Ben Lipman on Marketing ROI

Cheaper than Therapy

In November I said the smartest guy I knew was blogging. He still is, albeit selectively. He has good notes on ROI. Check out his five points.

“What then should I make of the recent news on how certain brands stir up areas of the brain’s cortex? Marketing and advertising have often been the black hole of ROI, measured in warm fuzzies like “impressions” the Net has profited handsomely from bringing some good old fashioned financial discipline in the form or keyword purchases. Measure your sales from the clicks, pay for the keywords. Fairly simple to measure the ROI when you can track the purchaser from beginning to end. It’s when you can’t, when you’re just pinging the sheep masses with your brand that ROI becomes a magician’s game, a sleight of hand with numbers to end up in any place that feels comfortable.”

Finding a Wii

tins ::: Rick Klau’s weblog » Finding a Wii

Rick is in the same world of hurt I am with fulfilling Junior’s Xmas request. A new Nintendo (aka “Nofriendo”) Wii — the game console you can swing, golf, bowl, or bat with — is nowhere to be found and grown men with jobs don’t have time to camp outside of Best Buys in December. Why does every holiday season have the “Tickle Me Elmo” product? I’m going to revert to a Dickensian Christmas and give everyone an orange and encourage them to eat the peel the way Tiny Tim did.

“Wow, this is really nuts. I had a chance to get one with Mike when they were first available, but we were having friends over that morning, and sleeping at a Wal-Mart the night before having friends over seemed a little, um, not-so-smart. So I passed.”Three weeks later, there appears to be no real chance at getting one. I understand that demand far outstrips supply, but the completely haphazard delivery, clueless retailers and luckless shoppers seem wholly unnecessary. In a day of incredibly efficient supply chain management (pioneered by Wal-Mart, available on an outsourced basis by UPS), I cannot for the life of me understand why this is so difficult.”

Andy Kessler: WSJ: Beijing Duck

Andy Kessler: WSJ: Beijing Duck

Andy Kessler gave me the keenest insights in 1994 when Forbes.com was a gleam in our eye. A columnist for Forbes ASAP he is, in my opinion, the best person writing about technology financing and the markets. He takes on China.

“Their stock market could help. China is filled with entrepreneurs who build companies, not buildings. I spent 10 days in China this month meeting with investors. They are smart and hungry but crippled with Enron accounting. On Jan. 1, listed companies must start releasing two sets of numbers — Chinese earnings and then calculated again using international standards. Many will start to show losses. Ouch. China is scared to open up because the first move might be to short the whole damn country. George Soros has been sniffing around, and they won’t let him in. Outsiders need to be licensed as Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor with a quota — currently less than 1% of total capitalization. Doesn’t sound like a market economy to me. The total value of U.S. stocks is 20 times as large for a reason.”

