Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Apple Using Community-Created Ads

We all know that Apple has very little interest in opening up its iPhones to 3rd party developers. But the folks over in Cupertino have no problem with using a 3rd party ad for the phone -- that is, using a community-created video, which :

You can bet that this video will get huge amounts of views around teh Interwebs...for free.

(via Church of the Customer Blog)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Why I hate Snapfish

My cousin recently got married and posted the album of wedding pictures online through a service called Snapfish. I hate this site -- it makes you register and login to view these images. Why should I have to login to view these public photos?

Alternatively, Flickr lets users upload photos, tag, and share them with a private audience or the general public. There is no need to authenticate oneself before viewing photos anymore. Snapfish should change the way it shares photos so that it's open to anyone. If an uploader wants to make his or her photos private, the site should send a unique link to each recipient.

...and that's my Friday rant.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Why Lots of Hard Drive Space is Obsolete

About two years ago, Bill Gates published a "Sea Change" memo. He does this to refocus Microsoft on a particular priority. With one of these memos in 1995, he focused the company on the importance of leveraging the Internet in its software. In 2002, he published another memo to focus the company on software security.

I remember when this memo came out. I was working at Ensynch (a Microsoft partner) and this memo sparked a lot of excitement in the Microsoft community. It's funny how long it can take for something like this to be adopted in the general population.

It's now 2007 -- two years after this memo was released. I realized today that I no longer use any local programs on my computer. To clarify, a local program is a piece of software that you install on your computer -- you can access it usually on- or offline and the information is stored on your hard drive. Internet access is so ubiquitous now that everything I do now is accomplished online:
  • Write documents
  • Manage my finances
  • Play games
  • Network with friends
The term that's been coined for this shift in how I use software is called "Software as a Service" or SaaS. I didn't realize how useful this model of online software is until my imminent departure from DelCor. In my last job, I had to make sure I deleted a lot of personal files so that my information remained secure. When I leave DelCor tomorrow, I won't have to do this because all the personal stuff that I did while in my office resides online.

This way of using software also proves beneficial in extending the lifespan of my PC. I no longer have to worry about system requirements, hard drive space, etc with my relatively older machine. As long as I can still use Firefox on the computer, I can accomplish all my tasks through the Web.

Five Sites to Get you Started with SaaS:
  • Google Docs: Think of this as a free version of Microsoft Office. It has a word processor, a spreadsheet, and a presentation program. Everything I could do on a local program (except the most advanced Word features), I can do through this.
  • Gmail: There is really no reason that you should be using any other email program. Threaded email, archiving instead of deletion, and search instead of sort. Everything's stored online.
  • Mint: Think of this as an online Quicken. Aggregates all your financial data (kind of scary...) into one site for you.
  • Picnik/Flickr: Edit your photos online with Picnik and then upload, tag, and share them on Flickr.
SaaS is without a doubt, the future of software -- expect to be charged for the use of some programs in the future as well.

Do you have any other favorite SaaS sites? Share them in the comments.

The Fresh Marketer Lifestream

I have a Lifestream.

What's that? Well, it's an RSS feed of basically everything I write or look at online. I've combined my blog's feed with my Google Shared feed and my Twitter feed. I'll also add in my Flickr feed once I finally get around to uploading my pictures into Flickr (Facebook photo albums are way too closed off from the rest of the Internet for me to use).

So if you're already subscribed to my RSS feed, you'll start getting posts that won't be written by me. These are from my Google Shared site. You can also monitor the posts I think you'll find interesting by looking at the "What I'm Reading" widget. For those of you who haven't subscribed to my feed yet, take a second and click the "Subscribe to my Lifestream" link or add the following address to your favorite RSS reader:

Also, if you have any problems subscribing, post a comment or send me an email and I'll help you get it setup.

P.S. If you want any individual feed, here are the addresses:

Google Shared:



Welcome Back

Okay, as I'm sure you can see, I've switched back to Blogger. As much as I've tried to fight it, Blogger is just hands down the best free blog software out there right now. WordPress was good in a lot of ways, but I missed a lot of the features I had on Blogger. Here's how the two services stacked up against each other:

How Blogger is Better than WordPress:
  • Ability to add in any HTML, Java, etc code in your post or on a sidebar. WordPress seriously restricted this in the free version.
  • A lot of already-created widgets that are easy to add to the page. WordPress gave you only a handful of widgets -- none of which were very useful.
  • Better RSS integration. As you'll see below, I've changed a lot about my RSS feed and I don't want visitors getting confused about which feed to subscribe to. On Blogger (with Feedburner), I can make all of my feed links direct to the same address.
How WordPress is Better than Blogger:
  • I have going to Blogger blogs. Perhaps it's because anyone can create one and it seems that I question a blog's authority as soon as I see it's on Blogger. The irony of this statement is not lost on me.
  • More attractive templates. Even if these templates are much more limiting than Blogger's.
  • Integrated blog stats -- accessible directly from the dashboard. But it doesn't tell you network locations like Google Analytics does, which is the most important thing I look at.
So there we go. I've switched back to Blogger now. I'll probably stick with Blogger until I bite the bullet and purchase a Typepad subscription. That just seems to be the all-around best option if you're going to pay for a subscription.

I Give Up!

I don't think I can fight it any longer. I'm going to have to start using Twitter again. It seems as if everyone is using it now, even if I still believe that no one really cares about what I'm doing at any given moment during the day. I still think Twitter's a great tool for people going on trips, etc. I just don't believe that anyone really cares that I'm:

  • Sitting at my desk

  • Excited about a tasty dinner tonight

  • Ready to get started at The Fool.

Anyway, if you care, my Twitter page is here.

Another Wesch Great

Here's another great video from Michael Wesch (see previous post):

Talk about a great way to virally advertise Digital Ethnography at KSU. If you want to study this, where do you think your first choice would be?

Categories Don't Mean Anything

A great new video is flying around the Interwebs, by Michael Wesch:

It's all about tagging now.

