“What’s in store in 2013 for Revenue Performance Management companies?” – Brian Kardon [VIDEO]

In this show, Brian Kardon, Chief Marketing Officer of Lattice Engines (http://www.latticeengines.com) joins host Jeff Ogden (http://about.me/jeffogden) for a fun and engaging Marketing Made Simple TV show.Brian Kardon, Chief Marketing Officer of Lattice Engines

What you will learn in this show.

1) What’s really happening in revenue performance management

2) What changes to expect in 2013. (Update: Eloqua being acquired by Oracle.)

3) How marketing leaders can know when it’s time to go, and where to look.

Brian Kardon is currently CMO of Lattice Engines, a fast growing big data firm. Prior he was CMO of Eloqua and has held CMO positions are firms like Forrester and Reed Elysevier. He’s also an expert player of the alto saxophone.

Marketing Made Simple TV is a production of Find New Customers (http://www.findnewcustomers.com) and is supported by sponsors.

Does Santa have a branding problem? A PR Guy’s Perspective

santa needs a PR guyAfter seeing dozens of print and TV commercials over the past few months, actually years, which featured Santa Claus I thought it might be time old St. Nick got some branding assistance.  The image of Santa Claus,  jolly and beloved symbol of the importance of sharing  and giving during the Christmas holiday continues to be exploited.  Dressed in his red suit, black boots and with a long white beard; people all over the world recognize his image and its message.  From a personal branding perspective Santa’s a super star, bigger than Elvis or Lady Gaga will ever be.  It is for this exact reason why businesses offering all kinds of products and services have latched onto Santa, making him their seasonal spokesperson and product endorser. 

Departing from the North Pole on his sleigh driven by eight reindeer (not Mercedes automobiles or red trucks), Santa makes his way to homes around the world.  He dives down the chimneys and leaves presents under the Christmas tree for all good children.  His story image and message is simple and helps to motivate children to behave throughout the year.  Whether you “believe” or not the innocent and positive message of Santa is clear and recognizable to all.

According to Isabelle Albanese’s About.com page on How to Make Your Messages Memorable we see part of the reason why Santa’s image and message is so easily and often used.  “When a piece of communication is to the point, relevant, worthwhile, and compelling, it moves you — the listener or reader — to action.  Moving people is not magic — it’s all about effective communication. Anyone can achieve effective communication by using a simple tool that has an uncanny ability to pinpoint why any message works or doesn’t work, and how to improve it.”  

We can learn much from Santa and it is time we give him a little branding advice. We live in a mass communication and overly commercialized society.  The image of Santa Claus has become an image in countless marketing campaigns and commercials.  One of the first companies to prominently feature Santa in mass marketing was Coca Cola back in the 1920s.  Coke used the image of Santa in many ways and promoted his wholesome image and garb to market its products.  This resonated with the consumers and the iconic Coca Cola bottle and Santa are linked together as part of Americana.  Lesson to be learned Santa, from a personal branding and marketing perspective, protect your brand and your image.  Watch out for your reputation and don’t let others use your image for their purposes.  Recently Instagram (owned by Facebook) changed their user agreement, permitting them to use images people have uploaded online to their free service.  Images of individuals can now be used for promotion and marketing of Instagram.  The settings and policy may change but be careful where you post information and your image, once you let it go who knows how it will be used.  

We know Santa’s message but do we know the “real story.”  A Santa in a Hawaiian shirt and shorts or dressed in red leather for a motorcycle commercial is far from the legend.  

Let’s turn the page and a look back into the origin of Santa Claus, which is St. Nicholas.  Born in the third century in the village of Patara (which is now Demre, Turkey), Nicholas was recognized as a saint before the canonization process began by the Roman Catholic Church.  His first act of giving was when he gave away his inheritance from his wealthy parents to the needy, sick and suffering.  Nicholas became a Bishop, dedicated his life to God and became known for his generosity towards others.  Through folklore dating back centuries, the modern depiction of Santa was adopted as the man in the red suit and white beard.  He has evolved into what we see today.  Simply Google Santa and you will find countless images. 

