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July 2014 archive

Local Mobile Search: In-store Purchases the Biggest Benefactor

This blog was originally posted on

When it comes to driving customers to make purchases at a physical store, there is general online marketing and then there is nitty-gritty local search marketing. No matter which vehicle you champion, a recent survey suggests the latter can be exceptionally lucrative for brick-and-mortar businesses.

According to a Local Search Study73 percent of local searches on mobile devices turned into purchases at a physical store.


Web Seminar Recap: Programmatic Advertising 101

The Interactive Advertising Bureau reported that roughly 20% of all digital advertising is sold by one machine talking to another machine – and that number is growing rapidly. What is programmatic buying and selling? What does it mean for you as a marketer and how do you harness the power of this technology to reach more qualified users, more efficiently and at scale? Attendees who tuned in for an intro to Programmatic Buying learning the fundamentals including the basic concepts and terminology, key players in the programmatic ecosystem, types of inventory as well as key terminology to put your best programmatic foot forward.

This one hour seminar, Programmatic Advertising 101, was held on Friday July, 25th at Noon and was presented by Kate Stonich.

Missed this seminar? Catch up with the slides and recording.


“Not Provided” Haunting the Dreams of Every Marketer

Everyone has seen it and everyone has been frustrated by it. When “Not Provided” shows up on your click report for paid ads, you can bet that almost every corporate marketer has wanted to just to shout in agony about how much Google sucks (even though we still secretly worship them). Google announced in April that they will no longer be providing query data from the referrer for ad clicks that originated from SSL Google searches. This essentially means that you will no longer be able to tell what keywords most people are using during search queries.

This is what you’re more than likely going to see (and I can guarantee that top spot will contain 90% or more of your keyword data):



What does Google have to say? Google released an official report after dropping this bomb. They essentially cited security reasons that were the basis of their decision. Google said, “We are extending our efforts to keep search secure by removing the query from the referrer on ad clicks originating from SSL searches on” Even though some might roll their eyes at this lackluster reasoning, it is still important to protect the privacy and security of Google users.

Google, however, is in turn emphasizing the tools that we still have access to. Truthfully, this is not a great loss considering all of the powerful tools that still exist in AdWords, Google Webmaster Tools and more. We are still able to mine useful data that, most importantly, doesn’t cost a thing. To replace this function, Google suggests using the AdWords API Search Query Performance Report or the AdWords Scripts Report service to access detailed and similar information. Though neither will provide an exact match in function, they both still generate excellent and easily actionable data.  This is not a new change either; this motion has been in the works since 2011. The “not provided” function has been a source of frustration for many years but this is just one of the many quirks that come with using the tools within AdWords and Analytics. This change is just going to be something that we have to come to accept and use to adjust our process of analyzing referrer data from ads.

The take away from this situation is, frustrating as it may be, using what you have to best of your ability. Take the data that Google does give you and build on it, enhance it, and correlate it with other pieces to give your data more meaning. This “not provided” is only a sliver of the data that you have at your disposal.  Even more importantly, use this as chance to sharpen your analysis skills and learn not to depend on Google, but on your own expertise.

Agile Marketing and the Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Avoidance of Accountability

In my last post, I discussed how the framework from “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable” by Patrick Lencioni can illustrate how and why adopting Agile Marketing and the scrum process leads to success.  And I drilled-down on the third dysfunction: lack of commitment.

Picking up from that point, let’s look at the fourth dysfunction: avoidance of accountability.  This stems directly from the lack of accountability.  The connection is pretty obvious – it’s hard to hold people accountable to stuff they didn’t commit to in the first place.  It’s really that simple.  What happens if someone tries to hold someone accountable?  You get the all-too-familiar response:

“Well I never agreed to that.”

And it’s true – they didn’t.  With the team’s fear of conflict, nobody was pressed hard to be specific about what they were expected to do.  Instead, the team moved forward with vague and ambiguous plans about what they should do.  And you see obvious symptoms in the team’s behavior such as:

  • Mediocrity is the accepted goal/norm
  • Team members resent other members who claim anything above mediocrity, e.g. “well he just has low standards”
  • Only the team leader is expected to hold people accountable

The first two behaviors aren’t hard to understand.  After all, when there’s no conflict, no commitment, and no accountability, why shoot for anything beyond what’s good enough to avoid getting fired?  And letting other people look good only makes you look worse, so you can’t let that happen.  That last behavior is the real kicker for me though – in high-performing teams, team members regularly hold each other accountable.  Of course, those high-performing teams trust each other, embrace constructive conflict, and truly commit to their work so it’s a lot easier to see how they would be comfortable holding each other accountable.  But not so easy in a dysfunctional team – that’s why it’s always left to the leader since it’s their “job” to do so.  And it’s rarely done with any consistency or passion.

