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iMedia Industry Update: Trends in Commerce

Posted by Chris Arens in Opinions on April 18th, 2014 at 12:00 pm

The first quarter of 2014 is already in the books. Wow. Time flies. It seems like just yesterday that we were worried about Y2K and whether or not one could reasonably sell products online with a positive margin. Pets.com couldn't. But Amazon.com has certainly long since shown any naysayers that it is a more than viable way to do business.

Here at iMedia, as we continue to crank through Q2, all eyes are on the topic of commerce. It's by no means a new focus for our industry -- but it is one of the fastest moving. Back in the early 2000s, the conversation was dominated by marketers trying to convince brands that their consumers were online. At summits back then, we spent a lot of time making (somewhat futile) comparisons between online tactics and their older, traditional brethren. Although it's frustrating that some of the questions of yesteryear still haven't been resolved completely, the industry has continued to move forward.

These days, iMedia guests and readers are focused on the pervasiveness of the digital medium -- and how to harness it for continued brand (and ultimately sales) success. In June, iMedia will bring the foremost experts on the matter together...

The Crowded Commerce Landscape

Posted by Catherine Tabor in Emerging Platforms on April 18th, 2014 at 7:09 am

Commerce is the name of the game in business, and whether a company needs help driving foot traffic, tracking attribution or finding new ways to reach customers online, it should be no surprise that there is a market for third party vendors that can help companies be more efficient and drive revenue in new ways.

Whether this vendor is a daily deal site like Groupon, an online marketplace like Amazon or eBay, a coupon aggregator that helps brands distribute offers, or a CRM platform that helps companies maintain relationships and drive future sales; if there is a need that a third party can solve, chances are that company exists today.

The problem is that each of these vendors probably exists tenfold.

LUMA Partners has become known for their product of LUMAscapes, industry mapping charts that have become synonymous with overabundance in the ad tech industry, and I personally have become very familiar with their Commerce LUMAscape, which contains all of the categories I mentioned above, along with buckets for Exchanges, Storefront/Cart, Social Commerce, Flash Sale Sites and many more.

My company, Sparkfly, currently competes in the Analytics bucket, and as I look out at the wider landscape, what I see is a...

Keeping Your Marketing Numbers on Track: Applying Analytics to Promotion and Sales

Posted by Daniel Taibleson in Web Analytics on April 17th, 2014 at 9:28 am

Demand for analytics is exploding, with Gartner principal analyst Dan Summer reporting that the business intelligence platform market grew eight percent over the past year to $14.1 billion. Half of new spending is contributing to data discovery, the branch of BI that makes analytics data and reporting available to end users. One of the most practical ways to benefit from tracking business analytics data is to see how sales numbers compare to your marketing efforts, and how each are impacting your ability to increase revenue.

Track Your Marketing Budget

The typical small business marketing budget averages about $2,000, according to a 2012 Staples survey. To effectively utilize such limited resources, it's vital to track the return for every dollar spent. Towards this end, Forbes contributor Dave Lavinsky says that first, you should review your overall financial situation to see what your profit margin leaves available for marketing. The Small Business Administration recommends that companies generating under $5 million annually with profit margins of 10 to 12 percent should assign 7 to 8 percent of revenue to marketing.

Second, decide where to spend your marketing budget, dividing expenditures between brand development...

4 common image sharing mistakes

Posted by Nate Holmes in Opinions on April 17th, 2014 at 7:00 am

We've all been there. You're working on project and you need an image for it. You know which one you want but you're not sure where it is. After searching your desktop and a couple emails, you start navigating through shared folders. You finally get to the folder "Company Event Photos" you were told the image was in, a sigh of relief. But then you open the folder and see 500 images labeled IMG31234 through - IMG31634. Now what? Hope the first image you open is the one you want? 1 in 500 chance isn’t so bad, right?

There are many ways to share images, from email to shared folders to online tools. Heck, you could print an image, fold it into an airplane and let it fly to its intended recipient. Some ways are certainly better than others in terms of efficiency, maintaining quality, and organization. Here are four common image sharing mistakes and some tips to prevent them.

1) Non-informative file names

Having thousands of images with no proper file names is an easy mistake to make. Images from cameras and stock photography sites typically provide random numbers as the file name. A random number doesn’t provide any value to...

In Defense of Popups

Posted by Ross Kramer in Email Opinions Targeting on April 16th, 2014 at 8:02 am

It is no secret that we tout the modal popup as the ultimate tool for building your email subscriber base, and we have the research to prove why. There are still those, however, who avoid using this time-tested tactic for fear that they will annoy – and potentially lose – prospective customers.

Recently, while discussing the effectiveness of exit popups, Listrak Senior Solution Consultant Joe Devine met with the popular popup objection. I thought his response was worth sharing:

The best strategies surrounding pop-ups, side bars, footer overlays, or any other sort of whirligigs are often hotly contested by marketers. Some folks see them as the utter dissolution of all brand integrity, while some of us see them as a necessary engagement tool when trying to achieve revenue goals.

The truth is engagement KPIs are lifted when you strategically increase acquisition. However, with such a broad spectrum of sentiments, one thing is clear: One size will not fit all and testing is key to driving adoption. After years of deploying and testing these technologies, it may seem brash, but the simple fact is, these tools work and work well. For every naysayer, I would challenge you to prove that...