9 Ways to Get Technology and Marketing Working Together

“Is moving this graphic from here to here really going to make a difference in your market?” asked Rob Paciorek, senior VP/CIO for Access Intelligence, speaking at a session on The New CIO-CMO Partnership at the recent SIPA 2014 Conference. “I think not, but if you can give us a compelling reason why it would, then we’ll spend the time there. These are the conversations we have. We try to sort through the noise and put some measurements to it. Let’s do a test; let’s do one page where we move it and one page we don’t. Maybe that will help us answer this the next time.”

The key is communication, Paciorek said. He presented with his colleague Heather Farley, divisional president, Access Intelligence. After giving an example of the hard but rewarding work involved in bringing their departments together, Paciorek said with a chuckle, “There’s a reason that our offices are right next to each other; it hasn’t always been like that.”

Here are 9 highlights from this excellent session, available—like all the other SIPA 2014 sessions—to members through the SIPA website.

1. Improve engagement. “This is a huge issue for us,” Farley said. “We spend a lot of time on our web design and user interface. This is where it really starts. There’s a great team that sits in New York and they can go through our sites and say, ‘This is where your content is sticky, this is where people are spending the most time on—this kind of content. Here’s your heat map, here’s how people are moving through your site.’ [If you can] understand those things and be able to tweak both on design and the kind of content you’re using, that gives you that higher level of engagement.”

2. Find the right people. “The holy grail for my team is finding technology people who understand business,” Paciorek said. “For instance, one member found a little team of freelancers to work on things he couldn’t get to. So now he’s also a project manager. There’s a technology person willing to give up a little piece for advancement of the company.”

3. Use quizzes. Access has been very successful with quizzes, provided through a technology company called SnapApp. “These really test your knowledge and have been great engagement tools,” said Paciorek. “It’s fun content.” Farley added that they are also sponsored and provide page views for advertisers. “We also get tremendous feedback. Editors will hear from readership, ‘it’s too easy,’ ‘it’s impossible.’ I hear from our CEO when he gets 100% on his quiz.”

4. Ease conversion. “We’ve been able to use pre-populated forms so that when you come it’s easier for you to buy,” said Farley. “There also might be a way to pay through your Amazon account. The easier we can make it, the better.”

5. Facilitate online chats. Shopping cart abandonment, they both said, can be frustrating. One answer has been the implementation of an online chat service. Paciorek said that might be something you identify more with a Verizon, but it only costs about $200 a month. “And we don’t have a huge customer service team—just 3 or 4 people man the chats for all of our websites, so it’s something you can manage.” He showed a chat that produced a subscription. They use a company called Boldchat.

6. Foster retention. Farley said that not enough attention is paid to renewals. “In our world, we’re totally focused on analytics at the corporate level. Technology needs to work with marketing more on this. It’s the difference between nice to know and need to know. This is what marketers care about. We need more of this [engagement] data. How do we take this piece [of information], boil it down and make it consumable. It helps to get our marketers focused. How do you bring them up the spectrum to understand what the important numbers are?

7. Hold get-togethers. “It’s not always easy,” Paciorek said. He talked about a time when a relationship between a key technology person and key marketing person was broken. “It was costing productivity for [Heather’s] and my team. So we got the best people together for half-day team meeting. We gave both teams the opportunity to express what was happening. There [emerged] a better understanding of what the problems were. We shared expertise. The marketers were impressed by a digital person who said, here’s a cool project I do on my own time. A marketer said here’s all the revenue I drive. The key is we recognized something wasn’t working.” They’ll try to hold these once a quarter now.

8. What if your organization doesn’t have a CIO? “You have to make sure somebody is managing technology,” Paciorek said. “Reach out to all of your friends who found technology solutions. How did implementation go? Did you use a consultant? Create some other kind of group in your company. Use SIPA conferences for this. Reach out. And try to find your own references at SIPA…Do your due diligence.”

9. The new challenge. Farley said that they’ve talked about launching a series of micro-sessions for their employees. Technology might give a demo or show how to analyze a piece of data. “With the goal of moving people up the technology chain,” she said. “Folks under age 35 are so sharp, but technology is the marketing [for them]. Technology can’t be your strategy. So it’s more of a challenge,” especially as more people from that generation join your company.

