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Permission Marketing – From strangers to friends. From friends to customers.

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Seth Godin, a very famous entrepreneur, author and public speaker (I’m sure you know him, if you don’t, please google), wrote Permission Marketing in 1999. Even though it’s not a new book, its principles are still considered essential for any marketeer. Here I’ll sum up some of ideas Seth put on the book.

Interruption Marketing

Did you remember when we used to have only five channels on TV? Everyone was part of the same community, watched the same commercials, discussed the same programs and bought the same type of things. This made it all easier for marketeers, they basically relied exclusively on one type of advertising, which Seth calls – Interruption Marketing. This is defined by “the science of creating and placing media that interrupts the consumer and then gets him or her to take some action”. This used to work in a world where the audience wasn’t as segment, people nowadays don’t care as much as they used to.

From Mass to Niche – The evolution

Companies have noticed that mass market strategy isn’t working as well as it used to. They’ve tried to overcome this by spending more advertising in odd places, such as ads on parking meters, floor of the supermarket aisle, etc. Another technique used was making ads more controversial and entertainment, and changing those ads more often in order to keep them interesting and fresh. The last approach was to abandon ads and replace them with direct email and promotions.

Although this worked for a while, interruption marketing still fails because it is unable to get enough attention from consumers.

Permission Marketing

Different from a mass marketing approach, “permission marketing encourages consumers to participate in a long-term, interactive marketing campaign in which they are rewarded in some way for paying attention to increasingly relevant messages”.

Most of us understand now that targeting customers individually isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Staff and budget doesn’t have to be that huge. “Permission marketing takes the cost of interrupting the consumer and spreads it out, over not one message, but dozens of messages”. Interruption marketers are all about spending money with strangers, people they don’t know but assume might be potential customers. Permission marketers think this is too risky, and it doesn’t drive as much result. Instead, they “move as quickly as they can to turn strangers into prospects who choose to opt-in to series of commutations”. You create a relationship with consumers since the beginning, and motivate the consumer to five more and more permission over time.

The Pros and Cons

Permission marketing campaigns require patience. You need to believe in the concept, growing it over time. Even a not very good interruption marketing campaign gets instant results, while permission campaigns take longer, they are build a stronger relationship and are easier to measure.

Getting a new customer is expensive, you need to get his attention and educate him about your business. If you think about it, it’s also expensive for the customer, who has to learn and evaluate the benefits and features of a product he does not know. Permission marketing, instead of focusing on getting new customers, it’s all about keeping customers longer and getting more money from each of them over time.

The New Process

Seth says the process of getting new customers needs to be reengineered. Some of the marketers “don’t notice, track or interact with people until they are a customer. And some don’t even pay close attention until the consumer becomes a loyal customer”. It looks simple, but it’s essential to look at it like this if you want to create meaningful relationships and long term customers. It’s necessary to nurture strangers from the moment they indicated interest in your business.

Strangers – Friends – Customers – Loyal Customers – Former Customers

But remember, you can’t build a one to one relationship with a customer unless he explicitly agrees to it. Similar thing happens when you have a current customer which is not inside this process, which doesn’t mean quality for the future of business. You might think about firing him! I know this sounds harsh, but Seth’s got a point. “A customer that distracts you, or one that cherry picks your line of products, or one that requires a disproportionate percentage of your company’s time and resources, is going to cost you money”.


Written by Cristina Dresch

June 24, 2011 at 1:03 PM

Posted in Marketing, Media, Strategy

Social Media Cycle

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Funny to stop and think about how Social Media evolved from a couple of years til now.

What is Social Media?

Back when I did my thesis in my Bachelors degree in 2009, about the New Market and the Social Web, I still struggled to find a good definition for Social Media (aka Social Web). We had heard a lot about Web 2.0 at that time, but not enough about Social Media.

That’s cool, let’s all be there!

When Social Media started to act more as a global channel and reach a wider audience, was when brands realized – “UH! That’s cool. Let’s do this!”

We need strategy

After a while, not too long, brands realized they needed to build their own strategy in Social Media. It’s not simply about having a presence, you need a plan – set goals, target your audience, figure out a budget and resources.

Wait, is this right?

Now we are starting to ask questions, such as – Should I really be in Social Media? Do I have enough time and resources? And what about my budget? What is going to be my ROI? What channels are best for my business?

… what’s next?

We are being a lot more critic regarding Social Media nowadays. I believe we’re finally reaching a tipping point. Finally, we don’t need to prove things work. There are a lot of success stories out there. But the key is, does it work for everyone? Is it really going to stick as part of our everyday lives for long? Don’t know. Only time will tell. But one thing is for sure, the Social Media Cycle hasn’t closed yet.

Written by Cristina Dresch

May 30, 2011 at 10:00 AM

Posted in Marketing, Social, Web 2.0

Facebook Contest – An Offline and Online Integration

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We’ve all heard that the best way to get interaction from Facebook fans are through surveys, promotions and contents. So last month we decided to create some kind of contest in our Facebook page in order to get more fans and interaction. The prize was two free tickets to the Social CRM conference in London. The contest should be around the choice of the topic for our next’s month event. The attendes are normally social media professionals, which means they would all be very interested to win the free ticket (£145 worth).

We could say we had some of the most important things covered:

Goals ✓
Audience ✓
Prize ✓
Theme ✓

But what about the contest itself?

