Tag Archives: Marketing

Step up your marketing

Octane Fitness Q37ce elliptical trainerIf you’ve gone through the hard work of developing physical products for customers, why not take advantage of the low-cost and free Web 2.0 tools available to help increase adoption of your product and reduce your sales cycle?

A perfect case in point is Octane Fitness and their line of elliptical trainers.

We were in the market for an elliptical trainer for about 6 months, when we finally pulled the trigger in early April on an Octane Q37ce trainer.  Since then, we’ve been extremely happy with the investment.  I’ve found that a six-day-a-week workout routine is easy to maintain and have seen marked improvements in my level of cardiovascular fitness.

So why did it take 6 months to purchase a product that I; a) really wanted; b) really needed; and c) is a terrific product that fits my needs exactly?

After reflecting for a month and doing some additional research, it’s clear that Octane could have cut the sales cycle down to under a month.  Here’s how. Continue reading

Seth Godin and common sense marketing

Purple CowSeth Godin and I have, unsurprisingly, a similar attitude toward marketing.  Compare, for example, his post What Do You Know? with my People Don’t… post of a few months ago.

Both basically remind the marketer that your “targets” (and this probably isn’t a great term) really don’t care about you and that the rules have changed in the Web 2.0 world.
Creative Commons License photo credit: psd

Free samples!

SamplingAre you using sampling in your marketing efforts?  Ad Age had a quick article on some of the sampling efforts being undertaken by major marketers this summer.

What’s old is new again.  Is it better to hit a prospect with 3 to 5 impressions and tell them about your product or is it better to put the product in their mouth or on their skin and show them how great it is?

If you think about it, the Web 2.0 technique of giving away your entire product dates back to the days of the local shopkeeper.  

Back in the day, the general store owner would give you a taste of what was in the barrel to get you to purchase the product.  Now, digital products and services providers allow you to use virtually all of their services free of charge, with the hope that you’ll come back repeatedly and purchase the premium (paid) product or generate pageviews to generate advertising revenue.

Sampling’s an old marketing technique, but it’s taken hold in Web 2.0 products and, with the advent of more granular tracking tools, is becoming more popular with traditional CPG.

As Winston Churchill once said, “The further back I look, the further forward I can see.”  What other “old” marketing techniques can you think of that can be resurrected in your marketing efforts?

Don't move your billing forward to take advantage of the postal rate increase.

Penny Black postage stampIf you’re mailing Standard Rate, you’ve got until Friday to present your material for entry at the USPS at the current rates. I hope you’ve been getting ready to mail at the old rates.

Is there anything you shouldn’t try to get in the mail at this point?

I can think of a couple things.  While it’s temping to get your billing out under the current postage rates (typically by accelerating a few bill cycles from next week to this week), my test results have shown that it’s not usually worth it.

For every cycle you push into this week (using an example of daily billing cycles and 6 day-a-week payment processing) you reduce the time for the customer’s last payment to get into the billing run.

Believe it or not, a lot of customers wait for the last minute to send in payments and they have a very good sense of the time it takes for a payment to work through the USPS.  Customers have a sixth sense about their payment cycles and changes to that timing tends to create problems.

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CRM, BBQ style

BBQ ribsI’m not normally one to carry on about my experiences with fast casual dining establishments, even though we frequent them as a by-product of having two children who are connoisseurs of the category. The food quality can be variable, as can the staff attention to the customers.

But that’s all changed after Saturday’s experience at Famous Dave’s restaurant, where I had a terrific customer experience which doubled as a strong CRM effort on the part of the chain.

My wife and I had the luxury of a few minutes without the kids and, while driving by the restaurant, decided we should stop for lunch. We’d never been to the restaurant, although we’ve driven past the place every weekend for the past several years.

On entry, we were greeted by a smiling young man who welcomed us and held the door. His co-worker, equally welcoming, promptly seated us and informed us that our server would be with us shortly.

The CRM magic started when Chris came by our booth.

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Sometimes I shake my head and sigh

Kitten curmudgeonAnd sometimes I just shake my head. My apparently never-ending stream of poorly executed direct mail continues, with the latest effort being a shockingly bad example from Marriott’s Fairfield Inn and Visa.  It appears to be the result of a co-op promotion, which may account for the execution; nobody at either Marriott or Visa felt they were responsible for the results of the effort, and it shows.

For the record, the family and I are fans of Fairfield Inns and signed up for Marriott’s Rewards program as the result of numerous stays at their Hazelton, PA location.  The staff is always great, the rooms clean and cookies and DVD movies are always enthusiastically offered to us when we check in at 9 or 10 pm the Tuesday evening before Thanksgiving.

Now, if only those responsible for their direct response efforts could feel the same enthusiasm.  Rather than rant and rave, here’s a PDF file of the quick analysis I’ve sent to Marriott’s marketing team.

ProFlowers email of the day–how to make a strong offer

Every once in a while, I get a great email from one of the many companies I do business with online. Today’s great email is from ProFlowers and contains both an outstanding offer and some great strategic thinking.

Unbeknownst to me, ProFlowers suffered from some serious downtime yesterday. And with it getting close to Valentine’s Day ordering season, that’s a huge problem. The good news is that their website is fixed.

The better news is that I’m saving 15% off my wife’s Valentine’s Day flowers! Continue reading

Samsung shotgun

Today’s example of online marketing waste, which probably went awry someplace in the 4% of process (see Focus on the Four in our featured article section), comes from Samsung in the form of a promotion for their new Blackjack II cellular phone, which is available to subscribers of AT&T’s wireless network.

A couple of reasons why it’s a good thing I received this promotion:

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Focus on the Four

Humans and chimpanzees have a match on about 96% of their DNA.  That’s not a lot of difference between you or I in our automobiles, sipping a Starbucks latte while chatting our cell phones and our pan troglodytes relatives in the rain forests of central Africa.

And that 4% is about the difference between dramatic marketing success and dramatic marketing failure.

How can you avoid being a marketing chimpanzee?  Just Focus on the Four.

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What are marketers thinking of?

I’ve been subscribing to email newsletters since the early 90′s and–more recently–RSS feeds to try to stay abreast of what’s going on in the world of marketing and business.  Aside from a few must-reads, most of my efforts are a waste of time.  However, every once in a while something just jumps out of my mailbox.

Like today’s eMarketer Daily.

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