Friday, December 26, 2008

Zune Hell

I was in Zune hell on Christmas Day, but I am getting out. I am returning the Zune I got for Christmas and going back to my iPod. I spent several hours trying to get it to work. I give up. Not my idea of fun. When I hooked it up at first, I got all sorts of error messages saying I needed to install software. When I tried to install the software, it crashed. After several tries and reboots of the computer, I got the software to install, then it told me I needed to install yet more software. (All this software was the "babysit" kind, where you have to hit "next" every 5 to 10 minutes). I finally got all the software installed, then it wanted me to sign in and create an account, then start the free 14-day trial. Will someone tell Microsoft that the landing page after signing up for the 14-day trial should give some kind of hint as to what to do next? All this took hours. I finally got the software running, and figured out how to find a song. But I made the mistake of double-clicking on the song, and it wouldn't stop playing! Nothing I did could stop the song. I had to control-alt-delete to run task manager to kill the program to stop the song. And the Zune still won't work. No matter what I do, it says "music" --every button I push, and I've tried them all, in various combinations. "Music" says the display, mockingly, with no sound. The battery icon indicates a full charge. I realize that a few more frustrating hours could get me video in my pocket, but I am going back to my iPod, which installed and updated first time and every time. I'd rather have less stress and less video in my pocket, than more of both.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Targeted use of Internet Advertising.

As an Australian living in the UK my internet browsing habits are probably a bit different to most of you and I have noticed an interesting marketing tool that may be of interest.

I read the Sydney Morning Herald almost daily, because it keeps me up to date with what's happening at home and it also because I like it's coverage of world affairs.

Recently I have noticed that the advertising I see on the site is particularly targeted to my circumstances. In particular I see advertisements for currency exchange services and ads from recruitment agencies offering me the opportunity to be 'head hunted' back to Australia.

Obviously the web site identifies my location from my IP address and targets the advertising appropriately.

Everybody wins from this. The normal, Sydney based, advertisers don't care whether someone in the UK doesn't see their ads and presumably don't demand a reduction because of it. It's probably in the fine print. The targeted advertiser is offerred a chance to advertise in a major publication at a fraction of the cost of the full rate. The newspaper makes some extra revenue and even I don't mind seeing ads that are more relevant to me. Actually it makes me feel kind of special.

Check out if you want to see what I mean.

What other clever uses of internet marketing have people seen. I know every time I go online to Amazon I get an email from them.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fat Silver

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What can marketing/marketers contribute to economic revival?

This post was submitted on behalf of Janetta:

Now that economic growth based upon easy credit has ground to a halt the rhetoric has changed from “spending too much”, particularly in the retails sectors, to “spending too little”.

The high street has responded with sales and promotions. The government is trying to respond via fiscal policy. Namely, changes income tax and VAT. Are these responses likely to be effective and what are their outcomes, both intentional and not intentional in the short to medium term?

Customers, who have any purchasing power, will benefit from the sales and promotions which will generate some cash for the retailers but not as much per item as they had anticipated. Everyone, regardless of income will benefit from the 2.5% reduction in VAT, which is a positive step in itself as VAT is a regressive tax which falls disproportionately on those with lowest incomes. It is, however, unlikely to generate much additional spending as demand is relatively inelastic in the current economic climate, as the retailers are discovering, with up to 50% reductions still not resulting in the required additional sales of goods.

From a marketing perspective such broad brush responses only form part of the environment in which they operate. Decisions will have to be made as to where a good or service is to be positioned in the market and specifically and who the likely customers are. Some people in the upper to middle class/income group may well be better off due to the environment outlined above plus reduced interest rates on their mortgages. There may well be scope here for marketing higher end goods and services targeted at this group.

Conversely, it has already been noted that changes in customer behaviour in favour of cheaper alternatives such as discount retailers such as Lidl and Aldi and choosing eating at home options rather than eating out (Dominos). Has this been a temporary “knee jerk” reaction to media hype regarding the effects of a recession on “everyone” when in fact many people such as those in secure public sector jobs may well be better off than they were before? Unemployment will fall, as always, disproportionately, on manufacturing, retail and non statutory service sectors, belying the fact that these are the sectors which successive governments have propounded to assist to underpin economic growth.

How the labour market responds over the next few months will generate challenges and opportunities for marketers. Those who correctly identify their key segments and customers and act ahead of competitors in generating demand for their products and services may well change the domestic retail and service landscape determining which businesses thrive and those which fail. Marketing may be a more powerful instrument in determining the economic future than the blunt ones so far proposed by the government.

Janetta Jones

Barclays - Slippery Slope?

This article is submitted on behalf of Ceri:

Although the banks have dominated the news over the past few months my posting is nothing to do with the bailout of the banks, mortgages or interest rate cuts.

Having bought my house less than 2 years ago, when house prices were at their peak, I try and avoid the majority of the depressing news items on the current economic climate in fear of finding out that my house is now worth significantly less than I paid for it. Instead, I decide to spend my evenings watching people like Esther Ranzen being locked in a box and eating eyeballs.

It was during one of the commercial breaks for ‘I’m a Celebrity get me out of here’ that I first saw the new Barclaycard commercial – the one with the man going down the waterslide. I’m sure that the majority of you have seen it by now, but for those who have not here is a little bit about it:

It begins with a geeky office worker stripping to his pants and leaving the office for home through a store cupboard. Once in the store cupboard he then jumps on this huge waterslide that travels around the city (Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro – I think). It goes via a grocery store and a library until finally arriving at his house. I forgot to mention that he picks up a banana on the way and gets stuck in the library. If your thinking random, very random then your right.

The first few times I saw this commercial I had no idea what the advert was trying to tell me about Barclaycard. Having just started an MBA module as part of my MBA I watched the advert with my MBA hat on and thought – who is the advert trying to target? What is the advert trying to tell me? Does it make me want to run out and get a Barclaycard? The answers to these questions at the time were ‘don’t know’, ‘don’t know’ and ‘no’.

However, having now seen the advert a few times, there is undoubtedly something about it that makes me want to stop and watch. It is humorous, intriguing and the Bellamy Brothers theme tune will have you dancing about your living room like John Sargent.

The commercial is in fact advertising the new Barclaycard contactless technology - however this is insignificant. The commercials real merit is in the impact it will have had on the awareness of the Barclaycard brand. You Tube have labelled it the best commercial of 2008. I am interested to see what you think.

Put your volume on max, enjoy and let your love flow!


Friday, December 5, 2008

Zero Finance Car Marketing

Car Finance Marketing
In recent times I am starting to hear a lot of advertising on the radio for zero percent finance. The likes of Vauxhall and Renault are advertising it and Volkswagon is pushing it on commercial vehicles. And it sound like a great deal, especially when no one is lending money. I suspect that you don't gain much out of it. The price of the car will be adjusted to cover the cost of the dealer borrowing the money and lending it to you for free. But with interest rates at all time lows that differential has eroded and is far less noticable. It makes good sense for a strong company like a car manufacturer to borrow at these rates and use it to entice you to buy their product. But will car companies get burnt the way banks have in the last year. I presume they are not naive and will have thought of the risks (although I would have said that of the banks a year ago). I think it's a smart piece of lateral thinking and clever marketing.