Tuesday, February 28, 2006

the rest of us are b-listers, i guess

Well, now there can be very little debate as to who the A-list bloggers are, now that there's the Blog 50. It's a list of the best/most influential bloggers in the blogosphere...Sadly I didn't make the list. Hugh brought it to my attention (of COURSE he did, he's #31 as of this writing) and for once I agree with him:
"At least they have a sense of humor about it."

Much fuss has been made about the relevancy of traffic, links and profile when it comes to classifying someone as an "A-lister." (see: Technorati Top 100) Until now, I found the whole thing quite trivial. But I'm coming around now, since this site is almost lampooning the triviality of the idea and making a name for himself along the way. Jeremy Botter. That's his name. I know, because I was so curious I had to find out who was adjuticating this list, and on what criteria. I was pleased to find out that it is essentially the brainchild of an average blogger like you and me who had a great idea.

Well done Jeremy. The Blog 50 "algorhythm" will now become as mysterious as Google's; I for one will be tuning in to see when you make it onto your own list, because it shant be long. And when I will, of course!

Asides: This is how I found out Margaret Cho has a blog, and many other cool ones. My only critique is that only the top 10 or so have links. (Take the time and do it, Jer. It's more "influential" to do so)

Saturday, February 25, 2006

another house-cleaning post

John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing brings up an interesting point: we're not all on the same level of understanding when it comes to technology.

Sometimes, even when people know what blogs are and can wrap their heads around what an RSS feed is (Mom), they still haven't made it part of their daily lifestyle. With that in mind, a while back I installed that clever little button on the right (an idea that came to me from Ryan) that allows you to subscribe to my blog via email. In fact, you can have Blogarithm update you on several feeds at once, if you're savvy. (Note: if you're savvy, get a feeder. Geez!)

So, to sum up: visit often, and stay in touch any way you like. Your terms. (Grandma, just click the botton on the right and enter your email address)

Yes, my Grandma surfs. Has for almost a decade.

Friday, February 24, 2006

you can just feel the love...

Well, I'm in a great mood. I just showered up after a full day of snowboarding in the sun at Cypress with Rob (read on for link to masey).

Now that I'm done rubbing it in, I'll tell those of you NOT from Vancouver why I'm so "chuffed" as Rob would say. I came home to this delightful post from Mack at Beyond Madison Avenue. He's just saying thank you to some people who enjoy his blog, and leave comments. ("Brilliant!" I thought.) I began to think of you, dear readers and those of you that have helped make all of this possible. It made me smile to think that people return here time and time again to read my ramblings. Welcome and thank you, all.

Also, a city-wide white guy high five to the great Ryan Ashton, and a nod to Justin (who I have never met. Hi, Justin.) who have bestowed upon me the highest blogger honour, and added me to their blogrolls. Gentlemen, a-thank-you.

I can hear the band wanting to play me off the stage, so I'll quickly thank my wife in true celebrity awards show fashion, in her honour.

Now. For those of you still with me, here's what you've been waiting for: My pick for best marketing idea I've seen since magazines on water bottles: A whole nation, wearing their world-famous casual attitude on its sleeve, and inviting the world to join their conversation.

I point you now to the Aussie himself, with a post about how Australia is betting big that cussing, drinking and golfing in their tourism ads will see a boon in the industry. Great spot, and not a bad bikini, either.

(any anti-American views expressed in the above link are the views of the author himself. Cheeky bugger. I pray I don't have any readers from Wisconsin)

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

how to add value to water

I'll say it right from the outset: I love this idea. (Thank you Adrants) I hereby bestow upon it the highest honor I can, by wishing it was MY idea.

For decades now, water companies have been making us pay dearly for what should be free; two parts hydrogen, one part oxygen (you know the stuff). Of course, the marketer in me believes they deserve to, because they've done a good job making the world believe that water is worth more than oil. Want to have a heart attack? Try buying a bottle of the stuff after dark in Ibiza (so I hear).