Again, here’s the link to this excellent session and others like it.

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

Intellectual Property Roundup

Indies Fighting Google, Amazon for Control of .Music Domain Name (Billboard)
The American Association of Independent Music has announced its intention to give the music industry control of the domain name .music. In doing so, the coalition will go up against Google and Amazon, which are also pursuing .music for their own purposes.

Judges Toy With One-Strike Policy on Patent Damages (The Recorder)
Facing increasing waves of Daubert motions in patent litigations, judges can’t seem to agree on what penalties to impose when the challenges succeed.

A Federal Court Rejects Aereo’s Request to Argue It’s a Cable Company (The Washington Post)
Aereo’s seemingly last-ditch argument to save itself won’t be given an airing in court, according to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Study Shows Patent Trolls Target Rich Companies (The Washington Post)
New data from the National Bureau of Economic Research confirms that patent trolls overwhelmingly target companies that are either “flush with cash,” beset by other lawsuits or have tiny legal teams that trolls likely perceive as weak.

Google Wins Victory in Row With German Publishers (Re/code)
A German regulator handed Google a victory as it said it would not pursue a complaint brought against the Internet search engine operator by a group of publishers for giving users access to their news articles.

Man Jailed For Filming ‘Fast and Furious’ in Cinema (BBC)
A man has been jailed for 33 months after recording Fast and Furious 6 from the back of a cinema. The upload of the film was downloaded more than 700,000 times.

Monkey’s Selfie Cannot Be Copyrighted, US Regulators Say (Ars Technica)
United States copyright regulators are agreeing with Wikipedia’s conclusion that a monkey’s selfie cannot be copyrighted by a nature photographer whose camera was swiped by the ape in the jungle.

Keith Kupferschmid is General Counsel and SVP, Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement at SIIA. Follow Keith on Twitter at @keithkup and sign up for the Intellectual Property Roundup weekly newsletter here.

Two Research Studies Reveal Keys to Working Better

Think small. And work together.

That may be the conclusion coming from research in two recent studies. The first was conducted by University of Houston marketing professor Melanie Rudd, and reported on in the Science of Us department of New York Magazine.com.

Rudd gave 50 adults a 24-hour challenge: One group was asked to do something to make someone happy, while others were told to make someone smile. After accomplishing this, the people who had made someone smile said they felt both happier and more confident that they’d actually achieved their goal than the people who’d simply tried to make someone else happy. Rudd found similar results when she asked people to try to save the environment versus increase their own recycling efforts for one day.

“If you can meet or exceed your expectations of achieving a goal, you will be happier than if you fall short of your expectations,” Rudd explained. Common sense? Not so fast. “A separate experiment in the study showed that people incorrectly predicted that they’d feel happier by going after the bigger, more abstract goal of trying to make someone else happy than they would after trying to make someone else smile,” wrote reporter Melissa Dahl.

This certainly can apply to our everyday business life. I am going to be much better off trying to write two Member Profiles and one Member News column a month rather than just saying, “I need to increase the spotlight on members.” In my personal life, I’d like to blog more about the arts but have had trouble getting started again. I think I’m looking at it wrong, saying, “I need to start blogging every day now”—intimidating!—instead of, “I need to write a post about this movie I really liked.” And then feeling good after writing it.

Another interesting theory comes from Priyanka Carr and Greg Walton of Stanford University. As reported by Heidi Grant Halvorson on the Harvard Business Review Blog, they found that we respond positively to the idea of working together, regardless if we actually do or not. Two groups were formed to solve a difficult puzzle.

“People in the psychologically together category were told that they would be working on their task ‘together’ even though they would be in separate rooms, and would either write or receive a tip from a team member to help them solve the puzzle later on. In the psychologically alone category, there was no mention of being ‘together,’ and the tip they would write or receive would come from the researchers.” In both groups, people actually worked alone.

The people in the together category “worked 48% longer, solved more problems correctly, and had better recall for what they had seen. They also said that they felt less tired and depleted by the task.” The puzzle also proved more interesting to them when working together, “and [they] persisted longer because of this intrinsic motivation.” The word “together” can have a huge impact on us. We connect, we belong, we have the same goal.

