Business

Like any other Marketing Excuse – And Why Change matters

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So I guess you have all seen the photos, the videos and the outcry about the Swedish culture ministers absurd act to eat of a cake installation that resembles the genital mutilation of a black woman. The whole installation is according to my view completely tasteless and absolutely outrageous.

I am, however, not saying that it shouldn’t be allowed, but I am saying that it served its purpose and brought light to how absurd it is that we are accepting this kind of oppression in modern society. Where ever it is committed.

And so, one might ask, why do I publish anything about this in my blog about digital marketing and advertising? Well, it was when I watched the response from the artist, covered by Aljazeera, that my mind started making its own absurd analogy.

It was perhaps his way of shrugging the critique off his shoulders with “It has been taken out of context”, that made me start to think of how old school marketeers explain failure of their campaigns and ideas. Artists, much like old timers in advertising, believe in ONE BIG IDEA that will revolutionize behaviors amongst consumers or spectators.

However, with the emergence of a more living and responsive, social media, all concepts need to utilize the response of the online users to bare the potential of changing behavior.

The problem arises when developing a website or a digital campaign and you hear arguments such as “Oh, it is the users who have misunderstood what we are trying to communicate… …there must be something wrong with them.”

The user NEVER misunderstands. But they always do. Meaning. You will never know what the users understand or how they understand your marketing campaign before they are actually confronted with your message. You then need to understand that in order to make your “message” come across, and make any kind of sense, you have to adapt to the response of those visitors or consumers.

Now it is the unwillingness to adapt to change and to consumer feedback that will continue to drive people away from your core message and mission. A reply is just a reply, but if the reply is “I don’t give a…”, the reply is as bad as to shut the hell up.

Which also brings me to a situation I am far too familiar too. It is when you meet up with a creative or a marketing person who doesn’t want to listen to the data evidence you bring to them. Their gut rules all, and no matter what you say, they are blind folded by their conviction that it is them and not the receiver of the message that is the judge of taste and success.

Now. I am not saying that artists should feel as inclined to change their master pieces as a result of how the public responds to them. I am just saying marketeers and advertisers should. In the space of digital marketing, we can know EXACTLY how users respond to anything we do or say. It is when we are willing and able to adapt to these responses that we become truly successful at what we do.

And however absurd the above post might be in its analogy, it still serves a purpose to put light on how things can become counter productive if one doesn’t allow for change to be the guide when working in the online environment.

Think Different – RIP Steve jobs

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Today is a sad sad day, but at the same time it is a day to celebrate an idea that will never die. Dare to THINK different, dare to BE different, dare to be YOURSELF. For all the “crazy ones” out there. Steve Jobs lives on in our heart, mind and soul.

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.

- Apple Inc.

 

No more Online Poker – ATTORNEY CHARGES Three Largest Online Poker Companies

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Just got a tip from a friend that ends my celebration abruptly. The United States Attorney Southern District of New York has just indicted the three major poker rooms in the world with charges that are completely insane. If this indictment goes through it might mean the end of poker online as we know it.

You can find the full press release here and the website here.

Some of the charges being brought towards these people can be summarized in the following statement by Manhattan U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA: “As charged, these defendants concocted an elaborate criminal fraud scheme, alternately tricking some U.S. banks and effectively bribing others to assure the continued flow of billions in illegal gambling profits. Moreover, as we allege, in their zeal to circumvent the gambling laws, the defendants also engaged in massive money laundering and bank fraud. Foreign firms that choose to operate in the United States are not free to flout the laws they don’t like simply because they can’t bear to be parted from their profits.”

To quote a friend of mine “poker domains just became very cheap”.

FBI can seize poker domains – bye bye pokersite SEO war

The real problem here is that Poker domains can now be seized by the FBI meaning they will stop working. In turn this means that FBI can shut down any poker website they want within no time at all. This in turn means that the poker clients have to be spread some other way. P2P software or other social media services. Perhaps an end to SEO war for poker websites, now having to rely on other means of getting their software to the public.

I am not happy about this as I believe that government shouldn’t have anything to do with what we do with our money post tax, but this will naturally bring me a lot of gambling business. Happy and sad at the same time.

More on this update will follow.

Ellos at the forefront of Nordic Digital e-commerce

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If I would have told you two years ago that in 2011, one of the leading e-commerce companies in the Nordics, would be a catalog/distance retail company, it would probably not seem too far stretched. However, when you consider this specific company, the kind of clothes they retail and their target group, I assume, that you would have laughed at me.

The unexpected transition of Ellos

Ellos is a company I associate with ladies 35+ who indulge in home shopping as a substitute for love. I know Ellos will probably read this article and I apologize for what I just stated. But seriously. In my mind you have always been a quite “old fashioned company”. Never in my life would I expect you to be the front runner of digital development in the Nordics. I guess that’s perhaps why I get such satisfaction now that you prove to be just that.

A second reason for my new found admiration is that you do it good. Actually you do it better than good. It is not usual that I am happy when I get to work in the morning, but the day last week, when you released your new Facebook integrated online store, I was. All my colleagues asked what was wrong with me… I told them: “it is not every day that I expect something terrible, and it turns out to be the very opposite”.

Enough of the praise which I guess is vaguely interesting for my common reader. Here is what they have done.

iPhone Application

Ellos has produced an iPhone application which is quite simple. Not only in the way that it is constructed, but also because it is easy to actually shop from it. I heard from another client that “I had to download it” as it was supposedly “fun to shop through”. As I browsed the different sections I was inclined to agree. It worked.

Considering the load of useless applications out there from companies trying to brand themselves, rather than giving their visitors and easy and mobile access to shopping, this was indeed a luxury of joy.

