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Marketing Edge

THIS SITE HAS A NEW HOME - www.providentpartners.net/blog

Please update any bookmarks or links that point to this site. If you are a podcast subscriber, you probably didn't notice the change - everything should still be fine. Please let us know if you have any difficultly with our blog page or our podcast feed. Thanks. NEW HOME FOR THE MARKETING EDGE

Monday, January 08, 2007

Blogs and trust

The top issue in 2007 for marketers is trust. The confluence of social media, aggressive marketers and the community of the blogsphere is creating a whirlpool of contentious issues. The bottom line here is trust, and whether marketing will taint the blogsphere, which people are increasingly using to exchange information and ultimately, make buying decisions.

This podcast highlights how social media are going through a phase where marketers are going to be challenged to use tactics that do not harm the objective nature of individuals communicating. We've seen several instances of flogs (fake blogs, or commercial blogs that are posted as if they were from truly objective, unattached people/employees) being publicly criticized for trying to come off as an unsponsored forum, Edelman and Wal-Mart being perhaps the most infamous. (Blogger Constantin Basturea has a wonderful chronology.) There will be further concern about whether companies should blog and how they should do it.

In this podcast, Nora Paul, director of the Institute for New Media Studies at the University of Minnesota, outlines how the area between promotion and program are now one large shade of gray. However, she says this is no different than the expansion and contraction the Web has seen before.

Ben Popken, editor of The Consumerist, a cutting-edge blog on consumer complaints and praise (subtitled "Shoppers bite back"), sheds light on how some leading companies can capitalize on trust. His take: If companies can take a little public criticism, then they will get back trust ten-fold.

Also, I'll be speaking at the New Communications Forum in Las Vegas, March 7-9, and one lucky marketer will win a trip to attend the Forum for free. Visit www.providentpartners.net/forum for details and to enter your name to win airfare, hotel and event registration.

Show notes:

  • 1:00-2:15: New Communications Forum trip drawing information

  • 2:20-8:00: The issue of trust – the gray area between promotion and programming. Why marketers should care about the erosion of trust and how to prevent it using social media. Interview with Nora Paul of the University of Minnesota's Institute for New Media Studies.

  • 8:00-9:15: Consumers hold more power than they realize. How companies can tap into this power and leverage it will be tested throughout this year. Ben Popken of consumerist.com explains how those companies can give up some message control and gain a major differentiator by using blogs.

  • 9:15-10:52: More information about the New Communications Forum. Each comment we receive by any means – on the blog, by phone at 651-695-0174, e-mail marketingedge@providentpartners.net – we will donate a food item to a local food bank. Social media for the greater good!

Friday, December 01, 2006

New business through seminars: worldwide perspectives

This podcast is a demonstration of several things that I believe are important to increasing interaction within a digital community. In this case, it's the digital community of marketers and communicators.

In this episode, you'll hear a listener's marketing challenge about conducting seminars and increasing attendance. The question comes from Ben Figgis of the Qatar Science and Technology Park. Ben conducts seminars around the world, educating companies on the benefits of Qatar's technology and scientific assets. His work is designed to encourage companies to establish offices at the park.

Today's Marketing Edge episode addresses Ben's questions with insight and comments from folks around the world – three different continents, to be exact. We're bringing some global marketing perspective to this discussion on the value of seminars as a marketing tactic.

Kent Kedl, executive director of a China strategy consultancy called Technomic Asia, says executives in China love seminars and that they are a vital component of the marketing mix in that country.

Mark Mitchell of the UK-based marketing and PR firm Pattison Mitchell says Europeans are much too pressed for time to be attending seminars just for the sake of exploring a topic. There must be a strong, clear value proposition for them to physically attend any meeting.

And yours truly, Albert Maruggi, provides the U.S. perspective on using seminars as a marketing tactic, covering the two categories of seminars: pitching vs. informational.

Each contributor gives ideas on how to determine whether seminars are appropriate for the market, a few ideas on how to position them, and some promotion tactics.

Show Notes:

0:00 - 4:30 – Show setup, driving interaction on podcasts and blogs, how to get your questions answered on the podcast.

4:30 – Situation description by Ben Figgis of the Qatar Science and Technology Park

6:30 – China perspective on seminars from Kent Kedl of Technomic Asia

11:30 – European perspective on seminars, which is very different than in China, according to Mark Mitchell of Pattison Mitchell

18:30 – U.S. perspective about seminars, which is a bit mixed, but nonetheless, it is still a difficult proposition for a company to conduct successful seminars on its own

Total running time: 28:31

We invite your comments on these and other podcasts. There are a number of ways to comment:
Interaction is critical to social media, and we want to drive valuable discussion on our blog. So for every comment we receive – whether it's audio we play back in a podcast, written on this blog or yelled at us after banging on our door – Provident Partners will donate a can of food to a local food shelf. Our financial budget for this effort is $100 per month, so let us hear what you have to say!

Monday, November 06, 2006

The great blog debate

Today’s Marketing Edge features a podcast debate about blogs. I, your host Albert Maruggi, am joined by Michael Keliher, PR practice manager for Provident Partners, to duke it out over whether businesses should get into blogging. The verbal sparring is moderated by John Havens, About.com’s guide to podcasting.

We hash out some of the pros and cons of blogs, from a business and marketing perspective. I take a “What will blogs get me?” approach. Mike highlights the social and interactive benefits of blogging.

Show notes:
  • 1:00 - 3:00 The objectives of a blog
  • 4:00 - 12:00 Who is using blogs? Why should a company care about what blogs are saying about their products or services? How can companies use a blog?
  • 13:00 - 17:00 What influence will the legal department have in a company blog? Is it worth it for marketers to battle legal opposition for blogs.
  • 18:00 - 26:00 Should institutions provide a forum for discussion? How do you determine whether a blog is serving its purpose? Is the number of comments a good criterion for determining whether a blog is successful?
  • 27:00 - 33:00 What role does trust play in establishing a blog?
We invite your comments on these and other podcasts. There are a number of ways to comment:
  1. Post a comment on our blog
  2. Call 651-695-0174, then record your comment on the Marketing Edge comment line (line #3)
  3. E-mail me at amaruggi@providentpartners.net
  4. Send a letter to or bang on our door at: 790 Cleveland Avenue S., Suite 221, St. Paul, MN 55116
Interaction is critical to social media, and we want to drive valuable discussion on our blog. So for every comment we receive – whether it’s audio we play back in a podcast, written on this blog or yelled at us after banging on our door – Provident Partners will donate a can of food to a local food shelf. Our financial budget for this effort is $100 per month, so let us hear what you have to say!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Truth in marketing can be a new marketers opportunity

Today's Marketing Edge features an interview with Nomi Prins, author of "Jacked: How Conservatives Are Picking Your Pocket." We highlight how some marketers are being intellectually dishonest in marketing their services and products, and we discuss the opportunities for the honest folks to capitalize on such slight of hand. You know what we mean: You've seen the Blockbuster ad campaigns for NO LATE FEES, only then to be hit with a "restocking fee."

Banks peddle their credit cards like they're giving away money, but at every turn there are fees for not using ATMs, using the wrong ATM, making late payments, and the list goes on. Forrester Research did a report this summer on fees and their impact on customer satisfaction and loyalty. The fee for this little report is $249.

Nomi traveled the country and interviewed hundreds of Americans to learn how they feel about their money. She describes how average working men and women believe the economy is affecting their lives and whether they believe they are in control of their financial destinies.

Nomi makes the connection between a sense of helplessness among a growing portion of Americans and declining savings rates, increase debt, and real wage income declines during the past five years.

I made sure to steer clear of the partisan politics because I believe that only muddies the water. We stay focused and take aim at the marketing practices, primarily in the finance industry. In addition, the discussion highlights how social media have increased consumers' ability speak out, which should be reason enough for marketers to pay attention to these practices.

The half-truth is an unethical marketers weapon and the asterisk his shield. When customer-service reps respond with the line "Well, that fee is covered in your terms and conditions," we’ve reached a point of intellectual dishonesty in marketing. But I believe social media are the sun on the horizon that can expose these tricks. (Speaking of which, stay tuned for an interview with the editor of the blog at Consumerist.com on this very topic.)

Consumers should – and will – speak out when they feel they have been wronged, or as Nomi puts it, jacked (great title, by the way). Smart marketers will do the profession a service by appreciating consumers' ability to spread information like wildfire around the globe to like-minded groups and by incorporating it into their marketing tactics.

By that I mean that corporate marketers should be candid in explaining product benefits, open about the products shortcomings, enthusiastic about a product's improvements, and responsive in a dialogue among their customers.

If you believe that peers and family are the most trusted source of information about products, then marketers should do all they can to facilitate those conversations. We are slipping from age of "marketing as a monologue" into a multiple-conversation age in which people all over the world can comment on your company’s stuff. I call it the "multi-sational age" – multiple conversations in multiple formats. (If I were a really good marketer, I'd try to trademark that. But I'm under no illusion that anyone would intuitively understand what "multi-sational" means – experiencing and sharing information at all levels in a variety of formats – so I'll just say it here. If you like it, spread the word.)

If you really think financial-institution marketers are doing a good job, consider recent Nobel Prize recipient Muhammad Yunus, founder of Grameen Bank. He has figured out how a bank can be profitable by loaning money to the poor of Bangladesh. Among his principles is the idea of viewing credit as a human right. His aim is to help poor entrepreneurs and families help themselves to overcome poverty. His "microcredit" concept of providing small loans is targeted to the poor, particularly poor women, and get this: The most distinctive feature of Grameen's microcredit is that it is not based on any collateral or legally enforceable contracts. It is based on "trust," not on a legal system or procedures.

Based on trust – ain't that rich.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Interview with Andrew Baron of Rocketboom, commentary on social media, blogs and more

The past three guests on the Marketing Edge have been among the biggest visionaries of the podcasting medium: Leo Laporte, Scott Bourne and Paul Dunay. Today we continue that line up with Andrew Michael Baron, the founder of Rocketboom, one of the first and most successful video podcasts on the Web.

Rocketboom is a video series of social news-style packages, less stiff than a typical news package with people that can make an emotional connection to the viewer. Rocketboom has contributors from around the world giving new perspectives and a global reach. For me, a 48-year-old veteran of journalism and communications, it’s amazing to see because this is the CNN model at a thousandth of the cost and infrastructure, not to mention human resource capital necessary to get a news package on the air (or cable, as it was).

Twenty years ago, local reporters would send in their local news packages with customized tags in hopes of getting on CNN, being discovered, and advancing their careers from places like Bismarck, North Dakota, and Omaha, Nebraska, to major-market TV news. Fast-forward to today and twenty-somethings are bringing global news to viewers with unbridled editorial license. The difference I see is that there is no real need to climb the ladder to the next career rung. It’s more about the information and less about what it will get this 21st-century journalist because there is much less of a hierarchy.

Rocketboom taps into the social fabric of Web communication one thread at a time. This Marketing Edge podcast highlights how participants in this network – participants being everyone from producers of popular shows like Rocketboom to anyone commenting on a blog – have one currency: honesty. Whether it is their opinion about a social condition or their impressions of using a product, their review of a new song or their discussion of a new technology, they are seen as honest brokers of information.

The more a participant’s information is viewed as accurate, thoughtful, honest and objective, the greater the weight that is given to that participant. Now for a marketer, multiply that participant by 10 or 100 or 1,000 or more. Each consumer is a potential participant in this discourse and can have great impact on how your brand is represented.

This is what you’re facing today and in the future. It is an environment that sniffs out the dubious and rewards the candid. Consumers of all types are more cynical, and marketers should be sensitive to the exponential power of these new social media. Today, the total number of participants might just be starting to move the needle, but the power of their opinions and actions are spreading like wildfire.

Albert Maruggi is the host of Marketing Edge and president of Provident Partners.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Leo Laporte and Albert Maruggi live today from the Podcast and Portable Media Expo

We're coming at you live (or nearly live) from the Podcast and Portable Media Expo in Ontario, California. Albert Maruggi, your host here at the Marketing Edge, recaps some highlights from the early sessions at the Expo. He talks about the need for a new word to describe podcasting - something that doesn't make people think they need an iPod to listen in. He also discusses the idea of quality over quantity with regard to a podcast audience.

Albert is joined by Leo Laporte, host of the This Week in Tech podcast and general tech guru. Leo was one of today's keynote speakers at the Podcast Expo, and he'll share some thoughts with us about the podcasting world in this podcast.

Stay tuned for more from the Marketing Edge, live from the floor of the Podcast and Portable Media Expo.

If you're interested in learning more about Provident Partners' podcasting seminar Oct. 6 in St. Paul, MN, call 651-695-0174 or visit www.providentpartners.net.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

How podcast? Using IRSS to deliver valued content

Part two of a two-part series with guests Paul Dunay, director of global field marketing for BearingPoint, and Mike Gauthier, CEO of e-tractions. They are pushing the envelope on new ways of reaching out to new media and Web site users to identify the type of content the users value. Their methods involve a combination of using RSS and IRSS tactics along with podcasting, vidcasting, e-mail and Web microsites. The Marketing Edge podcast is produced by Provident Partners.

This podcast focused on how an IRSS feed is put together, the advantages of using IRSS, and the ways marketers can use it to further customize content and offer new content relevant to the user.

Dunay is also a speaker at the Marketing Sherpa B2B Summit in October 24 and November 14. His blog about technology marketing is a leader in the field: Buzz Marketing for Technology.

You can learn more about IRSS tactics and receive a sample IRSS feed tracking report by calling Albert Maruggi at 651-695-0174 or e-mailing him at amaruggi@providentpartners.net.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Why podcast? A look at successful podcast tactics

Among marketers who are early adopters, podcasting has become an almost regular thing. It is, however, still very much in its infancy. We are still in the market with machetes, clearing a path to reveal either the promised land or a swamp of quicksand.

In some cases, as we hear in this podcast, there is a garden of new prospects, media coverage and significant benefits that result from podcasting. Today Albert Maruggi, host of the Marketing Edge and president of Provident Partners has an engaging conversation with Paul Dunay, director of field marketing for BearingPoint and author of the Buzz Marketing for Technology blog, and Mike Gauthier, CEO of e-tractions, a conversion and tracking company. Paul uses Mike's services in BearingPoint's podcasting tactics.

Paul is also a speaker at this year's Marketing Sherpa B2B Demand Generation Summit in Boston, October 23 and 24, and in San Francisco on November 12 and 14.

In this podcast, we’ll highlight:

1) What B2B marketers can get out of podcasting in either the prospecting function or with the sales team internally.
2) We talk about the types of podcasts for different audiences -- content, length and how podcasts are used to further qualify a prospect
3) How podcasting is positively affecting conversion rates on unique landing pages and where to place that crucial registration page -- before the podcast or after?

Provident Partners is an offering a “Podcasting Recommendation Review” for Marketing Edge listeners. The review answers the question, Should my company use podcasting? Call 651-695-0174 or visit www.providentpartners.net/podcasting for more information.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Podcast sponsorships and the business of audio on the Web

Marketing Edge Podcast special guest Scott Bourne: Scott is speaking at the Portable Media Expo later this month on the topic of Selling Podcast Sponsorships. We’ll also preview his remarks at this popular conference being held Sept. 29 and 30 in Ontario, California.

There are early adopters and there are visionaries. Provident Partners is an early adopter of podcasting. We were one of the first marketing firms in the country to see the medium as a business tactic and had early success with the new medium.

Then there are those who are visionaries. Those are people that work with a blank canvas. They are the ones who paint the picture for the early adopters to enjoy. The early adopters see a picture and imagine what can be done in that scene. How many different pictures are within a picture? The early adopters ask, "What if we took this…?"

The visionaries have a blank canvas and ask, "Why can’t we do this…?" Today’s Marketing Edge guest is a visionary by anyone’s measure. He is Scott Bourne. In 1995 he founded NetRadio. Bourne had executed the radical idea of playing music on the Internet, all kinds of music, especially that being ignored by the three-minute-and-done commercial radio world.

This podcast, hosted by Albert Maruggi of Provident Partners, examines:

1) The possibilities of using podcasting and podcast sponsorships in the marketing mix
2) How to best add podcasting to an integrated advertising budget with a hell of a lot better metrics than some other traditional advertising
3) How to view the new medium of podcasting in relation to other media so that companies can best take advantage of this new social way of communicating

Bourne is the host of several podcasts, the ones I recommend as absolutely must haves are Podcasting Tricks. They are really not tricks -- just really smart stuff to do to make you and your clients look good. And for the Mac people (I personally suffer from Apple envy) there's ilife zone. You all understand that being addicted to Windows is a lot like smoking. You’ll find me outside government buildings in 10-degree weather, hopelessly attached to my PC because it’s a habit. Enough joking.

Bourne is frequently on the O’Reilly Network and is among the friends of the This Week in Technology and Friends Network with Leo Laporte.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Creative Angles Marketing to and For Non Profits - Reaching Sub-Culture Communities

You've all seen how Amazon and other online retail sites create affiliations, you know, People who bought this book also bought... Creating associations is the efficient wrinkle for marketers. Non-Profits have been doing this type of associating for a while in the physical world. For example, producing rides for cyclists or marathons for runners with the objective to raise money and expand their network of advocates.

Albert Maruggi, host of the Marketing Edge podcast for business and consumer marketers, provides insights into how to tap into associations and reach their audiences as well as the communities they are incorporating into their fund raising efforts.

It also touches upon our corporate communications directors and marketers can enhance the company's or clients' community relations through charitable giving.

This podcast features tactics used by the MN Aids Trek, reached out to the cycling community in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro and an interview with First Giving CEO Mark Sutton.

Maruggi is riding in the 175 mile MN Aids Trek on Sep 9 and 10 from St. Paul to Duluth, MN. We invite your questions which will be used on the Marketing Edge podcast by calling 651-695-0174 or email amaruggi@providentpartners.net Or visit Provident Partners

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Podcasting 102: Response to Marketing Sherpa's Podcasting 101 guide

Marketing Sherpa published a “Podcasting 101” primer yesterday (Aug. 22) that included some great, basic points about podcasting and how to get started down that exciting path. There are some holes in this Sherpa guide, though, and today’s Marketing Edge podcast will serve as “Podcasting 102 and beyond.”

Provident Partners, the group behind the Marketing Edge podcast, has been producing this podcast and clients’ podcasts for nearly two years, which Marketing Sherpa’s report will tell you is pretty much how long podcasting has existed!

Today’s podcast covers four main topics and their close connection to successful business-focused podcasting:

-“The medium is the message”: Keep this in mind as you plan and execute your podcasting strategy.

-Podcasting statistics: What do these numbers about podcast listeners, regular listeners, how many people have heard of RSS feeds, etc., mean for the business podcaster?

-Content: Don’t regurgitate content from another medium. Podcasts are unique in several critical ways (time shifted, designed for the listener to be in control, portable), all of which affect your content creation process.

-Marketing mix: How do podcasting and vidcasting (podcasting with video) fit into your overall marketing mix? Integration of messages and strategies is key. How do you make it work?

Give today’s “Podcasting 102” a listen, and if you have any questions, call me, Albert Maruggi, at 651-695-0174. Or e-mail me at amaruggi@providentpartners.net.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Search-engine optimization, the interview: Part 2

Today's post is part 2 of our interview with Steve Kind, president of Be Wise Technology on the topic of search engine optimization.