I’m working on a new information outlet for members. An email this morning from a colleague in New York who is working on the project with me went a long way to settling my stomach. And, of course, he’s not doing the work for me, but it just sounded like he is supporting me, and yes, we are in this together.

“Executives and managers would be wise to make use of this word with far greater frequency,” Halvorson concludes. “In fact, don’t let a communication opportunity go by without using it. I’m serious. Let ‘together’ be a constant reminder to your employees that they are not alone, helping them to motivate them to perform their very best.”

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

8 Lead Generation Ideas to Consider

One thing in particular stays with me from June’s SIPA 2014 Conference. It came during the session on Lead Generation from Dan Oswald, CEO of BLR. “I’ve learned one universal truth [and that] is we have to figure out lead generation,” said Oswald, who earlier that day was named to the SIPA Hall of Fame. “…Where I sit at the top, this is the next big thing.”

To respond to this, SIPA’s next, always-popular Publishers Roundtable—taking place Tuesday, Sept. 23 here in Washington, D.C.—will focus on Lead Generation for Publishers. Among the speakers, Danielle Ballestra of CFO.com will talk about how they used marketing automation to completely turn their lead gen program around.

Here are 8 ideas to get your mind thinking in that direction.

1. Mix up your content. If you focus on social media, remember that variety of content is key. One day you can be recommending yours or another’s blog, the next day quoting from your latest publication, and the next passing along an important new government decision. You’re becoming their go-to place and building trust.

2. Find interesting photos to use. Not everyone can run the fun pictures that SIPAward winner Event Marketer features—an Old Navy vending machine that offers flip-flops for tweets; a Samsung party truck—but still their layout formula of photo, engaging headline and half of a sentence…is a click-inspiring one. 

3. Use polls and surveys. Another association asks a poll question each week like, “If you could immediately increase only one of the following resources for your company, which would it be?” Another week they asked a poll question that prompted people to go to their website. Clever. Gale Media sends out surveys once a month through Survey Monkey, getting feedback on their content. They promise to send results to those who reply.

Here are three I like from Josh Haynam blogging on the unbounce website:

4. Optimize your About page. I often click on that page after coming to a new site, and I doubt I’m alone. But I don’t always see a strong Call to Action there. “Your About page should be a conversion-friendly hub where your visitors are directed to shop, jump on your email bandwagon or begin a free trial – all after being informed and inspired” wrote Jen Havice, also on unbounce. “If you’re not using your about page to convert customers, you’re losing out.”

5. Try quizzes. Haynam offered the example of SkilledUp, which gives visitors a comprehensive Excel guide. At first, it was getting no leads. Then they “implemented a quiz which tested people on their Excel skills, [and it] generated 1,438 leads in the first two and a half months.”

6. Avoid using “Spam.” Haynam points to a test where the phrase “100% privacy – we will never spam you!” was included on a signup form. It reduced conversions by a full 18%.

7. Run – and publicize – blogs or columns. Kiplinger uses a bunch—Kip Tips, Torn From the Kiplinger Letters—AIS publishes at least one weekly blog post and lists all their bloggers with photos, and MDM calls theirs “Insights” and then breaks it down into categories such as Management & Strategy; Online Marketing; and Industry Insiders. All are engaging.

8. Go on Linkedin. “It’s one of the best sales sources ever,” said Lexie Gross, sales director of BVR. “You can do searches by state in [your] industry. Like Kevin Bacon’s six degrees of separation, I know people one or two degrees away. It’s a great place to get new fresh names. On the west coast, people do their mining between 3-5 p.m. They aren’t as used to being sold, so [your message] can come across nicely, not as overt. Invest in the LinkedIn upgrade. It will tell you who looks at your profile.”

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

Member Profile: Carola York, Managing Director, Jellyfish Publishing, Reigate, Surrey, UK

IIN: How is your structure set up?
We have three main business units—Jellyfish UK and Jellyfish US, plus Jellyfish Publishing which works specifically with publishers. We took on our first publishing client in 2002 and now work with a range of consumer and B2B publishers in the UK, US, Australia and South Africa, running both domestic and international campaigns for them. Across the business we have more than 180 staff in four offices: Reigate and Brighton in the UK, Baltimore in the US, and Durban in South Africa.

