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January 2009, Week 3 Marketing Archives

Friday, January 23, 2009

Florida and California claim many top cities in Forbes Most Wired

forbes logo

If you're next trip includes a stop in Seattle, Orlando or any of California's largest cities, you won't have to worry about finding a Wi-Fi connection.
Forbes just published its list of the Top 30 Most Wired Cities from its two-year study which factored the percentage of Internet users with a high-speed connection , the number of companies providing high speed Internet and the number of public Wi-Fi hotspots.

Two of the top-10 largest cities, Chicago and Philadelphia, didn't crack the top-15 most wired. The Windy City was No. 21 and The City of Brotherly Love ranked No. 27.

California had San Francisco (11) San Diego (12) Los Angeles (13) and Sacramento (19). Florida had three cities, including two in the top-10: Orlando (3) Miami (6), with Tampa at (16). Ohio also had three cities, but they were in the third tier:Cleveland (26) Cincinnati (28) and Columbus (30).

Seattle's rank comes as no surprise, considering it's home to Microsoft and Amazon, and its reputation as one of America's most technologically advanced cities. I was surprised to see Honolulu on the list, but I guess it confirms that we always want to remain connected; whether it's in our home or in the middle a tropical paradise.

Here is the complete list:

  1. Seattle
  2. Atlanta
  3. Washington D.C.
  4. Orlando
  5. Boston
  6. Miami
  7. Minneapolis
  8. Denver
  9. New York
  10. Baltimore
  11. San Francisco
  12. San Diego
  13. LA
  14. Portland
  15. Raleigh
  16. Tampa
  17. Phoenix
  18. New Orleans
  19. Sacramento
  20. Charlotte
  21. Chicago
  22. Nashville
  23. Milwaukee
  24. Pittsburgh
  25. Honolulu
  26. Cleveland
  27. Philadelphia
  28. Cincinnati
  29. Columbus, Oh
  30. Austin

Florida and California claim many top cities in Forbes Most Wired By Matt O'Hern at 11:41 AM
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Dear Restaurants: Offer A Free Slice on National Pie Day

perkins pies

Believe it or not, there's actually a National Pie Day, and it's today.

The only reason I discovered that fact is because national pie day is the No.8 on Google Trends today.

When I discovered it was today, my first thought was:
"Wow, I sure could go for some pie right now."

One of our readers, Gisela Petrone, emailed us a link about Bakers Square, which hosts a five-day pie celebration.


After my daydream, I wondered if any national chains were offering a special promo. We know restaurants are struggling, just like every other business right now, so I wonder why national chains such as Denny's and Perkins didn't bother to offer any promos.

I visited dennys.com and perkinsrestaurants.com to see if they had anything to offer. Judging from their sites, neither restaurant has a freebie today.Perkins taunted me with a huge image of Cherry and Apple Pies, but no deal.  I should have known better than to expect much from Dennys.

Denny's motto might as well be: "It's really late, so where else are you going to eat?"

A few 30-second  TV ads this week could have enticed people to come in for lunch and a free dessert. Perhaps both restaurant's executives considered the idea, but the advertising funds just weren't there.

Either way, I still want some free pie! Let me know if you found any restaurants offering a special today.

Dear Restaurants: Offer A Free Slice on National Pie Day By Matt O'Hern at 10:34 AM
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Plinky.com Adds Creative Content to Your Blog or Profile

plinky logo

Plinky.com just launched, but it's hard to classify this new site.

Plinky has some of the typical features on a social network, but it's main purpose is to provide unique and inspired content to your blog or social network profile.

Each day, Plinky provides a prompt (a question, or a challenge) to each user. Depending on the prompt, your answer may incorporate photos, maps, playlists and more. Once you've answered the prompt, you can share your Plinky answers on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and most other major blogging services.

For example, I signed in today, and my prompt read:
 

 

Name three songs you'd put on a road trip mix tape.

 

Here's the short list I made:plinky road trip mix

You can establish a profile that provides basic contact info, a picture and your website. Once you've established your profile, you can sync your answers to post on your Facebook wall. Plinky also provides a friend finder tool via email. Once you find a friend on Plinky, you click "follow" to read their answers. You'll also notice the number of followers you have, similar to Twitter.

I like the design and simplicity of the site, as well as the chance to submit a prompt. Having said that,  they're still working on a messaging feature and a mobile version,so the jury is still out.

