BostonMarketers Digest 2012-03-14

BostonMarketersBy Bob Hebeisen

Some of the smartest marketers on the planet hail from right here in New England.

Top stories below from Dave Charest of Constant Contact, LinkedIn, Tubifi, Overdrive Interactive, and NEDMA.

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  • How Do You Measure Trade Show Success?
    Group discussion in the LinkedIn B2B Technology Marketing Community
    I wrote a pretty comprehensive story about tradeshow marketing for MarketingProfs back in June 2011, but this discussion thread in the LinkedIn B2B Technology Marketing Community is helpful if you are trying to re-focus your thinking around trade shows and what constitutes success.  My best tip is that the exhibit space is only the tip of the iceberg: you should be thinking about things that happen outside of the exhibit space, such as speaking opportunities, PR, demo suites, and your follow-up after the event is complete.
  • How to Create World-Class Video Advertising and Drive New Revenue
    Tubifi recorded webinar
    Tubifi’s recorded webinar provides a comprehensive look at the state of video production today.  Content marketers want it all: (1) high-impact videos that (2) can be created quickly and (3) won’t bust your marketing budget.  Is it possible to have all three?  Tubifi says yes and explains how.
  • Taking Advantage of Your Facebook Timeline for Brands
    Overdrive Interactive recorded webinar
    Did you know that on March 30th Facebook will switch your brand page to the new Timeline layout whether you like it or not?  This short recorded webinar from Overdrive Interactive gives you all the info you need to maximize the new layout, including pixel dimensions for all the graphics, how to pin important stories to the top of the layout, and how to make prominent your most important apps/tabs.
  • Attend NEDMA’s Marketing Technology Summit
    March 21 at the Boston Common Hotel & Conference Center
    Boston Marketers need to leverage the application of marketing technologies and tactics to accelerate ROI. So join the New England Direct Marketing Association (NEDMA) for a day of cutting edge marketing technology education.  Learn more and register here.

Are you a Boston Marketer with a good story to share?  Tell me about it in the comments below.

Posted in BostonMarketers, Facebook, Trade Show Marketing, Viral Video | Leave a comment

BostonMarketers Digest 2012-02-28


BostonMarketersBy Bob Hebeisen

Some of the smartest marketers on the planet hail from right here in New England.

Top stories below from Melissa Miller from HubspotJaime Reynolds from MITX, Ann Handley from MarketingProfs, and Bob Hebeisen.

Subscribe to the BostonMarketers Twitter list.

  • 20 Fresh Stats About the State of Inbound Marketing in 2012
    Hubspot blog, Melissa Miller
    Spoiler alert: Hubspot’s research shows leads generated from “inbound marketing” are better.  But all kidding aside, if you are trying to justify your investment in blogging, social media, and SEO, then these are some great stats to show to the higher-ups that need to be converted.  Follow the link for a Slideshare you can download for using the charts in your own presentation, and you can register for a webinar presentation of the data on Thursday March 1.
  • The Keys to Community Engagement: A MITX Event Recap
    MITX blog, Jaime Reynolds
    Boston Marketers ought to be engaged with their peers in a local organization, and Massachusetts Innovation and Technology eXchange is a great place to start.  Jaime Reynolds recaps their recent meeting with video interviews from some of the guest speakers. Barbara Messing (CMO for TripAdvisor) discusses how you must understand your audience in order to fine-tune your customers’ social media engagement.  Nick Ayers (Manager of Social Marketing for Intercontinental Hotels) notes that tapping into brand ambassadors is a solid strategy for building meaningful content. Looks like it was a great meeting!
Posted in Blog, BostonMarketers, Community Site, Search Engine Marketing, Social Media, Viral Video | 2 Comments

Checking in on the results of my Viral Video experiment

By Bob Hebeisen

Back in October I wrote a post about a viral video I had created for Alpha Software, one of my contracting clients.  On the eve of The Superbowl (the ultimate launching pad for commercial video), I thought I would check back on the results.

I was quite pleased to see that the Microsoft Access 2010 Dog Tease  has actually gained some measure of viral success:

  • Over 42,000 views
    The original Dog Tease video which inspired it now has 92 million views, so 42k views may not sound like much by comparison.  But Alpha’s market is niche, so it is not realistic that their video would garner huge numbers like that.  Alpha is actually quite prolific at posting videos on their YouTube channel.  But the 42k views for the Dog Tease video is almost 7x more than the next most popular video on Alpha’s YouTube channel.  The video with the next most views is one that was posted 2 years ago, while the Dog Tease video was posted only 3 months ago.

  • Classic “hockey stick” growth chart
    You can see from the YouTube metrics charts that the viewership exploded during the month of December.  This is where the meme strategy really paid off because a massive amount of viral referrals came from other talking animal videos.

