Mauro Lupi is the president and CEO of Ad Maiora, an Italian Internet marketing agency. His blog is one of the top 20 Italian blogs. Mauro doesn't need any additional introduction to BAIA members; he was a panelist for a BAIA event held here in San Francisco last February about Blogs and Marketing (check the videos). In my daily excursions to Mauro's blog I always find it to be a place where people can exchange opinions in a respectful yet profound way. I asked Mauro for this interview with the hidden agenda of capturing his secret for a successful blog. Read the interview to find out what I was able to discover.
Mauro, can you tell us a bit about yourself and your company?
My last 12 years are devoted to internet business, mostly of them through Ad Maiora, an agency based in Rome with offices on Milan and San Francisco, that I founded in 1997. My past experiences was in marketing and advertising in financial sector, then computer and telco industries. Ad Maiora is specialized in online marketing services, search marketing and business blogging services and consulting.
You are one of the most popular bloggers in Italy . You managed to get there without screaming or attacking anybody. I can see a bit of your style in your blogʼs comments. Which other features of your personality do you recognize in your readers?
I think that the blog owners is the first influencer on comments quality. It's like when you invite someone in your house: if your guest find an ordered environment, probably he will asks where hang his coat; instead, if he sees confusion everywhere, he will leave his coat in any place. If you scream, everyone will do the same.
Other important element it's the relation with other companies in the same marketplace, expecially with competitors. A fair approach, talking about them when it's opportune with links to their sites, receive trust and normally it's reciprocal.
You wrote more than once about the importance of managing your own time. A blog, if not well managed, can absorb quite a lot of personal time. Do you have any specific advice for bloggers?
First, look to any of current content material you produce now: sometimes there are many stuffs that should be used as blog content, and it means less time to produce them.
In any case, consider blogs like one of other communication channels where the time and budget reserved to them should based on ROI evaluation.
Many SEO (Search Engine Optimization) experts claims that what is good for your website Google ranking is always good for your visitors. Is this statement always valid? How can technologies such as Ajax and search-engines interact effectively?
I'm not fully in line with this assumption. Some technologies like Flash or Ajax, could be coherent with the website strategies and so used even if they create problems on search engines ranking. My point of view it's that there isn't a single "best way" to create a website, because the users preferences are different too. Some likes emotional communication, others need concise information; some use to visit home pages, others prefers to subscribe RSS or email newsletter.
Search engines are a kind of "special user": they like many text, focused on specific topics, well inter-linked on the web site and updated incrementally frequently. Then they like incoming links. So, there isn't a secret recipe: it's opportune to start with users in mind and then see if the contents produced match the search engines principles. If not, should be necessary to produce other optimized contents.
As the CEO of an Italian company, Ad Maiora, do you perceive the language barrier (English-Italian) more as a protection for your domestic market or as an obstacle for global growth?
Both. But considering that the globalization is an on-going process in every business sector, I think that the language barriers will be continuously reduced year after year. At the same time, I feel that together with language it's the culture the real key point that creates distances through markets. "Culture" both in the way to conduct business and also regarding the experience in international relations. What I see it's that for countries like Italy, the difficult it's to scale a project when it was thinked for local market originally. I believed that you could deliver a project to a global market only if you start it with a global approach from the beginning.
Your blog seems to be shy in promoting your company: there is no logo, no prominent links. How separate are the two entities: the blog and the company? Can you also tell us about the exchange of ideas, connections, experiences between Mauro the CEO and Mauro the blogger?
I write about what I have in mind and what I do regarding my work, so I write about my job and my company continuously even if it's not specified directly. For example, when I write about a conference where I talk, the non-written words are that my company and myself have gained the authority to participate to the event. And when I share my visions, in fact I talked about the vision of my company and the knowledge inside it. Call that "information marketing" if you want; the fact it's that companies likes to find some expert that demonstrate time after time their knowledge, their visions, outside the standard marketing (read "advertising") ways. The blog it's a simple ways to demonstrate it; of course you must have some interesting to say!
I would like to thank Mauro Lupi for taking the time to speak with me today. If you have any questions for Mauro or for BAIA, please leave a comment below and we will be glad to answer.