What kind of work does Jellyfish Publishing do?
Jellyfish Publishing is a digital marketing agency which primarily works with publishers to acquire qualified leads and paid subscriptions using a variety of digital channels. We create a dedicated microsite for each brand we work with, and then drive traffic to the site using a wide range of marketing channels—PPC search, display, email, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube etc. There are other digital marketing agencies out there, but it’s our specific publishing knowledge and expertise that sets us apart. And we offer a full digital marketing service covering SEO, social, creative (including video) and development as well as PPC search and digital display advertising, all of which supports our lead and subscription generation offering.

Why do you create microsites?
Typically, if you go to a publisher’s own website, you’ll see banner ads, free editorial content, promotions for events/awards etc., all of which can distract a prospective customer from the reason they might have initially landed on the site—ordering a subscription. So using a dedicated environment, with every page on the microsite focused on selling a subscription or encouraging the visitor to sign up as a lead, we get higher conversion rates—which generates both a higher volume and a better ROI for our clients.

How do you optimize your digital marketing campaigns?
We write new content and create specific landing pages for specific keywords. For example, for a boating publication, if we spot that there are a lot of searches around keywords such as “boat design” and “latest innovations in boat design”, we will create a landing page featuring specific content all around boat design and also explain how the publication covers this in its regular content. So we offer quite a bit of free “editorial”, but it’s designed as a teaser to encourage sign up.

And you mentioned that testing is big at Jellyfish.
Testing is fundamental to what we do. Our mantra is test, analyze and refine. We test every element involved in a campaign—different keywords, different landing pages, wording on the call to actions, colors on buttons etc. Once we have attracted a potential customer [to a site], we want them to stay and then sign up. And we’ve learnt that beautiful doesn’t always work. A designer might say that the creative needs a full overhaul, but in reality, the existing creative can work better, with just a minor tweak. What’s key is to split test and look at the results. The numbers ultimately tell.

Doesn’t it take time to do that much testing?
That’s what we get paid for. We monitor all the key statistics every single day. The closer and better you manage a campaign, the more you get out of it.

What are some reactions?
That acquisition cost is too high. How do we bring it down? Or that was a fantastic response—what can we do elsewhere like that? We’re constantly looking at how we can optimize campaigns to get the best results.

I see that you do some blogging.
We try to do a few a month, and it’s the members of our team who are hands-on running the digital campaigns who write the blogs. We don’t have a dedicated person blogging. But unless we have something worthwhile to share—new initiatives from Google, a new area we’ve tested and want to let publishers know about—we don’t blog for the sake of it. We’re not a publisher but an agency wanting to share best practices, good ideas, case studies and things we’ve tested.

How do you view the Information Industry Network?
It’s been good so far. It’s trying to be different. SIPA has some history here, but we’re in the early days of create the brand, understand what it is we’re trying to do, and how we can help and support publishers. The emphasis is on learning, connecting and sharing.

8 Lessons Learned from Profitable Free to Paid Model

“We recently had a nice training with journalists and an SEO instructor,” Helmut Graf, CEO of VNR Business Media, in Bonn, Germany, recalled at the end of the recent session he presented at SIPA 2014, Free to Paid and Everything In Between. (The audio with slides is available to members.)

“During the lunch break, a young journalist approached me and said, ‘Helmut, SEO means just good writing?’” Graf’s voice went up an octave or two in excitement. “I said yes, he got it. A good article doesn’t need any SEO—well, probably some adjustment [is needed…] and you have to add some keywords.”

Graf appeared with his colleague, Nam Kha Pham, to talk about their very successful free content site Experto.de. As Graf tells the story, they needed to find new customers for VNR’s 200-newsletter business and were impressed by what About.com was doing, even visiting them in New York. They wondered if something similar could be done in the German market.

It could and about 5 years later they have 54,000 content pages and 500 experts writing across 200 topics (B2B and B2C). That brought in more than 3 million unique visitors last year, 36,000 top 10 rankings in Google search and $2.3 million for VNR—67% of that internally through conversions to paid subscriptions and 33% through external sources—banner ads and the like.

