This is Not my Beautiful Industry

Posted by Kate Jurras on Thu, Dec 30, 2010

Guest post by John Francis, a MITX Board Member and longtime entrepreneur within the Digital Media community. Contact him at jfrancis@ontios.com. This is one of several guest posts in the MITX 2011 Perspectives Blog Series. Stay tuned for many more posts by Boston's most influential thought leaders.

The one constant in the Digital Marketing and Services industry is change.  The tools change, project sophistication rises, client expectations climb and the skill sets required to address those rising expectations evolve.  Sometimes quickly.  This evolution is consistently displayed at both the MITX Technology and Interactive Awards programs.  A few specific observations:

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Uncovering the Unknown with Web Analytics

Posted by Kate Jurras on Tue, Dec 28, 2010

Guest post by Brian Schmidt, Director of Online Sales, Google Boston. This is one of several guest posts in the MITX 2011 Perspectives Blog Series. Stay tuned for many more posts by Boston's most influential thought leaders.

Marketing executives are all too familiar with the famous quote from merchant John Wanamaker who said, “I know that half of my advertising budget is wasted, but I'm not sure which half.” Since Wanamaker opened his first store in Philadelphia in the 19th century, a lot has changed. Advertising used to be a blunt instrument; Today, advertising has the power to deliver the right message to the right person at the right place and time.

Today advertisers and marketers can use tools like Google Analytics to measure what consumers are searching for online and how they respond to ads and websites. With unprecedented knowledge of behavior and trends, advertisers and marketers can use web analytics data to optimize the path from search to sale, reach new audiences, and improve value on their spend.

Now we’re facing a new problem: Information overload. We simply have access to too much data, and and key insights can get lost in the shuffle. We also have so many new ways to reach customers online -- Twitter, Facebook, the Google Display Network -- that it’s difficult to understand how these channels work together toward the common goal of increasing conversions.

In other words, as Donald Rumsfeld once famously said, "There are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns -- the ones we don't know we don't know." Of course Rumsfeld wasn’t talking about online traffic here, but the sentiments hold true.

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Web Personalization: Serendipity Or Big Brother?

Posted by Kate Jurras on Mon, Dec 27, 2010

By guest blogger Peg Mulligan

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Prognostications for 2011

Posted by Kate Jurras on Thu, Dec 23, 2010

Guest post by Mike Schneider, Senior Vice President, Director Digital Incubator for Allen & Gerritsen, one of the Top 50 Independent advertising agencies in the US. Follow Mike on Twitter! This is one of several guest posts in the MITX 2011 Perspectives Blog Series. Stay tuned for many more posts by Boston's most influential thought leaders.

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Why All Applications May Soon be Available in the “App” Store

Posted by Kate Jurras on Wed, Dec 22, 2010

Guest post by Janet Muto, Partner, High Start Group. Follow Janet on Twitter! This is the first of several guest posts in the MITX 2011 Perspectives Blog Series. Stay tuned for many more posts by Boston's most influential thought leaders.

2011 is the year smart enterprise software companies will reinvent how they approach product development.  Those that don’t will face shrinking revenues, disinterested customers and lost sales opportunities.  

Most everyone today is a savvy user of consumer technology: using applications of all types on multiple devices every day.  They are surfing, linking, taking pictures and uploading photos, buying and selling, video conferencing and playing interactive games – from their smartphone, iPad or laptop.   This experience with consumer technologies is “setting the bar” for users’ expectations of business applications.

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Trends and Technologies to Watch in 2011

Posted by Kate Jurras on Tue, Dec 21, 2010

Guest post by Larry Weber, Chairman of W2 Group, globally respected marketing expert, and an original MITX founder! Larry has written several books, which you should read, read, and read. This is one of several guest posts in the MITX 2011 Perspectives Blog Series. Stay tuned for many more posts by Boston's most influential thought leaders.

Instead of getting into the obvious predictions for 2011, like using social media to engage external audiences or the growth of mobile apps (which I think will take off because how many companies can have a good app?) here are a few of my top picks for trends and technologies marketers should be on the lookout for in next year.

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2011 Prediction: Social Become Reductive

Posted by Kate Jurras on Mon, Dec 20, 2010

Guest post by Mike Troiano, Principal, Holland Mark. Follow him on Twitter! This is one of several guest posts in the MITX 2011 Perspectives Blog Series. Stay tuned for many more posts by Boston's most influential thought leaders.

