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Content Marketing. Now In Your Patagonia Catalog.

Content Marketing. Now In Your Patagonia Catalog.

Cool to see bona fide content in Patagonia’s clothing catalog. This spread starts off with a piece by Bill McKibben: “If there were seven wonders of the world’s destruction, the tar sands complex in Alberta might well be the first.” Sober stuff when you’re trying to decide to buy a $500 mountaineering jacket.

patagonia-catalog

Question is: Does this engender or foment “vicarious goal fulfillment”?

That’s fancy psych talk for when this critical content makes the consumer feel good about himself — that he is now current on eco news — to the extent that he allows himself to buy lots of (read: unnecessary) clothes. This is similar to how the inclusion of salads on fast food menus actually increases the consumption of Big Macs.

 

I Just Got ‘Warm Transferred’. It’s A Southern Thing.

I Just Got ‘Warm Transferred’. It’s A Southern Thing.

I dig language. I dig analyzing human interaction. And I dig marketing. That actually means every interaction with every business is like a moment in the lab for me.

So I hit a triple play today when I was on the phone with a State Farm customer service rep. The rep told me she wanted to get me to speak to someone from my state. She said: “Let me warm transfer you to someone in PA.”

Dingdingdingding.

My prefrontal cortex woke up with a jolt. I have honestly never heard this before.

I knew of course what it meant: to be transferred to another agent with a live agent-to-agent hand off. Of course there should be a word for that!

Shouldn’t all transfers be ‘warm’?

This is customer service gold. Use it — do it! — and your customers will be delighted.

So at the end of the call, when she asked me if I had any other questions, I checked in with her: “Did you say ‘warm transfer’?

Yes, she said bemusedly. She then politely explained what it meant and added: “It’s a Southern thing, I guess.”

Well, that makes it twice as nice.

 

What’s the Return On Putting Your Pants On In the Morning?

What’s the Return On Putting Your Pants On In the Morning?

If you’re a marketer and are wondering how worth your time it is (and your budget) to go after the infinite social media channels out there, consider what that presidential candidates are doing this year (as reported by the New York Times in Campaigns Use Social Media to Lure Younger Voters):

Worth it?

Jan Rezab, the chief executive of Socialbakers, has an interesting reply: “What’s the return on putting your pants on in the morning? We don’t know… but we just know it’s bad if you don’t do it.”

This is a pretty cool riff on the ubiquitous and probably apocryphal “don’t know which half” quote from department store magnate John Wannamaker:  “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I don’t know which half.”

But it seems like maybe the half here that’s in question — the social media one — could actually be paying off.

Coye Cheshire, an associate professor at the School of Information at the University of California at Berkeley, suggested that updates might very well be a simple way to see how a candidate measures up to themselves.

“It is important for people to know whether or not a huge political figure shares the same taste as me,” said Dr. Cheshire, who studies behavior and trust online. “And creating a playlist on Spotify is part of what makes them seem more human.”

Don’t leave home without your pants. It’s one of those things you just have to do — same goes for social media.

 

Uberconference’s Beta Gamification Is Kinda Awesome

Uberconference’s Beta Gamification Is Kinda Awesome

Uberconference is the new kid on the block for online meetings. It looks like it’s gonna kick WebEx in the shins–if not in the mouth. So, yeah, I did this:

Uberconference's join beta input field

Uberconference’s Beta Sign-Up Form

 

And that brought me to this brilliant little game: Promote my interest in Uberconfernce and get points. Get enough and I get ‘to the front of the line’.

That’s pretty smartypants. And damn simple. Wonder if they did an A/B test–and what the lift is.

It’s scavenger hunt-esque.

Uberconference's Beta Invitation Gamification

Uberconference’s Beta Invitation Gamification

This also makes me think of the amount of time it took to build this company vs. WebEx. I’m sure it’s a multiple of 10.

 

 

If You Want To Contact Us, Don’t Reply To The Email We Just Sent You

Really. That’s what it says at the bottom of an email I just received from Starbucks–subject line: “We’d like to know a bit more about you — it’ll only take a minute.”

Actually, here’s the whole thing:

“This email is sent from an account we use for sending messages only. So if you want to contact us, don’t reply to this email – we won’t get your response. Instead, use this web form or mail your comments to PO Box 34067, Seattle, WA 98124-1067. Thanks.”

Where did this marketing convention come from? It is THE MOST NATURAL THING TO DO to hit reply in response to an incoming email. If companies want to hear from us–We the Customer–then why don’t they make it easy for us? Instead they totally buck the way we all operate.

Sheer bewilderment.

 

Yeah, “Cellphone” Isn’t Really the Right Word

Today’s New York Times has a thought-provoking piece on cellphones–That’s No Phone. That’s My Tracker–that’s worth five minutes of your time.

The Take Away: Sometimes the name for a thing can cloak a lot of complexity. Not suggesting a conspiracy here–but cellphones do track your position, your spending, who you call and probably a hundred other things. And, be honest, we all don’t read the Terms of Service for all the apps we’ve downloaded.

So, what is my iPhone?

Best I can surmise is that it’s like those black boxes/flight recorders that are bolted in plane cockpits that record everything. The difference–and it’s a huge one–is that we don’t own the data like the airlines own the data. They own the planes–they deserve the data. But who owns all that data that’s being emitted from my phone every second if not millisecond? It’s most likely no single entity–it’s a bunch of disparate entities. It’s still disconcerting.

But, wait. Does it matter?

Don’t I like the convenience, the offers (savings?), the entertainment, the… dare I say it… distraction? Besides, isn’t our freedom locked in sufficiently to let me kind of ignore this stuff?

Hmm.

In the past, do you remember how some families chose not to be listed in the phone book?

That kind of anonymity seems almost antediluvian.

I actually wrote this post so I could use that word 🙂

 

Mobile + Social Has Got to Get Faster and More Meaningful

Mobile + Social Has Got to Get Faster and More Meaningful

Just took the girls out to breakfast at the Classic Diner in Malvern, PA and besides having great food and a zany time, I had a social media epiphany after seeing this:

Restaurant receipt and social media

Social media – a half start

 

Kudos for the Classic Diner for getting their social media Calls-to-Action (CTA) on their receipts–a great engagement point–but they should have gone a step further. But, really, it’s not all their fault–the industry has to step up a bit too. Let me explain:

The restaurant could have added short URLs–or better yet a QR code (although this would have precluded perhaps having two CTAs). But what would really create a tipping point is a one-step action that creates a better connection to the consumer. I think two things have to happen:

1. Mobile phones have to build QR tech right into the camera.

2. Businesses have to focus and decide what their engagement goal is.

If I had my way, Classic Diner clients would see a QR code on this receipt and by snapping a photo of it they would automatically ‘like’ the restaurant on Facebook. Or, better than that, they would sign up to receive direct–perhaps even custom–offers right from the restaurant.

Bottom line: businesses should make the connection experience radically simple and super meaningful.

 

5000 Interviews, 5000 Errors: Social Media Let’s Famous Author–and You–Set the Record Straight

Good, little vid over on TechCrunch about Nicholas Sparks, the bestselling novelist and screenwriter (The Notebook and A Walk To Remember), on how, and more importantly why, he uses social media.

He says something almost in passing that is so critical about social media that often gets missed. Here he is (around 10:24):

“I have close to 1.2M fans on Facebook, for instance. That is my platform so to speak. It’s interesting. It’s a wonderful thing in that I’ve had 5000 articles written about me over the years. I’ve sat through 5000 interviews, right? Virtually every one has errors in them. Just little things. So this is your own platform. You can be who you need to be here.”

This is something that just did not exist before social media–that didn’t exist in earnest even 5 years ago.

Essentially, Sparks creates and directs his own interviews for his fans. This level of control and direct participation is really amazing.

And here’s the video:

Brands 2.0 – Transparency, Not Mythology

I’m new to Douglas Rushkoff, but I’m digging what he’s saying over on FastCompany about the state of ‘brands’ and the future (now!) of marketing.

In short, ditch the inflated and created ‘branding’ that takes place at your org–just be transparent and really good at what you do. BTW: One good example of this is MailChimp.

Rushkoff On “Brands”

[But] it’s not about creating a mythology around the way a product was created, so it’s no longer “these were cookies made by elves in a hollow tree.” That’s not the value of the brand. The value of the brand is where did this actually come from? What’s in this cookie? Who made it? Are Malaysian children losing their fingers in the cookie press or is this being made by happy cookie culture people? At that point, all these companies come to people like me saying, “We want to become transparent. We want a transparent communication strategy.” And I’m like “Well, are you proud of what’s going on inside your company? Are you proud enough to pull up the shades and let people see inside?” It’s that easy.

Every company has a social media strategy whether they know it or not. You can have your dedicated social media person chasing down consumer complaints, but your real social media strategy is how are the people who work at your company and the people who buy from your company and people who supply to your company, how are they talking about you in social media? The way to make them talk about you [favorably] is by walking the walk of the thing that you do. And that’s so hard for so many of these companies because they’ve become so abstracted. They’ve become so distanced from the core competence of their industry. The job of a communicator–or someone like me–is to go in and say, well, just do something. Don’t outsource one thing and then make your company about that.”

Rushkoff On Marketing

In response to: “What will marketing organizations look like in the future?”

It will be companies that figure out how to communicate the non-fiction story of a company, so it’s going to look a lot more like a communications company than a creative branding agency. It’s going to look a little bit more like PR, in some sense. It’s going to be people who go and figure out what does your company do and how do we let the world know about that? There’s going to be a lot of psychology involved, except instead of it being psychologists turned against the consumer, it’s going to be psychologists going in and trying to convince companies that what they’re doing is worthy. It’s breaking down this false need in companies to hide from the public what they’re doing–except for the ones that do (need to hide).

We’re getting back to the basics–and I like it.

Sometimes It Does Make Sense To Advertise Your Business On Your Garbage Can

Sometimes It Does Make Sense To Advertise Your Business On Your Garbage Can

Believe it or not, this makes sense:

It’s a little hard to see, but the little sign is for “Cara’s School of Irish Dance”.  At first glance I thought, “Why would anyone advertise on their own trash can!”

Then I realized where I was and what I was doing: I was pulling two little girls in a red wagon down an alley in my town. Where I come from alleys are a great place to walk–our brick side walks are very bumpy! So, in fact, Cara is pretty smart: she knows how to get in front of the folks she’s targeting (parents from town)–even if that means advertising on a garbage can.

That’s local marketing innovation!