Worst Practices :: Salesforce.com’s Amnesia

I just spent 45 minutes watching an interesting screencast from Salesforce.com called Marketing In the Google Era.  The presentation was actually fairly interesting.  No real new material but a well presented overview of good practices that all companies should be following.

The interesting thing is that it seems Salesforce.com doesn’t understand their own material.  I found out about the presentation through an email from Salesforce.  I clicked the link in the email to view the presentation and was presented with this screen.
Salesforce Info Collection

When I click the link, Salesforce already knows who I am because they sent me the email.  So why do they ask me for all of my contact information before allowing me to watch the video.

Ok, maybe they figure the email could have been forwarded so they don’t REALLY know who I am — we’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.

After filling out all the redundant information on the form and educating Salesforce.com that Minnesota is in the USA, I watched a good video presentation.  In fact the video was good enough to make me want to watch part 2.

The video ends with a link to ‘Register’ to view part 2 and I just ‘Registered’ so I certainly don’t want to go through that again.  So I go back to the original email and click the part 2 link from there.  Which sends me to the exact same form again.  It seems they have already forgotten who I am!  Amazon would never do this.

After watching a couple minutes of the video I am reminded of an App I want to check out on Salesforce’s AppExchange.  So I open a new tab, find the app on the exchange and click the demo link and once again I am prompted for the EXACT SAME INFORMATION.

One browser session, one website and I had to enter the same information 3 separate times to try an learn about and test out their products.

So what did they do wrong?

1.  Requiring too much information to view material

This is a common question from clients.  Do we aim for widespread distribution of our material by not requiring data collection to view it.  Or do we restrict the distribution but make sure we get all the information possible on everyone who sees it?  I generally recommend the less data collection the better.  Get the message out and if its good, the users will come back to the product.

2.  Not remembering who I was 

When we send out email campaigns we feel delighted that the user wanted to click on our content and learn more.  We make sure the experience they receive after clicking speaks directly to them and is as painless as possible.  We want them to remember the experience favorably so they click again in the future.  By not remembering who I was from the emial or from the first time I filled out the form, Salesforce.com has made certain that I will remember how difficult it is to click on their links and view their material.

I would love to see the increase in views they would have if they implemented these two recommendations in the future.

Specialized Search Engines

Everyone knows about the most common search engines such as Yahoo, Google, AltaVista and Dogpile.  These are considered generalized search mechanisms.  They gather all kinds of content from the internet and reference said content using keywords.

But – there are literally thousands of search engines available to web users that specialize in topical content.  It would be impossible to list all of these search engines, especially as new ones are added on a daily basis, but let’s review a handful:

  • Entertainment Searches.  You can use Media Channel to find Internet Television and Video sites.  Find that YouTube video you’ve always wanted to watch or the latest internet television schedules.
  • Financial Searches.  Find out more information about publicly traded stock quotes and company financials from EdgarOnline.  Keep up to date on which companies are making money and which companies are being sold.
  • Yellow Pages and White Pages searches.  Search for that long lost high school friend or look up the numbers of pizza restaurants, sites such as SuperPages.
  • Shopping pages are sometimes the most often used specialized custom search engines.  One such site is DealTime.
  • Do you ever wonder what your local congressman or senator says about pending legislation or hot political issues?  You can use the Politics Web Directory to find
  • Library News Searches.  Find information about multiple topics including Education, Law and the Arts at WWW Virtual Library.   This is a great way to find information for that term paper due next week!
  • Children’s search engines.  These are some of the most popular search options for families with smaller children.  Yahooligan is one such engine that filters inappropriate content from little eyes.
  • Want to find out which team won last night or what the point spread is for the game tonight?  The Sporting News site can provide you with the information you are looking for.

In addition to these customized searches, you can actually create your own.  Sites like Google Coop or Eurekster Swicki allow you to create your own specialized search engine.  In the instance of Eurekster Swicki, you can actually search pre-built search attributers or in both cases, you can create your own search attributes and insert into your blog, personal website, or company site to allow your users to find information related to your topics or line of business.

For example if you have a business site devoted to the care and maintenance of dogs, creating a search engine that specifically looks for canine-related information and placing it on your site will give your users more specialized information.  They won’t have to wade through non-relevant material to get to the grooming products or dog breed information that they are looking for.

