- Forget 2013. Is Your Company 2016-ready? (Part 1)
- A new American
- 4 Ways Facebook Graph Search Will Transform User Behavior
- Pin to Win in the “Words With eROI” Game on Pinterest!
- “Words with eROI” Fine Print
- Kim Kardashian, Accidental Tweets, Microwave Pizza and other Predictions for 2013
- Keeping Analytics Simple
- 6 Tips For Surviving Your Office Holiday Party
- Barbara! What’s that in your hand?!
- Christmas Past
- Create Honest Relationships
- eROI is celebrating “Movember.”
- 6 Things You Should Know About Switch Hitting…I mean Digital Marketing
- Wow…space is amazing
- The Sky’s the Limit
- Paid for by Citizens Against Terrible Advertising
- A WOW Layout
- Friendly as can be
- Hurricane Sandy on Bikes
- Time = Sweetness
- We Love Digital Innovation Too
- The Fiesta Bowl
- Finding an Ethos
- Dear Magazine Publishers…You know I love you.
- Sample that Sh*t…Happy Birthday Bob
- Won’t you be my neighbor?
- Dan’s Bike Race
- Help Me Obi-Wan Ninkasi.
- We know your passion cause we feel it too.
- Local Office Nerf Basketball League seeks sponsor for newly franchised Princess Basketball.
- SEO white and black hats
- Setting Records – for Marketing?
- The Latin Kitchen
- A Pinteresting Debate: To Pin or Not to Pin
- Download the Deck – #PDXChat @ eROI
- OSU New Media Design Class
- You gotta FIGHT for your RIGHT to be an Entrepreneur
- Digital Marketing Nurture Strategy on Nature’s Terms for Restaurants + Hotels
- The $18 Million Website. Really? Really.
- Newspaper, Digital Media and Football – featuring Omar Little
- Marketers are overwhelmed. What is the root cause?
- Google Analytics Part 2 – Social
- Google Analytics Part 1- The Basics: Structure and Filters
- Socially-challenged? Try something different.
- Add big personality to your big-brand
- What IS a Content Strategist?
- Social Media Fatigue: Can The Future Save Us?
- Ryan Seacrest, I @ U
- Links to Interesting Things? Yeah We Do that.
- Responsive Web Design And Search Engine Optimization
Now that we’ve all consumed our fair share of 2013 predictions—year of the tablet, RTB (real-time bidding) grows up, augmented reality goes mainstream, big data gets wrangled in, SoLoMo hits its stride, etc.—let’s take a step back … and look BEYOND. After all, evaluating technology one year at a time is a losing battle, and companies should take note. Let’s take a look at how we got here, what’s coming and what you need to be focusing on… CONSUMERS & COMPANIES Despite dramatic spikes in consumer adoption rates, companies continue to lag behind consumers in adapting. Many are still scrambling to catch up on mobile (while still busy getting in front of social), nevermind planning for the next big thing. In fact, according to Mongoosemetrics’ Mobile Readiness Study published in February 2012, which examined the top 1 million sites on Quantcast,
“wearable augmented reality devices” are the most tangible developments.
* HAPTIC TECHNOLOGY
Touch response technology has been around for decades. For early gamers, the physical sensation of hitting the “rumble strip” in video game, Pole Position, shows the early stages of this technology. It’s evolved significantly, and heavily informs human/touchscreen interactions. Its greatest promise is texture simulation and humanizing device-free interface interaction.
* DEVICE-FREE REVOLUTION
Before Google Glass is even available to consumers, the Google team is already thinking beyond the device…with contact lens displays. Depending on how these products roll out, the lens may eclipse the glasses and take mankind one HUGE leap toward device-free interactive experiences. Projection interfaces have been popping up on the scene as well. Interactions mimic touchscreens, but the interface can be projected onto a multitude of surfaces…including human skin.
* REAL-TIME, RESPONSIVE, PERSONALIZED EVERYTHING! (APP-NOSTIC?)
I don’t have a specific example of this, but I invite you to envision a not-so-distant future where big data has been wrangled and every interaction – active or passive – is smart, responsive and real-time.
Your mirror records every outfit you wear and a holographic interface recommends wardrobe additions/replacements, based on your style, that you can virtually try on and subsequently purchase, on the spot – all within the course of getting dressed for work on a given day.
Your bed records your sleeping habits and automatically adjusts lights and alarm clocks as well as sending data to your shopping list and informing an AR overlay in your refrigerator to recommend food intake for the day. Ideally, robotics advance in pace and can pack your breakfast and lunch based on your bed monitor’s recommendations.
As demand grows for more integrated and streamlined computing interactions, the entire computing experience begins to focus more around activities – communicate, collect, document, produce, explore, shop, etc. – rather than specific applications.
Many of these technologies already exist in some form, but are fragmented and not connected in an efficient way. It won’t take long before it’s all streamlined. Are you ready? Are you contributing?
WHAT COMPANIES NEED TO ASK
What frequently gets lost in discussing how to get in front of new technologies, are the logistics of getting there. It’s easy to say “X is coming”, but does anyone break it down and map out the logistical steps of actually getting there?
For instance, I downloaded a TV remote app for my iPhone 3G a few years ago. It didn’t work (or I couldn’t figure out how to GET it to work), so I abandoned it. Recently, the topic resurfaced in my home while reassessing our entertainment setup. I remembered the app I downloaded and thought, “well, it probably works better now.” This is a common experience in a world where technology moves at lightning speed, with decentralized app development rooted in a beta-to-beautiful rollout philosophy.
So, how does this apply to future tech-thinking for your company? While adoption overall may be rapid, there will be ebbs and flows of adoption, abandonment and rediscovery—especially as it pertains to large shifts in technology – such as device-free interfaces. There will be transitional periods where old technologies and new technologies are being used simultaneously. There are advantages to being on the scene early, even if you aren’t perfect, and advantages to waiting and learning from others’ mistakes. Which way to go depends largely on your brand, its values and the nature of your competition.
Here are some questions and considerations bouncing around my brain as I think about charting the course forward…
* How will device-bound and device-free environments interact and/or overlap?
* What will your audience migrate to device-free for first? What will they stick to device-bound for during the transition? What will they expect from you? How does this shape your plans and priorities?
* What does making the transition mean for your company? Which digital properties/assets need to change and how (ex. – how would your website need to change to incorporate haptic technology or gesture-based nav?)
* What can you learn from how people interact with touchscreens, audio commands and gesture-based interfaces (Kinect)?
* What new communication/data channels, if any, will come into play? Which existing ones can go away or be phased out?
* Removing devices solves part of the fragmentation. How do peoples’ needs around the actual experience change in response to a device-free world –where everything is ‘smart’, responsive and hyper-personalized? Will this drive toward more ‘app-nostic’ experiences that focus more on activity (i.e. – produce, record, collect, share, communicate, shop, etc.)
The above is not an exhaustive list by any means, but it helps get the wheels turning.
MY MAIN POINT IS TWO-FOLD:
* Companies need to get in the habit of looking forward in an effort to be more forward-thinking and less reactionary. It needs to be part of their core process, not an afterthought.
* Continual explosion and expansion of technology is not sustainable from a consumption and support perspective. Focus and convergence are inevitable.
I am insanely curious about all of YOUR thoughts on the topic. Are you PROactive or REactive? Why? Can you change? How? Let’s get a discussion going because catching ON over catching UP is going to mean the survival of us all…sooner than later.
In the next installment, I'll cover emerging trends and technologies in the retail and publishing industries specifically. There are some exciting shifts I'll think you'll find very interesting.
“… only 9% were deemed mobile ready. The rate of mobile readiness grew for websites in the top 100,000 of the Quantcast Top Million, but the increase was only to 14.8%.”Yikes. Especially considering the steady increase of mobile searches over desktop searches and that consumer expectations rise along with their adoption rates. It’s time to stop catching up and start catching ON. It’s a necessity, not a luxury, if you plan to stay relevant, competitive and, well…alive. Let’s be honest…consumers, by definition, need only consume what’s provided them. Given the experience is tolerable (not even necessarily good), they show a great propensity for adoption, as long as there is value in doing so (utility, entertainment, efficiency). Companies have much more to contend with when addressing new technologies. Each advance impacts communication channels (outward-facing AND data wrangling), internal processes and human/capital resource planning—no small feats to say the least. Regardless, technology will continue to outpace itself and the next big thing is no little challenge. The interface, like a small chick, is breaking free from the eggshell and will soon be device-free. What does your brand look like in this brave new world? First, let’s look at the trends to-date and how they inform our future-state… CURRENT STATE Technology has advanced at a dizzying clip over the last 20 to 30 years. Since the dawn of the personal computer, consumer adoption of new technologies has spiked in percentage and rapidity T-O-T (technology over technology). If these stats are any indication of future adoption rates, I think we’re looking at the “next big thing” arriving closer to 2016 than 2020 (as more commonly predicted).
Source: Gartner, IDC, Strategy Analytics, Business Intelligence via http://www.nateriggs.com/disruptive-technology-adoption/The result? An unsustainable level of fragmentation for consumers and companies alike. The sheer number of communication channels (and resulting data sources) is overwhelming. Keeping up with traditional digital communications (websites, email, etc.), the plethora of social sites and mountains of apps across multiple devices flies in the face of Dunbar’s Number saturation theory. This theory applies to social relationships specifically, but if people tap out at 100 social relationships, it stands to reason there’s a saturation level for interactions in general. Clearly companies need to find a way to get in front of the advance and adoption trends. Recent indicators also point toward a desire to simplify on the consumer side. Everyone is trying to reign it in. CONVERGENCE The only reasonable future-state for both parties, in my opinion, is convergence – of devices, interactions and data. There are several trends that support this theory: * The topic of social media fatigue pops up more frequently, especially amongst early adopters. * Online activities are increasingly shifting to mobile/tablet and the demand for multi-function devices is increasing, signaling a desire to consolidate activities into a single device. * App downloads are predicted to peak in 2013, but then begin to decline in 2014. However, app revenues are projected to skyrocket, indicating that the market has matured and people are getting more selective. * Consumers increasingly expect inter-connectivity between their technology touchpoints (devices and applications). * Social media sites continue to mimic and/or import each others’ functionality in an attempt to win marketshare and provide a single destination for social activity. * Companies are busy getting in front of streamlining, and subsequently leveraging, big data (multiple sources that don’t resolve against each other) in an effective manner. The bigger players are planning major system consolidation in 2013 to help facilitate this. The goal in all of this is not only to use this data to inform business improvements, but to deliver highly-customized experiences to customers. WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS * AUGMENTED REALITY New developments in several supporting technologies have hopes raised that augmented reality will finally go mainstream in 2013. AR-equipped smartphones, GPS-enabled experiences connecting with niche mobile technologies like NFC and, the much-anticipated availability of THE GLASSES or
I WANT TO LIKE IT. We flew American Airlines when I was young. I remember staring expectantly through terminal windows at the shine of the unpainted fuselage. I still have a little metal souvenir they gave me as a child. I flew American through college. They solidly shuttled me from SF to the East Coast and back. I grew up with the brand. It was a good time to fly. Then something happened. The planes rattled. They became dingy and dirty inside, the service robotic and rude. Their rewards plan became increasingly complex and unfriendly. With no idea why it all changed, I switched my allegiance and haven’t flown them in years. American Airlines just unveiled a rebrand. It made me hopeful to hear of it. I empathize with the team behind the rebrand too, because the buy-in and development process of a rebrand of this scale is designed for an endurance athlete. But here’s the thing… Visit their site. Watch the video that pops up. In it, their CEO talks about the brand’s change. The video starts with the expected historical flashback, highlights a new fleet of planes (good move), awkwardly mentions a vague merger (strange move) and then says the attendants and pilots will have iPads (shouldn’t the pilots be flying the plane?). The words “modernize” and “modern” are used frequently. Many gratuitous plane shots ensue. Finally, the CEO goes for the big reveal…the new logo and paint job. Stop. Is it me, or is it decidedly myopic and old-fashioned to place so much rebrand attention on a logo? If you step back to the reasons my relationship with AA broke apart they went much deeper than the paint job. Yet much of the rebrand PR focuses on the superficial look of it all. There’s weak attention paid to service or innovative customer experiences—the aspects of travel that make people rant and rave about a brand. If you dig further you’ll find a few snippets of insight. They are re-training their flight attendants. And the “iPads” gain some context: “Galaxy Note™ tabs will give our flight attendants immediate access to your connecting gate information, loyalty status, special preferences and more.” Inevitably, the new AA identity system was a popular topic of debate at the office. Some people really like the new logo. For me, the fact that the iconic eagle looks like a peeling piece of fuselage doesn’t erase my earlier associations with their planes. Nearly everyone agrees the design on the airplane’s tail is “hyperpatriotic” and as one person put it “the brand equivalent of American flag sweatpants.” Symbols of American patriotism sell. As far as rebrands go, this is one to watch to see if its over-the-top flag waving livery design has an impact on AA’s’ struggles. It’s also one to monitor to see if their changes go deep into the brand to alter the sentiment and experience of their passengers. The airline says “For more than two years, we've been building toward a time when the outside of our aircraft reflects the progress we've made on the inside.” They sound like they get it. Let’s see if they succeed. Next time I see a smiling family come off one of their flights, I’ll know they’re on their way.
It will be uncomfortable for some. But, the introduction of Facebook graph search on Tuesday sets in motion an entire new standard in the way people approach their personal and company pages on the social media giant. "Graph Search is a completely new way for people to get information on Facebook," Founder/CEO/Chairman Mark Zuckerberg said in Menlo Park, Calif., during a press conference Jan. 15. The so-called "third pillar" of Facebook is expected to roll out in beta over the next few weeks to a few hundred thousand users in the U.S., he said. Essentially, graph search allows users to find information within the site that's been shared with them over time by their friends-or, based on privacy settings, by friends-of-friends and the public-on specific attributes of people, places, companies, photos and videos. For example, recruiters and business development staff will be able to find those who have worked at a certain company; marketers will be able to identify people who have certain interests; and single people will be able to locate fellow singles who have Likes in common: music, movies, activities, etc. Facebook users' efforts to capitalize on these personal and professional networking and resource-finding opportunities will create an organic transformation of user behavior. In case you want to get a head start on readying your own personal or company profile for graph search, the new standard will look a little something like this: PRIVACY SETTINGS, RELAXED Facebook graph search only works as much as you allow it to work. In order to be "matched" via search results to the widest pool of potential employers, consumers, clients, activity buddies or romantic dates, your information will have to be available to friends-of-friends or even the public. Those who had always kept their profile on lock down will be drawn out, for the simple reason of the potential added personal and professional value graph search enables. DETAILED LISTS, A NECESSITY Lists will become the bread and butter of maintaining Facebook as a place where you can post photos of you and your friends at Tequila Tuesday, but at the same time show your best self to potential dates and your professional self to would-be employers. New lists segmenting your different types of Friends will have to be created with this in mind, and each share on one's Facebook timeline must be accompanied by a carefully selected list. PROFILE INFO UPDATES, OFTEN The job of your dreams, the love you've been waiting for, could potentially find you via Facebook graph search, or so it's been hyped. Whether or not the fairy tale will come true, it is accurate to say your profile would come up in results based on the key word queries of recruiters and potential dates. Basic personal profile information, now housed in the "About" and "Likes" sections, will have to be up to date if the "matching" service is to be effective. Constant tweaking of the personal profile, due to a new skill added to one's resume, or a just-discovered best-band-ever, will ensue. Same goes for company pages. SEO applies here, in the same way it has dictated how Linkedin company and personal profiles are written. COMPANY REVIEWS, FREQUENT AND HIGH QUALITY It's the egotistic and altruistic nature of people to offer their opinion when they know it will be considered by those in their circles. With graph search allowing friends, and potentially friends-of-friends, to view a person's insights into local hits and misses, Facebook users will think twice before closing out the box that prompts them to leave a helpful tip at a place where they just checked in or post a review for a company page they just Liked. Additionally, the assurance their every word will be on full display in search results begets more honest and thorough reviews. WHAT OTHER ASPECTS OF USER BEHAVIOR WILL CHANGE IN A POST-GRAPH-SEARCH WORLD? SHARE YOUR INSIGHTS IN THE COMMENTS.
Friends, word pundits, and industry professionals: eROI would like to invite you to play our latest, greatest, Pinterest game: Words With eROI! The goal of the game is to guess the secret word: to play, visit the Words With eROI board on Pinterest. Every day, for the next seven days, eROI will flip one tile on the board to reveal a letter in the secret word! WILL THERE BE HINTS? Yes! HINT #1: There are 11 letters in the entire word, but only seven unique letters. HINT #2: The secret word in this month’s edition of "Words With eROI" has to do with predictions for 2013. Read Digital Strategist Matt Popke's blog post on this theme to get the brain juices flowing! WHY PLAY? The winner of this installment of Words With eROI wins glory; a $20 gift card to one of our amazing clients, Sock It To Me; and a shout-out from eROI on Facebook, Twitter, and this blog—in other words: social fame!! WHAT ARE THE RULES? 1. Follow eROI on Pinterest. 2. Repin a letter from the Words With eROI secret word onto one of your own boards. IMPORTANT: Change the description of the pin to the word that is your guess! (For example: "My guess is: ecommerce!") 3. Email Words With eROI at email@example.com and include a link to your repin with your guess in the description. This way we’ll know you met the rules and we also will know your email address so we can send you your prize if you win! 4. Read the Fine Print for Words With eROI game. 5. If you are the winner, then the last rule is to enjoy some snazzy socks!
CONTEST PERIOD: No purchase necessary. Contest begins on Wednesday, January 15, 2013 and ends on January 24, 2013. ELIGIBILITY: Contest is open to all Pinterest account holders who a) are followers of eROI on Pinterest, b) are legal residents of Canada or USA; and c) have reached the age of majority in their province/territory of residence at the time of entry. Employees (and those with whom they are domiciled) of eROI and the Contest judges are not eligible to enter. HOW TO ENTER: 1. Follow eROI on Pinterest. 2. Repin a letter from the Words With eROI secret word onto one of your own boards. IMPORTANT: Change the description of the pin to the word that is your guess! (For example: "My guess is: ecommerce!") 3. Email Words With eROI at firstname.lastname@example.org and include a link to your repin with your guess in the description. This way we’ll know you met the rules and we also will know your email address so we can send you your prize if you win! 4. Read the Fine Print for Words With eROI game. 5. If you are the winner, then the last rule is to enjoy some snazzy socks! Limit of one (1) Entry per person/Pinterest ID per day permitted during the Contest Period. eROI is not responsible for late, lost, misdirected, delayed, incomplete or incompatible Entries. REPIN REQUIREMENTS: Your submitted board ("Entry") must include all of the elements listed under HOW TO ENTER in order to be considered a valid entry for the contest. By participating in the Contest, each contestant agrees to be bound by these Official Rules (the "Rules") and by the interpretation of these Rules by the Sponsor, and further warrants and represents that his/her entry: By entering the Contest contestants agree: (i) that the Sponsor shall have right to publish, display, reproduce, modify, edit or otherwise use the Entry, including, without limitation, any photos included on the Entry, in whole or in part, on the Sponsor’s website, Facebook and twitter accounts, Pinterest, blog and/or for advertising or promoting the Contest or for any other reason; and (ii) to release and hold harmless the Sponsor and its advertising and promotion agencies, the contest judges and each of their respective agents, employees, directors, successors, and assigns against any and all claims based on publicity rights, defamation, invasion of privacy, copyright infringement, trade-mark infringement or any other intellectual property related cause of action. THE PRIZE AND APPROXIMATE RETAIL VALUE: There will be one available prize, consisting of a single $20 gift card. PRIZE WINNER SELECTION: Contest winners will be selected by the eROI Pinterest Team, based on timeliness and accuracy of Entry. On January 25th, 2013 eROI will contact the winner via email and Pinterest. Contest winner must then follow the instructions in the comment section of the pin provided in order to claim the Prize. If the contestant does not respond within three (3) business days as instructed, or there is a return of any notification as undeliverable, then the contestant will be disqualified and next contestant with the most creative and original entry in the opinion of the Panel will be selected from amongst the remaining eligible Entries. GENERAL CONDITIONS: Without limitation, the Sponsor, its advertising and promotion agencies and the contest judges will not be liable for any failure of the website during the Contest; for any technical malfunction or other problems relating to the telephone network or lines, computer on-line systems, servers, access providers, computer equipment or software; for the failure of any Entry to be received by the Sponsor, its advertising and promotion agencies or the contest judges for any reason including, but not limited to, technical problems or traffic congestion on the Internet or at any web site; or any combination of the above. Further, the Sponsor, its advertising and promotion agencies and the contest judges will not be liable for any injury or damage to an contestant’s or any other person’s computer related to or resulting from participating or downloading any material in the Contest.
With the holidays approaching, we are all out and about shopping which can turn into a very frustrating experience. In The Paradox of Choice-Why More is Less, Barry Schwartz argues that retailers could increase their sales as well as reduce their shoppers’ anxiety if they would just pare down the products they offer. How do you choose between Turkey Spam and Bacon Spam? Should I have cheese with my Spam? The answer? KISS, Keep It Simple Stupid. When I look at an analytics program like Google Analytics, or begin to delve into the reporting in ExactTarget it can be just as overwhelming as Christmas shopping unless I have a goal. There’s so much information at your fingertips that it can be hard to choose what you should be looking at. Narrowing your focus to some KPI’s and creating measurable reports around them will winnow your choices enough that you aren’t immobilized by choice and instead can see a clear action plan. This time of year is all about money (don’t let people fool you into thinking it’s caroling and yule logs) so it’s a good time to take a look at who your most profitable visitors are. Analyze how customers who buy in larger quantities are interacting with the site and where they are arriving from by creating a segment of people whose orders are greater than your average. Are they different in some way? How can you reproduce that success with other visitors? Maybe it’s a specific banner ad that is driving those whales. How can you capitalize on that? Ask yourself what success looks like for your goals. If social is a focus than using Google’s social reporting can be helpful to see where you have the most influence and which channel is pushing people to your site. Are you tagging your links? Using a tagging schema allows you to see not only what channel is converting for you but what TYPE of links are converting the best. Are they videos? Links to your blog? How are Pinterest users interacting with your site compared to Facebook? Maybe Facebook isn’t as big as you really think it is and Twitter is bringing in the bucks. Actionable, profitable, and easy to see if you know what you are looking for heading into your search. What’s important to YOUR company? Is it acquisition? How are you acquiring people? PPC? Organic? Banners? Social? Is it sales? What do you THINK is driving your revenue? Where are you spending the majority of time and money? That’s where you should begin. One size doesn’t fit all so use your company goals to drive the discussion around KPI’s and segments that you can use to measure them
It's a wonderful time of year for your office. You and your coworkers are suffering from a crazy work-year and other holiday-related stresses. You've been seeing the same people 40 to 60 hours a week. You know what they will say before they say it. You cringe when "that guy" sends a company-wide email. You know who I mean. Cut it out, Dave. So what could possibly be better than to get together with all of them, again, on your own time, with the addition of alcohol? A lot of things can go wrong for you at an office holiday party, but if you know what your goals are, as well as the pitfalls, you can navigate yourself to a very successful office event. As an expert on social interaction disasters, let me give you a few tips to rock your office party. #1 ARRIVE LATE Let me set the scene here. This party is very likely on a Friday or Saturday night. This could have been a relaxing evening of spending time at home doing whatever your favorite thing in the world to do at home is (mine is drinking my roommates' beer and watching Mean Girls for the 50th time, but different strokes for different folks). But now you have an office holiday party! This is YOUR time. You see your coworkers about 40% of your time awake, and now you're obligated to spend MORE time with them… interacting… pretending to care about their kids or their dogs or this thing they never noticed in Mean Girls until their 50th time watching it. Honestly, how did Aaron Samuels get into the AP Calculus course with Cady Heron? He gets an answer wrong because he forgets that multiplying two negative numbers is a positive. Anyway, the point is that you're mingling now. You can't hide in your headphones or in your special conference room where you can avoid everyone. The worst thing you can do is be one of the first people showing up, because do you know who else is going to be there when you arrive? I won't even let you guess. It's going to be the two or three people you have nothing in common with, setting up the appetizer plates. Trust me, I love the stuffed sausage balls and spinach-artichoke dip as much as the next guy, but it's not worth showing up on time for. You are doomed to spend an hour making small-talk while you wait for the coworkers you can actually stand to get there. Your conversation topics are going to range between talking about work, talking about kids/pets, talking about work, how nice the food layout looks, work, work and more work. You will end up shame-eating all the sausage balls and cheese and drink so many vodka sodas that you are incapacitated for nearly the entire party. DON'T SHOW UP EARLY. But when you do finally show up, and all the coworkers cheer and applaud your arrival (or at least that's what you imagined anyway), there's something you need to take care of right away… #2 TALK TO THE BOSS EARLY You might have expected me to advise you to avoid the boss at all costs, right? So far, I've advised you to avoid any extra interaction time with co-workers, but avoiding interaction with the person bankrolling this whole shindig, not to mention signing your paychecks, could be disastrous for you. You need to say hello and make a little small-talk. You need to thank him for funding this get-together. This needs to be done before you let your wine-fueled split-personality take over and babble about everything wrong with the office's coffee maker and drop f-bombs about how smelly Alison from Accounting's lunch is, and if you have to smell her tuna melt ONE MORE TIME I'M GOING TO SMASH IT ON HER KEYBOARD. Sorry, where were we? Anyway, the key is that you need to make brief chit-chat and then avoid any more interactions for the rest of the night. You've paid your dues, you were able to handle an actual light conversation with your boss and it wasn't too awkward. It's time to let loose, and this is the one person you want to avoid embarrassing yourself in front of. With that out of the way, the next step is the bar. That brings me to… #3 DON'T BE THE DRUNKEST PERSON AT THE PARTY (BE THE SECOND DRUNKEST) Just like you don't want to be the fastest car on the highway to avoid a speeding ticket, you don't want to be the drunkest person at the party to avoid months of regret and shame (if you're reading, hi mom!). The blessing of the office party can also be its curse: not much will be remembered. But what *will* be remembered are the highlights. They will remember you mouthing off about the boss. You will remember the ashen look on your coworker's faces as you have to ask "…he's behind me, isn't he?" They will remember you drunkenly hitting on the office hottie…in front of their significant other (they call it significant other because they are significantly more attractive than you). You will end up apologizing to people on Monday that you've never talked to before this party because you laughed when you were shown a picture of Kathy's kids. What you want to aim for is to be no worse than the second drunkest person. They will see you as a lively and fun friend in contrast to the office drunk: whether it's the woman stumbling in her heels into the ice chest or the guy "resting his eyes" on the couch because the room is spinning too much for his Jagermeister Vertigo to handle. Having a two drink buzz going into the party is advisable. You take some of the edge off from having to see your coworkers again, and you aren't seen double-fisting a beer and a glass of wine, with a rum&coke waiting in the dugout, thereby earning you an unjust and completely unfair reputation. Having this buzz may also help you tolerate inane conversations about process and communication you're inevitably going to have with a project manager. Trust me, only one person will be labeled as The Lush/Alcoholic, while everyone else is home free. Have you seen Die Hard? Remember Ellis? Don't be that guy. #4 DON'T GO FOR THE "MISTLETOE ON THE BELT" TRICK Just… don't. But if your boss is pulling this move, ignore rule #2. #5 HANDLE THE "SIGNIFICANT OTHER" SITUATION If you are not allowed to bring a date, it's game on. But this probably means your office is too cheap to spare an extra meatball or a glass of wine that was $6 at Safeway for the extra weight, so maybe bring a flask. If you are allowed to bring a date, then there are two ways to handle this. One option is that you can bring them as an anchor. Someone to talk to when you're done mingling, so you're not just spending the whole time trying to scoop the entire bowl of 7 layer dip with a single chip. While we're here, let me talk to you about 7 layer dip. Oh man. 7-layer dip… When I see that casserole dish on the table and it's barely touched, my eyes light up like an obnoxious Christmas-decorated house that you can see from space. In that moment, I am hunter; I am lizard-brain. My only thought in that moment is coordinating the quickest distance to the dip and avoiding eye contact with everyone there. No one will stand in the way of my dreams. And whoever is responsible for bringing this treat of the gods needs to double up on this. It will be the first to go; I promise you that. You will have a dish scraped so clean you don't need to wash it, and you will have two or three full bags of chips left over. No one is here for the chips. I would gobble it down like a pig in a trough if it was socially acceptable. Oh man. 7-layer dip. You complete me. The other option is to not tell them at all, because she's a Judge Judy when it comes to how you conduct yourself at a party, and you want to eat a gallon of 7-layer dip, drink to your liver's capacity. Do you really want to hang out with everyone you're committed to spend time with all at once? This is obligation overload. Don't be a chump. #6 DON'T LINGER The party is starting to wind down. The couple that came in and talked to everyone so efficiently they were in and out in 20 minutes are gone. One of your favorite coworkers is heading home early citing their "ball-and-chain" with a defeated and resigned laugh. The 7-layer dip dish has long looked like an apocalyptic aftermath, but it's likely there is still booze. Not just any kind of booze though. Free booze. It's a rookie mistake to extrapolate the savings on booze into more time spent at the party. The drunkest person in the party has lost count of how many drinks she spilled. It's DEFCON 2. Time to mobilize and deploy. If you end up lingering you will end up helping clean up, or you will pair off with the only single person left in the office (surprise, also doubling down as the drunkest too!), or you are simply wearing out your welcome. Make your coworkers wish they got to spend more time with you, not less. IT'S A LOT TO TAKE IN, BUT IT'S A PRETTY SIMPLE APPROACH WHEN YOU BREAK IT DOWN. JUST REMEMBER TO BALANCE SHOWING YOUR BEST SIDE TO MAKE YOUR COWORKERS LIKE YOU WITH DRINKING A LOT AND EATING YOUR WEIGHT IN 7-LAYER DIP. ARRIVE LATE, DO A LITTLE CHIT-CHAT WITH EVERYBODY. KEEP A CLOSE EYE WHO YOU DESIGNATE AS THE DRINKER AND KEEP A LITTLE DISTANCE, AND BAIL EARLY. HAVE A GREAT OFFICE PARTY, AND MAYBE LET US KNOW IF YOU HEEDED MY ADVICE! ------------------------- BONUS TIP #7 DEFCON 1 Okay, so you didn't heed my advice and you found yourself being the drunkest person at the party. I warned you not to. You lingered way too long. I warned you not to. And now you find yourself waking up next to Secretary Sally or Designer Dave. That's ok. I'm not sure why you're reading this blog post right now instead of doing damage control, but I'll help if I can. Maybe nobody saw you two leave together to another bar, and maybe they didn't see it coming for months, and maybe they didn't have money riding on it all. Just play it cool on Monday. Be vague. Remember that they remember you were pretty blitzed. Play the rest of the night off as nothing more than drinking too much. It's ok and believable if you claim something along the lines of "I don't remember much after leaving, and that I just got a drink somewhere I don't recall the name of it now and I might have eaten a burger and went home, crazy party, right?! hahaha oh man how bout them [INSERT LOCAL SPORTS TEAM HERE]?!"
About a week ago, Larry Hagman died of cancer. He's a man who lived a long and rich life, and within the past week, many articles have popped up online covering his life story and accomplishments. Barbara Eden (she looks great by the way), his costar in the 1960′s TV show "I Dream of Jeannie," has been releasing public statements praising the time they worked together. Photos of the two together have been popping up all over a multitude of websites. _Have you ever built a website? _ __Have you been in design review meetings where someone chimes in (with a little smugness, let's admit it) and asks: "Where's the fold?" You look around the room, a few eyes are rolling, and someone starts explaining that the fold doesn't have the same importance it did a decade ago because people know how to scroll now. Well, I'm here to tell you that they are right, and they are wrong.
* The fold is still relevant. From looking at click maps, reports and heat maps, we can safely say the majority of people are still looking for their jump-off point at the top of their screen. Think 70%+. * People obviously know what scrolling is. The important thing in your design is to give people cues in the top screen that more content exists below. That means being mindful of the space near the "fold" and ensuring content peeks up from below.It's also something that can have unintended consequences, like this publicity photo of Barbara Eden and Larry Hagman from the set of I Dream of Jeannie. It was the lead photo in one of the articles that came out in the past week. Because of where this particular photo hit the fold, I got a completely different impression of what the story was about to tell me. Which leads me to point #2, above. Be mindful of the content near the fold. Very, very mindful.
NOW, PLEASE SCROLL UNTIL YOU HIT THE FOLD v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v SCROLL DOWN v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v SCROLL DOWN v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v v
My father has always taken everything about Christmas extremely seriously. As far back as I can remember, he was always completely happy up until, and through, December 25th; then completely depressed on the 26th. This deep sadness would last a couple of weeks then blow over. I liken it to post partum depression. Christmas was his baby, no doubt about it. It would start with the outdoor decorations. I wasn't old enough to remember his outdoor decorating hay-day, but he's got the trophies to prove it was serious enough. What I do remember is that my sister and I were not allowed to touch ANYTHING while the procedure of decorating the tree took place. We'd kick off the Christmas season with the hunt for the perfect tree. We had vaulted ceilings, so the tree had to be 14 feet tall, a Silver Tip, and have just the right kind of structure. The branches had to be full, but with proper spacing to display ornaments correctly; they may never touch the branch below when hung. It had to have even branch distribution as well. We'd shop every lot in town, not to leave the elusive perfect tree unseen. Generally, it would end up being at the first lot, however. On occasion, if perfection was not available, my father would have the tree "plugged" with the correcting branches to achieve perfection. One Christmas the tree was brought home, wired with lights then brought back to the lot to be flocked over the lighting. This was amazing because it really gave the look of a decorated tree that had been snowed on. The wiring of the tree was an amazement in itself. Each light was affixed to the branch so that it stood straight up with no wires visible above the branch. At just the right height, the placement would change from top-of-branch placement, to underneath-branch placement, with wiring above the branch. The completed work (yes…it was art) looked like the lights were individually placed, as the wiring could not be seen. Until they died from old age, the giant old fashioned lights were used. I miss this look, as the new tiny lights just aren't the same; although they do require a very large tree. With the tree wired and ready, the decorations would come out. Each was lovingly wrapped in tissue and stored together neatly in ancient boxes that were antiques in their own right. They ranged in age from one to sixty years, each with a history and story of its origin. My dad would unwrap each and every one of them and place them on every surface in the room. There were hundreds, but he needed to survey them all, in order to place them on the tree in the most strategic location. Optimum reflection, visibility, and height were all factors. It was understood that this was my father's job. We would watch with great delight, but were not permitted to help until we were well into our teens. Each ornament was greeted with nearly ceremonial glee, and we each had our favorites that we looked forward to seeing. Once they were all put onto the tree, the tinsel would come out. This was no ordinary tinsel. This was the genuine article; corrugated lead tinsel that hung straight down from the branch, due to its weight. This was draped over each branch to achieve the look of cascading sheets of rain coming from every branch. The tree was such a thing of beauty that the neighbors would bring their guests by to look at it. This kind of preparation comes with a side effect. The tree took soooo long to put up, and brought such joy, that it would not come down until Spring. Yes…you read that right. It wasn't rare at all to have the tree up through February. Well, the pine cone doesn't fall far from the tree it seems. I've found myself doing the exact same things, varying only in later years. I too would search high and low for that perfect tree. Take hours lighting it, and then place each ornament according to my hard wired decorating traditions. I too would not allow my children to help until they were young adults. I too would keep the tree in the house until it started curling in on itself as if it would swallow everything on it and implode. In most recent years, I've let go of the idea that each ornament has a certain place in which it belongs. I can actually hang them any old place, and it only bothers me a little. The wiring… that's a tough one to shake. I didn't hide the wires last year, or this year, and it does creep me out. But I found one solution to two problems, in the most unexpected thing. I use upside-down Christmas trees. They are artificial, so they can't implode, grow crispy, or stink; and they allow everything to hang perfectly without touching the branch underneath. Perfect in their imperfection! My father is 89 now, and lives with me. We each have our own upside-down tree, his with ornaments that are as much as one hundred, ten years old. One day, they will be passed down to my sister and I, and then to our children, and then to theirs. My tree has ornaments that are up to fifty years old, and these too will be passed down. Bottom line; we'll need more trees… So if life is giving you Christmas fits, remember, it could always be MORE of a chore. Be thankful that you aren't hard-wired for lengthy decorating. But if you are… let me know. I'd like to hear if there are others out there with similar memories of Christmas.
WE ALL KNOW THE ACRONYM. ABC, “ALWAYS BE CLOSING,” THE INFAMOUS WORDS OF ALEC—AHEM, I MEAN, BLAKE FROM GLENGARRY GLEN ROSS. BUT FOR A MOMENT, I’LL ASK THAT YOU SUSPEND YOUR LOVE AND ADMIRATION FOR THE MASTERPIECE AND PRETEND, WITH ME, THAT THE ACRONYM STOOD FOR “ALWAYS BE SELLING.” OUR SOCIETY IS BUILT ON EXCHANGES BETWEEN TWO PARTIES. To me, it only makes sense to be honest about this relationship. And with that honesty comes a certain amount of drive to create and enrich these relationships. This isn’t a used car type of sales, the ol’ bait and switch. This is genuine, honest relationship building to facilitate trust and, in turn, facilitate the mutual exchange of goods or services that each party needs. My dad was a barber and at the beginning of each appointment, he would strike up a conversation about their life. He knew names, birth dates, anniversaries, relationships, career paths, their stories, their likes, dislikes, their cut, their color, and dare I say their hopes and dreams. When he retired, he moved the chair into a room we built onto our house where he would cut a few, very close friends’ and families’ hair. Near his barber chair, he placed a box filled with index cards. I asked about their relevance once and was amazed to find each card held the notes from every hair cut he ever gave. Let me reiterate that—_every hair cut he ever gave._ Those cards contained the names, birth dates, anniversaries, relationships, career paths, stories, likes, dislikes, cut, color, and dare I say, hopes and dreams of every person to ever grace his chair. It did not matter if they were one-time customers. Everyone got his undivided attention when they sat in the chair. Before each appointment, he would reference that person’s card to remind himself of their life. This wasn’t disingenuous. He deeply cared for his clients and the relationship of their transaction, the haircut. WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH DIGITAL MARKETING, OR MY POSITION AS ART DIRECTOR? EVERYTHING. RELATIONSHIP BUILDING DOES NOT STOP AT THE SALES FUNNEL, nor at the hand-off of an account to the account team, after design rounds 1, 2, 3, 4, (or God forbid 5). Every interaction with our clients is an opportunity to reinforce our product, our services, and our company. This, in turn, reinforces the client’s infinite wisdom in choosing our agency. We’re all humans and we all share quite a lot of relatable experiences. Find the common ground, work hard to create a common language, and start understanding the “other side.” However, consistency is the key for the relationship to honest and true. Always Be Selling. For now, I do not need a filing system for the people I interact with. However, at the beginning of every client interaction, I ask about their lives. I ask about the small facts I have gathered in our past contacts. I make sure they know I am here for them, I care, and that I appreciate our relationship. This is what I mean by “Always Be Selling.” Every client interaction is an opportunity to reinforce our product, our services, and our company. We have an invested interest in the well-being of their company, in the successfulness of their campaign, and in our work. SELLING SHOULDN’T BE THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY OF YOUR SALES DEPARTMENT, NEW BIZ PERSON, OR MANAGEMENT TEAM. Selling is the responsibility of everyone in your company, or it should be. And here is where “Always Be Selling” takes a sharp turn from the movie—this shift happens only if you allow your team the freedom and trust to sell through their actions, talent, great service, and _not_ from fear. Watch the movie again, I think we all can agree that Alec had some issues. Unfortunately a lot of businesses still run in this outdated model, from the top down, with fear and blackboards. Instead, reinvent the wheel and give your employees the latitude to surprise you. They’re the best brand ambassadors you have and the work they perform, daily, is THE STRONGEST SALES PITCH YOU CAN HOPE TO SEND OUT. (And if you haven’t yet, go watch Glengarry Glen Ross…)
We are celebrating Movember this month at eROI. Movember is a global campaign and cause that began in Melbourne, Australia in 2003 to bring attention and awareness to men's health, specifically prostate and testicular cancer.
"Each year during the month of November, Movember is responsible for the sprouting of mustaches on hundreds of thousands of men's faces around the world. Men grow and women support the mustache for 30 days to raise vital funds and awareness for men's health, specifically prostate and testicular cancer initiatives."FIRST AND FOREMOST EVERYONE HAS BEEN VERY SUPPORTIVE. IT IS THE OUTWARD FACING GESTURE OF GROWING A MUSTACHE THAT OPENS THE DOOR FOR DIALOG BRINGING ATTENTION TO THE CAUSE. HERE IS OUR PROGRESS REPORT FOR EROI'S MOVEMBER PARTICIPANTS (IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER): * Aldo, Aldo, Aldo. All that's left is the support. * Chris works hard and plays hard and his mustache is no exception. Almost on command the chris-stache can go from a train-driving cabbage patch doll to Magnum PI. My request is that it flourishes like the Hawaiian countryside from whence it came. * I, Dan, am making good progress. Once a year (Movember) I jump in and pray the waters are warm. This may be the best effort so far but still not quite as full as I think is acceptable for a day-to-day stache. I can't go beyond looking like I haven't shaved in two weeks. * Gerry is very enthusiastic despite not having a very full pattern. Normally put together it's been a stretch here in the office and apparently at home for him to keep trucking on, but truck on he shall. * Matt A. also falls prey to the light pattern. He too is being a good sport by sprouting what he can. Drawn from some comment this morning, I think this is the longest he's ever gone without shaving. Participation award is being considered. * Matt G. got a running start into Movember. Already showing his hand with a full pattern and good downward growth he has given the others something to work towards, or simply dream. He has had to change his eating habits to make room for his new friend- NO CAKE. * Matt P. has been holding back, in my opinion. Here's a fella who could no doubt go young Santa Claus on us over the weekend but he chooses to stay leading man getting ready for brunch. Matt- put down the mimosa and please deliver the goods. * Ryan has been busy this month, rumor is his razor has been too. * Tyler is 100% on board but 100% cannot grow anything visible beyond three feet away. More progress reports to come, in the meantime to learn more about our efforts go to eroi.com/get-your-stache-on.
Inspired by Chipper Jones interview by Jake Zucker about the 6 things we should know about switch hitting. As I read the above mentioned article in an old edition of ESPN, I found some commonalities with what Chipper was saying and what we do at eROI. One clarification…switch hitting in the big leagues is ridiculously difficult and rife with hidden horrors of laboring attrition. Compared to switch hitting digital marketing, it's a walk in the park, a pat on the back, a sip of tropical rain forest well water. I do not have a round leather 90-mph projectile zooming towards my head on a daily basis. So with that said, let's see what I learned form Chipper. 1. ITS GOT TO BE IN YOUR BLOOD: Chipper Jones' dad had more than 30 years of coaching experience and by the time Chipper was 7, they were watching games together, imitating the teams player-by-player. He said that this "laid the foundation for his whole career". I used to wonder why kids often end up doing just what their parents did…I don't anymore. When it's in your blood, it's in your blood. Its the same thing for your digital marketing. Don't put the guy who doesn't use social as the head of your social team. It seems like common sense but I would bet that right now someone that doesn't belong is riding the bench on your social media team cause they don't understand what a 'like' is. Trust me, we see it everyday. Get a team together that has it in their blood. There will no longer be a generation that doesn't know computers. Hire them. 2. PICK YOUR BATTLES: Chipper began hitting left-handed competitively during high school summer ball. This was the time to focus on personal development. This was the time to get better. He says, "My coaches respected my goals and knew helping me become an elite switch hitter would endear me to scouts". Ok, so let's replace coaches with bosses and scouts with customers. Pick your battles to ensure that their outcomes make you better. Show your customers that you aren't afraid to take risks and it will pay off. You don't have to win them all, just most of them. 3. A COACH CAN BE YOUR BEST FRIEND: One of Chipper's coaches in the minors gave him some advice when he said, "Swing twice as much from my weak side as I do from my strong side." So he would do 100 from the left and 50 from the right. He credits that advice with helping him set a foundation for hitting in the bigs. Never dismiss advice from anyone. You never know where your next content idea might come from. Leverage all your experiences to mold a unique perspective and they will come…they will read…they will buy. 4. BUT NO ONE IS PERFECT: In his first year in the minors, 1990, he was hitting about .300 from the right and .180 from the left. He told his manager he was going to stop switch hitting in games but the coach continued to have him work in practice. They wanted him to stick with it and didn't care about the numbers. A year later in Class-A, everything clicked and he was hitting consistently from both sides. I love this story because looking ahead is the hardest thing to do when you are in build mold. Trust in your abilities by being consistent with your practice. I think that is the lesson here….if your brand is true then consistency will win. Don't worry about the numbers so much, worry about the consistency. Get that email out when you said you would, answer your tweets, and create content everyday. 5. TWO SWINGS? DOUBLE THE WORK: "Switch hitters have to work harder, which often gets overlooked. When I was younger, I'm sure people thought I was showing off because I would hit from my weak side in low pressure situations. But that helped me develop. Now I feel like a natural left-handed hitter" So what does this mean for us? It means work harder. People ask us how do you get a good email program up and running or how can we get Facebook to help our brand? The simple answer is hard work and not being afraid to fail. Getting your hands dirty and actually creating something instead of just planning is the key. Don't worry about what people will think…just worry about what your customer will think. 6. WE'RE A RARE BREED: "I think every hitter would rather face certain pitchers form the other side of the plate. If a left handed hitter is facing Randy Johnson, he would rather face Johnson on the right side. I've had a 100 hitter say to me "why didn't my dad make me a switch hitter?" I think if we were all good at everything we would all be the same right? So, there has to be those that can and those that can't. Be on the side that can. The key take aways….don't be afraid….take advice….work hard…have a smart dad that teaches you stuff. In honor of everything the game of baseball has taught me over the years, thanks for killing it Macklemore:
Check out this NASA model of a spinning galaxy. Feeling small is a good thing.
Check out the best place to learn and thrive in the Portland Music community: Guitarfish. They are committed to providing you with the best possible ongoing lessons. Guitarfish's approach is comprehensive taking you from beginner to advanced at your pace. You are not just another novice you are a student on a journey. How far will you go? Think of Guitarfish as Nasa's mission control but you are the astronaut. The sky's the limit.
IN OUR MODERN AGE OF POLITICAL DIVISIVENESS AND PARTISAN BICKERING, IT'S NICE TO KNOW WE CAN ALL AGREE ON ONE THING; POLITICAL ADVERTISING HAS BECOME AN UNBEARABLE AND INESCAPABLE FORCE. Campaign messaging, whether it be for a candidate or ballot measure, locally or nationally, has effectively invaded and monopolized nearly every means of communication and channel for advertising in our lives. From your television screen to your mailbox, your social feeds to your cell phone, attempts to form and mold your opinion on things you didn't know you cared about are being made every minute. This isn't new. This is how election season works. But, the more efficiently we communicate and interconnected the world becomes, the worse this is going to get. Something has got to give. I'M NOT ADVOCATING AN END TO POLITICAL ADVERTISING AND CAMPAIGNS as it's a necessary, albiet irritating aspect of our democratic process. What I would like to see, however, is a more creative approach that gives more credit to the audience. Political advertising treats people like they're idiots, more often than not, attempting to exploit the more negative aspects of the human condition; fear, jealousy, greed, insecurity, anger, et cetera. Have our expectations of political campaigns fallen to such an insurmountable low that we've accepted that this is "just the way it is"? We demand integrity and accountability of our elected officials but hold no such standards when it comes to the campaigns that get them elected? It's 2012 and there are more specialized ad agencies than ever. The level of talent and plethora of agencies to choose from has driven both fierce competition as well as some of the most creative, strategic and memorable campaigns to date. If you can afford otherwise, having bad advertising is just no longer an option. And considering most political campaigns have ad budgets larger than entire world economies, THEY CAN AFFORD TO DO BETTER. You, the reader, deserve a heartfelt congratulations and pat on the back. No, seriously. Your display of self-control and level headedness over the past several weeks is commendable and deserving of a genuine "atta kid". The fact that election season officially ends this week and that you made it all the way through without hurling your laptop out the window and smashing your television screen with a projectile is truly admirable. Well done.
My first impression was wow. Todd mentioned quality and he sure wasn't kidding. Ryan had to practically drag me out of the shop. I was particularly impressed by the layout. It certainly brings a much friendlier feel to the practice rooms and a general sense of learning. I also appreciated the curated amount of gear that was present. Enough to have variety but not enough to make you feel like you are in a warehouse. Well done Guitarfish.
The staff at Guitarfish was amazing. The two Nick's out in Tigard knew their way around the shop like a couple of roadies at rock show. I can't wait to check out the way their instructors lay it down. They get the cream of the crop from a ton of great music schools and love to get involved with the local music scene too.
Its clear that one of your brand values is to foster innovation and we love that. Just look at the cool things PepsiCo10 is doing all around the world in the digital marketing space. Here is some of what you've been saying: We’re a $66 billion dollar food and beverage company of which a large part of our audience is millennials or, I’ll say, “born digital.” We’ve always been a company focused on building consumer brands and innovation. So our brands have used a number of cutting-edge digital marketing platforms. It’s really about investing in talent and relationships and building a network of companies…So we look at this as an investment in digital innovation that pays off in immediate programs and in long-term relationships. Do these initialives affect your group? Do you see value in these kind of initiatives or are they for show? In what ways if any are you held accountable to these types of brand values?
You are making it about the experiences. Do you remember Von Der Ahe? He created fans to sell them beer and hotdogs. So from a visibility perspective we guess that the Fiesta Bowl is your biggest event of the year. Its your world Series. Here is last years "life of any party" roll out with the "spokesbag" We did wonder how much this roll out affects your marketing efforts through out the year? Do they dictate or are they a guide? Do you have complete freedom? We noticed that there seem to be micro campaigns that launch through out the year running on a similar theme. We also wondered how much of these spots are still tied to social or email efforts. Does that just occur always or just with the Fiesta Bowl campaign> Like this recent one about the elections Was there a digital marketing campaign associated with this too? Do you segment? I thought this was a good recap in your own words. The new campaign includes three new national/local television spots, two of which debuted for a nationwide audience during the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl and other BCS bowl game broadcasts. The campaign also includes a unique digital and social media activation that incentivizes people to join together for parties and post about their social celebrations through the Tostitos Facebook page (www.facebook.com/Tostitos) and Twitter handle (www.twitter.com/Tostitos). In addition, the new spokesbag is featured in print media, as well as banner ads on pop culture and sports websites. “For more than 30 years, the Tostitos brand has been about bringing fans together around the chip and dip bowl, and making any occasion a social celebration,” said Justin Lambeth, vice president, marketing, Frito-Lay. “This new campaign takes us back to our party heritage in a fun and unique way that we hope will spark even more social gatherings in 2012.” Source - http://www.fritolay.com/about-us/press-release-20120102.html
I came across this article and found it hyper relevant to our conversation as this is what we do. "Companies have tried to emulate Apple Inc.’s (AAPL) emphasis on style for years. After all, Samsung Electronics Inc. in August lost a patent suit over similarities to the iPhone. What’s different now is that more companies, even large ones, are trying to bake innovation and free-thinking into their corporate cultures. That’s why PepsiCo recruited a chief design officer, Mauro Porcini, from 3M Co., and MillerCoors snatched Dyson’s David Kroll as its new vice president of innovation. Grafting a design ethos onto a company with 300,000 employees such as PepsiCo won’t be easy, said Bruce Hannah, who co-invented the Nerf football and teaches art and design at the Pratt Institute in New York. “You can say, ‘Let’s create a design culture. Everybody wear blue hats today,’” Hannah said. “That’s lovely, but that doesn’t change the culture. What changes the culture is when people become engaged with their own ideas.” - bloomberg.com
Dear Publishing Industry, First let me start by saying that the last 7 years of our relationship had been amazing. I really love your content and who can forget your sweet images and life-building information. But, if we are going to stay together, I feel like I need to get some things out in the open. I mean I love being with you, I really do… but wow, there are some things you need to know. First… Why are you always late to the party? For years now, I've said things like: "Hey babe, I really think you should start getting ready for the holiday party. No seriously, remember last year when we were scrambling even to get in? The booze was gone, the food was picked through and we barely got to meet anyone. Dude… you already know what to wear, all you have to do is put it on." So if we are going to move forward together, let's work on getting to the party early this year. Also, why do you fight with your family? I don't understand why you and your other magazine departments can't get along. Doesn't it make sense that your older brother, Editorial, should give your younger sister, Aud Dev, more assets and freedom? What's the sense of pitting one sibling against the other? In the end, if everyone is working together you will go further. Why do your parents not share any information with you? So let's see… you are almost 100 years old and you still can share what's going on with the family? Now, this one is the real winner. I know paper doesn't give you analytics but let's get with the program. In countless situations, I've asked and asked for some real data but get only the thumbs up or thumbs down. What are you guys hiding back there? Why can't I see when they opened the email or how many people clicked the button? I think I know the real answer….you don't know, do you? Why is that? It seems like you of all people should be spewing out data to me about how we can move that needle. I really hope we can work this out. I mean, look at what we have done together. We introduced you to the tablet, we've taken you on countless dates, not to mention all the work we both have put into this relationship. But I need a sense of urgency from you. I want you to want me. I want you to FEEL the internet…and love it. Why just the other day, you brought up a project we did almost 11 months ago. I can't believe you haven't tested that yet. But alas, I am proud of you and I do want to see you succeed. But going forward let's think about some of these things. I know you know that I know that you know that you can get better. XOXO
Wow what a weekend. Not only did I get to see one of my favorite bands play on Saturday, But I also had the privilege of attending a sweet Halloween Party at Get Happy Studios. With all the Halloween festivities going on, it made me think about content and the trouble so many brands have with it. So often I see brands filtering the same old content and if you are stuck in this rut I have a solution; re-purposing content. The great Einstein once said that creativity is only a matter of hiding your sources, so why not use content that exists already and re-purpose it for your brand? In a bit of hyper-relevance, I want to provide a couple examples of this. As you probably know already from Google's home page art that this week marks the great Bob Ross's birthday. My wife Tatom went as Bob Ross to the aforementioned Halloween party. I wanted a way to communicate the greatness of both the costume, the party, and the relevance of it being Bob Ross's birthday. So I re-purposed some content. I took an already made PBS remix and incorporated my own content pieces in it. This is a triple re-purpose. Here is the king of re-purpose content…why can't we all be geniuses?
