Archives for marketing

SEO Killer! Google is the Primary Suspect

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is the primary way to drive traffic to your website. It is what facilitates you coming up in search results and therefore facilitates people going to your website. But Google might be trying to kill your SEO.

SEO primarily operates from the use of keywords. These words are used strategically in your site to help the search engines find your site and match it with appropriate search terms. The better your SEO the better you will turn up in the search results. Really good SEO can result in you being one of the first few websites found in a relevant search.

Google is jumping on the privacy train, but not in a way that users will actually know. They are making it so if you do a search, and you are signed into Google, your search will be encrypted. What does this mean? Good question! This means that the information about your search, keywords and the link you clicked to get to the website will not be shared with the website.

What this means to websites:

When someone comes to your website from a search engine, they use a search term to find your site. That gives them a link to a page on your site. They click the link and go to your site. As obvious as this is, this information is important to your SEO strategy. You want to know the words people are using to find your site. You want to know the links that are bringing people into your site.

The data you will not be receiving due to the new encryption is:

  • Referral Data – This is the link they clicked to get to your site.
  • Key Words- These are the search terms the used to find your site.

This information will not be withheld on ads or sponsored listings, so if you pay for your listing you will still know how the user found you.

Whats the upside?

This is only affective when people are signed into their Google accounts, which is roughly only 10% of the users. So 90% of your organic traffic will deliver data to your analytics. The other 10% will show you that the user came, but not the how’s, what’s or where-from’s.

Why are they killing my SEO?

Good question. The primary argument is this is a step towards increased privacy. Google has often been criticized for being too invasive. They gather and share information about their users. This is giving users the option of increased privacy in their searches. Of course, Google still has this information and that information is still feeding into their ads, sponsored links, stories, etc. So you will not likely notice the increase in privacy.

From the users point of view nothing has changed. From the websites point of view, they are being denied some valuable data.

iCloud OS: Good for Business?

Apple has finally released their new operating system, iOS5, complete with the highly anticipated iCloud. Drawing on principles of cloud computing, iCloud gives you access to all of your information but doesn’t rely on any one machine, whether it be a computer or dedicated server, to store or access information.

With documents, information, calendar dates, contacts and automatic backups now stored in the cloud, how we can we expect to see businesses utilize and thrive with these new resources? Or, can we expect a change at all?

 Paperless? Or Close To It?

 Whether to cut down on cost or become more eco-friendly, many businesses have been taking steps towards becoming paperless for a while. Though it’s difficult to completely leave paper behind, iCloud eliminates much of the need for paper.

With documents stored in the cloud, there’s no need to print. And, as you continue to re-draft your business model, there’s no need to print updates or make changes in every document. Any changes you make in sixth draft will be applied all across the cloud. All of your iOS devices will be kept up-to-date with changes.

Faster Pace?

 With many apps designed for iCloud and mobile use, the loading time will be significantly less. Not only will your apps and documents load faster, but the ability to work on the go and around the clock could mean people will do so. While we once had to stop working for the thirty minutes we rode the subway, or drove to a meeting or the hour we spent eating lunch, we could soon work straight through all that down time.

 

Sharing in the cloud means instant access to information, which means faster responses, which adds up to more business at the end of the day.

Will We Ever Have An Excuse Not to Work?

 iCloud allows you to access any document in the cloud from any iCloud enabled device. It boils down to you needing to find a new excuse for “I’m out of the office” or “I don’t have my computer.” With iCloud, your office, computer and information follow you wherever you go. As long as you have an iCloud-enabled device, you have access to your material. Start searching for new cop-outs.

 Never Lose Documents Again?

 iCloud automatically backs up all of the priceless information on your iGadget. Your music, TV shows, applications, books, photos, app data, organization, messages and ringtones will be backed up daily. When disaster strikes, your business plan or entertainment items won’t be casualties.

Could Staying Connected Be Any Easier?

