MN Search – PPC

Ah!  It is clear that the depth of PPC increased so much, that each PPC-focused event reassures me in “thou shalt not do it in-house”  🙂

targetA few interesting points:

  • Localization: 4 out of 5 people expect search to be local
  • Google sees more returns on calls from the searches (on the mobile phone) than clicking – price of calls might increase
  • It is possible to define location by demography in PPC setup – it is based on income
  • Optimal CPC is defined by the CPA and conversion rate (what makes sense)
  • Negative keyword research should be done in advance (also makes sense)

Free keyword tool – Ubersuggest


Book – Lead with a Story

storyLead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire  – excellent book!

The book highlights the benefit of stories in business environment – to make a point, to introduce yourself, to inspire a team, or to promote an idea.  The book is full of excellent stories that are a pleasure to listen.

The author also explains the structure for the most effective story and gives several examples how it is different from “typical” business communication. Storytelling road map is available for download.

  • Context: 
    • Where and when?
    • Relatable Subject? (relatable hero)
    • What do they want? (worthy treasure)
    • Who/what’s in the way? (relevant obstacle)
  • Action:
    • Did the hero battle the villain? Ups, downs and setbacks along the way
    • C.A.R. in the right order?
  • Result: 
    • How did it end? Is the result clear?
    • Right lesson you wanted to teach
    • Why you told the story (Does it compel audience to do what you wanted?)


story-2Popular book title: “100 ways how not to do [your topic]”

Best place to look for a solution is outside of your industry – find an industry that already solved this problem.  (This advice seem to be everywhere, but it is rather difficult to follow… and even keep attention of colleagues on any industry except their exact industry).

Each company that has a sales team has a purchasing department…  Connecting sales with purchasing can help sales reps to hear stories that will be very valuable for their job.

Introduction to a new team is better done with a story.  Why?  Because people evaluate their trust to those who are known at 70%, but the trust to those who are not known at 30%.  The new person can become “better known” through a story.

Introduction stories:

  • I am not who you think I am (an introduction of a new American manager presumed to enforce his usual approaches to a German company –  the manager tells a story explaining that he experienced differences in approaches in different parts of US and he understands that in this situation he will need to learn how the business is done in Germany)
  • A little about me (a story allows the new team to get to know you personally to move the new person from the 30% trust of somebody “unknown” to 70% trust of somebody “known”
  • “Why I work here” story – passion of the person

General recommendation is to collect stories and use them.  It can be done by a company and by an individual 🙂

Eloqua Users Group – Marketing Project Management

Quick tip – one of our colleagues removes all internal addresses from Eloqua database to preserve the proper reports.  Anybody who would want to know about the outgoing emails to customers receives an internal communication with the explanation of the email (in the format that can not be easily forwarded 😉  ).

Interesting point: one of companies that purchased Eloqua, including Engage, have not used Engage for first 4 years…  After training and evangelizing for about a year, about 10% of reps started to use it.  Just about 1% of the reps can be considered power users and use the tool very effectively.

Marketing Project Management

moodLast Eloqua Users group was a quite intriguing opportunity to see how other marketing organization manages its projects.  The presenter – our fellow marketer – showed us MOOD (by IBM) – marketing project management tool.  It seemed simple enough and allowing for high level of complexity at the same time.

Ha!  I remember efforts to setup Aprimo on a couple of my previous jobs…  not always successful.  And it is always interesting to see how other marketers solve the same problems.  Ha!  Maybe taking Trello to the next level might the an excellent idea… 😉

Useful Outlook Feature

Another interesting tool mentioned was Outlook Quick Parts, which allows to save common content in Outlook and re-use it easily.



Coursera – What Managers Can Learn from Great Philosophers

LucThis course, though interesting in general, gave me one idea that… dramatically changed my perception 😉  The idea that there are two phases of change – change in reality and change in perception – explained instantly quite a few puzzles in my life.






Another major concept is moving from “thinking outside of the box” to the realization that our thinking is constrained into boxes and to achieve “freedom” from the original box, we need to created different boxes and concentrate on thinking within those boxes.




The Champagne example above is particularly interesting.  The company that produced Champagne was asked to describe its business without top 5 industry and company key words.  Struggling with the task, the executives concentrated on the fact that Champagne is an important part of a party.  As a result, a new box was created, inside which the company now could concentrate its thinking.  One of the results is a book (think content marketing 😉 ) that gave people an advice on how to give a good toast.




I also enjoyed professor’s book Thinking in New Boxes – highly recommend both: a book and a class.

Book – Thinking in New Boxes: A New Paradigm for Business Creativity

boxesVery insightful book that forces a reader (or a listener 😉 ) to start thinking… differently.  The main premise of the book is an idea that human thinking is compartmentalized, but to start thinking differently, we need not to “get out of the box,” but rather define different boxes where the new concepts can find home.   Executive Summary PDF is available on the book site.

