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Recap: MarketMix 2012 conference

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Last week, Amy Rainey and I went on behalf of Banyan Branch to the day-long MarketMix conference on “Thriving in the Conversation Economy.” This event is the largest annual gathering of marketers in the Pacific Northwest. We got to hear marketing strategy from speakers like Ben Huh, CEO and founder of Cheezburger and Ted Rubin, chief social marketing strategist at Collective Bias.

Here are some of my major takeaways from the conference:

“CEOs talk ROI but decide budgets on a feeling. Social media is about feeling.” – Ted Rubin of Collective Bias

It’s easy to get focused on daily tasks and forget about the bigger picture. At Banyan, we have our eyes on developing social trends, influencers and social buzz for our clients every day. This information represents a constant opportunity to get the right feeling across. Save those supporting facts and great shout outs and be sharing them whenever possible with your clients.     

“Social media drives engagement, engagement drives loyalty, loyalty correlates directly to increased sales.” – Ted Rubin of Collective Bias

Clients want to see ROI and agencies should make this a goal. However, if marketers focus on sales but overlook engagement and loyalty as metrics of success, they miss the long term effects of developing repeat customers. Relationships are the currency that keeps paying off.

“80% of people watching TV are mobile multi-tasking: e-mail, text, talk, or social networking. 15% are using phones the entire time they are watching TV.”- TV break-out session

Social TV is here to stay. Marketers in the entertainment field need to engage with viewers on multiple platforms, or someone else will. With tools like TV Everywhere popping up, marketers are expanding beyond household information. Today we are learning about individual users, right down to who is using what kind of content on what kind of devices.

“57% of companies have acquired customers through a blog.” – Andy Boyer of Relaborate

Some clients aren’t yet willing to give a blog the attention it needs to thrive and support ROI. Marketers have a responsibility to prove blogs’ value and to offer a content development strategy. Success requires a collaborative approach. Developing Q&A templates can help to extract key insights from thought leaders within a company which a content manager can then craft into a SEO-optimized post. 

“Make sure you have your social properties and social campaigns on clients’ email unsubscribe page.” – Laura Ashley of TailoredMail

View client email unsubscribes as an opportunity to connect in a different way with customers. Just because a customer doesn’t want to receive brand emails doesn’t mean they don’t want to continue the relationship. Highlight social campaigns, contests, or giveaways – more often than not, the customer will forget to push the unsubscribe button at all!

“The Internet has created more drive for people to connect IRL, not less. Like at conferences, like this one.” – Ben Huh of Cheezburger

Never lose sight of the user experience. Social succeeds where it facilitates connection, relationships, and experiences. There’s nothing like a campaign with an in-person element to drive online buzz.

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marketing · Uncategorized

Affiliate Programs: A Financial Win-Win

If you sell goods or services, or if you like to talk digitally about goods or services, affiliate programs are something you should know about because they make you money and are free to set up (for the company too, but I’ll get to that).

I love affiliate programs because I feel they are a win-win for everybody. They allow companies to get in front of very targeted leads, they allow bloggers to earn a commission on products they would already promote, and by funding bloggers, they help create the targeted content enjoyed by blog readership. I have read complaints that this promotes false advertising by bloggers who only care about commissions, but I feel that the bloggers who talk about products they don’t really love do not achieve the reader trust that translates to sales.

What is an affiliate program?

An affiliate program, sometimes called a partner program, is when a company offers a piece of tracking code that you can place after any link to their site. This code does not change the customer experience of using the link, but allows the company to track and reward the person who sent them any online sales. The code snippet is often preceded by a question mark, and might look something like this: ?azy3345. So instead of blogging about http://www.amazon.com/coolthing, you’d blog about http://www.amazon.com/coolthing?azy3345. Getting your personalized code involves visiting the target website and finding and setting up your affiliate account with them. It’s pretty easy.

I sell products or services. How do I start an affiliate program?

There are several for-pay affiliate programs such as DirectTrack that cost thousands of dollars, but I am a fan of HasOffers because it’s free for the first 250,000 clicks. The user interface is well designed and customizable.

marketing · Uncategorized

Pay-For-Performance Marketing with Excel

Excel has amazing abilities to help pay-for-performance online marketers. Pivot tables and the Microsoft Advertising Intelligence Add in allow pay-for-performance online marketers to create popular keyword lists, expand your negatives, create traffic proposals, research market trends and create bid proposals, all within Excel. That’s a lot of jargon to say that you can find out how to get the best return on your money when buying promotion on search engine homepages like Google.