Thursday, June 30, 2005

I was talking to a friend who runs They have some terrific soaps, with cute themes. They need to figure out how to sell them online. So far, there haven't been great results with straightforward online advertising. Not many people, it appears, are actively looking to buy soap online.
I think there's an opportunity to refocus their online appeal.First, is the site itself. There are some suggestions that they make great birthday party favors or thank you gifts. They could add gift packages of soap, something like 15 bars of assorted soap for $50. That would also probably increase the size of the average order.
I'd also look at some niche marketing. The first would be affiliate marketing. Sites like Commission Junction and others allow you to provide a referral fee to another site that sends someone to your site, and orders. You only pay for results. They have a network of thousands of sites, and those sites can take a look at what you're offering (10% commission, for example) and decide to add it to their site. They then do the publicizing, and you pay only when the desired result happens.
Secondly, there's an interest for targeting affinity groups. Just as MBNA has a credit card for every conceivable group possible (Tennessee Women's Rugby?), there could be niche soaps. Soap with $ signs on it for investment bankers at the holidays. Trumpets for the musically inclined. Pets for the golden retriever crowd. AdBrite and Blogads offer this type of focus. Here's an example for football.

Monday, June 27, 2005

I had an good conversation today with an investment advisor. He's a lawyer, who's does a variety of financial and estate planning; basically comprehensive wealth management. He's looking at doing a campaign designed to bring in new high net worth individuals.

My advice was the following. Take advantage of your expertise. With the knowledge you have, you can generate a variety of content on the Internet. Done right, that can flip the normal sales cycle, where you're trying to generate leads and sell them on yourself. In this case, they can find you, or, at the very least, be referred to the site where they can sell themselves on you, your processes, and your knowledge.
A field like wealth management seems ripe for blog postings about some of the common questions people have. It's a great way to avoid giving what I assume is the same 30 minute speech about "this is who I am, this is what you should know, this is my investment philosophy". Instead new clients would know much of this, be comfortable with it, and be much more ready to jump into some detailed discussions.
Where would I point him?
Some sample blogs to explore are: an economist Phil Town on investing
Personal finance journal of a 22 year old.
You could do a search on "financial blog" on Technorati. I found a link to the business valuation blog. Found a link there to an attorney in Florida, and an estate probation blog.
While exploring, take notes...What do you like? What don't you like? Then we can discuss :)

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Advice for Interns, after four weeks of interning:

There are a variety of things that you can get out of being an intern for the summer. Ranking them from most important to least:

  • Additional knowledge about what you're looking for in a career
  • Contacts who can help you find a job when you're looking for one.
  • Understanding of the building blocks of the industry you're in.
  • Specific skills that will be useful in your career.
  • An ability to collate, copy, and/or do other office related tasks.
There are a few key elements to an internship. You get a chance to learn a great deal about how the real world of work actually happens; as opposed to what you've been learning in class. You can see the difference between working at an ad agency, and working at a client.

Find projects in areas that really interest you. In many cases, there's an opportunity to really be involved in something that interests you. If you've always been fascinated by the intricacies of direct mail, now's a good time to learn more about it.

Two key ways to do this. First, find a project that's measureable that you can play a role in. It's going to be something you'll be able to point to, both personally and on a resume, and you'll enjoy the process. In our world, it could be finding a new way to compile competitive news stories.

You can use RSS, sites like, Google News, etc, to make it easy to find competitive info. You'd have something to point to, and be on the cutting edge of marketing research.

Secondly, is the informational interview. We try to make sure that at some point during the summer, you get to sit down with someone in each of the functional areas, and spend some time talking about what that area is, how it works, and how it can play into a career in the field. If you actively seek that out, it will greatly enhance the summer. You can even take that one step further. We have lots of world class vendors. If you're curious about life in an ad agency, or a TV production shop, we can ask them to do the same sort of informational chat. Most people are happy to do it, especially since we tend to pay them money on a regular basis, so they like to accomodate our requests.

Finally, you'll make contacts while working in the office. If you really want to make life a bit easier, when you eventually start a job search, stay in touch. Not non-stop, but if you drop an email every couple of months, letting us know how things are going, and where you think you might want to go. We know about jobs that are going to be opening up, and talk to many more people, and can point you in the right direction.
Quoting Harvey Mackay, it's better to dig your well before you're thirsty.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

E-marketing for Execs: I sometimes think it would be very useful to have a 32 page book, highlighting some of the things in the e-marketing world, that execs could reference. Here's my preliminary subject list. Let me know if you have any thoughts :)

What is E-marketing?
ROI: aka, making sure e-marketing is career enhancing
Your website a) What it is b) Things to consider c) RSS
Email Marketing:
  • Hey, we need a list of customers!
  • Hey, we have a list of customers!
  • Hey, we can buy a list of potential customers!