The authors suggest five steps to expand “thinking boxes”:

  1. Doubt everything
  2. Probe the possible (evaluate industry trend and define what the company would want to address – pose the questions)
  3. Diverge (create many ideas on possible solutions)
  4. Converge (chose ideas to follow)
  5. Reevaluate relentlessly


Interesting points from the book:

  • What is your organization never feared that can destroy it over next five years?
  • What is your organization never feared and can be an asset within next five years?
  • questionForklift company:  original objective is concentrating on quality of … forklifts 🙂  Change resulted in focusing on marketing.  Market research indicated that customers want to be comfortable, to know that everything is under control.  Strategy change – make client experience better an invest in customer service.
  • Interesting customer segment “low income PhDs”
  • Interesting exercise:  describe your company without top five keywords (example of the bank “we help people to protect their piece of mind” )
  • Solar company: current process – pay upfront and wait for an unclear return.  Why not allow people to lease – solar company owns the panels on the roof and maintains them – the people get power bill reduction of some percentage right away.
  • Each hour sun gives our planet enough energy to power all human activities for a year…  we just need to learn how to use it…
  • What headlines about your company can appear in unrelated magazines in 5-10 years?  Lifestyle magazines?  Technical magazines?  Psychology today?  Moscow times?
  • Do you think five year from now you will need to pay for Google search?  Most people would say no.  If the question is changed: suppose five years from now you have to pay for Google search – how did it happen?   Now people can give variety of reasons (extreme scarcity of power…  a new advanced “premium” algorithm, etc.  )

How to generate scenarios:

  1. Trends – long term industry trends
  2. Wild card and extreme possibilities – very unlikely but very impactful events (US is split into two parts, volcano ash prevents air travel in the certain region, etc.)
  3. Variables – real life situations where the mega trends plays out
  4. Hypothesis: what can happen in plausible scenarios – encourage to create 4 hypothesis for each variable.



UXPA – 3D Printing and Complex Quoting

Though the event was devoted to a certain usability topic, the “show” was definitely stolen by the concept of 3D printing.  Fascinating!

3D printing is actually “additive manufacturing” compared to “subtractive manufacturing” that is used conventionally.


The services that RedEye provides appeared as a response to a market need that has been discovered accidentally.

redeyeStratasys, a seller of 3D printers, was providing samples of customer’s parts before the printer was purchased.  The company discovered that they received requests for not one part to test the equipment, but several.  stratasysRecognizing that the company was expected to provide free product, the practice was stopped… but the requester offered to pay for the needed parts.  Somebody produced a quote…  and soon management was faced with positive revenue produced from the unexpected source.  The service was born.

3d3D printing is beneficial in a situation when a limited number of complex parts are needed.  Creation a mold for manufacturing these parts would not be economical – the mold will be used only for a few parts.  3D printing solves this problem.

RedEye is specializing on b-to-b space; it is not a consumer market.  However, as the technology became more available after patent protection time expired, it also expanded in consumer applications.

Is is a rapidly changing industry?  The answer is quite interesting: the technology exists and is not changing itself – at least not changing as fast.  However, the application of the technology to different industries and needs is rapidly increasing.  The expectations of the technology are also changing fast.

sd-2The target audience of the company is also changing.  First, it was the engineer who understood the technology, or was relatively prepared to research and study its capabilities.  Now, the target audience is often an executive who is not an engineer and needs to understand what the technology can do for the company he or she represents.

The process (particularly from the engineer’s point of view) is

  1. understand the technology
  2. design for the technology
  3. request a quote

The company has an instant quoting online application currently, which will be redesigned soon with application of latest knowledge of UX.

Book – The Human Brand

book-the-human-brandVery insightful book with case studies that I have not encountered in other publications.

The main premise is the definition of the brand as a person – an instantaneous evaluation in a two-dimentional scale of competence and warmth.

The evaluation can be applicable to people and also to brands.  Loyalty test, where brands and well-known individuals evaluated on the scale of competence and warmth give an interesting result, though, not an unexpected one 😉



As many modern publications, the book suggests that public short-term oriented corporations will find it more difficult to be perceived as warm and authentic.  This environment will give an opportunity to smaller organizations to generate loyalty and passion from consumers.

Authenticity and particularly admission of the obvious mistakes is very beneficial in increasing likability – for people (based on the well-known spilled coffee test) and a very interesting advertisement of Domino Pizza, where the company admitted that the pizza was not very good.  Domino’s commercial was rated high, and the company had the best quarter after the campaign, while spending less money on advertising.  An excellent alternative to “new and improved…”

Other interesting notes:

  • CEO ads are more effective than other types of ads, but not all CEO ads.  The CEO needs to be sincere and authentic.
  • Celebrity ads are outperformed by any other type of ads…  why are they used?  🙂
  • Groopon as a method of bringing of the new customers may not be very effective – it brings people who are interested in bargains in general and may not become the future customers of the establishment.  Success of the Groupon promotions is evaluated how employees are satisfied with the promotion.
  • Brands that are routinely highly valued by the consumers put customers, employees, environment and local communities ahead of short-term interested of the markets
  • luluLululemon – cult brand that does not own a CRM and technically does not have marketing…  the highest ranking marketer is the community manager – the brand does try to cultivate the community around its establishment…  Free yoga classes in the store before the store opens… partnership with local yoga teachers who’s classes are promoted on the site in exchange for promotion of the stores…  high quality of clothing that withstand wash.  Unfortunately, recent issues with quality and reaction to the issues from the company happened after the company became a public corporation.