Daily Life The Marketeer

Tough Week

Normally on Sunday night I review my calendar for the week to see what’s coming up. Unfortunately things have been kind of crazy here and so I was not completely prepared on Monday morning for a book signing party that evening (click through for a rare photo of me with my arch enemy Mike taken by the Boston Globe’s Scott Kirsner).

I had to wait before entering the driveway at the Microsoft NERD center because a guy in a black cop car was going the wrong way out the entrance. As I pulled in around some other cars I noticed the Governor entering the building. Of course I don’t have my good camera, and am just barely dressed well enough just to show up. The good news is that after I’ve finished the book I’ll be setting up a time to talk with Jeffery Bussgang for a Marketing Over Coffee session.

Aside from that it’s been a challenging week, my sister-in-law’s mother passed away yesterday, and my father-in-law was in the hospital yesterday also so there’s been a lot of running around. Hopefully it will be a restful weekend before The Last M Show on Monday.

Sorry for burdening you with my personal tales, to make it up to you here’s a good interview with author Daniel Pink from crack team at the Spark Podcast. Mr. Pink (so psyched I could squeeze that in) has a new book talking about how motivation works. You can watch the video here: Interview with Daniel Pink, or get the audio by subscribing to the John Wall Gigadial station.

The Marketeer

Google is Still the Best

Mitch Joel asked some good questions about free services from Google causing headaches when people get locked out. A quick summary – both Chris Brogan and C.C. Chapman lost access to gmail, calendar, wave, the whole deal.

The idea of having a Google Premier customer service one is a very good one, the problem is that it is completely contrary to Google culture. Just like their search algorithm, determining when accounts are compromised and locked needs to be a fully automated one for it to scale. The other issue is that just because you have a premier service account representative, that doesn’t change the fact that the problem is probably technical in nature and the rep is only going to be able to say “Yes, we are working on it as fast as we can.” If it’s down, it’s down and no amount of inbound complaints will change that.

If you go with the paid service at leads you have a Service Level Agreement (SLA), but really this is just an insurance policy. If there’s a big problem you will be compensated, but you will still have to go through the pain.

An Attorney I used to work with had a unique job working for an organization that was unlike any other. He used to say “I’m the best there is, and I’m also the worst, because I am the only one.” Having your week messed up is a huge hassle, but I’m sure none of those guys are getting a new Hotmail account set up now.

On the other hand, it’s easy for me to keep a level head not having been locked out. I was wondering you feel the same way about this that I do – when I am locked out of an account or technology doesn’t perform as it normally does it really bothers me. Literally ruining my day and putting me in a bad overall mood. I’ve been robbed a couple of times and I put technology failure right up at the same level. How about you?

Email Marketing Productivity Booster

Effective Segmentation

A couple of weeks ago I had an epiphany an managing segmentation. I had been giving a lot of thought to one-to-one marketing vs. things like personas and how to go from the impressive strategy, to actually making it work as far as day to day logistics.

I’ve been doing a lot of work with Manticore as far as email tracks and delivering relevant content, but the revelation I had was that its not as much the content as effective list management. Once you can create and send custom content it’s much more important to be able to map out the sales and customer lifecycles in terms of what list individuals should be on at what time. More importantly – the huge benefit is when you can automate the management of addition and removal from specific lists. I think there’s a bigger picture here that I am starting to see about a second level of marketing automation.

Daily Life

The Boston Marathon – On Motivation

Patriot’s Day is a special day here with the running of the Boston Marathon. I run the Falmouth Road Race every summer because it’s as close to the thrill of running the marathon as you can get, at only about a quarter of the mileage (a huge difference in hours of training).

Thousands of runners line up in Hopkinton and run 26.2 miles to Boston. I ran in 2002 as part of a team that raised funds for the Franciscan Hospital for Children. The hospital runs a school and daycare program for children that require more medical attention than most places can provide and I was able to tour the facility. The photo below from the tour made the Annual Report for the Hospital that year.

The race is an amazing experience, I was lucky just to have finished before the course closed. It took me five and a half hours, plus another 15 minutes to reach the starting line because of the crowd.

