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Marketing

Pinterest, Shminterest?

We’ve written a lot about Pinterest lately as the image-sharing social network has been responsible for a near-meteoric rise in referral traffic for some sites.

But a Forrester blogger questions the true value of Pinterest to marketers.

“There’s no denying that Pinterest is fun, looks great, and a lot of people love playing with it. That is also true of kittens but no one’s rushing to include them in their 2012 marketing plans,” blogger Darika Ahrens says.

Why not? For one thing, she says, while Pinterest did grow by 4000 percent from July to December 2011, it’s still small potatoes. Google+, the “small” social network, has 400 million users. Pinterest receives 11 million visits a week, which is nothing to sneeze at but not enormous, either.

For another thing, that crazy study from last week is derived from Shareaholic’s proprietary data from its plugin and “is not necessarily representative of wider web user behavior.” (That isn’t to say it isn’t, and in fact it very likely may be—but the data isn’t there.)

“At most,” Ahrens says, “these early statistics put Pinterest as ‘one to watch’ for 2012, but should be way down the interactive marketers list of trends to consider for 2012 and firmly behind issues of multiscreen marketing, customization, local-mobile, effective media buying and attribution.”

Not Too Many People Use QR Codes But They Wish They Did?

While the “real world” of average people who buy products hasn’t really caught on to the idea of QR codes, they (along with other “real-world-based tools” like augmented reality) are exciting to a lot of marketers.

In a nonscientific poll from SmartBrief’s “SmartPulse”, nearly a quarter of marketers said they were most excited about these technologies, choosing them over location-based social networks, niche social networks, and mobile support for social networking.

Smartbrief is careful to point out that “this poll isn’t so much about what our readers expect in the new year, so much as what they’re hoping to see in 2012.” So there may be a reason—whether technological or otherwise— that explains why it may be unrealistic for QR codes to take off.

Or maybe they’re just waiting for the right implementation…got any ideas?

Keep Tweeting; Your Company Needs You.

We expect “Twitter triage” to be a big part of job descriptions for the years* to come, and thought so even before reading this new study from Maritz Research.

EMarketer reports that the study found that half of the consumers who tweeted a company with a complaint expected the company to respond, but only a third actually received a response. The older the consumer, the more likely they were to expect a response.

Not only that, but more than four in five of those surveyed would have liked to have heard back.

And since responding to customer complaints on a public forum like Twitter can increase positive branding and thus be thought of as a marketing function, expect Twitter to be a big part of your workload going forward.


*Or at least months, which are each 10 years in Internet time

Guest Post: Using a Generic Cover Letter to Find a Job

Editor’s note: This is a controversial idea because it goes against nearly all the job search advice there is. Mass-spamming potential employers with a generic cover letter? That’s nuts! Yet, for Nickolay Lamm, the author of this guest post, this approach worked—and he says it saved him time and frustration. Check it out right here, and then let us know what you think.

If you’re like many people, your job search consists of responding to leads posted on websites such as Careerbuilder.com, Craigslist.org, etc. Fact is, 80% of jobs are not advertised. When I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh this year, I found myself applying for jobs that weren’t even in my field of study because that was all that was posted on online job sites.

Rather than applying for jobs online and filling out forms, I contacted hundreds of businesses out of the blue, with a generic cover letter, who weren’t advertising any open positions. Doing so saved me time (because I wasn’t spending 30 minutes on one application), lowered any competition (I was the only one contacting each business), and gave me freelance opportunities. The result of my cold contact job search resulted in over 20 job leads, one full time internet marketing position with InventHelp, an inventor service company, and one internet marketing freelance position for MASSolutions, a strategic marketing firm.

Here’s exactly how I did it…

  1. I made a cover letter in which I detailed my accomplishments throughout my 4 years in University and made sure that the letter would appeal to any employer that was looking to hire someone for a marketing position.
  2. I created a website and LinkedIn profile. That way, if I caught the eye of an employer through my cover letter, I would assure them that I’m a professional if they happened to search my name in Google.
  3. I e-mailed my cover letter and resume to every business in my area that had to do with marketing. To make the letter sound personalized for each business, I added the name of the business, their address, and changed maybe a sentence or two within the body.
  4. I managed my leads. After sending my cover letter and resume to about 500 businesses, I received 20 leads.

The “mass contact” approach allows you to look for jobs without spending hours filling out applications. The key to getting responses, however, is to spend a lot of time on your cover letter. Your cover letter should make any employer say “Wow…this guy (or girl) would be an asset to my company.”

A lot of job search advice says that you have to spend a lot of time on your cover letter so that you can customize it for each business you send it to. True, if there are five or so companies that you have your eye on, spend time customizing your letter. However, most of us don’t have the luxury of focusing on only several companies. Creating something generic that appeals to anyone in your field will not only let you uncover hidden jobs and lower your competition, but keep you sane as your job leads start to come in.

Below is the original generic cover letter I sent out…

Read more

Critique This Cover Letter: Columnist Seeks Marketing Job

We got the following letter in our inbox this morning from a writer who applied for a job at a marketing firm. He said the letter didn’t get him the gig, but he did land an interview and the promise of freelance work.

John, the writer, asked for any tweaks that might help him land a gig for next time in this tough market.

So, without further ado, read on for the letter and a few tweaks from us. Leave your further suggestions in the comments.

Read more

Google, Please Hire Me


Check out the awesome video above from 24-year-old marketer Matthew Epstein, in which he asks Google to give him a job while wearing a fake mustache and no pants.

