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%)