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Archive for the ‘Technology’ 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 »

User or Customer – the same difference?

Posted by Lee on August 13, 2009

Photo 14We all hate examples of poor customer service, whether before, during or after we’ve made a purchase.
Who can blame us for being intolerant of service failures – I mean, if we pay good money for something, it should work shouldn’t it?

But here’s the thing – what about those services that have become like oxygen for our digital lives?
Twitter, Facebook, Skype, WordPress and any other number of free online tools, communities and services fuel our insatiable thirst to stay connected, and they’re free. Surely as reasonable human beings, we make allowances for service failures from these suppliers, because we don’t even pay to use them?

Wrong – it’s counter intuitive, but we’re so addicted to our minute-by-minute, social networking ‘fix’, we seem less tolerant when these services fail, than when a paid for product or service lets us down.
You don’t agree?
Well, just look at the backlash and outrage after a Twitter failure, or Facebook outages – what about your reaction to the poor quality video call the time you Skyped an overseas friend? Our intolerance goes beyond our reaction to service failure, it extends to our reaction when these providers to attempt to monetise the environments they provide through other means, like advertising – how dare they?

What does all this mean? Have we forgotten that these services are free, or have we moved into a new societal model where ‘users’ have the same expectations as paying customers, and we expect the things we choose to ‘use’ to work as well, if not better than those we buy? Are we all just becoming unreasonable or is it that we believe that the time we invest using these tools is payment enough?

What if Twitter charged everyone with an account, a nominal fee of say, $2.00 per month?
They’d certainly receive a direct income from us allowing them to upgrade and maintain their online service.
We’d also be legitimate customers, so would that make us even more demanding and intolerant, or would we all just leave in droves and find a new free thing?

Posted in Cogitating, Consumer Trends, Social media, Society, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Digital Media Awards, Asia 2009

Posted by Lee on August 9, 2009

DMA_logoI’m honored to have been asked to judge at this year’s Digital Media Awards Asia. Now in their third year, the Awards celebrate the best Asia’s digital marketing industry has to offer. The digital sector is weathering the current economic storm better than most, and across Asia the online sector goes from strength to strength in terms of infrastructure, creativity and effectiveness.

The panel of judges include leaders from some of the world’s hottest agencies, biggest online brands, media owners, industry suppliers and clients. I’m looking forward to some quality debate and discussion.
The Awards Ceremony takes place in Bejiing, China on the 16th November 2009.

Posted in Advertising, Agency life, Awards, Education, Marketing, Technology | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

What the f**k is social media – one year on

Posted by Lee on August 5, 2009

In September last year I put a link to a terrific presentation called “What the f**k is social media” and I made the point that while a great ‘primer’ for social media, with the speed things are changing, it would soon be out of date.

Well, the authors of that presentation, Espresso, obviously agreed, and have released “What the f**k is social media: one year later”. Excellent, and just take a look at some of the updated statistics!

Posted in Consumer Trends, Internet, Marketing, Social media, Society, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Facebook – how are they using your pics?

Posted by Lee on July 26, 2009

facebooklogoI’m not naive and totally understand that Facebook and other social networking sites need to be able to find ways to monetise the millions of eyeballs, engagement (and server space) they’ve accumulated, but I think they’re in danger of betraying the trust millions of users have placed in them.

Apparently, Facebook has agreed to let third party advertisers use your posted pictures alongside their ads, without your express permission.

Facebook could easily make the effort to properly inform each and every one of their registered users about any changes they intend making to the terms of service. Yes, I accept that you can opt out of this change if you actually know about it, and once you do, it is easy to do – however, many users will be oblivious to this change – not good enough Facebook!

So, unless you’re happy with Facebook using your own personal pics in this way (not just on your behalf, but also your family and friends in your pics), you may want to exercise your rights to ‘opt out’ and preserve your privacy. Here’s how:

Log in to your Facebook account.

Click on “Settings” up at the top where you see the “Logout” link.

Select “Privacy”.

Then select “News Feed and Wall”.

Next, select the tab that reads “Facebook Ads”.

In the drop down box, select “No One”.

Save your changes.

There, all done!

Do it now, and you may want to let your friends know as well.

Posted in Cogitating, Education, Internet, Social media, Society, Technology | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Futurism in action: A look at 1999, from back in 1967 – pt2

Posted by Lee on July 12, 2009

Following on from my last post, here’s a look at what the 1999 kitchen of the future was going to look like from a 1967 perspective. Again, I have no idea where this clip came from but if anyone can tell me, I’d be grateful – IBM, Honeywell, some science show or something completely different?

Posted in Consumer Trends, Economy, Education, Entertainment, Internet, Society, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Futurism in action: A look at 1999, from back in 1967 – pt1

Posted by Lee on July 11, 2009

I have no idea where this clip originally came from but it’s an interesting look at what we thought 1999 was going to look like. This clip shows how we were all going to be doing ‘fingertip shopping’ from the home.

While some of the thinking was spot on – e-commerce and shopping sites; what’s really funny looking at this clip from 1967 is the chauvinistic view of the world and women’s role in it, and how the guy pays and reviews his bills for payment!

Anyway, enjoy and if anyone can tell me where this clip came from, I’d be grateful – IBM, Honeywell, some science show or something completely different?

Posted in Consumer Trends, Economy, Education, Entertainment, Internet, Society, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

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 »

The power of tribes Vs the mass market

Posted by Lee on June 25, 2009

A few months old now, but Seth Godin‘s terrific video presentation from Ted Talks explains how the power of tribes and the Internet change everything we know about advertising, media and “one to many” communications.

The Genie is out of the bottle and it’s too late to try and put it back again.

Embrace change, form or join a movement, or die!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Posted in Advertising, Brand Experience, Consumer Trends, Economy, Education, Internet, Marketing, Social media, Society, Technology, Web tools | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

So, Twitter’s now mainstream – Time Magazine covers it

Posted by Lee on June 5, 2009

time_logoIt’s taken a while, but it looks like Twitter is now a bona fide, mainstream phenomenon, because this month, Time Magazine’s cover story is all about Twitter.

Well done to Twitter, and let’s hope this isn’t a sign that the Twubble is about to burst as early adopters ‘jump ship’ to look for the next cool, edgy, big thing. Probably not this time, because recent research shows that Twitter has (with the exception of ‘Celeb Followers’), got where it is without a lot of support from either Gen Y or the Millenials, probably the most fickle of all groups. No, Twitter has become the SM tool of choice of Gen X and Boomers.

It has become invaluable to users as an ‘interest and link resource’ – once you’ve found key people to follow ( based upon your own interests), you can post and read tweets, and send  interesting links to each other and the group. In effect, these fellow Tweeps become part of your ‘global hive research brain’. The  power of global micro-bloggers in real time!

Anyway, check out the Time article.

Posted in Cogitating, Consumer Trends, Internet, Mobile, Social media, Society, Technology | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »