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July 2007 Marketing Archives

Friday, July 06, 2007

ZunePhone? Microsofts iPhone Killer

The Today Show, in all their infinite tech-coverage wisdom went to the Microsoft campus on the day of the iPhone's launch to discuss how the iPhone was going to change the industry. They show some Microsoft think-tank footage and the mobile research department and interviewed the head of the mobile division. The question that was asked to Microsoft's Mobile Department Manager was 'How is the iPhone changing your strategy?' His reply, "We have to continue what we are doing and not be distracted from our mission."

Now obviously I'm not the head of anyone's Mobile Department but the first thing I'd do is run out and nab an iPhone or ten and get my engineers picking it apart. Kind of like what Microsoft did to the iPod which gave them the very similar Zune.

The video goes on to show some testing being done on a phone that looks like a blackberry but runs a version of Windows CE. Not quite the most exciting product we've seen so hopefully they will scrap that idea and move to something bigger and better. My suggestion, the ZunePhone!

Apple has laid the groundwork for this type of mobile web/phone device and if Microsoft acted quickly they could take advantage of the iPhone hype. I have to give MSFT the benefit of the doubt that they were working on a iPhone-type device as soon as they heard about the iPhone so if they can get a product to the market there is still a huge demand to be filled. Put the ZunePhone out on any network EXCEPT AT&T, make it cheaper, bigger, better than the iPhone and you'll have a whole lot of people who want the iPhone experience but don't want to shell out the $500 or switch to AT&T. And if Microsoft really wanted to be innovative they could even consider using OpenMoko!

iPhone may very well change the consumer mobile industry but it should also have been a wake up call to any company trying to make an impact in the mobile marketplace. Its time to innovate.

I won't hold my breath for any Microsoft innovation, in the meantime, I'll continue to check my mailbox for my Labitat iPhone.

TODAY Show Video

ZunePhone? Microsofts iPhone Killer By Matt O'Hern at 09:59 AM
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Instant Messaging Spreads the Word -- and Trouble

Making yourself available through instant messaging is one of the most effective means of marketing yourself. Sure, you can lose productivity by chatting about nothing, but I can count numerous times that I learned something through an IM chat that resulted in additional work opportunities for me.

Research firm Gartner predicts that even the most cautious corporations will allow instant messaging by 2010.

This is one opportunity that social networking firms such as LinkedIn should take advantage of. Email is a great way to reconnect, but being able to opt-in to receive an instant message from a colleague while protecting your anonymity would be helpful.

However, you have to be careful in whom you allow into your inner circle as security firms say IM attacks are on the rise. MessageLabs says IM attacks increased 723 percent over last year, while FaceTime says IM attacks increased a modest 5 percent between the first and second quarters of 2007.

Yes, these companies have a vested interest in keeping you nervous about IM, but this data shows that IM needs to be at least as protected as email. A combination of smart software and careful use is needed for IM to be an effective marketing tool.

Instant Messaging Spreads the Word -- and Trouble By John Gartner at 09:51 AM
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SEO Savvy Generates Premium for Ad Agencies

The value of advertising agencies with expertise in search engine optimization was made clear in the purchase of Refinery by G2 Interactive.

Refinery was purchased because the company knows how to architect a campaign from the ground up with keywords and relevancy in mind. This simplifies the advertising process and eliminates the need to hire an outside SEO firm. The last thing companies want is to start a battle between consultants and ad agencies over the messaging to use because the wording isn't search engine friendly.

As Jason always says, SEO and design go hand in hand, so it is best to incorporate relevancy from the ground up when building a site or campaign. Over at Search Engine Watch, Avenue A | Razorfish search strategist Chris Boggs shows off his SEO know-how whendescribing how his agency calculates the cost of SEO for his clients.

Source: MediaPost.

SEO Savvy Generates Premium for Ad Agencies By John Gartner at 08:38 AM
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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Agencies See Green in Green Marketing

One of the biggest trends in marketing for the next decade will the rise and maturation of marketing of environmentally-friendly (or green) products and services.

Last year I wrote an article about the state of green marketing for Revenue Magazine, and I was amazed that how little green companies and the green divisions of larger organizations knew about online marketing. When asking about SEO, affiliate programs and networks, the companies I spoke with reacted as if I was speaking Swahili.

PR/communications agency Imre Communications has formed a green division, joining the likes of the Antenna Group and WeberShandwick. These agencies realize that companies looking to appeal to environmentally conscious buyers (Imre represents Travelers and Home Depot) need to customize their messaging and are in need of online marketing help.

The sustainability shift will be as big or bigger than the two biggest revolutions in my journalism career -- the computer and online booms. Because being green impacts every industry, home and leisure activity, there will be more dollars spent in r&d, VC and advertising in the next decade. That's why I'm developing a website focused on sustainable strategies as well as an advertising network.

Agencies See Green in Green Marketing By John Gartner at 11:59 AM
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Ad Servers Just Want to Be Free

Free ad server company Openads has released a new beta (version 2.3) of its ad server software and snagged former Skype and Yahoo exec James Bilefield as CEO. The company, which has also been loading up on VC, is showing that open is better than proprietary when it comes to ad placement.

The new software features a better prioritization of ads, enhanced targeting and campaign management, and improved reporting, according to Openads.

Going open source and working with the leading commercial ad servers makes sense because the software will be updated more quickly at less cost, and people who already use Google or Yahoo ads can continue to use their existing services.

Openads could become the Apache of the ad serving world, and is already used by 20,000 publishers. The company makes money through value added services, which should be an easier sell as their installed base grows. This will put pressure on Google et al to make their ad servers free.

Ad Servers Just Want to Be Free By John Gartner at 10:07 AM
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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Google Blogger Slams Sicko, Stirs Debate

Google Health Advertising Team member Lauren Turner is being taken to task for pandering to advertisers by slamming Michael Moore's movie "Sicko."

Turner erred not because she has an opinion, but because it was aired on a company blog. By bringing up the subject at all, she has created the perception Google will fight for its advertisers, even if its blog pages. Her mea culpa of saying the opinion is her own and not her employer does nothing to undo the damage to her reputation.

A company blog, especially about advertising should focus on trends, technical issues while working in the corporate messaging about advertising. Of course someone who wants to sell ads for health providers and insurers isn't going to be happy about "Sicko," but airing your displeasure on a marketing blog is not the way to go. Keep your opinions to yourself, and stick the job of marketing the company's services.

Google Blogger Slams Sicko, Stirs Debate By John Gartner at 04:46 PM
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CNN.com Are you News or a Search Engine?

CNN just put their new site design live and its got a big ol' focus on the search. While a big improvement, its a similar structure to MSN.com.

Old CNN.com


New CNN.com


Like it? Love It? Hate it?

CNN.com Are you News or a Search Engine? By Matt O'Hern at 04:16 PM
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Lies, Damn Lies, and the PR Objective

This week's flap about my quoting of comScore statistics (via MediaPost) requires a short discussion about statistics and how they can be "framed" (others say manipulated) by the press and by marketers to suit their own needs.

Ms. Luke's email said I was incorrect in earlier post, but in fact, my logic was on target. Of all of the directories listed on the MediaPost chart, YellowBook grew the fastest between Q1 2006 and 2007, and I even took pains to point out that the company is much smaller than the competition to provide context.

Since she does PR for YellowPages.com, she would rather we wrote that of the 5 most visited directory sites, YellowPages.com grew the fastest, which is also a true statement. We can both be correct, but the context is different because the objective of the writer was different.

Statistics (which is what my B.S. from Temple says I majored in) can easily be shaped to the ends of the person quoting them, so be careful what you believe. Any stat can be considered revealing in isolation, but the entire story should be told.

To wit, these are all accurate headlines that I could have written based on the comScore data:

Yahoo and Idearc See Fewer Searches
YellowPages Can't Catch Yahoo, Idearc
Microsoft Last in Directory Category
No Change in Directory Rankings

See? Give me a pile of numbers and I can create more stories than Steven King on amphetamines.

When communicating (be it PR, marketing, or journalism) , what you leave out is often more important than what you put in. So keep a few grains of salt on your desk, and take as needed.

Lies, Damn Lies, and the PR Objective By John Gartner at 01:36 PM
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Yellow Pages Story Correction Per Fleishman Hillard PR

Yesterday I received a phone call from Susan Luke of Fleishman Hillard Public Relations with a few corrections to the original Yellow Pages story John posted last week. She told me we had made an error in the story we ran about Yellow Book being the fastest growing IYP. She went on to say that the data John was quoting was from 2006 and not 2007. I explained that I was sorry for the obvious mistake that had been made and that John was incredibly busy launching a cool global warming awareness site and mistakes happen. I went on to explain that Marketing Shift generates very little revenue and that it's a side project of mine so I have to place my paid clients work ahead of mshift in the priority queue.

Needless to say Susan seemed fine with this until I got another call from her this morning in a not so nice tone. After explaining again that I'd get to it when I could she abruptly hung up on me. I really didn't appreciate or need the attitude. I understand the frustration of a publicist who's client is probably all over them because some surfer dude in a one man office in Florida said something that might make them look even more behind the times than they already are. Forgive me, I'm sorry for harshing your mellow, I'll try not to do it again.

All of the data, links and information below this line is from the email Susan Luke of Fleishman-Hillard Inc. sent to me and is not my own words. I'm pasting that information in here in an effort to let her get her client's story out without me slowing down the editorial news process.
Here's a link to the MediaPost table on which it appears Gartner based his incorrect posting: See the table titled, "National IYP Properties by Share of IYP Searches"... it's the second one.

Just to make sure we're on the same page, here are the first paragraphs of his incorrect posting:

According to the latest data from comScore, Yahoo and Idearc Media (which runs the Superpages.com sites) dominate the online yellow pages category, while Yellow Book is the fastest growing.

Yahoo and Idearc both have more than 20 percent market share for all yellow page searches, while the YellowPages Network is third with just over 10 percent share. YellowBook, while representing less than 3 percent of all searches, grew the fastest over the last year, adding 80 percent more searches.

Here's the link to the release we put out a few days ago:

Please let me know if I can send you anything else. Thanks for taking care of this. Nice to get more confirmation you're stuff is read, maybe? Anyway, appreciate your help.

Yellow Pages Story Correction Per Fleishman Hillard PR By Jason Dowdell at 10:54 AM
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Monday, July 02, 2007

Google-eBay Fight Just the Beginning

As you've probably heard, Google and eBay have moved into separate bedrooms and barely look at each other when crossing in the hallway.

Google has revved up competition with eBay's PayPal with Google Checkout, and so eBay is drastically cutting back on running Google Ads.

These territorial battles (think 16th century Europe) are just getting started as the various arms of Google, Microsoft, Time Warner, eBay and Yahoo are going to become less willing to deal with the subsidiaries of their competitors. Just because someone's cousin married your sister isn't enough to keep companies that are at war from hating each other, and this battle royal is good news for independent companies.

If you run an ad network, agency, or SEO shop, in future days Microsoft will likely be more willing to talk to you than a competitor that has close ties to Google or Yahoo. That these countries, er companies, have become so complex and powerful will be a boost for all as their increasing competition will lead to better pricing and consumer services. As long as their are a half dozen or more significant internet commerce/technology players continuing the infighting, we can all benefit.

The arrival of a common enemy (WalMart? Amazon?) that tries to take over their turf could unite these companies to play nice on some fronts, at least for a while.

Google-eBay Fight Just the Beginning By John Gartner at 02:35 PM
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Yahoo Ads Get Smart

Yahoo is adding a behavioral tracking component to its ad network, hoping to increase the value for advertising and relevancy for consumers.

SmartAds will customize ads based on user searches, so if advertisers prepare creatives to respond to searches for cities or activities, SmartAds will bundle the proper ad on the fly, according to MediaPost.

This should greatly increase the relevancy of ads while simultaneously creeping some users out since their ads will be in response to recent queries or pages viewed. Behavioral targeting will be more effective than target marketing that bases ads on general demographic data, but it will take some time before advertisers and consumers get comfortable with the idea. Next year is likely to be THE year that behavioral marketing generates significant buzz and the biggest players get on board.

Yahoo Ads Get Smart By John Gartner at 01:48 PM
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July 2007 Week 2 »

  • Week 1 (11 entries) July 1-7
  • Week 2 (13 entries) July 8-14
  • Week 3 (11 entries) July 15-21
  • Week 4 (11 entries) July 22-28
  • Week 5 (4 entries) July 29-31

Agencies See Green in Green Marketing
John, we've been working at the intersection ...
by Perry Goldschein
Agencies See Green in Green Marketing
We have seen grwoth in Green MArketing in a very s...
by Tim Lang
Yellow Pages Story Correction Per Fleishman Hillard PR
I especially like this sentence "Nice to ...
by Brook Larios
ZunePhone? Microsofts iPhone Killer
Ok, forgive me for this one, but I really feel lik...
by jameson rex

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