Archive for June 2011

Former Google CEO on Social Networking: “I Screwed Up”. A Lesson You Can’t Afford to Ignore.

June 7, 2011

by Thomas Harpointner,  founder and CEO of AIS Media, Inc

Speaking at the D9 tech conference in May, former Google CEO Eric Schmidt acknowledged he’s been aware of the competitive threat posed by social networks like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter for five years but failed to do anything about it.

In an interview with AllTHingsD’s Kara Swisher, Schmidt admitted he “screwed up” with social networking. “I clearly knew I had to do something and failed to do it, Schmidt said. “The CEO should take responsibility.”

When pressed about why he didn’t focus more on social networking, Schmidt simply answered, “I was busy.”  Schmidt was so focused on Google’s day-to-day operations; he didn’t give social networking the necessary attention.  Schmidt described his failure with social as his biggest regret.

If you’re a CEO, there may be a valuable lesson for you as well. Are you “pulling a Schmidt” with social media as well? Unless you’ve been completely sheltered from the Internet over the past few years, you’re also aware of the impact social media is making on nearly every aspect of online marketing today. But what have you done about it?

Recently, Facebook trumped Google as the number one visited website in the U.S. Social media is now the number one online activity.

Does your company have a social media strategy? If so, how satisfied have you been with the results it has produced so far? If you’re not sure how to measure social media marketing performance or don’t see a measurable ROI, you’re probably missing some critical components. For social media to deliver the best possible results, it must be properly integrated with your other marketing and advertising initiatives. It should never operate in a silo.

Consider also how your social media strategy is being implemented. Who are you charging with the responsibility? An effective social media program requires a multitude of competencies including planning, creative design, content development, technical know-how, and performance analysis. Essentially, you need a team of people with diverse skillsets that all work together in perfect harmony, focused on common goals.

The response rates from traditional ads can dramatically increase when there’s a solid digital tie-in. A magazine ad, for example, that offers readers the option to “friend us on Facebook” or displays a QR code with a link to a website landing page or social media landing page can deliver far higher ROI than an identical ad with only a phone number as a call to action (CTA). Additionally, after a reader “friends” your company on Facebook, their Facebook are instantly notified of their action and you have an open channel of communication to them. Consider that value of this alone!

If you’ve purchased prospect lists you know that highly targeted, opt-in, accurate and fresh lists can be extremely expensive – and often incredibly difficult to come by.

With that in mind, how much would you be willing to pay for a 100% accurate list of 1,000 highly targeted prospects who have expressed an interest in a product or service identical to yours within the last few weeks? Or, what if you owned such a list, how much would you charge if someone wanted to purchase it from you? That’s the value of your Facebook fan base!

If you’re running paid advertisements but you’re not building an opt-in list, you’re leaving a LOT of money on the table. If that’s the case, I encourage you to revisit your marketing strategy, thoroughly explore how well your digital and social media initiatives are integrated into your traditional advertising and how well all elements are working together to maximize your ROI.

About Thomas Harpointner

Thomas Harpointner is founder and CEO of AIS Media, Inc. Thomas sets AIS Media’s strategic direction and he enjoys being actively engaged in the strategic and creative direction with key client accounts. Thomas is recognized as a digital and social media marketing thought-leader, strategist, author and speaker. AIS Media is an Atlanta, GA based award-winning digital engagement agency known for connecting companies, organizations and brands with their target customers through performance-driven creative integrated digital and social media marketing. For more,


Is mobile marketing right for your business?

June 7, 2011

Fill Out Our Mobile Marketing Score Card to Find Out.

by Jamie Turner, Chief Content Officer of the 60 Second Marketer, the online magazine of BKV Digital and Direct Response. Jamie is also the co-author of How to Make Money with Social Media.

Is mobile marketing right for your business?

That’s a question on a lot of people’s minds lately. After all, with the advent of smartphones, iPads, mobile apps, mobile search and other mobile marketing techniques, a lot of people are asking themselves, “Is mobile marketing right for my business?”

Is mobile media right for your business? Take this quiz then click on the question mark to join the discussion on our LinkedIn Discussion Group.

With that in mind, I came up with a handy scorecard that I sent out to all 5,900+ subscribers to the 60 Second Marketer e-newsletter last week. (Huh? You’re not a subscriber to our free e-newsletter yet? Well, c’mon. Hop to it.)

The mobile scorecard is designed to help you figure out if mobile marketing is right for your business. (When I say “mobile” I mean the use of mobile ads, mobile search, mobile apps, mobile websites, mobile catalogs or SMS to connect with customers.)

The scorecard won’t provide a bullet-proof answer, but it will give you a directional sense of whether mobile is right for you.

Just answer the questions below and keep track of your score.

Here goes:

1- Customer Demographics: The median age of my customer is under 45 years old (Yes, +10 points. No, -5 points.)

2- Business Category: My company has multiple bricks-and-mortar locations (Yes, +5 points. No, +0 points.)

3- Business Category: My company sells only B2C (Yes, +5 points. No, +0 points.)

4- Marketing Dependency: My company spends more than 5% of revenues on marketing and advertising (Yes, +10 points. No, +0 points.)

5- Customer Demographics: My typical customer lives in a city with a population of more than 200,000 people (Yes, +10 points. No, +0 points.)

6- Company Revenue: My company generates more than $10 million in revenues per year (Yes, +5 points. No, -5 points.)

7- Industry Competition: Generally speaking, my industry is very competitive and I’m always trying to find ways to differentiate my brand (Yes, +10 points. No, +0 points.)

If you scored between 35 and 55, you should definitely begin investing in a mobile media marketing program.

If you scored between 15 and 35, you should probably begin investing in a mobile media marketing program.

And if you scored below a 15, you’re off the hook — no need to invest in mobile media right now.

How’d you do? Share your score with other people on our LinkedIn Mobile Media Discussion and see how you compared.




Refreshing an Ongoing Email Campaign

June 7, 2011

by Gabe Rand, Vice President of Account Services, WhatCounts*

As marketers we are often responsible for multiple channels over a variety of medium, we are focused on creating and delivering  content across these mediums to subscribers who are ever becoming more and more demanding for personalization and original content.  We rely on analytics and engagement metrics to define our success and measure progress made.  Often in this process we focus so much on the ongoing demands of the content and substance of our messages that we neglect to refresh complimentary components, such as design and user experience.

While we have all heard the term ‘Content is King’, when discussing email marketing it is wise to keep a close eye on other major components of your mailings.  Subject lines, calls to action, template design and usability all play major roles in user engagement for the email channel.

Subject lines:

Subject lines are an important component of any email marketing campaign.  It is your first and possibly only opportunity to entice a subscriber to interact with your message.  Subject lines need to be focused on what the intent of the message is or on what action you are looking to be taken within the message.  A good subject line is short enough to be read quickly and not be truncated by the email provider (usually around 50 characters maximum length).

Subject line testing:

Marketers should be performing subject line testing within their subscriber lists by testing a representative portion of their list (10-15% of random subscribers throughout your list).  Make sure that you choose 2-3 subject lines that are varied based on content, urgency of message call to action or any other criteria which you think could affect the users decisions to take action.  Varying the tests from one another is important, as it allows you to better differentiate what contributed to the altered action by the subscriber.

Design, User Experience & Call to Action:

When a subscriber has decided to open an email, in most messages you are still looking for them to take an action, whether it be to click through to read more on your website, visit a product page to complete a purchase or countless other options.  In order to entice this action design, user experience and the call(s) to action are incredibly important.

User experience:

Many subscribers do not add senders as safe senders which causes email to be rendered with images disabled.  This scenario puts an even greater emphasis on following design and user experience best practices.  By keeping to industry standards users can still interact with your message and decide whether they would like to add your brand to their safe sender list moving forward.  For brands who are sending messages which do not conform to these standards users may see only an ‘X’ where images should appear.   This is not a positive experience with the message or the brand for the user and many time is a missed opportunity for the brand.