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2011: The Year of the “Real Me” in Social Media

Posted by Kate Jurras on Fri, Dec 17, 2010

Guest post by Ali Robbins Hyatt. Ali is on the New Growth Platforms team at Avery Dennison, and is a member of the MITX 2010 Future Leaders Group, a group of six individuals who were chosen based on their leadership, spirit, entrepreneurialism, and early impact on the Massachusetts innovation economy. Follow Ali on Twitter, or send her an e-mail! This is one of several guest posts in the MITX 2011 Perspectives Blog Series. Stay tuned for many more posts by Boston's most influential thought leaders.

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Checking-in: 2011 – Innovative Tech for the Upcoming Year

Posted by Kate Jurras on Thu, Dec 16, 2010

Guest post by Nan Li, Associate, Bain Capital Ventures. This is one of several guest posts in the MITX 2011 Perspectives Blog Series. Stay tuned for many more posts by Boston's most influential thought leaders.

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For 2011: Wishes Worthy of Becoming Predictions

Posted by Kate Jurras on Tue, Dec 14, 2010

By Edward Boches, Chief Innovation Officer at Mullen. Check out his blog, and find him on Twitter! This is the first of several guest posts in the MITX 2011 Perspectives Blog Series. Stay tuned for many more posts by Boston's most influential thought leaders.

By now we’re all tired of “My predictions for 2011” lists and blog posts. Every year they get more and more like Christmas ads. They start earlier and go on for longer.

I avoid reading them, assuming they all say the same thing: mobile will be the first screen, location-based will get even bigger, iPads will replace laptops, game dynamics will be the newest influence technique, retail will go all social on us, the Internet of everything will finally arrive, the start-up investment bubble will burst.

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Introducing What’s Next: 2011 MITX Perspectives Blog Series

Posted by Debi Kleiman on Mon, Dec 13, 2010

Hard to believe that the holidays are upon us and it’s soon to be 2011. It’s been an incredibly exciting year in digital marketing and internet business – we’ve seen this space grow and change faster than ever. New companies and ideas abound, and it can be hard to keep up!

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Meet the Marketer: Financial Services Industry

Posted by Gena Folts on Fri, Dec 10, 2010

New technology in the digital marketing landscape is affecting financial services companies more and more each day. In the recent past they have explored and succeeded with mobile, illustrating their willingness to enter new territory. Through it all these companies are working to keep all their digital messaging portable, personalized, and participatory. Each speaker on the panel for Meet the Marketer: Financial Services, which included James Bacharach, VP Brand Communications & Creative Services, John Hancock; Hee Kyu Kim, VP Digital Marketing, Bank of America; and John Magee, VP Analytics, PerkStreet Financial; and our moderator Melissa Rodenhiser, Director of New England Sales for CNNMoney.com shared his or her experience over the past year as well as insights into their predictions for 2011.

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What's at the intersection of marketing and technology? Boston

Posted by Kate Jurras on Wed, Dec 8, 2010
Guest post by Josh Bernoff, VP, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research. Josh was one of our fantastic opening night speakers at FutureM, and we're thrilled that he's allowed us to share his great post on our blog. Check out more of Josh's insights on his blog here!

Boston has always been a center for technology, but for the last 15 years or so, our eyes have glanced furtively and enviously at Silicon Valley. Clearly, Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay Area are the epicenter of technology startups, including the ones that have gotten huge in the Web era (eBay, Google, Facebook, . . . ). Boston is still vibrant, and we have our own old and new technology giants (EMC, Akamai) but many of our most successful local startups have gotten acquired by companies from out of town.

But as I participated in Boston's FutureM conference a few months ago, it hit me right between the eyes just how much energy there is in Boston around technology for marketing. If you're interested in the intersection of marketing and technology, you have to come here. Let me make the case for you.

First, many of the leading thinkers in this space work right here. Who else has a list like this? (The links go to our books, limited it to one per author).