One of the big questions we cover today is, what are "reciprocal links" and how important are they in improving your search engine rankings? Steve and Albert Maruggi, president of Provident Partners, cover this and more on the topic of SEO.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Finally, a useful survey about business podcasting

At last, we have a decent survey about business executives using podcasts. Decent meaning it has quantity – more than 4,000 respondents – and quality – those respondents are registered users of a Web service delivering information about technology to decision makers and researchers.

KnowledgeStorm, the Web-based resource for business technologies and applications, and Universal McCann, the integrated communications and creative marketing agency, teamed up to conduct an insightful look at a segment of business podcast users.

The results are highlighted in an article in BtoB magazine (and on its Web site here). Thanks to Matt Lohman, director of market research at KnowledgeStorm; Stacy Malone, VP of interactive media director at Universal McCann; and Doug Kaye, founder of IT Conversations, for being interviewed in today’s podcast.

Albert Maruggi, founder of Provident Partners, discussed some of the highlights of the survey. Would you ever have guessed that 69 percent of respondents listen to podcasts at their desks? Lohman has a thesis for this characteristic he calls the “sampling crowd.”

Malone outlines one of the major opportunities she believes the survey reveals and the void in podcasting today that can be filled by those willing to take the time.

And while podcasting has captured the spotlight and pack journalism coverage during the past year, Doug Kaye’s IT Conversations has built a loyal and intelligent community with its audio discussions and presentations in MP3 format since June of 2003.

Check out our News and Views section for Provident Partners’ action items in response to the results of this survey.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Search Engine Optimization - Fact from Fiction

Have you been examining search engine optimization lately? I’m amazed at the difference in pricing across the board. The other issue is how often does your site need to be overhauled to meet your objectives. After all, can you always be the first ranked site?

In this podcast, Albert Maruggi, host of the Marketing Edge and president of Provident Partners interviews Steve Kind, president of Be Wise Technology. Steve’s insight into these and other topics may save you frustration and money. I met Steve while giving a speech to the Marketing Association of Southern Minnesota. A copy of that presentation is located on the Provident Partners website. If you have questions about Search Engine Optimization (SEO), email Steve or call him at 507-387-WISE (9473.

You can email questions or show topic ideas to Albert or call him at 651-695-0174

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Direct Mail Makes Come Back - It's About the Big Picture

Albert Maruggi, president of Provident Partners, interviews Joy Gendusa, founder of PostcardMania. Many marketers are confronted with the dilemma of using effective, measurable tactics, and while digital tactics like email are full of wonderful statistics and inexpensive, there seems to be trouble in email paradise. The overuse of email marketing, advances in technology to prevent unrequested email, and other types of obstacles, have tainted the original appeal of email marketing, especially for finding new prospects.

This podcast highlights how direct mail is being used in a integrated, multiple media approach for marketing campaigns. “It never ceases to amaze me how every mailing we implement gets some response. I believe the postcard is a complementary tactic and when incorporated with other timely tactics such as calling, targeted Google Ad Words, or events, achieves marketing objectives like increasing brand ID, advancing he sales cycle or generating inquiries,” said Maruggi.

This podcast is a casual conversation about the types of direct mail and the timing of its use in a big picture marketing program. About.com also has a good overview of effective direct mail best practices as a resource for marketers.

Monday, June 19, 2006

IRSS: Individualized RSS feeds shine light on Web traffic

The age-old question – which is just a few months old, really – for podcasting is, “Who is listening to my podcast?” The answer may well be revealed by using Individualized RSS, or IRSS. Paul Dunay, head of global field marketing for Bearing Point and the author of the Buzz Marketing Blog, writes:

Enter Individualized RSS – or IRSS. IRSS gives each feed a unique identifier, which is created during the subscription process. This is a significant step forward. With IRSS, you no longer are looking at a sea of subscribers who want your content. Instead, your feeds become distinct streams flowing to uniquely numbered groups. As a result, you can study and gather more data on each feed, such as measuring page views.

Albert Maruggi of Provident Partners interviews Paul Dunay in this episode of the Marketing Edge podcast. Using IRSS capability on the server side of your Web site allows for a unique identifier for all of your podcast subscribers. It’s similar to a tracking cookie for podcast subscribers, if you like that analogy, and it is a comprehensive way to understand in greater detail the information your listeners want and how they are interacting with your company. It has helped Bearing Point discover that its podcast page is one of the most consistently read pages on the global consulting firm’s Web site, and one that regularly captures dramatically longer viewing times than any other page.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Marketing Trends 2006: Part 2

It’s official: The Web has come out of it’s text-only shell. The early adopters of podcasting and video on the Web have made it safe for others to dip their toes into the multimedia waters.

This episode of the Marketing Edge podcast is loaded with examples of how multimedia is being used and why to jump in. It uses the lightening rod of a Forrester report by Charlene Li, which estimates that only 1 percent of internet households use podcasting. Many critics raced to rebut the Forrester report, including Nicole Simon of Corante, and John Jantsch of the Duct Tape Marketing blog, who contributed reasoned responses.

Albert Maruggi of Provident Partners adds a key point in this podcat: Podcasting is about the quality of listeners, not the quantity. This is especially true in business-to-business uses of podcasting.

Multimedia continues to grow in terms of both audience and content creators, according to Comscore.com and eMarketer. Very recently, video was mostly out of reach for midsize businesses as a communication format because of cost and distribution. Now it’s a question of which format - audio or video - is the right one to implement in a marketing mix.

Rich media continues to be on the rise. The cutting edge applications include Camtasia and Acellacast, provided by Acella Communications. These applications and communications platforms enhance a company’s messaging and provide for greater interaction. Use of Flash, video, audio, animation, PowerPoint and several other technologies to communicate and engage the viewer can be incorporated into dynamic rich media presentations using these and other technologies. Any interactions in these applications generate and help qualify leads from your Web site.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

PodZinger president Alex Laats in a Marketing Edge Podcast interview

Today’s installment of the Marketing Edge podcast features Alex Laats, president of PodZinger, in a discussion with host Albert Maruggi on multimedia search technology for content creators.

As Web sites increasingly add audio and video formats to their information content, consumers and creators alike see the need for a new generation of search technology. PodZinger is a search engine that fulfills that need, giving Web searchers the ability to move beyond text and accurately search spoken words within audio and video content online.

PodZinger enables users to find content anywhere within audio and video podcasts and jump directly to the point where their keyword is spoken. Using speech-to-text technology, PodZinger makes audio and video content searchable, a powerful revolution for communicators who are playing in the Web’s new-media landscape.