Here are 8 lessons learned:

1. Build it right and they will come. From the beginning, the focus was on strong content in areas VNR represents. The subscribers and online ads (and Google Ad Sense euros) followed. “We were surprised when the German market discovered us,” Graf said. “That was not our [original] intention. We just wanted to create content linked to products and product areas we are interested in.”

2. If you can do it cheaply… They are able to pay writers just $28 an article. “They write for reputation,” Graf said. “They get traffic back to their website” and full search optimization of their 500 words. “These are a new style of authors. They understand that by becoming an author they can create a face for that subject. A lawyer may discover that [through this and] social marketing he becomes a known specialist in labor law—or an insurance person who may [specialize in] liability for small programmers. That can be a huge field.”

3. Focus on areas where you are strong in. Nam said that in the health market he lets the writers write what they want, but in technology and financial, he is more likely to give them keywords to focus on.

4. Use exit floaters. “As they’re leaving the site [after getting free information], people want to say thank you,” Graf said. “I’m always surprised when I’m [on other websites], there isn’t an exit floater, and they don’t ask for your email. You lose 1/3 of subscribers that way. In direct marketing, you have to follow small little details. We learned this from a previous SIPA session.” Pham also said that his Facebook fans went from 2,500 to 7,000.

5. Cleanse your lists. “We have a policy if someone doesn’t open an email in 30 days, we eliminate [him or her] from our list,” Graf said. “It’s an ongoing process. We don’t delete those names but take them off our active list so our open rates aren’t influenced by old names. You have to know the cleaning process.”

6. Be aggressive early. With new free subscribers, they had two choices: put them on a special welcome list or just on the regular subscriber list. Graf said that after getting advice from Agora, they put them on the welcome list. He calls it a trigger process. “That list is specifically designed to convert this hot name into [a paid] order. Within the first 30 days, we make 50-60% of our revenues. After a couple months they get tired. It’s important to be very aggressive at the beginning.”

7. Do external sales. Graf said that even Amazon told them that they were crazy not to do more for external revenue. Now the 30-40% external revenues allow them to invest more in new technologies. Needless to say, they are much more aggressive in reaching out.

8. A penny saved…Experto.de sent about 200 million emails last year, earning an average of a penny from each email. Graf salivates at the prospects of doubling that—“double a penny means a huge impact.” To do that, he knows he will have to increase traffic even more to at least 4 million unique visitors. He will also try to save on emails sent. They can save $20,000 by going from .004 cents to .003 cents for every email sent.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

Intellectual Property Roundup

IP News

U.S.Court Grants Order to Wipe Pirate Sites from the Internet (Torrent Freak)
A U.S. federal court in Oregon has granted a broad injunction against several streaming sites that offer pirated content. Among other things, the copyright holder may order hosting companies to shut down the sites’ servers, ask registrars to take away domain names, and have all search results removed from Google and other search engines.

Oracle Bests Rimini Street in Latest Lawsuit Ruling (ZDNet)
A federal judge has backed Oracle’s position against third-party support vendor Rimini Street in rulings over defamation claims and copyright theft.

FTC Proposed Patent Troll Study Gets Go-Ahead From OMB (Mobile Payments Today)
The Federal Trade Commission received approval from the Office of Management and Budget for its proposed study on patent assertion entities, or “patent trolls.” The purpose of the proposed survey is “…to examine cutting-edge competition and consumer protection topics that may have a significant effect on the U.S. economy.”

Anti-Piracy Outfit Wants to Hijack Browsers Until Fine Paid (Torrent Freak)
Rightscorp revealed its new plan to fight and monetize piracy – by continuing to work with ISPs to block web access in order to compel infringers to pay the fine.

Analysis: Monkey in the Middle of Selfie Copyright Dispute (Intellectual Property Watch)
The recent case of a monkey selfie that went viral on the web raised thorny issues of ownership between a photographer and Wikimedia. In this article, two attorneys sort out the relevant copyright law.

Keith Kupferschmid is General Counsel and SVP, Intellectual Property Policy & Enforcement at SIIA. Follow Keith on Twitter at @keithkup and sign up for the Intellectual Property Roundup weekly newsletter here.

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