Miranda Miller

Brands Gone Wild: Social Media Marketing Fails & Lessons Learned

Miranda Miller     Online Marketing, Online PR, Rant, Social Media

Social media campaigns gone wrong.So you want your campaign to go viral…

Let’s keep in mind your business objectives, shall we? As these social marketing fails will show, campaigns may take off but go seriously sideways if companies place popularity above purpose.

Some companies can afford more risk and racier campaigns than others, yet risk in business must always be mitigated and justifiable based on the potential rewards. You might disagree with my opinion on the campaigns featured in this post, but I believe the risks should have been evident from the start and far outweighed the potential payoff.

These examples may cause you to shake your head, or enjoy a good belly laugh, but each is a fantastic learning opportunity for social media marketers.

Lee Odden

Geeky Gadgets for Surviving and Thriving at Conferences

Geeky Gadgets

Here I sit blogging in my hotel room at the Renaissance in Austin, Texas before a full day of search and social marketing brain dump at Pubcon South. Immediately after that is SXSWi for a few days. A few days after that it’s NYC for a PRSA thing followed by SES New York.  I speak at 15 plus events a year which means a good amount of travel. Unless you’re thoughtful about it, travel & conferences can equal a lot of unproductive time.

That’s where the geeky gadgets come in. While I would have liked to name this post “10 Electronic Gadgets a Digital Marketer Can’t Live Without”, the reality is that there are many more than 10.

Lee Odden

A Story of US Bank Visa Losing Yet Another Customer

Lee Odden     Rant

[Start Rant]

Anyone in the search biz who knows me, knows I’m a pretty easy going person and sometimes even rational. 🙂 My experience with usbank Visa both in the past and today trying to buy a product online and later a domain name transfer gave me a good taste of the unreasonable way seemingly reasonable companies are serving customers. And making it difficult to stay on as customers.

First, I attempted to purchase a product I was planning to use as a prize for a contest at our office. I should have just had Amie take care of this stuff, but I thought it would only take a few seconds like most of the monthly online purchases I make. However, in this case, the online merchant checkout screen said there was a problem with the usbank Visa.

Lee Odden

What Not To Do With Your Business Blog

This morning, and I mean really early morning, I went about my weekly perusal of about 50 or so SEO and SEM blogs. For the most part this is a very informative and satisfying experience. However, there are a few barriers to blog reader experience that I feel especially obligated to point out. These observations are relevant for any business blog:

  • Don’t make readers register or login to make a comment. What, you’re too lazy to manage all the comment spam? Or install a better spam filter? You’re lucky to get people to your blog in the first place. Why make it inconvenient to interact?
Lee Odden

National Pork Board Needs to Back Off

You know those kinds of people that have nothing better to do with their time, so they have to pick on others to justify their existence? Laywers come to mind. Especially corporate lawyers.

I am a little late to the story about our friend, Jennifer Laycock of Search Engine Guide, her blog The Lactivist and the bully National Pork Board, but hey I’ve got a business too ya know? Regardless, I just had to write something up before the Super Proposal, I mean Super Bowl weekend was in full effect as this is the epitome of lameness.

I’m not completely unsympathetic to trademark holders and the need to protect them as we’re going through the final stages of our own trademark process. I do understand that there is a certain obligation to defend your trademark or you lose it.

Lee Odden

Playstation 3 Baby!

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Rant

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I couldn’t help myself. The Best Buy employee walking around the games area with a Playstation 3 under his arm was just too tempting. I was there to buy a Nintendo Gameboy Advance game for my oldest and I had to ask, “How many of those PS3’s do you have?”. The BB guy said “6”. I said, “I’ll take it”. And walked out of the store with 1 game, 3 Blu-Ray movies, an HDMI cable and a 60 gig PS3.

Somehow I’ll rationalize this as a purchase for the kids, but who’s kidding who? I know what a stand alone Blu-Ray DVD player costs right now, so in my mind, this was a good deal. Besides, we used our old PS2 for movies 90% of the time anyway.

Lee Odden

The hypocrisy of digg and spam

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Rant, Social Media

More aggressive SMO marketers often talk about being careful not to get user accounts banned on digg. But what about the domain name? Banning user accounts has to do with the actions of the user. That is, behaviors and actions the user can control.

However, a domain name brings into other considerations. For example, whether or not influential members of the digg community like or don’t like a certain site or topic, regardless of what the mass of digg users respond to in the form of story submissions and votes. The site or blog owner has little control over whether other people submit stories and/or vote on them, bury them or report them as spam. Even if they’re not.

Lee Odden

Public Relations Spam and the Bad Pitch

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Online PR, Rant

It continues to amaze me how many clueless or sloppy PR pitches we get week in and week out. Just last week it ranged from obvious typos/grammatical errors to claims that a story was exclusive and unreleased when a quick check of Google Blog Search showed nothing less than 10 blogs had already posted on the topic. While these are not necessarily dealbreakers for coverage, the one that will guarantee a visit to the trash bin is blatant spin.

I realize as much as anyone, that the job of a public relations expert is to tell compelling stories. But there is a big difference between outright “spin” and a story that is genuinely interesting and newsworthy. Because I am in the public relations business, I may be more suspicious of this than most. But when a pitch relies on a sort of suspension of disbelief effect because of great storytelling, I consider that nothing less than public relations spam.

Lee Odden

Incompetence by Design

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Rant

Watch out, cat post coming!

Recently a credit card of mine was identified by the issuing bank as possibly having been included in a set of stolen data or online tampering. A new card was issued. Then I went about updating services paid with this card.

One of these services was our phone company and DSL provider, Frontier Communications. After not being able to login to the online bill pay I called and was informed the only way to change the card on file was to login via online bill pay. My description of not being able to login or successfully retrieve login information was falling on deaf ears, so I restate this information. I am informed of Frontier’s excellent security measures and the rep reiterates that the only way to change the card on file is through logging in online, knowing full well that I cannot do that.

Lee Odden

Lameness in the SEO Biz

It’s all part of doing business in the industry, but I’ve been dealing with more and more parasites lately, so here’s my new definition:

  • Competing agencies that do not specialize in search marketing, but are too lazy to learn. They leech off of your information and good nature for their own betterment offering nothing in return and call it “co-opetition”.
  • Prospects that try every trick in the book to suck how-to information out of you in the name of “learning about the SEO process”.
  • Content spammers, copyright and trademark hacks who will take every last opportunity to rob you of your brand and content.

What do you do?

  • Be smarter about how you package information and be more conservative about setting expectations
Lee Odden

Be Geek Cool and Lose the WWW

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Rant

Something I’ve been noticing the past few months is an increasing number of web sites that do not use www. Either this is a trend that’s full force and I’ve missed it (busy with SEO clients) or it’s a trend picking up steam. Or maybe it’s a techie geek sort of thing as most of the sites I’ve noticed are a bit geeky. And they would take that designation as a compliment I think.

First I noticed Glen Stansberry’s excellent blog was shortened to just lifedev.net. Then Thomas aka TwisterMC’s new blog, bloggerdesign.com did the same thing.  And just today I noticed Greg Hartnett (greghartnett.com) of BOTW has just said no to the www. It’s not just these sites though, I’ve noticed many others too.

Lee Odden

Online Communication 101

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Rant

In the course of working with a fast growing business, you get exposed to many different people. Prospects, clients, employees, potential employees, vendors and consultants all bring different communication skills to the table. That’s not news of course, but it’s simply amazing to me the lack of effort some people put into communicating effectively.

Here are my top 5 online communication pet peeves:

  1. Emails asking for a call back and they don’t include a phone number in their signature, and many times, not a signature at all.
  2. Phone messages with a name and a number and no reason for calling.
  3. Phone messages and the phone number is read so fast, you’d think the person was in a contest for fast-phone-number-reading.