A great video from an Italian Internet consulting firm, predicting what would happen to copyright, tv, radio, and the internet in the next fifty years.  Online Marketers, take note if you plan to stay in the business for the long haul!


Free Email Marketing templates available now.

Visit http://www.carbongraffiti.com/emailmarketing/emailtemplates.html to preview and download 10 different hand-coded HTML email templates, designed to ensure maximum compatibility with most email clients including Outlook 2007. All designs incorporate industry best practices including CAN-SPAM compliance.

Isn’t it just that simple?

When the internet started, just having a website meant you were likely to be found. But as more people and and more businesses created more websites, the ability to be unique and one-of-a-kind became more difficult. So now, 8 A.G. (after Google) on, the internet is no longer a luxury to those who know how to program, but the norm to anyone and everyone who owns a PC or Mac. And with the ubiquity of the net, websites and blogs, computers and so on, getting seen and heard as a marketer is really difficult; as of 2004, Google was indexing over 8 billion webpages.  Imagine what it is now?

Which is exactly why the concept of ‘1-to-1 marketing’ seems such a no-brainer, but at the same time is a concept that’s lost on many companies, businesses and individuals alike.

Assuming the natural growth of something as never-before-seen as the internet requires ‘growing pains’ and trial and error, we’re all past the first phase (Web 1.0), which can only be described as ‘the blind shotgun‘ or ‘spray and pray‘ marketing.  With email marketing it was obtaining a list, creating one campaign with standard copy, and pressing send.  With SEO it was simply creating page after page with keywords and phrases, hoping to get picked up by Google’s magical algorithms.  The same model still exists in most online advertising – eyeballs matter more than clicks, seeing as banner ads are becoming so ubiquitous and commonplace that I for one no longer even notice them.

But now we’re in the next phase, and as a marketer it’s even harder to get noticed.  With blogs, pre-packaged websites, affordable broadband etc., anyone can act as an authority on any subject, or sell their goods, or do just about anything.  So getting noticed is of the utmost importance.  But spraying and praying won’t work anymore. You can’t just go buy a list, because the recipients won’t respond – they know what’s Spam and what’s not.  Google and other SE’s are smarter, you can’t stuff keywords into a page’s meta info and hope for high rankings.  You’re the needle, the internet is the (massive) haystack.  To get noticed you not only need to be ‘remarkable’ like Seth Godin’s purple cow, but you need to be willing and able to speak to customers as individuals and deliver content, emails, pages, etc that are relevant to them and only them.

Basically everyone needs to stop trying to shout louder than everyone else, and focus on what they’re offering and tailor it to the individual customer. 

ESPs (Email Marketing Service Providers) are waking up to this and starting to offer better list segmentation capabilities and content management.  SEOs are starting to realize that Google is really, really smart, and that simply making a page that’s meant to be read by a human being will work better than a page full of jibberish keywords.  Online advertising is getting smarter too, with better technologies to allow for segmentation and localization, and new waves like socal bookmarking are allowing for relevance to reign supreme.

But as long as everyone understands that shouting loud is not working anymore, we’ll all be better off.

If you’re strapped for time and need to send an email campaign ASAP, don’t have the resources to design a campaign from scratch, or are just plain lazy, visit www.CarbonGraffiti/emailmarketing/emailtemplates.html now to find 10 hand-coded HTML templates ready-to-use. Simply replace the copy with your own, make a few image tweaks (curse you, Outlook 2007), host the images on your server, and send away.

All templates are hand-coded in HTML to ensure maximum compatibility (on most email clients, especially Outlook 2007 in all of its non-CSS-and-Microsoft Word-rendering glory), and images are included in the downloadable ZIP file. Email Marketing Best Practices such as ‘Can’t view this email properly’, Forward and Subscribe buttons, CAN-SPAM compliance and minimal use of background images and/or CSS are adhered to, wrapped in simple and actionable designs.

All templates are free to use, with link-backs and attribution most appreciated.

The other day on London’s Oxford Street , as I was pulled by my fiancee into every clothing store imaginable, I couldn’t help but notice that every single one of them dedicated the ground floor to women shoppers. The men’s sections were almost always upstairs or downstairs. Mentioning this to my fiancee, she simply stated the obvious – women shop more.

It looks like it’s more of the same for online shopping in the UK.
In a (virtual) world presumably populated exclusively by males, a new study from InternetRetailing.net (excerpt below) reveals that in the UK the 18-34 year old female demographic is now the single most prevalent group online. This group, according to the study, accounts for 18% of all active online Brits; there are 2x as many 18-34 year old women online in the UK than girls under 18 or women over 50, and in comparison the most prevalent male age group online turns out to be those over 50. For every hour spent online in the UK, a woman aged between 18-34 accounts for 13 minutes of that hour. Wow.