Our creative director extraordinaire, Tamara, can't be left out of this conversation. If storing beer was a tax write-off, Tam would be tax free, son. So it's no surprise that in Chapter 17 of Random Acts of Kindness, Tam keeps six bottles of icy cold Total Domination in her fridge for when her neighbor stops by. Oh, if Mr. Rogers could see us now. Hey Ninkasi….won't you be my neighbor?
The dirt flew, the wheels turned, and our very own Dan Gonzalez bumped pedals with the best of 'em. With a lucky 13th place finish, he crossed the orange N with no time to spare. What's the best thing after a full-on half ton of dirt is in your face?
From humble beginnings to total domination. I know how it is. I told Tony this when we talked the other day….it feels so good to be working with a local brand that I can stand behind. So here's the back story…I just moved back to Portland after being in New York City for 5 years. I was there on a seek and destroy mission. The thing about New York that the guide books won't tell you is that it is a souless place full of the biggest, blandest beer choices on the planet. I yearned to return to the place where the beer flows like wine and the kegs last forever. Nevermind the land of he who has the biggest billboard wins….I yearned for taste. I needed clear waters. So I packed my stuff and drove 6 days straight thinking about the day I could finally drink my fill and satisfy my buds. I made it home by October and in short time am now standing on the precipice of greatness. I can now work with a brand I believe in. A brand I can drink to. Help me Obi-Wan Ninkasi you're my only hope. General Ninkasi….Years ago you served my father in the Beer Wars. Now he begs you to help him in his struggle against the Anheuser Busch. I regret that I am unable to convey my father's request to you in person, but my ship has fallen under attack, and I'm afraid my mission to bring you to Eugene has failed. I have placed information vital to the survival of the Rebellion into the memory systems of this eROI unit. My father will know how to retrieve it. You must see this droid safely delivered to him in Eugene. This is our most desperate hour. Help me, Obi-Wan Ninkasi. You're my only hope. [pause]
Name: Stephanie. Her job: kick-ass account management (seriously, she does the best recaps). But before she became the Julia Stiles of customer service, she too had humble beginings. As with most geniuses her first job was bartending in college. Oh, what a dream it was to bask in the glory of freshly served beer. But the dream gets better…on an unassuming Friday night our Stephanie had the privilege of tasting and serving the first ever round of kegs from none other than Ninkasi Brewing. It's in the stars baby. In her own words… "While in college at the University of Oregon, I bartended at Max’s Tavern. Like eROI, we were a very small, very tight crew—we loved our bar and we appreciated a good time, but we respected great beer. As the oldest bar in Eugene and arguably one of the most notorious (rumored to be the bar that inspired Moe’s Tavern in the Simpsons), Max’s was one of the first Eugene establishments to carry kegs of Ninkasi Total Domination. And Ninkasi was the only sticker you’d see attached to our bums at our team BBQs."
Successful sports fundraising often involves writing a lot of fundraising letters to a lot of different companies. You can however give your sponsorship request a much better chance by using the sample sponsorship letter below and following a few simple guidelines: * PICK A COMPANY THAT HAS SOME RELEVANCE TO YOUR TEAM - This might be by what they sell (ie sports equipment), who they know (ie business or family contacts) or where they are (ie the garage next door to the sports field). * DO YOUR RESEARCH - Find out about them. What do they do? How do they market themselves? Who are the key personnel and managing director or other decision makers? * USE YOUR CONTACTS - If you can, approach a company where someone can prepare the ground for you. Nothing beats a personal contact in getting your foot in the door! * KNOW YOUR STUFF - Be friendly but professional and business like. Know exactly what you are asking for and what it will mean to you and the potential sponsor. Be specific and know what sum you plan to ask for. You may like to have a fall back position or a range of lesser options but one simple request is usually best. * OVERDELIVER YOUR SIDE OF THE BARGAIN - Getting the sponsorship is not the end of the deal. Your job now is to continue to help the sponsor feel involved, respected and informed of progress. At the very least a monthly update on team progress. * A PICTURE TELLS A THOUSAND WORDS - Take pictures at every opportunity and send them to your sponsor. What better way to show them what they are getting for their money. Encourage them to use them in their company marketing. Make your team a real part of the sponsor's business.
Have Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson reconciled? Want to find out how to lose all the weight you want and eat 24/7? How about working from home stuffing envelopes for big bucks? OK…that last one dates me. My point is that the internet is loaded with attention grabbers to drive you to a site that you may, or may not, wish to be driven to. Your attention is in extremely high demand. If you’re like me, you want quick, relevant search results. (I apologize if you came here looking for information about Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson, weight loss, or working from home, and were distracted from your initial goal; but this is interesting, right?) Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, comes in two very different varieties. Methods recommended by search engines as part of good design practices (white hat), and methods search engines frown upon (black hat). While white hat practices produce lasting results that are solid and founded, black hat practices come with a quick result that is soon banned (temporarily or permanently) when they are discovered by search engines. Search engines try to diminish the effect of the black hat practices, but it’s an uphill battle. Every day there are new scams, adding to the already huge number of scammers out there. There are so many people looking for a quick way to cheat you out of your hard earned dollars. They want profits with little to no effort, and have no qualms about misleading or outright steeling from you. It takes a great deal of ingenuity, ambition, diligence, and sometimes money, to accomplish profits legitimately. Unfortunately, many don’t have the conscience required to stop them from taking unscrupulous shortcuts to financial gain. This causes more difficulty for everyone, as we all have to sort through all of the unfounded material to find the products, services, or information we desire. Just as shoplifters contribute to the higher costs of merchandise, scammers add to the expense that search engine proprietors and companies incur. Search engines have to devote large sums of expense dollars to staying ahead of the latest web scams. Companies have to fight to remain unburied by scammer’s junk sites in addition to competing with other like businesses. With the ever growing need for outstanding SEO in order to be seen, comes the need to find the right company to partner with in accomplishing your goals. It’s important to choose carefully. Find the company that understands your business, your objectives, respects your time and resources, and knows how to get the job done effectively and beautifully. Whether you’re simply surfing the net or the owner of a site, SEO affects you every day. As an internet user, you’re bombarded with results to searches that are anything but what you’re looking for. Site owners fall prey to these black hat practices because the clients that normally would have found them quickly are busy sifting through irrelevant results. Searching can be safer and more effective when you know what to watch for; look at the URL associated with the item that got your attention. It’s often a quick give away that the site could not possibly be official, or even informative. Site owners can increase the probability of prospective visitors finding them successfully, by investing in good SEO strategy with a reputable company. Never underestimate the power of good, viable, strategic, SEO. It’s not just getting your site seen, it’s increasing your sites value as a whole; getting the right people to take notice of what makes your site/company of value to them. Oh, and for those of you who have no interest in SEO and stopped here hoping to find answers to the questions above, I have a few concrete facts for you: Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson value their privacy. You can lose weight eating all day, but what you eat matters. Stuffing envelopes at home is not a career opportunity.
Sunday morning, Red Bull set multiple records. Over 40 television networks in 50 countries aired the live feed and over 130 digital partners streamed it on the internet. Among those partners, YouTube set a record of its own - over 8 million simultaneous viewers (the previous record held was 500,000 which Google served up during the Olympics this summer.) To help further the reach of the campaign prior to the jump, Red Bull Stratos released a site full of great content, with all the campaign information and interactive material in one place. And to take it one step further, Red Bull created a hashtag frenzie on Twitter: #SpaceJump, #Stratos, #Baumgartner, and #RedBull. THE DAY OF THE JUMP ALONE, RED BULL GAINED OVER 17,000 NEW TWITTER FOLLOWERS. According to redbullstratos.com, their mission "seeks to advance scientific discoveries in aerospace for the benefit of mankind." Throughout the project Red Bull maintains that it is more than just a stunt. They hope that the data obtained from the jump can be put toward developing systems that would allow astronauts to escape from malfunctioning spacecraft afer launch. Red Bull has seemingly mastered the concept of turning a marketing event into an international news story. The risks were high, but the reward was higher—begging the question, what if something went wrong? Millions of viewers could very well have witnessed tragedy on live television. How would Red Bull react under those circumstances? Inevitably there would be public backlash, but would it matter? The amount of exposure was so great that regardless of the outcome, they still gained global attention. Fortunately, the stunt was successful and records were set: free falling for over 24 miles (4:19 minutes), 833.9 miles per hour – breaking the sound barrier. Check it out for yourself. Here at eROI, we are no stranger to setting records in the name of marketing. Check out this promotional video to see how Sharp SunSnap™ was able to set the world record for Fastest Time To Install A Residential Solar Photovoltaic System.
I AM PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THE LAUNCH OF ANOTHER EROI DIGITAL SUCCESS STORY—THE LATIN KITCHEN (TLK). WE HANDED OVER THE FINAL DESIGN FILES to our development partner, DPCI, for The Latin Kitchen who performed a seamless adaptation of the creative assets in May and now that the dust has settled we wanted to shout it from the rooftops in our cozy northwest corner of Portland. Latina Media Ventures, a long time partner, came to eROI to create an online destination for Latin-based food and entertainment. The Latin Kitchen is a community grounded, digital property on Latin cuisine, recipe and menu ideas, food how-to's, entertaining tips and the latest food news. Latina Media Ventures, already a giant in the publishing world with their flagship magazine, _Latina—_employed Maria Elena Martinez to oversee TLK as the Founding Editor and curator of the site. She brings with her an enormous level of experience from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Newsday, Boston Globe, Miami Herald, Women's Adventure, and websites like The Daily Meal, Condé Nast Traveler, Fodors.com, and Men’s Fitness. Martinez said to the examiner.com earlier this summer that The Latin Kitchen will place a premium on telling stories, an unusual and compelling direction for a recipe site:
"For example, she posed the question, ‘Why do we love avocados?' Martinez goes on to explain that this is a story that needs to be told. 'It’s not about just a recipe with avocados but it’s about the entire background avocado food story,'"IN TWO MONTHS EROI CREATED A FRESH, VIBRANT, AND ENGAGING SITE that showcased the love and affinity TLK brings to the table for Latin cuisine. The project's lead designer, Aldo Mollinedo, brought a strong design background in user experiential design and a deep understanding for modern, clean web design. The work of our team provided a strong foundation for all of TLK's social channels, a mobile site, and online contests that have catapulted The Latin Kitchen to the forefront of the online Latin cuisine community. It is great to see the design grow from the website into a full-branding package, creating a seamless visual identity for TLK. EROI PARTNERED WITH DPCI FOR DEVELOPMENT of our designs to Drupal 7. DPCI worked with Latina Media stakeholders to create wireframes and the initial interactive solutions for TLK's website, then collaborated with eROI to finish the foundation and hand-off the visual design for completion. There are a ton of great facts on the development of The Latin Kitchen at DPCI's website that were picked up by Drupal here. We at eROI are proud to be part of the rich history of The Latin Kitchen. Check out the site, share a few recipes, and by all means, create a profile_ www.thelatinkitchen.com.
As we do regularly, our agency is currently analyzing its social presence, the channels we engage with actively, and the strategy around these channels. The big question that’s up this round is the value of and the eROI-approach to Pinterest. For consumer brands, especially retailers, the importance of an active Pinterest account is a no-brainer. It has the most direct social-to-buy experience among the main social media channels. In fact, according to some research from e-commerce firm RichRelevance, the average sale resulting from a Pinterest user following an image back to its source and then buying the item is $180, compared with $80 for Facebook users and $70 for Twitter users. But for a non-(direct to)consumer industry like a marketing agency, the real question is: what’s the value? Time is money, so is Pinterest the channel to give us the most bang for our buck? Right now, eROI pivots its social brand strategy around Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and this blog. Should we alternate Pinterest for Google+ for better SEO? Or maybe for LinkedIn for more networking connections? This post doesn’t attempt to answer that question, as the agency hasn’t settled on the answer itself. But we are hoping to open up the conversation. Like any client, approach the question with a budget mindset – in a marketing department with limited bandwidth, where does Pinterest fall on this list? Full disclosure: this author is rowing for the pro-Pinterest boat, as I believe vehemently in the power of practice. By enlisting a streamlined set of best practices for our own Pinterest channel and tracking its success, we’re better equipped to provide actionable and proven recommendations to our clients. Additionally, Pinterest is about as visual as social media gets – and marketing is a visual industry in its own right. All self-promotion Pinterest rules aside, it’s a match made in heaven, #amIright?! Finally, Pinterest is one of the best social avenues for showing followers what’s important to you, and what makes you say “OoOo.” We adore our dogs. We relish our ‘hood. We gravitate to stylish innovation. And we love to ask why. In the works, companies like Dobango are working to monetize the brand-engagement aspect of this channel via sponsored pushes not too different from the new Facebook ad model. Meanwhile, analytics junkies can get their fix with new up-and-coming tools like Curalate, PinReach and PinPuff. Retailers are already doing some great things to utilize their engagement on the channel (see Grey Poupon’s web site swap-out for Pinterest). So what about eROI – what should be our Pinteresting angle? Or should we ditch the digital pin-board all together? Share your thoughts.
HOW TO USE SOCIAL MEDIA TO OPTIMIZE YOUR BRAND AND CREATE LOYAL AMBASSADORS. At October's Social Media Club Portland event, we had the chance to present a case study approach to our social media experiment and the findings, both good and bad, along the way. You’ve heard it here before and you will hear it many more times to come; 'Why?' As we begin relationships and explore opportunities with clients, we spend a lot of time asking “why”, especially as it relates to social media. Why allocate time and resources to social? Why do you want more Facebook fans? Why is social important to your overall goals? Asking “why” shapes our strategy, deepens our client relationships and ultimately drives our campaigns. At eROI, “why” is our North star. Sometimes, we need to turn the “why” question on ourselves. Recently we took a hard look at our own social media efforts across multiple channels and began exploring the same questions we ask our clients. The result was the development of a social media initiative that involved contributions from every team member at eROI. Based on measurable goals, empowerment of team members, and the free flow of ideas across departments, this initiative has been a great success since its launch in July. For those that missed the event or simply want to reference the deck, feel free to download it below. Thank you for an amazing evening!
This term I will be teaching the New Media design class with Christine Gallagher, at the Oregon State University. I was able to work with Christine on the structure of the class and will be mixing my time between the classroom in Corvallis and the eROI offices via Google Hangout. This isn't the first time that I have been involved in design teaching, for the past year I have been working with the Portland Art Institute's design program, critiquing their Junior and Senior-level Graphic Design students. WHAT IS PARTICULARLY EXCITING FOR MYSELF, AND EROI, is the opportunity to structure the New Media class around one of our core tenants—'why'. Or more specifically, asking 'why':
'Why' is our North star. It keeps us focused on the real value of y/our programs and keeps everyone from turning into tactics zombies (link to previous email newsletter on Tactic Zombies). We use it while hunting for insights, scouting analytics, and hitting the streets to understand how your business can truly connect with what people need, want, love, and simply must have. 'Why' leaves no question off-limits. It fearlessly looks inside and outside your business to uncover new opportunities and improve the programs you're running.GD328 / NEW MEDIA A COURSE DESIGNING DIGITAL INFORMATIONAL SYSTEMS; FOCUSING ON CONCEPTUALIZATION, DIAGRAMMING, & USER-INTERACTION. Thursday Was My First Day Of Design School; I Got To See 'why' In Action. THE BASIC FRAMEWORK ISN'T SPECTACULARLY GROUNDBREAKING, THOUGH IT IS TARGETED. The students were assigned four TED Talks for inspiration and split into groups. They are tasked with promoting a one-time event through three channels—a web presence, social or guerrilla marketing, and an email. This is all packaged into one cohesive and compelling final client pitch deck. They work independently in their groups, using them as a support network, to share, compare, and critique each other in a closer knit group than the full class. Working in a small group also gives the design students real-world practice working with (and sometimes in competition against) a small team. Everything else, from concept to final design delivery, is up to the individual students. WATCH THE VIDEOS; let's start a dialog around social change, design, and anything else you all are open to_ Tristram Stuart: The _global food waste scandal_ _Dave Eggers_' wish: _Once Upon a School_ _Pranav Mistry: The thrilling potential of SixthSense_ technology _Margaret Wertheim: The beautiful math of coral_ I LOVE WORKING AGENCY SIDE. I love clients and particularly fun design projects that stretch what we previously thought possible. Teaching, however is exhilarating. It’s a time that I get to talk true design theory, and be inspired by the moment of brilliance a gifted design student can bring to the table. Throughout the term I will update you all on the progress of the design class as a way to involve you all in the lesson, at least vicariously through my posts. IN THE INTEREST OF COMPLETE TRANSPARENCY: I know Christine Gallagher as an amazingly talented graphic designer, who just so happens to be one of the teachers I studied with the most for my undergraduate fine art degree. I owe a lot of my design aesthetic and definitely my love for design theory to Christine. It is a pleasure to work with her again. This term will be fun. Work, but fun. I have attached the Syllabus for the class written by Christine Gallagher at the Oregon State University. Download it below.
In Oregon, entrepreneurs are no joke. It can be a thankless job - battling in the trenches day after day, overcoming challenges and living our roller-coaster ride of ups and downs. Once a year, At the Oregon Entrepreneurs Network (OEN) Annual Awards dinner, 800 entrepreneurs, investors, and those connected to us all gather at the Portland Hilton Hotel to celebrate entrepreneurs throughout the state and make the evening into an awesome Hollywood production. I've been to this event almost every year for the past decade and always enjoy it - great networking, everyone dressed up in their best suits, tuxes, and dresses, and then it gets pretty formal during the actual awards presentation. In past years, there have been some slow periods during the presentation, but last year, Ray King - CEO of AboutUs was Master of Ceremony for the event and rocked it with a little rap that he made up that got the crowd laughing. Ray's performance raised the bar for this year and I knew that my co-MC Angela Jackson and I needed to go BIG! As most entrepreneurs do, Angela Jackson and I took a risk and we decided to sing (which was really more like shouting) an entrepreneurial re-make of the Beastie Boys song "You Gotta Fight for your Right to Party!" Background instrumentals blaring over the speakers, we had no choice once the music began to do anything other than go 110% into our rap routine trading each line below as our own anthem to the crowd of 800 shocked people who went from silence to fully joining us in the chorus the last half of the song. The video from the OEN Awards dinner has not yet been released, but here are a few photos and the lyrics to wet your appetite. _Photos by Edis Jurcys Photography_ LYRICS (WRITTEN + PRODUCED BY RYAN AND ANGELA): You start a new company and risk it all. You’re naive as hell, gonna have a ball. In no time flat, you’re out of money. Start robbing nest eggs like the Easter bunny You gotta fight, for your right, to PROFIT! Your product has bugs, but it’s got to ship Each of your advisors has a different tip Your market’s gonna love it if they take a look And you know you’re ’bout to be the next Facebook! You gotta fight, for your right, to PROFIT! Now you’re at the Awards for OEN One day they’ll all say, “yo, we knew them when.” Get the mic outta our hands cuz we can’t sing Finalists t’nite, yo y’all are the KINGS You gotta fight, for your right, to PROFIT! You gotta fight, for your right, to PROFIT!
I was asked to make a keynote presentation to Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association to lay out a scenario where marketers need to stop spreading themselves so thin and go deep in a few core marketing channels. Instead of providing wonky, detailed charts of testing frameworks and overwhelming data, this is a visual presentation that compares the digital marketing landscape to NATURE and how different species have different strategies to survive, adapt, and thrive. I thought the nature analogy was particularly relevant to Oregon restaurants and hotels as there is such consumer awareness in the Northwest around local, natural ingredients in restaurants and even hotel chains like Doubletree differentiate themselves in Portland as being the green hotel for business travelers. Additionally, like in nature where animals and their environment is all interconnected, Oregon farmers and food (like my restaurant marketing panelist Kim Malek of Salt and Straw ice cream) and beverage companies (like one of my other panelists Jamie Floyd - founder of Ninkasi Brewing) are all customers and suppliers for one another.
Apparently I missed this gem in the feeds this January: "FOUR SEASONS UNVEILS $18M WEBSITE." I recently came across it while doing some research on hotel marketing. After a quick hit with the defribillator, I managed to collect myself and rub my eyes to make sure I was seeing straight. Sure enough, I had indeed read "$18M Website." Now, I've been at this interwebs thing for well over a decade and haven't seen such a seemingly inflated price tag since The Bubble. I mean, I've personally worked on multi-million dollar site designs/redesigns of complex web-based applications, but we're talking maybe $3M–$5M over several years involving large corporate teams (which may be the case here, too). Naturally intrigued, I headed over to fourseasons.com ready to have my mind BLOWN. And it was…but not in the way I was expecting. The site is bursting with spectacular photographs of each of their locations around the globe (around 90). Clearly, visually stunning imagery is an important factor in selling luxury accommodations, but if the entire site experience doesn't also delight visitors with its ease of use, timely delivery of information and seamless translation on mobile devices, imagery alone won't close the deal. Unfortunately, the website fails to meet a surprising number of basic user experience best practices and, frankly, the design gets pretty generic once you're off the location landing pages. It's also not truly mobile-optimized as advertised. For anyone who was tracking this story when it originally hit, I'm sure this all sounds very familiar.
UX expert, Tom Stewart, commented "Despite the umpteen millions it cost, it still appears to have been designed by a photographer (they are stunning) and a computer programmer."While I might not go that far (having seen my fair share of true developer designs), a peruse through usability.com's assessment and econsultancy's assessment quickly reveals a host of issues and oversights. Perhaps if this other commenter's quip were true, it would ease the pain – " I just did a search on their new site and a $20 bill just shot straight out of my MacBook!” So, will the new website increase direct online sales from the purported current 12% of overall sales? I haven't seen any numbers, but it got me thinking…what else could you drop a cool $18M on, and would it be worth it? Let's take a look… MARIAH CAREY FOR ONE YEAR
photo source: http://popstoptv.com/entertainment-411/mariah-carey-signs-on-as-american-idol-judge-pop-or-stop-16632.htmlWhether this is worth it remains to be seen, but the diva drama already stirring between Carey and Nicki Minaj could be just the thing AI needs to boost its ratings back up. PEYTON MANNING FOR ONE YEAR
photo source: http://keepingscore.blogs.time.com/2012/03/21/peyton-manning-will-wear-number-18-in-denver-why-exactly-do-we-care/Probably safe to give this one a solid "worth it," though the stock dipped a little after his performance this past Monday night against the Falcons. (love that he's #18, too. perfect!) MITT ROMNEY
photo source: http://www.trendmixer.com/cpacPolitics are always prickly, but, personally the sound of "President Romney" makes me shudder. Keeping it to the facts, though, the words "Republican" and "balanced budget" (or god forbid, "surplus") have rarely appeared in the same sentence unless "don't know how to create a" occurred between them. So, squarely in the "not worth it" column. A LUXURIOUS TOWNHOUSE IN NYC'S UPPER EAST SIDE
photo source: http://www.homedsgn.com/2011/08/09/what-kind-of-townhouse-does-18-million-buy-in-manhattan/This might depend on how long you're planning on living there given the still sad state of the housing market. Historically speaking, though, properties in elite areas of the Big Apple are a solid investment as they almost always increase in value. So, as long as the market improves and the neighborhood doesn't turn, grab it if you got it I guess. WINKLEVOSS L.A. MANSION
photo source: http://www.tmz.com/2012/08/27/cameron-tyler-winklevoss-twins-facebook-hollywood-hills-mansion-mark-zuckerberg-millions/8,000 square feet seems a bit excessive for one person (only one of the twins will live there), but, if you have $18M to drop on a bachelor pad then extravagance is par for the course. Even "average" houses in L.A. start around $2M, so, in comparison it's not all THAT extravagant. Plus, there's a level of reputation investment that comes along with being a VC and, if you're a smart one, this will be a drop in the ole bucket before long. 180 JET PACKS
photo source: http://www.jetlev.com/index.htmlThis is the stuff rockstar parties are made of – Jetson-style fun for you and 179 of your insider-elite island party attendees, right? Well, if you want to look like a test case for the Science Club, maybe. I mean, it's cool until you consider the dryer vent tube-like connection device to the boat. For a bargain $540K you could score 180 parasail kits, which seems SO much more elegant. Then again, if you've got $18M to drop on jet packs, you may as well get the Rockettes all trained up and put on a one-of-a-kind show worthy of your hoity-toity guests. BATMAN'S TUMBLER VEHICLE
http://www.funonthenet.in/articles/batman-gadgets.htmlCarpe diem! Geek is the new chic. With this stealth, jet engine, self-destructing, armour-plated, machine gun outfitted, remote controlled, GPS-enabled ride, you could swoop up the whole "I <3 Geeks" fan club of bandwagon blondes and head over to the Winklevoss mansion for some unadulterated fun (he won't even notice – he's hangin' in the east wing, plus…you're buds after hanging at Lindsay Lohan's shin dig last year anyway, right?) DIAMOND-LADEN DUDS
photo source: http://www.interestingtopics.net/dress-of-20-million-dollars-id-330If you've got a date with the red carpet and the gathered mermaid look that's all the rage just isn't your style, consider THIS deluxe Marie de’ Medici (1575 – 1642) gown, originally purchased for $20M (in 1606 dollars). It's "gently used" – as in she wore it only once. Rendering Joan Rivers speechless is worth the $18M alone, wouldn't you agree? 3D-IFICATION OF "THE TITANIC"
photo source: http://images.wikia.com/twilightsaga/images/d/d2/419177_10150592809136604_563691603_9553503_303175424_n.jpgLast, but certainly not least, is the making of "The Titanic 3D." Most of us enjoyed our first 3 hour big screen experience (complete with intermission in many cases), but how much oomph does 3D really add to the story? Oh please let me feel like I'm right there at the table with Kathy Bates or so close I can practically FEEL the paper Leonardo is sketching his beauty onto. Give me a break! Spend $18M on an original movie idea and maybe you'll get the "worth it" rating. Getting back to the main point of this post – whether Four Seasons' $18M website redesign was worth it – only time will tell (and hopefully eConsultancy or the like will follow up). However, when you consider the sheer cost of the photography, not to mention a new online reservation system, preference-driven customized site experiences and the audience research (evidenced by their 2012 Luxury Travel Trend Report), you can see the costs start to stack up. Yet another commenter on eConsultancy's original post broke down the ROI math…
At first I was a bit shocked with the spend, but when you unravel the math of this it is not necessarily that much money. With 30M visits per year and a conservatively low average online conversion of 0.5% you’re looking at 150,000 bookings per year. Assuming an average order value of $600 (which may also be low) then the site generates $90M in revenues. Here’s the interesting part, for every 0.01% increase in conversion they add $18M in revenue.When you look at it like that, it doesn't seem so outlandish. Or does it (given the quality of the final product)?
August 2012 brought together three of my favorite things; creative marketing, NFL football and The Wire. (Note: If you don’t know what the Wire is, I need you to stop reading right now, get on Netflix and spend the next 3 days watching the entire series. Only then, once your mind is fully blown, may you continue reading.) Our client, the Baltimore Sun, happened to be the focal point of Season 5 of the aforementioned greatest show of all time. They came to us with a specific goal in mind; increase the number of digital subscriptions to the Baltimore Sun’s website. The Baltimore Sun had, months previous, began charging a small subscription fee in order to access the endless, localized news content on their website. Although this was a seemingly straightforward objective, it came with an obvious and difficult challenge. With news and information readily available for no cost, in real-time throughout the web, why would someone ever pay to get the news online? We pondered. We postulated. I made Wire references. As we asked ourselves what type of news would be important enough for this audience to pay for, given the time of year, the answer became clear. Baltimore is a blue-collar, NFL city, filled with die-hard football fans and we happen to be launching our campaign just as the most popular sport in the U.S.A. kicks off its season. Couple that with the Baltimore Sun’s unparalleled, insider coverage of the city’s beloved Baltimore Ravens and the timing couldn’t have been better. As the NFL season kicked off last night, we launched a multi-channel, digital subscription driving campaign, geared at Ravens fans looking for insider coverage. The campaigns includes dynamic marketing components across email, print and online display that will remind this audience all season that the Baltimore Sun is the source of everything Ravens, all the time. We’re incredibly excited work with the Baltimore Sun and to see this campaign drive subscriptions for them all NFL season long.
