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It is no real surprise that Twitter has application to the SMB (small and medium business) space. There have been success stories talked about for some time no. What is starting to happen, however, that the success the small business has been having is no longer just a business owner stating “Yup, it worked!” According to AdAge two case studies they looked at are starting to put numbers to that success.
Let’s get a small detail out of the way first though. As you can see from the quote below it is likely that the busin
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ess profiled may have a bit more going for it than the average Mom and Pop or small business.
Naked Pizza, a New Orleans healthful-pizza shop that’s hoping to go national — Mark Cuban is a backer — has been marketing itself via the microblogging service. And recently it has started to track Twitter-spurred sales at the register. In a test run April 23, an exclusive-to-Twitter promotion brought in 15% of the day’s business.
Ok, so Mark Cuban is a backer so there may be a little slant to this but let’s go with it anyway. Co-founder of the restaurant, Jeff Leach, is getting aggressive with his Twitter usage and it seems to be paying off. He is making sure that people are aware of his Twitter tendencies by posting a billboard outside of the shop. His subsequent write up in TechCrunch re: this technique has garnered attention from Twitter itself so he will now be beta testing some small business apps for Twitter. I gotta think there are others out there doing similar things but once again most media outlets and businesses (i.e., TechCrunch and Twitter) tend to perk their ears up when someone as rich well-known as Mark Cuban is somehow connected.
Another business, however, in the article didn’t have the same kind of celebrity gravitas but is using Twitter to full advantage.
Michael Farah, founder and CEO of Berry Chill, a yogurt shop with three Chicago locations, has been using Twitter to send out “Sweet Tweets” — promos that require users to show they’re Twitter followers of the store. In a month, he’s logged 700 followers and, he said, “sweet tweets” haven’t diminished his daily sales.
During one promotion he gave away 1,100 yogurts but his daily sales did not go down. Of course, you have to consider the cost of the product eats into profits but lets not nit pick here.
It’s hard to put a real dollar value on people that actually visited the location for the first time due to the offer. This type of marketing can be invaluable for any retail shop. Sure beats getting a mailer. In fact, the way that Leach of Naked Pizza talks he is anxious to shed the costs of more traditional means of advertising.
Mr. Leach, who spends up to $60,000 a year on direct mail and almost $2,500 a year on e-mail-marketing services, said he’d gladly pay a monthly fee for services like those.
Wonder what those beta testing services look like for Twitter? Any guesses?
The article wraps up with some suggestions for the small business owner when it comes to Twitter which include alerting followers when you are on the go, create a conversation, track every sale and even dumping last minute inventory.
So let’s talk real world here. What’s your experience with Twitter? Can you provide some hard numbers that show Twitter’s bottom line impact?

by Robert Belsher Every Internet business requires prospects and leads in order to advertise their business, don’t you agree? The Internet marketing company Kiosk which has a 12 year track record with unmatched web hosting services took it into their own hands to aide everyone in overcoming with the problem. The corporation is called GVO. Internet marketing tools can help increase profits for your business and keep it running smoothly. Part of your success will directly come from the tools w
Over sixteen months after Microsoft’s first offer to Yahoo, many people in the tech world are still watching them, waiting with bated breath. Will they or won’t they? Although Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz has spent a lot of time lately downplaying the possibility, she stops short of saying there’s no possible deal with Microsoft
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in an interview with Fox Business (via paidContent) this week:

Instead, she focuses on Yahoo’s strong properties that dominate their verticals—finance, sports, etc. She says that the social fragmentation of the has confused many users, and Yahoo is still a simple, centralized place for them to go for many different interest areas (not to mention email).
Meanwhile, back in the search business, Bartz is careful to stress that Yahoo is so much more than search. In fact, she goes so far as to say that Yahoo search is primarily designed to serve people who are already on their site, using it in other areas, who want to look something up. Their market share, solid at 20%, “meaningful” and they want to hold on to it—but, again, she stopped short of saying they want to grow their share.
The anchor points out that Bing beat Yahoo for one day (according to one stat service), to which Bartz replies:

I’m actually glad Bing was that strong. They didn’t beat us by much, it was one day, I think it’s gosh maybe it was in Omaha someplace, I think it was some small area. [The stats were global, however, they may not have been accurate.] I’m glad Google has competition.
One day is one day. It does not a trend make. But we don’t want anybody getting a toehold [in the market]. . . .
[Yahoo is more than just search.] We have a much bigger job than this narrow area.

She also goes on to put the nails in the coffin on the old rumors of a deal with AOL: “No, not any time in the forever future. . . . Yahoo is a much stronger property in a different direction. There is no sense confusing all that.”
As Danny Sullivan points out, all these protests that “we’re so much more than search,” are an obvious effort to downplay Yahoo’s failure to grow or win back significant share from Google. Meanwhile, they make Yahoo sound like it’s also not that interested in search in the first place.
What do you think? Is that what Yahoo really wants to say, or is this their “active compensatory feature”? (And if so, should they maybe take up drums? An awesome prize* goes to anyone who can name the movie I’m alluding to here!)
* Prizeiness and awesomeness of prize subject to subjectivity and available only where availability and legality permit.
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How would you define "boatloads?"
One dictionary suggests "an indefinite quantity that is above the average in size or magnitude."
Well, thanks to Yahoo CEO Carol Bartz, we now have another definition of "boatloads"–its the precise amount of money it would take for her to sell Yahoo to Microsoft. Not a penny more, not a penny less!
Speaking during an interview at the D7 conference, Bartz explained her stance
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on selling Yahoo to the Redmond company:

“If there’s boatloads of money, and there’s the right technology, and the information we would have to have, then yeah….It’s that simple.”

There you go! It’s that simple!
Although, as we all know, it’s not that simple. Mostly because Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s not interested in sending out barges laden with cash. And, when you consider Microsoft is about to launch its new search product (likely today at D7), you could argue that Bartz has missed the boat–or her ship has sailed–when it comes to getting what she wants from the deal.
PS. You can read more from the Carol Bartz interview here. You’ll find she has quite the sense of humor.

For Yahoo it appears as if the good ship “Search Business” has left the dock and Yahoo is just waving as it goes merrily off into the horizon. In other words, they missed the boat. We all pretty much know and accept that. Well, according to The Business Insider there is talk at Yahoo that they better get on the USS Social Networking vessel before it sets sail for good as well.
Is all the water and ship imagery making you a little nauseous? Imagine how the people at Y
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ahoo have felt considering the rough ride they have had for quite some time now. In an effort to settle down and actually put together a strategy it appears as if social networking will be the focus moving forward. Yahoo’s CTO Ari Balogh stated yesterday that it could happen in a number of ways and untying the purse strings is one of them.
Yahoo is looking to buy companies that will allow it to become a bigger player in social networking and revamp its family of products
“It’s a good time to be buying now,” he told the Reuters Global Technology Summit, pointing to valuations that have come down from levels six to nine months ago.
This new look Yahoo is looking for a fall coming out party. If ever there was a company in need of some new attention and hope it is Yahoo. One thing that the company refuses to do, however, is fully move on from the beat down that Google has handed them in search.
While conceding that Google has “won the game” of search as we know it today, Balogh says search will be about much more than “10 blue links” in the future.
“The thing I will tell you is that, core to great experiences for people online may not necessarily be this version of search,” Balogh said. “I believe search is going to be far richer … there’s a whole other round or two to go in the search game and that’s where we intend on playing.
Since this kind of rhetoric about the future of search is coming from Yahoo it’s very hard not to simply say “Whatever!” There are still questions lingering as a result of the various CEO summits with Yahoo’s Carol Bartz and Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer. Will they partner or won’t they? Will it matter either way? You know that story.
Despite the premise of social networking as the future for Yahoo the search discussion still was a big focus for this interview.
Balogh said search technology is a vital part of the consumer experience that Yahoo delivers, “and having leading edge scientists and technologists who understand search technology and where search is going is critical to Yahoo.”

While it is certainly becoming widely recognized that social media and search are a strong marriage that could be a game changer it is still tough to think that Yahoo will be a leading player in anything search related considering their history. But hey, change is possible for anyone.
What made more sense was discussions around Yahoo’s moves into mobile applications and trying to tie together its huge community through social networking.
The new generation of social networking products is one area where Yahoo needs to “drive harder,” said Balogh. He cited new status update features that will be introduced across Yahoo sites in the coming months as an important part of Yahoo’s social strategy.
Yahoo’s vast number of users gives the company an extensive social networking backbone. That means Yahoo can quickly build-out its social infrastructure with “tuck-ins” of interesting products being developed by other companies, Balogh said.
So what is truly next for Yahoo? Well, really it needs to be less talk/hype and more action. Many feel that there is great opportunity for Yahoo to capitalize on its community but will this ship sail as well while they are still waving to who left the dock long ago with their search business?

