Affiliate Marketing

Integrated Marketing – My #ASW13 Presentation

It has been a long time since I have added a new blog post, but I have been busy, honest! In fact, this is a presentation that I gave at Affiliate Summit West 2013, also known as ASW13.

Sixty-five years ago, James Culliton described the role of the marketing manager as a “mixer of ingredients”; one who sometimes follows recipes prepared by others, sometimes prepares his own recipe as he goes along, sometimes adapts a recipe from immediately available ingredients, and at other times invents new ingredients no one else has tried.

Part of mixing your marketing ingredients is knowing which channels to focus on and which to avoid, kind of like the Food Network TV show Chopped where chefs take a mystery basket of ingredients and turn it into something amazing…or else they get chopped. For example, in one of the first episodes of Chopped, the chefs were given ground beef, wonton wrappers, cream of mushroom soup, bananas in the appetizer round. One chef refused to use the bananas in his appetizer and was eliminated. With help from Google’s Zero Moment of Truth and Chris Penn’s New Media Trinity, I’ll try to give you some tips that will help you to mix all the right ingredients to keep you from being eliminated.

In that episode, bananas were definitely the causes of concern or conflict. In today’s presentation we’ll also talk about marketing channel conflict and how to minimize conflicting channels by mixing all the ingredients properly.

And finally, we’ll take a look at the integrated marketing pyramid. Like the food pyramid, there is a hierarchy to integrated marketing and I’ll tell you what needs to be the base and the top of your marketing priorities. While mixing ingredients was great in 1948, in 2013 we’re not about mixing, we’re all about marketing integration, in fact Search Engine Watch declared 2013 as the year of integrated marketing.

According to Search Engine Watch, 2013 is the year of Marketing Integration and there are 3 levels of integrations you need to check out in 2013 in order to hit the marketing jackpot.

Marketing basics haven’t changed in 2013 (and probably never will). New channels, new tools, new platforms and new ideas, they are all new ways to achieve the same old goal – generate demand for your products and services.

–       Channels: More channels will start to integrate and consolidate as offline and online begins to work in concert together and the integrations of channels become more possible through new tools and solutions. For example, Social Media will become measurable and accountable. If you’re not on social media, you’re not doing your job. You don’t have to be on every social media channel, but you need to be measuring the activity (whether it’s visits, leads, sales or something else) coming from your social media and acting based on those results.

–       Campaigns: Integrated campaigns will become the everyday for marketers who are trying to leverage content across multiple channels and make the most out of their media spend. Ann Handley and CC Chapman wrote a book called Content Rules which outlines how to reimagine a single piece of content, like a blog post, into white papers, ebooks, podcasts, webinars and even videos. One thing to remember is that even the coolest, most engaging content in the world will fail if you don’t use manners and smart business skills to share it with others. The same way you wouldn’t go up to everyone at a conference and immediately try to start selling them on your product, the same rules apply to your content. People like to be approached in different ways and your marketing campaigns need to be integrated enough to help everyone without being too pushy.

–       Tools: Tools like Google Analytics become more important as marketers look to streamline their process, cut operational costs (time and money) and leverage the effect of seeing all their campaigns, channels and data in one place. You’ve heard talk about Big Data – using tools and gathering insights from the tons of the measurable information about your business and using that business intelligence to create actionable goals is becoming a priority.

Integrated marketing is a way to take different marketing methods such as mass marketing, one-to-one marketing, and direct marketing and create a seamless experience for the customer. A content marketing plan that combines paid media like PPC, earned media like your social following, and owned media like your blog, is a simple strategy that leads to success. By presenting a similar tone and style across all of your marketing methods, it reinforces your brand’s core message. The goal is to make all aspects of marketing communication such as online and offline advertising, public relations, direct marketing and social media work together as a unified force, which maximizes their market impact and cost effectiveness. The “Big Data” generated by all of these channels can be used to influence product development, pricing, distribution, etc. so you use the banana in the Chopped basket to enhance the marketing strategy rather than throw a monkey wrench into it.

So now that you understand what integrated marketing is, how do you take that strategy and use it to manage multiple channels?

First, collect all of the information about your company, your product, your competition and your target market. Going back to our Chopped example, think about the different ways you know how to cook your core ingredients and what tastes best to the judges who are your website’s audience.

