Archive for category Internet Tactics

Ad-Supported is all the rage! (Remake)

The ROI Hunters have been watching the latest fad: Ad-Supported Software. One such example caught our eyes and we sat around saying “Good idea, but who cares?” We are talking about Microsoft Windows providing a free ad-supported version of their successful operating system with free low end machines. After all, shouldn’t Hunting ROI be a win-win situation?

Defensive Leader Tactic

Microsoft is executing a defensive tactic, which we applaud. They are the leader. After all, their popular operating system generated around 13 Billion in sales last year (give or take a few Million), so it is not like they will be hurt by giving their software away with low end machines. This is an excellent response to some of the UNIX flavors running around for the last decade. Actually, it did make us wonder why it took them so long to give it away, at the low end of the price spectrum.

The Plan

Free Computer System: Give away the free ad-supported Windows OS on a low end $300 machine to those that can’t afford or don’t want to spend a lot on their technology needs. Obviously, there is a tether to the internet in this package somewhere. Either a low-cost dial up or wireless connection will need to service the ad generator. The ultimate goal: Increase Market Share & Attack UNIX competitors that have been flanking Microsoft.

Who Cares

Our question is directed at the poor soles that will buy advertising space on this channel. Which demographic would you place someone in that can’t afford or doesn’t want to buy a $300 dollar machine and the $100 operating system. What exactly are their on-line spending habits? How much do you think they will purchase on-line? Let’s face it, JupiterResearch reported at 40% increase in online ad spending last year, but we are fairly certain that this demographic was not the leader in this increase.

Maybe we are seeing the beginnings of the Lotto Advertising Network. (I hear the jackpot is going to be really high next week, but don’t ask me what your odds are) Good Hunting.

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Fortunately, Storage is Cheap

The ROI Hunters hate to see wasted time in any fashion. Nor do we like to be the judge of anyone’s actions (unless we are paid for it), especially when reviewing waste since it is a subjective matter when it is tied to emotions or ignorance. Blogging straddle the fence of wasted time in a marketing sense when the blogging has no function or purpose as it relates to the client’s marketing plan. After all, Hunting ROI successfully never occurs when you are simply following a pack of other hunters.

18.6 Blog Entries

These are the number of blog entries Technorati reported occurred PER SECOND in the month of July 2006. We have reviewed some of these other blogs and found ourselves waking up, face planted on the keyboard, and drooling. If we could bottle this stuff, we could cure insomnia!

You Are What You Measure

This is a common phrase repeated in our client meetings. When our clients ask us “if we should be blogging”, we direct them to measurement discussions in the context of marketing goals. We try to provide examples of competitors that use blogs as daily ramblings from their president. Then we show them successfully executed attacks by competitors or comparable industries using blogs purposefully and with premeditation in marketing campaigns to defeat (or at least attempt to defeat) a competitor or brand (or possibly a search phrase if we are taking about search marketing.)

Blogging Is Cheap

The low cost of entry into this environment brings out all types. We try to make our clients and prospects understand that it is simply a tool, and not the silver bullet that some would have you believe. In the same way while building a house you would not use a hammer to measure the length of a board, you would not use a blog to complete certain (or all) tasks of your marketing plan. Good Hunting.


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Search Engine Battlegrounds

The ROI Hunters recently reviewed the last three years of the Hunt. A major portion of our time is spent helping clients position themselves wisely on the search engines, either with ads or natural results. It is important to study the past so we learn from our mistakes, after all, hunting ROI requires us to improve ourselves, not just change with the times.

Search Engine Competition

Search engines are constantly (and with anonymous frequency) changing their algorithms so as to provide the best search results for the phrase identified. The obvious goal is to become the preferred search tool of choice for as many internet uses as possible. This constant tweaking of databases and infrastructure causes enough fluctuation that we have seen our client pages and ads rise and fall like an east coast tide.

Over the years, different search engines have taken the lead. Currently Google holds the highest ground and is defending its position with line extensions, something we think will cause them to weaken their position and loose ground on the search front. This will open doors for another competitor to come in and take the search engine title. Either way, we see change as inevitable.

Business Competition

We still produce great results for our clients, but I must admit, it was much easier three years ago. Our client competitors that utilized search engine strategies for their marketing plans have increased exponentially. Threat analysis vs. Key Word Search has increased over the years. We now plan quarterly meetings discussing our threat analysis rather then simply spending time looking for new phrases.

Fire, Aim, Fire

I remember, three years ago, selling our services under the banner of economy of scale. “We could do this more economically, not necessarily better, then you can do it on your own. In the end you will save a lot of money.” Minus the more exciting changes in our marketplace, this pitch often worked. It was very flawed.

Now we focus on how the ROI Hunters can improve the client’s top line, rather then, on how we influence the bottom line. Let’s face it, how many of us believe we can “shrink ourselves into greatness”.

We can usually show a new client results in one month with correctly placed ads. Search engines remain one of the best tools for conducting campaigns in 30-day intervals while still having opportunities to tweak inside the same period. Moreover, it is a lot of fun! Good Hunting.

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NO Life-Time-Value ALLOWED!

What do you do if you are not allowed to use customer life-time-value in the campaign planning when working with e-commerce sites. We met with a company, which we are helping with search engine marketing, to review options to increase sales with an e-commerce site which they are running for a third company. Sound confusing? It is! This is not our normal mode of operations, but we wanted to help this new up-start company with this project and help get their feet on the ground. After all, hunting ROI is sometimes done better in packs!

The site owner’s focus is clearly on sales volume. There is no desire to form long term relationships with his new found clients. He is treating his site just as it is a vending machine on a crowded corner and simply by being there with the right product they will make their millions.
Here are things we are not allowed to do:

  1. Follow-up email campaign
  2. Monthly or special newsletters with promotions and new news
  3. Follow-up phone calls

This impacts our ability to perform retention and referral marketing. Faced with this problem we are focusing on getting more visitors to the site. Search engines remain a long term strategy. But, this client wants visitors NOW! We are forced to look at PPC type activities and this means more dollars. With an increase in new customer acquisitions, the strategy will quickly be seen as too expensive and the site owner will decide to drop this and focus on the next strategy of the month.

At the time of this post, the site owner decided to drop the internet strategy work and move all of his eggs into the TV marketing basket. Another agency came in and showed them how much more they will make with TV. Our up-start friends, which we were helping, was given a perfect opportunity to let this client go.

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