“Communication to customers involves content that businesses want to make available to everybody, and it’s important that it be found via search,” Laats said in the podcast. “When you put an audio or video podcast on your site and no one can search on the content in that podcast, it’s like putting a black spot on your site. It’s like black space, and what’s the point of black space when you’re trying to enable discovery?”

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Does The How To Business Magazine Format Work?

There are plenty of How-To magazine formats for sports, recreation, and hobbies, but a How To run your business? In the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro there is such a venue it's called Upsize Magazine.

In its five years on the market, it has developed a fairly sizable and regular readership. Albert Maruggi of Provident Partners, interviews Beth Ewen is the editor with a firm grasp on the pulse of readers. Apices has the liberty to give the readers what they want and the sensitivity to understand the demands of he advertisers as well. This How-To format acknowledges that there is synergy among buyers and sellers in a close knit business community.

Those advertisers with the patience to provide some of the expertise that the readers require will also build a relationship though this casual format. If the How To format exists in your local market, marketers should give it a detailed examination. If not, then perhaps there is an opening that needs filling.

Upsize completes against magazine like Twin Cities Business and Minnesota Business. Although each magazine does a great job of catering to its unique niche in the region. I believe it is just a matter of time before all of them are using podcasting as a medium for some of their editorial.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

When Should You Go With A News Conference Format in A Crisis Communication Event

The real-time news cycle has created pressure on companies in fast moving situations to make a quick decision on whether to hold a news conference or issue a statement. This Marketing Minute by Albert Maruggi highlights the pros and cons of going in front of a crowd of journalists.

It is a difficult decision that includes several considerations among them, information available, pending investigations, and external news events. Maruggi references a January 16 fatal incident involving a Continental Airlines flight and a contracted mechanic who was killed during a maintenance procedure.

Maruggi also references Anderson Cooper's coverage of Katrina and the West Virginia Sago Mine tragedy.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Marketing Trends 2006 - Part One

The year before us will be a dynamic one for marketers. The confluence of Broadband usage, podcasting, search engine capabilities for video and audio, online advertising and internet e-commerce gives businesses the opportunity to be innovative with their messaging and media buying.

This podcast highlights some of the major trends that have come together to create these opportunities. Marketing Edge host Albert Maruggi of Provident Partners comments on recent articles and research from emarketer and Podtrac. Maruggi also describes an interesting lead generation campaign launched by ONYX, a Customer Relationship Management software company. Take a look www.onyx-pen.com to see the survey which is tied to a direct mail campaign and survey.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Google Ad Sense Revenue Stream Options - Healthcommunities.com Leading the Way

Google AdSense is an untapped revenue stream for certain types of company Web sites. Healthcommunities.com has been fishing that stream for a while and Tom Lund head of marketing and business development for healthcommunities.com knows the waters well.

Healthcommunities.com is featured as a Google AdSense case study and Tom Lund is the Marketing Edge guest on this Market Focus segment. This podcast highlights the criteria for companies to use when considering the Ad Sense revenue stream, how to get precise and relevant ads on your site, and a new search engine for the health and fitness profession called Kosmix to evaluate when incorporating searches into your site.

Tom Lund is interviewed by Albert Maruggi of Provident Partners. Any questions email them to Albert or call 651-695-0174.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Podcasting & PR Like Turkey & Mayo

Provident Partners has had a ton of new podcasting business for which we are very thankful. Here are a couple of real life examples of how podcasting has led to great public relations and media coverage. First for a client called Technomic Asia www.technomicasia.com and then for a technology firm called SoftBrands. www.softbrands.com

Lastly, we highlight ways we are promoting a new book launched by our client author Steven Ganster. The book is entitled The China Ready Company and it shows companies how to assess their strengths and weaknesses if they choose to engage in a China market strategy. www.chinareadycompany.com. Albert Maruggi hosts this Marketing Trends segment.

We also like to thank Mitch Wagner the Senior Editor of Information Week online for posting our interview with him on the Information Week podcast. Any questions or comments email them to amaruggi@providentpartners.net

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Video iPod: Milestone or sinker stone? InformationWeek weighs in

The Marketing Edge brings you an exclusive interview with the Senior Editor of Information Week Online, Mitch Wagner, on the release of the Apple video iPod. His column on the video iPod set off a firestorm of comments. The media pundits are hot on this issue - Will people watch videos on a 2.5 inch screen? Traditional marketers like Phil Swann of TVpredictions.com are skeptical noting that a portable TiVo is not what consumers want.

Others, including me, look to history as a guide. Radio morphed into niche formats with the advent of the three television networks. Three television networks morphed into 75 or so niche channels and radio became even more customized with the advent of satellite networks XM and Sirius. Not to mention iTunes, iMixes and turning anyone into what used to be called a radio station program manager

The next morph is for the Net through podcasting and vidcasting to be the fertile ground for a new genre of information and entertainment. The overall costs will decline making the medium available to midsize and smaller companies, producers, and communicators. It will become a medium for all types of communication, from college classes to closing sales. All of this content will be portable, because our society is increasingly mobile.

Albert Maruggi, host of the original Marketing Edge interviews Mitch Wagner in this 15 minute segment.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Public relations across the pond and in the U.S.

It's a small media world and it's getting smaller. Still, there are differences in the way journalists perform their craft in Europe compared to the United States. In this podcast, Mark Mitchell, partner of Patterson Mitchell , a U.K.-based public relations firm, highlights how some companies can make a splash across the pond before coming to the U.S. media.

Technology firms in particular have implemented a strategy of establishing credibility in European markets as thought leaders. This gives them a foothold with the media as well as potential electronic distribution that gets them into U.S. media.

In some ways, Mitchell says, focusing on segments of the European Union can have smaller companies take on a "Davidesque" stature while competing against some Goliaths. The strategy worked for some smaller companies that were creative in their PR approach.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Marketing negotiating the shifts in ad spending - cyber and brick analytics merging

A shift in ad spending is another trend that marketers are creating and will have to deal with in the coming months. This interview with Dave Haley of Dean Foods highlights the trend in consumer package goods to reach the consumer at the point of decision. You may say that point-of-sale advertising is nothing new, and we would agree with you. There is, however, a noticeable trend in the percentage of ad spending moving toward that confluence in time when the buyer is ready to make the purchase.

My theory is that online analytics pioneered by Amazon and Overstock.com among others are being merged with the historically creative marketing strategies of package goods leaders, like Procter & Gamble. This mix of cyber-shopping and physical in-store communication tactics is creating a new generation of "profile marketing." Throw into the mix things like consumers subscribing to e-newsletters and the potential of podcasting, and you have a consumer-company dialogue that adds value to daily life where the consumer is a willing participant.

