Thursday, 28 June 2007

NetRegistry end of year sale - A great campaign or a desperate grab for cash?

When I received the following email from the General Manager of Net Registry I wasn't quite sure how to take it..

This has been an exceptional year for NetRegistry. Having surpassed all our financial targets for 2007 I would like to reward both NetRegistry staff for their exceptional performance this year, and also reward our valued customers.

From now until 5pm Friday June 29, I am authorising our sales consultants to accept any reasonable offer for ANY NetRegistry service (except domain names) with all net revenue going directly to NetRegistry staff as a bonus.

As you can imagine they are very excited by this and standing by to take offers. Just call on 1800 78 80 82 and make an offer to secure yourself a great deal to help you grow your business online.

Best Regards,
Larry Bloch
Chief Executive Officer

On one hand I think its a great marketing ploy. If a sales team has indeed exceeded the sales targets for the year then this would be a great way to reward them, and even if they are technically limited to a moderate discount, its still a great way to get customers on the phone talking to their sales staff. On the other hand the sceptic in me wonders if this is the sign of a sinking ship struggling to make targets before end of financial year.

Regardless, an email from the CEO of a company is far more likely to be read than one coming from salesteam@Xcompany, and I applaud them for trying something different.

Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Has Diggnation uncovered the secret to successful IPTV advertising?

For anyone who has ever watched Diggnation (the IPTV show comprising of Kevin Rose and Alex Albrecht sitting on a couch staring at their laptops talking about the most popular stories on Digg in the past week) there is no doubt that had they pitched this to a network executive they would have been shown the door in the first 5 minutes. But each week 250 thousand people download the show and for the advertising pioneers who have loaded up the wagons and taken their ad spend over to Digg land, they are getting far more than they bargained for.

Diggnation offer their sponsors an advertising system that would send shivers down the spine of most media buyers. The ads all appear in one block at the end of the show, presented by the hosts themselves in a loosely scripted manner with no guarantee that the brand message will be concisely articulated and they employ no flashy CGI or smooth as silk voice overs. So what's the advantage for companies like to GoDaddy advertise with them? Unlike traditional commercials people actually watch them! Not only do viewers stick around to watch the 2 hosts bumble though their sponsorship announcements (which are usually just as entertaining as the rest of the show) their is also a feeling of obligation from the viewer to support the company that supports the show. Digg watchers are no doubt aware of how difficult it is for net cast shows like this get sponsorship and the more Rose and Albrecht position themselves as "the little guys" of broadcast television the more their viewers feel like helping them out in any way they can. If this means checking out the sponsors website or mentioning their name here and there then so be it. After all "any friend of Diggnation is a friend of mine".

So is it worth it for the advertisers? definitely. They may be tapping into a smaller audience than a 30second ad spot during prime time, but they can be sure that the viewers will watch the ad, pay attention to the offering and given the opportunity support the company that's supporting the show they love.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

Cat and Mouse - How Facebook marketers risk chasing away users

The concept of "cool" is a fickle thing. For the cutting edge trend setters its a constant game of cat and mouse trying to stay ahead of the crowd, for the moment they all arrive what was once "cool" now becomes tepid.

I read a post on the Duct Tape Marketing blog about Facebooks new open API and how there is now an "opportunity" for marketers and small business to get in on the massive popularity of Facebook. The question here is, now that the cats have arrived, how long till the mice move on?

The open API is a good idea don't get me wrong, but more from a tech point of view than for any "business opportunity" reasoning.
Mark Zuckerberg has said that he wants facebook to become somewhat of a platform for social networking and by opening up the system, he is well on his way to making this happen as developers start making cute little widgets to integrate into the facebook platform. But by flinging open the front door to marketers, Facebook runs the risk of driving off the trend setters and with them the masses.

Its unfortunate but the bulk of the marketing world is always going to be one step behind croud. The reason being that marketers wait until the crowd arive before they see any value in getting involved. Consumers are getting smarter by the minute and the opertunistic approach taken by the marketing fraternity is becoming more and more obvious. As long as marketers continue to take this approach the marketing cats will continue to find the trend setting mice frustratingly out of reach..