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.

Monday, June 23, 2008

You Will Be Missed

To some he might have been a raunchy comedian, but George Carlin just said what was on your mind. I never realized how influential he truly was until I was sitting in Journalism School and my professor put on his 7 Dirty Words skit during one of our lessons about indecency. In memory of Mr. Carlin I leave you with his infamous 7 Dirty Words skit.

News Media Hits a New Low

I was directed to this article in the New York Times via The Huffington Post today that talks about how networks are putting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on the "back burner" - Click Here For Article.

The piece goes on to say that CBS News no longer keeps a full-time correspondent on the ground in Iraq. I guess now they can get back to hard-hitting journalism by covering Amy Winhouse's crack addiction and more Brittney Spears addiction.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Generation Y Will Change the Face of Marketing

The other day I was listening to the podcast "Six Pixels of Separation" with Mitch Joel, which I highly recommend, and an interesting topic was brought up by his guest Douglas Rushkoff. Basically they began discussing the importance individualized branding has become, especially among the millennials. I then started thinking about how we are affected by the always increasing brand messages that we encounter on a daily basis and what the impact is.

After much thought I came to the conclusion the constant bombardment of brand information makes us smarter consumers and forces marketers to step up their game to become noticed. It's like the teacher who has been around since the beginning of time and has heard every excuse for a student not having their homework. With the information at our finger tips we have the ability to see through the trickery and see those brands that are genuine and those that are not.

As this new generation matures and plays a larger role in society you will see a substantial change in the way marketers will be approaching consumers. Instead of a gimmick they will go back to the basics and develop relationships with their customers and listen to them. It is the beauty of the internet, it is the unique ability that can humanize a brand and allow customers to associate faces and personalities to it.


So the other day I was looking through the news and noticed something pretty interesting on CNN.com - they had video set up to play on their home page. I've never seen them do this and I think it was a great way to integrate video into their normal content, which ultimately led to increased traffic.

Unfortunately, they used the video to follow a bunch of pigs that were stranded on the roof of a barn. Don't get me wrong, I love animals just as much as the next fella, but aren't there bigger issues with this flood than a couple of stranded pigs.

This is a perfect example of the news media taking a great idea and screwing it up.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Don't Be Ashamed of 80's Pop

I'm waiting for the day Rick Astley is either on a reality series or in a commercial. It's truly amazing, this guy is all over the web and it has gotten to the point where you can't get away from him...not that it is a bad thing, it's actually kind of interesting. With the addition of the Rick Rolling phenomenon - which happened to get Never Gonna Give You Up the New York Met's Theme song this year (You Guys Rock) - makes him a marketers dream.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Can Kobe Really Jump a Car

Could one of this year's most popular viral videos really be fake?

You decide. Either way this low-budget video jumped from YouTube to almost every major network.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Next Generation of Video

Today, while I was developing a presentation I came across the You Tube Annotations, which allow the audience to interact with video.  AMAZING! (see below)

* If you are unable to interact with the video go to the following link
  • Interactive Shell Game
  • We're Back

    Ok, so it has been a little over two years since I've been blogging, but it is time to come back and ignite conversation regarding the online marketing world.  There is so much potential out there and the possibilities to find new ways to engage audiences are endless.  So here we go.