Plinky.com Adds Creative Content to Your Blog or Profile By Matt O'Hern at 10:10 AM
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Thursday, January 22, 2009

iHandy Level Free= The Handyman App that became Famous

Considering the thousands of video games, music players and maps available throughout the App Store, you might be surprised to see a carpenter's tool as the 16th most popular app. this week. (Ahead of Google Earth )
ihandy level
iHandy Level Free is a carpenter's tool that was developed by Ihandysoft Inc.
The calibration process requires only three steps:

  1. Hold your device upright and put the bottom edge of the iPhone on a flat service.
  2. Press Calibrate.
  3. Turn the iPhone 90 degrees clockwise and repeat step 1.

After calibrating the app on the iPhone, users can place it on a table, frame or any flat service to determine if it's level.
For app developers, the remarkable success of iHandy Level iFree is one of several indications that the app market is expanding into new markets and demographics on a daily basis.

iHandy Level Free= The Handyman App that became Famous By Matt O'Hern at 02:50 PM
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Electronic Arts Needs to Get Back in the Game

ea sports logo

Tough times continue for Electronic Arts. Etan Horowitz of the Orlando Sentinel reported layoffs at the Maitland (Orlando) office.
Even with popular franchises in the sports division, such as Madden NFL, and the action/shooter category, such Medal of Honor, EA sank from 47.82 to 16.53 in the past six months. (NASDAQ: ERTS)

The reason EA should be very concerned is because they're an outlier in the video game industry as a whole. Only a few weeks ago, Anita Frazier of NPD Group told the Wall Street Journal that the video game industry was setting a blistering pace. EA is still waiting to see the positive results from that momentum.

Jim Cramer, host of Mad Money on CNBC, offered this assessment of EA.
 

ERTS is a very, very tough situation, because they're best of breed, and at Cramerica we like best of breeds. However, that business has slowed, they haven't been able to develop new titles, we haven't had the take over activity that I expected. So my take is EA is not cheap and can't be bought, but I'll make the same case for Activision and for Gamestop. I do believe if there was more of an M and A market, that company would be acquired.
 

I grew up playing EA's games, and I witnessed the remarkable growth of Madden's popularity first-hand, so I'm just amazed by EA's recent struggles. A company once set full steam ahead has come to an abrupt halt. EA will have to do the same thing many of us were forced to do when the score got out of hand on Madden, hit restart and come up with a new game plan.

Electronic Arts Needs to Get Back in the Game By Matt O'Hern at 01:28 PM
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Green Movement Finds Extra Funds With Facebook Apps

When it comes to fundraising, brainpower is just as important as your budget, because the budget is usually limited, but there's no limit to the imagination.

Most Americans are so strapped for cash, charities know they're asking a lot when they request even small donations. So what's the solution? Create an interesting app so donors get something in return.

During the holidays, I recommended for charities to consider SEO for spreading awareness about their cause. Social networks are an integral component of SEO, certain groups, such as the Nature Conservancy, have developed unique marketing strategies incorporating Facebook apps and other tools.

Ashish Dixit and David King developed "Lil Green Patch", an app for Facebook that has 5,758,232 monthly active users. Patch allows users to send plants,animals and other characters for display on their profile. green patch app

According to Drew McLellan of McLellan Marketing Group and drews marketing minute, the app has raised $109,000 to date.

Over 6 million Facebook users send each other virtual plants/flowers for their (lil) green patch. And they're told that every time they do, they're saving bits of the Rain Forest. But what does that really mean? How about over $109,000?

Virtual garden is ideal because it's a cheap and free way to send a gift and help a cause simultaneously. Personally, I would like to see other great charities follow Nature Conservacy's lead, because I think it's the path to a brighter future for fundraising.

Green Movement Finds Extra Funds With Facebook Apps By Matt O'Hern at 12:00 PM
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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

ABC Mobile Sends Text Updates for Lost Season 5 Premier

lost text updates

If you're too busy to catch the Lost season 5 premier tonight, ABC has you covered. Fans  can visit ABC mobile cell phone or text LOST to 22288. lost text message update
You'll receive two updates per week about your favorite Lost characters such as Penny Widmore, Claire, Jin, Ana Lucia and Vincent the dog. But remember, standard text rates apply. once you've signed up for the alerts,  ABC will take every measure to keep you. If you're text rate is already to high and you decide to cancel the alerts, you MUST text STOP to 22288

(If you spell Stop in lowercase, you'll get another text from ABC, saying it didn't understand your reply.)
cancel lost texts
A second step is required to cancel the alert subscription. You must specify which show you don't want to receive updates for. Fortunately, the first option: 0 includes ALL of 12 of the ABC shows

I haven't watched any episodes since the first season, so I'll have to watch some episode recaps on abc.com. Hopefully ABC will deliver another great season.

