Posted by & in category Internet Marketing.

Working on a recent client email blast campaign I was reminded how quick we as marketers can be to forget that the segmented, geotargeted list of names are actually human beings with jobs, families and everyday issues like the rest of us.While our client was adamant about touting the great sales offer, we had to gently pull back the reins and get them thinking about why these people in excel spreadsheet boxes would actually care about their product.

To validate our point, I shared a great article from MarketingProfs by Karen Talavera that suggests ways we can keep our communications with people real.

• Speak in conversational terms. Create copy with an approachable tone that initiates dialogue. Customers will appreciate that you’re paying attention and acknowledging them as live humans.

• Show your personality. If your company has a familiar spokesperson, persona or character, be sure to leverage its power in your emails. We have higher clickthroughs each time we use one of our client-owners as the voice of the email blast.

• Invite subscribers to join in. Actively encourage user-generated content. There is something about interacting, benefiting, or learning directly from you that encourages better buy-in of the messaging.

Realizing that the goal of any good direct-response effort should be a dialogue will actually get those humans to open up both their emails and their wallets.

Posted by & in category Retail Marketing.

One of my girlfriends is headed to NYC in a couple of weeks and is thrilled about the prospect of finding this season’s new fake Prada bag. I pretended to be excited for her sake. Today I read an article, “Why Do Consumers Buy Counterfeit Luxury Brands?” by Keith Wilcox, Hyeong Min Kim and Sankar Sen, which actually makes me feel better as a consumer because I wonder why women go nuts to buy these worthless copies. The article sites a recent study that explains this behavior.

Researchers did one experiment focused on buyer attitudes that serve two distinct “social functions” – the “social-adjustive” (this will help me fit in) and the “value-expressive”(this will help me stand out). The researchers showed two different images of a “fake” Louis Vuitton handbag to two randomly chosen groups of women. One group saw the bag with a conspicuous logo, and the other saw the bag without it. The women then answered a questionnaire that classified their attitudes and their willingness to buy the fake.

Results showed that those subjects classified as “social-adjustive” were the most likely to buy the fake bag, especially when it had a conspicuous logo. The appeal of seeming to fit in with an elite group was strong enough to make these shoppers risk buying the flashy fake. The researchers’ doled out this advice to luxury goods manufacturers: tout the in-crowd status of owning the real luxury item and depict the shame of being discovered with a knockoff.

I just wonder if my girlfriend would have participated in the study if she’d still be up all night googling street corners in NYC.

Posted by & in category Social Media.

Social media optimization (SMO) is a set of methods for generating publicity through social media, online communities and community websites. Methods of SMO include adding RSS feeds, social news buttons, blogging, and incorporating third-party community functionalities like images and videos. Social media optimization is related to search engine marketing, but differs in several ways, primarily the focus on driving traffic for sources other than search engines, though improved search ranking is also a benefit of successful SMO.

Social media optimization is in many ways connected as a technique to viral marketing where word of mouth is created not through friends or family but through the use of networking in social bookmarking, video and photo sharing websites. In a similar way the engagement with blogs achieves the same by sharing content through the use of RSS in the blogsphere and special blog search engines.

Social Media optimization is considered an integral part of an online reputation management (ORM) or Search Engine Reputation Management (SERM) strategy for organizations or individuals who care about their online presence.

Social media can take many different forms, including Internet forums, weblogs, social blogs, wikis, podcasts, pictures and video. Technologies include: blogs, picture-sharing, vlogs, wall-postings, email, instant messaging, music-sharing, crowdsourcing, and voice over IP, to name a few. Examples of social media applications are Google Groups (reference, social networking), Wikipedia (reference), MySpace (social networking), (product reviews), Youmeo (social networking) Facebook (personal music), YouTube (social networking and video sharing), Avatars United (social networking), Second Life (virtual reality), Flickr (photo sharing). Twitter (social networking and microblogging), and other microblogs such as Jaiku. Many of these social media services can be integrated via social network aggregation platforms like Mybloglog and Plaxo.

Examples of social media software applications include:

* Blogs: Blogger, LiveJournal, TypePad, WordPress, Vox

* Internet forums: vBulletin, phpBB

* Micro-blogging / Presence applications: Twitter, Plurk, Jaiku

* Social networking: Bebo, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, Orkut, Skyrock, Hi5

* Social network aggregation: FriendFeed, Youmeo

* Events: Upcoming, Eventful,