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The Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange (MITX) — the leading association and voice of the internet business & marketing industry. MITX is about all things digital, about what is next for the web and how it impacts the marketing and business worlds. We are passionate about creating opportunities for individuals and businesses to connect, grow and thrive. And we are committed to showcasing the ideas, the innovations, and the contributions that are fueling a thriving and integral industry in New England and throughout the world. Our mission is to capture and convey the essence of what our industry is doing, and to challenge us all to think differently, think big about what is next, because what is next is here.

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Selling Technology to People Who Don’t Understand Technology

  
  
  
Ryan Mulloy

Our 2015 MITX eCommerce Summit is Tuesday! As we finish out this week we have one more guest blog for you. Ryan Mulloy, Experience Design ACD at SapientNitro discusses factors to consider when designing your eCommerce experience and content. Interested in guest blogging next month? E-mail taylor[at]mitx[dot]org.

As an Experience Design ACD at SapientNitro, he gets to work with some of today's biggest brands on cutting-edge omnichannel experiences that span desktop to mobile to in-store to DOOH. With over 15 years of experience to pull from, he finds himself most comfortable embedding himself in the culture of other companies and leveraging a creative background to design experiences that are useful, usable and desirable.

How do you sell technology to those who don’t really understand technology? Actually, you don’t. You sell the benefits. I guess I could leave it at that, but that would make for some rather anti-climactic reading. The reality is that a majority of technology buyers really have no idea what makes it tick, but we’re still seeing a lot of companies getting wrapped up in their own internal technology-speak. These experiences usually tout a mix of Megahertz-this or AeroForce-that, and the net outcome becomes selling your product as just a sum of its technological components. That isn’t good for anyone.



Selling Products Like a Journalist

  
  
  
Sandrine Mangia Park

Just one week until the 2015 MITX eCommerce Summit and we have another eCommerce themed guest blog post for you. Sandrine Mangia-Park, VP of Marketing at The Grommet discusses the convergence of content and commerce for engagement and sales. Interested in guest blogging? E-mail taylor[at]mitx[dot]org.

Sandrine Mangia-Park (@SandrineMP) currently leads the marketing team at The Grommet as well as overseeing the customer experience team. Prior to joining The Grommet in December of 2012, Sandrine led the poker vertical for a gaming company that targeted Europe, South America and Asia. She worked in several roles there including Senior Affiliate Marketing Manager, Brand Director and Marketing Director of the French market. Sandrine has strong, global experience in planning; developing and executing innovative direct response and brand marketing campaigns through online, social and traditional media outlets.

A few years ago I stumbled upon Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk, “How great leaders inspire action.” I was floored. The central point of the lecture was: -- “People don't buy what you do. They buy why you do it. Start with the 'Why.'" It's interesting how the most insightful concepts are often the simplest, and that the simplest concepts are often the hardest to see.



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Do You Know Your eCommerce IQ?

  
  
  
Ben Barr

We have another great eCommerce post for you from Benjamin Barr, Product Marketing and AdTech Lead at Ve Interactive. In this post Benjamin puts your eCommerce IQ to the test. Looking to boost your eCommerce IQ? Don't miss the 2015 MITX eCommerce Summit on March 3rd. 

Benjamin Barr is the Product Marketing and AdTech Lead at Ve Interactive, the leader in driving and maximizing quality traffic for eCommerce websites. As Product Marketer, Ben is responsible for positioning Ve’s industry-leading marketing and adtech apps in the US marketplace, and giving eCommerce sites worldwide the tools and analytics they need to ensure highly-qualified traffic and the highest conversion rates. Before Ve, Ben held a variety of positions in the eCommerce space, and has done web development work for the Finance, Education and Insurance industries. A Boston-native, Ben attended the University of Hartford, studying Web Design and Technical Writing, and is a member of Sigma Nu fraternity. He is a drummer, and is very active in Boston’s local music scene. Follow Ve Interactive on Twitter. Follow Ben on Linkedin and Twitter.

