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Posted by: Nate Bauer on 3/20/2014 | 0 Comments

The most recent iteration of the Google Adwords Display Planner is pretty solid. The interface is far more intuitive than previously, and the ability to cleanly move between keywords, placements and topics, all while viewing the aggregate of your selections, is handy indeed.

However, the display planner has one annoying flaw – saving your results to a specific display ad group in a Search Network with Display Select Campaign.

For review, the Search Network with Display Select is a relatively new campaign option that allows text ads (and potentially display ads) to be served on the search network and to the display network for greater reach and impressions. There are two variations to choose from within the Search Network with Display Select – Standard and All Features. For Standard, you are limited to Text Ads only. All Features, on the other hand, allows you to utilize all multi-media ads with the exception of video.

The Display Network parameters are the same in Search Network with Display Select as they are in a Display Only Campaign. You still need to choose placement, keywords, topics, interests, etc. In fact, if you choose a particular ad group from within your Search Network with Display Select Campaign, and then click Add Placements, Adwords will ask you if you need more ideas and offers a link to the Display Planner.

The Flaw-

For some reason, Adwords Display Planner does not let you save to a display ad group within a Search Network with Display Select – All Features Campaign. And worse, there is no way to know you can’t do this aside from and error when attempting to Save to Account, which reads “An error occurred. Please try again later.”

The only way, at the time of this writing, that the Display Planner will allow you to Save to Account (particular Display Ad Group) is by cutting and pasting your Display Ad Group to a separate Display Network Only Campaign.

I scoured Adwords Help, which is usually pretty easy to navigate for desired information, but nowhere in this tutorial or any other, does it explain how to use the Display Planner within the Search Network with Display Select.

So until Adwords gets the Display Planner bugs sorted out for this new Search Network with Display Select Campaign type, we’ll just have to create separate Display Network Only Campaigns for our display ads. Or, go back to adding display network criteria manually.

This is unfortunate because the granularity within the Search Network with Display Select, particularly the extra targeting focus based on search parameters, including where they are likely to perform best for serving ads on the display network, are really nice features. And while this can certainly still be accomplished manually, the new display planner will eventually make this process far more efficient.

Any other issues you’ve come across with the new Search Network with Display Select Campaign option?

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Posted by: Nate Bauer on 3/11/2014 | 0 Comments

The do and do nots of twitter etiquette have been documented for as long as twitter has been around. And marketers have had plenty of time to hone the tactics most beneficial to engage their followers.

But one last remaining twitter faux-pas seems to stay commonplace within the marketing industry in spite of its potentially disastrous effects – the

“over-sharing live feed”.

If you’ve attended a conference, symposium, or other focused event, you’ve surely witnessed how the attendees and companies are inexplicably motivated to act as court reporter and document just about everything they hear. The result is a litany of tweets, with or without appropriate hashtags, completely dominating their follower’s feeds.

What do you risk by over-sharing? And why is this such a twitter faux-pas?

The first questions we always ask when contributing content are “Who is our audience?”, immediately followed by, “How is the information we provide relevant and useful?”

So let’s do that for the most recent of many “over-sharing live feed” faux-pas examples – #sxsw

Let’s say that I’m attending #sxsw with several colleagues and a few acquaintances. We decide to split up and hit a few great sessions/bands/keynotes to absorb more information. While attending some pretty great talks, we all decide to tweet key talking points to…each other?...other #sxsw-ers?...our twitter followers not at #sxsw?...

Determining the audience for this example is pretty limited since few, if any of us have a completely singular audience of followers on twitter. If we want to use “live tweets” to engage with other attendees for discussion or interaction, that’s one thing. But every day my feed is completely clogged with tweet after tweet from companies and marketing/PR/SM industry folks regurgitating everything they hear. So who benefits from this reporting style of information sharing?

Perhaps we can answer that question by determining how the information we are providing is useful and relevant. Certainly many on our twitter lists share common interests, and would perhaps be interested in reading some of the exciting things that are happening at #sxsw. A few great links here, a nugget of mind-blowing relevance there in a limited succession of tweets would certainly be welcome. But quoting every other sentence from the keynote speaker, I would argue, will accomplish exactly one thing- annoyance.

So. Many. Tweets.

When a follower, let alone an existing or potential customer is annoyed, the exact opposite of meaningful engagement occurs. Given the irregularity with which most twitter users check their feeds, do you want to risk completely dominating their feed, potentially alienating them, and chance an immediate unfollow?

And, if a prospect is anything like me and takes advantage of the mute feature for a particular event, hashtag or user, what are the chances they will ever remember to un-mute?

My argument would be that as a company or brand ambassador, ignoring the fundamental questions of audience and content relevance prior to over-sharing content on twitter perpetuates the worst of twitter narcissism.

Is there EVER a good enough reason for over-sharing live feed tweeting?

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Posted by: Nate Bauer on 1/22/2014 | 0 Comments

Getting buy-in from management for major IT projects can be a daunting task, particularly when you know that a project is absolutely necessary for the business to move forward in a timely manner. Here are some tips to help you not only sell the idea for an IT improvement project, but to also empower your CIO as a champion for the effort!

What do CIOs want to know?

  1. What will the project provide
    • Clearly state the business case for the project, (provide an executive summary in easy-to understand terms)
    • Prepare an elevator speech that will help you concisely state the purpose in 30 seconds or less
    • Be specific and make sure to include benefits for every aspect of the business possible
  2. How will the project enable additional innovations to allow the business to thrive and grow?
  3. What are the consequences of not undertaking (or delaying) the project?
    • Why is the project necessary?
    • What other IT/business efforts will the project enable?
    • What other IT/business processes will not be possible without it?
  4. How much will it cost?
    • Detailed cost projections with stated ranges to ensure adequate funding (and provide room for trimming)
    • Conservative estimates are advised with fallback positions outlined - it's all about the options!
  5. What implications will the project have on related or seemingly unrelated aspects of the existing IT infrastructure?
    • Will it be necessary to engage the assistance of outside talent to ensure the success of the project with all of its implications? What are those estimated costs?
    • Note that these costs may often be budgeted for differently than a project (typically a capital expense). 

  6. Having your facts straight and costs reasonably estimated can make the difference between getting management on board and getting your idea shot own coming out of the gates. You already know why it may be good for the business, now all you have to do is let them know!

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Posted by: Nate Bauer on 1/9/2014 | 1 Comment

It can be difficult to determine when it’s the right time to engage technology consultants, whether it’s for a mission-critical implementation/upgrade or as augmentation to internal IT professional staff to complete key tasks and issue remediation.

Other reasons include:
• Technology that the business depends on to function is in dire need of upgrading.

• The business may be in the position of requiring new technology to meet business goals.

• The business may be in need of assistance to help repair broken processes or to reconcile a project that has gone off of the rails in scope or cost.
Whatever reasons may lead you to consider bringing in a consultant, it is important to address the engagement with both the consultants and internal IT professionals in a manner that is most time and cost-effective.

Many concerns are inherently associated with the introduction of consulting, and if those concerns are not properly considered and managed, they can derail even the most critical and carefully considered engagement.


Let’s begin by reviewing some of the key concerns that a business may face when considering consulting engagements:
• Admitting that in-house capabilities may be currently insufficient for  variety of reasons
• Acknowledgement that attentiveness to business needs may have been neglected
• Admission that costs were not appropriately budgeted for or the scope of a project was not properly managed
• Perception that management has lost faith in the capabilities of internal staff


Now, let’s discuss the reality of the situation:
• Internal staff would not routinely be expected to have the level of experience in major system implementations and upgrades that a specialist consultant would have
• Insufficient training of staff is an all-too common problem
• New technology or new requirements for technology that are unfamiliar, and leveraging an experienced consultant who has “been there before” is prudent and reasonable
• Consulting engagements often are paid for from alternative budget categories, or have been budgeted in their own right.

A Different way to think about it
Here’s a different way to mentally approach consulting engagements…

From an IT professional perspective:
• Commit to participating fully in the consulting process and learning not only what skills gaps may exist but also what strengths may be attained during knowledge transfer
• Realize that the consultant’s success is your success – and that their failure is yours, too!  Be prepared to do what it takes to make it successful.

From a management perspective:

• Use the engagement as a learning opportunity - make professionals on the project team better at what they do and therefore more valuable to the organization
• Coach staff to participate fully, engaging consultants to elicit knowledge transfer with the intent of attaining the capabilities that were found to be insufficient
• Control demagoguery which is a primary reason that many engagements are derailed
• Commit to a training plan for affected IT professionals based on the results of the engagement

Choose the Right consulting

• Make sure that personalities mesh reasonably well
• Make sure that knowledge transfer is absolutely part of the deal
• Require documentation for results and require detailed processes and procedures to effectively manage and maintain systems as well as workflow associated with the technology that is considered and/or implemented
• Make sure to hire consultants that are experts and give weighted consideration to recommendations made therein. That’s why they were hired in the first place!
Consider consulting engagements to be a win-win for the organization. You get the best minds possible focused on your business needs, which alone will greatly increase your chances of success.  Not only will the business be better positioned to forge ahead in its endeavors, the IT organization will be flush with new knowledge and armed with processes and procedures that will give IT professionals the best chance to succeed and grow in their careers.

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    About Big Bang Blog

    There are many reasons to write a small business blog, we wanted to bring you at least a few reasons to read one. The Big Bang Blog covers the ins and outs of running a small software business, as well as a variety of small business marketing and media topics. Please leave us your comments and questions.

    Be sure to visit our UIU Blog for Industry Insights, Product Updates, Support Notes and more.

    About Adam Murphy -  

    Adam is the President and Owner of Big Bang LLC and espouses a pretty progressive small business philosophy based primarily around hiring the right people and getting the hell out of their way.

    About Nate Bauer -

    Nate is the Marketing Director for Big Bang LLC and pretty much spends his days tip-toeing on the pinnacle of how to most effectively implement strategy given the wide open cookie jar of small business marketing possibilities. You can find him

    About Kelley Burian - @kelleyburian

    Kelley is the Sales Director for Big Bang LLC. Responsible for everything from GSA contracts, resellers and international customers, she has her hands full doing whatever she can to make sure our valued clients are thrilled with our fantastic products.

    About Justin McLaughlin -

    Justin has over seventeen years in IT management and consulting with Fortune 500 and AmLaw 200 firms. His creds are way too many to mention here, but in addition to reading his posts, you can learn more about him here
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