Take all of that information to outline your integrated marketing communications plan from beginning to end – is the dish you’re going to make sweet, savory or have elements of both and how does that compare to your competition? This is one of the most important pieces of your marketing plan as it lets you see exactly what media and messaging they use in their own marketing campaigns, as well as how they reach their market and generate business. Create a SWOT analysis and capitalize on the things your competition isn’t doing well, or isn’t doing at all.

Review your integrated marketing communications plan. Take the extra minute to make sure your dish is complete and exactly what you think the audience will like best based on the info you collected. Unlike Chopped, if there’s anything you feel needs more research or additional information, you have time to do the extra work. Make sure promotional garnishes like coupons, rebates and discounts are considered, but don’t make them a main ingredient.

Periodically review the results of your plan, and adapt any aspects you need to in order to achieve better results. Take the feedback that you get from analytics and eliminate what isn’t working, concentrate on fixing what has promise and expand what is working. Stay on top of the activities and tools that your major competitors are using so you don’t get blindsided.

Hubspot has an ebook comparing SEO and Social Media in order to determine which is best for getting the most traffic to your site – and the answer is “it depends” – but it’s always better to do 1 thing well than 2 things not well. So you need to know which channels to focus on and which channels won’t deliver the results you need and should be avoided until you have the available resources.

Where the consumer spends time is where the advertiser must follow. A user may end up interacting with a website after being exposed to various online advertising vehicles. Considering that today consumers are using channels most convenient to where they are and what they are doing, all of this makes it tough for marketers to understand the actual impact of their campaigns.

Slingshot SEO analyzed more than 23 million conversions and found that paid advertising, referrals and SEO were most often undervalued with Organic Search undervalued by as much as 77% percent! On the other end of the spectrum, Direct Visits were overvalued by as much as 82% percent – which makes sense if your brand message is strong enough in paid, earned and owned media during the consideration process, then it’s understandable that people will remember your site and come back directly when they are ready to convert. Just because it is the last touch before purchase doesn’t mean there weren’t other factors in their decision-making process.

Google calls the online decision-making moment the Zero Moment of Truth – or ZMOT. They’re found that 84% of Americans perform some sort of ZMOT activities prior to purchase. The average shopper used 10.4 sources of information before buying. That’s a lot of shopping around! You have to be there when people are looking for things about your company, product or service.

Three really great ways of being there when people are starting the buying process are described by Chris Penn, VP at Shift Communications, as the New Media Trinity.

–       Content on your website and blog – since it is static, it’s always there for people to find you.

–       Conversation via social media – at the Zero Moment of Truth, people want to be part of the conversation or community.

–       Distribution via email – push media to inform or remind people where to find the information they need to make your product or service their decision.

When these three work hand-in-hand you have a well-balanced dish or in Vegas terms, Winner, Winner Chicken Dinner!

So what happens when your marketing channels don’t work together? There are 4 main causes of channel conflict that could happen when your marketing channels aren’t aligned.

–       Goal incompatibility – this is especially tough when you’re mixing online and offline goals. For example, getting a consumer to purchase in-store vs. online. Each sales channel wants to make the sale and this could be problematic without some method of looking at the big picture to acknowledge that overall sales goals were reached.

–       Territory disagreement – when something is available on one channel but not others, for example discounts on coupon sites that aren’t available to customers who found your site through search, that could cause channel conflict and artificially inflate the results for a certain channel. This needs to be taken into consideration when you determine your best-performing channels.

–       Inadequate communication – this sometimes causes a difference in perception. It’s important that all of your marketing channels communicate the same message, whether it’s online, offline in paid, owned or earned media.

–       Competition for resources – sometimes in the dessert round of Chopped, both competitors want to make ice cream but there is only one ice cream machine. Sales exclusivity is a perfect example of how competition for scarce resources can cause channel conflict.

Channel conflict WILL happen, both in your marketing and sales channels. So what do you do about it? There are 4 ways to minimize channel conflict:

–       Pricing approach – Many retailers price everything the same whether it’s online or offline, but sometimes pricing your products differently based on what channel they came in on makes sense in minimizing channel conflict, for example if online sales have shipping and handling it could offset the costs associated with your online marketing efforts or the lack of sales tax in states not impacted by the affiliate or Amazon tax could make the price differences negligible for the consumer. Mattel toys has in the past charged as much as 15% more for their products online in order to avoid channel conflicts with their retail merchants. Auction pricing offers companies an opportunity to sell products cheaper online without causing channel conflict.

