Advertising Archive

SMX Advanced in Seattle – Meet One of the Brains Behind Bing!

If you enjoyed the Beyond 10 Blue Links Video I shared this week, you’ll enjoy coverage from SMX Advanced in Seattle in a couple of weeks because Derrick Connell, one of the many ace minds behind Bing, will be keynoting at Danny Sullivan’s conference.

This is my first SMX Advanced – I’ve been to their events in London, Stockholm and elsewhere, but I’m looking forward to forcing my grey matter to work harder as I attend sessions such as “Hardcore Social Tactics” and “Doing Mobile Search Ads Right.”

Also thrilled to be catching up with Danny Sullivan who’s showcased in Pioneers of Digital, right around the time the book goes to press!

I’m told by the fabulous Akvile Harlow that the conference is sold out but that there are still tix left for workshops and networking, so follow @MSAdvertising and see you in a couple of weeks!

The Future of TV via Ross Honey from Xbox

This post was cross-posted from the Pioneers of Digital Blog: The Future of TV

While is was in New York a couple of weeks ago for the Digital Content NewFronts, I finally got to meet Ross Honey who heads up advertising and entertainment on Xbox.

Not only is he a great bloke (and an excellent presenter – he’ll be in Cannes with us for the advertising festival), he also has some important things to say about the future of TV – essentially that the future is here and his team has helped create it!

Through more choice, easier discoverability via Kinect voice control, and by creating new and engaging experiences through social and more interactive technology, Ross claims that Xbox has fundamentally changed the way we “watch” TV and that it’s all available NOW!


A curious by-product of moving to the US is being introduced to the ubiquitous estate sale. Every weekend, while driving through any suburb of Seattle, you’re likely to see signs pointing to houses where the occupants have ”shuffled off this mortal coil”, and all their worldly possessions are up for grabs. I passed through one at the weekend and spotted a TV not unlike the one above. It got me thinking about how times have changed so rapidly in the entertainment space and how the pace of innovation seems to have accelerated over the past couple of years.

Hearing the bold claim by Ross got me thinking how lucky I am to be playing small part in the future of all this change. When I was given a ZX Spectrum in 1980, I couldn’t dream that in 30 years time I’d be working with people who were creating technology that not only entertains so beautifully, but that can really change the world.

OK! Waxing lyrical over! Back to work…..



Book Interview: Optimize by Lee Odden from

This interview has been reposted from The Pioneers of Digital Blog


One recurring theme in our book – Pioneers of Digital – centres around providing real value for customers on the web. More often than not, that value comes in the form of great content, but too many business owners and brands forget (or are unaware of) the nuts and bolts that, when put together, can do so much to surface that value to their target market. Integrating your SEO (search engine optimisation) and social media efforts along with great content, can increase the visibility and garner additional reach for longer periods of time. For some people, the kind of thinking you need to assemble a strategy like this comes naturally, but for anyone who needs a leg up, look no further than Lee Odden’s new book Optimize. I’ve know Lee for many years, and in that time he’s done amazingly helpful work on his blog and at conferences helping marketers solve problems through an integrated approach. Now (thankfully) he’s jotted it all down in what is set to be a sure-fire hit in the industry.

Lee took time out from his busy book promotion duties to answer a few questions about his career, the process of writing the book and how he sees Optimize (available on Amazon and B&N and all good book stores) being a useful addition to marketer’s library.


Mel and Lee at PubCon in 2007 (Stripes were in back then!)

You’ve been pioneering education around integrating PR, search marketing and social media on the TopRankBlog for a while now. How did it all begin and what have you learned?

Our company began in 2001 as a PR agency and I came on as a contractor to optimize the website. Then we began including SEO with media relations and PR pitches, winning some sizable accounts. I became an employee, then a partner and after a few years. CEO. During that time the agency evolved from a focus on PR to online marketing. I’ve been advocating the integration of search and PR as well as SEO, content and social media for as long as they’ve been around.

A holistic approach was a natural evolution with content at the center of how people communicate, persuade and socialize online. I started blogging late in 2003 and that evolved into a fairly popular marketing blog plus robust networks on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and several other social sites. I’ve learned that by having a blog as a hub and social networks as spokes, we can create meaningful content for our target audience  and achieve substantial reach.  When I talk about the size of our agency, people assume we’re 200 people because that’s the footprint we have online.

At the core, the approach we take is to best understand the customer relationship with content and information that can lead a prospect on their journey from awareness to purchase. SEO, Content, Social and PR each play interrelated roles in creating thought leadership, trust and "shareability" of content amongst networks as well as sales. By understanding how customers discover, consume and share content, we can optimize in ways that transcend standard search or typical social media marketing. We optimize for customers first, then keywords, links and other tactics.  One of the most important things I’ve learned is to not only be adaptable, but to make adaptability a part of a process.

A fellow author, your new book Optimize comes out soon. What was the premise behind it and why should business people read it?

Optimize will help change the discussion around what optimization means. It’s more than keywords and links. The emphasis is on a holistic approach to continuously making our online marketing better and more customer centric. By better understanding customer segments, we can empathize with the pain points and goals of the most desirable customers and design content marketing strategies accordingly. Optimize answers one of the most important questions missing from many online marketing books and that is "Why". It goes from 30,000 foot strategy quickly into practical, actionable tactics that will help readers develop their own content marketing strategy that’s optimized for search and social media.

