I joined Red Hat in December of 2011. Before that I was the Senior Marketing Manager for Phonebooth, part of Bandwidth.com.
Career accomplishment you’re most proud of:
I’ve been fortunate enough to bring several successful products to market, but the launch of Phonebooth has been the biggest yet. We had a variant of our product that was due to release and we needed to make a major splash at SXSW with tons of competition. Our plan and execution allowed us to attract over 10,000 SMBs to our product in less than four months. It was named the third best launch at SXSW behind Twitter and Foursquare.
Decision I wish I could do over:
I wish I would have been more involved in marketing from an early age. In college, I focused on getting my work done, doing some web design to pay the bills and graduating as soon as possible. If I went back to do it again, I would have offered to work for free at several targeted companies to broaden my experience and network as quickly as possible. My advice to young marketers is to put yourself out there before you have more financial burdens. If you’re fortunate enough to not have to work a full-time job, use your free time to sharpen your skills and make yourself more marketable.
Size of team:
Currently, our marketing team consists of 4 folks (soon to be 6) within the Cloud Business Unit at Red Hat.
Launching a new cloud product.
What is a typical day like for you?
Several conference calls and meetings, time spent on creating and improving content, working with vendors and partners to push things forward, planning and scheduling, and any other general fire fighting.
How do you measure success:
Share of voice is a big thing we’re focusing on as we’re in a market niche with a lot of noise. We want people to know who we are and what sets our solutions apart. Additionally, we’re focused on bringing in new business (as everyone should be). Personally, I measure my success as never being comfortable. Red Hat is a fast moving and collaborative culture,and it really helps facilitate personal growth and development. There are opportunities to make an impact and stretch yourself past your comfort zone to do great things. I believe that is really important. If you aren’t challenged in your work, you aren’t growing or further developing your skills.
One thing you’d like to do better:
Focus. It’s easy to get sucked in by emails, calls or other diversions when it isn’t always the most important thing to focus on. I continue to work at getting better at saying no and spending time where it adds the most value.
Business professional you’d most like to have lunch with:
Mark Cuban. He’s worked really hard to get to where he is without ever losing himself. I’m also thoroughly impressed by his ability to make quick and precise decisions. Shark Tank is a popular show in our home and Mark Cuban always seems to be the first to put his finger on the pulse of the issue or driver of any potential investment decision. Having that laser-like focus is really fun to see. I’m also a huge basketball fan, so that would be cool to chat about too.
Emerging trend you are most interested in:
Marketing measurement. There are some things as marketers that we know we must do. Some that we have to do. Others that we file in an experimental category. But, it is extremely important to know how to frame any decision or what you’re working on to show success. This isn’t always dollars, as it could be a decision that simply improves company perception (which could drive more leads and more dollars). It is alarming that many marketers aren’t able to take a project, campaign or initiative and structure it in a way to report on its success after a given period of time. I wouldn’t say it is an emerging trend, but one that it really important for any marketer. Great marketing will only get you so far if you can’t present what you’re doing to a C-level executive.
That many marketers can’t measure their success, and that many view social media as a new thing on its own island. Social media is a set of tools that allows marketers to do the things they’ve always done in new places – communicate. It is much easier to do this, but it isn’t new at all. It also fits into larger business and marketing objectives. We have to get away from the silo approach and figure out how everything fits together to make our businesses better.
If I weren’t a marketer, I would be…
An entrepreneur / work at home dad. Having an 8 month old has given me lots of perspective about what is important, and I’d love to spend even more time at home. I’m really passionate about bringing new ideas and products to market and would probably try to do more of that if I wasn’t a professional marketer. I was very close to being both an architect or a teacher at different points in time, but everything led me back to marketing. It’s in my DNA I guess. I ran a Nintendo game rental business when I was 5 years old and even came up with special bundled deals to rent more games… I guess I ended up in the right field.
ASPE’s Golden Ticket promotion started its run in our most recent Course Catalog. The code GOLDENTICKET allowed any customer to book onsite training for 20% off before March 31, 2012. The second part of this promotion gave ONE lucky customer the chance to win a FREE 2-day onsite training session for up to 10 people. Who is this ONE lucky customer you may ask?
Even though our Golden Ticket promotion is over, you still have time to register for a chance to win one of two iPads! Visit http://www.aspeinc.com/ipad/ to register! Our next drawings will be on May 15th and June 19th. You could be one of our iPad winners!
“I want to make the workplace somewhere that you positively want to be; somewhere that grows your experience of life and grows your creativity rather than sucks it out of you. A workplace that achieves that is the future.” — Sir John Hegarty, BBH
A few weeks back, I read the most recent issue of Think Quarterly on creativity. Think is an online quarterly publication from Google, and I highly recommend you take the time to read it. It is in no way a Google product brochure. As the title suggests, the sole purpose of the publication is to make you think, so most issues include interviews and thought provoking editorial pieces by extremely intelligent folks that you may not already be familiar with.
