The Internet Marketing Driver: Glenn Gabe's goal is to help marketers build powerful and measurable web marketing strategies.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Analyticza™ Pill Arrives and Curbs Addiction to Web Analytics Reporting

Analyticza pills help curb severe obsession with web analytics reporting.
The makers of Webmarktrium™ now bring you Analyticza™,
the most powerful way to curb your compulsive web analytics disorder.

Just 1 Analyticza™ per day enables you to lead a healthy, normal life free of obsessive analysis of your web analytics reporting.

Does This Sound Familiar?
Do you have a compulsion with web analytics reporting?* Do you feel a sudden urge to check your web analytics reports?
* Do you wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat thinking about which websites or blogs are linking to you?
* Can you not go more than 2 hours without checking your analytics package?
* Do you search for reasons just to log on and check your web stats?

Then Analyticza™ might be for you!

Analyticza can help you get your life back!Analyticza™ is lactose free, does not contain wheat, fish, nuts, or artificial colors and is 98% organic. Analyticza™ has a soft, gel-like outer covering so you can take as many Analyticza™ as you need while at work, in meetings, during exercise, at social events, or any other activity where you want to curb your addiction to web analytics.

Find out today why the country’s top physicians call Analyticza™, “The cure for the statistics-hungry demon inside every web marketer.”

Don’t wait any longer! Contact your physician today about getting started. Your life is waiting for you…and it’s a life free of web analytics compulsion.

Please view important safety information before taking Analyticza™:

Important Safety Information:

1. The most common side effects of Analyticza™ include tremors, headaches, wheezing, and eyestrain. Less commonly occurring reactions include hair loss and nose bleeds.

2. When taken on an empty stomach, Analyticza™ may cause excessive analysis of referring sites and backlinks, which in some cases lead to stalking of referring website owners. In extreme cases, restraining orders were necessary.

3. When taken in conjunction with executing busy holiday marketing schedule, Analyticza™ may cause sleepwalking and then analyzing web marketing reporting, with amnesia of the event. Some patients were found in their offices, still in their pajamas (or less), reviewing reporting while still asleep. Termination and lawsuits followed in 65% of the cases.

4. Patients focused on gaining high search engine rankings may fall into a search reporting binge, finding each and every keyword they rank for. In addition, these patients were seen randomly blurting out their rankings to people that actually don’t care. In severe cases, patients tracked down competitors they outrank, performed “keyword celebrations” on the front lawns of their competitors, and typically end up in custody. Analyticza™ does not condone “sticking it” to your competitors with excessive celebrations.

5. Missed dosages of Analyticza™ in combination with parenting has caused extreme head discomfort due to spouse projection of coffee mug at patient. This typically occurred as patient relapsed and forwarded key metrics to his/her mobile device during birthday party of child. This was often accompanied by mother in law projection of punch bowl, father in law projection of pinata stick, and overall family disgust leading to potential exile of patient. Analyticza™ cannot be held liable for head injuries, family disputes, contusions from pinata sticks, or reimbursement for hotel as a result of exile.

6. If taken for extended periods of time, patient may become immune to Analyticza™, which may cause extreme relapse of compulsive analytics behavior. During relapse, marketers often obsess about Bounce Rate, with aggressive behavior towards coworkers that were part of high bounce rate landing pages. If you experience an obsession with Bounce Rate for longer than 72 hours straight, or what doctors call “Bouncy Bounce Syndrome”, flush all Analyticza™ pills down toilet, eat 9 pounds of parsley, and jog 14 miles. Symptoms should subside within 48 hours.

7. Caution should be taken while taking Analyticza™ when attempting to understand sales attribution across marketing channels. Studies have shown that even small doses of Analyticza™ while trying to determine what “sales attribution” actually means can lead to seizures, migraine headaches, nerve damage, and even stroke in severe cases. Analyticza™ recommends you contact Coremetrics to gain a solid understanding of how sales attribution can impact your web marketing strategies.

8. Taking Analyticza™ while also taking Omega 3 pills has shown a dramatic effect on the physical appearance of patients. Note, this was not the intended use of Analyticza™ and thorough testing has not been conducted as of yet. Please reference photos below. Analyticza™ cannot guarantee similar results, increased dating, a career in modeling, or enhanced popularity.

