Monday, January 25, 2010

5 Ways to Make Video a Viable Channel

By Philip Wocken

YouTube became the world's second largest search engine in November 2008 and has increased the number of searches on its website by 31% over last year. Video is becoming an increasingly important marketing chanel in today's digital world. What are you and your company doing about it? There are several ways that companies are successfully using video to increase brand awareness:

1) Video Contests: Video Contests have become a fun and easy way for brands to connect with customers. There are several contests that have been very successful, but my favorite remains the "Best Job in the World" campaign, sponsored by Tourism Queensand. Over 34,000 people from all over the world submitted video "applications" explaining why they would be the best Islands Caretaker. The job was a 6 month contract in which the Caretaker would experience (and promote via a weekly blog) everything that the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef had to offer. With $110,000 salary for the Islands Caretaker, the contest came with a hefty price tag for a struggling Australian tourism industry. However, with recurring press mentions from all major news outlets worldwide, the campaign more than paid for itself with intagible ROI.

2) Viral Videos: If your company is not sharing video, you are missing a whole niche of potential customers that may not know about your company or visit your website. If they have friends that share a video about your product or your company on YouTube or their Facebook pages, that may be their first touch point with your brand. Make your videos entertaining and short (around 2-3 minutes long). Better yet, make them both. Upload it to YouTube and let You Tube host the videos. Then, embed the YouTube videos on your site. This way, when it is viewed on your website, YouTube will add those views toward the total number of views on YouTube, thereby giving it more visibility.

3) Give Your Visitors Video: How many times have you visited a website to learn about a company and all that you get are long paragraphs of feel-good copy that do not tell you anything? Yep, you know the feeling: your eyes glaze over and 10 minutes later you still know nothing about the company. Instead, have your Chief Executive or a couple of staff members give visitors a little video history of the company. It gives the company a little bit of personality, plus it makes your website interesting.

4) Video SEO: Google now incorporates videos into many search results now. Often times, those videos show up towards the top of the page. Inserting keywords in the title and filename of the video will help users easily find your videos. This article from Forrester Research gives some easy step-by-step instructions on how to optimize your video.

5) Video Simplifies the Complex: Do customers find your product difficult to understand or operate? Use a quick instructional video that shows customers how to use your product or how your product works. Does your company sell ideas? Have your thought leader give your customers a few tips. These freebies will prove your company's industry expertise and be useful to your visitors.
Is your company using video? How are your using video to build your brand? I'd love to get your thoughts in the Comment section below.

Philip Wocken is an inventive marketing manager specializing in Online Marketing techniques. e can be reached via Twitter @BuzzBrains or email him at
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Monday, January 18, 2010

Do You Treat Your Brand Ambassadors like Your Key Stakeholders?

By Emily Jasper

Imagine you don't have to report to a board of directors or stockholders. You can go about your business without worrying up.
Are you worrying down, though?

The people who invest their time and energy into helping your organization succeed, even if they make no money from it might have something to say about how you treat them. They may speak on your behalf (whether you want them to or not) and, in some cases, can make or break your image. You may want to tap into some of these people, pick a few choice ambassadors who are influential, and see if they will drink the Kool-Aid.

Good-natured brand ambassadors, helping your organization get started or succeed, make up a group you should consider just as important as any group of key stakeholders that help run your business. In their hearts they want to help spread the good word of Company Fabulous. They can be a tremendous resource, especially if your Marketing and PR budgets are nonexistent. As the world changes, more people will be listening to peers. These brand ambassadors will gain trust with customers that you may not be able to do without coming across as an aggressive marketer.

Just like dating, the honeymoon phase will eventually end. The ambassadors may not be so good-natured anymore. They may want "in" on the action, expect certain rewards for time investment, and look for incentives to keep engaged. Wait, what happened?

Consider the brand ambassadors a group who should be part of the process with you. Look at client reference or VIP programs for a place to start. In exchange for references and case stories, companies may create a perks program for being essentially a brand ambassador. Your company can include these ambassadors on sneak peak calls to future decisions, involve them in focus groups, and give them an opportunity to share ideas and feedback. Positive investments of time on your side will continue to keep the positive feeling going for the ambassadors.

Emily Jasper is a Corporate Marketing Manager with PDI Ninth House. In addition to marketing, Emily has sales and PR experience from previous roles. She currently writes a blog, "From the Gen Y Perspective," and can be followed on Twitter at

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Monday, January 11, 2010

Push/Pull Marketing to Global Customers

By Rodney Hiel

Over the last few years since the recession began, emerging BRIC (Brazil,Russia, India and China) markets have been the bright spot in global sales growth opportunities for many western companies. With several state and federal government agencies offering a variety of assistance programs to accomplish these goals, business results as published by various business organizations such as the American Chambers of Commere (AMCHAM) in these markets have resonated with American executives and had a "Pull Effect" to either start or expand their international sales during these challenging times in the west (contributing a "Push Effect".)

The AMCHAM office in China produced its annual white paper on the China business environment drawn from a survey of over 7,000 US businesses in China. A few attractive facts from its latest survey of 2008 include:
*74% of businesses found their 2008 Financial Performance to be Profitable or Very Profitable
*87% of businesses found their China Opertions Revenue in 2008 had stayed the same to increased substantially compared to those in 2007
*78% of businesses found their Operating Margins in 2008 remained the same to improved substantially when compared in 2007
*71% of businesses are forecasting 2009 Revenues to remain the same or increase over 50%

These results have generated a significant "Pull Effect" to draw US companies to China. In many cases, selling to these markets has helped them endure these challenging times. But unfortunately, not enough US companies are taking advantage of this opportunity.

In a recent Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal article written by Jennifer Niemela, Klobuchar: Small Biz needs helps with exports, "Sen. Amy Klobuchar is calling for expanded resources to help small businesses promote their products overseas." In the article,
Klobuchar (D-Minn) and George LeMieux (R-Fla) members of the Senate Commerce Subcommitte on Comptitiveness, Innovation and Export Promotion are asking that the Department of Commerce issue a report on export promotion that would detail resources currently available to small businesses to help them increase their exporting. "We live in a global economy and our country's small businesses should get the benefits," said Klobuchar in a statement. "Increasing our exports will mean more American business opportunities and that means more jobs and more economic growth."

With lagging sales in the west, and double digit growth in BRIC markets, these government efforts now become a "Push Effect" to drive US businesses into international markets. Some of the local resources currently available to assist in these efforts are the state and federal trade offices and trade associations such as the Midwest Global Trade Association (MGTA), US China Business Connections (UCBC), among others. Like these previous organizations, some local private consulting companies like Asia Business Consulting produce unique and specialized education events to assist in these efforts.

Given the recession, any new markets Minnesota companies can sell to will significantly soften the hard times locally and just as importantly, will lay a strong foundation to grow globally inthe future. There has rarely been a time where there has been such a strong and coordinated Pull and Push Effects happening at the same time. If a business cannot take advantage of these opportunities, this will certainly raise the question, "How long can this company stay in business during this economy?" Contact me with your thoughts.

Rodney Hiel is the Managing Director of Asia Business Consulting, a Minnesota based firm that researches, develops, and tactically executes a proven process to create cost effective strategies for market entry in today's China and Southeast Asia.

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Monday, January 4, 2010

Building and Executing Online Localized Marketing Strategy

By Nina Hale

December is a bonanza of business for local shops, gyms, grocery stores, and other businesses. Marketing to your customers at their location can be a challenge, but doing it successfully can bring huge rewards. The opportunity is certainly out there. Consider the following factoids:

  • 11% of searches include a local intent, but 28% of searches on mobile phones have a local intent.
  • Over 60% of consumers go online first when searching for local businesses. Search engines are the #1 information source used. However, it is still a local world: 96% of products are still purchased offline.
  • 15% of iPhone apps are related to local destinations.
  • By 2011, search rates on smart phones are expected to reach the same level of searches from PC's in 2007.
  • There are 3.3B active mobile devices vs. 1B active PC's. And 270 million of those mobile subscribers are in the US. 40% of new mobile devices sold are smart phones. Nielsen predicts this number to grow to 50% by 2011.

Advertising to potential customers at a local level is the place where the small store can undercut the national chain. But there are also some advantages for chains that the small business can't take advantage of. Nina is looking forward to her opportunity to speak more on local advertising on January 19th and hope that people can come to this lunch session.

Information compiled from the following sources: the Kelsey Group, Brian Buchwald, ComScore/ TMP, VP of Local Integrated Media at NBC, and Google.

Nina Hale is the President & CEO if Nina Hale Consulting. She founded her agency in 2005 after specializing in internet marketing since 2000 and new media since 1989. Nina holds an MBA from the Carlson School of Management and a B.A. from Brown University.

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