How did you find the process of writing the book?

Insane.  :)  I didn’t approach Wiley with any ideas about a book, they contacted me. Through their persistence, I finally decided to write a book after about a year. I decided that I wanted to go through the experience of writing a book because I felt it would force me to become smarter and more organized about adaptable marketing on the web. At the same time, writing Optimize created many opportunities for me to connect with old and new industry contacts that has been beneficial in other ways.   With the help of Ashley Zeckman for project management and several of the TopRank team providing insights, the book was written using Evernote and MS Word. Not a single piece of paper was printed during the writing of the book. At least not by me!

You’re an accomplished speaker. Where can our readers find you talking about marketing next?

My upcoming events include: 4/18 ionSearch – Leeds, UK.  4/24 Social Media Club Webinar, 5/3-4 Fusion Marketing – Antwerp, Belgium.  6/5 BlogWorld – New York. I will likely be doing a number of regional events in between for associations and groups. We’re currently seeking a book tour sponsor.

Pioneers of Digital is about inspirational leaders who have done amazing things in the online space over the last 20 years. Who’s inspired you most in your career and why?

That’s a toughie – so many people have been a inspiration. I started out in web dev, then SEO and PR, then focused on blogging, content and social. Now I spend most of my time consuming information, meeting with our consulting teams, writing, speaking and always – experimenting.   I see what others are doing but I do my best to not copy or emulate but to take risks and do what I think will help our clients, agency and myself advance.   My inspiration comes from my kids, because anything I’ve ever done that is good is because of them.

Thanks to Lee for his time. We’ll be reviewing the book here soon, so keep checking back and here you can see an interview Lee did with Abby Johnson  via the WebProNews YouTube channel.



P.S. Don’t forget to sign up for news about Pioneers of Digital, the new book I’ve co-authored coming out in October 2012!

Advertise on Skype in 17 Latin American Countries

Exceptional video from our Latin American team, who’ve just launched advertising on Skype via Microsoft Advertising in a whopping 17 countries including: Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, Peru, Uruguay, Latin America HQ (Miami), Bolivia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador and Guatemala.

Read more on what’s on offer on the Microsoft Advertising Latin America site as there’s a presentation you can download and a lot more info!

This has been no mean feat, so congrats to the guys in Miami!

Smart Offline Real Estate Marketing


In the US, most houses for sale will have some kind of collateral outside with the “For Sale” sign. It’s normally in a waterproof plastic box and is a two-sided piece of paper with photos and house details to give you a sense of what the house is like and who to contact if you want to get inside and have a look.

This house caught my eye though. The owner had been smart enough to laminate the reverse side of the bumph and staple it to the post.


The amount of times I’ve taken a piece of paper out and then discarded it (responsibly) because it didn’t fit the bill runs to many fingers and hands. With this simple step, the owner or relator enables the house-hunter to read the ALL the details without having to touch the box, waste any paper or potentially litter the streets of Seattle.

It was a really simple gesture that I’d never seen before and I felt compelled to share it!

Seen anything so geniusly simple recently you want to share it below?

Social Media & Escape to the Country AGAIN!!


Over 3 years ago Ashley and I appeared on the UK property show Escape to the Country.

All these years later, it’s STILL getting repeated (must be more than 10 times now so they’re getting their mileage out of it) and every time I find out through social media.

The above was taken by our friend Katie who lives in Sussex and she posted it to her Facebook page tagging me saying “AGAIN!???”

Another friend, Carey, posted:


But these are friends. People that know us.

What about people who don’t? Well when I know we’ve been on, I love to see what people are saying on Twitter:


All pretty innocuous right? But good fun to eavesdrop on complete strangers’ viewing habits.



My next favourite things is to reply to people who say things like that:


To which I got an immediate reply:


And then:


Now this was all a bit naughty of me and the lady then got chatty and was very nice (that’s why I’ve scrubbed her name out, although you could easily work out who she was) but it just goes to show what kind of feedback social media can provide and just how people react when, as she says, they are “rumbled”.

Food for thought for brands on a bigger scale?

BTW if you’ve seen the show, we couldn’t afford any of the houses as the house market had crashed between when we applied and when we did the filming. It was good fun and Alistair Appleton was a lovely man!

Pioneers of Digital Book Website Launched


Overjoyed to announce that the website to accompany our book Pioneers of Digital has now officially launched.

Designed by Kean Richmond who works for the fabulous Dave and Becky Naylor at Bronco, a UK-based Web Design and Search Marketing agency, the site includes the usual “About” areas and also an advertising blog where we’ll be writing about our adventures writing the book as we run up to launch in October 2012.

We’ll be adding sections highlighting each of the pioneers too, plus a video gallery which should make it a useful, informative and engaging place to get some digital inspiration.

Do take a look and let me know what you think and thanks again to Kean, Dave and Becky!

We’re also building up a following on Twitter and Facebook, so you can pick up all our news there too!

Just putting the finishing touches to the book now, so stay tuned!

IAB Mobile Filmstrip Wins IAB Rising Star Award

It’s just been announced in Miami that the IAB has recognised this ad format – The IAB Mobile Filmstrip – as one of its rising stars.

This short and sweet video show’s we’ve definitely moved on from the pop-up (people still mention those to me when I say I work in digital advertising) and are providing rich, immersive and engaging solutions for brands to show their wares to consumers in a way that adds value.

Well done to the team for this well deserved accolade!

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