If you don’t have a site that you wish to put your search engine, yet you wish to showcase your pictures, recipes, services or personals, you can use the new Beta version of Google Base.

The bottom line is that multiple search engines exist.  If you know you are looking for something special or information about a specific topic, using one of the topical search engines might be better than using a generalized search engine.

For businesses, these types of specialized search engines can be extremely beneficial for businesses.  You can reach your specific target market or provide targeted content to your customers.  The one drawback is that many internet searchers continue to use generalized search engines as their favorite search tool, so don’t forget to list your site with generalized search engines as well.  By listing with all applicable search engines, a business can cover all the possible search results no matter the user’s preference.

ExtremeVideo Plugin Testing

Just trying to get the plugin working again.  You can ignore this post.

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How Often To Blog or Podcast

When meeting with clients who want to get started taking advantage of some of the latest new media communications formats, we are consistently asked the question, “How often should we publish a new post or podcast“.

Generally this depends on the audience, content and resources available.  But most importantly is should depend on content.  New media is not television or radio.  It can often work better to not create a strict schedule to try an follow but instead publish when quality content comes to you.

When your audience opens their RSS reader or turns on their iPod their is no shortage of content — this is quite evident with over 55 million blogs online and over 100 million sites.  So I recommend not to publish content for publishings sake but instead publish for your audiences best interest.

Many blogs post far too many entries every day making it difficult for readers to keep up.  In my opinion if you have more than 2 posts per day on a blog you should divide your blog up into multiple blogs so each of them focus on a niche.

This idea of publishing for the audience once again breaks the concept that the search engines love to spread.  Every SE will tell you to create content for the audience and your SE rankings will follow.  However in the blog world the more you post the more visibility your site will have with the SEs — this is regardless of how your visitors view your content.  So comes the business issue, are your really publishing for your audience or are you publishing for SE traffic?
Since adding Lee Odden’s list of 250 marketing blogs to my reader I have become much more aware of signal vs noise in new media and I am much more prone to remove feeds that seem to have a goal of X posts per day regardless of content.

So how often should you post to your blog or publish a podcast?  What are your motives?  Do you want to create a ton of content for SEs or satisfy an audience?  If its to create content for SEs, the more the better.  If you want to satisfy your audience, post when you have something worthwhile to say.

This is one of the pieces that I will love to look back on in 6 months.  What will the trends be then?  Will I still agree with my position?  Perhaps once newsreaders incorporate a social voting system we won’t have to worry about the noise when we can adjust our personal thresholds to the signal we prefer.  Forums did this many years ago with great results.  Its ideas like this that make reading forums like Slashdot even possible.  I imaging when RSS readers come around to this point it won’t matter as much how often you publish.

Target Your Audience Online

What is your formula for attracting the attention of your audience online? What if you target audience was technology professionals in the Internet space who tend to be male and under 40? Would you create hype by attempting to purchase Superbowl commercials for $2.5M a piece and having them rejected for their content. When your cleaned up version is finally accepted your unedited versions are spreading like wildfire across the Internet. $2.5M spent to run one ad results in countless commercial views online and brand impressions for years to come.

Well it’s Superbowl time again and with it comes another year of GoDaddy commercial excitement. Nobody has made better use of their Superbowl advertising budget than GoDaddy over the past 3 years.

According to Bob Parsons CBS has accepted a cleaned up version of this years ad but if you want to see the latest rejected version, here it is .

Of course we all remember the original GoDaddy Superbowl ad.

Update: it seems that WordPress 2.07 has broken my ExtremeVideo plugin so the videos aren’t loading right now. Ross Help Please!

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Many of you probably haven’t seen the countless follow-ups. Some of which have only appeared online.

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Of course Godaddy.com isn’t the only company targeting Superbowl ad rejection as a marketing strategy.

Ford Motor Co, Anheuser-Busch and others have experimented in this area in the past. One rejected Budweiser commercial is below.

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Years ago some claimed it was a mistake for Godaddy to invest in Superbowl ads. Since they are still at it 3 years later does that indicate there is some success to the strategy?

