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When you are going at 100MPH without a rearview mirror, it’s difficult to reflect on how far you have come. When we were recently featured in the Star Tribune last week, I had that same feeling. When we were first featured in the paper in January of 2010, the company looked a lot different from what you see today. We have grown both our revenue and employee count between 100 and 200% in just two years. And our best years are still ahead of us, especially with our great team in place and technology like Crossfuse in the mix.
We appreciate being featured in the Star Tribune and hope that you might find the article enlightening as well!
Continue Reading Three Deep in the News Again! →
When I first started working in the home improvement business as a sales representative, my sales manager began my training by saying: “All the leads you will ever run while you work here suck. Now that we’ve established that, we don’t have to talk about it ever again.” The point he was trying to make was that, even though the leads “suck” — if you handle them the right way, a sales representative can make a decent living selling to them. The same thing can be said about internet leads and lead generation services. Contractors that have used these services unsuccessfully, tend to paint “Internet leads” with a broad brush by saying they are poor quality — yet the most successful companies are able to generate a good ROI from them. Why?
Continue Reading Why All Online Home Improvement Lead Generation Services Suck →
Today I represented Three Deep as a panelist for a discussion about social media at the #bigdatamn conference hosted by Medtronic. The panel was entitled Social Media IS Big Data and was moderated by the great Ward Tongen. The experience was positive and we had a good turn out for our panel, even though it was near the end of the day. The audience asked many great questions, and the panel provided solid answers. In fact, so many good questions were asked that we didn’t get a chance to delve on any of the pre-formulated questions that came up.
Not wanting these notes to go to waste, I thought it would make a good blog post. Do you find these to be helpful?
What’s important to do to get actionable data?
- Collect it, understand it, spot check it, analyze it and present it. Repeat.
- Most stakeholders only pay attention to the presentation layer, so this piece is ultimately the most important focus for end users. However, you must do extensive data collection and analysis in order to be able to present something actionable.
- This is where most programs fall short. They take aggregates and averages and use them as a report claiming insight. This is not insight, but rather reporting. In order to do a true analysis, it is important to dig several levels deep into the data to tell a story.
- The biggest problem we run into is that it takes 10 times longer to get to a groundbreaking level of insight and we don’t always have time to get it done. This is where we can use software to make us more efficient.
How do you take Data and turn it into insights that are usable across the organization?
There are many levels of insights that can be drawn from data, and many tools to get at these insights. A mix of things like word clouds, pattern analysis, n-grams and hard excerpts of responses can be used to find macro and micro insights, and these will often be the difference between a report that goes into the recycling bin and one that turns into action.
The other thing to consider is the amount of time needed to take action. The bigger the company, the more difficult this is to achieve. The key is to surface insights early and often in the process to gain short term support and allies while waiting on actions to be taken.
It might even be worthwhile to call out short term, mid term and long term goals and milestones that are needed for the overall success of the program and surface them in the dashboards and reporting that we create.
What philosophies and strategies do you have for tackling the problem?
It’s all about finding a needle in a haystack without going insane. At a high level, this involves manual data review to understand the landscape of information you have available. This is a daunting, but necessary proposition that we need to understand before trying to bite off a big set of data.
We recommend digging deep into the data to find true insights that are valuable to the organization, and then determining a strategy to bring this level of insight to the entire business. Conducting this exercise is not meant to be a replacement for the tools of the trade, but rather a method of fine tuning the tools to get at what you really need.
Tools are often developed with a one size fits all approach, and are rarely configured for specific industries, and almost never configured for a specific business. Teaching the tool what is important to you will lead to long term sustainability and time savings in the long run.
How do you filter the good stuff from the noise?
The key to filtering is to not trust automatic filters. Start the filtration process by spot checking the data that comes in to understand insights. This could involve manually reviewing many of the entries collected to better understand the landscape. In addition, try to measure the influence of the source of the comment to understand if they have an audience.
This information will lead to a strong understanding of the information available and how it might need to be filtered for the future. No filters are perfect, especially the automatic ones provided by a tool. In fact, these automatic filters often provide a false sense of security for those using the reports. Filter manually on a subset of data and you will be much more insightful.
