MNSearch – Link Building

MNSearch is becoming an interesting group – events have been very good.  The latest event (Arnie Kuenn: Why Every Marketer Needs a New Link Building Strategy) was excellent also 🙂   The book Accelerate is sitting on my desk waiting its turn to be read – soon, soon…

Not surprisingly, the best link building strategy is to create great content 🙂

A few interesting points from the presentation:

Which links are bad?

  • Multiple links from the same page
  • From the same pages  that have PPC links (porn, pills, casinos) links
  • Not relevant or spammy footer links
  • Links from networks
  • Links on obvious links pages
  • Forum or blog comment spam
  • Too much exact anchor text

If the forum allows spammers – stay away from it

What to do to get good links:

  • Look for internal links (internal link pages)
  • Blog and forum participation
  • Old fashion reciprocal links

Google discussions search can be used to find content ideas:
Google choices > discussions > discussions for the same term (Google will provide search of all discussions related to the term)

Create great content to which people would want to link 😉

Best pages to attract links used three media types text, images, videos.  In general, posts with videos included 3 times mor links, posts with three media types will attract 6 times more links.

Try to split budget 50% manual link building and 50% link attraction through content.  Optimize content 🙂

Exact Target: Real time – Real Connections

Very informative event with a great presentation.  Chicken on the stick was marvelous too 😉

The presentation was one of the series of Subscribers Fans and Followers   where Exact Target analyzes users preferences for different media.

Main conclusion: email is still the king!  🙂

Though use of the social networks is increasing, they are not considered appropriate by many users for commercial communications.  Plus, email is checked daily, while social networks are not receiving so much attention.

Another interesting fact: even if online email platform use decreased among young demographics, email usage on mobile devices increased.

Email is also the preferred channel for sharing content.  Though knowing lousy use of “share” feature on the email, I am guessing the sharing goes through “forward” with easy selection of the recipient from the preferred email client 😉

Twitter nuance: people who use Twitter tend to create more content themselves compared to the people who does not use Twitter.  They are more likely to be bloggers, active commenters and  online rewevers.

Social media definitely is not killing email…  it is using email messages and alerts to bring attentions to itself …  and it makes perfect sense.

Book – Crossing the Chasm

This book was recommended by Kroll Ontrack president, and yes, it was worth it.  The main concept of the book is the existence of a chasm in the life cycle of the high-tech product – a gap between early adopters and the early majority. The “crossing the chasm” requires different perspective of the product, different approaches, and even different people. The recommended approach is to position the product as an ideal solution for a reasonably small niche and expand from this niche later with a ‘recognized solution.”

There is a difference between early adopters and early majority: early adopters what to be first, prelared to deal with glitches, interested in break through discontinuous innovation.  Early majority wants to buy a productivity improvement for existing operations.  Early adopters are not good references for early majority.

Market definition (in the context):

  • a set of actual or potential customers
  • for a given set of products or services
  • who have a common set of needs or wants, and
  • who reference each other when making a buying decision

Markets:

  • Innovators: interested in technology for the sake of technology (influence, no budget)
  • Visionaries: match emerging technology with strategic opportunity (have budget)
  • Pragmatists: incremental improvement – predictable progress
  • Conservatives: buy new products when  unavoidable and expect “a full package” for the low cost
  • Skeptics: argue that “efficiency solutions” may not necessarily increased efficiency…

The company may be saying “state-of-the-art” when the pragmatist wants to hear “industry standard.”

Crossing the chasm: selecting of the niche. “Make a total commitment to the niche, and then do your best to meet everyone else’s needs with whatever resources you have left over. ”  Commitment to the niche is critical.

Interesting concept “high-risk, low-data decision.”  Trying to find more data is not helpful 😉  “The only proper response to this situation is to acknowledge the lack of data as a condition of the process.  Use target user rather than target segment (one more testament to personas?  🙂  ).

Concept of the “Whole Product” – usual “product” needs to be augmented by a variety of services and ancillary products to become the whole product. Innovators don’t need the “whole product”, visionaries don’t like to “pull the whole product on their own,” but they accept the inevitability as a strategic advantage over their competitors. Pragmatists want the whole product to be available.  Pragmatists buy the whole product based on its benefit, even if the core product is inferior.

Crossing the chasm represents a transition from product-based to market-based values.

It is important to choose which available product is “inferior alternative” – to find the place in the organization’s budget. Positioning – how to make products to be easier to buy – rather than easier to sell.

