Tuesday, July 15, 2008

ROI or Bust

Recently, the famed word-of-mouth marketing agency, BzzAgent offered companies an opportunity to test their traditional media campaigns against a BzzAgent. If the agency did not outperform traditional media by 20%, the company’s money would be refunded.

AdAge Article
WOMMA Article

Although this may simply be a publicity stunt to bring attention to word of mouth marketing, I think more people should take notice. Marketers in general should be holding their partners more accountable for their campaigns ability to contribute to the overall growth of a business. If an agency is unable to craft a program that brings customers in and rings the register they should not be rewarded.

In today’s corporate environment ROI comes down to one thing – the sales numbers. If I’m not hitting my forecasts than neither your agency nor myself are being effective. When have you heard of a CMO losing a job because he couldn’t increase brand awareness? You don’t because they are always being canned because their company/brand has failed to meet its numbers at the end of the fiscal.

Now some may argue that the success in a media campaign is not always seen in the numbers. And my response is that you are absolutely correct. Unfortunately today’s companies are not judged by their brand visibility or reputation among the customer base – they are judged on the numbers. The same goes for the client, he/she is not measured on how flashy and well liked a campaign might be, and instead he/she is judged by how they increased sales.

It comes down to today’s agencies have to work harder for their clients because expectations and the repercussions are much higher.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Is Customer Service King?

Today, I witnessed the third day of madness at the local Apple Store with people waiting in long lines for their new 3G iphone. Despite all of the problems that are associated with the phone – activation, bugs, applications etc – people still continued to wait in extraordinarily long lines for them. (at least today Apple provided line goers with oversized umbrellas to stay out of the sun)

See some of the problems:
- Fortune Article
- Fortune Article
- Racked
- Gearlog
- Engadget
- Huffington Post

Since this is the second release of the iphone, and it has been, once again, a disaster it makes one start to think whether customer service is truly important. Can it simply be disregarded with an innovative and interesting product? Is that age-old belief of standing by the customer just a bunch of garbage? Possibly.

Apple is not the only brand left out there where customer service is ignored, just look at Twitter – the micro-blogging site that has caught fire as of late. It is riddled with server issues, but people continue to use it religiously. Why?

Problems on Twitter:
- Annoying Design
- TechCrunch
- Scobleizer

As long as there is limited competition out there customer service can be ignored. People want a particular item and they will do whatever it takes to get it – a la people losing their minds over the iphone. However, as others figure out how to compete service becomes a major factor in choosing between brands. If they don’t wake up in time brands who ignore customer service will be chasing instead of leading.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Google Getting Into Virtual World Game

I came across this via the Huffington Post yesterday and thought it was quite interesting that Google is getting involved with these virtual worlds. I still don't know how I feel about these arenas, but we'll see.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

John McCain Where Are You - Part I

In 1960 when a small contraption called a television was becoming popular in American homes, Republican Richard Nixon ignored the power of the medium and it contributed to loss of his Presidential bid to JFK. Now 48 years later it seems as if another Republican candidate is ignoring the power of the internet and may meet the same fate.

Today as I was looking through the news this morning and came across this article in The New York Times about Chris Hughes – who is one of the founders of Facebook – and how he has headed up Barack Obama’s new media efforts. I started to think about how the candidates are using the internet to communicate to voters and realized I haven’t really seen anything from the McCain Campaign. I then did a quick search and all I found was his myspace page and quickly became disappointed.

Senator McCain and his campaign need to wake up and realize the power of new media. Especially if you consider that we are in a political environment where many people are disappointed with the Republican Party and view the current National problems as the shortcomings of the party. If they were smart McCain would harness the power of the internet to communicate how he would return the country to an era of growth and prosperity.

Some suggestions to bolster his online presence could be :

- Show some personality on the myspace page – who is John McCain
- Revamp the blog – Shorten up the content, incorporate video and images.
- Get someone to Twitter regularly and have a link for people to follow on each of the McCain sites
- Encourage supporters to get on youtube
- Give supporters an arena to discuss issues with voters who are undecided
- Provide a means for supporters to connect with others who share the common interest of getting Senator McCain to the presidency
- Find out what issues are important to visitors and send them targeted updates/messages

In general they need to think about how voters are searching for information and make an effort to provide information in those channels.

You have to give Hughes and his team the credit they deserve and applaud them for a job well done in effectively using multiple online tools to connect voters - more to come on this later.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

July 4th

I know it is early but...

Monday, June 30, 2008

The Euros are Coming

Recently I was walking down the block and came across this interesting sign advertising an available condo. Now if I was in…let’s say Italy, and saw this I would not of thought it strange because the cost is displayed in Euros. However, I was not in Italy – I was not even in Europe – I was walking in downtown Manhattan.

Appealing to the European consumer is nothing in New York as many retailers in the Hamptons – New York’s posh weekend destination – have been accepting Euros.

Today, the power of online marketing eliminates distance as a major obstacle in reaching the international consumer. As the dollar continues to decline, American companies that do not have a strong international presence should look towards the internet to drive growth in a difficult economy. There is tremendous opportunity and you don't have to sink huge dollars into a program to see whether it works.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Using Video To Sell

A few weeks ago I wrote about the You Tube Annotations and how it transforms video into an interactive medium. Just as I was thinking about the tool and how I could potentially use it to foster relationships, a friend of mine sent me a link to Mobile Media Now and their Hot Click Concept pages. The idea is to allow a viewer to purchase products seen within the video with the simple click of a button.

Now some - I've already heard it a few times - may think you are compromising the content and over-commercializing it and yes, that could be a possibility. But, in the end you are providing a better user experience - think about how many times you watched a video and saw something you liked and then racked your brain trying to find it online. I know I've done it countless times.