The story of Santa Claus is rooted in the act of giving to others less fortunate, which is something that should be upheld and recognized.  While it is important for businesses to thrive, and a pathway to success can be marketing campaigns, a sense of history and morality should not lose its place in the equation.  The image and message of Santa Claus brings happiness to families, rewards to children who are “nice” instead of “naughty.” When Santa is portrayed without these attributes and values, the essence of what Santa represents is diminished.

We learn from his story and legend that it is important, for business people and for Santa, to stay on message.  Don’t let others control your message and how you want others to perceive you.  Your personal brand matters and it needs to be constantly tended to and monitored.  

Thankfully there are many real “Santas” around the world and across the United States who work hard and dedicate their time and efforts for good, charity and for children.  Let’s hope more of the these individuals continue to positively portray Santa Claus and his message of giving and good will towards others.  With the struggles and tragedies of 2012 this message needs to resonate more than ever.    


You’ve Got Comments. Now What?

Blog CommentsA client of mine asked a question the other day that got me thinking – “What should I do with all the comments on my blog and Facebook page?”  It was a question that required deeper understanding of their meaning, and when I inquired, she told me quite clearly, “We get so many comments that we don’t reply to them all.”

WOW.  That is a very important statement.  You have so many comments that you just don’t reply to them all???  After you give a presentation, do you answer questions?  If someone calls, do you not answer?

Most people are blogging to encourage participation.  I know this particular client certainly is.  She wants to be seen as an expert within her field, and often ends blog posts with questions encouraging responses.

So why, then, wouldn’t they answer each comment?  The easy answer is that they should, and for three main reasons:  comments build community, comments shows that you appreciate the readers time and effort in responding, and they encourage discussion among your readers.

But, there are more subtle ways that comments and your replies will help your blog.  Your answers may encourage more people to comment and weigh in on the discussion.  After all, people aren’t commenting just to hear themselves type.   Comments will also help with search engine optimization (SEO) since it is likely that comments will be re-iterating keywords used within your blog post making you more likely to rank for those keywords.  In addition, comments may use additional keywords that you hadn’t used, thereby helping you rank for those, as well.

In addition, your responses to blog comments help you build credibility and authority, which is most likely one of the reasons that you are blogging in the first place.  By responding to comments, you will be seen as the go-to expert in your specific topic.  It also shows a willingness to debate and learn from your readers.

There are some reasons why replying to all comments is not feasible or necessary, however.  There are some comments that just don’t require a response.  They are those comments like, “I agree!”, “Thanks.”, “Great Job!”  However, I believe any other comments, including ones that are discussing the merits of the blogs, should be addressed.  If you’ve asked for a response, don’t ignore them.

What do you think?  Should all comments be addressed?  What do you do with your own blogs?  How do you handle comments?  Let’s discuss it in the comments, and I’ll make sure to answer!



To Reply or Not to Reply to Blog Comments – That is the Question

Responding (Or Not) to Blog Comments

Should I reply to every blog comment?

5 Reasons Why You Should Respond to Every Comment

3 Things You Can Do To Avoid Having Your Online Marketing Emails Marked As Spam

email_marketingWhen you decide to go into online marketing, you will find that there are many ways of going about it. One of the most effective of these is through the use of email marketing. This is a form of marketing that has been around for quite some time, so most people do not think of it as particularly innovative. However, if used properly, it can become an effective and yet cheap method of getting your products known by other people and increasing your sales.

But for it to work for you, you would need to ensure that you go about such a campaign by understanding how to avoid pitfalls. This is because it is very easy for most people to misconstrue your marketing as spam, which means that you may end up having your domain blacklisted as a spam site. To avoid this, you would need to consider the following:

Be careful about how you generate your mailing list

How you come up with addresses for your mailing list is one of the most difficult parts of doing online marketing through email. The reason for this is that getting prime emails is something that needs people to willingly submit their addresses to your organization, something that most of them may not be willing to do.

That said, however, you should make sure that how you get such addresses is as transparent as possible. For instance, when you are using a signup form to do this, you need to give the users an option to decline having emails sent to their addresses, so that they are not forced to accept them.

Make it easy for your users to opt out

Another way to avoid having your email marketing process to be marked as spam is by making sure that you give your users an easy way to opt out of the mailing list. For instance, you can add a link at the bottom of each email to make it much easier for them to simply click it to avoid receiving any more promotional emails. If you do not provide such a link or make the process of opting out to be overly complicated, they are simply going to mark your domain as spam, since this is much easier to do.

Be careful about the wording of your emails

When you are doing online marketing through email, you also need to pay attention to how your emails are worded. These days, most email programs can read the content of such emails, and then try to figure out the probability of them being spam. If you use words or phrases that are associated with spam, they are going to automatically be marked as such, which means that your readers may not get to read them in the first place. Some of the mistakes that you may make include the use of too many exclamation marks or frequent use of words such as “free”, “amazing” and “offer”, most of which are considered to be the hallmarks of spam.

Holly Sanders is an internet savvy person. She owns a blog where she gives useful and effective online marketing tips. She is one of the leading experts on internet marketing in Nashville.

Selling Fearlessly – Sales expert Robert Terson

Robert TersonIn this Marketing Made Simple TV episode,sales expert Robert Terson share key sales advice for you, including:

1) Why soft skills like attitude and drive matter more than everything else. (e.g. The Mound Road story)

2) The awesome power of story – why you need to master it.

3) Why his book is for the special needs of one call close salespeople.

We thank Robert for appearing on the show, and we remind you that new Marketing Made Simple TV shows premiere every Thursday at noon ET at Marketing Made Simple TV and many syndication sites – reaching a massive audience of over 1 million people. The show is supported by sponsors who want to reach that audience of over one million each week. To learn more about how your company can benefit from show sponsorship, visit our sponsor page.

Justin Handley on Digital Business Hour

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Justin Handley

Justin Handley founded the Narasopa Media in 2000, and has steadily built it over the last 12 years. The first five years were spent experimenting and learning, doing everything from web design to ghost writing books on marketing. Working behind the scenes for some of the world’s top marketers Justin gained a solid foundation in the essentials of online marketing and project management, and was a project manager on things as varied as Virtual Family Kingdom, a virtual world that went to 200,000 users in 30 days, Cisco’s AS3 reseller management application, the online multi-player version of Rich Dad, Poor Dad.

In the last five years just has completely built four online businesses from the ground up.  Every one has hit 1 million dollars in less than 12 months.


Social media is all about telling stories. Technology continues to make it easier, faster and more appealing to tell, share and even re-share our stories. It has also become about telling our stories in both words and pictures. The bluebird sings the social media theme song, at right, ‘Let Me Tell You a Story’. 

a blue bird sings the social media story

A bluebird singing the social media song, ‘Let Me Tell You A Story’ from an image @ 123rf.com

Up until about a year ago, the story telling method was primarily verbal. Thanks to the meteoric rise in popularity of Pinterest, Instagram and other visual tools, it is clear that people want the option of using pictures, not just words, to tell and view things.

Look how dramatically facebook’s landscape has changed to include massive visual real estate. See the facebook timelines for business cover page at the end of this story.

The verbally based social media tools have known this for sometime. Google purchased YouTube. Yahoo purchased flickr. Facebook acquired Instagram and no one has been able to buy Pinterest.

It stands heads above most other social media, has done so in record time and is believed to be the first visual application to accomplish this. In addition, there is ground breaking news that the White House will start using Pinterest on December 17, 2012.

Both verbal and visual apps have unique characteristics and value. Amongst the most popular are: • facebook • twitter • LinkedIn • WordPress • Google • Pinterest • YouTube • Instagram

WordPress sharing bar

Sharing  is  a click away.

Users have their preferences and loyalties for story telling and sharing. There are formulas for sharing stories that vary with users. As one becomes more proficient in the use of social media, these formulas develop into personal systems.

There is no one system that is the answer to sharing for everyone. But certain apps and combinations of them work well. In time, we each discover what fits our style. WordPress makes this very easy with their sharing button bar shown at left.

For example, let’s say a story is written in Word. It then can become a blog post in WordPress with still images, video and even audio. Once the story is written, it needs to be shared. Certain venues have proven to be most successful at this. In fact, in order to make sharing a breeze, sharing buttons are installed right on blog post pages.

Why is sharing so important? Sharing attracts attention, engages an audience, allows one to stay connected manually and automatically, fosters the development of  trusted relationships and ultimately can increase business or establish a personal, professional presence.

One may not be looking to provide a service or even a product in the traditional sense of business. Providing and sharing information is the essence of social media. Just think about how much we know, how easily we can learn and share things compared to a generation ago. It is all due to social media allowing us to tell our stories.

Do you have a story that you would like to share, one that social media has enhanced or caused to go viral? Would you like to share or comment about this blog post? Your comments, suggestions and feed back are all part of the story. Please share with us in the comments area. Thank you from the author.

The Social Media Marketing Graphic Design page

facebook’s new timelines for business has given tremendous opportunities for visual real estate as shown in the example here. ©http://www.MarketingBytes.biz and http://www.facebook.com/PageCoverMastery



Amy Porterfield’s FB Influence 2.0 Webinar

Bringing Your Marketing To Life Through Video by Dr. Marc and Charlie

Obama White House joins Pinterest

Laura George on Digital Business Hour

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Laura C George


Laura C George
, a business coach for creative types, shares her tips on Holly’s Digital Advice.  Laura talks creativity on art and gives you her 4 Tips to Social Media Ease! Laura will describe the personalities of each social media platform and why you have to accept the process of monetizing relationships, once and for all.

Holly will explore with Laura the following:

  • 4 Tips to Social Media Ease-
  • approaching different social media platforms for business (the personalities)
  • monetizing relationships (ethics and accepting)
  • What do I post on social media?

Laura also shares how she found her passion and is now helping other people find their own niche and market it in a creative way!

E-Mail Marketing – The First Social Network

Email -- The First Social NetworkE-mail has been around since before the dawn of the internet.  That’s right, in the early 1970’s, the Federal Government was sending messages through the United States Department of Defense network, which handled over 30 million messages per month.

As we began to move more onto the information super-highway, services like Compuserve, Prodigy, and America On-Line began to proliferate, making it incredibly easy for everyone to have an e-mail address.  In fact, at the height of AOL’s dominance, they had over 30 million members worldwide (they only serve about 2.9 million subscribers, as of October 2012).  In contrast, Facebook has over 1 billion members, as of September 2012.

What made e-mail so “social” was the ease at which your messages could be forwarded to your entire address book.  If you wanted to share with friends and family, all you had to do was hit the “forward” button, and they were all able to participate in the discussion.

Fast forward to today, and most businesses are marketing through e-mail, but that doesn’t mean that they are “doing it right.”  Just using this “social network” isn’t enough.  We need to ensure that our e-mail marketing is accomplishing its goals of increased business, increased lead generation, and increased market share.  The big question, then, is what are some best practices in e-mail marketing?

Best Practices

1. Write compelling Subject Lines

  • Keep it short and simple and incorporate the benefit of opening the e-mail.

2. Set your objective and then choose the appropriate frequency

  • Are you trying to promote, inform, or relate to your audience?

3. Call your audience to action

  • You are sending the e-mail for a reason.  Make sure they know it.

4. Make sure they recognize the “From” address

  • They may know your company name, but not yours.  Make sure the email comes from someone they “know.”

5. Keep your main message and call to action “above the fold”

  • This is “news speak” for making sure that the important information is seen without scrolling the message.

6. Be mindful of mobile devices

  • Statistics say that 38% of email is opened on a mobile device and only 33% is opened on a desktop, so make sure the fonts and images will look good on your recipients mobile devices.

7.  Make sure to use alt-text for your logo and pictures

  • This is text that describes the pictures and logos should images be turned-off on your web browser, smart phone or e-mail client.  That way your recipient knows what should be in the image’s place.

In addition to the tips above, always make sure that you are abiding by the “Can-Spam Act”, which requires the following:

  1. Don’t use false or misleading header information;
  2. Don’t use deceptive subject lines;
  3. Tell recipients where you are located;
  4. Honor opt-out requests;
  5. There needs to be a relationship between the sender and receiver.

If you follow these best practices and requirements, then your e-mail marketing is on the right track to continuing the social nature of e-mail marketing.

What subject lines to you find work the best? The worst?  Do you feel that you get too much e-mail?  Sound off in the comments below.



Wikipedia – Email

Wikipedia – AOL

Constant Contact – The Value of E-Mail Marketing Video

9 Email Marketing Best Practices to generate More Leads

CAN-SPAM Act: A Compliance Guide for Business

Constant Contact



Mobile email usage statistics

Digital Media Monthly

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