Saturday, March 29, 2014

Cross-Device Marketing Tips and Challenges

SEMPO Chicago Cross-Device Marketing Panel Hosted by Microsoft

On Wednesday March 26 I attended a networking and informational event sponsored by +SEMPO Chicago and held at Microsoft's +Microsoft's local headquarters.  The topic was "Why Cross-Device Marketing is Important & Charting the Course for Success".   Panelists were Matt Maroon, James Colborn, Felicia Gardner, Rebecca Keen and Bob Tripathi. The moderator was +Josh Dreller SEMPO Chicago VP.  The panelists each offered a unique perspective on the state of implementing mobile technology for marketing purposes.

The group consensus was that although responsive web design, design that is available and accessible to the user across all platforms is important, typically budgets are still in 'silos', often making it difficult to free up the funds for mobile marketing.  Most of the attendees said that only about 20-30% of their traffic was coming from mobile usage, so perhaps the issue of responsive design will be more pressing in the future and force departments to work together.  The bottom line is still to make it easy for your customers to access your web site and to dialogue with you.

cross-device marketing, responsive web design, mobile marketing
SEMPO @Microsoft Cross-Device Marketing Panel

Responsive Web Design is Just the Beginning

Cross-device marketing isn't just about responsive web design.  For example, people search differently on mobile devices than desktops.  Mobile devices tend to be more social so when customers search for 'hood' on a mobile device, they mean their neighborhood.  When they search for 'hood' on a desktop device, they often mean 'hoodie' or an article of clothing  This difference has implications for web design, search and social media marketing. 

Analytics Enhance Effectiveness

Cross-device planning is greatly enhanced by analytics.  Rebecca mentioned that when marketers are reluctant to create applications for a certain device, she returns to the data and shows which devices and operating systems are driving traffic to the web site.  Usually data helps overcome any reluctance to develop for a particular platform.

Challenges Abound

Many marketing challenges remain in the mobile world however.  One of the audience members thought that too many marketing channels meant she could not be as nimble in response.  Certainly marketers will b e continuing the cross-device and cross-platform juggling act for many years to come.  Devices will continue to proliferate and marketers must meet the challenge.

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

Friday, March 14, 2014

Secrets of Search Marketing from Practice

+Thom Disch, President and CEO of Handi-Ramp, spoke in my Internet Marketing classes this week at +Aurora University about pay-per-click (PPC) and search engine optimization (SEO).  Internet Marketing is a class in our Digital Marketing Minor.

The timing was great as this is the week that the students are really getting into their PPC campaigns for the +Google Online Marketing Challenge (GOMC). The day students have prepared their pre-campaign reports and are ready to submit to Google next week.  Evening students are just starting their eight week class but have already picked their candidate companies.  Students will receive a $250 budget to create a campaign for a company and will have three weeks to optimize their campaign using the marketing analytics available in AdWords.

Search Marketing is Top Lead Source

Thom talked about using paid and organic search as key forms of digital media to bring leads to his small business. He bought Hand-Ramp about a decade ago on a 'shoestring' budget.  The company sells wheelchair and van ramps to assist entering vehicles, among other products.  The firm specializes in products for accessibility but can also help people get their dog in their van more easily with its pet ramp line.

SEO, PPC, digital marketing, marketing analytics, digital media, SEM
Thom Disch from Handi-Ramp Helps Students Optimize PPC Campaigns for AdWords

Research and Plan Before Implementation

Thom emphasized the importance of planning before developing the AdWords plan and encouraged the use of tools like Google Trends and the Keyword Planner to understand search patterns before bidding on key terms.  He also warned that certain industries have terms that are quite expensive. The term "mesothelioma," for example, is bid on by plaintiff's attorneys in personal injury cases. The payoff from these cases can be quite high and therefore the search terms can run in the hundreds of dollars per click.

Monitor and Adapt to Optimize

Thom also said that keyword prices can change as the campaign progresses.  He urged the students to monitor their campaigns carefully and make good use of the marketing analytics tools in AdWords.  If possible, he suggested using a specific landing page for each campaign and linking Google Analytics to AdWords to get more insight into the results of the campaign. Thom also suggested the students set their budgets at a lower rate in the first week and then spend more money as they learn about what is working in their campaigns.

We thank Thom Disch for visiting our class and wish him continued success at Handi-Ramp. Thanks for making yourself available to the classes for future coaching. We look forward to working with you.

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