28 October 2008

CMOs of the Roundtable

Well, well, well.... the Google site optimizer has a valid competitor! HubSpot won two Silver W3 awards for its website grader which provides FREE feedback and recommendations for smaller companies to be sure their sites are being found and listed on popular search engines. What makes HubSpot different from Google??? Well, as they put it -- their site can be used by marketing people, not techies (ouch!). Once you get past that slightly inflammatory statement, you'll fall in love with HubSpot. It's a nice complement to use with Google's optimizer to be sure all your bases are being covered, because, believe it or not, there are people out in the world who use other search engines. For real.

HS also carries a blog which is chock full of tips and advice for keeping your company's internet presence at the top of the search list. Today's topic: landing pages! It seems kind of obvious that a company website should be using these to increase conversions. In the days of paper coupons, there were often preprinted codes on the slips that allowed a company to track what coupons were being used and where. When did marketers forget this? Just because we are getting green and saving paper, doesn't mean we should stop tracking where our leads are coming from!

Next, we arrive at at a CMO roundtable article on Advertising Age. Towards the end, the interviewer asks the CMOs of Denny's, Hyatt and Wachovia how their marketing plans will change for 2009 and what ideas they are considering now. All agree that the investment in online marketing dollars will be a bigger slice of their budgets next year.

Mark Chmiel of Denny's talks about the chain sponsoring bands online to get their brand identity out to a new late-night audience. When their tv purchases weren't returning well, Denny's focused on how to reach the consumer where they are, not where Denny's thought they were or wanted them to be. Chmiel also reminds us that marketing is not always about ROI for sales, but is a method of shoring up brand identity - something it seems a lot of executives and boards forget about when asking marketers why sales increases don't match periodic department spending.

Ranjana Clark of Wachovia goes on to say her marketers will take some time now to be sure their websites are optimized, but more importantly easily laid out for the customers to use and find the information they need to make important decisions about their accounts or investing with Wachovia. I for one appreciate these CMOs getting back to a consumer-needs focus instead of trying to figure out the cleverest way of driving up sales.

Finally, here is an article from the Wall Street Journal that discusses the imminent disappearance of many online-ad networks. This may just be a little bubble burst, as the market had become inundated with firms that could all pretty much do the same tasks, while the cream of the crop will stick around because they provide quality, up-to-date results to their clients. Despite what the CMOs in the above article said, the WSJ feels that online advertising investments will also be cut during this current downturn in the economy.

I think more than just the economy falling apart, internet marketing is being reshaped because consumers are getting smarter, ignoring obvious advertising, and expecting real and valuable content from online channels. Like tv and radio, people don't go online to see commercials - they just change the station or look away. The current challenge for online marketing is to package the sales pitch in such a way that the consumer is getting value through information which will then translate into sales for business.

1 comment:

James Moore said...

Fabulous post! You have collated a wealth of worthy resources. I would be interested to hear of your experiences with Hubspot.