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August 2008, Week 4 Marketing Archives

Friday, August 29, 2008

Coke testing 100-flavor fountain

In America, we're always looking for extra choices and Coke is ready to test our tastebuds with a fountain of 100 flavors. From the AJC article

The new dispenser, which fits in about the same space as a current eight-valve machine, uses high-concentrate ingredients to store more beverages. Adding a new brand is about as easy as changing a print cartridge,” the company said in a press release.

Innovation is our lifeblood, said Chris Lowe, president of the Coca-Cola North America food service and on-premise division, and we wanted a dispenser that offers consumers greater beverage variety while helping our customers increase beverage profitability.

The article doesn't specify how the flavors will be categorized, I.E.-a vanilla button- with three variatons, or 100 seperate buttons, but the end result should  offer a refreshing change from the 6-8 choices we've been accustomed to.

How can Coke's strategy apply to online marketing? It follows a simple but often forgotten virtue in marketing-choice is almost always a good thing. That's why Android's Market, which allows anyone to register an app, may prove more appealing than the App Store.

There is one inherent risk when you offer more choices- customers may just opt for the same familiar choices they grew up with. A timely example American presidential politics, where a viable-third party candidate rarely emerges because people take comfort in the old,familiar system.Until they're convinced the third choice is worth a shot, they'll stick to their old habits. We'll just have to wait and see how the drinkers vote.

Enjoy a fun and safe Labor Day Weekend!

Coke testing 100-flavor fountain By Matt O'Hern at 03:21 PM
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Android offers a glimpse of its future Store

Just as you were getting comfortable with the App Store, Google and Android have teamed-up to deliver their own version,  known as Android Market.

The Android phone isn't scheduled to hit store shelves until late 2008, but potential buyers can  get a glimpse of the market's layout and design by visiting the Android Developers blog.

How will it differ from the App Store? Well,for starters, the market allows open content distribution from any developer-yes, that means you. The posting process follows the youtube model: register as a developer, upload your content, describe it...and publish it  without waiting for Google's approval. Another distinguishing feature is a developers dashboard with analytics.e Combined with user feedback, this feature should ease the process of revising and upgrading each app.

From the Android Developer's blog:

The concept is simple: leverage Google's expertise in infrastructure, search and relevance to connect users with content created by developers like you...We chose the term "market" rather than "store" because we feel that developers should have an open and unobstructed environment to make their content available.

Apple's method of approval requires a seven-step process, and the content is still subject to Apple's review before it's released. Obviously, if Android's app uploading proccess is as seemless as the developers claim, there seems to be a high risk for viruses, so hopefully sufficient screening measure are already in place.

Android appears to have the right angle, the only question is, how many Ipod users will make the leap, and can Google produce the same pre-release craze that Apple genereated with its past two models.


Android offers a glimpse of its future Store By Matt O'Hern at 01:05 PM
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Tropical Storm Tracking on your Iphone

As another Hurricane(Hanna) looms in the Atlantic, I'm about to leave for a labor day weekend roadtrip . Instead of relying on the weather channel,I'll be relying  on a variety of weather applications on my Iphone,such as weatherbug and wunderground's storm tracker, because I can get straight to the facts.

Why have I grown tired of tv coverage? Because I like a straighforward diagnosis whether it's from my doc or my mechanic,so I know what I'm headed for.  But its become increasingly challenging to get that from local or national news coverage , because even Hurricanes are marketable now.

Let me explain: You have to wait 20 minutes just so see the storm's latest track. Instead of giving us the facts we actually need,  we're forced to sit through a scene that's reminiscint of ESPN College Gamday"  with Jim Cantore and Stephanie Abrams spouting hype and a panel of "Experts"regurgitating saftey tips that we've heard for 20 years. Then we're subjected to Home Depot and Lowes Commercials for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, the STORM'S actual path isn't even the main FOCUS anymore. Instead, they'd rather show us replays ad nauseum of damage and bufoonery such as this.

