MY BLOG HAS MOVED to www.deckermarketing.com

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

Posted by on 2 December 2010 | 10:09 am

Analyzing Groupon Profitability (7 Factors for Group Buying Success)

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...

Posted by on 16 October 2010 | 8:06 pm

The Best Tweets of Shop.org Summit 2010

I used Keepstream.com to curate the 'meatiest' tweets from Shop.org 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 right...email, SEO, SEM, content, testing/targeting, and customer service.

Posted by on 29 September 2010 | 11:49 pm

I've Joined the Board of Monetate: Testing, Targeting and Personalization

I've been in digital marketing and ecommerce my entire career. As such, I recognize that online marketing is about balancing the creative with the analytical. In the case of my Dell career (managing Dell.com) it was heavily analytical. That's what I love about online direct marketing, you can justify investment and grow a business through learning what works and what doesn't. Here's the problem though. The cycle of learning what works, of failing fast, of cycling through tests to optimize online return is too slow. Some of this is cultural, but it is also because tools are clumsy. Until now. A few months ago I saw a demo of Monetate. I was blown away, and I've been in this business a long time. I pursued the board and CEO of Monetate to get involved, because I am truly excited about what they have and where they're going. I think they're a hidden secret in ecommerce, and the smartest marketers I know are using them at QVC and Urban Outfitters. Sorry Alex and Dmitri to let your secret out! Here's what they do in a nutshell. First, here's what you have to do. Put one line of javascript code on your site (much like you've already done with Coremetrics or Google Analytics). That's it. What they do is everything else. You can literally change or rewrite any part of any page. Image overlays, ratings, functionality, banners, pricing, etc. They provide expertise to run different tests and segmentations. You want to change...

Posted by on 22 September 2010 | 12:11 pm

Dropbox User Interface Review -- Getting it Right

It's surprising how many web apps are out there that set out to accomplish growth and mistake activity for sustained progress. Perhaps they get some press but then lack traction. Why? Because they don't get the 'how' right. It's a lot like producing a movie. You can get a great actor and pull off a movie, and there are thousands of B to D grade movies out there. Or, you can get a great actor with a fascinating story, smart script, talented director and sophisticated editor...it's the difference between a blockbuster or a straight-to-DVD production. Dropbox should be studied -- in the way Google, Facebook and Craigslist are studied -- on how they've built their user interaction and design. I'll show you a few screens to show what I mean. Their home screen is as simple as Google. For Dropbox, you either login or download, or watch a video to understand how it works. That's it. Less is more. While a TechCrunch or Mashable article can spike signups for a web or phone app, sustainable growth is only possible if the app has high utility (where it 'infects' their life), convenience, and engagement. DropBox is brilliant in this screen. They very clearly outline steps they'd like you to take, and make the most prominent image a 'thermometer' infographic that reflects something you can earn, 250MB of storage space. That's a smart giveaway because it costs them practically nothing (assume most people don't even go up to 2GB), yet has high...

Posted by on 12 September 2010 | 1:54 pm

Guy Kawasaki Tweets...Curated by Keepstream

This is a summary of some of Guy Kawasaki's recent tweets that I like...but I'm really doing this to show off Keepstream's new application, which will be featured at Capital Factory Demo Day on Wednesday (disclosure: I'm a co-founder in CF and therefore an investor in Keepstream). They are announcing a 48-hour free signup on Wednesday (9/8), but I have an inside scoop...you can sign up right now and still get in on the free signup. Sam Decker Sep 6, 2010 at 2:45pm Guy Kawasaki's Recent Best Tweets GuyKawasaki Sep 5, 2010 at 8:30pm 25 edgy hairdos http://tinyurl.com/27dhtsm GuyKawasaki Sep 5, 2010 at 8:20pm 12 common logo mistakes http://holykaw.alltop.com/12-common-logo-mistakes GuyKawasaki Sep 5, 2010 at 5:10pm 10 things men should know about a woman's brain http://holykaw.alltop.com/10-things-men-should-know-about-a-womans-brai GuyKawasaki Sep 5, 2010 at 3:45pm The new family farmer http://is.gd/eWD9P GuyKawasaki Sep 5, 2010 at 11:25am 4 things you should know about influence http://idek.net/30eM GuyKawasaki Sep 5, 2010 at 5:30am Turn your iPad into a laptop with the typad http://idek.net/30RZ GuyKawasaki Sep 4, 2010 at 10:10pm 17 facts about bacon [infographic] http://idek.net/30OJ GuyKawasaki Sep 4, 2010 at 9:15pm DIY Meat Smoker http://is.gd/eUch1 GuyKawasaki Sep 4, 2010 at 11:25am How to motivate yourself http://idek.net/30Gl GuyKawasaki Sep 4, 2010 at 11:10am Spouses start out a lot alike http://holykaw.alltop.com/spouses-start-out-a-lot-alike GuyKawasaki Sep 4, 2010 at 8:50am 14 awesome beds http://is.gd/eTmcC GuyKawasaki Sep 4, 2010 at 8:55am 10 Essential Tools of NASCAR Pit Crew Members http://idek.net/30Dt GuyKawasaki Sep 4, 2010 at 7:25am Short film recounts a soldier’s lasting regret...

Posted by on 5 September 2010 | 11:26 pm

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

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...

Posted by on 8 August 2010 | 11:02 pm

The Paradoxes of Servant Leadership

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)

Posted by on 17 July 2010 | 9:07 pm

Do You Have Trapped Thinking?

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...

Posted by on 15 July 2010 | 9:57 am

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

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...

Posted by on 12 June 2010 | 2:18 pm

Speaking on Customer Centricity with Land of Nod

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

Posted by on 4 June 2010 | 8:57 am

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

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...

Posted by on 4 May 2010 | 8:31 pm

Let Their Content Free!

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:

Posted by on 4 May 2009 | 8:39 am

Capital Factory Invests in Five Startups for 2009 Fund

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 -...

Posted by on 22 April 2009 | 8:54 am

How Toyota Followed Baby Boomers

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?

Posted by on 3 April 2009 | 2:41 pm