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December 2005, Week 3 Marketing Archives

Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas Everybody!

I just wanted to say Merry Christmas to everyone that didn't get an IM or email from me today. I know it's been a while since I've posted but I'm guessing you guys like the stuff John Gartner has been putting up. In case you were wondering, yes I'm still pulling (and will always be pulling) the strings on this operation, the direction is all mine. Next week I'm going to put some of my predictions for next year's marketing trends so don't miss it.

I've been incredibly busy with labitat and in a couple months I'll give you an idea of what I've been working on. Needless to say, it's all exciting. So until Monday, Merry Christmas and let the Cristal flow.

Merry Christmas Everybody! By Jason Dowdell at 06:10 PM
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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sony: Marketing Fiasco of the Year

Sony has perfected the art of alienating one's audience. The music company's marketing morass has gotten stickier as the Texas Attorney General has expanded his lawsuit to include the MediaMax anti-piracy software.

While the XCP digital rights management software on the Sony CDs opened up a security hole on computers, the MediaMax software installs software that relays information to Sony about the CDs played on the computer. The AG says not informing users about this extra code -- which installs even if you decline the license agreement -- violates the state spyware law.

Sony's name is mud for a long time with music enthusiasts young and old, as well as with artists. This has to be the runaway winner of the bonehead marketing move of 2005. Do we have any other nominees?

Sony: Marketing Fiasco of the Year By John Gartner at 07:45 PM
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Videocasts Spare Us From Disaster

Could the internet save television production companies millions and extensive embarrassment? The folks at ABI Research say video downloads (also know as vlogs or video podcasts) could be an effective means of floating prospective TV shows before committing the resources to full production.
"The mainstream broadcast model is an extraordinarily expensive way to trial new concepts and shows," he says. "Over 70% of all new shows don't survive the first season. The logic of trying short versions on emerging platforms at relatively low cost before committing to the expense of hour-long TV productions will soon be apparent to content owners."

Saving us (and the networks) from the likes of Just Legal by floating snippets of new shows online might work. Companies could float concepts for pilots online, but getting veteran actors to commit their time to a show that might not even be aired once will be difficult. Studios could post all of their filmed pilots and ask for feedback before they make the commitment to taping 6 or more episodes, which is usually the minimum.

However, videocasts could be used to test interesting ideas, but perhaps the bigger question is, can production companies create viable short form programming that is sold or distributed online? Successful short form entertainment includes animation, which is successfully shown in aggregate at art-house festivals, and sketch comedy like Kids in the Hall and the formerly funny Saturday Night Live.

Couldn't these shows be distributed as pay-for or ad-supported video casts aimed at online users as well as iPods, portable media players and even cell phones? Humor in particular can be great in 3-5 minute bursts, but too often these great ideas are stretched in 22 minutes of filler. A service delivering the best in short form animation would be huge.

National Geographic recently took the plunge and created a short form unit. Today there isn't enough of an videocast audience to compete with the millions of people who watch primetime shows, but by aiming a little lower today (and saving money), TV production companies could create a whole new medium.

Videocasts Spare Us From Disaster By Jason Dowdell at 11:26 AM
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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Mad About Mash-Ups

One of the most intriguing technologies this year is mash-ups -- the blending of two types of information to create a new service. The most popular application getting mashed is Google Maps, which is being used by ChicagoCrime.org, to show where crimes are committed in the windy city.

RentSlicer.com shows the average price of available apartments in the Los Angeles area, and today they added the San Francisco Bay area (Seattle and San Diego are also in the works). This is an invaluable service that lets you see the proximity of the available apartments in an area and compare the prices of different neighborhoods.

The company also offers email or text messaging alerts about new properties becoming available, which would be well worth paying for in competitive areas. Realtors like ReMax and Century 21 should be all over this.

Even the Washington Post is on to mash-ups, creating a page to highlight some of the more interesting things folks are doing with their data. For example, you can see all of political books mentioned on the WaPo, or track the voting record of every member of Congress.

Marketers should let their imaginations run wild with the possibilities of how to mix and match data, and to quote Dr. Frank.N. Furter, "Don't dream it, be it."

Mad About Mash-Ups By John Gartner at 08:53 PM
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Online Video Attracts Adults

Like Trix cereal, streaming video is not just for kids. According to comScore Networks, nearly half (45 percent) of those watching video online are between the ages of 35-54. The study says that movie trailers, product videos and news were among the most popular videos for adults to watch online.

The survey also says that nearly two-thirds of Internet users enjoyed streamed audio or video in August. These numbers are pretty amazing considering only 54 percent of people have broadband connections at home (or are they watching during work?).

Way back in the late 90's, corporations were supposed to integrate streaming video into their operations in a big way, which led to the over-evaluation of streaming stocks (Mark Cuban says thank you).

