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Chris Masters Played to Win at the 2nd Annual CIMA Golf Tournament!

One of AC Lion’s very own, Chris Masters, was on the first place team at the 2nd annual CIMA Golf Tournament this past Thursday, July 9th. Chris and teammates Maurice Moore, Todd Foster, and Tyler White, made quite an impression at the Harborside International Golf Center with their bogie-free round.
CIMA, or the Chicago Interactive Marketing Association, describes itself as, “Chicago’s only interactive-centric professional organization dedicated to the enhancement and acceleration of business opportunities, professional development, and exponential networking for the interactive marketing professionals in Chicago.”
Chris and his teammates sealed their first place victory with an overall score of 62 which was ten under on the par 72 course.
Part of Chris’s winning strategy was creating the perfect team. Like any good recruiter, he scouted out the top players in advance and got them on board his team. As our own COO, Bonnie Zaben, so eloquently stated, “Identifying top talent, be it on the golf course or media sales, is what [we] do.”
Appropriately enough, Chris said that one of the day’s highlights was standing on the range as another interactive executive noted how Chris knew more people than he did, and he wasn’t even a Chicago native! Clearly, AC Lion’s networking skills are still among the best in the space.
On behalf of the entire AC Lion team, I just want to congratulate Chris on his exciting accomplishment. It sounds like it was a great day and a superb win. However, Chris himself summed it up best in one word, “tremendous.”
And who knows? Maybe one day AC Lion’s Chris Masters will win The Masters. Green jacket anyone?

Hi! I’m Shirlee Spitzer and I’m a summer intern here at AC Lion and I’ve taken on the fabulous task of reviving our lovely blog. During the school year, I’m a student at Rutgers University studying Journalism and Media. Although our blog has been a bit dormant for a few weeks, it’s back again with freshly sharpened claws. Or should I say clubs.

Ultra Light Startups Explains “SEO and SEM”

Article By: Joshua ‘The Red’ Russak (Red@aclion.com)
Joshua 'The Red' Russak


(*if pictures don’t appear above, click REFRESH on your browser)

 

I recently attended my 3rd Ultra Light Startups! I covered last months event in my article Ultra Light Startups – Outsourcing Your Startup!! This months Topic was SEO and SEM:

  • Principals of Search Engine Optimization and Search Engine Marketing
  • Practical advice for maximizing your S.E.O./S.E.M. investment
  • Build vs buy (do-it-yourself vs hire an agency) decision criteria
  • Customer testimonials and entrepreneur experiences with S.E.O./S.E.M.

For those of you unaware of this event, the mission is simple: “Tech entrepreneurs, sharing techniques to launch faster and cheaper!” A room full of 50+ Entrepreneurs with bootstrapped budgets discussing professional techniques on improving their businesses. A great source for networking and information. And more importantly, the panel at this event felt a lot more engaging than the big conferences, but the content and material was just as good, if not better!
I was very impressed with the companies presenting this time around. I made a few notes about the companies I found to be the most intriguing. Web100.com presents top 10 and 100 lists in many different categories and brings in over 125,000 page views per month. The funder and CEO of SlipFire, built a web marketing and design company using wordpress (impressive!).Other noteworthy companies included SEO Tools company SEO Drop, TurboCourt the TurboTax for law, and Boomerator.com the one stop shop and social network for Baby Boomers (I’d like to not that they were recently mentioned TechCrunch and Mashable.com).
Once the networking+pizza 1/2 hour was over, the panel was ready to get going. It consisted of the following:

I usually report on the panel in the following manner: Q & A format, where write the question and provide each panelist’s response below it. It lasted about 1 hour, but here’s the most relevant content I was able to write down:
Q: How do you know you’re SEO campaign was effective/is doing well?

  • Sarah: “You’re making money (everybody luaghs)…but note that setting a benchmark is very important”
  • Regau: “I need to know your GOAL in the beginning”

Q: Pro’s and Con’s of doing SEM in a Content Management System (CMS)?

  • Joseph: “WordPress, Joomla and Drupalare great porgrams. If you’re not going to use a CMS and start from scratch, you better be an expert”

Q: How long until you see results?