–       Product approach – By offering a unique product or product or product bundle that is not available through all the company’s marketing channels, to minimize channel conflict. Ducati sold accessories and apparel online only, which gave people the opportunity to purchase their brick-and-mortar locations to buy motorcycles yet visit their website for other items to make their buying process complete. The product approach also allows the merchant to test pricing and product variables, without upsetting the consumer.

–       Brand approach – The decision of whether or not to use different brands in different marketing channels often comes down to a choice between flexibility and trust. Scandinavian Airlines launched a brand called Snowflake to compete in the low-cost carrier marketplace. Snowflake quickly became a well-known and reputable brand for travelers who were looking to travel without any extras that they might find on Scandinavian Airline’s flights.

–       Promotions approach – Estee Lauder is an example of using the promotions approach to minimize channel conflict. Although they sell directly to consumers online, they encourage brick-and-mortar purchases through high-volume retailers like Macy’s by the use of free products given away when a customer purchase price exceeds a certain sales threshold.

All of these approaches have their pros and cons, so it’s important to consider what will work best in your specific circumstance.

Like the food pyramid that Chopped contestants need to be aware of, marketers need to be aware of the integrated marketing pyramid:

–       Start by creating an effective, well-integrated plan, set goals for content, distribution and communication blending offline and online methods

–       Strategically link and leverage all elements in the communication mix across channels to be at the right place and the right time with the right message

–       Evaluate the contribution, not just the last click, of each element —including advertising, direct marketing, Facebook, Twitter and blogs—to maximize communication impact

–       Develop an effective content strategy, and build an editorial calendar, to make sure your messages are consistent and reach customers across all marketing channels

–       Use your editorial calendar topics to create engaging content to reach, impact and engage customers

–       Differentiate your brand – remember to use the power of the employee voice to humanize your brand – people buy from people, not brands.

What have I left off my integrated marketing shopping list? Please leave a comment below to let me know.

Want to learn about affiliate marketing for free? Here’s how!

Fun and Games at Affiliate Summit
Fun and Games After the Sessions at Affiliate Summit

April is a very busy “holiday” month for me – our wedding anniversary, birthdays for several family members, Earth Day, usually Easter, and sometimes even Tax Day are reasons to celebrate. OK, maybe not Tax Day, unless you’re getting a tax refund, but in any case, I give away a lot of presents in April. From now until the end of April, I’d like to give YOU the opportunity to get a present from me, too!

I have written about how lucky I have been in attending previous Affiliate Summit events (look at that, an affiliate link!), but now I want to share that luck with you! I was fortunate enough to be given TWO GOLD PASSES (each a $279-$749 value) to Affiliate Summit East 2011, August 21-23 in New York City and I’d love to give them away to you! Leave a comment below telling me what you want to learn about affiliate marketing and I’ll randomly select 2 answers to each receive a Gold Pass to this exciting affiliate marketing conference!

You’ll get the opportunity meet the best and brightest people in the affiliate marketing industry for free! Gold passes to Affiliate Summit include:

  • Admission to the Meet Market and Exhibit Hall
  • Keynotes
  • Sunday educational sessions (except the Monetize Summit track); and
  • Access to the Affiliate Summit Social Network.

This pass does not include Monday and Tuesday sessions but you will have access to all recorded session videos and PowerPoint presentations after the Summit. Here come the disclaimers: Passes cannot be transferred, and the pass codes become invalid in the event the conference sells out (so register using them before Affiliate Summit East 2011 sells out in order to use them). Also, anybody registering for a complimentary pass who neither checks in at the conference nor cancels will be ineligible for future complimentary passes (so don’t say you’ll be there and not show up…it’s just not polite).

I’m so excited that Wil Reynolds will be giving one of the keynote addresses! He is an amazing and engaging speaker and although I have heard him speak several times, each time I learn something new. Bryan Eisenberg, also known as The Grok on Twitter, will also be giving a keynote at ASE11 and I can’t wait! I have followed Bryan’s writing for years and finally met him at Econsultancy’s Peer Summit 2010 event. I was blown away by how quickly and easily he came up with innovative solutions to what had seemed to be insurmountable problems so I’m really looking forward to hearing what he has to say to the Affiliate Summit attendees. Jon Spoelstra is also a keynote speaker at ASE11. Although I haven’t heard of him individually, I have heard of the Portland Trailblazers and New Jersey Nets, both of which he has managed.

