Archive for March, 2007

Deal with a Screw Up

March 23, 2007

Two ways to deal with a screw up.

You can ignore the screw up, like Google Reader not having a search feature.  Yes, the same Google that is known for search.  If you want to search Google Reader, you’ve got to hack it yourself.  That should have been a product feature on launch

You can fix the screw up, like the new Highrise CRM tool not having a robust free account.  Free-mium is a viable product strategy, but you’ve got to offer something useful.  Within 3 days of launch, after listening to customers, 37 Signals fixed the product.

Or, just don’t screw up.

Spend another billion dollars in advertising

March 15, 2007

[Exectives sitting around table]
“Let’s name everything AT&T and make one big phone company”

That’s a brilliant idea, I couldn’t imagine how to better spend another billion dollars in advertising by dropping the Cingular brand in favor of branding all services as AT&T.  I’m convinced the marketing consultant that came up with this brilliant idea was paid for by the advertising service companies.  Of course, they make the announcement now but still have millions in produced content for millions in ad buys, so AT&T can’t really ditch the Cingular brand anyway but they need a boost in stock price. 

Now check out the Cingular website for their available rate plans.  You’ll notice both Cingular branded plans and AT&T branded plans, with different features such as Rollover (Cingular) and Unity (AT&T).  So in addition to confusing the brand by ditching the established company with the stronger service line, you’re marketing different features for each brand that will eventually become one. 

So with that logic, Microsoft buys Yahoo, announces they’ll drop the Yahoo brand in favor of Microsoft, but continues to market both search engines.  AT&T gets away with bad marketing decisions because they’ve become a monopoly, once again.  Of course, if the Google phone is released, you better hope those marketing strategy consultants are really worth the millions they’ve been collecting.

Hype Appropriate Feature

March 6, 2007

Well, the Highrise pre-launch marketing has become a Hypefest for what may become the coolest small business CRM application. 

Of course, if you read carefully, you’ll notice a nice tease for what will be the killer feature that makes it the coolest small business CRM application:

The mystery way
There’s one more way to get new people into Highrise. We’ll be covering it in a future preview post.

I’m glad at least one internet product marketing guru predicted that there might be a mystery way to add contacts to Highrise:

Keep an eye on how it’s integrated with email, as that seems to be the difference between cowbell and more cowbell with other small business CRM products. 

And the point of all this self-promotion is to highlight the ability of a company to blantantly hype a product because (they will soon announce that) they have a hype appropriate feature.  To get away with this kind of hype, you need a product that does all the basics well, and it doesn’t hurt to have a track record of making great internet products.  The latter is why Microsoft can’t get Live off the ground, and the former is why David Sacks with a Paypal pedigree can get a $100 million valuation for a simple family tree that can’t handle predictable beta launch web traffic scaling.

You can lose that license to hypefest just as quickly.