 Your calendars, appointments and contacts will be with you all times now thanks to iCloud. If you wish you could remember Jeff’s email address, now you won’t have to. If you saved it on your computer, it’s now on your phone too. The iOS5 notification center will remind you of any date set in your calendar, any alarms set on your phone or upcoming deadlines.

More fun at Work?

 Lastly, with the ease of sharing photos, videos, sites and documents could we maybe all have a little fun too? If you stumbled across a great comic during work, why not share it? Businesses can certainly change with iCloud, so why not for the better?


 

 

 

Learning to streamline

Many business professionals begin their habits early in college. From the first time they pick up a Franklin Covey planner or buy their first mousepad made of detachable pieces of notepaper, they’ve developed an organizational routine they’ll carry through to the business world.

For many of today’s students, those habits revolve around social media. A smart student has cleared their profile of any drunken photos and chosen a business-appropriate photo by the time they turn 21. However, many business students are going beyond the normal social networking standards and are actively using each of their profiles to network and reach out to leaders in their area. It’s these students that businesses can learn from and utilize in their companies.

Students are juggling profiles on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn, Monster, Careerbuilder and often a professional network or two. The smart student is also involved in an internship while taking classes. Maintaining a positive, contributive social profile isn’t easy—after all, that’s a job description in itself nowadays. Students maintaining that many platforms on their own are likely utilizing apps and in-browser tools.

If you’re looking to become more social media savvy, take a page out of a college textbook, and look into some social media management apps.
One of the newest of these tools to come out of Beta is Yoono. It works off of the desktop and allows users to quickly switch between profiles and stay logged in to multiple profiles at once. In addition to that, it also posts updates on the bottom right of your screen. Unlike Skype notifications, though, they’re small and rarely in the way. Yoono’s major drawback is that it doesn’t connect with Google+, but it does hit the major players.

HootSuite is designed more with a business in mind, but students still regularly use it. Its main strength is that users can update their networks from their smartphones. You can also use it to set up an RSS feed and access the analytics behind your posts. If you think your business closely follows statistics, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve seen a second-semester college student who’s looking for a job. Tweetdeck is another student favorite. It’s designed to handle around five profiles, whether they’re all Twitter or mixed in with Facebook. Tweetdeck is great for a single person managing multiple profiles.

So what can an established business professional get out of all of this? Chances are you’re learning to juggle your networks too. You can take a page out of the nearest college students’ book and try out a couple apps to see what will work best in your life or for your business.

Another takeaway is that it might be worth looking into hiring an intern to take care of your social media. They’re already experienced with juggling them, and they’re likely to know what the younger generations are looking for out of social media. In addition to that, there’s nothing wrong with learning from someone straight out of college. Because the venue for education has changed, many students are getting an online degree, which only add to their social media prowess. Try creating a position for an intern, and then asking them to teach you a few tricks. They’ll be excited to share their knowledge, and you can teach them about more traditional business aspects.

I heart SEO: Why Quality is King

I heart SEOHow to Organize Your Marketing Budget for SEO

In a world where it seems content marketing, social media and SEO change faster than it takes you to read this blog post, it’s more important than ever to nail down the your marketing budget’s top priorities in terms of what you’ll allocate to SEO. What works? What’s Google looking for these days that will help me rank? How is that different than what they were looking for a year ago? And most importantly, what web solutions do I need to allocate resources to that will most help my company’s SEO performance?

Industry-leading search engine optimization software developer, SEOMoz, published their 2011 Search Engine Ranking Factors report earlier this year. The report can be an essential guide into what search engines are valuing these days. Their analysis should help point us in the right direction when we’re looking to allocate resources to managing our company’s SEO.

One of the most interesting things about the 2011 report was how different the factors are from findings published in the past. For example, in 2010, if you had an exact match domain that included a keyword, you were probably in pretty good shape to rank. Today, that correlation has dropped significantly.

Here are a few things to consider when you’re dividing up your marketing budget:

Quality and Quantity Content

It’s no longer enough to simply have pages that point back to your site with links. It’s also no longer enough to have a ton of low-quality content stuffed with keywords. In the old days of SEO, you could get away with these habits and win some searches. Now you can’t cut corners with your content. Keyword stuffing or hiding won’t work. Creating large volumes of original, relevant, sharable content is more important now than ever.