My angle on this? Online marketers and retailers are realizing the potential (and if not, should be) of the never-ending shopping quest of the 18-34 year old woman, and the results are looking good. With online shopping now so accessible and clickable, you don’t have to be a 14 year old male tech geek to buy online (and feel safe, secure, confident in doing it). What’s more, this demographic seems to be taking charge more and growing more confident in their online world, thereby starting a shift in the online marketing and internet landscape that will surely continue to grow. With more statistics becoming available for online advertising and marketing initiatives, 100% gender-based ad serving technology is the next logical step to reach out and interact with these online shoppers.

Article excerpts:

– 18-34 year old women are the single most prevalent demographic group, accounting for 18% of all active online Britons. 18-34 year olds are the most prevalent group, accounting for 32% of all active online Britons.

– The internet isn’t all about the young; one in four Britons online is at least 50 years old – in fact there are 1.7 times more 50+ year olds than children under 18 active on the Internet.

– The UK internet population is split almost equally between males (51.5%) and females (49.5%).

– There are twice as many women aged 18-34 than girls under 18 or women 50+ active online.

– In contrast, amongst males active online, the 50+ age group is the most prevalent; for example, there are twice as many men aged 50+ than boys under 18 active online.

– Women aged 18-34 account for 21% of all time spent on computers by Britons – for every hour Britons spend on computers, 13 minutes are accounted for by 18-34 year old women.

– Under 18s account for just 4% of all UK computer time – or two minutes of every hour Britons spend on computers.

I’m blatantly syndicating this blog post by David Baker of Avenue A/Razorfish as it does the rounds, because I feel it adroitly simplifies what email marketing should (and might) become in the near future. I saw David speak at a WOMMA conference in 2006, and was as impressed then as I am now with his views and generally 360 grasp on online marketing today.

Read below for his take on email marketing today (and tomorrow, taken directly from his blog at www.whitenoiseinc.com.

RECENTLY I HEARD THAT EMAIL as an industry is worth $10 billion. Not bad after only 10 years or so, if you buy into that number. As our industry approaches maturity, I believe we are on the verge of a new phase of evolution. Now is the time to get ready for it.

As we know, email means different things to different people. As a business marketing tool, it often gets confused with advertising channels. But it does represent a medium for sales, marketing, customer service, channel service, technical service — and the list goes on.

Email has a front end we call acquisition or engagement, an intermediate stage we call conversion and a back end that we call retention or loyalty. When you combine all the systems and views of the customer, we call this eCRM. That’s our business in a nutshell.

Trends show we are shifting to “touchpoint” views of a customer. Every touchpoint can be leveraged to improve the brand relationship with the customer and should be afforded the same weight as others –including email.

The industry has spent two years trying to address deliverability. This makes sense, since landing in the spam folder (if it lands at all) has brand and revenue consequences. Yet after all this time, many are still confused about what deliverability is, whether it can be bought, or if it needs to be earned over time.

I’m encouraged by the many discussions around trigger messaging, lifecycle messaging and being smarter about targeting and timing of email in general, but so few can actually see the entire picture of a customer experience that this is often an endless discussion.

While there’s been a lot said about mobile messaging and RSS, we are still in a conundrum about these channels and media. We can’t even tell if SMTP-based email is being read on a desktop, laptop, BlackBerry or smart phone. RSS has found its home, but people are still struggling with its monetization and its relationship to email. Should it replace email? Can it be tracked like email and managed in common environments without creating new processes for an already overburdened staff? Will the self-subscribing nature of RSS be the “profile management” the email industry has been seeking for years?

Here’s what I see coming our way over the next few years. All these ideas are up for debate.

– Most of the personalization and cool dynamic content sent through email will be reserved for the highly engaged, responsive, highly valued consumer. If you don’t open or click over time, you’ll quit getting email from the brands and sites you signed up for. ISPs are already recommending that we only send to customers who have bought something or have long-term relationships with. I see marketers really focusing energy on that highly engaged audience, while the infrequent or non-responders will be left to sign up again or get less email.

-Email acquisition will be done on a contingency basis (pay to perform). Engaging new consumers through email is not easy, and I see this entire process extending from rented lists to a sequence of communications to hand-raisers within a list, rather than a broadcast message hoping to catch them at the right timing. I don’t know that the list owners will survive on a purely CPM model with so many lists to test without becoming more accountable for a “conversion.”

-Email priority delivery will be a paid-for service. While anyone close to the space knows you can’t discount the importance of managing delivery and your delivery reputation (spam complaints, bounces, clean files and practices), you can’t deny the value of priority delivery. I don’t think reputation alone will make it in the future. I liken it to FedEx on some levels. So, you either pay to get email delivered, or you will pay in other ways trying to get it delivered and prioritized. Either way you will pay more than you are paying today. Look at how the ISPs are beginning to monetize their email lists, ensuring priority delivery to those advertisers that rent those lists.

-Email marketers will be forced to split their forces to address RSS. This may become a new department or an extension of the Web team. RSS is a content game. The self-subscribing, real-time nature of RSS will make it easy to organize content, but it will still be a challenge to pull content together and syndicate it, not to mention measure interactions with it. Imagine doing this with the email team that is already a few horses short of a herd.

