Category Archives: marketing

department of common sense

You would think SOMEONE at the Hungry Jack organization would have spoken up and said,
“If Step #2 of the directions say to let the product sit for 12 minutes, is it really a good idea to promote the 5 minute wording on the front of the package? I realize that legal has covered our butts with the use of the word grill on the front, but don’t you think our reputation and long term relationship with customers is worth something? If we trick them once, will they buy again?”12 minutes is not 5 minutes

it’s in bad form

this is a bad paper form. No room for e-mail address
Paper still exists. This distresses the digerati, but it’s true.
There is an unfortunate instance between the digital and paper realms that drives me crazy.
Do me a favor. If you’re whipping up a paper form that asks for someone’s email address, use the entire width of the page just for that line.
There is no way someone with big clunky penmanship will be able to write john.doe@superlongcorporation.com on a line that you’ve allotted the same space for a phone or a fax number.
Speaking of which, why are you still including a fax line on that form?

good design and UX

ios7
I hate to be one of those redesign resistant people, but at first glance I don’t like the design changes of iOS7 announced this week at WWDC.

My displeasure comes down to the loss of skeuomorphism and the flat design.

Aesthetics are all judged by opinions. And opinions are like belly buttons, everyone has one. But design goes beyond whether you “like” something or not. Design has rules and order.

Good design is intuitive. And most of our intuition comes from our life experiences. Round colorful circles don’t tell me what something does.

Contrast, color, and hierarchy provide a means for the designer to command the places for the user’s eye to go. With no depth, everything is equal.

It all comes back to something that I’m seeing more and more of. Design for the sake of design rather than for user experience. It’s fun and feels edgy for the newly hatched designer to smear a gradient across their screen and slap a thin font on it. Not so much for the user to who has to deal with it on a daily basis.

the popcorn button

Nearly every microwave you see has a “popcorn button”.

Nearly every package of microwave popcorn has a warning, “DO NOT USE THE POPCORN BUTTON”.

It’s an impasse.

popcorn buttonThe microwave has a sensor that monitors the moisture and other factors inside the microwave to tell it to shutdown when it senses that the popcorn is done. Meanwhile, the popcorn manufacturers don’t want you to rely on that automation and want you to use your own ears to monitor when the popping slows.

It seems both parties are trying to give you a decent serving of popcorn. (Actually if you want good popcorn, you use something like this.)

I’m sure both parties think they’re serving their customer. In reality, they are each looking out for their own interests and seeing the process from their own worldview. In the process, they’re confusing the real end user of both products.

Seth Godin had a great insight in Purple Cow about an innovation in paint cans from Dutch Boy … “People don’t buy paint, they buy painted walls.

And in this case, people don’t buy popcorn bags and microwaves. They buy corn that has been popped.

Are you looking at your business from your own perspective? Are you battling with an external force that has influence on the final marketing outcome? Instead of an impasse that the end user finds confusing or ridiculous, why not change something? Stalemates get stale.

best of 2012

Another year has come and gone. As I do every year … [2005] [2006] [2007] [2008] [2009] [2010] [2011] … I present what were the biggest hits of 2012 on the blog for you to revisit if you’re a regular or discover if you are a new reader:

  • For raw numbers of traffic / visitors, it seems appropriate that AAA Marketing ranked first.
  • My recent diatribe on evolving holiday traditions also did well according to the reliable folks at Google Analytics.
  • One of my favorite posts from the past year dealt with the one essential rule for planning a great event.
  • I hate strongly dislike JC Penney. They continue to fail further since I wrote that post in June.
  • Kotex and social media are like peas and carrots.
  • Probably one of the best things I’ve ever written deals with brand leadership. Great brands are built by people.

I’ve been meaning to write a short post about this, but here’s a good a place as any… For the past seven years, I have tried to maintain a laser focus on this blog. I tried to just write about marketing topics with very little tangent material. Frankly, I’ve beat most of the traditional marketing stuff to death and the world doesn’t need more blog posts on how to do social media. In the past few months, there’s been a slight shift in the focus of this blog. That shift will continue and may grow in the future. There will still be the old media, marketing, branding, etc posts, but there will also be some other stuff too.

As always, thanks for reading this stuff, no matter what I output. I truly thank you for being a reader of the Shotgun Marketing Blog my blog. I hope to continue to provide you with useful and entertaining content in 2013. Don’t miss any of upcoming posts by either subscribing to the RSS feed (through a reader or by email) or following me on Twitter or on Facebook.

shutdown

I can tell there’s been a new training program shift for B2B cold call telemarketers. They’re now all asking the same self-deflating question to me.

TYPICAL CALL

ME: Hello.

TM: Are you the person in the business responsible for buying snow blowers?! I’m selling snow blowers  Your business needs one now! (plus 30-45 seconds more of non-paused script which, frankly, I don’t have the energy to re-create here in this fictional exchange.)

ME: We’re not interested, thanks.

TM: Can I ask why not?

ME: It doesn’t snow here.

TM: Oh.

The sales seminar down at the airport Marriott would advise you to ask questions to overcome objections which I assume is where this question is coming from.

But the reality is that, in sales, you should never allow the opportunity to paint yourself into a corner. The same advice applies if you are an actual floor painter.

(Full disclosure: It actually does snow here.)

tainted

I’m seeing it happen more and more.

As the cashier hands me a receipt, she draws a circle on it and says, “Please visit this link and take the online survey about your experience. Please make sure to give me all 5s.”

I was staying in a hotel in Cincinnati the other night (in the “quiet zone”). On the desk in the room, there was a high quality printed piece that had instructions on how to complete the e-mail survey I would receive from the corporate parent of the hotel. The manager had written on these instructions to “give the hotel all 10s or your response won’t count”.

And I could go on with real-life examples as I’m sure you could as well.

This is either dumb or crooked or both.

Why even conduct the customer response if you or your employees are tainting the results? Customer surveys are shaky enough without meddling interference.

If you’re doing it to avoid hearing bad feedback, then grow a thicker skin before you run yourself out of business.

If your employees are scared of how you treat them because of surveys, try having them improve actual customer service instead of numbers on a spreadsheet.

By the way, these attempts to influence the election could backfire.