads? After all, are they not served up based on the criteria and keywords that you created? The main difference is the tone of the ad. A search on a search engine constitutes the need for information. A contextual ad on a website is more suited to advertising philosophy.

Since the mind set for a search ad is informational, your search ad should be descriptive in nature with appropriate links to information. Contextual ads instead are interrupters - an ad that is not expected, but may make sense for a browser. This ad should have stronger sales language to encourage a browser to leave the site and visit yours.

Contextual ads have expanded recently to go beyond websites and into videos and games. As such, there are more opportunities to utilize contextual ads to deliver your message to a focused or niche audience. This is in line with Web 2.0 benefits of engaging a person rather than a mass market.

Some tips for creating your contextual ad:

Make Your Ad for Me - I am on this site, watching this video, or playing this game for a reason. Make sure your ad reflects this and fits in appropriate with the content and the audience.

Make Me Look at Your Ad - If I am to take my focus away from what I chose to do, make sure there is something in your ad that will catch my attention like features and benefits.

Call Me to Action - I am not going to leave what I am doing without an incentive. “Save 20%!” “Free Shipping!” “Free trial” “ETC!”

Take Me Right to The Spot - With a search ad, I should go to the appropriate information. With a contextual ad, I should go right to the offer. If more info needs to be communicated, give me the option to click on it. As such, your landing page may need to be designed differently for contextual ads.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

DRM - The Power of Testing

This article comes to us from our friends at GACC Printing:

The Power of Testing

Why Test? You test to identify the approaches, content and techniques that produce the most response and profit for your particular product or service. Testing can confirm your intuition, identify what works, what doesn't and what is irrelevant, and provide you with the information you need to optimize your marketing.

What price point generates the highest profit (margin times response rate)?
What type of offer provides the greatest number of inquiries?
What topics are the readers of my newsletter most interested in?
What appeal provides our non-profit with the most donor responses? The highest average donation?

These are just a few of the questions you might use testing to answer. Testing has traditionally been used to increase an organization's insight over time into what approaches work best for their particular products/services. However, with today's faster turn-arounds and lower production costs, some forward-thinking marketers are building tests into individual mailings by staggering drop dates.

Take the example of this association whose goal was to maximize registration for a trade show conference. The customer planned an overall mailing of 60,000 pieces, but randomly selected 10,000 contacts for a preliminary test. With a fairly simple test design, the customer tested a control (their best guess of what worked) against two additional offers, two additional formats, and two additional headlines/teasers. The results determined that an optimized combination could produced 42% higher response than the control, which was then used to determine the final piece mailed to the 50,000 remaining addresses.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Case for Long Tail Keywords

I have read a lot of info recently that said Long Tail Keywords were dead. IT seems that experts like to kill concepts quickly these days. Yesterday, I came upon this chart from Marketing Sherpa that proves that this strategy is still viable for SEO.

First page on the search engine is still preferable and the higher the better obviously with a full 53% stopping there. However, the strong number of those that go beyond two pages deep indicates that users will look for specific information that they need.

Optimizing for longer search phrases and terms that refine a search will capture these searchers and send more qualified traffic to your website.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Marketing in a Challenging Economy

The current uneasiness in the current economy has shown some signs of reducing marketing budgets. The old adage goes that marketing is the first to experience budget cuts. Metrics that show results will be important in this environment.

A recent survey of marketers showed these programs gaining resources:

Online Tactics
Email Marketing
Paid Search

Direct mail showed continued strength with just minor cuts.

Programs losing resources:


Marketers also reported reducing event expenditures with a focus on niche events. Brand programs were seeing funding shifted to more direct and one to one programs as well.

Join the discussion on the AMA Pittsburgh blog by submitting your topic or comment.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Tactis for Boosting Online Ad Response

Marketing Sherpa has been publishing a weekly series on online advertising. This is part three of the four part series and it addresses best tactics to boost ad click through:

These three take aways were also provided from Marketing Sherpa:

The results fall into three general categories:


Our brains are hardwired to pick up volumes of information from the subtle nuances in facial expressions. That could be why adding a picture of a person is the single most effective way to communicate brand information.It’s no accident that some charities seeking donations feature pictures of suffering children. Words on a page simply can’t convey emotional messages, such as suffering, joy, or frustration.


Adding drivers, such as more data-entry fields, tends to flatten the purchase funnel. Adding a video allows advertisers to pack more information into an ad. Such drivers ease the journey from product ignorance to product purchase, with the least amount of work possible.


Adding drivers, such as more dynamic text, helps match relevant messages to more exposed individuals, reducing wasted media.

Join the discussion by adding your topics or comments to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Friendly Fridays - How to Participate

In one of my favorite recent Broadway shows, a shaggy haired puppet sings “The Internet is for Porn”. Well that may have been true, the recent news announcement made me sing a different tune.

