Friday, September 29, 2006

Having the Right Tool for the Job

  • Duct Tape
  • WD-40
  • Elbow Grease

    In the olden days those were the only tools you ever needed – or so my father tells me. Even Ken Olsen, the founder and CEO of Digital Equipment Corporation (which has since been acquired by Compaq, which has since been acquired by HP) is rumored to have said, “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home.” My how the times have changed.

    I need not pontificate about the ubiquity of personal computers and how they have revolutionized the WORLD, but I will address what is a common thought among marketers.

    Modern technology is a great tool when it works and the bane of my existence when it does not.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m all about competition in a capitalistic society, but when a certain (insert your favorite technology application here) does not behave correctly it makes me pull my hair out. What’s worse is when my boss comments “this is why I have no hair left” and I feel a strange duty to offer a tug of my locks as a substitute.

    Was my father right? Come to think of it I haven’t tried duct tape or WD-40…yet.

    The truth is, as marketers we need to be aware that although 95% of the business world may use a particular business software application, that 5% has the potential to turn your world on its head. So to all you decision-makers within marketing departments across the globe, do me a favor, spend a few hundred bucks on a couple of the dinosauric (yes, I did in fact just make that word up) applications that those 5% of the world still run. By doing so the bugs are caught early and in-house. If you don’t do it for the sake of your employees’ stress level…do it for their hairlines.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Harvard Business Review Article Every Marketer Should Read

Nothing like catching up on summer BUSINESS reading. On my list was the July-Aug. issue of HBR. This special double issue on sales is worth searching for; however, if you can only find one article try to get you hands on “Understand What Your Sales Manger Is Up Against” by Barry Trailer and Jim Dickie.

This is a great read and should help any marketer understand the current sales environment. Conversely, sales professionals should read it to understand WHY marketing in important and how sometimes their actions to “protect” their prospects end up killing the sales opportunity.

Some interesting thoughts from the article:

  • Ease of access to too much product information via your website can actually turn into a sales barrier.
  • Lead generation is the top priority of sales executives, aligning sales and marketing comes in third.
  • Research shows that today it takes more leads to win the same amount of business.
  • The sales force needs to be more aware of marketing’s activities and needs to better communicate about its own activities to marketing.
  • Having and USEING (in every case) a sales process leads to better results across the board.

I know it’s tough to put down the latest book by James Patterson, David Baldacci or Brad Meltzer…but trust me this article is worth it.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

User Generated Content Is HOT

We agree that UGC offers great potential to marketers...providing their messaging matches the customer experience. If not, UGC could present a huge problem. At the end of the day (and we have said this before) now is the time for marketers to start using these tools -- beat the rush!

UK User Generated Content Sites Growing Fast, Engaging More

A recent analysis, by comScore World Metrix, of UK Internet users' activity at user-generated content sites (UGC) showed significant traffic growth. Wikipedia was up 253 percent versus year ago,, up 467 percent, and, up 393 percent.

Bob Ivins, managing director of comScore Europe, said "Many of the sites experiencing the fastest growth today are the ones that understand their audience's need for expression and have made it easy for them to share pictures, upload music and video, and provide their own commentary, thus stimulating others to do the same. It is the classic network effect at work."

Collectively, the leading UGC sites draw more frequent visits than non-UGC sites (4.2 vs. 3.5 average usage days per month), longer periods of engagement (79.9 vs. 33.2 average minutes per visitor), and more pages viewed (217 vs. 52 average pages per visitor).

Users of the top social networking sites demonstrate particularly high levels of engagement, with visitors to and averaging at least 5 usage days, 2 hours of use, and 300 pages viewed per visitor during July.

Source: Center for Media Research and comScore Media Metrix.

For additional information, please go here.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Journalist Are Finding (And USING Blogs)...

This article on PRNewswire's MediaInsider is why PR folks need to start getting blog savvy! From the mouths of reporters to the ears of PR professionals it's safe to say blogs are here and they are part of the media mix (look for more data on this from Arketi Group soon!).

Randy Covington, director of the IFRA Newsplex, is quoted in this article. He is a super guy that I had the privilege of meeting at a MIT event earlier this year...His statement that PR folks need to understand that blogging is not "real complicated and expensive" is spot on.

Blogs Gaining Ground Among Online Journalists

by Maria Perez on Wed 20 Sep 2006 01:57 PM EDT
By Brian Anderson, PR Newswire Media Relations

Newspapers are finally embracing the use of blogs when it comes to communicating with their audiences, and Web-surfing journalists are encouraging professional communicators to offer blogs as an online resource for the media.

To read more visit: MediaInsider

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Pay To Play? Harte-Hanks to acquire AberdeenGroup

AberdeenGroup has long been known as a "for-hire" technology analysts firm...well this news is likely to only further's great for Harte-Hanks but we are skeptical about how great it is for Aberdeen's clients, or its credibility as a true technology analyst firm competing with the Gartner, Yankee Group, Forrester and IDC.

That said, given the tough environment tech analyst firms have had over the last 5-6 years we suspect the "all cash deal" was attractive.

Harte-Hanks to acquire AberdeenGroup

San Antonio, Texas -- Direct marketing company Harte-Hanks announced Tuesday that it has agreed to acquire AberdeenGroup, a Boston-based market research company that specializes in technology.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Restaurants Feast On Email Marketing

The article below (from the Center for Media Research) shows that restaurants are serving up solid results with email marketing. This is great for an industry rooted in repeat business. It's also something that BtoB marketers should take note of...why?