A few wild-haired premonitions — and open to others. But hang on to this, and let’s see how many of these ideas we are talking about at the end of this year.

David Baker is vice president of e-mail solutions at Avenue A/Razorfish. Visit his blog at http://whitenoiseinc.co

The IAB says that the average percentage of spend for a Canadian company on Search Engine Marketing (SEM) activities accounts for around 33% of their online marketing budget, while a recent report from Emarketer shows that the USA is around 44% and the UK is well over 55%. I recently spoke with Pro Marketer, Carl Brabander (see BIO below), about why he thinks this is?

The Brits vs. the North Americans:

It’s cultural. The British marketers are more scientific than their North American counterparts. While we’re busy letting our agencies talk us into rich media and flash animations, the Brits are looking at the numbers and making tactical decisions based on predictive modelling and ROI calculations.

Companies that have crunched the numbers and looked at SEM vs. other Online Channels are shifting more into SEM, simply because it is more profitable. There are great tools out there for tracking and optimising paid search campaigns, but companies that rely on a traditional agency to book their online media probably don’t have the information or tool they need to make that decision, and the client then gets sold on the idea of spending big bucks to “build the brand” on the web, just like they do offline.

Of course a strong brand is essential to your success on the web – and the proof is that for the big guys like Citibank or Fairmont Hotels, their company names probably drive more search traffic for them than generic terms like “mortgage rates” or “Hotel Montreal Deal”. But these guys use TV and print to build demand for their brands, and that’s the hard part. Paid Search or SEM is relatively easy and cost-effective if it is used to havest the demand.

The Canadians vs. the Americans:

The difference here has to do with the cost of media in our countries. Canadian banner real estate has always been more expensive. On the other hand, more competitors bidding for keywords in the USA are driving up the cost of Paid Search Results. So, for the exact same media plan, a Canadian Marketer will spend relatively more on Banner Ads and less on SEM efforts as keyword buys are relatively cheap and will ultimately eat-up a smaller portion of the overall budget.

About Carl Brabander (The Bio)

Carl is a professional marketing strategist with a decade of internet, mass, and direct marketing experience. He is currently embedded in the insurance industry, driving campaign strategy and website architecture for a Canadian market leader. In his spare time, Carl plays in a band, squanders money on Ebay impulse purchases, and blogs under a fake name in an effort to overthrow a corrupt small-town mayor.

New Website Launched!

May 14, 2007

Finally, the new and much improved CarbonGraffiti v 3.0 website has launched. This new version’s highlights include a better, cleaner look, improved functionality, and [much] more emphasis on both the work portfolio and blog posts. Come back soon for upcoming email marketing campaign templates (to be open source, of course), continued email marketing and online marketing blog posts, and much more.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Yahoo and Microsoft may be discussing a possible merger in a bid to take down the giant that is Google. According to MarketingVox:

“Microsoft’s online division is suffering from a failure to compete with Google on search. They recently missed an opportunity to acquire online advertising giant DoubleClick, which was quickly snapped up by its Goliathan competitor. The talks with Yahoo preclude a company on the verge of big change.”

It’s about time MSN realized that their search and Pay-per-click programs are no where near up to par with Google’s or Yahoo’s.  After using all three PPC programs for quite some time, the amount of times I became frustrated with MSN’s lack of features and simple lack of an intuitive interface always pointed to them resorting to other tactics to try and rule the PPC and search roost.  It didn’t take a genius to see something was up when we all noticed Overture powering search results on MSN search sites, including msn.ca.

Also according to MarketingVox:

“Microsoft may be poised to change its executive roster or consolidate some units. It may also decide to repartner with Yahoo. Yahoo briefly provided search and ad technology on Microsoft’s behalf through its product Yahoo Search Marketing, formerly Overture. The relationship ended last year when Microsoft released a competitive offering, Microsoft AdCenter.

Yahoo’s may depend on “Project Panama,” a delayed upgrade to their ad system. The model could reportedly use Microsoft’s technical expertise; in another potential arrangement, Microsoft could manage the back-end of both companies while Yahoo handles the consumer end.”

According to Chad Mauldin:

‘Google recently filed for a new patent, here, on technology to display ads in email. Some may disregard this, seeing as Google already displays ads inside of Gmail, but this is somewhat different. This is Adwords for email, essentially allowing anyone to place Adsense inside of their outgoing mail, specifically mentioned in the patent, newsletters.

What impact will this have? This will allow advertisers to target certain websites email newsletters, provide publishers on more avenue for revenue, and with that provide Google with an even broader reach. Imagine opening your yahoo/msn/hotmail/any mail account and seeing Google branding and ads.’

The more relevant questions are… how was this not going to happen eventually (I can definitely imagine seeing ads in my hotmail/yahoo/msn account), and are Google pretty much on course to dominate your entire online life? (… and maybe your physical world too?)

This might be well-timed though, considering Outlook 2007’s inability to show rotating gif’s/banner ads in email, Adsense might put money in advertiser’s pockets and see the banner ad go the way of the dodo.