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Archive for the ‘Sales promotion’ Category

Amazon fail: when global email marketing goes bad!

Posted by Lee on September 2, 2009

I used to love Amazon, no really -I just loved them. The ultimate bookshop, the ‘Bookshop at the end of the Rainbow’, Amazon was my online booklover haven.

I’m also a bit of a gadget freak / geek and would love to own a Kindle, the amazing super sleek ebook reader. Amazon is at one level, very clever as a couple of months ago their system sent me an email all about the Kindle. It had links to more details about what is in many ways, the i-pod for books. There were also links to video clips showing the Kindle and their happy owners getting acquainted.

It worked, I wanted one, and I wanted it then. I was excited because I knew that until I received that email, it was only available in the USA. With trembling fingers, I pressed the ‘buy now’ button and………….. damn it, it was still only available to people in the USA!!!

Slightly annoyed, but still interested enough to try and find out when they might be considering rolling out the Kindle to an international audience, I emailed them to find out more.

I got a very prompt reply – but not an intelligent, ‘in context to my specific enquiry’ – no, it was a stupid auto-response that thanked me for my enquiry and then pointed me to a bunch of FAQ links (by the way, they didn’t answer my two key questions).

Maybe I’m not that bright, but since then, whenever I had a few idle moments to spare, I’d go back to the Amazon site and try to find a “Contact us, we’re real people who are really interested in you, our customer’s specific request” button or link. I’ve yet to succeed in this quest.

So why am I writing this post about something that happened a couple of months ago?

Could it be because today I received another email from Amazon? It was sent to me because:

kindle 1 extract

Yes, they got me again – and when I looked online – no, the Kindle still isn’t available to us down in New Zealand!
Ever the optimist, I emailed them because surely this time, as their email was so specific, there’d be somebody waiting to answer all these excited queries? I even tried to use a little bit of sarcastic humour to generate some friendly banter between myself and a friendly customer service rep:

kindle 2 extract

Well, I got my reply, but was it from a friendly customer service rep?
No way, never, nada – but I did receive another email from the friendly but contextually inept Amazon auto-bot that went something like this:

kindle 4 extract

OK, so now I admit defeat, and from now on, every time I’m tempted to order more ‘real’ books from Amazon, I’ll stop and think of all those friendly, helpful store assistants in my local book shops – real people who, if they don’t have a book in stock will order it for me…… probably from Amazon!

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Posted in Advertising, Brand Experience, Internet, Marketing, Sales promotion, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Trent Reznor 1, Mojo Magazine 0

Posted by Lee on August 17, 2009

Love him or loathe him, Trent Reznor is a genius. Nine Inch Nails has been around for years now, and although too dark and ‘industrial’ for some, his work has always been original and exciting. However, his vision extends well beyond pure music and includes the wider digital realm.
NIN’s Year Zero 2007 concept acted as a beacon of hope for a music industry desperately attempting to keep alive a terminally ill business model.
yearzero_coverYear Zero was a total multi-media experiential project, incorporating an ARG, live events, merchandise and social media – however, the actual CD was a key artifact, a central piece of the expanding phenomenon that was Year Zero.
It was also acknowledged as one of the great marketing campaigns, picking up a Cyber Grand Prix at the 2008 Cannes Advertising Festival – I had the privilege of judging the campaign at that event.
Since then NIN have experimented with different distribution models, allowing fans to download the album The Slip from the NIN Nails website (free of charge), and an EP to coincide with their current tour.

julymojoTrent Reznor’s status as a digital pioneer is already well known and well documented, so why am I writing this post?
Well, I’m a big fan and long-time reader of Mojo, the Music Magazine, as it has well written news, interviews, and reviews – and in the July 09 issue there was brilliant interview with Trent Reznor. The article provided some real insights to an older and wiser Mr Reznor. I was so impressed by the piece that I wanted to ‘tweet’ about it and provide a link to the interview on the Mojo website……..
There was just one small problem – there was no sign of the interview on the Mojo site – there are other interviews on the site, but ironically, of all the musicians Mojo interview, they didn’t choose to upload their interview with one of the music industry’s internet gurus!

To add insult to injury, I emailed Mojo and asked whether they intended uploading the piece to their site so I could link to it. This was their reply:

Out of Office AutoReply: Trent Reznor interview – are you going to put it online?

Hello,
Thank you for your email.
Please note that you have come through to MOJO editorial. The team will only deal with queries specific to the editorial content of the magazine, including competition entries, letters and complaints.
However, if you have an enquiry relating to subscriptions you can call 01858 438 806 and they will do their best to answer your question. Advertising queries should be made to the ads team by calling 020 7295 5000.
Thanks for your support,
MOJO

An auto-response – Gosh, I feel special, thanks Mojo, very ‘social media’ of you!

Posted in Awards, Brand Experience, Entertainment, Experiential Marketing, Internet, Marketing, Sales promotion, Society | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

A ‘sign’ of the times? Enterprising brothel advertising

Posted by Lee on July 29, 2009

My good mate Hemi, the owner of Wakefield Hotel, a cool clothing and footwear shop in Cuba Street, Wellington NZ takes his camera everywhere with him for business and culture inspiration.

brothel_ads_for our timesLast week he spotted this just around the corner from his own store.

Yes, it’s for real – and a sign of the times maybe?

You just have to admire the operators of this ‘Gentleman’s Club’, don’t you? We’re all living in a retail hard sell “Sale, Sale, Sale” economy now – at least they weren’t advertising an “All you can eat” offer!

For those of you who may be interested in investigating this ‘Sale’ a little further, check out Il Bordello

For the rest of you who want to check out the best range of sneakers and urban threads in Wellington, go and see Hemi at Wakefield Hotel on Cuba!

Posted in Advertising, Brand Experience, Consumer Trends, Economy, Entertainment, Marketing, Sales promotion | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Twitter in business – walking the line between following and stalking.

Posted by Lee on July 9, 2009

GaryTaxaliFun-thumb-300x362-5338

Let’s face it; anyone worth their salt in the marketing communications industry (agency side) will monitor the social media activity generated by, or around their clients or business prospects.
There’s nothing wrong with that. We do it all the time for our clients as it can help to provide a ‘finger on the pulse’ view of what people are saying about them, and an opportunity to sort out any customer service issues, real or perceived.
However, this afternoon I witnessed a something quite strange, and it made me a little uncomfortable.

An agency was trying to get attention of  @prospect via twitter.
Various members of said agency had got onto twitter and sent a series of tweets to a potential new business prospect in the telco category.
The tweets amounted to a tweet-by-tweet sales pitch handed on from one @agencyperson to the next, all sent to the @prospect in a continuous burst.

So why did the agency use this approach? Good question.
I guess they thought it was original.
I guess they thought that it would demonstrate that they knew how to use twitter, and it would impress @prospect.
Maybe it was just cheaper than picking up the phone?
It wasn’t exactly confidential as anyone monitoring @prospect’s twitter account could watch the approach unfold.
It also meant that @prospect could look at the agency tweeps profiles and see how ‘twitteractive’ @agency really are.
Would an approach such as this really impress @prospect?
I don’t know – it may be flattering I guess, however it could just as easily be viewed as a bit creepy and borderline.

A smart tactic?  Maybe. Clever? Personally, I don’t think so.
I acknowledge that these tweets weren’t direct messages, and some might feel that it just constitutes another form of public advertising.  However as most businesses set their their company name  as a search feed to monitor and respond to customer issues, it was inevitable that the @agency tweets were going to clog up @prospect’s feed.  If this approach had been used to target a specific consumer, what are the potential privacy implications?
How would a potential business client feel about receiving a ‘concentrated blast’ of emails or phone calls from various members of a hopeful sales company? Probably pissed off and a bit violated – and we know that no reputable business would sanction their employees using such behaviour.
I guess what makes me uncomfortable in this digital era, is that it’s such a fine line between targeted marketing communications tactics, and ‘stalking / spamming’ a prospect.
When are we crossing that line?

Note: the picure in this blog entry is entitled ‘Fun’ by the brilliant illustrator / artist, Gary Taxali.

Posted in Advertising, Agency life, Cogitating, Internet, Marketing, Sales promotion, Social media, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What really are the most popular 99 songs online today?

Posted by Lee on April 17, 2009

hunted_logoWe all know that the industry’s music charts are notoriously unreliable and irrelevant in this age of digital music and global digital citizens.

For a start, there is no  ‘standardisation’ between competing chart compilers and channels within the same country, let alone on an international basis.

In the physical world, charts are built on shipped albums. Online, traditionally, they have been a count of digital downloads and while under the traditional economic model, ‘sales are king’, it could be that in this era of networked global communities and illegal downloads, the measure of a band’s influence and buzz is an even richer vein to tap into.

This is where We Are Hunted comes in. They pitch themselves as the music chart for the digital generation and generate their 99 most popular songs online each day.

The We Are Hunted charts’ point of difference is that it tracks sentiment, expression and advocacy relating to particular songs. In their words “We aggregate social networks, forums, music blogs, Torrents, P2P networks and Twitter to develop a daily chart of the most popular songs online”.

A chart based upon ‘buzz’ and the amount of conversation a song has generated means that you can be exposed to songs, bands and genres that you may not ever come across across if you just rely on your own local radio stations.

Is it going to help these bands sell their songs? Well, some of these artists will be exposed to a whole new global audience and that has to be helpful, not only for music sales, but also for getting live audiences when doing overseas tours.

Check out We Are Hunted and if you like any particular song you come across, you can buy it by clicking through to iTunes.

Posted in Arts, Consumer Trends, Economy, Internet, Sales promotion, Social media | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Desperate times call for drastic measures – how about ‘Buy one, Get one free!’ – for cars?

Posted by Lee on November 16, 2008

dodge-avenger-copy

OK, we’ve seen ‘two for one’ price offers in the retail sector before, and it’s pretty much a standard promotional tactic in the FMCG sectors, but using this approach to sell cars, and new ones at that – well, that’s pretty extreme.

Just another example of how the credit crunch has taken hold all over the world, this ‘buy one new car, get one free’ offer was run in the UK where last month, new car sales were down 23%, the biggest fall in 17 years.

However, what really caught my eye about this, wasn’t that it was yet another doom & gloom, credit-crunch story, it was how it was also a remarkable demonstration of how consumers react to offers differently, and real proof of the need to ‘test’ offers to the market (something that DM agencies always try to get their clients to do). Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in Advertising, Consumer Trends, Economy, Sales promotion | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »