Vertical Measures Hosting All-Day Search Marketing Workshop

Arizona based Vertical Measures is hosting an all-day search marketing workshop, The Convergence of Search, Social & Content Marketing, on April 7, 2011, in Tempe, AZ.  Arnie Kuenn, founder and president of Vertical Measures will be speaking on topics such as content marketing, keyword research, link building and measurement.  The all-day Vertical Measures workshop is designed to be hands on by students and Kuenn together.

Students of the workshop will not only leave with ideas and feedback from Kuenn regarding their specific business or industry, but will also take home a handful of free, helpful resources for implementing and maintaining a successful content marketing strategy.

Not convinced yet?

Here are the Top 5 reasons to attend the workshop.

5.  Kuenn has more than 20 years of digital marketing experience.  He has started various companies that have serviced many big name clients.  He is a regular speaker at internet marketing conferences throughout the year and is the president of AZ Interactive Marketing Association (AZIMA), which holds monthly dinners with renowned speakers from across the country.

4.  Who wouldn’t mind being in Arizona at the beginning of April? The weather is going to be stellar!

3.  A FREE copy of Kuenn’s new book: Accelerate!: Content Development and Marketing to Grow Your Business Online.

2.  Kuenn + You + workshop schedule = better business = more revenue.

1.  Giving you absolutely no more excuses, we’re providing you with an exclusive promo code (vm4friends) worth 40% off the price of registration.  Boom!

Now, no more excuses.  Register.  We’ll see you there!


Dynamic Worldwide – 4500 N. Lakeshore Dr. #695, Tempe, AZ 85282

Nearby Hotels

Embassy Suites Phoenix-Tempe – 4400 South Rural Road, Tempe, Arizona 85282

Which Pest Do You Love the Most?

Copyright © 2011 Steve_Bitter. Visit the original article at

For it being a Monday, there’s a lot of love in the air. Valentine’s Day is the day that divides friends and family in all different directions.  Everything about today hinges on one’s relationship status.  Elderly couples have paid their dues.  They’ll just hit Applebee’s a little early this week with their sweethearts.  Middle agers will just hire their own kids so they can hit dinner and movie.  Newlyweds will spend half the month’s paycheck on the occasion.  College kids will miss class today and spend enormous amounts of money on a girlfriend or boyfriend.  High schoolers don’t have enough money to do anything, and they don’t even know what love is.  It’s all about infatuation at that age.  And elementary school kids are excited to pass out Justin Bieber valentines with candy hearts to all their secret crushes.

And that’s just assuming all those people even have a valentine for the day.  If today’s not Valentine’s Day for one, then it’s “Singles Unite” Day for another.  If singles haven’t called in sick today to work, or just all together ditched classes, for sure they are masterminding a large singles event later tonight.  No married people allowed!  What better way to “celebrate” your single…ness than to throw a party with other singles and watch a movie that has nothing to do with romance.  Like…Live Free or Die Hard.  That’s a perfect movie.  The antagonist even looses his girlfriend to a Ford Explorer falling down an elevator shaft.

I’m not here to delve too much into the who’s and how’s of our relationships.  But I am here to ask why.  Why can’t pests get love to?  Not that we need to save them all or anything.  We are still in the exterminating business.  Rather, our love for our local pests can come in the form of a basic understanding of who these little critters are, and what type of role they play.  Some aspects of our little friends can even be quite admirable.  We’ll just stick to the common pests for right now.

First, the ant.  Ants are known the be the janitors of the world.  They can feast on almost anything – dead animals, other dead insects and dead leaves.  One dead insect is another ant’s fortune.  In the work place, the work and dedication of one ant colony is enough to make even the best CEO marvel.  Each ant knows its role.  Each ant has a purpose.  From sun up to sundown, the ant’s life is work, work, work.  No holidays.  No sick days.

Next, the spider.  Believe it or not, spiders are somewhat family oriented.  They care for their young.  As icky as the webs may be, they serve as both a home and a trap for food.  In the grand scheme of things, they are a major player in keeping the ecosystems in check.   They help maintain the food cycle by controlling the general populations of their prey.  They are the “For Us, By Us” pest controllers.

Crickets.  For every predator there is prey.  Crickets, in a sense, take one for the team.  They serve as a valuable food source to many other insects and rodents.  As today is Valentine’s Day, we will highlight a common mating practice.  You know that chirping sound?  Sounds great when you’re camping, but not so much when it’s in your wall?  Well, it’s actually the male’s mating call.  In fact, the exact chirping sound differs from species to species, allowing the females to determine who specifically is on the market.  How romantic!

Cockroaches.  Moving away from the ecological value of these critters, cockroaches have recently become the center of study in the advancement of robotic limbs.  Scientists are mimicking the body mechanics of cockroaches to improve the speed and effectiveness  that robotic hands are able to grasp and react to the surrounding environment.  While cockroaches have their place in the food chain, they are now being observed for the cause of science.

Make no mistake about it.  There are no good reasons you should have to battle pests in the comfort of your own home.  But just for today, take time to learn something about our little visitors.  Most of them are just trying to make their way in the world, just like the rest of us.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all the married folks, single people and insects around the world.

12 Days of Christmas You DON’T Want To See Under Your Tree

Copyright © 2011 Steve_Bitter. Visit the original article at

Christmas is in 8 days.  All of the “12 Days of Christmas” lists started 4 days ago.  We’ve purposely waited a few days to give you the “12 Days of Christmas You DON’T Want To See Under Your Tree”.

#12 The worst ugly Christmas sweater from eBay you can possibly imagine.

Especially if it came with a Jack Black impersonator.

sweater 12 Days of Christmas You DON'T Want To See Under Your Tree

Ugly Christmas Sweater

#11 Gym membership from husband.

gym 300x225 12 Days of Christmas You DON'T Want To See Under Your Tree

Gym Membership Gift Certificate

#10 Justin Bieber mechandise.

Unless your name happens to be Annie Cushing.

justin 300x300 12 Days of Christmas You DON'T Want To See Under Your Tree

Justin Bieber Doll Set

#9 Sex For Dummies book from wife.

New and updated 3rd Edition, because getting the first 2 wasn’t enough in previous years.

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Sex For Dummies, 3rd Edition

#8 Gift card to AA from Santa with a 6-pack of non-alcoholic beer.

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Non-Alcholic Beer and AA Membership

#7 Court ordered Subpoena with 5 days to reply.

Especially if your lawyer is in the Bahamas until after New Years.
court 300x164 12 Days of Christmas You DON'T Want To See Under Your Tree

#6 Fruitcake

fruitcake 12 Days of Christmas You DON'T Want To See Under Your Tree

Enough Said

#5 A recluse spider in your stocking.

Very common in areas around Tulsa, OK.  Maybe coal isn’t such a bad option!

Brown Recluse 4 300x200 12 Days of Christmas You DON'T Want To See Under Your Tree

Brown Recluse Spider (Courtesy:

#4 Unused tickets to the Neverland Ranch.

Includes shiny right-handed glove and “live” meet and greet with its original owner.

neverland 071113 ms 300x225 12 Days of Christmas You DON'T Want To See Under Your Tree

Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch (Courtesy: the PASSION blog)

#3 An all expense paid tour of one of BP’s oil rigs.

They’ll even let you play with the fire hose.

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BP Oil Rig

#2 An imitation iPad that runs Windows 7.

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Fake iPad with Windows OS (Courtesy:

#1 An ant farm.

I mean, come on!  How enraged would you be if you actually got an ant farm!?  Unless your name is Thomas Ballantyne, then it might look good next to your scorpion aquarium.

antfarm 300x225 12 Days of Christmas You DON'T Want To See Under Your Tree

Ant Farm

Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from Bulwark Exterminating.  Your Loco Pest Control – Tulsa, OK.

Our Night With The Phoenix Suns @ #SunsTweetup

Bulwark’s marketing department spent last Friday night with the Phoenix Suns for their third annual #SunsTweetup event.  Early access to pre-game shootaround.  Club seating.  Tour of TV productions trucks parked right next to all the players’ vehicles.  Tweetup t-shirt.  And post-game chat session with the Suns’ Jared Dudley.  Here’s all the evidence.

We arrived 2 hours before tip-off to get an up-close look at both teams warming up.

After the team’s introduction we were ready for some basketball, in club seating no less!

During halftime we were treated to a little VIP access on the production side of things. Suns’ staff member, @SunsDigitalDiva took us down for a tour of the TV broadcast trucks. Audio, video, lighting, camera direction, statistics – it all happens here.

And of course we couldn’t pass on getting a few up-close shots of the player cars in the parking lot. Is that the coach’s car by its lonesome?!?

The Portland Trailblazers ended up winning that game. Oh well! After the game our Tweetup group got on a 1-on-1 session with Suns Forward Jared Dudley. Dudley is a consistent tweeter either talking about life in the NBA or where the best eateries are around town.

And thanks to our friend @SunsWebmaster, we were able to get our customized @JaredDudley619 t-shirt in his hands right before our very eyes. The tweet we put on his shirt reads: “I was having a good day but after I heard @jrich23 Spartans lost to Iowa my day got a whole lot better. Maybe next year.” (@Jrich23 is Dudley’s Suns teammate Jason Richardson, who played college ball for the Michigan State Spartans)

Phoenix Suns Forward Jared Dudley

All in all, it was a great night with great people.  Thanks to the Suns crew and Jared Dudley for all their hard work and effort.  Here’s one last picture from the Suns’ official Planet Orange page.  View the rest of the gallery as well.

Jared Dudley Holds Up His Custom T-Shirt SEO shirt

El Tour de Tucson: 109 Miles to Freedom

The longest I had ever ridden my bike was 85 miles, and that was only 2 weeks ago.  Everyone that I knew riding in this year’s El Tour de Tucson was riding the 109 distance.  I was thinking I might only do the 80-mile race, but when a couple of older riding buddies (44-year-old female and 58-year-old male) kept egging me on to go the distance, there was absolutely no way I could back down from that.

I buckled down about 3 months ago.  I went from riding once or twice a week to three or four times a week.  I haven’t had a normal Saturday morning in that long.  I would actually get up earlier on Saturdays than any other work day.  Up at 4:15ish, meet my riding buddies around 5:00, back at home by 9 or 10.  Home around 1:00 more recently.

I ran cross country and track in high school, and continued to run recreationally in college.  I even entered a couple home-town races just to make my running worth it and feel the edge of competition again.  But this was different.  The physical demands were different.  The training and inherent tactics were different.  The nutrition was only similar.  I never ever drank anything in the middle of a run under 8 miles.  I was having to learn to not only drink during a ride, but also eat once and sometimes twice.  I was having to learn how to properly eat for the rest of the day after a long ride.  And post-ride naps were out of the question per my wife and mother of our two small children.  If daddy was going to be gone on Saturday morning, then there was no napping or other me-time for the rest of the day.  Or weekend, for that matter.

El tour started at 7:00 am, but with nearly 9,000 riders, we’re wanted to get in the start line around 5:45.  We were up at 5, trying to down bagels and peanut butter at 5:15, checking tire pressure at 5:30 and out the door at 5:35.  Arrived to our place in line around 5:45 and had the next hour and 15 minutes to chat and stay warm.

Seven ‘o clock came rather quick and before we knew it we were off.  It felt like it took me a good 15 or 20 miles to decipher how cold I was vs. how much adrenaline I was pumping vs. how hard I was really working before I settled into a manageable pace that would work for the next 90 miles.    Just when my saddle started to feel somewhat comfortable around 8 miles in, we came across a dried river crossing.  One or two riders tried to brave the dirt pathway, while the remaining 8,990 of us didn’t hesitate to get off the bike and safely walk across the ravine.  The culture of Tucson awaited us on the other side, and I was in a much better mood now than I was going to be much later in the race, so I had to document this…

Other than the dried river and another wooded hiking trail that would come a little while later, I didn’t take my first real pit stop until 45 miles in.  Refill one of my bottles, grab some orange slices, stretch a little bit and apply some Bengay on my left knee, and off we go.  I was a little disoriented as to where we were in relation to downtown where we started, but the next several miles were through the suburbs of Tucson…I think.  I’m not gonna lie, it was fun to blow right through red lights as police had traffic stopped in all directions.  A lot of the locals even took time to camp out on the sidewalks with their cowbells and signs of encouragement.  I figure that’s about as close as I’ll ever get to climbing the Alps in the Tour de France with thousands of rabid fans running along side my bike waving United States and California flags in my face.

