CODiE Awards Judge Webinar: How to Judge a CODiE Award

On October 6, 2014 we hosted a CODiE Awards webinar specifically for the Content, Education, and Software judges. The primary purpose of the webinar was to provide important information about the judging process, including responsibilities for all categories.

During the webinar we covered:

  • How to nominate
  • A review of the new categories
  • What happens during the first-round judging process
  • The complete CODiE Awards timeline
  • Tips and Tricks

OkCupid Co-Founder Waxes Excitedly on Marketing and Data

Monday night, Christian Rudder, author of the new bestselling book, Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking) and co-founder of the popular online dating site OkCupid, came, saw a huge crowd—books in hand, of course—and conquered with a slightly geeked, slightly cool approach to data in the 21st century.

 He talked algorithms, testing and experimentation—with apologies sprinkled in for people’s behavior—to explain OkCupid’s success. In 2011, Match bought them for $50 million. “Our whole goal is to get people to send messages,” he said. “That makes us successful. Of course, it’s a miracle for a woman to send a message without getting one first, but…” his voice trailed off amid the laughter.

About one of every 10 Americans has used a dating website or mobile app, according to a 2013 Pew Research report. The Match Group earned revenue of $788 million last year. So when it comes to marketing, these folks are doing something right. Here are 10 elements of their success.

1. Meticulous uses of data. “OkCupid keeps track not only of what messages you send to your potential dates, but of the characters you type and then erase while you compose your little satchels of intriguingness,” wrote Jordan Ellenberg in a Washington Post review of Dataclysm. Wow. Is nothing sacred? You can’t even erase in peace anymore.

2. People like to see images of people. Emails from dating sites market with people—yes, pretty people, Rudder admitted. “People click on the best-looking photos,” he said. “That’s just the way it goes.”

3. Test extensively. “Our experiment is we’re recommending a stranger you might want to talk to,” Rudder said. “We try hard to get it right. How much do you have in common? We’ll test that against a placebo [someone you have nothing in common with] to see what works.”

4. Seek recommendations. Following up #3, Rudder said that commonalities account for about 50% of the matches—and that recommendations from OkCupid, friends, etc., account for the other 50%. “We’re using recommendation algorithms—Amazon uses the same thing.”

5. Choose a barometer for success. Rudder said that they judge matches based on 4 messages. Two could be kind of a brushoff, three not complete, and five almost too many (friend zone). “Four seems about right for us.”

6. Make it hard for people to leave. Ever try to cancel from a dating site? It is a bit hard to find, and when you do, you get many calls to return. Match will offer you a special deal equivalent only to when you first joined. OkCupid writes, “Need a break? Disable your account and come back any time.” Given that it’s free, most people probably hang around.

7. Know your goal. OkCupid wants their subscribers to send messages, so everything they do is geared to that. A SIPA member tells a story about an advertiser she helped with an ad about their swim club and then was upset when no one signed up for swimming lessons. But that was the first time the advertiser mentioned it; so nothing in the ad was directed to that.

8. Get the best data you can. Dating sites get amazing data, Rudder said—age, occupation, kids, height, religion, etc. I’ve seen awards programs that are almost as valuable as data gatherers, plus surveys and focus groups. The more data you can get the better.

9. Take the time to analyze that data. “This [book] has the real stuff,” wrote Ellenberg. “actual data and actual analysis taking place on the page. That’s something to be praised, loudly and at length.”

10. Make your online processes smooth. “People come to our site expecting that we know what we’re doing,” Rudder said. At the end, Rudder was asked about whether his site being free has much to do with their success. He doesn’t think so—more important is a smooth experience and people getting responses. “It’s really what [site] fits your vibe the best,” he said. “$10 a month is kind of irrelevant for something like happiness.”

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

Execs from Google, Thomson Reuters, Forbes, CQ Roll Call, & More to Address Top Issues Facing Digital Content & B2B Media

Top executives from some of the country’s leading digital content and B2B media companies will convene in Miami, Fla., Nov. 10-12 for the first Business Information & Media Summit (BIMS). The new event, hosted by the SIIA will explore emerging challenges as big data, marketing, digital media and advertising become increasingly integrated.

During BIMS, executives from Thomson Reuters, Forbes, Google Enterprise, Penton, CQ-Roll Call Group, Randall-Reilly and more will offer insight on topics shaping the future of the information industry, including:

  • The Future of Data: How existing data products are evolving in conjunction with new products being created.
  • The Global Data Challenge:  The opportunity and logistics involved in collecting data on a global scale.
  • Gaining a Competitive Advantage in a Digital Age: Enabling powerful, streamlined collaboration across the world-wide value chain.
  • Customer Modeling and Behavioral Targeting: Data’s role in driving sales.
  • Multichannel Marketing: How the environment for successful marketing campaigns has fundamentally changed.

