Thursday, May 08, 2008
"Please pay careful attention to this video before entering a Diesel store."
DieselPlanet on YouTube trying to use humor (attempting to create viral videos) to maintain a brand image. Do you think this is effective? What's the narrative here?
A friend of mine at a major cellular provider sent me an e-mail showing how this article was sent to employees and used to motivate the salesforce to sell more texting plans.
The PC World article, 10 Killer Texting Tricks, is interesting and some of these are useful. I've used SMS to take notes on the road and jot down ideas for screenplays. I've sent voice packets to friends, but only as experiments. I have yet to try Mapquest (driving directions) or Google using SMS, probably because I see it as a waste of nickels.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Saturday, May 03, 2008
An AP story reported that Linens 'n Things is filing for Chapter 11 bankrupcy and will be closing 120 stores, about 30 of which are in California. A sidenote is that $42M in giftcards will be frozen, affecting 400,000 consumers. Consumers tend to think of gift cards as cash, but they are actually debt for the company. Payment was already received for future purchases, so the company technically "owes" in the form of merchandise. The lesson is to be wary of gift cards from shaky retailers.
The company has been in dire straits for a while and many have criticized their heavy use of sales promotions with coupons over the years.
Friday, May 02, 2008
Note: There is a correction to Verizon's 2007 satisfaction score, which is 71, not 61.
In 375 (ADEP), we discussed the Apple iPhone & AT&T exclusivity deal. I was out of the country when it launched (it still isn't available in Canada), so I missed the huge buzz and only read about the hype on tech blogs and Wired. Well, typically all phones make it to all 4 major carriers, but this exclusive lock-in with AT&T creates a tremendous amount of value for that carrier, which (ideally) fosters a huge commitment to the alliance. At the time of the deal, AT&T was the market share leader: AT&T 27.1%, Verizon 26.3%, Sprint Nextel 23.6%, Others 11.9%, & T-Mobile 11.1%, so Apple was going with the largest base. In terms of 2007 customer satisfaction numbers (a key marketing metric), wireless telephone carriers are in the high 60s and low 70s on a 100-point index. AT&T is up from being in the low-60s, but is still a lackluster 68. Verizon is a 71. The worst of the majors is Sprint Nextel at 61. All others are 68 and T-Mobile is 70. Strategically, what would you do? You would probably want to know which carrier has the best customers, in terms of "technographics" (technology usage & demographics).
Thursday, May 01, 2008
I'm not original in thinking that the Web is a way users can structure life both online and offline. Parodies of online life are nothing new, evident in the Make Love Not Warcraft episode of South Park a few years back. The reality of the situation is that youth culture uses the technologies in both F2F and virtual realms. The New York Times wrote about flash mobs in 2003, which was all about pointless "spectacles" generated by connected users. Usually, being featured in the NYT means its already pasée, but flashmobs are still going on. Spontaneous happenings for those "in the know." The use of technologies to belong, to connect with others, and to gain "meaning" or simple entertainment are part of fundamental human processes. What are the parameters here? What happens when companies and organizations try to co-opt these organic happenings?
Another somewhat non-commercialized spontaneous activity on the web is the creation and dissemination of "lolcats." These started out as images of cats using "lolspeak" captions, with the object being comedic value (which is in the eye of the beholder). Time wrote about it last year, noting how the sub or microcultural becomes mainstream (and hence covered in magazines like Time).
Like flashmobs, these were organic and spontaneous creations, not generated by a slick production house and spawned by WGA writers. Now, they're commercialized, but there's still a DIY-feel to the phenomenon. There seems to be a
desire for these organic and spontaneous creations. What can be done to foster more of these or does that do violence to the spirit of the idea in the first place?
There is a lot of hype about computing and the Internet going increasingly mobile. "Contextual" marketing has been hyped since 2001. Now, about 12.3M users access social network sites (SNS) on mobile devices. Social media tracker has compiled 38 of them here.