In the latest issue, there is an interview with Sir John Hegarty of BBH, a London-based advertising agency best known for its slogan “When the world zigs…We zag!”, which they popularized as a campaign slogan for Levi’s but is also the BBH company motto. Hegarty has a 40-year advertising career that includes work with most of the world’s most well known brands, but like his trademark checked suits suggest, he is a progressive thinker that is as cutting edge as any executive in the industry. The article is called The Creativity Club. Needless to say, I was ecstatic to read that a lot of what he is thinking about right now is in line with something that has been troubling me.
I have found myself over the last couple of months reevaluating our department and office structure (not for any other reason than looking at ways to improve what we do and how we work). Much of it stems from recent presentations on the Millenial generation and its future impact on the workplace. Most of the talking points focus on short-term changes associated with things like paid time off, office decor/environment and incentives/motivation, but the section that looks at demographic data associated with this generation, that will make up most of the workforce in a couple years, has really made me think about the long-term implications.
The current model of the office environment must change.
I believe that the most successful companies in the world are those that have pioneered some sort of fundamental innovation. Their success has hinged on that innovative productive, but that idea was only born because the company operated in an environment that fostered creative thinking. Creativity and innovation are ingrained in the culture, and often the office itself. Think of the offices of companies like Google and Wieden+Kennedy. Their offices are more of a loose, casual think-tank where talented people just happen to assemble in order to drive products and ideas forward. I mean, when was the last time you held a concert at your office? Do you have a basketball court or bicycles for your employees to use whenever they want?
You’re not so proud of that company-provided snack room anymore are you? Or maybe your’re rolling your eyes thinking these are just distractions for your employees that will reduce productivity. But when was the last time you had employees at your office at 8pm during the week because they wanted to be there?
As Hegerty puts it,
“Increasingly, we’re looking at a world where ideas are fundamentally important, one in which creativity is going to be central to the future of our economy. The question is: How do you engender that? How do you actually increase creative activity? I look at the environment. If you go back 30, 40, 50 years and look at the office, it was a very austere place – desks were in formal lines and you had to work until a bell sounded. Gradually, we loosened that up because we want people to be freer, we want employees to think more, and we want them to enjoy what they’re doing. We brought in potted plants and furniture designers. Today, we have coffee bars where people can mingle and exchange thoughts and ideas.”
These ‘distractions’ have a purpose, and it will be those companies that embrace them that continue to have success 10 years from now. Happy employees stick around. They are the ones you invest in and ultimately get shining careers, and work, out of. But many companies are already starting to embrace these ideas. It is nothing new.
The place where we work has to evolve, but what about the way work?
As co-working spaces and remote and contract employees become more prevalent, we must start asking ourselves whether our employees really need to be in the office from 8am to 5pm. Technology has reached a point where the remote employee can now be as productive as the cubicle worker. The communication obstacle has been solved. This has also enabled the contract worker to become more integrated into our organizations. We are no longer restricted to the talent pool located geographically around us. We can tap into a global resource pool of the most-talented people. We do not have to compromise anymore.
“But there has been another fundamental shift: Many people don’t want to work at one job all the time. They want to work for three or four months of the year, take a couple of months off and go somewhere, look at something, read something, do something – enrich their lives in some way…Our traditional, formal way of employing people runs counter to the way they want to work. But I don’t want to lose talented people at BBH simply because we can’t accommodate their creative impulses. As both working life and the office itself become less structured, I see an alternative vision: The office as a members’ club. The club is run by a core of senior executives who organize it. Rather than a traditional employee, you’re a member, available to work on projects. As you only get paid when you work, if you want to go to Tibet for three months to study that’s okay – there’ll be another project waiting when you return.
I want to loosen up the process and make the workplace somewhere that you positively want to be; somewhere that is stimulating and invigorating, where you meet different people and encounter different ideas; somewhere that grows your experience of life and grows your creativity rather than sucks it out of you. A workplace that achieves that is the future.”
- Sir John Hegarty, BBH
I 100% agree and have discussed a similar idea with local company presidents/CEOs a few times before reading the article. At first they are hesitant, but by the end of the conversation most are scratching their head. They see the value, but struggle with how we make the leap from where we are today. I personally don’t think it will be a choice we, as managers, get to make.
Our employees and the workforce will drive the change.