Google’s crawlers analyze whether your content is relevant to both your website and the sites you link to.

In a sense, our marketing tools have come full circle. Earlier this decade, we were told that unique content was the key to driving traffic to our websites. After all of the SEO shortcuts people have tried to take the past few years, unique content that is relevant to your audience is, once again, king.

If You’re Ignoring Offsite, You’re Missing a Huge Part of the Pie

Offsite SEO accounts for nearly 40% of the SEO pie. If you’re only concerned with what you’re saying on your domain, you’re only doing about half of the work. Things like external links, domain and page authority and social media all play a huge role in how Google perceives you.

It used to be that if you had an external link with anchor text was highly regarded by Google. Not so much anymore. Similarly, if you buy a domain that includes an exact keyword, it’s not as helpful as it used to be. Search engines want to know the context of your domain and content. Links are nice, but what’s the context of the content surrounding them?

User Experience

We all want to find what we’re looking for easily. No one likes feeling like they’ve been tricked into finding a website. People are online looking for answers to their questions or problems, and they don’t want to feel mislead. Google has taken notice and places a value on user experience.

Google analyzes things like clickthrough rates and bounce rates. If people are coming to your website and are bouncing off quickly, chances are, it will affect your SEO. Similarly, if people are clicking through your ads to your website and stay there, you might see a boost.

With the smart phone boom in recent years, more sites are seeing traffic come from mobile users. If you aren’t optimized for mobile, your traffic probably isn’t as successful as it could be.

Today, Google values unique content and context. Those two are the biggest factors in how you will be ranked. Do your marketing resources and investments reflect the prioritization of valuable content, offsite SEO and your site’s user experience?


Justin Shimp is a digital handyman and content author at Smallbox, an Indianapolis web solutions consulting firm.

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Get to 1st, 2nd & 3rd base on Twitter

Twitter Valentines Card

You have likely gotten to first base and didn't even know it!

Have you gotten to third base on Twitter? I bet you have and you don’t even know it. Marketing has three levels: primary, secondary and tertiary. Each one has a specific audience and means something different to your analytics. But if you don’t understand these levels, you might be misunderstanding your site traffic and not giving your social media efforts the attention they deserve.

1st Base

These are your qualified leads. These are the clicks on the links in your tweets. First base is the clicks that are a direct result of your marketing tweets. You can track them through link shortners and see the direct results of your marketing efforts.

2nd Base

These are the results from your secondary efforts. 2nd base is the clicks from your profile. It is the clicks from other people tweeting your links. When you market on Twitter or Facebook people will often share your content. This is considered secondary marketing.  It is the marketing that other people are doing for you, as a direct result of your engagement, branding and primary marketing efforts.

Though this is not specifically trackable, it will often be sourced from within the social network you are using. So though it is not coming in from your links, you will be able to see in your web analytics that traffic is coming from the specific social network.  You can also track it by searching on Facebook or Twitter for the URL and see who is sharing your content. Likely they will be someone in your network, or connected to your network.

3rd Base

This is the best and least trackable. Tertiary marketing is simply brand awareness. All of your efforts in branding, marketing, and engagement have built a presence and general awareness of your brand and likely your URL. Tertiary traffic is the traffic that is a direct result of these efforts. It is the direct traffic to your site when someone just knows your URL and types it into the browser. It is the traffic that comes from Google because someone knew your brand name and did a quick search for you to find your website link. It is the traffic that comes from someone bookmarking your site. This is the traffic that you cannot quantify but is the most valuable.

Catalyst

With the American economy mired in the mud and fears of a double-dip recession looming, the professional world, it seems, has stagnated.  These can be worrisome times for businesses, as comparisons to the Great Depression are being regularly drawn.  However, a lot has changed since the last time this country has seen such financial turmoil, so entrepreneurs have more options available to them as they navigate the morass and lead the way into the future.  With fewer employees, the time it takes for those retained to do specific jobs must be balanced with the expense of keeping them on staff.  Thankfully, there are many tools which are available that can help this idea become practical.

Internally, software development has allowed businesses to streamline and increase productivity exponentially.  Doctors’ offices are now able to use medical billing software from companies like Kareo, freeing up office staff for more important tasks.  On a much smaller scale, improvements with small business accounting in programs like Quickbooks and Peachtree almost successfully automate the financial process.  There are also companies that can remotely manage your payroll, help you set up your company’s 401k, and other services.  In choosing these things, the company must (again) balance the expense and needs against such investments.

Externally, one of the most important innovations to date is the emergence of various social media outlets.  Businesses now have the ability to advertise their services in a forum where many different pairs of eyes can see, and consumers have the ability to show their like or dislike of businesses, services, even individual employees. With these new ways to externally promote and streamline your business, customer traffic can increase, and customer service can be refined.  In the past, most marketing was the result of many months and thousands (or millions) of dollars invested in make sure the product or service would be accepted by the public.  Now, in the world of viral videos and SEO, those results come in real time, and are measure through actual results of both use and opinion.

In addition to the external and internal, there is the “gray area” which exists in the form of apps and other resources available to the owner.  Adding to this smorgasbord are various phone apps, many of which are free.  Whereas cell phones used to be a novelty, most people have one now, and use them for far more than just making and receiving phone calls.  Foursquare, for example, is a free app that allows users to let their friends know where they are, and what is going on there.  If you happened to be the business that is being discussed, this will not only bring more people to your door, but it will also tell you what is noteworthy to your customers.

The thing to remember in your business is that there have been many who came before you, who felt the same apprehension and doubt that you are likely feeling now, as you watch news reports and listen to accounts of Wall Street.  But fear not!  Through innovation and maximum usage of the resources that are available to you, you can maximize your chances of success and lead your business into the future.  Whether that success is aided by medical billing software, or a simple points system generated by a social media outlet, is entirely up to your company.  The promoter which pulls your company to the next level may be something as simple as the organic nature of social media, or the many different adjustments made both internally and externally.

Mom and Pop are Back?

Thanks to the eCommerce and social media, mom-and-pop businesses can compete effectively alongside multinational corporations on equal footing. Smaller, more agile companies may even have the advantage in some cases. In fact, users may not be able to tell if a site they visit is run by a guy in a hut or a board of directors in an office tower. Customers who use websites to conduct their business, however, often find that small businesses offer them the personal service and attention to detail they thought was no longer available.

With point-and-click website-building software and other advances on the side of the little guy, ecommerce sites built by small organizations look professional and include many of the same design elements as those that were once available only to companies with massive information technology budgets.  The Internet serves as a leveler, putting small businesses on par with big companies. In some industries, upstarts achieve great success.

Consider these two examples

In the case of bookselling, being a decades-old corporation may not have any advantages at all. The Borders chain of retail stores closed its doors after no buyer could be found to take over the failing company. Meanwhile, Amazon has grown into a bookselling powerhouse by using a web-only model and embracing changes in the industry like the move to ebooks. It should be noted that Borders accidentally positioned its online store against its retail outlets in a “perfect storm” of bad planning.  In addition to the advent of the ebook, Half-Price Books has dominated the publishing spectrum by droning out the best-sellers at 40% of what Borders was charging.

Amazon’s forward-looking model allowed the company to persevere through the economic downturn of recent years while the less flexible business model at Borders is part of the reason the chain failed.  This is obvious of course, given that Amazon has NO retail stores and relies primarily on eCommerce and social media.  As Borders closes its final doors, Amazon sits strong with a $195.93 stock price and continuous growth on its horizon.

The success of Amazon and failure of Borders also proves that customers do not necessarily want to shop in person when transactions can be completed easily on the web.  From this author’s experience, most the time spent in Borders was to browse the new titles and then order them from Amazon given the retail price was about 50% more.  It would have seemed that Borders might have picked up on this and established a cover charge.

