Blog Marketing As a Strategy…

Most people would love to find a method of marketing that is effective, fun and free. Well, blog marketing certainly fits the bill.

Unfortunately, not many people understand that “effectiveness” is not the same as having a lot of pages in the blog, nor is it getting listed in as many directories as possible. Actually, effectiveness of a blog marketing strategy really depends on the objectives. Any marketer will know that a marketing strategy is nothing more than a powerful sum of its parts. Hence, a blog marketing strategy cannot stand alone, that is a given. So, we will not talk about that. For a blog marketing to be deemed effective, there are usually three measurements: traffic, response, and action.

Denise has an interesting post on how to build blog traffic. Any new blog will face the challenge of generating traffic. The key is not the volume of traffic, but the relevance of it.

Response is one of the best indicators of whether your traffic is targetted or not. Interested parties will respond to your blog posts (unless they are so poorly written…) and they will respond through comments, feedback forms and even emails.

Arguably, action is the holy grail. A blog that has plenty of traffic and an active, responsive readership, but cannot prompt readers into action to become buyers, subscribers or whatever it is you are marketing, can hardly be deemed to be effective.

I am sure there are many other marketing metrics that can be used. But blow aside all the fluff and illusions of success, the above are, I believe, the 1-2-3 of a successful blog marketing program.

New Products – Innovation vs Market Feedback

In most large marketing companies, market research tends to rule, or rather, over-rule many marketing decisions. Marketing by numbers has become not only the favourite past-time of marketers, it has also become necessary to justify ever increasing budgets.

Most of the time, market research is useful and important. Product managers should never fall in love with their products and company owners should not be so enamored by their own cleverness that market feedback is ignored.

But what happens if the market says “no” when everything you believe in says “yes!”? This is a dilemma faced by innovators through out the ages.

If you believe market research, the Sony Walkman would never have seen the light of day. If you listen to market research, Intel’s CPU road map would be boring indeed. And of course, Microsoft, who in the world would have imagined that everyone “needed” to have Microsoft Office on their computers, at home? No one needed a telephone and the fax machine was a joke.

Then there is the now infamous line “… who would ever want to make a copy of that?”

http://www.explainthatstuff.com/photocopier.html
http://www.cornerstonecopy.com/history.html

Now, bring that into the context of Marketing, and you will begin to see the same behvaviour. When you propose a new idea that no one has ever tried before, the Management will more likely than not, shoot it down. Simply because it has never been done before. Keep this in mind when your next idea gets canned and just smile a little smile to yourself.

One Hell of a Product Launch – HellGate London

For all the marketing folks out there, here is one way never to launch a product. Read on for the low-down on the fun and games. Not.

The product in question here is a computer game called HellGate London. It was a much anticipated product and had a rousing response to its launch. However, it did a few critical things wrong which has made it go from hero to dog in something less than a week!

– Product was extremely buggy (bugs are things that make the game hang, or interfere with the game play)
– Communications with the community was patchy
– There was no in-game communications (this is critical, especially for an online game)
– Action was taken with no consideration to user inputs

Many users felt that the company simply took their money under false pretense. This is really bad. Now, bear in mind that the game is indeed an excellent game. I think what happened was a mis-management of communications, customer service and worse of all, plain, lousy product management.

You can read a funny “review” of the situation here: When There Is No Room In Hellgate, The Dead Shall Inhabit The Bargain Bin

Unfortunately, you cannot view the ire of the gamers unless you can log into their forums. Both the US/Europe and the Asian forums are hot with irate gamers. Bearing in mind that this game is based on the incredibly successful “Diablo” franchise, it is really surprising. Yet, again, if you think about it, it is not that surprising. Ego, Arrogance and Greed. If not, there is no other explanation as to why a company so experienced and with such a strong history, can screw up a launch so badly.

With products and services, a launch should never take place before a product is ready to go. The skill here is to be able to tell the difference between a critical bug and a non-critical bug. When “management” takes over or “marketing” takes over the product management process, the fiasco of HellGate proportions happens. This is not the first, and I doubt if it will be the last. Another famous example would be the Tribes2 launch by Dynamics (now gone) where the “auto update” was defective and could not update itself at launch!

[tags]hellgate, bad service, poor marketing[/tags]

Building Trust

Actually, if you pare it right down, what is marketing other than building trust?

In the end, what we are trying to do is to make people believe what we say about our products, its capabilities and that it is the best possible price. So people buy. Yvonne wrote a nice little piece on Building Brand Trust, which I think really hits it on the head. Marketing is not just about the folks in the marketing department. Or the sales people going out to visit customers. It is about everyone providing the best possible customer experience. So customers will keep coming back.

[tags]marketing, customer service, sales, brand, branding, brand trust[/tags]

Does it Matter What kind of Blogger are you?

Here is an interesting one. I picked this up over at Char’s blog where she was asking Fun Friday Quiz – What Kind of Blogger Are You?.

So, being the naturally born curious person, and of course, in the interest of research, I took the Quiz.
What Kind of Blogger Are You?

So, I have no idea what it means to be a Purist, Expert, Socilite. But I am guessing that it is telling me that I sure know how to blog well and I get along with other bloggers, but I think it is hinting that I have no clue how to make my blog cough up cash! That’s the “purist” part, I believe.

So what? Give it some thought. If you are going online, why? What is your purpose online and what exactly was it that you wanted to achieve?

When you open your doors for business, it is inconceivable that you have no idea what you are selling, why you are selling it and who will be buying, right? So, don’t do the same for your online presence. It has an impact on your business. If you have no idea why you are blogging, but you love it anyway, that is fine. That is your purpose – to blog. But if you had a business objective or have been driven online by commercial considerations, then it behooves you to be clear. What kind of blogger are you?

[tags]blogs, blogging, writing, online business, marketing[/tags]

Bad Product? Learn from Yahoo!

Hey, everyone! We got good news! Yahoo! just bought MyBlogLog! Yay! More power to them. I have been waiting to see what comes out of this. Finally, they are moving.

Hey, everyone! We got some well, not so good news… your profile pics might not appear in the MyBlogLog widgets in future when you visit your favorite sites! There are two reasons this happens…

Let us all learn how large corporates with a team of highly intelligent people can work together to destroy a fundamental part of a product and destroy its core value, while trumpeting the fact that it is a “new” feature. (Disclaimer: this is MY opinion and does not represent the ideas, opinions or technological truism of any cult, sect or any other gurus)

First, let us stop and think about why MyBlogLog is so preferred by bloggers compared to the many other widgets. SpicyPage comes to mind, as do BlogCatalog, BumpZee and several others that offer very similar looking widgets. Here is how it works:

  • Login to MyBlogLog
  • Close window without logging out
  • Visit any site that has the MyBlogLog widget and your photo appears

Now, why would anyone want that? Well, because this is a fundamentally good idea. If others see you visiting a site that they visit, then you have a shared common interest. They click on your picture, go to your MyBlogLog profile, see which communities you join, visit YOUR site and so on. It starts a flow, a chain of event that not only generates traffic for you, but also creates a buzz around common likes/dislikes.

new mybloglog loginNew Login “Expires”

I am not against Yahoo! forcing everyone to use their login id for MyBlogLog. In fact, it was expected and in a way, it does offer some integration benefits with their other services. No, my main quarrel is with the “Keep me signed in… ” part of the equation. You see, I only surf from one computer at home. I remain “logged in” all the time. When I visit my friends’ blogs, they all know I just came by because they see me appear in their widget. Now, I have to check every time to see if I do appear, because after 2 weeks, I will be logged out of MyBlogLog.

We are just having fun. I don’t need those James Bond, high security stuff. It’s just a blog to share ideas and thoughts and laugh at and with each other.

no gif acceptedGIF no longer accepted

Now, here is another interesting thing that they have done which I think is really silly – they now no longer accept GIF files for images. How do I know? After going through the hoops to get linked up, I found that my pics disappeared. Then, when I tried to upload them again, then I realised, no GIF. JPG and PNG only. Yet again, another excellent user experience. I mean, what is so bad about GIFs? I checked. Comparing JPG, PNG and GIF formats, the differences were a few KBs. Sure, that might seem a lot if you had a 56K dial up modem. But if like Yahoo! was claiming “Fancy new image uploader for userpics (5MB image? No prob!)“, then I wonder why the phobia of GIF images? I mean, my 15KB JPEG image is certainly smaller than the original 32KB GIF. But I think that is about 0.3% of 5MB vs 0.6% of 5MB, hardly anything to cry over. And if the open sourced ImageMagick can handle all the various graphics format, I am seriously wondering what is the concern here.

This is just my ranting. But I have seen enough products designed by brilliant engineers, who wants to have the latest features, the best technology and the highest quality; but miss out on some of the other essentials. Sometimes, as fundamental as – does the user really need or want this “feature”?

With all due respects, I am sure Yahoo! is trying to give us all a better experience by integrating MyBlogLog and Yahoo’s services. I would say “trying” is a key word here. Sometimes, when you try too hard, and change some seemingly “small” things, the impact could be bigger than you anticipated.

[tags]MyBlogLog, Yahoo!, new login, security, blogging[/tags]

Revealing the secrets of homeschooling – Learn from the Expert!

For those who do not know, home schooling is gaining popularity as an alternative to institutionalized education. This is especially true in many developed countries and due to increasing concerns of school violence and other issues.

But the challenges that home schooling brings can be more daunting than many can handle. Dana has written an excellent post on this. So, why is this relevant in a marketing blog?

If you can be bothered to delve deeper, you will realise that many of the principles that Dana recommends can be extended to your marketing department. It is usually true that your team is not made up of 100% super-star performers. There will be the wild ones, the slow ones, the whatever-ones. The marketing head always feels the need to hand hold the people. Such micro-management usually leads to inefficiencies, poor overall performance, lack of growth of the people, and overall; a very harried manager.

So, learn from the home moms.

read more | digg story

[tags]homeschool, marketing management, delegation[/tags]

Why You Should Value Fun

I looked at my statistics today, and I saw a very interesting search string: “why should I value ‘fun’…”

This is really a very interesting question. In fact, that this question is asked at all is interesting. What was the mindset of the person asking this, what was going on in his or her mind? Were they trying to decide whether it was worth it to buy the latest XBOX? Or the Wii?

Let me ask you, do you think there is value in making marketing fun? What is the value of fun marketing? Clients are willing to pay for “great” marketing. Will they do the same for fun marketing?

Fascinating question. Studies have demonstrated that learning takes place when people are having fun. In fact, real learning in itself should be fun! But that is another discussion. Extremes in emotions help us to remember things. You will remember your greatest loves, your worst failures and even the silliest jokes. But can you remember the other stuff, the mundane, maybe even important things that have happened?

We remember the Micro-Machines ad, because of the funny guy who talked really fast. We remember the Volvo with another 10 cars stacked on top of it. There are lots more, and each will have their own favorites. But simply listing out the “good stuff” will not help people recall your benefits. Wrap it with something fun, make it relevant and interesting; then you will find that not only will recall be high, even your call to action will see better results. No one wants to go out with a boring date. What makes you think they will respond well to a boring ad?

[poll=4]

[tags]fun marketing, humour in marketing, online marketing, internet[/tags]