It’s official social sites have taken down the king of the Internet and are now the most used sites. Turns out that we all want to be social after all. So raise a glass and salute the new champion. I hope it is a long run.

Which in around about way leads me back to Friendly Fridays in this space. Each Friday we would like to feature an AMA Pittsburgh member. So how do you participate?

It's simple. Answer these questions and send your profile to


What is your current company, job title and responsibilities?

What does your company do?

How long have you worked for them?

What experience do you have in marketing?

What is your education background?

What are your favorite things about marketing?

When and why did you join the AMA Pittsburgh Chapter?

Tell us about your family, hobbies or any other interesting items about you:

Piece of cake. Lets be more social. We look forward to featuring you in this space and to getting to know you better.

Gender Gap

The following article was sent in by GACC printing for interest to our readers:

A number of researchers from a variety of disciplines have concluded that in aggregate, men and women react differently to colors, images, topic matter and even the style of copy. Empowered with that knowledge, should direct response marketers take into consideration these differences when designing direct mail and broadcast email campaigns? Will doing so improve overall campaign response rates? That's the topic we are going to explore. When we talk about response rates, we are referring to readers who respond to your piece's call to action, which is typically the one action you are looking to get the reader to take. Before you even get to the message, though, the subject of a broadcast email is akin to the direct mail envelope. The call-to-action for both is: Open Me!

Gender versioning attempts to identify design and/or copy components of a direct response campaign that can be modified to reflect general differences in visual preferences among the sexes with the specific purpose of closing a gender gap. To take a simple example, several researchers have concluded that men as a whole respond better to simpler and darker color schemes, in contrast to women who, in aggregate, favor brighter and more complex color schemes. So, if you produce two versions of a mailer with color selections made to reflect these preferences, will it do better than one version with one color scheme sent to your entire list?

Of course, the product or service you are selling, or the topic matter you select, may have absolutely no gender response gap. Our guess is that there are many factors, including the nature of the subject matter, that influence response rates for women vs. men. This provides a nice segue into the four questions you should probably answer: . Is this relevant?. Is this important?. If so, what should I test?. How do I evaluate the results?

Join the discussion on the AMA Pittsburgh blog by submitting your topics or comments.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Banner Size Envy

Do bigger banners get better results in online advertising? Marketing Sherpa published their report on click through by size of banner:

Join the discussion on the AMA Pittsburgh blog by submitting your topics or comments.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Online Advertising Tests

From Marketing Sherpa, comes suggestions for testing your online advertising from messages, to pre live, and after live. Sherpa recommends balancing your testing against ROI to pick the appropriate test measures for your campaign.

Monday, September 8, 2008

New Microsoft Commercial Clowning Fails to Hit Mark

Microsoft unleashed its first tv commercial in a $300 million marketing campaign. The commercial stars founder Bill Gates and Jerry Seinfeld. The company's attempt at humor likely in response to the well received Mac commercials did make a lot of news over the weekend. None of it positive, however.

The buzz on the blogs and podcasts have resounded with negative responses. The over whelming response was 'What were they thinking?'. Bloggers have blasted the attempt at humor and no one seems to know what the commercial was meant to advertise.

Is this Microsoft's attempt to make a kinder, gentler brand? If so, they might have a bigger hole to fill after their attempt at clowning around.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Outdoor Advertising Metrics

Online advertising has two measurments: # of impressions and # of click throughs. Since the 1930s outdoor advertising has only had one: The amount of eyes that pass by the advertisement. Those eyes will now be measured as part of a movement to an increasingly accurate measurement system proposed by a consortium of advertising agencies and other outdoor advertising interested parties.

The new system has been dubbed the 'Eyes on Metric System'. The system employs highly sensitive cameras to track how much time a person looks at an outdoor advertisement. Before you think big brother is watching you from behind a Burma Shave sign, the system is employed only to a statistical sample of 900 people.

This group is then analyzed and applied to the traditional number of potential views. The new number is then generated for 'delivery'. This new metric is being adopted as a more accurate to price and buy outdoor advertising, which has seen renewed growth over the past several years as an effective marketing tool.

Join the discussion by submitting your topics or comments to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Blogging Tips

Blogs continue to grow as a marketing tool. Most corporate blogs start fast, but often fade just as fast. In today's post, we bring you tips from Marketing Sherpa to make your blog a success.


1. Genuine, heartfelt content

A main reason that blogs are popular reading is that they stand out in contrast to the massaged language of corporate marketing and PR materials. Like sitting next to an expert on a plane, the best blogs provide highly useful information in a brief and informal setting.

2. Regular updates

Many if not most corporate blogs start strong but fade after the initial rush of ideas evaporates. Some companies have created internal quotas for bloggers; others have hired or assigned specific staff. A few have been successful using social networking to attract amateurs interested in the topic. The bottom line: Your blog needs to be active to be successful.