ABC Mobile Sends Text Updates for Lost Season 5 Premier By Matt O'Hern at 04:48 PM
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Marketing in America and the World After Bush

barnett great powers book

Where do we go from here? That's the question most of us ask today.
Regardless of your political views, nobody can deny the fact that we're in an economic crisis too sophisticated any single person, even President Obama, too handle on their own.

Our financial crisis should motivate our small business leaders and community leaders to find a path back to economic independence. With efficient and effective marketing tools such as SEO, America's CEO's can cut costs and adapt their model for the challenges of the modern free market.
The key question: Will America's business leaders rely on the government to solve their problems, or will they search for their own solutions?

We've reached the point where America's economy is so dependent on other global superpowers such as China,Russia and India, that we're always vulnerable to damage from an economic domino effect. International relations expert Thomas P.M. Barnett said:
 

Connectivity naturally begets shared vulnerability.
 

Barnett was replying to my post regarding the uncanny similarities between a  Wall Street Journal interactive graphic: Economic Danger Zones, and the "integrated core" of nations in Barnett's map.

I think we have to look at how we reached this point of vulnerability, because it's hard enough to sustain a business already. That's why I'm eager to read Barnett's next book, Great Powers: America and the World After Bush.
Great Powers will be released  at Amazon, Barnes and Noble and major booksellers on Feb. 5. The book  includes Barnett's 12-step recovery program for America. I think Tom is one of the sharpest minds in foreign affairs, and I think he has an accurate diagnosis of our economic situation, but,  I respectfully disagree with some of his remedies.

I don't think we should fold up our tent and admit we're "powerless" over globalization like Barnett recommends, or make a list of all the great powers whose national interests we have harmed, and become willing to make concessions to them all.

I already admitted that we're economically interdependent, but that's not necessarily a good fact. If we continue to surrender our sovereignty in favor of a better reputation in the global economy, we could be headed for real danger. Remember, every nation has harmed another nation's interests. Therefore, I disagree Barnett's advice to make concessions to them all.

Russia's leadership has already indicated that it's reverting to its Soviet ways. China has benefited our economy, but the oppressive government has plenty of faults.As Reagan once warned and Neville Chamberlin learned, appeasement can lead an honorable nation down a dangerous route.

Marketing in America and the World After Bush By Matt O'Hern at 12:51 PM
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Facebook and Myspace Ads: Do you click them?

jaws facebook ad

During a recent browse through your favorite social network, you may have noticed a few ads related to your favorite bands, authors and movies in your profile.

You may recall my post regarding an article by Emily Steel of the Wall Street Journal, which cited a few major companies devoting more of their marketing focus to social networks. The social network ads are linked according to certain words within your profile, including your hobbies, occupation and interests.

I'm still not convinced that an ad on the profile page of Myspace or Facebook has a distinct advantage over Google AdSense or a banner ad on any site. For example, Jaws is among the first films listed in the Favorite Movies section of my Facebook profile, and 80stees.com posted an ad for Jaws T-shirts (Even though Jaws is a 70's movie,hmmm.)

.I didn't bother to click the ad, because I'm not a big fan of movie shirts. On the other hand, if I saw an ad featuring a blue Duke hat or a garnet and gold Florida State Seminoles shirt , and it was by a major brand such as Nike, I might be more inclined to click.

I want to hear your take on the social network profile ads. Do you ever click on them?

Facebook and Myspace Ads: Do you click them? By Matt O'Hern at 10:30 AM
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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

ESPN Fans vote: Hey Mr. President, Dump the BCS!

As we witnessed during today's Presidential Inauguration, people can become very passionate about politics.

Presidents confront challenging and controversial issues throughout their career, ranging from tax plans to international conflicts, but what if their job description included issues that were trivial in comparison, such as college football.

ESPN Sports Nation Poll asked:

If you were president: Which change in sports would you support?

  • BCS.
  • Designated Hitter.
  • NBA traveling/carrying enforcement.
  • NFL overtime.

presidential change

I voted for BCS, along with 79% of the nation. NFL overtime received 11% Designated hitter garnered only 6% of the vote, followed by NBA traveling/carrying enforcement with 4%

President Obama, the sports nation has spoken, and they're telling you the NCAA's antiquated BCS system is due for a change. I bet some folks from Utah feel pretty passionate about it. Is there any hope for a playoff in the near future?

ESPN Fans vote: Hey Mr. President, Dump the BCS! By Matt O'Hern at 06:00 PM
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Newscorp / WSJ Story Cites Shift to Social Network Ads

newscorp logo

A story in the Wall Street Journal caught my attention today. 

Emily Steel wrote  "Marketers take search ads beyond search engines",  suggests there's a momentous shift toward social networks and video content providers.
 

I respect Steel and the vast majority of the Journal's work, but this "article" still reads too much like an advertorial for social network ads. Keep in mind Myspace and Wall Street Journal are both owned by News Corporation (NASDAQ:NWSA). Steel makes some interesting points, such as:

 

More online searches now take place on YouTube, the popular video site owned by Google, than on Yahoo, the No. 2 Web-search property. The change has companies including Pizza Hut, Universal  and Monster.com rethinking their search marketing strategies.

 

Further down in the article, Facebook and MySpace are cited as two leading examples of new marketing trends.

On Facebook and MySpace, marketers don't buy ads tied to search terms. Instead, the ads are linked to information that users reveal about themselves on the sites, such as their age, hobbies or other personal interests....Marketers haven't gotten comfortable showing their ads next to user-created content that could be in dubious taste. Recognizing that concern, sites such as YouTube, Facebook and News Corp's MySpace have created systems that let marketers create and bid on ads through a self-service Web site, similar to the way they buy ads on search engines.News Corp. owns The Wall Street Journal.

I appreciate the fact that WSJ was honest enough to cite News Corp's ownership and I agree with the concept that search engine optimization should incorporate the valuable tools of social networks and video platforms such as Youtube,  One True Media or Ooyala,  but those are still secondary priorities compared to getting noticed in Google.

Pizza Hut was referenced as one of the companies expanding its marketing boundaries through a promotional deal with Facebook. If Pizza Hut has the extra resources to fund those efforts, I don't blame them, but I think most people who just a pizza still just go straight to Google and search: Pizza Hut  (name of their city.)

I've seen many ads on my network pages featuring products related to my favorite authors, bands and movies , but I don't click on them. If I really want to learn about U2's next album No line on the horizon, I'll Google U2 new album, or U2 No line on the horizon.

Newscorp / WSJ Story Cites Shift to Social Network Ads By Matt O'Hern at 03:22 PM
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Circuit City eMail Marketing Faux Pas

One of the definitions for insanity is repeating a process and expecting a new result. That's what Circuit City did with its email coupons and web sales.

Obviously, every coupon has fine print, but Circuit City's email marketing dropped the ball with its lackluster web "specials" featuring 10-15% discounts.  Most consumers can find comparable deals at Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) and Wal-Mart (NYSE: WMT) every day, without even using an internet coupon.
Upon further review, many of Circuit City's sales were over-hyped, even for online specials.

Here are some examples of Circuit City's email marketing:
black friday circuit city

When you're trying to sell feature items off the shelves, 10% off on Black Friday is practically an insult to the customer's intelligence. There's a reason it's the busiest shopping day of the year. Customers expect drastic cuts on every item, and 10% isn't enough to turn heads.

circuit city 15 coupon

Wow, $15 dollars off a purchase at least $100, so at the most I'll be saving a whopping 15%, and that's only if I plan to make a large purchase.

circuit city home theater coupon

20% off on "select" home theater systems. They're already limiting the sale's appeal when it's only 20% off to begin with. Why would I even proceed to the next page?

circuit city hdtv coupon
$100 off an HDTV over $1,000, again, Circuit City doesn't even break the 10% margin. How do you expect to entice customers if you never offer a discount comparable to your main competitor?
I'm not claiming the email marketing campaigns are the main factor in Circuit City's collapse, but they certainly failed to get my interest.
 

Circuit City eMail Marketing Faux Pas By Matt O'Hern at 10:40 AM
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Monday, January 19, 2009

Will Circuit City Liquidation Benefit Best Buy?

Following months of rumors and speculation following the layoffs at Circuit City  , the electronics retailer is ending its 60-year run.
Circuit City's homepage outlines its multi-phase plan to shut down each of its 567 stores across the U.S. An excerpt reads

 Unfortunately, the economic climate is so poor that we have no choice other than liquidation.
Liquidators will start arriving in our 567 stores across the U.S. over the weekend, and closing sales will start as early as Saturday, January 17.  Closing sales will run as long as it takes to sell existing inventory, but are expected to wrap up by the end of March.  When the liquidation sales are completed, the stores will be closed.