Are dashboards the best way to get my stakeholders to visualize what the data is saying?
Dashboards can be tricky, because they start off being highly interesting to stakeholders, but they quickly lose interest if they regurgitate the same numbers over time. What we started doing was adding a mixture of data, charts and insights to our dashboards to appeal to multiple learning types. We also do long term comparisons (year over year, month to month and 13 month rolling).
Another important thing to do is add insights to the body of the email that goes out with the dashboard. In addition, you may decide to change up the delivery method, printing out dashboards for those in the same office. It’s hard to ignore paper.
What are the most common business use cases for social data?
- Customer service
- Customer profiling
- Product development
- Proactive communication
- Sales and lead generation
- List development
- Relationship development
For companies that have social listening programs, what is the most typical area for improvement?
Taking action in a rapid and impactful way. There is often a problem with social data being regarded as too small to take action, and companies are often not equipped to respond ublicly to inquiries due to legal and regulatory issues.
Up until the social revolution, it was much easier for companies to control the flow of the conversation. This seems to be the biggest hurdle to overcome, because it’s unlike anything they have had to address in the past at such an enormous and open ended scale. Companies can improve their status by rethinking the value provided by social data and investing in the process, tools and resources to maximize the value of social media.
Crossfuse Selected By James Hardie Industries To Accelerate Online Lead Generation For Contractor Partners
SAINT PAUL, MN, May 3, 2012 – Cloud-based marketing platform will optimize independent remodeler’s online marketing focus, increase local lead flow and measure sales impact
Crossfuse technology has been selected to streamline online marketing for James Hardie’s contractor program members. Crossfuse will centralize pay-per-click advertising, local search engine optimization and social media for more than 200 independent home remodelers.
Crossfuse is a lead generation platform designed to bring consistency, focus and accountability to the hyper-local marketing efforts of independent sales teams. Crossfuse was created by Three Deep Marketing, a digital marketing agency that specializes in online lead optimization and customer conversion programs.
“Leads are really the new currency in home improvement, and we needed a flexible marketing tool that could integrate with our corporate website, generate more online leads and allow us to centralize lead generation efforts for all our key remodelers,” said Marc Setty, marketing manager, James Hardie. “Crossfuse will centralize our demand generation to send all online sales inquiries directly into each contractor’s SalesForce.com environment, which will be a benefit for both James Hardie and our contractor network.”
Crossfuse widens the sales funnel, helping potential customers find participating brands and local resellers online, earlier in the buying process. The platform itself is a scalable, easy-to-use software program backed by the expertise of Three Deep’s web development team and digital marketing professionals. Other benefits include:
- A program monitoring dashboard customized to a participating brand’s business goals
- An open technology system that makes integration with existing web technologies seamless
- Speed to market – Crossfuse can be up and running for hundreds of independent resellers in an average of 90 days
- Proven performance, increasing the number of sales leads, reducing the cost per lead and driving incremental sales
- Ongoing platform development and technical support
“Searching online is the easiest and most frequent way for prospects to find a product or service,” said Jeff Sauer, vice president, Crossfuse. “Unfortunately, most dealers and distributors aren’t marketing experts, so their effort – particularly online – can be fragmented and underleveraged. Everyone, from manufacturers to dealers, wants to take part in the online marketing gold rush and get their fair share of leads. We developed Crossfuse to provide a best-in-class online marketing program that provides the manufacturer with improved online visibility and dealers with increased lead flow. We are honored that James Hardie has chosen us to help them amplify their marketing efforts for success now and into the future.”
About Crossfuse and Three Deep Marketing
Crossfuse, a product of Three Deep Marketing, is an integrated online lead generation system. It centralizes web pages, digital advertising, social media and measurement for manufacturers and distributors with hundreds of independent locations. The Crossfuse team specializes in lead generation and is certified in Google AdWords, Google Analytics and Salesforce.com. Three Deep Marketing is a digital marketing technology firm focused on improving online lead generation for corporations that leverage independent sales channels. Visit www.crossfuse.com for more information.
