Thursday, 25 October 2007

AFACT on fire over internet piracy

Bands are giving their music away for free, artists (with the help of the internet) are no longer begging for record deals and even Madonna has chosen to part company with her label. The record companies are starting to realise the bad publicity gained from suing single mothers using limewire isn't helping their cause and you would think that this news would have reached the Australian film and television industry right? Wrong. The "please dont take away our cash cow" pleading that has been the mantra or the recording industry has now been taken up at conciderable cost by the Australian film and television industry. The "what are you really burning" campaign released today by the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft undoubtedly cost them a fair slab of cash to put together, the question is if this will have any noticeable effect on the number of movies and TV shows that are pirated in this country.

A couple of questions that come to mind are:-

1. Lets say you don't care much for animated features and would never pay to see a movie like "happy feet" at the cinema or hire it from the video store, is the fact that someone has downloaded the movie really impacting on your bottom line?

2. If less people are going to the cinema to see locally made movies, is this really an indication of the prevalence of piracy or could it be that people are finding alternative ways of spending their free time (you may have heard of something called the internet).

3. If 5 years ago I was spending 70% of my free time watching Commercial TV but now thanks to the internet I am watching exclusive web content (like diggnation or Ask a Ninja) doesn't this tell you that, given the choice I now have, I don't want to watch your crappy content?

Whilst I understand that the AFACT have a vested interest in keeping piracy to a minimum, there are bigger issues that needs to be addressed. In a time where the production tools are becoming so widely available and sites like Youtube allow people to become their own broadcasters maybe people aren't buying/watching because whats on offer just isn't that good.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Radiohead Relying on the Kindness of Strangers

On last weeks Gen Y marketing Podcast (oh yeah, that’s cross-promotion) we mentioned how Radiohead were offering their latest album, In Rainbows, online, DRM-free and users could determine how much the paid for the album. No really, it was up to the people!

I am embarrassed to say, I paid $0, but in my defense, I just wanted to see if you could pay nothing. I am not a Radiohead fan and will never listen to the album (I guess I should probably have deleted it already).

A Report from the Times in the UK, said that 1.2 million people "bought" the album, and a readers poll indicating that the average purchase price was about $9-$10 AU. That’s about $10 million that Radiohead will get in revenue, revenue that they will not have to share with a record company. I bet this has been their best payday for awhile. If contracted to a record company, the band would have had to sell 10 times that number of physical albums to collect the same profit.

Its nice to see that Radioheads faith in their fans has been rewarded. Just goes to show that if you give a little you receive a little. Ten millions dollars little.

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

NineMSN has no idea about web users..

This ladies and gentlemen is a story of how to alienate your web users and ensure that they never come back to your website... It goes a little somthing like this:-

Yesterday at work I was browsing around looking at stories on Australian Entrepreneurs to try and get an insight on how others have built their web businesses. I came across the NineMSN small business site and was please to find some video interviews with some Aussie entrepreneurs talking about how they went about building their online presence, but being the good employee I am I decided not to watch them at work but rather email the link home so I could watch it on my own time.

This morning I made a cup of coffee, fired up the big gray box under my desk and settled in to watch some insightful and inspiring discussion on starting your own business. Clicking on the link I headed off to the site and was gobsmacked by the following page

It turns out that to watch anything on the NineMSN (and no I'm not linking to their page cause I want to make sure no one ever goes to it ever again) you cannot be using Firefox, you must install IE6 and use MS media player to see it. To that I say F$%# YOU Microsoft and a similar F#$% YOU to the Nine Network.

In the last 12 months Firefox has increased its market share by 43% and whilst it still remains far less than IE, it is hugely popular amongst the tech crowd who tend to be the trend setter of technology.

From a marketing perspective it is often said "as long as you create a good product/content people will eventually find you", and in most cases I believe this to be true. But regardless of how good your content is it MUST be accessible. There is a reason why musicians don't release their latest album on wax cylinders and why Hollywood don't put out movies on laser disk. Its because you MUST use the most accessible medium possible to access the masses.

So thats it for me, I am never going back to that site regardless of how good their content might be.. Sorry NineMSN but its a matter of principal.

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

What do Vincent Chase and Apple have in common?

So Entourage's Vincent Chase (otherwise know as Adrian Grenier) has been in Australia latley promoting something or another and Sunday night saw him interviewed on Rove live. I can see why the guy was chosen for the role of Vinni Chase in Entourage as ladies seem to go weak at the knees when he flashes the pearly whites at the camera, but in the Rove interview he came across as pretty arrogant and a bit of a jerk. What does this have to do with Apples recent decision to brick hacked iPhones?

Apple is very quickly turning into the Adrian Grenier of the IT world. An asshole but so dam good looking people still love 'em no matter how much of a jerk they are. Apple has already kicked their eirly adopter customers in the guts by dropping the price 2 months after releasing the iphone and the general concesus from the Apple community "I still love my iPhone". Now they are threatening to turn a $700+ product into scap metal and STILL people talk up how much they adore Steve Job's company.

So whats the marketing lesson from all of this?

If your good looking enough you can get away with anything...

Monday, 1 October 2007

Gen Y Marketing Podcast - Episode 7

Its celebration time here at the Gen Y Marketing Podcast seeing the return of Paulie in the podcasting hot seat. To celebrate his triumphant return we have put together a show choc-a-block full of marketing news and our unique take on the world of generation Y marketing...

Don’t forget to join our facebook group, Gen Y Marketing Podcast on Facebook, where you can see everyone else who is listening to the Gen Y Marketing Podcast. Jake and Nat are there, no Paulie yet, but we are happy to be your friends :)

Dove Pro-Age...Pro-Marketing or Anti-Marketing?

I came across this Dove ad in the Sunday Age Magazine. As much as I like Dove's approach to advertising and beauty, I am in two minds about this ad.

Right off the bat, the Ad gives off the anti-marketing message and feel that Dove Ads have now become famous for. Showing natural, beautiful, "normal", non-traditional models has become a hallmark of Doves "Attainable Beauty" Advertising.

She’s an older woman, beautiful, but with the obvious natural beauty flaws that come with aging. The photo works well with the tagline "too old to be in an anti-aging ad?” Its show natural beauty that doesn't conform to traditional marketing and media views of attractiveness and body image. It fits in great with Dove's Anti-Marketing message.

But then some idiot, some lame copywriter, has ruined the overall feel with the end tagline (below the picture) that reads, "but this isn't anti-aging. this is pro-age. a new range of skin and hair care from dove. beauty has no age limit"

Give me a break! That ruins it. That tagline treats readers like idiots. It comes across as tricky, unauthentic and lame. Don’t' come at me with an anti-marketing message, just so you can slip me the "true" marketing message. This isn't Anti-marketing, Dove. This Pro-Marketing!