Patient before taking AnalyticzaPatient after taking Analyticza

9. Taking Analyticza™ while reading top web analytics blogs may cause a sudden increase in blood pressure and anxiety. This occurs as Analyticza™ tries to fight off the urge for web analytics analysis. This can lead to over-commenting on blogs in question, which often leads to biting replies back from web analytics bloggers, and can possibly spiral out of control as supporters of top bloggers unite and retaliate against patient (or what is called “The Blogtzkrieg”.)

10. If you are taking Analyticza™ and find yourself greeting coworkers in the morning with “Hey, guess what I’m ranking for…”, “Guess who was on my site yesterday…”, “Nice bounce rate…”, “I know what you were looking at last night on my blog…”, “You can’t handle my RSS subscription rate...”, or similar phrases, you may need to supplement your Analyticza™ treatment with chemicals peels, yoga, the cabbage diet, high gelatin intake, and possibly hypnosis. It’s obvious that Analyticza™ alone is not working for you. Analyticza™ is not responsible for rumors about your sanity, negative feedback at work, notices from HR that you’re creepy, or simply being made fun of by your coworkers.

11. In some cases, taking Analyticza™ before social events has led to the phenomenon called the 6 degrees of blogging. This occurs when you take a normal conversation and somehow connect it with your own blog by 6 degrees. For example, “Hey John, how about that Yankee game last night?” Analyticza™ patient responds, “Great game, I can’t believe A-Rod hit another home run, he just did an interview with ESPN, didn’t ESPN just run a segment on his agent Scott Boras, Scott Boras makes his players a lot of money, by the way, did you know that my blog post about sports contracts ranks #4 in Google?" Person leaves conversation and thinks Analyticza™ patient is weird. This may happen multiple times during the social event. If it does, force feed Analyticza™ patient lots of alcohol, as much as you can find until symptoms subside (or patient passes out).

12. Patients that mistakenly overdose on Analyticza™ may lose interest in Web Analytics altogether. This typically results in lack of segmentation, loss of search rankings, misallocation of ad spend, and failed marketing campaigns. Also seen in patients that overdose was an overall lack of understanding of who actually visits the website in question, where they come from, which pages perform best on the website, and how to improve the website. In severe cases, excessive golfing may occur followed by swift termination.

13. How Analyticza™ works is not actually known.

14. In clinical studies, simply reminding yourself that you have a life outperformed Analyticza™ 99% of the time.

15. Try not to take Analyticza™.

Glenn Gabe works hard every day to stop web marketing medication abuse.
Glenn Gabe works hard each day to ensure people don't abuse web marketing medications.

Are you an Analyticza™ patient?
Please tell us how Analyticza™ has impacted your life by adding a comment below!

--Are you looking for the web marketing smart pill named WebMarktrium™?--

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Making Sense of Blog Bounce Rate

Understanding Blog Bounce Rate This is the fourth post in my series on Bounce Rate, which is one of my favorite metrics in web analytics. Many online marketers are concerned with Bounce Rate, which makes a lot of sense since you can learn a lot from this metric… I've recently received many questions about Bounce Rate and how it relates to blog posts, so I thought it would be a good idea to address this topic in a post of my own. Let’s call it “adding context to your blog's bounce rate”.

There are 4 components to this post:
1. Your Blog Philosophy and Goals
2. Your Writing Style and How It Matches the Drivers of Your Readers
3. Related Content
4. Track and Learn

Your Blog Philosophy and Goals:
Determine the goal for your blog. BEFORE you start to analyze bounce rate for your blog posts, you should think about your overall blog philosophy and determine your goals. For example, is your goal to educate readers and to answer questions, are you trying to generate a large readership, will your blog help you sell products or services, is it a key mechanism for getting people to contact you, are you interested in building high search engine rankings, etc? Clearly understanding your goals will help you bring context to the bounce rate of your blog posts. To give a quick example, if your goal is to provide breaking news to your readers, then bounce rate might not be as important as you think. Why? Well, if someone finds your blog post about the latest widget update and they quickly visit the post, check out the breaking news, and then leave, is that bad? No, but that’s technically a bounce. Or, if they find your blog post and immediately choose to subscribe to your RSS feed, is that good or bad? It all depends on your goal... So, stop reading this post for a few seconds and think about the goal of your blog. Then write it down on a sticky note and place that on your desk somewhere you can easily see it. We’ll be referring back to it shortly.