This interview references an article in the Wall Street Journal from Sept. 21 on the shift in ad spending and refers to Wal-Mart's in-store television network. This shift is no different, I might add, in the B2B world, where marketers are shifting marketing dollars to programs where buyers seek out vendors - and not those where vendors seek buyers. That's a topic for another day.

This Marketing Focus segment of the Marketing Edge podcast is approximately 10 minutes. Any questions, contact Albert Maruggi or call 651-695-0174.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

First-hand marketing research focus group

We will host a focus group podcast to identify the types of marketing resources used by marketers and the types of tactics they will test within the next 6-12 months. We are looking for marketers who would like to participate as a focus group subject member.

Here's the methodology:

The focus group will be conducted by researcher Ken Colen, who has extensive experience in conducting focus groups for major ad agencies and media companies. It will consist of 6-8 marketing consultants or corporate marketers who will participate in a conference call that will be recorded and posted on the Marketing Edge podcast. The individuals need not share their identities - just a first name, title and type of company they work for (e.g. consumer products, business consulting firm, etc.).

Ken will take about 20-30 minutes of discussion from prepared questions that aim to uncover how marketers make decisions, and what resources they value and trust. The participants will gain first-hand experience in conducting a focus group, insights into new marketing trends, and a chance to win an Apple iPod nano.

We will select participants from those who complete this candidate form, and we’ll contact you to coordinate a time for the focus group.

Then the Marketing Edge will interview Ken again to discuss his focus group tactics and to analyze the findings of the research. Any questions, e-mail amaruggi@providentpartners.net or call 866-771-2251.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Even at 30,000 feet, time is of the essence

This podcast, recorded at 30,000 feet on Northwest flight 133, is a helpful reminder that time is the most important consideration when producing marketing messages. This is especially true for unscheduled communications. In this short podcast, Albert Maruggi shares observations that are a useful reminder as companies produce marketing campaigns. Don't mind the jet noise and baby sounds; this Marketing Minute is well above anything you'll find on the ground.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

The marketing world is changing, kind of

The marketing world is changing, and this segment on Marketing Trends highlights some of the major tactics. From in-store retail advertising to the convergence of phones and information, new tactics are being tested everywhere.

Albert Maruggi highlights a front-page piece from the September 21 edition of the Wall Street Journal written by Emily Nelson and Sarah Ellison. It's called In a Shift, Marketers Beef Up Ad Spending Inside Stores. Maruggi cites the trend to hit consumers when they are ready to buy and applies it to market segments other than retail consumer goods.

The trend in phones is that they're for more than just saying hello. The recent announcement of a phone that holds 100 songs by Motorola, Cingular, and Apple The MotoRokr is the next in an endless quest to communicate, learn, entertain, and buy.

Enjoy this 6:00 minute Marketing Trends segment.

Send questions to amaruggi@providentpartners.net or call 866-771-2251 and we'll record your questions to be answered on the Marketing Edge podcast.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

CNN's alliteration not appropriate for Katrina

Beware of alliteration: it's not to be used in every situation. In this segment, Albert Maruggi takes on CNN's self-promoting headline "Hurricane Headquarters." The quick and easy writing style seems trite and glib in light of the severity of Katrina's destruction.

Alliterations are best used in specific situations. In general, serious circumstances are less appropriate to use an alliteration. For more on alliterations see Wikipedia.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Market research: Is it quality vs. quantity?

New life cycles that put a premium on speed to market, whether you have a product or service, are creating unprecedented pressures on market research. This insightful interview features Ken Colen, a market researcher with years of experience in consumer and media research, working for companies such as MTV, McCann-Erickson Worldwide and The PreTesting Company. This podcast gives a practical perspective about qualitative research - such as focus groups - and quantitative research - such as online surveys.

Ken refutes the idea of "going with your gut," as encouraged by Malcolm Gladwell in the book "Blink." Ken describes the tremendous value of observing people interacting with products as a means to uncover the "what-ifs" that may lead to product or marketing breakthroughs.

We invite your comments about this interview. We're also launching a new interactive research series. If you are interested in participating in the first ever online focus group to be used as a podcast, e-mail amaruggi@providentpartners.net or call 651-695-0174.

More information on Ken's research is located at www.colenresearch.com or call Ken at

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

You be the star: advertising & marketing

The latest trend by big name brands and advertising agencies is to make common folk, consumers, the producers and stars of their ad campaigns. Albert Maruggi highlights two examples and references a recent article in BusinessWeek magazine: Advertising Of, By, And For The People.

But these trends are not original thinking; they are variations on earlier tactics. Whether it's Nike's Converse brand or Audi, the trends include consumer-tech production and an attempt to blow by the growing skepticism of a leery public.

Any questions, send Albert an e-mail at amaruggi@providentpartners.net or give him a call at 651-695-0174. You can find more at www.providentpartners.net.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Why use video as a marketing tool?

Aaaah no! Information Week's(8/15/05) cover story asks: Is your company ready for web video? Not all companies are. Before you rush off to make your overweight, inarticulate CEO a Web matinee idol, answer this question: "What action will I show?"

This podcast highlights some of the fundamental tactics to consider as a company decides whether to use video in its marketing mix. Bandwidth is a precious thing, and video may not be the right medium for your message. In this Marketing Minute, Provident Partners' Albert Maruggi shares these thoughts with listeners:

  1. interaction with products
  2. interaction with people
  3. movement

Don't show...

  1. an abundance of talking heads
  2. speeches without graphics or animation
  3. settings with no people or movement

These are just a few of the important concepts to keep in mind when producing videos. Video adds another dimension that conveys brand image and information, and leads to a perception.

Don't jump in the water just to see if it's cold. Take your time and answer the question: What action will you show in any video production your company considers?

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Live and on location: Using video as a marketing tool

In today's Marketing Minute, Albert Maruggi phone's it in from an on-location video shoot for a client. While visiting a client's customer to shoot a video case study, Albert takes some time out to share his thoughts on how and why to use video as a marketing tool. As usual, the great advice is followed up with some great examples and ideas.

As always, we want to hear from you. Please post comments on the blog or send any feedback or suggestions you might have. Also, please fill out the survey (click on the iPod picture). Just a few more respondants and we'll reach 100 - which means it's almost time for our first giveaway of an iPod mini or $200 to the iTunes store or to Best Buy!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Overstock.com VP of marketing blends science with art

Kamie Twomey, senior vice president of marketing for Overstock.com, brings a unique background of neuroscience to the world of online marketing. Twomey’s scientific approach to behavior is perfect for her “by the numbers” marketing practices for the online retail giant of Overstock.com.

The company has seen 100 percent growth each year for the past five years. Twomey attributes part of the growth to a disciplined business marketing approach that is rooted in science and sprinkled with art when appealing to customers’ interests.

“I was a neuroscience major in college. Marketing in general and online marketing specifically has become a science of finding and repeating what works,” Twomey said. “We try to remove all subjectivity from marketing. By testing the creative, the numbers then determine which is the most creative approach to selling, not the layout that gets the most ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ in a meeting. There is still a creative aspect: We have to come up with ideas, try new things and make assumptions. However, we test all of those assumptions.”

In this Marketing Focus installment of the Marketing Edge podcast, Twomey stresses the importance of having a scientific approach to marketing while still maintaining a creative side. Art and creativity are important, she says, as long as their effectiveness can be tested and measured.

“I may look at a product and say, ‘I don’t like this product. It’s not attractive. No one is into this anymore. We shouldn’t market this.’ But when I test it and look at the numbers, it may tell me something very different,” Twomey said. “If you rely on everybody’s opinions, you’ll never make a decision because consensus is not what we are after; effectiveness is what we are after. Customer satisfaction is the result of effective marketing. We encourage people to be creative, but then we test everybody’s ideas and let the numbers tell us which of the pieces of art are really the most effective.”

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Direct mail - The old standby for branding & leads

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Well, it's kind of like that these days with e-mail proving to be less reliable than what you'd expect from a marketing vehicle. This Marketing Minute highlights a direct mail tactic that builds brand ID and leads, albeit with a few caveats.

Albert Maruggi, president of Provident Partners, provides four key tactics to follow when implementing direct mail as part of a brand building and lead generation strategy.

"I've come full circle on direct mail as an effective strategy. I've been getting direct mail from a company called Rightclick Strategies for more than a year. They have a specialized service to reach members of Congress and their legislative staff, which can be targeted by topic of interest. While I have not used Rightclick Strategies, I sure know what they do. And if we have a client who needs to reach Capitol Hill, you bet I'd go to Rightclick, just because I know their value proposition and they are top of mind on that issue."

Also, click on the mini iPod and complete the quick survey. We are just a few completions away from a random drawing to give away some great prizes.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Earn credibility with some creative PR thinking

In today's Marketing Minute, host Albert Maruggi challenges the usefulness of a "good" profile piece in the press. Instead, he explains, it's better to win a reporter's attention with more creative approaches - and he offers some suggestions.

Profile pieces fade with each news cycle, but earned credibility goes a long way when you really need it.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Podblaze founder & CEO writes podcasting white paper

The latest whitepaper on podcasting was published by Rodney Rumford, founder and CEO of Podblaze.com. In today's Marketing Focus interview with Albert Maruggi, Rumford highlights some of the internal company applications for which podcasting is an effective medium. Most business podcasting has been directed outside the company walls, but there are reasons to use it inside a remote company or for remote members of a project team.

Rumford has insights into meta tagging your podcast for quick retrieval and search enhancements. These tags allow those interested in the topic to locate and play your podcast. Rumford is also the founder of another important Internet communication tool, My RSS Creator.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Sound effects and music build and reinforce brand emotions: An interview with Chris Gerald of AAA Audio

Chris Gerald of AAA Audio has written and produced radio commercials for companies like Nike, 7 Up and Haagen Dazs. This 15 minute interview with Chris covers the way big brands use sound in radio and television spots. These same techniques can be used in rich-media marketing, advertising or podcasting.

This podcast includes clips from spots Chris produced for FILA, 7-Up, Nike and Haagen Dazs as examples. We discuss how the younger generation of consumers are turning off "Madison Avenue speak" and opting for their own generation of street-smart marketing. Sex still sells and there’s a sophisticated way to turn up the heat with sound.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Yesterday's news makes tomorrow's leads

In today's Marketing Minute podcast, Albert Maruggi explains how yesterday's news - coverage that your organization receives in the general or trade media - can be used to generate tomorrow's leads.

For example, with reprints of a good profile piece from a trade magazine, you can produce marketing collateral such as direct-mail pieces, Web site content, one-sheet handouts, sales presentations, etc. Maruggi gives an example of a company who used this approach to generate more than 100 leads in an integrated campaign that more than paid for itself.

Don't forget to complete our survey to win an iPod! We're trying to learn more about our audience and their thoughts on our podcast. And for each group of 100 respondents, we're giving away an Apple iPod mini or a $200 gift certificate!

Coming up in the next week or so:

We have some great Marketing Focus interviews for you. We have:

-Chris Gerald of AAA Audio ("first in your phone book") discussing the use of music and sounds and how they convey particular messages,

-Rodney Rumford, founder of Podblaze.com, talking about his new white paper on the future of podcasting in the business world,

-Chris Villano, the Villano in www.villanophoto.com, discussing image selection and the impact of visual messages, and

-Kamie Twomey, VP of marketing for Overstock.com, offering insightful commentary on the science of marketing and the impact of brick-and-mortar companies expanding their online presences.

Please fill out the survey, or e-mail us with comments at info@providentpartners.net. You can also call us any time at 651-695-0174. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Video iPod?

Many reports - including this one from the San Jose Mercury News - have floated the idea of an Apple iPod that will play videos, which, of course, Apple will start offering through its iTunes music store.

Does this mean all of us podcasters wasted $20 on our new microphones? Not so fast. Vidcasting - the podcasting with video rather than audio - is technically possible, and a video-playing iPod would make it an even bigger possibility. But producing and transferring video aren't as easy as with audio. And so many people appreciate the audio format because it allows them to multi-task.

I see problems with people trying to "multi-task" by watching a vidcast during the drive to work. Not only that, but it takes a lot of work to make using video worth the effort; a talking head isn't visually stimulating. An audio podcaster can sit alone at a microphone and record a great show, but a vidcaster needs more than a tripod and monologue to be interesting.

The power of audio will keep podcasting in demand.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Framing an issue: The key to winning elections and finding PR success

In Sunday's New York Times Magazine, Matt Bai writes about "The Framing Wars" and how the power of words - and careful word choice - played a big part in the most recent presidential election.

He writes: "Exactly what it means to 'frame' issues ... has to do with choosing the language to define a debate and, more important, with fitting individual issues into the contexts of broader story lines. ... Republicans, of course, were the ones who had always excelled at framing controversial issues, having invented and popularized loaded phrases like 'tax relief' and 'partial-birth abortion' and having achieved a kind of Pravda-esque discipline for disseminating them."

