Category Archives: marketing

Humanising the product

I ordered a book from a US online book retailer who redistributes used books in decent condition at a reduced cost compared to new books.

Besides a noble act, recycling, using some of the profits to support global literacy and reducing landfill, they also communicate on a very human and personal level, so that when the book is ready to be shipped, the book (!) writes you a letter. As below.

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Hello Joseph,

(Your book(s) asked to write you a personal note – it seemed unusual, but who are we to say no?)

Holy canasta! It’s me… it’s me! I can’t believe it is actually me! You could have picked any of over 2 million books but you picked me! I’ve got to get packed! How is the weather where you live? Will I need a dust jacket? I can’t believe I’m leaving Mishawaka, Indiana already – the friendly people, the Hummer plant, the Linebacker Lounge – so many memories. I don’t have much time to say goodbye to everyone, but it’s time to see the world!

I can’t wait to meet you! You sound like such a well read person. Although, I have to say, it sure has taken you a while! I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, but how would you like to spend five months sandwiched between Jane Eyre (drama queen) and Fundamentals of Thermodynamics (pyromaniac)? At least Jane was an upgrade from that stupid book on brewing beer. How many times did the ol’ brewmaster have one too many and topple off our shelf at 2am?

I know the trip to meet you will be long and fraught with peril, but after the close calls I’ve had, I’m ready for anything (besides, some of my best friends are suspense novels). Just five months ago, I thought I was a goner. My owner was moving and couldn’t take me with her. I was sure I was landfill bait until I ended up in a Better World Books book drive bin. Thanks to your socially conscious book shopping, I’ve found a new home. Even better, your book buying dollars are helping kids read from Brazil to Botswana.

But hey, enough about me, I’ve been asked to brief you on a few things:

We sent your order to the following address:

Joseph Ortenzi
123 Your Street
Sydney, NSW 2000
AU

Order #: XXXXXXXXXXX

We provide quick shipping service to all our customers. You chose International Mail shipping, your book should arrive within 10 – 21 business days. Some shipments may take slightly longer to arrive.

At this time, we are not able to offer tracking on our International Mail shipments.

If you have any questions or concerns, please email my friends in Customer Care at help@betterworldbooks.com. If you could please include your order number (XXXXXXXXXXX) that would be very helpful.

Eagerly awaiting our meeting,

Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation

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One way of personalising an otherwise impersonal service, with a very human voice.

Nice

NIDA Teaching Session

Updated: 05/9/09

Cultural Antropology

An antropological introduction to YouTube

mwesch you tube channel

Copyright and Neworking

Creative Commons Australia

LinkedIn.com

Free technologies

Youtube.com.au

vimeo.com

flickr.com

WordPress resources:

wordpress.org

instantshift.com

Slideshow plugins

shadowbox JS

Free wordpress themes

ashford.turtleinteractive.com

www.freewpthemes.net

www.smashingmagazine.com/2008/01/08/100-excellent-free-high-quality-wordpress-themes/

wordpress.org/extend/themes

Some Photo-blogging themes

Standards compliance

validator.w3.org

www.totalvalidator.com

Domain registrars

netregistry.com.au

melbourneit.com.au

Hosting companies

wordpress.org/hosting

www.bluehost.com

www.wordpresshosting.com.au

wordpress.ausweb.com.au

Coders, Templates, HTML from PSD

w3-markup.com

xhtml.pixelcrayons.com

www.getafreelancer.com

PayPal Developer Day

I went to the PayPay Developer Day at The Grace Hotel yesterday, which was described as the launch of  a community for PayPal developers in Australia, the first country outside the US (and Canada?) to participate.  I’ve since noticed the UK in there as well. Since they rightly recognised that developers are their front line and are often the people who scope and recommend a payment processing option, they want to both support and influence their decisions.

Unfortunately it was more of a marketing than developer event, with not enough real world examples and more of a lecture-based set of presentations. As one dev put it, he could have happily followed a few links to play with new features in the API in his own time, as he gained nothing extra from the half-day session away from his computer(s). Devs don’t “look” at code as much as some people think; they look at code as much as cooks “read” recipes. They want to bite into code and try the new ingredients in their own kitchens and with their own pots, pans and spices, and their ideas for flavour combinations. They are very much hands-on people.