The Angle of Your Blog Posts and the Key Drivers of Your Readers:
Now, let’s take a look at some different types of content and how they match up with the key drivers of your readers. There are a lot of reasons why people visit blog posts and you should try and understand your readers as much as possible in order to provide the best possible experience for them, which in turn, should lead to supporting the goal of your blog. Again, we need to bring context to your bounce rate situation. Note, there are obviously many types of blog posts, but the ones listed below are based on my experience helping clients and working on my own blogs.

Different Types of Blog Posts and Their Effect on Bounce Rate (based on my experience)

1. Educational Posts (Teaching Your Readers Something of Value)
Blog posts that teach your readers something of value. If you know that your readers want to learn something from you, then you have a great chance to provide additional educational content on your blog that would interest them. The key here is to understand what specific topics your readers are interested in based on your analysis, then write high quality posts that focus on that topic, and then provide links to relevant content on your blog. If you understand what your readers want to learn, then there's a good chance they will consume a lot of content on your blog that relates to that topic. And, they will appreciate it…finding your blog a great source of information about an important topic for them.

Educational Posts = Excellent Chance of Low Bounce Rate

2. Focused Entertainment and Isolated Stories
Bill Maher Throws Audience Member Out and Receives over 2000 diggs for it. Some readers simply enjoy finding interesting posts, even if they are very focused and/or isolated. They might love funny blog posts, shocking or disturbing blog posts, unique stories, entertaining posts, misc. facts, weird photos, parodies, etc. If you provide blog posts like this, you might notice higher bounce rates for that specific content. It’s not that readers don’t like you or your posts, it’s just the nature of the content. That said, you still might notice a lot of activity and links (which is a good thing). Think about it, let’s say someone is on digg and clicks through a story to view a video of Bill Maher kicking people out of his audience. You wrote a great post about what happened and how this affects journalists that work in Live TV. You might notice a high bounce rate with this type of post, since the focus might be on finding and watching the video and not on the blog or blog author in question. At this point, look at the sticky note I told you to create a few minutes ago and see how it matches up with the goal of your blog… You might have built 1000 links to your blog from that one post, but no RSS subscriptions. Is that good or bad? Good for organic search, but bad for building readership. Again, it depends on your goal...

Focused Entertainment = Good Chance of High Bounce Rate, but More Eyeballs and Links

3. Product and Service Reviews
Blog posts that provide product or service reviews. Providing reviews based on your expertise is a great way to build a loyal following. The beauty of the web (and blogging and social media), is that you can find reviews from normal, everyday people who will typically give you an honest opinion of a product or service. Readers interested in reviews tend to also follow related content until they have the confidence to make an informed decision. For example, if you review an iPhone and then also review a Blackberry Curve, there’s a great chance readers looking for this type of content will read both posts (as long as you let them know the additional content is there!) More on this later. It makes sense if you think about it. Put yourself in their shoes…you are about to spend a few hundred dollars, you aren’t sure if it’s right for you, and you just found a person like you providing a real-world review without marketing spin. There's a reason that Word of Mouth Marketing (WOM) is as hot as it is now.... Just make sure you find the right blogger…

Product or Service Reviews = Excellent Chance of Low Bounce Rate

4. Blog Posts that Benchmark
Blog posts that benchmark. We’ve all wanted to find blog posts explaining the best way to do something, right? (whether it's for business or personal use) For example, some visitors may be looking for the best way to launch a new business or the best way to improve their golf game. These readers are looking to find the best methods in the industry (whatever industry you are writing about), they want to know which is the best company or who is the top person, how they do it, and how to reproduce that effort in their own life. For example, someone may find your post about how to best run a fundraiser. This type of reader will be more apt to check out related posts, such as how to best organize your fundraising team, which marketing methods work best, and the top venues in your region to hold the fundraiser kickoff. You get the picture…

Benchmarking = Good Chance of Low Bounce Rate

5. Keep Me Posted
Breaking news on your blog.This type of content involves providing quick posts about something you just learned about. For example, when Google Analytics recently announced a series of upgrades, many bloggers who are focused on web analytics wrote quick posts letting their readers know. These posts might show a higher bounce rate than others. Again, it makes a lot of sense… you are quickly letting people know about breaking news so they will probably check out your post quickly and be on their way. You can definitely gain a following by doing this, since you are the source of new information, but you can’t expect these posts to be sticky. That said, these readers might subscribe to your feed, since you keep them posted. :-)

Benchmarking = Good Chance of Higher Bounce Rate, but High RSS Subscriptions

Note, there are obviously additional types of posts and drivers for blog readers, but I’ll keep this post manageable and stop here. Again, these are based on my experience. The main point is to understand the angle of your posts and how these posts match up with what your readers are looking for (what drives them to read blog posts).