3. Focus

In many industries, blogging is common. Technology and marketing have been early adopters, and the field is crowded. To be successful, new blogs need to provide an innovative lens on their content – usually by being highly focused on an under-reported aspect of their industry. If you are in an industry that is late to blogging, you may be able to provide a generalist’s view.

Join the discussion on the AMA Pittsburgh blog by submitting your topics or comments.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friendly Fridays - Meet John Higgins

It is time again for Friendly Fridays on the AMA Pittsburgh blog. Meet John Higgins. John is the Cvent Administrator on AMA Pittsburgh's communications leadership team. John helps make reservations for AMA Pittsburgh events smoothe and easy.

John is currently the Webmaster at Getronics, and manages all online marketing, including web site design and maintenance for the company. Getronics offers many IT & Consulting Services. John has worked for the company for 3 1/2 years.

John's background in marketing spans all aspects, but he has spent the last 7 as a Webmaster. Joh has a Bachelor's degree from Penn State University and received his MBA from Duquesne University. John also obtained Webmaster Certification from University of Pittsburgh's Computer Learning Center.

John enjoys marketing, especially developing strategy, and then being able to use multiple techniques to achieve goals. He originally joined AMA Pittsburgh approximately 10 years ago because he wanted to meet more people after school. "After a couple of years, I let my membership lapse," said John. "I rejoined about 5 years ago, but have only now been more involved with the organization."

John enjoys spending time with his family, and occasionally finds time to go golfing. He is also a big movie buff, and enjoys the local sports teams, both professional and college.

Be a part of AMA Pittsburgh's Friendly Friday blog posts by submitting your profile.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

New Features for LinkedIn Group

Earlier in the week, LinkeIn notified group managers that additional features will be added to the Group module on the network. These new features offer a significant improvement over past services including:

Discussion forums: Simple discussion spaces for you and your members. (You can turn discussions off in your management control panel if you like.)

Enhanced roster: Searchable list of group members.

Digest emails: Daily or weekly digests of new discussion topics which your members may choose to receive. (We will be turning digests on for all current group members soon, and prompting them to set to their own preference.)

Group home page: A private space for your members on LinkedIn.

New features will be available on Friday August 29th.

You can join the AMA Pittsburgh LinkedIn Group at You must be a current member of AMA Pittsburgh to join. If you are interested in becoming a member, more information is available at

Monday, August 25, 2008

PR & SEO - A Match

Link building is a term that is often used in search engine optimization. The practice is to create inbound links to content on your site from other sites. The key is to make sure you are not just placing links, but linking from valuable content to valuable content.

Press releases are a perfect match for link building. By including links in your press release, you are linking from content to your site. Write your press release with engaging content that attracts journalists and you can create a multitude of relevant inbound links from your PR.

If you use a service to release, your PR is automatically transformed into a web page with your inbound links intact.

Join the discussion by submitting your topics or comments to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Incentive Ideas

This is an excerpt from an article written by Kristin Zhivago for Marketing Profs on how to incentivize customers to buy, particularly at a time when customers may delay their purchases as long as possible.

10 Great Incentive Ideas

1. Offer financing or leasing

Finance the purchase, with low interest. This changes the budget impact, and helps make it possible for the champion to justify the expenditure to Finance and management.

2. Throw in additional services or products if they buy by a certain date.

This type of incentive is working well right now. Additional services or products are anything they would normally pay for that "goes with" your product or service.

3. Make a promise related to after-the-sale activity

As I mentioned before, you can guarantee that the company will be "up and running" by a certain date, or they will get a special deal as compensation. Make sure that you and the customer agree on what "up and running" really means. Or, offer VIP, 24/7 service, and priority support.

4. Use free trials or pilots to help them absorb the product or service in small bites

If the "whole thing at once" is too much for them to bite off, break it down into smaller pieces. This is another incentive that eases the budget burden.

5. Offer services for a reduced price or for free, during the times when your people aren't fully utilized

If your sales tend to drop off during a particular time of year, rather than having your service people trying to look busy, encourage the customer to buy during the slower period—and give him a nice discount on those services.

6. Pre-stock the "supply cabinet" when they buy the first time, but only charge them for your products when they use them

You sell 100 laser printers to a company. They will also need cartridges. Offer to sell them a year's supply, at a set discount price, but don't actually bill them for each new cartridge until it is taken from your "supply cabinet."

It doesn't matter if you have a real supply cabinet on site, if your rep refills a supply cabinet each week at their site, or if you get them dropped shipped from another vendor—the point is, they are going to get cartridges from you for the next year, and you won't charge them until they actually place an order for a new cartridge. This helps them get the volume discount without paying in advance for inventory and ensures that you will get their cartridge business for the next year.