At this point there’s still 50+ miles to go, so one, especially a newcomer like myself, has to be smart about how you ride.  As a first timer, I didn’t have any shame or guilt about drafting behind other riders the entire race.  Drafting can save up to 40% of your energy, and with winds coming out of the south at 20 mph, I made sure to never lead any packs.  I’ll admit it, I even drafted behind a couple of girls.  Another factor I couldn’t overlook was fatigue.  That sounds simple enough, but I was about to surpass my longest ride by 25 miles.  I was feeling my way through the race as far as food and drinks were concerned.  How much to eat, how much to drink, a Clif Bar with higher density vs. an energy gel with no density and maybe half the calories.  When the body is tired, then the mind soon becomes tired.  When the mind is tired you forget things.  Simple things.  I needed to consciously remember to eat and drink and map out the remaining miles ahead in my mind to do so on a course I had never ridden.  My friends that have raced Tucson before cramped up around mile 85 or 90, so I needed to stay well hydrated to avoid that.

Things were going about as well as I could have expected until I hit the frontage road of the I-10 going south back to downtown Tucson.  The winds were still blowing as hard as they were earlier, but now I was getting a face full of headwind.  I knew I had the energy to finish, but I didn’t have any explosion left in my legs, so I was consigned to finish the last 12 miles at whatever pace I could go.  Riders would creep up on me and pass right by.  A couple times I tried to go with them, thinking that if I could get enough momentum to stick behind them, I could use their draft.  But every time I tried to fall in line, they just kept passing me.  Five feet head.  Ten feet ahead.  Now twenty.  Oh well.  I’ll try it again with this next group.  Nope.  That didn’t work either.  Oh well.

Aside from it being the last 10 miles of the race, there were 2 things that made it exponentially more difficult than I expected.  First, the wind.  Physically speaking, if there is no wind whatsoever, and you’re riding 20 mpg down the road, you actually have 20 mph of wind pushing back against you.  We call it “drag”.  But now there is actually 20 mph of wind pushing back against me, plus my drag at about 12 or 13 mph.  The second characteristic of this final stretch was loneliness.  It’s a frontage road, so there’s not a lot of businesses, or parking lots, or neighborhoods along side.  Which means there were no spectators yelling and clapping.  It all of a sudden got real quiet.  Just the sound of my wheels spinning and my legs hurting.

Eventually the police escort standing in the middle of the intersection directed me to turn left.  All of a sudden, people.  And they were clapping.  For me?  I think so!  And more people.  Still clapping. I turned one last corner and the finish line is about 100 yards away.  And then, out of the hum of hundreds of people cheering I hear “STEVE-O!!!”  Me: “Hey, that sounded a lot like my wife!”  In fact, it was my wife.  After I crossed the finish line and got off the bike I was staggering back towards the crowd  and I see my wife emerge from a sea of people.  After 7.5 hours of riding with complete strangers it was nice to see a rather familiar face.  There was absolute, positively no way I would be riding and racing as much as I have without the love and support of my wife.  She’s been the #1 reason I’ve been able to get on the bike and push myself like the good ‘ol days.  And then I saw 2 more faces.  My 5-month-old, Leia, and my 2-year-old, Max.  I picked Max up and to no surprise all he wanted to do with play with my glasses and helmet.

I was done.  I did it.  This was something no one could ever take away from me.  This race was apart of me.  I didn’t really beat anybody on the course but myself.  I pushed my body further than it had ever gone before, for longer than it had ever gone before.  I was an El Tour de Tucson finisher.

I have to admit it was a bit emotional for me to finally be done.  Months of training. Rides at 5:00 am.  No Saturday mornings.  Gatorade economy cases at Costco.  Clif Bars.   Smoothie Powerbars.  Two or three tube changes a month.  A new bike.  A different pair of shoes.  Stiff legs.  Pulled muscles.  Rides in the rain.  Rides in the wind.  Fifty five degrees outside.  A hundred degrees outside.

