Daily Life Podcasting

The M Show Thanksgiving Edition

You can check out the latest audio program live from Studio N. The lovely Carin vs. the Cranky old man.

I hope your weekend went well. Welcome to a short week.


Google Android

It’s friday, you should really take a time out and listen to a podcast. Why don’t you check out what Christopher Penn has to say about Google Android on the latest episode of the world’s finest marketing podcast.

Daily Life

DVDs as Lottery Ticket

Seth Godin had a good post today stating that Gift Cards are for Chumps. First, I would state that the term “chump” is vastly underutilized, so I’m glad to see it. Second is what I feel is his more important point: Christmas has become a holiday about shopping, not about giving.

I’ve noticed that the purpose behind purchases made with disposable income has changed. I first reached Seth’s point with my own eyes while discussing Christmas gifts with my wife. She was not happy that I have an Amazon wish list of things I really want. She felt that there was no surprise if I got items off my wish list, and that’s when I got the bulb over my head – I said “I’m really not into being surprised, and if I got everything on that list I’d be happy – so really this is about what you want to feel about giving me a gift.” Being a smart husband I left out the logical extension of this arguement – You want to try and surprise me with a great gift I don’t know about, even at the risk of getting me something I don’t want.

The sad thing is that I also realized I do this to myself. One day after buying a DVD at Best Buy I came home and realized I was throwing it on a pile of about a dozen other DVDs I haven’t gotten around to watching yet. Again the bulb lit up – I was not buying the DVD to watch it, I was laying down money for the fantasy of me actually sitting down to have a quiet night of Jet Li goodness. DVDs are no different than lottery tickets, I’m paying for the dream not reality.

So, what’s the Marketing punchline here? One is what I think of as a sad one – the culture of selling crap that nobody REALLY needs has no end in sight. The other is that maybe some people will stand up and do something worthwhile for the holidays rather than buying more crap that will end up in the landfill by the summer.

If you are in the Boston area I highly recommend both the MATCH School and the Franciscan Hospital for Children. Now where’s that Swarovski Crystal I need to wrap for Carin…

Daily Life

San Francisco

Today I spent most of the day on a return flight from San Francisco. I flew out back on Tuesday and was working the QCon show through Friday. We then stayed at the Columbus Motor Inn (ultimate bargain) for the weekend to hang out with my brother and a guy named W. About 10 years ago I lived in Walnut Creek for about a year and I still miss that area. If not for family in the East I would gladly give up the snow here for the hills there.

Carin and I hiked up to Coit Tower, this is much better than driving up there because you get to check out some of the homes in the Historic Telegraph Hill neighborhood, which on a good day I would admit to being perhaps cooler than even Nantucket. We also enjoyed some Tea in the Japanese Garden.

In true new media fashion, I twittered about being in town and Jose shouted back and we grabbed a beer after work on Friday. Mitch Joel was also in town but I was unable to break away to the Googleplex mid-week.

Two other random things from the weekend: I was struck by the irony that tag sales don’t have tags. I saw many neighborhood sales, but I wasn’t willing to dig through the stuff when I knew I could look it up on eBay or Craig’s List – Lesson 1: Put your Tag Sale stuff on Craig’s list instead of putting up signs around the neighborhood.

Lesson 2: I can’t stop playing Kanye West‘s Good Life (clean version so as not to disturb the neighbors and relatives).

Geek Stuff

Friday Night Fights, Back again

Live! From San Francisco! Another shot from the GOAT to the Man of Steel!

Bahlactus has Spoken!

SEO and Paid Search

AdWords and AdSense Primer – Questions from Ron Amok

My friend Ron sent over a question asking for clarification on this post from Google – they are doing placement targeting and CPC for placement targeting. What does this mean? Here’s a play by play to get you started.

Back in the dark ages of Google Adwords (like 2 months ago), there were two places to run your ads. You could buy words that would show your ads when people searched for them in Google. In other words – if you bought “Donuts” and somebody searched on Google for “Donuts” your ad would show up on the right side of the Google Search Engine Results Page (or SERP for the hardcore insiders).

This is grossly simplified, there are a lot of things that go into whose ad shows up and where on the page, and there’s a bidding process along with a determination of the quality (read – spamminess) of your ad.

The next step was to provide this same functionality to websites other than Google – and thus was born adsense (keep in mind I am not a Google historian, I have no idea about these timelines really, I have a tough time remembering breakfast, never mind when this stuff rolled out. For a great history of Google check out John Batelle’s “The Search“).

Adsense allows other websites to run the same ads that show up on the Google SERP. For example if you scroll to the bottom of this page you will see a bunch of google ads, some of them may even include “Donut” “SERP” or “Help with Google Adwords”. For having Adsense on your site Google pays you. I’ve had it running for a year and I think I’ve made 72 cents or something. I don’t care because I did it to learn, but there are people who live comfortably just doing lots of this.

Once Adsense went live, Adwords users had the opportunity to have their ads run outside of the Google site (don’t worry if you are getting confused, I’ve been running with this for about 3 years now and I still have a hard time keeping Adwords and Adsense straight).

