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February 15, 2013

What Brands Can Learn from Presidents' Day

There’s a famous anecdote about President William Taft that claims his father was once viciously slandered by a gossip publication when the future president was a young man. The editor of the publication in question had managed to dodge every libel lawsuit that came his way for his misdeeds, to the point where people in the community had more or less given up on preventing him from printing falsehoods. That is, until Taft approached him one day in defense of his father and delivered an awesome, movie trailer-worthy line:

“My name is Taft,” he said, “and my purpose is to whip you.”

Then he pummeled the guy so badly that the editor fled town in terror the next day.

I know, I know. Violence isn’t the answer and we know that now. But that is a COOL story with a powerful message about standing up to bullies. In fact, it’s just one of many things that we all stand to learn from the amazing and fascinating men that have served as President of the United States.

February 13, 2013

Google Analytics vs. Adobe Site Catalyst Round 2

boxing fight card Google vs Adobe

“Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. His hands can’t hit what his eyes can’t see." While Muhammad Ali’s famous quote addressed his strategy to defeat the reigning heavyweight titleholder, the underlying message is just as applicable when considering Google’s approach to becoming the Analytics champ.

For a company worth billions in assets and infrastructure, Google has remained just as agile and unpredictable as in its heyday as a tech start up. By constantly offering new services and nimbly adjusting existing features in response to customer needs, Google remains an unexpected contender—hitting hard and hitting where it counts.

Google has announced many exciting new features coming for Analytics Premium in 2013, such as a new measurement protocol, custom metrics and better support for offline traffic and conversions over multiple devices. SiteCatalyst, however, has already rolled out many improvements in areas such as reporting with its recently released version 15.

Does Google Analytics Premium have the juice to knock out Adobe’s updated SiteCatalyst, or does Adobe’s product have the upper hand? As promised, we’re taking another look at how our competitors stack up to see which analytics platform reigns supreme.

February 7, 2013

Hashtags: You're Doing It Wrong

Twitter can be a great way to build an audience for your content, and I’d say it’s pretty widely agreed upon that proper hashtag usage is a big part of being successful there. The problem is, most "hashtag advice" focuses mostly on figuring out what users are talking about. It’s about deducing hashtag origins and measuring activity, then picking the ones with the most buzz.

And that’s great. You should do those things. But that’s typically where the useful advice ends. “Find out what people are talking about and join the conversation. Go ahead. Get in there. Good things will happen.”

Unfortunately, "joining a conversation" can mean a lot of things. If I’m at lunch and I overhear a couple at the next table talking about macaroni and cheese and I lean over and tell them that I have a fantastic recipe that they absolutely must try, you could say I’ve successfully joined the conversation. But the fact is that just because they were talking about macaroni and cheese doesn’t mean they care what I have to say about it. Who am I? Just some weirdo eating alone at a restaurant, that’s who.

My problem is that I remain unconvinced that people are actually clicking hashtags. It seems the people who include hashtags to get seen far outnumber the people who use them to find great content.

February 4, 2013

How Super Bowl Advertisers Missed the Multi-Device Mark

Return on invest for a Super Bowl ad used to be constrained to a scant 30 seconds to impress your captive audience, and, if you were lucky enough to make it into the top 10, you might recoup your multi-million dollar cost. But a little thing called the World Wide Web, with its social networks, videos and hashtags, has changed the game. The Super Bowl is no longer a one-night affair, but rather the centerpiece in a longer, more thoughtful and engaging strategy. Unfortunately, marketers still don't understand the nuances of a multi-device world, treating social media as an afterthought, instead of a way to make a bigger impact.

February 1, 2013

Watching "Groundhog Day" Can Make You a Better Marketer

Years ago, there was a time when comedy meant something. There was Animal House, which explored the importance of brothership and male bonding with raw honesty; there was Office Space, which spoke to dissatisfied workers everywhere in a way that no film had before; and, of course, there was Groundhog Day.

Groundhog Day is one of the all-time great comedies, and it shouldn’t surprise you to hear it’s not just some goofy Bill Murray vehicle engineered for big laughs and steady DVD sales. No, when you really think about it, Groundhog Day is a film that resonates deeply with nearly everyone that views it. The movie speaks to an ever-growing generation of Americans that hates their jobs, their lives and pretty much everything around them that contributes to the agonizing dullness of their existence. Best of all, it speaks to these people with a positive message—one that empowers them to ignite change in themselves.

That's right, watching Groundhog Day can make you a better person, but the bigger question is: can it make you a better marketer?