Positioning formula:

  • For (target customers – beachhead segment only)
  • Who are dissatisfied with (the current market alternative)
  • Our product is a (new product category)
  • That provides (key problem-solving capability)
  • Unlike (the product alternative),
  • We have assembled (key whole product features for your specific application).

Example: – Silicon Graphics in Hollywood

  • For post-production film engineers
  • Who are dissatisfied with the limitations of traditional film editors
  • Our workstation is a digital film editor
  • that lets you modify film images any way you choose.
  • Unlike workstations from Sun, HP, or IBM,
  • We have assembled all the interfaces needed for post-production film editing.

The most important: not what to write down, but what to give up.  🙂

CATFOA – Best Buy – Barry Judge

Spectacularly interesting presentation!  My guess, one of the best from CATFOA series over the years.

I did not see the major retail paradigm shift before the presentation, and now it seems obvious and clearly traceable over the years. Great presentation. Smart questions (no, I did not ask anything 😉  ).  Fantastic.

  • What is the future of marketing?  Digital and mobile within digital is the future.  Social is also the future.  However, the perspective is changing comparing to 2008 – everything is changing.
  • Marketing is much more complicated today…    If you like challenge – it is right there for you.  Paid – owned – earned, there is a visible shift from paid…
  • Paradigm shift: Brands – retailers – are becoming media companies (and media is more and more involved into retail. Retailers is the showroom.  Best buy collects more money from manufacturers than from consumers (Best Buy does not make much money on sale of a computer, and makes little on the sale of the TV.)  The shift is to move the company into information/service provider rather than purely  retailer – the “sale” of the products via Best Buy may not be needed in the future for the success of the business.
  • Best buy creates platforms that can be sold to manufacturers. Best Buy would make money on the platform ownership.  Best Buy might adopt a business model similar to Pinterest. Amazon is also does not make money on selling its product – however, if anybody is purchasing the product and came from Amazon, Amazon takes a cut (also similar to Pinterest).
  • What do you aspire to achieve?  Moving business model in a different direction – more robust digital business…  New concept – connected store.
  • Best Buy app should be providing all options  – cheaper option should be available even if they are in different retailers…  Retailers are becoming media companies, media companies are becoming retailers…
  • Barry Judge considers himself an empowered consumer. Once, when the hotel did not want to refund unneeded reservation, he threatened to tweet the complaint money “I have 20000 followers on twitter.”
  • As an individual talking on behalf of the company in social media, Barry sees more restrictions and a need to be thoughtful about what he writes. As a result, social media interactions are “less fun” for a company’s representative. …  As company is not performing that well – it is difficult is communicate.  Nature of the work is less transparent…
  • Companies need to be open to other point of view…  Why amaon.com reviews are not available on Best Buy web site?  What makes the site useful for you rather than useful for the company?
  • Christmas issue (when Best Buy was not able to deliver the purchases for the holiday)…  There were many negative comments in social media. Need more passionate fans… Nobody was defending the company.
  • You are accountable …  By customers and by employees…  You should be open to their ideas… Employee blog responses can also be negative…
  • Some of current approaches: employee can communicate via an app what working and what is not working…  Districts that provide this opportunity have happier employees.
  • Is https://twitter.com/#!/twelpforce  a product?  Yes, it is a free product.
  • Interesting shift in the board members marketing understanding.  First, nobody understood the concept of the social campaigns, then, board members were asking specifically  “where is the social campaign?”
  • We don’t spend money on social, but we spend employee time….
  • What is the skills marketers should have?  Curiosity.  You don’t have to be the smartest person in the room – you need to be able to use other ideas.

Oh – from my personal experience, curiosity can be dangerous, unless management appreciates it.  If yes, it is a bliss…  😉   Otherwise, I am the cat…  in the expression “curiosity killed the cat.”

  • Agencies need to understand what the business challenges are… Best buy does not make any money in selling a computer. Little on selling a tv – but the company makes money in other ways…
  • Web site needs to do more…  though it does not do it now – platform issues.  Best Buy made an IT hiring to correct the issue.  Web site need to have Amazon’s reviews, bloggers moments, etc…
  • What Best Buy plans in B-to-B space?  Originally, it started from “selling TVs to bars.”  Though the strategy is to provide support to small business – manage IT for small business.

Very interesting presentation.  Would more technology stores become connected and interactive?  Snack bars in the lobby could help too 😉  However the paradigm is going to shift – all we can predict is the shift, not the direction or consequences.  Times are interesting.