Just to make things interesting the payment model was changed. For ads that showed up on Google SERPs the advertiser was charged each time an ad was clicked – cost per click, or CPC. For ads showing up outside the Google SERPs you would pay per impression (each time the ad appeared whether it was clicked or not). This is the model is common in the newspaper and magazine industry, and is called cost per thousand, or CPM for those of you with Latin skills ( N.B. – just to get more Latin on your ass – once in a great while you will still see MM around being used for Million, that’s a thousand thousand to your homeboy Caecilius).

Hell, where was I… You’ll notice that sales guys love CPM because if you are selling ads it gets expensive quick and it doesn’t matter how much the ads suck or how much readers ignore them. As a result there are many Marketeers that see this as wasted spending.

Originally you would only vote yes or no on sites beyond Google, this could cause problems if your ads show up on sites you don’t want them to – such as an Army recruiting ad showing up on the website for the San Francisco Gay Pride parade… etc. Eventually the functionality was added to include/exclude certain websites (URLs). I haven’t played around much deeper than that, I’m not sure how good the tools are out there to determine where you want to be.

With this latest announcement you get more granularity, you don’t just have to show up on the Daily Planet, you can choose just the Daily Planet Sports Page. They’ve also added CPC pricing to make it easier for people to test it without blowing their budget. There’s some huge opportunity here, every Pizza shop should lock down all the searches in a 5 mile radius for Pizza, same for Funeral Homes, Florists, anybody whose business is Geo targeted.

Hopefully that answer gets you on track, for more commentary on Google check out this week’s Marketing Over Coffee, and feel free to send any additional follow up questions, or request for clarification on the above.

For more information this link to the Adsense blog can then lead you to their help center and learning center, both great resources.

Great Marketing

American Express Members Lounge

This weekend, after the pulse pounding Michael Bay-esque software development conference, my dear wife dragged me off to the mall for some shopping (as in – she shops, I sit around and do nothing). Luckily I had a secret weapon in my arsenal. I had received a postcard earlier in the week from American Express telling me about their new members lounge at the Natick Collection (the new X-tra snooty name for what we used to call “The Natick Mall” or worse yet, just “The Mall”).

Some direct marketing actually got through to me – go figure. The lounge is very cool. American Express LoungeIt reminds me of the clubs at the airport that keep out the dirty cake-eating civilians, to create an oasis of peace and quiet for the business traveller.

I was greeted at the door and my card was run through a handheld scanner. This granted me access to the inner sanctum. It’s a room about the size of the average store in the mall, brown leather seats sort of like restaurant booths, 3 drink stations with water, lemonade and one of those multi-coffee, latte, chai, hot chocolate machines.

They wrap gifts for free and have their own bathroom. Only 2 things bothered me, one was the lack of wireless service, but they do have 3 Macs connected to the web. The other was that I can’t believe that there are people who can complain about the types of coffee offered in the machine. Here’s a great new service, all kinds of free stuff and a great place to hide, and some people can still find stuff to bitch about.

Screw them, the staff here is friendly even to those dolts. My time is up, the boss called. Shopping’s done.Loungin'

Great Marketing

Big Rich and the Milk Bones

One day we were walking the dog and a big contractor truck drove by and honked his horn. The driver was on the side of the vehicle farther away from us and I could see him throw something over the roof of the truck towards us on the sidewalk. I caught one of the Milk Bone dog biscuits and the other hit the ground right next to Hannah, the world’s greatest dog.Hannah

This happened a few times and it was always great to see the dog freak out over the bones from heaven. On Thursday we saw the truck at the local convenience store and noticed that Big Rich has a tree service. We had a tree in the backyard that was threatening to take out the back half of the house so he came right over to look at it. The short version of the story is that by the time I got home from work that night the tree was gone with no indication it had ever been there except for a stump.

There’s also a picture on my fridge of Big Rich with Charlie Daniels (signed by both). That’s pretty cool, and I wouldn’t call any of it traditional marketing.


M Show Goulet Tribute

I didn’t get around to the normal cross-channel pimpin’ yesterday. You can check out my singing voice on the latest M Show! (the last 20 seconds if you don’t want to put up with the rest of the world class content.)

Brain Buster The Marketeer

What is Utterz?

So I was called out on twitter this weekend. I posted:

Sorry, I can’t see any value in utterz… anyone…. anyone…”.

All I’ve seen are posts in Twitter that link to the Utterz recordings. In true new media style I got a twitter back from the founder!

simedia @themshow fan of your blog. how can we improve utterz to provide the value you’re seeking?

And I’m stuck. As I refuse to be someone who just complains about things on the web, I’ve painted myself into a corner and have to put up or shut up. The good news is that I was at a conference at MIT for the weekend on software development (yes, I know, the non-stop excitement of the new media rockstar lifestyle), so I did have time to set up an account, take the tour and test drive.

My initial befuddlement was viewing Utterz as some kind of twitter add-on, a MyChingo variation (which is called Mochilla now maybe? I can’t keep this stuff straight, I’m just a simple caveman…).

After a short run I’m thinking it’s a Twitter replacement – a similar tool for the content producer, but with greater functionality. The question then becomes how will these two brands compete? One thing is obvious, that Mitch Joel hit on earlier this week – there’s a lot of funky things going on with cell phones becoming more powerful multimedia devices and it’s time to start playing around to see what kind of trouble we can get into.

If you’ve done anything cool on this front your comments would be appreciated.