Wednesday, October 24, 2007


We released this news on Monday...we think it is key for any BtoB marketer...


Study finds journalists believe monitoring of employee blogging ethical,
news releases are not dead

ATLANTA – October 22, 2007 – Arketi Group, an integrated marketing and public relations consultancy, today announced the findings of the 2007 Arketi Web Watch Survey: Inside B-to-B Media Usage of Web 2.0. The survey reveals that when it comes to using blogs as primary or secondary sources for articles, 84 percent of journalists say they would or already have.

The 2007 Arketi Web Watch Survey seeks to understand the uses of technology by business-to-business journalists covering multiple industries. To download a report of the findings, visit

“In an era exploding with user-generated content, social media, and Web 2.0, it’s important for those in business-to-business communications to understand how journalists are using technology when it comes to reporting news,” said Mike Neumeier, principal of Arketi Group.

Technology Tools Used by Reporters
Not surprisingly, all those surveyed (100 percent) say they rely on the Internet to help get their job done. One-quarter (25 percent) of journalists say blogs make their job easier, while 18 percent say instant messaging makes their job easier.

Ninety-seven percent of journalists surveyed say they enjoy using new technologies. And nearly one-third of journalists (30 percent) say they use some type of instant messenger for professional communication.

Sixty percent of journalists say they spend more than 20 hours a week on the Internet. When asked how journalists use the Internet:

  • 98 percent say reading news
  • 97 percent say emailing
  • 93 percent say finding news sources
  • 89 percent say finding story ideas
  • 72 percent say reading blogs
  • 67 percent say watching webinars or webcasts

“Clearly this survey shows that business journalists are embracing user-generated content like blogs, webinars and webcasts as useful in their day-to-day reporting,” said Dr. Kaye Sweetser, APR, assistant professor of public relations at the University of Georgia’s Grady College. “Savvy companies know this and are looking for ways to legitimately increase their participation in creating and growing online content using Web 2.0 methods.”

Finding Story Ideas
Ninety percent of journalists say they turn to industry sources for story ideas, an equal number (90 percent) get story ideas from news releases and a nearly equal number (89 percent) say they tap into public relations contacts.

More than three out of four journalists (79 percent) report finding story ideas on newswires, while 74 percent say from Web sites, 72 percent say from other media outlets and 54 percent report blogs spark story ideas.

All journalists surveyed (100 percent) said they prefer working with known sources via email, while 91 percent prefer telephone and 77 percent say in-person. Interestingly one-quarter (25 percent) say they prefer instant messaging with known sources. When it comes to working with unknown sources, nearly all journalists surveyed (98 percent) say they prefer emails. Eighty percent say phone contact with an unknown source is acceptable.

Almost all journalists (98 percent) say they prefer to receive news releases via email from companies they know, and 93 percent of business journalists say they prefer to receive news releases via email from companies they don’t know but are in industries they cover.

All journalists responding (100 percent) said they viewed information offered online by business news organizations like the Wall Street Journal, Business Week and Bloomberg as credible, and 92 percent said they viewed information reported online by national news organizations like the national TV networks, wire services and newspapers as credible.

Others sources of credible online information according to those journalists surveyed included:

  • International organizations (89 percent)
  • Government agencies (85 percent)
  • Corporate websites (85 percent)
  • PR professionals (77 percent)
  • Activist websites (41 percent)
  • Blogs (41 percent)
  • Politicians (35 percent)
  • Chat, message boards (18 percent)

In a trend that continues to blur the line between print and online media, an overwhelming majority of journalists (92 percent) say their online publication is allowed to “scoop” their print publication. When it comes to reporting, journalists surveyed wrote primarily for a print publication, but the majority also contributes to their organization’s Web site (68 percent).

Media’s Use of Corporate Web Sites
Corporate Web sites make a difference in how business journalists view an organization. Eighty-five percent of journalists say companies without an Internet Web site are less credible.

Illustrating the need for companies to constantly keep news and information up to date on their Web sites, the majority of journalists (41 percent) say when they report on breaking news and cannot reach a primary source at the organization, they visit the organization’s Web site. Industry experts, other interested parties, company blogs, industry Web sites and industry blogs serve as journalists’ secondary sources.

“Helping organizations participate in industry-focused conversation is a cornerstone of public relations and today we have more tools than ever before to do just that,” points out Neumeier. “Organizations not taking advantage of these tools are going to be at a great communications disadvantage in the coming years because, like the Internet, these tools are not going away.”

According to journalists, the most useful information on a corporate Web site is contact information (97 percent), search capabilities (95 percent), press room/press kits (92 percent), company backgrounders (89 percent) and publication-quality graphics or photos (66 percent).

Journalists and Corporate Ethics
Journalists are split on the ethical question of an employer that disciplines an employee for posting negative comments about the organization on a public blog. One-third (33 percent) of journalists believe it is ethical, 32 percent say it is unethical and 36 percent are uncertain.

What journalists are certain about is the right of employers to monitor public blogs. A majority of journalists surveyed (58 percent) agree or strongly agree that it is ethical for organizations to monitor public blogs for employee posts.

About the Survey
The 2007 Arketi Web Watch Survey seeks to understand the opinions of business-to-business journalists and their use of technology. Seventy-two percent of respondents have been in the field of journalism for 11 or more years with 41 percent reporting they have been a journalist for more than 20 years. Some of the industries covered by the journalists surveyed include accounting, automotive, business and professional services, technology, construction, engineering, finance/banking, government, healthcare, human resources and legal. The online survey of 61 journalists was conducted during the summer of 2007 and is sponsored by Arketi Group,

About Arketi Group
Atlanta-based Arketi Group, an integrated marketing and public relations consultancy, helps business-to-business technology organizations generate revenue and accelerate growth through intelligent strategy, public relations, messaging, branding and demand generation. Arketi crafts and delivers compelling messages that resonate with the market, then works to create an environment where the sales force has what it needs to sell. Arketi clients include Cbeyond, FOCUS LLC, Georgia Tech Research Institute, IBT Enterprises, Oversight Systems, Procuri, and Visiprise. For more information, call 404-929-0091 ext. 210 or visit

Friday, October 19, 2007

57% of B2B Marketers Lack Crisis Plan

The October issue of BtoB magazine reports a disturbing figure. BtoB found that 57% of marketing executives report not having a crisis plan. What’s more 53% report having experienced a business crisis that resulted in negative news coverage, declining sales or reduced profitability.

At first blush these numbers don’t seem to jive. Nearly an identical number of executives report having faced a crisis, but the same amount choose not to plan for it. But these figures are completely reflective of a few common misconceptions surrounding crisis preparedness:

  • It won’t happen to my company
  • What’s the big deal, if something comes up, we can wing it
  • I don’t want to spend resources on something we may never need

All of this thinking in flawed, but it is so commonplace. I’ve developed a few crisis plans in my day, but I’ve not developed so many more plans because of the reasons above.

I have to agree with a statement made in the BtoB article by Peter Kapcio, director of reputation management services at Eric Mower and Associates (the company co-sponsored the study with BtoB). Kapcio says, “It’s downright professionally irresponsible when b-to-b marcom people allow their companies to operate unprepared.”

Whether using an agency to handle crisis planning or making it an internal initiative, companies NEED to make the time to develop some sort of plan. And it doesn’t have to be a 200 page document, just start putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard). Maybe start with putting down the 5 things that keep you up at night and your gut instinct of how to handle them. Then walk away. Come back the next day and re-read what you wrote from the perspective of your direct supervisor, the CEO, CFO and legal counsel. Would they agree with this?

My bet is these four people wouldn’t fully agree with each other. The CEO is most focused on the company’s business objectives, the CFO is concerned about financing and stock price, and legal needs to make sure anything that is said or done will not result in jail time. Each person brings a different priority and expertise, and each needs to be considered when handling a crisis.

If a crisis happens it will likely turn your world on its head, at least for a little while – the littler the better. But having an up-to-date plan in place will give you a starting place, it will be well thought out and it might just save your job, much less your company.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Technology – marketing it and using it to market

This morning I had the opportunity to attend the third annual Excalibur Awards, co-hosted by the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). The keynote speaker, Debora Wilson, president of The Weather Channel, spoke about the highs and lows of The Weather Channel, how it has grown, and how it constantly looks for different and better technology to connect with its audiences.

As she spoke, drawing on her years of experience with The Weather Channel, and The Weather Channel Radio Network, I was struck again about the importance of technology. Technology can not only change the way we live, but it can change the way we market companies, products and services.

For example, social networking sites, such as MySpace and Second Life, are taking off at rocket speeds, with some of the most influential companies believing that these outlets will help them better connect with consumers and other businesses. Other online technologies and resources, such as Wiki’s, are increasingly being used by businesses as intranets, a single location for them to disseminate internal communications, facts about products, and more.

Smart companies, like The Weather Channel, are tapping into new opportunities like Second Life, where they now have a Weather Channel island. It seems that every company today is tech-enabled. And, while it might be unreasonable to implement every new technology into your marketing plan, it is important to experiment with a few to see which catch on in your market space.

Of all the messages that I heard today, the one that came across the loudest is that the use of new technology can have a dramatic impact on your product and market down the road. With the right technology, you have the ability to deliver a better whole product to customers. And, most importantly, that helps you sell more products and services, which after all, is what marketing is all about.

Friday, October 12, 2007

How an Email Hyperlink is Worded Can Impact Click-Through Rates More Than 8 Percent

What hyperlink phrase are readers of an e-newsletter more likely to click on? If you think it doesn't really make a difference, think again. MarketingSherpa recently conducted an in-house test to determine what words in a hyperlink are the most actionable, and a summary of their findings are below. Hint: if you are currently using "read more" in your e-newsletters, you definitely want to keep reading.

In a recent test on its own newsletters, MarketingSherpa wanted to know if a certain two- or three-word phrase could get subscribers to click through to an article more. Here were the differences in click-throughs:

  • "Click to continue": 8.53%
  • "Continue to article": 3.3%
  • "Read more": (-)1.8%
With these results, we had a strong feeling that the front-runner, "Click to continue," would win in the A/B test, and it did -- producing 3.5% more clicks than "Continue to article." Needless to say, we immediately switched the words in our link in all of our newsletters.

4 Lessons Learned
During our industry research and testing, we discovered a few things that we didn't know about email hyperlinks that we wanted to pass along. Here are our four big lessons learned:

Lesson #1. It's important to realize that the words used by your peers can be relevant to increasing your click-through rates. Doing a sector-wide comparison like we did might not sound like rocket science, but we're guessing there's a good chance your creative team has yet to do this.

Lesson #2. If you publish a content-based newsletter, avoid using "Read [insert any adverb]." We strongly believe that online readers skim far, far more often than they read. So, it makes no sense to sell your idea as an activity they've come to instinctively avoid. The results prove our instinct was dead on.

Lesson #3. If you redirect newsletter traffic so you can track click-throughs, make sure you don't simply mirror the actual URL. Change the link into something that looks totally different. Not doing so can raise flags with filters and end up marking you as a possible spammer.

Lesson #4. Finally, you guessed it: Test! More importantly, think outside the box in terms of what *needs* to be tested. We're certainly glad we did.

Read the entire article from MarketingSherpa here (subscription only access).

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Recent Email Findings Show "Welcome" Email Are Very Effective

The article below is about the recent Retail Welcome Email Subscription Benchmark Study. Although we really blog about B2B marketing here we thought these findings were interesting and should also be considered by B2B marketers.

A "Welcome" Message Keeps 'Em Coming Back

The Email Experience Council and the Direct Marketing Association announced the release of its second annual Retail Welcome Email Subscription Benchmark Study, examining the welcome emails of 118 of the top online retailers to identify best practices and benchmarks in the areas of merchandising, relationship-building, deliverability, and CAN-SPAM compliance.

Ramesh Lakshmi-Ratan, Ph.D., DMA's executive vice president and chief operating officer, says "... welcome emails have significantly higher open rates than regular emails...", while Kara Trivunovic, director of strategic services at Premiere Global Services, notes that "... emails should set the tone of the program... (and) properly executed welcome messages actually create anticipation in the recipient for the next message."

The report says, in the Executive Summary, that In 2006, only 66% of major online retailers sent welcome emails. With 72% sending welcome emails this year, it appears that more retailers are recognizing the value of these critical emails.

Instead of engaging subscribers with incentives and links to products, departments, loyalty programs, catalogs and other shopping-related material, a great number of the largest online retailers simply say hello and leave it at that. Though, in 2007:

  • 98% of retailers' welcome email now contains a link to their shopping site (up from 88% last year)
  • 33% contain store locators (up from 31%)
  • 14% containing links to catalog information (up from 6%)
  • 58% of welcome emails were CAN-SPAM compliant in terms of including both a mailing address and unsubscribe method, versus 52% last year
The study shows that 72 percent of major online retailers send out welcome emails, up from 66 percent last year. The good news, says the Summary, is that 61% of retailers deliver their welcome emails within 10 minutes of sign up, with most of those delivering within 3 minutes.

The bad news is that 19% take more than 24 hours to deliver their welcome emails, with nearly a third of those taking more than a week to deliver. In the world of digital communications, that's an eternity to wait for a welcome email.

Other key findings from the study include:
  • 32% of welcome emails include a discount, reward or incentive, down from 34% last year
  • 62% of welcome emails asked the subscriber to white list them by adding an email address to their address book, up from 49% last year
  • 79% of retailers sent out HTML welcome emails, up from 69% last. The remainder sent text-only welcome emails. That said, most of the HTML welcome emails were HTML "lite," making extensive use of HTML text.
  • 53% of welcome emails included links to the retailer's privacy policy, up from 45% last year.
  • 75% of the welcome emails include the retailer's brand name in their subject lines, on par with last year. Including branding here helps the subscriber recognize the email as one that they requested
Get more information or obtain the complete Retail Welcome Email Benchmark Study from the EEC Whitepaper Room here. Or, access the complete release at this site.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Ipsos Media's Business Elite's Media Consumption Date...Interesting

Ipsos Media’s BE: USA 2007 - the media survey of the United State’s business elite, has some very interesting findings...but the media consumptions patterns of this top tier group were of great interests to us at Arketi Group.

This group is really turning to the Internet for business information...but the good old print magazine is still key too.

Net net, smart PR placement in business media (in print or online) are likely in get noticed by this group...and watch for blogs and podcast to increase in popularity in the coming years with the Business elite.

Media Consumption Patterns
America's business elite have a healthy appetite for information and media consumption, in particular, when the information helps them make better and more informed business decisions.

The internet is becoming a major source of information, with over two thirds spending more time reading business information on the web than in the past. Although executives view the internet as being a particularly good source for business news updates, only 7% are willing to pay for online business news.

Websites also prove to be important for improving a business publication’s overall offering, even more so than websites for TV channels. Over three quarters claim a website is an important part of a business publication’s overall offering, while only a third claim that a website is an important part of a TV channel’s overall offering.

Other top level findings from the survey uncovered that:

  • Nine in ten have read the last issue of any print media
  • Seven in ten have watched any Network TV channel in the previous day
  • Six in ten have watched any Cable TV channel in the previous day
  • Just over half went online in the previous day
  • Seven in ten have received a daily email alert or newsletter in the last month
  • Nearly half have streamed or watched a broadband video from computer in the last month
  • A third have read a blog in the last month, but only 5% have actually contributed.
  • Nearly a quarter have downloaded a podcast in the last month.


Full article from

The American business elite are voracious consumers of all media, including business and niche publications, television programming, and Internet content, yet they are highly selective of how they are engaged with different media and the realm of influence per medium.

While some advertisers are interested in helping them with their personal assets—investing or spending on luxury goods—many others revere this group’s influence on business spending. In the IT, financial services, and business world, they are most coveted of all audiences: the illustrious C-suite executives (the chief officers of an organization), senior decision-makers, and the heads of key functional areas that authorize and influence corporate purchasing choices and contracts.

