Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The One About the Footballer, Twitter and Something Positive

Forget Rio Ferdinand, Ashley Cole, Paddy Kenny ( the links take you to their recent indiscretions on Twitter) and think Dexter Blackstock ( pictured right) who helped a football fan who had tweeted she had lost her football tickets

 "Can I have a RT [retweet] pls I am on route to Huddersfield with my son and lost our tickets #needcheeringup."

Dexter, A Nottingham Forest player, replied

"I'll leave 2 in your name at the ground #enjoy."

Original story on the BBC website

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Pinterest Infographic: Deconstructed ...Again

Even more analysis of Pinterest

Fansourcing for Your Book Tour

As the marketing blurb states on the Togather website, speaking to an empty room is not much fun ( although actually less scary than speaking to packed room ).

So, they came up with a way packing the room with people to hear you speak about your new book.

The 'Worst Time' to Send Emails

Courtesy of my friend Loren McDonald from Silverpop

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Favourite Subject Line of The Week

What else?!

Sony Shows How To Create a Photo of You With An Imaginary Girlfriend

Ok, in reality it's Sony showing off their SmartAR technology ( that's 3D augmented reality )

I'm looking forward to say the guide scene below from a museum....

being replaced by say one of the characters from Rembrandt's The Night Watch masterpiece coming out and explaining the scene's history and significance

Friday, 24 August 2012

Content We'll Pay For Infographic

The Rise Of Content 4.0

Email Will Still Be Around In 2044

 Ready Player One cover.jpg
I just read it..page 2 of the paperback version of  Ready Player One by Ernest Kline

‘Halliday had prepared a short video message , along with instructions that it be released  to the world media at the time of his death, He’d also arranged for a copy of the video emailed to every OASIS  user that same morning’ *

Oh, and Wikipedia is also still about.

·         OASIS being the most popular virtual game in 2044

Thursday, 23 August 2012

The One About QR Codes, Paypal and Retail

Of course we live in a digitally fuelled e-commerce world

But actually sometimes the idea of wandering down the aisles of a book store is appealing - especially if you are a fresher at college and the lecturer has just given you your reading list.

Now that causes an issue when in the first week of the new academic year all the students are rushing down to the campus book store.

So what about using QR codes of the most popular titles in the book store window to allow students to order as they walk past and before they've spent all their allowance on beer and pizza!

As soon as I do my book tour, I'll be sure to have QR codes promoting my book sales as the audience leave the auditorium

Perhaps we could see

Coffee shops sell their coffee beans for home delivery
Theatres promote their next production,
Museums remind visitors about their o-nline gift shops
Churches suggest Bible scriptures for the week

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Amazon Set To Deliver Via Newsagents..


So what?

The Daily Mail flagged this as a newsworthy item, and I can only assume it was because it was Amazon that it got the headline

I've been using my local Spar with the CollectPlus service with House of Fraser, Music Magpie to name but two for months now.

As you can see from Figure 1, taken from Royal Mail's 'All you need to know about changes in multi channel retailing', how the product is delivered can play a very important role in determining if the final purchase takes place.
Figure 1 : Importance of Delivery In Basket Abandonment
Although the report is now 2 years old, it has some great take outs in terms of whats important to the consumer..and that's what counts after all...

- 8 out of 10 shoppers like to be kept informed as to what stage the delivery is at
- 92% of customers are likely to buy again from an on-line retailer if they are happy with the delivery
- There are many prompts to buying on-line, including an off line catalogue
- 66% of customers actively seek out free delivery

The full report from the Royal Mail ' All you need to know about changes in multi channel retailing' can be downloaded here

The Preference Centre Balance

There is always that temptation at the beginning of any relationship to try too hard. Wanting to know every piece of information and turning a potential relationship into an interrogation.
Information Collection Balance

It's a difficult balancing act. You want to maximise subscriptions by not asking too many questions, but you also want to learn about the subscriber to enable personalisation and deliver relevant content.

But instead of attempting a balance, look at the information gathering exercise as a progressive flow where one piece of information gathered leads onto another, perhaps gathered at another moment in time

Information Collection Flow

Of course this is what is usually called Progressive Profiling. And it works.

It can be as simple as adding the option to update your profile on every piece of communication you send out to a subscriber.  A few years ago working with a Life Sciences organisation whose audience were researchers and scientists, we were able to improve the percentage of key fields populated from 25% to 75% in less than 6 months just by incentivising profile updates via the business as usual newsletters.