Don’t forget to add the Twitter hashtag #ASE11 to your “watch list” for more news on speakers, sponsors, affiliate info, and even special events around the conference dates. Life isn’t all work and no play, and this conference isn’t either – some of the special events around Affiliate Summit conferences include parties and other networking events, including my personal favorite Trivia Tweetup (no Tweeting required, just a good knowledge of trivia).

What do you want to know about affiliate marketing? Leave your comment below by April 30th, 2011 and you could win one of two Gold Passes to Affiliate Summit East 2011!

2010 Blog Post Recap and Looking Forward to 2011

Mistletoe=Dung on a Twig. Eeuuuwwww!
Mistletoe=Dung on a Twig. Eeuuuwwww!

In January, 2010, I posted about how I was lucky at Affiliate Summit West 2010, and I’m ending the year with some lucky affiliate news from buy.at – I won their final Christmas quiz! I was able to determine the literal meaning of the word mistletoe is “Dung on a twig.” Can I just state for the record: YUCK!!! I now have an entirely new mental picture whenever someone talks about kissing under the mistletoe…

It seems affiliates were lucky for me in 2010, and maybe not so surprisingly my most popular blog post mentions no less than EIGHT affiliate marketers mentioned in it! Listed below are my top ten 2010 blog posts, ranked via pageviews according to my Google Analytics account. Count them down with me as we count down the last few hours of 2010:

10. Affiliate Summit West 2011 and Social Media Marketing 2011

9. 5 Questions About Building Brands Via Social Media

8. Talking SEO for our 1st Blog Birthday-Anniversary-Blogiversaryday

7. Testing, Testing, One, Two, Three…

6. How Do You Know Who To Interact With On Social Media?

5. Why Didn’t I Ask “How Did You Hear About Us?” I Already Know.

4. Twitter Chats – Fantastic for Insights and Visibility

3. Putting The Social Back In Social Media

2. Top 12 Twitter Chats by Day – What are your Favorites?

1. 2010 Internet Marketing Olympics Dream Team

Happy New Year – 2011! My wish is that the new year is happy, healthy, and prosperous for us all!

If you look at the topics of the blog posts above, there is a wide mix of marketing topics including social media, Twitter chats, brand building, SEO, and even some web analytics and email testing. What would you like to see more of in 2011? Please leave a comment below and let me know!

Affiliate Summit West 2011 and Social Media Marketing 2011


Previously, I told you about Affiliate Summit (hey, look, it’s an affiliate link!) and what a wonderful conference it is. One of the amazing people I met there is Heather in BC. I was put on Heather’s team for the Strike Out Breast Cancer Midnight Bowling Fundraiser during Affiliate Summit West 2010 and our team won the “Low Score Award” – starting at midnight, we were all so tired there might have been some confusion whether we were bowling or golfing, LOL!

To keep up to date with what she’s doing, I read Heather’s blog posts, and we keep in touch via Facebook and Twiiter. I was reading her Tweets last week and she posted that she would be busy the day after Affiliate Summit and asked her followers to join her at Social Media Marketing 2011 Las Vegas. Since I’ll already be in Las Vegas speaking at ASW11 from January 9-11, 2011, and Social Media is a big part of my new job at 1st Mariner Bank, it seemed a natural fit for me to attend. I asked Heather for more information and she talked to Murray Newlands and the next thing you know I’ve got a press pass!

The Social Media Marketing 2011 Las Vegas conference is being held at the Flamingo Las Vegas on January 12, 2011 – the day after Affiliate Summit West 2011. I’m interested in learning more about monetizing social media from Raymond Lyle of Viglink and all of the other speakers.

Can’t make it to Las Vegas in January? Be sure to add #ASW11 and #SMLASVEGAS to your Twitter hashtag lists to see what people are talking about. Have a specific question – please leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to get the answer for you![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

Every Child Wants A Pony, Does Every Marketer Want A Pony Movie?

