eCommerce Management: Defining Your eCommerce Initiative

October 13, 2011 Leave a comment

Selecting the eCommerce Manager



“A quick search on a popular online job board for “eCommerce Manager” demonstrates that different companies have different ideas about just what an eCommerce manager is. Some businesses believe that eCommerce management is a marketing function, others an IT function; still others see it as a web design and development function.

None of these notions is correct.

For a company’s eCommerce initiative to succeed, a different type of manager is needed. In the past, responsibility for a company’s eCommerce site sat with the IT engineers and programmers, or with web design and development personnel. A company’s eCommerce needs today dictate that the eCommerce initiative sit with a true eCommerce manager.

An eCommerce manager is just that—a manager—involved in launching and running an eCommerce web site from a management perspective. To bring about a successful company eCommerce initiative, the eCommerce manager must be not a programmer, a marketer, or a web developer, but instead someone who is familiar with each of those functions and how to manage the personnel who provide those functions. The eCommerce manager must be familiar with the duties and responsibilities of the IT, web site production, and marketing departments, interfacing with those departments to create and promote the eCommerce side of the business.

Does that mean that the eCommerce manager must know how to perform each of those functions? No. The eCommerce manager’s job is to develop the necessary specifications to create and manage the company’s eCommerce web site, which requires an understanding of each department’s responsibilities and how that department functions in the overall initiative. The job is management, not administration: The eCommerce manager is the eCommerce evangelist for the company, acting as a diplomat to facilitate the various operations of the company to initiate and manage the eCommerce side of the business.

Good eCommerce managers have specific traits:

  • They hold the company’s eCommerce vision.
  • They’re skilled at forming partnerships within the company.
  • They’re able to start new enterprises and recognize new online business opportunities.
  • They’re well organized and can prioritize tasks.
  • They understand that in eCommerce, “It’s the customer, stupid.”
  • They recognize that the success of the eCommerce initiative resides in their responsiveness to customer needs and to moves by the competition.
  • In other words, it all adds up to customer relationship management (CRM).”



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Determining the eCommerce Initiative



The first question to be answered by the eCommerce manager is this: “What’s the goal of our ‘digital strategy’? Is it to sell products, services, information, or advertising?” Your company’s digital strategy depends on what your company is selling. What’s the prime purpose of the eCommerce site—content, community, or commerce? Individually or in combination, these strategies generate eCommerce revenue for all the businesses on the Internet today:

  1. If you’re selling content, digital or otherwise, generating revenue from the production or offering of information is the goal of your company’s digital strategy.
  2. If the purpose of your eCommerce site is to offer an online community experience, selling advertising to vendors wanting to reach your target audience is the goal of your digital strategy.
  3. If you’re selling products or services, commerce is the prime goal of your company’s digital strategy.



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#AdWords phone support @Google

April 7, 2011 Leave a comment

@Google adds #AdWords phone support #shift

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A decade later, Google adds AdWords phone support

ly one of the most important advertising
platforms in history. It has given advertisers of all
Google AdWords is arguably one of the most important advertising
platforms in history. It has given advertisers of all
shapes and sizes
the ability to reach a global audience in a highly-targeted fashion on
almost any budget, and in an accountable fashion.

So it’s no surprise that advertisers, ranging from the world’s largest
brands down to local mom-and-pop businesses, spend billions upon
billions of dollars every year buying AdWords ads. They do so despite
the fact that Google has never offered free, general phone support to
its advertisers.

Yesterday, Google announced that this is changing. Have a question about AdWords, or your AdWords account? Just call 1-866-2Google, Monday through Friday from 9am to 8pm Eastern Time, and Google will actually take your call.

In short, AdWords is the engine that drives Google, enabling it to invest in everything from mobile to social. Yet there can be little doubt that Google has lost countless AdWords advertisers, particularly small businesses, because its customers can’t pick up the phone and ask for help when they need it.

The fact that Google hasn’t offered phone support for AdWords customers until now is truly quite remarkable. Last year, Google generated close to $30bn in revenue from advertising, the majority of it from these ads.

The timing of Google’s announcement is interesting. On Monday, Google co-founder Larry Page took over as the company’s CEO, and he reportedly hopes to lead Google to a prosperous future by helping it rediscover its startup roots.



Evaluating Success in Social Commerce @Adgregate @WebTrends

March 25, 2011 Leave a comment

A First Look at Cutting-Edge Facebook Data

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SocialMedia Denial Killing Your Business

March 21, 2011 Leave a comment

How Objections to Social Media Are Killing Your Business @amex @openforum

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How Objections to Social Media Are Killing Your Business

One of the most common objections to social media is that it’s a fad; here today gone tomorrow. There is truth in that the social media sites we have today grew out of other sites: LinkedIn (2003) evolved from SixDegrees (1997) and Friendster (2002), then MySpace (2006) gave way to Facebook (2004) when it opened itself up beyond college students in 2006. And this is not the end of the list by any stretch.

As long as human beings have the need to reach out and communicate, they will discover and push technologies to achieve that. I am still waiting for the technology that makes Star Trek’s transporter replace airplanes! In the meantime, the best way to do business globally is to pull together a social media strategy. Yet, a lot of business owners haven’t done so because of their objections to social media. However, these objections may be killing your ability to generate leads and new customers and ultimately, be killing your business.

1.  There’s no return on investment in social media. What is the ROI for your phone?  If you don’t have a phone or a website or a social media profile, you do not exist on the business landscape of your customer. That doesn’t mean that you just throw money at social media and hope it delivers results. Use sound business principles. Set business goals and start comparing the investment you currently have in getting and keeping customers with new social media tools. 

2.  We don’t have the money or the time to waste on this new thing. This is another ROI question. If you currently make cold calls, send sales reps into the field, go to networking events, travel to trade shows, gather business cards, make sales calls, make appointments, drive to appointments and make more appointment to generate a new sale, then you might actually be saving time and money by using social media tools. I still have face-to-face meetings, but these often come AFTER a lengthy relationship building series over LinkedIn, Facebook and even Skype. I’ve just calculated my mileage for taxes and have seen a 50 percent decrease in travel miles over the last three years. The same is true for my “meals” category!

3.  We can’t control our message. Yes. Tony Hayward from BP had this same objection and we see how much good it did him. The way you control your message with social media is by putting it out there in the form of blog articles, guest articles, Twitter posts, Facebook updates, LinkedIn updates, answering questions and simply being present online. Think of Google as your homepage. When people search on your name or your company name—the content that you created should overwhelm the page. On a personal note, when I searched my name back in 2005, there was a soap opera star ahead of me and (of all things) a blow up doll!  I certainly didn’t want my customers to see THAT!  Now when I search on my name—it’s only my content.

4.  We’ll lose privacy and expose ourselves to the competition. You will lose as much privacy as you would by sharing information at a networking event or a customer presentation. In fact, social media is a sales and marketing tool—the last thing you want is privacy! Worrying about privacy is like sending your sales rep to a trade show and saying, “Don’t tell anyone we’re there.” You wouldn’t do that at a trade show, why do it online?  Maybe you’re stuck on the Twitter idea that people share what they’re having for breakfast.  That might have been true in the early days, but overwhelmingly Twitter is a place where conversations happen about brand.  There are marketing research tools out there designed to pull and analyze what products and services people are talking about.  They wouldn’t do that if it wasn’t there and important.

5.  We’ll open ourselves up for legal problems. This is a valid concern, especially for companies that are in heavily regulated industries like financial services. Instead of saying that it’s too difficult, get legal advice on what is acceptable in your industry. In 2009, the Federal Trade Commission issued general guidelines for social media that will help you start thinking about what the best way is for you to address your social media strategy. I recommend coming up with objectives and plans for your social media marketing strategy and THEN consult your legal team. This way you will get them to think of ways for you to achieve your objective instead of focusing on what you cannot do.  Finally, create a social media policy that clearly states what’s acceptable and what’s not for your organization.  Create social media identities for those employees who are eager to promote your brand online and be clear about how they are to represent your brand.

Don’t let uncertainty or doubt overcome the need for your business to gain new leads, prospects and customers.  Instead of approaching the world of social media with an immediate “no” and then finding excuses as to why it’s not for you, start with “yes” and see what benefits suddenly open up for you.



Daily Deal Site Revenues to Reach $1.25 Billion This Year

March 20, 2011 Leave a comment

Consumer spending on deal-a-day offers is poised to reach $1.25 billion in the US this year, according to a March 2011 forecast by BIA/Kelsey. The firm expects revenues for daily deal sites like Groupon and Living Social will grow steadily, reaching $3.93 billion by the end of 2015.

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The Latino Shift

March 16, 2011 Leave a comment
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The Latino Shift

  • Now we are counting: the information for 32 states has already been released, representing 68.2 percent of the overall population. #shift
  • A confirmed trend: Hispanics contributed 59 percent of the overall population growth in 32 states. #shift
  • The Hispanic population in 24 out of 32 states currently released has increased by over 50 percent between 2000 and 2020. #shift
  • Hispanic population under 35 years old grew 51.5 percent in the last two decades versus a 7.3 percent growth for non-Hispanic whites. #shift
  • Forever young? While most of Latinos (61.8 percent) are still under 35 years old, the number has reduced significantly (68.7 percent in 1990). #shift
  • Arizona, Texas, and California are among the states with the smallest change in Hispanic population; however, Hispanics make up 30 percent or more of their total populations. #shift
  • Of the states that have been released, Alabama, Arkansas, North Carolina, Maryland, Mississippi, and South Dakota all have Hispanic growth above 100 percent. #shift

This new demographic landscape will certainly impact both “aficionados” and newcomers in terms of how they allocate marketing dollars and the role that Latinos play in their overall strategy. But in order to succeed, marketers need to go beyond the usual marketing variables; they need to understand the whole social environment and its impact on Hispanics and vice versa.

Latino Social Dynamics

1. Education: Help me help you. One of the biggest challenges comes in the education arena. Many kids start kindergarten without knowing how to speak English, and teachers don’t know how to communicate with them. Once the barrier is broken and kids become more proficient, a new issue arises; parents that are not as proficient in the English language can’t help their kids with their homework.

2. Social Security: The two sides of the coin. With the Hispanic population growing at a rate that exceeds projections, and with over 60 percent of Latinos under the age of 35, there is no doubt that Hispanics are making significant contributions to the Social Security fund. This has been the side of the coin that most of the media has been focusing on.

3. Politics: The power shift. While the population grew almost 9.7 over the last 10 years, the number of seats in the House of Representatives will stay the same at 435. Yet, when you look at it from a state-by-state basis, the picture is completely different. Take, for example, the changing demographics of the southwest: there are more Latino voters and fewer white voters. Latinos tend to lean more on the Democrat side. How will this trend impact politics moving forward?

Location, location, location. While Latino presence continues to expand both in traditional and non-traditional Hispanic DMAs, retailers need to constantly adapt. Latinos are not one-stop shoppers; they love to shop and they are not as price sensitive in certain channels. This is more obvious in the CPG category where they spend 14 percent more than the general population, especially on food.

5. Urbanism: The new good neighbor. As the U.S. population and the country’s infrastructure evolve, urban planners are facing new challenges. Urban planners are ahead of the trend in understanding the key role Hispanics are playing: using them in pilot programs to test new urban models. “Latino New Urbanism” is an approach to urban planning that might include small lots, houses located close to main roads, front porches, compact neighborhoods, and public spaces. Pioneered by James Rojas, the notion of “Latino New Urbanism” is a way of understanding community, public spaces, and neighborhoods, taking into consideration the preferences and culture of Latino immigrants.

Implications for Marketers

  • Companies can play a more active role in urban planning and engage Latino communities at an early stage. #shift.
  • Bilingualism is a great opportunity! Brands can leverage it by engaging with schools and the educational community. #shift.
  • Latinos are becoming a key target to define the future of elections. How can brands benefit from this #shift in politics?
  • Demographic #shift? Retailers need to rethink their approach and offerings to succeed in this demographic landscape.



@Picplz Introduces Collection & more

March 15, 2011 Leave a comment
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Picplz founder and CEO Dalton Caldwell refers to the now-defunct Imeem, his first entrepreneurial go-round, as “fundamentally a playlist community, not exactly a music site.” The distinction is all the more clear Thursday with the addition of collections to Picplz — or user-generated playlists for photos.

Collections are as simple to build as they sound. Users need only tap to “Add to collection” via iPhone, Android or the web — no application update needed — to save a Picplz photo to a new or existing collection. Picplz users can create collections for any purpose and even add editors to help in the photo curation and collection process.

The collections feature could also be repurposed by brands, especially since they can be managed by a group of users.

In addition to collections, Picplz is also releasing a new version of its Android app Thursday — the iPhone version is pending approval by Apple — to implement borders (a.k.a. photo frames) in photo filters. Frames have been a highly requested feature for some time now, says Caldwell.

Altogether, these updates improve the overall Picplz experience and come just in time for the start of South by Southwest, where throngs of attendees will no doubt be hoping to snap, save and collect photo memories of the festival.

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