Beyond eMail Marketing
- Newsletters- Customer service email communication- Managing opt in/opt out's
Online Ads I can buy banner ads on the local papers website! Should I? How should I
Search Marketing

  • Organic Search - That sounds crunchy!
  • Paid Search - That sounds dirty!

Google - AdSense and Adwords - Everyone talks about Google, clearly we should use it!
Affiliate programs: Let's have other people sell our stuff.
Blogs - People can read what I think

Blogvertising: - People can advertise, while I discuss things that matter to me!
Podcasts - Vidcasts - People can listen to me talk! People can watch me talk!

Friday, June 17, 2005

I was delayed for two and a half hours on the flight back to DC last night, and had the opportunity to have a very nice chat with my seatmate in 2D. He works at a speakers bureau, repping famous folks, and had some great stories. Towards the end of the conversation, we were talking about their internal clipping service. That got me thinking, what suggestions would I have in that area?

Without publishing their website, I can say that it looks very well done. You can see the rationale for hiring a speaker, see the latest news on them, and even get sample video clips, which seems like a great way to show how dynamic a speaker someone is.

They seem do a pretty good job of putting up the latests news about their speakers. If they don't have one, an internal blog on an intranet might be great to
a) accumulate news about all speakers in one place,for internal reference, for a geographically dispersed company
b) Distribute information about the speaking industry in general...there probably is competitor news that could be tracked
c) have a blog for each speaker internally. Yahoo can keep each news search as an RSS feed, so you could create one giant feed of news showing up on the web about any speaker, and you could also have an internal separate page for each speaker. That would be great for monitoring as part of the clipping service. For example, you could track the latest news on Mike Singletary or schedule alerts to be sent to you . Of course, Mike Singletary may not be the best example, as many players get compared to him, as the prototype middle linebacker. How bout Michael Powell? Click there, and see that he has just been confirmed to speak at the Internet Telephony Conference coming up.

From an e-marketing standpoint?
Depending on how the company positions itself, there's an opportunity to draw in some potential clients who might be looking for speakers. If you do a Google Search on Michael Powell there's very little advertising that appears. Why not run an ad mentioning that "Michael Powell is repped by ABC Speakers Bureau"... You can start a text ad campaign in a couple of hours, and if someone is doing research, that might bring in clients who otherwise wouldn't be aware of the possibility.

Overall, it was a fun website to visit, and very well designed for the target market.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Micro Persuasion: Sell on Search: The theory that search engine rankings are key to selling the power of blogging internally. I think this is right on; if you can point out how dramatically it can affect public perception, if you're taking the right steps, this can help with corporate barriers and reducing the Invisible blogger factor.

Several other interesting articles:
Good article on possible solutions to blog overload.
Article on JotSpots interviewing processes.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

CorporateBloggingBlog: Policies compared: Today's corporate blogging rules

Monday, June 06, 2005

Lessons in Gratitude, at the Basement Sink - New York Times

Creating Passionate Users: Management's role in passionate users Good article on creating passoniate users. I think there's a tremendous opportunity for companies that can genuinely empower the folks who are doing the work in the trenches.

Northwest Indiana News: "Corporations enter brave new world of blogs"

Broadband demos start to change The lower price points (and lower speeds) of the DSL offerings from Bells have started to increase the footprint of broadband households, according to new research report prepared by Leichtman Research Group (LRG.) Average household income of broadband subscribers has fallen by 10% this year to $59,500, mostly because of aggressive price cuts by DSL providers. Cable, is becoming a preferred medium for higher income households, and LRG says that the mean annual household income of cable broadband subscribers is 17% higher than their DSL counterparts

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Networking 101 One thing I've been interested by, is the inability of folks to stay in touch, even when it's in their economic interest to do so. For example, we very rarely hear back from interns during their senior year, assuming they interned after their junior year, in spite of the fact we could provide info on job openings both internally and externally, that would be extremely useful.

CEO's reading blogs ... Neat post on Yahoo's Employee Guidelines on Blogs. Also, why blogging matters by Scoble.