Archive for the 'web strategy' Category

Your Online Marketing Sucks

March 12, 2008

Once in a while, I see some less than awesome online marketing, and I’m just concerned that someone is getting paid to produce this crap.

So your client comes to you and says, I need a blog.  Always willing to please, you setup another random blog on Google’s Blogspot and tell them to write a 10,000 word intro post.  You don’t bother to think about integrated a blog into your website as a content management tool to make sure the website remains relevant and you’re not directing traffic away from your cause.  Brilliant.

wasted text

Since you’re on a roll and your client can’t stop typing, you put a rambling note about your blog in your email newsletter.  That extra bit of wasted text really doesn’t do much to sell the blog, but it sure fills that prime, above the fold, email marketing real estate with something.  It’s definitely something.

Further on down the email newsletter, the client wants to plug every service they have available, because everyone is still reading on their 6th scroll of the page. 

So we plug a job board.  Most of the jobs are a little stale, but who cares, it’s content, and content is king on the internets.  Of course, as you work diligently for your client, you check, double check, and re-check the links in the email newsletter so you get the maximum impact.

check the url

Oops, you didn’t check that last link.  Unless that band is called Talent Engine, you’ve got the wrong website. 

Of course, it really just points out that not only did you not check the links on this client’s email, but you didn’t setup your server for www to work on that subdomain.  Is that three stikes yet?



Open Letter to Carson Daly

November 3, 2007

Last Call with Carson Daly
c/o NBC Studios (stage 9)
3000 W Alameda Ave
Burbank, CA 

Dear Carson,

With the impending writers strike, I’m posting an open letter to offer my services as an almost-professional comedic writer in your time of need.

Luckily, I’ve seen your show and I know that you’re not losing much if the writers strike on Monday.  Double lucky, I know I can maintain the average comedic level of your show.  Triple lucky, I know the viewers don’t expect much and nothing else will be new on TV.

The best part for you is that I’m willing to work for free because I need to prove myself before Kimmel will hire me.


ps.  Look for the internet to gain a lot of popularity if this writers strike lasts for more than a few days.  Why? 

– Because TV ratings will go down even further (and this time the people may not come back – the fall lineup is terrible)

– Because all the new content generation will be done on the web for a while

– Because some enterprising young comedian will take the place of the reruns of all the late night shows with their own daily comedy show (is impacted by the writers strike?)

– Because it provides an opportunity for video, podcasts, and other produced compilations from online companies to make a bigger splash and fill the pipeline for TV shows that still decide to report business and entertainment news.

Update: Techcrunch paraphrases Tony’s post 3 days later, and lights up 100% algorithm Techmeme.  I can’t figure out if the writers strike or blogs are a bigger joke.

Viral Marketing – Washington

May 19, 2007

The question is where to start with viral marketing.

1. Rather obvious, but don’t copy an existing idea or reuse an old one.
Viral Marketing is about doing something wacky or odd, even if you think it’s really stupid.  That’s why your ad agency won’t ever show you the best ideas.

2. Expect your viral marketing project to be a total failure.
Not unlike the rest of your marketing efforts, your first stab at viral marketing will be a complete flop.  Let it be, don’t resort to traditional push marketing efforts by running ads, sending spam emails, or doing press releases, you’ll only destroy the viral marketing mojo.  Better yet, use a small team and don’t tell anyone in the company.

3. Get in the mindset.
Viral Marketing is not a groupthink, check the box, powerpoint pitch, approval matrix type decision.  It’s likely going to be a single person idea, with a lot of add on ideas supporting the main theme, and may indeed come from the mailroom or CEO’s daughter.  The most important part is to get in the right mindset – understand the brand, understand the trends, understand the outcome, but no one should be pitching ideas on the first day.  Take a week to think about it, then post a short summary on the bathroom wall with no name.

Here are some starters for corporate viral marketing:

Sexy Hair

April 22, 2007

Had another terrible experience at Great Clips today. 

Apparently a plain old barbershop isn’t a sustainable business model anymore, you’ve got to hire 4 incompetent “stylists” and pipe in the local 90’s station.  Noticed that prices went up recently, and the menu board is now 2 layers, that allow them to change the underneath layer with pricing and still poke through the label layer.  Brilliant!

Great Clips, have you ever thought about the following tips for marketing your below average service?

  • Loyalty Card: Instead of announcing my fake phone number to the world 3 times since your “stylist” is more skilled in haircutting than english or numbers, why don’t you give me a loyalty card.  You’ll get fewer fake phone numbers and better data on usage across your stores (people do move)
  • Self Service: Now that I’ve got a loyalty card, turn that fancy touchscreen register around and let me check myself in, and even pay for what you like to call a haircut.  You’ll keep your “stylists” from stopping their work and allow them to focus on what they do best (that’s hard to write).
  • Customer Website: It’s time to put that loyalty card to work, you can call it HRM (Haircut Relationship Management).  So when I sign up for the card, you give my a flyer that says I get $2 off my next haircut (yes, I understand you’re franchised, it’s worth $2, just do it) if I give you my spam email account.  The really cool part is now you can send me a reminder every 6 weeks to get another crappy haircut, let me give you feedback on my last haircut, and let me make a future appointment with the stylist who didn’t Van Gogh me.  You’d quickly realize who should be made available to the industry.

Of course, doing all this really just tells you that you need to hire better people, but at least you’ll placate the existing customer base.  At least you’ll have a top notch web strategy for your local business.

By the way, for no extra charge, your stylist told me I had “sexy hair.”

Google Doesn’t Acquire Hitwise

April 19, 2007

That’s what the headline on Experian’s acquisition of Hitwise should have read.  I expect Yahoo to ignore web strategy, so I won’t even ask who went on vacation.

Hitwise collects web usage data on multiple retailers in a variety of store categories.  It’s real competitor data, not the fake traffic stuff Alexa and others.  Hitwise data is truly invaluable if you’re looking for benchmarks, analyzing competitors, or any other custom web research you want to undertake.  Any retailer selling anything but truck parts has had their internet marketing consultant tell them they need Hitwise data. 

Couple of reasons Google should have acquired Hitwise:

  • At $240 million, it’s just a manageable price with real revenue.
  • Hitwise clients are online retailers who are big enough to spend, so you’ve got both new advertising customers and another line of service to sell to your existing captive advertisers.
  • Google already has data comparable to Hitwise, but Google promised not to sell it and be evil, but it doesn’t say anything about using it as a reference.

Experian did buy Hitwise, smart move, just like many of their other web companies.  It’s a natural fit for a company with a great database of intimate financial information, and looks like they’re on a path to clash with IAC, especially if Experian acquires First American next.