The new standard for advertising in Tech seems to be going public.

Launch an IPO and everyone talks about you. A lot.

They have been in the news daily since they announced their IPO, much like Facebook last year. If you are in the business of bites and pixels it might make more sense to just launch an IPO and let the attention roll in. Why spend resources on marketing when you can get 1,000 times more attention for going on a date with Wall Street.

I am half-way kidding. But Twitter’s recent IPO has made me think a lot about what will happen next for the world’s best social network.

Will their stock price continue to go up whether or not they turn a profit? Is the Tech world almost all based in fantasy (Twitter is not the only big timer that fails to turn a profit while investors back up money trucks – Amazon, comes to mind)?

Will we look back at things like Instagram and Twitter and mark this moment as the beginning of the next big bubble-burst for Tech?

– Words by Jeff

Saturday Spamday

Today I want to focus not on an act of spam, or even an organization guilty of spamming. Instead, I want to think out loud a little bit about the principles of spam.

The Internet has changed spam forever, and not in the way you might think.

Most people think of spam and immediately think of the Internet – pop ups, Viagra emails, Twitter hacks, the list goes on.

The thing is that spam was here already. The Internet actually helped us define it and separate it out.

It is now easier than it has ever been to identify spam and spammers, all thanks to the Internet.

And this applies to more than just online spam. People have been mailing us spam and calling us when we do not want them to for years, but it has only been recently that opt-out lists for mailers and “do not call lists” have cropped up. We have the new world as shown to us by the Internet to thank.

The Internet opened us up to a previously rare idea – companies and organizations can be infiltrated and made transparent.

More amazing still, organizations learned that they could benefit from operating with honesty and an ambition to build relationships with their clients and supporters.

-Words by Jeff

Facebook and Unnatural Forces

Readers who have followed my blog for a while can confirm that I am fascinated with Facebook.

I love to analyze the moves Facebook makes and predict what will happen. I incorrectly declared that Facebook’s IPO would be a disaster. And I am frequently questioning the value of Facebook ads, like here and here.

Whether I end up being right or wrong about Facebook (I think they have to go back to being about people rather than advertisers to remain relevant), they are a fun topic because they are dealing with new problems  100% of the time.

…Just like they were Monday morning when I woke up to these pieces of FB news:

1. Facebook will use a real-time data feed to challenge Twitter’s news dominance.

2. Instagram will be adding advertisements.

In regards to the first story, I have always felt that Microsoft failed the second it tried to chase Apple. Apple got to be Apple by being Apple, not by trying to be Microsoft. This move from Facebook may pay off, but I would be much more confident to invest in Facebook if they spent less time playing catch up with Twitter and more time making their own map.

The second piece of news highlights the notion that advertisers and the companies that rely on their money believe that there is no tipping point for how much advertising audiences will accept. Instagram and Facebook are not going anywhere soon but I cannot help but think that the public will reach a boil-over moment and turn away from ad-based sites. We are already seeing a refreshing rise to stripped down, simplistic web and graphic design.

If it is broken, fix it. If it is working fine. Leave it alone. The bottom line is that Facebook purchased a company without $1 of revenue for $1 Billion. Share holders and a board of directors put pressure on companies in ways that can be suffocating. Facebook developed naturally by filling a need that we all had (we just did not know it yet).

Now there are unnatural forces compressing Facebook and influencing everything they do. What does this mean? I have no idea, except that it will be exciting.

Coca Cola’s Amazing Feat – Reblog

I have reblogged Rumble Marketing before, and I will do it again.

Right now.

Catherine Captain wrote a terrific article titled, “Message on a Bottle” back on August 5th, marveling at a Coca Cola campaign she came across in the U.K.

Read the article and bask in the genius of a refreshing, visionary campaign. We do not get many of these, so take your time.

OK, done basking? Cool. Pretty smart, huh?

I cannot add much that Catherine has not already said, but I will make this note:

We are experiencing an age when brands and advertising agencies push social media participation on their audience like they believe that they can just tell people to do things and they will do it. The Coca Cola campaign is brilliant because they do not need to run a contest begging people to take photos of the product and post them on Facebook or Twitter. Heck, they do not even need to mention the internet or social media at all. They did something cool and their audience picked up on it. The sharing and spreading that happens next is a marketers dream, but you cannot force that kind of enthusiasm. In fact, if you try to your audience will be repulsed instinctively.