Am I overreacting? Perhaps. Does dove care about my views considering that I am pretty certain that I'm not their target market? Absolutely not? Go and and see some of Dove's other Ads (which are generally great) and let me know what you think of this one in comparison?

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Some quick ads...

I Just wanted to post some of my fav ads over the past couple of months.
This one is my absolute favorite...The Wind Ad

And there is something about this series from Budweiser that is growing on me. and who said Ads can't be entertaining...

Mobile Ads

Some interesting developments in the mobile phone marketing platform today. From tech crunch, "Blyk, the mobile virtual network operator offering free phone call minutes and messaging in return for sending customers advertising, launches in the UK today” read more here.

Basically how this works is that you register on the website (you have to be between the ages of 16 to 24) and get a SIM from Blyk. Users get free SMS and Calls (capped) in exchange for up to six ads being delivered to the users mobile phone each day. This ain’t no Mickey Mouse project with some big advertisers already signed up, including Buena Vista, Coca-Cola, I-play Mobile Gaming, L’Oreal Paris, StepStone and Yell.

This is a pretty interesting concept. It is just a matter of time until advertising and marketing on mobile phones takes off in a big way. Also from tech crunch is the news of ThePudding, which,provides free, PC-based phone calls to anywhere in the US or Canada. The big catch: computers in Fremont, CA will eavesdrop on and analyse every word of your conversation so they can serve up advertisements tailored to the topic at hand.” – Tech Crunch

My issue with these forms of ad supported revenue models is how they require users to opt in. Whereas when you use the Internet, where most sites are essentially ad supported, you do not have to opt in explicitly to view ads, viewing is a consequence of surfing the net. The same is true with television, radio and print. Asking users to actively view, or listen, to ads is a different kettle of fish.

I would suspect that as mobile phones, like the iphone and the yet confirmed mythical Google phone, become integrated media devices, ad content will primarily be delivered through Internet use and other online content. Will be interesting to see future developments.

Aside: I just realised I have never received a marketing message, or ad, on my mobile phone (apart from telemarketers). Could this be right?

Friday, 21 September 2007

Employee Generated Content

Doing my daily blog crawl (I love my google reader), a new term popped up on a few different blogs - Employee Generated Content (EGC) - or as some call it Employee Generated Media (EGM). Now I am all over User Generated Content (UGC), User Generated Ads (UGA), or my preferred User Created Ads (UCA) – I think this makes users feel less like tools and puppets of the corporate machine.

Although I have read a bit about Employee Generated Content – it’s nice now that we have a nice little term for it. Check out the couple of references on the blogs I read this morning,
Brand Autopsy, Search Engine Guide and Brand Autopsy again.

In my opinion, I think we can probably refine EGC down a little further, possibly 2 ways, dictated by its intent.

  1. Internal EGC. A key use of EGC is to foster improved employee engagement, employment efficiency and productivity. These are inward, internal focused outcomes for an organisation. Having an internal corporate blog, employee productivity competitions are great examples of engagement. Corporate and knowledge-based wiki’s and shared document spaces are areas where EGC can help improve business efficiency by promoting greater sharing, accessibility and volume of employee held knowledge.
  2. External EGC. The other main use of EGC is to utilise it as a tool to engage with customers. These are outward focused outcomes that use internal EGC tools. Things like using employee blogs, employee created videos and employee buying tips, which are generated by the employees, for the consumption purposes of consumers. These messages can provide an authentic voice in a businesses conversation with customers.

    Bacn! Oh, and on new buzz words, seems like Bacn, which refers to "electronic messages which have been subscribed to and are therefore not unsolicited but are often unread by the recipient for a long period of time". Bacn is email you want but not right now . So it’s not as annoying as spam but still annoying. Like all the facebook messages telling you who has written on you wall or sent you a message.
    Check out
    Seth Godin’s views on this.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Even channel 10 dont want you to watch ads

During the screening of the movie Kenny this evening on channel 10 a strange thing happened. Just as they went to the break, Kenny pops up in a 10 promo screen and says "its probably a good time to duck out for a quick number 1s, or a really quick number 2s". Being that the movie is about toilets it kinda made for a funny opener to the ad break but I'm interested to know what the advertisers who have paid good money to screen their ads during the break think of it. I'm guessing they would not be overly impressed with channel 10 telling their viewers that they can stop paying attention for the next few minutes..

I'm sure these advertisers are well aware of the fact that during the screening of a movie people will often get up and do something else whilst the ads are on, but to have channel 10 actually promoting it is something I didn't expect.

Magazines Heavy in Ads

All advertising sucks, right? We should avoid ads, marketing and campaigning at all cost? A friend said this to me on the weekend, “Advertising is lame. It’s so manipulative. I hate ads, I hate being advertised to and I try to avoid seeing any ads at all if I can”

Now I don’t want to get too defensive of something that I spend a lot of time doing. An Ex girlfriend of mine stopped watching TV with me because I was constantly yelling at the TV with is dumb, lame-ass commercials (I sometimes think I am turning into an old man). So I hate Ads as much as the next guy.

Someone sent me these bunch of statistics the other day. An analysis done by Folio, a US based magazine for magazine management (what a niche), compares the percentage of content that are Ads across the top fashion magazines for the 2007 Fall season. The results are insane.

Maire Claire starts off with an average of 340 pages, of which 170 are Ad content, 50% (the remaining editorial content). Elle magazine comes in next with 67% of their page content that are Ads. Taking out the top prize, Vogue with a total of 840 pages. Of those 840 pages, 727 pages where Ad content. 727! 86%. Add that to the fact that over half of the women surveyed read fashion magazines for fashion tips and Advertisements. These magazine people are onto something. Paid advertisements that people actually enjoy viewing.

So not all commercials are bad and not all Ads are a waste of time. Think how many times you have done one of the following:
  • Read a magazine that consist most of Ads.
  • Watched a funny commercial that you have been forwarded by email or on youtube.
    Watched the Super bowl for the Ads.
  • Seen one of those “world’s funniest Ads” TV shows

In these cases (and like youtube, best of ads website and TV shows) the advertising content is so good and entertaining and at times provides such valuable information – like showing fashion trends and new products, that it moves beyond a sales pitch and becomes the content itself.

I am just suprised that people still buy magazines in the first place, and not just read everything online!

Monday, 17 September 2007

Gen Y Marketing Podcast Now on Facebook

So apart from both Jake and myself being on facebook (hey Paulie where are you at?) the Gen Y Marketing Podcast now has its very own group that you can join. Click Here!

To tell you the truth, there are no real extra-added benefits of joining the group on facebook (we don't have any special promotions or extra post - though apparently Jake has some old white t-shirts he is keen to give away) but you can join up with other people who are jamming along to the podcast - and we all need more friends, right?

Alright, you can also post comments and discussions on the wall and discussion board, and you can also help me turn the group slowly against Jake - I tell ya I don't know why he thinks he is so smart.

Anyway, click on the picture link below (and if you haven't join facebook yet, sign up) and join the group so we can all be friends.


Friday, 14 September 2007

Sorry NAB what did you say? I was distracted by your ad

So whilst watching the football tonight I saw a new ad from the National Australia Bank. NAB noticed a few years ago that their customers hated them and rightly so took solid bump to their bottom line. Rebranded as the NAB they came out trying to rebuild their position with strong customer service and have now launched their "smarter everyday banking" campaign.

The ad (that I would put here as an embedded video but they haven't bothered to upload it to Youtube) shows lots of people ears and talks about how they have been listening. Its one of those ads that has a post production filter applied to make it look a little more "arty" (see this would be much easier if I could just embed it). I would have paid more attention to their message too but I just couldn't get past the fact that the men in the commercial were wearing lipstick. Yes thats right, that was no typo, they are WEARING LIPSTICK!!!

So well done to the NAB for apparently listening to their customers, but lipstick?

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Another Bloody Blog Post...

Just a couple of quick things today. So I have been drinking this water for the past few months and I think it’s pretty cool. I like the look of the Another Bloody Water bottle, the anti-marketing feel of the name and copy, and I must admit, I think the shape and color of the bottle and text to be pretty stylish.

Apparently, three guys started the company: one a local food distributor, a graphic designer and an ad guy.

Companies need to tread a fine line when they are going down the “anti-marketing” marketing approach. It can quite easily come off as tricky and un-authentic by a cynical audience. But in this case I think they have walked that fine line quite well and tapped into something I think a lot of us have probably thought about before - IT'S JUST BLOODY WATER!

Makes me think about what else we could apply this slogan to. Another Bloody Energy Drink. Another Bloody boutique Beer. Another Bloody Social Networking Site. Another Bloody Reality TV Show....

Who likes Riddles and Paradox's? A couple of my favorites are:
  • What starts with "e" ends with "e" and contains only one letter? An envelope.
  • Why is it called the 100-year war when it lasted for 116 years?

My friend Ed sent me this little paradox yesterday: according to a study from McKinsey & Co, regarding the effectiveness of TV advertising, by 2010 they predict:

  • A 23 percent decline in ads viewed due to switching off.
  • Nine percent loss of attention to ads due to increased multitasking.
  • A 37 percent decrease in message impact due to saturation

And the real kicker: real ad spending on prime-time broadcast TV has increased over last decade by about 40 percent even as viewers have dropped almost 50 percent.

A free case of Bloody Water for anyone who can explain that one to me!

Sunday, 9 September 2007

when will kick into campaign mode

So I saw the ad on TV the other night for about the 10th time and decided I would check out this viral marketing campaign and see what its all about.

For the average visitor it seems to be nothing more than a silly joke site about guys growing breasts due to nancyness. But no one in their right mind buys prime time ad slots on commercial TV just for fun, so its almost certain that there is a campaign behind it. A quick look at the Whois info shows that the site is actually registered to Cadbury Schwepps so that narrows it down a little (some kind of food or beverage product it would seem). But the question I found myself asking after checking the Alexa traffic graph is "when are they going to start trying to convert their buzz into brand recognition or sales?"..

Being that Australian marketers are usually pretty conservative when it comes to trying wacky marketing campaign, I am actually really happy to see the folks at Cadbury giving it a shot. They have got quite a few Google references from people in forum sites asking "what the hell is with this mancans thing" so from that perspective its actually working quite well. But with a downward trend in visitors since mid August, it might be time they clicked the site into gear and start getting their monies worth.

Thursday, 6 September 2007

NetAlert making the internet safe for Australian families.. sort of.

It took $84 million for the Australian government to create a free internet filter for families across the country and it apparently took Tom Woods, a 16 yearold less than 30mins to hack it.

Trying to protect children from the evil side of the internet is an uphill battle, I for one would not like to be handed that task. That said spending a total of $189 million on "NetAlert – Protecting Australian Families Online" I get the impression that the money could have been better spent. There are 2 main reasons why this was always going to fail:-

1. For anyone that has children or has been a child themselves at some stage (thats pretty much all of us by my calculations) telling a kid they CAN'T do something, just makes them work harder to prove the grownups wrong.

2. Parents by and large are less computer savvy than their children. This being the case it makes perfect sense that the first thing a kid is going to do when they find out their parents have installed NetAlert is Google "how to bypass NetAlert".

By my reckoning, if the Australian government had have launched a competition at DefCon offering an $84mil prize for the best software filter they would have received thousands of entries all of which would have been far more secure than the current offering. They may have even forced the 16 yearold to spend 5 maybe 6 hours finding the work around.

Monday, 3 September 2007 set to increase CD sales..

The record industry have been complaining for years about decreased record sales due to internet piracy all the while doing nothing (other than DRM which didn't work out quite how they had hoped) to try and find a way that both consumers and labels can gain from. Well thanks to an Aussie start up there may be away to alleviate the problem that keeps both parties smiling.
LiveBand essentially goes along to concerts (with the approval of the record company of course), records the show, does some mastering then uploads the tracks to their site for people to purchase online and burn to their own CD. So the consumers gets a copy of that "special" show they went to, the record company gets another income stream and the musician hopefully gets a few bucks from the process too. The biggest positive I can see to this though is from the marketing perspective. I am constantly bailed up by friends telling me about the "awesome show" they went to last week and, like looking though someones holiday snaps, its never quite as exciting for me as it is for them. With a service like this I can actually hear the recording, get a feel for the band and possibly become a convert.

Its a very simple concept and one that I can certainly see taking off once their list of acts starts to build up but I am honestly surprised that the record companies failed to come up with this themselves rather choosing to whine about lost sales every chance they get.

Friday, 31 August 2007

For the love of gmail

I remember when gmail launched a few years ago and people were begging those in the loop for a gmail invite. 3 years on most of us in IT land have a few gmail addresses and despite the occasional spam that gets though the filter its an amazingly good service. So it comes as no suprise that when the folks at google asked people to make a short clip involving the gmail envelope image for the purpose of creating a mashup video they sure came out of the woodwork to help. You can check out the video below (its kinda cool):-

After watching it I found myself wondering why google has so many people so prepared to get involved despite the fact there is no prize or any real recognition for their efforts and I think its actually pretty simple.

Google offer free products (for the most part) and they really do come across as the type of company that will make something cool, give it away and ask for nothing in return. Many of the Web 2.0 companies have cottoned on to this now and it seems to be working. Advertising revenue follows the most visited sites and google realised eirly on that free services are undoubtedly the best way to make this happen. So google keeps giving and users keep loving them for it.

Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Telstra's Handle on Truth in Advertising

Telstra, Telstra, Telstra. Can nothing go right for Telstra? Today a report in The Age, that Telstra pulled a series of advertisements about its Next G mobile telephone network after the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) raised concerns regarding the validity of particular statements. The statements in question – “Everywhere you need it" and "Get the coverage you need" were of particular interest to the ACCC.

