Category Archives: marketing and promotion

choosing your content platform(s)

Brian Solis' conversation prism shows social media relationships

Brian Solis’s latest Conversation Prism illustrates the increasing complexity of Social Media content management.

conversation prism displays social media relationships

Brian Solis recently updated his hugely popular Conversation Social Prism which charts the best known channels in the social media spectrum.

Dozens of major social channels have been categorized under 26 distinct headings representing social’s broad range of interests. The list includes the best known, not every social channel on the web.

It’s an eye-opening experience trying to comprehend the near limitless opportunities he presents while deciding on priorities. To get an idea of how far digital media has come, you might want to compare his prism to my web universe sketched only four years ago.

how successful your rank is depends a lot on where you publish

The two most popular platforms for individualized content publishing are brand-here-dot-com websites and/or blogs.

Blogs are dynamic, while publishing as a straight html web page tends to be more cumbersome even though it allows greater flexibility. It’s a trade-off that should be considered with an eye towards time management, creative skills, and frequency.

Social sites are also widely used for content, but are restricted in one form or another as to length and type of content. To put all your eggs in one basket, i.e. Facebook, places the cart before the horse. Pinterest, SlideShare, YouTube, Behance, and others offer a wide variety of options as well as optimized content management. But none offer the overall flexibility of a native domain. Further, crawling and indexing social sites may not be as optimal as a dedicated site.

using only social media has its limitations

Publishing Content Management System (CMS) web site or blog usually means a one-look theme that’s template based. I publish to both platforms: HTML material to my site, and this blog for short updates like this. What this means is that my dot-com web platform maintains a consistent look with the option of inserting one-off pages if desired.

Most small businesses should find blogging only very well suited to establishing a reputation for customized content, especially if that blog is self-hosted.

Once you’ve decided on a workflow and have begun publishing, the next step is promoting that quality content. Today, that means social media and email.

While it’s obviously impossible to cover the entire spectrum of social media, the trick is to focus on a half-dozen or fewer sites and make sure they’re well integrated into your prime channel.

harley’s project rushmore touring upgrades

how much did Harley borrow from GM's Corvette dynamics?

corvette’s c-7 out to change marketing dynamics

In an USA Today article titled “Chevrolet Seeks Younger Buyers For New Corvette,” that other iconic manufacturer clearly states how they view the future potential of their aging clientle and how they hope to change course. Object of GM’s desire? Porsche, of course. And Audi, BMW, and (gulp!) Ferrari.

Although still the leading seller of sports cars in North America, those Vettes are driven on the backroads surrounding Indianapolis and Lexington, not L.A. and New York.

“The average age of a buyer of the current Corvette has been climbing each year and now is in the high 50s. It wants more of the upwardly mobile buyers in their 40s and even younger looking to reward themselves.” Hello, Harley.

et tu milwaukee

If that doesn’t sum up The Motor Company’s highly visible problem with a rapidly aging demographic nothing does. Yesterday Cycle World took an online look at Harley’s 2014 Project Rushmore touring lineup. Why it was important to include the developmental code name isn’t really clear, but pieces of the overall marketing puzzle are beginning to take shape.

“Project RUSHMORE (all caps) is a pure expression of our relationship with our customers and a shared passion for riding motorcycles,” according to Harley’s CMO Mark-Hans Richer and senior Vice President. That cryptic comment, coupled with the dual challenge of an invigorated Polaris Victory and a resurgent Polaris Indian as Made In America competitors, means the task of remaining number one in hearts and minds in a lackluster two-wheeled touring category has become more complicated.

papal prayer part of h-d marketing strategy

It appears as though management is tackling the problem with an aggresive marketing strategy that focuses on a combination of social media and what passes as evolved product placement for a global market. Having the Pope bless your top of the line models meant a prime-time mention across the broadcast and cable news spectrum. And it’s a far cry from the loner zeitgeist of that ’70s show “Then Came Bronson”, Milwaukee’s answer to the threat posed then by Honda’s goal of meeting the nicest people on one of their rides.

