Wednesday, January 30, 2008

IShares ad in wall st journal

Ask a question and grab attention. This is a good example. One critique I have of the ad is that there's not much effort to differentiate or offer a unique, compelling USP. Beautiful use of context, though. The audience is reading the paper. The ad engages them in that specific context. The niche is dead on - it's the investor section of the WSJ.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Consumer electronics as social tool

This kiosk ad at fashion island, ca positions the smart phone as a social networking tool. Expect to see more references to this theme in new ads this year. Social media is a big buzzing topic, and the lines between work and socializing continue to blur. Nothing new in itself. But the high dollar cell phone tools are now positioning around the new IP and cell technology services.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Conversational Writing and eBay Descriptions - Marketing Mojo

We talk a lot about conversational voice and tone in these pages. Conversational style engages and persuades people. That's the gist of it.

A lot of businesses still shy away from this type of writing in their Web sites, eBay listings and marketing collateral.

I came across validation for the conversational approach in another book (which is great, by the way). It's called Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas On Presentation Design and Delivery and it's written by Garr Reynolds.

Here's a quote from the book (p. 83):

"When you are in a conversation with someone you are naturally more engaged because you have an obligation to participate. You are involved. Formal speech and formal writing devoid of any emotion whatsoever is extremely difficult to stay with for more than a few minutes. Your conscious mind has to remind you to "stay away, this is important!" But someone who speaks in a natural, human, conversational style is far easier to stay engaged with."

I urge you, as always, to write with conversational tone and style. That means speaking as if in a one-on-one conversation, adding emotion, using imagery, and communicating as you would with a friend.

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Saturday, January 12, 2008

Me Blogging About RSS Photo Feeds -- Are You Blogging about Your Products?

If you’re interested in technology trends, I wrote an article for D-Link about RSS photo feeds. This kind of application is simple, like ring tones – hence the title of the article. Yet it’s so much more clever and elaborate.

I write blog posts for D-Link from time to time, and this is the latest one. Which reminds me… are you blogging about your products and services? It’s a great way to communicate with consumers, explore new ideas and uses for your products, and learn from your user/consumer community.

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Friday, January 11, 2008

Sean D'Souza Tells How to Write for Drama

I read a good article on PowerPoints yesterday. And it applies equally well to copywriting. I read it in John Forde's newsletter (which is great). It's also up at the author's site: http://www.psychotactics.com/artpowerpoint.htm

Some highlights.. "Step 1: Kaboom Them Into Waking Up!

Ever noticed how most presentations start with, "Welcome to this presentation...blah, blah, blah." You don't see too many TV ads do that. They slam into you at a zillion miles an hour and make sure you’re paying attention.

So How Do YOU Do That When You Don’t Have A Moving Picture?

The trick is to start with something that's totally disconnected with the presentation. For instance, you could be selling cars yet you could start with, "One day in heaven..." That’s a good wake up call for an audience that’s half asleep."

Step 2: Always Tell A Story

Step 3: Use Suspense, Not Mystery

Step 4: Don’t Bore Them with Your Solutions. Bring Up the Problem!

Paint a gory picture. You might want to read my article: Is your solution your biggest problem?Only after you have made them feel the pain, should you bring out the solution. The best TV commercials always make you feel the pain."

There are 8 steps total.. enjoy.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Downright Fascinating Social Media and Web Commerce Trends

Marianne Kolbasuk McGee wrote a great article on Web trends in the November 26, 2007 issue of InformationWeek. There is so much going on in this market.. the mind reels. Here’s a taste from the lead:

“The old days of companies tightly controlling a marketing message are gone…The interactive forces of the Internet - including social networking sites, online discussion boards, and blogs - are arming consumers with tools that can quickly and exponentially spread the word to other would-be customers if a product stinks or a company blunders... Companies such as Charles Schwab and OnStar are creating Internet platforms to literally read the minds of consumers, seeking out insights that directly drive their new product strategies.” [my emphasis]

This reminded me of AdWords, of course. AdWords is great for driving business or clicks to your site via general advertising techniques. However, what a lot of people don’t realize is that AdWords is a great tool for testing promos, floating new ideas, and reading the minds of consumers. And it’s cheap!.. given the right niched-out keywords.

The article details various ways companies like FedEx, eBay, Schwab and others are using the social connectivity of Web 2.0 (I hate saying Web 2.0, but I did, shame) to their advantage. FedEx’s CIO Rob Carter says, (paraphrased from the article) “The explosive growth of this connectivity has been ‘completely underestimated’ in how it will affect society and markets.” I concur.

The article also talks about some fascinating new trends, like having your Second Life avatar or character purchase things for you or book reservations for you online. I know, that sounds crazy. But think about it. Why the heck not? If you build the right character, with all your tastes, desires, wish lists and so forth, why not set him free on a shopping spree? I’ve never played Second Life, but I assume there are vendors in there, like Amazon.com. (If you know how this works, please comment below and enlighten us.) FedEx’s Carter comments in the article, “Second Life has enough momentum to make us wonder: What if this identity I’ve built could spill over into my daily life and get things done for me?” Your avatar would be like an information robot – tuned to all your preferences and guided by “business rules” that determine decisions.

Carter extends the concepts further, saying, “The greatest opportunities lie in socially networking corporations together – horizontally, across business processes, which don’t necessarily live within your four walls anymore.” Great example = Gaming like Second Life supporting commerce like FedEx and Amazon.com.

The article describes how some companies like OnStar use Nielsen BuzzMetrics to analyze how they’re performing in “consumer-generated media.” This is another hot topic, worthy of another post, probably.

There’s a cool story about Dell’s celebrity advertising campaigns, too. I’ll blog more on that later, too.

In the mean time, read the article. It’s a mind bender.

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Saturday, January 05, 2008

Giant advertising at fashion island

Mall in Corona del Mar, CA. Big advertising makes you stop, apparently. We did, for a photo, even. Viral in a sense.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Product Reviews, Social Media and New Online Buying Trends

The following comes from the Online Marketer Blog:

“Not only are 1 in 4 internet users consulting reviews before purchasing offline, but they are willing to pay more if the service is ranked as excellent. It seem that after the year of exuberance that was all about Facebook and twitter, business is finally getting around to answering the question of how social media effects ROI.

“..Users that [sic] sort the list of products by customer ratings spend 41% more than users who search with other methods like popularity or price… Emails that feature customer review content receive 50% higher clickthrough rates.”

Here’s the main article, titled Good For Consumers (And Businesses): Social Media Gets A Glimpse Of Measurable ROI.

So.. for online marketers, it’s now more critical than ever to be building review/social functions into your Web sites and product pages. Customer service performance counts bigtime, too, of course.

And, as consumers, we have to make sure we maintain clear, critical thinking when checking product reviews. I’d like to see some some numbers about the veracity and integrity of online reviews. How much of it is “bro” reviews? How much of it is genuine? Are really nasty reviews the result of competitor campaigns? That would be interesting, yet difficult to quantify.

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Thursday, January 03, 2008

Marketing genius at Starbucks.

See previous post for details.

Multi layered starbucks promo/ad

This was in the starbucks near my house. The layers are both fascinating and ironic. .. From both a marketing and general perspective. The ethos campaign wants starbucks customers to buy bottled water - something kind of environmentally wasteful - in order to fund a water development project for the guys in the photo (see next photo). The mind reels. Interesting way to sell a project via empathy. The strategy could work for a variety of different industries. The key is to offer a low cost staple as a purchase/donation for some loftier ideal or project. Starbucks - always on the leading edge.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Target Niche Audiences with Facebook Advertising

If you haven't tried advertising in Facebook yet, it might be worth a shot. Facebook is the social network site that brings friends together according to interests, existing connections, networks and groups.

You can place ads and display them to anyone on Facebook based on demographics, interests, hobbies and so forth. It's a good way to reach very targeted audiences. User information is current, updated often, and accurate.. unlike a lot of direct mail lists, which can be outdated, inaccurate and expensive.

Since Facebook doesn't tie results to exact searches, your ads are not as granularly exact as something like Google AdWords. However, you can reach really targeted audiences for very little money. If you're selling archery gear on eBay, for example, you can run ads that only display to people who list archery in their profiles.

Barbara Boser writes more about Facebook advertising pros and cons here.

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