Location: The Evolution Of How It Became A Vital 4th Dimension for a CMO

A CMO’s responsibility has been to merge three dimensions, her brand, its customers and the technology to add value to its customers.

These heads of marketing have had to continually struggle with changes in the marketplace in an effort to maintain this value. She has been confronted with maintaining brand control throughout her country across its many geographies, demographics and economies. And in many cases her brand extends internationally further complicated this brand control need.

Of course her customers are ever fluid, growing up and reacting to forces outside of her control. These forces cause her to many times go back to step one and rethink her decisions, strategies and tactics to stay on point with her customers.

When you add in the daily introductions into the technology space, it demands new skills of this marketer to regularly consider and evaluate them and protect, if not claim, new land in advance of her competition.

In the digital space we have seen this play out so clearly in hindsight. The introduction of search engines into the customer’s journey added new demands on the CMO. SEO became critical to her brand.

Next the search engines went from a universal approach to localizing their value to the searchers and now the head of marketing needed to consider her presence on a local basis throughout her geography.

GPS and smartphones untethered her customers and gave the journey a new dimension by allowing them to be virtually anywhere in their interaction with the CMO’s brand. Now the context of where her customers were could be used if not forced upon her.

Introduce now ad tech and mar tech to the mix and the CMO can combine the previous advances to surgically target her customers, their needs and wants at nearly every point in their journey. This creates a new level of value to them they haven’t seen before.

The CMO now has the challenge, and advantage her predecessors never had of adding a fourth dimension to her customer value goal:

Location!

Merging location with her brand, her customer and new technology will set her up to add significant value to her customers throughout their life as a customer of the brand.

Website Development: Don’t Skip the Two Most Important Steps

What do website development, entrepreneurship and awesome sex have in common?

All three can rock your world if you are mentally strong and disciplined enough to practice delayed gratification. Oh, and this: No matter how accomplished you think you are at these things, there’s a decent chance you’re not doing it as well as you could be.

The sex thing? That’s a discussion for another time, maybe over beers once we know each other a little better. And even though I believe anyone who hopes to be successful in the Internet marketing industry would do well to learn as much as possible about the principles of entrepreneurship, the concept of delayed gratification in business is not really what this is about, either.

It’s about this: It is a bad idea to skip or skim over the two most important steps in developing a kick-ass website. But what are those steps? And why are they so important? More on that in a minute.

Listen, if you’re satisfied with your current process for website development; if you think you know what you’re doing and don’t need to know more; if all you care about is the quick fee you’ll make off your next website launch; by all means, feel free to move along. Best of luck to you.

If you’re still reading, good. It means you would have done well as one of those kids in the Stanford marshmallow test. Rather than gobbling down that lone marshmallow in front of you, you have the patience required to discipline yourself to wait for that second marshmallow you were promised.

Here It Is

The two steps you should never – ever – skip or skim over in website development are the precise definition of goals and the proper use of functional mockups.

Website Development Skipped Steps

OK, no big secret, that. Of course you set goals. Of course you use functional mockups. But do you, really?

Here’s the thing. After initial discovery with a client, once you have that first, vague notion of how to proceed, how often do you find yourself skipping directly to the development of design mockups? Come on, be honest. You and I know that’s the fun part – it’s where the artistry of web development lives.

Yet, the artistry can’t come to life without the consummation of a happy marriage between clear, well-defined goals based on a deep and thorough discovery process and a functional wireframe designed specifically to achieve those goals. Only when those two steps are integrated – and approved by the client – is a project truly ready to graduate to the design mockup phase.

Look, I’m not necessarily saying you’re taking lazy shortcuts if you don’t pay enough attention to the definition of goals and the creation of functional mockups. What I’m saying is, you might not even know you’re selling those steps short. The point is, you probably already do this well, but you might not be doing it as well as you could be.

Why?

So, why are these steps so important?

Because well-defined goals establish traceable metrics that tell you – in no uncertain terms – how well or poorly your site is doing. These metrics, in turn, help you learn about what works and what doesn’t, lessons that you can incorporate into your future websites. And using functional mockups the right way allows you to think clearly – without the distraction of a website’s many potential design bells and whistles – about how you intend to achieve those established goals.

It takes time, it takes thought, and yes, it might feel a little painful and tedious at times. It will undoubtedly slow you down and delay the “fun” part, as well as the tangible reward of a launched and successful site. In some respects, it takes the magic out of website development, because you are forced to do things a little more clinically.

But these two steps are absolutely mandatory if you want to deliver meaningful results to your clients and reach your full potential in the industry. And why would you settle for less than your full potential? Be strong. Be patient. Practice discipline. Trust me on this – it’s worth the wait.

And You?

Have you seen these steps skipped? Tell me your war story below?

5 Nuggets Social Fresh 2010

Social Fresh Tampa - 5 Nuggets I Still UseLast February I attended Social Fresh Tampa at the last minute because it was local, inexpensive and didn’t appear to be a MLM event.  Thank God!

As I prepare for the 2011 tour to pass through Tampa tomorrow (though some training started today), I thought I’d share 5 nuggets I took from last year’s event and have used in the past 12 months.

1. Twitter and Facebook Panel

Nugget: How do you handle 24 hours of the day?  Are you there when they talk about you?

Over the past year I have had so many instances managing a large social presence where activities happen from 5pm-9am, when no one is in the office.  Planning and building these responses by more than one person are the only way you can sustain a 24/7 presence on the web for your brand.

2. Maggie Fox – Social Media Group – runs Ford’s social media

Nugget: Earned media is amplified by paid media which is syndicated through owned media

I’ve “borrowed” Maggie’s nugget in presentations, designing marketing plans even over beers with my neighbors in the driveway.  When you approach your presence on the web respecting what you own and don’t own, you give more credence to those who want to talk about you.   You’re playing on their turf after all.