As the economy recovers, people will start taking more risks. We will see more people move to consulting roles. There will be some groups of these workers that band together to create small companies, but many will work for themselves as a company of one. Companies will put out RFQs for project-based work and we’ll hire those folks that meet our requirements and budgets. As Hegarty sees it,
“Of course, you can’t operate without process. The trouble in large companies is that process takes over as you struggle to make the machine work. But in a club, the permanent members – the senior executives – are the ones who operate the process and make it work. Those people are dedicated to it, freeing up the other members to come and go as they please. In turn, those members have to be given flexibility and have to be allowed to fail. As long as you’ve done all the things that you should do, if something fails, we’ll accept that. It’s going to happen. It must happen if you’re going to be constantly pushing the edges of the envelope.”
Where do you stand?
Do you agree? Disagree? Do you believe this is the direction we are headed? What steps are you taking to be ready for this evolution?
Profiling is often seen as an ugly word, and an even uglier activity. While true in the vast majority of context, profiling in marketing is not only necessary: it’s required. Marketing profiling is a fundamental skill critical for marketing success. Customers will quickly come for you with their torches and pitchforks if you don’t send them timely and relevant messages. But how are you supposed to know who to send what? Whether electronic or print, television or radio, marketing messages must be based on the audience being engaged. Do you sell lipstick in the sports section of the paper? Do you sell Budweiser in Golf Digest? The perfect message/campaign is doomed to fail if it does not reach the right people. It is concerning that everywhere you turn these days, you are exposed to Internet marketing pundits putting less and less emphases on profiling.
On Thursday, April 19th ASPE presented the free web seminar “Profiling 101: The Lost Art.” This web seminar was a debate between the traditional profiling strategies of ASPE’s President, David Mantica versus the “new school” digital profiling strategies of ASPE’s VP of Marketing, JT Moore.
Link Building is one of the most important parts of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is especially true for very competitive keyphrases. It also tends to be the most difficult aspect of SEO as well as the most risky. There are many ways to do it wrongly. On Tuesday, April 10th ASPE instructor Mike Marshall presented the free web seminar “SEO Link Building: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” In this web seminar, Mike discussed the wrong ways of going about link building, why they are wrong, and, more importantly, the answers to some critical questions about doing it the right way.
Some people say that QR codes are boring, and they aren’t leading anywhere. This is not a statistical explanation why I disagree, but purely for entertainment. I’ve compiled a list of my top 10 favorite uses of QR codes. Some are funny or controversial, some have great branding, and some I just downright love. Please feel free to comment on these, or share your own favorite uses of QR codes.
1. The World Park Campaign at Central Park in New York – This is also one of the first (and best) uses of QR codes I saw. I’m a fan for several reasons: I’m a nerd and love trivia; they integrated technology to reach their target audience (younger park visitors); who doesn’t love interactive outdoor museums? It was the largest QR code event.
2. Korean grocery store Homeplus (formerly Tesco) uses QR codes for mobile grocery shopping – This was one of the first examples of using QR codes for practical purposes that I saw. Anybody who has lived in a major city knows the hassle of grocery shopping and the boredom that can come while waiting in a subway station. Tesco took their advertising, brand strategy and consumer knowledge to the next level with this one.
3. Radisson Edwardian Hotels use QR codes for menu items – “Knowing how a dish looks at the point of ordering can be very influential.” I cannot agree more with the E-commerce Manager Amy Clarke. Seeing pictures on a menu sell me on a dish, let alone a QR code that will take me to a video telling me ingredients and how it’s prepared by the chef. I’m hungry just thinking about it.
4. Edible QR Codes – Demo Slam’s contest of making edible QR codes that could be recognized by Google Goggles. I just like this one.
5. Beach volleyball duo puts sponsors QR codes on bikinis – Attention getting, entertaining and controversial. Betfair, an online gambling exchange based in the United Kingdom, made a sponsorship deal with Zara Dampney and Shauna Mullin to place QR codes on their bums during a tournament in August 2011. It made waves, but I don’t think they really care. They’re heading to play as the host team at the Horse Guards Parade in the London 2012 Olympics (sans the codes due to Olympic regulations).
6. Victor Petit’s Resume – A QR code on your resume leading to a site about you is okay, but a code that leads to a video of you giving your elevator speech, that will get attention. Victor Petit did just that when trying to find an internship in communications. I bet it worked.
7. San Antonio’s guided River Walk tour – Last year San Antonio stationed 12 QR codes along the beautiful Hugman River. Similar to my favorite World Park campaign, this is a huge asset to the travel and tourism industry. You don’t need to worry about getting around a foreign city if the map you pick up has a code for a landmark and by scanning it you get directions and a description in your language. Other cities that have guided QR tours include New York and Long Beach, Wa.
