Tuesday, November 5, 2013

How to Create Your Online Brand: A Content Marketing Blueprint for Students and Job Seekers

Virtual Andy Provided Personal Branding Tips!

Many thanks to +Andy Crestodina for hanging out virtually in my social media class last week.  Through a Google+ hangout, Andy shared some tips on content marketing and personal branding, particularly how shared content can be used for students who are seeking start their careers.  One of the things Andy suggested was starting a blog and posting content maybe twice a month.  The blog should be in a field in which the student is an expert or can establish credibility.  +LaNeysha Campbell  in my class is doing a blog on how to be a college student on a budget, for example.

Content marketing, blogging, social media marketing
Andy Crestodina addresses Social Media Marketing at AU on 10/31/13

How to Create a "Readable" Blog

Andy reminded us of good blogging practices.  These practices are designed for 'readability' and include:

  • Use paragraphs of no more than three sentences
  • Use a catchy title
  • Use Headings and Subheadings to increase readability
  • Pick a topic that interests people

A Quick Blueprint for Personal Content Marketing

Andy also shared a quick blueprint for content marketing as a personal strategy.   As we have discussed in class, Andy recommended creating and posting relevant content twice a week to groups/circles meaningful to your future career.  He suggested commenting on others' posts and connecting with those in your aspirational area of employment.

Sometimes, Just Pick up the Phone

One thing that I really appreciated was that Andy told the students not to forget about offline methods of communication.  He said, and I agree, that just picking up the phone to talk to someone you have met online will have a big impact, especially if you have something to contribute to the conversation.  Reaching out with a phone call after the relationship has been established can help further the relationship and lead to valuable connections and, perhaps, a job.  Attending offline events can also boost your online networking success.

By Debra Zahay-Blatz.
You can find Debra on  and Twitter as well as LinkedIn.

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Top Way to Find a Job Today: Follow the Data

Big Data Provides Big Opportunity for Today's Grads

Mark Ailsworth from +MaxPoint Interactive spoke on Big Data and the trends in marketing analytics and what it means for today's graduates in terms of employment possibilities last Friday at the +Aurora University first-ever AMA Collegiate Event last Friday, October 18th.  Thanks to all who organized the event for a great day for our students and those of the  13 other regional Universities that attended.  Ailsworth's keynote started the day.

big data, analhytics
Mark Ailsworth of Max Point speaking on Big Data at Aurora University

What is Big Data?

Ailsworth said that technically Big Data is large, structured and unstructured data sets that can only be processed using unconventional methods of analysis and cloud computing.  However,  we have only figured out about 1 percent of what we can do with data in terms of improving marketing programs.  Companies like MaxPoint, who have technologies that combines various aspect of customer and industry data can help target customers interested in buying a particular product. Big data has created a number of jobs for today's students, from database design to marketing and sales.

For example, +Pillsbury, a General Mills company, uses, over 3,000 social media sites to interact with its customers to creates new ideas for product development.  Blending caramel and bacon flavors, for example, came from the analysis of social interactions.  Kimberly Clark's +Huggies brand uses customer data to interact with its customers in real time on the web site, delivering messages that are relevant to the particular consumer.  +Ford Motors is a company that also looks at what the user has done and what stage of the buying process they are in to serve up relevant content.  

The Spending Gap

The opportunity for future marketers lies in the fact that there is a gap between current ad spend and where consumers spend their time. For example, 12% of users' time is spent on mobile, which is only 4% of ad spend.  Creating interactions on the new media where consumers are spending their time is a tremendous opportunity for those entering the field of Marketing.  The Digital Marketing Minor at +Aurora University , which will launch next fall and our current Interactive Marketing concentration, provides courses that discuss building the customer database, analytics and other skills necessary to get entry level jobs in this area,

By Debra Zahay-Blatz.
You can find Debra on  and Twitter as well as LinkedIn.

