Archive for December, 2008

More Tweets to Follow

December 24, 2008

Want to get daily insightful insights that give you insight into insightful marketing strategies? Or want to know really important things, like if I had enough eggs to make omelets the other day? Then follow me on Twitter by clicking on my photo here.

You can still follow Chris on Twitter, too, by clicking his photo at the same page.

Putting the Marketing Pieces Together When the Economy is Down

December 22, 2008

hand-and-puzzle

The sky isn’t falling – but it sure feels like it when you hear the economic news every day. And that causes a lot of businesses and not-for-profits to put the halt on marketing and advertising.

But slower economic times are the perfect time to market. If your competitors aren’t marketing, you can pick up their marketshare. If you don’t, it’s a pretty good bet that some savvy person elsewhere will.

The key is to ensure you’re getting a return on investment from the marketing dollars you do spend. That means implementing trackable and measurable programs with every piece of marketing you do.

Why not put custom web addresses on each type of your advertising and then look at your web stats to see what’s driving traffic? Then you can make adjustments based on real facts – not hunches.

Another tip: focus on e-Marketing. It’s less expensive, more effective, and trackable. And with Tivo, satellite radio and the web devaluing traditional media more every day, strong e-Marketing is a better way to effectively connect with your customers, clients or donors.

Want to see how good e-Marketing and new media can work? Check out our website or contact Bijoy at bijoy@grafiqa.com to talk about it in person.

Burning Permission ESPN-style

December 20, 2008

I’m out of the norm at GrafiQa. I love sports. Really, really love ’em.

The NY Mets dominate my April through September (I’d be happier if it was April through October but it just doesn’t seem meant to be lately). It made 14 year old Bijoy’s decade when they located their AA team, the Binghamton Mets, in my hometown in 1992.

Sadly for me, the Cincinnati Bengals dominate my – well, not very long each fall since they perpetually stink.

Anyway, I get ESPN The Magazine because I read ESPN.com several days a week and want to get the latest baseball buzz in the middle of winter by seeing the pay-section Rumor Central (to see what #5 starter the Mets will settle on). Along with signing up for The Insider, I get a subscription to The Magazine.

I received my latest issue today. It’s all about how EVERY BOWL GAME MATTERS (as in college football bowl games).

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Now, I’m not a huge fan of college football. But I’m such a sports dork that I know what games matter and what don’t. Just about every b0wl game DOESN’T MATTER because of the asinine BCS system.

I also watch enough SportsCenter to know that ESPN carries nine million bowl games over the next few weeks.

So it’s clear to me as a professional marketer that The Magazine is pushing for ratings – not pushing to interest me as a sports reader.

That’s disappointing.

Don’t get me wrong – I understand that ESPN (and ABC, it’s parent company; and Disney, ABC’s parent company) are crazy serious marketers.

I just hate that my guilty pleasure on such a base level has been tarnished. The stuff I want to read about because it’s important in the sports world has been encroached on by less meaningless stuff that ESPN wants to promote for ratings.

Whoever is in charge of ESPN The Magazine is burning the rest of ESPN’s Permission with me.

Advertising and Social Media

December 18, 2008
the Brooklyn Museum's ArtShare application on Facebook allows users to share art and connect with museums.

the Brooklyn Museum's ArtShare application on Facebook allows users to share art and connect with museums.

Over the weekend, the New York Times ran a good article about the current state of advertising on social media sites. The upshot: the average person goes to a social media site to be social, not to consume advertising or befriend laundry detergent.

I think one thing that is frustrating traditional “advertisers” is the fact that social media works much more on the old PR model, and that marketing/advertising/PR are becoming less and less distinct disciplines in this environment.

For real though – who is going to be an active contributor to Tide’s corporate page? Who has the time? The challenge for brands is being creative and delivering – yes, I’m going to use those two magic words again – valuable content. Apparently that doesn’t include a gallery of “America’s Favorite Stains.”(ps it’s a work-safe link.)

On the other hand, it will take a while, but behavior on Facebook will likely include shopping one day. I came very close to shopping at the Met’s store for a Christmas present because of an ad on Fb. I clicked through to the site and browsed. For me, that’s as much of a conversion as they’ll ever get because I am, at the end of the day, very cheap. I’ll go back after the holidays and buy ornaments for gifts for next year. I’m in that, much reviled-by-my-own-profession demographic.

And while Tide’s stain-o-rama page has fewer than 500 fans, the Met’s page? More than 35,000, including me. And I get valuable information about events and exhibits right there in my notifications, without having to search it out.

And if you want to talk about being really valuable to your constituents, look at the Brooklyn Museum’s ArtShare application, which allows people and museums who are passionate about art to share it on Facebook. It’s that kind of thinking that will win you a Groundswell Award, as well as distinction as an innovator in your field and exposure to an audience that might never have heard of you otherwise.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to share some Hopper with friends.

Tweet, tweet…it’s your brand flying across the park on Twitter

December 18, 2008

Is Twittering going to work for business and marketing? Still yet to be determined in a meaningful way. There are lots of opinions on it out there. Here’s one now.

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We like Twitter. Want to know what we’re up to? Sign up to follow Chris’ tweets by clicking on his photo here.

Is Online Writing Real Writing?

December 11, 2008

Seth Godin had a really interesting post today about how the Pulitzer Prize committee is finally getting (sort-of) hip to the fact that online writing is making a huge difference in the world – and is, therefore, worthy of being recognized with their fancy-schmancy award. The screwy part is that only writing associated with big outlets will be considered.

The web is a huge place. A lot of the content on it obviously isn’t associated with those big outlets. And a lot of important work is happening outside those big outlets.

Here in GrafiQa Land, a lot of our clients are having great success positioning their businesses or not-for-profits as the leading experts in their fields through business blogs or e-news tools. Some of them have experienced such success that we think they should get an award. I guess it just won’t be the Pulitzer.

Unalam Website Launched

December 11, 2008

We just launched the website for Unadilla Laminated Products (Unalam) – www.unalam.com . Unalam creates laminated beams for a variety of impressive structural applications.

Branding Green

December 9, 2008

Here‘s an interesting post from the folks over at Brand Curve about branding business in enviro-friendly ways:

We’ve been down this road before working on marketing materials with BYO-GON, which makes environmentally friendly cleaning products.

It’s an interesting topic – and definitely one that will only continue to generate more interest in the near future.

The Guns N’ Roses Brand and Natural vs. Artificial Exclusivity

December 5, 2008

One of the big recent fads in the music industry – especially for older acts trying to recapture former glory – is exclusive sales of new albums at certain big-box stores.

AC/DC just released “Black Ice” at Wal-Mart and one of my favorite bands of all-time, Guns N’ Roses, did it last week with “Chinese Democracy” at Best Buy (though they at least also offered tracks through iTunes, too).

Is it a good idea to create this artificial exclusivity?

I don’t know what kind of financial deals AC/DC or GnR got from Wal-Mart and Best Buy so who knows if it was good for their pocketbooks. But, as fans and consumers, it’s bad for us.

Like I said, I love GnR. Grew up on them. Learned to play guitar to “Appetite for Destruction”. Couldn’t get enough then. Even had my first date with my wife at a GnR concert (though it was the strange 2003 version).

 

A lot has changed from 1988 to 2008....

A lot has changed from 1988 to 2008....

 

But I was ticked that I had to drive 70 miles to spend my money to buy “Chinese Democracy” because my hometown doesn’t have a Best Buy. (Of course, I could have downloaded the album on iTunes but there’s something really primally satisfying about holding the actual album of rock in your actual hands.)

So Axl, Best Buy and Universal Music Group got my $14.99 (x2). That means that my brand loyalty to GnR was so high that I was willing to drive lengthy distances and overcome my annoyed-ness at having to do so.

But, if they do it again (hopefully not with a long 13 year wait again), my loyalty will fade a bit more.

A good brand creates a good gut feeling when you think about it.

Listening to the album (well, most of it at least) gives me that good gut feeling. But my experience purchasing it – forking over my money – sure didn’t.

I wasn’t the only one. “Chinese Democracy” debuted at #3 on the charts. 267K albums is certainly respectable – but it’s disappointing for what used to be the world’s biggest band.

Natural exclusivity can be great. But artificial exclusivity just alienates your customers and gives you short-term rewards for long-term loss of brand loyalty.

(I’ll save you my full review of the album – but the short of it is that I’m pretty happy minus a few duds. Here is Rolling Stone’s review if you’re interested)