7. Quantity discounts

This seems obvious if you're selling a product, but you might want to consider it when selling services as well.

8. Lock the price

Let's say you're selling something that is prone to price increases, because the costs you have to pay keeps going up (such as fuel costs, material costs, etc.). Offer to lock in the price for a given period of time if they make the initial purchase now.

9. Offer to pay for an associated product

"Buy this car now, we'll pay for the next three years of your gas."

10. Create a rewards or points program

Keep it as simple as possible, with as few conditions as possible. "Fly 16 times, get one flight free," is more compelling than "Earn a certain number of miles with each trip, apply those miles to other trips, depending on where those trips are going to or from, and except during blackout dates."

Join the discussion by submitting your topics or comments to the AMA Pittsburgh Blog.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Look at Marketing Metrics

All marketers know that marketing metrics are the key to success and also to convincing upper management of the value of a program. Marketing Sherpa takes a look at how to match your metrics with your audience for maximum effectiveness in their chart of the week.

Some other key findings from the Sherpa:

  • Target reach percent: Using composition data from a service, such as comScore, determine how many impressions out of total served went to target, then divide by target reached by total target population.
  • Increase in searches for a brand: Major search engines can provide this data.o Increase in all site traffic: Site analytics can provide this data.o Control survey increase: Ad effectiveness study simultaneously gathers and compares unexposed to ad-exposed audience to determine increase.
  • Increase in any blog mentions (buzz): Nielsen Buzzmetrics, or another monitoring service, can determine the general level of brand-specific online chatter.
  • Viral pass-along: Using pixel tracking on distributed media, or by using internally hosted content, determines how many impressions beyond bought impressions can be attributed to consumers passing marketing to others.
  • Leads generated: Number of leads attributable to ads.
  • Interaction rates: Rate of interactions with interactive ads to all ads served. May want to determine unique interaction rate by dividing by unique individuals reached instead of all ads served.
  • Increase in product review page traffic: a simple tracking tag or bought button on an external product review page can show increases; alternatively, just ask review site for data.
  • Increase in opt-in/subscription rates: Number of opt-ins attributable to ads.
  • Increase in positive blog mentions (buzz): Buzz monitoring service can determine the general level of brand-specific online chatter, and filter out negative comments.o Strong website event: For brick and mortar store, events like printing directions to a local store would count. Will differ depending on website.
  • Contact requested: Number of contact requests attributable to ad.
  • eCoupon printed: Number of ecoupons printed; if possible, number redeemed.
  • Purchase/Conversion: Number of purchases or conversions attributable to ad.
  • Quality/Amount: Qualitative metrics such as dollar amount purchased help determine where most valuable audience is coming from. Important for sellers with very different products.
  • Repeat Purchase/Conversion: Number of repeat conversions.o Lifetime Quality/Amount: Lifetime value of customers.
  • Share of Wallet: $$ spent on your product vs. $$ spent on competitors’ products.
  • Recommendation: Similar to viral pass-along, but limited to existing customers.

Join the discussion by submitting your topic or comment to the AMA Pittsburgh blog. Not a member yet? Interested in finding out more? In addition to the website, there is a new member breakfast coming up on Sept. 11th from 8-9AM at the Mellon Center downtown. Contact AMA Pittsburgh for more details.

Monday, August 18, 2008

10 Tips for Success in Business

Lesley Mattos is Owner of Adesso Albums, Inc. and creator of the original instant photo guest book that combines retro, funky and fun Polaroid instant photos with hand written sentiments from guests. She left a high profile job with Cisco to form the company.

After a trip to Italy, far away from friends and family and immersed in a culture that lives in the moment, she realized what she’d lost sight of. That’s where the idea for Adesso Albums was born. Six years later, Adesso Albums is an international company with more than a million dollars in annual revenue.

So how did she do it?

Leslie shares her 10 tips for Success in Business – Based on her Personal Experience:

1. Embrace change. It’s an inevitable part of running a business. Rather than fighting it, wasting valuable time and eventually losing, you’re better off anticipating, planning for, and embracing change. As a small business owner you should be nimble and react quickly in a variety of ways. If you look at change as an opportunity to grow, you will!

2. Use technology. Do more with less by automating routine processes with web-based applications. These applications increase productivity and free you, your staff and your resources to focus on more important tasks. And, these applications can be accessed from anywhere

3. Keep your eye on the ball. It’s easy to get caught up in the day-to-day minutia of running a business. Constantly ask yourself if your daily activities get you closer to your overall goals for the company. It will keep you on track and stop you from spending time on the wrong things.

4. Know your differentiators. Compare your products and services to the real, as well as the perceived competition. A competing concept can be even more threatening than an actual product. Unless you have thought about what differentiates your product or service from everything that’s out there, your marketing efforts will fall short.