Meanwhile, salting new model year press releases with language that includes “bold graphics,” “Boom!™ (sic) Box” infotainment system, and a Beatle’s quote, it’s clear that style mostly precedes substance. But that probably works just fine for a hoped for market in the process of discovery, as opposed to the graying elders who’ve heard it, seen it, done it before.

google rewards creative content

Page one rank out of 5 million plus for "powersports advertising"

creative content best approach for page rank

Cute names aside, Google’s algorithms known as Panda, Penguin and who knows what’s next, are getting smarter. That’s good news for site operators who value creativity in their quest for SERP rank.

It’s important to keep Google’s goals in the proper context: their consumer is the person who enters a search term and expects to find a quality site in return. Google’s concern is not about individual sites, or the size of those sites.

Attention is focused on the individual consumer and how satisfied they are with the results of their inquiry – in short, how well does the search result match up with the consumer’s anticipated result.

there is no magic formula for success – but quality content is a key element

My own site, Siebenthalercreative.com, has been well received by Google for a number of years for search relating to powersports marketing. The SERP results are fairly consistent, and seem to support the general consensus that quality content is recognized and rewarded by Google.

My site is nowhere near the largest nor the most active within the power and motorsports community.

It also doesn’t get any advantage from having a sought after search term – in this case, “powersports” – in the domain or page URLs, or even in site directories. If that’s been the major thrust of your search strategy, Google has indicated it may not be enough in the future.

My goal since launching the site back in 2002 has been to create an easily navigable property within which is stored a variety of generalized information and industry specific updates, using a combination of individual pages and self-hosted blog posts.

concentrate on content for the best long term strategy

The result, after trying to pay attention to the hints and suggestions Google shares with their audience of webmasters, is consistently ranking on page one for searches involving the main marketing functions within the powersports community, including social media.

For more on the role of creative content’s importance to B2B and B2C marketing, review Slideshare’s “50 Stats You Need to Know About Content Marketing.”

marketing essentials: point of contact info

grow financial's earth day promo

I celebrated Earth Day 2013 by dropping by the local branch of Grow Financial, a local federal credit union, prompted by their attractive back page print promotion in the Tampa Bay Times offering free slash pines (limit five – while supplies last.)

I planned my pickup to coincide with a local account pitch that morning, and was relieved at the lack of cars in the parking lot, indicating a short wait time. Their new branch office was a pleasant blend of refreshing graphics and smiling faces.

grow-financial-IMG_0132Waving their ad in my hand I walked towards the receptionist to claim my prize and was surprised when the only interaction was her announcement that instead of the promised five seedlings the promo was limited to two. Still very much worth the effort. To me, if not marketing.

Because that’s where my point-of-contact began and ended. Directed to the box of pine lifts bagged and ready for retrieval behind her desk, I grabbed my reward for showing up and left just as quickly as I entered. No registration kiosk, form, or social media signup. No harvesting of email or local address. Not even a card drop. It wasn’t an unpleasant experience, far from it. Just a big surprise from the standpoint of someone who sees opportunity unfulfilled.

On my own I grabbed their services brochure from the take-away wall board on the way out, but in the meantime this well intentioned promo fell surprisingly short on the followup.

critic questions future of electric bikes

 

Zero's 2013 S model

(above) 2013 Zero S from Zero Motorcycles

despite eco-promise of evs, shortcomings still outweigh strengths

An article in last week’s New York Times, while leaving the door slightly ajar for the channel’s future, makes a reasoned case against a present marketplace that features electric motorcycles humming around the urban landscape in silent flocks of environmental uber responsibility. (See earlier post on Mercedes Benz plans for a 2014 market entry.)