BIMS will also feature the following keynote speakers:

Arundel will discuss “How to Gain Competitive Advantage in the Digital Age” by identifying new ways to achieve competitive advantage in consumer and business markets as she evaluates the value of globalization and low-cost outsourced labor.

Leading the largest privately held business information services company in North America, Kieselstein has driven Penton’s rapid transformation by focusing on innovation and growth.

Reilly has made several strategic changes to transform Randall-Reilly into a top marketing services company which provides insights into specific market segments and then engages those audiences through targeted platforms.

BIMS combines three former conferences – the Specialized Information Publishers Association’s Marketing Conference, the American Business Media’s Executive Forum, and InfoCommerce Group’s DataContent Conference – into one comprehensive event that examines the trends of the changing B2B media industry.

WHO:           The Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA)
WHAT:         SIIA’s Business Information & Media Summit 2014 #BIMS14
WHEN:         November 10-12, 2014
WHERE:       The Fontainebleau, Miami, FL

For a complete schedule of events, visit: Updates in advance of the event are available using the conference’s Twitter hashtag: #BIMS14.

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7 Proven Sales and Lead Generation Ideas From Members

“We’ve gone from being a direct mail company to a sales organization and now have 50 people in sales,” said Dan Oswald, CEO of BLR, at the recent SIPA Conference. “Feeding that beast is a big job. [You don’t realize] how quickly you run through customers. We [constantly] need new names. Where I sit at the top, this is the next big thing.”

You can imagine why then it was decided that the next Publishers Roundtable would focus on Lead Generation. It will take place Tuesday, Sept. 23, here at SIIA offices in Washington, D.C. (A few spaces are still available.) Roundtables are focused, unhurried and participant-centric, and offer case studies and solutions. Among the speakers, Danielle Ballestra of will talk about how they used marketing automation to completely turn their lead gen program around.

Here are 7 ideas that I’m sure will be discussed:

1. Post a popular white paper. Access Intelligence’s eventmarketer features free white papers to download titled, “How to Leverage Instagram, Snapchat and Vine in Events” and “Think Sponsorships Are Just for Big Brands? Think Again.”

2. Don’t leave anyone out. ”…if you’re on Salesforce, there’s a little bar that asks, how long has it been since someone’s been contacted, and it’s either green, yellow or red,” said Phil Binkow, CEO of Financial Operations Networks. “Sales people always want more accounts…the way you get around that is if you can use Salesforce to create a report that shows the people on their list that they haven’t contacted. ‘Let’s look at these guys that you…haven’t had a discussion with. What do we have to do to get through those too?’”

3. Sponsor a video competition. “Show the love!! Win a $25 Target gift card just for sharing in a video how much you love Chesapeake Family Magazine,, the Top Events this Weekend Enewsletters, Summer Camp Fair event or anything else we do.” So let’s see, Chesapeake Family gets valuable names and free promotional videos. Not bad.

4. Use your contacts. “We have [our leading] sales reps who go after the C-level executive and others who go after the individual,” said Ryan Stillwell, chief operating officer, Vantage Production. “So the first thing when we look at that on a large scale is who knows someone at that company. Because I can have a bunch of sales reps but if I look at them and one says, ‘hey, I know Phil and he’s the marketing director over there,’ and it’s a good sales rep, it’s yours. In relationship-based selling you’re trying to establish that.”

5. Run contests. In the successful NJ Family Contest that Cindy Mironovich runs every year, readers nominate their favorite doctors, dentists, speech/language therapists, and many other professionals, “who work hard to keep kids healthy.” It’s good lead generation because readers have to provide their contact information in order to nominate.

6. Match reps with leads. Bobby Edgil, VP of sales at BLR (and a speaker at the upcoming BIMS Conference in Miami Beach, Nov. 10-12), said, “Our managers host a 30-day review at the end of every month…finding out where their business came from. One thing that came out last year was that out of 35 reps, certain reps worked certain lead sources better. Didn’t make sense to me, so we ran a 90-day pilot, and by taking certain people and putting them in certain buckets of leads, that revenue increased 13% in 90 days. You have to see what the story tells and build from there.”

7. Upset the dominos once in a while. Arno Langbehn, CEO of B. Behr’s Verlag GmbH & Co in Germany, told us about a sort-of lead gen promotion where a local pizza delivery company in Denver gave free pizzas to anyone bringing in (ripping out?) the actual phone book ad of their competitor, Dominos. Ahem.

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

Adwords Now Promotes Tele-Measurability

Google has just launched a new Adwords feature that offers lots of useful applications for online marketers. It’s so slick, I am a little surprised it hasn’t received more press. Read more here.

Tips on 4 Key Subjects to Be Covered at BIMS Conference

SIIA’s Business Information & Media Summit (BIMS) takes place Nov. 10-12 at the Fontainebleau in Miami Beach. It will feature 4 tracks—Data Content, Marketing (Tactics and Sales), Media Sales, and Strategy. If you have loved SIPA’s Marketing Conference, you will only have more to love here.

Here are tips on 4 key topics that will be covered:

1. “Recruit, select, train, manage, motivate.” Those are the 5 steps that Bobby Edgil, director of sales for BLR, goes through to add new sales reps. Which of the five is the toughest, he was asked. “Select is the hardest thing,” he said.

“I just want you to be the rep that I interviewed,” Edgil tells them. He doesn’t like candidates just out of college, preferring them 3-4 years out after they’ve “skinned their knees.” He loves school teachers as sales prospects—“they’re always bright, have worked their tails off for not a lot of money and are very process-oriented.” One of his best sales managers was an English educator for 22 years before taking the job.

Edgil spoke of the 3-foot rule for coming into contact with good possible candidates. Who are you coming into close contact with during the course of the day? Your minister, your hairdresser? He also strongly encouraged you to get the best people possible around you. He compared it to the role of a football coach where the best usually have the best assistants.

Edgil will lead the session Hiring the Best Sales People, 4:30 p.m., Monday, Nov. 10.

2. “You may be hindering your message by blasting it across a variety of mediums rather than using particular social media avenues.” That comes from Jason Brueckner’s post on the SiteLogic marketing blog. He wants you to ask 4 questions about your use of social media:

a. Am I looking at the big picture?
b. Am I considering what goal(s) I have? “Remember that social media is not the end in and of itself but is a means to accomplish your goal.”
c. Am I surveying the facts of my traffic?
d. Am I able to say no to social media platforms?

Matt Bailey, founder and president of SiteLogic and a favorite speaker in the past, will present both the Social Media Boot Camp, 10 a.m., Monday, Nov. 10, and a session on Online Testing, 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 11.

3. “One of the best rules of thumb for creating an effective landing page is keep it simple.” This comes from the excellent and active blog of Randall-Reilly, a publisher in the construction and trucking business. That recent post gave 3 Laws for Building Effective Landing Pages:

a. Get rid of the clutter. There is such a thing as information overload. The term refers to the difficulty people can have making decisions when there is too much information.
b. Create a clear call-to-action. You need them to take some kind of action (whether that be download, purchase, contact, etc.) and that means you need to tell them to take the action.

c. Think like the customer. People buy from other people; therefore, you should write like a human to humans.

Brent Reilly, president of Randall-Reilly, will present a keynote, Radically Transforming an Organization: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, 8:40 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 11. A session titled Design and Optimize Your Landing Pages will take place 10 a.m., Wednesday, Nov. 12.

4. “Information companies are extending more deeply into their customer bases, offering solutions rather than standalone products and services,” writes Denzil Rankine, executive chairman of AMR International. In a blog post, he offers 3 components for creating enterprise value:

a. Enterprise value continues to be driven by proprietary data, and embedding within customer workflow; businesses which support high value decision-making are well placed;
b. Information businesses that can provide solutions as opposed to simple products or services will also enhance value;
c. Management should carefully plan technology investments to differentiate their business and drive value.

Rankine will moderate the session, Valuations and Your Company, 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 11.

To subscribe to the SIPAlert Daily, go to the SIIA website.

Ronn LevineRonn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering diversity, Newspaper in Education, marketing and leadership before joining SIPA in 2009 , and then SIIA in 2013.

What It Takes To Be A CODiE Awards Judge

It’s that time of year again, the CODiE Awards. SIIA’s annual CODiE Awards recognizes excellence in the content, education and software industries. The CODiE Awards remain the only peer-recognized program in the content, education and software industries so each award serves as incredible market validation for a product’s innovation, vision and overall industry impact. This year marks a milestone for the CODiE Awards, celebrating 30 years.

We are officially accepting applications for CODiE Award judges. If you have ever wanted to be a part of the CODiE Awards, this is the year to do it! The CODiE Awards are judged in two phases: a first round review in which each product is assigned to judges for evaluation, and SIIA Member voting on the finalists selected in the first round.

The ranks of first round CODiE Awards judges include industry executives and analysts, representatives of media outlets, bloggers, investors, and, for the education categories, educators and administrators. All it takes is a background that reflects an understanding of the broader market for a specific product type and a willingness to see the latest and greatest the industry has to offer.

Take a look at FreePrint contributor, John DiGilio’s 2014 CODiE Award judging experience.

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