It’s Been a A While – and 13 Trends for 2013

Ok – I know. I don’t play by my own rules… and haven’t posted a blog post in months! I apologize. That whole work thing keeps getting in my way 🙂 I’m sorry…

So here I am again, and its time to share new stuff.  I just participated in 2 days of training with some of my colleagues at Dominion Enterprises (home of the brands, ForRent, CycleTrader, and of course the marine businesses that I work for:, Boat Trader and YachtWorld). We have a heap of marketing talent in our company, so we gather every year to share experiences, ideas and best practices.

Presenting Personas at Dominion Enterprises

Presenting ‘Personas’

I was able to present on Humanizing Data – creating and leveraging personas. This was a fun one for me as I’ve been using personas in marketing for years. I’ll load up my presentation to Slideshare shortly. But the point is to identify your audience segments using a bunch of data, and create personas to help guide design, product development, etc. Fun stuff.

I also happen to be a fan of Ted Leonsis (formerly AOL, current co-CEO of Groupon, owner of the Washington Wizards, and board member at American Express.) Smart guy. Anyway, he just posted a top 13 Trends list that I happen to agree with!

Ted Leonsis

Ted Leonsis


#2     Mobile Fuels Conversion to a Cashless Economy. Over the next two years, the mobile payment market will reach $670 billion.

#3     Consumerization of IT leads to New Security Concerns, with Resulting Business Opportunities. (Good thing the husband is in the IT security sector!)

#6     Convergence Finally Becomes a Reality. Your computer, phone and TV are now all just screens.

#9     Home Automation. We will be able to control energy, security, video, communications, electronics through wireless technologies.

#13 Vertical Sprouts = Consumers and Money. First came the major “horizontal” companies, like Amazon in ecommerce and Facebook in social. Next up: vertical companies in spaces like women, teens, sports, and seniors.

This last one is big… looking forward to reading more on this.

Click here for the full list.

Would love to hear your thoughts – do you agree/disagree , maybe add something else? Please leave comments below!
P.S. Thanks for visiting!

Got Klout?

UPDATE: Klout just released this great infograph that I thought helpful to those who have read this post on Klout. Enjoy!


Klout score and analysis

Do you have Klout?

When I first started noodling through social media land, back in the day (July 10, 2007 according to Facebook), I knew I was an early adopter, but wasn’t really too concerned about my Klout. What is Klout? According to Wikipedia: the company, Klout, “uses social media analytics to measure a user’s influence across their social network. The analysis is done on data taken from sites such as Twitter and Facebook and measures the size of a person’s network, the content created, and how other people interact with that content.”

So what is the benefit of having Klout? Ever wanted to be ‘famous’? Klout may help you get there. Want free stuff? Want to be an early user of cool stuff?  All this ‘apparently’ comes with having Klout. On the Klout website, there is a “Perks” tab, that shows you different rewards you ‘might’ be eligible for, IF you have KLOUT!

Klout Perks

Now, I have what is considered to be a fairly decent Klout score of 61. Some of the people I think are BIG social influencers have scores only slightly higher than me. But I never seem to receive decent Perk offers. Aren’t there companies out there that would like a socially savvy, 40+ female marketing executive to try out some of your cool stuff? Each “Perk” has eligibility requirements, and the good perks go really quickly. So either I’m not eligible (see image below where ‘location’ makes me ineligible) or I’m too late.

Klout Perks Eligibility

I hope smart businesses take note of Klout and leverage social influencers. Maybe one day I’ll get to try that shiny new product before anyone else does… 😀

Drawing the Line: Using a National Tragedy for SEO Gain?


Something really bugged me tonight – I read a blog post on the blog site for a local company (who shall remain unnamed) focused on the recent tragedy that affected the Navy Seals. Their post’s primary focus was on the tragedy, highlighting the fact that many of the victims were from our area. They included links to a non-profit that supported the families of victims.

My first thought was that it seemed unnecessary to write such a post. And my next thought was that it seemed like they had written the article (using strong keywords that have recent worldwide usage), with the intent to boost their SEO juice. Maybe I’m thinking this as the company that wrote the article is an SEO company.

I’m not making an accusation but when a story is written that is irrelevant to your business, other than the fact that your city was the home for the victims, what is the purpose?  I don’t doubt that they are upset about the tragedy, but the story didn’t mention anything about a direct connection with any of the victims.


Creating an Innovative Workspace: Part 1

update your blog cartoonI know – I’ve neglected my blog. I feel bad, but I’ve been trying to balance my work and life lately, and my blog was something that had to be put on hold for a bit. That said, I’m back!

I’ve been involved in some recent meetings at work that reminded me of a time at AOL when we were encouraged to ‘innovate’. Those were some good times. We had great employees, leaders and we still had a great spirit in the office. We were each given $50 to decorate our cubicles, and each team were given space on the floor to go to town on. Our conference rooms became stately libraries, or had posters of stars who had worked with AOL, and there was color everywhere! Everyone seemed really inspired during this time.

One of my former AOL colleagues styling in one of my hatsI really went all out on my cubicle and brought in mats, posters and a hamper FULL of toys – like hats, bats, balls, colored paper and pens. I used these items in meetings that I was involved in to inspire us to think differently. To be more innovative. Think outside the box. It worked. Many new ideas were created during that time. Good ones.

