B2B Viral Marketing

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Marketing Sherpa turned me onto a case study around Arbor Networks, Network Security Firms, viral marketing initiatives from 06. It turned out to be a success because the team thought about the marketing in a holistic manner. Everything was tied together, and they really covered their bases.

The team created a game featuring “real” techie-types fighting an evil virus, then they created a 12 episode podcast with Captains of Industry, a series based on “a fictional financial institution was being extorted by cyberterrorists who were taking down the network.” They pushed their initiatives through advertising, blogging, PR, trade show activities and sposorships , direct mail, online ads, print ads, glued in offers and email ads in ezines.

The response, for the B2B space, were phenomenal. They made sure they stood out, the pushed everything the right way. Their traffic doubled each quarter, they recieved 40,000 visits to their blog, the podcasts were downloaded 24,000 times and they’ve been getting targeted traffic from search. Nice work Arbor Networks, way to engage you’re audience.

Now Thats A Guerrilla Marketing Campaign Story – Saatchi & Saatchi

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Saatchi & Saatchi is a familiar brand to us all in marketing and advertising. I was checking out thier “who we are” page and noticed this nice little story about British Airways. Talk about a real balls out effort.

“We were responsible for the world’s most effective direct response advertising. After the first Gulf War, no one was flying. All the more reason for British Airways to launch their “World’s Biggest Offer” which appeared for one day, running in 29 languages, in 69 countries and in nearly 300 publications. It was seen by over 100 million people, and a world record figure of six million responded.”

How Far Will We Let Advertising Go? Hallmark Tries to Capatilize on Drug Addiction, Cancer and Other Hardships

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Seriously. Sometimes I see advertising, ok, very often I see advertising and I think to myself, “this is rediculous, how could this company willingly attempt to gain customers by playing on emotions or taking advantage of our hope or hardtimes…?” – but this is just too far. Adfreak called my attention to it.

Hallmark decided to release a bunch of cards that are meant to be given to people on a “journey” such as drug addiction, cancer, miscarriage, aging parent, divorce… They are calling them “New Cards With Real Words for Real Life” and it somehow makes me want to puke.

I think there are some things that are sacred, that you really shouldn’t blatantly *try* to make money from… a doctor getting rich from saving someone from dieing of cancer or a counselor that helps save a broken marriage is one thing – but Hallmark is just trying to make a buck of sadness, misery and tragedy. Not cool.

Is Donald Trump a Spammer? His landing page has a “virtual salesperson” to stop you from pressing X!

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Thanks to Mark Cuban for pointing out Donal Trump spammed him 🙂 Always nice to know who doesn’t care how they gain followers…

That isn’t the creepiest part though. Check out Donalds page, then do the same thing I did – cringe a bit, and click the X that makes you feel so good to click… but wait! A chat window pops up saying “Wait! Before you go…” and this dude starts talking, saying crap to get me to sign up…

At first I think its a real person, I’m like “no way, you gotta be kidding…” I even ask where they are located, to try and figure out what country Mr. Trump is using to supply his chat team… and I quickly realize its an automated machine. /Sigh … at least he’s not paying real people to do his dirty work THIS time.

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How to be an A-List Blogger by Jason Calacanis

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Straight from an “A-List” bloggers mouth.

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“Want to be an A-list blogger?
1. Go to Techmeme.
2. Look for the top three stories.
3. Write about them every day.
4. Go to the blogs of the other people who are writing about these stories and comment.
5. Do this every day and attend every conference going.
6. And you’ll be an A-lister.
Write once every two weeks and wonder why you aren’t an A-lister?” – Jason Calacanis

Jason, I thought you were about sincerity, *real* writers writing *real* things. I’m happy to hear you’re well aware that you are a business man and a marketer – I thought you hated us 🙂 ? Re-blogging for the sole purpose of becoming an A-lister is not the best possible advice is it? I guess at least you are “transparently being authentic” about how you’ve made it as a “blogger.”