  • Regau: “It depends on your campaign and goals.”
  • Sarah:”As soon as tomorrow to a couple of months. It really depends on Spider Frequency from Google…oh ya, there are other search engines too (everybody laughs). SEO is like PR, where you have to pitch to the editor every day…and the pitch keeps changing.”

Q: SEO Basics?

  • Regau: “A huge part is how many sites are ranking in your area! How many site are ranking against you?”
  • Sarah: “3 Basics – 1. Make sure a spider can get into your site; 2. Make sure the content is relevant to the text; 3. Internal and External linking.”
  • Joseph: “It’s also important for when people get there, what’s going to happen after that?”

Q: What’s the difference in promoting a Product vs. Services?

  • Joseph: “You should contentrate more on PPC for Products and SEO for Services.”

Q: How much time should one spend on SEO vs. Social Marketing Optimization (SMO)?

  • Regau: “If you’re aiming for the longtail, longer lasting success then SEO…SMO is an ongoing process that needs daily updates.”
  • Sarah: “Utilizing social networking sites will be good for Tomorrow’s success…but you have to keep up with it then.”

Overall it was a successfull event and if you’re interested in going, I suggest going to December 4th: Open Source Content Management Systems (CMS) to hear from Joomla, Drupal and WordPress experts. It’s a guarantee you’ll find what you’re looking for!

Ad:Tech New York 2008 Exhibitor SWAG!

Article By: Joshua ‘The Red’ Russak (Red@aclion.com)
Joshua 'The Red' Russak
Ad:Tech New York 2008 "SWAG"

I find it entertaining how at every conference, I manage to come home with BAGS full of Online Marketing” SWAG” (Stuff We All Get). Well this time around, in spirit of the elections, I decided to rate all of the SWAG and name a “BEST SWAG AT AD:TECH”. It’s a tough year full of yoyo’s, usb lights, wireless mice and cigars! The winners will be chosen based on the following criteria: Longevity, Practicality, Popularity and Design!

This list will exclude notebooks, pens, gum, sticker, and squishee balls …’cause they suck! Below is a list of the best SWAG and their companies:



AND THE WINNER’S ARE:

1st Place – LinkTrust, Sturdy Messenger Bag/Laptop Case

  • This is the bag on the right of the picture on top (and NOT the yellow one). A well built product, usable compartments and a padded laptop section, this item was hard to come by. The entire show, people kept asking me “where did you get that bag?” Even my boss was a little jealous. This one takes the cake!

2nd Place – EliteCommission, Fresh Rolled Cigars, Clippers and Lighters

  • Originally I was considering giving this 1st place, but there was no practicality here. It was definitely popular and this booth definitely got the most buzz! Also, it’s funny to note the Chief Marketing Officer who decided on the cigars idea is only 16-years-old! And the other staff members were also under age: Rishab Verma (CSO) is 17 and Joe Helewa (Sr. AM) is 16. And the best part? Their booth ended up having a line around the corner for the first few hours of Ad:Tech on Monday. A little ironic that 3 members of their staff aren’t legally allowed to touch their own SWAG! I found an interview with Joshua Kopac: 16-year-old Internet Marketer, which is worth reading. He’s definitely a sharp kid and the company looks like it is doing quite well. Worth keeping an eye on!

3rd Place – Tatto Media, USB Wireless Mouse

  • Practically speaking, a wireless mouse makes a great addition to both your laptop and desktop. I was also very surprised to see there was no shortage in supply. I was able to snag 4 of them, without even being questioned. They earned this one!


Overall it was a successful day for SWAG collectors and exhibitors alike, and I look forward to letting the winners know that they truly earned this one ;)
See you at AD:Tech ’09!

“Top 5″ Event Lists for Online Marketers!