But for those with their planning or implementation hats on it was a great day. If you need your payment process channel to do more, and you like the types of tools and features PayPal offers, then selling it as the solution has become much easier. The devs are well supported, both with a local developer centre for all the devs who pass the PayPal Certified Developer exam, as well as a sandbox to test out your installed APIs and mods.

I was a bit worried that it ended earlier than scheduled, so maybe they trimmed out too much from what they thought would fill the day, but I had a great talk with a few of their reps. Seems like The Australian office is pushing the US office for more agility and improvement on the User interface, which looks like it was designed by coders from the 90′s and has no design considerations at all. And it looks like the locals here will get to influence what happens in code much more, by being vocally involved in the dev centre. And to top it off, they were giving out free exams to the first 150 through the event, a saving of $300 (three exams, $100 each).

If you use paypay on your site(s) or are a developer or Project Manager considering a payment gateway or agent, the new tools available, and the certification process presented by paypal will definitely get you closer to a better pay experience.

Social Media, what does it mean to you?

A Social Media Consultant, a PR consultant, two agency specialists and a client walk into a bar…..

Sounds like an 50′s style joke doesn’t it?

At Social Media Club Sydney two a few weeks ago (I know, I am soooo slack! I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now) the talk was “Do you need an agency to run effective social media campaigns?” and the point that interested me the most was that everyone had a definition for what Social media was but they varied wildly, sometimes based on what that person wanted from it instead of what SM was about intrinsically.

I later asked around the audience, and also got a wild array of possible definitions, some from Social Media users and others from “experts”, many of whom could remember who’s definition on the panel they liked or aligned themselves with but, ultimately, couldn’t remember the actual definition.

I remember the response from a student, uninterested in marketing or advertising, defining Twitter as a “marketing channel”, which really shocked me, although I wasn’t surprised in hindsight, considering the celebrities using it to keep them in the public eye and “sell” themselves.

Thankfully a few cool heads, both on the panel as well as in the audience, continued to press for the simpler and more engaging descriptions, which did not focus on sales, marketing or advertising but the more intrinsic communication, connection, engagement and sharing descriptions I prefer to lean towards.

I guess this is where I put my stake in the sand and tell you my definition. Fair enough! I think Social Media is something that is detached from platform, API, protocol and application, as well as detached from marketing message or advertising reach, although it can perform with those very easily. At heart, SM is a public conversation, generally around a topic, recorded. Ultimately it is about people, conversing and interacting.

Feel free to challenge me on this, and you can do so at the next SMCSYD, How Do You Measure Social Media Engagement, on July 20.

Style over substance

Let’s cut to the chase!

Who is advising restaurants, bars and clubs that what their visitors want is a Flash(tm) animated brochure?

When I look up a bar, restaurant or club / music venue, I’m usually after a few basic slices of information, like where it is located, what the food is like or what’s on tonight or this weekend. Of course there is a lot more you’d want to know about  a venue, but these are what I would think are core pieces of information many people would be wanting from a venue’s website. Unfortunately many venues have been advised by their “web people” to publish a set of slick, glossy pictures of the venue, in a Flash slideshow/animation sequence, utilising Flash navigation, and not a great deal more.

Can anyone explain to me why these bars, restaurants and clubs don’t bother looking at what visitors want from websites and help these same prospective clients find it on their websites? Is it really in a venue’s interest to hide the location map somewhere unexpected or provide their menu as a downloadable PDF? And music venues and dance clubs: Thanks for the pictures of the pretty people who cone to your place, specially the hot babes! but since I came to your site to find out more about a night out at your venue from a flyer someone handed me, can you provide more information besides re-presenting the flyer I already have a copy of? Or did you think the babes were enough? hmm, I thought so.

Can you not tell me about the artists who will be playing, DJing there, any reviews of past gigs, what the drinks cost, whether you also have snacks, what time the club closes, when it’s not available due to a “private party” and any other thing that would make me interested in coming to your venue, instead of what YOU want to tell me?

Have you a Facebook group? A mySpace page? A twitter stream? If so, can you tie them together so I can find the others through any one of them?

If not, can you spare a couple hours a week to connect with your people out there? There’s plenty of excelent on-line tools and APIs to help you do this.

Oh, and if you want to be found through popular searches, just make sure there is something serachable and index-able on your site.

… just sayin!