Lessons in Online Marketing from the Winners of the Webbys

1903 Winner, Penngrove Power-Up

The Webbys celebrate good Internet content, from personal blogs to social media campaigns. The 2013 winners have vastly different motivations, from bringing awareness to the water shortage in other countries to selling more soda. Still, they all share innovation and a way to bring customers together online, specifically on social media sites. Here is what the winners did right.

Online Campaigns

The winner of the 2013 Webby in the category of Online Campaigns was Adidas, for its “The Biggest Champions League Final of All Time” campaign. The social media part of this campaign integrated a Twitter handle create specifically for the campaign, as well as Facebook videos and banners that were used by players who would be playing in the soccer match being promoted. Users were encouraged to get involved, and “go all in” for their team by taking part in a vote. This campaign teaches business how important it is to encourage engagement, be it by voting or watching a video.

Social Media Campaigns

The winner of the Social Media Campaign award was Water is Life, which created a campaign called “Hashtag Killer.” The campaign sought to use an already popular Twitter hashtag, “#firstworldproblems” to bring awareness to the real issues in third world countries. By tapping into a trend that was already on the minds of social media users, this campaign could easily grab the attention of social media users. The videos associated with the campaign mocked the messages commonly associated with the hashtag #firstworldproblems found on twitter, which allowed Water is Life to relate to their audience.

Mobile and Experience Marketing

FuelBand and Nike teamed up for the campaign that won the 2013 Webby for Mobile and Experience Marketing. The device being promoted filled a real need for Nike’s athletic customers. A wrist band that is able to measure the user’s activity throughout the day lets him know when he has met his activity goals for the day, and the band changes color to reflect how close he is to his goal. By allowing their product to sync to social media, Nike and FuelBand improved both the marketing outreach of their product and the user experience.

Mobile Advertising

Band Aid was awarded the prize for Mobile Advertising. This unique campaign allows users to scan a picture of their Muppets Band Aid with a mobile app, and then watch the bandage turn into a small stage where animated Muppets dance. The campaign was engaging for users, and also allowed Band Aid to promote its brand in a way that was fun for the user and not an explicate, hard sell.

Native Advertising

Native advertising is advertising that appears to be just another news story or video, while it also promotes a product. Pepsi won the Webby in 2013 for this category, by creating buzz by offering to do an hour of people’s chores if they would try their new soda. The bold promise allowed their  product to be the subject of many online articles, which were in turn shared on social media. Pepsi was able to leverage a unique customer promise into a lot of social media buzz.

Guest author Jennifer Watts is a retired web designer. She now spends her days blogging about all things web design. Visit WebHostingReviews.ca to find web hosting reviews.

Useful Links: Growth Markets, columns, Grandmas

Here’s terrific short video called Find Your Next Growth Market with Nilofer Merchant. Sorry, I can’t find any code to embed it here, but it’s worth a listen and very short.

How to Use CSS3 Columns is a quick and easy tutorial.

Grandma Got STEM is a new blog where people can send in information about the older women in their lives who have been working for decades in STEM fields. Invisible no more!

Review: The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue

book cover

The Zen of Social Media Marketing: An Easier Way to Build Credibility, Generate Buzz, and Increase Revenue is by Shama Kabani, published by BenBella Books (2013). This is the 3rd edition of this popular book. The author is the CEO of The Marketing Zen Group – a successful marketing firm – and does a lot of speaking on TV and in training and conference talks. Kabani’s success as a marketer adds credibility to the tips and advice contained in the book.

I’ve never heard Sharma Kabani speak, but I can almost feel her voice reaching out of this book: an enthusiastic and very present voice that inspires listeners to make the leap into social media marketing. She’s full of encouraging quotes, examples of success, and tips to help marketers understand various social media sites and how to use them to best advantage. The book feels as if it was created from her speaking engagements and carries a vibe that feels like she’s right in front of you with a set of slides.

Kabani begins by explaining basics like the need for a website and/or a blog. She talks about SEO and what social media marketing is and is not. Then she goes through a series of chapters about Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+. These chapters about specific social media sites are all organized in the same way. She explains,

  • why the site is important
  • how to set up your presence on the site and how to use the site’s various features
  • how to build your presence on the site
  • dos and don’ts of marketing on the site

The chapters about individual sites provide both basic how-to information and tips on marketing that are valuable and specific.