Ipsos Media’s subscription-based U.S. Business Readership Survey (USBRS) of top-tier executives from business, industry, and commercial organizations identifies the clout of this discerning market: the survey’s projected universe of nearly 630,000 C-suite executives are making $1.29 trillion U.S. in business purchase decisions for business services, IT, telecommunications, financial services, insurance services, automotive, and office and industrial equipment, plus 6.3 million business air trips and 11.4 million hotel nights for themselves and their companies.

There are hundreds of media outlets and thousands of advertisers competing for the attention of these power players: few can afford any sort of blanket coverage, and no one can afford to be wasteful. Helping narrow the scope for media buyers, the USBRS database reveals which executives have the greatest sphere of influence, which media the business elite chose first, and which channels are their main information sources.

Tuning in
With the appeal of frequency and timeliness, execs choose network TV as their main source for U.S. news (29% of the projected C-suite universe) and political news (21%), and cable TV for international news (28%) and sports (28%). They turn on the TV first for breaking news (22% watch network news, 35% prefer cable for breaking news), entertainment news (28% tune in to network TV), and sports news (cable TV is the main sports information source for 29%). The Internet dominates for up-to-the minute news from the financial markets, as the web was execs first choice for keeping informed at work (55%).

Media that’s on Target
Customizable, targeted, and niche media found on the Internet are the primary venues for this high-income market to get personal financial information (30% of the projected C-suite universe) and for after-work help (34%). The tailor-made advertising on the Internet is effective too: respondents were most likely to have visited a website after seeing an advertisement on the Internet (46%) and to have purchased a product after seeing an advertisement on the Internet (51%). It’s not all business either: the number one monthly measured publication among business elite surveyed was Golf Digest.

In-Depth Insights
The business elite turn to national newspapers first for deeper understanding of the issues that matter to them, particularly financial and business news (18% of the projected C-suite universe), as they trust newspapers to have the best journalists (28%) and reliable reporting (23%). The Wall Street Journal is their top pick of the dailies (46%).

For keeping abreast of technology, this group of decision-makers prefers business magazines (22%), such as weeklies BusinessWeek (20%), bi-monthly publications such as Fortune (18%) and Forbes (17%), and monthly publications like CFO (15%). Business magazines are also this group’s primary resource for informative advertising (15%), general business help (32%), and information to manage their career development (29%).

The aforementioned results are only a fragment of the findings from the USBRS’s robust database of annual syndicated media research—which includes readership reach, frequency, and value measurements for 52 titles, 10 channels, 85 programs, and 25 sites, questions on business travel and business activities, attitudes and ownership survey information—but they’re a sample of what is provided to media planners to narrow the scope, enabling them to better target the desirable C-suite execs for their business-to-business clients.

Monday, October 01, 2007


Martha Rogers writes a great piece in this week's 1to1Weekly enewsletter about the recent NYSE CEO short, customers matter!

Some may see this as a duh! finding but ask yourself as a marketer when is the last time you dug into your organization's customer experience. Many marketers tend to forget customers, if you are one now is the time to remember them.

The article is packed with other interesting is some of Martha's article.

By Martha Rogers, Ph.D. (Source: 1to1Weekly)

After years spent dealing with issues revolving around governance and regulatory changes, CEOs at public companies are focusing more on a long-overlooked aspect of their business: customers.

That's one of the main conclusions drawn from the third annual "NYSE CEO Report," compiled for NYSE Magazine by Opinion Research Corp. The survey collects data from CEOs of 240 of the New York Stock Exchange's listing companies.

"CEOs now have more of a chance to focus on what we all feel CEOs would, and should, want to focus on," says Jeffrey Resnick, president of Opinion Research Corp., "and that's their relationship with their customers."

For example, CEOs are planning greater investment (both budget- and time-wise) on managing customer relationships than in the past. The importance of sales growth -- driven by customers -- as a performance measure has increased by 11 percent since the prior study. And on the strategic side, brand, reputation, and investments in corporate social responsibility -- all focused on winning customers -- are increasingly important. CEOs continue to recognize the costliness of losing customers.

Read the full article at

To find more about the NYSE CEO Report visit: