Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Don't be a Clutter Generator LEMMING! But you are!

Clutter! You cause it. You are part of it. Don't be a Clutter Creating LEMMING. You do your clients zero good. Be unique. Be special. Be powerful. But don't be a Clutter-Nut!

On the Sky Pulse Media website we ridicule the LEMMINGS! But YOU ARE A LEMMING! Trust me you are. Look in the mirror!

Get a Sharpie and write LEMMING on your forehead. 

It's OK. It will remind you of who you are. It sickens me to see the Big Name Marketer Names telling Brands to all do the same things. When really they are giving ZERO advantage to the Reader or Client or Brand. This goes for Traditional Marketing, Digital Marketing, Social Media, and Mobile Marketing.

I want to use this as my reference point. After 14 years of having a personal hotmail account it got corrupted. So I decided to create a Gmail account which now is over a year old. I was so excited to start fresh. But as is normal I started subscribing for emails from all sorts of places. From Entertainment, Music, News, Politics, Retail, Travel. When I log in to Gmail this is what I see. The check marks are what is being deleted unopened.

So think of this. What if every Brand that has a Fan Page sent you 1 update a day to your Facebook Feed. Or 1 Tweet into your Twitter Feed. Or 1 alert to your Mobile Device. Or 1 email to your Email Account.

That is what is happening. That is why the Big Name Marketers are lying to you. It benefits the Gurus who give talks and sell books that you are a LEMMING. It benefits the Social Networks. It benefits LEMMING News sites like Mashable. That is the big scam! It does not benefit you. Whether it's LBS, SMS, Social, Digital it's all Clutter! And adding more to the Clutter will not get you seen. It is why people only engage with 4.6 Brands via Social. They run from Clutter yet Advertising thrives on Clutter because more Advertising means more Billings! And it is why the Industry seriously STEALS money from clients through lies and deceit. It's why Brands with 5 million Fans on Facebook get only 500 responses.

My advice to you. Be different. Be creative. Opt In RULES! Its not the Message. It's not the Ad. It's getting it seen that makes you relative. Figure out how to separate yourself from everyone else. Trust me standing on a corner in NYC with a Sandwich board during rush our will earn you more impressions than posting to your Fan Page with 5 million Fans.

My next post will highlight a few unique campaign strategies that worked from being creative.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Gini Dietrich Movie

If you did not know I am just fascinated with www.xtranormal.com

Awhile ago I did movies of the Adverve Podcast and Quick-n-Dirty Podcasts (Links to your left), which are two of my favorites. Recently I connected with Gini Dietrich who is the CEO of Arment Dietrich in Chicago and also the main contributor to their blog Spin Sucks (which is also linked to the left). Not only is Gini a prolific weekly Video Blogger which this movie is about, she is also very funny! I recommend you follow her and read Spin Sucks. I always embrace people who didn't drink the Social Media Koolaid, is a straight shooter, and knows reality vs the hype out there in the Advertising/Marketing/Media industry (see my list to the left!). Plus I am getting a ton of Livefyre points from stalking the Spin Sucks blog, and great people tend to lurk there.

Without further a do......drum roll please...The Gini Dietrich Movie:

Sunday, November 28, 2010

The Alien's Take on Social Influence

Recently I have seen a lot of blogs being written on Social Influence. This has me thinking about the meaning of Social Influence. What is it you are influencing? Just something being passed on?

Recently Tom Moradpour had a nice blog post about Social Influence. He wishes there were standards so we can all agree on what it is, then we can find it's actual value. I agree we need standards 100%. I also agree Klout has done the best to create a Brand. Even more impressive they respond on Twitter. I had the CEO and Founder respond to me on Friday over some tweets!

Klout has improved  significantly now that the scores update on their own. In the past unless someone manually refreshed it was stale and old.

My specific issue with Influence Analysis is context and important information is not included.  Who is this person in real life? Are they someone who gets photographed and put in People Magazine thus causing products to be sold? Are you someone who moves sales needles just by people you call on the phone or places you hang out at? What if I am not on Twitter or Facebook and I have 3 close friends who tweet stuff I email them and it travels. What if I see something on Twitter and then call my friend who is the head buyer for Macy's and that call just got a huge order placed to a small fashion house? How can you determine where the influences came from in these scenarios? Is it just about pushing info that get's re-pushed?

