Tuesday, October 30, 2007

How Halloween has changed (UK Edition)

I'm a child of the 70's. In England the 70's (the real one not the one on TV) was very brown.

Begrudgingly in the my parents allowed me to celebrate Halloween. It was frowned on as too American. Anyway the upshot is that we never had pumpkins. They where far to exotic and colourful.

No,we were given Turnips.

My mum would cut the top off and score the surface. Then I'd be issued with a blunt tea spoon to scrape the insides out. My Dad would then use a sharp knife to cut out the all important face, while I nursed my bruised hand from scraping a rock hard Turnip with a blunt spoon.

Tell that to English kids these days and they won't believe you.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Using Social Networking sites and the future of Marketing

On Linkedin John Cass asked "What is the future of marketing? What strategies, processes and tactics are in marketing department of 2015?"

This is a great question and one that if I could answer would make me a millionaire.

For my ten pence worth. Nothing will really change that much. People are people. The issue now for Marketers is that our customers are now a lot closer to us and can effect our businesses in ways we never imagined before.

There are two ways of looking at this.

  1. We can stay frightened at the "Nasty" customers who aren't happy with our us and are telling everyone and spoiling our profit margin.
  2. We can engage with our customers and listen to what they tell us and act one it. That way we'll ensure that they spread the word about what great companies we have and how "they really listened and did what I asked them to."

For the last 100 years or so business has been moving away from interaction with customers. From the corner shop we moved to the faceless supermarket. Now we've gone full circle. Even the largest companies have to take notice of the little guy. They now have real power and can spread good or bad for you and your company in the blink of and email.

Which would you rather they do?

Don't be afraid. Dive in and engage with your customers. If you're afraid of doing it then do you have ask yourself "Have I got something to hide"? If you have then start changing. If they don't know what your hiding, they soon will. And they'll tell everyone!

Social Networking Experiment Update

After sticking my toe in the Facebook water a week ago, I'm pleased to report that it's going really well. In fact better than I expected.

From a standing start there are now over 300 members of the Applied Language Translation and Interpreting Group. If you are interested in being a translator or interpreter then I'd recommend signing up to the group and to our suppliers data base www.talkbase.net.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Should you be nervous on Facebook?

I've started using Facebook recently and I've set up a few groups for work. We're a Translation and Interpreting company so to get more linguists to register with us I set up a group. It's worked really well. If you're a linguist on Facebook please join.

While I was looking for other related groups I found this quite scary one for United States Intelligence Community. It's an open group so anyone can join. What I can't tell is if it's a spoof or not. It looks pretty official and if it is maybe you should be nervous.

The web is a really weird place sometimes!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Naming a product to suit your audience

I was just watching a re-run of I'm Alan Partridge and spotted the ident in the corner of the screen. I did a double take when I saw what the name of the channel was.

UKTV 2 (a digital channel in the UK) has just changed it's name to


Dave is a very brave thing to call a TV station. It definitely makes it stand out from the crowd and at the same time identifies it with it's core audience.

Dave shows classic TV for English Men aged between 25 and 40 (that's me). Dave's shows include Top Gear, Have I Got News For You and Never Mind the Buzzcocks.

Dave's a great name as far as I'm concerned and my hat's off to the team who came up with it, but especially to the guy who paid the bill and stood his corner.

More Marketing Books you should read

Since my last list I felt a bit ashamed that I'd missed some classics out. To re-dress the balance here are a few more marketing books you should read.
  1. Purple Cow - Seth Godin
  2. Full Frontal PR - Richard Laermer
  3. Naked Conversations - Robert Scoble and Shel Israel
  4. Commonsense Direct & Digital Marketing - Drayton Bird
  5. Open for Business, How to write letters that get results - Courtney Ferguson
  6. The World is Flat - Thomas L Friedman

I've read all of these and they've helped shaped my marketing view. If you've got any recommendations or views on these books I'd love to know.

Here's a link to my previous list of Marketing Books you should read.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Law of decrecesing returns on Email Marketing

When I did my Direct Marketing Diploma there was a rule of decreasing returns which went along the lines of this:

Once you've mailed a file return to the same file again but exclude people who responded the first time. This rule generates more sales. You can keep doing this at least 10 times so that our list gets smaller and smaller but your only working on people who don't buy or respond.

I've been trying this same rule with email marketing. Using Campaign Monitor you can segment any list and include only those people who didn't open the initial email or click on a link etc. I opted for the didn't open as I figured that didn't click a link was a bit too risky and would produce a barrage of abuse and spam complaints.

I re-emailed about a week after the initial offer. The strange thing is that the law seems to be broken at least for these campaigns.

There are two options
  1. My campaign was crap (very likely)
  2. The rule doesn't work for email

I've seen independent result for this on a traditional paper based mailing. I've even done it myself and had a lot of success. But for some reason it's not worked with email.

If anyone has any different experiences I'd love to hear them as I'm sure this should work.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Getting around the postal strike

In the UK the postal workers are on strike. I'm not going to get into the details but it's causing lots of issues and doing them no good at all.

In an age where less and less post is being delivered anyway all they are doing is speeding up the process of people looking for other avenues to deliver what would traditionally go via Royal Mail.

Hats off to Marketing Week who have thought through the problem. My weekly issue can't delivered this week, so quick as a flash they've just delivered it by email. Great I still get my copy.

What will have happened now is that the management will have looked at just how much cash they've just saved. As well as the postage they've saved the print, the fulfillment, the repro and all the admin charges associated.

So how long do you think it will be 'til they offer a split subscription? You can have a PDF or if you insist a paper version. They discount the PDF version and then pretty soon the printed version will be fazed out.

This was of course always going to happen with weekly trade magazines where the biggest outlay is the print and distribution, it just that the Royal Mail strikers have just begun to unwittingly accelerate their own demise.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Remote PowerPoint and presentation tips

At my company we give our presentations via the web. This saves traveling time and the planet. Presenting via the web has it's own issues. Most notably that you're not there in person. Here are a few tips to help you out if you do that same as we do.

Your PowerPoint presentation
  • Keep it simple and to the point
  • Avoid bullet pointed lists that you're going to read out to them. Save yourself and them the time and just send them the document so they can read it themselves.
  • Be passionate

Your desktop
  • Make sure your desktop is as clear as possible. If for any reason you have to click on it you don’t want customers to see other customer’s files or clutter on the screen.
  • Ensure you have your company wallpaper on your screen. It's easy to do and look so much more professional than a picture of your favourite car or your wedding day, or your cat (however cute).

    Your Customer
  • Your customer may have a different screen resolution to you. Make sure they can see what you can before you start your presentation. You don’t want a customer to miss something at the edge of your screen. You can do this by moving your mouse from corner to corner of your screen and asking if they can see it moving.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Oh my god I'm skydiving!

I've decided to do a tandem skydive for charity in December. I'd really love it if you'd sponsor me, you can do it on this special website http://www.justgiving.com/throw-management-from-the-plane all the details are here. I'm trying to raise cash for a much needed hospice in Huddersfield.

To stick with the theme of the blog, I wanted to share with you how I'm trying to promote the skydive. As well as the donation site, I've also set up a facebook group http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=5412826380. And invited my contacts on Linkedin http://www.linkedin.com/in/rmichieappliedlanguage

I'm encouraging people to pass on the details to try and raise as much cash as I can for the charity. I've never tried the social network route before, and wanted to see how well it worked. If any one has more ideas I'd love to hear them.

I'll keep you up to date on how the experiment goes as well as the skydive.