Brand, Digital Marketing, Email Marketing, Internet Industry, Search Engines

S T P (?)

I came across this inspiring note by Norm Rose, the 26 years travel industry veteran. His blog is compendium of interesting articles on travel technology, emerging trends and latest happenings. In this particular article, Mr Norm has covered Expedia’s new approach (basis Dara Khosrowshahi’s address at PhocusWright conference, Nov 2007). This might not sound rocket science but pretty much what we have always been discussing about. Though written in Nov 2007, but is still valid..

Expedia has 3 focus areas…

> Email: Make it more focused and targeted. Email has tremendous potential of upsell opportunity

> Segmentation: content based segmentation. Premium groups, no cancellation/change fees or other services

> Search Experience/Personalisation: New algorithm will send people to a specific hotel property, therefore increasing the likelihood of conversion.

Thus Expedia’s leap from being impersonal to a more personalised interaction. I saw lot of Amazon in their approach, emailing, algorithm, personalisation etc. You can read his full article here.

As an emarketer, I’m sure most of us have always been smitten with the Google bug, Search Optimisation Search Engine Marketing other display related communication to reach out to our target consumer (talk about segmentation, targeting and positioning). I’m also sure that very few of us would have looked internally, at our own database, our own consumers and found effective ways of marketing.

Banking folks are a great example and market according to clusters lifetime value etc (alas, they might be around for long). However, the other service industry players such as travel and retail e commerce still have to long way to go.

Truly, in the context of e-Marketing, the three pillars of marketing strategy- Segmentation, Targeting and Positioning (STP, as we call it) has a new P- Personalisation. Practicing this formula on Search (whether SEO or SEM) is relatively easy. All we need to do is to marry the keyword (read as search intent) to the product offering. But, what Expedia is talking about is the next level. This will marry the customer level data (from CRM) to the content to enhance conversion. And we don’t have to look elsewhere, but our own data and integrate this to deliver the lasting consumer engagement. I’m reminded of a scene from minority report, where Tom Cruise, while walking in a mall is offered a proposition basis his Retina scan.

Sounds very simple, eh! But who cares, as long as, we have Google 🙂

Cheers!

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Search Engines, Social media

What is your Knol?

google-knol-say-always-what-you-think-mashed-up-from-tommyblue-dot-it-grande_coraggio-4001

A bad question to start the post for an interesting product :). The though came after a good question (rather answer) was popped during an internal quiz- “What is the unit of knowledge?”

An avid follower of Google myself, I couldn’t even attempt the question (though my able colleague did). And thus started my pursuit of KNOL, a unit of knowledge.

For the late starter, such as I, Knol is an article written by experts. Just as the information on Wikipedia. These are authoritative articles written by experts. An interesting starting point is this article in Google blog which says- 100,000th knol published (wow, I didn’t know that it was that big?).

Knol has been dubbed as the “Wikipedia killer” (Actually one of the polls on the web that I came across deems it otherwise. There is a huge loyality for Wikipedia). Now, coming back to Knol, the author who creates the knol, can accept or reject the edits made by the person writing the review. Sometimes it is also compared to Squidoo, which is also created by specialists (read authorities) and be rewarded for it. However, it has to go a long way when you compare it to 2.7 Mln content pages on wikipedia.

You can log onto knol.google.com and get a first hand experience yourself!

Go get yourself a knol 🙂

Cheers!

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Affiliate Marketing, Search Engines, Social media, Viral Marketing

Gadgets Ads et al…

It has been a while that I have put a new article on my blog. Pretty much, last few months everything was happening, and unfortunately was regular work which took lot of time. The realisation dawned upon me when I was going through the LinkedIn profile; now you can add tools to stay connected (You see I’m not that proficient user of Facebook). I found it a great way to stay connected.

That brings me the to the discussion of Content Vs The Gadget. How does one get access to a thousand of browsers out there- through content (traditional) or gadget/tool (Hmmm…)

Computers are getting personal and so are the the website. The scope of customising the websites to your taste and preference; There is a huge scope of customisation.(Though I belong to the old generation, who use the website as it is, but I’m sure the techies and the young new generation is adept at this art). I have seen my nephew customising his Google and Yahoo home page and close friend using Google reader to get himself updated with the latest happening. Small little gadgets does a save that extra effort that you might otherwise require to source the content.No wonder Google is promoting these dinky units in a big way. These can be rendered in multiple formats- HTML/Flash, can have live data feeds and can be placed on any web page, including iGoogle.

So for marketers, we might not yet bid Goodbye to the old world of CTR optimied, Geo and IP targeted ad units, but we would want to utilise the Gadget ads in a ever increasing way. comScore, the leading third party Digital Media audit agency has reported and increase in popularity of this new offering.