Every day, I talk to Marketing VPs, Directors, and CEOs about their business goals and marketing strategies and 9 out of 10 times, I see the same body language - nodding heads, eye-rolls, and several deep breaths. It's that feeling of complete exasperation and feeling overwhelmed by everything they've heard in the media and at conferences about needing to do it all in digital marketing - post on Facebook, tweet, maintain your Youtube channel, SEO, PPC, get your email marketing program dialed and your newsletter out on at least a monthly basis, regularly blog, get fresh content live on your website, and then there are the NEW NEW things that you should be all over like Pinterest, Foursquare, Google+, and an ever-increasing number of social sites and channels to monitor. As a human race, we are promoting Attention Deficit Disorder in the worst way. And, as digital marketers, we feel compelled to crank up our Attention Deficit Disorder on massive steroids. It all seems so out of control. At eROI, we recently launched our 2012 Digital Marketing Strategies & Trends survey to find out the root cause of exactly why marketers are feeling so overwhelmed. I know this is a crazy thought, but as marketers, we do have a choice. We can choose to evaluate which of all of these digital marketing channels work for us (that drive meaningful Return on Investment) and first focus on those 1 or 2 marketing channels before adding more to your plate. To many marketers, these dozens of choices of where to spend our time, energy, and budget leads to paralysis and everything gets watered down and is left ineffective. Let's use nature as a metaphor for this conundrum that so many marketers are finding themselves in. We need to step back and figure out what animal species our company is like. Is your company like a spider that lays thousands of eggs in the hopes that a few dozen thrive or is it more like an elephant who has one or two (twins) offspring at a time to nurture over a long lifespan? Here's one big bonus if you take 3 minutes to take our survey. Participate » and you'll be entered to win a: • $250 Visa gift card -OR- • $250 donated to a charity of your choice! Take the survey now »
Last time I talked about the structure of Google Analytics and how to set up a basic filter so that you are only seeing customer traffic . I had some good feedback from readers that gave me some ideas on where to go with this next post and felt there was a need to address the question, “what metrics should I be looking at”? The answer is, whatever metrics are important to you. I come from a small town so the phrase, “there’s more than one way to skin a cat” is really relevant here. It’s a puzzle. The tough part is that it might change from week to week. Even day to day depending on your needs. I wish I had a magic bullet but if I did, let’s be honest, I wouldn’t be writing this. I’d be off gallivanting (yes, gallivanting) with my wife somewhere exotic with great food. Instead I get to play with numbers and weird codes all day. It’s fun, and I love it, but gallivanting it’s not, so I might as well make myself useful. In lieu of giving you the answers and since it’s usually all about me I thought I would take a look at something that has been consuming a lot of my time lately; Social. Google has made it a lot easier to track your traffic with the implementation of their social reporting within the traffic sources report and there are other things you can be doing to really drill down into how to make your social program perform. One thing to keep in mind as you parse through numbers is that when you set the date in the top right hand corner, it will not change no matter what reporting you are looking at. It’s easy to forget you were looking at last year’s numbers when you really want to be looking at the current numbers. The social reporting is an entire set of reports on the left hand side of the standard reporting screen. Taking a look at the overview it gives us the top ten referring social networks. This includes the total number of visits from that channel as well as the % of the total referrals that channel garnered. In ours, almost exactly 75% of our traffic comes from Twitter or Facebook. Clicking into these channels provides us with a look into what pages that channel is actually driving traffic to. You will also notice Hootsuite, which we use to manage a lot of our social channels and monitor trends. It’s a great tool for research and I recommend it. Let us know if you are interested in a Pro account which offers the ability to do a lot more things and gives you some flexibility. The Sources report is very similar to the overview but provides a graph comparing overall site traffic vs. the social traffic. The two most interesting and useful reports for me are the conversions reports and the social visitors flow report. Being able to set up goals (I’ll be covering goals in a later post) surrounding our social initiatives is very important from a ROI perspective. In this case, I’m not talking about dollars and cents but really just seeing how our social efforts are driving interaction on the site. Are people clicking into the link and immediately leaving (high bounce rate, low time on site)? Or are they progressing through various pages and (hopefully) filling out the form to get more information? This is a quick way to see how your work is progressing by using goals and seeing which ones are converting. The final report, the social visitors flow report is really interesting to compare against referrals from non-social channels. Do people interact with your site differently entering in from an email newsletter than they do clicking in from a tweet? There isn't any true site depth, it's very superficial. It's interesting to play around with the various paths your visitors take. In my experience tweets garner a higher bounce rate which makes sense if I consider how I use Twitter. Quick bites of information and then move on. In my mind the social reporting doesn’t take the place of conventional google link tagging. Being able to see WHICH posts garnered traffic is important for content review. WHY did that specific tweet or post garner so much traffic? If we aren’t refining our process we aren’t learning and we aren’t improving. How about you? Do you use the social reporting feature? Are you even active in the social space? What’s your thoughts on their usefulness? Feel free to comment or hit me back on twitter @eroi or @ep_analysis with your reply’s. Next up, creating a tagging structure that makes sense and produces results.
For some this will be the junior league, but for others just getting started using analytics it can dispel some of the worried questions people sometimes ask me. We can get into some more complicated uses and scenarios in future posts. Analytics are SO important and I think some small and medium size businesses who don't pay someone to do it for them sometimes might be a bit overwhelmed and don't know where to start. First off, don't worry, you aren't going to break anything. Unless you delete something or add filters to your default profile, but even that can be reverted back to default. In the picture below you can see the basic structure of how accounts are set up. A Web Property is a domain. Something like www.site1.com. Each Web Property has their own unique ID associated with it that allows Google to know what that domain is. Profiles are different ways to look at the data from a Web Property. Think about your default profile as a giant sewer main with everything flowing through it. You could take out all of the dirty diapers and count them when they get spewed out onto the beach OR you could create a window to look at JUST the dirty diapers while they are in that pipe. Creating a profile is making a window to look at just certain parts of the data you are interested in without having to go through extra steps EVERY time you log into your default profile. It's important to remember that you should never filter your default profile because once you do you start losing data (and never flush dirty diapers down the toilet). You want ALL of the dirty diapers, goldfish, and random alligators to still be spewed out onto the beach. I know it's not eco-friendly but this is a metaphor people. When you create a Google Analytics account you associate it with an email address. You can have up to 25 different web properties and have a total of 50 profiles in one account. If you ever run into a space issue you can always create another account associated with another email address. One common profile to set up is one in which all of your internal traffic is taken out of the data. I will walk you through doing this below. First navigate to your default profile for your web property and then click on the "Admin" section in the top right of the screen. This should take you to the screen below: Click on "+New Profile" and the screen below should pop up. Give it a new profile name such as "www.site1.com Internal IP Traffic Filtered Out" and click create profile. On the next screen click on the "filters" tab and under the "filter type" dropdown choose "Traffic from the IP Adresses" "That are equal to". Enter in your IP address or range of addresses and click save. After clicking save you should see your newly created profile Congratulations, you now will be seeing only the traffic you care about when you use this new profile. Your office traffic will no longer bloat numbers.
talking about my cats and posting pics of rad nail art. So when we started our Social Media Program at work, I figured I would be set. THEN IT WAS MY TURN TO DO TWITTER. Not really sure I exactly _excel_ at Twitter. Not my cup of tea. Takes me a bit more than 140 characters to talk about anything, especially if it's worth even mentioning. Needless to say my tweets weren’t very popular. “Hey here’s a link to an article I liked,” Snooze. What does a person need to do to get people’s attention? Check Alton Brown for instance, who has taken to responding to tweets with a picture of a post-it on his computer screen. Fantastic. I want to hang out on your Twitter page and see what you do next. After talking to eROI’s Managing Art Director Gerry Blakney, we came up with an idea to send hand-written cards using the same language as a tweet (Twitter handles, hashtags and ow.ly links) to say thank you for engaging with us on our Twitter. Now this is something I can get behind. Nobody sends snail mail anymore, but they should!
#snailmail #nofilter #jkthereisThis isn't the first time we've thought outside our computer box…es. We concocted an idea to expand our "Work From Home" days to be "Work From ____________" days. We could check out local businesses, invite our industry colleagues and work alongside each other at tables rather than at our desks. We would live tweet the event using the hashtag '#WF_' (there's an underscore in there, I promise), have a libation or two and hopefully come away with new ideas and friends (awww). So far it has been a success and growing with each event. Next month on September 7th we will be at one of my favorite venues, Produce Row, in industrial SE. Go ask your boss or your staff to head out of the office for the day and grab a seat next to us. You'll be working, trust us. Check out our fully-responsive event site for some more information and pictures of past events and then Join us on Facebook. We want to talk to you about how you are engaging with others in our industry. Can't make it next month? Let us know what crazy place you think we should have it next. Zoo? Oaks Park? Trimet? Tell us your ideas and we'll explore the possibilities together.
I flew this week to Oakland for work. I have not been on a flight for over three years and that was a whirlwind, family trip to meet my brother's newborn son, with my grandmother, brother, and mom— not allowing me the time or freedom to simply sit and admire commercial air travel. THE FLIGHT ATTENDANT ON THE RETURN FLIGHT, #2853, who pantomimed the welcome, safety procedures, in-flight directions, and finally the final 'welcome to the city you flew to, have a nice day' speech WAS A MARKETING GENIUS. She was informative while being personable and funny which, because of this, caused me to listen to her every word. I listened with anticipation to all of the in-flight information like it was my first flight ever. And in some ways it was, this is the first time that such a large brand- Southwest Airlines- showed an engaging and intelligent personality while still giving me the directions I needed. And honestly, I found myself craving more.
"…if You Are With A Young Child, Please Secure Your Air Mask First Before Securing Theirs. If You Are Sitting Next To My Ex-boyfriend Don't Even Bother." -Southwest Flight AttendantThis unique approach, that I am sure is not regulation- but should be, was so refreshing that I have now liked, tweeted, and written this blog post about Southwest Airlines. If you could guarantee that each and every flight would have an ad libbing mastermind, I WOULD FLY SOUTHWEST EXCLUSIVELY (despite your screwy general seating scheme). This level of brand-loyalty is from one person, on one flight— imagine the impact if more of your big-brand interactions were as honest and hilariously-human as my flight attendant's quips. GIVE YOUR BRAND A PERSONALITY AND YOUR CUSTOMERS A FRIEND TO RELATE TO, THEY'LL THANK YOU FOR IT.
"You May Now Turn On Your Electronic Devices To Facebook, Tweet, And Instagram About Southwest Getting You To Your Destination Ahead Of Schedule Because We Know You Certainly Would If We Didn't."
The Meetup group, Content Strategy PDX recently brought in Scott Abel, “Content Wrangler” to speak about what he calls, “The Content Strategy Silo Trap.” Scott helps put on the big LavaCon coming up in Portland, OR as well as the Content Strategy Workshop that runs on the same weekend(October 7-9) where he put together the designing and strategy for mobile workshop. I’ve been to a few of the CSPDX meetups and the question is always asked, “What IS a content Strategist”? There always seems to be a hundred different answers and none of them ever seemed to resonate with me. I’m a Performance Analyst. I work with numbers, things that are concrete. Of course there is an art behind the analytics but for me everything comes down to what can be proven, what has significance. Scott says a content strategist manages the cost of value. They are business consultants that deal with content. Everything needs to track back to value for them. They do the math, that determines the value, that makes their case for content. Value can be looked at in one of two ways, either savings which can be done through optimizations of efficiency, or sales. Everyone is in the business to make money. If we don’t make money we don’t exist. If we don’t exist, neither does our content. No matter what business you are in your content needs to work for you otherwise what’s the point? Scott asked us how a style guide, or a brand book makes a company money. The answer is that it doesn’t. In fact you actually LOSE money running the huge committee that takes hours to MAKE the brand book. Now where can we leverage the style guide to create value? If we can automate some of the stylistic mandates through something like XML, or a template of some sort than we begin to work with efficiencies. I really enjoyed the talk because I am a numbers guy. I’m a performance analyst and though some of what I do has some art and finesse to it, at its heart is raw data and numbers. What’s driving traffic? What’s the ROI? If you can’t prove to the finance department that what you are suggesting will create profits then it isn’t happening. I think that all content should have a provable purpose. What do you think? Are there cases that require content simply for content’s sake? Where could your content work harder for you or how could your content change to produce profit either in savings or sales?