Google has been getting a lot attention as of late. Unfortunately for them a lot of it has to do with the government and the variety of sundry concerns around that like monopolies, anti-trust, lobbying and general political activity. So what’s a corporate giant to do when the news gets a little ‘uncomfortable’? Why spin, of course! So get ready, Pilgrims, put your blindfolds on as we spin you around and see if you can play today’s game of “Pin the Tail on the Truth!”.
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et is reporting that Google watchers are busy.

Consumer Watchdog on Friday plans to tout a Google presentation titled “Google, Competition, and Openness” that the advocacy group uncovered. The company presentation gives Google’s views that it faces plenty of competition in a dynamic market.
After looking at the presentation myself I would have to say that it is a combination of reality (notice I didn’t say the truth) and mind numbing spin. A Google spokesperson said that the presentation is what is being used in an outreach campaign to Congressional aides, the press, think tanks, academics, advertising agencies, and ad trade associations. Considering these targets one can already imagine the angle it takes.
Since the readers of Marketing Pilgrim are independent thinkers and like to reach their own conclusions you really should check out the Google version then the version that Consumer Watchdog released where an anonymous ‘commentator’ gave their opinion on the various points Google hit (both are PDF’s).
In conclusion, all of this ‘stuff’ swirling around Google is not going to change its position in the market for the short run. It may have little or no effect in the long run either. Right now, it looks to me like Google is the Alex Rodriguez of business. They make a boat load of money, are often criticized for their performance (or lack thereof) and everyone wonders if they will stay on top. Oh, and people gossip like heck about them. At least we can say for sure that there is no threat of an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ scenario.
Bottom line for me is that for today I will first go to Google for my search needs regardless. I’ll think about it more some other time.


We live a world that talks about winners and losers all the time. Trouble is it’s OK to lose big because “Hey, we’re only human and we love to give second chances. Here, have a boatload of taxpayer money to pay your executives who don’t deserve it and have a nice day!” Meanwhile, when a company actually does well there are those to who simply can’t stand a winner that has earned its power. We citizens of the Internet world know that the biggest winner, and as a result the biggest target of haters, is Google.

I read a bit of a rant from a journalist over in the UK and

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I encourage you to do the same. It is likely to polarize readers pretty quickly. The author uses the following terms to describe the search giant:

  • WWM – World Wide Monopoly

  • A threat to the livelihood of individuals and the future of commercial institutions important to the community

  • A classic monopoly that destroys industries and individual enterprise in its bid for ever greater profits

  • Delinquent and sociopathic, perhaps the character of a nightmarish 11-year-old

  • Having a brattish, clever amorality

Well, you get the picture. He is apparently upset about how Google uses its weight to get things done. I can see how that is annoying in many cases but the name calling bit is kind of over the top don’t you think? In North Carolina where I live, if you said those kind of things about anyone you might hear a good ol’ fashioned “Them thar is fightin’ words!” I’m sure Google considers these kind of evaluations like that of a gnat and ignores them or swats them away. What’s interesting to me is that in this world, you can be successful but don’t you dare go past whatever standard of “enough is enough” that some group somewhere has established to fit their own agenda. We want success but if someone else gets it in a way that we don’t like we whine. You can only be as successful as I think you should be. Huh?

I see Google differently. Sure they’re the 900 pound gorilla. Sure there is a bit of bully in them. This bully however is created in many cases just from sheer size. Oh and by the way, they have competition. I look at search like the Big 3 for automobiles in the US. There are huge barriers to entry and the competition is not large in number due to the very nature of the business. Google, however, unlike the automakers who apparently have adopted the Three Stooges as their mascots, has simply done a better job at search than Yahoo, Microsoft, Wikia Search, Lycos, Alta Vista etc etc. by creating a product that helps people get more done at the time that it was needed. They have simply done a better job. Because of that they have won big.

Honestly, I wouldn’t have a business if Google hadn’t done what it has done. So as for the destruction of industries that is called progress. It’s called change. If there was nothing created as a result of the destruction then there is a problem. That’s not the case with the Internet though. The world economy is shifting and Google is helping it happen.

In this world of business, if you create a better mousetrap then you catch more mice. Google catches a lot of mice but they do a lot of good too. Last year, Google’s gift to me for the business I did with them was the chance to help out a local school through I have an incredible book of letters from kids who benefited from them “forcing me” to help. I would not have done this on my own. They could have sent me a box of t-shirts but no. They helped me to help someone. I am grateful and the kids were ecstatic. No mention of these kinds of things from Google haters is there?

I am not a Google apologist. They are far from perfect. We all are. I just don’t see the point in sitting around and wringing our hands about fairness. Nothing is completely fair. Why do we want it or expect it? Google does a pretty good job in making sense of the Internet for a lot of people. That is actually a good thing. Are they not supposed to make money along the way?

So where are you? Google hater, supporter or do you just tolerate them? Is Google a bully, an enabler or amoral? I bet you have an opinion so please join the discussion.

Ok, let’s get everything out on the table before we really get going here. Social media helps brand build a following of people who believe in the brand. It creates little armies of brand zealots that do all the promotion for you on a grassroots level. It is the next level of the evolution of the online commerce experience because Internet users are so savvy that they will understand that to experience a brand is to liv
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e the brand is to make the Earth safe for the rest of us mere mortals! Oooops. Sorry. I got a little caught up in the hype of social media.
Now for the reality check? Social media users like deals. Sure they may ‘engage’ with a brand a little more but they are really just looking for a deal. A coupon. A discount. Not brand nirvana.
At least that’s what a study from Razorfish as reported by MediaPost is telling us.
Much has been made of the ability of social media to help brands connect with consumers in new and deeper ways — to establish a “dialogue” with users through various interactive tools that blend seamlessly into their online activities.
But a new study suggests the key to engagement on social properties comes down to old-fashioned direct marketing techniques like offering discounts and special promotions. “Based on our research, it’s not so much about some type of ’shared passion’ for a brand’s values. Largely, it’s about deals — pure and simple,” states the 2009 FEED report from Razorfish examining consumers’ digital habits and attitudes.
What the ……?! Are you trying to tell me that when I put my head down on my pillow at night I really am not smiling about how much Dell, Zappos and Rackspace care for me on a deeper than e-commerce level? You mean it’s because I am just using them for their discounts? I feel so cheap.
Makes sense though. Maybe we need to take a step back on this whole social media deal and understand what is really going on. Sure there are levels of engagement that could not be experienced by brands or their users until the Facebook’s and Twitter’s of the world came along. What we need to be careful of is forgetting that human behavior doesn’t just change on a dime. In fact, I would posit that this is going to be how the VAST majority of people embrace social media for the foreseeable future. Not because they want to engage with a brand but because they want the brand they like for less cash.
Some other quick findings included
Of those who follow a brand on Twitter, for example, 44% said access to exclusive deals is the main reason. And on Facebook and MySpace, 37% cited special deals as the main reason they have “friended” a brand. The report points to companies such as Starbucks, which has amassed nearly 5 million fans and soared to the top of Facebook brand pages by offering coupons for free pastries and ice cream.
Razorfish identified customer service as the other key driver of consumer interaction in social media, with 33% friending a brand on Facebook and MySpace for that purpose, and 24% on Twitter. Companies such as Comcast, Zappos and Virgin have all gotten high marks for using the latter as a customer relations management (CRM) tool.
Now, this is where you create the brand zealots. When you solve their problems using social media then you are on to something. To think, though, that social media is selling more product because of the buying experience is a bit much when you are talking about the masses.
So for all of you who are seething at my position that the ‘feel good’ side of branding with social media is over-hyped please make your case with your comments. Meanwhile I am off to Dunkin’ Donuts for a discounted dozen beauties followed up by a dollar off cup of something from somewhere.

Performics reports that Twitter may be the place to get your brand mentioned if you want social networkers’ attention, according to MediaPost. Nearly half (48%) of those who
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saw a brand mentioned on Twitter turned to a search engine to research that brand. Other social networks lagged far behind, with 34% researching.
However, the study of 3000 active social networkers showed that 70% were on Facebook, and 22% were on Twitter. So of those respondents, 32 researched a brand from Twitter, while Facebook sent 714 running to their search engine of choice.
30% of those surveyed admitted they’ve learned about a product, service or brand from a social network (considerably more than the <5% Knowledge Networks reported in May.)
MediaPost says:

The study found that 44% of people have recommended a product on Twitter, and 39% have discussed a product on Twitter. Facebook skewed a bit higher. Forty-six percent of respondents say they would talk about or recommend a product on Facebook.

Online coupons are the best received brand/product messages. However, most of the findings reinforce the need for companies to maintain presences not only on social networks, but also in search engine results.
Interestingly, companies seem to be more interested in where the consumers are rather than where they see the highest percentage of brand interest. MediaPost reports in another story that

Some 83% of consumer-facing companies maintain a presence on Facebook, compared to 45% on Twitter. Usage was more evenly split among business-to-business companies, with roughly three-quarters of firms maintaining profiles on both services.

What do you think? Is it more important for a business to be where more people are or more brand research? Have you researched brands mentioned on social networks?

The blogosphere is already responding in earnest to the horrific shooting spree at a Texas military base.
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