What about the content? Great content get's moved on it's own. It has nothing to do with a person's influence it has to do with the content's influence. If I am a source of great content, and I don't share poor content what does that mean? It means you have to get me to see great content to have it passed on. 

And what about the goals of the influence? Is it page views so you can increase advertising revenues? Is it sales in retail stores? Is it people coming to your restaurant? Is it exposure for your art or writing? None of this gets captured in influence scores. How can you connect these things, especially with anything that happens offline. How can you know the kind of Influencer I am?

And what about the fact that most of our lives take place off line even if we are online so much. We have no solid way to measure off line Word of Mouth, Phone Call Influence, In Person Influence, the Influence from seeing Billboards/Print Ads/TV Ads/People on the Street, or even the influence of the Sales guy or the Special Deal at the store. And to really get Social Media Influence we have to tie this stuff in!

I know you think 'Well this is only online influence we care about.' Yes and No. All depends on your goal. I have mentioned before how much Ad Spend goes up in smoke at point of purchase. Social Influence does as well! Passing of Information is one thing, Action is another. Does it matter that my Chic Restaurant used Social to expose my place to 3 million people via Social for Free if no one shows up at my Restaurant? Or that 3 million get shown a teaser of my new book resulting in zero sales?

This is very complex stuff. My point is online Social Influence to me is a small piece to a bigger puzzle. It can mean way too many things. Every person or company hoping to push something via Social has completely different Goals and a Klout Score won't solve this. I still think Great Content, Great Product/Service, Great Customer Service, Great Price Point still trumps everything.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Why B2C E-Commerce Has Been an Utter Failure

Flashback to 1995. The internet exploded onto the scene. Windows 95 was a game changer. Apple was dead. AOL was the Internet. IPO's were going crazy. Sites like Pets.com and Furniture.com were coming into being. Walmart was being slammed in the news for being slow and stodgy. WebVan was taking over the Grocery world. Bricks and Mortar was going to die. None of us needed to leave our house to buy things anymore.

Insert Sounds of Crickets Chirping Here.

In 2008 E-Commerce was still less than 4% of US retail Sales. LINK

Why so? Is it E-Commerce of Human Behavior? Or a combination of both. I say both. Here is why.

Human Behavior - We like shopping and browsing. It is a social activity. Nothing beats seeing, touching, tasting for most things. It get's us out of the house. It is much more impressive to tell someone you were shopping at the Audi Dealer or Tiffany's or that Funky Clothes Store in person, than by saying you went to their website. 

It's fun to try on clothes. I remember I had a girlfriend in 2001 who wanted to change me from beach/surf casual to more urban hipster. We went to Melrose Ave in LA and went to the men's stores. I had beautiful sales women dressing me up so my beautiful girlfriend could give me feedback. It was awesome. Can't do that online can you? 

And don't we love having people see what we bought? Whether it is a Flat Screen 70" TV being rolled to the car from Best Buy, walking Manhattan with Bloomingdales Bags, or people seeing us pushing a cart with new plants to our car from Home Depot. 

What about that cache of being seen in a store? The Human Vanity Quotient (HVQ). And we want some things now. We just do. This will never change. BUT there are so many things that we pay for in person that we would be ok moving online if online was better!

It's E-Commerce - It sucks. It does not mimic real life. When I walk into a store my eyes can absorb and my mind calculate 1000's of items in minutes. Try that online. Next time you go to the store like a supermarket or Macy's take a 14" x 10" Frame and try shopping only by looking through it. Now think of how online doesn't even allow us to do that. We see pages of lists. We have to scroll. Imagine trying to shop at the supermarket. You walk down an Aisle. Might take you 5 minutes to browse about 200 Brands and 600 different items. Try doing that online page by page. 

We like Discovery. We know every unique boutique at the mall or small business can't be found online easy. I can go to a shopping district and browse shops so much faster than online. Some of this can be fixed with a better User Interface using Virtual Reality and 3D technology. But it's going to take years and billions of dollars to get there.

So until technology improves the online experience E-Commerce for B2C is going to remain just a small part of Consumer Spending.

