Archives for category: Marketing

End of a long day, after a long and busy weekend, after a long and busy week and what happens?

I rush to put out a cover letter and resume to Crispin Porter + Bogusky in hopes of… well, ANYTHING and I think I’m all cheeky and funny but in the cover letter I call them PCB. Not CPB. PCB.

PCBs, more uncommonly known as polychlorinated biphenyls, were banned in 1979 by the U.S. congress due to their toxicity and potential as carcinogens. Smooth, idiot.

“Hey, I realize you don’t know me from the next guy, but you should hire me because I’m witty, creative, unique and quite honestly, have the attention span of a gnat. I’d LOVE to meet with you to show you how truly great I am even though I can’t piece together correctly the 3 consecutive letters of your agency name. Call me dyslexic, call me stupid, just call me… Please?”

Dear Crispin Porter + Bogusky, I’m sorry. If you DO end up calling me, I will try and pry my freakin’ foot out of my mouth before answering the phone.

Palm+forehead=d’oh!

The lesson here: SLOW DOWN & PROOF READ!!

Papers imprison, thoughts sentenced to cold dark night, winter without spring.

It’s me.

I am my own worst client. As a creative, I am plagued with a constant stream of ideas, inspiration, images and layouts that, at the best of times, are difficult to get down on ‘paper’ before the next thought crowds it out or another way of treating the original idea makes me stop and rethink things even before I’ve really gotten to the meat of it.

It’s frustrating when I find sites like LogoFaves and Creattica that are jam-packed full of awesome and I can’t even decide on a font face, let alone an iconographic logo treatment…  And what about a website for myself? Do I go WordPress or html? If I go WP, do I buy a theme from Themeforest or Press75 or would that be considered cheating? Do I spend the time modifying a free one or try and build my own?

Just the other day a friend/client of mine asked me for my business card as he had someone who wanted some creative and marketing work done for them and wanted to recommend me (for which I am humbled and very grateful). Embarrassed, I had to laugh and tell him I don’t have any.

“But you have a website I can send him to, right,” he asked.

“Yeah… no, not really. Not at all…”

He was incredulous.

“The thing is, I spend all of my spare time working on other jobs, for other clients, that I honestly haven’t had the time to dedicate to creating my own brand,” I said.

And this is the crux of it for me – with my 9-5 plus working evenings and weekends for side projects, the spare moments I do have left are spent with my kids and scraping the bottom of the creative barrel to smack around my own look and feel.

I know I’m not alone in this turmoil, so if you’ve faced a similar demon please share what you did or didn’t do to help clarify things for you. Where did you draw inspiration from? What was your “Aha!” moment?

With any luck I will be able to continue to pull in referral business despite a gaping void for a portfolio and online presence (save for this blog, a meagre LinkedIn account, and my twittersphere) until I can finally decide on some basic stuff like Prussian Blue or Van Dyke Brown for the mountains

There you go.

Glutton for techno-punishment? Host your domain on GoDaddy.com OR launch the BB web browser.

I can’t stand the BlackBerry web browser.

I have a Bold for work and earlier this week almost tossed it into traffic because of it’s painfully shitty web browser.

Why in the name of Bruce would I need to go to the BlackBerry search page just to get to the Google search page?! And the f*cking zoom/pan/click process is criminally frustrating.

The help files tell you to simply ‘change the Home Page Address Field’ – easier said than done when you can’t edit the Home Page Address Field.

Sorry, BB, you’ve got a lock on mobile business tools but for the love of my Keurig, do SOMETHING about your browser!

If you’re looking for a great way to drive up your blood pressure and need another fist-sized hole in your wall do one of two things:

  1. Sign up for a web-hosting account with GoDaddy;
  2. Launch the web browser on your Bold and find out when the 1:47 train from Union arrives at Oakville.

Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

#BrowserFAIL.

Jobs and Wozniak in 1975

I wish I still had my hair...

Steve Jobs used to be just some nerdy guy with funky hair.

Mark Zuckerberg? Same.

Same with Jim Sinegal (Costco), and Craig Newmark (Craigslist), and Pierre Omidyar (eBay) and so on. They all used to be just plain, regular, you-and-me-type folk, with regular lives, in regular homes, with regular shoes, and regular problems.

Then one day, after a lot of hard work, they got big.

The thing about becoming big, and one of the most important aspects of keeping yourself there, is humility. What I mean is, knowing that in your not-so-distant past, you were NOT big and didn’t sit atop a pedestal looking down upon the general populace.

It is in respect to this level of humility and grace that I comment on Mitch Joel, President of Twist Image, marketing guru, social media visionary and all-around nice guy.

I was thinking about hosting some podcasts on my company’s website and was looking to get some direction on software, hardware, pitfalls, process, etcetera, so naturally I reached out to someone who podcasts regularly and whose podcast and blogs I subscribe to: Mitch’s Six Pixels of Separation.

I shot him an email in response to one of his blog posts and much to my surprise and amazement he not only replied to my email, but did so within 24 hours and provided a link to a “How To” posting on how he does what he does.

Mitch is a much sought after public speaker, the author of a highly respected book on social media marketing, president of a very successful (and busy) marketing company, and he took the time to reply to an email from someone he doesn’t know asking for help on how he does what he does.

That’s like getting batting tips from Mark McGuire, or financial advice from Warren Buffet. The fact that Mitch took the time to respond with contextually accurate and helpful advice to what I can only imagine would have been one of hundreds, if not thousands, of emails from a total stranger working for a company that isn’t even a blip on his radar is completely flattering and professionally astounding.

Six Pixels of Separation by Mitch Joel

Smart guy. Smart book.

That says a lot about Mitch Joel.

I would highly recommend subscribing to his podcasts, his blog and most importantly, buying his book (I read it,really enjoyed it and am successfully putting into practice some of the concepts described therein).

Thanks again, Mitch.

Those of you who work in media buying, pay attention – this post might be about you.

Have you seen Jamie Oliver’s new show “Food Revolution” yet?

It’s an interesting concept: teach people how to NOT kill themselves – and their offspring – with crappy, frozen, convenient food, and instead, teach them how to start eating right. Novel idea (shaking my head).

On his website, Jamie has a pdf that speaks to a lot of issues with the food that is being served to kids in school on a daily basis, and the show really highlights how incredibly stubborn people can be when it comes to implementing change.

Dipping sauce? Oh, yeah. Big fan.

In one episode he debunks the theory that buying prepared, frozen food is faster and cheaper than making the same meal fresh. He took a box of frozen chicken strips for $8 and then bought fresh chicken and breading for under $5, made it from scratch and to the table in less time than it took to cook the frozen ones.

Here’s the real kicker: he used 6 ingredients. On the box of frozen ones it lists more than 10. He goes on to talk about preservatives (sodium phosphate) and additives (monosodium glutamate) and all the other chemicals that go into frozen food to keep it from rotting.

The underlying theme for the show is this: YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT, SO DON’T EAT SHIT.

So, I’m watching this thinking that I’m going to have to take a look at the sides of the boxes of shit in my freezer, when they break for commercial and I see an ad for pre-cut, pre-washed, ready to boil chunks of potato to help us busy-folk make mashed faster – fresh from your grocer’s freezer.

Nice work on THAT media buy, dipshit. Oh, I get the demographic workup and the target base, but how about WATCHING the program to see if your product fits the theme? Why not look at the synopsis for the program before just buying ad space based on specialty channel viewer profiles? Jamie Oliver just finished telling you how prepared food is bad for you and making it yourself is just as easy… but no, by all means, tell me more of your fantastic, time saving, pre-washed/cut/cubed/sodium-phosphate-enriched, frozen-in-a-bag staple.

Smrt.

PS – here’s a link to a wikid chicken strip recipe from Black Health Now.

If you use, or are required to use, a CRM tool at your current job I am sure you’ve got something negative to say about it.

No disrespect to Salesforce, NetSuite, Oracle, ACT!, or any of the other 46,000 ‘tools’ available, but honestly, stop and think about what you’re building. Then take a good hard look at what a CRM tool is supposed to do, by definition.

Why not let me, the user, decide what to call a campaign and what to call a template. Why not let me link things together sensibly instead of forcing me to use whatever architecture your developers came up with? Why not give me better and more convenient control over my sales territory information? How about drag and drop simplicity for building ROI and participation reports?

Most importantly, why can’t anyone give me a tool that actually lets me manage/monitor/maintain my customer relationships by synching up my entire staff’s communication with my customers, in a drill-down dashboard view (Google), with look-back and trending (Google)?

I don’t know about you, but I’d kick and scream to get the budget for a product like that (Google). If only to see, in real-time, how happy my customers are with my products, and how my staff is working to keep them happy.

Case in point: I received a call from a Bell customer service rep the other day, inquiring about my satisfaction level with their products and services and seeking to upgrade my subscriptions.

I asked them, politely, if they were kidding.

They paused then started into paragraph 2 of the canned speech.

I asked to speak with their supervisor, which took them a bit by surprise as to this point I hadn’t said more than 3 words to them. They told me that they would be only too happy to answer any questions I might have, and wondered if I had a problem I needed to discuss.

“Do you have my customer record in front of you?” I asked.

“Sir?”

I clarified by saying, “Do you have my customer record in front of you showing what Bell products or services I currently subscribe to?”

Stammering, he replied, “Sir, I have your name and phone number that is part of your account…”

“And what does it say about my current Bell services?” I interrupted.

Hesitantly, he says “That is why I am calling, sir, to see if you are happy with our…”

“Clearly you’re in a call centre, so tell me, what products or services are listed under my name in front of you on your screen?”

From the other end I could hear the hundreds of other reps chatting gayly away, but my guy is dead silent.

“I haven’t used Bell for phone or any other service for almost a year because of their deplorable lack of customer empathy. Please take my name off your list now.” and I hung up.

Summary: If you have customers, treat them well. If you lose a customer, update their record THAT DAY. If you’re inclined, conduct a post-mortem interview to identify what went wrong and how to prevent it from happening to another customer.

I’ve been chewing on this since I caught some of Barbara Walter’s 10 Most Interesting People of 2009 a week or so ago, and have to say that the entire show was a total sell out.

It’s shows like that where the focus rests solely on the celebrity flavour of the month/year that perpetuates the coffers for the loathsome paparazzi.

Let’s go through this list of potential Darwin Award Winners:

  1. Jacko’s Kids

    ... creeeepyyyy ....

    • I’ll give her this one – these kids, and the life that they’ve led to this point is fascinating…
  2. Jenny Sanford
    • A senator’s wife who found out her husband was cheating on her. Holy shit! Seriously?! My God, what is this world coming to!!? Unheard of!! How the frick is this fascinating? So not only has she been in the American national spotlight as “that poor woman”, now she’s involved in an in-depth interview to probe and expose her emotions and her take on it? Talk about rubbing salt in a wound… Come on, Bahbah, that’s weak… but wait, it gets weaker…
  3. Brett Favre
    • Again, what the hell is fascinating about a guy who can’t retire? He had his time, he’s still good, done. Why the hell do I care about why he didn’t want to retire? Next year will Jay Leno make the list? Lame.
  4. Sarah Palin
    • Ahh, Sarah. Brunt of SNL jokes for months, water cooler subject at american offices, spank bank entry for any number of political pundits, Palin is(was) fascinating, but not for what Bahbah interviewed her about. She was fascinating because she said the most ridiculous things in her quest to become Vice President and didn’t seem to learn how to NOT do it over and over again. Think about it, this woman not only wanted to be, but came pretty damn close to becoming the second-most powerful political figure in the world, and it was through endorsements and support from the general public!! THAT is what is fascinating! So, ok, there’s two out of ten… what next?
  5. Adam Lambert
    • Whatever. He can sing. He’s come out publicly. He wears too much eye makeup. He’s the Freddie Mercury of 2009 but sorry, Adam, you’ve been done before. The only reason Adam was on the list is because of the controversy around his rise to “fame” after not being chosen as THE IDOL. Yeah? What about Clay Aiken, or better yet, that dude that lost in the first season to Kelly Clarkson? Surely he’s up to something more than tuna sandwiches and bus rides! Get him on the phone!
  6. Kate Gosselin

    What's the point?

    • If I hear the name Kate Gosselin one more time… well, I won’t do much more than rant about it, but Sweet Christmas give it a rest already! Once again, a woman finds herself the victim of infidelity and the whole world is forced to sit through her pain and strength, her sorrow and her bravery, her … whatever. She treated her husband like an employee on national television, in an extremely stressful family situation, with an ever-present film crew, making money hand-over-fist, and now that’s coming to an end and mother’s everywhere are at a loss for something to do from 8-9PM Wednesday nights… You want fascinating? How about Octomom and the shit she’s pulled to get her share of the spotlight? She’s WAY more crazy than Kate, and has more kids in a weirder situation.
  7. Tyler Perry
    • Who? Must be an American thing… never heard of him. Sounded like he had a pretty average upbringing, now he’s an actor. Bravo. Next?
  8. Glenn Beck
    • Finally! Somebody who actually fits the criteria! He was a nobody until he started bitching about politics, and now he’s infamous for it. He’s got his own regularly scheduled show with tons of traffic, he gets lamb-basted and takes it, he dishes it out too. I thought Beck was the only LEGITIMATE entry on this list.
  9. Lady GaGa
    • Get lost. Lady GaGa is fascinating? No, Lady GaGa is a character played by a girl from New York. I call bullshit on that one. It’s an act! It’s a show! Of course she’s going to be different and unique, that’s what gets noticed! But that’s not fascinating! Bullshit.
  10. Michelle Obama
    • COME ON! Way to kiss ass, Bahbah. She’s the first lady, so what?

Sure, Lady Ga-Ga is a weird person and Adam Lambert could be called unique, but honestly, who gives a shit? Ever heard of shock factor? These people do what they do because they know it will get them press! That doesn’t make them interesting? No, it makes them glory-hounds! And the worst part of it is that BahBah fed into their megalomaniacal egos by showcasing them on her show!

I must be retarded because I just don’t see how Kate Gosselin or Brett Favre are more interesting than, say, you or me. I’m sure you’ve done some weird shit in your time, you still manage to do weird and fascinating shit now (although you might find it mundane, clearly Bahbah sees things differently) and honestly, REAL life – not the above listed celebratrocities – hands out way more interesting stuff.