5. Lead by example. Peers and subordinates alike will learn from your example. They “listen” with their eyes more than with their ears. Your actions mean more than what you say to them. Make sure your processes and actions both inside and outside the office are things you want emulated.

6. Give the illusion of participation. Everyone likes to feel like they are part of the decision process, so let them! Then do what you think you ought to do anyway. It’s not necessary, and often actually a hindrance in a small business environment to employ the decision by a committee process.

7. Control timing. We often miss opportunities because we think we have to respond immediately to stimuli such as phone calls or emails. Just because the phone is ringing or an email comes in, it doesn’t mean you have to react. Your day shouldn’t be a series of interruptions. The more you control your distractions, the more effective you’ll be.

8. Know what you don’t know. It’s inconceivable that you could have an in depth knowledge of every aspect of your business. Acknowledge your weak areas and surround yourself with competent resources and trusted partners and learn from them.

9. Stay organized. It is critical to update, edit, add and delete from your list of to-do’s on a daily basis. Nothing feels better than crossing things off. And, with a well-maintained list for you and your team, everyone will stay on track and your chances for success are enhanced.

10. Plan for success. Formalize your processes as you go. Plan for and build infrastructure ahead of your growth. So when your growth spurt comes, you’re ready for it. And don’t forget to celebrate your successes along the way. Stop and pat yourself and your team on the back as milestones are achieved.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Friendly Fridays - Meet Jessica Romano

It has been a bumpy start to Friendly Fridays on the AMA Pittsburgh blog. After the success of last night's final summer mixer, I feel we may have turned the corner. Today, we'd like you to meet Jessica Romano.

Jessica is the communication coordinator for Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. Her responsibilities include public and media relations, visitor newsletters and publications, plus she edits Phipps members' magazine—her favorite duty.

Phipps is a non-profit premier horticultural display conservatory, featuring a beautiful Victorian glasshouse and botanical gardens. Phipps offers adult and children's education programs as well as many family activities and events. Jessica has been there for a year and a half.

Before joining Phipps' marketing staff, Jessica spent six years at WPXI-TV in the promotions/ creative services department. As a writer/producer, she produced video promotions for the newscasts and special programming (She spent many hours a day in an edit suite!). Her work also included press releases, on-air talent biographies and website promotion. Jessica holds a B.A. in film and video from Penn State University, with a minor in anthropology.

Her favorite things about marketing: “I truly enjoy writing and getting people excited about events, opportunities, the city-- anything that connects people. It's a great field for those who love to work with people and communicate in a creative, fun way.”

Jessica joined AMA in 2008 after being introduced by her friend and current chapter president, Justin Mastrangelo. “The Phipps marketing team was fortunate to win the AMA Pittsburgh's Marketer of the Year Award in 2007, and after the awards luncheon I found myself asking questions about how I could be part of the organization,” said Romano. “The chapter is full of fantastic marketers in various fields, and it's been a great experience.”

Jessica is married and she and her husband grew up here in Pittsburgh and feel fortunate to be able to live and work in this city. “It has so much to offer! As a ballet dancer, museum-junky and theater-goer, I appreciate Pittsburgh's cultural opportunities and destinations,” said Romano. She is also actively involved in the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America's local chapter, serving as a volunteer and camp counselor.

Be a part of Friendly Fridays. Send us information about yourself and we will get to meet you in this space.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Are Social Networks Taking a Bite Out of Email Marketing?

MediaBuyer Planner Daily reports that social networks dampen effectiveness of email marketing in a recent report from JupiterResearch:

Better than email?

The popularity of social media networks, texting and cell phone use are having an impact on the effectiveness of email marketing, according to a new report from JupiterResearch.

22 percent of email users now say they use social networking sites instead of email for their communications, writes BtoB.

Email is still one of the most effective forms of direct marketing: 44 percent of internet users said email had inspired at least one online purchase, and 41 percent said email marketing had inspired an offline purchase. Those numbers, however, are down from last year, when 51 percent said email had led to an online purchase and 47 percent said it had led to an offline purchase.

Join the discussion by submitting your topic or comments to the AMA Pittsburgh blog. See you tomorrow at the final Summer Mixer at Olive or Twist.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Investing in Email

Email is often viewed as a cheap marketing tool. As we get closer to budget time, Marketing Sherpa provides a survey on marketer's view towards email. Would an increase in budget for email bring greater reach?

Almost one-third of responding organizations view email as a strategic tool; they invest enough to ‘stay on top of the medium.’ That leaves the rest in some version of maintenance mode, spending little more than enough to keep pace with inflation.