Saturday, October 5, 2013

What Malcolm Gladwell Left Out of His Latest Book

Malcolm Gladwell Keynoted at ACR 2013

I heard author +Malcolm Gladwell   speak at ACR North America~ 2013 on October 4th. in Chicago  Gladwell provided the keynote address to the conference of consumer researchers that has attracted over 1300 attendees this year. The speech was the second stop on Gladwell’s book tour for his new book David and Goliath.  The book is about asymmetrical conflicts where the smaller party has more power.  For example in the David and Goliath story, Goliath appears to have more power, but a closer reading of the Bible story indicates that Goliath may have had a form of Gigantism that actually left him at a significant disadvantage to the seemingly powerless shepherd boy, David. 

Malcolm Gladwell, ACR 2013, David and Goliath

How Majority Groups Maintain Control

Gladwell’s specialty is looking at contradictions in our world view.  His talk on Friday was about minorities and tokenism and what he called “illicit strategies that the majority groups use to maintain control.”  He examined situations where the smaller party appears to have power but actually does not.  Gladwell cited research on female salespersons, for example, where they did better and were perceived better if there were more of them. It seems that fifteen percent is the minimum number of ‘newcomers’ to achieve a number to get beyond the token effect.

The Difficult of Breaking the “Token” Barrier

Gladwell is nothing if not a good storyteller (and a self-styled skinny Canadian). His stories reach the mind and touch the heart.   He used dramatic accounts of the first female painter to have a painting exhibited by the Royal Academy in England, Elizabeth Thompson, as well as that of the recent female Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard to indicate that one person is a token and does not break a barrier.  He predicted that if Hillary Clinton or another female were to be elected President they would probably be the last female President for a long time.  In spite of apparent strides in gender equality, to this day only 7% of neurosurgeons and about 5% of the art displayed in American art museums is by women.  These fields have not progressed beyond tokenism to acceptance.

As usual, Gladwell’s insights were thought-provoking and left more questions than answers.  I have read several of his books and use the book Outliers when I teach database marketing.  The way Gladwell approaches problems and digs through data to find anomalies and contradictions makes him a good role model for the developing data analyst.  We got a copy of David and Goliath for attending the conference and can’t wait to read it for its insights and to see if it is applicable to the classroom situation. Many thanks to the conference organizers for getting such a wonderful keynote speaker.

By Debra Zahay-Blatz.
You can find Debra on  and Twitter as well as LinkedIn.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Top 7 Takeaways from the DAA Chicago Symposium

The Digital Analytics Association Chicago Association Symposium on September 17th attracted over 200 attendees for a stellar agenda on Omnichannel Marketing.  It was a pleasure to serve on the planning committee.  The topic was "Connecting the Dots: Optimizing the Customer Experience in an Omnichannel World."

We had a student/newcomer session in the morning which attracted 30-40 folks. It was a lively and attentive audience.I have put my talk on at the forum on Multichannel/Omnichannel Marketing on slideshare.  The talk contains introductory information on the topic and a transition into the following discussion on analytics attribution.

I enjoyed the entire day but some of the key takeaways for me from the symposium were as follows:

  1. Attribution as hockey:  +Braden Carlson and Kris Young from Digitas used hockey to describe how we need to give credit to channels that enable the final purchase, focusing on ROI and not just 'last click.' It's really not a customer funnel but more of a 'ping pong' effect, as my slides show.
  2. In-house trend:  +Andrew Swinand  comment that 52% of companies surveyed  want to bring digital in house so they can respond more quickly and inexpensively to market needs, driven by data, meant to me that there will be a growing market for the type of generalist marketers we are educating in our Digital Marketing programs.
  3. More data, less usage:  Andrew also quoted an IBM-released CMO survey, saying that only 30 pct of CMOs use data to make decision, down 17 points from prior years.  If fact, 70 percent say they are unprepared to utilize data, so there is a lot of opportunity for the education in this area.  I wonder if there is in some sense a fear of using data or just not enough knowledge, or both.
  4. Data quality: +Casey Carey  from Adometry reiterated the need for quality data in the organization, which is the focus of some of my recently-published academic research.  You can find this information summarized on my slideshare presentation from the last eMetrics forum.
  5. Focus on outcomes:  I also enjoyed Casey's approach, "Begin with the End in Mind."  We focus on outcomes in education and it was interesting to hear this approach for marketing.  It is the second time I have heard this approach in a week and it really makes sense.  Focusing on the customer experience helps us understand which data to collect and then analyzing that data helps us understand how best to meet customer needs.  Are we focused on attraction, acquisition or retention?  The strategic outcome should determine our tactical approach.
  6. Shortened buying cycle:  Shelby Saville and Kristin Haarlow from Spark Communications highlighted the 'ping pong effect in customer decision making and that the buying cycle is radically condensed.  In the auto industry, the purchase cycle is down to 28 days.  This condensed cycle puts more pressure than ever on marketers to deliver.
  7. The basics are constant:  As +tony bombacino noted, it is still, "Right customer, Right message, Right time."  That simple phrase should be the goal of any analytics program.