Article By: Joshua ‘The Red’ Russak (Red@aclion.com)
Joshua 'The Red' Russak
It is very important to stay up to date on local events if you’re in the Online Marketing space. One of my first jobs since my promotion at AC Lion was to create a targetted, detailed list of new york local and west-coast based events. These sites serve as potential advertising opportunities for events we hosted as well. Here are the best places to source for events if you’re in the Online Marketing & Advertising space:


#1: Gary’s Guide: GarysGuide.org

Garysguide is the #1 Events Calendar for Technology & New Media professionals. Their calendar is a comprehensive edited list of all upcoming events related to technology, web 2.0, social media, online advertising & marketing, software, hardware, digital video, new media, entrepreneurship, startups and much much more. They are currently live in 13 of the top tech hubs in the country including New York, Boston, Washington DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Austin, San Diego, Denver, Portland, Seattle, Toronto, Las Vegas and the San Francisco Bay Area.


#2: Meetups: Meetup.com
Meetup.com is the world’s largest network of local groups. Meetup makes it easy for anyone to organize a local group or find one of the thousands already meeting up face-to-face. For Online Marketers, there are tons of tech related meetup groups including Online Video, Bloggers, SEO, SEM, Search, Buzz Marketing, Sales Executives, VC Elevator Pitch Groups, etc. They are loads of fun and are usually followed up with a drink.


#3: BtoB Magazine: BtoBOnline Events Calendar
BtoB is the magazine for marketing strategists, Published monthly by Crain Communications Inc. With 45,000+ subscribers, they also provide a detailed list of b2b related events. They currently hold events in New York, Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco. You can aslo opt-in for e-mail notification of future BtoBevents, by e-mailing BtoBevents@crain.com.


#4: MediaPost:Events Listing and Public Directory of Industry Events
A. Events Listing – A list of MediaPost shows in which you will find detailed information on each of their signature events. And don’t forget, as a MediaPost member, you are entitled to a special discounted rate to attend.
B. Public Directory of Industry Events – This is a publically submitted comprehensive calendar of upcoming events around the country. Florida to New York, Chicago to LA, Portland to Seattle…this listing has it all.


#5:Advertising Age (aka: AdAge): Industry Events
Advertising Age Events
Advertising Age (aka: AdAge) is the leading global source of news, intelligence and conversation for marketing and media communities. They host their own events and provide a comprehensive calendar of Industry Events in LA, NYC, Chicago and more.


…The best way to stay on top of these events is by subscribing to their e-mail updates and event RSS feeds. One way that works for me that I use on my personal web site’s events calendar, is to create a Google Calendar and combine all your events RSS feeds into one big mashup. That way you can monitor every event in one AJAX driven and clean looking window.
Good luck and I look forward to seeing you at upcoming events!

Affiliate Summit Social Media 2008: Valuable Facts!

Article By: Joshua ‘The Red’ Russak (Red@aclion.com)
Joshua 'The Red' Russak

I recently attended the Affiliate Summit Social Media Conference in NYC. It took place last Sunday, October 5th at Baruch College. It was a rather small venue compared the Affiliate Summit East in Boston, but their goal was clear: “Social Media Success!” And to be honest, I picked up mixed reviews from the affiliates in the crowd.
Don Crowther & Joshua Russak (Me)
The summit started off with Keynote speaker, Don Crowther, Social Media and Blogging Expert. His advice was very effective for Experienced and Beginners alike. In reference to Social Media Marketing: “If you do it wrong in this business, it can be a huge dissadvantage!” He went on to bring quite a few surprising key facts: Facebook almost equals the amount of Google pageviews, Myspace actually got more page views than google last year, YouTube almost doubled Google! Then he went on to discuss strategy. I wasn’t too happy to hear his opinion that Movable Type Publishing was better than WordPress because it had better search engine rankings. When asked why? “B/c it’s paid for”. Unlike WordPress, you pay for MTP which means better quality service. Well – according to everything else he was telling the audience – if you apply these social media tips, it won’t matter which platform you use! “You don’t have to be a rocket scientist, just do it appropriately!” (~Don)
He ran a very interesting test. He took 5,000 of the top terms in Google (Money terms worth 50 cents or more for the #2 spot) and he found that “18% of all first page results were social media – 2 sites per page!” And he showed us quite a few examples where the social media site outranked the actual company. From this he derived that all a company needs is GOOD SEM on one side and SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING on the other. And here are the tools he referenced: Squidoo, HubPages, WetPaint, Twitter, StomperNet.com, Google Keyword Tool, Last.Fm, Digg, and many more (MANY MORE!). As for Video, you should be doing Video Reviews, Video Blogs, etc. . He referred the audience to Camtasia and Screenflow. It’s the software you use to record your Desktop. Very applicable for training, powerpoints, presentations, etc. Also, bringing in Guest’s for interviewing creates amazing content. Then promote it in one of 2 ways. You CAN go to each video site and upload each video individually or use TubeMogul to do it all in one shot and manage your trafic.
One final warning from Dan. “Follow the Best-Practices: DO NOT USE AUTO-BOOKMARKERS, ONLY BOOKMARK YOUR A+ BEST STUFF, SUBMIT OTHER PEOPLE’S STUFF (6:1 ratio), DON’T COPY AND PASTE THE SAME DESCRIPTIONS”.
In my opinion, I could have easily left at this point feeling accomplished. But there was no way I was going to miss the next session: “Gain Friend and Infuence, With Video – Learn how to leverage video to increase brand engagement, time spent on site, and page views. Explore the tools and techniques to use when testing out video” Totally worth it. The session involved the following:

Not as valuable for me as the first session, but the audience remained hooked and interested as I looked around the room. I particularly enjoyed Melissa’s participation. I knew I recognized her. Besides acting as Director of Marketing for Buy.com, she is also Co-Host of the TV show, BuyTV, that airs weekly on G4. And I’ve seen Steve Rosenbaum at quite a few local events including the most recent Jeff Pulver Breakfast. To properly cover this one, I took down quite a few valuable quotes:

  • Steve: “I think you’ll see longer videos as time goes on”
  • Steve: “The advantage of short = you leave the audience wanting more”
  • Melissa: “If it’s not Rich Media, it’s not interesting!”
  • Steve: “There’s an enourmous amount of money out to find quality pre-roll!”
  • Steve: “YouTube is a failed Social Network!”

Yea…as you can see, they covered quite a few areas of video. And it was worth getting a picture in with Melissa as you can see in the flickr SlideShow at the top of this post. At this point there was a break for lunch and networking. I met up with Jim Kukral and found that to be quite valuable. He was one of the main reasons I took my blog in a new direction (as you’ll start to see in the coming weeks).
The sessions I attended after lunch included:
Where'd they all go?

…but at that point, the room was starting to clear out! I mean COME ONNNN, it was a Sunday! Half of the crowd was probably hung over form the night before. All I can say was that from what I attended, it was well worth it in terms of quality training and networking. Check out their next event in Vegas if you can make it!

Web2.0 Expo Says: “Start Up in Silicon Alley”

Article By: Joshua ‘The Red’ Russak (Red@aclion.com)
Joshua 'The Red' Russak

Joel Smernoff (Paltalk), Karin Klein (Softbank Capital), Kevin Ryan (AlleyCorp), Me, Nate Westheimer (BricaBox/RoseTech)


Web2.0 Expo took place at the Javits Center September 16th-19th and came off as a great success for many of the attendees – myself included! One of the most valuable sessions took place on Thursday: “Starting Up in Silcon Alley”. I only registered for the Expo Hall, but was lucky enough to find my way in using some of my usual event tactics (hint: involves a scanner and photoshop).
The topic covered an important question for VC’s and Tech Entrepenuer’s alike: Where to start up? For the vast majority of the online world, when you hear Silicon Valley you think the heart of everything tech in the US all located in Northern California. But lately entreprenuers, VC’s and tech-startups are beginning to find value in areas outside of NoCal. One Silcon in particalur, Silicon Alley, “is a nickname for an area with a concentration of Internet and new media companies in Manhattan, New York City. Originally, the term referred to the cluster of such companies extending from the Flatiron District down to SoHo and TriBeCa, but as the location of these companies spread out, it became a general term referring to the dot com industry in New York City as a whole” (Wikipedia). And many VC’s and entreprenuer’s alike are beginning to see a lot of value in New York City. This was the topic of discussion for the panel which consisted of….
-Nate Westheimer, BricaBox Founder (Panel Moderator)
-Kevin Ryan, CEO & Co-Founder of AlleyCorp
-Karin Klein, Vice President of Softbank Capital
-David S. Rose, Principal of Rose Tech Ventures
Nate, Kevin, Karin and David argue it out!

It was a legitimate topic as there are many successful start ups in NYC Silicon Alley. “A couple of years after the internet bust, Silicon Alley began making its comeback with the help of NY Tech meetup and NextNY. Since 2003 Silicon Alley has seen a steady growth in the number of start-ups. As of 2007 Google’s second largest office is located in New York as well as major online advertising and media companies such as Eyeblaster, DoubleClick, Roo and meetup.com” (Wikipedia).
Nate moderated the event and for about a 1/2 hour, conducting a Q&A style panel allowing the audience to ask questions as well (as you’ll see). To best cover this event, here’s a taste of what went on…
Nate: What does it mean to start up in Silicon Alley?

  • Kevin: “Great management talent in NY, [...] We still have an undeveloped VC infrastructure…a real lagger in terms of development. [...] I’m extremely Bullish! 10 years from now we’ll stil be smaller than Silicon Valley, but the gap is closing in day by day!”
  • Karin: “We are finding many compelling startups in NY. We have the building blocks key resources in NY – customers, partners and financiers. [...] 3 examples of success: BuddyMedia, Thumbplay and Paltalk.”
  • David: “This is a very good time to start a company in NYC. The world is changing…what we don’t understand is how rapidly it is changing! The cost of a startup keep decreasing – In 1988 $20million to $2million to $200,000 during Nuclear Winter to now $20,000! You now have the resources!”

Nate: Do you have an “only in New York” story?

  • Kevin: “Being near the advertising community was an enormous advantage. So you have to be here!”

Nate: Do/would you ever request anyone that you invested in to come to New York?

  • Karin: Associated Content was based in Colorado, and they needed to be closer to advertisers. Also, retention of teams is easier.”
  • David: “Angel investors offer more than just $$money$$. We offer our offices, incites, and much much more. So it’s a benefit for them to be here.”
  • Kevin: “Staffing opportunity is definitely a plus. Also, to say Real Estate here is more expensive makes no sense. We determined our costs were $5,000 per person per year at DoubleClick and compared to other cities that cost only $1,000 less, that’s not so significant.”

Nate: Where do you see things going in Silicon Alley?

  • Kevin: “Rate of growth is going to slow down. It doesn’t have to do with the economy. It’s just that the rate-of-change is slowing down”
  • David: “I challenge that…the rate-of-change is accelerating. Anyone who says they know where the world is going is FULL OF SH*T!”
  • Karin: “The entrepreneur’s now are really committed and have strong conviction. I’d much rather back someone in this environment.”
  • Kevin: “Here’s some great advice for the future: Start when the wave starts! [...] If you want to start video now, it might be a little late.”
  • David: “248 Venture Backed IPOs in ’99…0 Venture-Backed IPOs in Q2 2008?.” <-[A statistic I heard just a week earlier at the E-Marketing Breakfast at the Harvard Club NYC, found in the article “The Future of Search” over a bagel ‘n cream cheese!]

…at this point Adeo Ressi, Founding Member and CEO for TheFunded.com challenged the panel. With a smile on his face, he walked up to the audience mic and, quoting him as accurately as possible, he said…

  • Adeo Ressi: “Silicon Valley kicks New York’s BUTT! There is 10x everything in the Valley!”

Adeo was an early pioneer in the growth of the World Wide Web and has been a successful entrepenuer over and over (GameTrust Inc, Total New York, etc.) He started his company, TheFunded.com started in NYC, but he moved it to Silicon Valley and off of that he made many good points. To further support him, “despite the development of other high-tech economic centers throughout the United States, Silicon Valley continues to be the leading high-tech hub because of its large number of engineers and venture capitalists” (Wikipedia) It definitely stirred up the panel and it was all in good fun, but at the same a reality check. David obviously was the first to challenge him and the audience definitely enjoyed the panels overal reaction.