Join the discussion by submitting your topics or comments to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Google Announces Insights for Search

Google is giving you a glimpse inside the “database of intentions”. This is the mysterious inner sanctum that stores the secrets of Google. Insights for Search is a new service released by Google, that allows a marketer to compare search volume patterns across specific regions, categories, and time frames. This service builds on the Google Trends application release a couple years ago.

Insights will be particularly helpful in better defining long tail keywords, search terms that combine multiple keywords and phrases. By researching a keyword by category, you will be able to tell search volume for these types of combinations. For example, Remote Control: Toys and Remote Control: Industrial.

Geography is another advantage. This feature allows for analysis of search volume distributed across a region or city. Many regional businesses struggle with search engine optimization because of geographical requirements. Utilizing this data, should aid in planning and adjusting SEO strategies.

The final feature is seasonality. If you monitor the buzz index, you know that keywords can often spike at certain times of years as well as due to popular events. Right now, back to school and Olympics are very popular searches. In a short time this activity will diminish. Insights will let you track these traffic patterns inherent in seasonality, allowing you to make good decisions on optimization and potentially SEM (Pay per click).

Google is providing example searchers to help you get familiar with the new service. You can access the information at

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Last Networking Opportunity of the Summer

We are one week away from the third and final summer mixer. Join us on Thursday, August 14, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Olive or Twist on 6th street. Your $20 ticket includes food, two drinks, and as much mingling as you can handle. Door prizes & a DJ

Register here.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Email Marketing Hitting The Spam Folder?

It is so much easier these days for a recipient to send an email into the Spam folder. Sometimes, it is just a click of a button and even your 'legitimate' email can end up on the wrong side of the email tracks.

Marketing Sherpa conducted a study to find out why recipients will categorize an email as Spam even when it is from a recognized source. The below chart illustrates the findings:

Some key points:

  • Content is key. Make sure you are sending something of interest
  • Be careful with frequency. Might be a good idea to conduct a quick survey of your audience to determine how much is enough and what will constitute too much

Join the discussion by submitting your comments or topics to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Offline Email Bounce

Do you collect emails or now maybe cell numbers for SMS at an offline location? Then you might be experiencing bounce. Bounce is when the info you collected leads to a non-deliverable address.

This can be caused by illegible writing, wrong info heard, mistakes during transfer, etc. So how do you collect database information offline that is usable. You use online methods.

This may seem odd. After all, you are collecting the information offline. Studies have shown that using an incentive that is generated at the offline site can have a high conversion rate of customers that go online to fulfill.

This way you get your information accurately and electronically. Make sure you give an incentive that will encourage fulfillment and you can reduce the bounce.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Online Video Study

I came across an excellent study regarding online video. Some great take aways like keep your programs short (3 minutes or less) and make them funny, music oriented or user generated content for max appeal. This article came from Marketing Charts.

The top 5 categories of videos watched online are all short-form - comedy, music videos, videos shot and uploaded by consumers, news stories and movie previews - according to a Frank N. Magid Associates survey conducted for Metacafe.

Moreover, 28% of those who watch online videos report watching less TV as a result, according to the national online survey of 2,000 people age 12-64. Among the other findings of the Metacafe survey:

  • 50% of all respondents watch online video weekly.
  • 11% of all respondents watch online video daily.
  • 19% of those who watch online videos report regularly sharing a link to a video with someone else.

The top-five most commonly viewed types of online video content, based on respondents reporting that they watch regularly, are as follows:

  • Comedy/jokes/bloopers (37%)
  • Music videos (36%)
  • Videos shot and uploaded by consumers (33%)
  • News stories (31%)
  • Movie previews (28%)

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Christmas in July Post

The holidays are right around the corner. Now is a good time to check your strategies, especially if your company looks to this season for a good deal of its sales. There are some external factors to be aware of this year, including a presidential election, stalling economy, and higher gas prices.

Marketing Sherpa provides these dos and don'ts as helpful tips to consider:

Without question, testing new tactics and retesting older ones is a sure-fire way to achieve greater sales. Strong pieces of advice can also come in handy. Here are four intriguing dos and don’ts from marketers that are based on what they learned during last holiday season:

Do #1. Watch your price points in this economic downturn

"The overriding theme is going to be frugality," says Michael Cramer, Co-Founder, Adagio Teas. "Online shoppers will be thinking, 'How can I check out without spending too much money?' So, we are looking to appeal more with value propositions." Furthermore, Cramer and his team plan on setting their merchandising system to push products that are priced between $19 and $49. In addition, the five cross-sell items that appear on their products details pages will fall in that price range.

Do #2. Use incentives to push traffic towards Website

Use incentives to direct customers to the Website rather than the call center – especially if you are sending out a catalog. It will take some heat off your busy CRM reps and cut down your operations cost. Since employing this tactic, for instance, Legendary Whitetails has successfully transitioned 10% more sales to online that used to be offline.