Email is similar to other digital medium in that often you are faced with the decision of brand vs. usability.  Whether it be on the web when making decisions around content for SEO and having to use web-based fonts vs. using Flash or imagery where can employ the corporate font.  You have a similar decision in email, in order for the message to render correctly you must use fonts which are approved for the web, this means that you have a choice to either plop a giant image using your brand font into the email or to follow best practices, compromise on the font and provide your subscribers with a better in email marketing experience.  Of course, this is not the only design decision which can have an impact on your subscribers, we will discuss further consideration points in future posts.

Call(s) to Action:

As with your subject line it is important to focus calls to action, making sure they are relevant to the content.  Also, by following design best practices you can ensure calls to action are viewable with images disabled and are consistent across email browsers.  Always keep in mind the users experience once they have taken action, consistency of experience and message is critical when looking to maximize conversion rates post click.

* Allen Nance, President & Founder of WhatCounts will speak at the DMA Luncheon on June 16th, 2011. Click here for more information.


DMA Atlanta Luncheon | Thursday June 16th, 2011 | Lifecycle Marketing

June 6, 2011


Allen Nance| President & Founder of WhatCounts

Allen will discuss Lifecycle Marketing:

– Shifting Marketing approach

– What makes a great Lifecycle Marketing program?

– How to measure success

– How to get started

– What to test

– How does Social Media fit in?

– Case study: Abandoned Shopping Car

Facebook Event

Thursday, June 16, 2011 | 11:30-1:30 p.m.

Allen Nance, President & Founder of WhatCounts

Maggiano’s – Perimeter
4400 Ashford Dunwoody Rd 
Atlanta, GA 30346 
Phone: 770-804-3313

Event Fees:
$40 – Member
$50 Non-member
+$10 if registering within 5 days of event

Allen Nance is a leading authority on email marketing and digital communications. From his rented house he launched Mansell Group and through a series of acquisitions grew it into one of the largest privately held email marketing firms in the world. In 2010, Mansell Group partnered with a 3.0 Billion private equity firm to continue to drive Mansell Group to new heights. In 2011, Mansell Group was rebranded WhatCounts and today is the new leader in email marketing with a presence on four continents and emails being delivered in over 35 languages. Allen manages WhatCounts’ sales, marketing, and product development. A technologist with a marketing background, Allen focuses on helping organizations utilize WhatCounts’ email solutions to better communicate with their current and potential customers.

Georgia Trend magazine selected Allen in 2004 for its “40 under 40” feature, which recognizes rising young business leaders from across the state. In 2005, Allen authored Inside the Minds: Technology Enabled Marketing – a Prerequisite for Survival, published by Aspatore Books. In 2009, Allen was featured in the Atlanta Business Chronicle as a “Rising Business Leader under 40”. Before becoming an entrepreneur, Allen was Director of Business Development for Intellimedia Commerce. He received his B.S. degree from The University of West Georgia and his M.S. degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Allen is also active in the community. In 2007, he founded The Southern Foundation, which raises money and provides scholarships to teens who are the first in their family to attend college. He is actively involved in Rotary International as well as the Young President’s Organization (YPO).


WhatCounts, a private company founded in 2000, has a presence on four continents with email being delivered in over 35 languages. Over the last decade, WhatCounts has partnered with many of the world’s leading organizations to drive successful email marketing programs by delivering the only robust lifecycle email marketing platform in the world that can be deployed as a SaaS (software-as-a-service), a BroadcasterTM (appliance in a remote datacenter), or as a Managed Service (a dedicated system hosted in our datacenters). We serve hundreds of customers ranging from small businesses to some of the largest Fortune 50 companies sending billions of messages per year. To learn more, visit



Mobile Media | July 21st, 2011 | Jamie Turner, Chief Content officer of the 60 second Marketer