David, Kevin, Nate & Karin respond to my question enthusiasticly...

After the conference, I took my picture with the panel (as seen at the beginning of this blog-most), then everyone made their way upstairs for a Lunch Session headed up by David Rose. It was very personable and David really pumped up the audience in terms of all the stages of starting up (concepts, funding, etc). A lot of individuals there wanted to pitch David which is why he continuously made this point over and over: “Only 1.32% of all Companies that pitch VC’s get funding.” I’m not sure if he was referring to here in NYC, or in the US, but either way that is a statistic you should NOT ignore as an entrepreneur.
David instructed entrepreneurs to create a working product, get users/consumers, show some profitability and then come to the VC’s! He also made another great point saying that “The most important person in the management team is the entrepreneur. We’d rather bet on a jockey than the horse!”
Afterward, there was another chance for Q&A and I had the chance to pop out my question…
Red: Kevin, you mentioned a great tip: Start when the wave starts! What do you see as the next big wave?
The whole team responded, but it was hard to pinpoint a single response. Kevin said once again that things were slowing down and there’s no wave at this moment. He also mentioned “mobile” but he was a skeptic with the iPhone. David obviously challenged him saying this space was “accelerating, but at a granule level.” Karin jumped in to point out that for “Video & Social Media, there was still good money to be made. [People just need to start] innovating these areas.”
Either way, they spent a good 10 minutes covering that topic before moving on. It’s good to see David and Kevin go head to head. I don’t know about the rest of the audience, but I was really fired up to be in the same room as 4 successful entrepreneurs and to actually engage in a discussion with them.
Web2.0 Expo was a success ! Keep on top of my calendar because there are still a few good events ahead in Q4 of 2008. And remember…Keep an eye for the “Red-Hair” at future events!
To end off here is a fun fact for you: For a list of other places with the “Silicon” name: Click Here.

Social Ad Summit Review

Article By: Dan Goldsmith (Dan@aclion.com)
Dan Goldsmith

SocialAdSummit.jpg

Social Ad Summit was last week and it was a great event. Hats off to Nick ONeil and company for running a classy event in its initial iteration. The venue was great, the food was superb! Honestly the PM cocktail was replete with open bar great sushi, lamb, huge cheese display, it was really off the hook! But to more critical initiatives it was the constancy of the audience and energy that was most notable. EVERYONE was working on something exciting. Dynamism was the word for the day and the audience was very very collaborative. As a recruiter we are always looking to gain a pulse on the market and try to be a few steps ahead of it. I, personally, was most struck by metrics behind the network models leveraging social environments for impressions on branding campaigns, or lead acquisition via virtual cash. As always, most San Fran based companies recognize that they need a sales presence here in NYC and that agencies are the last link to advertising dollars. OK nothing new there but I am wondering if there are more marketer direct opportunities for more traditional interactive platforms then are available to newer social platforms.
It was a great show – I shot a note to Nick O’Neil afterward thanking/congratulating him and strongly suggesting he keep it just at small (300 pp) next year.
Here I am chatting with Brian August of Plentitude. He is at the very beginning of what could be a heck of a ride – Plentitude has a very ambitious plan!
Off to more follow – up
Ciao!

Online Marketing “SWAG” (Stuff We All Get)

Article By: Joshua ‘The Red’ Russak (Red@aclion.com)
Joshua 'The Red' Russak


It’s a fact, I am “obsessed” with Online Marketing Expo/Conference SWAG. Some are ashamed, other makes fun, but quoting Tech Crunch Article, TechCrunch50 swag bag: Room for improvement “there’s nothing wrong with a good tchotchke, and this stuff is kind of fun to give out to kids, and useful if you need clothes for changing the oil or painting a room”.
Now for all of you who do not know what SWAG is let me inform you. Not to be confused with a “cheap purchase during your high-school days” SWAG, as defined by UrbanDictionary.com: “Stuff/Sh*t We All Get – Relating to the trade show convention industry, where exhibitors hand out “free stuff” to visitors. Most of the time these items are purely promotional materials, and are fairly worthless. ie. pencils, mugs, and mouse pads. [...] SWAG always has the company name, logo, slogan, product, service, and contact information clearly printed somewhere on the item/s. Some convention goers have made a hobby of collecting as much swag as possible, and compete with others at the show.”
As Used in Conversation…
-”The online gaming booth is handing out swag demo disks.”
-”That beats my swag bag of stationary!”

Now, I’m that guy who likes to collect as much SWAG as possible. It’s only right that I spend time researching a little bit in this matter. With a little bit of probing I was startled to discover that “Stuff We All Get” was not the original term, as discovered on NetLingo.com: “SWAG: This acronym originally stood for “SoftWare And Giveaways” and was used extensively throughout computer companies (such as Microsoft) to refer to tchotchkes, until the marketing industry later adopted it.”
I also learned that there are in fact 8 different types of SWAG as best defined in the article on MaineToday.com, “What is SWAG? The ABC’s of Promotional Marketing“:

Awards: Recognition merchandise given to acclaim superior performance or service. Awards should be gifted in a way that publicly acknowledges the achievement.
Business Gifts: Merchandise given by a company to its employees, customers or any person with whom it wants to enhance a relationship. Business gifts are given in goodwill without obligation to or from the recipient.
Commemoratives: Merchandise used to mark a ceremony, anniversary, event or milestone.
Incentives and Premiums: Something the recipient can’t buy at any price, but must take some specific action to obtain: such as making a purchase, exceeding a sales quota or accomplishing specific company goals. Popular examples are: Safety Incentives, Wellness Incentives, Dealer Incentives, Direct Premiums, Referral Premiums and Sales Incentives. Incentive programs typically involve gifts given in sequence to keep people interested and involved in the program.
Lumpy Mail: Also known as a dimensional mail, lumpy mail is a promotional product sent via direct mail. Lumpy mail should be creatively designed to cut through the clutter and deliver a specific marketing message to a specific target audience.
Prizes: Reward given to winner in a contest, sweepstakes or lottery. Prizes may be used as bait to generate leads, opt-ins for future communication or answers to a survey. Technology gifts are popular prizes.
Promotional Giveaway: Direct premium given free of charge or obligation to generate awareness and/or goodwill. For maximum effectiveness the item should be useful or meaningful to the recipient and also tie in with the goals and objectives of the advertiser.
Traffic Builder: A promotional product designed to boost traffic at a retail store or booth at a trade show/job fair. Items should have lasting value to the recipient so the message is carried long after the event is over.

So now you can say you learned something today! Stay tuned, b/c I’m going to start a “SWAG” rating page and hopefully get all my readers involved in voting on the best-of-the-best!
…now if you’ll excuse me, I’m headed to Mixx Expo/Conference for some goodies.

“The Future of Search” over a bagel ‘n cream cheese!

Article By: Joshua ‘The Red’ Russak (Red@aclion.com)
Joshua 'The Red' Russak

Kevin Ryan & Me

Gotham Media Ventures recently hosted “Digital Media, Advertising: The E-Marketing Breakfast“, sponsored by Gridley and Company LLC, one event of a series of breakfasts that will take place over the next few weeks/months. The topic of this breakfast was laoded one – Searching for Dollars: The Future of Search Opportunities and Investment. The venue – Harvard Club of NY….
…at this point it becomes clear: Not a casual event! Unfortunately I didn’t think to wear a suit. I came expecting marketing executives and ended up finding a mixed, well-dressed crowd of VC’s, AE’s, CEO’s and SEM Guru’s. I was just happy I didn’t go with the Pink Polo. Either way, it was definitely a step up from the casual networking and entrepreneur events I’m used to attending. And I’m happy to say the panel was exceptional.
Moderating the event was Stan Sandberg, Principal at Gridley & Company LLC, the events sponsor. The panelists were as follows:

  • Adam Heimlich, Director of Search Marketing, Avenue A | Razorfish
  • Sarah Hofstetter, VP/Emerging Media & Client Strategy, 360i
  • Aimee Reker, SVP/Gobal Director of Search, MRM Worldwide
  • Kevin Ryan, CEO of Motivity Marketing & Global Content Director, SearchEngineWatch.com
  • Kevin Ryan Comments on Google

    Stan began his introduction with a lengthy happy birthday wish to search giant Google, though I’m not sure today was the right day as I discussed in my previous article Google’s 10th Birthday! (But what day?). He mentioned 3 solid facts: Internet Marketing is growing fast (22.8%), Search is the biggest and fastest growing sector, and most shockingly in “99 was thr cup of the .com boom…99 was the breakout year. 248 IPOs in 99…0 Venture-Backed IPOs in Q2 2008″, (a point continuously repeated during Web2.0 Expo Panel “Starting up in Silicon Alley”, which I will blog about tomorrow).
    On that note, the panel began. There were many great points made covering a number of important areas in Online Marketing. To get them all out, I will format the rest in Q&A form:
    Stan: Your thoughts on the future of Search & Search Budgets?

    • Aimee: “Much longer investments in strategic planning.”
    • Adam: “A lot of growth in analytics in order to create value.”
    • Sarah: “There will always be more money in search because it is measurable.”
    • Kevin: “Data-mining is absolutely mission critical.”

    Stan: Role of the Search Agency today?

    • Aimee: “There is a change in process of how agencies are approaching companies.”
    • Adam: “Definitely interested in brand building with companies that have offline” (mentioning the possibility of partnering up with the offline agency the company chooses.
    • Sarah: “A lot more contingent on the marketer and collaborative efforts…collective brainstorming.”
    • Kevin: “The reality is – it is driven by the client. Agencies are driven by the P&L in the end of the day…the client has to drive it.”

    Stan: What are you seeing in terms of keyword trends and ROI?

    • Kevin: “Two issues -> Minimum click costs continue to increase & media channels are deciding whether or not your site is worthy and that is a BIG problem.

    Stan: Google = Better Results…your thoughts?

    • Kevin: “70% of search in the US is Google…90% in Western Europe”. Keep in mind geo-location.
    • Aimee: “Be aware of the other search engines and how they work. [...] Google drives volume, but other sites can drive better conversions.”
    • Adam: “The volume is on Google. It has been a disappointing competition to watch…I am hoping somebody can compete with Google.”
    • Kevin: “Google Properties will eventual equal Government Intervention.” In reference to Chrome, “Google terms & conditions are crap”, but he finished off by saying “…maybe we would be better of joining Google.”

    Stan: Innovation – Where will it come from?

    • Kevin: “Cuil was the worst piece of sh*t search engine. What we saw at the end of that was VCs are now questioning ex-google employees. The press is second guessing the ex-googlers as well. [...] The same journalists who said Cuil was big, also say Yahoo is going down”
    • Aimee: “Digital out of home is going to be huge…mobile, video online…also marketing tools”
    • Adam: “We need to use 3rd party analytics companies in order to make sense of it all”.
    • Sarah: “Google – they got the eyeballs”

    Random Quotes…

    • Sarah: “There are cases where search makes no-sense!
    • Aimee: “1+1=3″
    • Kevin: “We have to be careful how we use the word Study today” (referring to stats and case-studies).
    • Adam: The trend and timelines is as follows “Offline -> Website -> Mobile & E-mail”.

    The conference ended on a great note, and overall I feel the crowd was pleased.

    Me, Aimee Reker & Adam Heimlich

    How Web2.0 Expo Effected AC Lion’s Business?

    Article By: Joshua ‘The Red’ Russak (Red@aclion.com)
    Joshua 'The Red' Russak
    Web2.0 Expo was fully packed with good swag, give aways and presentations…ALL FOR THE SAKE OF LEAD-GEN! Each booth would trade SWAG for a simple bar-code scan so they could follow up with you after the show. I particularly enjoyed Axiom Software Inc’s approach to lead-gen. Their booth offered a Flip video camera if you entered your contact info and explained “How has Web2.0 Expo effected your business?”
    Here’s AC Lions very own Managing Director, Dan Goldsmith, offering his opinion….