Top Five Faves – week ending 3-26-10

This week’s top five faves’ is a mix of marketing favorites that I came across in the last 2 weeks.  heartWe’ve  got a few strategic topics to consider, like taking a closer look at buyer personas, (something I’ve always wanted to explore further), along with understanding behaviors in the social web,  and how to handle social media attacks, truly an area of fear for many companies.  And on the tactical side, we are reading about what happens when a competitor uses your trademark in a search/PPC campaign, along with a few email performance tips for handling images in your email promotion.  Finally, we take a reality check with the USPS, how will they survive?  Ok, let’s get to it!

1.  Most Useful: Getting Back to the Roots of Buyer Personas: Interview with Tony Zambito of Goal Centric

I’ve always been fascinated with buyer persona’s, the concept seems to fit well with the buying process for technology products.  However I haven’t seen this approach used as much in the B2B world, mostly B2C.  This article gives a good overview about buyer personas, along with some compelling examples that may click for you – like they did for me.

2.  Most Enlightening:  Behaviorgraphics Humanize the Social Web

One of my favorite thought leaders is Brian Solis.  He wrote up this summary from a recent Forrester research article about human behaviors in the social web.  Brian breaks it down into bite size pieces, so we can digest it and figure out how to integrate this thought process into our marketing strategy.

3.  Most Eye Opening:  Crisis Planning: Prepare Your Company For Social Media Attacks

One of the biggest barriers to jumping on the social media bandwagon was fear of reprisal or attack.  The reality is, these things happen and are often out of our direct control.  Nestle has been taking some hard hits in the last couple of weeks (story included), and many are not happy with how they have handled this sitiuation.  Could it have been handled  better?  Of course, and Jeremiah Owyang talks about the pitfalls of Nestle and highlights other companies who have responded to a social media crisis.

4.  Most Concerning:  When Your Trademark Becomes the Key to Your Competitor’s Internet Ad

This is something we’ve seen many times before, and a cease and desist may not be enough anymore to stop this aggravating practice.  Nothing makes us more crazy when we evaluate search engine and PPC statistics to discover a competitor is using a trademarked brand from our client.  This article lays out the challenges the courts have over this issue:  “Courts have struggled with two main issues: (1) whether unauthorized use of a trademark as a keyword constitutes trademark “use in commerce,” and (2) whether such use creates a likelihood of confusion“.  Confusion? You think?  Gee whiz, why bother trademarking if we can’t own the word?

5.  Most Practical;  Email Design Tactics for Blocked Images: 3 Options

In our recent What’s Working in Marketing e-news, I wrote an article about how to give your e-newsletter a performance lift.  This article dovetails nicely with that content, since it covers an area we did not discuss which is how to handle images that are often blocked in email promotions.  This article suggests what we have long recommended: not to embed an entire email message in a graphic, to add alt text to images in case the images are not downloaded,  as well as a couple of other useful tips and examples.

6.  Most Unsettling:  USPS loses $611 million, mail volume drops 4.8% in February

Like the B2B publishing industry, the USPS is in serious trouble here.  This is not the first time I’ve read about business crushing $611M losses like this from USPS.  Clearly we, as a population, are using electronic means more than regular mail as an every day part of life. Marketers have been recommending to move away from print because online is cheaper and the economy was putting pressure on everyone to cut costs.  No surprises here. But what’s going to happen with the USPS?  They’re talking about eliminating Saturday delivery, and the cost of postage has increased several times to compensate for the reduced volume and rising cost of running this federal service.   But will mail delivery eventually go away or go private?  There’s nothing like receiving real mail.   What do yo think?

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