But the story in the link above shows a great way to distribute a magazine (read= sell advertising) and add extra value to what we're supposed to be drinking anyway. The right way to do this is to make the profits on the magazine and give the water away, imho, but the reading material will take the sting out of the two bucks they'll likely end up charging.

This is a big win for print advertising if you ask me. Hooray for for Joanna Wojtalik, the Aussie girl with the big idea.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

a cute story for Valentine's day

When an eight year old can start a business with less than $10 US a year, you know that these are indeed exciting times.

The Business 2.0 blog points us to a funny post written by a VC, who had to deflect requests from his eight-year-old son to fund his company. The kid kicked and screamed, and got Mom on his side, and then Dad had to comply. He went to Godaddy.com, (pun accidental, I assure you) bought a URL for a couple of bucks and just hours later, the kid was in business.

Take note, would-be entrepreneurs: Your excuses for in-action just don't wash anymore. Eight-year-olds are kicking your ass.

This winds up being a nice plug for cafepress.com, an great web 2.0 application that brings the power to be a retailer to us all. I've always wanted to design my own t-shirts, (Who doesn't?) so I'll inevitably be pimping my self-made gear soon enough...

On the subject of Web 2.0, Steve Rubel's post from yesterday caught my eye. If you want to skip over his post, just jump directly to listible.com, which offers an excellent list of great new web applications. I can proudly say I use a good deal of the top ten on the list, but there are plenty more than I'm now pretty stoked to look into a little deeper.

I love the web. And if you're reading , I love YOU. Happy Valentine's Day.

Monday, February 13, 2006

new media doesn't always win

I met with a client today to build a direct mail piece.

Normally I would feel nauseous at the thought of an intrusive mailer sent randomly; but in this case I didn't flinch. Before you jump to conclusions and call me a marketing whore, I should inform you: the job is pro-bono. The fact is, direct mail was simply the best option for the client, his business and potential for ROI.

We considered newspaper advertising, even with special publications. The mailer came in at way cheaper, considering it can be made much more area-specific. We've implemented web-based initiatives, but they can't measure up to a mailer in terms of potential response. So, a mailer it is.

Those who know me have already guessed who the "client" in question is. For him, it's important to market to people at their homes, where he wants to do business. He's staying proactive in an abnormally slow time for the Vancouver real estate market, and the message is extremely soft-sell. Just a thank-you note for a good year in 2005 and reminder of who they can call if they have questions about buying or selling.

It is also how he is introducing a new level of service to his customers, with some of the new ideas we've been throwing around. (Ideas so good I'm still not sure I want to share them here) Essentially, he wants all of the right neighborhoods to know that when it comes to customer service, he's the best around.

Important note: the mailer is a form of marketing, yes. But we started at the most important stage of marketing: Being unique, excellent. Giving people good reasons to tell ten friends. Without leaking too much, the plan is to give new customers (new listings) a few small, affordable and carefully chosen gifts to help them (together) sell the house. New buyers will receive a clever gift too (he's not alone in this category, but he intends to be better than the rest). In the hustle-and-bustle world of real estate, it won't be too difficult for him to be an absolute stand-out. The bar is set pretty low; everyone's busy and not taking the time to care.

Sometimes, you have to be the first one to start telling the story. Just make sure it's a good story, one that others will want to hear. If it's a good enough story, people will start to tell it for you.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

better than any superbowl ad.

I found this great commercial on Adrants today. (follow the link)

I'll tell you why I love it. For starters, it's for a "product" that is near and dear to my heart. Secondly, I used to work for Reginald Pike (as a lowly PA), the guys who made it. I mean MADE it, since they were the film company, not the agency.

Also, it has a great use of a celebrity (sort of). Actually, they just used a red jersey with No. 9 on the back, but we all know that means Gordie Howe.

I wouldn't wash my hand either.


super letdown XL

I suppose it only makes sense that I should sound off on the super bowl, since everyone else seems to be doing so. I do SO love to fit in, so here goes:

The first game I ever cared about, and the first time I've ever been disappointed. Wanna know why I'm less than chuffed? Read Eric's post. We're both from the Pacific Northwest. Do the math.

Anyway as for the ads, I was pleased to find that with my digital cable box, I could watch the game on a US network and catch all of the ads as they appeared. Needless to say, I wasn't blown away. Budweiser clearly owns the game, they even sponsor the entire collection of commercials (via Rob) online. Some are good, most are average, if you ask me.

I agree with Mack. (Who gave a blow-by-blow as the game unfolded!)
The best ads, imho, were the Budweiser "Magic Fridge," and the Macguyver ad made me chuckle a bit too. I'll give a special nod to Blockbuster too. Their ad made me want to take action, and there's no better criteria to measure an ad with than that.

In all though, it felt like any other commercial break most times; Godaddy.com's ad did end up a bit "limp" after all the hype.

Btw, next year I'm getting a fresh beer during the breaks, and watching the game.

a little goes a long way

Every night before bed (oh alright, MOST nights) I try to read something that makes me smarter.
I'm not referring to blogs, either. I mean I take some time to read off that beloved old mistress, the printed page.

Lately (if you've been reading you know this already) I have a certain affinity for Seth Godin's books. Right now I am reading "Free Prize Inside," and I have some fresh new ideas for my number one client. (My brother)

I'm adding these new ideas to the list I've already made, and I'll keep you up to date on the progress of implementing them. More on that later.

P.S. To be a better blogger: Post content people want to read, share the information, and share the love. Oh, and always credit your sources. When you do, good things happen; as Mack Collier from Beyond Madison Avenue reports here. I am especially fond of his post, as he links to me.

Smart. And Friendly.

Friday, February 03, 2006

not just a superbowl ad

Superbowl ads are expensive. REALLY expensive. I think it's up to $2.5 million a spot, so if you're in that league, you want to make it count.

The last thing that I would ever do is encourage somebody to dole out that kind of cash for a mere 30 seconds of air time, but if you must, then you better milk it for all it's worth.

I happily admit that I am a customer of godaddy.com (three domains and counting) and I got a kick out of the controversy over last years Bowl ad, where the girl's tank-top strap bursts open in the courtroom...you know the one.

Anyway, this year, they wanted to run another ad during the game. So they shot a bunch of them, knowing full well that they would not be approved for the Sunday afternoon audience on a major US network. Then they sent out a press release that they had been denied. Then, they held a press conference. Then, they tried no less that 14 times to get their ad ok'd by the network brass, and finally were approved.

I'm no dummy, I realize this was part of the plan all along, but I can really appreciate that they created so much hype over their thirty second ad; the resulting publicity is arguably worth the investment.

I have to give Adrants credit for keeping me up to date on the saga, but it's godaddy.com themselves that are hosting the complete timeline of the process, including all of the rejected versions. (enter the code and you can watch 'em all)

Budweiser has been putting their Super Bowl ads online for years. No news there. But godaddy.com just made buying a superbowl ad a news story. Several times over. Clever boys, clever.

Admission of guilt: I'm trying to break this post down as marketing and advertising science, but in truth, I had a much more testosterone-driven motivation...watch the ads, you'll catch my meaning.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

direct marketing bad, permission-based marketing good.

I read a very good, very epic post today by Eric Weaver, about what I do for money.
This post is mostly for my own archiving purposes, but if by any chance you really want to know what's wrong with direct marketing, read the whole post here.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

cross promotion: husband links to wife

This could just as easily have popped up in Alex's blog, but it's me who reads Adrants faithfully, so it was me who spotted their post of this Ben Affleck ad from the UK for Lynx. (We call it Axe in N. America)
Ben Affleck might be the most heavily hyped actor walking the planet today. Those are big shoes to fill. I can't help but really like the guy. If you've ever seen a Kevin Smith movie, you know that Ben's a pretty funny chap. He's not afraid of a little humor at his own expense, as you can tell by the look on his face for most of this spot.