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Preview: Decker Marketing

Decker Marketing

Perspective and Ideas on Marketing, eBusiness, Leadership, & Life (since 2003)

Last Build Date: Thu, 02 Dec 2010 10:09:22 -0600



Thu, 02 Dec 2010 10:09:22 -0600

After 8 fantastic years on typepad as I've moved it over to So, come on over to the newly designed blog And link to it...because I need some new SEO help! :-)

Analyzing Groupon Profitability (7 Factors for Group Buying Success)

Sat, 16 Oct 2010 20:06:50 -0500

I’ve had a lot of conversations lately about the strategy of group buying sites (or daily deals, flash sales, etc.). Groupon is the leader in this space…so much the word is becoming a verb. The questions I often hear are: How do you know if Groupon (and group buying deals) are right for a type of business? What are the factors that make Groupon a profitable strategy? How do you evaluate and analyze the profitability of Groupon? Already there are a lot of competitors with Groupon, and more several that are headed toward even more niche group buying capabilities, focused by interest, small city, or people groups. The group buying strategy will continue, and so will the conversation about this. But the model of giving a significant (50%+) discount on goods and services has its dangers. So it piqued my curiosity to analyze this from an economic perspective. On the plus side, this is a pay-for-performance approach to customer acquisitions. And it's a sudden and (mostly) predictable burst of new customers and revenue. On the cautionary side, you’re paying for that acquisition with negative margin. Do business owners really know (or at least rationally evaluate) the complete profitability of these customers? If I were doing this, I’d look as much as possible at the total economic impact, as there are some overlooked aspects to this type of promotion. A fascinating study on Groupon effectiveness by Utpal Dholakia of Rice University cited that 66% of small business owners report Groupon to...

The Best Tweets of Summit 2010

Sun, 05 Sep 2010 23:26:11 -0500

I used to curate the 'meatiest' tweets from Summit 2010, which just ended today. It was another great show. Over 3,000 attendees! Social, mobile, and local are still hot themes as they were last year...because few retailers have figured them out. I led a couple roundtables on social commerce and social media ROI. However, other discussions around the show suggest there's a lot of money to be made getting the basics, SEO, SEM, content, testing/targeting, and customer service.

Announcing my departure from Bazaarvoice...and search for my CMO successor!

Sun, 08 Aug 2010 23:02:42 -0500

This is a post about change. Winston Churchill said, “There is nothing wrong with change, as long as it is in the right direction.” After 4.5 years at Bazaarvoice, I’m announcing a smooth and amicable departure from the company in order to pursue my next challenge and opportunity. (I announced this to our company last week at our quarterly all hands.) This is not your typical resignation. You could call this a ‘planned’ or ‘friendly’ departure. During this time I plan to remain on as Bazaarvoice CMO while I help recruit for my successor (one of the reasons for this post), and upon my departure I will be on the Bazaarvoice Board of Advisors to help the company’s continued growth. “Growth means change and change involves risk, stepping from the known to the unknown.” George Shinn There are three reasons I’m making this announcement proactively: To stop speculation or assumptions about this move – before it begins. We are an open & transparent culture and such is the spirit of this transition. Frankly, more companies should do it this way. To announce the beginning of my journey to explore what’s next, and be able to have open discussions outside of Bazaarvoice. To publicize and market that one of the best CMO positions in the country is now open! To start off, I love this company. I’ve been there since we launched the company in January 2006. Brett and Brant (co-founders) have graciously referred to me as a third co-founder, and...

The Paradoxes of Servant Leadership

Sat, 17 Jul 2010 21:07:41 -0500

I love this poem, which describes the paradoxes of being a "Servant-Leader". Strong enough to be weak Successful enough to fail Busy enough to make time Wise enough to say "I don't know" Serious enough to laugh Rich enough to be poor Right enough to say "I'm wrong" Compassionate enough to discipline Mature enough to be childlike Important enough to be last Planned enough to be spontaneous Controlled enough to be flexible Free enough to endure captivity Knowledgeable enough to ask questions Loving enough to be angry Great enough to be anonymous Responsible enough to play Assured enough to be rejected Victorious enough to lose Industrious enough to relax Leading enough to serve Poem by Brewer --- as cited by Hansel, in Holy Sweat, Dallas Texas, Word, 1987. (p29)

Do You Have Trapped Thinking?

Thu, 15 Jul 2010 09:57:28 -0500

Since I left Dell, I’ve had conversations with several friends who were looking to take their careers outside of Dell. They asked how I did it nearly 5 years ago. I told them I spent 2 years networking and evaluating ideas outside of Dell. That’s not to say I didn’t perform during that time…in fact I ran a marketing department and helped grow a $1B business by 50%. However, just by ‘getting out’ I met great people and evaluated several opportunities. At first it was exploratory, but in the end it opened my eyes to the fact there was a world outside of the world my head was in 8 hours a day (er…make that 10 hours a day). What I observed after these lunches with my ex-Dell friends was discouraging. They took no action. They didn’t research companies or ask for contacts or set up lunches with people outside of Dell. They were absorbed inside the walls of their company. Their scope was trapped inside the company, inside their division, inside their team, and inside of their roles in aforementioned team, division and company! Their thinking was trapped, and therefore their action was trapped…therefore their career was trapped. There is a similar problem of becoming more customer-centric as a marketer. When you are absorbed in the internal, your thinking is trapped in the rules of your day-to-day job. Internal measures, internal meetings, and internal perspectives. You’re surrounded by the 3-4 walls of your cube, surrounded by the four walls...

