022: Andrea Ward: Not for the Faint of Heart



andrea ward vp marketing at oracle headshotAndrea Ward (@awatpa) is the Vice President of Marketing for Oracle Marketing Cloud (@OracleMktgCloud). With an MBA in International Finance, Andrea has had a lengthy career in many aspects of Marketing from Public Affairs, Market Research, and Product Management to Finance and even Mergers and Acquisitions. Andrea has great perspective on what’s happening in marketing today.


Oracle (@oracle) — the second largest software maker in the world after Microsoft — unleashes innovation and enables its 400,000+ customers in over 145 countries to deliver the best experience to their own customers by simplifying IT.

In 2014, Forbes listed Oracle’s brand as more valuable than AT&T, Walmart, Verizon, and Budweiser. With 38.3 billion dollars in brand revenue, Oracle sells more than Ralph Lauren, Visa, EBay, Gucci, and Rolex combined. Oracle is also one of the major sponsors of the IMA.


“You need be able to use the tools available to you to be a data-driven marketer — to use data to create more personalized interactions. And that may mean a different skill set than what a marketer may have needed 10 years ago.”


3 out of 4 marketers have taken on new responsibilities but 9 out of 10 report no corresponding increase in budget or resources.


“97% of B2B marketing leaders say they are doing new types of work, new skills for marketers will be desperately needed going forward, and the pace of relentless change in their worlds is expected to pick up.” ~ Forrester & Business Marketing Association Findings

The field of marketing continues to expand and push forward in innovative ways. Andrea Ward, VP of Marketing for Oracle Marketing Cloud, discusses how the move to the cloud and other technological advances require marketers to use both their natural and developed skills to do even better at communication, collaboration, and data driven decision making. She highlights  improving communication with IT departments – by speaking to them in terms they value like efficiency and cost savings – to ensure better customer experience and increased driving of demand.

Andrea goes on to discuss the concept of “digital dialogue” and how using new data capturing technologies can help marketers learn about their known customers and unknown (potential) customers to engage with them real-time in a personalized way. Marketers need to develop their own skill sets in the right direction to be leaders in their fields.

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Oracle Marketing Cloud

Darian Shiraz (Founder & CEO of Radius) Interview

Forrester & Business Marketing Association Findings

Andrea Ward LinkedIn

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Ten Twitter Tips

We all know how big social media is today, and there’s no denying it helps with your SEO. After their latest updates, the stronger your brand name, the better your website is going to rank. Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and other social media outlets all help you build a presence on the web that search engines love and will also be in the best interest of your business.

Let’s start with looking at why having more followers on Twitter is good:

• The advantage of Twitter is that once people follow you, they will invariably see your tweets, while Facebook will block out certain updates or charge to make posts more prominent. With Twitter, you know your tweets will get to your fan base.

• The number of followers you have is a reflection of your brand. The more followers you have, the easier it is to get even larger – and we will see why.

• The larger your user base, the more likely Twitter is to recommend you on their “who to follow.”

Here’s a set of ideas to make your Twitter account more interesting to follow and how you can get the most from your current user base.

• Tweet at the right time. Tweet at a time when your followers are most likely to view your tweets. If you’re a restaurant, try around meal times. For businesses, 10 a.m. works best. Look at when most of your tweets are coming in from followers to decide.

• Talk to people. Since Twitter users like to talk, @message people who are authority figures in your field and you’ll be surprised with the number that respond.

• Engage your user. When talking to people, give them a bone, drop a link to your blog post or infographic so that when you message someone they have something more than just a tweet to look at. The more you engage with your user base, the larger the chance they will talk back to you.

• Keep it going. When you get a reply from your customers, don’t end the conversation with a thank you. Try to get more from them. Hear what they are really saying and keep asking them for more. This will increase your tweet count and make your account look bigger.

• Have more followers than friends. Don’t follow back everyone that follows you. That way, your account looks unprofessional.

