Thursday, June 29, 2006

Leaving the Game

Continuing on the theme of the World Cup, I can't but help but feel badly for Graham Poll, the English referee who just recently retired from international refereeing.

Yes he made a mistake. But his treatment by some sections of the media was nothing short of disgraceful. Did his mistake warrant his home being staked out or the harassment of his family? Who hasn't committed some kind of perceived 'doozie' over their career?

It made me think that as a leader, be it the sports world or marketing world, one must show some compassion when dealing with the errors of others. Be it on a client account, search campaign, email promotion or World Cup game for that matter.

Compassion does not mean comprimising on accountability. It simply allows one to learn from their mistakes and (hopefully) become even stronger in the future. Rather than being forced to leave the game altogether.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

2006 Digital Marketing Conference adds more keynotes

The 2006 Digital Marketing Conference has recently confirmed a couple of stellar new keynotes to an already fabulous roster of speakers. CMA is proud to announce the confirmation of:

- David Weinberger, Co-Author of the The Cluetrain Manifesto and the author of Small Pieces Loosely Joined. David is a dynamic speaker and is sure to be thought provoking.


- C.C. Chapman, Creator of podcasts Accident Hash and U-Turn Cafe, and his recent Managaing the Gray, he also serves as Podsafe Music Network's Music Evangalist, a major archive of music licensed for free use in podcasts. C.C.'s opinions as a podsafe music advocate and new media specialist have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe and on ABC and FOX news programs. He is a podcast pioneer and legend.

The addition of C.C. Chapman and David Weinberger top what is already a fabulous line-up. Already confirmed are Joseph Jaffe, author of Life After the 30-Second Spot, Bryan Eisenberg, author of Call to Action and Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? and, marketing thought leader Mitch Joel, President, Twist Image.

This year’s conference has been expanded to a two-day event. Hold the dates of October 19 & 20.

Is the concept of branding changing?

‘Whole Being Branding.’ The gold standard. What is it? Who is doing it well? And how can it transform a company? John Torella, Senior Partner, J. C. Williams Group shares his thoughts on this and provides a chronology of retail branding in this recently published article.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Sponsor and Branding Protection at the World Cup

Has FIFA, the governing body that oversees professional football (soccer) around the world completely lost its mind? Some would think so despite their claims about protecting sponsors and eliminating 'ambush marketing' at the 2006 World Cup.

Recently it was reported during the game between Holland and Cote Ivoire, FIFA officials insisted that 400 Dutch fans had to remove their patriotic orange lederhosen branded by Bavaria, a Dutch beer company. Why? The official beer sponsor of the World Cup is Budweiser.

I appreciate FIFA's attempts to protect sponsor investment. Especially when tens of millions of dollars are at stake. However, such extreme enforcement could have an adverse effect on the very same sponsors FIFA is trying to protect.

The old adage comes into play. Any publicity is good publicity and I can't help but think the folks at Bavaria are chuckling over all the press they have received because of this PR snafu.

More importantly, where does it stop? The Nike 'Swoosh' logo on Brazillian jerseys is now unacceptable (as Adidas is an official sponsor) so fans entering stadiums must remove their shirts? If Calvin Klein is an official sponsor, must you remove your jeans if they are from the GAP? What happens if you are not wearing CK branded underwear as well? Oh dear...

Whenever I attend games in Europe, I always wear neutral colours to avoid confrontation with drunk fans or hooligans. Now must I worry about branding on my clothes as well?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Why do some businesses put up walls in front of their Customers' Experience?

I was at a popular sub sandwich shop the other day and noticed a handwritten sign taped over the pop dispensers that said "refills 50 cents."

I wondered how that sign got there. Maybe there are people that come in to the shop and sit for hours drinking refills of pop and the owner or manager likely got angry. They put the sign up to get rid of these patrons, or at least thought to make more money off of them.

Most of us don't usually refill our drinks when we eat but we like the idea that we could if we wanted to, for free. It lets the Customer feel that they’ve had a great Customer Experience, with no financial impact to the business. Instead, what this business owner or manager did is put up a wall in front of that great Customer Experience. At what cost? The cost to refill a container is pennies at most. The shop had already charged me a dollar for the drink. I wondered how pleased Customers would be if the owner had taped up a sign that read "free refills - please enjoy your stay." Customers might come back just because of the positive experience the shop presented - even if most of them never opted for a refill.

This is not about free refills. It's about establishing rules that negatively affect all Customers. What this business owner or manager did is hurt their business by trying to stop a select few from taking advantage of them. The business would most likely be better off losing a small amount of money to reap the financial rewards of the repeat business that a great Customer Experience brings them. It's about investing in the long term Experience of your profitable Customers.

Take a look around you when you shop. You will see certain negative rules all the time. Take a moment to think about how these rules affect your Experience. I was at a golf course a few weeks ago, the very first sign I saw was "Slow players will be asked to leave immediately." I was so annoyed and thought "thanks for giving me one more thing to worry about while I'm trying to figure out this game!"