So how does the Agile Marketing philosophy and the scrum process address this dysfunction?

  • Agile Marketers value delivering a remarkable customer experience

It’s not actually a part of the formal Agile Marketing Manifesto, but I always teach it as the unwritten underlying principles behind what we do as marketers – we’re not aiming for quick and dirty here, we’re trying to truly delight customers.  So right off the bat, mediocrity is not part of the Agile Marketing mindset.  There is such a thing as “good enough”, but it still has to be “good” and that’s definitely not the same as “mediocre”.

  • Scrum daily stand-ups engrain personal accountability


Web Seminar Recap: How to Steal Your Competitors’ Facebook Fans

Facebook is an excellent place to gain new customers, if you know where to start.  However, when starting from scratch, it can be very difficult to gain traction for your online campaigns.

One of the easiest ways to start is by stealing your competitors’ Facebook fans.  In all honesty, if they are interested in your competitor’s products or service, shouldn’t they also be interested in yours? In this web seminar we discussed the following:

•        How to analyze a competitor’s fan page for engagement
•        The tools that the pro’s use to analyze your competition
•        How to target your competitors’ Facebook fans through retargeting with Facebook ads

Stealing your competitors Facebook fans is a very simple process once you understand the key steps in order to achieve maximum results.  After this 1 hour web seminar, How to Steal Your Competitors’ Facebook Fans that was presented by Cedric Williams on 7/23/14, attendees obtained a bulletproof checklist that will enable users to immediately engage competitors’ Facebook fans.

Missed this seminar? Download the slides and recording here.

Agile Marketing and the Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Lack of Commitment

In my last post, I discussed how the framework from “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable” by Patrick Lencioni can illustrate how and why adopting Agile Marketing and the scrum process leads to success.  And I drilled-down on the second dysfunction: fear of conflict.

Picking up from that point, let’s look at the third dysfunction: lack of commitment.  This stems directly from the fear of conflict.  And that probably isn’t obvious to a lot of people.  In short, when team members fear conflict, they don’t have meaningful discussion and important issues don’t get resolved.  And most people won’t truly “buy in” to a decision if they feel like they didn’t have input or that their input wasn’t taken seriously.  This leads to some obvious symptoms in team behavior:

  • Ambiguous decisions and goals
  • Analysis paralysis for really important decisions

Why?  Without feeling an issue has been given its due diligence, people only agree in vague terms to ambiguous objectives – anything more specific would’ve required resolving conflicting view points and opinions.  And if the matter at hand is really important, people avoid that like an albatross.  Rather than admit they don’t want to be held accountable for it, they deem it needs more research until the answer becomes incontrovertibly clear to everyone (which rarely happens).

So how does the Agile Marketing philosophy and the scrum process address this dysfunction?

  • Agile Marketers value validated learning over opinions and conventions

That’s straight out of the Agile Marketing Manifesto.  And it’s a wordy way of saying that we try to use data to make decisions because data doesn’t lie.  Obviously, if we have objective metrics to base decisions upon, it eliminates a lot of room for ambiguity.  And as marketing technologies continue to advance, we are finding more and more ways of getting compelling data to use in more and more situations.

  • Scrum requires unambiguous goals for each sprint


Web Seminar Recap: What Type of Content Gets Shared the Most on Twitter

Have you ever wondered what type of content gets the most eyeballs on Twitter?  Whether that content is images, videos, blog posts, quotes or memes, all content is shared in different ways on Twitter.  We analyzed a ton of content and studied data from several reports; some content definitely gets shared more than other content.  During this web seminar we shared what we found and answered these questions and more:

•        Do images perform better than text tweets?
•        Does “how to” content get shared more than any other?
•        Do questions outperform quotes or vice versa?
•        How can you create specific content for your audience for maximum exposure?

There is a plethora of data about what content works and what doesn’t.  Attendees walked away from this web seminar knowing what content to create, how to research previous content and how to determine and analyze the amount of shares it has received.

This one hour seminar, What Type of Content Gets Shared the Most on Twitter, hosted by Cedric Williams on Wednesday July 16th, 2014.

Missed this seminar? Download the slides and recording here!