Dan Ariely (Predictably Irrational)
Dave Balter (Grapevine)
Josh Bernoff (Empowered)
Dan Bricklin (Bricklin on Technology)
Chris Brogan (Trust Agents)
CC Chapman (Content Rules)
Laura Fitton (Twitter for Dummies)
Steve Garfield (Get Seen)
Paul Gillin (Social Marketing to the Business Customer)
Emily Nagle Green (Anywhere)
Brian Halligan (Marketing Lessons from the Grateful Dead)
Greg Jarboe (YouTube and Video Marketing)
Scott Kirsner (Fans, Friends, and Followers)
Eric Qualman (Socialnomics)
Dan Schwabel (Me 2.0)
David Meerman Scott (Real-Time Marketing & PR)
Doc Searls (The Cluetrain Manifesto)
Dharmesh Shah (Inbound Marketing)
Larry Weber (Everywhere)
David Weinberger (Everything is Miscellaneous)
Dan Zarrella (The Facebook Marketing Book)

It's no coincidence with a list like this, that the leading analyst companies in this space, Forrester Research, Yankee Group, and IDC, are close by. Harvard, MIT, and Bentley are pumping out the bright young thinkers we're all snapping up.

The startups here that set the agenda are companies like BzzAgent, Brightcove, Communispace, and Hubspot. There are plenty of startups other places, but I've found that these companies are consistently pushing the thinking forward and connecting with key marketing and media clients.

On the agency side, Boston is home to some of the important digital agencies including Digitas and SapientNitro, as well as traditional agencies with a strong digital focus like Hill Holliday, Arnold, and Mullen.

A local industry group, MITX, put on the FutureM conference and has led the way in putting the focus on Boston as a center for digital marketing. Communispace's former CMO, Debi Kleiman, just took over there and will stir the pot even further.

Sure, there's more advertising in New York and Chicago and more technology in California. But the community here is creating new ideas about marketing and putting them into practice on a continuous basis. It's a blast being part of this.

(With a post like this, it's inevitable that every pundit and startup I left off will pile on. And of course, every other center for technology is the developed world will pipe up. Well, let fly. Boston will take on all comers.)

NOTE: Thanks to Debi Kleiman for suggestions here, and to Scott Kirsner, whose Amazon list started my thinking on this.
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Content Marketing: Event Recap Part 1

Posted by Kate Jurras on Tue, Dec 7, 2010

Today’s content marketing event was moderated by Holland-Mark Principal Mike Troiano, and the panel of experts included Matt Drinkwater, Senior Director, Yahoo!; Carissa Caramanis O’Brien, President, Red Box Communications; and Eric Oliver, Director, Digital Brand Communications. The conversation covered what it is, who is doing it well, and what the future holds, with plenty of question-and-answer opportunities, which the audience engaged in readily.

What is Content Marketing?

Troiano took a quick poll of the room, and determined that the audience was largely made up of people who consider themselves “novices” on the subject of content marketing. He then defined content marketing as “an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation or sharing of content for the purpose of engaging current and potential customers.”

Content marketing is a relatively new trend; if your company is actively using content marketing, you’re among the early adopters. High five! Early adopters understand that it fills a role that traditional marketing cannot. Marketers are facing a significant challenge, in that the public has become adept at filtering out unwanted noise, making consumers hard to reach. However, this also means that consumers are good at finding the information they want, making content marketing more effective than traditional advertising.

Content marketing takes advantage of the customer’s ability to seek out relevant information. Historically, advertisers have tried to create a perfect package, something slick and shiny; today savvy marketers strive to create an incomplete package, one that enables the audience to complete and participate in the dialogue. This is strikingly novel, and even big players in the marketing world are apprehensive about implementing a strategy that relinquishes so much control to the customer.

Why Content Marketing Works:

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Content Marketing Success Stories: Event Recap Part 2

Posted by Kate Jurras on Tue, Dec 7, 2010

Matt Drinkwater, Yahoo!, The Thread
Over the past few years, Yahoo! has developed an approach that focuses largely on the audience. The belief is that all data should be for the audience, and the Thread, on Yahoo!’s website Shine, expertly demonstrates that minimalist customer-oriented marketing works. A series of videos relating to celebrity trends barely can be traced to the products they’re selling (and many of the videos exist for the sake of entertainment, without a hint of marketing), while simultaneously catering to women’s demonstrated interest in celebrity culture. Drinkwater says that Yahoo! aims to “make the user a hero.” To create successful content, these are the important questions to ask:

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