Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Internet Growth Projections: 6.6%

I was doing research for our client the Entertainment Connection and found a Hollywood Reporter article written by Georg Szalai siting an annual study from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in June of 2006 predicting that a surge in growth in the online sector, global entertainment and media will expand into a $1.83 trillion industry in 2010, up from an estimated $1.33 trillion in 2005.

The report also indicated that the biggest global industry engines during that time frame will be Internet advertising and access spending, for which PwC projects a compound annual growth rate of 12.9 percent. The Internet sector, the report said, would be set for a five-year compound boost of 8.4 percent -- driven by online ads, radio/out-of-home media.

The article also said, "Internet advertising will see the largest five-year surge -- at an 18.1% compound rate -- from an estimated $22.45 billion last year to $51.6 billion in 2010... TV network ad revenue will increase to $51.95 billion in 2010, and online ads to $25.5 billion."

These figures are interesting, especially when we note other research that talks about declines in other media. In our MarCom social media marketing powerpoint presentation I have mentioned the following stats:

Decline in traditional media
–Box office is down 7%
–Newspaper circulation peaked in ‘87
–Down another 2.6% in 2006
–Radio was down 4% in 2006
–TV viewership is rising; audience is fragmenting and show ratings are declining
–Magazine ad revenues are up a bit; number of ad pages is flat; women’s magazine circulation is down
–Celebrity magazines continue to grow …

Ask any student where they hear the news -- as did at Cal State Northridge where I lectured a couple of weeks ago -- and they will tell you, "on the Internet."

The bottom line here is that marketers are realizing that the budgets they set for the future must include good white hat search engine optimization and social media strategies.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Social Media Marketing and Revising Websites

Given the fact that folks are beginning to notice some changes in business and the economy, MarCom Broadband is getting lots of new business referrals. I think it is because we have little experienced competition out there. Few companies have been doing search engine optimization (SEO) and social media marketing as long as we have, which is basically since it all started.

I got a call today from a prospect who is planning on revising his website. This often happens. We even had one client who refused to listen to us a couple of years ago, and they redid their website, ditched half the content and lost traction with their rankings on Google, even though we warned them!

Point is that you do not want to change the name of your url if you don't have to, but if you do, then certain SEO tactics must be put in place. My associate Mike Keesling often works very closely with website design firms, like Rigney Graphics, right from the start of a client's redesign on their site to make sure their site SEO is done right. Their newsletter, called LunchMeat" is pretty fun BTW.

As an example, MarCom is about to change our company name from MarCom Broadband to MarCom New Media -- and we have a new url, so we will be redesigning our own website. The only way we can salvage our current ranking with Google is to point the old site to the new site. And we need to salvage much of the old site content and rework it with our key words on the new website.

Also what many people do not understand is that the Meta tags on each website page must correspond to content and keywords inside that particular page. There are many other little intricate tactics that we have learned to use to improve client rankings.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Pitching New Business: An Integrative Approach with Social Media Marketing

Once again it's that time of year when my associate Jeff asks me and my colleagues to do a guest lecture at his class of PR and communications students at Cal State Northridge. Our MarCom Broadband creative director, Brad Stone, is heading there today. And I will talk on Friday.

When I was chatting with Brad this morning about his presentation, it came up that now, with the press and the Internet, media don't need PR folks as much because they can research whatever they need online. And to get the media to respond to a pitch is becoming more and more difficult. Nowadays we wrap video right along with website links inside email pitches.

Having been in marketing and advertising for several decades, it's easier to see trends, and as the saying goes what comes around goes around, because patterns tend to duplicate. What I mean is that many years ago when we pitched new business, we gave a killer presentation, provided our creative ideas and often won the account (whether advertising or PR) based on the creative ideas within. We had to start getting the potential clients to sign and promise not to steal our ideas and use them without hiring us. Then along came technology and the dot com world, where that went out the window. We never gave any creative ideas away UNTIL we were hired. Our proposals where based on case histories and results for prior clients.

Today we are back in the place where with social media marketing and search engine optimization being wrapped into our presentation, and with competition out there, we are doing more presentations with creative ideas inside. Now back to a place where we need client signatures again.

Social media marketing is becoming a part of all of MarCom's new business pitches -- even though many clients still request just one thing - like PR. We must incorporate it into all of our marketing, advertising, PR and social media marketing strategies these days.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Is Social Media Marketing Revolutionary?

I read another blog post today that said that social media marketing is the biggest shift that has taken place in marketing since television. That's a pretty big claim. Hat Tip to Karl Long and FutureLab. His blog references the same study I referenced in my last blog on Feb. 28. about the TNS Media Intelligence/Cymfony study that polled more than 60 marketers and discovered that social network marketing is still a puzzle, and agencies don't seem equipped to help clients "get it."

There was and always will be shifts in marketing. That's why the term "new media" was coined. It wraps all the new marketing strategies and tactics into one term. And again, it is why we will soon be changing the name of our company from MarCom Broadband to MarCom New Media. (Our new website will be up soon.) Our business has shifted entirely in the last two years from marketing and PR, to marketing, branding SEO and social media marketing. We started out with the concept of helping companies go to market faster in today's world, i.e. the Internet, which has the potential to reach millions of people in quantum time. Ergo the broadband in MarCom Broadband. But people understand new media more than broadband.

There is still much confusion about new Internet driven marketing strategies. The Web has changed everything, yet it in reality is merely another channel in which to market through -- a channel with worldwide reach. The television, as Karl said, changed everything. And I do believe he is right about the revolutionaries, who are "participating in the conversation" and building deeper relationships with their customers, versus those who are "waiting to see."

We hear questions like this all the time. What's the best way to design a website? Is Flash in or out? I know I need Search Engine Optimization (SEO), but just exactly what does that mean? How is Search Engine Marketing different from SEO? If I invest in doing business over the Internet, what marketing strategies will guarantee sales results? My company works with consultants who are in some cases virtual, so what's the best way to manage them? I see other companies getting excellent PR stories, so why can't I? Do people really read email or pay per click ads? Do web banners work? What is social media?

The bottom line is that the most important thing we can understand as marketers is our need to first "get inside the client's challenge." Once the challenges are identified, we can put a strategic plan together that will allow our clients to "go to market" and get measurable results with a return on their investment. The thing is - it's hard to measure television commercials. SEO measurement is easy.

Skills + knowledge + thought + creativity + channels = positive energy and results.