Advertising vs Digital Marketing

Computer devicesIt’s been known for a while now that I have taken on the role of CTO of The Linus Group. It has been said at the time about this that I am changing my area of expertise, since I left Magnetic / Cognitive Match who were clearly focused on online advertising to join a company which operates in digital marketing space. This statement is something which I disagreed to from the beginning, as I don’t see this as a change of direction on my side at all (on the contrary!) — so I’m setting off to shed a bit of light into this matter in this post. I’m going to make a bit of a side-by-side comparison in between the online advertising and the digital marketing and see how much they are alike to each other as well as complement each other.

To start with, let’s look at who is a heavy user (and by user I mean someone who buys advertising inventory not just consume it, the way any web user nowadays does) of online advertising. It turns out it’s exactly digital marketers! These guys are looking at ways to increase brand awareness, develop a regular user base or increase their sales by using all sorts of channels, one of these channels being online advertising. The concept is very simple: you buy advertising to attract users to your website — with a view in mind to sell them a product/service, have them join the ranks of your regular users and so on. It’s the typical sales funnel with the advertising at one end and sales at the other end. The thing that one might not be aware of working in online advertising is that most of the online advertising budgets come as a result of a marketing strategy — and as such are approved by marketers.

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Marketing Automation Companies Have a Lot to Learn from Tech World

businessman shows modern technologyAs you might know by now, I’ve adjusted a bit my career recently. My core experience is a techie in the online advertising world — and as of recently I’ve moved into an adjacent segment: digital marketing. It sounds like a drastic move, but to be honest, when you look closely, it’s actually the same thing, but from the other side of the fence (and to be honest at a much smaller scale).

The advertising world deals with ad views, impressions, clicks, conversions, visitor profiling… and the digital marketing world deals with the same: any digital marketer is constantly looking at conversions, page views, call-to-actions, landing pages, profiling visitors, lead nurturing (which is very similar to visitor scoring we’re applying in advertising) and so on.

In fact, back in the day when I was in Cognitive Match, the original idea of the business was exactly that: to take ownership of the whole sales funnel. (Sadly a few things went wrong somewhere at the top and we had to ahem pivot a bit…)

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(Don’t) Blame the Techie

Working with the laptopI’m a techie by trade, I’m sure you figured that out from the sort of things I blog about here. As such, I do get rubbed up the wrong way when I hear of so many companies complaining on a regular basis about their technical team. It’s either because they don’t deliver on time. Or the functionality is not quite what it was needed. Or because they are assigning priority to other projects than the ones which should be top priority for the company. Or that they are not engaging in discussions with the outside world to find out what the “real” needs are… The list goes on, and while I’m hoping you have no idea what I’m talking about, I think the sad reality is that most of us have heard (or even more so, have been involved in) these sort of discussions and accusations against techies.

As I said, I feel I need to defend the techies here — having been myself involved in these on both sides of the table.I’m going to look at some of the situations I’ve encountered and explain how and why that has happened. And while I am obviously partial in this, hopefully you will see that a lot of these situations were not entirely the techies fault.

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Restarting My Rugby “Career”

After my first game for Silicon Valley Rugby — guess who played at blind side? ;)

Snow in My Hometown – 01/Dec/2014

Welcome to British Gas!

iStock_000016712919Small_conference conference audience speakerThis is another speech I’ve given at Valley Toastmasters, and it’s part of Competent Communicator manual, project #6: “Vocal Variety”.

As a reminder, the objectives of the project are:

  • Use voice volume, pitch, rate and quality to reflect and add meaning and interest to your message
  • Use pauses to enhance your message
  • Use vocal variety smoothly and naturally

With that in mind, here’s the speech I delivered:

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Should I Still Worry About Handwriting?

iStock_000019097347XSmall_lightbulbThis is something that’s been bugging me for quite a bit now to be honest to the point where it’s getting into becoming an obsession: are we using writing (and reading for that matter) for all the wrong reasons? Is it still needed? Or is it an archaic way of communicating — and as such won’t be needed soon? I know, crazy idea right? :)

Here’s the thing — my handwriting nowadays is terrible (not that it’s ever been that great!), in fact I can type on my laptop much (much!!) faster than I can write something by hand. Arguably, this is because my job sees me doing a lot of typing daily — however, looking at others, I don’t see them handwriting that fast. So while that plays a part in it, I don’t think it’s the crucial factor.

Also, I read relatively ok — especially when reading to myself (we all know that reading louder is a slower process, right?); I am in fact assuming based on own observation that my reading speed is average.

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Small Business or Startup?

marketingI had an interesting discussion recently with a friend of mine about titles and terminology used nowadays in business, and it prompted me to continue my trail of thoughts on this on my blog. We talked about how a lot of companies label themselves rather proudly as startups — an idea which my friend was not too fond of.

Twitter, as we all know, is still sort of looked upon as a startup — even though they just IPO’d … well, under a year ago. Facebook, also, even though everyone knew the goal was for an exit of 100 billion, was proudly waving the flag of being a startup, my friend reminded me.

Pretty much, any company that operates in between I-280 and US-101 nowadays will label itself as a startup — I was told. And these startups give birth to a whole plethora of titles, such as CEO, CTO, CMO, CxO — my friend argued. But the reality is, they just create fancy titles and hiding under the title of “startup” allows them not to create a viable business — because, after all, they are still starting up, right? They don’t have to bring in revenue or have a solid business plan… At least that was my friend’s argument.

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Know Thy Audience

iStock_000016712919Small_conference conference audience speakerI’ve been to a bunch of conferences, meetups and other technical (or not!) events recently and some of them have touched me enough to deserve some comments on my blog, as you might have noticed. Looking back now at the last 5-6 months or so and all the events I’ve been attending — and needless to say some of them were exceptionally organized, while some of them were terrible — it occurred to me that it matters a lot how you target your audience.

When you deliver at such an event, you need to really know the audience when you take on the stage. I know it’s such a common advice you read everywhere on the net, but still, despite all that I see this mistake being made a lot.

I’m going to tell you about one of these events where the presenter really didn’t strike one chord with the audience, just so you can see how important this factor can be.

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DreamForce 2014 — 15-Oct-2014 In Photos