Friday, November 19, 2010

My Friday Agency Rant

Some things have been bugging me. Here are 10 Things I just have to say!

1] Stop discussing the Agency of the Future. The Future comes slowly if you can't adapt it's your fault.

2] Stop wasting Clients money. If you are upset with ROI talk don't take the work. Many of your Clients are public companies that judge every other part of their business for ROI and fire people who have negative ROI. Why should you be different? Being Smarter is the Answer! Seek out Media and Message Delivery Channels that can be measured properly. It will reduce finger pointing and help you defend your outrageous billing fees.

3] Digital Advertising is not the answer. Just because we have Computers and Use them a lot doesn't mean we want Ads on there. We have 15 years of utter failure and yet the discussion is always 'well what we just did it this way' without ever thinking maybe the People have a Choice and they already Chose. Get over it! And no Google Goggles or the IPad in not an Advertising game changer as much as they are Technology game changers.

4] Social Media will always be an AND. It is never going to replace Traditional Marketing! But it can enhance it and help you. Use it. But don't believe what anyone says about Social Media who has a vested interest in Social Media's success (ie Zuckerberg, Mashable, or any number of Social Rock Stars that write books and speak on tour) vs Your success! You can not reach 540million people on Facebook. You can reach only 1 person at a time. And it is just as hard as going to the Mall and trying to meet people 1 on 1 and get them to like you.

*Side note. 75% of the Top 100 Social Media Speakers are talking out of their ass just to make money! It is up to you to figure out which 25% are the real deal!

5] Viral does not exist for Marketers. It is 0.00001% of all Social Media chatter. You can reach more than 1 person by reaching 1 person in the right way. But you had better be damn happy if you reach 10 people this way. But if you or your Brand fucks up! Viral will take care of itself. Social Media is People to People technology not Brand to People Technology.

6] For every Product or Brand that sells itself (Best in Class), there are 3 Dogs or Pigs. Be honest with the Consumer and the Client. Don't over sell either. I know you want billings. But dishonesty sets you up for failure.

7] If your campaign is a big sink hole of money with no results, don't open your hand and ask for next years funding. Prove to your client how you will do better.

8] Great Products won't fail, even if the advertising you did sucks! But you can't save Bad Products from failing with great advertising! Remember Marketers and Brands are much more gullible that Consumers. Someone at the Brand believed it was a winner. The Agency told the Brand it was a winner so they could get the billings and the work. And then 9 of 10 new product launches fail. Who are the suckers?

9] More Advertising in More Places, More of the time is not the answer! Just because you can put an ad somewhere doesn't mean anyone cares for it to be there. Advertisers always come up with new places to put ads because they want to bilk their Clients of more money. Not because people want to see ads there. Getting seen by the right demographic is much more important than just getting seen.

10] Sorry but consumers do not care about your ads, the products or the brands as much as you think they do. They don't want to engage with brands, with your advertising, or talk via Social like you think they do. They are busy. Have little time. And want things on their terms not your terms. Get over it and stop lying to your clients about this. There is a reason Facebook Fan pages are failing. People want to talk to their friends much more than a Brand.

Thank you now carry on with your day!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Does the 22% Decline in Facebook Usage per User Mean Anything for Social?

Last April I wrote a scathing breakdown of all the Facebook Hype Metrics using data directly from the Stats page. Warning its data heavy: 

Facebook has a MASSIVE PR problem when it comes to showcasing data. They shoot themselves in the foot constantly. It's easy to snow Marketers they are a big group of suckers it seems. Just read Mashable. In a Macro Aggregated way Facebook numbers are nice. On a per user basis (Micro) they have very little activity on their network.
Using the new and improved stats page:

When you take 540mil 'active users' this comes out to 43minutes per day per user. This is down from 55 minutes per user in April 2010! A 22% drop in time spent. This looks even worse considering I am logged in with Facebook in a Tab and that time clock is ticking and being recorded as time spent on the Network even though I am typing this!

When you break down 30b by 540m users this comes out to 55 items shared per user per month. That is 1.83 items per day per user. Since over 200m log in each day its about 5 items per user logged in. Not bad. If you are selling your Network as a place to go viral how does you get your item to be in that 5? And you have less than 5 because photo albums and notes are part of that! So you have to get into the 3 slots and there are a million of brands, brand page posts, links and stories etc vying for them every day!

