Marketing IT Dept.

How to measure web traffic

In today’s Marketing Over Coffee (the best marketing podcast) we got on to the topic of web analytics. There are a few different methods to see how your site is doing and each of them have some benefits and drawbacks.

  1. Analytics as a Service (AaaS – that’s not a real acronym, but I like it) – Services such as Google Analytics. With these solutions you put a few lines of javascript on each webpage (or some providers use a tiny 1 pixel by 1 pixel image, or a banner for their own brand). This is the king of quick and easy and since it’s web based if they roll out new features everybody gets them as opposed to having to upgrade your own program installed on your own machine. This method is not really good at telling you how busy your server really is though. It can’t tell if images are being pulled from other websites and doesn’t tell you as much about your feeds such as something like feedburner.
  2. Which leads us to: Spot solutions – there are tools like feedburner or MyBlogLog that give specific metrics for feeds, blogs whatever.
  3. Server Side – There are many solutions you can install on your own servers to monitor how busy those boxes are. This is very useful to see how much bandwidth you are burning, and see how many errors your site is serving up. Some of this can be difficult to configure, and since they may not be frequently updated they may have a problem separating search engine or other “fake” traffic from real humans.
  4. Custom – Check out the podcast for more on this, if you have some jedi skills you can use a graphic image and set up scripts on your server so that when it is called you capture the details and throw them in your own database. This would be a do-it-yourself version of #1 but is completely stealth mode – for places like MySpace that don’t want you to install and AaaS services, this is a workaround.

Have fun measuring!

Productivity Booster

How to pitch a CMO

A friend asked me this question in this vein and I thought the answer was worth sharing, so I took out the specifics to outline some general principles:

First, remember that most CMO’s are insane. In general you’re best bet would be to do a custom presentation based on what you know about them. A generic approach would be the type of pitch an agency would make to a senior marketing person. Something like this:

1. Define the Market
2. Strategy and tactics
2. Concepts

A CMO has a lofty plan they set up by demographics – “We are looking for married women, 35-50, household income over 100k”. By defining the Market you are selling them on how your specific skills can hit the target – “The fastest growing segment of X market is the one that I have the keys to”.

In strategy and tactics outline what will be done and how it will be measured – “There will be these programs, we are looking for X impressions, and Y conversions…”

Concepts are the best place to shine, and also the most work. The easy way out is to show stuff that you have already done for other people, the hard way would be to mock-up what you would be doing for them. It’s a good idea to present concepts in sets of 3, two good ideas and (what you consider to be) a crummy one, that way if your client always picks the crummy one you’ll know that you have some style or communication problems and perhaps you shouldn’t be working together.

It also depends on the purpose of the meeting, better firms know that interviewing agencies is a low cost method of brainstorming so they do no original work until there’s really a deal…

Email Marketing

More on Deliverability

Jason sent in a comment on a prior post discussing deliverability asking about web auto responders. This is a distinction that is important if you are not aware of your IT infrastructure – the mail that gets generated when someone fills out a form on your site may be coming from a different place than your bulk email.

This means that you may get differing deliverability rates, and may have some other strange issues. Although I have not seen any email providers offering this service, I have seen it bundled in CRM systems such as

I know… Deliverability is not the sexiest stuff…


Wii Hunter

This week’s M Show is up, sadly that means that the weekend is over…

Productivity Booster

Shirt Distribution

Just a random marketing stat for Saturday. When buying shirts for software executives I found this distribution:

M 15% L 37% XL 35% 2XL 13%

If you have to buy shirts I’d suggest a similar purchasing pattern (unless you have other data?).

Another point – I’ve always made it a point to get women’s shirts for them if they are working on behalf of the company. Nothing looks lamer to me than a woman who’s been given a company shirt that fits like a feed bag.


Google Reader and Facebook

Some great topics this week in Marketing Over Coffee (the best Marketing Podcast) – We talk about using Google Reader, a huge productivity booster and a great way to monitor your brand. Chris also gives a guided tour of Facebook Beacon and why it caused some controversy and Facebook Pages.

If you are a Marketing Over Coffee fan, please take a second to give us an iTunes review, we’d really appreciate it.

Brain Buster

Evil Rising? Time for the Heroes to Shine

The Evil is growing. This pattern has been repeated over and over again:

New network springs up -> Golden Era, early adopters come on board and love it -> Mainstream Adoption
(it’s still cool but there’s a lot of new people and some odd things happening)

Exploitation Begins – some new users jump on board not to communicate but sell their own agenda, Celebrities emerge who can drive traffic, conversations fall to mundane topics like “Let me bitch about bad customer service”, or “Who’s hot”

At this point the drama begins, eventually the evildoers that slip up are revealed and start throwing chain lighting at young Skywalker. The better masterminds remain in the shadows, perhaps some of them even working for good (or at least non-malevolent causes).

At this point often a New Network arises to draw off the early adopters (when’s the last time you logged into Second Life? Podcast Alley? MySpace?)

Some opportunities that arise from this cycle that you might consider:

  1. When the new network arises and the cool kids leave, there’s still the back half of the bell curve to exploit – this is why email marketing still works like a champ – yes the kids are leaving messages on facebook so they don’t have to remember email addresses, but mom and dad are still slaves to the inbox.
  2. Are you exploiting a social network? Considering Facebook your digital home is not the same as seeing it as a list to be harvested. Both could be considered “Right” not “Wrong” – the happy citizen likes a nice place to hang out, a person with a business plan is looking for the .01% of users that could be customers and has no concern or interest in the rest of the community. Check out this cool post about Target allegedly setting up an astroturf group.
  3. Are you being exploited and do you care? A very interesting issue this week, Juila Roy vs. Justine Ezarik. Ms. Roy has been featured on Dig a Tech Girl (get the story from her), a site to vote for the Tech Girl you like. Ms. Ezarik is reportedly not a fan of the site. As much as I want to believe in the dignity and honor of the human condition, I’ve done enough in marketing to know that if either of these women looked like the 95 year old substitute teacher I had in high school, they probably wouldn’t be enjoying the same type of traffic.

Are you willing to trade the moral disdain some may try to hold over you for the additional traffic?

Is there a difference between silently benefiting from your appearance rather than actively capitalizing on it?

Are you still able to have it “Your Way” at Burger King (that one really bothers me) Forget it.

The only compass I can offer here are some marketing lessons. One: What does your Brand Stand for?  Let who you want to be guide where you showcase who you are. Remember that every digital neighborhood invokes personal opinion. Some of these opinions may strengthen your brand others may damage it. Two: Remember that human behavior is irrational. There’s nothing wrong with using humor, physical attraction, or FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) to open a conversation to talk about something else.

Productivity Booster

Fortress of Solitude

North BeachFor the past month I have been reviewing my schedule and I’ve noticed that a very large part of 2007 was devoted to networking in the new media space. Unfortunately it’s starting to look like I’m hitting a point of diminishing returns. As much as I enjoy going to events I’m starting to think that my time would be better spent working on projects rather than talking about them.

I’m going to finish out the events I have for this year and then I’ll be setting up the work plan for 2008 without adding a lot of events. Right now I’m looking at 4 events – Podcamp NYC, Gnomedex, NME in Vegas and Podcamp Boston, and may only pick two of those.

Is there a progression of events? You attend for a few years, hit the point of diminishing returns and then go every other, or even 3rd year just to keep up to date.

Another thing I have been thinking a lot about is an idea Eric Rice infected me with – some kind of event where work is done, as opposed to education. I’d much rather get together with 5 rockstars and try to do something rather than talk about how to do things.

Of course none of this is carved in stone, it’s year end and time to evaluate all the strategies and adjust for 2008, but it’s starting to look like more time in the Fortress.


Big Weekend

I was back in Williamstown for the weekend, I’ll have some Flickr pics posted later this week. For audio on what’s happening in Hollywood, including coverage of the writer’s strike, listen to The M Show.