MIMA – Web analytics for people who hate web analytics

picActually, the event attracted those who love web analytics and everything related to it… and sometimes struggle to show others the beauty behind the data.

The insights that Chris Wexler and Kristen Findley shared were…  “actionable.”  🙂  Though as an analytics enthusiast I was ready to scream “yes!!” after almost every statement, some ideas were refreshing.

New insights (or better arguments to achieve our perpetual objectives):

  • Share analysis with designers… they rarely receive the information how their creations work
  •  How to approach a designer: “I have something that will help you to do cool things”
  •  How can analytics help
    • Executive: help to decide where you should spend budget
    • Designer: where to apply your creative expertise
  • Questions to get business goals from stakeholders:
    • What do you want people to do? (works!! My favorite 😉  )
    • What would it be if we succeed?
    • What would it be if we don’t succeed?

 To attribute costs better, different conversion points can have different values (visit – 1; creating and uploading a video – 10,000)

Web analytics term is too narrow – we should be channel agnostic – “interactive analytics”  is a better term

Chris Wexler demonstrated a wonderful image to illustrate the difference of insight v. data.


Data can sing…

Era of analytics “post” is changing of analytics “pre,” but as before, we can over-rely on analytics.

MIMA – David Armano, The future of Advertising

pic-13The event exceeded my expectations… David Armano was able to articulate ideas that I thought were “hanging in the air” for some time, but were still difficult to see. Marketing world is changing and we have no other choice as adapt… or extinct.

Ideas from the presentation:

The most important now is to provide value through function.

Why agencies have challenges:

  • advertising is the creation of the campaign for the mass, while social media is niche
  • agencies have silos – collaboration does not happen
  • many companies are built on large-scale production of banners…

pic-22However, there are changes. Flash microsite is going away… at least from the point of view of the most progressive agencies. The Barbarian Group simplified its web site recently to make it more functional (quite interesting – the portfolio is very functional – it is showing the projects rather than the company’s pic-32

ability in “creativity” of the showing process). The idea is that regular people use the web differently. The site is not going to win a award for the agency, but it is useful and functional for its target audience.

 Agencies are competing with passionate individuals deeply knowledgeable in topics of their interest. Typos do not matter – the passion and expertise attract the niche…

pic-41Example: Ford created a rather simple site, but gave free Fiesta (plus free gas) to several highly influential bloggers. 100 of people who wanted to participate in the Fiesta movement were selected and now THEY produce original content in the introduction of the new model to the public.

 Me-conomy – life around the “me” in social networking; the user is surrounded by his blog, Twitter, Facebook, Delicious, etc.

pic-5Why shouldn’t agencies create products that they can sell?  Not necessarily creating campaigns for clients – but creating apps that will bring money in the future?  Example – IDEO labs. 

Agencies used heavy Flash applications hoping for “engagement…”  But what is engagement?  Leaving a comment on a blog is significantly more “engaging” than waiting for unnecessary animation to load…

The difference: OLD – everything is “thought-through” to the minute detail before launch…  NEW – apps are lunching in beta and modified as needed later – co-created with the users… Product development is mixing with marketing…

Viral video is a gamble – it can not be a part of business strategy.

How the NEW can be approached?  The organizations will need to adapt – and start adapting from the inside.

MDMA Conference 2009

pic-31 MDMA 2009 conference was attempting to connect direct marketing with green concepts, internet, and particularly social media marketing. Though I was preoccupied with social media, some green concepts were quite interesting – it is always helpful to explore area a little beyond interactive marketing as a concentration.