When the ACCC head, Graeme Samuel, says "when the whole of Australia is not covered and coverage is not always available where consumers need it" – it comes across not only as a critic of Telstra’s advertising, its a damning critic of Telstra’s services and products.

No matter what you are selling, a product, service or yourself - you have to be careful in what you promise that you can deliver. Nothing is worse than a “let down”, and nothing destroys integrity and authenticity like false claims and incorrect brand positioning.

On the whole “truth in advertising” topic just a couple of random points:

1. Your Consumers can handle the truth. In fact we crave it and when we don't get we are disappointed.

2. Consumers are great at taking the piss out of you brand - and in the process redefines your brands image...FOR THE WORSE! Check out these good examples from valley of the geeks

3. The Heart Foundation Tick of approval. A friend of mine worked one of the campaigns for the Heart Foundation Tick. The original copy for the ad was "the Heart Foundation Tick - the label that can't be bought". After some due diligence, the lawyers worked out that they couldn't say this, because companies do have to purchase the right to have the tick displayed on their products packaging, even though the food also has to meet other nutritional requirements. That is the label can be bought, and in fact, is bought. So they had to revise to the new tagline: “the tick that can't just be bought". I thought this is good anecdote that highlights sometimes how fickle all this truth in advertising can be. I am sure Telstra will live and learn…well at least live!

Has Adwords already ruined Youtube overlay advertising?

There was once a time in Youtube's life where industry luminaries questioned how a startup that burnt millions each month in bandwidth costs could be financially viable. This was before Google jumped in with their $1.65bil life raft and set the company on the its current path of world domination. The questions went away after this happened and since then very few have given much thought to the problem but undoubtedly it was consistently appearing on agendas in the Googleplex boardroom meetings. Last week google announced they will be offering overlay ads on Youtube videos and more than a few in the advertising world started to wonder if this could be the next Adwords, the next great revolution in online advertising.

There is no doubt that Youtube gets a lot of traffic. This time last year Youtube were serving up 100mil videos each day but taking a closer look at the figures, overlay ads may not be the great white hope they would like it to be. In fact Adwords may just be the reason this never takes off.

The new system charges advertisers $20 per 1000 views and Youtube say they are likely to get between 2.5% and 5% click though on the overlay ad. In the old world of pre-Adwords advertising that would have been fine but thanks to Googles pay-per-click system of advertising advertisers have become accustom to only paying for what they can measure. They like it this way. They can now finally justify their marketing spend.

Of course the 95% of viewers that don't click though are still registering an impression and from a branding point of view that might be all well and good. The problem is advertisers are being asked to go back to the old model of "pay for something you don't see a tangible result from" and this will undoubtedly be a tough pill to swallow.

If you had spent the last few years only paying a spruker per person that enters your store then all of a sudden they said "but I deserve to be paid for the people that will come back another time" would you do it?

Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Gen Y Marketing Podcast - Episode 4

Yes its another installment of the Gen Y Marketing Podcast, episode 4 in fact. A big thank you to Glenn Rogers for dropping by for a chat and of course our usual run down of marketing news.

And check out the Gen Y Marketing Podcast blog, Jake installed a new feed player on the blog so now you can listen to the podcast on the blog. If you like what you hear, subscribe to it in itunes or your other favourite podcatchers.

Ninemsn Cutting Into Video Sharing

So I was playing around on yourcut the other night, just checking out new videos, how you get paid, how videos are hosted…what’s that, you don’t know what I am talking about? Yourcut? Never heard of it? Don’t worry, most people haven’t.
Yourcut is an online video-sharing site that allows people to make money from putting their videos online. Users share revenue with yourcut 50/50. Sounds a little like revver? Well that’s because it essentially is. Revver released their API, and ninemsn used that to develop this site. For a review of the aesthetics of the site, check out online marketing stuff’s review here.

My main problems with yourcut is that ninemsn have kept the ninemsm branding at the top of the page. Apart from looking a little untidy, I don’t want to be reminded that this is ninemsn. They are daggy. Makes it feel like a forty-year-old man dressed up in skate-gear trying to look young. These are vastly conflicting messages being sent out to the user. Ninemsm is a stale brand for young people – the majority of users for video-sharing sites. Having the ninemsn presence on the site will make it seem not fresh and a little too corporate. I can’t see why ninemsn could not create this as a stand alone site, keep their Australian focus, and drive traffic to it from the ninemsn landing page they way they are attempting to do now.

Given the nature for online business these days is that there is very little, or no, prize for being second – ninemes’s reason for undertaking this project surely could not have been to rival youtube. Perhaps ninemsn, with its history and competence is selling ad space through television and print media, are attempting to turn these skills to online videos. It will be interesting to see how well they will do at this. My opinion at this stage is that a 15 second ad for a 30 second clip is too long and a waste of my time.

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Hoyts Red Carpet.

Over the weekend I went to Hoyts Cinema with a friend of mine. We saw the new Michael Moore documentary, Sicko, and despite not hating the film as much as I thought I would, there was something else I found altogether more interesting.

So we waited in line for 15 minutes (50 people, 2 cashiers) to buy our tickets. This was at 7:30pm on a Friday night – so healthy crowds should be expected by Hoyts – surely more than 2 cashiers would help things along. But I will give Hoyts a free pass on that one…

Next, the pre-screening ads and coming attractions. The final ad to screen was an ad for a Hoyts service called Hoyts Red Carpet – their new exciting new concept for online ticket collection. The ad basically consisted of an animation (the pic show on this post) which explained that if you booked your tickets online, you would go to the very top of the queue and never have to wait to purchase tickets. Excellent. Pre-booking can be easy and save time and money its…Hang on! Hang on just a god damn minute!

Lets just stop and consider what this advertisement is really saying. If you purchase tickets the new way, the way Hoyts wants you to, life is sweet and you never have to wait. Super! However, if you book tickets the ‘old’ way, the way you have always purchased tickets – it will be like queuing for bread in Soviet Russia – Hoyts will punish you! (Notice the crowd in the picture – I can’t even see a Cashier attempting to service them).

I am all for organisations trying to reduce cost, improve service delivery and get customers to self-select the most convenient and least costly way of doing business. But punishing people for doing business with you the way they always have, really shows a disdain for the customers.

Does anybody remember when banks went on their crazy cost-cutting bonanza where they closed branches, charged customers for over-the-counter and face-to-face transaction to push customers to use cheaper, less personal transaction methods (like atms and internet banking)? The banks certainly remember. The effect on the banks was to alienate retail banking customers to such an extent that it severely restricted the banks ability to up-sell and cross-sell to higher profit services such as loans and insurance.

The banks eventually came to their senses and stoped punishing customers. Now we see branches re-opening, more managers in branches and a higher level of personalisation for customer service. (I even work for a bank whose new goal is "to be Australia's finest financial services organisation through excelling in customer service"). Perhaps Hoyts will come to their senses too - otherwise we may just all stay at home, download the bit-torrent and watch it on the plasma!

Monday, 13 August 2007

Diet Coke Films goes ABC Sunday Arts

So I promised I would do a follow up on the Diet Coke Films site to see how they had progressed and to be honest if I hadn't said I would do this chances are I would have never revisited the site (it doesn't quite make it to my top 10 favourite web pages).

Diet Coke know their customer pretty well and at the risk of pigeon holing them its 30+ females working in a corporate environment, so it makes me wonder why today's movie got a look in. "Wally the Rainbow Serpent" is a well produced movie don't get me wrong, but I'm not sure that it really suits Diet Cokes core demographic more suited to a 3min break between Robert Hughes review of 20th century American sculptors and a piece on the Western Australia Ballet Company on ABC's Sunday afternoon programming. According to the site this is the second time Diet Coke have run the film (for those who missed it the first time) and has a total 1572 views, a little short of the 162,228 views of a cat rubbing its face on youtube.

So it seems as though the site isn't doing as well as they would have hoped. Hats off to coke for trying the idea, but I get the feeling that they would have been better off employing some true online video content consumers to consult on the project rather than going down the slick marketing path. Deciding to sacrifice usability for the sake of pretty backgrounds and flash animations are unacceptable in my opinion. Youtube is a great site cause its simple and the videos load quickly (and really that's why I'm there to watch the videos) where as the coke site makes me wait for ages for the video to load.. not cool.

Friday, 10 August 2007

Is facebook really a Malcolm Gladwell experiment?

So Gladwell has this bit in his book the tipping point where he talking about how your circle of friends is probably more like a pyramid thanks to the personality types he calls "connectors". A connectors is that person who brings people together, the girl at the party who says "oh you have to come meet my friend...", I'm sure you know the person I am talking about. From a marketing point of view connectors also serve a integral purpose of evangelising your business to others always introducing people to your products and services. If you want a better explanation, chapter 2 of The Tipping Point can sort you out.

So Facebook has the "how did you meet" function that I find to be a pretty interesting read. For the most people are linked by "they went to school together" or "they met randomly" but every so often when looking down a list of someones friends you find the recuring message "they met though [mutual friend]". This mutial friend is a connector, the more times they appear in this field the better connector they are. As much as I hate marketers invading social networking sites trying to turn the thing into an Amway-esque sales loop, I can certainly see the value that can be gained by marketers speaking directly to these people.

So someday someone will find a way to view the people on facebook who top the charts in the "they met through [mutual friend]" and marketers will realise they can just focus on these individuals and stop wasting money pitching their brand message to someone that will tell no one.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Fragmentation and Advertising Value

So I listened to the Cameron Reilly interview with Geoffrey Bowll, Managing Director of Melbourne based ad agency Starship today. Excellent interview! Two intelligent guys, not afraid to call a spade a shovel. Definitely give it a listen. And thanks to Jake to bringing it to our attention :)
One thing Geoffrey Bowll was talking about in the podcast was, with the decline in TV audiences and increasing media and audience fragmentation, how this could be used by advertisers and marketers to their advantage.

Consider a simple (crude example). Suppose a clothing manufacturer has two choices to advertise their products;
TV ads and Podcast sponsorship.

TV ads: cost of ad airtime = $20,000 for 1,000,000 views or eyeballs.
So, disregarding notions of brand awareness and loyalty etc, for this ad to just break-even (at an industry standard 10% EBIT return on Sales) it would require $200,000 worth of sales. If we assumed each purchase for a person was approx. $50, that would be 4000 customers, from that one ad, that would need to be compelled to purchase the product to achieve an acceptable ROI on the advertising expense.
To break-even:
TV ad rate of return per set of eyeballs is $0.2 (each person who sees the ad needs to spend approx 20 cents on your product to break-even)
TV ad conversion rate needs to be 0.4%, which is the percent of people who saw the ad that need to buy the product to break-even, (given an average purchase price of $50 per person).

Podcast sponsorship: Now let’s consider the alternative. Suppose there was a podcast dedicated to fashion. This podcast has a modest audience of about 30,000 listeners. Rremember people who are listening to a fashion dedicated podcast are most likely fashion enthusiast, industry people and early adopters - a marketer’s wetdream.

Ok, so the audience is small but the cost of the sponsorship will be small also. Let’s say the cost of sponsorship is $1000 per podcast episode (this is an upper range estimate - the rate for most popular podcast is $25 per thousand listeners / downloader’s).
To break-even the podcast ad would need to generate $10,000 worth of sales. This gives us the following to break-even figures:
Podcast ad rate of return per set of eyeballs is $0.33
Podcast ad conversion rate needs to be 0.67%

If you are aiming to get 4 people out of every 1000 people who see your TV ad to purchase your product (with the likely TV audience a scattered demographic), getting 7 out of every 1000 people who hear you podcast ad, with an audience that you know is interested in a similar topic, likes to support the "free podcast” they are receiving and are generally early adopters, seems like a walk in the park.

My advice to anyone considering moving from traditional media advertising to new alternatives: Give it a try on a small scale. Build in tools and applications that enable you to track results. The small cost of new media makes it a small risk in which you can easily track the results.

And for those that think fragmentation and the shift from traditional media is not happening, check this article on Afterworld. Afterworld is the first television series to be made available on mobile phones and the web simultaneously, created by three-time Emmy-nominated producer Stan Rogow.

Big Kevin07

I plan on two posts today. That’s right, you heard me, two post on the same day. Value for money blog today. ...unprecedented on this blog.

1. Kevin07

I have mentioned before the ways that Australians are utilising new media and social networks for the upcoming federal election (in particular with Myspace Impact - see here). Now Kev (no Rudd anymore) has his own very web2.0'ie' site, Kevin07, that brings all his online efforts together.

It’s a nice little site, feels more like a fan site than a party site, and does a good job at showing the personal side of all this politicking. Check out some cool blogs that talk about it in a little more detail (and some would argue credible analysis than I have here :))

Social Media in Australian
Laurel Papworth

I will just say, with the leaked Liberal party pollster report, continuing poor polling results for Howard and the way that Kev's has been accepted in the media (both "mainstream" and alternative social media) - it seems to me that Kevin Rudd for PM has crossed, what Gladwell refers to as, the tipping point. The point of wide and default acceptance, where it seems that people have decided already that Kevin will be the next Prime Minister. This enables people to emotionally invest further with Kevin as the acceptance deepens and widens (oooh I just love it when marketing actually applies to the real world!)

Just In...Someone at work just pointed out to me that since Big Kev died last year, there has been a Kevin-void in society that is being filled by Mr. Rudd. How much time after Big Kevs death do we need to let pass before we can start calling Rudd "Big Kev

Monday, 6 August 2007

Cameron Reillys interview with Geoffrey Bowll.. definitely worth a listen

Every now and then one of the guys I work with questions me about my ability to sleep with my eyes open being that I can sit dead still at my desk not moving a muscle. Alas I am yet to master the art of open eyed sleep, more often than not my motionless existence is the result of me being captivated by a podcast. Today was one of those days as my full attention was focused on Cameron Reilly's interview with Geoffrey Bowll, Managing Director of Melbourne based ad agency Starship. I have read back though Bowll's articles in Marketing Magazine with great interest and been very impressed with his views on the marketing landscape, so getting a chance to listen to him speak was highly anticipated and I was not disapointed.

Having spent quite some time absorbing various marketing blogs and podcasts, I often wonder if the marketing gurus who produce such content actually believe all the bullshit they are spouting. I regularly find myself disheartened by the industry that seems to have such a high opinion of itself and this is why I found Bowll's interview so refreshing. He has a very down to earth approach to marketing, makes some very honest assessments of the industries future and seems to understand that marketers don't have all the answers. For this reason I highly recommend anyone who is vaugley interested in marketing to check out Cameron Rilley's interview with him.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Telstra blocks facebook

So Telstra has got some more headlines in the news this week. It seems the have blocked their employees (all 49,000 of them) from accessing the social networking site facebook. Check the article on techcrunch.

For a company that should be at the cutting edge of technology (and perceived that way by both employees and users) and encouraging consumers to get online, this is a ridiculously short-sighted decision from the management boffins at Telstra.

Telstra (or any company for that matter), aside from the fact that they should be trying to ensure employees are treated respectfully and engaged with, should be encouraging their employees to use the products that the company either sells or actively enables (obviously as a Broadband internet provider this would include all the cool things that one might be able to do and interact with online).

Get you employers immersed in your business, submerged in the industry of you business and in love with what your companies products and services can do to enhance their lives and experiences. Encourage them to experiment, look for insights, build social networks and share ideas. This way not only will your employees be true advocates for your company and brand (imagine an entrenched sales culture at every point of your organisation) but they will constantly be looking for better ways, everyday, to do their job and run your business.

Wednesday, 1 August 2007

A lesson from The Merchants of Cool

So today I was watching the PBS documentary "the merchants of cool" and despite the fact that a lot has changed since 2001 when the doco was aired (Malcolm Gladwell's hairstyle being one of them), it still has some very relevant messages for marketers.

The doco looks at how marketers are doing everything they can to infiltrate the teen landscape in an effort to integrate their marketing message into pop culture thus associating their brand with whats considered "cool". But this brings about the problem, when the drivers of "cool", the early adopters, see what ever it is they are currently into start appearing in the main stream, the "cool" very quickly wears off.

It would be easy to point the finger at marketers as being responsible for ruining what is "cool" but if we wind the clock back to the days before marketers were scientifically employing psychological trickery to coax money from the pockets of the unsuspecting consumer, this phenomenon was alive and well.

The prime example of this is how music trend move through history. There is a good reason why kids todays aren't sitting around listening to Benny Goodman big band albums (well actually some of them are, but for a different reason) and thats because somewhere along the line this style of music was no longer "cool" and thus music progressed to a new sound. This happened again and again right through the last century from rock and roll to punk to disco to rap, etc.. it just goes on and on. As marketers this may seem a little frustrating, but its actually quite the blessing. There will come a day when walking around with an ipod and uploading pictures to your facebook page will be so unbeleavabley uncool that kids will be rolling their eyes at their parents for even saying such a thing out loud and when that day comes marketers will be miles away frustraitedly working on how to integrate their message with whatever IS cool on that day. So for marketers, this constant cycle will ensure the business of marketing will exist for many years to come..

Friday, 27 July 2007

PlayBoy beauty products..

So I was just walking through Bourke St Myer at lunch time and my eye got caught by a display for Playboy Beauty. My first thought: “Since when do girls take their fashion cues from porn stars”. And, yes, I do realise the impact that the porn industry has had on popular culture. But beauty products?

Just think about this for a second. Playboy was a porn magazine. Now it sells women’s fashion and cosmetics. I actually think Playboy Beauty is really quite excellent. I think it says a lot about the nature of brands and the role of marketers in positioning brands.

Hugh Heffner didn’t set out for Playboy to become the Disney of the Porn Industry. It evolved that way. That’s right; you heard me, the Playboy brand evolved. Now I am not going to go on a spiritual-marketing preach about how brands are living, breathing orgasms (I mean organisms). So long as people, trends, tastes, technology and opinions change and evolve - so too will brands.

As taste and attitudes to porn changed, and the cult of Heffner and the Playboy bunny/mansion grew, Playboy was flexible enough with its positioning to capitalise on this. It allowed people to view the Playboy brand differently and in new ways. In doing so, Playboy was constantly sending new and revised brand messages that were more closely aligned to the changing consumer perceptions of pornography, sexuality and the Playboy Brand.
I was wondering what other industries / markets Playboy could move into. Funeral homes. Hospitals. Sports Gear. Trucks. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

ripple makes a splash for charity

Melbourne based startup ripple launched recently and seem to be making quite a splash in the philanthropic pond. The site offers two separate services the first being really quite simple, companies partner with ripple to provide advertising (usually in the form of flash based ads). Every time the advertisement is viewed the revenue is donated to one of 4 different charities working to fight poverty. This is kinda cool, especially when you realise that 1 click can provide 1 person in the developing world clean drinking water for 6 days and with this in mind watching the ad that subsequently showed on my screen really wasn't that bad (I would much rather be watching the ad than being thirsty in the 3rd world). The second part of the site is, for me, the real reason why this site can be successful..

Rather than using Google for your search results, you can set the ripple sponsored search site as your home page. The page returns the exact same results as your ordinary Google search but the revenue earned from the searching goes to ripple who pass on 100% of the money to the charities.

The thing I really love about this site is that the creators (Matt Tilleard, Simon Griffiths and Jehan Ratnatunga) have come up with a way for the general public to continue using one of the worlds most popular services (Google search) and do their bit for the global community without any inconvenience to the user whatsoever.

At last count they had 1,364 members in their Facebook group, but I have no doubt this will continue to grow rapidly and hopefully result in some decent revenue for their charity.

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Happy Tuesday - Google Doodle, The Wind and Gizmoz.

I wanted to start the day off on a positive note. So I thought I would bring up a couple of things i think are pretty cool…

1. The 'Doodle 4 Google' competition - Google is asking Australian school kids to come up with a Google doodle for next Australia Day. It is running it as a competition with prizes to the winning school of $10,000 of tech gear.
I like this. It is a very simple way to engage with a particular user segment (schools and kids). It provides the creators with a real benefit (its a design project schools can do, there is a prize and the winning entry will get BIG exposure). Provides a real sense of locality presence (makes Google seem more Australian). Agreed its not revolutionary - but just goes to show that user engagement and UGC can be easily done. Give and thou shalt receive!

2. The Wind Ad. I keep going on about this ad. I am showing work colleagues, friends - even mentioned it in the podcast (which you can check out the second instalment of!). Ad for energy co. in Germany. One awards. It is clever. Expensive idea, inexpensive execution!
3. Gizmoz. Check this site out. Nothing super special here. Just a nice little idea and some good fun to be had.

Now that I have got all that out of my system I can proceed with the rest of the day being cynical, critical and abusive! Hooray!

If you want to hear us go the hack, we lay into Telstra and Diet Coke in Episode 2 of the Gen Y Marketing podcast.
What can I say...easy targets I guess!
Cheers, Nat.

Sunday, 22 July 2007

Gen Y Marketing Podcast now available though iTunes

I know, I know.. You have all been waiting with baited breath for the next installment of the Gen Y Marketing Podcast and wondering "why cant I find it on iTunes?"...

Well finally we have sorted out some "technical issues" and I am pleased to announce that the Gen Y Marketing Podcast is now available though iTunes. The best bit is you don't even need to search for it, if you have iTunes installed all you need to do is click this link and it will automatically load iTunes and take you to the subscribe page (ain't technology grand!)

If your using another RSS tool to keep up up with whats going on in the world, the RSS feed is available here.

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Pressing the Online Flesh – MySpace Impact

MySpace recently launched its MySpace Impact channel for politicians and non-profit organizations. It is a space where politicians, political and social organizations can list their official myspace pages.

Compared to places like USA and the UK, Australian politicians have been fairly slow to utilize social media (take a look at Hilary Clinton’s myspace or Barak Obama’s myspace as great examples). And it seems in this case, the Aussie Pollies have been dragged online – kicking and screaming. An interesting note – Labor MPs currently outnumber Liberal MP’s by 2 to 1 on myspace. And John Howard, the Prime Minister, has refused to signup. At last count, only 28 individual federal political candidates for the upcoming election now have official MySpace pages.

Ask any politicians what the value of a personal handshake is? There is a reason why politicians in this day and age still hit the pavement in their local electorates and go door-knocking. Social media enables politicians to make a form of personal contact with voters on a massive scale. In addition it also engages a particular segment of voters – Generation Y and builds on the perception of the politician as a real person, an authentic person and someone open to new ideas.

Check out the table below (that I plan to update every fortnight) regarding how well each of the politicians are utilising this space…

Liberal Party Candidates Total Friends: 616
Liberal Party Number of Myspace Candidates: 5
Labor Party Candidates Total Friends: 9617
Labor Party Number of Myspace Candidates: 10

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Connex Trains to target cure for cancer

On the 26th of July Connex Trains, one of Melbourne's largest providers of public transport will be setting aside $1 from every train ticket sold for the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in their fight against cancer. Its a worthy cause and great to see a company kicking some profits over to help out a non profit, but campaigns such as this always attract the question "is this due to social responsibility or is the company after some positive marketing spin?".

There is no doubt that Connex has had a lot of bad press in recent months so they could certainly use some positive attention but according to their website they are hoping to hand over just $50k to cancer research, a figure im sure is not too far off what it has cost them to put together the television advertising campaign, change the print on the tickets, etc. But them if Connex put out a press release saying "we just gave $50,000 to cancer research" would anyone notice?

The thing that I find strange is that according to this document, just one of the 16 lines that Connex runs, handles 60,000 passengers per day. With a few rough calculations (number of passengers for each line, minus the number of pre purchased tickets, etc) 50K sounds a little low.

Friday, 13 July 2007

Gizmoz avatars to take centre stage at the MTV music awards

So it seems that the new animated avatar site Gizmoz have teamed up with Taco Bell to create a user generated advertising campaign which will apear in this years MTV Music Awards. Whilst there seems to be no prize money involved, this is a great opertunity to raise the profile of gizmoz at the same time giving Taco Bell an inexpensive advertising avenue that takes the user community under their wing.

The competition goes a little somthing like this. Members of Gizmoz use the sites to create an animated 3d figure based on a photograph of themselves, they then use the animated avatar to create a 30sec add spot for entry into the competition. I was a little sceptical when I first had a play with the Gizmoz technology assuming that it would not work quite as well as the demo clip, but it turns out the technology behind the site actually does quite a good job of compiling a 3d image of ones face and animating it with eyebrow and mouth movements to give life to the figure.

From an advertising point of view its quite a smart move from Taco Bells marketing department. By asking users to create a CGI ad Taco Bell can avoid problems such as shakey camera work, bad lighting, etc and thus ensure the quality (to an extent) of the entries. How well the final ad is received from the television audience doesnt really matter in this case, the true value of the competition is undoubtedly the time the content creators spend thinking about why they like Taco Bell and what they should say to appeal to new consumers.

Thursday, 12 July 2007

Is Coke Being The Real Thing? Authentic Marketing?

In the previous post Jake mentioned that we would be keeping an eye on the Diet Coke User Generated Video competition. In his next post, Jake will be doing a comprehensive analysis of the site and competition so far. I just wanted to talk about one thing on this site. Check out some of the comments posted for one of the videos in the competitions;
  • I thoroughly enjoyed this production. i felt the need to quench my thirst with the sparkling joy brought on by these performers
  • The walks/struts also gave this production a sense of attitude which, again is another strength of this masterpiece.
  • This is a clever yet friendly approach to the culture and effects of diet coke , for the young , the old and the funky.
  • A good use of a little bit o cash . A lotto FUN.
  • What is funnier than this ad is all the fake positive comments below. Lame.
  • That was drivel. unoriginal, routine, pointless special effects, unfunny, self riotous stereotyping, a bit cruel and pompous.
  • Ah, am curious, how many of the people who commented were involved with this film? Seems that some felt the need to rate it several times...
  • Well! (pause) bit like an advertisement really...

You can find a truck load of blogs talking about how companies artificially inflate traffic stats, monitor and doctor comment, message boards, spam forums.

The reason to get involved in social media and User Generated Content is to present your brand as Authentic. As consumers, that is a big part of what we are all after. Authenticity - or at least the appearance of AUTHENTICITY. This is the reason why I will pay $100 for U2 concert tickets. Use Google over Yahoo. Travel to see the Mona Lisa instead of a print.

Don't destroy these honest, noble attempts to interact with your customers with old dubious marketing techniques. Don't restrict comments. Don't obviously spam comments and message boards. Don't advertise subvertly. YOU WILL BE FOUND OUT. Because of the way social media, blogs and forums works these days, and the level of sophistication and cynicism of consumers, you will stand out like a fart in an elevator.

(check these couple of great post on authenticity by Seth Godin. here and here)

Sunday, 8 July 2007

Can Diet Coke find some love from the Youtube generation?

Diet Coke are dipping their toes into the user generated content arena with a new website showing short films made by local up and coming directors, but can Coke find a place in the hearts of the Youtube generation?

In an era where audiences are embracing the freedom of video on demand, Coke seem to be taking a step backwards in posting one movie each day at the set time of 11am. From what we can gather it seems that Coke are trying to link the morning tea break with their daily video release and this isn't such a bad idea accept for all of those people that take their morning break before 11am. The site is only new so we are yet to see if previous days clips will also be available for viewers to go though at their convenience.

It is interesting to note that Coke have chosen not to dive in the deep end but rather dip their toes into the user generated content pool by keeping control of the videos that appear on their site. This obviously avoids any "negative brand connotation" clips appearing on the site, but many new media marketing experts believe that user generated content initiatives must be totally open, warts and all before users really start getting involved. Companies that enable comments on their corporate blogs run the risk of negative remarks, but part of the appeal of interactive marketing is the company's preparedness to be transparent in interacting with their customers. Those few companies that think they can control their public perception by deleting negative comments soon find themselves berated in dozens of blogs and forums sites.

We will keep an eye on Diet Cokes campaign over the coming weeks and keep you all up to date on this little marketing experiment by one of the worlds biggest companies.

Gen Y Marketing Podcast - Episode 1

So we have been hard at work recording the Gen Y Marketing Podcast of late and its now available for you to listen to here. If feedburner does the job it says it does then it will also be available on iTunes in the comming week or so.

This week on the Gen Y Marketing Podcast we take a look at the following:-

Marketing News this week:-
  • RTA's new ad to target young male drivers
  • 12% of Senior marketers see value in consumer generated content
  • Text my t shirt and the t shirt responds?
  • Greenpeace beams their message to the world
  • 7 eleven joins the Simpsons joke and rebrands to Kwik-e-Mart
Feature Discussion this week:-
  • Ambient Marketing - What works and what doesn't.
Campaign focus:-
  • "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" Ads - preaching to the converted?
  • - making manufacturing sexy?

Thursday, 5 July 2007

BigPond - Customer Service Slobs

A Phone Call I had with Bigpond (Telstra) yesterday

(BigPond / Telstra Phone Rep) Emily: Hello, welcome to Bigpond. How can I help you?
Me: Hi Emily, how are you?
Emily: Good thank you, how can I help you?

Me: I have an DSL home account with bigpond, and I have reached my monthly download limit.
Emily: ok
Me: I was wondering if I could buy a data block to up my speed until the next refreash cycle. Do you guys do Data Blocks
Emily : No we don’t
Me: you don’t
Emily: No
Me: hmmm
Emily: whats a data block?
Me : right. Thank you…

Just another great example of customer service representatives more eager to end a call than provide good customer service and solve a customers problem. Seth Godin does some great post on this (one of my favourites here…)

It is astronomical how many companies are guilty of this. Yes, cost are a concern, but we must realise that every touch point of our organisation is a marketing opportunity (however subtle or instantaneously unfruitful).

Heres an idea – perhaps instead of calling your company's customer servives reps just that, perhaps call them customer problem solvers or customer mechanics, or customer Einsteins. Change your reps view of themselves, how they view their job and how they exceed at their job (satisfiing customers rather than measuring number of calls taken) and make them feel empowered to help people. Its true – but
helping people is rewarding and empowering – even if it is your job.

Aside: for some info on how telstra views its customer reps (and ultimately their customers), check out the Four Corners report here!)

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Can Dave Hughes sell Gen Y on Manufacturing Jobs?

It seems the Australian governments educational push towards a white collar workforce over the last 10 years have left them with a problem. Generation Y'er don't seem to be turning to their parents saying "when I grow up, I want to work in manufacturing!", so to counter this the leaders of our great country have embarked on a novel campaign to entice youngsters back into the field with a website and a TV campaign headed up by none other than Dave Hughes.

Being that this is a marketing blog, I wont go into detail about my thoughts on the future of Australian maufacturing and the influence China has (and will continue to have) on the western world. But I would like to take a closer look at the campaign from a Gen Y marketing perspective.

Dave Hughes may not be the ideal character to promote the cause and heres why:-

Firstly, Hughesy plays up his persona in the media as being the average bloke, the kind of guy you would expect to find working on the factory floor of a cheese factory (a job that his brother actually does), cracking jokes during smoko. But from looking around the Its Your Future site it seems that this is exactly the type of image they are trying to steer the youth away from.

Secondly, as much as Hughesy comes across as the "maunfacturing industry" type of guy, he actually works on the media (with regular spots of TV and his own breakfast radio show) an industry that is very attractive (and consequently overrun) with the current batch of Gen Y'ers seeking a career path. So by making Hughesy as the spokesman on the basis that the youth look up to him the government actually runs the risk of steering kids up a totally non-manufacturing path.

That said its great to see a guy who has spent years doing stand up routines about his life on the dole now being employed by the government to promote kids getting a job.

Monday, 2 July 2007

Zune, Iphone - Keep it Simple!

What’s the exchange rate between a Zune point and an American dollar? Equals the ratio of Unicorns to Leprechauns! (Courtesy The Office NBC)

Does anyone own a Zune? I have not seen a single person with one. If you did own one, I wonder how much value you are getting from the wireless sharing function (Not much I would guess). But I digress…
My real problem with the Microsoft Zune is the online store. The geniuses at Microsoft decided that consumers found simplicity, well…too simple. So in an attempt to hit a nice sounding price point for customers, they introduced “Zune points”.
Ok so a single track from the Zune market place cost 79 points. One Zune point equal one cent, right? WRONG! Works out one point equals 1.25 cents (roughly), (which would mean one track equals 98.75 cents, hey that’s better than itunes store – best not to market this simply to consumers – could result in increased sales!!!).
Is money as a form of exchange too simple for the geniuses over at Microsoft? KEEP IT SIMPLE!!! Seems like they forgot to run this past the Department of Common Sense. Is it just me, or does Dwight Shrutt look a little like Bill Gates?
It seems companies are getting so caught up in design simplicity, and design capabilities as the best way to deliver value to consumers. But processes have to be simple too. It must be simple to buy, activate and start using your product to.

Another culprit is Apple….
I guess we have all read about the problems that people are having trying to activate their iphones.
From what I have heard the iphone is nice to use. It doesn’t have everything (nor does the ipod) but it is user friendly on the whole. With one design flaw: it needs to be activated to be used.

Despite network connection problems (which a lot of people seem to be having) the activation process seems quite convoluted. . Buyers need access to a Mac or PC computer running Apple's iTunes software, a connection to the Apple online music store and a valid American Social Security number. Read BL's post for some good information on these problems.
Seems Apple got caught up in their design bubble and forgot about the foundations of their recent successes – Simplicity. It’s great for a product to be simple to use, but if you can’t buy it, turn it on or activate it simply, then all the nice design in the world doesn’t help Joe Q with his un-activated phone.