As an active member of communities touching the interactive advertising world I answer many questions on a daily basis. Each week I will round of some of the best questions and answers for your consumption.
Joy Abdulla asks:
How can social marketing be shown to be effective in terms of dollar sales?
Is there a mechanism/ method/formula through which we can effectively forecast or project what would be potential earnings for a brand by utilizing social marketing techniques on various sites?
The answer to your question is that you must have a third party software (or design your own) to measure the effects of your campaign. If the campaign is simple you may be able to track metrics yourself, but if there are any added layers of complication you will need extra help.
I have linked a company called Sway that does this very thing for many campaigns rooted in social media.
Rich Dettmer, Director of Digital Strategy and Partner at Slack Barshinger, asks:
What law governs web based data collection?
When collecting data on a web site, is the collection governed by the laws of the country the data is collected from, or the country where the site is hosted? For example: If I am collecting user registrations from Europe on a site that is hosted in the United States, who’s laws govern that transaction?
International law is tricky in the traditional corporate sense, but combined with the Internet there is very little case law to call upon.
The generally accepted concept is that you are governed by the place where your business is incorporated (whatever mechanism that may be). If you do not have a brick and mortar establishment, you may be subject to the laws of any country through which you transact. For example, collecting money from a UK citizen and storing that money in the United States exposes you to legal liability in both countries, however collecting data with no financial transaction most likely does not expose you to the country in which the individual providing the data resides. There is some case law along these lines regarding spam as a method of collecting data, and I do not recommend mass emails as a foreign campaign strategy.
In general the United States is a rules based country when it comes to law. You can review case law and find clearly (sometimes not so clearly) written torts, statutes, and laws that govern our businesses. In Europe (since this is in your example I will use it here) the laws are principle based. In other words, courts tend to look at your intent more than your action when deciding cases. If you are not doing anything blatantly illegal, I would say your liability is very low.
You can always seek council through an international attorney, but this is a costly engagement and may not provide you with a clearer answer.
I highly recommend contacting the consulate of each country in which you are interested to discover more about what your legal exposure may be. In my experience they are very helpful and willing to discuss these issues as well as the culture of their home country (which may help you formulate regional marketing strategies).
I am not a lawyer, though I do hold a Bachelor of Science in International Business and am almost through my MBA in the same subject. These kinds of questions appear in case studies and course materials. I hope my answer helped!
Laura Fitton, Principal and Founder of Pistachio Consulting, Inc., asks:
How can businesses use Twitter and other microblogging tools?
Communications, advertising, PR and social media agencies, what are your client's burning questions about Twitter and other "microblogging" platforms? Where do you look for the answers to what they should be doing?
Clients do not typically know about Twitter as a business tool. When appropriate, I may suggest microblogging as a way to engage a passionate target base.
The important thing when using Twitter - or any blog based tool - is to provide relevant content that is of interest to the target audience. Because Twitter is an opt-in service, target users must feel as though they are receiving something in exchange for their attention.
You can read more about how to use blog and microblog tools in ADMAVEN - The Interactive Advertising Blog, which I have linked below as a resource. Scroll down to the article entitled, "SEO vs. SMO Part 3: The Social Metropolis". Read the linked materials in the article and you will have a complete understanding of how to engage a target audience with a blog or microblog tool.
Natalia Alexandrou, Senior Marketing Executive at Report Buyer & Piribo, asks:
B2B Affiliate Marketing - does it work!?
I'm interesting in hearing your experiences (good and bad) with B2B affiliate marketing... and I'm not talking about the affiliate programs which use B2C tactics such as printer companies etc.
Are there any success stories? How did you approach possible partners? What tools work best for you?
We are a B2B company and we launched an affiliate program 5 months ago through a network with a dedicated campaign manager... and are only getting B2C affiliate sites joining our program. Is the industry just not ready to take on B2B affiliates?
My experience has taught me several things about B2B Affiliate Marketing:
1) Pursue affiliates with whom you have a long and trusted business (or personal) relationship first. This may involve a C level meeting where you speak to the CEO, COO, and CTO to generate a list of companies that are willing to go the extra mile and form an affiliate relationship.
2) Be flexible. Although you should come in with a detailed plan on your Affiliate program, be willing to tweak the plan for each Affiliate. Every company is different, and applying one model to your targets may discourage them from forming a relationship.
When I started my B2B affiliate program, we went to our CEO and generated a couple of leads with whom we knew the CEO had maintained a personal relationship. These companies trusted our brand name, and were willing to at least listen. We then came in with our presentation, including the buy in figures, terms, etc... We had a contract ready to go, but never got a signature right away. Instead, we found the average time to close an affiliate was 6 months, and involved detailed negotiations with top management on both sides. Each deal was unique, but persistence and follow-up helped get the job done!
Nicholas Kinports (follow him on Twitter @ADMAVEN) has worked in the interactive technology world for over 15 years. He is the Digital Strategy Lead and founder of Chicago-based digital marketing firm lonelybrand, where he directs the creation and execution of digital marketing programs that generate measurable signups, conversions and sales.