MSN, Yahoo! and Google: What's with all the buzz?

Shar VanBoskirk

Within the last week there has been a lot of buzz about the online search businesses of the three search engine giants: Google, Yahoo! and MSN. We anticipated some of the buzz -- MSN announced its US launch of AdCenter at its Strategic Account Summit in Redmond beginning 5/2; and Yahoo! announced a new platform and set of services for its advertisers on Monday. But last week a surprise WSJ article generated quite a stir. Here’s the excerpt that got everyone talking:

One faction within Microsoft Corp. is promoting a bold strategy in the company's battle with Google Inc: Join forces with Yahoo Inc.

That would be a major departure for Microsoft, the software maker that is legendary for toiling on its own until it captures a new market. However, people familiar with the situation say that Microsoft has considered the idea of acquiring a stake in Yahoo, and that the two companies have discussed possible options over the course of the past year.

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Are B2B Marketers Ready For Personas?

Laura Ramos

During a recent breakfast meeting with B2B marketers, someone asked “We sell many products, with each buying cycle involving multiple decision makers. Do I need to create a persona for each?” Persona is a word that has made its way into the business marketer’s vocabulary of late and we admit we’re doing our part to promote this approach as well. But are B2B marketers ready to use personas as a launch pad for establishing a more relevant dialog with prospects and customers?


Most are not. Judging from our customer interactions, the typical B2B firms’ approach to segmentation is quite rudimentary — they group customers by size, industry, and geography. These categories closely match their sales organization’s structure, but are divorced from marketing strategy. Few go further and extend buyer profiles to include role, behavior, demographics, or preferences.


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ad:tech: proof of bubble 2.0?

Shar VanBoskirk

I participated in ad:tech San Francisco 06 last week and was blown away by the number of attendees and exhibitors.  While I was very excited by the energy at the event (great to feel marketers primed to invest in internet marketing, and vendors anxious to introduce new technologies), the cynic in me couldn’t shake the “been there, done that” feeling.

A feeling associated with what we at Forrester have dubbed “Bubble 2.0” -- the recent boom of venture-backed vendors touting very similar capabilities but with no clients (In fact, this trend is not unique to vendors.  There are content companies springing up too, that provide no actual content). 

Here are my observations from ad:tech about which areas are garnering the biggest vendor attention:

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The Reality of Marketing Metrics

Shar VanBoskirk

We recently participated in a panel on marketing measurement for the Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange and it got us to thinking about all the hubbub around marketing measurement and analytics today.  Everyone is talking about it.  Everyone has vast quantities of data.  And yet despite the increased sophistication of measurement tools and practices, the debate about how to really do it continues.  No one has yet come up with an answer to the question: How do you measure marketing?  Here are just a few thoughts on why this is and what marketers can do about it: 

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