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.
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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.

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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.