  • Shows up well for Microsoft Access searches
    The whole purpose of the video was to point out Alpha Five’s superiority over Microsoft Access for creating Web applications.  So I carefully chose the meta tags and keywords for the video, and that’s why I entitled the video “Microsoft Access 2010 Dog Tease” (instead of “Alpha Five Dog Tease”).  As a result, for example, when you search YouTube for “Microsoft Access 2010 Web database” the dog tease video shows up as the second organic video in the search results.  It’s actually kind of hilarious to see the thumbnail image of the dog in the search results.

Posted in Internet Meme, Meme, Video Marketing, Viral Video | 1 Comment

Portfolio – My Letter is Included in the book “World’s Greatest Direct Mail Sales Letters”

By Bob Hebeisen

In honor of “Green Monday” (the highest volume shipping day of the year fueled by direct response Christmas purchases), I thought I would post this direct mail campaign accolade from the old days.

This letter really got the warehouse cranking, shipping copies of Alpha Four database application all across the globe!

Some notes about this campaign:

  • Karl Freitag was the head writer on this project, he was very generous to give me a co-author credit.  I gave him the basic concept (I need your help/David vs. Goliath theme) and then he worked his magic.  I also did the technical editing to make sure he was describing technical aspects of the product accurately.  Karl was a fantastic direct response writer who cut his teeth on the seminal DAK consumer electronics catalogs of the ’80s and ’90s.
  • Some people think direct mail is dead.  I don’t think it is dead, but I agree that other methods of marketing have gained higher priority in the B2B marketing arsenal.  But I am thankful every day for my direct mail roots because it really galvanized my discipline for setting up testing, tracking costs, analyzing results, and making sure your marketing plan is optimized for driving ROI.
  • Lewis and Nelson comment that the headline (“My Name is Richard Rabins and I Need Your Help”) “at once enlists the reader in the writer’s psychological army… what an impressive rapport-builder.”  This was a pretty innovative concept, and really differentiates the effort from the standard software sales letter which talks about speeds and feeds.  It also gives a plausible explanation for the low price of the software.
  • It is a long letter — 4 pages.  We tested it against a 2 page letter and the longer letter won.
  • Years later I walked into a job interview with a guy named Danny Kastner, who was running a cool little Flash/email marketing boutique agency called POPstick.  When Kastner asked me about my professional background, I started explaining that my first job out of college was doing direct mail marketing for a small company called Alpha Software Corporation.  He got a far-away look in his eyes and said “I remember those guys… ‘my name is… blah blah blah… and I need your help…'”  I couldn’t believe it, but he was reciting back to me the headline of this letter!  He actually remembered reading it, even though it was probably 7 or 8 years later.  I pulled a copy of the letter out of my briefcase and presented it to him, I had planned to use it as the writing sample they asked for.  I was pretty much hired on the spot.
  • This book, World’s Greatest Direct Mail Sales Letters (© NTC Business Books, 1996), is still available for purchase and it has tons of great copywriting that is inspirational even to this day.
Posted in Copywriting, Direct Mail, Portfolio - Awards | Leave a comment

“Bob Hebeisen just reordered Viagra®”… and other Facebook marketing campaigns you should never see

By Bob Hebeisen

The other day I was reading an article on Ad Age Digital about Facebook marketing. It was a recap of various case studies of successful Facebook marketing campaigns including Amazon, Apple, Netflix, Forever21, eBay, MTV, TripAdvisor, Ticketmaster, and Major League Baseball.

At the end of the article, the author insists…

“Any way you look at it, the future of nearly every business
is intimately entwined with Facebook…”

This is a crazy statement. Come on, gotta stop the hype. Facebook marketing is a good tactic for many — but not all — consumer brands. And it is not an efficient or effective tactic for most B2B brands.

Are the fish inclined to take your bait?

There is an old adage about marketing and sales: “fish where the fish are.” It means your marketing and sales efforts should be focused on media that can deliver your target market. It wouldn’t make much sense to go fishing in a pond where all the fish have been removed, it would not yield positive results. Likewise, if you spend your time executing marketing campaigns to lists and media devoid of your target audience then you will experience very poor results.

But I think a more apt adage would be to “fish where the fish are inclined to take your bait.” I know that is not as catchy as the original phrase, but let me explain. You could fish all day long in a lake full of fish, but if the fish are for some reason not inclined to take your bait then you will not have good results.

That’s what I think is the big problem with Facebook marketing for many brands. There is little doubt that Facebook can deliver your target market. We all know the stats:

However, there is one sobering statistic for B2B marketing:

But that’s not the biggest problem.  For many brands (some consumer and most B2B) people are just not willing to engage on Facebook. The “fish” are present, but they are not inclined to take your bait.

Examples of Facebook marketing campaigns you should never see:

#1. Bob Hebeisen shared the Groupon™ “25% discount on United Site Services Portable Toilet Rentals” — Sure, event planners place a high value on reliable service vendors. But the minutia of our work lives is often too technical or mundane to share on Facebook because it would be excruciatingly boring for our friends and family. United Site Services does not have a Facebook page.  As a B2B marketer for the software company PTC, I “liked” Facebook campaigns that my own company was running, and shared technical videos and published case studies about CAD software on Facebook. I can tell you now that it bored the heck out of 99% of my family and friends.  Even the design engineers who were included in our target market joined our Facebook campaigns in very small numbers and engaged very infrequently.  Marketing bandwidth would have been better spent elsewhere.

  • Social Media that makes sense: United Site Services has built some basic interactive components into their own website: a sizing and configuration guide that helps event planners get the right number and type of units based on their audience needs.  They could host a blog about all sorts of event management topics to engage their buyers.  They could build a stronger presence on LinkedIn and participate in LinkedIn discussion groups for event planning.

#2. Bob Hebeisen’s APC Back-UPS® ES 550VA uninterruptible power supply saved the day this morning when the power spiked while performing the month-end financial close — It might be true, but it is not really something you would type into your Facebook status update. APC does not have a Facebook page.

  • Social Media that makes sense: APC supports their user community with a robust set of discussion forums.  This makes a lot more sense than Facebook for a technical buyer, and for a product you hope you never have to rely on.

#3. Bob Hebeisen likes Joshua Spirn & Associates bankruptcy attorneys — The brands you are affiliated with in your work life may represent highly confidential activities.  Your company would probably not appreciate it if you were publicly “liking” a bankruptcy attorney on Facebook for all the world to see (and in fact it might represent an SEC violation if you work for a public company).  Joshua Spirn & Associates *does* have a Facebook page, and it is pretty well populated with status updates.  But only one person has clicked the “like” button to receive the attorney’s status updates in their feed, so I would question whether maintaining a Facebook presence is an effective use of their time.

  • Social Media that makes sense: Joshua Spirn Associates has excellent search engine ranking and they have 24×7 live chat on their website.  That probably contributes greatly to new business.  They also maintain a weekly blog.  This is a good idea, but there is no real opinion sharing on the blog, it is more of a running list of local companies who have declared bankruptcy, so there is little or no commenting or other audience interaction.  They would probably benefit from actively seeking endorsements on services like Yelp (only 1 endorsement) where the identity of the endorser is kept somewhat anonymous.  They could also explore LinkedIn (they do not have a company profile on LinkedIn, and there are some discussion groups dedicated to bankruptcy law they could participate in).

#4. Bob Hebeisen just reordered Viagra® — Unless you are Bob Dole, Pele, or another celebrity endorser of Viagra, you are probably not interested in broadcasting your affiliation with that brand — even though you might be a devoted and grateful user.  Viagra does not have a Facebook page.

  • Social Media that makes sense: I think Viral Video would be a great social media element for Viagra’s marketing strategy.  But, surprisingly, it is almost impossible to find any of Viagra’s celebrity endorsement commercials on YouTube.  So it would seem that not only have they opted NOT to upload and distribute these videos on YouTube themselves, but they actively police other individuals from uploading them.  Viagra does have a YouTube channel but it is currently devoted to informing people about pharmaceutical piracy.  Viagra apparently has exactly zero sense of humor about erectile dysfunction, and maybe that is the best tone for them to set from a business standpoint.

I’m not saying there are no uses for Facebook marketing in the B2B world. There are some business products that are so pervasive and used horizontally across so many different industries and job functions that Facebook is a good medium. For example, the Microsoft Excel Facebook page offers tips and techniques and moderated peer support to its 81K+ friends.  Frankly, users might be better served finding answers on the Microsoft Excel Support Site or the MSDN Forum, but Facebook is much more approachable for most non-technical users.  Microsoft’s time maintaining the MS Excel Facebook page is probably time well spent.

It’s about context

The reason Facebook doesn’t work for the majority of B2B brands is not that the audience is absent.  It is not that you can’t select the right people through profile data or relevant “likes”.  It is not because of any mechanical problems with Facebook as a medium — it is a great platform for publishing content and enabling people to interact with it (likes, comments, shares).  It is not because the results cannot be measured — with appropriate campaign discipline it is just as easy to track Facebook campaign effectiveness as any other web or email campaign.

The problem with Facebook for B2B marketing is purely related to context — it is a place where people gather for non-work related fun.  Even if you are Facebook friends with your work colleagues, you probably do not interact with them on Facebook *about work matters*.  It is not the place where people are looking for work-related product information or brand interaction.

Posted in Blog, Community Site, Facebook, LinkedIn, Social Media, Viral Video, Yelp | 2 Comments