Vol. 3 , No. 33     August 24, 2004


In this Newsletter:

  1. Unlocking Google's Hidden Potential as a Research Tool (Part 4 of 5)
  2. Making Marketing Matter with Operations Software: A Primer
  3. Q&A: More Strategies to Improve Your Web Site Conversion Rate (Part 2 of 3)
  4. The Emergence of the Systemic Brand
  5. SWOT Team: Standing out From the Crowd
  6. Five Reasons Why Marketing Should Manage Web Content
  7. Swinging Sledgehammers and Service Brand Preference


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Stephan Spencer
Unlocking Google's Hidden Potential as a Research Tool (Part 4 of 5)

This series is all about surprises and revelations – at least when it comes to using Google.

And here’s another: Some of Google's most valuable properties aren't even search engines. Instead, they are other resources or tools like online research assistants, Web-based email, browser toolbars, and social networks.

These resources can be extremely valuable to marketers and should be considered one of the sharper tools in your research arsenal. Profiled here in part 4 of this series are 25 tools, in rough order of utility and relevance to marketers. Also included are several useful third-party sites that are Google-powered but not run by Google.

Get the full story.

Please note: This article is available to paid subscribers only. Get more information or sign up here.


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Roy Young and Freddie Daniells
Making Marketing Matter with Operations Software: A Primer

To help manage more complex and demanding marketing processes, marketers in many leading companies are turning to software technology, commonly referred to as Marketing Operations Management (MOM).

They are using it to get greater control and improve the efficiency of marketing operations. Indeed, they realize that a nimbler and more integrated and flexible marketing function can give them a source of competitive advantage.

As a primer for those unaware of how MOM technology can help, here are 10 frequently asked questions and answers.

Get the full story.

Steve Jackson
Q&A: More Strategies to Improve Your Web Site Conversion Rate (Part 2 of 3)

The first article in this three-part series answered specific queries about how to converting clicks to customers.

Part two of this series looks at measurement software tools, the pros and cons of logs versus ASP vendors, average conversion rates, and why it helps to track visitor activity using available software. We’ll also talk about what you should test and tweak to improve conversion rates.

Get the full story.


A Note to Readers

Nowhere Navigation

I recently bought an awesome pair of Puma sneakers online. I love them. They are poppy orange with yellow gum soles, and they have the unique Puma cross-strap in place of laces.

But I came this close to abandoning my shopping excursion at Puma.com and taking my $95 elsewhere. With Puma’s silly “Shop by Mood” option offering me a baffling menu of hundreds of shoes under subheads like “Remember the Good Times,” “Always Be Yourself,” and “Going Up,” the site’s navigation was nearly incomprehensible. A less-motivated buyer would have walked away in, say, new Pony's.

Did I just not get it? Am I not hip enough to intuit Puma’s online navigation? Maybe I don’t represent its target audience, so it simply doesn’t care to cater to those who can’t discern how to find poppy orange sneakers on its site?

Feh. Whatever.

I can’t help but wonder why Puma makes it so difficult to shop its online store. Its navigation felt a little 1999 to me—when the Web was so impressed with its inherent coolness that retail sites could get away with that kind of usability strategy. Or lack thereof.

Why make it difficult for your customers (or your audience, business partners, vendors, industry investors or analysts) to interact with your site? You, too, might cater to different “audiences.” Does you own site's architecture and navigation make it responsive to the needs of all of them?

There are a few articles in this week's issue that reminded me of my Puma experience. The first, obviously, is Steve Jackson's piece on improving conversion rates. If I could find the contact information for Puma's marketing department (ahem!) on its site, I'd send them a copy myself.

The second is the next installment in Stephan Spencer's excellent Google series. Can you imagine a simpler or more straightforward interface than Google? Google novices—if there is such a thing any longer—can easily intuit what to do on the home page.

But, still waters run deep at Google. What appears simple is actually quite complex and powerful—but only if you care or need to venture into deeper water.

Thanks for stopping by. As always, your feedback is both welcome and encouraged.

Until next week,

Ann Handley


Last Issue's Top 5

  1. Unlocking Google's Hidden Potential as a Research Tool (Part 3 of 5)
  2. The 10 Commandments of Marketing
  3. Six Ways to Increase Marketing ROI
  4. Ten Companies That Missed Great Blog Opportunities
  5. Brand Momentum: Speed Can Kill
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Ray Podder
The Emergence of the Systemic Brand

When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.

Take, for instance, the dilemma of today's smarter brand marketer. The prior notions about a brand being the connector of ideas from the mass marketer to the consuming masses didn't include today's scenario of an interconnected marketplace; and our aspirations couldn't see past ideas like progress equaling mass production, mass consumption of seemingly unlimited resources, and mass marketing.

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Meryl K. Evans and Hank Stroll
SWOT Team: Standing out From the Crowd

This week, weigh in with your own two cents on: How does a writer develop a niche and stand out from the competition?

Also this week, read your answers to last week's dilemma: How do we get paid what we are worth? Join the conversation!

Get the full story.


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David Aponovich
Five Reasons Why Marketing Should Manage Web Content

Marketing professionals are responsible for the overall communication of products, services, and brands. Because your Web site is such an integral part of your communication strategy, doesn’t it make sense to put more content control into the hands of marketing experts?

Here are five reasons why marketing professionals should have the power to manage content on Web sites.

Get the full story.

Mike Schultz and John Doerr
Swinging Sledgehammers and Service Brand Preference

Imagine the strongman game at the carnival. You lift the sledgehammer over your head and swing it down onto the platform. When it strikes its target, a metal cylinder rises up and up—20 feet up the pole, until it dings the bell.

In a way, establishing a services brand follows a similar process. You swing the hammer (your marketing tactics, the marketing mix you employ, the quality of your company's services), and the strength of your efforts determines whether your brand moves up the pole and makes it to the top to ring the bell.

The question is, "What stages must your brand pass through to ring the bell?"

Get the full story.


Publisher:Allen Weiss

Content: Ann Handley

Strategy and Development:
Roy Young

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Val Frazee

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