Having a high eCommerce IQ means knowing every detail about your customer, your product, and your user experience. In an industry with saturation in every vertical, optimization through empathy and analytics is the only way to get the competitive edge. Do you know your customer’s journey on your website? Roughly 70% of your customers are leaving your site without converting – do you know why? More importantly – do you know how to re-engage them? Every customer leaves a trail of useful data each time they visit your site. Knowing this data, and leveraging it to drive online conversion is called your eCommerce IQ.



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Think Mobile First; Your Customers Already Do

  
  
  
Gordon Plutsky 2015

As we get closer to our upcoming MITX eCommerce Summit we are excited to share a few more guest blog posts with you in the coming weeks. Catch up on what's hot in the eCommerce world and join us on March 3rd for our full-day summit. This post by Gordon Plutsky, VP, Marketing at Digital Bungalow discusses the important of mobile to your eCommerce strategy.

Gordon Plutsky (@Gordon Plutsky) partners with Digital Bungalow clients on their digital marketing and content strategies. He is also an adjunct instructor for marketing in the Endicott College MBA program.

In 2014, worldwide mobile traffic eclipsed desktop traffic for the first time, and it’s a trend that will only continue. Today, having a mobile site isn’t enough; you have to have a great native mobile experience. If not, potential customers are going to your competition instead. According to predictive marketing software firm Custora, one out of four (24.5%) online purchases during the 2014 holiday season was done via mobile platform, up from 18.6% last year. Native apps are currently getting the lion’s share of this activity, which is not feasible for every online retailer, especially small and local businesses. In fact, the tide may be turning towards the mobile web. Below is from Mobile Marketer:



eCommerce Continues to Grow – Don’t Get Left Behind

  
  
  
Kate Putnam

Since the 2015 MITX eCommerce Summit is just around the corner (March 3rd to be exact) this month's guest blog theme will be all things eCommerce. This guest post by Kate Putnam, Business Development Manager at Blueport Commerce discusses how to stay ahead of the curve in the ever-changing eCommerce space.

As a Business Development Manager for Blueport Commerce, Kate manages sales, corporate communications and partnership initiatives. These days, you can find Kate busy with the company’s marketing and sales strategy while writing blog posts and spreading the Blueport story to prospective investors, clients and recruits. She often shares chair space with her Vizsla, Ramsay, who is a regular visitor to the dog-friendly Blueport office. You can follow Blueport on Twitter @blueportdotcom

The Internet wasn’t widely adopted until the late ‘80s and email didn’t even really exist until 1993. Online commerce was rudimentary at best back then. And yet, within the last 30 years, the ever-changing way in which shoppers buy online has grown exponentially, exceeding many expectations. It has become just as important as shopping in stores, and in many ways exists within the fabric of our hearts, minds, keyboard-tapping fingers and wallets. While few may be able to completely predict the future of ecommerce in this digital age, we know it and the technology behind it is going to continue to grow and that there are some things retailers can do to avoid getting left behind.



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Collaborative Connections Get Beyond the Static

  
  
  
Brian Bolton

We have our last guest blog for this month's social media theme. Brian Bolton, Co-Founder and President of Digaboom discusses how social can power collaboration and teamwork. Interested in guest blogging? E-mail taylor[at]mitx[dot]org.

Brian Bolton is a 20 year digital marketing professional and the co-founder and President of Digaboom. Digaboom is a collaborative community marketplace platform for digital marketing, design and technology talent to network and virtually work together on projects for companies needing their expertise. Connect with Brian on Twitter @brianbolton.

How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable.
- Seth Godin

One promise of the internet has always been its potential as a disintermediating technology - a way to remove the middleman and directly connect buyer to seller. And while there have been successes with well-known entities like eBay and Craigslist, it is the rise of social media that has truly enabled this across a whole range of businesses and industries.




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Social Influence Marketing 101 – How to Succeed without Celebrity Endorsement

  
  
  
Lyle Stevens

Continuing on with our social media theme this month we have a guest post from Lyle Stevens, co-founder and CEO at Mavrck. Lyle discusses how to leverage various types of social influence. 

Lyle Stevens, co-founder and CEO, Mavrck, an influence marketing platform that powers premier consumer brands to drive more sales on social. Lyle drives product operations for the company, delivering value to numerous Fortune 500 consumer brands. @thelylestevens

Marketers know they need to have a strong and valuable presence on social media – in fact, 70 percent of marketers will spend more on social media ads in 2015, according to a new report from Salesforce. But understanding the how’s, what’s, where’s and why’s is a task in itself. And, while social media is playing an increasingly important role for retailers and brands, sites like Facebook are making it more difficult for brands to ensure posts are seen. So how can the organizations make marketing on social media more attainable and successful?



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What 2014 Taught Us: The Norbella Social Media Edition

  
  
  
Lindsey Doolittle

Hope all of our New England friends are staying safe and warm in this blizzard! If you are locked inside and looking for something to do we've got a great guest blog for you to read from our friends at Norbella. Lindsey Doolittle, Content Marketing Strategist and Aileen McQuillen, Content Marketing Coordinator at Norbella share some big social take-aways from 2014.

Lindsey’s career spans multiple communication channels including public relations, social media, and content marketing. Her recent experience as a fashion editor at Rue La La has given her invaluable experience working with brands such as 20th Century Fox, Norwegian Cruise Line, Canyon Ranch, FX Networks and Blue Apron. Lindsey is also a local blogger, having been featured in the New York Times Style Section, Boston Globe, and BostInno.com.

Aileen’s passion for social media and PR has been a driving force in her career. A graduate of Georgetown University, she gained invaluable experience interning at Refugees International, the U.S. Holocaust Museum, and the U.S. Peace Corps. In her spare time, she volunteers for local non-profit, Empower Dalit Women of Nepal. She directs the organization’s social media efforts, supporting their fundraising initiatives and public awareness campaigns.





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Humanizing Omnichannel

  
  
  
ECOMMERCE Web Banner 01


We have a special blog for you today from one of our eCommerce Summit Advisory Board Members! Leading up to the summit we're giving you a taste of some of the insightful content that will be presented at the summit. This post, written by Rob Schmults, VP, eCommerce at Talbots, dives into the store associate side of omnichannel strategy. 

Rob Schmults is Vice President, eCommerce at Talbots where he oversees online marketing and mobile in addition to eCommerce. Previously, Rob held a number of roles as a retailer and as a solution provider to retailers. Most recently he was SVP at Intent Media, a company that uses predictive analytics to enable retailers to generate advertising revenue to augment their online product sales. Before that he was Chief Marketing Officer for Smart Destinations, a retailer and platform provider for activity, tour, and sight ticketing. At GSI Commerce, Rob oversaw the teams responsible for 30 partners, including adidas, Bath & Body Works, Dick's Sporting Goods, iRobot, and Major League Baseball. 

Omnichannel is doing a wonderful job at making retailers take a fresh run at organizing around their customers. As retailers continue down the path of taking a single view of their customers no matter where they are and what channel they are using, formerly siloed data – and thinking – gets broken down. Even more importantly, as retailers give customers a single view back into the enterprise it forces formerly inwardly focused systems like inventory management to turn outward.




How To Use Social Media for B2B Customer Insight & Prospecting

  
  
  
Christian Habermann

As we are getting the ball rolling on 2015 we have some great social media guest blogs to share with you. Christian Habermann, Founder of Auctus Marketing provides insight into how various social media tools can be used for research. Interested in guest blogging, e-mail taylor[at]mitx[dot]org.

Christian Habermann is the founder of Auctus Marketing and is a leader and innovator in the online marketing world. He is very involved in the local start up scene here in Boston. He co-founded ConsumerUnited.com, now Goji.com, which is one of the fastest growing online insurance companies and has made the Inc. 500 List the past 3 years.  He loves to help companies of all sizes, from start ups to Fortune 500s, embrace the online marketing world to grow their business. He is the author of "SEO for 2014” and holds and MBA in marketing from Vanderbilt.

Want to know how the top pros get ahead using social media as a tool for sales & marketing prospecting? As we all know, using social media to distribute your brand’s message and grow your audience is a great tactic, but using it to gain deeper insight into your community or customers is where the top B2B marketers really shine and rise from the pack. Social media has not been around for that long, it’s quite dynamic and fortunately, does not take that long to become a proficient user. Hence, sales & marketing professionals can spend a relatively small amount of time on it, gain some quality insight on their customers as well as prospects and use this data to move the needle forward.



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