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Monthly Archives: January 2009

Innovid: Groundbreaking Ad Technology

tal-chalozinThanks to Elad Lavi for walking us through the incredible technology employed by his buddy at Innovid, Tal Chalozin.

This is a blog about small business marketing in Orange County, but today we are touting a groundbreaking start-up outside our region, because it is a leading indicator of where online advertising is headed.

Web advertisers have found it difficult to monetize viewers of video.

But Tal Chalozin and his team at Innovid, have come up with a new approach to video marketing.

Instead of running ads at the bottom of the screen, Innovid creates live interactive pictures of products embedded in the video.

When viewers scroll their mouse over, say, an image of a coffee mug, a window showing the location of the local cafe could pop up.  Or an image of a magazine could become an offer to subscribe.

Chalozin’s company has already got the backing of high-powered investors.

And most recently, Businessweek named Tal Europe’s Best Young Entrepreneur.

For more on Innovid, see here.

By |January 22nd, 2009|marketing|Comments Off on Innovid: Groundbreaking Ad Technology

Marketing Plans: When the Finger Pointing Starts

finger-pointingIt’s not working.

As marketers, we hear it every day.

For most of us, our first instinct is to see what we could do better. 

We are the ones, after all, who believe our work can make a difference, in spite of the challenges.

It’s natural for us to question what WE are doing.

 Is the offer strong enough?  Is the design clean?  Is the copy tight?  Are we targeting the right prospects?

But once these questions are answered, we have to look in the other direction.

At the client.

Clients that are willing to accept responsibility for implementation of a marketing plan are a blessing.

And small changes can make a big difference.

Incentivizing employees to make a behavior change recently resulted in a big jump in results for a client of Waxpoetix.

The promotion involved handing out a small card to customers who would then go online and fill out a short (60-seconds max) form to claim their gift.

We were seeing great results for several stores who had recently implemented the program with the exception of one.

The owner was convinced it was a failure.

We were convinced the cards were not being handed out.

So we made a bet.  Paramaters were set.  And, as it turned out, we were right.

Once employees were paid a small commission every time a card was handed out, returns increased 50% in five days.

A marketing plan is no cure-all. 

But cooperation and execution can be.

Small Business and Obama’s New SBA Chief

karen_mills1Karen Gordon Mills is President Obama’s pick to head up the Small Business Administration.

A graduate of Harvard (where she also received her MBA), Mills has hands-on experience when it comes to using government to promote small business needs.

She currently heads a private equity firm in Brunswick, Maine, where her husband is President of Bowdoin College (my alma mater…go Polar Bears!)

Her research on economic business clusters in Maine, along with personal lobbying efforts, helped convince the Maine legislature to pass a $50 million research and development bond to spur innovation by small businesses.

She co-founded a NewYork-based private equity firm in 1999, Solera, with  two female partners, suggesting she will be an advocate for women-owned businesses.  This should make the Orange County Chapter of NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) quite happy.

Research she conducted at the Brookings Institution, indicates that businesses seeking to trade outside their immediate region can have a greater impact on the local economy than those that only do business locally.  Businesses operating in this manner bring in more money and attract new businesses.

Said Mills, profiled here in Businessweek, “America’s spirit of entrepreneurship is one of our greatest assets, as we compete in the global economy.”

The Small Business Owner: I Have a Dream

martin-luther-king-jr1Can it be a more difficult time for small business owners right now?

It’s tough enough to own a small business and compete against the forces aligned against you.

Run that business in the worst economic climate we will ever experience and any reason for hope can quickly extinguish.

But you have a dream.

And dreams die hard.

They die especially hard when people come together in support of the same dream.

All small business owners have the same dream.

A simple dream of success.

You can support the dream of your fellow small business owner this week by spending a little money with them.

We’re all in it together.

The same dream.

Meet the Twitter Elite of Orange County

twitterbirdTwitter members have been very good to OCbizblog.

And we are returning the favor by highlighting some of the local folks who have managed to obtain “elite” status.

This is an eclectic crew to say the least.

If you are a small business owner or a marketer, many of them can help you navigate the waves of social networking .

You can find them  here.

OCbizblog made it!  #40 or so.

Simon Cowell and Your Small Business Marketing Plan

humbug_american-idol-simonI admit it.

I watch American Idol.

It’s a cultural juggernaut and a good reminder of what people care about most.

Themselves.

Fortunately,  Simon Cowell is there to remind them (and us) that while you may be a star in your own little world, that is not enough for you to become one in ours.

They just don’t think it though.

People get so caught up in what they want and who they want to be, that they forget they need an audience to care too.

It’s why most small businesses fail as well.  OK, the statistics always say money but what is it that drives spending decisions?

The plan.

And what is that plan based on?  Is it solid research on the niche you have identified?  Is it the potential solution to a problem you encountered?  Is it adding value to a neglected space within your area of expertise?

Many times plans are made selfishly with stars in our eyes.

What we need is a Simon Cowell to snap us out of it.

Imagine taking your small business marketing plan to a 90 second pitch in front of newly annointed Small Business Marketing Expert Simon Cowell.

How would it hold up?

Would he mock you?

Would he boot you out 30 seconds in?

Or would he say, ” I like what you’re doing”.  “It’s interesting”.  “Ok you’re through to the next round.”

A cut to the chase, no holds-barred , quick, clean, objective critique is what you sometimes need for that small business marketing plan.

Look outside for it.

Get out of your head and find an expert who can help you be a star.