As Fay trudged through our state, many of us talked about the flooding but often wondered, where the heck is the storm anyway? We didn't even know if and when it was going to come back across the state. Now, I'll admit that nobody wants to watch 30 minutes of computer models, but the weather channel and local news coverage leave us all in the dark, literally and figuratively, when we have to dig for the plain facts.

Tropical Storm Tracking on your Iphone By Matt O'Hern at 09:20 AM
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Thursday, August 28, 2008

New York Clinic offers power-napping for a price

A new  trend is starting in NYC that may  eventually rival the bottled water craze- power naps for a price. Studies show that 70 million Americans are sleep-deprived. If you want to catch up on that lost rest with style, you can pay for it at the Yelo Wellness Center in New York.  Here is how Yelo describes the soundproof power nap, known as the "Yelo Nap".

It takes place in our unique, modern, private cabins. When your nap begins, you will recline in our luxurious YeloChair to elevate your legs above your heart. This will slow down your pulse and encourage deep relaxation. Naps may be experienced on their own or combined with Reflexology treatments for a totally blissful experience.

Obviously, everybody needs the occasional retreat  to relax, and Yelo's ambitious expansion strategy plans to build 25 more locations in New York, including cabins in airports,corporations and malls. A few major companies are actually paying employees to visit the clinic.Another company has capitalized on American's growing need to count sheep- Metro Nap"energy" Pods., which are used by employees at Proctor and Gamble and Google.They also offer courses on "Fatigue Risk Management"  ....just in  case your forgot how to nap.

Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind taking the pod for a test drive, but at his rate, I can't help but wonder what's next? Seminars in the bathroom stall?

New York Clinic offers power-napping for a price By Matt O'Hern at 08:32 PM
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IPhone apps- from organization to obsession

With thousands of new Iphone applications being added every day, it's becomming easier for Iphone users to keep track of all their crap.....or...their babies' crap-literally.

A perfect example- the new Iphone app called- BabyTracker: Diapers- a tool for mothers to log the shapes,colors and forms of their baby's daily dumps. There's also Babytracker:Nursing, so you can record the time your baby spent breastfeeding on each nipple. (In case you feel like setting a new world record)
I realize that many new mothers search for any advice they can get, but BabyTracker:Diapers illustrates how many users have become almost totally depedent on that little black device.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a strong advocate of tracking your health, but I think the Diapers tracker is a harbringer of things to come, some good, some bad. We've already seen calorie counters, tip calculators and other health guides.The question is, how far will this trend extend? I expect these micro-managing life guides  to extend into various age groups in different categories.
The ultimate answer will be determined by the consumers, who will either stay in their own routines and habits, or turn to their Iphones or other mobile apps for their help. The trick for developers is in the details- finding the apps that truly meet the consumer's needs without focusing on the wrong details.

IPhone apps- from organization to obsession By Matt O'Hern at 09:44 AM
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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Outback simplifies dinner and a movie night

While I was celebrating my mom's birthday at Outback Steakhouse tonight, I noticed an unusual addition to the menu. No it wasn't a new appetizer, it was Kevin Costner's goofy looking mugshot, in a preview for his most recent movie, Swing Vote.

Outback's summer movie deal combo offered a meal and a $5 coupon for Swing Vote and any other Disney or Touchstone film. I didn't opt for the combo, but this gimmick could prove to payoff for both sides,.As many families look for cheaper entertainment, Outback's deal could be enticing to families looking for cheap friday night entertainment.

I'm not aware of any similar restaurant/movie packages, but many other major chains,such as T.G.I. Fridays could create similar offers. These deals could prove to be a great remedy to fill those restaurants who have suffered from a sluggish economy and theaters who have seen in-home,high def-entertainment slow their box office sales.