Don't #1. Drop your print catalog the week of the presidential election

Wait until America becomes refocused on everyday life after the election. Your big-time efforts are going to get lost in the political hysteria and produce small-time results. Need proof? In 2004, Legendary Whitetails dropped the catalog right "on top of the election," says Mark Kaiser, VP Marketing. "And it wasn't a good drop. You need to let the criers cry and the yeahers yeah before they'll get back to doing regular things."

Don't #2. Focus too much on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

Those days are important, but not to the point where you lose out on other marketing opportunities, says Neil Kugelman, CEO, "From what we've seen, ecommerce customers' big days are the last six days before Christmas. The last-minute orders are really huge."

Join the discussion by submitting topics or comments to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Say Hello to Cuil (Cool)

On Sunday night, former members of Google announced the release of (Pronounced Cool). Cuil is a brand new search engine that claims to be able index the most pages across the web.

The search engine seeks to provide more relevant results by indexing on keywords as well as the meaning behind the search of those keywords. The company is not selling paid search or advertising at this time, but may in the future.

The site strives to help the user search by providing helpful hints on how to narrow their searches to find the sites that they are seeking. The results produced are then categorized and the engine is currently returning results that are different from Google right now.

Join the discussion by submitting your topics or comments to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Banner Advertising Tips

Banner advertising is starting to peak and may soon level off according to some sources. IF you are employing banner advertising as part of your marketing programs, make sure to get the most effectiveness with tips from Marketing Sherpa:

The Sherpa also recommends 3 steps to improve performance:

In the first issue, almost 80% of newsletter readers scan some part of the ad in the left-hand column. By the second issue, that number is cut in half, and then halved again in the third viewing – bottoming out at 20%. It’s a dramatic illustration of ‘banner blindness’ – the process by which we are able to identify page geography by what’s familiar vs. strange and what’s relevant or not.

1. Change the landscape
The most powerful way to combat banner blindness is probably to vary the page template itself. By moving landmarks, you encourage the eye to conduct a more complete scan of the page. This is easiest in the email world, where creating and scheduling similar, but not identical, templates won’t send the Web team into paroxysms.

2. Change the look and feel of ads
If you can’t change the position of ads, think about changing ad sizes or the way they look. In our study, for instance, we swapped in a text list where a graphical ad had been positioned and saw a jump in attention. The eye tracks changes to a familiar landscape.

3. Increase ad rotation
The easiest way to combat blindness is to change ads frequently. For publishers, that’s easy. That’s not the case with sponsored placements or in-house advertising; these can sit static for long periods.Publish Post

Join the discussion on the AMA Pittsburgh blog by submitting your topic or comment.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Online Developments Update

It has been a busy summer for announcements and last week was no exception. Here are some of the recent developments to keep an eye on:

Google is said to be close to buying Digg. The Google empire has been acquiring complementary pieces at a rapid rate. Besides Digg, Google announced Knol a Wikipedia type entry and Lively a Second Life competitor. Add those to the partnership with Yahoo on search.

MySpace will begin selling music and concert tickets from its site. MySpace had already become a large music sharing network and this is a natural extension for the social network site. Amazon will handle the fulfillment for the new service.

Facebook will take advantage of its connection to Microsoft by incorporating Live Search on its network. This development has ramifications for your SEO efforts. You may not want to ignore MSN anymore as Facebook continues to grow in important demographics.

Speaking of SEO, Adobe announced that Flash and rich media applications will now be indexed by Google and others. There is a flurry of questions as to the ramifications. No one is sure what weight will be given and techniques for SEO within Flash have yet to evolve. One thing seems to be agreed upon, if you gained an advantage in rank because of a competitor’s flash rich site - that may be coming to an end.

A recent study by Borrell Associates, a Williamsburg, Va.-based market research firm, uncovered three major trends:
  • Spending on online display ads (web page banners, pop-ups, etc.) have been flat the past two years and are expected to top out at $12.6 billion in 2008, then decline more than 50 percent by 2012.
  • Paid search advertising will peak at $16.9 billion by 2009 and start declining.
  • Online promotions generated about $8 billion in 2007. This category will nearly triple by 2013 to $22.8 billion, exceeding all other online advertising categories, including paid search, banners, email and online audio/video advertising.

Join the discussion by submitting your topics or comments to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Price vs Service

Marketing Sherpa recently conducts a survey that compares a company and customer perspectives to ending a business relationship. Not surprisingly, companies still believe price is the number one driving factor. Customers on the other hand report that service is the number one reason.

Below is the Sherpa chart detailing the results:

Join the discussion by submitting your comment or topic to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Join Your Fellow Members on LinkedIn

Link up with fellow AMA Pittsburgh members on LinkedIn. AMA Pittsburgh has their own group on the site to aid in connecting member to member. As long as you are a current member, you can join the group at

If you are not a current member, you can join the AMA Pittsburgh chapter via the website at Now is a great time to join or renew your membership. August has the final summer mixer at Olive or Twist complete with drinks, food, a DJ, and I am told a few surprises as well.