• Keep your profile clean. First impressions count. If you have very few tweets of value in your last four (which is all that shows in the preview), then you may not be taken seriously. Ensure that you don’t just have @replies to people, unless you’re just doing customer service.

• Tweets go far. Ensure that when you tweet, it stays relevant. If you keep tweeting with @mentions, it will only engage the person you’re speaking with and not the majority of users. Keep in mind that general tweets will often be retweeted and marked as favorite.

• Check unfollowers. You can use a free service for checking unfollowers. This will let you see who has unfollowed you and allow you to ask why they don’t find your tweets compelling anymore.

• Follow the right people. If you are using your official Twitter handle, don’t follow your kids and friends. This will just give the wrong message to Twitter’s algorithms and to users who want to follow you. Try following those with equal followers, which is likely to ensure a follow back.

• Quick replies. When someone @mentions you on Twitter, try to respond quickly. This will let users feel heard and will encourage them to follow you and be happy with your feedback.

Keep checking with us for more tips on how to make the most of your Internet marketing strategies. We are constantly updating and always welcome your feedback on what you’re doing with your verticals, so do keep messaging us!


Guidelines and Roles for Content Management

Today nine out of ten companies are managing their own website content. This content is used to retain customers, bring in new ones, pass on to social media, blogged about, sent in newsletters, used in webinars, and even handed out at events and fairs! That’s a lot of reuse for the same content and a heavy strain on specific resources.

The Content Marketing Institute has said that just one in three companies feel their content is actually being used in the right manner and bringing in customers. This is because most organizations don’t have the specific skills to create the right content to drive in new customers. With content being used in so many different ways, it takes vertical knowledge and specific research to understand what is going to work and where.

Take these statistics for instance:

  • Sans-serif fonts work on the web, while serif can work on paper.
  • Warm colors tend to draw more customers on paper, with the opposite online.
  • Online content is generated to be optimized for size, while offline has no such restrictions.
  • Online media are “first-fold” oriented, meaning the first part of the page you see without scrolling down


These are some examples that show the differences in approach required for your content management strategy.

Content as an Asset
Strong brand advertising uses specific content that is meant to pull at your heartstrings, cause you to engage with the brand, and build a connection that is endearing over the long term.

However your marketing strategy changes, your content is going to rise to the top if it has value. It will remain accessible for years and will continue to engage people. Once you create an active audience for your content, you can sell current products and services as well as cultivate your target audience to introduce new and similar products.

Robert Rose says, “In many businesses (especially in B2B), the marketing department is an order-taking, tactical function that runs on the hamster wheel of demand generation, trying to keep up with ‘client’ orders for new collateral, press releases, case studies and, at times, marketing-qualified leads (MQLs).”

In the next decade, we will need to build and grow audiences that are genre specific and have been nurtured to like our content. This will require some thinking as Internet marketers and a change of mindset when companies are hiring new talent.

New Age Marketing Roles
With the changes that marketing will face, there are new roles to be filled. Whether you are a marketing firm that is scaling up to new demand or a small store that is planning its expansion strategy, you need to start thinking about these roles and how you can best fill the gaps in your organization.

Chief Content Officer
This position is your king of the castle. The CCO will be the one who tells the story for your organization. They will be the person spelling out the direction that the content is required to take, based on the mission that the organization has in mind. As different parts of the organization spin out different content for newsletters, brochures, search optimization, social media, etc, the CCO will be required to go through it all and ensure that the mission of the organization is intact.

Managing Editor
The managing editor will push into action the CCO’s content plan and vision. The managing editor is responsible for the execution of the strategy the CCO has planned out for different departments and verticals. This includes ensuring that style, scheduling and tone are in sync with the company’s vision.

Chief Listening Officer
The CLO is the eyes on the ground, the person in charge of listening to what the feedback from the market is saying. He/she also ensures that the content is received correctly and people have access to the correct content they require.

Director of Audience
The DoA ensures that the content generated is in sync with the mindset of the target audience, that the content has the right passion points, and that it is pushing towards the right action. They are also responsible for building mailing lists, both online and offline, and social media interactions.

Channel Master
With the differences in media, there is a requirement for someone to define how content is generated and how it will be optimized for different channels. The channel master provides the strategy for different areas of content. What time it should be released, what technology should be used, how it is to be released and so on.

As you can see, the future of content marketing is huge. It will weather search engine updates, changes in fashion and taste. We need to ensure that we use media correctly and plan out our strategies effectively. Keep in mind that these roles are not necessarily unique. Depending on the people available and the size of your organization, you will probably need to tweak them based on your specific requirements.

Local SEO for Your Business

With Google’s new Penguin updates, local is making bigger inroads into the Google SERPs. Local SEO is relevant for a business with a local presence requirement, whether you are a lawyer, a dentist, a doctor, a restaurant or a painter.

Local vs. National SEO

Local and national SEO share a large number of factors in common such as on-page, links, social, indexing, etc. But local does have a few differences. For local, you want to claim your Google profile, which is the page that will show up in the local search results. Next, you need to get a citation. A citation is a website that uses your name, address and phone number – all on the same page. Make sure that your details are the same everywhere. Changing your address or zip code could confuse Google. Third, generate reviews. Lots of reviews. The more, the merrier. The quantity and quality of the reviews for your page are one of the most important local ranking factors.

On-Site Optimization

Make sure name, address and phone numbers are on every page of your site, in the same format as your Google local listing. Use schema markups to better help search engines identify and show your location. Also include a KML file on your site. While some of this may seem redundant, it never hurts to send as many legitimate signals as you can.

Maximizing Local SEO Rankings

The fundamental way to do this is to increase citations, overall number of reviews and positive reviews. At this point, local results are quite Google specific. So, the more you can do in terms of  getting a better page for your business, the better your outcome is going to be. Ask clients to leave positive reviews and to +1 your page, keep it updated and keep linking to it. Location being close to the city center helps, since Google assumes you are close to city center when doing a search.

Getting Local Search Results

Go to Google place to sign up for your listing and complete all the details. This includes adding images, videos and all the other information you can share about your business. But don’t get too “SEO” on this listing. You don’t want to over-optimize for SEO and make it look unnatural in any way.

Sign up at Yext. They will send out your information to other major local platforms in the same format. Each of these will become a citation, which is hugely valuable. Next, use a tool like KnowEm to get your social profiles. Yext and KnowEm do have a charge for setting up profiles, but it is well covered in terms of returns. Invest your money as you feel comfortable for your budget and start with Yext.

Along with making your profiles, don’t ignore SEO on your website. Make sure that at least some of the links you build towards your website contain your target city/state combo. And, although it isn’t entirely correct to encourage people to go to your profile and write reviews, do suggest that if your customers are happy with you they leave a review at your pages.

Tools for the Task

WhiteSpark provides services for locating local citation sources, and you can try them out. In case you are doing some local guest blog posts, you can add your bio into the post data and generate some citations from it.

Ways to Get Reviews

Let your customers or clients know that they can rate their experience with you on your Google Places profile. Have logos up in your windows or in your office showing the places where people can leave reviews. Include your profile links in your email communications (particularly in follow-up emails after a purchase or visit), direct mail and anywhere else you can think of to get in front of customers. Of course, if you want poitive reviews, you need to provide a product and/or service that warrants them.

And while this should go without saying, DON’T BUY REVIEWS. While Google doesn’t always catch fake reviews, they are working constantly to get better at it. Yelp, on the other hand, errs on the site of extreme caution and often banishes overly positive reviews.

Outsource or Self-Promote

Depending on what your budget is, you can make a few choices. From the tips above, you may be able to do a large part of this on your own. Or you can hire an agency that will take the pain away for you. While we can’t specifically make a recommendation for an agency, keep in mind that typically with SEO, what you pay is what you get. There are a large number of agencies, but as a start you can check the WhiteSpace service at $16.

Keep building up reviews and citations for your business over time, and you will rapidly see the number of visitors coming to your local business go up.

Avoid Out-of-Date SEO

To create good website content, you may try to follow all the usual SEO techniques to get a top ranking in search engines. But even after implementing all the SEO techniques you know, back linking the website with other popular sites, social networking sites, etc., you may see that your website rankings are not appearing in search engines. There can be many reasons behind this problem, among which using outdated SEO techniques is most important.

While learning about SEO, you might have followed websites that talked about older search engine optimization guides and tips which were once highly popular. But with the flow of time, technology is getting upgraded everyday and so is SEO. There are certain things that you always need to consider while optimizing a website for search engines.

  • First and foremost, you must always remember that while creating a website never ever create a duplicate website thinking that more than one website will help you to drive double the traffic to your website. Absolutely wrong! Whenever you are creating a duplicate site of an original, search engines will raise the issue of duplicate content. In some cases, search engines may suspend these websites as well. So, ultimately your search engine ranking is held back. In addition to this, the quality of your website content is also neglected whenever there is a problem of duplicate content and your website(s) will be held back in Google rankings there as well. This is a serious problem with many top notch companies, and it is always suggested that you should focus on only one website with quality content in it to win good search engine rankings.
  • Unlike earlier SEO concepts, meta keyword tags are not as important as they used to be today. Search engines don’t depend on these keywords/tags these days. Basically, these keywords are irrelevant in modern SEO techniques. Keywords are used today in websites only to highlight to other similar websites what you are targeting. If you are not bothered about your competitors, instead of wasting time incorporating meta keyword tags, concentrate on quality content while improving your website with modern SEO techniques to get good search engine rankings.
  • Many people think that submitting websites to search engines helps in earning good rankings. But this is not the case. Simply link to it and your website will be in the top rankings if your website really reads well and has original content. Your website will get more and more exposed with the number of links you bring to it.
  • Now, link building doesn’t mean stuffing links only in one particular anchor text. Search engines prefer to see various kinds of anchor texts hyperlinked with various sources. So, look for variations in anchor texts as well as links to increase your website’s visibility in search engines. While linking, always remember to link your brand name.
  • Search engine ranking and page ranking are something totally different. Even if you get a higher PageRank, it does not necessarily mean that your search engine ranking is also high. Getting a good PageRank indicates that your links are effectively working and websites are driving relatively good traffic to your website. You need to spend time on your website to earn good rankings, not just worry about PageRank.
  • The last (and also a typically outdated) concept is to place link directories in your website. These link directories do no other effective work other than simply cluttering the website with irrelevant links. Instead of incorporating link directories, it is better to link to social networking sites.


Reasons to Invest in SEO

There’s never a time when your website couldn’t use a little more love at the search engines. After all, is there such a thing as too much traffic?! From time to time, you’ll notice some onsite factors that are a clear indication that you should start spending more time on your website before things get out of hand. Many of us see our websites as a backyard garden, something that we’ll tend to one of these days but just never really get down to doing.

Here’s a quick list of issues and tips for fixing up your website.

Dead Pages with Links Pointing to Them

During the course of maintaining your website, you will add new pages, update pages and remove pages. You may have removed pages because you stopped offering a product line or service. However, each page of your website can have external pages pointing to it, and search engines like to use these links as a signal about the quality of your website. When you have dead pages, you will generally have a new page that has come up in its place. You can set up a simple page redirect via your .htaccess file or via your CMS to ensure that the links you already have don’t lose potential and that your visitors have a seamless experience.

Slow Loading Pages

When your website loads slowly, it makes a difference in the end user experience. It also makes a difference in search engine rankings. If search engines notice your website can’t take the load, they will stop sending you as much traffic as you would like. The simple answer to fixing your speed problems is to get a better hosting company. The technically correct way of figuring out why your website is not working the way it should is to do a test on the loading pattern. You can run a test at tools.pingdom.com. Pingdom will give you a stat on how long each part of your website takes to load. The initial time taken is generally because of the programming code/logic. If you have a high first-byte time, you need to ask the programming team to clean up their code by caching or optimizing. You can also add a subdomain to store images, CSS and JavaScript files. This will make the load time quicker as you won’t have overhead data in your requests.