About James Hardie Industries
With net sales of $1.2 billion in fiscal year 2011, James Hardie is the largest manufacturer of fiber cement products and systems for internal and external building construction applications in the United States, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines. Their fiber cement products are used in a number of markets, including new residential construction, manufactured housing and repair and remodeling and a variety of commercial and industrial applications. James Hardie manufactures numerous types of fiber cement products with a variety of patterned profiles and surface finishes for a range of applications, including external siding and soffit lining, internal linings, facades and floor and tile underlay. James Hardie Industries’ shares are listed on the Australian Securities and New York Stock Exchanges and can be found at www.jameshardie.com .
Ever since Three Deep was founded in 2003, we have been hard at work trying to make our marketing programs more efficient, scalable, and effective for our clients. To continue to deliver high-quality work at a competitive price point for our clients, we have invested in great people, processes and technology. For the past 24 months, that technology piece has been core to ongoing developments, ultimately resulting with the creation of Crossfuse (you can even see this foreshadowed in our 2010 Star Tribune feature article).
As we have added a great web development team to Three Deep Marketing, we have built in house tools to bring scale to our paid search, organic search and lead generation efforts. However, most of these tools rarely made it beyond Three Deep’s walls, merely known by internal code names such as Project Skunkworks, Three Deep Engine and Connxes.
Not until 2011 did we make a decision to give our internal project a name for the outside world, finding Crossfuse to be a worthy representation of the all encompassing nature of our platform. Cross represents the way our platform can be deployed across the entire spectrum of customer acquisition, nurturing and retention. Fuse represents the fusion of technologies used in order to create a truly integrated marketing platform.
Many large companies will spend years searching for the holy grail of integrated marketing autonomy – a silver bullet that can handle all online marketing activities in a single platform. Most of these companies will fail to achieve their goals because the projects are highly customized, expensive, and never ending. The only people who benefit from the project are the consultants and experts hired to work on a consistently lucrative stream of billable hours.
These companies have a need to fuse their efforts across their entire marketing spectrum, but don’t always have the proper staff and technology acumen to get things done. This is what gets us most excited about launching the Crossfuse platform; it gives our clients a truly integrated marketing program complete with managed services, strategy, execution and a strong technology back end.
There are many software companies that make the same claim of integrating marketing efforts, but they require a lot of self service configuration and hand holding to be effective. Here is how Crossfuse is different:
- You don’t need to buy the whole thing at once. You can simply use Crossfuse to build landing pages for your paid search program if that’s all you need today.
- Services are required as part of Crossfuse. You can’t buy Crossfuse as an off the shelf software. When you sign up for Crossfuse, you are actually buying the great minds of one of the fastest growing marketing agencies in the United States.
- We work with your current technology investments. Crossfuse is not reinventing the wheel by creating an email delivery engine, CRM tool or search management software. We prefer to use off the shelf technology to execute marketing whenever possible. Crossfuse simply manages the flow of information between these tools. This makes new technology integrations an API call away.
- Crossfuse grows with you. The decision to host Crossfuse in “the cloud” was an obvious one. We want to be able to deliver excellent features and functionality to our clients without making them pay custom development prices. By hosting our service in the cloud, we can deliver new functionality to all of our clients in a single product release. The product becomes infinitely more valuable to our clients over time, yet they are not charged individually for these innovations.
Crossfuse was built by a digital marketing agency to streamline the marketing process for online marketers. If you sign up with Crossfuse, you are not just getting a piece of technology: you are getting a top notch digital marketing agency in a box.
If you have ever struggled with underwhelming technology launches, rising agency costs and a sense of frustration with the overwhelming list of things you want to get done with your marketing dollars, then you should seriously consider Crossfuse. Our team is eager to work with you.
With the release of Google+ pages for business, many companies may be wondering whether a page is right for their business, and how they can most effectively use this tool to enhance their online marketing efforts. While the benefits of having a Google+ page for a business are still being discovered by most companies, there are a few very clear opportunities for businesses to succeed using Google+ for business.
Here are the top 4 reasons as we see them:
By using Google+ to post and promote your website content, you are allowing Google to directly understand the impact and popularity of the content you provide. There have been strong indications that if many influential users of Google+ post links to your content, Google will rank your pages higher in organic search results. Since Google owns all of this data and factors it into their search results, adopting this platform becomes extremely important for brands wishing to achieve SEO success.