 Green Marketing (based on Aveda’s approach)

  • Cause marketing isn’t about philosophy, it is about “enlightened self-interest”
  • Aveda – cause related marketing and brand marketing came together (and everybody agrees on metrics…)
  • Globally, 68% of consumers would remain loyal to brands that support a good cause
  • Environmentalism is also a passion of the employees
  • “Purpose brand” even if it is a premium brand
  • It is wise to pay attention to the generation G (from giving, generosity, anti-greed); generosity is becoming a new status symbol
  • Thinking about the future – the next generation is much more environmentally oriented (Disney created a DisneyNature brand  )


Aveda’s approach is a designated department, combining:

  • tracking the company’s environmental footprint and trying to reduce it
  • employee education (how to reduce personal footprint)
  • philanthropy (related to environmentalism)
  • employee health and safety

Mission synergy: business mission and earth and community mission. (It is interestingly close to the concept of Brand Theme)

Social Mediapic-3-kwingo

Social media campaigns are infinite – whatever works should be indefinitely maintained (while it works)

Momentgraphic – similar to demographic and psychographic approach – determining the moment when the particular service or product could be most effectively offered

1% of all web sites has mobile-friendly look at this point

Data is valuable; but not for the sake of having data, but for the sake of improving relationships with customers – including mobile

The difference between an employee and a person is disappearing

Employees can show up higher in Organic listing than the company – it can be absolutely anybody, but this person would represent the company… Maybe we should encourage employees list the name of the company on Facebook, etc.?

Different audiences use devises in differently (mobile – 58% males; who likes to follow sports teams)

Rule of thumb (1/5 or 20%), but growing rapidly

  • 20% of social media messages are consumed on mobile devices
  • 20% of e-mail messages consumed on mobile devices

Employee social media – just an effort of being human…

“badvocate” – opposite of advocate (in contest of social media and beyond)

Best practices of mobile marketing:

  • integrate with other channels
  • test
  • experiment (and test)

Try it!  Play with it!  Fail!  Try again! 

Example: a coupon was posted on Flikr, and the information about it was Twitted through Twitter. It was a test, but it worked very well…  An implementation was almost free…

20% of marketing budget should be devoted to trying new opportunities

pic-3-extendrUseful resource: http://extendr.com/   Of course, I had to try it – http://vanessabright.extendr.com/  – with one week of free premium service 😉

MN AMA – Six Rules to build Internal Buy-in

pic-11The event not only introduced a group of us to Medtronic, but also allowed to learn from successes of great marketing team. The most important revelation for me was the long time and efforts needed to assure buy-in in a large organization, and also the fact that this process worth the struggle.

Tammy Johnson, Senior Global Brand Director, started from recommendation that we need to know our organization and how decisions are made. The speed and acceptance of different decisions may be very different.

Six rules:

1. Know your stakeholders

What are your stakeholders’ issues?  What motivates them?

2. You are a salesperson

  • Selling marketing idea:
  • define roles (who has power?)
  • don’t do it yourself – build champions
  • don’t blame others if they “don’t get it”
  • find words that resonate
  • define your “toll gates” – can not proceed
  • make sure your presentations can be understood without presenting (this is a very useful advice, and hard to do…)

Find more “acceptable” and less “frightening” words:
rebrand > refresh
standards > guidelines
mandate > governance
brand > reputation
corporate > global

3. Spot the similarities

Ask worrying parties to highlight similarities

4. De-risk your boldest innovation

Illustrate your ideas; use stories and prototypes

5. Don’t major in minors (pick your battles)

Would you be fighting for the same thing one year from now?

6. Articulate what the success will look like

No level of communication is enough

MIMA – Bob Thacker

Bob Thacker, the legendary person who commissioned ElfYourself.com seem to like to say “yes” to unusual ideas and believes that “it can’t be done” simply means “it has not been done yet.”


Ideas that I found especially interesting:

  • “Elf Yourself” was one of 20 innovative web sites created for the season; only one of the sites was so wildly successful
  • “If you don’t have big bucks, you need big ideas”
  • “Look before you leap, but then leap… do something”
  • After “Elf Yourself” campaign Office Max was more associated with holiday season and considered fun
  • “Don’t make ads – make news!”
  • Fear kills creativity
  • “No true pessimist was a true marketer”

Most of the examples – wonderful, spectacular examples – were still an “advertisement on the next level” – an ingenious methods of attaching a brand to something that inherently has no relation to it.

However, one example seemed different – it was an example of including of marketing into the product development process (what is spectacularly illustrated in Meatball Sundae). The product was specifically created for a certain audience – women – and connection of the product to the promotion was more natural. 

A great quote for our times:

If you can not decide if the glass half empty or half full – order a double.