Update: Melanie Schmitt from GoDaddy (who must have her Google alerts fine tuned) adds …

I enjoyed reading your blog about Go Daddy’s past and present Super Bowl advertising. I just wanted to let you know that Bob Parsons is confident that our third commercial will be approved by CBS with minor changes but that the commercial has not fully been approved yet.
Thank you for your interest in the commercials, we hope you enjoy them!

Technorati Profile

Technorati Profile

Balancing the Internet Marketing Disconnect

Yesterday I was in a meeting with a partner from a mid-sized insurance firm here locally.  We were discussing all the exciting aspects of Internet marketing, social media and most importantly public relations online.  Jeff Rabkin from Wowza was in the meeting also and was discussing his recent experiences with Mattress Giant.

For anyone who doesn't want to read the article.  The gist is that a Google search for Mattress Giant displays a negative review from epinions.com as the second organic result.

In our meeting the insurance company partner was amazed that negative results could show up and that Mattress Giant was trying to improve their image online. 

He stated, "I start nearly every purchase decision online.  This could really damage a company." 

I responded, "You research most of your purchases online, right?  And how much of your companies marketing budget is targeted towards Internet marketing?"

I didn't have to wait for the answer because I already knew their budget and that the answer was nearly zero.

After the meeting I was reminded of a conversation I had with the VP Sales/Marketing for a $70M company here locally.  The VP was bragging as we walked through the tunnel from one tower to the next in their building about the new $150,000 trade show exhibit they purchased.  A couple of months later we were asked to participate in the RFP process for their new website project.  When the proposals came in they laughed at the $80,000 options calling them "old school".  They ended up going with a proposal for less than $20,000. 

I have to ask myself, how many people will experience the exhibit booth and how many will experience the website? 

Which medium will provide content, interaction, publicity and leads 24/7 and which one will have to lease space in a warehouse during the off-season?  Why do we see such a disconnect in marketing budgets?

So what percentage of your companies marketing budget is spent online?  Even many of the companies we've worked with who are starting to understand the benefits online are only spending 8-10% of their marketing budgets online. 

In 2007 I see this changing dramatically.  Especially from those companies who need/want to create a competitive advantage and stay ahead of the curve.  By 2008 the majority of businesses will have nearly brought their online spending inline with their customers habits.  What do you think?  Am I too optimistic in my predictions?  Or is there another reason why budgets seem so out of balance?

The Business Case for VideoCasts

Over at Copyblogger there is a great article on Marketing With Tutorials .  I posted a couple of months ago on the importance of providing your visitors with alternate media types depending on their preferences.  We all know how accessible web video has become during 2006 and how everybody will have it in the palms of their hands in 2007.

Video Testimonials and Video Case Studies are a big part of our marketing plans for 2007.  We even canceled our 'Your Business 2.0' seminar series for next year and opted to webcast the presentations instead.

So what is your business doing to leverage the latest in video accessibility?

Sales Training From a 4-Year Old

Want to become better in sales?

What can we learn about sales from kids?  Last weekend my wife and I took our two boys ice skating at one of the indoor rinks here in Bloomington.  For my youngest son, who just turned 4, it was his first time on ice skates.  With one of his hands clenched to mine and the other on the boards of the rink we slowly made it all the way around the rink in about 30 minutes.  The next time around he was more determined to do it on his own.  He would fall about every 5 feet but get right back up again.  After about 30 minutes of this I thought he would be tired and want to take a break.  Boy was I wrong.  He didn't care if he kept falling in front of the other 50 or so people who were there.  He didn't care if his butt was sore from all the falls.  He was determined to get it right.

What if in sales we weren't concerned about failure?  What if in sales we only focused on what had to be done to succeed?   Would we ever run into the 1000 pound telephone if we had the determination of a 4-year old?  It would be amazing how different we would perform if we didn't spend our lives telling ourselves why we can't do something and instead took the risks to find out if we could do something.  How many times have you not started a conversation with a prospect because you think they won't buy?  What if you were wrong?  And even if you are right you only have to get back up again and start the next conversation.

Salesforce.com Goes Social

Yesterday on the SalesforceWatch.com Blog it was pointed out that the new Successforce.com site includes a very digg like voting system for content.  I believe this will be the first of many similar instances across large organizations in 2007 where social media concepts are integrated into the enterprise.  It's gonna be a fun year.