The other day, I was asked by a coworker to explain the difference between categories and tags. After trying to explain it for a couple minutes, the ultimate conclusion from the coworker was that a category and tag are essentially the same. That's really not true. The best way I can describe a tag versus a category is:

A Tag:

  • Describes a piece of information

  • Doesn't classify a piece of information

A Category:

  • Also describes a piece of information

  • Places information into a particular classification.

It seems to me that categories are obsolete in today's environment. Even for this blog post, I'm given the option by WordPress to categorize AS WELL as tag the post based on the topic of my discussion. My vote is that we get rid of categories. We really don't need them anymore, right?

Duncan Riley at the TechCrunch blog says that information has been devolving for the past 12 years. I disagree. It seems to me that information has needed to become less categorized due to the way we're able to access information now using search, etc. If we're able to find the information that we're seeking more quickly and with a higher success rate, isn't this an improvement? Why does he call it a devolution?

By the way, if you haven't seen Wesch's other famous video, you can view it below:

"What I'm Reading"

If you haven't noticed it before (especially for anyone who reads this blog via the RSS feed), I have a widget that's entitled "What I'm Reading". This can be a misleading title. Allow me to explain:

This widget is powered by Google Reader, which is an RSS reader that I use to go through my RSS feeds. As I cull through almost 200 posts each day, I "share" posts that I think people who read this blog will be interested in reading as well. These "shared" entries end up on my "What I'm Reading" widget. This means you'll only see posts relevant to this blog's topic in this widget. I set this up mostly for my lovely family, who often asks me about the next cool thing on the Internet. Instead of sending around emails about what's happening, I can easily send them to my RSS feed. Now, what would be really cool, would be to figure out someway to combine my blog's feed with my Google Shared feed. If anyone knows how to do this, please let me know.

Want to read more of what I'm reading?

If you click on the RSS icon next to the widget title, you can subscribe to a feed of what I'm sharing. If you subscribe, expect about 10-20 posts a day on cool technology, hot marketing topics, and other nifty things I find online.

Want to Setup Your Own Google Share Feed?

Read this link, and then email me if you have any other questions.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Moved to WordPress

For anyone subscribing to my Feedburner feed or through Blogger, please visit to resubscribe to my feed. I've switched the blog over to WordPress.



Women and Football

A lot of people might argue that women don't enjoy the game of football. I'd totally disagree. Some of the most die-hard football fans I've come across are women, however it's pretty apparent that the NFL doesn't put a lot of effort in marketing to this group. It's exciting to hear about what the Ravens are doing not only to attract more women fans, but to help them form a community (from Jackie at the Church of the Customer Blog).

This Ravens community is a win-win for the team and its fans. Female Ravens fans find a place to belong, to ask questions about football, get access to exclusive events that matter to them, etc. The team attracts a greater attendance, more TV viewers, and sell more merchandise. The team also enables a football game to become more of a couple's event -- which is something that I haven't seen any other team try to do.

I'm a die-hard Redskins fan. We should have a similar community. Jackie submitted a name for her Steelers, and I'll try my luck at naming a community for the Skins:

  • Golden Girls?
  • Burgundy Babes?
Although, I've always been partial to the name "The Redskinettes" (and now that the cheerleaders aren't called that anymore, that name's available).

Friday, October 19, 2007

Movin' On...

Hey all -- remember me? It's been a little hectic the past couple weeks, but I have a good reason why:

I got a new job.

I'm the newest Online Marketing Manager at The Motley Fool ( "Wait a second," you're thinking to yourself, "Didn't you mention The Fool in a previous post?" Yes, I did. I'll fill you in on the details of that later, but meanwhile, I wanted to let everyone know I'm still alive. A lot of interesting stuff has been happening in the past couple weeks that I want to talk about, but first need to make sure I wrap things up at DelCor properly and prepare for my new job. More to come, stay tuned.

Future Posts:
  • Apple: Finally listening to their customers? Opening iPhones up to 3rd party apps.
  • Comcast: It sucks when your customers hate you. Especially when they hate you enough to take a hammer to your office building.
  • 2008: The year of blogging's demise?

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Subscribing to a Blog: 3 Things to Look For

Every blog has an RSS feed. That is, an XML file that is continually updated with the latest postings from the blog's author. You can subscribe to the RSS feed using an RSS reader (my fav is Google Reader). With so many choices, it can be easy to become overloaded with subscribed feeds. How do you cut through the clutter? Here are a couple key things to look for when deciding whether to subscribe to an RSS feed:

  1. Frequency - How often does the blog's author post? If you're busy during the day and a blog publishes 30 posts in a day (like Engadget or Boing-Boing), you're going to be overwhelmed trying to keep up with the posts. It's best to look for blogs that publish once a day or a few times a week with quality content.
  2. Originality - Blogs exist for people to comment on...anything. Oftentimes, this means blogs comment on other people's blog posts. This means that you can find five posts about the same topic (i.e. Apple's iPhone, Britney Spears, or Twitter) in a single day on your blogroll. Seek out blogs that have something new to say. Look for thought leaders rather than followers.
  3. Content - Your time is valuable. Don't waste it on content that doesn't add something to your life. What you read should be genuinely entertaining and/or informative. Don't read a blog because you think you should. If you can't get into it, unsubscribe to it and move on. There's so much content out there, it's easy to find a new blog to fill its place.

When Your Customers Hate You

Comcast has a problem. Almost every online reference of them talks about how horrible they are. Dissatisfied customers take to blogging, online forums, and online articles to voice their hate for the company. Over at the Church of the Customer Blog, Ben informs us about a new site that's popped up: "Comcast Must Die" -- a blog that provides single focus for customers to join together and voice their complaints. This is a site that Comcast can't ignore and will begin monitoring for feedback.

Comcast is organized by local franchises, and the mother company seems pretty cut off from its subscribers. It's hard to imagine that senior management realizes the low level of service these local groups provide. When you become detached from your customers, you can't survive. Expect to see Comcast actively take part in the new blog and perhaps create one of their own to facilitate the conversation between the management and their customers.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Great Idea: Package Delivery

The other day, I was waiting for a package to be delivered by UPS. This proved to be quite inconvenient since I was forced to wait at home all afternoon for this package to be delivered. You see, I could tell from UPS' website that the package would definitely be delivered today, but not the time it would arrive. I had to be there for the delivery because it required a signature.

