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Tim Peter

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July 16, 2014

Where Your Customers Are Taking Marketing – Thinks Out Loud Episode 81

July 16, 2014 | By | No Comments

Follow the leader

Where Your Customers Are Taking Marketing Headlines and Show Notes

You might also enjoy this look at what your customers expect from e-commerce in 2014 and my slides from the “Digital Marketing Directions – Exploit the Trends that Shape Travel Marketing” talk I gave recently:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 14m 37s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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July 15, 2014

3 Reputation Management Secrets Every Hotel Marketer Should Know (Travel Tuesday)

July 15, 2014 | By | No Comments

Couple reading reviews on tabletBright Local has new research highlighting what your guests think about the overall consumer review landscape. Fascinating reading and well-worth your time. But, since I know many of you don’t have what you’d call “copious free time” these days, here are the key points worth reviewing:

  1. Customers trust reviews significantly more than they did last year. There’s been a huge drop in the number of people who answer “No” to the question of whether they trust reviews as much as personal recommendations, 13% this year down from 21% last year (and 33% in 2011). That’s huge. And further proof of how important reputation management is to your overall marketing.
  2. Quantity matters (and so does quality). Two-thirds of respondents trust user reviews more when there are 4 or more reviews to read. But equally important, the gap between 3-star ratings and 2-star ratings is huge. Only 27% of guests will use a business with a 2-star rating, while 72% will use a business with a 3-star rating, proving yet again that your customers have as much say in how others perceive your brand as you do.
  3. Guests remember how you made them feel, not what you said. This came up a fair bit at this year’s HSMAI Digital Marketing Strategy Conference (see item #3 on this list). According to Bright Local, guests value reliability, expertise, and professionalism above all else. Sure, they’ll remember what you said, but only if you actually deliver on that promise.

Again, the whole report is well-worth reading (and you can find it here). But, it’s striking to me how many of these points line up with the big items in this list of key resources for hotel marketers. It’s pretty clear the state of hotel reputation management continues to evolve as guests gain increasing familiarity with reading reviews when making a booking decision — to say nothing of their increasing comfort with creating reviews of their own while during and after their stay. That’s one of the reasons why Expedia is investing heavily in enabling real-time review creation tools for travelers.

For better or worse, reputation management — reading and responding to reviews, as well as taking action to address guest concerns — represents a key component of your hotel’s sales, marketing, and distribution activities. Treating it as anything less ignores your guest’s reality. And risks your hotel’s success today and in the future.

(H/T: Tnooz)

Interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web? Register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

And, if you’re curious about other trends shaping travel marketing, take a look at my recent presentation, called, aptly enough, “Digital Marketing Directions – Exploit the Trends that Shape Travel Marketing”:

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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July 14, 2014

The 2014 E-commerce and Internet Marketing All-Stars: The Top 9 Blogs

July 14, 2014 | By | No Comments

2014 Internet Marketing and E-commerce Blogging all starsEvery year for the last few years, I’ve been rounding up the blogs and bloggers who help me get better at e-commerce and Internet marketing and who force me to think about our industry in new and often unexpected ways every day. Without further ado, here’s this year’s list:

  1. Leading off are the fine folks at Get Elastic, ably led by Linda Bustos (@Roxyyo on Twitter). Get Elastic claims to be the #1 most subscribed e-commerce blog and it’s easy to see why.
  2. Clearly, there’s a huge shift towards mobile in both e-commerce and digital marketing. Which is why I rely on my old friend Karen McGrane to help make sense of it all. While Karen blogs about more than just business, she’s funny, insightful, and always a good read. (I also couldn’t keep up without the news I get from Mobile Commerce Daily, um… daily).
  3. The team of bloggers at Biznology offer tons of great content and context every day, under the guidance of the legendary Mike Moran (Full disclosure: I’ve written a monthly post for the blog there since 2010, but I’m really recognizing the other bloggers there. I’m not that self-serving).
  4. Another source I couldn’t live without is Benedict Evans’ eponymous blog. Ben talks more about technology and investing than marketing or e-commerce. But his understanding of the shifts occurring every day in the digital space are “must-read.”
  5. Search still comprises one of the primary digital channels. And that’s why I check out Search Engine Land every day.
  6. For all my Travel Tuesday fans, you owe it to yourself to check out Vikram Singh’s Words of Vikram blog. Somehow, Vikram and I have never met, but I look forward to trading ideas with a very smart, very capable fellow fan of the travel space sometime in the near future.
  7. Mitch Joel’s Six Pixels of Separation offers spectacular insights about the state of digital that you really need to read.
  8. If social’s part of your game plan, make sure you visit Mack Collier’s blog. Mack hosts the weekly #blogchat on Twitter that’s well-worth checking out too.
  9. Finally, no list of e-commerce and digital marketing blogging all-stars is complete without Seth’s Blog, by the incomparable Seth Godin. Such a smart guy. I learn something new every time I check him out. You probably will too.

There you have them, Big Thinkers. Your 2014 E-commerce and Internet Marketing All-Stars. Read ‘em. Listen to ‘em. Love ‘em. And for more great tips, tools, and techniques, take some time to review the 2013, 2012, and 2011 editions of the list, too.

Interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web? Register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Given the popularity of the Travel Tuesday series, you may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing. Again, it was built for a travel audience, but its lessons apply across industries. The full deck is here:

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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July 9, 2014

Marketing’s Future Has Arrived – Thinks Out Loud Episode 80

July 9, 2014 | By | No Comments

Mobile phone street

Marketing’s Future Has Arrived Headlines and Show Notes

You might also enjoy this look at what your customers expect from e-commerce in 2014 and my slides from the “Digital Marketing Directions – Exploit the Trends that Shape Travel Marketing” talk I gave recently:

Contact information for the podcast: podcast@timpeter.com

Technical details: Recorded using an Audio-Technica AT2035 studio condenser microphone through a Mackie Onyx Blackjack USB recording interface into Logic Express 9 for the Mac.

Running time: 14m 27s

You can subscribe to Thinks Out Loud in iTunes [iTunes link], subscribe via our dedicated podcast RSS feed (or better yet, given that Google has now killed Reader, sign up for our free newsletter). You can also download/listen to the podcast here on Thinks using the player below:

Tim Peter

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July 1, 2014

14 Killer Resources for Hotel Marketers: Travel Tuesday’s Best of 2014

July 1, 2014 | By | No Comments

Travel guests mobileHow is it possible that 2014′s half-over? For most hotel marketers, you’re already looking towards your 2015 budgeting and planning. As you prep for next year, now’s a good time to look back at the trends driving your guests’ behaviors — and how you can use those in your digital marketing, distribution, and e-commerce going forward. With that in mind, I’ve pulled together the 14 most popular posts of 2014 so far for you to review. Here’s what we’ve got:

  1. It’s no secret how important mobile is for hotel guests making travel plans, as this post, “Holy Crap! Mobile’s Even Bigger Than You Thought,” clearly illustrates.
  2. While coming in at #2, this look at “How to Use Emotion and Storytelling in Digital Marketing” was wildly popular among your fellow hotel and travel marketers.
  3. When asked why he robbed banks, Willie Sutton famously said, “That’s where the money is.” The same could be said about affluent travelers, which likely explains the popularity of this next post, “4 Lessons You Need to Know from Google’s Affluent Traveler Report.”
  4. Few hotel marketing techniques work as effectively as improving your online review situation. This post, “What’s the State of Hotel Reputation Management?” clearly demonstrates why.
  5. Don’t worry if you didn’t get a chance to go to HSMAI’s Digital Marketing Strategy Conference. This round-up of the “10 Essential Lessons Learned From HSMAI’s Digital Marketing Strategy Conference” will let you know what you missed.
  6. It looks increasingly like two major intermediaries want to dominate the online travel space. Check out “What in the World are Priceline and TripAdvisor Up To?” to understand what that means for your hotel.
  7. Another major post that highlights mobile’s importance is “It’s Time You Take Mobile Seriously. Here’s Why.”
  8. Sure, Priceline and TripAdvisor are making some major moves in the travel space. But I wouldn’t count out Expedia. In fact, this look at “What Expedia’s Leaders Can Teach You About Digital Strategy” might just represent required reading for today’s hospitality markers.
  9. Interested in making the most of social for your hotel marketing? Then check out “The 4 Rules of Social Marketing for Hotel Marketers.”
  10. It seems the OTA landscape is getting more and more complicated every day. This post, “Search? Metasearch? What’s the Difference?” should help eliminate some of the confusion for you.
  11. Looking for a set of simple rules as you develop your strategy for 2015? Check out “How to Take Charge of Your Travel Marketing” for some tips and tools that can help you.
  12. Yet another look at mobile’s growing importance, “This Week’s Sign That Mobile Rules,” offers still more ideas on how to incorporate mobile into your digital strategy — and why you should.
  13. I’m not opposed to OTA’s. They often can help you reach guests you might not reach on your own. But, that doesn’t mean everything they offer is good for your hotel. For instance, this post, “Warning: OTA’s Want to Own Your Guest Every Step of the Way,” uncovers recent changes that could cost you guests and revenue down the road.
  14. Finally, “A Fair and Balanced Look at Balancing Direct and OTA Business” explores how to make the most of OTA’s in your overall travel distribution and marketing and is well worth the read.

Interested in learning even more about the future of hospitality e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web? Register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” Developed specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons can help your business adapt to the changing guest environment. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Given the overall popularity of the Travel Tuesday series, you may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing. I’ve presented this talk to a number of hospitality and travel-related organizations and you might find it valuable for your business, too:

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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June 30, 2014

What You Need This Month: The Top 10 Digital Marketing and E-commerce Posts in June

June 30, 2014 | By | No Comments

E-commerce and marketing executives reviewing content on a tabletCurious about the top 10 posts from June? Thought you might be. Without further ado, here’s what we’ve got:

  1. Your favorite post this past month was this Travel Tuesday entry, “What in the World are Priceline and TripAdvisor Up To?”
  2. Coming in at a very close second was this look at search engine marketing, which explained “What Google Won’t Tell You About Search Engine Marketing.”
  3. You all really enjoyed another Travel Tuesday post, “Warning: OTA’s Want to Own Your Guest Every Step of the Way.”
  4. My weekly podcast, Thinks Out Loud, covers all manner of e-commerce and digital marketing strategy questions. Episode 76, “Why Mobile Commerce Will Be Even Bigger Than You Think,” was your fourth most popular post in June.
  5. “Wickedly Effective Laws for E-commerce Websites,” a look at best practices for e-commerce websites was the next most popular item last month.
  6. Another podcast episode, ‘What Does “It’s All E-commerce” Really Mean?’ comes in at #6.
  7. Your next top item comes from the Travel Tuesday series, and uncovers “The Little-Known Factor That Will Kill Your Hotel Marketing.”
  8. The 75th episode of Thinks Out Loud must have been a good one, because this look at “What’s Wrong With Mobile and E-commerce Best Practices?” was your 8th favorite topic this past month.
  9. Another Travel Tuesday post comes in at #9, “Industry Leaders Show Why Guests’ Changing Behaviors Matter.”
  10. Finally, this look at “How to Reach Top Decision Makers in 5 Minutes” closes out your top 10 favorite e-commerce and digital marketing posts for June.

You also might want to check out last month’s round-up, “10 Things You’ve Got to Know Now: The Top 10 Digital Marketing and E-commerce Posts in May.” As ever, I reserve the main spots for original content, so it’s not included in the main list despite its popularity, (it actually represented the fourth most popular post overall). And you might want to check out April’s list, too, if you have a moment.

Interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web? Register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Given the popularity of the Travel Tuesday series, you may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing. Again, it was built for a travel audience, but its lessons apply across industries. The full deck is here:

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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June 9, 2014

How to Reach Top Decision Makers in 5 Minutes

June 9, 2014 | By | No Comments

Executive woman tablet carYou want to reach top decision makers? It’s easier than you think. Just as with any marketing or e-commerce initiative, the key is to reach customers where and when they want to hear from you. Easier said than done, you say? Not really. The one place that executives and senior management pay attention to more than anything else remains their email inbox.

Now, it’s probably no secret I’m a big fan of email marketing, long calling it the forgotten social network and including posts about improving its value in the top e-commerce and digital marketing posts for the last two months.

Don’t believe this? Check out this excellent Marketing Charts study that shows global executives rely on email to consume and share industry information:

“Email newsletters also significantly outpace social media accounts as news sources, with social platforms generally used more for sharing than sourcing content. Even so, results from the survey show that executives are far more likely to use email (80%) to share content than they are to turn to specific social platforms such as Twitter (43%) or LinkedIn (30%).”

This data underscores the importance of email for reaching key decision makers, particualrly if you’re a B2B enterprise looking to converse with managers and executives. Yes, social and search often represents best practice for reaching customers. But as I talked about last week, best practices only truly live up to the name when they work for your business.

Now, how can you make this work for you? Simple. Here are three key steps to keep in mind:

  1. Talk in their language. Think about who you’re talking to. Your customer has a set of needs. Talk in terms of benefits that matter to drive opens and click-throughs.
  2. Don’t waste their time. As I’ve talked about before, your customers don’t really have time to care about you. It’s not that they’re bad people; they’rebusy. Focus on addressing their needs immediately. Solve their problems first and that will help you solve yours, too.
  3. Keep the conversation going. Finally, don’t give up on email. Its value is in creating an ongoing dialogue. Your customer needs to see your message when they’re ready for it and if you’re only sending irregularly — or not at all — you won’t be found when they’re ready to hear from you.

Email is far from dead. And, as this data illustrates, it can be the very best channel for reaching key customers. Which, really, is what your digital marketing and e-commerce efforts are meant to do, isn’t it?

Interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web? Register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing:

Finally, if you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

May 22, 2014

How to Improve Your Email Marketing in Just 5 Minutes

May 22, 2014 | By | No Comments

Mobile email marketing

Interesting study out this week from Yesmail (and discussed at length by Marketing Charts) showing how marketers use responsive design in their email marketing — or more accurately, don’t:

“A majority 52% of email opens occurred on a mobile device in Q1, according to the latest quarterly report [download page] from Yesmail… [which] found that among emails opened on mobile devices, those using responsive design had a 21% higher click-to-open rate than the rest (11.9% vs. 9.8%).”

Pretty cool. So, you’d expect most marketers use responsive design for their emails, right?

Nope.

“Indeed, only one-quarter of marketers tracked use responsive design in a majority of their emails, and that includes just 1% exclusively sending responsive emails. Some 31% don’t use responsive design at all.”

Wait, what?

Let’s just outline those numbers again:

  • Responsive design had a 21% higher click-to-open rate than non-responsive design
  • 75% don’t use responsive design a majority of the time
  • Almost a third don’t use responsive design at all.

Which, I guess is fine, assuming your customers don’t read emails on their phone.

Oh… except they do.

A lot.

Checking email is the #1 activity cited by smartphone users for their device, with 91% checking email at least once per day (also according to Marketing Charts).

I’ve called “email the forgotten social network” for years now, but it remains a hugely valuable e-commerce and marketing channel. Everyone has an email account. Hell, most customers have more than one. And, as the numbers cited above show, they’re checking those accounts at least daily (though, let’s be real: usually it’s much, much more).

Someone recently called mobile “the mortar in bricks and mortar.” And I’d argue that email represents a healthy ingredient for that mortar. But only if your customers can actually see it, read it, and act on it when and where they want if it works on their mobile devices. Ignoring mobile is one of the biggest mistakes you can make in 2014 whether it’s your web presence, your search activities and, yes, your email marketing.

The good news here is that odds are your competition isn’t doing a good job of email marketing to mobile customers. The bad news is if they get there first. If it were me, I wouldn’t wait.

If you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web? Register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also like these slides that list three key digital marketing trends shaping your customers’ behavior right now:

And, finally, you might want to check out some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

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May 8, 2014

Why Search and Social Aren’t What They Claim to Be

May 8, 2014 | By | No Comments

Social and search don't play by the rulesMost of my clients use a combination of paid media, earned media, and owned media to reach their customers. My latest post for Biznology, “What’s wrong with search and social media marketing?” looks at what those mean:

“Historically, media has been broken into three categories:

  • Paid
  • Earned
  • Owned

Paid media is exactly what it sounds like: You pay someone to share your brand’s message. Paid media also powered broadcast and print’s business models for decades, with broadcasters/publishers enjoying a comfortable living from fees charged to advertisers.

Earned media, by contrast, focused on getting others to tell your story without giving them anything (tangible) in return. Traditionally, PR reflected the most common form of earned media.

Owned media, of course, are media channels that businesses controlled. That would include things like your website and mailing list (both email and snail mail).”

Search and social, however, don’t easily fit into these categories. Sure, you think you pay for search and promotions on social, and that you earn “Likes” and “Shares” and “Follows” and “Friends” across various social channels. But, in fact, you don’t. You don’t own the customers. You don’t even buy access to them. Not really. Because Google and Facebook and Twitter and others can change the rules at any time regarding how and where and when you can talk to your customers. In fact, they do — all the time.

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use search or social. Nor does it mean they can’t be valuable channels for reaching the right customer at the right time. What it does mean is that how you use search and social matters.

A lot.

And if you want to know how to use search and social most effectively to reach those customers, check out the full post over on Biznology, “What’s wrong with search and social media marketing?”

And if you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, you might want to register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You may also want to review the tips in my recent presentation Digital Marketing Directions: Three Trends Shaping 2014 Hospitality Internet Marketing:

Finally, if you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

You might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including:

Tim Peter

By

April 28, 2014

What Can Proctor & Gamble Teach You About the State of Digital Marketing?

April 28, 2014 | By | No Comments

Mobile shopping coupleI’ve long believed Proctor & Gamble is the greatest marketing machine in the world. After all, anyone who can get you to believe one box of laundry detergent is markedly better than another — and they do that really, really well — knows what they’re doing. So it’s worth noting how P&G is handling its budget in the coming year:

“A Procter & Gamble executive recently said the company is reducing its marketing budget this year, but still expects the overall impact to be well ahead of previous years thanks, in part, to a bigger focus on mobile and social strategies. “

That “P&G executive” is the company’s chief financial officer. And he said this during the company’s recent quarterly earnings call to Wall Street investors.

Think about this: The chief financial officer of one of the world’s largest “…spenders on advertising and marketing” (according to the Mobile Marketer article), is shifting its spend to mobile and social and believes so fully in those channels that it’s telling investors on Wall Street that they’ll still make more money.

So, here’s my next question: Where do you think you should be putting your marketing spend?

Interested in more info about how it’s why social and mobile continue to shape marketing? Then you might want to check out these slides from a recent speaking engagement “Digital Marketing Directions: 3 Trends Shaping Internet Marketing and E-commerce in 2014″. Check them out here:

And, if you’re interested in learning even more about the future of e-commerce and marketing via the social, local, mobile web, register to receive a special report I’ve produced in conjunction with hotel marketing firm Vizergy, “Digital Hotel Marketing in a Multiscreen World.” While it’s targeted specifically at hotel and resort marketers, the lessons apply to just about any business. You can get your free copy of the report here.

Finally, you might also enjoy some of our past coverage of the social, local, mobile web and what it means for your business, including: