Archive for June, 2006

The Value of Friendships

I was going through some of my old presentations and ran across a great piece that I had used as an idea starter at a marketing ideation meeting. I apologize to the original author as I didn’t make note of his/her name at the time; however, his/her points are well worth repeating:

Many retailers go to a lot of trouble making their customers feel like “guests.” I’d like to suggest that they would be better off trying to forge friendships.

Treating your customer as a guest isn’t a bad idea, it’s just short sighted. A guest may be pleased and satisfied with a particular visit, but it doesn’t translate into the same affinity and desire to return again and again, that is felt when visiting a good friend.

Friendships are special things. You go out of your way to see friends. You care about their health, what they need, and you enjoy their company. Guests are frequently unwelcome and sometimes they know it. Friends are rarely unwelcome.

It takes two to create a friendship. Retailers have to get to know their customers and listen to their concerns in order to establish the trust necessary for a strong, loyal, long-lived friendship.
At this moment, hundreds of retailers are trying to capture loyalty. Retailers understand the concept of repeat business and want to do what they can to get it. Both online and offline stores, from to WalMart, use a variety of tactics to get to know their customers’ habits.

Statistics indicate that profits can be increased by 25-125 percent just by retaining 5 percent more customers. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that loyalty, guest, and personalized programs are becoming big business. They all share the same basic goal of capturing market share and gaining repeat business. Smart retailers should be looking at these programs as a way to turn their customers into friends.

It takes patience. It takes more than one visit. However, as friendships develop, great things start to happen. The increased loyalty brings referrals (new friendships). It makes marketing efforts more efficient and effective. It can help a retailer gain co-op advertising from vendors designed to meet their friends’ needs. Friends visit more and spend more because they know that this retailer is a friend who cares about they want.

Friendship is the most effective branding a store can ever use. It isn’t loyalty programs that set retailers apart from their competition, it is friendships.

Edit: The author is Melody Vargas.


Leave a Comment

Google Adwords Dayparting – Live

Google finally launched dayparting which can be a very effective measure for cost savings and improved ROI.

Be careful when implementing as you may decide that since sales are slack during a certain time of the day that your ads should be turned off during those hours, when those clicks could actually lead to sales during a repeat visit during a different time of day. Ensure that your analytics package is tracking the time of the click and not just the time of the sale to ensure you're dayparting most efficiently. I use Omniture Sitecatalyst as well as Google conversion tracking. Out of the box, Omniture doesn't tag the visit with the time of day, so I use a custom metric to assign the hour of day, 21:00 for example, and measure the revenue/conversion rate per keyword off of that metric.

Adwords Dayparting

Leave a Comment

Google finally launches Picasa Web for online photos

I do love Riya, but Picasa has been my application of choice to organize my thousands of digital photos on my home computer. I've always wished I could see those photos from the web, either from my office, or to share with remote family.

Google finally "webalized" Picasa. It's about time. They only offer 250 megs of storage free with an option to upgrade to 6 gigs for $25/yr, and the application is still in limited, invitation only, testing. Philipp Lenssen notes that there is no such thing as a private album, just public and "unlisted". Album titles are appended to the URL of a user's "homepage" so others can merely guess at album titles such as "untitledalbum" and discover your hidden albums. Keep that in mind when uploading photos.

Aside from the privacy implications, it is a very welcome addition to the Google portfolio. link to Picasa Web

Leave a Comment

Entrepeneurs are an odd bunch

Munjal's most recent blog post about his experience starting Riya is the best post yet. The following quote puts into words something that most entrepreneurs, just haven't taken the time to reflect on, and realize about themselves.

Entrepreneurs are an odd bunch. As an entrepreneur you create a vision of what can be and then work really hard to make that happen. It is your imprint on the world. It is your legacy. Maybe 2000 years ago if you wanted to leave a mark you would be Julius Cesear or Genghis Khan. Today you start a technology or Internet company. I believe almost all entrepreneurs seek immortality through their products. This is one of the reasons we all seek to build products that are used by and benefit the lives of as many people as possible. We want to do good, but we also want to be remembered. Some admit this and some don't, but it is true. The greatest crusades in the world are always for the intangible. There is no other explanation for why founder's of companies work so hard and sacrifice so much. Money can only account for so much of this. You have to believe that you are on this planet to somehow change it.

What a great reflection! I would think that most entrepeneurs are more interested in the success of their ideas than of money. For those of you that I'm speaking to about employment, please disregard that last sentence. 🙂

Leave a Comment

Top 10 Adcenter Fixes

Search Engine Watch forums has a great thread about the Top 10 Adcenter Fixes

Some of my favorites fixes extracted from the thread: 

#2 My top issue – Organize the site navigation according to a date or date range. None of the data presented on any page has any meaning if one has no idea of what timeframe it represents. Going to the report function is NOT a solution. We need to navigate from page to page according to a selected date or timeframe.. today, yesterday, last 7 days and so on. Even if the data lags by 24 hours we can work with it. Without this we can't manage campaigns at all.

6 Rejected keywords..there is no rhyme or reason to them. I have a keyword that is accepted and an obvious misspelling of it rejected. Landing page not relevant! The incorrectly spelled word, does not spell another meaningful word. How can this happen? Bankruptcy, Bankrupcy.

11. Better search functionality within Adcenter. If I don't know what campaign and order I'm looking for already, it's *really* hard to find it, because the search function doesn't seem to work properly. I get errors.

12. Add a "find" tool where we can find all ads that have a certain URL parameter, are at or above a certain CPC, etc. – and then give us a way to edit multiple CPCs on multiple orders on a mass basis. Bid management within the interface is an absolute nightmare right now.

14. Fix dynamic keyword insertion to allow for capitalization: {keyword}. {Keyword}, and {KeyWord}; and default copy if the keyword is too long.

I've been using adCenter since around September of last year, and it has come a long way, but it still has a long way to go. I give credit to Microsoft for having a presence on the thread and communicating with the users about their issues.

adCenter has been a very good tool for me in terms of ROI, but the interface is still not user friendly and I'd love to see the click and relative revenue volume pick up.

Jump to read the entire thread. 

Leave a Comment

Google AdWords Feedback Buttons

Thanks to Philipp Lenssen at Google Blogoscoped (who received from James Boulter), Google is testing feedback buttons on Google Adwords.

I don't see consumers saying this "link was helpful" because by the time they discover that, they are already on the advertiser's website and hopefully, completing a transaction. I see this as a collecting negative feedback only, which isn't so bad either. This ends up as a tool for Google to penalize those with poor relevancy which indirectly benefits those with marginal or good relevancy.

Leave a Comment