We also started an Innovation Forum where we brought in speakers from around the company to share the latest on Web 2.0, Marketing, Tech etc. over a brown bag lunch. Good times. And then began the layoffs and our ‘innovation’ waned…

I was really excited to start working at my new company. But I was concerned with the sterile office space I’d be inhabiting. I know how I work best and when I’m most productive. I now that some of my best work comes when I’m comfortable, and feeling inspired. The new space? White walls and beige cubicles. No color in site. The view is phenomenal, but is hidden from view for most of the employees by cubicle or office walls.

View from the officeMe? I have an office – so I’m grateful. But it is an interior office, with white walls and big old dark wood traditional office furniture. I can put things on the wall (with permission). I brought in a number of items I felt might help my team, and might create an innovative and creative environment. Coming up in part 2, I’ll share some of these ideas. In the meantime, check out what one of my favorite companies does. Hail MailChimp!

It’s the Little Things – Launching a New Product

JoyIt’s the little things that give me joy….

Its been a while, and I apologize for that. But I’ve been working like crazy on a new product that my company is launching. I thought it might be interesting to share a bit of inside scoop on how we’re building this thing. I love my job… I really do!

So, what is “it”? My company is launching a Daily Deals website –! Yes, there are many others out there, but we are fortunate to have a solid company behind us, a fantastic URL, and have experience building strong field sales teams, and customer service teams. So, what are we doing that is different? Well, we hope that we can provide best in class customer service to our merchant partners and customers.

Ultimately, though, we want to give quality deals.

I have been working with our talented design team to come up with our website concepts, and we have been testing a few looks over the last few days. We also have a new logo, that we hope is a better fit with the look and feel of the home page concepts we will use for launch. So many of the daily deal websites have a similar look and feel, so we wanted to create something that looked a little different, and made us stand out from the crowd. I hope we have been able to achieve that.

I thought it would be a great opportunity to engage guerrilla marketing agency to push a promotion in one of our launch cities. I’ve narrowed my search down to two agencies, and am excited to see what creative and innovative solutions they will present. Once the details are finalized, I’ll share them here on my blog. I love guerrilla marketing…

Well, folks. I hope you’ll join me on this journey over the next few months. ~Sonya
Disclaimer: All views and opinions expressed are mine and do not necessarily reflect any of my affiliations.

UPDATE: Check out what our manager has to say about here!

Part 2: Notes from ISUM10 – Research 2.0: Using Technology to Drive Insight

Insights Research 2.0Part 2: My Notes From Internet Summit 2010

Colin Hynes – Rue La La

Research 2.0: Using Technology to Drive Insight

(Colin is Zsar of Social at Rue La La)


  • Who is coming to your site?
  • What are they trying to accomplish?
  • Are they successful?
  • If not why?
  • If so, why?
  • What do they do after they leave?

Traditional research methods:

  • Focus groups
  • Surveys (paper, phone)
  • Usability testing
  • In-person Exit studies
  • Field studies

New methods:

  • Un-moderated usability testing
  • Card sorting
  • Evolutionary design
  • Virtual spaces
  • Web analytics traffic analysis
  • Exit surveys
  • Inline data collection
  • Dedication online communities
  • Brand clusterings
  • Packaging feedback

Exit SurveysCase Study: Exit Survey 3-4% response rate

  • Analysis Approach: Prioritize relative to conversion opportunity
  • Purpose of visit responses are a proxy for conversion funnel
  • High potential conversion + unsuccessful visit = high opportunity
  • (Funnel represents the reasons someone’s visiting your website).
  • So… need to ask the purchase intent
  • Highest ROI for making site changes

Resource: 4QSurvey

  • Free exit survey tool
  • Serve the survey by traffic
  • Look at responses by traffic
  • Drill down into what really matters
  • Look at the issues. And then ask why!

Customers with existing sets looking to buy in the current visit are not converting due primarily to:

  • Their target products being viewed as discontinued or not available (SO is it REALLY discontinued? Check on these issues… identifying issues)
  • They are looking to see if the products will be on sale or an on an outlet price

Customers looking to buy new pieces within the current visit are not converting due to a myriad reasons:

  • Could not find what they were looking for
  • Functional issue on their side
  • Still in browsing phase
  • Prices are too high (i.e. waiting for pieces to go on sale)

Usability TestingUnmoderated Usability Testing


  • $39/per person for 15 mins of their time. You set tasks, or say ‘go’
  • Recording of their voice
  • Record what they’re doing on the screen
  • You can use their users, or use your own users
  • Can be done on demo sites or mockups
  • Vetted users
  • Client ratings on user
  • 25 responses within 3 hours
  • 8-14 ppl for good test
  • Robust reporting etc.
  • Helps you prioritize your website changes /updates

CardSortOnline Card Scoring

  • Lining up ‘alike’ things in card stacks
  • Free tools – or low cost tools.

Resource: Websort

  • We have ideas of how things should be grouped together, but customers have other ones…
  • So give them a ‘card stack’ and ask them to create groups

Additional Resource:

Dana Todd: Internet Summit – 2015 Predictions in Search


Dana Scott at Internet Summit 2010

Dana Todd @DanaTodd  (P.S. her hair is purple today… Love her!)

From #isum10

2015 Predictions:

UPC Search (bar codes and mobile codes)

– DSPs and custom dashboards for the masses

– “App SEO”

– Sponsored stories in news via PPC

– OOH search/augmented reality

– TV search

– iAds $bigger than Yahoo!/Bing in search ad$

– BUT, Yahoo!/Bing will dominate web display ads