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Marketing in the Age of Google

Marketing podcast with Vanessa Fox (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes

Vanessa FoxMy guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is ex Googler Vanessa Fox. Fox is the author of Marketing in the Age of Google: Your Online Strategy Is Your Business Strategy.

While at Google Fox built Webmaster Central, which provides tools, information, and community for site owners about how their sites are performing in Google’s search engine. She also was instrumental in the sitemaps.org alliance of Google, Yahoo!, and Microsoft Live Search. (Both really good things!)

I’ve begun to state quite passionately in recent presentations that digital interactivity has moved to the center of marketing and perhaps to the center of all business activity in general and Fox’s assertion about online being the business certainly supports this growing notion.

Search permeates offline and online behavior and become woven into everything we do. It drives my wife crazy when we are chatting about something and she asks a question and I pull out my phone and dial up the answer. Offline advertising is driving web behavior and then influencing how people interact with organizations.

Search and social media are completely woven and no longer the next big thing. Social search has become the norm and really is just a part of marketing and a large part of the new era of customer engagement. If your customers are talking about you online then search greatly amplifies these conversations.

Organizations must make search and social media strategy connected to development, business and marketing strategy and tear down the silos between those creating content, social engagement, optimization and message.

Grab this complete list of keyword research tools from Vanessa’s blog.

Great book – great guest!

SOBCon Founder Liz Strauss on Virtual and Concrete

Marketing podcast with Liz Strauss (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes

Liz StraussMy guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is Liz Strauss, CEO and founder of SOBCon and author of the popular Successful-Blog.com. We talk about social media, of course, the upcoming SOBCon Conference in Chicago (April 30), and the blending of online and offline worlds – my current favorite topic.

SOBCon is the think tank of the social web, where the best minds in the Internet space gather to present models, discuss insights, and determine best practices.

I’ve not participated in a SOBCon Conference and my schedule didn’t allow it this year either, but the buzz I hear from the many who have is that it is the coolest thing they do each year.

Do You Fascinate?

Marketing podcast with Sally Hogshead (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes

Sally HogsheadWhy are you captivated by some people, but not others? Why do you recall some brands, yet forget the rest? In a distracted and overcrowded world, how do certain leaders, friends, and family members convince you to change your behavior? The answer, according to brand innovation consultant Sally Hogshead, fascination.

Hogshead is the author Fascinate: Your 7 Triggers of Persuasion and Captivation. The book represents three years of research, and explores the 7 universal triggers of fascination: power, lust, mystique, prestige, alarm, vice, and trust.

The primary idea behind Fascinate is that we all have some amount of thee seven potential fascination triggers. Each trigger leads to a different style of communication, and a different type of relationship. The more accurately you identify your personality triggers, and the more intelligently you hone them, the more influential your message becomes.

This notion certainly applies to individuals, but it also applies to how fascinating your company or brand is as well. It’s not enough to simply know the triggers, you’ve got to find ways to communicate and use them as well. Take the F Score personality test to find out which triggers you’re using to persuade!

Changes Come to Yelp

Marketing podcast with Luther Lowe (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes

The online review site Yelp has come under fire of late for practices that have been described by some small business owners as heavy handed in an effort to use the ratings and reviews process as a tool to sell advertising. Yelp responded recently by formalizing a host of changes aimed at clarifying practices that are much more business friendly.

I spoke with Luther Lowe, Business Outreach Manager at Yelp, for this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast and he explains the roots of reviews, and just how hard Yelp is working to make the site valuable to both businesses and consumers.

I think it’s worth noting that Yelp does not aggregate its reviews to Google as sites such as CitySearch does. Yelp has carved out an important and independent voice and, despite recent legal woes, is a tool that small business marketers need to embrace.

At the center of Yelp’s controversy is something called filtered reviews. Yelp uses an algorithm to help fight review spam. The goal is that all reviews be true reviews from true customers. They’ve developed some ways to spot phony and stimulated reviews and they’ve always filtered these out. As with any automated process, some real reviews certainly get removed. Businesses that saw their positive reviews removed while negative ones remained cried foul. One of the biggest changes Yelp made to address this issue was adding the ability to see reviews filtered by the review filter.

The second change made at Yelp was intended to address the notion that businesses that advertised on Yelp were somehow treated better in the review process and the flip side, those that did not advertise were punished. At the center of this was something called the Favorite review. Advertisers on Yelp were offered the ability to pick an existing review of their business and move it to the top as a favorite. This practice fueled the perception that advertisers could manipulate the review process. Yelp has discontinued the Favorite Review feature as part of their advertising package.

In the words of Yelp CEO Jeremy Stoppelman – “Lifting the veil on our review filter and doing away with “Favorite Review” will make it even clearer that displayed reviews on Yelp are completely independent of advertising — or any sort of manipulation.” Full post here

Yelp has also initiated an series of educational workshops aimed at teaching small business owners how to get more out of Yelp. The Yelp Business Owners Guide is another great place to find more info as well.

Additionally, in an effort to more formally integrate feedback from the business community, Yelp created a Small Business Advisory Council whose members will provide Yelp management with guidance and perspective regarding the concerns of small business owners.