According to Epstein the video got him 300,000 unique visitors to http://googlepleasehire.me, 400 LinkedIn requests, and phone interviews with not just Google, but also Amazon and Microsoft.

Epstein’s campaign has also attracted the attention of a lot of haters (after all, he isn’t wearing pants in part of the video and he himself admits he’s not a great actor). Even a job counselor that CBS 5 in San Francisco said, in so many words, that this was the silliest thing he’d ever seen. (That video is here; the exact quote appears to be “Heheheh….we here don’t recommend anyone do anything like that. The idea hasn’t come up. We haven’t thought of getting our job seekers to do anything like that. Therefore I don’t think you need to do something like that.”)

But in the end, this guy has had an interview with Google and most of the haters haven’t. Good on you, sir.

What Is Happening To Digital Media Agencies?

According to Econsultancy, they’re dying out as social media and the lack of anyone clicking on ads, ever, threaten the traditional digital shop’s business model.

Margins are already slim, Econsultancy blogger Chris O’Hara (also SVP, Sales & Marketing at TRAFFIQ) says, and the fact that the industry keeps shifting isn’t helping.

Problem 1: The tools you need for a digital marketing campaign are now free, low-cost, or run by startups eager to gain customers by offering their product cheaper.

Problem 2: nobody clicks on ads, O’Hara says. (This is mostly true, though obviously some people click on ads.) He argues that the traditional ad is no longer compelling and digital marketers that want to stay relevant need to come up with “ads that do things on the page, such as expand, or play video, or tell a story. The exact types of things you cannot do with a standard 300×250, 728×90, and 160×600 commoditised ad unit.” (That may explain the prevalence of things like AOL’s Project Devil and Gawker’s homepage takeovers.)

Problem 3: PR can do a lot of this social media stuff in-house. “A few years ago, this would have been unthinkable, as the cost of hiring a media team would erode much of the margins. Now, with ubiquitous access to platform technology, PR agencies are looking at building small in-house media teams to leverage social budgets, and make deploying social marketing campaigns a core expertise.”

If O’Hara’s analysis is sound, the next few years may be rough ones for digital shops that can’t innovate, while PR will be ascendant.

On the other hand, any agency that hasn’t been exploring social media or more creative ad units is probably already DOA…

Google To Marketers: Stay Away From Google+ For Now

Google has said it will remove brand profiles on Google+ until it launches official business profiles at the end of the year.

Ford was one company that put the pedal to the metal testing out Google+’s potential for marketers, setting up profiles, generating posts, and offering plans for Huddle group chats and Hangouts.

Google is allowing Ford’s planned chats to occur before it shuts down the Ford profile, but after that, marketers should sign up for a pilot program that would experiment with marketers on the nascent social network.

“Right now we’re very much focused on optimizing for the consumer experience, but we have a great team of engineers building a similarly optimized business experience for Google +,” Christian Oestlian, a Google+ project manager, said in a video aimed at marketers.

Flash Sale Sites Providing Jobs For Writers; Creating New Marketing Platforms

You may believe that Groupon is a bubble or that it’s a bad deal for merchants but two things are true: daily deal and flash sale sites are excellent marketing opportunities for brands, and job opportunities for writers.

Groupon alone employs hundreds of freelance writers to create the copy seen every day.

And now, as the New York Times reports, flash-sale sites like One Kings Lane and Gilt have also hired away writers. At One Kings Lane, ex-Elle Decor and Domino writers create slideshows and articles on home decorating; at Gilt Taste, Ruth Reichl serves as editorial adviser.

As the NYT also reports, Gilt is moving from a way for brands to dump excess inventory to a place to introduce new products. Volkswagen sold three 2011 Jettas on Gilt, for example, at $10,000 off.

“This wasn’t a sales objective, it was only three cars,” Charlie Taylor,general manager of digital marketing for Volkswagen of America, told the Times. “It was very much an awareness play, meant to build buzz.”

It worked; VW sold 69 cars at full price as a result of the Gilt sale.

And after Saint Parfum sold some candles at more than half off, visits to its website climbed to 6,000, up from 250 on a typical day, and 20 new retailers asked to stock the candles.

“Our pitch actually starts that way now,” Susan Feldman, co-founder of One Kings Lane, told the Times. “Instead of, ‘We can help you with your excess and closeouts,’ the marketing part of it is really much more powerful.”

Want To Buy Some Cheap PR On Twitter? Not As Cheap As It Was

Twitter promoted trends, which cost $25,000 for a day when the feature launched last year, now cost $120,000 for a day, ClickZ reports.

That’s a huge increase in just over a year, making the sell, if you’re in marketing or PR, that much harder to the folks who hold the purse strings at your company.

But out of Twitter’s 600 advertisers, Twitter’s director of revenue Adam Bain said, 80 percent come back for repeat business. So despite the price increase it must be working for Twitter’s advertisers.

At the same time, Twitter’s “promoted accounts” ad product, which allows companies to gain more followers based on a bidding system, is averaging out at $4 per new follower, Bain said.

That seems high to us.

But Bain told ClickZ it was “a pittance because the ROI is insane. …once they have a follower, they can keep marketing to that guy as many times as they want without worrying about where they are across the web or what kind of mindframe they’re in.”

Incidentally, today’s Promoted Trend is #Super8Secret, which Paramount purchased to promote “secret” preview screenings of the movie “Super 8.” Peter Kafka notes that 1) this purchase is part of a year-long marketing contract Paramount signed with Twitter, committing it to a full year of buys. and 2) the movie’s pretty good.

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