Sharon Riding Secretariat? Nope, That's Pepperoni Pizza!
Is Sharon riding Secretariat? No, that horse is Pepperoni Pizza!

The film Secretariat opens up around the country this weekend. I have always loved horses and I remember when Secretariat won the Triple Crown of horse racing. Although I didn’t own my own pony when I was younger, I was fortunate enough at the time to be able to ride Peperoni Pizza, aka Pete, several times a week. I was even lucky enough to be the barn manager for a highly-ranked team at the Ochlockonee River Pony Club event where the photo on the left was taken  (several years ago).

Online and Offline Movie Marketing

Secretariat, like all movies, is an opportunity waiting to happen for all kinds of media. Traditionally, film publicity included newspaper and magazine ads; billboards; bus and subway ads; in-theater trailers and previews; TV and radio ads; and other offline campaigns. The addition of online media into the movie marketing mix adds another dimension of audience engagement. It allows people to “like” the movie on Facebook and share info and trailers with their friends via social media. On the movie’s website audiences can watch film clips and download pictures from the movie to view on their computer or even post as their avatar on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media forums. Some movies even have games based on the movie that people can play and share. Film marketers do an amazing job of encouraging online influencers to share their love of a movie’s brand among their connections.

Brand Advocacy Via Social Media

This “brand advocacy” or implied endorsement of a movie’s brand by sharing among a person’s friends and followers is even easier to do when the movie’s subject is connected to something they are passionate about. Like the small child who desperately wanted a pony being more likely to write a blog post about the movie Secretariat than any other movie when it comes time to write about a different form of marketing. (Hmmm…sound familiar? LOL) I eventually got the horse – at one point we had two ponies and a horse between my daughter and I – and although I was never tiny enough to be a Triple-Crown-winning jockey, there IS a perpetual trophy awarded by the Harford Horse Show Association with my name on it.

Affiliate Movie Tie-Ins

Smart affiliate marketers are taking new cinematic releases like Secretariat and creating banner ads and product offers that emphasize the movie tie-in. An example of a merchant who is capotalizing on the movie by emphasizing the horse-themed items in their banner creative is Leanin’ Tree:

Some marketers are even modifying their product lines to add horse-related items. An great example is how Andrea Levine Designs added horse charms to their dog and cat jewelry can be found here:
Pet Jewelry by Andrea Levine Designs

Wild Horses Couldn’t Keep Me From Seeing Secretariat!

Mary Schmich, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, once wrote, “You can map your life through your favorite movies, and no two people’s maps will be the same.” Between the combination of horses and a strong-willed working mom, I believe Secretariat will be a movie that will be included in the map of my life. What are you favorite movies and how do they map your life? Please leave me a comment below to let me know.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

An Exciting Week for Conferences and Webinars

Great Conference Conversation at Affiliate Summit
Great Conference Conversation at Affiliate Summit East 2010

In an earlier post, I told you about my fascination with webinars and some tips for making them better. Last week I had an opportunity to participate in a webinar from the other side of the microphone. I was asked to be part of a panel for Social Media in Action: The Marketer’s Perspective, a webinar from WhatTheyThink – the printing and publishing industry’s leading media organization. It was a great experience and one I hope to repeat soon.

I was pleased by the adept way that Cary Sherburne moderated the panel, although my recent experience with a live panel moderator, Jen Goode, set a standard so high I wasn’t sure anyone could match it. Jen moderated an Ask The Experts roundtable at Affiliate Summit East 2010 and the discussion at her roundtable was informative and lively (and not just because of the brownies she brought for attendees). I learned so much at past Affiliate Summits I have attended that I was inspired to put in my own proposal to speak at Affiliate Summit West 2011. If you have any interest in using web analytics and online marketing best practices to assist in website redesign, please vote for my session: WEB REDESIGN BY THE NUMBERS. You have until Friday, October 8, 2010 to help select sessions for Affiliate Summit West 2011.

I was lucky enough to attend the last Affiliate Summit West on a free pass, and last week I was surprised with a free ticket to attend another conference! Eloqua is a marketing automation company that I spent nearly a year working with in order to supplement email automation and segmentation processes. I attended the Eloqua Experience in 2008 and took copious notes on lead scoring and lead nurturing in order to implement best practices and procedures for a former employer. Eloqua’s combination of automating targeting, measurement and sales intelligence impressed me enough to make a complimentary comment in a Twitter chat more than a month ago. Impressively, Eloqua not only responded to my Tweet to thank me, but they remembered what an Eloqua fan I was when they surprised me with the conference ticket in a blog post. Unfortunately, the combination of lack of a corporate travel budget combined with last-minute timing made attending a conference on the other side of the country virtually impossible, but I’m hoping the invitation will be extended for next year’s conference!