Now an even bigger kicker because this impacts Facebook's Traditional Advertising which is most of their revenue!

Have you used Facebook's Mobile App? It is pretty good. Allows simple communication but small screen, and definitely not a place for Facebook Ads to be lucrative. But if 40% of the network are using Mobile then the people not using mobile are exchanging even less items, making it even harder to go viral or have your Fan Page post seen. The Mobile App also makes it harder to get seen in the Live Feed vs Desktop.

There are Stock Analysts following every single update to the stats page. They do exactly what I do when I delve into what these stats mean. They do not see a $33b value. Not if you are basing it on an Advertising/Business Presence Model. And does the 22% reduction in Network Usage say anything about Social? Or just Facebook?

UPDATE: Nov 17
David Berkowitz of Media Post and www.360i.com was kind of enough to tell me that when logged into Facebook in an open Tab, but not actually on the Tab doing any activity, that Facebook stops recording time spent. He is the first to state this since I have brought up that up before. I have an issue with very shady information not detailed by Web Properties. This is not just a Facebook issue and something I plan to discuss on a new blog post.

Monday, November 15, 2010

The Marketing Side of PR Can Be High Impact Haiku

My friend Aaron Strout who is CMO of Powered has a #BrandHaiku effort underway today. 

I highly recommend you follow Aaron on Twitter @aaronstrout and read his blog Citizen Marketer 2.1 click previous link to read other fabulous #BrandHaikus or see his Blog Link to your left.

In Honor of Gini Dietrich (@ginidietrich) of Arment Dietrich who has been very inspiring (see previous blog post) and a new member of my Reality - Don't Drink the Koolaid - Posse which Aaron is also a member of.

In the PR World
You will Find Arment Dietrich
Where all the Spin Stops

Honesty Ethics
Directness Effectiveness
Is the Strategy
And Gini Dietrich
Who Likes to Video Blog
To Prove That Spin Sucks

If you or your company or brand wish to have a unique and special Haiku written please contact the Alien in my Haiku Department. He has over 13 Light Years of Experience.

The Marketing Side of PR Can Be High Impact

I think this is a great subject and something most folks in Marketing view as a separate world to us. Only some of PR is a separate world. Traditionally we think of things like people who help with damage control when something goes wrong like BP or Tiger Woods. Or the person who writes up a Press Release. Or the Agency that advises Alex Rodriguez to live next to Madonna and which press to have contacted when he goes out to get celebrity coverage.

But there is much more and it aligns with traditional marketing. It can be very valuable for your business. Some of it will be self generated some will come to you if you have some luck. But a good PR Agency can compete with a good Ad Agency in many areas.

I was lucky to get connected with @GiniDietrich of Arment Dietrich about 2 weeks ago because of her Tweeting with two of my favorite marketing minds @mitchjoel (Six Pixels Blog and Podcast) and @markwschaefer (Business Grow Blog) . Gini also is the primary contributor to the great blog Spin Sucks. All three are linked to your left.

If you go to Arment Dietrich's website and see their services, you will think you are on an Advertising or Marketing Agency website. And you wouldn't be wrong in thinking that. Because you would be correct. Using a client as a case study because I am not a natural at PR though I did some leg work for this client this is the impact good PR Marketing can have on your business.

Here is the PR Marketing work that has been done for my client Chunk-n-Chip since Mid-Summer by founder Claudia Gonzalez, Paul Lyttle of SRP-Media and myself. And you can see the value for Marketing!

Claudia brings a warm and engaging style with people. In a competitive dessert world, not only does she have a premium best in class product. People like her! Being liked is a huge part of PR!
She was asked to cater a softball game in LA between two big radio stations which led to being interviewed on a recent Friday Morning by Carson Daly on Amp Radio:

Paul Lyttle is very new to the team. SRP-Media has a stable of about 75 Movie and TV Stars. He is one of the Co-Creators of the Drive Out Hunger Charity campaign for Second Harvest Food Bank. Not only did he round up the stars for the big event on Wednesday at the Verizon Amphitheater, he got such big brands as Live Nation, Pepsi, Clear Channel, Twilight Saga, Cirque Du Soleil, and Wynn Resorts to donate everything from Super Bowl Tickets, Concert Tickets, and even a Caribbean Trip for a silent auction.

He also has our client set to be interviewed and included in the February Printing of the Lonely Planet Guide to California.

Through my Twitter networking efforts I connected with Los Angeles Times, OC Register, OC Weekly, LA Weekly and Bloggers hoping for news coverage. I set up her visit to OC Weekly. LA Weekly is pending waiting for her LA Health Department License. I also hooked up Claudia with a friend who is a Street Artist/ Otis Grad to paint her truck. This won her Second Place out of 48 Trucks in the Yelp! OC Foodie Fest Contest

All of which earned some unexpected coverage from OC Register, MetroMix, and others:

We now have people posting pictures of BOO-Yahs!! all over Twitter and news coverage we are not initiating! This is FREE Publicity and Marketing!

So if you think a good PR Agency and/or Strategy can't help your brand marketing, or doesn't compete with you as an Advertising Agency, you are wrong. And I suggest there is proper coordination if you have both an Advertising/Marketing Agency and a PR Agency helping you. Because together there can be an outsized impact on your total marketing efforts.

Friday, November 12, 2010

LiveFyre vs Disqus - Social Infrastructure at its best

Two of the best developments in Social have not been above ground. They have been underground. They have been two networks that truly are social. And they make communicating easy. They have taken Blogs to a new level and I am so happy they have arrived. Though have no idea how to integrate them on this blog! But I never claimed to be a techie! I just use tech!

In the past for each blog you needed to sign in specifically to comment. The blogger might respond back and that is it. It was very hard to have real conversations about a topic. And rarely did other visitors to the blog have comments for the commentary. 

Now this all has changed. Both services send you notifications when someone responds to your comment. And instead of having to log in with Facebook, which I never do now, nor will ever do anywhere but onto Facebook itself, they give you one log in that is good across multiple websites and tied to your email address. They also allow people to 'Like' your comment which I am sure will increase your stature as a good source of information the more 'Likes' you have.

The two main differences I have seen (and I could be wrong since I use only the default settings), is Disqus alerts you only when your comment is responded too. LiveFyre alerts you via email every time there is a new post on that blog entry. It does this automatically once you comment. I need to  check deeper into the settings. And one glaring difference which sets them apart is Disqus allows you to go back and edit your comment, even after posting. LiveFyre does not. This is huge for someone like me who types slower than my brain thinks and often posts with spelling errors. I have not seen a Spell Check Feature on either which is sorely lacking.

I am not sure who the VC backers of Livefyre are, but Disqus is backed by Union Square Ventures which has in their stable, Twitter, Tumblr, Zynga and Boxee among other great Social Start Ups. And @FredWilson who is one of the partners has an amazing blog that is a must read for Entrepreneurs www.avc.com

Long term I see networks like this being integrated across all platforms and websites and I predict they will outlast even Facebook and Twitter for their usefulness! 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Garbage in Garbage Out. Why Research Sucks!

Recently someone posted on Twitter that 80% of Gen-Y thinks Advertising is truthful. And when I see something that does not make sense I investigate. So I did. I came across something so grossly distortional it truly upset me. It also misleads readers and goes to the heart of something. Garbage in Garbage out.

Why do so many new product launches fail? Because of poor research. The reasons are a myriad. From biased questions, biased focus groups, biased or lying participants, and how the data get's reported.

I have railed before at poor reporting of news, like Mashable who is almost so deceptive or inept that they are not a news source for me. 

But news is one thing. Actual research is another. Read the headline of the next link. Then the first line of the write up. Completely different meanings and conclusions.

In this Harris Interactive study on whether people think Advertising is Truthful presented by Marketing Charts they did the double whammy. First the questions suck. Seriously. Expand the charts. What a horrible choice of questions. Secondly the write up by Marketing Charts is 100% wrong. Not just inaccurate. But WRONG!

The data shows that most people do not trust advertising what so ever. It also shows when it comes to regulating advertising they trust NO ONE! 