Funny, but when you seat down to think about it, Facebook contests aren’t as simple as they sound. I did a quick brainstorm online and found some cool ideas here, here and here. Some are really fun, and sound exciting. But they aren’t as simple as we would expect, which means more work to create and more work to participate in the contest. Remember, if the goal is to reach a broad audience, you don’t want to make it hard. Keep it as simple as you can.

Narrow it down to different ideas

After reading some blog posts and articles, I found some ideas that were pretty doable. I decided to narrow them down, and look at the pros and cons of each.

Quizz about social media. Whoever got more answers right would be the winner.
⇡ Pros Fun.
⇣ Cons Need to use an App. A lot of time to create questions and answers. Time consuming for fans. It doesn’t necessarily shows up in the fan’s news feed.

Ask fans to suggest a blog in our page. From all those who suggested we would draw a winner.
⇡ Pros A lot of interaction in our Page. Friends of fans would see it on the news feeds. Easy to do.
⇣ Cons More effort from fans. Hard to keep track of names.

We think of a specific subject/blogger/social network and asked fans to guess what it was.
⇡ Pros  Easy to join. Easy to do. Friends of fans would see it on the news feeds.
⇣ Cons If a fan guesses it too early, contest can not be extended.

The contest

When thinking about the whole dynamic, all the ideas changed. So keep that in mind, first think about when and where you are going to announce the contest. That does make a difference.

Since we announced the contest in our offline event, we decided we had to take advantage of that, and get some offline interaction as well. So before the event we emailed all the participants to bring at least one business card to our event if they wanted to have the chance to win a free ticket to the Social CRM event. When they started to arrive one of us was at the door asking each participant to give their business card and write at the back of the card a topic they would like us to cover at our next event (don’t forget to have pens available). After our guest speaker finished his talk, we took one of the business cards from a bowl and gave the winner a free ticket for the event. Very simple. But remember, we had two tickets. And yes, the whole goal was to get more fans/interaction at our Facebook page. So at the event we announced that all the topics written at the back of the cards would be up at our Facebook page, and everyone who voted online in their favorite topic would have a chance to win a free ticket.

We decided to use Facebook Questions, which worked perfectly. First thing we checked was if when a fan answered the question, it was going to show up at his news feeds. And it does, so no worries there. It’s easy, for us and for the fans. It doesn’t get much better than.
⇡ Pros Easy to create. Quick and easy to participate. Appears in the news feed.
⇣ Cons Not a whole lot of interaction. Questions doesn’t allow ‘likes’ and comments before you open the page.

Promote the contest and the winner

That’s essential. Use all the channels you’ve got. We mainly used our two Twitter accounts and our Facebook page. Tweets were scheduled at least once in two days during the 10 days the contest was running. We also sent a Facebook update to remind all the fans to vote. One day before the contest ended we scheduled about four tweets. The morning the draw was made we immediately announced the winner on Twitter and Facebook. Ideally you should contact the winner individually as well, by a Facebook message or email. In case you are friends with the winner, don’t forget to use the @___ feature on Facebook.

The results

A group of 25 people attended our April’s event and we got 20 business cards with different topic ideas. 80% participation, which is great. On Facebook, more than 36 fans answered our question, which is more than the total of participants in our event. 25% of all our Facebook fans answered the question. We increase our Facebook fans by 12.5% in less than two weeks. So I guess what everyone says about contests, is indeed true. Great way to get more fans and interaction in your brand page.


As we all know, offline still matters. We started the contest by asking people to collaborate offline, giving one of the participants a tangible prize at the same night. We just moved the group online afterwards, when the relationship was already built. This proves being effective, since people are already engaged the results are probably going to be much higher.

UPDATE:  You cannot forget that when you create a Facebook contest you need to meet Facebook’s guidelines. Here’ s an article that clarifies some doubts about it.

Written by Cristina Dresch

May 1, 2011 at 10:27 PM

Email Marketing Goes Social

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Email marketing is one of the oldest tools in online marketing. But as everything else in the web, its practices changed in the last years. What used to seen as web 1.0 marketing, now can (and must) be seen as web 2.0. It’s not a one way street as it used to be.

It is also about engagement

We don’t want customers to simply open our emails, that’s only the first step, what we really want is interaction. Interaction most of the times means a click, which can either lead me to the company’s website, a landing page or even to one of the company’s social networks profile. This depends on the goals you’d like to achieve and which is the best channel to use in order to accomplish that.

It is also about permission

On Facebook and Twitter customers need to decide whether they will or won’t like/follow the brand. And they can unlike/unfollow whenever they want. That’s exactly the same practice email marketing must take, customers need to opt-in first. And once they are in your email list, they have to be able to easily opt-out.

It is also about integration

As we know it’s essential to add your social network profiles to your website, and vice-versa. Same thing happens with email marketing. It’s essential to add your Twitter and Facebook accounts to any of your email campaigns, and you can even go one step further and promote all your channels across all your channels. A great example is from the shoe retailer crocs, which is currently doing different promotions for customers who are newsletter subscribers. This is a great way to incentive fans on Facebook and followers on Twitter to become subscribers. But it is also a great way for subscribers to become fans and/or followers, since these are going to be promoted in the newsletter.

It is also about measuring

Email marketing compared to any other channel, still is one of the easiest to measure. Some words to keep in mind – hard/soft vouches, open rate, no clicks, click though rate and tagged email links. These are essential information you need in order to effectively measure your email marketing campaign.

It is also about social media

Basically we can say email marketing is also about social media. Technically is not part of it, but must be treated as equal. After all, if done well it drives engagement, interaction and conversation. What else do you need?

Written by Cristina Dresch

May 1, 2011 at 8:07 PM

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