Newsletter subscription is not an excuse to conduct a market research exercise!

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Random QR Sunday - Plus Infographic

As this QR Code appeared on the back page of the Metro newspaper and I was obviously scanning with my phone, it's good to see that I'm being directed to a mobile site

And if you're looking for more reasons as to why you need to have a mobile site, look no further than this infographic

10 Reasons Why You Need a Mobile Site Infographic

10 Reasons Why You Need a Mobile Site Infographic by AD:60

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Wise Words From a Customer Service Manager

''We don't think about call handling time. Every customer is different and every answer is similarly different. If a call takes 20 minutes to resolve it takes 20 minutes. If it takes 5, it takes 5''

Customer Service Manager Schuh

A leaf out of another on line shoes retailers customer service bible?

In the dictionary, under Customer Service it says Zappos Part 1Part 2Part 3

What Do' 'Likes'' Make? Infographic

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

We're All Capable of Email Greatness....

But like this young man you need to put in some time and effort, often without the acclaim you deserve

And that time and effort means making sure that you dot the i's and cross the t's.

I came across a useful checklist from Jordie van Rijn, a specialist email marketing consultant, that should help you get your email send in order before hitting the send button and ultimately finding your greatness

Here are some of the checks...

Text and Content

All default template content is replaced, like old pre-headers and alt-tags 

The text is re-read, not scanned, to correct grammar and style mistakes 

Short sentences and clear, jargon free text is used to make it easy digestible  


All links are clearly identifiable as links 

Your brand is easily recognisable by the from name and email address 

Analytics and Reporting 

All subscribers’ behaviour is measured, both in the email as beyond the click through 

Write down your expectations about the results of your email 

Your subscribers list 

The campaign is sent to the recipients who are interested in your messages 

The list is up-to-date. New opt-ins are added, unsubscribes and inactives removed 

All fields used for dynamic content and personalisation are filled or alternatives presented 

Action oriented 

It’s clear what the readers are supposed to do 

The landing page is even more actionable than the email 

Functional Testing 

All links in the email are clicked, including linked images. They lead to the right pages 

All personalisation and dynamic content works as expected 

The email is optimised for mobile devices like smartphones and tablets 

Strong subject lines 

Your email has a magnetic “I want to open this now” type subject line 

You re-wrote the subject line in at least 15 ways to come up with the best one 

All subject lines will be tested 

The first 45 / 50 characters of the subject line are made to count 

The offer and content match the subject line 

Necessary Elements 

The email has a clear and functional Unsubscribe or preference centre link 

A plain-text version of the email is made, checked and optimised 

A link to view the email online is included 

Social sharing and connecting is promoted if applicable 

Value added email

The email has a great offer and / or killer content 

Insights from earlier campaigns have been used to improve the email 

The offer explains what’s in it for them  

You have provided a way for subscribers to contact you 

Images and Design 

Subscribers with images turned off can make sense of the email and act on it 

Alt-text is used for important images 

The images support the text and main message of the email 


The email is sent at the time the email it is most likely to be read 

Perhaps not everything is there for everyone but it's a great start.

The complete checklist can be downloaded here on Jordie's website

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Lets Take 2 Ideas and Make Email More Relevant

What are the issues facing email today?

A cluttered inbox? That's certainly one.

But perhaps of more importance is the fact that as soon as the email is opened it has become out of date, if it was relevant at all to start with.

So here are 2 ideas to keep relevancy high. One new, one not so new.

Firstly the latter

Relevancy can be easier to attain if we ensure that we are sending messages that consumers want. Apart from using behaviour and transaction information which are often pieces of data that we don't have straight away what else do we have?
Well, we can always allow the customer to tell us what they want.

The Preference Centre

Nothing new there ( I did tell you)
But what if we actually made the way that the consumer gave us this information much more engaging?

Here are a couple of examples

You might remember this effort from HMV I talked about recently

And here is an idea not in place , but shows how potentially a coffee brand might get to know about what type of coffee its customers like

How much coffee do you like? Pull the tab

Pull the cup and let us know what time you like your favourite coffee?
Both of these ideas can be used to learn more about coffee habits but could easily translated into ideas about how much content you want and when!

Another brand that gave me some 'preference' inspiration was Graze . This is how it works

But of course the real beauty of Graze is that you get to 'Rate or Slate' your box. After each box, you get sent an email that gives you the opportunity to fine tune your preferences

Simple but engaging, and a lesson for all marketers on how to ensure you give customers what they want


How do you ensure that your email isn't out of date?

Well, one concept that is gaining some traction through companies like Movable Ink is the idea of 'live' emails

So here is a product that essentially allows to include in emails ideas such as countdowns ( eg days to a holiday or number of items left in a sale) , maps and offers based on location .

It even includes the option to identify the device ( mobile, tablet, desktop) the email is being read on to ensure customised content.

Check out the daily deal demo

Monday, 13 August 2012

Email Myths

The giving of an email address becomes the agreement to participate in a conversation


The giving of an email address is permission to send me 'stuff' that is relevant to me the consumer

Favourite Subject Line of the Week

Please, which one of my hairs am I supposed to mould?

Keynote Gianfranco Cuzziol at fusionmex

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Random QR Sunday

You may be closed, but house hunters never are..


Yes, please do scan with care..


Friday, 10 August 2012

Crowdsourcing for Money – A True Social Business Model

More often than not, brands thinking about Social Business  actually fail to go beyond the concept of Social Media. Even then, the more well-known platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, etc.  actually only get used as an extension of a brand’s advertising department rather than with true social connotations.

Creating a Social Business involves 3 fundamentals:

  1. Being Social
  2. Using Technology to enhance being Social
  3. Building an economic model that derives value for both the brand and the customer on the foundation of technology and being Social
Being Social is not a new phenomenon. If you agree with me that being social actually only means reflecting and harnessing human behaviours and attributes, then we can go back thousands of years to see this. Aristotle espoused the virtues of Trust, Credibility and Logic when trying to win in the art of persuasion, these 3 traits being fundamental to being Social as well.
If we take word of mouth or story telling as Social activities then obviously these go back thousands of years – let’s not forget that for much of human history all we had was word of mouth and gestures. You could argue that the gestures of the Roman crowds in the Colosseum were an early form of crowd sourcing for decisions.  More recently, product recommendations or customer service examples used to be at the heart of every local grocer visit until the supermarkets began to take over.
Co-creation is nothing new either. Even my hometown brewery allowed its customers to help choose the name of its new premium beer back in 1952.
Obviously, what has changed fundamentally in Social is the impact of technology,  allowing us to be Social not only  locally, but globally and at the speed of light. And by technology, I guess fundamentally I mean the web, computing power, mobiles.
And of course, we are all in business to make money – honest – so the idea of applying an economic perspective to Social makes perfect sense.
“Peer production is about more than sitting down and having a nice conversation… It’s about harnessing a new mode of production to take innovation and wealth creation to new levels”.
Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Google.
The idea of ensuring a positive return for both brand and consumer, again, is nothing new. It’s just simple business common sense.

One area of Social not always top of mind is Crowdsourcing

Defined ‘as a process that involves outsourcing tasks to a distributed group of people, this process can occur both online and offline, and the difference between Crowdsourcing and ordinary outsourcing is that a task or problem is outsourced to an undefined public rather than a specific body, such as paid employees’.
When we think Crowdsourcing, the favourite examples pop up such as mystarbucksidea, Wikipedia and so on. The industry website crowdsourcing .org  gives access to literally hundreds of Crowdsourcing initiatives. The different business models  tend to cluster around big buckets such as Crowd Labour, Creativity, Distributed Knowledge, Open Innovation, Tools and  Crowd Funding.
I’ve left Crowd Funding to last as there is one particular form of this I would like to spend some time on.  Crowd-funding tends to be associated with raising capital for businesses, film production and even rock groups ( eg ArtistShareRocketHub)and in fact can be defined as ‘Crowd funding (alternately crowd financing, equity Crowd-funding, or hyper funding) describes the collective cooperation, attention and trust by people who network and pool their money and other resources together, usually via the Internet, to support efforts initiated by other people or organizations.
Crowd funding occurs for any variety of purposes, from disaster relief to citizen journalism to artists seeking support from fans, to political campaigns, to funding a startup company, book (see Seth Godin’s case), movie or small business or creating free software’. Of course one of the more famous recent example of Crowd Funding was Barack Obama’s very successful campaign to raise funds for the assault on the American Presidency.

“Never lend money to friends or family,” the saying goes. But what about to complete strangers?

That’s the theory behind Peer to Peer ( P2P) Funding. In an age where there is a severe lack of trust in the traditional banking system and indeed, an even more severe lack of funds coming from Banks to the consumer ( because they don’t trust us to pay it back), this form of borrowing and lending money is gaining some attention.
Personal money lending is nothing new. Banking itself started off with merchants in the ancient world making grain loans to traders taking goods between cities. This dates back to 2000BC. Indeed there are references in the Bible ( Matthew 21:12) to money lenders in the Temple and of course in Shakespeare’s texts when he refers to Shylock in The Merchant of Venice.
It seems commonplace to talk about sharing our experiences ( Facebook, Twitter), our homes (AirBnB), our cars ( GetAround), our travel experiences (TripAdvisor). So why not our money? The idea of sharing our own money fits in with the previously mentioned tensions in the banking system, the slowing global economy and the rise and rise of social sharing.
P2P lending essentially works with lenders deciding how much they want to lend to certain types of borrowers at certain rates for fixed period of times, and borrowers try to tap into that pool of funds. Isn’t that what banks do?
Well yes and no. Yes but with the obvious hurdles of trying to run a business with overheads perhaps resulting in higher lending rates than might be expected. In fact, the rates agreed between these Social Lenders and Borrowers is as low as 6%, undercutting the majority of banks.
Let’s take an example that has been in the news recently in the UK, Zopa.
Zopa P2P lending
Zopa is a term apparently  taken from business theory. It stands for Zone of Possible Agreement and is the overlap between one person’s bottom line (the lowest they’re prepared to get for something) and another person’s top line (the most they’re prepared to give for something). If there’s no Zopa, there’s no deal. Sounds like an Economic Model to me. In fact, a seemingly attractive model as it is now close to having lent £250 million with the majority of that coming from Zopa in the UK. Except that its not lending between a Financial Institution, but between individuals.
Zopa, founded in 2005, has survived despite  other’s attempts to create a Social Business. In fact, Quackle, was an another  business that actually tried to base credit worthiness on social scores. Some P2P lending organisations actually rely on existing relationships between friends and relatives, acting just as the formal mechanism in between to organise amounts, rates, etc.

“Zopa offers  a smarter, fairer  way to do money  – and just the kind of refreshing alternative that the UK public deserves after years of ill-treatment by the banks. The ironic thing is that although Zopa is the first online lending and borrowing community, it is, in fact, no different to what’s  been happening in families  and communities for centuries all around the world. Zopa has simply successfully harnessed the power of those types of relationships” (James Alexander, COO at Zopa,  Press Release, 7 July 2006).

It differs from mainstream banking because the relationship is Horizontal, Peer to Peer, rather than Vertical, Institution to Individual

P2P Lending
 In Zopa’s case, around half a million peers now it  operates within the United Kingdom, Italy and a service is being developed for Japan.
It defines itself as a ‘person-to-person to person lending and borrowing community’. You could say it is almost trying to humanize money lending. It even tries to protect it’s lenders whose money is lent out in £10 packets, each to a different borrower, so anybody lending at least £500 has their money spread across 50 borrowers to achieve an ideal level of diversification and protection.
It looks after its own as a true community should.
But the Lenders collaborate not purely out of a sense of community, but also because they benefit from a better return than if they had their money tied up in low interest bearing savings with mainstream financial bodies.
Zopa - how lending works
This is the most obvious reward when we are being ‘Social’. Of course other benefits are often associated with social – recognition being an important one.
And remember Trust? Well, for two years running, Zopa was named the Most Trusted Loan Provider by Moneywise.
And that trust comes from being a very transparent about how it all works, no early redemption penalties, and an opportunity to talk with other members via discussion forums.