I ended up becoming a regular Customer at another sandwich shop that had free refills, even though I don't usually take advantage of the offer. I also found a better golf course.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Click to Vote at MarketingSherpa Reader's Choice Blog & Podcasting Awards 2006

Quick post pointing to Click to Vote: MarketingSherpa Reader's Choice Blog & Podcasting Awards 2006 .

If you read blogs (like this one) and listen to podcasts then vote. Or, just check it out to see who is on the ballot to source out some great content.

Bluddite's Opinion on RSS

Ok, I'll admit that only a few months ago I was a blog luddite or a 'bluddite' (copyright) if you will. So with encouragement from others in the CMA, I got onboard the blog bandwagon and started reading blogs and downloading podcasts. Only so much space for U2 on iPod after all.

One blog related technology that I'm starting to appreciate is RSS. In fact, many large companies and organizations are now inserting RSS feeds on their websites and corporate blogs.

Some colleagues (whose opinions I respect) have asked if RSS feeds will kill newsletters in a year or eat their lunch. Others take an opposing view that RSS is not a replacement for email.

Opinion of one, it's probably somewhere in the middle. RSS is still in the early adopter phase and hasn't gone mainstream yet. When it does, RSS could increase at the same exponential rate of growth that email and search marketing did in the past few years.

However, I recall some prophesizing years ago email spelled the extinction of direct mail. So I'm unsure RSS will wipe out email per se but it will have an impact. Each business must evaluate how RSS can be incorporated in future marketing efforts. This former bluddite certainly is...

Monday, June 19, 2006

Watch out Search Engines…here comes

According to a recent Globe and Mail article, Yellow Pages Group Co. announced that it will soon launch its own search engine to compete with Google, Yahoo and MSN. Web users will soon be able to search for local information by entering keywords, a brand, a location, a landmark, postal codes and so on. Yellow Pages Group Co. hopes that this strategy will help them to compete against other local search engines as well as consolidate their leadership position in the market.

Local search is a hot topic and a growing market. It’s no wonder that a company like Yellow is jumping on the local search engine bandwagon. Can they compete against the big boys?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Say it ain't so Evita

Interesting news out of the U.S. this week that more marketers are looking to the theatre as a new advertising medium, on the premise that theatregoers can’t zap through marketing messages the way they do at home with digital video recorders and VCRs.

So far, USA Today reports that the trend is showing up primarily in two ways: live commercials and product placement in plays and musicals.

For the first time in its 73-year history, the Radio City Christmas Spectacular will use product placement in 2006, notes USA Today, seeking integration deals for acts such as "Santa's Workshop," where St. Nick prepares for his gift drop-off.

Raises questions about product placements and the value of the “buy”. And how will you measure the effectiveness of such campaigns?

Corporate blogs - do they work? You be the judge.

A Toronto Star article by Tamara Cherry on June 14th raises the issue, “can companies hire bloggers to flog products without ruining the blogoshpere?”
She points to as an example of one such blog. Sure, what is blogged about is filtered by Bacardi Canada (its creator) - but does the site deliver the brand experience? This is open to debate.

Hiring a blogger I suppose is one way to do it, and perhaps it can achieve its goal, or if perceived to be a fake, it won’t. Having a blog where those in the organization are the authors, is another approach.

Sometimes, a foray into blogging is for an immediate purpose – which can then take a life of its own. Here’s one example. The Art Gallery of Ontario blog site was introduced as a communication channel during the Catherine the Great exhibition (which closed in January 2006) as a way to make a series of sold out lectures available for free by podcast. This Blog Testimonial on the CMA website tells the story.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Joseph Jaffe confirmed as keynote for Canadian Marketing Association 2006 Digital Marketing Conference

The Canadian Marketing Association – CMA - has confirmed Joseph Jaffe, author of Life After the 30-Second Spot, as a keynote speaker for the 2006 Digital Marketing Conference.

Joseph spoke at CMA National Convention in Montreal and energized the crowd with his perspective on new marketing and vision for the future.

The organizing committee of the 11th annual Digital Marketing Conference is very proud to announce the confirmation of two other keynote speakers; back by popular demand is Bryan Eisenberg, author of Call to Action and Waiting for Your Cat to Bark? and, marketing thought leader Mitch Joel, President, Twist Image will also keynote.

This year’s conference has been expanded to a two-day event. Hold the dates of October 19 & 20. You do not want to miss out.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Canadian Blood Services 'Don't Miss A Beat' campaign

CMA hosts an annual marketing roundtables event - this year’s was held last week. The event borrows from the idea of ‘speed dating’ - where individuals get a chance to spend a short time getting to know a number of different people over the course of an evening. In the case of our marketing roundtables, folks that came learned about some of the newer media and its applications.

In Canada, we often overlook Not-for-profit organizations as organizations that deliver innovative marketing campaigns. At the Roundtable, attendees got a chance to hear about how Canadian Blood Services did just that – they captured the interest of an important market segment - youth - by thinking outside of the box.

Through a three-round online music trivia game at players listened to music clips and answered questions such as the artist’s name and song title – all kinds of music were presented, something for everyone. Can you guess how much time players spent on the site? As much as 12 minutes were spent playing the game by some 110,000 unique visitors.