Reporter Dexter Ford writes in the paper’s Automotive section about the challenges facing the nascent industry, not least of which is cost. Far cheaper conventional alternatives, eco-friendly and offering the same or better mileage per comperable fillup, are getting top billing as the major Asian motorcycle brands begin to flex their muscles in taking on not only high-end electrics but cheap, disposable Chinese scooters as well.

styling overhaul resets brand

Compounding the confusion over electric’s future is a same-day post on the NYT’s Wheels blog on Zero’s 2013 lineup just introduced at Intermöt. In what’s seen as a responsive reaction to marketplace concern, the Santa Cruz, CA, company is moving away from the mountain bike inspired initial design towards a more familiar traditional look courtesy of former Buell designer and now Zero’s chief technology officer Abe Askenazi.

Between the high performance Lightning, the gyro stablized LIT Motors C1, or the mainstream (for electrics) bikes from Zero and Brammo, interest isn’t going away. And neither is the significant cost differential, or the lingering comparisons to Segway’s marketing rationale.

Whether that same interest will translate into sustainable sales for complete bikes or morph into a niche industry of DIY builds sourced from frame makers, engine manufacturers, and battery suppliers might be the unanswered question.

google forces seo strategy upgrade

seo strategy a must as sophisticated algorithms become more selective

How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.

Trying to achieve page rank by relying on a domain name stuffed with keywords just got a lot harder. In an update unrelated to Panda, which puts more emphasis on well designed and written quality content, Google’s latest algorithm begins to make the practice of keyword-defined URLs obsolete and thus encouraging (forcing?) content managers to develop rank organically by adding meaningful content.

siebenthaler creative consistently earns page one rank

It works for me. Googling “powersports (advertising – marketing – pr)” usually results in page one rank for Siebenthaler Creative. In September 2012 screen grab below Siebenthaler Creative is the only SERP that doesn’t have “powersports” in the URL. This query returned two of my pages based on “powersports advertising,” more on subsequent SERPs. Bottom line: if the goal is to be seen by as many as possible, you need a strategy that doesn’t depend on shortcuts, and one that can survive and adapt over time.

 

parts, drag specialties don life vests

dealer expo fights image problem

traditional event partners vote with their feet

One thing the troubled world of powersports trade events can’t survive and still maintain a credible industry presence is the abandonment of anchored floor space by major distributors.

The increasingly anemic dealer turnout that’s plagued Expo in recent years takes another hit as the persistent rumor of Parts Unlimited and Drag Specialties departing Indy in favor of building their own corporate footprint apparently has legs.

move will affect dealer attendance, manufacturer exhibits

LeMans is expected to announce a budget reallocation that shifts marketing funds from Dealer Expo to expand their own self-hosted Showcase dealer show to include bi-coastal (CA and PA) additions, each with up to 200 vendor slots, in a move that further suppresses aftermarket manufacturer participation in traditional venues.

new google search challenges content

to earn google rank, get busy with content

Google’s latest product is their highly engineered search algorithm Knowledge Graph. Exactly how it works is a mystery, but best guesses are a wide ranging capability to reference major data sites, including Wikipedia, using a predictive intelligence that intuits a user’s intent beyond the specific search query. I’m just assuming this thing’s got artificial intelligence down cold and am preparing new content accordingly while retrofitting the archives to conform.

Read If Google Can’t Find You, Your Market Never Will for tips on how to upgrade your content and create a strategy for search success.

performance racing industry pri expo

Performance Racing Industries Returns To Orlando

PRI has found a permanent home at the Orange County Convention Center. Though exhibitors and attendance was somewhat smaller than in years past, the net result was an event that was easier to navigate and absorb. The 2011 event featured live, knockout kart racing and a list of vendors that represented every sector of automotive related performance. Read the complete article here.

wiring your bike just got easier

free wiring diagram for electric start big twin

When I first started building bikes one of the first things to go was the worn out wiring harness. When it was time to reconstruct, the tech manuals really weren’t that helpful so one of my early experiments with desktop publishing was to create my own made to order schematics, then publish them as a PDF in 1999.

This little booklet, designed for an earlier era of builds without turn signals and digital electronics, can be used as is or adapted as needed. Download your free copy here.