The Rise of the ‘Minipreneur’

But before we think this too is a modern phenomenon, let’s not forget that actually this was all the rage in Mesopotamia back in 1900BC when traders offered each other loans with maximum interest rates caps of 33% were put in place on grain loans, and 20% on silver.
The locally based ‘Friendly Societies’ that originated in Britain in the 17th century  had two main purposes – that of mutual  support and financial assistance.
Of course, these days we have the Internet,  almost instant access to credit ratings and technology that allows this type of Social Business to work, in reality.  At the CNet Technology Awards,  Zopa won the Technology Project of 2007 and Internet Innovation of 2006.
Social Lending thrives on the idea of individuals wanting to be small entrepreneurs, or minipreneurs as commented on by Trendwatching in 2006.
“At the core of all consumer trends is the new consumer, who creates his or her own  playground,  own  comfort zone, own universe. It’s the empowered  and  better informed and switched on consumer combined into something profound, something we’ve dubbed “Master of the Youniverse” – Trendwatching.com, 2006.
Key for me is the notion that we have always been Social. It’s just that technology is making it relevant again after it took the social out of business and tried to automate everything…including our customers.

( This was originally published on Fusion Marketing Experience ) 

Thursday, 9 August 2012

More 'Pinteresting' Stuff on Pinterest Users

Following on from yesterday's post 'It's Not for Girls', I came across this infographic on Pinterest users that might be of interest...but then again, it might not.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Intelligent Email Marketing that Drives Conversions Infographic

It's Not For Girls

First we had the 'Yorkie' Bar

Then we had 'Man -Bags'

Dr Pepper take a stance

Now it's ''Manteresting''..when Pinterest isn't enough for you

Quickly followed by

Dudepins , Punchpin and Gentlemint .

Maybe, because Pinterest Women outnumber Pinterest Men by over 2 : 1, as you can see from the infographic below

Monday, 6 August 2012

In The Dictionary, Under Customer Service It Says 'See Zappos' Part 3

Practise What You Preach

And that's something Zappos certainly do. Here are some examples of how they go the extra mile

Zappos sent flowers to a woman who had ordered multiple pairs of shoes to cope with her medical condition*
A Zappos employee went to a local mall ( that's shopping centre to us Europeans) to buy a lady her favourite shoes as they had run out of stock at Zappos**
There are no scripts in the call centre and there is no maximum call time***

What about customer testimonials? Here are a few

I have never experienced such fantastic customer service as I have from your phone order specialists. This was the third pair of shoes (from my original order). I spoke to a Customer Loyalty Representative and I truly felt like I was speaking to a friend. He asked me about my day and what I was going to do and actually commented on it! I was looking for a very specific style of shoe and actually went into a Clark's store to try them on. They fit like a glove and I knew I would order them through Zappos! I received them the next day, wore them yesterday and they are perfect. I don't know how you hire your people, but you should give the entire industry a class on Superior Customer Service and how to delight your customers

This will not be a lengthy thing. I just want to tell you that I have had numerous contracts with your organization. In every instance, I have to tell you NEVER and I mean NEVER have I been treated better. Please, please check your records of my phone calls with your people and give every one of them a huge ‘atta boy’. I will close this by saying I am 75 years old and never have I had better service and the politeness of your people just make it even better. THANK YOU FOR BEING THE TYPE OF ORGANIZATION YOU ARE AND PLEASE DON'T CHANGE. Thanks again

All taken from the Zappos testimonials page

And this plug for a book gives another view

Got 9.63 Seconds?

Loved this quick response to Puma sponsored Usain Bolt's Olympic 100m success

And they managed to do it without upsetting the Brand Police Guidelines

The Rise of the Distracted Viewer

In February 2012, the Pew Internet and Life Project came up with a few nuggets

The Rise of the Connected Viewer

52% of adult cell phone owners use their phones while watching television

35% of cell owners who use the internet, email or apps on their phone used their phone to visit
a website that was mentioned on television

The Rise of the Distracted Viewer

38% of cell owners used their phone to keep themselves occupied during commercials or breaks
in something they were watching

The Rise of the Unbelieving Viewer

22% of cell owners used their phone to check whether something they heard on television was 
true or not

The full report is available here

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Random QR Sunday

The London Evening Standard encouraging ES Magazine subscription

Great..but why take me to the app landing page?..when I cant actually see the ES Magazine subscription option?

Grand Central think it's a great idea to have their train timetable on my phone


So do I...but the QR code becomes very difficult to scan behind the protective screen you have on the poster

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Are You Top Banana or Not First Direct?

You can't be 'Top Banana' by being one of the best in the bunch!

Favourite Subject Line of the Week

If only because it had the word 'conversation in it'. But actually because it introduced to the Native American Pet Teepee and a few other 'interesting' conversation starters

.....but further down the Canadians don't get left out

...Told you !!