It seems to me that this model of package delivery (tracking on the website only to sit at home and wait for the driver to show up) is about five years behind many other services that harness the full potential of the Web to improve customer service.

With all that Google's doing with public transportation tracking, why can't this be applied to package tracking? Imagine: you know that a package is due to be delivered today and through UPS' website, able to decipher the route number/driver that will be delivering your package. Using Google Delivery (made-up), you could then log in to see on a map the driver's route, stops ahead of yours, and an estimated time of delivery. If providing the driver's route proves to be a problem security-wise, why not simply have a way to show the number of stops ahead of yours plus an estimated time of delivery? Taking this a step further, you could also provide a way to send a message to your delivery person through the website regarding where to leave a package, or any special instructions.

Just a new idea on a foggy Thursday morning...

What's Next? World Domination?

Google has continued to change the way all of us access information. Due to the products they've introduced in the past couple years, I have almost no software on my personal laptop anymore. Everything I do, I can accomplish online using Google's apps.

Here's another fantastic (and free) one:


And T-Mobile wants me to pay $1.49 for the exact same service? Ha.

Buyer Motivation

Buyers are fickle. Little things can set your company apart from competitors. If you're actively engaged in a constant conversation with your customers (i.e. through blogging and other social media) , chances are pretty good that you'll form a tie with them that will be hard to break.

Geoff sums this point up pretty strongly by giving us a peek into his motivation for purchasing a new computer. He says that while Macs are cool and HPs are competitive, it's important to support a company that places significance in fostering a conversation with the people that matter: customers.

Apple used to be good at this, but somewhere along the way, they lost the connection that they had with their customers in exchange for increased profits. Sam over at New Media Strategies' blog talks about "Passionistas" -- essentially evangelists focused on a passion instead of a particular brand. Apple's core client base was comprised either by evangelists or this different group of passionistas. The amount of buzz that was generated from their iPhone announcement (and really, every recent product announcement) was/is staggering. These groups have the ability to drive the buzz positively or negatively, as seen by the recent turmoil Apple's been experiencing online. Hundreds (if not thousands) of blogs, online columns, etc have discussed Apple's need to compensate their early adopters for the $200 price drop as well as the "Brick-gate" - Apple's bricking of iPhones with the new firmware update. Apple has customers who are openly discussing the company's successes and failures, but no one in Cupertino is listening.

Participating in an open conversation with customers is important to a company's continued success, but if you're not willing to listen to what they have to say, you're not doing yourself any favors.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Great Example of a Truly Remarkable Video

"Will It Blend?"

Have you seen these videos yet:

This is a company who has managed to take a seemingly uninteresting kitchen appliance and turn it into a cult phenomenon. Blend-tec makes this uber-blender, but also creates videos of its president blending different items previously thought "unblendable" (i.e. a crowbar, lightbulbs, and even an iPhone). Their videos are all over the Web now and they're managing to sell shirts to the devoted fanbase. Companies are even trying to piggyback on Blend-tec's success. And now, according to InformationWeek via Mashable, these videos have led to an 500% increase in sales.

Still think alternative marketing can't lead to real results?

Here's the flip-side: Many companies have tried to create "viral videos", with the expectation that they will take off in popularity only to discover that no one cares about their video. That's because these videos aren't remarkable. Social media is driven by a viral spread of information: someone sees something and genuinely is interested in its content, so he/she forwards it along. Just putting a video online doesn't mean it will spread like a wildfire.

Overloading your Audience?

Because it's Friday:

If you overload your audience with messages, ultimately nothing will be received. Focus on a single consistent message, stick to it...and understand if your son just happens to be a little late for his curfew.

(Thanks to my mom for the link)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

4 Reasons Why I Blog

The other day, someone asked me why I write a blog. As I was thinking about a response to this question, I realized that to outsiders to the blogging world, it might be a little tough to understand. Why would I take time out of an already jam-packed day to voice my opinions to the online world (and really no one in particular)? I've compiled a list of 5 reasons why I do it:

  1. I have a unique perspective - I am the Fresh Marketer. Throughout the past five years of my career, I kept hearing about my ability to bring a unique perspective to traditional marketing. I would always look to outside the box when considering how to organize a budget for the year. This unique perspective has caused me to ask a lot of questions about things that people generally don't question. And hey, what's a better place to ask these questions than an open online forum like a blog?
  2. I want to take part in the online conversation - For years, I've consumed information through new media: blogs, social communities like Digg, Podcasts, etc and I wanted to provide information back to the community. This new world of social media is all about enabling conversations: between companies and their customers, between members of various groups, and of random people. It's all about exchanging information and I've got information that I can add to the conversation.
  3. I am developing my brand - One thing that's nice about having a home online is that it helps be develop my brand. If you haven't started thinking about yourself as a brand, you had better start. The way people (coworkers, industry counterparts, etc) feel about you is your very own brand. Having this blog identifies me with the brand attributes that I hope I portray and gives me a vehicle through which to further develop the brand.
  4. It returns power to the individual - This point could also be, "It gives me a voice." Writing for a blog lets me provide my thoughts on anything: a customer service experience that I recently had, a review of a product that I own (or want to own)...anything. By writing a blog, I'm standing out in a crowd from other customers or product owners because whatever I say is uncensored and will be online indefinitely. Not that I'm power-hungry. Promise.

I bring this up because if you haven't thought about writing a blog before, there's really nothing stopping you now. Blogging has definitely tipped and it becomes more apparent everyday. (Take a look at what the folks over at Businesspundit have to say about a new Blogger scholarship.) It's easy to sign up for a free blogging account and get started.

For those of you who blog, I'd love to hear why you do it. Please tell me why in the comments below.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Google Reader Search Doesn't Index Its Own?

All bloggers have at least a little bit of egotism, right? Otherwise, how could we assume that people actually want to read what we have to write?

So I was adding my RSS feed to my Google Reader -- which if you haven't checked out yet, is a great service -- and searched for "The Fresh Marketer".