Web Seminar Recap: How to Avoid and Recover from Google’s Penguin Penalty

As Google continues to be more aggressive in their efforts to uncover and penalize business owners simply trying to build their rankings, you need to know how to protect your website from becoming another SEO casualty.

Has your website recently seen a significant decrease in rankings or traffic?
Do you have a notice in Google Webmaster Tools indicating a manual action against your site for unnatural linking practices?
Have you ever, or are you currently considering, building links to your website to improve your rankings?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you HAVE to review this FREE webinar. Attendees learned how certain types of linking practices place your site at risk for being penalized. Attendees also learned how to determine if you have been impacted by Google’s Penguin update and the steps you have to take in order to recover your rankings and traffic.

Don’t wait until it is too late before educating yourself on a topic that has left many SEO companies baffled and their clients with a costly clean-up project and a tarnished image with Google. Users who attended this 1 hour seminar, How to Avoid and Recover from Google’s Penguin Penalty which was hosted by Jacob Bohall, were provided with priceless information to ensure SEO efforts are not leaving sites vulnerable and provided attendees with the knowledge needed to be proactive in cleaning up your backlink profile or preparing for a reconsideration request.

Missed this seminar? Review the slides and recording here!

Agile Marketing and the Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Fear of Conflict

Fear of Conflict

In my last post, I discussed how the framework from “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable” by Patrick Lencioni can illustrate how and why adopting Agile Marketing and the scrum process leads to success.  And I drilled-down on the first dysfunction: absence of trust.

Picking up from that point, let’s look at the second dysfunction: fear of conflict.  This stems directly from the absence of trust.  When team members aren’t comfortable being open and honest about their strengths and weaknesses, then conflicts about real issues are avoided because people too easily take them as personal attacks.  E.g. do you really think there’s a better way of doing that, or are you implying I’m incompetent at my job?  As a result, there are some rather obvious symptoms in team behaviors:

  • Meetings are boring because “arguments” are quickly shut-down to keep the peace
  • People use sarcasm and innuendo rather than constructive criticism
  • Lots of politics behind the scenes

The reasons for those behaviors should be pretty obvious.  If you don’t trust each other, you won’t risk engaging in honest, productive discussions that may involve conflict.  And conflict isn’t a bad thing – it’s pretty far from being a four-letter word.  Honest conflict shines a light on legitimate differences in opinion and provides an opportunity to get people on the same page.

So how does the Agile Marketing philosophy and the scrum process address this dysfunction?

  • Agile Marketers value many small experiments over a few large bets

That’s straight out of the Agile Marketing Manifesto.  And this time I want to emphasize the phrase “may small experiments”.  When there is conflict about which marketing tactics to use, what content to produce, what differentiators to highlight, etc. an Agile Marketer is comfortable with trying multiple options with an open mind to see what works and what doesn’t.  That provides a constructive avenue to channel that type of conflict and it produces valuable insights to the team.

  • Scrum defines certain roles and responsibilities

Conflict does not need to be resolved through consensus.  In fact, consensus is often the wrong goal – focus instead on reaching a decision that people feel like they were genuinely involved in.  Even if it’s not the outcome they want, most reasonable people will feel comfortable with a decision so long as they feel they were able to give input and have it genuinely considered.  And in scrum, if it’s a decision about priority or goals – the Marketing Owner role makes the decision.  And if it’s a decision about how to do something or how much effort to estimate – the Team makes the decision.

  • Scrum encourages constructive conversation


5 Technical SEO Tips Every Marketer Should Know

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is not a one-time process. You can’t launch a site, add some content, and then walk away. If you build it, they will come is not a guarantee for websites. However, there are some technical things you can do with your site that will put you ahead of the game while you are determining your social media and site content strategy. If you have a content management system for your site, like WordPress, many of these technical suggestions are fairly easy to do. If you are not able to make changes to your site, talk to your webmaster about these modifications that will enhance your SEO ranking.

Title Tag

In the simplest terms, think of page tags as a way to describe your site. There are lots of debates about the most important page tags and I would have to say that the <title> tag is at the top of the list. To view the title tag when you are on a web page, move your mouse to the tab of your browser, but do not click.  When you hover there, you should see the title tag displayed. If you have trouble seeing it that way, you can also right-click on a page and choose “view source” from the pop-up menu. This will let you see the title tag within the source code. Try this on the ASPE-ROI Blog by going to If you look at the source code, you will see <title>ASPE-ROI Blog | ROI News, Updates and Blog Post</title> which is a great description of what this page is about. You want to fit your company name and keyword in here while keeping it to 60 characters.

Meta Description