The book also has chapters about using video, about creating a social media policy, social media case studies from real businesses and advertising on social media.

Kabani made occasional statements that seemed a bit arbitrary to me, for example, you should blog twice a week, or you should synchronize all your social media efforts with ping.fm. I think she would certainly be more nuanced than these statements appear if you could engage in a Q&A with her.

Summary: A helpful guide for marketers who are unfamiliar with social media marketing and strategy.

A review by Virginia DeBolt of The Zen of Social Media Marketing (rating: 4 stars)

Disclosure: The publisher provided a review copy of this book, but my opinions are my own.

5 Reasons Graphic Designers and Marketers Should Read the News

kid with sign
Image by mickey van der stap via Flickr

With so much sensationalism and tragedy, it can be easy to tire of reading the news.  But the news can be an excellent resource for graphic designers and marketers.  Here are five reasons why you should be reading the news.

1.  Capitalize on stories

When a major story breaks, you can profit by designing related materials or marketing your company along a parallel story line.

2.  Generate new ideas

Simply browsing headlines can be enough to inspire you to conceive a new design style or marketing strategy.

3.  Identify opportunities

Watch the business and classifieds sections for companies that need graphic design services.  Find undiscovered target customer bases in the lifestyle and features for your products and services.  Advertise and sell.

4.  Study the competition

Scour the news and photos for mentions of your main competitors to find out what they’re doing.  Then use the information to your advantage.

5.  Discover new tools

Read industry-related publications to learn about new tools that can increase your efficiency, return on investment, and your bottom line.

Try reading new publications from similar industries to find overlapping opportunities.  You should also skim news you’re normally not interested in; you’ll be surprised at how many opportunities you discover.  And if you’re used to reading your news digitally, try picking up a few newspapers and magazines.  The various interests represented in such publications can expose you to new ideas that might not cross your mind if you only read the same material.

Start thinking of reading the news as an investment in your own profits, and it can quickly become a go-to source for inspiration.

Guest Author Brian Morris writes for the PsPrint Design & Printing Blog. PsPrint is an online commercial printing company. Follow PsPrint on Twitter @PsPrint and Facebook.

Terri Jenkins: entrepreneurial woman in tech

She’s been in the SEO and PPC business for 16 years. Sixteen years! You don’t find that kind of longevity and expertise in many web-based businesses. She owns a company that enables her to do the thing that is closest to her heart: find young women with marketing backgrounds and train them to be both expert marketers and technically confident and authoritative, too.

Terri JenkinsWho is this woman? Terri Jenkins, the owner of W3PR.com. She and her husband, Mark run the company from Albuquerque, with a second office in Los Angeles. Their business involves internet marketing, advertising, SEO, PPC, social media marketing, website conversion, and Google Analytics.

Terri describes herself as a hybrid – both a technologist and an advertising guru. In order to do her work with PPC campaigns, SEO and marketing, she has to keep current with leading edge technology and the technological implications of new developments to her industry. She says her first love was technology and talks with fond memory of having a beta account at CompuServe and being one of the original advertisers on AOL.

Terri and her husband started their business in L.A. During the dotcom boom, they had over 25 employees. After the dotcom crash they struggled, but didn’t give up. They made their office a virtual workplace, with all remote employees. Now their work takes place in the cloud. Recently they moved to Albuquerque, where Terri’s parents live. Their business consists of Terri and her husband, three women who work remotely full time, and one man who is part time.

When we met to talk, she was delighted to share the news that she’d just hired her first new full time employee since 2008, a young woman with a marketing degree. She said the young woman is smart and eager to learn. Terri looks for employees like that. She says, “As part of their training with me, I want to make sure they a cross-trained with the technical knowledge, too.” She adds, “That gives them and me something extra other ad agencies don’t have – a well-rounded knowledge that we can offer.”

Terri said she sees a lot of insecurity and lack of confidence in young women. She enjoys nurturing them and helping them “own what they know and use it unapologetically. Young women need to value their own opinions to be effective and authoritative.”

Sixteen years on the front edge of relevance is impressive in a world of rapid change. I asked how she does it. She said, “I feel like I read for a living.” Her reading is designed to make sure she understands everything in the Internet world that’s being talked about. She uses the knowledge to improve her own business as well as that of her clients. Virtual phone service, cloud based meetings and document sharing, and online project management tools are all concepts she’s incorporated into her business.

She shared a few of her clients. W3PR works with Red Bull to implement SEO and PPC ads for sites like Shawn White and others. They work with Atari on the re-release of old video games from the 80s. They’re working with AMC Theaters on the promotion of the new dine-in theaters going in around the country. There are many other examples from their client list that testify to their success.

In 2010, the New Mexico Technology Council awarded Terri Jenkins a Women in Tech Award, recognizing her longevity and her talent for inspiring others. A perfect award for someone who says nurturing young employees brings her a great deal of satisfaction.

You can follow Terri on Twitter @TerriJenkins. She likes to share what she knows there.

syndicated on BlogHer

Useful Links: Accessible forms, CSS Quick-Question

Accessible forms using WCAG2.0 from Web Usability. Code examples, screen grabs, video and  transcripts of screen reader interpretations of forms. Very valuable. For educators: this is a  great resource for an assignment. If I gave stars to my useful links, this one would get 5 stars.

Smashing Magazine is doing something interesting using Twitter. Their first post based on questions from forums/Twitter is Ask SM: CSS Quick-Question Edition. Questions posted to the SM forums or to @smashingmag or @chriscoyier are given complete answers in a column of the magazine. Common CSS problems are tackled in this post. I find this idea an example of “getting it.” A design magazine takes questions from readers/followers and answers them in SM’s well-illustrated fashion for all to see. This is a super example of a two-way street working well, of a magazine that gets what social media is all about. Looking for an example of a business that communicates in an effective way with its audience? This is one.

Compare what Smashing Magazine is doing with what Dell just did with it’s Della site. (SEE Big Aaargh! for Dell’s Della.) That’s an example of doing it wrong.

How I Spent my Weekend: BarCamp Albuquerque

This was my first BarCamp. I always figured they were full of youthful geeks and I would have no place among them. But when Michael Bernstein started leaving comments on this blog and talking about it with me, I decided to give it a try.

It was one of my best decisions ever. I meet several interesting youthful geeks—okay, maybe youthful is a relative term, but that’s what they all looked like to me. But I’m happy to find them in Albuquerque, where I don’t often meet people like that. I don’t seem to find many ageful geeks anywhere I go, so I have to hope the youthful ones don’t boot me out the door when they see me coming.

I met Reid Givens, who gave a terrific presentation on marketing. He knows how to do a presentation and how to create good visuals. He’s never been to SXSWi, where I think he would be highly successful as a presenter. I hope he’ll make the effort to submit a proposal for a panel for SXSWi in 2010. Reid also did an extemporaneous presentation on CSS that was a lot of fun.

I met Emily Lewis, who presented a Web Standards Primer. She started a blog about standards and semantics about a month ago. She posted a link to her presentation in this blog post A Great Time at BarCamp Albuquerque. In a state where many people don’t know what web standards or web accessibility even are, Emily is a jewel.

There were some geeky presentations, too. It was BarCamp, after all. The ones that I could follow the best with my limited understanding of programming were Chris Kenworthy who talked about web analytics and gave some good demonstrations of several of the tools he uses for that.

Jack Moffit talked about XMPP. This discussion also made some inroads into my brain. Some of the things you can do with XMPP (Extensible Messaging and Presence Protocol), an open XML communications technology, are very interesting and it appears to be a hot trend in the making.

Daniel Lyons talked about REST. Michael Berstein talked about Python. I only heard bits and pieces of some of the other things. One thing I really hated to miss (but had to miss) was the presentation by ten-year-old Adam Thomas who talked about Scratch programming for kids. I secretly watched him playing with Scratch while the adults yammered on during the day and he created some very impressive things  while he was goofing around waiting his turn.

I used Twitter to microblog links and things I wanted to remember, so there are a few things mentioned on Twitter that I didn’t include in this more lengthy post.

BarCamp Albuquerque, I’m glad I metcha!

e mergent took photos.