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Author: John Gaffney


Have participated in the digital world from boom to bust and back again as sports marketing director of Yahoo!, senior editor at Revolution US, contributing editor at Business 2.0 and editor-in-chief of Mediapost. Also have considerable experience in developing customer strategy as executive editor for 1to1 Media and senior analyst for Retail Touchpoints.  

Analyst expresses optimism for 2009 ad market

smilingInternet marketing analysts are finding more reasons to be cheerful. Presentations at yesterday's CPL Summit in New York supported the recent theme that conditions for a second half surge are starting to take shape.

The summit, sponsored by Pontiflex, focused on differing approaches to pay-for-performance advertising. Growth in PPC, search, and pay-per-lead are part of the reasons the second half of 2009 could be brighter than many projections that were revised downward over the past few weeks.  Imran Khan, Managing Director, J.P. Morgan, singled out three more reasons for cautious optimism:


HP will continue to recruit bloggers

hpBloggers. Sometimes they come with negative and descriptive adjectives in front of their names. Sometimes they can move markets with their audience and expertise. For HP's launch of its HDX Dragon notebook last year, bloggers were all good, and still are.

HP's word-of-mouth marketing partner Buzz Corps recently made public the results of its blogger-driven Dragon launch and sales. According to Buzz Corps CEO Chris Aaron, finding influential bloggers in the tech space was easier than trying to follow thousands of tech fans on Twitter or Facebook.

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Big ups to Twitter commercial plan

twitterJust like J. Lo said, love don't cost a thing. While the world has shown the love for Twitter, and it hasn't cost a thing, the day of revenue reckoning is upon it. Twitter executives say that it will soon offer paid-for “commercial” accounts to give businesses additional features unavailable to casual Tweeters.

This will not set up a toll gate for the six million people currently using the site. Nor will it stop small businesses from having a Tweeter handle. But it does give some clues as to how Tweeter will be used as a marketing platform and how it will make money. There's a lot to like about this strategy. Among them:


Amazon fuels 2008 ecommerce increase

shopping cartIf you're looking for some good news beyond social media, check out ecommerce. Internet Retailer’s forthcoming 2009 Top 500 Guide reports that sales for the 245 retailers reporting actual 2008 numbers have grown by 15 percent to $55.6 billion from $48.3 billion in 2007.

Before getting too excited, understand that Amazon's $19 billion in 2008 sales wrecks the curve a little bit. Without Amazon online sales, the remaining retailers increased by 8.82 percent to $36.47 billion last year from $33.52 billion in the prior year. During a year when overall retail sales are expected to decline substantially when the numbers are all in, even an 8 percent increase shows that consumers will spend money online.


Not all wireless users are created equal

womanThough it might seem like everyone in the world is attached to the mobile phone, a new study from the Pew Internet and American Life Project finds that six in ten people could leave home without it.

But the 39 percent who are "motivated by mobility," as the report states, break down into very different usage patterns. As marketers find their way in mobile apps and display ads, its worth noting these segments.


Buy your meat with a Tweet

couponsNow you can Tweet your way to cheaper groceries. Coupons.com has inked a deal with Twitter through which followers of Coupons.com will automatically receive new coupon offers as they become available. The tweets will include links to the printable coupons for quick printing.

Coupons.com launched a Facebook application earlier this year, after acquiring mobile grocery shopping application Grocery iQ to integrate digital coupons into the shopping experience. It currently has 657 Facebook friends and is the leading coupon app. Grocery iQ is available on the iPhone and will be included on Google's Android handsets this summer.


Please don't join the group "internet myopics"

kidOne of the great paradoxes of the internet is that the more information we have, the more myopic we get. This myopia is a dangerous thing. We have brilliant political thinkers and economists blogging every day, yet most people get their news from biased factoids. And from a strictly democratic economic standpoint, businesses need options. But as a business, we're in the middle of a myopia that borders on blindness.

The subject is of course, Twitter, Facebook, and Google. May the internet Gods continue to bless all three. Irrational exuberance surrounds all of them right now. But when they have to live up to those expectations of consistent triple-digit quarterly growth, and they have to face competition, and they have to struggle with advocacy groups that want to brand themselves at their expense, these three will change. Yet, they dominate press coverage and conference events and people speak of them as if they are immune to bad breaks or random events. They're not.


IBM report warns on digital media lagtime

soupMedia and entertainment companies aren't moving fast enough to embrace new business models and the ever-changing needs of digital customers. That's the warning shot fired by IBM Global Business Services in its annual survey of the digital marketing landscape.

"Media and entertainment (M&E) companies need to move beyond traditional advertising: the scenario of the future is consumer centricity," the report states. "Yet content owners, media distributors and agencies have not sufficiently responded to these changes, partly due to significant hurdles. Investment decisions are being hindered by new format uncertainty; the lack of cross-industry standards across formats, processes and especially metrics; and significant internal challenges."

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Say mediaaaaaahhhhh. Drug companies diagnose social networks

drugsUp until now most pharmaceutical companies wouldn't dare touch social media. Too many questions, too many regulations, and too much at stake. Maybe, just maybe, that trend is about to change.

The change is evident in several new pharma corporation blogs. The newest is the obtusely named CNTO411 blog. It is a disguised name for Centocor, a Johnson & Johnson owned drug conglomerate that manufactures immune support drugs such as Ustekinumab. Not exactly a household word, but if you had psoriasis you'd know what it is. Another one comes from GlaxoSmithKline's Alli, which is a weight loss drug. Pfizer also has a blog on fibromyalgia

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Salesforce gets its own Twitter app

monstersIn the on-demand version of Mothra meets Godzilla, CRM behemoth Salesforce.com has joined forces with...you guessed it. Twitter.

If its possible that a Twitter story has flown under the radar recently, this one has. Two social media analysts have now reported this alliance of biblical proportions. Twitter, is of course growing at a rate of 1,000 percent. Salesforce.com has a market share in the on-demand sales force automation business that grows at the rate of 50 percent.

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Century 21, Avon ring up total digital makeovers

avonOne rings doorbells for homeowners; another built a brand ringing doorbells to sell makeup. But by completely embracing digital marketing neither Century 21 or Avon is ringing many doorbells anymore. And key performance results have improved in their high-speed transitions.

It helps that both brands started their digital switch from a standpoint of 90 percent-plus brand awareness. And it helps that both brands start from a brand promise of personal customer relationships. But as detailed at today's Search Engine Strategies conference, the commitment to change and the pace of it was dramatic.

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Kawasaki opens his bag of Twitter twicks

kawasakiThe Tweet was on at the Search Engine Strategies conference today as author and internet entrepreneur Guy Kawasaki unpacked a box of tricks, optimization sites, and a few controversial concepts to increase the business effectiveness of using Twitter. His most surprising advice: don't be too impressed with your amount of followers.

"I think the most important measure of success on Twitter is "retweets,'" he said in his conference keynote. "The number of people following you means less and less."

That comment contradicts some of Kawasaki's own recent writing, but a 1,000 percent growth rate will cause an expert to reconsider his thinking. Kawasaki listed some of the people and organizations that top the amount of followers to show that the average business person can't compete, and can't be relevant when Twitter followers are stacked up against CNN and Barack Obama. Kawasaki said he is able to attract followers because of the quality  of the links he includes in Tweets. The quality then leads to retweets, which can be measured at ReTweet, and can mark a trail for interested customers.