The Anti-Bounce
Providing related content is the anti-bounce rate. There is a common thread that’s been running throughout this post…related content. For bloggers that are just starting out, unfortunately, you'll need to write faster. ;-) Once you've created great content on your blog, the next step is to analyze your web analytics and then provide killer content that’s relevant to key posts on your blog. The third step is to make sure readers can find your related content! This can be done in several ways:

Ways to Provide Related Content:
1. Inline Links, or links within the blog post content (my favorite)
2. A list of related posts at the end of the blog post in question
3. Tagging your posts
4. Utilizing your sidebar to provide additional links
5. Providing search functionality

Each of these techniques can work, but I’m a bigger fan of inline links, links below your post, and tagging. In my opinion, inline links actually provide better context for the reader, but that’s just my opinion. For example, I’ve also written blog posts about how to lower your bounce rate. This inline link gives my readers some context.

A Quick Note About Tracking Outbound Clicks and Content Navigation
Tracking outbound clicks and content navigation in your web analytics package. Using your web analytics package, you should definitely track as much as you can to determine behaviors that affect your bounce rate and consumption of blog content. For example, if you track outbound clicks, you can see which external links your readers find most important. This can help you determine which topics are hot and possibly what to focus on in future posts. For example, if you wrote a post about how to better your golf score and you notice a lot of readers clicking on a link to Dave Pelz's Short Game Bible, then maybe your next post should focus on the short game (your golf game within 100 yards). Simple example, but you get the point! BTW, reading Dave's books lowered my golf score by 10 strokes. :)

Web Analytics Note: Google Analytics will soon support tracking of outbound clicks natively. This will make your life a lot easier... rather than manually tagging each outbound link!

Content Navigation is also important to analyze. This is where you can target a blog post in your analytics package and view how visitors got to that specific post and then also view where they go after reading the post. So, you might see 60% of the visitors to a blog post landed on that blog post (the first interaction with your site in a session). Then 80% of those readers went to related posts, 10% bounced, and 10% subscribed to your RSS feed. Viewing content navigation can help you determine how readers behave on your site in relation to the type of blog post you provide.

It’s All About Context
In closing, it’s hard to simply look at Bounce Rate for your blog without understanding the other factors involved. You need context. A high bounce rate a on a blog post might actually make sense, as weird as that sounds. If you start by mapping out a goal for your blog, pay attention to how you write your posts, understand how that matches the drivers of your readers, provide related content easily within your blog posts, and track everything at a granular level, then you can begin to understand blog content and reader behavior. Phew, that’s a mouthful!

Now, in the spirit of this blog post, definitely check out the other posts that are part of my Bounce Rate series! :-)

* Bounce Rate and Exit Rate

* Why is My Homepage Bounce Rate So High?

* 5 More Ways to Lower Your Bounce Rate and Increase Your ROAS


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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Enterprise Rent-A-Car : The Story That Everyone Wants to Hear!

Enterprise Rental Car and Extraordinary Customer ServiceIt ends up my blog post from last week about the drivers of word of mouth marketing had an interesting effect... no matter who I've spoken with recently about web marketing, we somehow come back to the 7 drivers listed in my last post! It’s a weird phenomenon. :-) Over the past week I’ve listened to many stories about how WOM has impacted a wide range of businesses, and out of the 7 drivers of WOM that I listed in the post, the “Extraordinary Customer Experiences” listing really seemed to resonate. I believe this is because it’s something that you as a business owner can directly impact. During my conversations about WOM, I’m inevitably asked if I have an extraordinary customer experience to tell. No, not a client example, but my own experience as Glenn Gabe. That’s actually an easy question for me…it’s my experience with Enterprise Rent-A-Car… hands down. When I tell people about my experience, I get the same reaction almost every time. “You need to write a blog post about that!” So, based on popular demand, here it is… Buckle up and enjoy the ride. No pun intended. ;-)

