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".