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!

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)

August Event Recap – Social Media Advice with Neal Schaffer

AZIMA Neal Schaffer Meeting

The August AZIMA event featured guest speaker Neal Schaffer of WindMill Networking and author of Maximizing LinkedIn for Sales & Social Media Marketing, who spoke about the power of social media, and in particular LinkedIn, to drive results for your company and your career. Neal reinforced the importance of businesses needing to not only participate in social media, but embrace it throughout their organization. A few years ago, social media was viewed as a fad – but now its here to stay. According to Neal, more time is spent online than watching TV, especially among 45-54 year olds, so it’s critical we shift our marketing focus there accordingly.

Neal broke down social media strategy into something easy to understand and act upon. According to Neal, the average marketer or company goes through three stages of understanding social media:

  • It’s scary and has no ROI – let’s ignore it.
  • Maybe we should consider it – after all, other companies are doing it, maybe even our competitors!
  • How can we do more social media? Social is great, lets do more!

Once marketers move to third stage and have fully embraced social media, Neal recommends the PDCA approach. What’s that, you ask?

  • Plan – plan your strategy & define your goals
  • Do – execute your plan
  • Check – monitor your results
  • Act – revise your plan based on the results you checked

In the end, you’ll realize just how critical the role of a social media marketer is. Neal believes its so important a community manager should truly be a 6 figure job!

Neal also shared some tips for LinkedIn with the audience – Neal was one of the earliest adopters of LinkedIn and known as one of the original “LinkedIn Lions.” He was part of the open networking movement and built his connections to be as large as possible, generating tons of business leads, consulting gigs and job prospects. Neal encourages marketers to be open & connect with each other on LinkedIn as a great way to generate leads and connect with others.

Arnie Kuenn

In addition to the presentation and usual networking hour, we gave away a free Kindle to one lucky attendee, as well as a few copies of Arnie Kuenn’s new book, Accelerate!, which just debuted recently on Amazon and can be purchased here.

Thanks to all that attended!

July Event Recap: Getting the Dish on Social Media for Restaurants!

The AZIMA Panel Discusses Social Media Marketing for Restaurants

The AZIMA Panel Discusses Social Media Marketing for Restaurants

July’s AZIMA event “Serving it Up with Social Media” was full of delicious stories about what it’s like to do social media marketing for restaurants. We got to hear from the perspective of national chains like Chipotle and PF Chang’s & Pei Wei, as well as from a local perspective of the acclaimed Phoenix restaurant Beckett’s Table. The discussion was moderated by Ty Largo, a food blogger & marketer of restaurants & hospitality at UP Agency, so we really got to enjoy a discussion full of expertise & knowledge! We also demoed an exciting new app called Chatterplug during the presentation, which allowed attendees to review the event in real time – which tied in nicely to our discussion of online review sites & getting feedback from guests!

What ensued was a great discussion where the three panelists shared stories on what they’ve found works well – and what doesn’t – to connect with their customers with social media. While all panelists agreed that social media can’t replace the importance of one on one interaction, and social media metrics can’t track mojo or the ROI on a smile, they all found social media to be incredibly effective & important to connect with their guests and spread the word about their latest dishes & promotions.

Chef Justin Beckett (@BeckettsTable) is not only a chef, but also the social media voice of Beckett’s Table, creating all of the Tweets & Facebook shares his guests enjoy himself. He finds that people react most favorably to pictures of the food, and he often posts pictures of the daily special, or even before and after pictures of the ingredients and the final dish. He joked that “Every time I post a picture of heirloom tomatoes, people go crazy!” in response to learning what kind of posts get the best interaction.

Chipotle (@ChipotleTweets) connects with their local branch managers to ask questions like: Who are your customers? What do you want to do to connect with them better?  to help identify new marketing initiatives that will help them connect better with their various local markets. They also try to identify brand ambassadors and reach out to them for ideas & inspiration (in exchange for burritos, of course!), and are launching a new program where the local staff & managers can invite loyal customers to receive special perks & rewards. Making local connections is a big part of their social media approach.

PF Chang’s (@PFChangs) & Pei Wei (@PeiWei) reply to every tweet and try to connect with as many of their fans as possible, which is impressive for a national chain with over 20,000 followers on Twitter and almost 250,000 fans on Facebook! They find that coupons, such as the free lettuce wraps coupon that is currently on their Facebook page, are very effective at driving people to the stores through social media. They find that “one page, one message” is best when it comes to managing multiple locations so that they can control the voice and make sure no well-intentioned but perhaps less-skilled restaurants are posting updates like “nom nom nom nom nom.”

What was interesting was that all three restaurants  – PF Chang’s, Chipotle & Beckett’s Table – had just one person who was doing the heavy lifting of social media, and they all admit it’s no easy task and still playing catch-up on some social media fronts! Despite the challenges, you could tell that all three panelists really enjoyed their job and had a lot of passion for what they do, which was inspiring to restaurateurs and marketers alike.

And of course, all of that talk about food sure made the crowd hungry, but not to worry as Chipotle & PF Chang’s handed out coupons for free burritos & lettuce wraps, respectively, to everyone in attendance!

Event Photo Credit: Mark Goldstein

Mission to Meet AZIMA Members: 33

This week’s featured member is Chris Epper from P.F. Chang’s China Bistro. While April’s AZIMA event was his first, we sure hope Chris will be back!

Thanks for joining us, Chris! Hope to see you at the Online Marketing Summit! Don’t forget to register for Online Marketing Summit in Phoenix June 15-17! Register with promo code IMA15AZ, as a friend of AZIMA and  save 15 percent!

Mission to Meet AZIMA Members: 32

This week, I’d like you all to meet Michael McEuen from GannettLocal. Michael said he likes attending AZIMA events to meet others in the interactive and online industries in the Phoenix area.

Thanks for coming, Michael! Hope to see you at the Online Marketing Summit! Don’t forget to register for Online Marketing Summit in Phoenix June 15-17! Register with promo code IMA15AZ, as a friend of AZIMA and  save 15 percent!