Please look into joining the DAA if you want more of this type of information and a great  group of colleagues. Kudos to +Amit Kadam, +Kristin Schwallie+Jared Vestal, Don Drews and others for your work on this great event.  Hope to see you all at the next one!

By Debra Zahay-Blatz.
You can find Debra on  and Twitter as well as LinkedIn.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Link(edIn)ing Search and Social

Social Media Platforms Rank High in Search Engines

September 10th I am giving a talk at +Aurora University on how to create an effective LinkedIn Profile.  I am planning on talking about the importance of picking good search keywords so you can be found on LinkedIn.  If you want to work in social media marketing, put those keywords in your job descriptions, Profile Title and Summary sections. I gave this advice to a student last semester and within two days she started seeing relevant job recommendations targeted to her interests from LinkedIn.

Another aspect of a good LinkedIn profile is having a large number of connections.  Most experts suggest at least 500 connections as 'social proof' that you are influential in your field.  I have over 2500 connections, am listed in the top 1% of LinkedIn Profiles and my profile shows up in search results regularly.  As a result, my LinkedIn Profile comes up first when people search for me online.  If you are seeking to build a professional presence, you want this result also.

Social media marketing, personal branding

Search engines are putting more emphasis on social media platforms, which in itself is a reason to participate in social media. As you can see my guest blogging for econsultancy.com, my participation on Twitter and Slideshare, all come before my editorship of the Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing. The more active you can be on social media, the more you can control what others see about you online and how you are perceived.

Come hear more at the The Dunham School of Business (DSB) 2013-2014 Professional Development Series  The first session is Tuesday, September 10, 5-6pm in UBH. I will present, Get LinkedIn: The First Step in Personal Branding.  Hope to see you there.

By Debra Zahay-Blatz.
You can find Debra on  and Twitter as well as LinkedIn.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Why Do We Still Have Mass Media?: What Today's Students Can Tell Us About Digital Marketing

Why Do We Still Have Mass Media?

Today's students (at least here at Aurora University) are already sharp and savvy marketers.  Many students in the first week of IMC classes here made the comment, "Why do we still have mass Media?" They didn't understand the reason for mass communication when digital communication has made it possible to interact on an individual level with customers through a wide variety of digital media.

Certainly the students have a point.  While allocation for digital marketing efforts has reached 25% of every ad dollar, consumers are moving more and more to digital media for their purchase decisions.  With 93% of consumers starting their purchase on search engines, the trend toward mobile purchasing and 'showrooming,' it seems that digital media offer opportunities that are more efficient, effective and have a greater chance of reaching the consumer directly.  So why aren't marketers moving more quickly to adopt digital marketing?

One Possible Answer to the Question

Don Schultz, Emeritis Professor at Northwestern's Medill School answers that question in this brief video.  Don suggests that old habits die hard and that marketers do things the way they have always done them.  I recommend watching this brief video and I am interested in your thoughts.  Do you think things will change as we educate the new generation of marketers in new forms of media.  Feel free to comment on this blog, email me at my new email dzahayblatz@aurora.edu or communicate on any of the many forms of social media in which I participate.

It looks like a great beginning to the semester with such insightful questions.  You don't have to convince mean that digital means direct being able to measure our results in a more meaningful way than mass advertising, a.k.a, delayed response.

By the way, welcome to my new Digital Marketing and Analytics Blog.  I opened it in honor of the new Digital Marketing Minor at +Aurora University which will be effective in the 2014-2015 course catalog.

By Debra Zahay-Blatz.
You can find Debra on  and Twitter as well as LinkedIn.