8. Hobo QR Codes – A bit impractical, but a great way to voice consumer opinions. Golan Levin created software that allows you to create stencils and then mark where appropriate. You can create codes that when scanned contain images and text. What a considerate way to tell the tech savvy driver not to park here.
9. Macy’s Backstage Pass (photo) – Located in malls and stores across America, Macy’s Backstage Pass campaign in 2011 featured many of their spokespeople, from Martha Stewart to Puff Daddy (or Sean Combs, or whatever name he’s going by now) to Bobbi Brown. When scanned, they gave tips to shoppers, who were also eligible to win a shopping spree. I also like this campaign because the QR code itself is within the logo they rebranded with about six years ago when they launched their stars lines.
10. Every Bud Tells a Story by Budweiser – Several breweries and distributors picked up on QR codes within the past year. My particular favorite was Budweiser. Not only did it tell you the born on date of your beer, but taught you about the process, ingredients, and who made your beer, literally.
So tell me, what’s your favorite use of a QR code? What’s your least favorite? What’s the most unique one you’ve seen?
Increasing your online lead generation is the number one goal for online marketers these days. Many marketing professionals are just now realizing that getting users to click on your site is only half the battle. Getting them to purchase, register and fill out forms, or call, are the true goals and are what moves our revenue needles. Having a good conversion rate of your online leads is key in today’s online marketing departments. On Tuesday, April 3rd ASPE instructor Jeremy Smith presented the free web seminar “7 Immediate Steps to Increase Online Lead Generation.” In this web seminar, he discussed the 7 fastest ways to increase your online leads. You will learn how to optimize specific campaigns for immediate results. He also explained the basic elements of online lead generation for any campaign and 5 simple techniques to breaking down and analyzing your landing pages.
People who do business usually need to print something at one point or another: business cards, capabilities statements, handouts, stationery, invitations, direct mail, the list goes on. If you’re like most people, you probably haven’t worked in the printing industry before, and printing terminology can seem foreign. You won’t learn the ins and outs overnight, but as any savvy business person knows, you need to know the basics to clearly communicate what you want. This is an overview of the main components and common terms you should know.
We keep hearing it – PPC. What is this strange acronym everyone keeps talking about? PPC actually stands for Pay per click and is sometimes referred to as CPC, or Cost per click. According to Wikipedia, the definition of PPC (Pay per click) is “an internet advertising model used to direct traffic to a website, where advertisers pay the publisher when the ad is clicked.” These ads can be shown on websites or in search engine results.
Below are the Google search results for the search “what is PPC.” On the left, the red arrow is pointing to the PPC ads resulting from this search.
As stated earlier, PPC ads can be shown on actual websites as well. These types of PPC ads, like the ones below are called content ads or display ads and can be shown one of two ways, with an image or with text.
How do they work?
The most common type of PPC is bid-based PPC. Based on the advertiser’s strategy, they will choose a list of keywords, keyword phrases, keyword groups or categories, that when searched, they want their ads to be shown. They’ll then compete in a private auction, most commonly hosted by an advertising network, against other advertisers to have their ads shown when these keywords are searched. Advertisers can specify a maximum amount they wish to pay per keywords and then this automated auction takes place each time the keyword is searched.
Money is not the only factor in deciding which advertiser wins the auction. Relevance plays a huge role in this as well. The host will look at the content of the actual ad, as well as the landing page associated with the ad. A combination of maximum bid, relevance of the ad, and relevance of the landing page and click through rate will all factor together to decide whose ad is shows and where it is shown.
What’s the point?
First of all, traffic. On average, PPC advertising accounts for 20% of the traffic coming to our website. We can increase or decrease that percentage as we see necessary – which leads me to its second benefit. Second is control; control of traffic and control of information. With most websites, it takes time to rank well in organic search results. But with PPC, you can create almost instant traffic and have the control to turn it on or off. You also control the information your visitors are accessing. Even with the most advanced SEO techniques, it’s ultimately up to search engines to decide which pages are displayed in search results and what information is displayed for those pages. With PPC ads, you decide what information is shown in search results and direct where it will take your visitor.
How do I get started?
There are a ton of resources out there for anyone who wants to get started with PPC advertising. Considering Google AdWords is one of the most common forms of Pay per click advertising, I would suggest starting with Google’s AdWords Help Center. Another great resource straight from Google is the Inside AdWords blog, a daily publication of AdWords news, information and tips.
For step-by-step instruction starting with setup all the way to managing your campaigns, check out ASPE’s own Mastering Google AdWords course. Not only will you learn how to use, optimize and track your AdWords campaigns, you’ll have the option to take the Google Advertising Fundamentals exam in class, the first of 2 exams needed to become a Google AdWords Certified Professional.
Still have questions? Feel free to leave a comment or shoot me a tweet – @sonbirdtb.