Archive for Marketing

Know Your Target Audience, Part 2

It’s been nearly four years since my last post about the email targeting sins I see in my inbox on a daily basis. Yet, I’m still seeing major marketers squander major opportunities. Are you not reading my blog?!?! (sadly, I know the answer to this question).

This time the offender is my beloved Victoria’s Secret. It pains me to do this as I tend to support everything Victoria’s Secret does (decent pun, I’m keeping it). But, this is another great example of messaging that is targeted toward a woman (which I am not) when email allows for segmentation that could avoid a messaging miss. Subject line: “Your Bikini Awaits…” Simply segmenting me as a male would allow for a message that would be targeted to me and increase the likelihood that I would make a purchase. Of course, I’m not purchasing a bikini for myself, but I have to imagine there is a very strong segment of men that purchase Victoria’s Secret products for the lady in their lives.

victorias secret email target audience

Missed opportunity, Victoria’s Secret. But, every moment is another opportunity to turn it all around. Fewer blasts, more individualization. I’m looking forward to be addressed as a man in the future : )

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Social Media Interview with Nevada Business Journal

I was recently interviewed by Doresa Banning for the Nevada Business Journal about Social Media and business. It was an enjoyable experience. Some of it was just thoughts on some of the major players: Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter. We talked a little about best practices, including social media policies for HR. And even a little about the future of social media.

Read the full article. 

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QR Code Obsession

QR Code Obsession

QR Codes are cool. I agree. I’ve been talking about them in digital media presentations for about three years now. I like them! I think they have a ton of possibilities. But, for the love of Pete, we’re becoming obsessed with QR codes. They’re the shiny new toy. Everybody wants to use them. But they are being used stupidly. Ignore the fact that smart phones only have about a 30% market penetration in the US. Ignore the fact that only like 10% of internet traffic comes from mobile phones. Ignore the fact that the people that do have smart phones do not all have scanners nor do they know how to get/use one. People are being just plain non-strategic and impractical. I think there are some cool ways and some lame ways to use QR Codes. Here goes:

  1. Cool Way: On food packaging. I think it’s great when a box of food has a QR Code on it and scanning brings you to a video of how to prepare a recipe, or a list of ingredients needed to make a recipe. That gives value. I’m going to tag “Recipe Book” on to this example. It’s too similar to make it its own. But a cookbook should be full of QR codes that download a tutorial video for preparing a dish.
  2. Lame Way: On your website. There is almost NO REASON you should ever have a QR Code on your website. It especially infuriates me when the QR code brings me to your homepage or another page in your site. I’m already there! Just give me a link. That’s ridiculous. Yet I see it time and time again. Stop putting QR Codes on your website!
  3. Cool Way: Selling a house. I like this idea. A QR Code next to an ad for a house, or on the sales sign out front. Scanning brings you to a virtual tour and/or information about the house (the MLS listing, etc), and the Realtor to contact to make arrangements to see the house in person. Let’s get rid of those crappy, water-soaked, black & white photocopies that sit in that plastic bin.
  4. Lame Way: In an email blast. OK, this is really similar to the website one, but it’s equally as lame. Do not make me scan something that I can just click. Don’t put me through all that effort when I could just click a link. These seem like ways to use QR Codes just to use them.
  5. Cool Way: Scavenger Hunts. I think this is actually kind of fun. QR Codes can be posted or hidden in various spots and finding one reveals a clue (video or photo or text or something more interactive) to the location of the next clue.
  6. Lame Way: On clothes and/or name badges. I know that some people think that printing these on shirts, scarves, hats or name badges at conferences is cool. I don’t. Yeah, people could scan and get your information. OR, they could talk to you like a human being if they’re going to be that close to you.
  7. Cool Way: Next to artwork or items in a museum. People can scan to get more information about the artist, the item the history behind it, etc. I think QR Codes are really applicable in these situations where it would be visually disturbing and impractically to have an enormous wealth of information on the wall. This could apply to art galleries, museums, zoos, theme park lines (God, they’re long and dull!). This provides people with curiosity a way to really dive into something they’re interested in.
  8. Lame Way: Tattoos. Really? That’s just stupid. What if this QR Code doesn’t last? What site or resource are you sending people to? Just a really bad idea to tattoo a QR Code on to your body. Get a tattoo of a unicorn playing checkers. It’s timeless.
  9. Cool Way: Assembly directions. Now, I never need to look at assembly directions because I’m a man and therefore naturally apt at assembling things. But, some people may be very confused by the ridiculously complex directions that come with some products. A QR Code could be stickered on the product in case the directions aren’t included, or link to a video that gives a really good step-by-step assembly tutorial.
  10. Lame Way: Outdoor billboard. Especially those on the side of the road/freeways. Do you really expect people to whip out their phone, pull up their scanner app and get the QR Code snapped? Besides being extremely dangerous, you don’t have the time to make that happen. That’s why you typically get 7 words on a billboard. There’s no time for anything more. There’s certainly no point in putting a QR Code on a billboard.
  11. Cool Way: Conference mobile app. I actually just experienced this one not too long ago. Scanning the QR Code downloaded an app to my phone that was specific to the conference with a full schedule, options to add sessions to my personal calendar, maps, exhibitor information, etc. It was actually really valuable and a practical use since an application went to my phone.
  12. Cool or Lame (you decide): Tombstones. I actually kind of think this is cool. I was surprised at how many people have a QR Code on their tombstone. Scanning would bring you to a site about the person, maybe video, photos, etc. Thoughts on this one? Is putting a QR Code on a tombstone taking it too far?
Here’s the bottom line for me: use these strategically and don’t just use a QR Code to say you’ve used it. Give value to your clients and visitors. It’s enticing, I know, to want to slap a QR Code on everything because they seem so freaking cool! But, show some discipline before I need to schedule a QR Code intervention.

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Mike McDowell dot com is all mine!

I did it. I did it. I did it! I finally got mikemcdowell.com! And, yes, I am rejoicing with all the fervor and feelings of accomplishment as somebody who skillfully landed the parking spot in front on the grocery store. I realize that I didn’t do much to secure this domain, but I have been chasing it for EIGHT LONG YEARS. I checked in regularly, and as the expiration edged closer, I checked multiple times a day.

I am so happy right now. This is the best way I can express my joy:

 

Next step is, of course, to decide what the hell to do with my domain other than a silly redirect to this blog.

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Cheetos Setting a New Standard for URLs?

There was a point, years ago, that it became a standard practice to add your company’s URL to the final slide of your TV commercial. There’s been an evolution of how that URL is displayed…

http://www.visitmywebsite.com

http://www.visitmywebsite.com

visitmywebsite.com

Now check out how Cheetos has decided to change the game even more. What do you think? I kind of like it!

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20 Resume Tips in 20 Minutes

I was given 20 minutes to impart some resume wisdom upon the eager young learners in the Ad Club at the University of Nevada, Reno. So, I decided I’d give them 20 tips in 20 minutes. Here’s what I told them.

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Time for the “Big Game” (psst… that means the Super Bowl)

Super Bowl

Ah, it’s that time of year again already. The air is crisp, anticipation is high and marketers across America are trying to say “Super Bowl” without saying “Super Bowl.” It’s a time-honored ritual to skirt trademark law. Only the official sponsors of the NFL can use the trademarked phrase, “Super Bowl” their marketing and advertising. Even if you’re spending millions of dollars for a Super Bowl ad this Sunday, you can’t say “Super Bowl” unless you’re an official sponsor. (of course, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t a ton of violations – companies using “Super Bowl” in their promotions)

So, what are we to do? Well, come up with clever euphemisms for the Super Bowl, of course. Here are some of the ones I’ve heard (or been forced to use) in the past:

  • The Big Game (The most popular one. At one point, the NFL considered trademarking this, too.)
  • The Big Football Game
  • The Professional Football Championship
  • The Football Championship Game
  • Sunday’s Game
  • Super Sunday
  • The Greatest Sunday in Sports

Let me know if you see any other awesome euphemisms for the Super Bowl. Enjoy this one from Costco’s home page.

 

Costco Ad

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