What conferences are you looking forward to attending next year? Please let me know in the comments section below! I’m working on putting together a list of interesting marketing conferences and webinars for 2011 and I’ll be happy to give you credit for finding the best marketing conference ever if you post a comment about it below!

Photo courtesy of Shawn Collins and Affiliate Summit.

Haiku for Sarah Evans

Perhaps we should rename this portion of my blog, “Contests From The Woman Who Can’t Turn Down A Dare.”

I mentioned #journchat in my favorite Twitter chats post several months ago and along with it #journchat founder Sarah Evans. I’ve chatted online with Sarah a few times both during #journchat and at other non-#journchat times and I’ve always been amazed at how knowledgeable and genuinely nice she is. But this isn’t a post about Sarah. I got an email from Liz Pope, Media and Research Manager at Sevans Strategy, who read my blog and double dared me to enter the contest to join Sarah during a special edition of #journchat live from the NBC News Studios in NYC on August 9, 2010. The contest and #journchat are sponsored by Cision who makes public relations software – you’ll see why you need to know what Cision is in just a few lines.

I enjoy #journchat because PR is not something I learned in school or something I’ve done often in my 22+ years of advertising and marketing experience. I’ve only worked on the edges of doing public relations activities, but I think that with social media becoming more important in many companies’ marketing strategy, public relations lessons go a long way toward teaching the right things to do in social media. Companies need to treat everyone as if they were a journalist, because with social media they are!

Soooo…since I can’t seem to be able to turn down a double dare, here’s my Haiku for Liz Pope and Sarah Evans:

Smart Sarah Evans
Journchat NBC Thrilling
Cision software too?

I’ll be in NYC for Affiliate Summit East 2010 the following week, so I’m not sure that either my boss or my family would appreciate me heading up there twice in the same week! With that said, I did think the contest was a great idea and hopefully if Sarah is still around from the 14th to the 18th when I’m in New York, I’d love to connect!

I’m looking forward to meeting with so many of my affiliate friends during #ASE10 – will you be there? Drop me a note, or post a comment below letting me know when you’re there and let’s set something up! Want to attend #ASE10 but don’t have a pass? I have ONE Gold Pass that I’m happy to give (at no charge) to the first person who asks for it – either via a comment below, or by sending me an @ or DM on Twitter, but don’t wait too late because I hear #ASE10 will be sold out soon and then my Gold Pass offer expires.

Affiliates & Social Media: #SMchat Topic July 2010

In November 2008, Dr. Ralph Wilson interviewed Affiliate Summit co-founder Shawn Collins and the video of that interview contains several great ideas that are still relevant and able to be implemented successfully today! Shawn talked about being a part of the community on Twitter (and all social media) and since it’s the last #SMchat I’m moderating before Affiliate Summit East 2010 so I wanted to find out the prevailing attitude of my community about affiliates in the social media sphere.

Are you an affiliate, merchant, network, in-house or outsourced program manager? Don’t know anything about affiliate programs, but want to learn more? Please share your opinion and your insights on affiliates and social media during #SMchat, Wednesday, July 14th, 2010 from 1-2P ET, and/or meet me at Affiliate Summit East 2010 (an affiliate link in honor of my affiliate friends) and let’s chat in person!

After introducing yourself and letting everyone know what your interest is in affiliate marketing (“just curious” is definitely an option here…), I’d love to know how you feel about affiliates using social media marketing. Here’s what I’m wondering:

1 ) Should affiliates be able to promote using social media? Why or why not?

2 ) Is there a social media channel that is better for affiliates to use? Which one(s)?

3 ) Can a merchant’s Terms and Conditions exclude affiliates advertising via certain social media activities? (How does that impact affiliate sign-ups, etc.?)

4 ) How should affiliates disclaim the FTC Revised Endorsement Rules in social media? Do they need to do it at all?

5 ) How do you monitor use/abuse of social media by affiliates? Are they allowed to link directly to your site similar to direct-to-merchant pay per click (DTM PPC)?

What other questions do you have? Please feel free to leave them in the comments below or ask them when you join us on 7/14/10 from 1-2P ET on the Twitter chat #SMchat – see you then!

Don’t Put All of Your Eggs In One Basket

Easter Bunny says, "Don't put all of your eggs in one basket!"
The Easter Bunny says,

The topic of the first Twitter chat that I moderated was Jack of All Trades or Master of One. You can read more about it here. This past weekend was Easter, and even though the kids are growing up, the Easter Bunny was still hopping!

That combination made me start to think about the way some companies put all of their budget into one channel. During #SMchat, the focus was on individual growth rather than corporate, but the general consensus was that in order to grow you needed to have experience in more than one area of marketing. If it makes sense for the marketer to diversify, it should also work for the companies that they represent, right? That’s why it is surprising to me that so many companies don’t make use of all of the online and offline marketing venues that are available. The explanation that I’ve heard is that there is not enough money in the budget to cover all of the media channels. My response to that is you’re doing your company an injustice if you don’t test every available area of marketing. You never know what will work best for your company without testing.

Testing marketing channels can be done relatively inexpensively, and once you have proven ROI you can determine how much more you can spend in that media. For example, I have worked for several companies who felt that TV is too expensive for their budgets, but I’ve run national DRTV (direct response television) tests that cost far less than what they’re spending on PPC SEM (pay-per-click search engine marketing) campaigns and bring in more revenue for the money spent, plus have the advantage of reaching offline viewers that may not see your ads online.

Another really great marketing channel to test is affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is wonderful because there are so many options and it is the most easily tracked – you can pay for the click, the sale, or even the phone call if you convert better over the phone than online.

Email traditionally has the highest ROI of any marketing channel but you need to test email marketing to see how it works for your company, plus you need to build your email list organically in order to have email perform at the levels it is capable of producing. You won’t get those high ROI numbers on a rented list.

Social media is the “new kid” and people are having difficulty determining ROI from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and the other social media venues. I see social media as the glue that brings the company and the customer together. You need to be where your customers are – and more and more people are on social media sites than any other with the exception of Google.

Do you agree – should your marketing budget be spread across multiple channels or should you focus on one aspect of marketing in order to spend your budget wisely? Please comment below to let me know!

2010 Internet Marketing Olympics Dream Team

Well, the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, Canada ends today so I decided to try to come up with a “dream team” of Internet Marketing Olympians in several categories. The “events” are: Affiliate Marketing, Blogging, Email Marketing, Search Engine Marketing (including SEO/SEM/PPC), Social Marketing, Web Analytics, and I’ve even included an event for Vendors.

Affiliate Marketing

Geno Prussakov
Jen Goode
Melanie Seery
Missy Ward
Scott Jangro
Shawn Collins
Stephanie Lichtenstein
Trisha Lyn Fawver

Blogging

Aneta Hall
CB Whittemore
Coree Silvera
Dawn Westerberg
Debra Ellis
DJ Francis
Heather in BC
Lee Odden

Email Marketing

Blue Sky Factory – Greg Cangialosi, DJ Waldow, and Chris Penn
Chad White
Loren Baker
Michael Katz
Scott Hardigree
Stephanie Miller

Search Engine Marketing

Adam Sherk
Brent Payne
Chris Burns
David Szetela
Rand Fishkin
Wil Reynolds

Social Media

Jay Baer
Jim Kukral
Mack Collier
Mari Smith
Paul Chaney
Renee Lemley
Scott Stratten

Web Analytics

Avinash Kaushik
Coremetrics (including but not limited to: John Squire, Boaz Ronkin, Susan Barnett, and Jason Mraz)

Vendors

HubspotDharmesh Shah, Mike Volpe, Rebecca Corliss, and Ellie Mirman
Ion Interactive
Lyris
Marketing ProfsAnn Handley, Shelley Ryan, and Beth Harte
More Visibility
Radian 6Amber Naslund and Teresa Basich
The Duffy Agency – Kevin Duffy and Sean Duffy

I know I missed a lot of people/companies/organizations that should be on my 2010 Internet Marketing Olympic Dream Team – please post a comment and let me know who they are below. Thanks!