Category Archives: Marketing

My Ode to Apple’s MobileMe Launch Failure

This week Apple moved all .Mac customers over to MobielMe, their new cloud computing email service. This coincided with the launch of the new iPhone. I have not been able to retrieve email for four days from the Apple servers. Apple claims only 1% of all users have had service interruption. I’ve been on boards, forums, and chats about this all weekend. I seriously doubt Apple’s loyal fans will forgive them anytime soon. Many many iPhone and .Mac users have been affected.

Since no one at Apple has been able to address my concerns, I’ve decided that sometimes service can be so insanely frustrating, so ineptly and dishonestly deployed, and so vehmently denied by a provider that a user has to make a video for youtube in protest. Here is mine:

Blogs vs Websites = Conversations vs. Brochures

When someone develops a blog, they develop a conversation. A website, in the traditional sense, is not a conversation, but rather a brochure or a kiosk of offerings. When one shifts from a website-centric relationship with their customers to a blog-centric relationship, one stops doing a presentation and starts having a conversation. This is a key point. Not only do blogs get ranked higher via Google’s, Yahoo’s, and Microsoft Network’s search engines because they keep content fresh. Blogs give your customers a sense there is a living, breathing human force behind whatever offering you might be offering. This has extremely reassuring benefits, and if you encourage your customers to comment on your blog, many times, you can stand back and watch your customers duke out what it is that has been discussed in a particular blog post, and you can comment every once in a while. Very successful blogs have hundreds of comments per post. It is a live channel between you and your customers.

This is an asset, your customer’s input, that is priceless.

Cultivating, fertilizing, gathering. Successful digital media follows law of the harvest.

The Internet allows us to cultivate relationships across the social networks. Traditionally marketers mine, attack and plunder our attention. Now its cultivation – it’s about you as the marketer getting out of the way and let your customers talk to each other and let them talk to their customers. It’s a conversation – cultivation through conversation. There’s always new stuff to try, but orchestrating the social book marking sites, orchestrating the Facebook, the Linked In’s, Twitter’s, etc. Youtube has at least 62 “me toos” from which to choose. Pick one and cultivate there. You can map out from that point.  Once you’ve gathered your friends, it is easier to go to the farmers market and interact with new friends. If you are a traditionaly ‘hunter” rather than a gatherer, here’s how you think of it…Instead of shot gun. think rifle.

Or

Instead of cultivating a tomato plant in 23 different gardens, why not get really good at growing your own tomato garden and then selling starts, giving starts to other places and seeing how your message can grow there.

When you start small, you cultivate by hand and learn the lay of the land in a visceral way. Be patient and you’ll be riding a John Deere harvester eventually.

Marketing Entertainment in Shakespeare’s London

I’m reading Bill Brysons’ Shakespeare: The World as Stage. He lived in a world where not many could channel their voice, but lucky Will Shakespeare had his own channel at the Globe. Of course the apparatus required to cast his show to an audience was quite elaborate. Amusingly, not much has changed in marketing and product launch mechanics.

According to Bryson, plays started at about 2:00pm. Handbills were distributed that morning and early afternoon,. A large banner was hoisted upon the highest parts of the structure wherein the play was to be held, and then horns would blare in fanfare for the play when 2:00pm was near. The horns could be heard across much of the city.

For those aroused enough to take in an afternoon’s amusement, tickets came in three flavors. Groundlings (standing room) paid a penny, sitters paid another penny on top of that and those who like to sit upon a cushion paid another penny on top of that. (a day’s wage was less than 10 pennies) The money was dropped in a box, which was taken to a safe room for safekeeping and counting — the box office.

Then the upsell! Apples, pears, (the cores became projectiles for performers ) nuts, breads, bottles of ale, and tobacco were all for sale inside the theatre. The tobacco, delivered in a small pipe, cost three pennies, or three-times the cost of admission. (been to a multiplex to buy treats lately?)

Recently, an internet marketing conference sent handbills to my email account. Three tiers of entrance fees were offered, and of course when I show up, back of the room sales will look to extract many times the price of admission.

A walk through Times Square will illustrate the staying power of these methods. It still works for plays on Broadway. For that matter, it works for the airlines, credit card companies, health clubs, churches, etc.

As the good Bard said, “…the more a thyng justly changeth, the more it truely stayeth the same.”

Gorilla Marketing

I’m walking down the sidewalk on the Las Vegas strip a year ago with some associates. Out from behind a bush springs a man in a Gorilla suit screaming at me and my associates like a wild beast. Said Gorilla then runs away with an accomplice carrying a video camera. We’d been punked by a stranger. I yelled out, “don’t you want me to sign a release?”

I receive a number of marketing newsletters. I keep up on the latest trends and movements in the copyrighting, internet marketing and social networking worlds. A marketing newsletter for which I had made no request showed up the other day, for the third time.

I did a little searching in my bank statement and found I’d been charged. I tried to comb through the slender hairs of recent memory to discover what I may or may not have missed via opt-outs, pre-checked forms or inadvertent clicks in my online purchases.

I finally found the culprit. Man is he good. I didn’t see it coming. I don’t subscribe to anything of his but he was behind a recent video offer which I ordered . Got the video, watched it, end of story. Then a free newsletter comes. Predictable. Then another. Then when a third shows up I start looking for a charge and sure enough there it is. He’d used the financial info I used to buy the video to sign me up for his marketing newsletter.

Which was worse, Guerilla or Gorilla? In this case, I felt the same. Surprised. Startled. A little miffed. Only with the Guerilla, I was already on the lookout. He still got me. To this day I didn’t see where I’d signed up. I never had that intention. And that is the point of today’s entry. Is this behavior winning my ongoing business? Of course not. Would I buy a video with myself getting startled by a large man in a Gorilla suit? Odds are better of buying that video than subscribing, or continuing to subscribe in this case, to a Guerilla marketer who ambushes my bank account through marketing slight of hand.
I don’t watch his channel anymore.