While I was in training a friend of mine said “I say the same thing about the Marathon that I do about the Pan Mass Challenge – running the marathon does not impress me, training for the marathon really impresses me.” The wisdom in this statement is profound. In many ways the marathon is a celebration, spectators line the entire course, and the only time I’ve every caused a roar in the crowd was picking up the pace at mile 24 where the throngs of partying college kids hang out. It’s a good day to run.

The challenge is waking up three months earlier at 5am to run through 10 miles of ice in the dark. Worrying about, or having to deal with pain or injuries that you’ve never faced at lower mileage. This was where running for the hospital team helped me. Putting in the miles was often painful, but when I thought about the kids facing physical challenges greater than any I have ever dealt with, just to get to school, there was nothing else to do but stop whining and lace up my shoes.

We just heard the fighter pilots do the fly by, it’s time to walk over to see the race!

btw – My fundraising for the Run to Home Base has almost hit the $1,000 minimum goal (thanks to those who have helped, check out the link for more info).


5 Podcasts that I never miss – 2010 Edition

In spite of the fact that Podcasting is dead, there are some interesting things to listen to out there. When the craze began I was stuck in my car at least 3 hours a day so I listened to all kinds of stuff. Now that I have been forced to pare down my list, these are the top 5 that make the cut.

I could have used iTunes links for these, but nobody every goes to podcast websites (trust me, I know this for a fact) so I thought they could use some link love.

This American Life – Amazing production, and stories covering all kinds of stuff. Your politics may conflict with NPR but it can’t be argued that NPR does quality audio, second only to the BBC that produces…

The Big Show with Steve Wright – These guys have fun on the radio and land the interviews with the biggest names. The closest thing you’ll find to Johnny Carson. I love Ask Elvis, but I always skip Barry from Watford.

This Week in Tech (TWiT)– It’s continued to grow in size, it seems like it’s always 90 minutes, but it’s still a great place to get your tech news. Maybe not as hardcore tech as it used to be, but the place to stop for a once a week fix.

SparkGreg tipped me off to this programme from the CBC. If This American Life and TWiT had a baby, it would be Spark.

Groove Radio – R&B is a personal preference of mine, and pirate radio always seems to take more pride in the mix. Another indicator of the problem in the music industry – I buy more tracks from listening to the Groove than any other channel.

Of course it wouldn’t be linkbait if I didn’t make a plug for Marketing Over Coffee.

Feel free to add your own favorites – choose wisely, just as in Sparta, you will be judged by your words.

Daily Life

Kicking Ass at The Grocery Store

And yet another indicator that I have become soft and weak, I actually consider my grocery buying routine worth blogging about. On the other hand the Food Marketing Institute shows 2008 purchases at supermarkets over half a trillion dollars, so maybe this is a big deal.

The supermarket is an interesting indicator of the economy, and a demonstration of how a market can evolve. When I was a kid we went to the grocery store. There was one of them and that was it. Worse yet, to make me sound like a frigging fossil, there actually used to be a lunch counter in the store where my mom would get me a grilled cheese and a chocolate shake.

Drive back to the future and suddenly there’s all kind of things going on with food purchasing. I go to the farmer’s market in the center of town on the weekend and shop at the Bacon Street Farm. It’s not as much the tree hugging “grown local”, it’s more of social/economic reality – I believe that if I can keep the local stores in business the odds of my house getting robbed by unemployed neighbors goes down.

I also make a trip to the expensive grocery chain with the organic stuff because I picked up an expensive addiction to fresh squeezed orange juice back when I lived in Florida (a place called The Greenhouse, which may be gone). I also buy mint water, which has allowed me to give up diet soda completely. I never buy protein there because the prices are insane (shout out to Tara, who mentioned the struggle of shopping on Paleo that got me thinking about my hunting and gathering).

We get a lot of the commodities at the local Stop & Shop just because it’s a short drive (and now next to the new 5 Guys burgers…). The crazy thing here is how they have gone over the top for productivity. I walk in with some reusable bags and scan my card at a machine that gives me a price gun. I then cruise around with the cart and scan the stuff myself and put it in the bags. If I have to go to the deli counter I enter my order via touch screen and the the price gun goes off when my order is ready (or they can text me if I don’t have the price gun).

