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Even though I hate this about myself, if I’m honest; I’m a salesman. I don’t like the sales process, but I love giving people the information they need to make smart and educated decisions about what they buy. When I worked retail earlier in life, I wasn’t motivated by the goals my manager gave me, I was motivated by making the customer like me more than the other salesman, and customer service/education was they easiest way to become the favorite. Nothing brought more joy to me than when a customer would say, “I think I want it, but let me get Scott’s opinion first.”
This idea of educating others to make informed decisions and being a resource for them really excites me, but I can not deal with the mundane life of retail. A career that offered me an opportunity to work with multiple parties, each one with a different set of challenges would be ideal for me. That is why I feel working as a marketing and sales consultant would be the job I would die doing.
The MCDM program and the information it provides for me is key to me accomplishing this goal. Partly because of educational status, as well as the skills I hope leave with. I am not wanting specific skills as of right now, I am entrusting my school and its’ faculty will facilitate that. I don’t want to be the Kawasaki of Digital Media (but I’ll take it if offered,) but want to be able to sit down with the Johnsons to talk about their new hardware store, understand their challenges from a sales/marketing/media stand point and give them a good/better/best strategy.
I actually hope that the program provides me with a deeper understanding of where digital media has been, where it is, and maybe some conversation on where it could possibly go. This I think is more important to me than how to measure a social media campaign, so as the future does unfold I can reflect back and recognize the mistakes of the past. All in all, I just want a job that will intrigue my attention, keep my interest, challenge my limits, supply for my family and give me an opportunity to spread information. When weighing options, MCDM felt like it would provide the best opportunity for me to accomplish such a dream.


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flasher sonI’m not a reader – so shoot me. However, I have noticed a infiltration by Reuters on what I always assumed was the AP’s market; independent content generated for other media outlets to pick up and publish. As an undergrad I also saw a lot of their content on the research databases supplied by the library, and would think “their stuff is all over the databases and other newspapers, why don’t they just publish it themselves?” Okay, so they do. Or, they did because Reuters Magazine has been discontinued just like the most recent effort to resurrect Knight Rider. Why? Reuters has been around since the 1830’s reporting financial data over the telegraph?

It’s their websites fault. Reuters.com is great hub of international news and data that has implemented video as one of its’ main channels for distribution on the site. If you follow the “Video” link under the “News” category in the navigation bar, you may become confused however. Just scroll down a little. I know you don’t want to because you are like every other web user in the world, but if you want to see the good video commentary that Reuters has produced for you, scroll down. “Too hard,” you say? You can see them on the homepage as well, that is, if you look below the crease again.

Reuters. Your content and commentary are great, even to a non-reader like myself. Your video is even better than some of the writing. So why are you hiding it? Show me it is a higher priority by moving it up on the page. Web content below the crease will always get less traffic, so unless you want your video to follow suit of the magazine, show me your movies!

Affiliate marketing makes plenty of noise inside of your results from your favorite search engine. With all of the news about Amazon affiliates being cut off in Rhode Island and North Carolina it appears that many are sounding off about why or why not one should participate as an affiliate in the many programs available. Too often though these discussions revolve around being an affiliate rather than paying one to help you sell your goods and services, a side of the relationship that is often overlooked by small business owners. Not only can having your own affiliate program sell more, but subsequently increases your sites’ traffic – meaning more metrics! Here are 3 reasons why using affiliate marketing may or maynot improve your sites’ metrics:

Marketing and media professionals are managing numerous projects as they comb through budgets, keep up on all the latest trends, launch new campaigns, approve art work, mood boards and banner ads – all before lunch. Affiliate management programs like ClickBank and LinkShare allow your campaign to have a wider breadth across the net while also grabbing a stronger niche presence. These management companies provide the network of affiliates, handle the transaction between the consumer, you and your affiliate as well supply their own set of metrics. Your metrics can improve because the traffic that will be provided by your affiliates is coming from the vast corners of the web and blogosphere that you could have never reached alone. Metrics improved: Visits, New Visits, Visits by Source

