Archive for pinkomarketing

Walmart.com’s Flub, I mean Hub

What happens when you violate theses #3 of the Cluetrain Manifesto.. “Conversations among human beings sound human. They are conducted in a human voice,” is you end up with WalMart.com’s “Hub”

WalMart is trying, and failing miserably, to jump on the Myspace.com bandwagon by building their own social networking site. They’re the annoying kid who always tries to interject in your conversation with one his own experiences that is in no way relevant to the discussion you were having. Not much social networking that’s going to happen in that environment.
Here’s an excerpt from Bob Garfield’s review at AdAge:

Here’s a sample Hub post from “Holly” — who happens not to be a random Hubster, but a child actress with grown-up ghostwriters. Bad grown-up ghostwriters. (Warning: If you are squeamish seeing others embarrass themselves, this would be a good time to turn the page.)

“Shopping will be my number ONE hobby this fall. I am going to be the most fashionable teen at school! I’ll be on the lookout for the latest fashions. From leggings to layers, to boots and flats, big belts and headbands! I’ll be looking for it all! Layering is SO IN right now. Hobo bags are also in style. OH! And big sunglasses! WHOO!! I don’t know where to stop! With all of the new clothes I’ll be getting, the kids at school will be begging me for fashion tips!

It won’t be long before executives at WalMart report to the board that that social networking concept sweeping the internet is just a crock and has no basis for longevity in the “real” world.

It’s sites like the Hub that are really clogging the tubes.

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The Value of Friendships

I was going through some of my old presentations and ran across a great piece that I had used as an idea starter at a marketing ideation meeting. I apologize to the original author as I didn’t make note of his/her name at the time; however, his/her points are well worth repeating:

Many retailers go to a lot of trouble making their customers feel like “guests.” I’d like to suggest that they would be better off trying to forge friendships.

Treating your customer as a guest isn’t a bad idea, it’s just short sighted. A guest may be pleased and satisfied with a particular visit, but it doesn’t translate into the same affinity and desire to return again and again, that is felt when visiting a good friend.

Friendships are special things. You go out of your way to see friends. You care about their health, what they need, and you enjoy their company. Guests are frequently unwelcome and sometimes they know it. Friends are rarely unwelcome.

It takes two to create a friendship. Retailers have to get to know their customers and listen to their concerns in order to establish the trust necessary for a strong, loyal, long-lived friendship.
At this moment, hundreds of retailers are trying to capture loyalty. Retailers understand the concept of repeat business and want to do what they can to get it. Both online and offline stores, from Amazon.com to WalMart, use a variety of tactics to get to know their customers’ habits.

Statistics indicate that profits can be increased by 25-125 percent just by retaining 5 percent more customers. With that in mind, it’s no wonder that loyalty, guest, and personalized programs are becoming big business. They all share the same basic goal of capturing market share and gaining repeat business. Smart retailers should be looking at these programs as a way to turn their customers into friends.

It takes patience. It takes more than one visit. However, as friendships develop, great things start to happen. The increased loyalty brings referrals (new friendships). It makes marketing efforts more efficient and effective. It can help a retailer gain co-op advertising from vendors designed to meet their friends’ needs. Friends visit more and spend more because they know that this retailer is a friend who cares about they want.

Friendship is the most effective branding a store can ever use. It isn’t loyalty programs that set retailers apart from their competition, it is friendships.

Edit: The author is Melody Vargas.

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Last 60 Days of Riya – launch of a startup

Munjal Shah, Founder and CEO of one of my favorite new companies, Riya, started blogging the experience of the last 60 days of Riya's launch…

Last 60 Days of Riya

"I will recount the days following our launch, the cocaine like high and subsequent crash of the Techcrunch effect, the final analysis on whether Riya's technology worked, the feedback we recieved from users, the competitors we beat (at least in traffic), the flaw in the Riya business strategy we uncovered, the crisis it precipitated, the concern I developed for the entire Web 2.0 industry as the numbers rolled in, the search for a new strategy as Azhar, Burak, and I sat in a conference room for almost 10 days straight, the customer data that lead us to a counter-web 2.0 and counter intuitive strategy, the board meeting and debate about it, and the first execution around it."

This should prove to be a very interesting read. Riya has shown the power of developing a great product and letting the consumers and word of mouth drive growth rather than the push of ad dollars to drive growth.

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Advertising in the real voice? – Philips Bodygroom Shaver

Philips has a great site to launch its Bodygroom shaver. It's a flash site that talks about men's bodygrooming and why it's important. A good bit of the dialog is censored because it brags about such things as women "eating frozen yogurt off of your bleeep" if you are clean shaven.

I enjoy when a large brand with strong brand equity gets off of its Ivory tower and creates advertising that the consumer might actually be interested in. I hope it proves successful and we we get see more of this in the future. It's not exactly Cluetrain, as it's not a bi-directional dialog with the consumer, but at least it's stepping away from traditional "corporatespeak" and "positioning".

It would be interesting to see if this type of viral site could drive the next generation of affiliate sales. Currently affiliates offer coupons or malls that drive traffic to a merchant in exchange for commission on sales. What if this Philips website was actually an affiliate produced site and the "where to buy" link as well as every other external link was funneled through Linkshare or CJ? Provided it was effective and viral, I wonder how the Earnings per Click (EPC) would translate?

Anyway, check out the site as it's is very fun and entertaining. By the way, it is a European site which explains why it is a little more risque than we would see in the US.

EDIT: It's been eating at me that I mentioned Cluetrain in the above paragraph. To be clear, this is not Cluetrain, it's just an entertaining advertisement and nothing more. A better example of Cluetrain is how WordPress (the maker of this blog software) is communicating with it's users about why their blogs are not being served all the time. Matt is completely open about the network issues they are having and does not attempt to hide anything. If you read the comments, you will see the true effect of Cluetrain and Pinko Marketing

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Word Of Mouth and Pinko Marketing vs. Tradition

I'm sure Jack Trout, Forbes.com columnist and Ad Executive, is a brilliant Ad Executive, but he gets paid to sell his advertising services to a company that in turn, want to sell their products or services to consumers. To an ad exec like Jack, the last thing he wants to see is traditional marketing values erode within the digital economy. To rephrase, the values are not eroding, but the channels used to deliver them are.

An incredibly arrogant statement Jack makes is "If I go to all this trouble developing a positioning strategy for my product, I want to see that message delivered."  Marketing should not be about delivering what you create. It should be about listening to what your consumers want and doing all you can to help them develop their own favorable brand impression. Some companies accomplish this through the quality of their product, others through superior customer service, and best case, both.

As an ad exec, it is Jack's job to sell a product no matter how lame it is. If Jack's job was to promote the King Kong movie he references in the article, of course he doesn't want Word of Mouth to control the brand as it was described as "Too long, too loud and overdone." His job is to paint a pretty brand portrait, no matter how inaccurate, of the product and sell it as the "miracle cure."

More importantly, for the companies that manufacture those products or services, if you or your agency is scared of Word of Mouth, then you shouldn't be spending your $ on agencies or advertising, you should be spending it on improving your product or service. If done right, Word of Mouth wil deliver ROI substantially higher than the ad agency you hired to churn spin.

To help companies with inferior products, there will always be a place, and a need, for ad execs like Jack. How else could a company like Folger's Coffee dominate the retail ground roast coffee market? It surely wasn't built on taste.

For the rest of you that create a truly great product that doesn't need insincere spin, Tara Hunt has created a great Marketing Map in the spirit of Pinko Marketing that shows the difference between Traditional Advertising and "get out of the way marketing"

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