 

circuit city liquidation

Those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it, so Circuit City's demise makes me wonder about Best Buy (NYSE:BBY) and its business model for the months ahead.

How will the leadership at Best Buy react? Will executives breathe a sigh of relief now that a major competitor is out of the equation? Will they analyze the downfall to avoid similar mistakes, such as Circuit City email marketing faux pas?

Another interesting aspect to ponder is the economic model of supply and demand. On one hand, you could argue that Circuit City's collapse represents low demand for electronics in a sluggish economy, which means Best Buy probably won't see a huge influx of traffic. On the other hand, Circuit City WAS a major supplier, so it's only natural to wonder if the subtraction a major supplier increase the overall consumer demand?

Only time will tell, but when Circuit City broke the bad news on Friday, Best Buy's stock went up +2.20 (8.11%). It will be interesting to see if that trend continues in the sluggish economy.

Will Circuit City Liquidation Benefit Best Buy? By Matt O'Hern at 03:01 PM
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Gatorade Goes Viral with What is G? Commercial

jabbawockeez-gatorade

The "G" craze continues.

Web-savvy minds at Gatorade deserve credit for creating a viral marketing success with its  What's G? Commercial.

The ad's ambiguous tone and star-studded lineup left TV viewers scratching their heads and searching for more information.
For example, only 13 days have passed since my first post about the G commercial, and it has already received more than 30 thousand views. 

For a broader perspective on the ad's online presence, Google: What is G? and look at the results. You can also try What's G?, or What is G? Commercial.  You'll notice the ad's popularity on message boards, youtube and social networks.

Gatorade's not the only one benefiting from the ad, the Jabbawockeez, which appear in the closing moments of the first ad, should gain more traffic to their site. The masked dance team got their first shot at fame after an appearance on  America's Got Talent, on NBC, and the MTV  Reality Show America's Best Dance Crew.

As more Americans turn to their iPhones and Blackberry's for instant information, I expect more brands to follow Gatorade's lead.

UPDATE: We received a media kit from Gatorade and I wrote a post about the contents.

Gatorade Goes Viral with What is G? Commercial By Matt O'Hern at 10:53 AM
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Lebron James football Commercial = State Farm and Browns Dream

lebron james footballYesterday, we realized what Lebron James' first true love is football. (Which was one of my three guesses in my post about the Brace Yourself commercial. The ad, (by State Farm, not Nike) aired during the NFC championship and featured James' revelation:

After a long discussion with my friends, I've decided to sign with the Cleveland Browns, baby!

James, the 6'9, 270 pound basketball phenom opted to return to football, a sport he also dominated during his school days. Lebron's announcement was followed by several fake highlight clips of James dominating the NFL with trick plays and soaring leaps, reminiscent of Jordan's dunk from the free-throw line. Eventually, a coach wakes James from his dream so he's not late for the bus.

lebron james brownsThe mere image of James suiting up in Cleveland Browns' jersey would come as welcome sign of relief for Browns' fans, who suffered through a 4-12 season. It would be another shot in the arm for the NFL, and a devastating blow for the NBA, which relies on James as its key marketing personality.

In retrospect, State Farm's Lebron series was a clever way to generate buzz and traffic, but the funny thing is, the Brace Yourself ad was so vague, Nike, probably benefited from the online queries. Nike sells Lebron's shoe: The Six, benefited from the online searches,similar to the Gatorade: What is G? commercial.

What was your response to the Lebron as a Brown ad?

Lebron James football Commercial = State Farm and Browns Dream By Matt O'Hern at 09:12 AM
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« January 2009 Week 2 January 2009 Week 4 »

  • Week 1 (18 entries) January 1-10
  • Week 2 (17 entries) January 11-17
  • Week 3 (15 entries) January 18-24
  • Week 4 (15 entries) January 25-31

Gatorade Goes Viral with What is G? Commercial
"What's G?" gets the most a...
by John
Lebron James football Commercial = State Farm and Browns Dream
That girl is the daughter of "cleve&q...
by Marques Oliver
Lebron James football Commercial = State Farm and Browns Dream
I love the girl in the commercial if that&...
by Arene' Armstead pronounced r-nay
Facebook and Myspace Ads: Do you click them?
I gotta say something! If Facebook and Myspace di...
by Aaron
Lebron James football Commercial = State Farm and Browns Dream
"Who is the smoking hot cheerleader that ...
by LO

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