This new audience isn’t only showing up on your Google Analytics report because a couple of affiliate bloggers threw up a link on their site. In most cases those clicks are coming from readers who have established a relationship with your affiliate and have granted them a certain amount of trust and loyalty. This is priceless for your small business because to the online community you are not human, you’re corporate; non-humans cannot be trusted. Bloggers are human though and can provide a voice for your goods or services that your business could never accomplish despite your best effort. In a small way, this is the Oprah effect; someone who has established trust with a group and when they endorse or refer that group to a product, that product is now more trustworthy. These affiliates can also be experts in the field you deal in, giving the consumer a comfort level not found with a mere enthusiast. They will throw aside their inhibitions as they feel the expert advice is justified in their experience and this trust will flow over to the pages of your site. Metrics improved: Pages Per Visit, Average Time on Site, Visits by Source

Amongst the benefits affiliate marketing can bring to your metrics, there are some possible negatives that should not be ignored. The humanizing of a brand through an affiliate posting is usually not controlled by the marketer, creating an opportunity for a lack of professionalism through the words of an affiliate. You can also hurt relationships with brick and mortar partners who depend on being able to sale product from their locations and make a commission from sales originating from their website. According to Goldschmidt (2004) “the traditional value chain might change where we experience a blurring of boundaries between value activities and supporting activities. This merger between retailing and advertising media is the foundation for affiliate marketing on the Internet,” (p. 11) and trying something different could cause retailers to walk away. Could Sony afford to have Best Buy’s traffic disappear? Possible problems can occur for the affiliate if you have to change the URL of a product due to site reconstruction or maintenance, and if an affiliate has to move the location on their end, your metrics are now skewed as it may report those views are coming from a new location despite being inside the same affiliate site. Lastly, affiliate marketing programs are under investigation by many state governments as they search new opportunities for tax revenue. This is why Amazon has pulled affiliate programs from North Carolina and Rhode Island while closely watching California and Hawaii. This could create additional taxes for your business to pay to the state where your affiliates website was created or managed. Metrics Not Improved: Visits, New Visits, Visits by Source, Pages Per Visit, Average Time on Site, Brand Equity

Despite the possible negatives and the hoped for benefits of affiliate marketing programs, small businesses must remember the 80/20 rule when exploring any marketing campaign; 80 percent of the business from a campaign will come from only 20 percent of those who experience it. That 20 percent is vital to your livelihood because collectively it provides 100 percent of your business. Affiliate programs are not always going to be a home run for your campaign, but it is one of the many bases you should cover as a media or marketing professional.

Sources:
-Digital Products Retailer: Affiliate Program & Sell Online – ClickBank. (n.d.). Retrieved July 13, 2009, from http://www.clickbank.com
-Affiliate Programs – LinkShare. (n.d.). Retrieved July 13, 2009, from http://www.linkshare.com/
-Goldschmidt, S., Harris, U., & Junghagen, S. (2004). Strategic Affiliate Marketing. london: Edward Elgar Pub.
-Sage, A., & Orlofsky, S. (2009, June 30). Amazon, Blue Nile sever Web affiliate programs | Technology | Reuters. Retrieved July 13, 2009, from http://www.reuters.com/article/technologyNews/idUSTRE55T69D20090630

Content_monetization_fighting_unlicensed_content_size485 The price of free in the digital space is an important debate because digital medias in many instances have bridged the digital divide and knocked a gaping hole in the wall that separates the middle and upper classes from “the poor.” That wall is built by ones’ ability to access information, and free content has a wider breadth than paid-for content merely because there is less financial necessity to get it. I believe Anderson to have some valid points on how “free” as a distribution model can make a significant splash when it comes to marketing and market immersion, however, that is only if the product or content being handed out holds a perceived value higher than its’ asking price. Cuban put it this way “anything that used to be analog that now is digital have a perceived value that is based on their legacy delivery. We value all those TV shows on Hulu highly because we assign a value to what we pay for cable or satellite. We assign a high perceived value to newspaper and magazine reports based on the years we spent paying for them. Anything that we paid for as recently as last year, that we now get free, of course we assign a value of more than free.”