Well many restaurants use email marketing to feed loyalty programs and promote coming up events. BtoB companies should look to do the same with email-based lead nurture programs. Just remember the content MUST be solid -- educational or hard to find content is the best!

If you are not already using the approach give it a try, before your competition eats your lunch.

Restaurants Top Email Open and Click-Through in First Half

According to the Harte-Hanks Postfuture Index of comparative e-mail metrics for January-June 2006 among 13 industry categories, restaurants enjoyed the best open rates at 167.7% (open rates exceeding 100% occur by way of pass-alongs, and reopened e-mail) as well as the best click-through rates at 57.5%. Retail had the lowest open rate (35.3%), while the automotive sector had the lowest click-through rate (5.7%). All reported averages are unweighted.

Richard Merrick, managing director, Postfuture at Harte-Hanks, noting that behavioral targeting of messaging can raise metrics significantly, said "One large retailer achieved a 74.2% open rate, 24.1% click-through rate and 0.1% opt-out rate, just by synchronizing e-mail with in-store activity. Using transactional e-mail to make dynamic product recommendations produce, on average, a 148.8% open rate and a 20.4% click-through rate."

The 13 industries mentioned in the study (in order of descending click-through rates) are:

Restaurants (57.5%)
Publishing (55.6%)
Pharmaceutical (23.8%)
Travel and hospitality (23.4%)
Conference events (14.2%)
Financial services (11.0%)
Technology (10.9%)
Government (9.5%)
Insurance (9.5%)
Consumer packaged goods (8.6%)
Entertainment (8.1%)
Retail (6.0%)
Automotive (5.7%)

Among all sectors for all purposes of e-mail combined, the average delivered rate stands at 91.2% -- with an average open rate of 78.8% of those e-mail delivered, click-through rate of 18.4% of all e-mail delivered, and an opt-out rate of 0.4% of all e-mail delivered.

E-mail sent to consumers received the higher click-through rates of 19.9% and open rates of 78.9%, while business-to-business e-mail had rates of 11.2% and 67.7%, respectively.

More information about the Harte-Hanks study can be found here.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Two Great BtoB Articles...One on IT Marketing and one on SMB Marketing

Ok, I have to be truthful I am quoted in one of the articles ("Breaking through to lucrative IT market" by Roger Slavens) but it's still a "must-read" for anyone in technology marketing. It does, in my opinion, seem to hit the nail on the head!

The second article in the Sept. 11 print edition of BtoB Magazine that caught my eye is "Experian study quantifies 'small businesses'" by Carol Krol. Given Arketi's own deep research on SMBs for Interland (now I found this a solid read -- and one that gave me some interesting ideas.

I am sure every other article in this issue, as usual, will be great...but these two just jumped out at me...Have a look for yourself.

Breaking through to lucrative IT market
Global IT and telecommunication spending is projected to reach $3.3 trillion annually by 2010, growing at a compound annual rate of 4.5% from the $2.7 trillion spent in 2005, according to Gartner Research. IT purchases in the U.S. are expected to grow to $1 trillion by 2010--including $871 billion this year--accounting for roughly 32% of worldwide spending.

Experian study quantifies 'small businesses'
Small-business owners continue to be attractive business prospects for b-to-b marketers. A study released last month by database provider Experian may shed some light on that lucrative segment and give marketers intelligence on how to target it.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Let them eat cake…no, seriously

Lately, it’s been a good time to be an employee at Arketi Group – not to say it’s EVER a bad time to be an employee. But the recent “icing on the cake” of working at my company is just that…cake.

We have entered a string of birthdays here in the office, each of which necessitates a cake and celebration. This got me thinking.

Birthdays are meant to both celebrate and reward people for another year of life. If you think the term “reward” is a bit of a stretch I would point to all the times life has tried to trip you up in the last year – the guy who cut you off on your way to work last week, that freak shaving accident and your neighbor’s pit bull, aptly named Princess.

As such, rewards are important for morale within any company, especially one that’s sole purpose is to help other companies thrive. A pat on the back is nice and a praise-filled note can be brought out on a rainy day, but for my money few things beat cake. Whatever the form, be it chocolate, ice cream or cup cakes the words of appreciation will roll in.

So for all you managers, directors, owners and presidents of companies remember one thing, praise breeds continually improving returns. So go on, let them eat cake.

Jeffery Tarter Makes a Case for Software Companies To Sell More Services

Tech Guru Jeff Tarter's latest report from the Association of Support Professionals lays out a strong case for why software companies need to get into services marketing. Simply put this is smart business that savvy executives will not pass up.


Watertown, Mass.-- For high-end software companies, revenue from support- related services continues to pull ahead of product and license revenues, according to a new research report from the Association of Support Professionals (ASP). The report, based on data from a hundred major public software companies, shows that maintenance and professional services now
generate 50.8% (median) of total revenues for a typical software company.

"Though there are still major companies that remain almost exclusively product-centric, most successful software vendors these days have adopted a business model that depends heavily on services," says ASP executive director Jeffrey Tarter. "That shift in emphasis from products to services has happened quietly, but it's definitely the new economic reality of the software business."

Services also make a substantial contribution to overall profitability, the report points out. Maintenance is the top cash cow, with a gross profit margin rate of 82.8% (median). Professional services, a category that includes custom development, consulting, and training, is a more eople- intensive business, but still delivers a median 19.7% margin.

Copies of the "Maintenance & Services Ratios/2006" report are free to ASP members (membership fee is $80/year). For more information, visit