Create account

The first screen after download gives you three clear and distinct options above the fold, leaving you with at least one option that you can do something about. Choose a language/site to connect through, log in or create a user, or connect to Facebook. This will incline even the most lazy downloaders to complete the task of registration.

As you see, this setup really gives you no “no”-option. They all mean yes, but in different ways. Just like an ol’ doors salesman would ask you to pay now or in thirty days, this app gives you no reason not to register.

Category page

Look at the top of this interface. What does it include. All that needs to be said. Right. Cause what do you ask yourself when in a store?

  • What’s new?
  • What is popular?
  • Can I find exactly what I’m looking for?

The top navigation of this application gives you these three options. It gives you an option for the latest items, it gives you a toplist and it gives you a category listing to browse through. Above it is the display of the category listing. As you can see they could have easily hidden “Underkläder & bad” and “Skor”, translating to “Underwear & bath” and “Shoes”, underneath the option “Mode” which translates to “Fashion”. But no, they don’t. Why you might ask? Well, probably because these are very popular categories and thus need to be elevated.

This proves Ellos have created their application with an outside-in perspective rather than an inside-out perspective. They know what their customers ask for and need, and they deliver it the way the customers want it. Top selling categories should be elevated as they are the most popular. By elevating them, your application becomes more popular, as many people can relate to it. Thus they start using it. See… if you want someone to start using something you should make it easy.

It might sound like a joke, but most companies don’t think this way. They develop a rigid strategy and then employ their expensive value driven and branded lingo on their online content. That’s rarely what the users want. They want jam-jar copy. What’s in the jar, should be written on the outside of the jar.

Jam Jar copywriting

See. If you give a jar of jam to a creative or a copywriter, they will naturally write “sweet and sticky” on the outside as it describes the experience of the contents. However, this is not what the user searches for. They search for “Strawberry jam”.

Product display

The products are listed in an orderly fashion with the product thumbnail, name and price as the most predominant features. This is all you need. If you have a discount or an offer you should do like they do here below. Make the price red.

The actual product display leaves little to none to ask for. The top option “Välj utförande” gives you the option to see the product in another color or in a different setting. The second option “Välj storlek” gives you the option to choose size. The third option is about quantity.

Then you have the price, the call to action in a light green color “Lägg i varukorg”, emphasizing the preferred action with a different color. Finally you have the “Spara i önskelista”, or “Add to wish list” and the user ratings. What else do you need in order to purchase this item, given you need (or at least believe you need) or crave the item?

Ellos launches Facebook Connection

As if the iPhone application wasn’t enough, Ellos went Amazon on me the other day when they launched their Facebook connection. When I first saw the tweet posted by the excellent blogger and consultant @kullin about Ellos Facebook integration I felt the “near puke”-sensation in my mouth.

I didn’t recall the excellent iPhone application at the time and I thought that this would be yet another ASOS disaster putting a webshop onto the Facebook platform itself. I tell anyone I meet that they should try to get products on Facebook as a status update after purchase as this induces other people to buy. However, to put your webshop on Facebook is a bit pre-mature.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t say that the companies who do should be shouted at for trying. I’m just saying they’re probably wasting their money on something that will not come into effect in a couple of years. However, if no one is first, then there will probably be no evolution to speak of. So… I take back the whole “disaster” thing I said above. Well done ASOS as well… but don’t expect returns anytime soon. (yeye… know I will get punched for that one, but seriously, ever heard of alternative costs?)

Back to the issue at hand.

Ellos proved me wrong. Yet again. They had done something which I didn’t expect at all. They had understood that all that Facebook is for business is a bunch of data collected in networks. The best way to do business on Facebook is to use that data in order to enrich the shopping experience.

So this is what the application does and looks like. You’re able to like, buy and post, recommend and view your friends actions whilst shopping. Once again, all you need in order to make a purchase decision.

I don’t necessarily like the Like-box integration on the right hand side. But who’s perfect? There are still some SEO issues with the product pages, but I am sure that this is a transition challenge. However, making each and every product a digital asset and thus shareable is worth a 5 minute cry of satisfaction for anyone frustrated enough (read Jesper).

The thing that made me cry the most was probably their incentive to make their store viral:

If you invite 5 friends, you’ll get 50% discount on a purchased good. They truly understand the value of connecting to a network of friends and the proximity rules of influence. If people shop together, they are likely to buy more than if they shop alone. By making this option available they are truly giving their shopping platform into a viral campaign, and thus getting a sufficient amount of users to actually be able to present some exciting stuff in the “friends section”.

This application would be useless if you were the only one using it in your network. By emphasizing the sharing aspect as soon as you connect, you as a user become partially responsible for the quality of your Friend Store. If you don’t invite, you’re responsible for not getting the great experience. Plus, you miss out on a 50% discount. Although I haven’t read what the * means next to the word “valfri” (any) product, I am just too excited by the execution that I simply do not care about this conversion killer of little star.

Ellos future

I will follow Ellos with great anticipation in the future and I will update you on the continued evolution of this company. If they are using consultants, I sure want to know who you are, cause I need to recruit the living crap out of you. If you’re not using consultants, then I just have to thank you! Your shopping experience is a blessing.

Now. In order for this to be a true Jesper article, I have to do some bashing as well. Considering you do have such great digital assets you should probably start thinking about cutting down the paper back editions. Especially to those who do not wish to get them.

Make that a game as well. Perhaps – “If you do not wish to receive these send outs anymore, register to our online nix-list available at Ellos.se, and we’ll make sure to turn your paper waste into online savings.” Or something like that :) . I know that was some weak ass bashing, but seriously. They’re good… don’t you agree?

//Jesper