Understand Who Shares Your Content with Google+ Ripples
When great content is posted to Google+, there is a good chance that it will be shared by others in your Google+ circles. This was very much a nebulous activity that took time and effort to measure how content spread throughout a social graph. Google+ has added a feature called Ripples that creates a gorgeous illustration of how content is spread across the network. Use this information to target influencers and work with the to help promote future content.
Paid Search Enhancements through Social Extensions
In order to link Google+ data with paid search efforts, Google AdWords has recently enabled a feature called Social Ad Extensions. Enabling this feature allows an advertiser to display the number of people who have subscribed to a businesses Google+ page inside of the ad unit as a +1. This was previously reserved only for people giving a +1 to a single landing page. Now you can display a much larger +1 count based on the total number of followers on Google+. This brings instant credibility and differentiation to advertisers active on Google+
Google+ Hangouts to Deeply Connect with Customers
While a one-on-one connection with consumers is a great goal for companies, often connecting on a one-on-one basis with customers can be expensive and requires a huge commitment. One way to make this more palatable for businesses is to arrange a Google+ hangout, where they can talk with a group of people in a single setting. You could have a hangout between fans and product development teams, customer service, spokespeople, marketing – anyone really!
Google+ Hangouts can provide a way for companies to spontaneously and genuinely connect with their biggest supporters, or even turn casual fans into brand advocates.
More to Come
Google is making a huge push to integrate Google+ into their entire portfolio of products and services. Unlike their previous forays into social networking, Google+ has already seen wide adoption and support, and is going to be baked into everything Google does moving forward. Early adopters of the service can really get ahead of the game by embracing features that provide short term benefits, while amassing a list of loyal fans to help spread the word about future initiatives. Companies that are serious about the future of their search marketing programs really need to consider making a push into Google+.
Welcome to the eleventh edition of The Search, a weekly recap of all the interesting posts from the areas we deal with most: paid search, project management, social media, SEO, email, and mobile marketing. Check back each week to stay on top of the latest and greatest techniques in online marketing so that you can improve your skills and better serve your clients. Enjoy!
Yesterday I tried to call a potential Client in the home services industry. As a plumbing contractor, this company is in the business of providing emergency service to customers with plumbing problems. I had misplaced his direct phone number so I went to their company website and dialed the number on the home page. I got a busy signal. I figured I must have misdialed so I tried the number again — busy! What if I had been an actual customer?
Continue Reading The Most Expensive Leads Are Those You Never Get To See →
Welcome to the seventh edition of The Search, a weekly recap of all the interesting articles from the areas we deal with most: paid search, social media, web development, web analytics, SEO, display advertising, email marketing and mobile marketing. Check back each week to stay on top of the latest and greatest techniques in online marketing so that you can improve your skills and better serve your clients. Enjoy!
Do you know what the most expensive keywords are in Google AdWords? That is just one of the topics covered in these great articles regarding Paid Search and PPC. Check them out!
What is happening with Google and SEO? These articles are just what you need to learn more about what innovations are happening on the largest search engine.
New to the Search is Display Advertising. This week we take a look at different sources, publisher placements and how digital channels interact with traditional TV advertising. Take a look!
Just like last week, much of the buzz for social media still revolves around Google+. Take a look at the article from Search Engine Land or one of the other articles surrounding all things social.
Time to get back to the basics with web analytics? Want to measure social media engagement? Check out the article from Luna Metrics? Lead value? Try Future Now’s post. Or learn from your analytics and start optimizing your website with Zimana’s advice. Check them out today!
Every week there is a new prediction with where Mobile is currently and where it is headed. With these articles, you’ll learn more about where it is headed and whether it is poised to overtake TV advertising spend.
New to the Search, we are proud to add email to the list. Check out these Email 101 basics and start improving your campaigns today!
What do you think of these posts that we have shared with you? Do you agree or disagree with the ones posted? We’d love to hear your thoughts, and invite you to leave us a comment or tweet us @threedeep.