Category: Digital Media & Marketing

Any post related to digital marketing, media, search marketing etc.

Digital Marketing Thoughts

Ok, I admit it. On Sunday afternoon, just before the game, I had one of those moments. I thought I had to write a blog post about Digital Marketing and why and how it works. Here are those thoughts:

I spoke about Inbound Marketing on my blog before. The idea of inbound marketing is that, particularly online, you as a company or individual make enough noise to be seen and getting interest. This interest is then converted into sales. I know that is over simplified, but that is basically it.

To do that, e.g. making enough noise, a lot of companies use Social Media these days. Twitter to form an opinion or to build a brand, maybe a Facebook page, some Facebook discussions, a group on LinkedIn or just a good blog that gets quoted within the industry. Speaking at events is usually welcomed, or sponsorship at events to associate a brand with a sport, e.g. Rolex and Golf as an example.

Now, there is another way of creating awareness. I recently, as you know, entered the online display arena with a company that executes media plans across ad exchanges. That means we can buy inventory more cost effective and get a greater reach for less money than using ad networks for instance. This brand performance can be used solely for branding or it could be used for branding in association with direct response to actually measure the ROI straight away, similar to search marketing.

Another way is to use TV of course. Maybe less targeted (until IPTV comes into play) and of course more expensive. However, the costs of producing a good display ad (creative) or TV advert might differ, but both shouldn’t be neglected.

To my mind, and thanks to Kotler, the 4Ps are still valid. Product, place, price, promotion. People buy because they know a product or a brand and they saw it in a place or associate it with a certain status. Then the price….that is tricky but general speaking if one really likes something, one will be able to afford it. So now, the promotion, is really what I am talking about.

Looking at a Digital Marketing Strategy, there are only a few ways to think, and these ways are 90% online and 10% offline (or all online) and to have the right mix between inbound and outbound Direct Response. What do I mean with that?

As a brand you need to create a lot of awareness. Brand performance is the newest word I use for that. To do that you can use a mixture of TV and Display Advertising with a measurable KPI, e.g. sign-ups or voucher code use. This way you don’t only spend money on a big brand reach and awareness campaign but you start from the beginning to focus on your ROI for every penny you spend.

User Engagement. Again: competition or user codes, discussions in forums or blogs, feedback and research rounds, social media like Facebook and Twitter. Having all that combined and using the feedback you are getting from your customers to improve your service and products is key.

The trick is to utilise the user engagement (2) and turn that into sales. Using DR (direct response) channels like Display (DR & brand awareness = brand performance), PPC (DR but also brand awareness), social media, and Email campaigns. That means you are turning your brand performance into DR and get a list of hot leads.

Use good sales people and close those hot leads. Using their feedback and good account management skills for client engagement to make sure clients are happy.

Feed all those information back into your system – CRM Software. That means you have a feedback loop and know exactly which channel worked best, where to spend more money, where to spend less money and which channel gives you the greatest ROI. Measuring, comparing, adjusting.

It sounds simple but there are a lot of things where brands do go wrong. And, don’t forget, not every user is the same, and not every brand either πŸ˜‰

I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts on my Digital Marketing Ideas.


Inbound Marketing for SMEs

I wrote a lot about inbound marketingg before. Mainly for start ups and SMEs in London.

Most of the stuff is applied from the gurus in the field: the guys from Hubspot!

As part of my consulting offer, I offer advice for SMEs on how to effectively use social media, search marketing and “inbound marketing” as a tool to succeed in their business ventures. A strategy I am using at work too. Whilst I won’t take this mainstream and will always look into being full time employed with my main job.

Here is the latest slideshare presentation on inbound marketing I put together:

Have a great weekend.

Multilingual Search Marketing

As most of you know I have a background in multilingual or international search marketing with speaking engagements at mayor conferences, e.g. SMX, SES and Internetworld. However, since changing jobs I noticed that multilingual search doesn’t seem to be much of a rocket science as most countries in the Western World are dominated by Google and its algorithm, and the Eastern World has a few search engines you need to watch out for, e.g. Yandex in Russia, Baidu in China, and Naver in Korea.

However, the key to make international search marketing successful is the use of native speakers for the tasks of SEO and PPC, such as keyword research, link building, campaign set up, landing page optimisation etc. Of course it is debatable whether doing that in-house or with satellite office is more successful, but that is a question of business models and objectives and should not be discussed.

Being bi-lingual one of my interests is how to deal with cultural differences and language differences. Teaching my son German whilst speaking to my wife in English is a challenge on its own. Even Eric Schmidt from Google said that in five years time the majority of the web will be “non English”, the web will be dominated by Chinese-language and social media content. That just shows the significance of international and multilingual search marketing.

One of the new developments are the International Domain Names. This does not refer to names in Western characters we are used to but the revelation is that you find domain names in Arabic, Japanese, Chinese, and dozens of other non-Latin languages.

The BBC had an opinion on the multilingual side of the web too, particularly with the Internet having its 40th anniversary. They say that the international domain structure has been worked on since the mid 90s.

world-wide-web-is-your-oyster What implications would that have for us in the UK or us in search? I believe this will not make a huge difference, however the run for the keyword rich domains in other languages and characters will start now. People will apply the knowledge to different languages, as they have in the past, with more freedom to integrate their language in the URL structure, domain names etc. I believe it is a huge step forward, giving the web an international presence as it should have.

Not only will the web be more complex in five years, taking in consideration the growth it is going through at the moment, but with the adoption to languages, and that includes the instant translation on Google Wave, or translation of websites, we will get closer to our human neighbours in the East, West, North and South. So the Internet becomes a connection tool, and with being a connection tool, one big social network…..

The world wide web is your oyster, or something like that.


A new Twitter application caught my eye: LocaFollow.

Not only does it recognise my loacation as London, it also allows me to search for people near by. Now, I automatically get suggestions of the most followed people in London. That is nice.

London Tweets

But, I can also search for different cities, e.g. New York, Munich etc, depending on what I am interested in. Additionally, I can choose a profession, e.g. CEO, Marketeer and so on. Even found a taxi driver from Beckenham, you never know if I know him, lol.

Definitely a nice little tool to look at. I found some people in digital marketing in London that don’t really have much to say but come up on top of my search. The results don’t seem to be filtered well, e.g. the engine seems to crawl the description of the person and then displays the results in a not clear structured order. At least not obvious to me.

complex life

Now I hope you will enjoy this post. I want to talk about complex life. We have less time, more information and more things going on – all the time. This makes life very complex in my view.

For years I have been one of those people that needed a Blackberry, a mobile device, needed to extend their followers on Linkedin, Twitter, Xing, Facebook and make sure that all contact details I had from people were up to date. I was always on top of things. But then, life got even more complex.

complexity I noticed 3 years ago that I cannot just add every person I met in my life into a database that already had over 1,000 people on it. Every time I synchronised my phone it took almost an hour, and some people never made it to my list of “friends”. Even 5 years ago when I bought my last laptop, I thought I needed to evaluate every single option of the laptop and every feature to make sure I always have the most up to date equipment. Someone I know just admitted to research weeks (!) what kind of new TV to buy.

Over the years, not only thanks to my wife, I have realised it is not always important to actually have the best and knowing everything. I suppose with Google being available all the time (thanks to my Blackberry that is), you can look things up all the time. Actually LinkedIn and Twitter make things easier in a ways as you have your friends contact details on there and if not, you can send them a DM in order to find out. Or you just update your Twitter or Blog and everyone knows what you are up to. It makes it easier not to phone or talk to people.

I suppose Facebook is the same. You upload your pictures, you update your status that you are at home watching after the baby, get a comment or two and your “social life” is done. And, up to a few months ago, I absolutely loved it. Easy, isn’t it. Blackberry, on the road, updating Facebook, Twitter, coming home, day and job done. You can even poke your wife whilst being on the train and she is at home. Or just throw a sheep at her!

Actually I realised when changing phone contracts how little I use my phone. I haven’t called up my friend in Aberdeen for a while, although we exchanged numerous emails and read each other’s blog. We haven’t been down to Winchester to visit our friends and always found good excuses not to meet up. However, I would really like to but have I not seen their holiday pictures already on Facebook, and their new flat and….

I think social media is great. I live for it, I work for it and I enjoy it. However, and that is where I am a bit struggeling at the moment (hope that is not too honest), how many of those Facebooks we need? How much more time do we need to spend online to update our status and talk to our neighbours? Why not pop over for a cup of tea and have a chat?

Really, because it is easier. But it is actually less social. Instead of trying to keep up to date with 500 followers on Twitter, I decided to reduce the amount of people I follow. I am sorry but I rather start keeping up with less people and do it properly than with more and not really at all. And, if you are part of the ones I un-followed, please accept my apologies and feel free to add me on Facebook instead.

Or, add me on LinkedIn. I think I need to reduce my involvement online just a bit and concentrate more on other projects. My Buddhism and Management project has been neglected, I have to spend more time with the family and want to read more books. commute

I will use the commute, as I have done in the past, to wrap up work at night and answer emails that I didn’t manage to get to during the day – personal as well as work ones. And, in the morning, I will read a book on the train. But, when I am home at night and the weekends, do I really need to constantly update my Twitterfeed, talk about that I “cut my grass” on Twitter? I don’t believe so anymore. Of course that might change πŸ™‚

And, of course, I am still a big advocate of Social Media, and there are more things to it than the above networks. Watch this space and let me know what you think about the complexity of life?