Checking Alternate Keywords

When you’ve optimized your website for a few keywords and have hit the sweet spot at search engines for traffic from those terms, you can always do more from there. A quick method to ensure that you are not leaving out ancillary products for your competition to snatch up is to look at your keywords log. Look at what phrases your customers are looking for when they visit your site, and see if you can create a product or service that would be useful to them. Quite often you will notice that people search for slightly similar terms to your products, and search engines will send you traffic thinking that your website has the required services available. It would be wise to invest some time and effort into making the most of that traffic and having something that your customers can use in those niches as well.

Mobile, Social and More

If you haven’t already created a mobile experience for your users, you need to look into that  soon. Mobile browsing isn’t just a fad anymore. It’s here to stay and it’s everywhere. People are looking at your website from their phones, and they need to see the data that is relevant to them quickly and easily before they move to alternate providers. Social websites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are a great connection point. There’s nothing like hearing the pain and pleasure points so quickly from your end users and making changes to ensure that you are ready for the next big wave that people are looking for. The new media options available today allow us to hear what people want in an instant. If we don’t adapt to those demands, someone else will.

Effectively Reaching Your Customers via Email

Reaching your customers via email is an inexpensive yet effective way to increase traffic to your website. That being said, you need to make sure to follow a few basic strategies for making the most of your mailing lists and outreach efforts.

The first thing people will see when you send them an email is your “From” name and email address. Since most emailing programs and websites allow you to customize your header settings, make sure your name clearly communicates that it’s coming from your website. For example, if your website is Mark’s Marketing Magic, make sure your email goes out as Mark’s Magic Marketing <mark@marketing-magic.com> or the equivalent for your website. It is also especially important that your email ID is not a Gmail or Hotmail address. That’s the last thing people expect to see from an established brand.

Use the subject line effectively as well. When you send out an email, do not use something generic like “Buy These Products.” Instead, use a phrase that’s more specifically targeted. And form it in an attention getting way like “James, these Magical Marketing strategies will surprise you!”

Get to the point. Long emails are not particularly inviting or easy to go through. With a limited attention span, most people will skip through a large portion of the email. As a rule of thumb, try to keep your emails to about five hundred words and spread the paragraphs apart so that it’s easy to scan and read. The focus of the email should be expressed clearly in the first two paragraphs with links to buy or respond before the first “fold” of the email.

Test before you send to minimize the chance of your message ending up in the recipient’s spam inbox. Many email service providers look for words like “free,” “buy now,” “get it here,” etc., to check if a mail is from a spam source. Most mass email programs have built-in tests for Bayesian spam filters and spam words that should be an essential step in email preparation. Also, the more unique your email looks, the lower the chance for being sent into spam limbo.

Filter mail users, which can be done with most of newer programs, based on opens, click-throughs, privacy requests, unsubscribe requests and sales. When people buy your products, make sure you thank them. And don’t email them again with another pitch!

Include an appropriate method for contacting you and sharing the email with others. Your footer should contain a number of options including methods of unsubscribing, easy forward-to-a-friend links, and contact-the-sender functions. In your email signature, clearly include your name and details.

Make sure to test your email tactics over time, and remember that email can be the cheapest and most effective method of reaching your customers. It is often ignored as it involves some work. But keep using it, and you’ll be surprised with the number of repeat customers you’ll find  in your database.

Community Building on Social Networking Sites: The First Step to Off-page SEO

Off-page search engine optimization (SEO) of your website is a smart idea to survive in the competitive Internet environment where new innovations and inventions pop up every day. When you are done with your on-page SEO, you should try out some of the off-page SEO tricks that can support promoting your website and developing online reputation. Your efforts to be ranked in search engines also will become much easier with off-page SEO.

Today, we will talk about community building on social networking sites, which is regarded as the foremost step that should be adopted as part of your off-page SEO strategy.

