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Guest Panel: A Blogger’s Perspective

June 25th, 2010

Today marks the first of the Guest Panel Series! To go along with this new website, I asked three bloggers three questions in regards to reading new blogs, what they like, and what they don’t like.

With no further ado, here is today’s panel:

Guest Panel - A Blogger's Perspective

Meet the Panel:

  • Jackie Banda loves all things social media and it is all part of the PR 2.0 world that she thrives off of. She earned her BS from Utah State in Public Relations and is currently working on her masters in tech & design at Utah State.
  • Bethany Rae Cramer is a recent May 2010 graduate from SUNY Geneseo with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. Her passion is marketing and she enjoys the fast paced world of events, promotion, and connecting with the media.
  • Michael Adams is a Marketing Consultant with special focus on the food industry. He rambles on at micadams.com and currently runs Eddie’s Energy Bars and Green Mountain Mustard out of his home in the Green Mountains of Vermont.

Let’s see what they have to say…

When you are looking at someone’s website or blog for the very first time, how much time, on average, do you spend looking around the site?

Jackie: When looking at a website/blog for the first time I usually spend between 2-4 minutes reviewing it or looking/reading the information that I came for.

Alarm ClockBethany: I tend to only browse through the first page. I’ll read the most recent post and check out the ones below. If these posts interest me, only then do I look further. If the most recent posts bore me, then I doubt any future articles will catch my attention.

Michael: I spend about 5-10 minutes, looking at how often they post and taking a look at the about page to see what the person has accomplished and their credibility on the topic.

What is the number one turn-off that makes you stop reading and go somewhere else?

Jackie: There are two major things that can turn me off when I first land on a new site. 1. I instantly feel like I am trying to be sold something (flashing boxes, pop-up ads, etc.) 2. Too many words! I don’t like arriving at a site and feeling like I have to read pages upon pages to get to the point.Sad Face

Bethany: Boring topics. I hate blogs that talk about things I have read months before on another. I understand content can be hard to come up with, but if you are going to discuss something you learned from another source, make it your own. Add a twist, share your experience, make your readers feel like they are reading something valuable and new.

Michael: Usability of the blog – I like reading posts with big sub headings and clearly delineated sections. If you write a post on “10 Crazy Things to do in Mexico”, then those ten things should be easily searchable throughout the post – we all know, we’re not going to read what’s below the bold heading. Bottom line: Make your blog readable.

Of the blogs you enjoy, please name one common factor and why it is so crucial to the blogs success.

Thumbs UpJackie: A common factor among sites I enjoy would have to be use of images, photos, lists or video. I enjoy having a variety of visual aspects in a site. A site that varies how it displays information is usually more interesting and entertaining for me to read, in my opinion.

Bethany: I enjoy humor. I read educational, industry and personal blogs, but they all have the common quality of personality and a splash of comedy. Even in professional posts a bit of sarcasm or a joke with jargon shows me that the writer has a true interest in their topic and their readers. You can’t joke about an industry unless you know what it is all about. Comedy is sure to engage readers and keep them coming back.

Michael: I think one common factor is the writer’s personality. When the voice shines through of a company founder or a tech blog, or even a blog that gets 10 views a day, if you can feel the person talk to you, the blog will eventually be successful. I try to let my personality shine through in all of my blog posts and I really think that’s why people enjoy reading blogs from people they know and trust.

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What do you think? What are your blog turn-on’s and turn-off’s? Any questions for the panel?

I want to thank Jackie, Bethany, and Michael for joining us and contributing to the very first of the Guest series! Don’t forget, all three of you are one step closer to becoming the owner of your very own guest room here by becoming a Featured Guest.

Guest Websites:

Bryan Ricard Blogging, Guest Panel , , , ,

Letting Volks Have Fun

June 24th, 2010

DDB, Stockholm turned out some brilliant ideas in this ambient marketing campaign for Volkswagen. Ambient marketing is the most common sub-category of guerrilla marketing in which the company doesn’t advertise their product, but instead communicates directly with consumers in a way that connects them to the message they are attempting to convey. In this case, Volkswagen says these ideas are “dedicated to everyone who enjoys speeding life up a little”. Accordingly, all three videos show Volkswagen giving people the option to speed up a normal routine.

At the end of each video you see that the Fast Lane is “Driven By Fun”, this is a smooth transition from their “Fun Theory” of last year which recently won Cyber Grand Prix at Cannes Lions, a campaign that was also done by DDB, Stockholm.

There are two issues I have with this campaign…

  1. The lack of brand images on location. As far as I could tell, there is no Volkswagen image visible during any of the campaign stunts. It’s crazy enough they were allowed to perform these acts, but maybe they aren’t allowed to “advertise” their name. For those who actually got to experience “speeding life up a little”, who are they to give credit to and connect with? This leads me to believe that the main focus was to create viral videos. While that will likely be seen as a success, I still think they missed out on really connecting directly with consumers (I’m also just going by what the videos show, there could be more we’re not shown).
  2. The videos aim to drive traffic to Volkswagen’s Facebook fan page; they ask viewers what they are driven by in order to gain continued interaction. However, there is no discussion tab on the page for people to discuss this. Sure everyone can post on the wall, but wouldn’t it be more effective if they had one discussion topic dedicated to what drives people? Now when people arrive at the fan page there is no direction on where to answer the question, so they likely won’t. Volkswagen is missing out on making this campaign come full circle and learning more about their consumers.