3. Branding within Social Media Panel – Tampa Bay Rays

Nugget: Managing your reputation when you don’t control it

Much like Maggie’s approach to what you own and don’t own, this panel shed light on how to manage your brand when you own, but don’t have control.  There are many franchise or multi-location online marketing scenarios where there are multiple owners.  In these situations, knowing how to achieve your goals with modified rules is critical.

4. The Social Web, Crisis Response and Reputation Rejuvenation – presented by General Motor’s Director of Social Media

Nugget: You need to be engaged prior to a crisis

I have actively taken his advice and worked hard to engage and build up my company’s reputation not only because it’s the right thing to do, but also because when we do maker a misstep I hope we’ll be afforded some leniency to correct and recover with a fatality.

5. Corporate Blogging Panel

Nugget: Removal criteria: Vulgar, Personal, Not germane

I know it seems rather basic but these 3 simple criteria truly sum up how to approach the haters, trolls and general angry people in this world online.  We have a very high bar for removal, but if you take a business issue and make it into a personal attack, you’re not playing fair.

What Did You Learn?

What about you?

Did you learn anything last year that you can say you used in the past 12 months?

Let me know if so.

Pump Up Your Website With These 25 No-Brainers

<span class="drop_cap">T</span>Whether you’re new to online marketing or a seasoned veteran, it sure is nice to see what others consider important when setting up or taking over the online marketing for a business and its website.

Below is my Top 25 list of things to do from Day One.

It’s a simple list and knocking them out is not really that hard after you’ve done each once.  So don’t let it intimidate you.

Start with the simple ones and move from there!

  1. Implement Web Analytics!
  2. Setup Google Webmaster Tools
  3. Setup Google Webmaster Tools for www and non-www
  4. Track 404 Errors – Pages Not Found
  5. Create 301 Redirects for pages not found
  6. Exclude yourself from Web Analytics (Google Analytics, Adobe Omniture SiteCatalyst, etc.)
  7. Create a mobile version of your site using MobiSiteGalore
  8. Test your page load times using Page Speed
  9. Create HTML, XML and geo sitemaps
  10. Archive your website using SurfOffline
  11. Audit broken outbound links  using Xenu Link Sleuth
  12. Use a trackable phone number
  13. Create robots.txt
  14. Implement Hcard
  15. Redirect non-ww to www
  16. Redirect index.html to /
  17. Claim your business on Google Places
  18. Create a favicon.ico for your website
  19. Confirm your website’s IP address is not blacklisted
  20. Add alt tags to your website images
  21. Validate the HTML used on your website
  22. Claim your business on Yelp.com, CitySearch.com and JudysBook.com
  23. Set up Google Alerts
  24. Validate Browser compatibility
  25. Set up site search within Google Alerts
  26. Set up a globally recognized avatar (gravatar)

My list is actually much longer than this, but these are my top 25.

Do you think they’re right?
What did I leave off?

Tell me in the comments below.

Redirecting non-www domain: Do You Have Website Schizophrenia?

Are you schizophrenic?  Or my favorite name-calling from childhood, two-faced?

I’m talking about your website, not you personally.  Those personally schizophrenic can just jump to the bottom and begin commenting.  Your website can have dual personalities.  And if left unchecked it will hurt you.  It will cause you acute pain (things won’t work for your visitors) and chronic pain (the search engines will fail to rank you highly over time).

I’m referring to your root domain address.  You may have bought your domain name, e.g. YourDomainName.com.  But look in the address bar, does it show www. yourdomainname.com or yourdomainname.com?

redirect non-www domains to www domains

What you see up there is important.  Answer these two questions, see how you scored and fix your issues, if needed, with my suggestions below.

Website Schizophrenic Test

Question 1: If you type in ‘yourdomainname.com’ into the address bar does it eventually:

Question 2: If you type in ‘www.yourdomainname.com’ into the address bar does it eventually:

Website Domain Health Chart

Healthy Website BehaviorHealthy – This is what you want.  Personally I prefer my websites exhibit characteristics A and A, rather than Band B.  That is, redirecting the non-www to www domains versus the opposite.

Schizophrenic Website BehaviorSchizo – If that’s you, then you need help and you’re in the right place.  We’ll fix you below.

Sick Website BehaviorSick – If one of those addresses doesn’t show anything other than maybe an error, you have a hosting issue that you need to address with your hosting provider (I use Liquid Web) or your webmaster.  Take care of that first before you work on your schizophrenic issues.

Sick Website BehaviorDead – Why are you reading this?  Your website is dead.  You would be happy to be schizo right now, because your website doesn’t exist on the Internet.  Go see a doctor and hope for reincarnation.

So You’re A  Schizophrenic!

You need to fix this because the search engines are very likely seeing your one website as two because one is preceded by ‘www’ and the other is not.  Tell your webmaster immediately!

If you’re the webmaster, keeping reading.

Apache Web Servers

In the root folder of your website (where your index.html resides) place a new file named ‘.htaccess’. Yes there the first letter of the file is a dot.  If you already have one then you can add to it.  In your .htaccess file you are going to place the following code.  Being sure to replace your domain name with mine.

# -FrontPage-
#rewrite markcregan.com to www. markcregan.com
RewriteEngine On
RewriteCond %{HTTP_HOST} ^markcregan.com$ [NC]
RewriteRule (.*)$ http://www. markcregan.com/$1 [R=301,L]
IndexIgnore .htaccess */.??* *~ *# */HEADER* */README* */_vti*

That’s it, now test it out and make sure you’re healthy again.

Microsoft IIS Web Servers

If that’s you then here is my suggested websites. I’ve never worked on an IIS machine as a webmaster

If this helps or you have questions, please let me know.  And keep your head on straight.