And They're Off! Austin Entrepreneurs begin Capital Factory 2010

Sat, 12 Jun 2010 14:18:21 -0500

We started second annual Capital Factory program which I co-founded with Joshua Baer and Bryan Menell last year. I'm excited about this year's companies, some are further along than others, but I'm most impressed with the entrepreneurs themselves. Here are the companies: Hurricane Party (Austin, TX) – a location-based social networking application that helps users create, manage and discover events that are relevant to them. Simpz (Boston, MA) - helps event organizers reach critical mass and sell unused spots through word-of-mouth marketing via Twitter, Facebook, and other existing social networks. Smackages (Dallas, TX) – a beauty community that connects members with cosmetics brands and helps them make more valuable cosmetics purchases by allowing them to try products before they buy them online. RecycleMatch (Houston, TX) – an online marketplace that transforms waste into value by connecting companies that have waste with companies that can use the materials. Corkshare (Cleveland, OH) – a simple, visual way to share and discuss collections of web content like photos, videos, links, and more through virtual CorkBoards. We had the welcome kickoff a few weeks ago and a couple meetings since. Already some of the ideas are evolving, which is expected. 70% of startups end up doing something different than what they first ventured. There are 20 mentors as part of this program, with heavy experience in fundraising, SEO, engineering, branding, and industry connections. I spend my time with the entrepreneurs discussing product direction and design, business model and marketing. I also make introductions to...

Speaking on Customer Centricity with Land of Nod

Fri, 04 Jun 2010 08:57:29 -0500

How The Land of Nod Uses Fan Feedback to Build Trust -- presented by Sam Decker & Michelle Kohanzo from GasPedal on Vimeo.

It's been one year since my last blog post...

Tue, 04 May 2010 20:31:44 -0500

Today marks exactly one year from my last post on Deckermarketing. I started blogging in September 2003, and have written many posts on eBusiness, marketing, leadership and life…until May 4, 2009. After that day, I didn’t write another blog post until now. This wasn’t by design. Things just "slipped away". One month turned into two months, and that turned into a year. This must happen to others, right? Even John Porcaro -- an exec previously at Microsoft who inspired me to blog in 2003 when I was at Dell -- has not blogged in nearly a year, and he’s now a social media consultant! I thought this one year anniversary of “no posts” is a good opportunity to give a summary of how or why I orphaned my blog for so long. First, Bazaarvoice has been more than a full time job as we’ve grown from 6 of us in January 2006 to over 550 employees, 9 products, serving 800 brands. In terms of writing (which takes a lot of time) I’ve felt more obligated to blog on Bazaarblog, write articles (such as my ClickZ column), and helping my team produce videos. And then I had other commitments taking time, such as co-founding Capital Factory, launching a web-based chore application, serving on boards, and spending as much time as I can with my family! A big factor is my Twitter activity took away from blogging. If I had an idea, I tried to put it in 140 characters and tried...

Let Their Content Free!

Mon, 04 May 2009 08:39:47 -0500

Last week I spent hosting our second annual Bazaarvoice Social Commerce Summit. Over 300 people came to the AT&T Center in Austin to evolve their social commerce strategy. See my wrap up post here. Last year my team and I produced a video to send a message to our clients, which was a mockumentary music video, "More Than Words". This year, I did another music video parody to George Michael's "Freedom! '90" to communicate the idea to our clients that their customers will be their best marketers if they "let their content free". The Title of this is "Freedom! '09 (Let Their Content Free)". Here it is:

Capital Factory Invests in Five Startups for 2009 Fund

Wed, 22 Apr 2009 08:54:36 -0500

As a co-founder and one of 20 mentors for Capital Factory, I'm proud and excited to get started our first year with 5 startups! Here's the release that we just put across the wire today! The program starts with these entrepreneurs May 22 going through August. And you can follow all 5 startups on Twitter! @CubitPlanning @FamiGoGames @Homstie @Hourville @PetzMD Capital Factory Invests in Five Startups for 2009 Fund Also Recognizes 5 Additional Finalists Austin, TX (PRWEB) April 22, 2009 -- Capital Factory, an early stage technology incubator in Austin, Texas, announced investments in five emerging technology startups selected to participate in its inaugural 2009 summer program. Each company will receive a cash investment of up to $20,000, more than $20,000 in free services, and mentorship from some of the top entrepreneurs in central Texas. The free services include office space, legal counsel from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosatti, public relations support from Porter Novelli, and accounting support from The Accounting Group and vCFO, among many other benefits. Investments: * Cubit Planning - Environmental reports at the click of a button * FamiGo - Mobile games that bring the family together * Homstie - Person-to-person marketplace for storage space * Hourville - A marketplace for services by the hour * petzMD - Website for Pet Health, from A to Z Capital Factory also recognizes five additional finalist startups that were top runners among the program applicants as well, including: * Infochimps - An open marketplace for data * Notesmart -...

How Toyota Followed Baby Boomers

Fri, 03 Apr 2009 14:41:33 -0500

Last week I presented on a panel with Professor Arturo Perez-Reyes (UC Berekeley) at an event in San Francisco we put on with Jupiter Research. One story the Professor shared about Toyota was something I hadn't heard before... He said that Toyota followed the baby boomer generation as a market. They looked at the demographics and spending power of that generation. I think it went something like this... They started with the Corolla, then Celica for when they got into college, then Corona/Camry, then launched Lexus when they had discretionary income. They followed the 'bulge' of spending the baby boomers had. It's an interesting way to think about the markets you're going after. Is it big? how will it evolve? How will it effect your product strategy?