Are Online Ads Ever Desirable?

Christine Overby

The theme for Forrester’s upcoming Consumer Forum is “Humanizing The Digital Experience.” What makes a digital experience more human? First, it must be useful. Second, it must be usable to the point that the technology fades into the background. Finally, the best digital experiences are desirable enough to stimulate action (e.g. buying a product, or telling a friend about the experience).

After years of clumsy and cold web sites, examples of desirable experiences are starting to pop up everywhere. Witness MySpace.com and NASCAR’s PitCommand (a mobile application in which fans can track in real-time the speed, RPM, throttle, position, and time of their favorite driver). These are great, but can every online experience be desirable? What about when a company is trying to sell you something?

Is there such thing as a desirable banner ad?

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What makes a good interactive marketing organization?

Shar VanBoskirk

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I'm answering this question in a research piece scheduled for me right after I finish my Wave on search marketing agencies.  And am currently in the process of surveying interactive marketers about what works well/not so well about how your teams are structured. 

So here’s your chance to take part in Forrester’s ground-breaking research!  We maintain an active panel of interactive marketers, but we’re always looking for fresh voices.  If you’re an interactive marketer or know someone who might be interested in our work, you can access the link to our survey below:

http://www.gmi-mr.com/survey/s.phtml?sn=56456

Should B2B Marketers Blog?

Laura Ramos

Along with podcasts and RSS feeds, blogs are showing up on business marketers’ radar. Of the 210 B2B marketers who told us that they use these emerging tactics today, over 70% said they planned to boost their spending on social computing tactics during the next 12 months. But just because firms like Boeing, HP, NetApp, Sun, and Unica have entered the blogosphere, does that mean every marketing executive should as well? My answer today is a qualified “Perhaps.”

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Social Search: Can Baynote Hit A Chord With B2B Marketers?

Laura Ramos

You already know that prior to joining Forrester, I worked in the information retrieval industry and will forevermore be fascinated and frustrated by search. B2B marketers face unique search challenges, not only to select the best keywords and improve on organic rankings, but also to direct buyers to the information they need to make decisions and move closer to a purchase.  In recent research, we found business marketers don’t use microsites and landing pages to guide paid clickers to the relevant information. Of the 86 unique ads we reviewed, only about a quarter took buyers to pages custom-designed for a paid search campaign and neither dedicated pages nor general ones provided keyword-related content consistently. Why do B2B marketers struggle here and can technology help?

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What do you look for when selecting a search marketing partner?

Shar VanBoskirk

I'm right in the middle of evaluating vendors for Forrester's Wave on search marketing agencies and I'm finding (no surprise, really) that these providers offer very similar services.  There are certainly some place of differentiation (like the amount of consumer research a vendor conducts to understand your target audience).  But in terms of the basics (keyword selection, bid opimization), vendors look a lot alike. 

So, as I wade through the details of each vendor, I'm hoping you all will weigh in on what selection criteria is most important to you when you are looking for a search partner.  Does it matter if the vendor has its own bid management technology?  Are you only interested if they have experience in your industry?  Is SEO or paid search more important?  Would you sacrifice customer service for in-depth conversion tracking?  Let me know what the most important factors are to you.  I'll be using your feedback to help me weight my evaluation criteria.  Thanks!

Google-News Corp: Not Just About Expanding Google's Online Search Interests

Shar VanBoskirk

Google and MySpace announced a eye-popping $900 million deal yesterday providing definitive proof of Google's diversification strategy (was there ever really any doubt?) and sending a new tremor down the spines of Microsoft and Yahoo!.  But this deal is not just about Google bolstering its lead in the online search marketing race.  It means:

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SMBs Rely On Word-of-Mouth: What Should B2B Marketers Do?

Laura Ramos

Last week, I met with the (small) business solutions division of a large consumer technology/services provider to talk about gearing up their B2B marketing. We talked about whether the same tactics that work for their consumer audiences might also work with small business prospects (typically less than 100 employees.) TV and radio came up in the discussion because they were getting ready to launch local market tests.

So here’s the thing:


  • Few (about 20%) of the over 500 B2B marketers who we surveyed recently say they use TV and radio, compared with about 90% who use tradeshows and PR – real die-hard B2B tactics. However, those who can afford TV say it’s off the charts for building brand awareness.

In contrast…

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Does Contextual Advertising Make Sense for B2B Marketers?

Laura Ramos

I recently wrote research about search marketing best practices for business marketers but didn’t cover contextual advertising in it. Having spent over 5 years covering enterprise search or working for companies (Verity, Stratify) offering search-based products, I have to admit I am a bit more than skeptical about claims – like those made by Google Adsense, Kanoodle BrightAds, Quigo AdSonar, and Yahoo’s Publisher Network – that search-based contextual ads accurately match the host content and never appear on unrelated sites. The fact is – and anyone frustrated by the low quality of search results they see on most business-oriented Web sites will agree – getting machines to read, interpret, and characterize written text precisely is difficult and labor-intensive. And for every contextual placement that looks relevant, I can show you more that are way off the mark.

 

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Mobile Marketing -- Still not ready for prime time

Shar VanBoskirk

I went to a panel on mobile marketing last week hosted by MITX, the Massachusetts Internet Technology Exchange. The discussion was hosted by Roger Entner, Vice President, Wireless Telecom, Ovum and panelists included:

Andy Castonguay, Program Manager, Yankee Group
Erin Cole, Media Supervisor, Avenue A | Razorfish
Brian Costello, CEO, MaMoCo
Jeff Janer, COO, Third Screen Media
Michael Weaver, Senior Product Planner, Microsoft Digital Advertising Solutions

Roger introduced the discussion by saying that he thought we all agreed that mobile marketing was poised to really explode and that was why we were all attending the panel. But I must admit, I’m still skeptical on this point, and the issues raised during the panel only made me more so. Here are the current challenges with mobile marketing.

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New Momentum For Local Advertising

Shar VanBoskirk

Last week Charlene Li and I talked with Josh Walker-- a Forrester alum and all around smart guy -- about his new company CityVoter.  Here’s what CityVoter does and why it matters to media outlets, local businesses and national advertisers:

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