Some of the changes at Yelp may have come as reaction to the recent allegations by small business owners, but I’ve followed this company for some time now and truly believe they are committed to creating a service that is fair and valuable to both business owner and consumer alike.

Making Ideas Happen

Marketing podcast with Scott Belsky (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes

Making Ideas HappenMany business owners, particularly the more creative, are good at making ideas, but not always so good at making those ideas happen. For this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast I visited with Scott Belsky, founder of the Behance Network and author of Making Ideas Happen.

Making Ideas Happen chronicles the methods of exceptionally productive creative leaders and teams – companies like Google, IDEO, and Disney, and individuals like author Chris Anderson and Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh – that make their ideas happen, time and time again.

As the founder of the Behance Network, the world’s leading platform for creative professionals across all industries, Belsky has heard every reason why good ideas stay just that. In response Behance also created the Action Method an intuitive approach to productivity, designed to help creative thinkers push their ideas into action, and 99%, Behance’s think tank, providing tips, interviews, research, and events designed to help push ideas forward, from vision to reality.

I believe anyone looking at trying to create a model for building community could learn a great deal from Behance’s approach.

As far as Making Ideas Happen goes I’ll leave you with the words of Seth Godin – “Scott Belsky has your number. He’s seen it all before. He knows your excuses, he’s seen your shtick and he knows all the ways to avoid doing the work. In this book, Scott’s not giving you any place to hide.”

Groupon Founder Talks About Success and Growth

Marketing podcast with Andrew Mason (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes

This week’s guest on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Groupon founder Andrew Mason. Groupon is a very unique service that allows individuals to collectively buy discounted, local products and services as long an enough people do it.

The way it works is that people sign up in their community to receive daily updates offering them the ability to buy a deeply discounted local product or service. The hyper-local deal of the day offering points the spotlight on businesses like a city guide with the trick of getting people to go out and experience their community.

Groupon has experienced tremendous success for several reasons. One local business only, enough people have to buy or get their friends to sign-up, and they have to pay for the coupon. So the business may get several hundred new paying customers to try their business. We all know that if you get someone in the door, there’s a great chance they turn into long term buyers. The fact that people pay money to try your business makes them a better prospect because them use the Groupon and then buy a nice bottle of wine.

In just 15 months over 3 million people have signed on, 180 employees now work at Groupon and millions of dollars are being saved and generated in the current list of 30 cities now served (project 80 by end of 2010.) Groupon takes a small piece of each Groupon sold and sends the business owner a check for the entire purchase.

Mason attributes tremendous word or mouth driven by the act of saving, viral social content, such as dining out, and the natural incentive to share so the deals tip.

Businesses are researched to insure faithful participation. Business owners can sign-up or simply learn more at Groupon Works.

REWORK Podcast with Jason Fried

Marketing podcast with Jason Fried (Click to play or right click and “Save As” to download – Subscribe now via iTunes

Jason Fried37 Signals is a company that most online service providers would love to be like. From day one the creators of Basecamp, Backpack, Highrise and Campfire, made money, built a rabid word of mouth fan base, and perhaps more importantly, built the business they wanted to work in without taking outside funding. Along the way they became media darlings and a frequently cited use case for how to do it right.

But just how did Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson do it? The often unconventional approach taken by 37Signals is on display in the Fried and Hannson’s book REWORK. REWORK is a collection of essays that I think could best be described as a combination of business, self-help and wellness, and technical mentoring advice, but the collective impact is very powerful.

This is one of those books that you can pick up and read from any point and find yourself immediately engrossed . The tone of the book is such that you feel as though you are having a conversation with the authors in a style that matches the laid back, this is how we do it here, vibe that is 37Signals.

I spent a few minutes discussing REWORK with Jason Fried for this episode of the Duct Tape Marketing podcast and I can tell you that this book is going to show up on a lot of “best books of 2010″ lists.

A few nuggets from REWORK

  • Ignore the Real World – The real world is telling too many small businesses that their idea won’t work.
  • Why Grow? - Everyone seems enamored with the idea of rapid growth. Maybe that’s not the right approach for you.
  • Outside Money Is Plan Z – Hang on and build it organically or it won’t be your company.

Image credit: Randy Stewart

Author of Book Yourself Solid Visits Referral Week

This post is a special Make a Referral Week guest podcast featuring education on the subject of referrals and word of mouth marketing and making 1000 referrals to 1000 small businesses – check it out at Make a Referral Week 2010

Marketing podcast with Michael Port (Click to listen, right click and Save As to download – subscribe now via iTunes

Michael PortToday’s special guest interview for the Duct Tape Marketing podcast is Michael Port. Michael Port has provided coaching and consulting services to over 20,000 business owners. He is the author of Book Yourself Solid, Beyond Booked Solid and The Contrarian Effect: Why It Pays (BIG) To Take Typical Sales Advice and Do The Opposite and the soon to be released The Think Big Manifesto.

In this episode Michael and I talked about the new ways in which smart marketers are building their expertise and tapping into networks, both on and offline to build marketing momentum.