MN AMA – How The Right Strategy Can Beat The Un-Economy

pic-1Another fascinating presentation by Bruce Tait from Tait Sabler.  In the difficult economic times, is it all about the price? No! 

Short-term decisions can destroy value.  “Emotional” benefits is not that important… “Utility” is important… but – what if you have value, but it is not perceived as value?

Decisions are made emotionally and then justified rationally. Value is often perceived as: value = functional benefit / price. But is it all? Leadership brands pay attention to value part of the equation.


It is important to “find an enemy of your brand” (not a competitor – an issue (not enough time, etc.)

Wal-Mart “out positioned” Target:
Wal-Mart: pay less > live better (more time/money for what you love)
Target: pay less > expect more (inexpensive upscale products)

People pay more for high-status item when they feel powerless…


Badge Model starts with functional benefits (what the product does), moves up to the external badge (how to appear to others), move up to the internal badge (reinforce positive self-image), and culminates with the transformational benefit (what the consumer hopes to become through the badge).


The most important – relevance and differentiation. Comparing on price leads to commodity. #1 reason why brands fail is lack of differentiation. This is the area where creativity is important.

HYUNDAI – now has 18% of the market. It was the first company that was able to connect its strategy with the most obvious fear of the times: if you loose your job, you can return the new car you purchased.

Why Obama won the competition with Hillary?  Branding!
Hillary – functional. Obama – movement.

Human brain does not change during “un economy.”

MN AMA – Hard Times, High Hopes: Young Adulthood in the Recession Era

mobIt was a pleasure to attend this insightful presentation by legendary Iconoclulture

Millenials are filling the crunch of the economic crisis and they have to adjust their expectations. However, there is a silver lining in these dark clouds or reality – young people are rethinking what matters.


1987 – 1995
72.1 million
$1.5 trillion of buying power

Formative financial events for the Millenials:
1980 – Dawn of self esteem movement (everybody gets a trophy)
1990 – Recession is not felt (too young)
1995 – Launch of Amazon (idea of accessibility)
1997 – TiVo (idea of control)
1999 – launch of Napster (free music – free access)
2000 – First Millenials graduates college – 65%  in debt
2001 – Mild recession, quick rebound
2004 – MasterCard target twins (Hallow Kitty debit card)
2006 – all 10 largest colleges cobrand credit cards targeted to students
2008 – Financial meltdown

Generational mindset

  • extraordinary by default
  • praised and raised for success
  • “what I want when I want it”
  • I’m “me, but part of “we”
  • The good life is a right, not a privilege

Generation feels good about themselves, more narcissistic tendencies than other generations. However, it is not “I deserve it,” but rather “we deserve it.”

The reality

$20,000 – average debt for college graduates
$2,500 – average credit card debt ( 2008 )
57% pay minimum on their credit cards
77% moving in with mom and dad

Specific generational pain points in a recession:

  • prosperstudent loans
  • credit card debt (average salary for young grads is less than a generation ago, but prices are higher)
  •  jobs disappearing  (more laid-off professionals are willing to take jobs that used to be entry-level)

Changes in behavior

  • using less credit cardswesabe
  • trading off (moving with mom and dad; choosing community college, etc.)
  • adjusting expectations (no “job hopping”  when dissatisfied with a job…)


81% are hopeful about the future
57% are excited
81% cited relationships with friends and family is important (rather than career success)

As a result…

  • Thrifty is good!  “Almost a pride in clipping coupons.” Online comparative shopping.
  • Flash mobs – large groups of people offering to shop in a certain establishment if price is reduced or business practices changed to more ethical/green
  • Peer-to-peer landing
  • Social money-management resources
  • Recognition that we need to educate young people about finances
  • Reexamination of priorities by the young people (friends…gardening… making own clothes…)
  • Interest in “practical” careers
  • Gross National Happiness: a new world order

MN AMA – Marketing In Today’s Economy

tedThough the topic sounded boring – the last MN AMA event was one of the best I attended and the speaker was simply remarkable.

I was quoting the speaker the very next day on one of the meetings in the office. 