There are great events planned for September and October, leading up to the Marketer of the Year Awards in December. More information on the fall events can be found in this space or on the website in the near future.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Neilsen Numbers

Online video continues to chisel into to normal tv watching habits. According to the venerable reporting agency Neilsen, Some 162 million went online in May. Video posted some strong numbers with 119 million unique viewers and 7.5 billion video streams viewed in May 2008.

Join the discussion, submit your comments or topics to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friendly Fridays

We invite you to the third and final summer mixer:

Thursday August 14th, 2008
@ Olive or Twist
5:30-7:30 p.m.

$20 per ticket, includes 2 drink tickets and food

Door Prizes & a DJ

RSVP online at by Wednesday August 13th, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Long Tail Buzz

Chris Anderson set the world on fire with his book ‘The Long Tail’ (I recommend it for reading). Now it seems the Long Tail has been applied to strategy all over the marketing universe from product to SEO.

I won’t pretend to explain Long Tail as it was enough to fill an entire book. The basic concept is that if you look at your sales, you will see a tail that starts with the highest sales down to the smaller sales. This graph from Wikipedia will help to explain:

From the chart you can see that a small number of products, services or customers can account for the largest amount of sales (Often referred to as 80/20 rule). However, Anderson realized that by offering a larger number of products and selling less of more without a major increase in cost, certain Internet companies such as ITunes, Amazon, and EBay were successful against the more established brick and mortar veterans.

Since this time the Long Tail has been applied in many places, often successfully. I still believe there are several industries where a long tail business model could make an impact, but that is a story for another time.

The term Long Tail seems to have its own long tail. Marketers are looking for Long Tail marketing programs that can deliver increased results. The major area that the Long Tail buzz has gotten its fuel is with SEO.

Research shows that a few keywords drive the largest percentage of traffic to your site. The issue many marketers face is that is becoming harder and likely more expensive to own these words whether organically or paid, especially if you are just starting out.

The long tail of SEO is the words or phrases beyond the nost popular for your company. The question is does it make sense to invest time and resources into these less popular keywords or devote to the few that drive the traffic.

Join the discussion by submitting your comments or topics to the AMA Pittsburgh blog.

Webinar Tips

Webinars have become an integral part of marketing programs. With a rise in gas prices, webinars are poised for growth as audiences turn to the web rather than travel for events. With more and more online events popping up each day, Marketing Sherpa surveyed audiences to find out what will cause an attendee to leave a webinar.
The key finding was be sure your event stands up to how you advertise it. The single largest factor for leaving a webinar was events that over promised and under delivered. The Sherpa chart below illustrates common reasons for quitting a webinar.

Join the discussion by submitting your comment or topic to the AMA Pittsburgh blog. Mark your calendars for the final summer mixer on August 14th. Details to come soon.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

You Already Have a Mobile Marketing Program

One million was the key phrase yesterday. The US announced that it had one million names on its Anti-terrorism list. The bigger news was that Apple sold one million of its latest version IPhone. The company announced 10 million downloads from its apps store as well. This means that you as a marketer are already in the mobile marketing platform.

I know what you are saying to yourself. I don’t have mobile apps, widgets, or even a SMS/text marketing program. I am not doing mobile marketing. You might also be saying I am not a consumer brand or my demographic is not 13-25 so I don’t need mobile marketing.

Whether you are industrial, b-b, small, medium or large, you are now in the mobile marketing game. The fact that there are now one million more devices on top of the other communications equipment in the world that also have web access as integral to their services means that you have no choice but to be mobile marketing.

In fact you have 2 mobile marketing programs likely at your company right now. The first and primary is your current web site. This marketing tool can now be accessed by one million more people from their mobile device. The second is your email marketing programs.
Now that you have one million more potential prospects to view your website and email, you might want to review the accessibility of your site. Accessibility can refer to how easily accessed the information on your site is to the visually impaired, search engines, and now mobile devices.

If your site is heavily designed in programs such as Flash then that information will be lost to mobile device users. Make sure your site is designed to interact with these devices and use the fancier programming and design as an enhancement instead of the main architecture. Functionality will be key as you are accessed by your new mobile prospects.

Another item that you might want to review is how up to date is your information on the site. Keep your information fresh and relevant to encourage all of your visitors to use your website as a tool.

Once you have the basics fixed then you can look at all of the new ways that you can put mobile marketing to work for you. I personally know that many construction contractors carry Blackberrys now. That’s important to remember when you think that mobile marketing is just for consumer brands.

Here’s hoping that mobile marketing can make you one million more of what’s most important to you.

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