The campaign also had a successful viral component, through which players could challenge their friends. 20% of visitors sent the link to their friends and 40,000 visitors to the site signed up to receive more information on blood donation. It was a winning partnership for Yahoo! Canada and Dell Canada who sponsored the event with prizes. Blood donors visiting Canadian Blood Services locations during the campaign were given ballots for chances to win prizes if they visited the site.

The game was addictive - lots of buzz around it. Those exposed to the game learned about the value of giving blood and getting engaged early on in life – and hopefully for life. The contest is over and the online trivia game is no longer online (not that I could find) - but its wow factor lingers on.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

iMedia Connection - eMarketer projects Online Travel and Vacation industry growth

iMedia Connection reports Online Travel Sales to Boom - by Jeffry Grau of eMarketer. The article outlines tremendous growth projections for the Online Travel and Vacation sector. It is based on U.S. market data but reveals unfolding cross-border trends.

The article says:
"eMarketer reports that by 2010 roughly 46 percent of total travel sales will be booked online, second only to computer hardware/software in the B2C category. "

Anyone who has traveled lately has undoubtedly booked online, checked in over web, or avoided lines (well most of the lines at least) by visiting one of those lovely little kiosks, can testify to how travel has changed.

"eMarketer estimates that U.S. online sales of leisure and unmanaged business travel reached a total of $65 billion last year that the total will grow to $122 billion by 2009, a near doubling of the market in just four years. eMarketer's forecast takes into account macroeconomic indicators, historical trends in online travel sales and historical and projected trends in overall retail ecommerce."

A quick look at the recent chart shows travel as the number two e-commerce category projected for 2010 (source Forrester Research, eMarketer).

Check out the eMarketer - iMedia Connection Online Sales Boom article here.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Domain Name Tips and Advice for Marketers PLUS hold the date for the CMA Digital Marketing Conference

Fellow CMA - Canadian Marketing Association member Bill Sweetman of MacLaren McCann Direct & Interactive has written about Domain Name Variations over at his blog Sweetmantra. It is well worth looking at.

Bill and I are both part of the CMA - Canadian Marketing Association Digital Marketing Conference organizing committee. This year's committee is stacked with a fabulous group of leaders from the digital and interactive marketing community. We are teeing up our best event yet. And, due to overwhelming demand, our 2006 event has expanded to two days.

Hold the dates of October 19 and 20 for the annual CMA - Canadian Marketing Association Digital Marketing Conference in Toronto. You do not want to miss this event.

Check back here for updates. We will post details on an ongoing basis.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I Want to Work at a Call Centre!

Today it seems call centres just don’t get any respect. We are loved (when we get rid of problems) yet despised when solutions don’t come quick enough or to our satisfaction. Most of us have experienced these highs and lows. So what makes one call centre stand-out against the others as a great place to work and in turn, a business that will shine? It's pretty simple, really, and those of us in the business, may need to be reminded about.....

These three things:

1. How we treat our front line staff

Treat staff fairly when it comes to life issues; be there when they need some advice; let them know right away when they handled a call really well (they probably just saved a valuable Customer after all); reward them for good performance (a free dinner or event is a very big deal for a Representative who rarely ever gets invited to these things).

2. Fair compensation for the work performed

Check local businesses with similar call centre requirements to make sure you are offering fair compensation (this includes the extras your organization offers such as discounts on your product or service, and benefits - money is a real issue for someone making $10-$15 per hour) - as a result there may be added stresses on the people in your call centre - be sensitive to this and you will come to understand the people in your call centre are actually a very resilient bunch.

3. It’s about the environment

Working in tight spaces exacerbate some of the common "people interaction" problems we all experience (you try having to sit 5 feet away from someone for 8 hours and you soon will realize how difficult this can be to deal with on a day to day basis); brighten up their area with sunlight, add plants, paint, art, let them brighten the area with their own creations; keep your centre extra clean and manage your "problem" people effectively to reduce the stress of others in your call centre (brightening the environment often improves attitudes, your customers will notice this as well).

In October, CMA's Contact Centre Council will be hosting a 1/2 day Best Practices Forum - bringing together senior Call Centre leaders with hands-on experience to share practices that have made a real difference in their Centres - the outcome will be documented and then shared with the call centre industry. If this is something you would like to participate in, please express your interest directly to

Sunday, June 04, 2006

How to Market to Canadians Online

MarketingSherpa released a report this week titled “How to Market to Canadians Online - Advice, Data, Legal Info and Useful Links” written by Dianna Huff.

A number of industry leaders were quoted in the report speaking to top challenges and tips for Canadian-based Online marketers. The report quotes the CMA on PIPEDA and metions that the CMA advises members on the “complex issues” around compliance.

The report provides links to cited Canadian Government and Association resources including Canadian-based Portals, as well as to all the experts interviewed.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Sponsorship of Canadian Athletes

A former athlete and now a leading sponsorship expert, Dan Thompson, President, MacLaren Momentum has a P.O.V. on what nurturing sport vis-a-vis sponsorship is and should be about. Coming from a marketer who has been there, we should all pay attention. He makes a lot of sense. Read his article, Sponsorship of Canadian Athletes at the CMA website.