Nothing. Not a single hit on any of the posts that I've published in the past six months. What gives? I publish using Blogger, which is owned by Google. Wouldn't you think that they would index their own sites? My site is not new; you'd think they'd have it indexed. Can anyone help explain why Google Reader might not initially add this blog to their index?

Oh, and if you haven't subscribed to my RSS feed because of this, please feel free to do so now by clicking here.

Just Another Way the Motley Fool Rocks...

I love the Motley Fool (based close to me in Alexandria, VA). Actually, when I was first looking to move back to the DC area, I tried and tried and tried to find a position for me to work with them. I really think they outsmoke their competition by totally changing the way that people look at financial advising. They're an exciting company to keep a watch on.

Seth posted a link about their CAPS feature, which until now, I wasn't aware of (even after spending a considerable amount of time on their homepage). Perhaps it was because I hadn't heard about it before and they didn't have any text on their homepage that drew me to this service. This just goes to show you how important it is to assume your readers online (like in print) don't know anything. They used their brand-name "CAPS" all over their homepage, but until today, those letters didn't mean anything to me. I would've loved to have some space on their homepage devoted to explaining what "CAPS" is and why I should care about it.

Regardless of how they introduce this online community (links to CAPS site) on their homepage, it's really exciting to see how an innovative group of thinkers can leverage the power of a community to be successful in advising.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Has Twitter "Tipped"? I'm not so sure...

A while ago, I was talking about how Twitter appeared to be on the downward swing.

It seems like I might have jumped the gun. Microblogging (link to Wikipedia article) seems like it's here to stay - at least for the time being. On a recent trip to Italy, I used Twitter to keep my family updated as to my whereabouts and activities as I traveled, saw the sights, and ate great food.

Rohit has a great post about how Twitter can be very useful. It seems like more and more people are jumping on board the Twitter train, but only for specific uses (like traveling). Rohit became a Twitter believer after deciding to make an effort to update his account during an extended business trip. I've subscribed to the RSS feed of his account and will be interested to see if it continues to be updated now that he's back in town.

My hypothesis is that Twitter will be used for what it is: a great one-to-many updating tool for unique events or situations (think trips, birth of a new baby, etc), but will be abandoned once people go back to their regular lives. I mean, really -- how interested are you in the fact that I went grocery shopping yesterday, bought new slacks today, and plan on going to sleep early tonight?

Do you disagree? Set me straight in the comments.

Tag Me "Annoyed"

Tags are great. They help power a lot of our social networking services like Digg or The problem that I'm having with them is that they don't always fill the place of categories. I want Blogger to allow me to organize my posts into specific categories. The current design of Blogger allows a poster to assign tags to each post -- to be searched on afterwards. But if I'm a "browser" as opposed to a "searcher", I want to select a category and browse through the posts.

Many people have found workarounds to have categories on Blogger, but why hasn't the lovely people over at Google (who owns Blogger) realized the need for this feature that every other blogging tool has?

XO Computer: Buy Two, Give One Away

What a great idea for this holiday season:

From Boing Boing (Via Gizmodo):

Starting November 12, One Laptop Per Child will be offering a Give 1 Get 1 Program for a brief window of time. For $399, you will be purchasing two XO laptops--one that will be sent to empower a child to learn in a developing nation, and one that will be sent to your child at home. If you're interested in Give 1 Get 1, we'll be happy to send you a reminder email. Just sign up in the box to the left and you'll receive your reminder prior to the November 12 launch date.

You mean people can purchase a computer for a kid in Cambodia while at the same time getting their child a great new gadget? All for only $399? Sounds like a win-win here. I think this will help these computers to "tip" and become extremely popular. I think a problem with these computers currently is that there's not enough awareness in the States about them. This promotion will put more of these computers in homes of families that might donate. Plus, if I can see the computer in action and being used by my child, it's pretty likely that I'd donate an additional computer down the road...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Great Idea: Flower Delivery

I send flowers to my girlfriend's office. She receives them and thanks me, but I NEVER get to see the quality of the flowers that were delivered.

Therefore, I am completely unloyal to any flower company. It's all about bang-for-my-buck when it comes time to send flowers.

How could a flower company improve on this? What if upon delivery, the florist snaps a quick picture of the bouquet and the company sends me a picture of the bouquet as part of my delivery confirmation?

How much would that cost the company? Think of the benefits that it could lead to: I would realize the quality of the company and it would become a stronger selling point.

The Cost of an Ego

Interesting post by Guy Kawasaki on ego and how much it costs companies.

Ego is such a strong political force within the office. Although it seems like the cost of ego within an office correlates strongly with the level of the person who is egotistical. Ego in a manager makes underlings waste time creating ways to accomplish goals without hurting their manager's ego.

I wonder if young professionals feel it to a greater extent because we're at the low-end of the totem pole and have a larger number of people where ego must be dealt with.

4 Ways My Blog Has Failed and 4 Ways to Correct it

Hello again. Remember me? It's your favorite blogger. It's sure been a while since my last post. Such is life...and a fate that befalls many blogs. So where did I go wrong? Here's an exciting list:

How My Blog Failed:
  1. Scope - My scope was way too narrow. I wanted to blog about a topic almost as if I were writing a weekly column. In a marketing magazine. For young professionals. That are early-adopters of new media. The segmentation could go on and on...
  2. Not holding my end of the bargain - A blog is a relationship between the blogger and the reader. The reader agrees to visit the blog (or add it to a blog-roll using RSS) as long as the blogger publishes content that's relevant to the reader and with a regularity that meets the reader's expectations. I dropped the ball by letting my blog's frequency slowly degrade from daily to weekly to leaving a number of months since my last post.
  3. Being overwhelmed by what I wanted to say -- I had so much to write in my blog, I just didn't know where to start. I would start writing a post and then decide that I wanted to write about a new topic. The marketer in me has coined a nifty term: BADD: Blogger Attention Deficit Disorder (I wonder if people will post comments contesting the existence of this documented disorder too...:) )
  4. Thinking that every post has to be a dissertation - Somewhere I lost sight of the fact that a blog is simply a place for me to post cool ideas, nifty links, and various thoughts. I don't have to write five paragraphs every single time I want to post.

How I Will Correct My Mistakes:
  1. Scope - While I can't escape the fact that I'm drawn to particular subjects, there's no reason that I shouldn't post something that falls outside of them. From now on I won't limit myself to the narrow subject that I thought of originally. All marketing, promotion, advertising, interactive, etc etc is fair game.
  2. Uphold my promises - I value any readership that my blog gets and I'm going to make sure I don't lose it by not posting with the regularity that a reader expects. From now on, I will post once a day -- even if it's just a cool link I found.
  3. Just come out and say it - While there's so much to talk about in blogs, I'm not going to let it overwhelm me any longer. From now on, I'll accept and act on the importance of producing content for the online community instead of simply being happy consuming it.
  4. Short Posts are Okay - Let's be honest. You don't want to spend 20 minutes reading a blog post of mine anyway. From now on I'm only going to make a post as long as necessary.

In the spirit of #4, I'll end my "Return to Blogging" post now by inviting you to list any lessons that you've learned after blogging for a while. That's if anyone still reads my blog after months of abandonment. :)

Whoooo Are You? Who - Who?

Apparently, to get Blogger to host my picture for free (which, of course I want), I need to first make a post of it. So here's "The Fresh Marketer".

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

"Do A Little Dance..."

My sister has a unique outgoing message on her voicemail system. On it, she says:

"Hi this is Julie. At the tone, please do a dance."

Last night, she was telling me about a unique message that was left on her voicemail system from GoDaddy. Julie has a website that is hosted by GoDaddy and a CSR called her a couple days ago to check in on her to see if she had any questions or concerns with their service. Pretty nice customer service, right? But here's the kicker: the CSR left the best message for Julie. He said:

"Do-do-do-do-do-do....Oh, sorry, I was just dancing. Hi Julie this is [I forget his name] from We just want to check in and see if you have any questions...."

Julie played it for me yesterday. The CSR actually sang to her on the message. Not creepily, but in a fun way. He made a personal connection with Julie. After she played the message for me, I asked her, "From now on, when you have to host a website, where will you go?"

Of course, she replied, "GoDaddy".

Even when I asked her if the cost was twice or three times more expensive than another service, she replied that she would go to GoDaddy. That company has always provided great customer service and this episode shows that the tradition continues.

What a great marketing tool by GoDaddy: great employees. By investing in people with personalities and encouraging them to take their time on a call (as opposed to a company like Sprint who has a company-wide policy of getting each call to hang up before seven minutes), they not only manage to keep their valuable existing customer-base, but also find countless new customers. Think about it: Julie told me about the message, and now you're reading about it on a syndicated blog. I'm sure she told more people about this unique message and provided a personal referral. For free.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

If at first you don't succeed...

Good Morning. I woke up this morning with an email in my Gmail account. It was the same email that I've received every other day for the past month. It was from Joseph A. Bank's Clothing store, wanting me to check out their new deal or sale or something. Whatever it was, after the first email, I realized that it wasn't something I cared about, so I've just deleted all the other emails as they've arrived.

Here's the kicker: I'm about to buy a suit. Maybe two. Will I buy them from Jos A Bank? No way. Here's why:

1) They continued to bombard me with marketing messages, even after they didn't convert me to a sale with five (or ten) emails.
2) I think it's annoying and spammy to send me as many emails as they possibly can. It's akin to throwing a bunch of stuff against the wall to see what sticks.

So the wonderful marketing folks over at Joseph A Bank has actually helped the company take a step back in my eyes. Where I would've made my first stop at their store to buy my suits, I now will not even consider stopping by.

Here's what I would've done differently:

1) I would've segmented their email list so that the email I received was more relevant to me (they were advertising winter top coats and low-quality, cheap suits). Based on my purchases at their store, they should see that I buy a lot of shirts and sweaters from them -- those are the deals they should've served me.

2) Offer me a way to express additional interest in the email or products without having to pull out my credit card. Whether this is an actual "Select products you're interested in so we can give you some great deals" thing or more of a viral "send this deal along to someone else" (my brother is also purchasing a suit and I would've probably sent this along to him), let me interact with the company without making a purchase. This was an unsolicited email and to expect me to simply pull out the plastic was pretty presumptuous. Joseph A Bank doesn't win the price battle in men's clothing, so they need to develop a relationship with their customers, which occurs when you visit the store in person, but not through these email messages.

Has anyone else received these emails or similarly-annoying messages constantly? Do you think we can get a PR person from Jos A Bank to respond to this post? I wonder if they're monitoring their reputation in the marketplace after this month-long email campaign.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

...And Boy Are My Arms Tired! in "I just flew back from Dallas"....

Sorry I haven't posted in a couple days -- I've just returned from a conference for fundraising professionals in Dallas. We were out there promoting the company to the association and nonprofit
executive attendees.

I also owe some gratitude to John O'Leary who wins the award for the first commenter of this blog. He responded to my post on Commerce Bank's taglines and website. Thanks for your response John. I'm sure that Commerce Bank provides excellent service and I appreciate your bringing that to everyone's attention. I was simply questioning the way they attract new customers. I'd be interested in knowing what percentage of new business comes from referrals like yours -- if they have evangelists like you out there, then they almost don't need to spend money on fixing their website. Almost. But either way, extra points to you for quoting Landeau on this blog.

This brings up an interesting point: have you ever stopped to think about how valuable a customer referral is to your company? The customer referral is an extremely strong promotion tool and is an important piece to a good viral marketing campaign. Think about it: viral marketing is basically facilitating your evangelists' desire to talk about how wonderful your company is. The trick is to enable these customers in a way that doesn't harm the credibility of their referral.

I have some more stuff to talk about from Dallas (including "Texas Edition" Ford Trucks, flying on American Airlines, and Lance Armstrong's speech that I heard yesterday) but will have to post those thoughts in the coming days. Stay tuned.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

No Stupid Fees, Just a Stupid Website

This post was going to be about Commerce Bank's advertising tag line that they're currently using. For those of you who don't know Commerce Bank, it's a small bank that mainly serves various locations on the east coast. I've seen their ads in passing before, but yesterday as I was riding the Metro home, I caught a glimpse of their tagline. It read:

"Commerce Bank. No more stupid fees."