Yet when you read the write up it sounds like most people find Advertising Truthful and that they don't trust the Government to regulate it. Insert the sound of Kyles Mom:

Two glaring issues I have with the data since I am tossing the write up into the trash. 

They should of asked  Do you trust Advertising to be Truthful: Yes or No?
Then maybe a more detailed question about that. When I see the word 'Sometimes' in a question what does that mean. Sometimes being truthful would mean from 1% to 50% of the time. Most of the time could mean 51% to 99%. HUGE SPREADS. And thus the data is really a statement that people are smart and they do not trust Advertising or anyone who will be given the task of Regulating it.

See the Ad Contrarian's write up of a Nielsen Study as another example of poor research:  LINK

It is really important that you craft your research as unbiased and objectively as possible. Do not be afraid if it turns out the opposite of what you hope. It will save you money killing a project before it flops, than having it flop.

Monday, November 8, 2010

GAP and Facebook Places Farce

I can't wait to read the posts from Mashable or the Trade News rubber stamping Saturday's stunt as a resounding vote of confidence in Facebook Places by GAP giving away 10,000 jeans. If you came in Saturday, showed you were a Fan of the GAP and checked in with Places you could get a free pair of jeans while supplies last.

First off, I will bet anyone that Facebook paid for this. That it was zero risk to the GAP. Think about it. At $15 a pair for a measly $150k they are going to get all this free publicity, they will get 10,000 to 15,000 Places Check ins, and then be able to crow about success. And GAP get's an ancillary sales.

Why is this a fraud? GAP has over 1,000 stores. That comes down to only 10 Jeans per store. Fast Company wrote this BULLSHIT piece on Saturday LINK that it was a success. Well when they visited the store, they were EMPTY of shoppers. GAP gave them no data on if people bought other products. It was a $30 to $40 bribe to people. I will check into every store in my town if they bribed me like that. wouldn't you?

I checked GAP's Facebook Fan Page. I wish I had written it down but I am pretty sure they had just over 900,000 fans Saturday, but now only 890,000. Did people Fan/Check in then leave after not wanting any GAP posts in their stream? They would need 90,000 people showing up just to have 10% of their Fans come to the stores. I am sure GAP's customer base in the US is in the Tens of Millions.

I am not going to say the stunt was not successful for GAP. If Facebook paid them for the give away, any extra sales is a bonus. They seemed to have reached about 10,000+ people via Facebook in the 3 days leading up to the sale which was free vs reaching a few million with a TV spot and spending a few hundred thousand.

But is this a validation of Facebook Places? Absolutely not!

Update: A better review from GigaOm on the event LINK

Seems like it wasn't the success Fast Company was so Fast to write about. Kudos to GigaOm for having critical think and analysis.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Why Location Based Services are Slow to Catch on

During the Quick-n-Dirty Podcast today this NY Times Article LINK was posted in the chat room as they discussed LBS (Location Based Services) market acceptance for both consumers and businesses. I want to discuss philosophy and theory when it comes to consumer behavior

The Holy Grail for LBS is to bridge the last mile with consumers leading to a sale. The challenge is how to do it in ways that create a desire in the consumer to engage in this fashion. Will it be useful for them? Today I will use Restaurants as a case study. In a future post I will cover retail.

Restaurants. This is one that should be huge. Luring customers with specials and offers off the street. Well I can see a service that if I am out of my home and seeking to find a restaurant a service that would help me. Why not the Yelp! App on my Droid2? That would help me find restaurants correct? I can see the names and cuisines and go from there. I can even see reviews and possibly ask friends on Twitter. Done. I am eating.

But what if I am a business and I wish to lure you in. How do I know you are there? And if I know you are there wouldn't the rest of the businesses, and all of us will send out our specials or deals competing for your business. The problem is if I have to keep increasing my offer to compete it erodes my margins and profits. Plus if I don't have an easy and quick way to sift through the special offers and it takes too much time I will give up. Isn't Chili's by giving free Chips and Salsa on FourSquare just telling everyone Free Chips and Salsa for everyone? Is than any different than free bread or C's n S's at say every Mexican Restaurant that exists? Is that really special?

What about an LBS type of loyalty program. Wouldn't that work? As I frequent more I will get more back. Well this might work. But most of us like variety in what we eat, even among the same cuisines. Maybe I love your burgers but really feel like visiting your competitor. Once again you are back to increasing the bribe to get me in, reducing your profits. Doesn't a little card that I get stamped each time I visit work the same?

The point is we like variety. We love to try new places. We love to be able to tell people where we went and how it was. Even if we prefer one place for a specific cuisine we still will go to others just to mix it up. We will be open to some sort of a listing to browse specials and offers. I can see an APP that aggregates tonight's special dishes at local restaurants, or maybe Happy Hour specials (this one exists). 

Now I will say LBS has potential to bring in NEW customers. It is very much worth doing something to tease me into your seat, even if it means dropping your margins this one time. But after that you will start devaluing your business in my mind or your profits.

So what is the solution? Hmmmm......

Make kick ass food, give kick ass service, have an awesome atmosphere, friendly staff, and priced to fit all you offer. Do you really want to be competing at levels lower than this and have to reduce your prices just because you feel you need to use LBS? And if you are best in class do you really need an LBS technology to fill your seats? I think not.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Do We Want Interactive Digital Ads?

Maybe? Maybe not? Mostly not.

Depends on the platform. We all like keeping current with Brands via Advertising. Mostly passively. We like knowing we can go to a Brand Website when we wish. We book mark many stores and media websites because they have stuff we like buying and content we like reading or viewing. We sign up for email offers that we rarely open until we feel like buying something. We might see a neat campaign that makes us take digital/mobile/social action almost always we learn about these neat campaigns off line.

But I see the Digital and Social Media Shops selling Kool Aid to Brands because of their monetary self interest. That is ok. It's how business works. But Brands need to be smart about these pitches.

I read this post from Ad Week on the Publishers failing on the IPad 

I understand the view point of Mr. Morrissey when he discusses Wired. Sounds like a horror what they created. 500MBs for Wired? Hello!

What I take a bit of umbrage at is the view that we want more than a glorified PDF when reading a Magazine on a Tablet. Yes and no. I would love to have more interactivity with the content I pay for. But not for the Ads. All I want from Ads is a back link so I can go to their website (or micro-site or Facebook/Twitter page). That is it. I want static ads with links. Your static Ad is your pitch to me just like a Print Magazine. I want to flip the pages just like print. Browse the Ads. I want to be happy I am saving trees and all the raw materials sucked into making Print (bleaches, acids, oil, etc that create pollution and CO2). And I will pay normal subscription price to read the content of the Magazine. But I don't want interactive ads. Could really care less.

But don't ask a Digital Shop. This is taboo. They want you thinking you must pay them to be interactive. They will glorify this to no end. Tease you with promise. But fact is we can all go to any Brand website we want to today. When I see a TV commercial I can go to their site right now. But I don't. Why not? Because unless there is a reason I know it's always there and I can go any time. A clever campaign or unique content might, but otherwise, it is there when I need it.

Now I come from outside the industry. I have 25 years of being Joe Blow Consumer prior to coming into this industry. I have not been groomed during 20 years of a professional career insulated and brainwashed. Maybe in 10 years I will be. Hopefully not.

What Digital Agencies fail to recognize is Marshal McLuhan is wrong here. The Medium is not the Message. The Message is the Message. Campaigns rule here. Creativity rules here. Not the platform. Craft your campaigns online and off line in ways that span all mediums and platforms, in ways that make me want to buy or try something. Be clever. Tell me about new flavors, new store openings, new promotions. But bland branding? No Sale.

But don't tell that to the Digital Agencies Brands pay to handle their Advertising. They will be telling Brands an interactive Ad is going to be a home run (online, tablet, mobile etc) They don't want Brands realizing Great Products, Great Service at the Right Price almost sells itself. Why? Because it means reducing their billings. Would a Digital Agency tell a Brand a Print Ad is all they need or an Out of Home Billboard or vice versa? Never. But that does not serve the clients/brands. (My point is this self bias is not just for Digital Agencies)

It's the Campaign, the Product, the Value, and the Need/Want that becomes a sale. Not the Medium. And trust me. The first person I hear who says they bought an IPad because of the possibility of Interactive Ads will be the first.