You can join and become a member of social networking sites like Myspace, Facebook, Orkut, LinkedIn and others. Creating a profile on these sites can help you connect with current “friends” as well as new people to promote your brand or your website and create an online reputation among your target community. Keep in mind that this is like Web 2.0 or the participatory Web, in that you need to be prepared to interact at regular intervals

Community building on social networking sites involves the following:


  • Use of social media tools to monitor keywords and terms that would be important for your business
  • Offline SEO using content that is useful and important to attract external links from forums, bloggers, blog commenters, consumer reviewers, etc.
  • Keyword-optimized content that attracts search engines and is easily searchable by users


Developing profiles on social networking sites and building communities is an added advantage when promoting your website as it helps in sharing content and generating links that will refer back to you. Moreover, building up trust among followers or community members will work wonders for your business or website promotion.

Doing off-page SEO right is the key to a successful promotion, but overdoing or spamming will work against you. So, plan properly and execute accordingly.

What You Need To Know about the Google Webmaster Tools

Google Webmaster Tools is a free web service offered by Google that enables you to take more control of your website or blog. You can analyze your website as well as learn new ways of making it better in terms of enhancing its visibility on Google.

Perhaps the most effective role played by Google Webmaster Tools is in helping you gather information about your site which is otherwise impossible for you to know. For example, you can obtain complete information about the rank of your site in Google for the keywords that are important to you. You can also find information on the backlinks that point to your site, including the identify of the backlinks and the associated anchor text.

Before we move further, here are the benefits you’ll enjoy by using Google Webmaster Tools:

  1. Content Analysis: You will be penalized for using duplicate contents, descriptions or titles. With Webmaster Tools, you can easily detect duplicate titles or descriptions on any pages of your site.
  2. Sitemaps: Sitemaps help you index your pages in Google, although Google will index your website without a sitemap. With Webmaster Tools, you can tell Google to index the pages you want and opt out pages you don’t want Google to index. To enable this function, you need to create the XML file using a generator like http://code.google.com/p/sitemap-generators/wiki/SitemapGenerators.
  3. Web Crawling Analysis: Once your website has been indexed or crawled by Google, you can find problems encountered by Google while locating your pages. If Google encounters difficulty in finding any page of your website, it will be difficult to get it listed on search engines.
  4. Move Historical Data from One Domain to Another Domain: If you are changing your domain and are worried about how to preserve the historical data, Webmaster Tools has the solution. All you need to do is establish the new domain with Webmaster Tools and verify it. Then use the Change of Address element to let Google know about the move of the historical data from the old to the new one.

Google Webmaster Tools Setup

To set up your website with Google Webmaster Tools, follow these three steps:

  1. Visit the Webmaster Tools website (http://www.google.com/webmasters/) and sign in with your Google account. Then click the “Add a Site” button in red.
  2. Once you have added your website, you’ll need to verify that the website is yours. If you have Google Analytics, you can easily verify your site by connecting Google Analytics to Webmaster Tools. To follow this method, click on “Alternative Methods” and select the “Use your Google Analytics account” option.
  3. After verification of your site, you can add its sitemap to help Webmaster Tools know about the pages of your website. If you already have the sitemap of your website, you can find it when you type http://yourdomainname.com/sitemap.xml. It will take a few days for Webmaster Tools to gather information about your site.

Google Webmaster Tools vs. Google Analytics

Google Analytics provides data on the traffic your website receives, including search terms that generated the traffic, whereas Webmaster Tools displays the traffic that your website receives for each keyword (on Google only). In short, Google Analytics, the website statistics tool, displays info on how many visitors you are receiving and how your site is drawing them in. On the other hand, Webmaster Tools tells you how Google tracks your site from a search engine’s point of view.

Google Webmaster Tools can be connected to Google Analytics to see how the Google Analytics Referring Pages report links with Webmaster Tools. Once you are on the Webmaster Tools home page, click “Manage” next to the site and click “Google Analytics profile.” Then choose the profile you want to connect with the site and “Save.” If you have multiple owners, Google requires each owner to connect individually.