The wiser, longer lasting, path to take is to find authentic ways to connect and build relationships. Before you say, “DUH!” and roll your eyes, think hard about the last time a company accomplished this so perfectly. Coke did not just attempt the impossible dismount from the horse, they stuck the landing. Super impressive in an advertising environment where the common thinking is that being faster and louder is better.

five minute post

I am amazed that anyone reads my blog. Amazed and humbled and grateful.

Granted, my little space here is free for you to visit. My posts are short and written at a fourth-grade level (a knock on my own skill, not your reading ability), so they are a breeze to read and understand.

But with so many other options of blogs and websites to read, I find it flabbergasting and flattering that you choose to spend time on mine.

I woke up a little later than I wanted to, so I only had five minutes to post this morning and I could not think of a better way to spend those five minutes than to pause and recognize how remarkable it is that you are reading this.

I appreciate each and every one of you, my readers. Attention is one of the most valuable commodities today, and certainly it is the most valuable in Internet-land. I want you to know that I appreciate you and the time you spend, short though it may be, reading what I write on a nearly daily basis.

Thank you!

dollar shave club



It does not get much better than this, folks.

You can spend millions of dollars with big, fancy marketing firms if you want to. But all of that money will not garauntee you 3 million youtube views or any sales.

I caught the virus, watched the video and am now a member of Dollar Shave Club. And I am not alone, And, most importantly, Mike did not have to spend obscene amounts of money to market his idea.

It is a new day, are you prepared to leap?

the circle is round

It may sound like I am stating the obvious here, but the circle is round. Further more, it has no end.

Before the Internet, television, radio, billboards and even pamphlets, there was word of mouth.

Someone found something awesome and told everyone else about it.

Technology has been steadily changing the way consumers and companies tell others about interesting products and services, but the heart of the action has stayed the same. Think of it as the difference between standing in the middle of Times Square and saying something, yelling something, yelling something through a large plastic cone, yelling something through a microphone hooked up to an enormous sound system.

People all over the world talk about social media as if it is some sort of marketing revolution. As if social media is allowing us to do something new. Yes, the scope and method have both changed. But at the core, we are doing the same thing we always have: Telling the people around us about things we like.

I went to a hippy-dippy private school for grades 1 – 3 where we sang lots of songs. One of which was about friends, and it goes like this (to be sung in rounds):

“This circle is round, it has no end/ That’s what it’s like to make new friends”

And that is how I have come to think about what marketers are now calling “Word of mouth marketing.”  We have always shared things we like with people we like, now we just have an incredibly large and fast electronic pipeline uniting our network.

Television gave companies ultimate control of what was pushed to consumers. The Internet has brought us further around on our circle by connecting more people than ever before in the history of the planet. Information and ideas can now flow freely around the globe in a way our ancestors never could have imagined. The urge to share those bits of knowledge and creativity has always been there, we are just doing it again. And on a whole new scale.

The question should never be what is next. The question should always be, where on the circle are we?

an aside on great websites

It is difficult to put a value on a truly great website.

A company or product might have the best television or even social media marketing around.  But if the website is frustrating, difficult or dull, everything else goes out the window.

The interaction a company website can provide can still be special and engaging in ways that Facebook cannot.

As far as personal investment websites go, Vanguard..com is at the top of the heap.  I invest with several different companies, and Vanguard blows them all out of the water.  Their website is user friendly, clean and easy to navigate.

I actually got joy from using it to open a Roth IRA for my wife this weekend.  It is that clever and well-designed.

I cannot remember a television ad ever making me feel as good as using a my favorite websites does.


Is there a better way to lose credibility on the internet instantly than to adorn your website with ads?

Facebook and Google may not have to worry much, but when I visit a new website jammed with hidden ads and pop-ups I am turned off immediately.  Instead of staying to become a customer, fan or member, I leave as fast as my mouse can find the “back” button on my browser.

These types of ads accost my attention and test my patience.  Most damaging of all, a website filled with ads makes me think the owner is more interested in ad revenue than creating a meaningful relationship with me.

And if there is a better way to lose credibility instantly on the internet, it is probably to be the company advertised in excessive banner ads and pop-ups.

Consumers can now be choosier than ever before, so it is befuddling to see many companies put in the hard work it takes to get noticed, only to squander tribe-building opportunities by opting for the quick and easy click, page view or sale.

The internet has given consumers and wannabe tribe members easy access to thousands of companies that treat their customers with dignity and respect.  Clever consumers no longer need to waste time and energy on websites we can quickly qualify as more interested in fast profits than providing a positive customer experience.

%d bloggers like this: