How I use social media sites in 140 characters or less.

It is hard to have a personal or professional conversation these days without facebook or twitter coming up.  In an effort to keep my message short and sweet, or twitter-style, I thought this would be an easy way to share how these sites have become part of my daily grind and why.  Please share you comments and I will continue to add to my initial list over time.

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Is your website a brochure in the trash, a book on a shelf, or a magazine on the coffee table?

It is inevitable that I end up explaining the evolution of the web several times a week. Whether with clients, prospects, peers, family or friends, the web and social media have hit a point of intersection where advertisers and consumers are now in the same dialog. Even Googling and facebooking are terms my seven year old uses regularly.

In times past, the “mother-in-law test” as I called it (no offense, Grandma C.), was a litmus test to determine how simple an idea was. I would just ask, “Would your mother-in-law get that idea?” If the answer was “No.”, then the concept was either bad or overcomplicated. Well, here is my “mother-in-law test” for the state of marketing on the web today, so tell me if I have passed my own test.

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6.5 Tools to Track the Performance of Every Marketing Budget.

Marketing reporting and performance tracking seems like it would be the foundation for any marketing program.  But as we talked with clients, prospects, and attendees at many conferences this fall, we find that with all of the marketing options today, many people stand there like a deer in the headlights when asked how they are tracking results.

Not tracking marketing performance is like being on the PGA Tour and not keeping score.  You just can’t compete and win without doing it.

Here is a list of six tools for your consideration. Let me preface by saying we define what tools we will use at the beginning of each campaign and these only represent a few that we leverage most often.  Also, not everything is easily tracked in one solution, so we often take reports from various formats and pull up our old-school friend, Microsoft Excel, to build custom dashboards based on the client’s specific data views.

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Great Stats on Social Media as the New Norm.

I am not sure where the sources are for this but it is a great social media video I found posted on Facebook by Amy Wood (http://www.carolinascw.com/theribbit) that really begins to quantify the power of social media. We still talk to too many clients, friends, and even peers that question the longevity of the social media platform but I think this should make everyone realize it is here to stay.  If you have any other great stats please share those as well, and their sources.

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Raising the Bar for University Fundraising.

We just concluded an alumni awareness effort last week for Furman University called http://www.DoNotCallMeAtDinner.com that leveraged database marketing and social media to create a new approach to alumni relations. Although all of the results are not yet tallied, we had some insights that we wanted to go ahead and share.

The campaign was designed to create alumni awareness and increase participation with Furman University alumni while raising funds through online donations. Like most universities, Furman has a Spring Call-a-Thon that yields predictable results but is perceived as an annoyance to many donors. This year the approach was to attack that philosophy head-on and promise not to call alumni at dinner if they made an online gift by May 15, 2009. A parody of the famous Apple/PC television spots was used to help drive home this point.

The success of the campaign was measured on the increased participation from the 90s and 2000s classes of alumni that have historically had lower participation rates in traditional campaigns.

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