Mark Cahill and me on SMB

[10:47] David Churbuck: Good morning
[10:47] Mark Cahill: hey
[10:47] David Churbuck: Thanks for the MySQL advice
[10:47] Mark Cahill: Had a good laugh this morning.
[10:47] David Churbuck: how?
[10:48] Mark Cahill: Yesterday, we’re decrying reliance on traffic stats
[10:48] David Churbuck: At ABC Co.?
[10:48] Mark Cahill: then concerned about the fall off in visits at RT
[10:48] David Churbuck: right
[10:48] Mark Cahill: no problem on the mysql stuff, it’s what I do
[10:49] David Churbuck: I am focused on SMB right now
[10:49] David Churbuck: I think it’s a bad term — no small businessperson self-describes as “small”
[10:49] Mark Cahill: I may end up owning XXXXXX.com
[10:49] David Churbuck: A dumb marketing demographic
[10:49] David Churbuck: good buy I think
[10:49] Mark Cahill: thinking about a small business podcast
[10:50] Mark Cahill: I deal with a lot of people who call themselves small
[10:50] Mark Cahill: 2-3 person operations
[10:50] David Churbuck: Very good — I think the audience is best defined as an organization under 40 employees that can’t afford inhouse IT support or a full Exchange/Domino infrastructure
[10:50] David Churbuck: They are conditioned to do that
[10:50] David Churbuck: But the definition is useless imho
[10:50] Mark Cahill: right. but they don’t have to think small
[10:50] David Churbuck: Exactly —
[10:51] David Churbuck: Marketers want to reach them, but they classify themselves as self-owned, entrepreneurs, freelancers, whatever
[10:51] Mark Cahill: Who was the cd supplier that did millions out of his garage? only a couple employees, but definitely not small
[10:51] David Churbuck: And it is important not to mix in a florist or autobody shop with a law firm, etc.
[10:51] David Churbuck: I know who you mean. American Business Information or something like that
[10:52] Mark Cahill: the entrepeneur description is key for small shops. Got to divide service and retail…
[10:52] David Churbuck: yes
[10:52] David Churbuck: precisely
[10:53] David Churbuck: I tend towards the IT definition of when they need to go pro vs. self-serve
[10:53] Mark Cahill: That’s a great line to draw
[10:53] Mark Cahill: divider is yahoo/gmail as mail app or domino/outlook
[10:54] David Churbuck: precisely
[10:54] Mark Cahill: “You might be an SMB if…”
[10:54] David Churbuck: SaaS is the opportunity
[10:54] David Churbuck: extends to all IT services, from web hosting to blog hosting to mail ….
[10:55] David Churbuck: Build vs buy type of services
[10:55] Mark Cahill: exactly. Even in medium size business, I think owning your own webserver is dumb. atex shouldn’t own
[10:55] David Churbuck: so it isn’t about small, it’s about service vs. ownership of IT assets and professional services
[10:56] David Churbuck: A sourcing issue
[10:56] David Churbuck: Do you buy from CDW or Staples?
[10:56] David Churbuck: Do you do email via gmail or Notes?
[10:56] Mark Cahill: exactly.
[10:56] David Churbuck: Do you host your domain on LAMP or use WordPress.com
[10:56] David Churbuck: etc etc
[10:56] David Churbuck: the sacrifice is brand identification around your domain
[10:56] David Churbuck: are you cahill.com or cahill@gmail.com?
[10:57] Mark Cahill: Brand doesn’t have to be sacrificed
[10:57] Mark Cahill: Lots of very small companies get it.
[10:57] David Churbuck: yes
[10:57] David Churbuck: But what impact does relying on hosted IT have on a brand?
[10:57] Mark Cahill: Everyone has a golf shirt with the logo, and they know exactly what the customer needs/wants. Mainly because they actually talk to customers
[10:57] David Churbuck: IRight
[10:58] David Churbuck: I may blog this thread

Whereabouts update

I am on the Cape, working from home, for the rest of 2006. My back is still an issue and I need to seek out a doctor’s opinion so I can, pardon the pun, but my back behind me. I am suspecting a herniated disc brought on by the last sculling trip on Cotuit Bay a month ago.

Missing a major presentation to the marketing organization today on Proactive Support as a way to build brand and loyalty online. I’m tempted to post the powerpoint, but it won’t work without me getting worked up over it.

Focus these last weeks of the year is planning my 2008 budget and working on the Big Idea that I alluded to late last month.

Jon Udell to MSFT

James Governor’s MonkChips: Holy Crap Microsoft Just Got Awesome

Jon Udell goes to Microsoft. 

I came across Jon Udell at IDG in 2005 and found him to be one of the most innovative people in so-called “Web 2.0” media. His pioneering working in Screencasting, with the now legendary tour of how Wikipedia works through the Heavy Metal Umlaut; his mastery of del.icio.us; and his coverage of the Keene, New Hampshire floods on his mountain bike with Google Maps was always inspiring.

“I’ve proposed to Microsoft that I continue to function pretty much as I do now. That means blogging, podcasting, and screencasting on topics that I think are interesting and important; it means doing the kinds of lightweight and agile R&D that I’ve always done; and it means brokering connections among people, software, information, and ideas — again, as I’ve always done.”

Jon was part of a core at InfoWorld that included Matt McAllister – now at Yahoo, and Chad Dickerson, also at Yahoo. I know of few people in the IT press with Udell’s insights and curiosity. Microsoft is fortunate to have him.
James Governor at Redmonk writes:

“Jon Udell is one of the smartest guys in an industry full of smart people. I thought he enjoyed working for a media company, but then again, Microsoft is becoming a media company, and so Jon is joining. IBM has IBM TV but Microsoft has Channel 9 and a new star.

Augmenting human capabilities indeed. Screencasting he nailed before anybody else. Oh man. Great great hire. His ridiculously fast techno announcement is here. That was the coolest press release ever created Jon. You are awesome.”