What marketers need to know about website engagement

healthcaregovBeing part of AZIMA I’m always impressed by the level of intelligence of our membership. But at times, I know that we all come across those clients who are so set on a path of implementation of a project that they can’t see the forest for the trees.

Truly understanding the needs of your audience over the desires of the information overload is a key takeaway from the Healthcare.gov website debacle.

Read my latest blog post – Healthcare.gov and CFI: WTF. – and let me know what you think and how you would have handled it differently if you have been given the assignment and a couple of hundred million dollars.



Thanksgiving takes a bite out of Christmas shopping

guy on phone in mall

Sometimes the best Black Friday deals are found outside of the store. Photo: Steve Rhodes

Thanksgiving is late this year and make sure you’re ready, because Christmas is about to follow it really quickly.

The stars and calendar have aligned to force the main shopping days this holiday season into a smaller -than-usual window.

Thanksgiving is, as usual, on the fourth Thursday of the month. But since November began on a Friday in 2013, the holiday feels pretty late.

That means there will be only 25 shopping days this year between Black Friday, Nov. 29, and Christmas day — that’s compared to 31 days in 2012.

And unlike last year, there are only four, not five, weekends between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

So, all-in-all, retailers have a reduced window of time to capture peak holiday spending. And shoppers are about to feel the full-on push of marketers trying to make the most of that smaller window of opportunity.TargetBlackFriday

Nevertheless, several retail research firms are predicting that this year will see double-digit grown in U.S. online sales. Websites and Facebook pages are already giving fans a sneak peek at Black Friday deals. Target has created a Facebook-based interactive memory game  which reveals deals as a user plays. And Macy’s has created games related to the Thanksgiving Day Parade… and shopping after the parade.

And in-person sales are set to begin before Black Friday this season, with 35 million shoppers expected to head out on Thanksgiving Day itself. According to the National Retail Federation, shoppers have convinced many retailers that they would rather shop at night after dinner and football than set an early alarm and brave the cold morning deals on Friday.

And according to a survey of 212 marketing executives by Experian Marketing Services, 70{2bbd478b6aadf2a9bb5e10dcf35d17c0d0772390afbaf5ac8145fb1096668903} of retailers plan promotional offers this season including:

  • 39{2bbd478b6aadf2a9bb5e10dcf35d17c0d0772390afbaf5ac8145fb1096668903} will offer free shipping,
  • 28{2bbd478b6aadf2a9bb5e10dcf35d17c0d0772390afbaf5ac8145fb1096668903} will offer a deal of the day,
  • 21{2bbd478b6aadf2a9bb5e10dcf35d17c0d0772390afbaf5ac8145fb1096668903} will offer online coupons and
  • 3{2bbd478b6aadf2a9bb5e10dcf35d17c0d0772390afbaf5ac8145fb1096668903} will offer layaway.

More studies and stories on what is expected this holiday season:

More on the Experian Marketing Services study.
Top holiday email predictions for 2013.
Deloitte Christmas Retailer’s Survey 2013.
The Washington Post: Short holiday season could cost retailers $1.5 billion
The National Retail Federation: Thanksgiving turkey with a side of shopping
TheBlackFriday.com Black Friday ads leaked or published all in one place.



Getting jazzed about November’s event speaker Jonathan Salem Baskin

JonathanSalemBaskinWhat do Forbes, Advertising Age, Apple’s iMac, Nissan …  and now AZIMA … have in common?

Answer:  November’s speaker Jonathan Salem Baskin, president of marketing consultants Baskin Associates and a global brand strategist.  Baskin has 30 years of professional experience helping clients large and small deliver better, sustainable, and more reliable marketing and brand value.

Baskin is scheduled to speak on Nov. 21 at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas. More details about that and to purchase tickets here: The Mobile Singularity: New Rules for Marketing to Smart Networks?

His credentials alone should convince you to be there. Yet there’s another treat in store for Baskin’s Arizona audience.  Baskin will focus on the impact of digital and the changing role of branding, while sharing  new ideas based on research conducted for this visit.

Baskin talks in this video about how excited he, too, is about coming to Arizona.

You can find a lot of Baskin’s thoughts on marketing and branding here:  Answers: Branding.    He also writes daily (well, sometimes hourly) on Twitter: @JonathanSalem.

Here’s a short video from earlier this year. Speaking at JUMP New York, he stressed the importance of daring to stand for something, daring to have a point of view.

“The world needs more people with strong substantiated points of view not just opinions,” Baskin said. We’re ready to hear Baskin’s point of view … and opinions … on Nov. 21.


Sept 2013 Event Recap – Email in an Increasingly Mobile and Social World

DSC_6429 DSC_6391 DSC_6384 DSC_6379More than 70 guests attended the Sept. 19 Arizona Interactive Marketing Association (AZIMA) event, “Email in an Increasingly Mobile and Social World,” presented by Chris Sietsema, owner of Teach to Fish Digital, at the Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas.

Chris delved right into real-life examples of email campaigns, critiquing well-known brands and pointing out how images loaded differently on computers and mobile devices. We especially liked how he sprinkled in his great sense of humor as he critiqued each brand.

It was clear that email marketers need to “adapt or die” and consider this sobering stat:

  •  80 percent of people delete emails that do not “look good” on mobile.

Chris continued his presentation, focusing on examples of how Mobile email should be Skinny, Scalable and Responsive. A few tools that can help with this process:

  • Jpegmini.com
  • Mailup.com
  • ThemeForest.com
  • LiveClicker.com
  • Email on Acid and Litmus (Design previews)

He also discussed Social in Email; Email in Social and offered more tips regarding tools that digital marketers can utilize.

Chris’ full presentation can be accessed at: www.slideshare.net/sietsema, and a recap of each slide with some of the best Tweets from the event can be found here: http://teachtofishdigital.com/email-mobile-social/ However, after it was all said and done, a number of good points really stood out from Chris’ presentations:


  • Email messages must be developed and delivered in a manner that fits each audience member’s interests, reading habits, and device usage.  It’s truly a ‘right message, right time, right place’ mandate.
  • You can learn a lot with email testing.
  • Don’t lust after your competitor’s metrics. Concentrate on the unique concerns your customers have.
  • If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not trying – Chris quoted Bob Ross, “We don’t make mistakes. We make happy little accidents.”

We thank Chris for his terrific presentation, and we were especially pleased to meet so many new attendees. We encourage you to learn more about AZIMA and contact one of our board members with any questions!

The Mobile Singularity: New Rules For Marketing To Smart Networks?

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Email in an Increasingly Mobile and Social World

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How Website Development is Like My Wife’s Shoes

Post by Roger Hurni – My director of interactive, Anthony Helmstetter, just came out of a meeting with a potential client who is having some website development issues. When I asked him what they were experiencing, he described a situation many of us are familiar with. The project started off with no budget, but they didn’t want to spend a lot of money even though they couldn’t define a specific budget. They wanted “off-the-shelf” technology that is easy to use and proven. This included a CMS that would allow them to make changes, but admitted they would rarely use. They hired another company that made promises, blew their budget, then tried free web software to get the site back on track, only for the client to find themselves six months behind schedule and trying to polish a turd of a website.

It dawned on me how many companies we come across that are in some stage of this kind of fiasco. And the answer to avoiding this situation came to me in the from of the shoes my wife Joanne buys. Or used to buy, to be specific. You see, like most women, Joanne loves to buy shoes. The problem is she always tries to choose the most practical path to purchasing them. Then, she rationalizes the purchase of an inexpensive pair of shoes by saying to herself,“these are only for special situations and I won’t be wearing them much,” or, “they were on sale at 60% off and I saved us money.” Sometimes, she reasons, “I don’t want to spend a lot of money on something that will mostly just sit on a shelf.” You get the idea –she’s buying cheap to get more. Or so she thinks. Inevitably, when she finally wears a pair, she complains about her feet hurting 20 minutes later, followed by a comment like, “these are the worst shoes, and I won’t wear them again. I’m going back to the store to buy the other pair I saw that was $75 more.”

Here’s my point: instead of trying to save money by buying pair of shoes for $60 only to go back later to purchase a better pair for $150, I always tell her to just buy the pair for $150 from the start and save us $60 and a headache. Many website projects I see take the exact same approach. So if you want to really save money, try starting with a realistic budget that isn’t necessarily the cheapest option, knowing it brings quality people and technology appropriate for your goals. It’s your business for Pete’s sake, so make it an investment in it. You’ll be far better off in the end, and your feet won’t have to suffer through another bad pair of shoes. 

If you provide something interesting for people to read, they will come

If you provide something interesting for people to read, they will come.

That’s a two-part process, said Arnie Kuenn, keynote speaker at AZIMA on April 18. The first step is creating a process for regular, quality content. The second step is optimizing that content so people can find it more easily.

“Please optimize your darn content,” was his stark and only statement on optimization.

Arnie Kuenn, AZIMA founding member and President of Vertical Measures, provided meeting attendees with insight into, “How to Win at Search, Social and Content Marketing” based on his award-winning content marketing book, Accelerate.

That two-step process is fundamental to success. “Think like a publisher!” was the key message Kuenn wanted the audience to embrace during his presentation. The focus was on creating compelling content for customer engagement, understanding the latest research and trends and learning best practices for content planning.

Content Marketing Results

Eighteen months ago, audiences he spoke to mostly gave blank looks when he mentioned “content marketing.” Kuenn led off with a look at how content has come into play as a powerful internet marketing tool and why it is important from a search perspective. Some of the favorite stats tweeted by attendees included:

  • Companies that blog 15X per month, get 5X more traffic
  • Content Marketing is the top priority for businesses in 2013
  • Companies with 100-200 content pages generated 2.5X more leads than those with under 50

Compelling content is vital to turning visitors into buyers. 93% use search engines before deciding on a purchase.

Another topic that hit home with the audience of internet marketers, was Kuenn’s suggestions on how to conduct research for generating content ideas:

  • Start by finding out what your audience is searching for by using Google keyword tools
  • Businesses can get ideas for 60-100+ more content pages on their site, just by answering questions from customers. (This received a few nods of recognition from the crowd.)
  • Focus on quality – the best performing posts were over 2,000 words! (This received a few groans from the crowd)
  • It takes time – about 180 days rather than 30 days. Once you get to about 200 posts on your blog, traffic starts to take off

Other than the obvious benefits of coming up with useful, rather than gimmicky content ideas, Kuenn said costs can be reduced by as much as 2/3rds with this way of generation. This figure needs further research, he said. When it starts with a group of people talking and coming up with ideas quickly, though, it stands to reason the expense is less.

Following this often overlooked process for gathering ideas, Kuenn impressed the importance of mapping generated topics on a content strategy calendar – like a publisher – and provided this free editorial template.

The State of Relationships

When you’re dealing with an internet presence, Kuenn suggested, a two-way personal relationship is not needed for success. Especially for people getting first impressions of your company as they search for what they need.

“Now relationships are being formed with information, not people,” Keunn said.

Webinars and Google Hangouts are obvious examples of a hybrid of the two. They both bring people into direct interaction. Keep them, post later and transcribe what’s being said and you will also have searchable, evergreen content to put on your blog. The extra multimedia content is also looked upon favorably. That’s SEO.

“Do you view content generation as primarily getting your brand out there,” someone asked.

That’s exactly what it’s not. Being trusted as a place to get good information in your company’s field of interest, is what it’s about, Kuenn said.

“A lot of people think that, but people are tired of being targeted and being ‘sold’ to,” he added.

With a focus on both quality and quantity in his talk, someone in the audience asked which was more important. “Quality,” Kuenn said, adding that in-depth pieces of about 2,000 words are now shown to be more and more popular. The ability to read longer pieces on larger-screened tablets is one factor toward this. Quality also means variety of content, he said, which is another reason people stay on a site.

For businesses seeking growth and performance over competitors, Kuenn’s advice is simple – harness the power of search and social marketing, and consistently create content your target audience will enjoy. Ultimately, you will be rewarded with their business and loyalty.

AZIMA Presentation on Mobile First for 2013: Advertise, Monetize, and Maximize 2-28-13

AZIMA Presentation on Mobile First for 2013: Advertise, Monetize, and Maximize 2-28-13 by Matthew O’Brien

Kim Carlson, Strategic Sales for http://www.InMobi.com, a global mobile ad network. This slide deck from the February 28th AZIMA event provides some industry insights and commentary on the state of mobile advertising. Including InMobi’s recent Mobile Consumption research, learn why use mobile in your strategy, how is mobile different, mobile marketing insights on a couple of key verticals, best practices for successful mobile marketing and finally some creative examples of recent award winning campaigns. Kim has worked in digital media for the last 10+ years addressing many aspects of mobile marketing. In Mobile, most people believe this is an opportunity to find the holy grail of marketing- touching the consumer across the marketing funnel from awareness to purchase, to loyalty. Every year that we take a look at this we seem to make progress- and that’s exciting for marketers, users, and enablers alike.

Next AZIMA event is on March 28th will feature digital marketing pioneer, Jay Baer, as host and MC and he promises to share some of his top ideas on the digital marketing world as we know it. This is the first Annual TIM Awards is your chance to mingle with some of the best and brightest marketers in Phoenix. If you are in digital marketing field, this is an event you don’t want to miss!

1st Annual AZIMA TIM Awards: Call for entries.

AZIMA 1st Annual Tim Awards
You can be the toast of your digital domain if you win one of the coveted TIMs—the Arizona Interactive Marketing Association’s award for excellence. Named after Sir Timothy Berners-Lee, acknowledged father of the World Wide Web, the TIMs showcase Arizona talent and work in the interactive realm for calendar year 2012.

Interactive luminary Jay Baer, author of The Now Revolution, will offer a keynote and MC the awards ceremony.

Categories:Enter in any of our 12 categories—a first place and runner up will be awarded in each. This competition is open to any Arizona-based agency or firm doing work on behalf of local, national or international companies. Please note that qualifying work must have been produced in the calendar year 2012; speculative work or personal projects are not eligible.

  • Best Website
  • Best Social Media Campaign
  • Best Integrated Interactive Campaign
  • Best Email Marketing Campaign
  • Best Display Ad (Single or Campaign)
  • Best Rich Media Execution
  • Best Mobile Marketing Campaign
  • Best App
  • Best Blog
  • Best Online Video
  • Brand of the Year
  • Interactive Person of the Year

Mark your calendars. The deadline for entries is March 7TH, 2013, with the awards presented during a ceremony on March 28TH.

Entry Fee
Each entry costs $50; you can enter one campaign multiple times (for example, you can enter your brilliant blog as part of the “Best Social Media Campaign” and under “Best Blog.” Please note that each entry requires a separate $50 fee.

Register Now! (Deadline is March 7)