Tuesday, December 22, 2009
One of the best innovative marketing strategies I recently came across, is the brainchild of the Cueto Law Group. This Miami, Florida-based law firm allows its clients to pay up to 20 percent of their legal fees with carbon credits. (Click here for the press release)
Carbon credit trade work as follows: a fixed, high penalty rate is applied to emissions that exceed a set target and firms are free to buy qualifying credits on the open market to bring their balance below the target level. The price of carbon on the open market will vary from scheme to scheme but is guaranteed to be lower than the penalty rate. Hence an upper bound is set for the price of carbon and classical market efficiencies force the real price of carbon emissions as low as possible. Carbon credits thus represent permits to emit climate-warming greenhouse gases. One carbon credit unit is commonly equal to one ton of carbon dioxide emissions.
Under the law firm’s program called “CO Too,” its clients can pay with carbon credits which the company can then trade in the international carbon markets.
"Our CO Too program is a way to help the environment, while at the same time providing an alternative way for clients to pay for professional services. We are proud to be leading the legal industry in this initiative,” said Santiago A. Cueto from the law firm.
Mr. Cueto went on to say that he is optimistic that other industries will follow their lead.
The law firm said carbon credits have gained significance as a legitimate currency with which to transact business.
"The current economic climate is a golden opportunity for the professional services industry to develop new ways to tackle global emissions,” Cueto said adding that credits represent a “paradigm shift” in the way business is transacted.
The global carbon credit market was valued at $126 billion in 2008. The World Bank estimates that the market could grow up to $150 billion by the end of 2009.
The Cueto Law Group consists of Santiago A. Cueto and his associate in Lima, Peru. Established in June, 2009 they are largely doing litigation for international clients with U.S. problems.
Cueto obviously knows a thing or two about marketing – his website is a textbook example of the latest trend in corporate website design, including news feeds, blog, etc.
His timing is also impeccable – he launched his “CO Too” program during the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference 2009.
Although no clients took Cueto up on his offer yet, the media impact was great. Prominent WSJ blogger Ashby Jones interviewed Cueto and quite a few eco magazines picked up the story, including Ecoseed and Mother Nature Network.
It shows how a clever marketing idea announced in a press release distributed via PR Newswire can put a small law firm firmly on the map.
(illustration courtesy of Rodger Schultz)
Sunday, December 20, 2009
One of the best ways to promote a company is with opinion articles. Many magazines (online and print) welcome well-written articles. These articles should not be biased though – nobody wants to read a (blatant) sales pitch. As marketing professions will tell you – educating your target audience/potential customers is an effective marketing strategy.
Before starting to write, identify the target audience. Who are the readers of the magazine you want to send the article to? What are their interests? Do you have a direct connection to the editor, or only via a PR company? Does the magazine allow hyperlinks? Do they also want original illustrations? In short – do your homework!
Many marketing and copywriters ghostwrite – they write the opinion pieces for a company’s CEO, CMO or CTO, and when published, it will be under their name.
Points of attention when writing an opinion article:
- It must be informative. The reader should learn something from reading the article.
- It must be interesting. The text should flow and keep the reader interested to go on reading.
- It must be based on facts, and not assumptions. References to recent events that were covered in the global media are a good hook, as are reports of leading analysts such as Gartner and Forrester.
- It must be neutral. As mentioned before, nobody wants to read a sales pitch. A neutral article covering new or future trends, or “how to…” articles are popular. At the end of the year, articles about predictions for the coming year are in demand.
- It should have hyperlinks (if allowed by the newspaper), footnotes and references. It makes the article trustworthy and increases the chance for publication.
- Most magazines will ask for illustrations. Try to have original images in high resolution. No matter what industry you are in, the chance that your competitors use the same stock photos is high. Diagrams are always popular in tech pieces, as are product photos. Make sure to send different photos to various magazines – don’t forget, they all want to have original content!
- Custom write your story, tailored to each magazine. Sending the same article to several tech mags is professional suicide, especially in today’s viral media.
- Make sure to put a short bio with contact details at the bottom of the article.
- Follow up. Once you see that your article in published, drop a thank-you note to the magazine (or journalist). Blog and tweet about it, and make sure to include the URL of the publication.
To see an example of an opinion article, click here
Wednesday, December 09, 2009
Google announced the rollout of its new real-time search function. Search results will incorporate real-time content from Twitter feeds, blog posts, online news content, Facebook status updates, and content from MySpace , FriendFeed, and Jaiku.
According to Google, the latest results and the search options are also designed for iPhone and Android devices for info-on-the-go.
With this move, Google also tries to stay ahead of its main competitor - Microsoft's Bing that already has a real-time search function.
With its real-time search, Google will change SEO forever.
- More and more companies will be "forced" to use social media to get the exposure they want and to keep ahead of the competition.
- SEO and marketing experts will now have a plethora of new opportunities for SEO and marketing, since keywords and search terms will also be found in real-time news content, tweets, etc.
- Companies need to be aware what content and information they release online, especially if they have to company with regulatory rules and regulations (SOX, HIPAA)
- Users of social media have to be even more careful what to post on their Facebook page and what they tweet about. They can be hold liable for disclosing info without permission.
- Facebook users have to be aware that info on their public profile will be found in real-time.
It is too soon to predict what the impact on SEO will be, but it looks like a search engine marketing dream come true....