As promised in March Madness – The Internet Marketing Field of 64 Tourney, the results from the South bracket in the first round of the tournament are posted. There were some surprisingly close games, but for the most part, the teams that were expected to win did. Below is a breakdown of the results from the matchups in the South region. You’re encouraged to add to the discussion in the comments below. Unlike the NCAA Tournament, if you have yet to fill out your Internet Marketing Field of 64 bracket you can do so now.Pin It
 Social Media Marketing - 98
 Flash - 12
Poor Flash didn’t really even have a chance in this game. Six or seven years ago Flash was all the rage online, but since it can’t be seen on mobile Apple devices, or the fact that Google has a hard time indexing it, there are very few online deployment opportunities for Flash that make sense. Social Media Marketing, on the other hand, is all of the rage today and easily knocks Flash out of the 2012 Internet Marketing Tournament.
 Whitepapers - 64
 Testimonials - 59
Like most eight/nine matchups, this one was close. The business model of the online deployment ultimately will decide which team wins. But in this case, Whitepapers came out on top because with the right title and content, they can be used as bait in the quid pro quo transaction on a landing page. Whitepapers help convert top of the sales funnel web traffic, while Testimonials help convert bottom of the funnel web traffic. Both are important, but Whitepaper conversions are easier to measure.
 Lead Conversion - 82
 Bing - 36
With Microsoft behind them, Bing looks impressive. However, if we eliminated all lead conversions on Kuno’s website from Bing-generated traffic, we wouldn’t even notice. As of February 2012, Bing’s search engine market share was 15.3% compared to Google’s 66.4%. Bing does provide PPC opportunities, but those resources are better spent on other PPC platforms with better lead conversion rates.
 Link Building - 71
 Geosocial Media - 44
Geosocial media is important for all companies online. Even as a B2B that doesn’t receive foot traffic, sites like Foursquare represent a trusted brand signal to Google and the other search engines. However, one source of brand signals will lose to the virtually limitless number of brand signals that can be produced via a robust link building campaign every time.
 Copywriting - 81
 Advanced Lead Generation Analytics - 80
This game was nip and tuck the whole time. Good copywriting can help drive referral traffic and search traffic to a website while powering successful social media marketing campaigns. On the other hand, Advanced Lead Generation Analytics makes visitor lifecycle analysis possible and helps power sites like Amazon when delivering those timely and appropriate product recommendations. Without content however, there is no need for Advanced Lead Generation Analytics. For this reason Copywriting pulls out the victory.
 Landing Pages - 99
 Reviews - 98
Most inbound marketers would scratch their head on this game. How could product or service Reviews possibly hang with Landing Pages? After all, landing pages convert visitors to leads and/or customers. That’s what Internet marketing is all about right? User-generated product or service review pages are closely related to landing pages. Landing pages represent a decision point for the visitor – do they fill out the form or don’t they? Online reviews help people make that decision. However, ultimately, landing pages comes out the victor because not all user-generated online reviews are positive. Some reviews can have a negative impact on conversions.
 Usability - 67
 SMS (Text Message) Marketing - 49
While it is true that application to person SMS (automated alerts from banks, offers from retailers, m-tickets, etc.) is expected to overtake person to person SMS in or around 2016, it’s not mature enough to be more important than website usability. A poor user experience on a website can lead to high bounce rates, low conversions and few returning visitors.
 Blogging - 92
 Heat Testing - 71
Heat Testing is really cool isn’t it? It’s kind of like the Fab 5 in the '90s when they introduced the basketball world to black socks and baggy uniforms – they were cool. Heat Testing allows for webmasters to track the eyeballs of their prospective website visitors in order to see what on their website grabs attention. This information can help maximize conversions and lead generation over time. However, frequent high-quality blogging can drive large quantities of organic search and referral traffic. It can also be the focal content of a social media marketing campaign. For this reason Blogging beats out Heat Testing every time.
That’s a wrap on the first round of tournament games in the South. Check back tomorrow afternoon when we’ll break down the exciting results over in the East bracket. Every afternoon for the remainder of the week we'll publish the latest scores. Don’t forget, if you have an argument for one team over the other and it wasn’t addressed, or if you have a favorite you’d like to see advance, leave a compelling reason why below and you may see them in the final four.
Join us for an exciting new webinar on Thursday, March 22nd at 12PM EDT, 9AM PDT and help us welcome Jay Baer, Laura "@Pistachio" Fitton and Jim Kukral for an all-star webinar panel to discuss social media influence, what it means for your business and how to best take advantage of it.