Have You Heard the Joke About a College Grad, a Bus, and a Resume?
I had just graduated college and I was ready and eager to interview with companies in Corporate America. I was hoping to land a great job in New York, living only 40 minutes outside of the greatest city on earth (OK, I’m biased). I received a call from Perrier about a position in their NYC office. I did a solid job on the phone interview, and I was asked to visit the Manhattan office for a second interview. Cool. I’m excited. So, I had 2 decent choices for getting into NYC from where I lived, the bus to the Port Authority and a train to Hoboken where I could pick up the path to midtown. Being completely inexperienced with commuting to NYC at the time, I chose the bus. I won’t explain all of the intricacies about why the train is better, but to me, the train rules. So, it’s a hot and humid summer day in NY (more on this later), I’m dressed in a new suit that doesn’t really fit well, and I’m off to Manhattan for my interview, ready to take on the world.

Summer in NY
It was 90 degrees that day with high humidity, which means I was miserable as soon as I left the air conditioning… I parked my car near the bus stop and waited for the bus to show up. The 10 minutes waiting for the bus felt like I was in the Sahara Desert and knowing that I had to stay in that suit while acing my interview was starting to freak me out a little bit. Remember, I’m right out of college. The bus arrives and we’re on our way. I noticed immediately that it was really hot on the bus. That’s the proverbial red flag number 1. Just a few minutes into the ride, I noticed the smell of burning oil. Uh oh… Red flag number 2. About 10 minutes into the trip, the bus broke down. So, here I was, at least 2 to 3 miles from my car, on a hot broken down bus, and with no idea how long it would take to fix. And, since I was new at the job hunting game, I didn’t leave enough time in case something catastrophic happened, like this… so there was a good chance that I would miss the interview. Great…

Go West Young Man!
Well, it was actually North, but that’s not important. I climbed off the bus and loosened up my tie, now throwing my jacket over my shoulder. I thought I might as well start walking back to my car. Remember, cell phones weren’t very popular at this point… It’s not like I could quickly call a taxi from the side of the road. I had about 45 minutes to get into NYC for my interview. Only a few minutes into my walk, I came across a line of stores, one of which was an Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Not knowing exactly where I was in relation to where my car was parked, I wanted to ask someone if I was on the right path. So, I walked into Enterprise, sweaty and frustrated and asked if I was heading in the right direction. The manager answered, “Yes, but you’ve got a few miles to walk back to your car.” I frowned, thanked him, and turned back to the door when he asked another question, “Are you going on an interview?” See, I actually looked more like a college grad going on an interview than I thought I did at the time! Big shock, right? I was young, wearing a new suit, and held a cheesy portfolio in my hand (of course with nothing in it but a copy of my resume and blank paper!) So I answered, “Yes, but there’s no way I’m going to make it, since it’s in NYC”. He didn’t hesitate and grabbed his keys. “I’ll drive you to your car. Let’s land you a job.” On the way to my car, I thanked him a few dozen times and even tried to pay him! He of course wouldn’t take any money, but he asked that I follow up with him to let him know how the interview went (and if I made it in time). “You bet I’ll follow up!”

An Important Lesson…Nobody Knows What Happened 15 Minutes Ago…
I hopped in my car and drove into Manhattan like a bat out of hell. I was lucky…I didn’t hit much traffic. I flew through the Lincoln Tunnel, parked near Penn Station, and ran into Penn Plaza. I even got to the office with a few minutes to spare. The hiring manager actually needed a few extra minutes to finish another interview. Phew…no problem. :-) “Tell him to take his time”, I said to the receptionist. That’s when I learned a great lesson that I’ve taken with me to this day. No matter what happens before a sales call or meeting, how hard it is to get there, what happened on the way, heck, what happened on your way up the elevator, nobody knows that… You just need to perform to the best of your ability in the moment and deal with any circumstances later. Anyway, I didn’t mention what happened with the bus to the hiring manager, I did a great job on the interview, and I was pushed to the next level, which was an interview at Perrier headquarters with the Regional Manager. To make a long story short(er), I landed the job and spent the next 7 years at Perrier. Those 7 years truly helped build the entrepreneurial platform that I use every single day. They gave me the best training, education, and real-world experience necessary for me to grow professionally. To me, my experience working at a large company that was going through tremendous growth, with the ability to learn, execute, test, while furthering my education, was critical to my success… Those 7 years definitely changed my life.

