November, 2008 Archive

Caught Between…….



Hard on the heels of the advertising hoardings along the Grand Canal comes news that La Serenissima is to get a Hard Rock Cafe near St Mark’s Square. The Venice branch – the second in Italy after Rome – will have seating for 120 and a view over the square’s gondola-mooring area, the company said. The two-floor premises will feature the brand’s trademark mix of bar, fast-food joint and “rock shop” selling memorabilia and merchandise.

 Spotted in last weekend’s Sunday Times 🙂

3 Weeks 3 Conferences 3 Continents 3 Photos 2 Videos

I’m now 3 days in to a month-long stint at home in London and it’s very nice to be back!

Despite the leg-pulling about me having been “on holiday” for the past few weeks, I think most people understand it’s not all parties and airmiles! 🙂

Waking up in a Westin for me normally means reaching over and switching on the lappy and checking mail at 7am – pretty much doing the same thing last thing at night too.

Certainly not complaining though. I have a great job and get to do awesome things, meet amazing people in incredible places!

So where have I been?

Nick Drew of Search & Display fame at SMX London

Well on Wednesday 5th of November I was at SMX London boarding a plane that night for Tel Aviv to speak at the Rosh Pina Digital Festival – you can check out some photos here and here on our adCenter Facebook Page!

CIMG1972 Transport from the festival back to the hotel!

I’d been invited to speak by the awesome Lior Zoref from our Microsoft Israel office.

He has a blog: and although it’s mostly in Hebrew, if you don’t speak the language just watch one of his videos!

The enthusiasm is infectious even if you can’t understand what he’s saying all the time!



Check out video with Robert Scoble! Twitter’s sucked his brain!



His and the team’s hospitality while I was there was very friendly and I’ll definitely be back!

After a few days there it was back to London and then 18 hours later off to PubCon in Las Vegas where the week was a blur of learning, blogging, meeting and the odd beer thrown in for good measure!

One of the updates from our team was the launch of the FB Page and the fact I was live tweeting from: – so do become a fan and follow us too! 


A Young lady does a spot of welding at Search Bash!

After a week in Redmond in Seattle to catch up with some of the guys I’m back now till 18th December when I fly back to spend Christmas in Seattle with Ashley’s family!

Helluva trip but got a lot done although…………..I still have a lot to do…………..


Heathrow Terminal 5 Review Part 2 – British Airways

Not sure whether BA have employed a company to monitor their T5 online reputation recently, but I’ve had a load of referrals, probably 500% more in the last month or so from folks searching for insight into the new terminal and landing on this page.

I’d never had a comment in six months before now and then suddenly, like London buses, 2 come along within days of each other.

Maybe it’s people wondering if all the fuss has died down and seeing if it’s safe to go back there – it sure is fishy though!


I’ve been in and out of T5 twice in the last couple of weeks and have seen a marked improvement in standards and service.

Firstly I learned from a commenter to ask the taxi driver dropping me off to drive to middle of the terminal set-down so walking to security doesn’t take forever.

That worked!

The first flight was a late one – 10.30pm – to Tel Aviv and check-in went smoothly – other than the bunching up and chatting BA employees seem to do when they’re over-staffed.

There were three around my check-in guy all discussing when they were back in the next day – bit annoying when I’m trying to sweet-talk an upgrade! 🙂

Security was very quick!

Having worked at Harrods for six years in a former life, I know that “cashing up” at the end of the day so you can leave “on time” is crucial to ones sanity, but a glance up now and again from folks in the stores wouldn’t have gone amiss as I did a bit of pre-Christmas idea shopping.

CIMG1909The lounges are great too. Nice decor, moody lighting and decent enough food and wine on tap to ease any flying nerves or assist with the desire to sleep through the journey.

My only complaint would be that I was unlucky enough, on both trips, to be held up at the pasta bar by servers probing the meat sauce with a two-foot metal temperature gauge – a little off-putting to say the least.

CIMG1908 The second flight was at 2pm on a Sunday to Seattle and the airport was much more awake.

Buying some Prada (dontchaknow!) aftershave from the duty-free shop I was staggered when the assistant pointed out I could get a gift-box for the same price with the same amount off smelly thrown in for free!

Great customer service! Many wouldn’t have bothered…

I timed both return trips from landing, getting through immigration and baggage claim to exiting via customs and neither took more than 22 minutes!

At Terminal 4 I’d have to tell the taxi driver to turn up 45 minutes after the scheduled landing and more often than not it’d take me an hour to get out into fresh air.

All in all it’s been a much improved experience.

BA have pulled out all the stops and passing through Terminal 5 is now more than a pleasant one.

I’m just curious to know how Virgin manage to get such huge advertising spots throughout the terminal.


I shudder to think how much they’re paying for the privilege!


Newbie SEM With Greg Jarboe From SEO-PR.Com

 Greg Jarboe at SES Chicago 2007 (2)Won’t make it to SES Chicago this year. 🙁

I’ve done so much travelling in 2008 I’m hanging up my noise-cancelling headphones and staying in Blighty for December – right up until I fly to Seattle for Christmas that is!

One fellow who will be there is Greg Jarboe from SEO-PR. Greg is one of the nicest men in search. His warm and steady charm creates the perfect atmosphere to teach what can initially be quite a complicated – and dry! – form of marketing.

He’ll be giving the SEM Master Class for marketers new to the channel on the second day of the conference.

As someone who has been in the industry for eight years, I sometimes find it difficult to articulate the basics from a beginner’s standpoint, so I caught up with Greg in Vegas to ask three very simple questions…..


MelC – With the economy in such turmoil right now, I guess you’d have to work harder to encourage marketers to invest in a new channel. So how would you go about persuading newcomers to SEM that their time and energy will be well spent?

GJ – A recession is both a challenge and an opportunity.  The challenge is obvious: Marketers need to do more with less.  But the opportunity to is persuade marketers that investing in a new channel or technique will increase their marketing ROI.  For example, I recently spoke at the 2008 PRSA International Conference in Detroit. 

My topic was: What’s the ROI on Your Press Release?  And I shared some case studies of press releases that generated a measurable ROI. This includes optimized press releases that generated $200 million in qualified leads for Symmetricom’s chip-scale atomic clocks, more than $2.5 million in ticket sales for Southwest Airlines, and almost 1.3 million searches for “florists” on

I also explained how combining blog outreach with press release optimization generated a record 450,000 unique visitors to The Christian Science Monitor, more than 88,000 entries into Parents magazine’s cutest kid in America photo contest, and a record 1,100 attendees to the Wharton Economic Summit

The most effective way to persuade newcomers to SEM that their time and energy will be well spent is to show them the money.

MelC – Getting started is always a tad daunting so what advice do you have for folks taking their first steps in search?

GJ – Start by taking baby steps. 

You need to build a case that the ROI of search engine marketing (SEM) is significant.  So, start with a modest pay-per-click advertising campaign on Google, Yahoo! and  Microsoft adCenter. 

You’ll see measurable results in a month.  That can be leveraged to build the case for investing in search engine optimization (SEO), which may take a couple of months before you see a measurable ROI.  Then, you can build the case for press release optimization, blog optimization, and video optimization. 

But for all of these steps in search, measure results in website traffic, lead generation or online sales.  Ranking #1 may feel good, but it doesn’t make the cash register ring.


MelC – Once your campaign is live, what three things should one look out for, and concentrate on, in order to get the very best return on investment?

GJ – The first thing you should look out for is “clicks.”  How many clicks did I get? 

But, in order to get the very best ROI you need to concentrate on conversions.  What percentage of my clicks converted to leads or sales? 

Then, you need to move to ROI.  Where do I get the biggest bang for my bucks? 

Once you know which tactics or terms are generating conversions cost-effectively you can manage your entire marketing mix — from PPC ads, to SEO programs, to PR campaigns.

MelC – Thanks Greg and good luck in Chicago!

Microsoft Arc Mouse – Most Exquisite Design Ever!

While in Israel for the Rosh Pina Festival I attended a dinner with local Microsoftees and some agency folk.

The only item in the good-bye goody bag was the Microsoft Arc Mouse!

Very often a corporate give-away might consist of a few bits and pieces but as you can see this little gem needed no help padding out the bag, much to the delight of the merry delegates as they made their way back to their hotel rooms.

CIMG1974   CIMG1975 The Microsoft Arc comes with batteries and a little pouch. CIMG1979

The USB stick is about the size of a 20p piece and doesn’t get in the way when plugged in.


The Arc Mouse folds up unobtrusively into a tiny ball. The USB stick is attached inside by a powerful magnet so it doesn’t get lost!


It just looks so cool! Also it’s very ergonomic to the touch and is extremely responsive to the slightest movement. The clicking action is silent but accurate and the scroller is very well conditioned.

I’m writing this in Tel Aviv Airport lounge and resting it on the side of a chair and it’s working like a dream!

This one’s set to have gadget-geeks hearts all of a flutter this Christmas!

They’re selling them on Amazon for about £32 so pick one up and I promise you, you’ll never put it down!

Shalom! – Some Photos From Israel & Rosh Pina

Landed early this morning in Tel Aviv, had a 2 hour cab ride to the Rosh Pina Festival, have met the local team and now am putting the finishing touches to my presentation!CIMG1911 5.30am Over Tel Aviv


Local office from the road 


Big Microsoft presence at the festival


Incredible views from the hotel!

Off to Rosh Pina in Israel Tonight!


Flying to Israel tonight to speak at the Rosh Pina Festival:

“Held in the picturesque Galilee in the northern part of Israel, Rosh Pina Festival, convening this year for the 9th consecutive year, is the most important annual media conference in Israel. In addition to the traditional renowned TV festival, this year the festival is going global and digital by launching an independent digital track.”

I’ll be speaking about digital marketing trends in Europe and showing a few fabulous demos.

Never been to Israel so am really looking forward to it, especially as I’m staying here: – just in case you want to get hold of me! 🙂

Back on Saturday and then off to PubCon on Sunday!

See you there?

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