After I have picked up everything on my list (the incredible J-Shopper for Palm), I go to the self-checkout, return the gun, scan my card and my whole order comes up. I check out as fast as I can swipe my credit card and sign, none of the goods already in the bags get touched. If it’s a busy night at 5 guys I can place my order, buy all my groceries and get back before my burgers and fries are up.

The only advice I can give is common sense that nobody follows – never go between 10am-5pm on the weekends. Another lesser known one – stay away from mid-day during the week because that’s when a lot of senior citizens go and they tend to both move slow and block the whole aisle. Please take my word for the fact that throwing an elbow at a cranky senior WILL get you kicked out of the Stop n’ Shop in Framingham.

Daily Life

First Quarter 2010 Review

First Quarter 2010 Results

With the first quarter in the books it’s time to look back on the results.

Family is going very well, there were a lot of things to get in order with my son, and most of it has been fairly straightforward. I’ve also continued duties as the family IT department and everyone can still access the web…

Financial is going well, the big Q1 job is taxes and I’m waiting on the refunds, so that’s all good. I’ve been meaning to refinance the m0rtgage, but I just haven’t had the willpower to do all that paperwork, and the first cut I took had me paying so much in cl0sing c0sts that it would take years to make it back in savings.

Professional is also going very well, nothing special to report there and that’s a great th   ing.

Personal is not as bad as it looks on paper. I’ve been working out more but didn’t meet my weight goal, but the good news is that my weight has been steady but I am stronger and faster (one of the problems of making the goal in pounds). I’m at the racing distance for the Red Sox Run to Home Base event I am doing in May (please consider donating to help Veterans with traumatic brain injuries and/or post traumatic stress syndrome). The good news is that if I stay at this distance I’m also ready to roll for Falmouth at the end of the summer, knocking down another goal.

The only real problem I have is in the Personal category, I have one goal to do something fun and I haven’t been able to decide what to do. I’m considering doing one of the Canon EOS photo clinics that are coming up, but I really don’t shoot that much so I kind of feel that it’s wasted effort. It’s strange, I don’t really have any hobbies that interest me so I end up doing a ton of reading and most of that is work or tech related. Kind of boring actually. I’ve completely written off golf and video games as a waste of time, I think I need another writing project…

On to Q2!

The Marketeer

Why Are You At The Show?

A friend of mine is considering some trade shows and asked:

What would you consider to be a typical setup for a small booth? Signage? Table? etc. Is there anything that is a MUST have for a trade show booth besides marketing materials?

The biggest mistake people make is not having a plan for what they want to accomplish at the show. It should be either to get leads, in which case you want to give something away or hold a contest to get all the names you can, engage leads already in the pipe, where you are really going to party with a short list of people you are trying to close business with, or you are going because you are a big company in your space and it would be noticed if you weren’t there.

Aside from that Trade Shows are basically a big waste of time and money.

Depending on your answer to the above, that will dictate what you need to do. If it’s #1 you’ll want signage pushing your giveaway or contest. #2 just have a banner with your company name and a big comfy couch for when the big wheels come along. For #3 burn thousands of dollars on an custom booth so that your competitors look small and weak.

Pay no attention to the other vendors or show standards – figure out what you want to accomplish and do that, the rest of it is a waste of resources.

Stunts on the show floor is a category all its own…

Sharing booth space is a great way to get into shows without spending much. Partnering can save you tons of money, especially on shows that are new, or you’ve never tried before.

For signage, these guys do a good job at the right price – make sure you get the lamp to attach to the banner. I’m a big fan of avoiding the “show up and throw up” – logo and 5 words beat big paragraphs – it’s just to attract attention, not do the selling.

Daily Life

April Fool’s

There were some interesting pranks this year, at the top of my list was the rumor that In n’ Out Burger was coming to the East Coast.

My personal favorite was this video showing some new features in Photoshop CS4. I totally bought this, hook, line and sinker.

Geek Stuff

Ghetto Steadicam

On a late friday night I look to this blog’s draft bin for inspiration.

My Marketing Over Coffee host Christopher Penn recently plugged this article on making a $7 camera stabilizer. It reminded me of an article I had read in MAKE Magazine, one of the coolest mags out there if you are a DIY Nerd.

If you’d like to go deluxe for $14, check out this MAKE Magazine article on how to make your own camera stabilizer. This gets you closer to a Steadicam and a price you can not be afraid to tell your spouse about.