Check out my social feeds lately and it’s like a cricket convention. Aside from the occasional Foursquare check-ins, which are inconsistent at best, there’s not much to see folks. I’m tired of “sharing.” There, I’ve said it. I’m over, finished, done with this second job that has spiraled into chore-dom. With some 1,000+ friends/brands, across six different networks, all clamoring for my attention (and me for theirs), it’s an exhausting pursuit just to cut through the noise to get (and give) news anyone gives two hoots about (even with Hootsuite at the ready). Feeling overwhelmed by the whole social scene, I’ve — as the hippies phrased it —“dropped out.” UNLIKE the freedom movement of the sixties, however, I do NOT feel liberated. I’m the Strategy Director at a digital marketing agency for cryin’ out loud. I can’t DROP OUT, right? I mean, what will my peers, clients and – perhaps more importantly – potential clients think when they go to validate my credentials by assessing my social activity? “She hasn’t posted in 3 weeks?!! Preposterous! How can I trust her to advise US?” Maybe what’s preposterous are the expectations around my individual social activity. After all, do you ever see Don Draper taking an ad out for himself in The New Yorker? No, you don’t. It never would have happened. And it certainly wouldn’t have happened everyday, multiple times a day. Of course, the internet has transformed us forever and we can’t look back – not that I even WANT to – but keeping pace with the current proliferation of new social sites and apps is not sustainable. Not for me, you OR your company. Furthermore, if I’m feeling this way – as an early adopter – isn’t that an indicator that the rest will follow? What happens when your tediously cultivated community decides to ‘drop out’? Or, at least, drop somewhere else? Consolidation is the only manageable future I can imagine and we’re already seeing it starting to take hold. AS I IMAGINE IT… * TWITTER becomes “the peoples’ news”, sitting alongside media news, providing data visualization in real-time and driving awareness and participation in world events. * The many video and music providers – YOUTUBE, VIMEO, HULU, MYSPACE (yes, keep reading) SPOTIFY, PANDORA, ETC. – consolidate and sit under one overarching entertainment umbrella, seamlessly integrated with TV. * FACEBOOK becomes your diary (a natural leap based on the move to Timeline) – linking directly to Ancestry.com (or the like) – with sharing features focused on smaller, much closer-knit communities of friends and family. * PINTEREST plays the part of a truly curated sharing space due to its more timeless nature, lack of linear structure and visual foundation. It will maintain its role as a personal catalog and likely incorporate public/private settings like other bookmarking services currently do. * APPS get folded into this central system based on function and only the ones that can easily integrate survive. That seems more manageable, no? THERE ARE INKLINGS OF THIS CONSOLIDATION ALREADY HAPPENING, but it’s early and there’s still a lot of fragmentation – and so it will likely be for the next 5 years at least. There are definitely murmurings, though… * The “I exist for you to buy me” trend amongst internet/app startups continues (like American Idol for technology)… * Oracle buys Vitrue for $300 million * Salesforce.com buys Buddy Media for ~$700 million * Google buys Wildfire for $250 million * …to name a few * TWITTER “Cards” bring Twitter closer to Facebook (though I think they may refocus to news as stated above) * MYSPACE (see, I told you to keep reading) refocuses, resurges and challenges PANDORA and SPOTIFY in the music space (attracting 29M visitors/mo. and reporting 1M new users in a single month earlier this year) * Altimeter Group releases a report about how brands are struggling to streamline and consolidate their efforts across paid, owned and earned media…and how to solve it. I am hopeful for a manageable future. In the meantime, I will refocus my own social efforts based on some sage advice from some well-respected friends in social… * Carri Bugbee, award-winning tweeter for Mad Men character @PeggyOlson, says she felt overwhelmed by the fragmentation by 2009, but contends that marketing/communication professionals do not have the option of dropping out. They need to understand the ethos of various social platforms, not just the mechanics, in order to make smart choices about where and how you (and your clients) participate. (translation: Suck it up.) * Olivier Blanchard, all-around marketing smarty pants, says he takes a different approach – only posting when, and where, he feels compelled to post. You can be sure he’s keeping on top of what’s new – just not participating everywhere, everyday. (translation: Spread it out.) Thank you, friends, for putting things back in perspective. With that, I’m off to "drop back in" and find a way to manage the seemingly unmanageable, until my utopian convergence becomes reality.
World records are being broken. Badminton players are behaving badly. And Olympic commentator Ryan Seacrest is gushing over the number of Facebook and Twitter likes/followers Michael Phelps has now that the games are on. Seacrest is SO excited about all the love. "Millions of likes! " he squeals. Maybe Seacrest didn’t get the memo. Phelps is a mega celebrity in a highly dramatized global event—of course people are following him to get closer to the action. Besides, the _look-at-all-my-followers_ story went out with Ashton Kutcher's Twit-fest. It's not news. But if an erstwhile entertainment host didn't know any better, maybe it's still worth talking about? While the number of fans and followers has its value, quality (of fans) and engagement (you have with each) should be your focus, because social media is a relationship platform. And if you’re in a position where people around you are still obsessed with sheer quantity of likes, clicks, fans and followers, try to get them talking about validity instead. Did you see this story about a Facebook “Like” experiment with a fictitious company called Virtual Bagels? It's a good read about how dicey and inexplicable “likes” (and their value) are in the real world. In addition, a recent chat with an industry coworker turned up some interesting facts about validity in online advertising. He’s developed an expertise in forensic clickstream analysis to determine if real people are clicking on your ads. The big statistic? He says “most advertisers have no idea that 25-40% of their online budget isn’t reaching human beings.” The lesson from all this? Whether you’re the most decorated Olympian of all time or one the wealthiest pretty faces on TV, be sure the people who love you really love you.
I'm so glad that I have unlimited access to the tubes of the net. Without them how would I know about such things like Calvin Broadus Jr. nee Snoop Dogg has gone reggae? Please refer to him now as….drum roll please, Snoop Lion! As a child of the gangsta rap era that does NOT roll off of my tongue. Call me nostalgic but Snoop L-I-O-N just does not have the same ring as Snoop D-O-Double G Want to know some more RIDICULOUS celebrity name changes? Check it In honor of all things random but interesting, here, in no particular order are the top ten most recent links and stories from eROI social: 1. For those of you following the heated Account Vs. Strategy Princess basketball game the results are in! 2. In case you didn't know there is a company named "Google" they search stuff and have a rather large bank account. In what could only be seen as a salvo on Facebook they bought Wildfire which helps people manage their presence on Facebook and Twitter. Should the Zuck be worried? 3. We have some very avid cyclists who avidly follow Le Tour De France. Why wouldn't we? The winner wears Yellow which EVERYONE knows is eROI's color! Thanks for the shout out Bradley Wiggins! 4. Beer! Portland loves it as well as MOST of our office. Portland is home to several amazing beer fests. Our Art Director and Performance Analyst managed to attend both the International Beer Fest and the Oregon Beer Fest . When I say attend I mean, managed to drink copious amounts of wonderful beer and make it home alive. Including a glass of 50$ a bottle goodness. 5. We'd like to say that we killed off all spam but alas, we just didn't have time. However a group of global Bad@$$3S managed to take down the "Grum Botnet" reducing spam by what some say might be 50%. Less pleas for money from far off places is a good thing. 6. Our team is really creative. People make things, send things, and talk about things…creatively. Here's something creative we got hoopla for. 7. What retailer hasn't lamented the death of brick and mortar stores because of Amazon? People come to try on but buy online all the time. How can mom and pop compete? Here are some great suggestions including using Amazon's own massive budget and R&D to your advantage. 8. Is it Christmas already? If that's the case it is definitely not going to be a white one and my wife is going to be ticked off I didn't get her gifts or a tree. Didn't we JUST pay our credit cards off? 9. NBC has been flogged in the media recently for their time delayed broadcasts. I for one am glad that I don't have to get up at 1 AM to watch my favorite trampolining athletes. Here are some apps to help you keep abreast of the action as well as a link to trampolining because I know you are intrigued now. It's EXACTLY what you are thinking it is, they are just a LOT better at it than us when we were kids and jumping off the roof was a "trick" not sheer stupidity. 10. When building a brand it should be special. How do you make it special? Video. Check these out and tell me they aren't cool. This post is from our New York sales team. Blocks making funny noises make me want to spend all kinds of money. Consider yourself informed.
_EDITOR'S NOTE: This guest post is written by Mike Arnesen, Senior SEO Analyst at our search partner, SwellPath. SwellPath is a digital consulting agency specializing in custom analytics tagging, SEO, and PPC campaigns._ ------------------------- Think of the last time you visited a website on your mobile phone. Your experience probably fell into one of three categories: terrible, decent, or awesome. Let’s go for a quick dive into the details of what could have defined your experience. A Terrible Mobile Experience * The site used media like Flash, which wasn’t supported on your mobile browser. * You couldn’t pinch or tap the site to zoom in on what you wanted to read. * You may have been redirected from whatever page you requested to the site’s “mobile homepage” and had to navigate back to what you wanted to see originally. A Decent Mobile Experience * Even though the experience wasn’t designed for mobile, you could at least zoom in on the important areas. * You may have encountered a pop-up asking you to download the site’s mobile app. It didn’t help you access the site, but at least they were thinking of mobile. An Awesome Mobile Experience * The site’s color scheme and text site was optimized for reading on a small screen. * The site was optimized for on the go browsing: important elements were highlighted (e.g. location info, phone, and menus) * The site’s navigation was reorganized to take up less screen space. * All functionality was usable through a mobile browser (think videos). So what was responsible for your last awesome mobile experience on a site? All the bullets above came from having a dedicated mobile design. This was a result of the developer taking the time to think of mobile users and trying to provide them with exactly what they needed. When you browse the web on your mobile device, it’s not hard to tell which sites have taken the time to provide a dedicated mobile design. What’s harder to tell is how they did it. Did you pay attention to your mobile browser’s address bar when you visited the site? If you visited a URL like www.eroi.com, it either _CHANGED_ to m.eroi.com and delivered you to the mobile experience or _STAYED THE SAME_ and delivered the mobile experience to you. For search engine optimization, this can make all the difference. DEDICATED MOBILE SITES If the URL _changed_ and your browser was redirected to http://m.mysite.com or www.mysite.com/mobile/, then you’re looking at a “dedicated mobile site”. This is a completely independent site built solely for mobile visitors. While it likely has the same content, it can be build using entirely different technology and delivered in a different manner than the main www.mysite.com. RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN If the URL _didn’t change_ in your mobile browser but you still got an awesome mobile experience, you’re looking at Responsive Web Design. Responsive Web Design allows a website to respond to your screen size and give you an appropriate experience, all via the same URL. WHY IS RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN BETTER FOR SEO? I’ll let the UX experts expand on why Responsive Web Design is killer for your users, but now let me get into why it’s amazing for SEO. Let’s start off by listing some of the disadvantages of having a dedicated mobile website(s): * DUPLICATE CONTENT In the majority of cases, search engines will see that you have the same content on both the mobile and desktop versions of your website. If you look at it from the point of view of a simple web crawler, the text content (or page copy) of m.mysite.com/about/ is going to look incredibly similar to www.mysite.com/about/. This makes your website’s content much less valuable in search and can have a negative impact on organic ranking. * LINK DILUTION Search engine ranking is largely determined by the number of links pointing to your website (I’m really oversimplifying this, but it makes it easier to understand). Social links/sharing also plays a big role these days. If you have two versions of the same site, users can either link to pages on m.mysite.com or pages on www.mysite.com. If you end up with a handful of links pointing to each version, your SEO power is going to be divided. This makes your website much less effective in ranking in search. * Authority Assuming you don’t have an SEO specialist on your team, it’s going to be very challenging to signal to search engines that they should be sharing “SEO Authority” between two sites. In Google, you set this up using “canonical tags” and the recently debuted “switchboard tags”. In Bing, you might be out of luck. In fact, Duane Forrester said outright about dedicated mobile sites, “most of them will never accrue any value and rarely, if ever, rank in any form of search". That’s bad news all around. * SEARCH ENGINE CONFUSION & UX AS A RANKING FACTOR Search engines are very simple minded. If you have a mobile and a desktop site, you’re relying on search engines to sort that out (and, believe me, this can get hairy). Search engines have a vested interest in sending mobile searchers to a mobile-optimized site and desktop searchers to a desktop-optimized site. Therefore, if you make it hard for them to figure out which of your sites will offer the best user experience, you’re gonna have a bad time. * TABLETS So where do tablets get sent in the dedicated mobile site model? The mobile site is likely pretty basic for someone on an iPad but the desktop site might still be overly complicated for tablet display. Do you create a third tablet only site that only compounds the above issues further or do you simply let users “deal with it”? Again, UX ties into modern SEO. If organic search traffic (and user experience) is important for your business, we already have a strong case for adopting Responsive Web Design. With Responsive Web Design, you only have one website at www.mysite.com. Your website’s structural code and text (your HTML) is always the same no matter what device accesses it. However, the CSS (style rules for the website) changes depending on the screen size of the device that’s viewing the site. An iPhone viewing the site gets CSS that makes it look awesome on an iPhone; a standard desktop browser gets the regular CSS that makes it look awesome on a desktop monitor; a tablet gets the CSS to make it look awesome on a tablet display. Now how does that affect SEO? * DUPLICATE CONTENT With Responsive Web Design, each piece of content has only one URL; duplicate content is a non-issue. * LINK DILUTION Since there’s only one website, all the links and social recommendations (likes, Tweets, +1s) out on the web point to a single website. All your SEO power goes to a central location for maximum ranking efficiency. * Authority See above. With Responsive Web Design, there’s no need to worry about your mobile site having trouble getting off the ground, even in Bing. * Search Engine Confusion & UX as a Ranking Factor Engines only have to deal with one site. They can send mobile and desktop users to the same site and know that they’ll be getting a good experience. * TABLETS Under Responsive Web Design, all devices are covered. Tablets get an experience that’s just as awesome as phones and desktops. If you’re a developer and you’re wondering when I’m going to get into the technical details in this post, I’m not. I may put a tutorial together at some point (let me know if you want to see that in the comments), but this post is about educating people about Responsive Web Design and making RWD evangelists. Responsive Web Design is the future: it’s great for users, it reduces the code maintenance for your dev team, and Google just made it the official recommendation this month (Bing officially recommended it previously in March, to the sounds of crickets). Also, if you’re a developer/designer, your clients will love it (if they haven’t heard of it) and want it (if they have)! If you’re interested in learning more about Responsive Web Design, I had the pleasure of appearing on a Max Impact Hangout on Responsive Web Design (30-min, but great video). There’s also Google documentation on how to make RWD happen and a great blog post on it by Scott Vandehey.