Sounds like something from an advanced PR class. Having a story to tell is one thing, but framing the issue in an appropriate context and appealing to base-level emotions, tying stories to a developing trend, or establishing them as part of a "big picture" is what brings success. And when framing an issue - in business like in politics - word choice matters.

Talking about careful word choice and issue framing might make some people think of "spin," that dirty word that PR professionals have been trying to shake for years. Spinning a story has negative connotations, but there are plenty of ways to legitmately frame an issue and establish the preferred vocabulary for discussing that issue while maintaining the highest levels of ethical communication.

And that's how framing an issue works in PR.

Apple sales up, mid-level marketers down, another podcasting white paper

In the ups and downs of marketing, Apple is going gangbusters reporting increases in Mac and iPod sales. The personal digital audio device is not a fad, but a new medium. Now to figure out how to use it for good.

BtoB magazine covers the "brain drain" of mid-level marketers, as the Business Marketing Association Chairman Kirby Strickland calls it. The marketing cuts from the recession of 2001 have led to a lack of mid-level managers and a bit of a career gap for the marketing profession.

Host Albert Maruggi also chats with Rodney Rumford, CEO of Podblaze.com and author of the latest whitepaper on podcasting. It's not just for outside a company's walls; you can use podcasting inside your organization to communicate more effectively.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

PR: The secret recipe for getting good media coverage

In today's Marketing Minute segment, Albert Maruggi offers simple tips for gaining positive, effective and repeated media coverage using good PR tactics. In just about 90 seconds, you can learn the basics about winning the hearts and minds - or at least the attention - of editors and writers at your key publications.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Ad spending down, viral marketing up, Purina podcasting out

In our Marketing Trends segment, host Albert Maruggi takes a look at some of the headlines the are affecting the marketing world. This week, Maruggi's talking about decreasing advertising spending (must have a WSJ account to access story) - a trend seems to go hand in hand with our other topic, viral marketing, which is on the rise, according to USA Today.

We also talk about Purina's voyage into podcasting. The Wall Street Journal reported on Purina's use of podcasting as a tool for increasing brand loyalty; we see it more as a lame-duck attempt to hop on the bandwagon. Have a listen and you'll hear what we mean.

Don't forget about our survey (and your free mini iPod)! We're trying to learn more about our listeners' likes and dislikes - and we're giving you a chance to win great prizes in exchange for your opinion.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Marc Freedman of The Diffusion Group forecasts podcasting boom and revenue potential

Today's Marketing Focus interview is with Marc Freedman, a technology analyst for a Dallas-based think tank called The Diffusion Group. Freedman and TDG Research recently released a report called "Podcasting as an Extension of Portable Digital Media – Fact, Fiction, and Opportunity."

Freedman's report forecasts that the demand for podcasts is expected to grow from 800,000 users in 2004 to 56.8 million users by 2010. Freedman also examines this new medium’s shift from a niche-market novelty to a revolutionary medium with true revenue potential. Learn more at http://www.tdgresearch.com/press044.htm.

Today, Freedman and his "Podcasting: Fact, Fiction, and Opportunity" report have made big news on the BBC and on PodcastingNews.com, and we're pleased to share this interview with those of you who appreciate the power of audio.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Running toward a full sales pipeline

In today's Marketing Focus, host Albert Maruggi sits down for an interview with Bruce Volkart of Volkart May and Associates, a company that provides cutting-edge teleservices for marketers.

Bruce, a competitive runner, talks about the similarities between running and building a sales pipeline: Always have a target out in front, a goal that you're working toward. Bruce also talks about the huge number of contacts or touches it takes to get in front of a senior-level decision maker...and how often marketers and sales professionals give up too soon.

We hope you enjoy this interview, and please be sure to fill out our survey to win an Apple iPod.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Podcasting to enhance trade shows, conferences and seminars

In today's Marketing Minute, host Albert Maruggi discusses how podcasting can enhance the trade show experience for attendees and for those who were unable to attend. Podcasting works well because:

  1. it's convenient (for the producer and the consumer)
  2. it's great for delivering highlights of events and topics
  3. "man on the street" interviews with attendees offer insight and perspective from paying customers

For more information about using podcasting as a strategic communications tool for trade shows, conferences, seminars or otherwise, please give us a call at 651-695-0174. Thanks for listening, and don't forget to fill out our survey to win a free Apple iPod mini or a $200 gift certificate (just click on the iPod at http://providentpartners.blogspot.com).

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Thanks for listening - win an iPod

We truly appreciate every reader and listener we have here at the Marketing Edge, and we want to do our best to give you all the content you want most. To show our appreciation for all of you, we're giving away some great prizes.

Each 100th respondent to the very short survey we've created (just click on the iPod graphic to the right) will win - you choose! - either an iPod mini or a $200 gift certificate to the Apple iTunes store or to Best Buy. Your responses to this survey help us learn about you and your preferences, and you can win great stuff! What more do you want?

Thanks again, and come back soon.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Intelligence vs. research

listen to the Marketing Minute podcast - intelligence vs. research

In today's Marketing Minute, Albert Maruggi explains how research is good but a little bit of detective work is better when targeting decision makers. The need for intelligence increases as your target audience narrows. Intelligence complements good research and makes closing a deal easier.

For more information on this topic, visit www.providentpartners.net or call us at 651-695-0174.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Remote Marketing Project Tracking with TeamDirection

This is an interview with Brigitte Hayes, vice president of marketing and strategic alliances for TeamDirection. Provident Partners has been featured in Project Management magazine for its use of TeamDirection's project software, running on the Groove platform, to create and track marketing plans, lead generation workflow, and other projects. Clients of Provident Partners around the world also use TeamDirection to remotely collaborate on news releases, advertising and video production.

It has been a major difference in some of the new business proposals Provident Partners has gained in the last year, more than doubling its growth from 2003. Albert Maruggi hosts this 12 minute interview includes discussion of how companies like HP and Steelcase use TeamDirection to support their fast-paced projects. It also addresses how TeamDirection enhances the reality that marketing has evolved from in-house staff to ad hoc groups comprised of individual consultants in different parts of the world.

Maruggi also touches on Provident Partners trade show planning product called Trade Show in a Box which is based on the Groove/TeamDirection software.

More information is available at www.TeamDirection.com

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Leverage the power of audio

Audio cuts through the clutter of information people face everywhere, every day. Audio allows people with increasingly tight schedules to truly multitask. Audio offers convenience and a personal touch.

Enough reading already. Download this installment of the Marketing Minute and hear for yourself.