Anderson said, “…newspapers are indeed one of the industries most affected by Free (although that’s just one manifestation of their larger problem: having lost their monopoly on consumer attention).” Just as AT&T cried in the 1980’s and Microsoft has been sued for most of this decade, monopolies feel victimized, never to regain total power because consumers naturally do not like a lack of variety due to a lack of options. Due to the many technologies that allow anyone with internet access to publish content throughout various medias for free is why people have left print; they found somewhere else that offered more options for content than the trusted news sources, the fact it was also free for them to access only made the abandonment of the traditional news outlet easier. As Godin stated, “Magazines and newspapers were perfect businesses for a moment of time,” but that moment ended as consumers wanted to diversify their editorial portfolios.
What does free online distribution have to do with the digital divide and why can’t everything be free? Gladwell gives a great example in a biotechnology company, “Genzyme spent five hundred million dollars developing the drug Myozyme, which is intended for a condition, Pompe disease, that afflicts fewer than ten thousand people worldwide. That’s the quintessential modern drug: a high-tech, targeted remedy that took a very long and costly path to market. Myozyme is priced at three hundred thousand dollars a year. Genzyme isn’t a mining company: its real assets are intellectual property-information, not stuff. But, in this case, information does not want to be free. It wants to be really, really expensive.” The point that Gladwell makes with this that cannot be ignored is stuff (services, products, dollar store Virgin Mary candles) can afford to be given away for free because their purpose holds no real contribution to ones quality of life. A $300,000 drug does not sound worth it to someone not suffering from the disease, but it sounds like a bargain to those whose lives it has altered if it will return some form of normalcy to it. We feel entitled to a weather report and wouldn’t want to pay a cent for it, but to a remote farm community in a third-world country, it would be the most important information they ever invested in.

http://www.thestreet.com/story/10534280/1/protect-your-brand-in-cyberspace.html?cm_ven=GOOGLEN

The Social Media Conversation Prism by Brian Solis of PR 2.0 and Jesse Thomas

The Social Media Conversation Prism by Brian Solis of PR 2.0 and Jesse Thomas

Shirky’s presentation on how the internet has allowed audiences to become producers and contributors to conversations through social media definitely impacts the future storytelling on the web. How? Well, it changes it because it allows us to enlist all of the modern technologies we are use to using to communicate in one platform, causing people to feel enabled worldwide. This is why your grandma has a facebook page; not because she just happens to wake up a social media guru, but she likes seeing pictures of how you and your family are doing and engaging in a conversation about those pictures. This is a much more efficient way of things then here catching a flight from Tallahassee and showing up at your house, sitting down on the couch as she tries to talk you in to covering it with plastic, pulling out the grocery paper bag of Polaroids and pressing through slide shows of your trip to the Worlds’ Largest Frying Pan in Rose Hill, North Carolina.

That story and interaction with Grandma happens over seconds rather than hours or days. Same as many of the other stories happening in the world. My best friend and his wife were expecting their first child, the first grandchild for both sets of parents and the first niece or nephew for all the siblings. This was a major event in this entire families life (14 siblings on both sides, and each family respectively has Thanksgiving dinners pushing 50 guests.) When this child eventually arrived, the task of calling everybody and telling how long the labor was, everyone’s health status, baby stats, describing baby would be a nightmare of a chore. Having gone through this experience myself, I told him to set up a blog and a twitter hash for the family, give instructions to everyone before hand on how to access the blog and feed, then when baby arrived, he updated everyone with one task! No one complained, everyone thought it was clever, awesome and exciting how they got to see the baby within 30 minutes of birth, and regular updates for the coming days and months. They still reached out over the following days in what would consider to be more personal forms of communication (phone calls and coming to their house for a face to face.)

Those type of stories, stories that affect an entire nation to a story about a college students pimple on the inside of their nose are now stories for all interested parties because of the web. In a lot of ways it bridges the digital divide for those seeking content about things that could “traditionally” only be found in expensive publications and services. When I hear my parents generation mock mine and younger generations for texting, and spending time online I laugh because while they sit on their Lazy-Boy watching reruns of All in the Family I’m actually interacting with people and maintaining a relationship. I have wondered before and will until it is proven, but they say one of the major things that battles ones fight with Alzheimer disease is social interaction. Could the generations that grow up with and engage in social media possible not see its’ effects as much as the generations that grew up with the traditional one-way communication medias?

There are a lot of things that enrich our lives; family, friends, food, nature, education and mobile apps. I think it would be fun, interesting and insightful to see what mobile applications are making a splash with certain demographics, or apps that might not be as popular, but make a HUGE impact on lives.

For example I know by watching the most recent WWDC Keynotes of Apples’ that there are several healthcare apps that help doctors and patients watch, regulate and control circumstances that could harms ones well being – from a mobile phone!

I want to hear peoples stories of how their phone is enriching their lives without ever making a single call.
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