Heads up, this content is 17 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

Chris Heuer recently blogged about a nifty idea — help me spread it around!He’s talking about a sales and marketing plan for people who are trying to sell software, conference tickets, or really anything else that has value to a broad spectrum of economic statuses (sidenote: I really want to say stati instead of statuses — would you still love me if i did?). Basically, the suggestion is to create a sponsorship program. For every software license you sell to a corporation, you give a free one to a nonprofit. For every successful businessman who buys a ticket to your conference, you give a free one to an independent artist or college student. The folks with the money could even choose their buddy recipient from a list of candidates. The benefits are clear:

  • The word and experience of your product spreads to a bigger audience (also remember: the underfunded demographic is sometimes the more creative and influential demographic).
  • As Chris points out, “some non-profits who really want the software in question would become evangelists, trying to find others who would also benefit from the software.”
  • You’re doing a service to the have-nots, which is noble in and of itself, and is also a selling point for your company’s public identity.

Tell a CEO about this strategy today!

Heads up, this content is 17 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

Watch out everybody! Jenka is getting busy tearing down misconceptions about ad agencies and new marketing standards (and is doing a damned good job at it, too). Check out her recent article, “How Your Ad Agency is Sabotaging Your Campaign“. This woman is ruthless without being wrong, and makes point after point about what to look for. Here are the points I’m most concerned with:

‘User-generated content means audience engagement, message relevancy (if it’s not you’ll hear about it right away), authentic endorsement, and even the enablement of culture and identity expression. You should be excited. This is all pretty awesome stuff! But if consumers are making the “ads” for free, then how does the agency validate its cost? There’s a bit of a conflict of interest going on, for sure.’

Takeaway: Don’t poo-poo the free options out there. They are often more valuable than the paid options. You just have to approach them strategically. And that takes target audience research and knowledge of the mediums.

‘…if the audience isn’t getting involved then the traffic doesn’t mean all that much. ‘Engagement does. From click-thrus, to subscription rates, to form submissions, the measures of a campaign’s success are revealed through audience interaction patterns.’

Takeaway: Did you hear that? She said traffic doesn’t mean all that much. Stop bragging about your hit count and start bragging about your conversion rate and sign-ups. Get Google Analytics running on your site and spend a day learning what the reports mean. Don’t spend bags of money on pulling people into your website (SO easy to do) before you know what they’re likely to do there. Mass traffic doesn’t matter, quality traffic does.

‘Agencies … are so stuck in doing things the way they always have that their approach to new options is still, unfortunately, through the same old processes (uploading a TV spot to You-Tube, anyone?).’

Takeaway: I want to add to this point with something Jenka has emphasized before: some things are changing, others are not. The need to research your target audience, for example, is not going anywhere. How and where you reach that audience, on the other hand, is changing all over the place. And in such a rapidly changing time, you can’t afford to be making assumptions about any step in the marketing process. You have to step up, pay attention, see what’s working, and avoid what’s not. And the next time you do it, you need to assume that a whole bunch of things have changed yet again. Change, change, change, change, change!

Heads up, this content is 17 years old. Please keep its age in mind while reading.

I am admittedly cranky at b2evolution right now. It’s taking way too much work post-upgrade to make my template functional again and to get my settings back to the way I want them… but I’m trudging through it, and it’s getting closer, and at the very least it’s no longer PINK!This was the temporary template: