Monthly Archives: June 2008

mommy blog versus the big O

One of the 5 or so books that are in my head ready to be written is about the marketing power of Oprah.

It’s tentatively titled “The Oprah Effect” and it would look at the products/services/people that she has “touched”. The book would examine the marketing impact these things (both in her own empire and the things she endorses) have picked up from her and how businesses could achieve the Oprah effect without Oprah.

(Aside: It’s the one book in my head that I won’t write without a good publisher behind me. So if you’re a good publisher or know one — it’s chris AT shotgunconcepts dot com)

Anyway — because of the potential of the book, I monitor what’s going on with the “O” probably more than is healthy for a 30-something male.

Here’s something that I’ve noticed in the past couple of weeks. Oprah has supposedly participated in a 21 day cleanse where you purge caffeine, sugar, alcohol, gluten and animal products from your diet. She has endorsed it through her media channels and even blogged (I think with a ghostblogger) while she did it.

Ah. The blog. While Oprah is the queen of traditional media, she is not the queen of new media. I think Heather is. (Dooce currently has over 9200 comments on one post. She’s running a contest, but still.)

Heather started the cleanse at Oprah’s beckoning and she and her friend got sick because of the cleanse. (Apparently, your body needs toxins. Pass the nacho cheese, please.)

So you have the world’s most powerful woman endorsing something that the world’s most powerful female blogger got deathly ill doing. Who will win? Traditional or new media?


So today was Bill Gates’ last day. However, there was an incident. As he tried to leave the building for good, this popped up in the door:
bill gates
He couldn’t get it to go away and none of his keys worked. Eventually, he just had to turn the power off to the building and walk away in a huff. When they open back up Monday morning, Steve Ballmer will have to run a scandisk before he can come in.

There is a widely held belief that Bill is the devil. I don’t necessarily think HE’S the devil. But his company and his products certainly can be. I think it’s because the brand and the company didn’t develop along with Bill. He would have been a good candidate to develop an accidental brand, but the growth probably overshot him.

Seattle PI’s Todd Bishop found a Bill Gates e-mail from 2003 by sifting through the documents in the antitrust suits. When you read the email, you can see Bill’s frustration because everyone of us has had the problems with Windows that he’s describing in the email. And there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that Bill was concerned about usability and making the product work. The problem with MSFT was (is?) the company culture and the individuals below Bill.

The lesson for any organization is that fanatic attention to detail and quality assurance can’t fall on one person. It has to permeate the entire group. The one guy approach may work when the company is small. But if you grow enough to be called a monopoly, it can’t work.

opportunity missed

You never want a tragedy to strike in your town.

But if it does, the local newspaper’s online edition should be the source for constant updated information. And that newspaper should assume that it will get hit with a load of visitors from both local and national traffic. There should be a plan with the web host to deal with an influx of visitors.

If there’s not, when the workplace shooting occurs, your online newspaper will look like this:

(Screenshot @ 7:46am 6/26)

And it’s not just news/media that need to think about this. What if your site went to the top of Digg/Reddit/etc tomorrow? Would you be able to capitalize on the opportunity? Maybe you should call your web host today and make sure.

There are only 5?

Oh. I can come up with many more ways to be annoying, but GeneratorLand has come up with five reasons why marketing people tend to annoy their colleagues.

If you look at his 5 reasons, you’ll notice a common theme. Lack of proper communication by the marketing person.

Sometimes marketing does get a bum rap by the rest of the company. Why? It’s because the marketing folks forgot to market the marketing to the rest of the company. In order to have success in marketing, you have to have the entire team behind the plan.

cyprus snail spam

I’ve been getting alot of pitches lately in the inbox. (You know, because I’m such an A-lister.) But while the spinmeisters sending the email are working hard to find marketing/business blogs, they’re not putting much effort into the actual pitches. Instead of the stale monotony of a data merge form email, it’s typically the stale monotony of a perky intern trying to garner my goodwill.

Most of the time, you can tell they’ve never visited the blog because they’ve gotten some basic obvious fact about me or the blog wrong — or because the product they’re pitching is not even related to the topics I normally cover. But, of course, most pr and ad agencies make money on efforts not results. Some agency or marketing firm has blown smoke up some client’s oriface by ensuring that they can get blog coverage of thier product, book, etc so they just spam every blogger hoping to strike one eventually. (look! we can work the social media web2.0 buzzword train!)

I’m used to it in the email inbox, but not my postal one. Imagine my surprise today when I open my spider-infested mailbox and I have a letter from Cyprus, the small eastern Mediterranean island country where they like to center-justify their address fields.

The letter inside is a pitch for some dvd training system for speakers and lost me after about the first paragraph. But I opened it and looked at it (which is an essential step in any direct marketing campaign).

I suggest all these PR agencies trying to get blog coverage start doing this. Instead of setting up a bunch of interns in a cubicle farm and spamming bloggers, why not send them all to an island nation (Malta, Cuba, Trinidad and Tobago) and have them send us postal pitches?

It might work.

(and btw — I am always looking for something to write/blog about. If you have a relevant well thought out pitch and want to reach my millions billions of engaged readers who are all innovators and early adopters, send it along. And seriously, if you’re one of the readers who wants me to take on a topic, please email me. I’m starting to get blogger’s block.)

the pervasive brand

The entire customer experience defines the brand.

During a moving lunch break on Saturday, we went to a hard core southern bbq joint. The brand image that was trying to be conveyed was evident:
The food carried the brand message. (in this area — pork with the bbq basic sides) — Check.

The people serving it were authentic. — Check.

The interior was decorated with old license plates and numerous pieces of country/southern Kitsch nailed to the rough-hewn lumber walls. — Check.

On the overhead speakers, they had the local lite rock station pumping in Josh Groban and the Carpenters. — Fail.

If you’re trying to project an image, the little things count. (In fact, there are no little things.)

tuned in minority

It has struck me in the last few days how “in-tune” an internet reader is as opposed to the masses that get fed by the 24 hour news cycle.

I started noticing the Killer Tomato scare in the mainstream media and on hastily written signs at restaurants on Sunday. However, I already knew about it from a Nashville veggie lover on the Wednesday before.

Articles of impeachment were introduced in the House against President Bush on Monday night. Have you seen it on your cable news channel or in the newspaper yet? (caveat: there’s a tad bit of hype to it)

I read about the US strike in Pakistan this morning on the web. I consumed several types of traditional media today before I heard about it on the radio coming home this afternoon.

And I notice this happens over and over. People get in a tizz over something and I’m wondering why because I read about it a few days ago. Or I have started to notice that memes on the web will get picked up by the yucksters on the cable and network news shows a few days after they’ve fizzled online.

Here’s the thing — I am in the minority. (and if you’re reading this, you probably are too). The great sages who are saying the time is NOW that EVERYONE is getting news/info off the web apparently haven’t been talking to people in the real world. Everyone is not uploading videos and commenting on blogs. There’s a time gap (and sometimes a plain lack) of knowledge as it’s disseminated on the web and then through traditionally media.

Because of this, even though it’s egalitarian, the knowledge on the web comes with a heavy bias. It’s leaning toward those tuned-in consumers who are generating the some of the content and who are in the minority. The results don’t pan out in the real world. Don’t believe me? Ask Ron Paul.

Of course, the traditional media comes with its own long standing biases and the need to perpetuate its business model. But traditional media is not dead. It’s just slow and bloated. And the masses are even slower consumers of it.

So there’s opportunity for all here. The traditional media can start working to feed the hummingbird minority consumers. And the web can start bringing more of the lumbering hippos into the fold. They’ll either meet in the middle or one will crush the other.