Archive for 2009

Browser Coup d’état

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Browser Coup d’étatI recently came across this cause, Browser Coup d’état being promoted by .Net Magazine. The case presented is well articulated and illustrate a point that many of my clients might not otherwise understand.

I would like to take the argument one step further though. While we, as web designers, should stop developing for this dinosaur of a browser, it seems to me that the future is being overlooked by some web designers, and certainly by most of our clients. Mobile device browsers are the future of web content. Is it the designer’s responsibility to develop for the browser? OR the browser’s responsibility to render web standard code?

TV advertising and something to grow on

Thursday, December 17th, 2009

So I was just thumbing through a copy of Science News from over the summer, August 29, 2009 to be exact, and an article caught my eye. It basically says something I’ve been telling clients and prospects forever. Just because your ad isn’t on during a football game on Monday night doesn’t mean it won’t work.

Prices are based on audience for the show, not for the commercial break. Some shows have a better stickiness for ads than others. A study from the University of Wisconsin pulled data from cable boxes and determined that the average commercial break has 5-10% of the audience channel changing but some really popular shows nearly doubled that. Hell’s Kitchen loses 18 percent for example, the show NUMB3RS loses only 6% in comparison. Aside from saying “People pay more attention to a drama with a story than a reality show full of padding” what does it say?

It says that in tv advertising you can pay less because of the smaller audience for a show but get a better value on who’s sticking around when your ad airs. Remember advertising can be done on most budgets if the research is done to make sure it is used most effectively.

Promoting your Greenonomics

Monday, August 31st, 2009

Last week on Tuesday August 25 I had the pleasure of visiting the EcoTuesday event at the Hotel Monaco in downtown Denver. I met with people interested in networking with green businesses. It was good to see folks out there that had an interest in the bigger picture beyond just the quickest way to make a buck.

The guest speaker was Julie Klein the Director of Environmental Affairs at Rock Resorts and Vail Resorts Lodgings Company. The speech was insightful in regard to how private corporations are taking the initiative to get ahead of the curve on environmental and sustainability issues.

So you may ask why a marketing, advertising, and interactive agency was there. We don’t have smoke stacks, we don’t build roads in wilderness areas, etc… Well there were a couple of reasons.

First: How do we promote our environmentally conscious clients in a responsible way. Can we present a client to the world as environmentally concerned without coming off as jumping on the green bandwagon?

Second: Can we increase the number of environmentally concerned clients that retain our services? (AKA Talk the Talk to companies that are or want to Walk the Walk)

Third: What can we do to make our small footprint even smaller?

So to answer the questions above:

1) Properly promote activities that have a green (environmental) aspect but might not have a direct green (financial) return. An example our speaker provided were company efforts to rebuild hiking trails through volunteers. These events often had employees participating but wasn’t getting the broad reach into the community they wanted. So they set up the event, get some good PR from it, but aren’t getting the ground level support they’d like to see. Remember “If you market it they will come” If you’re being green you might have to make an effort to let people know.

2) The answer is “I think so.” The real question is are there enough companies out there that are making efforts and want to get some return on those efforts? Again “I think so.” If you represent a company that is going green or know someone who has, get in touch. We’d like to find out what you’re doing.

3) In some cases they can take it to the extreme and find they have to pull back from those goals in exchange for other goals. As an example Vail Resorts bought wind credits to cover 100% of their electricity usage. In the mountains of Colorado wind is not a practical option for direct power manufacturing. So their consideration is can that money being spent on wind credits be better spent on direct efforts to reduce usage at the resorts.
For a company like us we can of course make sure monitors, lights, and computers are turned off at night. But we can take that a step further by offering recycled paper printed with soy based ink to our clients for their direct mail campaigns or collateral materials for example.

In the end every company can take a look at itself and find a way to move forward responsibly and effectively. And why not spread the word, get the PR and good will that goes with it, increase sales, and let those efforts pay for themselves. In the near future will you really be able to afford not going green?

The Customer is Always Right

Tuesday, July 14th, 2009

Too often it seems that businesses view marketing as the advertising and promotions that they run. This is a narrow view of the function, and can result in devastating consequences to the amount of business that is conducted.

It seems that many businesses forget that the oldest and most central marketing theme always has been and always will be customer service. The saying “The customer is always right” should not be interpreted to mean that each individual customer gets what ever they want if they complain enough, but rather that you should listen to your customers.

I recently visited a business who’s policies greatly restricted the customer’s experience. There seemed to be no real rhyme or reason for the policies, though front line employees sited security and safety reasons.

The point is that the policies and procedures composed and implemented by finance managers or the legal department can have a great impact on how customers interact with and perceive your company. Cost/benefit analysis (whether formal or informal) should include intangibles that can effect the level of business you conduct.

One of those factors is perception. The founding idea of branding. How do people see, think, and feel about this business? So before sending out that memo, ask yourself “Is this policy in line with our brand? Does it help to reinforce our mission and core values?” If the answer to these questions is an unequivocal yes, then send away. Send it multiple times. Create a new division in the company to ensure that the policy is followed.

Just remember, that if your customers don’t like it, then get rid of it… they’re right.