Outback simplifies dinner and a movie night By Matt O'Hern at 10:12 PM
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Fox caters to college crowd with premier screenings

Fox is reaching out to the new generation  and will livestream season premiers of "Fringe"  (Sept. 9) and "Terminator- the Sarah Connor Chronicles" (Monday, Sept. 8), to students who log on to Fox's main site from an .edu domain.

As for the verificaiton fee, I'm assuming that if Fox' doesn't ask users for a college email, it will reverse IP lookup to confirm the .edu domain.Once the .edu is confirmed, Fox will supply live stream during the show premiers, as well as access to special interviews, behind-the-scenes footage and other bonus materials.

The exclusive access feeds support research results incdicating that teenagers and college-age students who are watching more tv and video on their computer than their actual television. If the college feed proves to be a successs,  it will be interesting to see if Fox develops similar feeds for its other hit shows such as Prison Break, House M.D. and 24, which tend to attract  a similar market.
This latest form of media melding confirms that major networks are trying to craft their shows to the same format as DVD and Blu-Ray.

Fox caters to college crowd with premier screenings By Matt O'Hern at 08:41 AM
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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Blu-Ray hopes for boost from Disney

As consumers evaluate the newest format of home entertainment, Blu-Ray is still struggling to attract its desired market. Many DVD owners don't feel the need to convert to the new technology.
Blu-Rays solution? Make the kids say "I want that" with the ultimate weapon-High-Def Disney. From the New York Times article:

Disney is sending in the troops. The company will release five 'platinum' titles from its library in the Blu-ray format over the next two years, hoping that classic animated movies will spur wider interest.

The films are Pinocchio,Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Fantasia, Fantasia 2000 and Beauty and the Beast. The company had previously announced plans to introduce one such title, Sleeping Beauty.

Each Disney Movie will boast interactive features that enable viewers to chat live, and play Disney trivia with others watching the same movie. With a price range from $300-$700 the Blu-Ray is a tough sell to families who are pinching pennies, but the newly-formed disney alliance could prove to be the perfect magic needed to boost sales once Christmas arrives.

DVD sales actually slipped last year,which may be an indication of a slow shift toward the new format, but as long as Blu-Ray's prices remain at their current level,they'll need more than Disney Magic to reach their desired sales level.DVDs still deliver high-quality sound and images, which means Blu-Ray needs to expand its interactive features and distinguish itself from the old format.

Blu-Ray hopes for boost from Disney By Matt O'Hern at 09:22 PM
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Kindle Struggles -- But Pushes -- the eBook Market

News of the Kindle eBook's dominance may have been vastly over-stated, according to The Register.

While Amazon won't release its numbers related to sales for the e-Reader, TechCrunch reported that numbers are lower than initial predictions. But the news comes as the company begins the next phase of its rollout, targeting various groups with redesigned Kindle's specifically individual market sectors like universities.

Despite the low sales figures (allegedly), the Kindle is still generating the type of word-of-mouth that, in the long run, helps consumer technologies. The reality is the Kindle is still a luxury purchase as book publishers make the transition to eReaders. So it's imperative that customers who buy the Kindle pass their experiences on to friends.

With increased sales will come increased book availability.

And Amazon is already looking towards a September rollout of Kindle 2.0, the sleeker version of the original model.

Kindle Struggles -- But Pushes -- the eBook Market By Brad at 02:46 PM
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New Microsoft Browser May Block Web Advertisements

Microsoft's Internet Explore has finally done something that Firefox hasn't: blocked advertising in its native environment.

While discussing the details of its new browser, Microsoft unveiled its privacy settings which allow people to surf websites anonymously. An ancillary benefit: advertisements won't show up, according to Wired News.

For years, I've downloaded the Firefox plug-in AdBlock, which eliminates most display advertisements automatically and gives me the freedom to block Flash and other annoying components of the Web.

Microsoft's addition, though, makes that a default setting within the browser, one that people who aren't prone to adding plug-ins and such on their computer will love.

The move has understandably upset the advertising industry, which makes it bread-and-butter following you around the Web. And you have to think that someone from Microsoft's own company -- which recently went on a buying spree of ad-networks and an attempted purchase of Yahoo for its search-and-advertising business -- might be miffed as well.

The reality is that most users don't want those invasive ads. The Web is a different beast than print and television, yet marketers continue to push old-school revenue generators on it as if their sheer force of will can make that happen.

New Microsoft Browser May Block Web Advertisements By Brad at 02:15 PM
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Hallmark uses personal approach with insert ads

We've all flipped through a magazine and tossed those annoying inserts that either block your story or fall to the floor. They've been ineffective and unappealing for years, but Hallmark is adding a new twist of the old format.

In an attempt to lure more advertisers.Hallmark Magazine, which is geared toward middle-aged women publishes every two months, is supplementing its insert ads with greeting cards in mediapost,mediabistro and The New York Times article.

The cover of the attached card shows a drawing of a woman saying, 'There’s a great magazine out there that’s perfect for your target.

'Sorry I didn’t put you in it,' the text inside reads. 'Next time, let’s get in the magazine that’s up ... Hallmark Magazine!'


 The technique   may prove to catch the eye of a few readers, but editors and publishers  aren't as easily persuaded as the average 45-year old reading about dieting trends. Publishers  have the discernment to spot another gimmick being thrown at them.  I think the greeting card approach is an example of misplaced priorities in Hallmark Marketing. In my opinion, the key to Hallmark's success hinges on it's ability to pitch it's wide media platform to potential clients. The New York Times article explains:

For Hallmark Magazine, Hallmark Cards is offering access to the magazine’s Web site, for customized brand microsites; the Hallmark Channel cable television network;, for ads or customized e-cards; the national chain of Hallmark Gold Crown Stores, for promotions with gift cards; the Hallmark corporate database, to send ads by e-mail messages; and even Crayola, which Hallmark Cards also owns.

It’s 'selling beyond the page,' says Carol Campbell Boggs, the publisher at Hallmark Magazine in New York.The entire business model is based on allowing advertisers access to Hallmark assets, she adds, which is something that’s really different.


If the "greeting card" inserts can succesfully promote Hallmark's diverse media, it may prove to be a worthy experiment.

Hallmark uses personal approach with insert ads By Matt O'Hern at 08:52 AM
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Monday, August 25, 2008

Olympic-Sized Whiff for NBC's Online Video

I've been chatting with my friends at Gannett for the past few days -- the company is laying of 1,000 folks -- and they are none too happy. Their old business model is swirling into the toilet and the management seems unable to find a winning strategy (my favorite leaked email has one editor referring to wiki software training as wikipedias).

The Web, it seems, is baffling.

Even the Olympics can't save online revenues it seems. Despite record numbers of visitors and streams (72 million streams and 1.5 billion page views), NBC only brought in $5.75 million in advertising.

That's an ungodly awful number.

The math works out to roughly $70 per 1000 video streams, hardly a number to smile about. Even worse when you realize Yahoo brought in $23 million for the NCAA basketball tournament -- a sporting event with decidedly less appeal than the Olympics.

News of the day has eviscerated NBC's online attitude -- and more importantly it's numbers. Yahoo, which didn't even have videos, wiped NBC's collective butts across the new media landscape.

The Chicago Tribune went one step further, saying NBC missed out on the power of the Web: it's ability to dig deep (think niche sports) and deliver content in real time (they didn't want to screw up their television ratings).

In other words, by protecting their old business model they failed to capitalize on the future -- making it that much harder to build a business around new media.

Olympic-Sized Whiff for NBC's Online Video By Brad at 10:31 PM
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Gold Farming $500 Million Business in Game Worlds

I've been playing console games since 1982, but I didn't really get into the business of computer games until 2002 when John and I were working on our book about virtual worlds. Since then, I've been continually fascinated by the business of games -- particularly the economies that naturally spring up.

Edward Castronova, a professor at Indiana University, has done a series of studies on the in-game economies of virtual worlds which have surpassed some of the largest economies on the planet.

Let me be clear: when I am talking about economies…I mean actual money. Not virtual money. Players are generated actual revenues in a completely virtual environment to the tune of $500 million a year in gold farming alone.

Well, it's not exactly players who are creating all the revenue. Gold farming works basically like this: a company hires low-wage employees to continually create easily obtainable wares -- in this case gold -- 24-hours a day. The company then sells the gold on an actual market, charging a set price -- say $20 -- for a set amount of gold.

Players who need the wares to advance in the game are willing to shell out cash in order to save time and jump levels, where oftentimes the fun stuff happens.

Much of the gold farming happens in China, according to a recent study, and game makers are none too happy about it because it subverts the idea of the game. Like any other government, game makers have tried to regulate the trading of commodities through stock markets while others have flat out banned the practice.

In other words, just like a developing economy game companies are each struggling with how to handle a population hell-bent on doing their own thing.

Gold Farming $500 Million Business in Game Worlds By Brad at 10:20 PM
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Ocarina's model- Identify the need/design the solution

Apple and other tech giants have made a living by telling us what we need- not asking. A buzz is eventually created, I.E.- an Iphone, and everyone rushes to by the new product. In many cases, the approach has been succesful, but Muri Thirumale has used a different approach- discover the market's  most critical need, then provide a remedy.

In 2000, Thirumale's company, Net6, was ahead of its time. They marketed customizable content for mobile devices, long before the explosion of pda's,Blackberrys or Iphones. Net6 couldn't  create the buzz because cells were still, well, just phones. As a result, their service was rendered useless to market that hadn't formed yet.

Following the failure of Net6, Thirumale decided to take a new approach: search for a need, design your product and sell it, or as they call it SDBS- Sell,Design,Build,Sell.The research led to the creation of Ocarina Networks which provides storage optimization.From Ocarina's site

File-aware storage optimization starts by identifying file types, and the applications they come from, and then applying file type-specific algorithms to optimize the storage of those files .

How did Thirumale identify the storage sneed? He asked his potential clients. An excerpt from the Forbes' story reads:

Before founding Ocarina in 2007, Thirumale asked the chief information officer of software maker Citrix what his top three problems were. Application deployment was No. 1 on his list, and the ballooning storage problem was No. 2.

The Citrix CIO told Thirumale that even though the cost of media was falling, the overall cost of storage is increasing because the amount of data that needs to be stored is overwhelming. (Thirumale had an in at Citrix because Citrix acquired Net6 for $50 million in 2005.)

With this newfound knowledge, Thirumale and his team went to hundreds of other CIOs and discussed the storage issue. Consistent feedback confirmed that the problem was real, not imagined.

Obviously, Apple's "create the buzz" approach has proven to be succesful, but most companies don't have  even a fraction of the financial resoursces that apple devotes to promoting its latest products.

Ocarina'simple but effecient business model reminds me of Bill Clinton's approach to politics- reach out to the common man, feel his pain and reply with an appeasing answer that will simplify the solution for both sides. Not everyone may be a fan of the approach, but it's still effective.


Ocarina's model- Identify the need/design the solution By Matt O'Hern at 08:34 AM
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« August 2008 Week 3 August 2008 Week 5 »

  • Week 1 (17 entries) August 1-9
  • Week 2 (20 entries) August 10-16
  • Week 3 (20 entries) August 17-23
  • Week 4 (14 entries) August 24-30
  • Week 5 (0 entries) August 31-31

New Microsoft Browser May Block Web Advertisements
hacking is becoming a simple task people will jump...
by oddjob
Gold Farming $500 Million Business in Game Worlds
Hi, A very smart and diplomatic answer. It’s real...
by miller
Gold Farming $500 Million Business in Game Worlds
Hi, A very smart and diplomatic answer. It’s real...
by miller
IPhone apps- from organization to obsession
Clearly you have never had to care for an infant-n...
by Taniuccia

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