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Marketing morsels from: Dennis Yu

Published: May 31, 2013

Author: Molly Shotwell

Our interview series with the titans of digital marketing continues with Dennis Yufounder of BlitzMetrics and one of the industry’s most passionate, innovative Facebook practitioners. You can catch Dennis, going 90mph as usual, in a free Next-Gen Facebook Advertising webinar recorded last week.
dennis yu interviewName: Dennis Yu
Title: Founder and CEO
Company: BlitzMetrics

What’s one metric you rarely bother to check when you wake up in the morning?
Viral impressions– they are so low for all but “passion pages,” that they round to zero.
Closely behind this is application views– how many people view tabs on your page. Also zero, unless you run ads.
And while we’re at it, I don’t look at CPMs, since the price is the same for any particular broad demo target — it’s CPC that matters.
If you had 10 million dollars to invest and you could invest in Google or Facebook stock, which would you pick, and why?
Google has a price/earnings of 26 on a $292 billion market cap, while Facebook is at a P/E of 523 on a $58 billion market cap.  So for the finance people out there (I do have an undergrad degree in Finance), the market is saying that Facebook is worth a fifth of what Google is worth, even counting a dollar of earning from Facebook to be worth TWENTY TIMES as much as a dollar of earnings from Google.
What that means is that Facebook is a long-term lottery ticket, if you want to gamble. They’re going to have to do a LOT to justify the growth curve already built into the fact that people are willing to pay $523 for a single dollar of current earnings.
I don’t think the market has fully appreciated Google’s strategy with Glass and G+. In fact, I think most pundits are not thinking as strategically as Google, as they talk about likes/comments instead of check-ins and data collection. So I’d put my money on Google. But of course, we’re bullish on both companies.
And I don’t have $10MM to invest.  If I did, I’d put it into BlitzMetrics. Any angels out there? Just kidding, but not really.
What do you think will be the most important marketing platform in 10 years?
It’s whoever controls your primary device. Most phones are so “smart”, that they’re really computers and just awful as phones. If Glass takes off (and the rest of us are assimilated), then consider the marketing opportunities. I believe we’ll all have one always-connected, wearable device soon. And it’s hard to say whether Apple, Google, Amazon, or Facebook will be the winner in corralling user data.
As a marketer, I’m looking at which platform has the most data and is also willing to share it with us.  Certainly Google wins in the first category, but Facebook wins in the second.
I’m surprised that Visa and Mastercard haven’t really entered the game. Wouldn’t that be a bonanza for direct marketers to target based on purchase data?  I suppose DataLogix with their Facebook partnership brings us close today (as well as Acxiom and Epsilon).
Data is the new oil, they say.
What’s your favorite advertising campaign (e.g. Betty White Super Bowl ad, Got Milk billboard, etc.)?
I’m a big fan of memorable creatives that have huge pass-along value. I don’t think anything in the last 20 years has ever come close to Wendy’s “Where’s the Beef” or Bill Cosby’s Jello pudding pops. In fact, I’d take any of the old-time TV jingles over modern day ads. Sure, Old Spice was cool for a moment, but see how quickly it fizzled out.
An ad is only as good as the word of mouth that it generates, which usually translates into brand power and sustained sales impact. Call me old-fashioned, but the Super Bowl ads of 10 years ago actually did have this power. People talked about it.
Now what we hear people talking about, especially as an industry pundit, is digital ads gone horribly wrong — Ford’s hookers in the trunk, NRA’s “good morning, shooters”, companies shamelessly promoting during the Boston bombing, you name it.
What are the three most important qualities of a great Facebook ads practitioner?
1) The ability to tie to the core of the brand’s message. Deep meaning fuels emotional attachment. Cats may generate a high CTR, but they don’t tie to a core brand value proposition.
2) Experience as a direct marketer. Do they understand RFM scoring? How about measuring lift on a binomial regression when you decide how deep to mail in your list?  To not think from an ROI standpoint is to be purely a noisemaker. Cats, again.
3) Cross-channel experience. Guess what? If you suck at traditional PPC, web design, offline marketing, or print, you’re going to suck at Facebook ads.  This may anger some folks who have jumped on the Facebook ads bandwagon, but it you don’t have the fundamentals of marketing, no amount of technical tricks will save you.
Why? Because if you can’t deliver the message, it doesn’t matter if the channel is direct mail, email, a newsfeed placement, or those irritating things on your windshield wiper when you get back to the parking lot.
What’s the one marketing lesson you wish you had learned earlier?
The most important thing in sales and marketing is the follow-up. The second most important thing is the follow-up. You can guess the third most important thing. If you do B2B, it takes many touches across many people to win a client.
If you could invest in one marketing technology company, which would it be and why?
My passion is to take what we’ve learned at the enterprise level and make it available to small businesses. The company that is doing this best, in my opinion, is Infusionsoft. Typically, small business has been an underserved market because these guys have no money, high expectations, and are utterly unsophisticated. They’re not dumb — they bake a good cake, fix your car well, and drill your teeth. But they’re awful marketers.
You should check out what Infusionsoft is doing here with an end-to-end marketing platform to automate marketing. No, I don’t own stock in this company, but I’d put it here before Facebook or Google!
In three words or fewer: the future of social media marketing is…?

Word of Mouth revealed — visible influence.
Social Media as a term will go away. It’s so polluted, and people are selling a lot of hype.

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