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This Week in IDEA | June 6, 2012

Our eNewsletter, This Week in IDEA, keeps you informed with the latest news and education about IDEA, our solutions and services, and our customers and partners. IDEA’s knowledgeable staff and other contributing writers share insights, resources and special offers to help you Unleash the power of e. Subscribe now to receive This Week in IDEA in your email inbox every other Thursday and add our RSS feed to your reader.


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Next Live Webinar: Next Generation Data Sync – The DMP

IDEA’s next live webinar is the “Next Generation Data Sync – The DMP” on Wednesday, June 20th. The webinar will explain how the Data Management Platform (DMP) can work for your business and provide an exclusive demo of the industry’s new data sync solution. Experts will be on hand to answer your questions.

Webinar: Next Generation Data Sync: The DMP
Date: June 20, 2012
Time: 2:00pm – 3:00pm ET
­Speakers: Melissa Longnecker, Program Manager, IDEA; Boris Ivanov, Partner, Digital Business Architects (DBA); Dawn Wright-Perry, Master Data Manager, Milbank Manufacturing; and Jason Archbold, Marketing Catalog Supervisor, Border States

Get an inside look into the industry’s new Data Management Platform (DMP). During this webinar, we’ll help you examine your current processes and challenges when syndicating data with your trading partners and provide an exclusive demo of the DMP, a solution that manufacturers and distributors are using to differentiate products and gain a competitive advantage. With the DMP, manufacturers can aggregate, syndicate and communicate product information with all their trading partners through one application and distributors can leverage the solution to send specific product data requests to their suppliers down to the item level as well as manage and validate the product data they receive from various sources. Find out more and register now!

Please comment on this post or (Don’t forget to ¬mention us @IDEAeSolutions and start using the #IDEAwebinars hashtag! ­

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5 SEO Tips from the IDEA Standards Meeting

­Search Engine Marketing (SEM) is a great way to increase the visibility of your business and bring in visitors who are interested in your site, with little start-up costs and relatively low maintenance costs. Janet Driscoll Miller, President and CEO, Search Mojo, a search engine marketing agency headquartered in Charlottesville, VA, shared her expertise with the members of the IDEA Industry Standards Committee (ISC) during their May meeting. Here are some take-aways from Miller’s presentation that can help you use SEM to boost your business.

Search Engine Marketing (SEM):

Search Engine Marketing (SEM) aims to increase the visibility and improve the position of your website on search engine results pages (SERPs) so that your website appears as one of the top options when a buyer is actively seeking your products and their interest is piqued. The following two tactics fall under the umbrella of SEM:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO): You change, or optimize, the content found on your web pages and utilize inbound links to increase your pages’ rankings in the search results produced by search engine algorithms. SEO generates the “organic results” that appear in the center of the search results page (see example below in blue).
  • Pay-Per-Click (PPC): You purchase keywords and create ads through search engines, such as Google, and are ranked based on bidding price and on the relevancy of those keywords to a search term. You will pay a fee each time a browser clicks on your ad. PPC ads are known as “sponsored results” and will appear at the top and/or side of the search results page, around the organic results (see example below in yellow). ­

SEM involves marketing and technical knowledge, so it is important to have the support of both your Marketing and IT teams in the creation and maintenance of SEM. Here are some tips to help you get started.

1. Build a comprehensive keyword list, then test and adjust your keywords and ads.

You must build a comprehensive list of relevant keywords and/or phrases prior to beginning any successful SEM campaign. Keywords help drive traffic to your site by improving your search rankings and ad placement. When creating your list, think about the types of terms your target audience might search for --modifiers can also be used to help make those search terms more or less specific to help boost your rankings. Very broad keywords (e.g. “shoes”) or very specific phrases (e.g. “Asics Gel 2010 running shoes”) should be avoided. You can also get keyword ideas by doing your own search to find related words your competition is using or you can use Google AdWords’ for more ideas.

You may also want to test various keywords or ads against one another to see what is most effective over a span of time. This can be done manually, or you can utilize various web tools to help with the process. For instance, AdWords has a tool called , which allows you to conduct tests on portions of your campaign to help improve the quality of your ad text or increase the clicks your ads and keywords may receive, without having to change your entire campaign. You can also do some market research on competitors’ ads, to see what has received responses from browsers.