On the opposite side of the product spectrum, smaller companies like Blue Sun Properties are proving that customers reward well-built, easy-to-navigate websites with their business.  A user can go through this site and shop for Panama City Beach condos from their own home, whether that is in Ohio or Washington State.  Family attractions surrounding that area such as Shipwreck Water Park and Barnacle Bay only add value to the experience; given the site itself is geared toward families.  This convenience is in direct competition with the resort cities of Destin and Cancun, who offer the “all-inclusive” rates and packages.  With eCommerce, this organization can match itself against such giants while emphasizing its message.

Whether buying a book or booking a vacation condo, customers are proving they prefer to work with companies that offer simple online shopping experiences, whether the companies behind those experiences are large or small.  As a result, the days of the Mom-and-Pop shop may be on the rise.

Old Spice Guy vs. Fabio: A Marketing Bro-mance

Last year Old Spice made huge waves in the social marketing world with their Twitter campaign. The original campaign got 34.6 million views. Their new campaign modeled itself after the original but kept it fresh by bringing in Fabio as the challenger to the title of the official Old Spice Guy.

This new campaign has already gotten 22 million views on Youtube.

The Challenge:

The Twitter:

Like in the original Old Spice Guy Twitter campaign, the campaign is based around interaction with real twitter accounts. Here is one from @animalplanet where both Old Spice Guy and Fabio respond to the tweet.

The Story:

Old Spice Guy and Fabio did not just talk to big networks or famous people. They created videos for anyone who tweeted them, though obviously not everyone who tweeted them. The fact that they had video engagement with the public makes the brand, and the two of them as celebrities, seem accessible.

Beyond just answering questions on Twitter, they created a story line between Old Spice Guy and Fabio. At one point Fabio kidnaps Old Spice Guy and then replaces him with fake Old Spice Guys.

The story line continues, mixed in with more Twitter responses by Fake Old Spice Guy and Fabio, when the real Old Spice Guy has his dramatic return.

What is so excellent about the story line is they have added more depth to the marketing campaign. They are already creating interest by having a audience interactive contest between Old Spice Guy and Fabio. Then tapping into the highly successful and very funny model of the first Twitter based Old Spice campaign. By adding this additional level of drama and story line, it keeps the audience invested in the results of the story and the contest.

The Winner

The story and competition ended in a funny video that was both clever and campy.

Modern Mad Men: What’s in your Media Cocktail?

Mix. Layer. Repeat.

Our culture has a love-hate affair with advertising. What was once an art reserved exclusively for the Ad Men of Madison Avenue (you’ve heard of Mad Men?) has deteriorated over the years, as savvy consumers get harder to reach. It’s an embarrassing cat-and-mouse game now, as customers dodge behind pop-up blockers, DVR and no-call lists. Various brands shamelessly persist, seeking to interrupt us at the exact moment when we might pause long enough to be engaged or entertained by their message.

So where does the love part come in? The reality is that if it didn’t work, advertising would not persist. Consumers don’t realize it, but our habits indicate that on some unconscious level we’ve accepted advertising as a part of our culture. Mad Men is one of the highest rated shows on television, Super Bowl ads are almost as highly anticipated as the game, and Twitter allows us to follow our favorite celebrity brands who are likely tweeting about their favorite brands.

Mad Men

Your marketing strategy: like modern day Mad Men?

That’s the consumer side of the picture, and in real life we consumers are often business people who need to advance our businesses. Whether we need to sell more products or services, every business on the planet needs to get the word out to someone, about something. Is advertising the best way to do that? If you think of it as a paid vehicle through which you promote your message, then yes, you could probably benefit from some form of advertising.

If you’ve committed to telling someone about the something you are selling – product or service, B2B or B2C – then it’s time to talk about your mix. It used to be that when the Mad Men would talk about your media mix, they meant that you could complement your television advertising with radio advertising (insert nostalgic chuckle here) Oh, the simple days …

Today your mix must be strategic, dynamic and appropriate to your audience. Think about your marketing plan as a layering of messages that complement micro- and macro-targeted approaches. Here’s a look at a few of the myriad options, starting from the most wide-reaching media vehicles and narrowing down to laser focused opportunities:

Radio and Television

  • Overview: This is the big-picture nuclear bomb approach to advertising. Cast the broadest possible net!
  • Best for: Setting the tone of a campaign – creating the perception that your topic, product or company is part of a larger dialogue. This is a medium for overarching brand messages. With this you can plant the seed of an idea, but it may not be best for a call to action.
  • Optimization Examples: Nationally you can buy broadcast stations like NBC, or Radio mega networks like Clear Channel. Unless you are a big company like McDonalds though, you may be better off looking at cable and satellite networks, or keeping your buy strictly local for refined targeting to your key audiences.
  • Warning: Unless you can shell out for high-quality production and high-ticket time, step away from this medium as an option. You will only sully your brand with poor quality production, and your saturation needs to be adequate as well. Repetition gets results.

Print

  • Overview: Print is the old war horse, and getting a bad rap for lacking effectiveness and ROI.
  • Best For: Bolstering messages as part of a larger campaign. Use to promote specific events or sales, or relate your product or service to a specific issue being talked about in the publication.
  • Optimization Examples: Select a targeted print option. If you are a CPA, the business section in your local paper is a good spot. If you are an interior design company, look for the local home magazine. You can get even more granular and find target industry association publications which can be a very cost effective means of reaching just the right people.
  • Warnings: Your advertisement is just wallpaper unless you make it stand out. In newspaper, go with color; in a magazine go with a full-page full-color. Always ask for premium placements – back cover, inside front cover or better still, get an editorial calendar and ask for placement next to relevant editorial copy.

Outdoor & Transit

  • Overview: This is more of the grenade approach. Big coverage in small localized areas.
  • Best For: Reaching consumers in their everyday lives. Soccer mom on the way to practice, lawyer on his commute to work. This can be a good call-to-action medium, and is generally very cost effective.
  • Optimization Examples: A media agency can give you specific data on the customer segments that drive past a particular billboard, and you can geo-target bus routes by zip codes and demographic areas.
  • Warnings: What are we thinking about in our cars? All kinds of things! Make the message relevant, eye catching and briefer than your think it should be. As I whiz past your billboard at 75 miles an hour am I going to make a decision about the printing company I use at work? Not likely. Am I going to think about my car insurance? Possibly … if you get my attention fast enough!

Alternative Media

  • Overview: This category could be a blog post unto itself, as I am lumping in all kinds of wonderfully targeted options here. Find a great media buyer, and learn about the possibilities that await with options like:
    • Closed circuit television in airports and airplanes
    • Elevator advertising
    • Parking lot advertising
    • Bathroom stall advertising (if you sell feminine products or birth control, this could be the ticket!)
  • Best For: Targeting groups of people, at a key moment in time when they will receive an aptly paired message.
  • Optimization Example: Do you have an environmental campaign that wants to remind consumers to use reusable grocery bags? Parking lot strips catch that person before they forget the bags in their car!
  • Warning: As your approach gets this targeted, make sure the message matches the medium. When you are waiting for a plane to take off, are you thinking about cleaning products? Not likely.


Online & Social Media

  • Overview: This is the laser-targeted, sniper approach. You can try to reach millions worldwide on some sites, but it’s best to find the specific customers that matter most to your business, in their natural online habitats.
  • Best For: Just about everyone, really. The Internet is as big as the universe and the people you want to reach are probably online. The tools within this category are limitless. Twitter can be a great tool for solidifying a position of leadership in a dialogue, and pay-per-click contextual ads can be a great way to drive traffic to your site.
  • Optimization example: The optimization options are also limitless. Find a partner with the experience and capabilities to recommend the best options for you. Remember that you may not be reaching millions of people, but you will more likely reach the right 1,000 people. (see SMCubed Popularity vs. Influence: Are you the popular kid?)
  • Warning: This medium is changing so rapidly that last week’s trends may be prehistoric this week. Embrace what you don’t know, and find an expert partner with their eye on the ball to help you make the most of this medium!

If you are undertaking an advertising campaign, think about your customer and how to reach them at different times in different ways. Almost all of these vehicles are useless by themselves. When layered together, they become a dynamic brand presence that can actually get through to today’s dodgy audiences.

A last parting thought to ponder: you may have the best chance at reaching your target market right in your own back yard. Consider this: I spent a few wonderful years in marketing for Whole Foods Market, and you may notice they do very little paid advertising. What they understand is that they have hundreds of ways of reaching their customers inside their own stores. Every communication point is an opportunity – directional signage, price tags, point of sale signs, team member name badges, checkout kiosks and receipts.

What might these opportunities look like for you? Invoices, email signatures, meeting signage, Powerpoint presentations, proposals, conference programs … every touch point is an opportunity to present the brand image you desire. The Mad Men of the 1960s would be very proud of such ingenuity!

 


Colleen Rauscher brings over 10 years of strategic communications experience in a variety of industries including energy, non-profit, insurance, hospitality and retail. She specializes in integrated corporate marketing communications, brand strategies, Hispanic marketing and advertising strategy.

Prior to joining GBSM, Colleen served as an independent marketing consultant in the alternative energy and hospitality industries, helping clients articulate complex technical concepts, define their market niches and build well defined brand identities. She also served as a Regional Marketing Associate for Whole Foods Market, where she worked on seasonal campaign development, supervising staff in 33 stores and four states in the Rocky Mountain Region. She was recognized by the Global Consumer Research group for her work using customer data and demographic information to create innovative market strategies.

Colleen began her career in New York City, working for dotcom start-ups and advertising agencies. She moved to Denver to work in the meetings and incentives arena, with clients including Eli Lilly, Schering-Plough, Ameritrade, AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals and 3M Corporation.

Colleen has a BS from the University of Kansas William Allen White School of Journalism with minors in Spanish and Latin American Studies. She serves on the Board of Directors for Global Energy Options, Inc. and the Denver Hooperz Youth Organization, a program that uses competitive basketball as a vehicle to give at-risk youth opportunities to learn life skills, discipline and responsibility.

The Fuzzy Kitten Approach to Marketing

Cute KittenWe all love cute fuzzy kittens. We love to pet them, squeeze them, hold them, cuddle with them. We love to watch them play. We laugh at their sillyness and make “awww” sounds at nearly everything they do. So how do we capture the allure of kittens for our marketing?

1. Are you cute?

Does your blog look good? Is it visually appealing? Is your Twitter avatar something that draws your eye and is nice to look at? Making your social profiles, website and blog visually appealing is important. Your content could be amazing but if your site looks horrible no one will stay to read. Part of what we love about kittens is that they are cute and pleasing to look at. Keep up your appearance, they are your first impression.

2. Are you fuzzy?

Do I want to pet you? Not literally of course. But do I want to dig into your content. Do I want to run my fingers through your words. Do I want to spend time languishing with your blog?Playful Kittens

3. Are you playful?

Does your blog have a personality? Is it funny? sassy? energetic? Are you tweets full of humor and sarcasm? Or are you all business? People like to discuss business but they also like to have fun. Make sure that you have balance.

4. Can you sleep anywhere?Sleeping Cat

Kittens will sleep anywhere. The will pass out in the crook of your arm or hanging off the side of a chair. They adapt to any environment and continue with their business. How do you adapt to changes in technology and in the industry?  Are you able to adapt to the updates or are you still hoping that Friendster makes its big return?

5. Are you a kitten?

If kittens are one thing, they are kittens. What do I mean? Well, they are true to their nature. When you look at your blog or your Twitter, are you working towards your main message or are you trying to fill too many roles. Many people try to be too many things for too many people. If you started a blog on knitting, you do not also need to be a video editor expert. Keep your focus and be really good at being you.

row of kittens