Inbound Marketing – Lead Generation DO or DIE

Over the past decade I’ve had the opportunity of assisting hundreds of companies with their lead generation and marketing efforts. One thing is for certain, marketing has dramatically evolved over the past 10 years. In today’s digital age, people are engaged online now more than ever. We now have communities, activities, group gatherings, and meetings happening in a parallel digital universe. We chat, meet, study, attend seminars, watch movies, find dates, take courses, work, and consult Google for all our questions. The ability to find and distribute information to your online audience has become incredible. For small to mid-sized companies with budget constraints, it’s crucial they take advantage of this opportunity. Otherwise, companies may find themselves resembling the picture in this post.

More new digital technologies have evolved than ever before allowing small companies to compete with their larger rivals on an even playing field. This playing field “leveler” I’m speaking about has come about through strategic inbound marketing. Launching an inbound marketing campaign can literally create a lead generation machine for your company at a fraction of the cost of traditional outbound marketing such as radio, television, print and mail. It can also significantly reduce your pay-per-click and ad spends online by driving more leads to your company through organic search. Its crucial today more than ever before that your prospects “find you” online when looking to buy. Continue reading Inbound Marketing – Lead Generation DO or DIE

Jurgen Habermas and the Mess of a ‘Digital Public Sphere’

Let’s pretend for a minute that Jurgen Habermas’ view of an ideal political-public sphere exists. I say ‘pretend’ because, well, there’s still quite a bit of debate as to whether a space exists where individuals can discuss affairs of politics, business or anything. If we’re defining rational-critical discourse mainly by its structural difference from  discourse monopolized by the state, that seems to imply there’s an ideal area where private citizens can converse outside the direct power of the state (Habermas’ private homes, the salons of the private citizen, and so on).

It’s obviously a stretch to assume the actions of the Court and the Church had no direct influence on the discussions of private citizens – England loved to issue censorship rule after censorship rule precisely because they had influence over these kinds of citizen communications. For quite some time, very little printed or discussed matter passed by eyes or ears in London or Paris without the tacit consent of the crown. It’s good to be the King.

Enter the Internet, where it appears some conversations can go on outside the purview of some governments, as evidenced by Egyptian protest organizers in 2011 and Belarusian social media renegades in 2006.

There seems to be some legitimacy here. Let’s break out our ‘Public Sphere Checklist’ and see how the social networks of 2011 stack up against Habermas’ two most important public sphere requirements: Equality and Inclusivity.

Equality of Status and Inclusivity

On the face of it, social networks make people equal. But let’s look a little bit more. Much like the social clubs Habermas waxes poetic over, social networks come with hidden and not-so-hidden requirements for entry.

Owning a computer may not be a notable achievement for most Americans, but what about countries where Internet cafés are the dominant form of access? Given most of the world works all day to achieve some brief respite from misery, the majority of the developing world spends most of their time excluded from the conversation. Consistent, dense social networks like those of Egypt are generally due factors outside the natural allure of social networks, mainly an already wealthy state with educated citizens. Keep in mind, Egypt sat on a fence until lawyers, engineers and young, jobless professionals with personal Internet connections joined in.

Not only is most of the world excluded from participation in the Web’s marketplace of ideas, few movements attract much attention even if they take the serious risks of getting online. The megaphone of social media is given to few, your Kutchers and assorted lesser Kardashians in the developed world key among them.

Look at how Libyans struggled to connect even their own unhappy population before NATO shored up Internet infrastructure by bombing the ever-loving hell out of troops advancing on Libya’s major arteries of inbound and outbound communication.

For the majority of the world, gaining basic access to reliable Internet is a significant hardship while mobile application development company vacancies, so typical in the rest of the world, are as rare as hen’s teeth. Even then, being included in the elite group of “those who are heard” is harder still. Are you rallying for the patriots of the Burmese Civil War? Check midway through the New York Times, behind an article about Newt Gingrich’s “family values.”  They even have a Facebook page, with all of 9,000 supporters. All else being equal, it simply isn’t. Continue reading Jurgen Habermas and the Mess of a ‘Digital Public Sphere’

Are Social Networking Websites A Dangerous Gamble for Kids?

Child-computer The Scotland Herald isn't the first place most people turn for commentary on how virtual worlds are changing our social experiences, but their recent article on the changing face of childrens' play is thought provoking.

t's an interesting topic worthy of some focus for Wednesday's and Friday's articles.

Let's look at how children are moving from the playground to the Metaverse for entertainment, and the shift from real to virtual means the concept of safety is evolving as well.

Continue reading Are Social Networking Websites A Dangerous Gamble for Kids?

Free-to-Play Developers Drive Boom in Virtual Commerce

According to the industry news source GamesBeat – an offshoot of VentureBeat – cash transactions for virtual goods are booming, with pay-to-play MMORPG's like World of Warcraft surprisingly knocked out of first place by a surprise challenger.

Pixels and Policy explores the stats behind the claim, and why the biggest commercial growth isn't in the big-name worlds you might imagine.

Continue reading Free-to-Play Developers Drive Boom in Virtual Commerce

Virtual Flirting Responsible for 20% of Divorces, Law Firm Argues

Facebook-logo

The worldwide spread of social media has distinct pros and cons, and increased communication between divergent groups is most often labeled as a major benefit. Now one law firm reports that too MUCH communication – often flirtatious communiques between married people and old flames – is causing a spike in divorce petitions.

Pixels and Policy takes a look at some great analysis on the subject and asks whether we're entering into a brave new world where privacy just ain't what they used to be.

Continue reading Virtual Flirting Responsible for 20% of Divorces, Law Firm Argues

Social Media Websites Move Toward Virtual Currency Standardization

While the big graphical virtual worlds developers grapple with each other about standardizing the virtual experience for consumers, several big social media websites are steaming towards currency standardization with surprising cooperation.

Pixels and Policy reports on how several social media sites are preparing for the launch of a currency exchange in early 2010. It's going to change the way social media does business.

Continue reading Social Media Websites Move Toward Virtual Currency Standardization

Why Embeddable Virtual Worlds are the Future

EmbedExample
Graphics cards are declining in price, and increasing computer power means the landscape of the Metaverse looks more realistic than ever before.

So why are so many users migrating to graphically simple in-browser virtual worlds like Metaplace?

Pixels and Policy looks at why increasing graphical capability is no longer the biggest deal in online gaming.

Continue reading Why Embeddable Virtual Worlds are the Future

Cisco Report: Social Networking Brings Rise in Cybercrime

Logo_cisco More users than ever are logging into social networking sites like Facebook from work. Could this also account for the rise in social media-based cybercime? Cisco thinks so.

Pixels and Policy takes a look at why increased foot traffic on social media sites is creating new opportunities for cybercriminals and fraud artists, and what can be done about it.

Continue reading Cisco Report: Social Networking Brings Rise in Cybercrime

Are Social Media Games Reaching Market Saturation?

020909121934gameBig_farmville Social media is a fickle industry, and long-term success requires near-constant innovation and commitment. Yet social media games from titans like Zynga are drawing in millions of users while remaining fundamentally unchanged.

Could social gaming be in for its own version of the dot com bubble of the 2000's? Pixels and Policy investigates the risk of saturation in the growing social gaming market.

Continue reading Are Social Media Games Reaching Market Saturation?

Zynga’s Surging Revenue Shows Online Gaming’s Increasing Clout

6735_110500212090_683847090_2715127_968184_n Recent negative press about FarmVille developer Zynga has done little to rock the financial prospects of the "social gaming" giant, recent reporting by CNN and CNET reveals.

In fact, Zynga is poised to outdo the previous quarter's impressive performance before posting even more impressive financial figures amid a global recession and market turmoil.

Pixels and Policy investigates why Zynga has weathered the publicity storm, and why gaming companies are thriving in one of the largest economic contractions in decades.

Continue reading Zynga’s Surging Revenue Shows Online Gaming’s Increasing Clout