“We simply work hard to be the best.”
That quote is directly from the Enterprise Rental Car website, and boy, do I believe that! See, what the manager of Enterprise Rent-A-Car did that summer day truly impacted my life. It’s not a corny cliche, it’s real life. He didn’t need to drive me anywhere… I wasn’t a customer at that point, and never had been. But, he went above and beyond…actually he went way above and beyond. Think about it, how many of your employees would do what he did?? Not many, right? I ended up writing a letter to his Regional Manager about my experience and I hope they plastered that story all over Enterprise Rent-A-Car Land. He deserved to be promoted…and that very day. And of course, I followed up with him to thank him another dozen times.

They’ve Earned a Lifetime Customer Evangelist
My Enterprise Rent-A-Car story is truly an extraordinary customer experience, and one that will be hard for any other company to beat (at least personally). So, when I travel and I’m presented with several options for rental cars, you bet I go with Enterprise every single time I can. I don’t think twice. In addition, I also recommend Enterprise any chance that I get, and coincidentally, this is typically during the meetings that I’m traveling to! it’s darn targeted. :-)

So, have you experienced extraordinary customer service like I did? I’d love to hear your stories (and they don’t need to be as crazy as the one I listed above!) I know the stories are out there…


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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

7 Drivers of Word of Mouth Marketing (WOM)

Drivers of Word of Mouth Marketing (WOM)Word of Mouth Marketing (WOM) has become a hot topic over the past few years in marketing. The web has helped foster the explosive growth of WOM, since it’s a powerful catalyst for spreading the word to targeted individuals in mere nanoseconds! Many companies hear about “empowering customer evangelists” and they want to jump right in. Of course, it’s not that easy, but it is a powerful marketing channel that I recommend to most of my clients (if it fits). More on that later… In my experience over the past 13 years, I have seen how the power of WOM can impact a business. It can be a powerful driver of buzz and sales, to say the least. So why do some products connect with customers and others sit in what I like to call “WOM Limbo”? Let’s face it, some products seem to start a fire under customers and others wander by, simply as part of a business transaction.

So, what drives WOM in customers?
I’ve thought about this a lot over the past 4 or 5 years as WOM has grown in popularity as a marketing channel. In addition, I’ve helped clients try and harness the power of WOM to grow their own businesses and I’ve also kept a close eye on the industry. Last, but definitely not least, I’m a customer evangelist myself, and proud of it! When I find something that impacts my life, I love to tell people about it. So, my consulting, research, observations, and my own experiences as a customer evangelist helped me identify some of the key drivers that cause people to buzz about their favorite products and services. Note, this is obviously not a complete list of all drivers of WOM, but it’s a good start.

1. The “I can do that?” Factor
Meaning, a product or service enables you to do something that you were never able to do. DVR’s come to mind. How many people are ridiculously busy now with work, kids, social life, etc? VCR’s didn’t cut it, and people were not able to catch the shows they wanted to see. Hello TIVO, and now hello DVR’s from every major cable company. When I bought my first TIVO, you couldn’t shut me up. My wife literally had to put a Hannibal Lecter-looking grill on my face to shut me up! :-) Note, you can read more about my adventures with TIVO and the Comcast HD DVR here. The bottom line: Enable customers to do something that they could never do before, and it can be a huge driver of word of mouth for your business.

2. The Early Adopter
Do you know someone who always wants the latest and greatest product? I do, and these people are buzz engines. For example, they buy the latest gizmo and want to tell the world about it. iPods, iPhones, Blu-ray HD DVD players, HD TV’s, and gaming systems like Xbox all come to mind. Not only do early adopters buzz about their latest gadgets, they typically have a platform to drive the message. Can you say blogging anyone?

3. Extraordinary Customer Experiences
We all know what this means…when your experience was so good that you feel obligated to tell the world about it. For me,, Barnes and Noble, Survey Monkey and all come to mind (online). Offline examples include Honda, Enterprise Rental Car, Marriott, and the Ping G5 Driver, the latest weapon in my golf arsenal. :-)

A Small Business Tangent: When I think about small business WOM, the party supply store in my town called Party and More comes to mind. It’s run by a woman (Denise) who truly gets customer service and word of mouth. The first time I was in her store, she spent time speaking with my 3 year old daughter. She gave her a free balloon and was genuinely interested in my daughter’s stories. Then, I saw Denise after my son was born and she gave me a display of balloons for my wife, and also spoke with my daughter about the new addition to our family. Actually, I didn’t even know that Denise owned the business since she was spending so much time with me and my family! Now every time we go to that shopping center, my daughter asks if we can go see “the balloon lady”. And we often do… I also jump at the chance to tell people to go there.

4. It’s So Close, You Can Taste It….So to speak.
Taste and smell are powerful senses…so it should be no surprise that people love to talk about food. Find a healthy alternative to french fries that tastes great, and you’ll probably tell 50 people about it. Or, if you are part of an online community or utilize social media sites, you might be able to tell thousands of people, and fast… For restaurants, you jump up another level…since service is now part of the picture. Now you need outstanding food and good service. Most people know that restaurants depend on positive word of mouth to survive, and negative word of mouth can put them out of business faster than you can say “Check please!”

5. Health
If a product or service positively impacts the health of customers, they tend to want to tell the world. Stories of people diagnosing a problem on WebMD, even when their own doctor didn’t catch it, will drive more people to the site. Omega 3 pills are another good example, with studies showing the impact on mood, brain power, retention, memory, cholesterol, etc. Diets are another good example, since one person that successfully loses weight can drive hundreds or more to the try the same style of diet. We’ve all seen that happen, right?

Dr. Oz on OprahOr, how about the latest craze, Dr. Oz on Oprah. Now, would Dr. Oz be as popular today without Oprah? Probably not, since she was the catalyst for his explosive growth. That's the power of a famous influencer. More on influencers later in the post... WOM has taken over with Oz and many people are talking about him now. So, it looks like you're not in Kansas anymore Dr. Oz.

6. The Power of Children
If it impacts your children, you’ll shout it from every mountain top. Parents would do anything to help their children. Moms and Dads are big drivers of WOM for children’s products, whether it’s toys, cribs, strollers, bedding, car seats, food, etc. Don’t believe me? Visit the babycenter forums and browse around. You’ll be shocked at how much activity goes on there…and for products you never thought existed. Well, like the Munchkin Fresh Food Eater for Babies. My son loves it...

7. It Gives You an Edge Professionally
Everyone wants to succeed at work. So, new applications, classes that enhance your skill-set, new sources of information, new ways to find leads, etc. can all drive WOM. In addition, influencers within specific verticals can drive a lot of business. If you receive an unsolicited endorsement from a key figure in an industry, watch out. Your website may go down from the explosion of traffic. Seriously, I have seen this happen and it’s amazing to watch. In addition, the people calling after reading that endorsement are typically ready to buy. They tend to feel that if John likes it, and they know John, then it's good enough for them. That’s powerful. Note, key influencers actually apply to all categories, but my last point was focused on professional wom (i.e. a leading consultant for leadership development endorsing a new class.)

So, those are 7 key drivers of WOM. Again, this wasn’t meant to cover every driver of WOM, but it’s a start. I plan to expand on this topic in future posts, so stay tuned.

But I’d like to hear from you now. Does your product or service fit into one of these categories? Or is it in WOM Limbo for some reason? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Difference Between Sales and Marketing

The Difference Between Salespeople and MarketersThis past weekend I attended an annual Fall Festival that’s held in my town. It’s a fun time of year in the Northeast, with great weather and Halloween just around the corner. Anyway, there were a lot of people at the festival and a lot of activities, including a section dedicated to local businesses. You know, where businesses can set up booths and interface with prospective customers. I decided to take a walk through this section, and I can tell you, at least half of the people manning their booths shouldn’t have been there in the first place. As I walked by each booth, I began to question whether these were the marketing people who thought it would be a good idea to set up at the festival or if these were actually the salespeople. And, I couldn’t help but think of the stark difference between sales and marketing. A few people were on their cell phones, others were talking with their coworkers and not engaging the crowd, and other booths were flat-out empty. Keep in mind, there were a lot of people at this festival… Luckily there were a few salespeople that I spoke with that were engaging, knowledgeable, and charismatic, which was a breath of fresh air, so to speak. ;-) Although the words tend to be thrown around together, sales and marketing are two very different areas of focus, requiring extremely different skill-sets to succeed.

A closer look at the difference between a marketer and a salesperson:
In a nutshell, a marketer is the person responsible for researching a product or service, exploring target markets, mapping out price points based on several business factors, branding products and services, developing and analyzing campaigns, and yes, helping salespeople understand the unique selling proposition for each product. There are some ultra-talented people in marketing that couldn’t sell their way out of a paper bag.

On the other hand, a salesperson is the connection between marketing and prospective customers. Salespeople live to sell, love to present, look for sales opportunities all of the time, and are highly driven people who risk a good part of their income on their own sales ability. They close deals, period. That said, there are some outstanding salespeople who couldn’t market a product if their lives depended on it. Remember, not "sell", but "market".

I’m a big World War II buff, so here’s one of my war analogies. If a marketer and a salesperson were on a battlefield, the marketer would be mapping out the best possible strategy for success and then handing it to the highly skilled salesperson responsible for charging the hill. In war, if you mix the two up, people die. In business, products and services fail, and people get fired.

Some quick differences between a salesperson and a marketer:

The Marketer:
* Performs market research
* Explores target markets
* Runs focus groups and launches surveys
* Analyzes data constantly
* Develops pricing strategies based on a number of business variables
* Brands products and services
* Develops and analyzes marketing campaigns
* Refines and adjusts marketing strategies based on data and feedback
* Can answer questions with hard data, which in my opinion, is always hard to argue with. :-)

The Salesperson:
* SELLS (seriously, salespeople need to spend most of their time selling)
* Chomps at the bit to interface with customers and prospective customers
* Has serious sales chops and has worked hard to build his or her skill-set
* Lives to present and always looks for opportunities to show off their product or service
* KNOWS HOW TO CLOSE A SALE (don’t laugh…most people have no idea how to close a sale)
* Is driven by achieving and exceeding goals (quotas, sales competitions, financials, etc.)
* Has a successful track record of selling. Great salespeople don’t magically show up one day…they’ve been selling their entire lives, even as kids
* Exudes confidence, knows his or her products inside and out, has a passion for sales, and can overcome obstacles while juggling fine china

Why they should work together, but remain separate:
In general, you don’t want your marketer selling and you don’t want your salesperson developing the marketing plan for your product or service. Note, I said “in general”, since there are some people that are both salespeople and marketers… It’s rare, but there are a select few. You definitely want your marketer involved in helping your salespeople craft their presentations, explain the core selling points, provide data for overcoming barriers, etc. and you want your salespeople working with your marketers to learn what’s going on in the field. But overall, the marketer should market and the salesperson should sell.

The Bottom Line
Most marketers would have no idea what to do in a sales presentation and most salespeople would have no idea how to market a product. Marketing involves tedious research and analysis, and a heavy focus on data. Sales involves extraordinary social interaction, presentations, inordinate amounts of motivation, the ability to travel where needed and when needed, and a serious sense of urgency to hit numbers. Some marketers sweat just thinking about presenting to a group of executives, where great salespeople jump at the chance.

Internet Marketers Meet Your Top Salesperson:
For many of you, your website is your top (and only) salesperson. Now, if you know great salespeople and know what they bring to the table, then you understand the enormous challenge you face in trying to make code, graphics, and web functionality achieve what they can. However, in an increasingly competitive online marketplace, that’s exactly what you need to do. You’re the marketer, mapping out your online marketing strategies based on extensive research, planning, and analysis. You work with your developers and designers to craft a persuasive selling system (your website) that helps prospective customers find answers to their questions, all while getting them more excited about your product. And, if you’ve done your job well, your chief salesperson, I mean your website, will help you land new customers. So the more you, as the marketer, understand the sales process, the better your website is going to be at meeting visitor expectations and increasing conversions. Because, you are creating a website that answers questions in a way that a top salesperson would. You need the right scent trails, the right calls to action, know when to provide more information, and know when to ask for the sale, which is not easy, considering your website doesn’t have the ability to crack a joke when needed or shake someone’s hand. Or can it? So, although sales and marketing are very different areas of focus, both should work together in web marketing to optimize your efforts. Marketers, learn from your salespeople, and salespeople, learn from your marketers. Just know the boundary between the two.

So, are you a salesperson or a marketer? Did someone add both words to your job title? Let me know what you think.


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