What video was your favorite? What daily routine do you wish you could speed up?

Bryan Ricard Ambient Marketing, Marketing, Viral Marketing , , , ,

Inbound Marketing University – Assignment #8

June 16th, 2010

Brian Carroll, CEO of InTouch and author of Lead Generation of the Complex Sale, taught the 8th class at Inbound Marketing University and he discussed how to best nurture your leads.

Assignment #8: Define your ideal customer profile (or a hypothetical one for a client) and explain how you would target that customer using lead nurturing.

This assignment is going to be based off of this blog. The “customers” are the readers, and the ultimate goal is to get them to subscribe to my blog.

Ideal Customer Profile:

  • New England, USA
  • 18-65 years old
  • Desire to network and connect
  • Strong ability to communicate one’s knowledge and expertise
  • Passion for anything and everything marketing
  • Some level of on-line presence
  • Open to new ideas and ventures

Target with Lead Nurturing

  • Explore the connections of my LinkedIn connections and start conversations via Twitter
  • Send thanks to all ReTweets of my blog or specific posts
  • Send a DM or e-mail to those who RT a post with a similar post I think they will also enjoy
  • Encourage questions and suggestions on every home and guest post
  • Offer a special resource only available to blog subscribers
  • Send a customized thank you e-mail upon subscription
  • Tweet out the names of new subscribers if they allow it
  • Send subscribers a form regarding what they are interested in, what they want to learn more about, what they like to read about, etc.
  • Repeat

Thanks for the class Professor Carroll! Just let me know what my homework grade is, be honest!
Halfway done with Inbound Marketing University classes!

Next class: Successful E-mail Marketing

Bryan Ricard Inbound Marketing University , , , , , ,

Welcome Brook Johnston

June 13th, 2010

I just wanted to give a warm blogroll welcome to Brook Johnston. His Marketing Man blog discusses very interesting and compelling advertisements very frequently. I discovered Brook over at AdsoftheWorld.com and have been checking his blog quite often ever since.

Honestly, I think he’s a Canadian me. With that said, I encourage all of those who love advertising or support American-Canadian partnerships to check out Brook’s blog and go say hi!

Bryan Ricard Blogging, Networking , ,

Milky Way Doing it the Right Way

June 8th, 2010

Ambient marketing, or place-based marketing, can be very effective as it gets the company or product message right into the target markets environment; usually by creative means.

Here is what I consider a fine example from Milky Way.

Milky Way Movie theater line barrier

Courtesy of AdsoftheWorld.com

Milky Way Seatbelt

Courtesy of AdsoftheWorld.com

Milky Way Conveyor Belt
Check out the conveyor belt in action.

These were all done by BBDO New York, USA.

All three of these beat out the other two in at least one way:

Movie theater: Best location. What does everyone in the movie theater line buy, or at least look at? Candy! The delicious, caramel filling of a Milky Way is on their mind before the purchase.

Taxi cab: Longest potential interaction. I say potential because many New York taxi passengers may be in and out of the car very quickly without wearing the seatbelt. However, those who do value their lives will physically touch the “Milky Way” and be exposed to it for as long as their ride lasts.

Conveyor belt: Most captivating and engaging due to its movement.

My favorite is the conveyor belt; I think attention is more easily grasped by movement. Which is your favorite? Which do you think is more effective? Do you have any ambient marketing examples? Please share.

Bryan Ricard Advertising, Marketing , , ,

Not Your Typical BillBored

June 8th, 2010

Despite the growth of mobile and web advertising, traditional methods such as billboards are still being used. Billboards are great because of their location and reach, but how many of them have just become the same old, boring advertisement? They have become billboreds! If companies aren’t trying to be creative or interesting in their approach to billboard advertising nowadays, their effectiveness is low.

In comes the Ford Motor Company advertising their 2010 Mustang.

Ford Mustang Burnout Billboard

Courtesy of AdsoftheWorld.com

The text on the bottom right reads:

This billboard was showcased in Detroit, MI at the Woodward Dream Cruise, the world’s largest one-day automotive event. A smoke machine was installed behind the board, and every few minutes the rear wheel would spin, spewing smoke for the ultimate one-minute burnout.”

Not only does this billboard hit a lot of eyes, but it hits a lot of specific eyes, eyes that LOVE cars.

Additionally, the ad agency, Team Detroit, brought this traditional advertising method to a new level. Sure it’s not the first time someone got creative with a billboard, far from it, but they definitely did something interesting. Therein lies the point; interesting ads of any form have greater success in capturing attention because they are different. Differentiation leads to increased memory of the ad and increased word of mouth.

As great as this is, it could have been better. Of those who have commented on this at AdsoftheWorld.com, a few have mentioned that the smoke is just not enough. They needed to include sound! How much better would this have been if not only did everyone see the smoke from the burnout, but got to hear the deep, powerful sound of 315 horsepower V-8 engine. It’s not a secret that one of the attractive features of a Ford Mustang is its beastly roar. I have never witnessed a sound-emitting billboard, but this would have been a good one.

Another way to grasp people’s attention and hold onto it by latching into their memory is through the sense of smell. Would it have been possible, or too much, to expel the scent of burning rubber along with the smoke?

Despite not reaching potential, this was still an exceptional billboard. What do you think?

Update on June 8th: Here is a video of the billboard in action!

Bryan Ricard Advertising , , , ,