Tag Archives: marketing

Marketing by the numbers… and the numbers only

September 20th, 2010

Spam is a numbers game, spam enough people and someone signs up, people get more savvy, means you need to spam more people.

Spam really is the result of going by the numbers too much – the more we talk to the more we hope that someone converts.

Given the cost of email is so low it works (if you get enough people).

It really is the result though of a series of decisions, made by the numbers and the numbers only.  Please be cautious marketing by the numbers, remember to step outside them, question the assumptions that build the numbers – often there’s a lot there if you dig into it.  Otherwise you end up in a situation…that’s very spammy indeed.

An amazing (ironic) tweet I read during the peak of the recession

September 19th, 2010

Read something along these lines:

“they want to cut marketing first, ironically they don’t value it as they sit there in $200 jeans..”

Sorry I don’t have a credit (as the tweet was in passing) – but I think we’ve all seen these conversations go on over the last 18-24 months.

Do not forget the consumer, get back to people, sales & marketing – drive what drives the business.

Hey Kids. This is advertising!

June 28th, 2010

Visit Ronald.com (as in Ronald McDonald the McDonalds character) and in the top right you’ll see this phrase.

Hang on wait. How can you expect kids to understand that? You’re right they can’t.

If you run a reading score on that it puts the reading level at 13-15 (Flesch Reading Ease 68.94). Browse the site, it’s definitely aimed at younger kids.  Much younger, more 5-10.

Come on McDonalds… if you need to say it’s advertising you’ve definitely crossed the line, and you’ve even crossed the line in a capacity that even your audience aren’t fully aware they’re being marketed to….shame.

Now that's uncanny!

May 2nd, 2010

Talking about what it is to be uncanny, the uncanny valley but also how to pull yourself out of it.


This pretty much sums up success online

April 5th, 2010

“Low barriers to entry high barriers to success”

That is, anyone can leap in due to the democratisation but success? That’s another whole ball game.




The completely biased unwritten (but now written) rules of ecommerce

March 28th, 2010

And they are as follows:

  • Do not make me register before purchasing. This is like me going into a store, picking up a t-shirt, trying it on, showing it to my fiance, deciding to purchase it, then you ask me to fill out a form before I can buy the dam thing. By the time people want to buy products let them buy it! Use some special magic to turn their first order into an account but do not ever make me register to give you dollars.
  • Show me what I’m buying! Tiny pictures are useless. What if I want to show my grandma? She will just say go to the store buy it there. Give users all the media you can (without overwhelming them).
  • Don’t show me stuff that I’m not interested in. Set a cookie on the visitors computer and show me stuff I’m interested in when I return. Show related items. Upsells. Things that improve my life (or the product I’m buying). That leads to the next one
  • ALWAYS HAVE A MOST POPULAR SECTION. People like to be reassured, why do we buy fashionable clothes? It’s what everyone else has. Make it easy for someone who needs reassurance, oh that’s the most popular speakers maybe I should look at them. Not rocket science.
  • Make it interesting! Give categorisations, tags and lists that are meaningful. Girlfriend Gifts, Valentines, Ways to say your sorry, Keep your guy happy, Nieces, Difficult Teenagers lists. You get the idea – don’t make me question whether my little sister will need this. Tell me, show me and then convince me she needs it (difficult teenage girl list).
  • Provide diverse (and easy) payment options. Credit Cards #1. Paypal.
  • SSL. Tired argument, but protect my data! Even 8 year olds can tell a website isn’t secure.
  • Do not show dollar signs (where you don’t have to), stick to digits, $50.00 looks more painful than 50.00 (restaurants do this all the time).
  • Also ALWAYS indicate currency. Even if you assume USD do not give anyone nasty surprises.
  • Keep shipping to an absolute minimum, set expectations, free shipping with x spend. People don’t like to be surprised, the last thing you want is them to leave because shipping is unexpectedly high. Give FREE shipping wherever you can.
  • Return Policies. Like the informercials widely offered never used. Return policies allow people to overcome the ‘I don’t know if that hoodie is nice in real life’. If it isn’t I can send it back. Works a dream for Zappos will work a dream for you.
  • Tell me when you ship! And give a tracking code. It keeps you honest and me in the loop.
  • ALWAYS SEND YOUR PRODUCTS IN UNIQUELY YOU PACKAGING. Let me say that again, when I receive my products from you (unless this is a discrete industry) everyone in the office or who walks by my desk should be able to identify it was sent by you. If they don’t, they will ask, this gives me the opportunity to share my story. Who doesn’t like showing off what they just bought? Each and every shipment is the opportunity for your best sales people (your existing customers) to sell to new customers. Facebook is built on this and it’s been a backbone of Amazon since the start.
  • Newsletters. Newsletters are a must – how do I know when you get the new product in? Or there is a line extension? Or hey Ben you have the t-shirt why not get the hoodie? Remember my sizes. Follow up. Remember your customers are a club, a family, respect them and you will grow with them.
  • Ask for permission. Don’t have anything in stock, let me tick a box or get an email when it’s back in stock. I will give you my permission – if only you asked. If in doubt ask permission.
  • Engaging copy. I don’t want the stock standard copy. Let me know what it is, why I should buy it and how to do so. If this product is useless without another component, say so, and give me a link to buy that too (or better yet sell as a pack). Do not ever copy/paste the suppliers descriptions. That sells to people price comparing not to those who don’t understand what a 32gb ssd is.
  • Avoid jargon wherever possible. Using intimidating words like ‘rephrase’ and ‘synonyms’ severely hurt MSN search engines early uptake. Use language that a 12 year old can understand and you’ll be fine. Expecting all your users to have degree level English is insanity.
  • Remember what I looked at before! Amazon does this. I might have forgotten that last time I was looking at a surprise gift for my fiance. If you remind me I’ll probably grab it now that I’ve had time to think it over. It also engages your users very very quickly.
  • Ship everywhere. Even if it’s extremely expensive. For the right product to the right place people will spend more on the shipping than the product (I know I’m from New Zealand and everything is expensive to be shipped here).
  • Have less in your catalogs. Yes the cost of adding a new product is zero. But the cost of clutter is everything. If something is a dog don’t sell it. Sell less, sell the best.
  • Have a blog. Take products, trial them yourselves, unbox them, make videos. Break them, construct them, deconstruct them. Whatever. Give me an angle on the products which I haven’t seen before or which answer my initial fears about the product. Be honest.
  • Allow product feedback. People will buy (or be convinced to buy) just off the feedback. Don’t fret if it’s bad, your customers can read between the lines if that bad review was biased or unbalanced.
  • Do not, I repeat not, ever have adverts to other websites. You’re wasting real estate. If you think you can make more money pushing visitors to others websites where they then purchase, close down your shop, you’re doing it wrong. The google ads tells me you don’t know what you’re doing.
  • Do something unexpected. Give me a nice little surpise. Maybe a thank you note in the order, a gift voucher or some free stickers. I’ll probably talk more about that than what you actually sent!
  • Exclusives! Have exclusive members areas, maybe people pay for them (ie $50 for 10% discount on everything) or newsletter only specials. Make me feel like I’m special (aka status). I might not order but I’ll buy for someone else. #1 Rule in sales is the easiest sales are to your existing customers.
  • Finally most of all obsess about your customers. Give them a call if there are any hick ups, let them know, the last thing people expect from ecommerce is a real life transaction (other than the end product) but when it happens it means the world. They’re really there and they really care.

Track, measure, slice/dice data every which way. Analyse, interpret, make changes. Measure again.  Learn to adapt from what your users tell you through their actions. the answers are already there you just need to find them.

Marginal value on Commodity Items

February 25th, 2010

If I gave you $40,000 to go buy a new car, you’d probably go away, scan the car yards and come back with a few options.

You can pretty much guarantee a certain level of safety standards, fuel economy and performance.

Unless you’re looking at Luxury Cars the car itself is a commodity.  You buy it for the brand; experience, status…

This is the exact play that firms are using once their product slips into the commodity category.

You see when everything else is the same firms need to focus on the marginal value, the base value is assumed (safety, fuel economy, performance) – but what is the secret sauce? It may seem trivial but it’s the little things which can swing consumer preference.

You need to focus on that marginal value and stretch it, reposition it, make it meaningful to your consumer base.

Clearly the experience is a start, is being your customer a real experience worth sharing?

Photo Credit: Alex4981

Bringing joy to your customers

February 3rd, 2010

Kulula Air has made their planes a little bit more fun.

Something to stare at whilst you wait to board.

Something for your children to read and point out to one another.

It’s something fun. This is the best marketing, that changes how you look at something and brings joy to your customers. (Life can get far too serious).

Thanks to Gadling for sharing it.

Collect -> Expose -> Spread

January 28th, 2010

These were the three words I jotted down in forming the basis of a new strategy.

Sounds super simple and relatively easy to execute.

The problem is whilst easy to understand the devils in the details.

What are we collecting? How do we collect? What do we expose? What’s the story? How do we get it to spread? What mechanisms are there?….

You can use a simple phrase to sell something.  Inevitably though you need to back it up with the execution of the details – and that is exactly where people tend to fall down.

Remember the details.

Squeeze your market

December 6th, 2009

You can be really really specific with your market.  In fact squeeze it.  Make it small enough that you can deliver insane value to this subset.

The intriguing thing? Once you get this market – because you’ve been so specific, delivered insane value, your customers help you grow the market.

By squeezing and focusing you can actually grow your original market.

Big Picture

November 23rd, 2009

My common fault of public companies is that the focus shifts to the next quarter, the next dividend, keeping stockholders happy.  And so they should.


What is the bigger picture? What are you working towards? A little less in shareholders hands this year could be magnitudes times more in five years.

It’s these big picture perspectives and long term plays that really pay off.  Bill Gates was for years saying Microsofts aim was to get a PC in every household.  Now that is virtually true.

If they had focused on the short term, forgetting the big picture, they would have ended up with mediocre results.

Great companies think big for the long term.

(And your Marketing should reflect that).

Sharing the story is crucial in the 21st century

October 11th, 2009

Talking with other entrepreneurs looking at starting businesses (anything from a cafe to a saas provider) and how they tell their story there is one thing I have noticed…

That I cannot fathom the idea of a new business that isn’t story telling and engaging.

That is sharing their story and engaging the community to help grow their business.

What is your story? What can you share? How can you build a community?

Even a cafe with a blog or a Petrol Station with live tweets? A doctors blog sharing advice or heads up on common ailments.

No this wouldn’t be relevant to everyone but it would be relevant to those that matter – your community.

If you are looking at starting a business (or launching a new product), look at how you can strategically build a community, engage and build real relationships… even 6 months before you want to start it…

The human side of your business

September 7th, 2009

Sure the sales pitch work – it converts – generates dollars.  But do you show your human side?

You see having a real relationship with your customers means when things get tough they will hang in there (and vice versa).  Having strong relations creates a real loyalty and following.

Think of all the hoo haa around Apples products every 18 months and yet their dedicated users hang in there, why?  They have a strong relationship with the company.  And who would want to leave that?

If you're not online

August 10th, 2009

You don’t exist.

Simple as that.

If I google your name or your business what shows up?

If you don’t appear then you don’t exist.

At the very least, get a webpage with your contact details up.

The *Bonus* Prize

July 21st, 2009

Retro TV Commercial

You can learn a lot from infomercials.

Yes they are corny.

Yes they are known for flogging rubbish and….

Yes they do work.

Just by law of survival they wouldn’t be around if they didn’t.

Often you will see they have ‘but wait there’s more!’ and a bonus is introduced.

You see they establish value to a point where customers are on the verge of making the decision to purchase then tip them over the edge to a purchase through bonuses.  It’s the unexpected value.

Now it’s not the only way to sell but it is something you can use in your toolset, finding bonus value you can deliver that your competitors can’t deliver (or haven’t anticipated) that can help set you apart from the pack.

It’s the Bonus Prize!

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