Friday, August 08, 2008

reviewing Mike Gamson

I spoke yesterday at eTail on leveraging Social Media. My panel went well, and judging from the questions afterwards, there are a lot of companies at different points along the adoption curve. Questions ranged from how to start a blog to monitoring social chatter to ROI models.

The panel before mine was titled "Unleashing the Power of Web 2.0". Mike Gamson, of LinkedIn, was presenting. During his talk, he mentioned that he frequently talks at colleges to students about how they present themselves online. This felt like a very similar presentation. There was a long history of the companies that were 1.0, and who's now leading the 2.0 revolution. There was mention of Reid Hoffman founding the company. There were, however, very few lessons on how to apply any of the growth LinkedIn got to growing your own business. Which seemed odd to me. LinkedIn's a huge success story - surely there were lots of choices that could have helped or hindered its viral growth. There was a mention of Dell's success as a participant in social media, ignoring the Jeff Jarvis debacle. And, after 95% of the room had raised their hands to say that they use LinkedIn, there were 4 or 5 slides showing the LinkedIn product, including the demographics of the site.

So, since it was on Social Networking Day, I'll ask a social question - if you were attending the panel, what was your take? (I know what Dan Neely thought.) And, Mike, if you're reading this, what was the goal of the presentation?

Labels: , , , , ,

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Social marketing

I'm talking Thursday about "Leveraging Social Media To Build Content, Increase SEO Rankings And Create Enhanced User Experiences". If you were attending a session with that title, anything you'd especially like to see?

Labels: ,

Saturday, August 02, 2008

eTail 08

I'm speaking at eTail 08 in DC next week. I'm excited about the show, the speaker lineup looks much improved from last year. Anyone attending and want to meet up?

Labels: , ,

Monday, August 13, 2007

Final thoughts from eTail:

Dynamic speakers with a message are the ones that tend to get remembered. You don't have to be dynamic to get a great idea across, but it helps. Zappo's CEO talking about getting pizza restaurant locations from customer service, Bath & Body's marketing VP talking about meeting their customers are ideas that stuck.

The most valuable conversations were those with other retailers. The two best sessions for that were the card swap (aka, speed-dating for retailers) on Tuesday night, and some of the private gatherings organized by Bill Me Later.

Site search was a very hot topic, with more vendors than I would have expected exhibiting.

And, three organizational thoughts: Holding a conference's main session in a room without WiFi or cell phone connectivity is a bit counterproductive. Some forward thinking vendor could have hooked up a few WiFi repeaters to offer branded WiFi service and garnered a great deal of goodwill.

It's clear that sponsors paid for their sponsorship. Starting each day with six straight speakers, with many of them from those vendors, starts to make it appear that you really don't think much of the audience, or their ability to notice it. There's generally a balance that conferences try to strike, and this was pretty far off to one side.

Promoting a $5,000 giveaway, at maximum volume through the exhibit hall is a bit much. Requiring a randomly drawn attendee to hit two consecutive 45 foot putts, that sloped uphill at the end is silly, and makes the people promoting it look foolish.

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, August 09, 2007

More notes from eTail yesterday: One of the compelling presentations was by Brian Beitler - VP, Bath and Body Works:
Multichannel customers are 3x the value of a single channel customer, not just self selected, value goes up 60 to 70% when someoneuses a 2nd channel.
Very important to know value of customers and communicate it...each address is worth $25 in sales, each eamil is $18.. Communicate to store staff.
When a sales associate "touches" a customers hand with a sample, conversion goes up to 65% from 30%.
Important to go out and view in realtime your customers, and what they're doing, and talk to them. He had a lot of great examples; even if you're online only, make sure you use your tools to do this.
Coincidentally, Marketing Sherpa has a post on how Bath and Body works improved their converstion rate on the site.

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

I'm at eTail in DC and will be posting notes from some of the sessions:
First up,

Tony Hsieh - CEO - from yesterday - they're slowly moving into other areas, figuring out the model.
They didn't start out day 1 with FedEx overnight shipping for orders and returns, they gradually got there, putting marketing funds into it.
Ten thoughts:
#1 Ecommerce business is built on repeat customers
#2 Word of mouth really works online
#3 Don't compete on price - $10 off customers not loyal
#4 Make sure inventory is 100% accurate
#5 Centrally locate your distribution - KY is good
#6 Customer service is an investment
#7 Start Small. Stay focused.
#8 Don't be secretive, don't worry about competitors
#9 You need to actively manage your company culture
#10 Be wary of so called experts

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, August 03, 2007

I'm attending the eTail conference in DC next week. I'm looking forward to seeing Steven Johnson, who wrote "Everything Bad Is Good For You". There's also a panel on affiliate relationships that looks like it should be excellent, with some good speakers, like John Lucey from Brookstone, and Veronica Katz-Smith from David's Bridal.

On the downside, apparently WBR, which puts on the show, has given vendors a list of attendees. This has resulted in dozens of phone calls and emails. The folks who manage to email me have clearly done some research (my contact info isn't that hard to find online), as many of the phone calls have asked for my email, indicating they hadn't gotten it on their list. Some of the outreach is genuinely interesting (we have an application to manage search marketing that saved 3 Fortune 500 retailers 13% in last Q4) or quirky (our CEO lives in Napa Valley, and if you come to our dinner, you'll enjoy a 93 point, Robert Parker rated wine that has been aging in his wine cellar).

There have been a few vendors, however, who have clearly hired an outbound telemarketing firm, with minimal knowledge of the product. The typical call of this variety has been along the lines of "Hi..I'm with Company Y, we provide Ecommerce Solutions... Do you use ecommerce solutions? [Why yes, yes we do. We run an online store. We've probably got one of those in the back room]. If you could just answer this list of questions, including some highly proprietary metrics, we'd be thrilled to have one of our salespeople prepare some information for you, to give you when you stop by the booth. I'd bet the response rate is pretty low on that tactic.

If I'm unavailable, several people have decided that if they can't get me on the phone, they'll leave their entire script on my voicemail, ensuring that even if I am interested, it's going to be inconvenient to get to the phone number.

I'll post next week on how the conference itself is :)

Labels: , , , ,