The Revolution In An Eye Blink

John Battelle (author of “The Search”– covering Google’s rise) recently described an experience that vividly shows how quickly the marketing landscape is changing given the impact of social media.  I’d recommend anyone involved in the advertising and marketing world read his account, as a powerful reminder to become fully immersed in social right now to stay relevant as the landscape shifts. In his post, Battelle recounts his recent visit with GM CMO Joel Ewanick, whose marketing group offices feature a real-time video wall with a constant stream of consumer conversations related to the auto maker on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Google+, as well as breaking posts and articles. During the visit, Battelle asked about a Facebook post that had just appeared on the video wall criticizing a local GM dealer. Ewanick casually related that his team would quickly engage with that customer and respond as part of their normal process of doing business, and sure enough Battelle later followed up and saw that the team had rapidly engaged the detractor- expertly addressing the customer’s situation.

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The Future of Local Media Sales: The Digital Rockstar

“The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”
-William Gibson

Anyone who has talked at length with me knows I have a few opinions about media sales reps.  I worked at an ad agency for over a decade and had countless reps call on me. I’ve worked alongside Digital Sales reps since my ad network days at CMGI’s AdSmart in 1997.  And the reality is that today we are going through a seismic change as to what makes someone highly successful in the local media sales job. The change is not apparent everywhere yet.  In fact I would argue that there are only a few excellent examples out there right now of who this person is. But I’ll give you one prediction: given the pace of change in the media business, if within 4 years you look in the mirror and you don’t see signs of the person I describe below, you may need to think about the burgeoning opportunities in plastics.

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Understanding Local Search Ranking Factors

Just in the last week, the 2012 Local Search Ranking Factors survey was released by David Mihm- the 5th edition of his study. While the release didn’t make headlines in the search industry, I would argue that if you are trying to understand the basics of local search, this is the place where you want to start.  So what exactly is the Local Search Ranking Factors Study and why should you pay attention?

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4 Reasons Why Local U Will Rock Your Web Marketing World

In honor of the Local University seminar series coming to Syracuse next week presented by and The Post-Standard (the 5th Local U that Advance and our local affiliated sites and newspapers have helped present), I thought I’d take a few minutes to outline the top four reasons why local businesses within a 250 mile radius have scored a winning Lotto ticket to have this event come to town.

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How Do Consumers Find Sites? Natural Search Still Rules…

So what resources do consumers use to help them find websites? It’s a good question to answer as you’re thinking about how to prioritize your marketing efforts. I often talk about the importance of natural search visibility as a foundation to a 360 degree marketing program (surrounding your prospects and customers via many touch points- search, social, online and offline channels), and there’s a good reason for that. Forrester took a look at their 2011 consumer survey data on how US adults get to sites and found that by far the largest percentage—50%– find sites through organic search. As Forrester analyst Shar VanBoskirk reported: “natural search still beats the second-most common site-traffic driver — links from another site — by 19% (it also beats paid search by a whopping 42%- as navigation via paid links comes in at 8%).

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Excerpts From ILM East: Paid vs Organic Search

One of the questions I often hear from both sales folks and businesses I talk to is-  what are the differences between paid and organic search and how are they most effectively used? There seems to be a whole lot of confusion out there on the whole PPC vs SEO question- even down to the basics of understanding how they operate (and I find a whole lot of people won’t even ask for fear the other kids in class will think they’re slow…). The reality is it can be very confusing, but to effectively harness one of the most powerful marketing channels today (search), you need to know the basics (I touched on this subject as well in an earlier blog post where I discuss the power of combining paid and organic search strategies together). In the video below from my talk at the ILM East conference in Boston this spring, you’ll see the basic analogy I like to use to help people to understand differences between the two.

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The Future Of Media and Thinking Small

Media Industry Analyst Ken Doctor recently wrote a piece for Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab where he explored the future of newspaper revenues in local markets. One of Ken’s ideas is that it’s unlikely media companies will be able to simply replace the one or two big revenue sources they have relied on in the past- rather he predicts success will come from placing bets on a wider range of products and services.  It’s all of these “smaller golden eggs” collectively that can build a meaningful business for media companies. I was honored that Ken cited my most recent talk at the Interactive Marketing East Conference in Boston as part of his exploration of where new revenue streams will come from:

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Businesses Used To Want “Advertising”, Now They Want Results

Businesses today are looking for results from digital advertising

Borrell Associates recently released their Annual Benchmarking Online Media report detailing shifts in local media spend.  Overall Borrell predicts that spending in local markets will jump 21% this year to nearly $20 billion, but one of the key trends they outline as part of this growth is the increase in “non-advertising” spend: comprising services like paid search, SEO, social media marketing and reputation management.  As Gordon Borrell recently commented:

“This transformation that we’ve begun to see, is that it is getting harder and harder to determine what’s advertising and what’s services…..Most forecasts call for a gradual slowdown of traditional advertising expenditures and growth in ‘non-advertising’ marketing and promotions spending. This change is based on the idea that advertisers actually want results more than they want advertising.”

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Is The Change Hitting The Media Industry Today Really A “Revolution”?

The Digital Media Revolution

Recently, we had a very interesting debate among our team about using the word “revolution” to describe the rapid shifts happening in the media landscape today.  Is the digital disruption we’ve seen from the invention of the internet—and subsequent innovations like social media—more of an evolution?  Could the word “revolution” be a little dramatic….?  How big is this whole darn social thing anyway and how much is really going to be different?

To me it’s not just an academic question. If you work in the media or advertising business, how you view the scale of change occurring today impacts what you do about it.  If you think what you see happening around you is just a slight adjustment on the road of media history– one that will leave most of the existing infrastructure intact (although maybe slightly evolved), you’re not likely to do a whole heck of a lot about it in terms of your personal commitment to preparing and developing yourself for a new world.  Change is hard- particularly when the way you’ve always done things has worked for so long.

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ILM East Conference View: Ad Spending Shifting To “Services” Like Content, SEO

John Denny speaking at ILM East Boston on SEO for CEO's

ILM East Boston: "SEO for CEO's"

This week I had a great experience traveling to Boston to speak at the Kelsey Interactive Local Marketing East Conference. My overall talk was on the basics of SEO for CEO’s and building an in-house SEO department, but I also touched on the wider trends happening in search related marketing spend and how they impact local markets. Afterwards we had a panel discussion with two of the people I view as among the top experts in search (and local SEO): Will Scott and Andrew Shotland  (you can find a recap of the session on the Kelsey blog here).

One of the themes I touched on during my talk was the growing importance of “Services” in the world of marketing priorities for businesses. That money is now shifting from what has always been viewed as “Advertising” (whether traditional or digital media) to a whole host of growing priorities including Search Engine Optimization,  Social Media Optimization, blogs and Content Marketing.

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