Vodafone got things right!

Now, not only was I asked to tell everyone, but I am more than happy to do so!

Vodafone called me late tonight and gave me the offer I wanted. The person I was in contact originally was out of office. Now my question is WHY?

But first, let me say that Thomas Rushton and his Webteam (Thanks Lee) kept their promise and put things right after I tweeted and blogged about it.

It still does not go into my head that
– A company makes it so difficult to change between contracts and that I could have created more work by canceling my (consumer) contract and then becoming a new (business) customer again.
– That I need to push on social media, e.g. Twitter, Blogging, Linkedin to get attention.

And, I don’t believe that the social media influence itself has caused them to think about it. At least I don’t hope it did, but that somewhere along the line the “customer (e.g. me) was king”.

I tried to think of an analogy (maybe not the best but it is almost 10 pm): My teddy bear from years ago: I love him, I nurture him, I want to keep him but he keeps disappearing, gets uncool, looses his fur and although I am certain that I should get rid of him, I am almost in “love” with him – hence I don’t abandon him. But one day, he starts talking to me and says “Volker, I have to leave you.” Would you not be devastated?

Not sure if it makes sense that I “love” a brand like Vodafone (and other brands). I told the guys that I am more than happy to outline a social media strategy for them. I never wanted to leave Vodafone but they seemed to wanted to get rid of me. Maybe they will tell me why no one took ownership of my case and sorted things out for good? Would that not have been better and easier for all of us?

Anyway, Ian Shepherd wanted to make me an advocate, and I am. Of course subject to the free blackberry arriving this Friday πŸ™‚ Very excited.

I wrote to the Webteam, after sorting it, that I will blog positive about it. I also believe that it is essential for any brand to monitor the social media space and engage with the twitter community or with the bloggers. As an example when I mentioned O2 or Orange earlier, they should have engaged with me and offer me a contract, shouldn’t have they? I was saying I would go and join them instead. And Vodafone should get their voice out there too, engaging with me or others.

Just around 5 pm this afternoon, monitoring Twitter, I found Vodafone being mentioned almost once every minute. It is so essential for brands to monitor and engage. Engage with your customers where they are. Social Media. Offline. Mobile.

Ok, ok – before i go on and speak more about strategy, I should mention the post about “Don’t litter Twitter” by the guys from Jam. I think we should all have “freedom of speech” and should be allowed to say what we want.

If our followers drop/un-follow or if people don’t want to listen what we have to say – then that is ok. I don’t follow everyone back either. However, with brands it is different. They need to listen and get a more “personal” profile on the social media space in order to meet their customers on the same level.

Vodafone has sorted things this time, in future and I am confident they will engage with customers more in the future and think about their social media strategy. Happy to help you if you like!

Thanks again for sorting things out and getting things right. Whilst obviously being subjective, I think that was an objective way of putting things πŸ™‚

Happy to keep everyone posted of the progress!

Can Vodafone win me back last minute?

I am sitting here and just do NOT understand.

You must by now got the message of what I think of Vodafone. I hate Vodafone’s customer service. I direct messaged with the director of customer service on Twitter until he unfollowed me, and emailed with his team and finally got moved to a business account. That was, after I had to sign another direct debit mandate and form, because the online form we discussed several times on the phone had suddenly disappeared.

Now, I am officially a business customer and can upgrade my account. However, the upgrade means I need to pay for a new phone rather than getting one for free. To get the latter, I need to cancel my contract, change to a pay as you talk contract, and then come back to Vodafone as a new business customer. Could that be the solution.

I tried. I really think I tried it all. Writing on Twitter, being friendly in emails, asking for nothing else but being transferred to be a Vodafone business customer for a better deal and a free phone, and then, when I thought everything is sorted, I get stabbed in the back. I have to pay for the handset, a whopping Β£280.

So I wrote them another email, asking to sort things out by close of play today but they didn’t. 4 hours seemed enough to react to a customer enquiry, one that is ongoing for several weeks.

Now, all I can do is wait or cancel. The problem is that I don’t really want to change providers but Vodafone does not leave me a choice. I have to leave a brand I like, a company I care about but their customer service is just so bad.

Go on Twitter and search for Vodafone and you find out how many people talk bad about them. Shame!

I guess it is GOODBYE Vodafone – and the iPhone at last? Or Orange? I keep you posted.