A few ideas from the event:

  •  Today’s economy has different implications for different companies; different demographics and geographic regions experience the downturn differently
  •  Target prospects changed… Financial services companies may not be that attractive…
  • Dynamics of your customers are shifting – markets are shifting – do research…
  • Everything is shifting; however the changes are happening faster than ever. We are experiencing a systemic shift – not just a temporary change during a downturn
  • “Successful companies do not abandon their marketing strategies in a downturn; they ADAPT these strategies”
  • Budget increases now are seen in the interactive and particularly social media (measurable results)
  • Risk aversion is higher in economic crisis; show the buyer how it is less risky to buy from you…  How?
    • Crisp vision
    • Simplify transition
    • Minimize initial investment
    • Help with a solid business case


  • Social media will become the new search
  • Everybody is in media business…  what is your online media strategy?
  • It is about measuring: all marketing programs should be measured

Questions to ask yourself:

  • What are you doing differently?
  • What new ideas are you exploring?
  • What are you measuring?

People who have ideas:seth

Sites where ideas can be found:

MIMA – Digital Information Management – Tips, Tricks, and Industry Frustrations

reputationmanagementGreat event on a very important topic! 

Ha!  The event about imact of social media on reputation came with the most magnificent list of Delicious bookmarks, some of them I gratefully bookmarked in my own Delicious account… what was automatically fed into by blog… which can be referenced on Twitter or Facebook in two clicks via AdThis tool… and I can see the free reports of anybody bookmaking my blog in real time… Social media came to life in its best naturally fluid form –  integrated into everything,  inalienable from the interactive landscape, undeniable and omnipresent.  

I know what I am going to do next Sunday afternoon…  another brush-up on social media and reputation management  tools… 🙂

Interesting notes from the event:

  • What is digital reputation management? It could be trust…  or it could be defense… but it is there to exist…
  • Why reputation is so volatile?  We looked at the reputation chart of major corporations – it is very volatile…  Because modern business environment allows everybody to become a journalist and broadcast their opinions.
  • What should be done to combat (or attempt to minimize) the volatility? 
    1. Understanding that companies do not have control anymore
    2. If not engage, at least listen
  • How to listen?  As usually, favorite tools were: Google alerts, Spy (love it!), Twitter search, Technorati, but there are a few more to check on the delicious link 🙂
  • How to respond to negative comments? Hopefully, quickly. Incorrect negative information can spread with surprising speed. 🙂  Delta engages agencies in listening and retains staff who’s job to respond to the comments. 
  • Use of blogs is growing; now 26%  – the power of blogging community rises exponentially. Delta/NothWest merger was communicated simultaneously to media and to leading industry influencers in blogosphere…  “Congressmen read blogs… “
  • You need to influence the conversation earlier… be involved… blogs are great opportunity to spread good rumors when useful for business also.
  • What to do if a mishap happened? BestBuy: apologize quickly; be human. BestBuy accidentally sent a promotion to much more people than it could afford. The mistake was noted on Twitter immediately. CMO admitted a screw-up. Person who managed the promotion was videotaped explaining the situation, what was immediately posted on YouTube. Reaction was good (and immediately visible in social media) – the matter went away quickly
  • Be more proactive to get positive reviews
  • 52 of Fortune 500 are blogging… Blogging issues: too formal is often difficult to organize – failed for BestBuy. However, employees are already blogging, Twittering, etc. BestBuy aggregate the activity and encourages it with a very simple guideline – don’t do anything stupid
  • How to approach social media? First – decide what relationship would you like to have…
  • What if bad publicity happen? Don’t necessarily rush to sue (hm… it is written even in my MBA Business Law textbook 🙂  ). Don’t take bad publicity too personally. Acknowledge the problem (if true) and communicate what you are doing to fix it. MarketingSherpa had an excellent article on the subject 
  • Reputation of the company is defined by its employees
  • Actionable takeaways: listen…  set up your channels/urls…
  • How to convince management in value of at least being aware about online reputation…  Oh, there was no answer to this question pondered by the panel and the audience… only hope “there will be a tipping point…”  This is my hope also… a very sincere hope 🙂