Three days later I’m still a bit stiff.  I’ll get back on the bike sometime this week and warm my body back up and let my muscles stretch back out.  And then…I’m not touching my bike at least until after New Years.  But I already can’t stay away.  I’m already thinking about how I want to train differently next year and areas I want to work on.  Maybe I can make it out to CA for either the AMGEN Tour de California or Levi’s GranFondo.  Tour de Phoenix will be a must.  And it’ll all end this time next year at El Tour de Tucson.

Going Viral: A Slow Defeat, Not a Quick Victory

Viral Marketing Dicussion at BlueGlassFL 2010

I arrived back in Arizona on Thursday after having spent the previous few days in Florida, attending BlueGlass FL 2010.  I got a number of good takeaways from the sessions that I was anticipating, but the session that really shook the boat was Viral Marketing.  All the speakers blew us away with simple, but priceless bits of information.

Starting the hour was Brian Chappell, Sr. Social Search Strategist at Ignite Social Media.  Brian made no bones about his philosophy of taking something viral.  While most emphasize the quality of content as the “king” of viral, he argues that the mechanisms and seeding techniques of that content are atop the royal hierarchy.  While the content must be top notch, the mechanisms and techniques that get it moving must be the appropriate driving force behind a good viral piece.  What’s a Ferrari without gas to make it go, or streets on which to drive? Exactly!

Mechanisms are the literal actions you are requiring of your public.  It can be forwarding an email, clicking a link, a facebook like, a retweet, a public leaderboard of participants, or use of an affiliate program.  These are the actions that spread the word.  Seeding techniques happen on two levels.  Initial seeding begins with the marketer, and includes tools such as a press release, a pay-per-click ad, a media buy, facebook and twitter updates on the company profiles, community and blogger outreach, or simply word of mouth.  Second level seeding is done by the audience.  This is achieved via their facebook and twitter updates, social shares on those platforms, their retweet, their blog posts, etc.  It’s these seeding techniques that make the content shine.

Next up was Chris Bennett from 97th Floor.  The heart of his presentation seemed to be the simplicity of viral content.  Even the most complex ideas and concepts can be portrayed in pictures and graphics in a simple, easy-to-understand fashion.  Politics, social debate and the stimulus package all have its place in viral America if it can be displayed in a fun, simple and even humorous manner.

Obama Stimulus Infographic by 97th Floor

Chris advised to stay away from your typical “Top 10” list (which is the reason why this piece isn’t entitled “5 Things I learned at BlueGlassFL”).  Make sure your pieces are visually pleasing.  If your piece flops, keep trying.  It will eventually spread.  Don’t sell out your brand.  Also, remember that the best pieces are always informative.

Amy Vernon, Director of Viral Marketing Strategies from the host agency, BlueGlass, rounded out the panel of speakers.  Her main theme centered on the community aspect.  No matter the social channel, you will inevitably be a member of some sort of community.  Amy reminded us to figure out what communities and circles would be the best fit for our brand.  Once you’ve narrowed that down, study that community, know your place within it, and be a good member.

Switching gears just a bit, Amy gave us a great example of transparent and effective tweeting.  @DKNY came heavily endorsed as a perfect mix of personal narrative, active engagement and minimal brand mention.  Naturally, all good characteristics of a good community member.  Remember that @DKNY is not a channel of corporate info or industry tidbits, but it is managed by DKNY’s PR girl, and listed on the front page of  There’s no holding back with her.  From earlier this morning: “The good thing about today is……wait thinking….thinking…..let me get back to you.”  A case of the Mondays perhaps?

These speakers really opened up my understanding of viral marketing.  When I thought of viral, I would think of Rainbow dude screaming in the middle of the wilderness, or the ad that’s going to get your 50,000 facebook likes in a couple days.  I thought of it as the quick strike that delivered the decisive blow.  The KO in Round 1.  Viral is so much more than that.  Maybe it’s the piece that leads to 25,000 facebook likes over 9 months, or the YouTube video that gets viewed 100,000 times in a year.  It also doesn’t need to infest every inbox in the country or be seen by every single stay-at-home mommy when it’s featured on the Ellen DeGeneres Show’s “Videos from the Web” segment.  If it can easily be understood, shared and appreciated, then it already has a head start.  It’s mostly likely the TKO in Round 9.  Or, as Brian reminded us: “Viruses only spread when they are easy to transmit.”  I guess it doesn’t take a doctor to understand that.