But perhaps now that people are getting comfortable with watching entertainment in a small window on their LCDs, corporations will make a renewed effort into creating marketing videos to be viewed online. Brief (3 minutes) videos that introduce a new product or explain core competencies when made well are much more compelling for connecting with prospective customers than static pages or Flash animations.

Online Video Attracts Adults By John Gartner at 08:02 PM
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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

New Firefox Blogging Tool

New Blog support company Performancing has created an extension for the Firefox browser for creating blog posts for WordPress, Moveable Type, Typepad, LiveJournal and Blogger. The tool provides split screen WYSIWYG editor that allows you to cut and past from other sites while within the browser. Other tools include a spell checker and user interface for adding hyperlinks and text formatting. And just to prove it worked, I created this entry with it!

Performancing provides tools and tips for "professional" bloggers and was founded by Threadwatch.org creator Nick Wilson. Now marketers who aren't blogging have even less of an excuse for not supporting their services with up-to-date content. Blogging will have "arrive" when marketing firms start offering blog training services to teach companies the dos and don't of blogging.

I'm sure the folks at Microsoft are watching this carefully as they plan to roll out the RSS reader function in IE7. It wouldn't be surprising if blog creation tools are so included.

New Firefox Blogging Tool By John Gartner at 09:53 PM
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Credibly Counting Clicks

The IAB's Nomenclature Project is proposing a more honest way to count website traffic. According to News.com, the current methods used by Nielsen/NetRatings allow publishers to count traffic hosted on other websites that only mention the site.

Similarly, counting traffic should also prevent include clicks generated by RSS feed readers, bots and spiders. Also, "page views," from emailed newsletters should be in a separate category. To make it easier to count traffic from bots, a public list should be created to make it easier for traffic analysis software to get it right (thanks Jas!).

This will be a bitter pill for publishers, but help the industry in the long run by raising click-through rates and reaffirming how online advertising is more measurable than broadcast media.

Credibly Counting Clicks By John Gartner at 02:39 PM
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Monday, December 19, 2005

Yahoo Pushes Podcasting and RSS

During last week's Syndicate confab in San Francisco, Yahoo rolled out its podcast subscription service, a nifty tool for aggregating podcasts in one place. The service is a simply implemented specialized RSS reader, but shows how Yahoo is staying in front of the content syndication race.

Silicon.com has a lengthy webcast interview with Yahoo's Scott Gatz, that discusses all of the ways that Yahoo is embracing RSS. Also discussed is Yahoo's recent publisher network that helps bloggers to earn cash from their musings, and includes a helpful RSS guide for publishers.

Microsoft's agreeing to use the Firefox RSS logo that appears in the browser when new content is discovered shows that the company is increasingly willing to play well with others on emerging standards. Because RSS is still so young, having everyone in agreement is critical for RSS to be the success that many people (myself included) expect.

Yahoo Pushes Podcasting and RSS By John Gartner at 05:58 PM
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Building Branded Community

It's a tricky proposition to create websites that support a brand while providing value to consumers. Consumers will quickly see through overzealous attempts to develop a cool factor around products that don't warrant it, such as was the case with the Sparkle Body Spray on MySpace.

But for products that have developed a passionate following, a website that gives enthusiasts something more while enabling fans to extol their passions can extend brands. For example, Director Kevin Smith has created a meeting place for fans of his six movies including Clerks, Dogma, and Chasing Amy. Smith regularly contributes photos via Flickr (including some of his house), blog postings, and behind the scenes news about his current projects at the ViewAskew website.

The website is also a great marketing vehicle as Smith shamelessly plugs DVDs, his retail store, and "inaction" figures celebrating the slacker characters that have struck a nerve with younger audiences. Smith gets feedback from his audience while fans get unique information that reinforces their allegiance to his brand of humor.

Similar Bruce Willis has invested considerable resources to BruceWillis.com by responding to fan queries, enabling fans to riff on his extensive movie career, and offering audio from his band as well as some personal information. The site, which is currently being overhauled, helps identify the action star as a brand and reinforces fan interest in his career.

This branding concept could be effectively applied to characters both real and imaginary (Captain Morgan, the "Can You Hear Me Know?" guy at Verizon, or Jared from Subway through blogs and delivering valuable content if done with humor.

One product that could be saved from potential oblivion through a similar campaign is TiVo. The company has incredible user approval and a passionate fan base, yet the company only recently launched a somewhat limited blog, hiring a fan to answer questions and periodically post.

TiVo could do much more to encourage fans to share their stories or reinforce their branding online, such as sharing TiVo lists, giving previews of technology in development, or producing exclusive data such as the most TiVoed shows. I'm guessing that each dollar invested online would be paid back several fold in brand awareness and product sales.

Building Branded Community By John Gartner at 01:43 PM
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« December 2005 Week 2 December 2005 Week 4 »

  • Week 1 (17 entries) December 1-10
  • Week 2 (10 entries) December 11-17
  • Week 3 (9 entries) December 18-24
  • Week 4 (3 entries) December 25-31

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