This was going to be a great topic -- I was going to praise (or put down -- I hadn't decided yet) their ads on here and invite the readers to help me find other ads that really break through the norms of advertising. I was researching the bank before I started my post...

...and then I went to Commerce Bank's Website. Wow. I knew then that this post had to be about the sorry presence that they maintain online. Here, right now -- go check out

See what I mean? So the first thing that sticks out on this website is the fact that it looks like it was created in 1997. You remember websites back then -- full of javascript-enabled banners and "fun" elements that made the page completely overwhelming and distracting? You remember the use of a severely limited color palette?

Well this site has all of that going on. It's kind of sad, actually -- Wikipedia reports that Commerce Bank does more than $1 billion of annual revenue. This leads me to question if they realize that they're turning away vast amounts of people by having a website like this. I almost wonder if the marketing department over there in New Jersey has forgotten about their website while working on the *stellar* new ad campaign that I saw yesterday.

Once a website is online, it has to be maintained in order to continue to reflect your company warmly. Sticking with an antiquated design scheme or not searching for broken links can severely hurt your company's reputation with a website visitor -- which really is the whole reason you have a site in the first place.

Monday, March 19, 2007

The "Fresh" Marketer?

Someone said to me the other day, "Dan, why is your blog called 'The Fresh Marketer'? I mean, you say that you're new to the marketing scene, but in reality, you've grown up with people marketing to you for your entire life."

So -- is she being accurate in this statement? Yes.
Will I change the name of this blog? Nope.

She does make a good point however. I have grown up constantly bombarded with marketing messaging -- so has everyone else. You know what? I think we're tired of it. I think we know when we're being marketed to (at least, when it's done through conventional methods) and we close ourselves off to the message.

If our audience keeps shutting off our marketing messaging before it has a chance to tell them our story, how do we successfully continue to promote ourselves?
  • Build a relationship with your audience so that they want to hear what you have to say. Give them information that actually means something to them -- actually has value to them instead of simply promoting your product/service. If that information is truly worth their while, then not only will they devote time to reading it, but they'll probably send it to someone else. Virally spreading your message.
  • Delivering them a marketing message in such a way that they don't realize what they're looking at is actually an ad. Some great examples are what Facebook is doing with their NCAA Tourney (see my previous post), Capital One's Mascot Challenge, and (even better) NBC's Grease -- You're the One That I Want. If you think about it all of these promotion tools are delivering a strong marketing message to their audiences while engaging the audience with a fun activity so that they don't shut off to the messaging.
It occurs to me as I'm writing this that these two areas might be able to be combined into a single category of marketing. They seem different, but if you think about it, aren't they really the same thing? When you create an fun activity that captures the attention of your audience, aren't you also making the time they spend with you worth it for them? Doesn't the audience of "Grease -- YTOTIW" have a relationship with the show? Won't 80% of the people who watch every Sunday (who live close enough to NYC) go see the show? I bet they will.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Promoting blogs (part II)

If you don't recall (or didn't read the post), I started this blog without a plan for promoting it -- I wanted to have a good number of postings before I started inviting people to it. For the past couple of days now, I've started to promote to colleagues, family, and by joining some blogging communities. I joined Technorati and saw my number of visitors jump dramatically. I want to continue growing the readership of this blog -- what other blogging communities should I join? Any suggestions?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Twitter's Demise?

Looks like some people are agreeing with what I said earlier about Twitter.

Mat seems to think that Twitter won't see 2008 and is starting a pool to see who can correctly predict its demise. For the most part, I think Mat and I agree -- there's really very little value that can be gained from using Twitter.

What is still untapped however, is the business application of this type of a tool. If the nice folks over at Twitter could apply this to a business situation (like I mentioned in my previous post), I think that Twitter could definitely see next year...

It's called "Twitter"...

...and it's creating a huge amount of buzz. I've read reports that says that it's:

  • addictive
  • a micro-blogger's dream tool
  • to blogging what the phone is to the pony express
Is it really that good? I had to try it out. I headed over to, registered for an account, and linked it to my phone via SMS.

So basically, it's a way to provide status updates to people who subscribe to your feed (via RSS or through the Twitter web site), very similar to "status updates" that Facebook already has. Those status updates on Facebook seem to be pretty popular, especially for mobile FB users who continually update them...

For the rest of us, I'm not sure how great Twitter's going to be -- at least in this form. What I really was hoping for was a way for me to post to my blog via phone. Guess what -- I can. Blogger lets you do that. Thanks but no thanks, Twitter.

Okay, I guess that this will have some applicability for the same type of people who keep updating their Facebook status. What I'm excited about seeing is how a company can use this new "micro-blogging" to its advantage for marketing. Maybe a CEO micro-blog where he/she can just post cool ideas that they come up with -- almost like a stream of CEO's consciousness? What about a conference update tool? One person can sit in a session and post (and record) notes for other people who can read them on a computer or a phone. Hmmmm. This could be pretty cool... Revolutionary? I'm not sure -- time will tell.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

4 Lessons Learned from Direct Mail Campaign

Direct mail -- Yawn, right? I mean, DM has been done every which-way, that it seems impossible to make a campaign driven by mailers work anymore. However, based on the audience (association execs) and budget, I decided that this would be the best way to hit our audience during a pre-show campaign for an upcoming conference that we were attending.

I changed it up a bit, however. Instead of doing one mailer with the typical info on it ("come visit our booth!"), I decided to follow send four mailers out and slowly reveal more information as we got closer to the conference. Here's what I sent out:

10 days prior to conference:

7 days prior to conference:

4 days prior to conference:

1 day prior to conference:

What you are unable to see in these pics is the writing on the back. Each mailer revealed a little more information as we got closer to the event. I didn't even put my company's address, name, or logo until the last postcard. This led to a recipient getting excited everytime a new mailer would arrive. I no longer had to fight to hold his/her interest -- they were looking for my mailer.

This direct mail campaign ended up having about a 10% conversion rate (we counted a conversion as a visit to our booth). Not bad considering that MarketingSherpa benchmarks the average response rate to a DM campaign at 6%. But what was even better was that the 10% of recipients who showed up to the booth were emotionally tied to this mailer. They had put in so much time trying to figure out who was sending them these cards that by the time came for them to come to the conference, my booth was at the top of their list to visit. They also were very interested in the item that I was promoting: our take on a IT maturity model.

4 Lessons Learned:

1) An emotional connection can drive conversions in a DM campaign just like they do in any other medium. I found that the messaging from this campaign even spread virally -- recipients brought asked for their coworkers' help in figuring out who was sending these mailers.

2) 3D mailers will almost always prove to be more effective than flats. The thing that I would've changed if I were doing this campaign again would be to use a mailer that stuck out more in a stack of mail. A couple of recipients remarked that they didn't receive all four mailers, later to realize that they accidentally threw one out.

3) When running a campaign like this, each mailer should have enough information to stand on its own. Each of these mailers built on the previous ones, so if someone missed the first mailer, they didn't understand the rest of them.

4) DM can work -- if you do it in a unique and creative way. Who knew, right?

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Welcome Back!

Riiiiiight. So remember how I said that a blog is a conversation with an audience and the only way for it to be successful is to update it at regular intervals? Basically, this is Blogging 101 here. Well guess what -- I dropped the ball! The past two weeks have been crazy busy with some new campaigns coming out from the company as well as an additional volunteer project I'm working on. I'll tell you a little bit about that later -- meanwhile, we should talk about something that's on everyone's minds right now:

The NCAA Tournament.

So you've probably already filled out your brackets and submitted them to your pools, as have I. For those of you on Facebook, you might have noticed the new "Pools" feature on there. It's great -- it allows all of the previous social interaction that this event would bring to happen online at this site.

Even better (for us marketers), have you seen how they're monetizing it?

This is a pool sponsored by STA Travel. What a great way for a company targeting students and young adults to penetrate this market. It's viral, it's relevant, and I would bet that no one thinks "Oh great, another ad" like they do while watching TV.

This is where I think marketing and advertising is headed -- serving ads to people who don't recognize the fact that what they're looking at is actually an ad.

What do you think?

Friday, February 23, 2007

Customer Service Nirvana

I just switched my cell phone provider from Sprint over to T-Mobile. The main reason for doing this is that as a Sprint customer, I never felt like I was valued by the company. The CSRs were horrible: they weren't fluent in English, weren't empowered to help solve my problems, and didn't follow SOPs when trying to fix an issue on my account. Seriously, I'm not the only one who complains about Sprint: Check out The Consumerist's slew of Sprint posts.

Wow, T-Mobile -- what an improvement! I knew something was up when I called to activate my phone and they asked me how my day was going, whether I had any exciting plans for the weekend, etc. Plus, they've done two things on every call: apologize for the inconvenience that my issue might have caused me and thanked me for being a TMo customer.

Apology: "I can understand how not being able to connect to Verizon's network to roam while on the Metro can be upsetting. I'm sure you are worried about missing a call or two, but let me explain how T-Mobile works..."

Thanks for being a customer: "I see that you've been a T-Mobile customer since February 19th. We truly appreciate it and if there's anything else we can help you with, we're here 24/7."

Think about it: CSRs are the part of your company who have the most direct communication with your customers, and often it's when your customers are having a problem with your service. If you try to quickly get them off the phone, are unwilling to help them through a problem, etc, how is that going to affect that customer's feeling about you?

Check out Seth Godin's post on what he feels causes a lot of customer service issues and how to fix them.

One more thing: From a purely marketing standpoint, think about this post. I've just created a free advertisement for T-Mobile. People will read it, will take it as a personal recommendation, and may take it into consideration if they're also looking to switch providers. In Sprint's case, they've just won another person that's ready to put them down as much as possible.

It's all about customer evangelism.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Bad Commericals as Effective Advertising?

Just saw this from the guys over at Pronet Advertising. This ad was probably created not to be a joke, but when you take a look at it, you'll understand how this video currently has over 220,000 views and more than 350 comments on YouTube.

Remember what I said yesterday? Interrupting people with content that they care about or in a unique way so that they don't realize they're being interrupted?

This guy apparently also got on national talk shows because of this ad. Imagine how much visibility he's getting for such a cheap ad.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Two paths that will diverge...

Are you ready?

Our idea marketing is in the process of changing. Previous to now, we've been able to simply place an ad in a location that our audience will see and wait for results. This is constant bombardment of a message will eventually cause a low percentage of people to become interested and follow the call to action. This could not be more true (and least effective) than in direct mail campaigns -- especially when you're mailing a flat postcard or something similar. You're often lucky to get more than a 3% conversion rate for something like that -- not very efficient, is it?

You can obviously see how Marketing can't possibly continue to exist in a world like this -- especially with companies taking a hard look at their cost centers to increase their bottom line. So how can advertising become more effective?

1) Slick use of interruptions: Interrupting someone (similar to what happens today in advertisements), but doing it in such a way that the audience doesn't realize that what they're looking at is an advertisement.

2) Develop a relationship with the audience. Start a conversation. Let them drive the messaging about your product or service. Help them make connections with other people in order to further your message.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Rule #1 in Blogging


Time to eat my own dog food, huh?

Between the snow and a conference that I've been at for the past couple days, I've been unable to update this blog. I almost feel like I'm not upholding my end of an agreement that I have with the audience of this blog. The only way I can build a relationship with you so that you keep returning to check this website is by continuing to post.

How many companies, clubs, or people have started a blog thinking, "I can do this -- I'm going to post everyday..." only to get preoccupied with work or other projects? The most important rule to blogging is making sure that you do in fact keep updating the site. Imagine if your favorite TV show ran the same episode for four weeks straight. Do you think you'd tune in on week 5 to see what same trouble Johnny would get into? Exactly. Follow rule #1: post regularly. And if you can't, maybe you should reconsider having a blog at all.

What's blogging rule #2? Being remarkable or controversial -- just enough to start a conversation with your audience. We'll start adhering to that rule tomorrow. We'll turn some heads then.

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Chicken or egg...

I'm not promoting this blog. There are so many ways to get this website out there (Technorati, using SEO, joining blogging communities), but I'm trying to not fall into a trap that I've noticed many marketers fall into:

We promote something before it's ready to be promoted.

How often are you in a planning meeting where the discussion turns from "what is the product or service that we're launching" to "let's plan the promotion for the launch"? I think this tends to happen because promotion tends to be the more exciting area of marketing (feel free to disagree in comments).

Here, to clarify what I mean, let me tell you where I've noticed this occurring in the past two weeks:

1) I was in a meeting where we were planning a webinar event for clients and prospects on a particular area of service. We spent five minutes on "what is the outline for the presentation" before we launched into "how we'll get people to attend the presentation".

2) In a planning meeting for an awards ceremony, we spent less than two minutes discussing what awards will be given out and how the selection/judging will occur. After that brief moment, we launched into discussions on the invitations, entertainment, and yes -- even the food for the evening.

I think I understand why this happens -- most people would say that the success or failure of the service, event, or product that is being planned hinges on how well we can get the message out to our audience. While I agree that's an important area to spend time on, I think we need to realize that promotion is not what maintains people's interest, it's the substance of what we're promoting. I can run an amazing promotion campaign that attracts 200 people to my webinar, but if the webinar itself doesn't meet the expectations of the audience, I'll start to develop a reputation of giving boring presentations and that will far outweigh any promotion campaign.

So with this blog: I'm going to wait and make sure that I have substance here so when people start to visit this site, my content will keep them coming back for more.

What's in a name?

This half second belongs to me.

Typically, a first blog post defines the parameters of what will be discussed -- I'm going to take the complete opposite approach. We can talk about anything and everything. Most likely, we'll keep it to what I know and what makes me comment.

You see, there are some fantastic blogs out there, but I have yet to find a blog written by a fresh face in Marketing. Someone who provides a fresh take on conventional marketing practices as he discovers them and their success rates; someone who's itching to implement the new alternative, social, and word-of-mouth marketing techniques; and someone who's not afraid to call it as he sees it. I give you: The Fresh Marketer Blog.

Let's begin, shall we?

There are 3,090,000 pages that are returned when you search for "Hello world!" on Google.

There are 122,000 pages returned on Google when you search for "my first blog post'.

How do you change the status quo to cut through all that noise?

Seth Godin slices through it by taking a simple approach: his blog is named "Seth Godin's Blog". Pretty ingenious, isn't it? In a world where people are so inundated with marketing slogans that they question whether a marriage proposal is actually a marketing scheme, isn't it refreshing to promote something without a gimmick? And did you notice the first line of the proposal commercial ?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Daniel I. Schreibstein Resume


Social Media and Word of Mouth | Direct Response | Email- and Online-Based


The Motley Fool 2007 - Present
Manager, Online Marketing
Business lead for email acquisition channel and social media development, promoting newsletter subscription products as part of direct response marketing department.

• Drove $8.9 million in net revenue and 54,000 net subscriptions through email channel in past year – a 75 percent increase over previous record-setting year
• Set marketing strategy for email channel and lead operational team in executing using classical direct response principles and techniques
• Liaise between marketing team and multiple internal stakeholders including executive officers to ensure email channel delivers on overall marketing and company goals
• Process results from weekly multivariate testing. Disseminate conclusions and implications to team and other internal stakeholders.
• Manage group of five contract writers
• Set company’s social media and blogger outreach strategy as part of book launch campaign. Worked with team to create a 63% increase in interaction through various sites -- book is now a New York Times Best Seller.
• Recognized as a member of exclusive high performers group for the company
• Designed launch campaign for new 2nd tier product, resulting in $920,000 net revenue – 83 percent higher than budgeted

DelCor Technology Solutions 2006 - 2007
Marketing Manager
Responsible for increasing market penetration, brand awareness, and consulting revenue at technology firm serving associations.

• Recipient of “Best Promotion by an Industry Vendor” award by Association Trends for network security customer event that led to $437,000 in closed business and a 610 percent ROI.
• Create, manage, and execute strategic marketing plan funded by $250,000 budget.
• Position and standardize DelCor’s brand at all customer touch points including external messaging, customer-facing events, and inbound sales cycle.
• Rebranded company to improve awareness to better represent service offerings and company culture.
• Created an opportunity pipeline increase of 20 percent through customer events, conferences, seminars, and online webinars in one year.

Ensynch 2005 - 2006
Marketing Coordinator
Part of team that developed and executed strategic marketing plan in preparation for national expansion. Managed company’s go-to-market promotion plans during roll-out of multiple new service offerings and a 3-year growth rate of 668 percent.

• Helped define company’s market segmentation based on industry verticals and size. Created messaging for each segment and each product or service. Planned, designed, and placed all company advertising in print, radio, pay-per-click, and web-based banner ad mediums. Wrote copy for website, advertisements, and other forms of external communication.
• Directed external marketing team’s execution and implementation of marketing and promotion plans, tracked achievement of tactical objectives, and measured ROI through follow-up customer interviews and surveys, opportunity pipeline, and attainment of revenue goals.
• Planned and directed implementation of Marketing Department’s technology initiatives including internal and external email newsletters, webinars, podcasts, and website administration, creating website traffic growth of 250 percent and qualified web leads more than 100 percent.
• Planned and directed 4-6 customer events per month, including murder mystery dinner that led to $414,000 in increased pipeline and $136,000 in closed business.
• Two-time winner of Microsoft’s Marketing Excellence award, given in recognition for creating consistently high revenue return on campaigns.

DesertGirl Promotions 2004 - 2005

• Founded company, developed business concept, including business plan with full financials. Identified services to offer, market segments as potential clients, and business partners in the industry.
• Recorded and managed all financial and accounting paperwork regarding federal and state tax filing requirements and corporation filing. Developed and maintain budgets and business accounts.
• Managed sales lead generation, client contact tasking, and reporting.
• Developed marketing agreements with key vendors, expanding the number of products and services the company offered.
• Directed all implementation of clients’ promotional campaigns, ranging from online promotion to face-to-face, word-of-mouth advertising.


Arizona State University 2006
• Bachelor’s Degree
Major: Communication
Courses: Marketing/Mass Communication, Business and Management, Public Relations