2. Make sure that your site and ads say what you want them to say.

After you have developed your keywords, be sure they can be found within your site’s content. Keyword density is the percentage of copy on your web page that contains your keywords, and a high density acts as an indicator to search engines that your site is a relevant search result. If your keyword density is low, and your web page and keywords are not in sync, search engines have no way of recognizing your site.

When creating a PPC ad campaign, build ads that also contain your keywords within their text. If someone’s search contains your keywords, those terms will be bolded within the body of your ads, as well as within the title tags and descriptions found in the organic search results, making you stand out as more relevant to their search.

3. Ask your suppliers/customers to link back to your website from their site, creating inbound links.

Inbound links are links from other sites that point back to your site. They can link to any of your web content, such as press releases, articles, videos, etc. In the eyes of a search engine, the more quality links pointing to your site, the more popular your site is, and the higher it will appear within search rankings. Also, if a browser finds a large number of sites linking back to your site, your site will be perceived as more credible.

4. Secure your company’s identity on social media sites and integrate them with your main website.

Always link back to your site from all of the social media profiles you maintain. Doing so will help to increase your site visibility and will enable you to better monitor any changes that should be made to your campaign, ads and keywords. Integration with social media can also lead to higher search rankings for your site. For example, Google considers it an inbound link when people mention your company or link to a page on your site via Twitter or Facebook, and YouTube is currently the second largest search engine (behind Google), expanding your reach even further.

Janet suggested that you create a Google+ profile for your company and add all of your social media profiles to Google+. Claiming your company’s brand in this way allows Google to recognize that each of those social media profiles are related.

5. Monitor your rankings and stayed informed about updates.

Routinely monitor the rankings and average page positions of those keywords you have identified as most important to your business and SEM efforts. If your rankings start to slip, you may need to edit your keywords or bidding prices to bring them back up. Search engine updates may also negatively impact your page rank. For example, Google recently implemented two new algorithms, Panda and Penguin, which penalize sites for content duplication. To stay informed of any such updates, you can monitor your rankings internally or hire an SEM firm such as Search Mojo to do it for you.

These are just a few basic tips to help get you started with SEM. Want to learn more? View the entire presentation Janet gave to the ISC on page. You can also take a look at some of the valuable SEM resources her company Search Mojo has to offer, including training videos, white papers and blogs.

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Registration Opens for the 14th Annual E-Biz Forum

Forum attendees at the 2011 Welcoming Reception

Registration is open for the 14th annual IDEA E-Biz Forum -- the only eBusiness event dedicated to B2B leaders in the electrical supply chain.

The agenda, including general and breakout sessions, and online registration is available on the Forum website ( The 2012 Forum is themed “Reunite. Rethink. Recharge.” and runs September 25 – 27, in Dallas, Texas at the Omni Mandalay Hotel at Las Colinas. Unilog Content Solutions is the Executive Partner sponsor of the 2012 event.

"The networking opportunities at the Forum are second to none. It’s the only event where you can get a clear vision of where the industry is heading on multiple fronts, not just solely from a technological perspective," said Kyle Johnson, Marketing Manager, Viking Electric Supply.

Erik Wahl, an internationally recognized “graffiti artist”, author and entrepreneur, will open the Forum and present his dynamic message on profitability through innovation by utilizing on-stage painting as a visual metaphor. Wahl’s paintings auction from $7,000 – $27,000 and Forum attendees will help decide which charitable cause will receive the proceeds.

Additional Educational Highlights:

  • “Drawing a Line of Sight from E-Biz to the Corner Office” Executive Panel: Senior executives in the electrical supply chain will share how eBusiness initiatives impact bottom line results they see at the top
  • Best practices and lessons learned from IDEA users including: Border States Electric, Cooper Industries, Mayer Electric Supply and McNaughton- McKay 
  • Sessions on IDEA’s industry solutions: web storefront software (iCIMM2), text-to-EDI conversion service (iConex), the Data Management Platform (DMP), the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) 3.0, and the Electrical Attribute Schema 3.0 including its alignment with Europe’s product classification model
  • Annual Tech Center: A trade show for attendees to receive personal consultations and demos from technology companies 

2012 sponsors: Unilog Content Solutions, Epicor, Thomas & Betts, Eaton, Border States, Digital Business Architects (DBA), ILSCO, General Electric, Kirby Risk Electrical Supply, and Leviton. ­

Early-bird discounts end on July 13th. Please visit for more event information and to register online. Media representatives receive complimentary registration.

For information about participating as a sponsor and or exhibitor, please contact Kari Thomas at or .

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Mobile Madness in the Electrical Industry

You can’t turn the page in a trade magazine without seeing something about the impact of mobile to our industry – from tablets to smart phones and everything in between. Here are some of the latest articles we recommend reading:

Mobile and more

This Industrial Supply article features an interview with Court Carruthers, president of Grainger U.S., a company that is leading the mobile revolution. Grainger’s success in developing a state-of-the-art website, mobile site, and other electronic ordering capabilities demonstrates how quickly it has adopted new technology. Find out more about the keys to Grainger’s success>

Coming Soon to a Business Like Yours – Tablets

With testimonials from Sam DeNoia, owner of Smart IT Solutions, and John Hoelz, president of J.F. Nolan and creator of RepFiles, the argument for incorporating tablets into your business model has some strong proponents in the electrical industry. This IMARK Now article outlines some of the particular benefits a field sales team can leverage with tablets, top mobile applications, useful applications specific to the electrical/construction industry, tablet buying tips, and a comparison of tablets vs. laptops. Read the IMARK Now article online>

Mobile Security

While tech-giddy employees are prone to fawn over every new iThing smuggled into the workplace — devices often used in violation of company policy — IT security pros see something very different: A security breach waiting to happen. This article in Electrical Wholesaling gives you some tips on ways to ensure that doesn’t happen at your company>

Here Come Tablets. Here Come Problems.

Finally, The Wall Street Journal recently published a list of the top mistakes companies make when in regards to mobile technology that we think you’ll want to check out -- No. 1: Failing to have a plan before rolling out the devices. Read the article>

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IDW Hot Fact: Partial Update feature improves functionality of B3 and B7 views

IDEA recently introduced a new partial update feature to the B3 and B7 views of the Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) which enables manufacturers to decide the best way for their system to send updates to the IDW. They now have the choice for blank fields to override the current content in the IDW or have blank fields left as is with no further action required. With the new functionality, manufacturers can avoid reentering or inadvertently deleting fields when sending product updates for products with existing populated fields in the IDW. The enhancement enables manufacturers to conduct specific updates to one attribute, such as an image URL, without having to repopulate the other fields.

The B3 view is used to populate text fields such as the Long Catalog Description, the Label Description and other descriptive comments. The B7 view is used to populate all the names and URLs of marketing documents, including image URLs, spec sheet URLs and other important catalog product information.

If you would like to learn more about the new partial update feature in the IDW, please contact your assigned Data Quality Analyst directly or call Tom Guzik, Director of Products and Services, at .

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New B2B eCommerce and Synchronization Customers

New iCIMM2 Customer

Werner Electric Supply, an electrical products and services distributor, became an iCIMM2 customer on May 23, 2012. Founded in 1948, Werner Electric Supply operates 11 locations across Wisconsin and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and also offers technical support, training, energy audits, inventory management, lighting design and more to ensure the products they sell are a complete solution to a customer’s needs. They will leverage the IDW integration to build the content for their web storefront, publish multiple versions of the content to various media, and provide robust search engine capabilities to their customers. Find out more at

New IDW Customer

Leslie Electric Company, a full-line electrical wholesale distributor, became an Industry Data Warehouse (IDW) customer on May 23, 2012. Founded in 1929 in Pontiac, MI, Leslie Electric Company is independently-owned and a value-added distribution service company that supplies the electrical construction, commercial, industrial and government markets. They will utilize the IDW to obtain product and pricing information from their suppliers. Find out more at

New IDX Customer

Yale Electric Supply Co., an electrical and lighting distributor, became an Industry Data Exchange (IDX) customer on May 23, 2012. Founded in 1940 in Lebanon, PA, Yale Electric Supply most recently decided to join a larger privately-owned family business, Consolidated Electric Distributors, and operates ten locations servicing Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey. They will take advantage of the cost savings and reliability of IDX to exchange B2B documents electronically. Find out more at

New IRD CERICOMX® Customers

As a 1SYNC Data Pool On-Board Solution (OBS) partner, IDEA implements suppliers that subscribe to the 1SYNC data pool using the IRD CERICOMX® Data Synchronization Platform. IDEA was recently assigned 17 suppliers:

These companies will be trained to use IRD CERICOMX®, an online catalog that suppliers use to register product data with the GS1 Registry® and GDSN via the 1SYNC Data Pool. Suppliers also use this solution to publish product data to demand partners including retailers such as Lowe’s and Walmart.

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