“Yes. Transparency counts. … But if you’re going to make a media business out of it, you never ever want anyone to be able to say that you benefited from the people you wrote about. … All you have as a blogger is your authenticity, your trust.” – Jason Calacanis

I agree with you on that, Jason. All you really have as a human being is your authenticity and your trust. You seem to do things your way, and by your own rules. For that I respect you. However, I believe the REAL way to be an A-lister in any field is to have something of a value, something people want – work really hard (really really hard – live it and breathe it), present it to your audience with honesty, promote it with integrity (but by all means promote it), treat your industry, colleagues, clients, vendors, partners and competitors *with respect* … and here’s the kicker… the most important part of making it to the top *avoid, at all costs, hypocrisy* – because readers are real people too, and no one, I mean no one, likes a hypocrite.

Quotes from JC via.

Undercover Marketing

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“Examples of undercover marketing:

Sony Ericsson used stealth marketing in 2002 when they hired 60 actors in 10 major cities, and had them “accost strangers and ask them: Would you mind taking my picture?” The actor then handed the stranger a brand new picture phone while talking about how cool the new device was. “And thus an act of civility was converted into a branding event.” (Taken from Walker, Rob. The Hidden (In Plain Sight) Persuaders. New York Times Magazine; Dec 5, 2004; New York Times pg. 68)

Rumour has it that, in 2003, Canon Inc. did something similar when they sent out couples to Staten Island and Battery Park who were dressed and acted like Japanese tourists, who would randomly ask passers-by to take their photos. They would hand them the newest Canon camera, and the target would subconsciously learn how easy, smart, and fun it was to use the camera.

The topic of undercover marketing is explored as part of the 2003 documentary film, The Corporation.”

Via

Blackhat vs Whitehat?

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I’ve always felt strongly about the lines that exist between spammers and marketers. Those lines are constantly blurring and its getting harder and harder to say what white or blackhat marketing is. I prefer “within search engine guidelines” and “outside of search engine guidelines” – however, search engines do not always take the stance they are themselves enforcing. Web marketers are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with the changing algorithms and guidelines, and the blind-eye that search engines seem to have regarding well established sites. We all know companies like T-mobile buy text links and rank because of it for competitive terms like “Cell Phone“. If Google were really against link buying as a practice then why would they still be sitting top-ten in 2007? Wouldn’t they have been removed by now? Surely…

Manipulation is wrong, but influence is right? Yes, buying links is against search engine guidelines – but many public relations, buzz and viral marketing tactics are a process of “buying exposure” – and they’ve been going on long before the internet came to be.

This isn’t a black and white issue, and I am not the only one asking questions like this, and there are many more.

“None of us are white hat or black hat. We are people. Human beings. Those hat terms are just used to describe techniques, not people. The techniques we use, the policies we develop and the procedures we instruct our employees in does not define us as a person. It may define our business model, but surely we could at least agree that we are all targeting the same market which makes us all pretty much in the same business.

So if we’re all just people, why does this topic always get so heated? What is it that gets people calling other people names and making “over the top” harsh statements? Why is it so difficult for us to find some common ground as a group all engaged in the same business or at least going after the same customers?

and…

I’m sure we could all agree that we have seen dozens and dozens of posts where someone makes some kind of statement like, “ I’ve bought links BUT, I only buy the ones that can send me traffic” . Or, my favorite of course is, “yes, I do sell text links with the price based on Google PR but only if it’s on-theme”. That boggles the mind, how one person can do the exact same thing as another yet see themselves as completely different from the other but of course, some minds are much more easily boggled than others. That is justification. That is survival.” – via

“Any action one takes to increase one’s search engine traffic is marketing. Any deceptive action one takes to increase one’s search engine traffic, is spam.” – via

At the end of the day, in the marketing world, and in the world in general – there are practices that harm people and those that do not. There are practices that push the boundaries of ethics and integrity. There is always an extreme left and extreme right – the truth lies somewhere in the middle.