This is a list of interesting gadgets/applications…

Coke bubble application
Fidelity instruments Market monitor
Southwest Airlines- Ding (my favourite :))
Target- The widget allows you to search Target products from your desktop
Acuvue- wink application

Here’s another great article that I came across on iMedia- Creative Primer on Power of Brand Widgets.

Cheers!

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Affiliate Marketing, Search Engines, Social media, Viral Marketing

Gadgets Ads et al…

It has been a while that I have put a new article on my blog. Pretty much, last few months everything was happening, and unfortunately was regular work which took lot of time. The realisation dawned upon me when I was going through the LinkedIn profile; now you can add tools to stay connected (You see I’m not that proficient user of Facebook). I found it a great way to stay connected.

That brings me the to the discussion of Content Vs The Gadget. How does one get access to a thousand of browsers out there- through content (traditional) or gadget/tool (Hmmm…)

Computers are getting personal and so are the the website. The scope of customising the websites to your taste and preference; There is a huge scope of customisation.(Though I belong to the old generation, who use the website as it is, but I’m sure the techies and the young new generation is adept at this art). I have seen my nephew customising his Google and Yahoo home page and close friend using Google reader to get himself updated with the latest happening. Small little gadgets does a save that extra effort that you might otherwise require to source the content.No wonder Google is promoting these dinky units in a big way. These can be rendered in multiple formats- HTML/Flash, can have live data feeds and can be placed on any web page, including iGoogle.

So for marketers, we might not yet bid Goodbye to the old world of CTR optimied, Geo and IP targeted ad units, but we would want to utilise the Gadget ads in a ever increasing way. comScore, the leading third party digital Media audit agency has reported and increase in popularity of this new offering.

This is a list of interesting gadgets/applications…

Coke bubble application
Fidelity instruments Market monitor
Southwest Airlines- Ding (my favourite :))
Target- The widget allows you to search Target products from your desktop
Acuvue- wink application

Here’s another great article that I came across on iMedia- Creative Primer on Power of Brand Widgets.

Cheers

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Internet Audience Measurement, Media Buying, Search Engines, Viral Marketing, Web Analytics

Every Click Counts…

The other day I read one good Mediapost article on Metrics. You won’t be surprised that there are quite a few of them- Buzz Metrics, Engagement Metrics etc. And there is also our old traditional media currency- GRPs or Gross rating points. (Simply put, GRP is reach x frequency) The more you have, the richer would be the brand. However, as we see more and more new media evolve ( internet and mobile), the ground rules have changed. The communication flow is not just one way but it is interactive and more importantly, measurable (this is at the cost of being labeled as cliche).

So, what would be the traditional measure of success in the interactive internet universe. Is it only going to be mere GRPs (reach of the media vehicle times the frequency of exposure) or the measurement of interaction? The new line of thought is to quantify this engagement in a number of ways. Not just look at pageview and visitations, but also look at time spent on the site, number of pages viewed during a visit and proportion of single access visits to the total site visits. In a nutshell, all exposures are not equal, some are more engaging than others. In fact, the beauty of this metrics is that it is not precise and needs to be molded as per the site goals. You can find this discussion “the peterson calculation” by a gentleman called Eric Peterson (obviously :)) by clicking on this link.

And as I was reading through this article, I was also forced to think about media creativity. In fact, I initially tried to build this article around a few creative sites and hence how the measurement differs. But alas, there is no reference content available on this subject. Hence I will concentrate on the first step of this conversion journey, which is the click.

In this whole context of buzz, engagement etc how important is a click.? This click which might come from a search engine, a banner, a creative blog (like mine) and PR sources across the net. What is the value of this click? How relevant is it towards brand building? A click is a click and is measured by a CTR or Click Through Rate (clicks/impressions served%). How important is a creative in this context? And how “Creative” is a creative in an online space?

Traditional Media like TV and Radio is easy, we have Ad recall and various studies. And we have presentations and PR on how good a Television creative was. We have various ad forums like Cannes, which tests the creative mettle. A good creative gets awards and ad recall. But what is the measure of an online creative? I had read another great article, which substantiates that the memory on the internet space is limited (and hence the power to influence brands, I would love to hear your comments on this, if you have reached this point). And I can guarantee you that you won’t remember which banner have you clicked on, what colour was it, what was the messaging and call to action. There are very banners which can contradict this statement. So how do you measure the worth of a banner (or any such communication) in the internet space. In our performance marketing jargon we call it CTR, the definition I described before. CTR gives you the return on your media buys, it brings the browser closer to the website and it is the first link towards the conversion.

Someone rightly said every click is a wish. And the website is to fulfill that wish. The creativity lies in driving the CTRs, which means altering few creative elements here and there to optimise the media performance. I have tried to use bright idea through the banners, but they don’t deliver CTR (or bring about the conversions on our website). Banners and text links are the lowest hanging fruits of the internet marketing domain, where the interaction starts.

The greatest impact on a brand through a website is through the website. There are a few links which I think is worth a mention, because they have done a lot good to the internet marketing and getting it closer to building brands (and not just limit it to a performance driver). They are the true testimonials to engagement/buzz/interactive marketing (the order is not a reflection of their ranking)….

1. Sunsilk Gang of Girls. They boast a decent traffic with 100K users within 4 months of its launch. Though originally, HLL had to use a lot of media muscle to drive traction, but they has been very persistent on this front. The best part is that the website is updated frequently, and now has a celeb zone with Priyanka Chopra, DJ Pearl, Piya Rai Choudhary, Dippanita sharma as contributors. The wesbite looks good, but the speed of page down load is very slow.

2. Mentoshelpline.com: I love their communication, (have you seen the latest one, which is called “the missing link“?). It is entertaining, engaging and very innovative. Checkout the helpline lady. You will also come across a great list of problems- love, professional etc. The site tickles you and has a huge brand rub-off. It has a new avatar called Mentosfriendsline.com . If you have any problem, just share.

3. MakeMyTrip.com: Some innovative viral, which is a buzz in the internet circle. I have seen a few guys using this link to define their personality.

There are a few more on these lines, developed by the same agency, Webchutney.

4. Bingo:, A good site, but as great as the communication.

The brand advertisers are definitely getting excited about the medium, pepsibluebillion.com, meethamoments.com (from Cadburys) are a good step in this direction which builds brands through engagement. None of the brand advertisers have a decent website, which interacts and engages the prospective consumer. In today’s scenario, web needs to treated as a touchpoint and a medium that can’t be ignored. Net is a medium that is designed and built to allow people to do things and get results from those actions.

Simplicity is the name of the game. The only thing that’s unreasonable is the use of interactive technology simply to interact. More often than not, you end up with something that’s overly complex. And although it may be creative, it doesn’t match up with the desires (the wishes) of the consumer. Buzz and engagement is secondary.

You might also want to check out magicofblack.com

Cheers!

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Search Engines, Social media, Viral Marketing

So, what is Social Bookmarking?

There were Google “bots” and then came the bookmarks. Probably, 3-4 years down the line we might have this introduction for Social Bookmarking websites Del.ici.ous, Readit.com etc etc. It will take some time to pick up and can be considered as the hottest trend right now. My question on linkedin on “how many of you use social bookmarks and are the results effective?” has only two respondents 😦

So, what do the social bookmarking tags/sites do? Very simply put, they help you save bookmarks as tags and share it with the community. Sites like del.ici.ous go a step further and show you interesting results. Sites like dig, show you the most popular stories. Consider this, everytime a person uses the bookmark to search information, he has taken one step further away from Google/Yahoo SERPs, indicating a huge traffic potential in times to come. The only difference being, these results of social bookmarks is the collective effort of readers (read humans) who have tagged/indexed the information. They might have researched on Yahoo/Google (and therefore sourced through a bot/algorithm), however the information is filtered and hence richer. Over a period of time, familiarity will pave way for more frequent usage.

Lets go little deep and explore the “semantics”. Social Bookmarking is a term for allowing people to publish, categorise and share their bookmarks. Del.ici.ous uses a non-hierarchical keyword categorisation system, know as folksonomy, where user tag their links with one or more freely chosen keyword. This is like naming method (Taxonomy) but authored by users. Once bookmarks are posted and tagged, the keyword that users give them can be combined and shared in powerful ways. Users can see all the bookmarks on a keyword to learn what others feel is important, and see how many people bookmark a particular item to gauge its popularity.

Stripped down to its core, social bookmarking is a means by which a group can categorise and locate information based on its own evolving taxonomy. In other words, it’s very collaborative and a little unstructured. Users “tag” content and the content is “Bookmarked” for all to see based on those tags. That kind of information categorisation is sometimes referred to as “folksonomy”, a hybrid word referring to regular “Folks” and “Taxonomy”, a method of organisation. The whole process is democratic. Whereas the search engines use top-down approach to sorting and filing data (the program algorithm shows people what it “thinks”), social bookmarking is bottom-up, grassroot system wherein users tell other users what they think and something of consensus usually forms. In true sense it is not the backlinks referral or SEO optimised content, but the popularity by fellow users that determines the ranking. Items favoured by more than one person percolates up in popularity, helping the user to find interesting things to read on subjects.

Social bookmarking sites fill as unique niche by helping organise truly useful information. It’s a bit different from news of the day content covered by sites like Digg, although there is some overlap. People tend to bookmark content they found useful enough to consider revisiting at another time. This could be content thats simple longer than they have time to absorb when first discovered. A person could also subscribe to his bookmark feed using a program like bloglines using RSS link near the bottom of the page.

One limitation of social bookmarks (like del.ici.ous) to date is the privacy control. All bookmarks are visible to everyone else in the system, so this may not be an ideal location to bookmark financial reports of acquisition candidates, the MySpace profiles of prospective employees or other things that may raise an eyebrow. Yahoo has a similar product called MyWeb that does offer the ability to mark bookmarks private, shared with friends, or public, but hasn’t taken off like del.ici.ous. Though Yahoo acquired del.ici.ous last year, but hasn’t done much to integrate.

Social bookmarking will soon evolve beyond its techie tool avatar. Sooner than later, and as more people use it, netizens will realise that it is not just a web based access to bookmark. It is driven more by a form of implied reciprocation where bookmarkers contribute what they found interesting with the understanding that others will the same, leading to a community which is source of good content; the classic “collaborate and grow” netiquette.

Do you use social bookmarking? If you don’t, it is always a good time to start and begin contributing and lend that ‘Human touch” to search results.

Cheers!!

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bookmarks, del.ici.ous, digg.com, furl.com, google folksonomy, Microsoft's Bid for Yahoo, readit.com, rss link, Search Engines, social bookmarking, stumbledupon.com, tags

So, what is Social Bookmarking?

There were Google “bots” and then came the bookmarks. Probably, 3-4 years down the line we might have this introduction for Social Bookmarking websites Del.ici.ous, Readit.com etc etc. It will take some time to pick up and can be considered as the hottest trend right now. My question on linkedin on “how many of you use social bookmarks and are the results effective?” has only two respondants 😦

So, what do the social bookmarking tags/sites do? Very simply put, they help you save bookmarks as tags and share it with the community. Sites like del.ici.ous go a step further and show you interesting results. Sites like dig, show you the most popular stories. Consider this, everytime a person uses the bookmark to search information, he has taken one step further away from Google/Yahoo SERPs, indicating a huge traffic potential in times to come. The only difference being, these results of social bookmarks is the collective effort of readers (read humans) who have tagged/indexed the information. They might have researched on Yahoo/Google (and therefore sourced through a bot/algorithm), however the information is filtered and hence richer. Over a period of time, familiarity will pave way for more frequent usage.

Lets go little deep and explore the “semantics”. Social Bookmarking is a term for allowing people to publish, categorise and share their bookmarks. Del.ici.ous uses a non-hierarchical keyword categorisation system, know as folksonomy, where user tag their links with one or more freely chosen keyword. This is like naming method (Taxonomy) but authored by users. Once bookmarks are posted and tagged, the keyword that users give them can be combined and shared in powerful ways. Users can see all the bookmarks on a keyword to learn what others feel is important, and see how many people bookmark a particular item to gauge its popularity.

Stripped down to its core, social bookmarking is a means by which a group can categorise and locate information based on its own evolving taxonomy. In other words, it’s very collaborative and a little unstructured. Users “tag” content and the content is “Bookmarked” for all to see based on those tags. That kind of information categorisation is sometimes referred to as “folksonomy”, a hybrid word referring to regular “Folks” and “Taxonomy”, a method of organisation. The whole process is democratic. Whereas the search engines use top-down approach to sorting and filing data (the program algorithm shows people what it “thinks”), social bookmarking is bottom-up, grassroot system wherein users tell other users what they think and something of consensus usually forms. In true sense it is not the backlinks referral or SEO optimised content, but the popularity by fellow users that determines the ranking. Items favoured by more than one person percolates up in popularity, helping the user to find interesting things to read on subjects.

Social bookmarking sites fill as unique niche by helping organise truly useful information. It’s a bit different from news of the day content covered by sites like Digg, although there is some overlap. People tend to bookmark content they found useful enough to consider revisiting at another time. This could be content thats simple longer than they have time to absorb when first discovered. A person could also subscribe to his bookmark feed using a program like bloglines using RSS link near the bottom of the page.

One limitation of social bookmarks (like del.ici.ous) to date is the privacy control. All bookmarks are visible to everyone else in the system, so this may not be an ideal location to bookmark financial reports of acquisition candidates, the MySpace profiles of prospective employees or other things that may raise an eyebrow. Yahoo has a similar product called MyWeb that does offer the ability to mark bookmarks private, shared with friends, or public, but hasn’t taken off like del.ici.ous. Though Yahoo acquired del.ici.ous last year, but hasn’t done much to integrate.

Social bookmarking will soon evolve beyond its techie tool avatar. Sooner than later, and as more people use it, netizens will realise that it is not just a web based access to bookmark. It is driven more by a form of implied reciprocation where bookmarkers contribute what they found interesting with the understanding that others will the same, leading to a community which is source of good content; the classic “collaborate and grow” netiquette.

Do you use social bookmarking? If you don’t, it is always a good time to start and begin contributing and lend that ‘Human touch” to search results.

Cheers!

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