Tag Archives: business

I’m so glad this marketing consultant got in touch with me

I got this in my inbox today from a “marketing consultant.”

Foddernetwork.com Team,

I thought you might like to know some reasons why you are not getting enough Social Media and Organic search engine traffic for Foddernetwork.com.

Wait, wait! I know this one!

I’m not getting enough “Social Media” (capital “S,” capital “M”) and “Organic search” (capital “O,” not sure why it’s a lowercase “s”) because it’s been years since those sites were updated.

That little fact is what makes the postscript on the original message so confusing:

PS I: I am not spamming. I have studied your website and believe I can help with your business promotion …

Two things:

1. When you say you’re not spamming you most definitely are spamming.

2. If you clicked through to any of the sites listed on foddernetwork.com you’d see they ceased publishing quite a long time ago. Your extensive study of my web properties must have missed that. Odd.

And while I’ve got you here, esteemed marketing consultant, here’s a tip: Your tone needs work. You can think I’m an idiot, but don’t let me know that.

The confounding and persistent belief that hyper-growth can last

There are certain things I cannot comprehend.

Michael Jackson’s post-“Bad” album sales.

The success of “Two and a Half Men.”

The McRib.

But the most confounding thing of all is the notion that exponential growth can be sustained over a long period of time. Case in point: This Associated Press piece questions Apple’s ability to maintain unthinkable double-digit profits quarter after quarter:

Analysts said the warning suggested Apple can no longer sustain its growth without some completely new products. Its last revolutionary creation, the iPad, was launched in 2010. Co-founder Steve Jobs, who was the engine behind the creation of the iPod, iPhone and iPad, died in 2011.

So, people are concerned that Apple’s string of amazing product releases will — as all things do — end?

Of course it will end.

Meteoric growth relies on luck, context and rocket fuel. Sustainable growth relies on luck, context and solar panels.

I just don’t understand the go-go-go mindset. I suppose it’s exciting and interesting. But it’s not something you count on.

A good online community will hurt you

Warning: This is a wandering piece / draft of something I might develop later.

BuzzFeed’s feature story about Google Reader’s “lost social network” offers an interesting look at the small communities that take root in odd spaces.

Google Reader 1.0 was never meant to be a social network. Hell, it was barely a social tool. But a community formed amidst the simple comment and sharing mechanisms that Reader provided.

The story reminded me that “social” isn’t about tools or technology. It’s about people gathering where they want to gather (this is also why publishers need to go where people gather … but that’s a rant for another time).

Unfortunately, that small Reader community wasn’t big enough or vocal enough to warrant continued support from Google — not with Facebook gaining more power by the minute. So, when the Google+ makeover ripped through Reader, the old community evaporated. And a lot of people in that community were sad because finding a place where you want to be is hard.

I went through a community disruption of my own a long time ago. I ran an X-Files forum on T@ponline / OnTap back in the late ’90s (don’t laugh, the “X-Files” was awesome). It attracted a small-but-committed group of people, most of whom came for the “X-Files” but stayed for the conversation. I loved it.

For a few years everything was great, but the parent company was bought and the new owner decided to change things. My forum — as engaging as it was — wasn’t deemed a priority. Which was completely fair because it wasn’t a priority. It wasn’t a profit center. It wasn’t integral to the future of the business. It was simply a fun and largely trivial outpost with great discussions.

I say that now. Back then I thought changing anything about the forum or the site was the height of idiocy. How dare they disrupt this beautiful thing! Clearly, they know nothing about the web! (I used to think that a lot.) Continue reading

Hey, journalists, this is why you need a blog

A phenomenal post from Jason Fry at the National Sports Journalism Center:

When I started Faith and Fear in Flushing with my friend Greg Prince in the winter of 2005, I’d been at The Wall Street Journal Online for nearly 10 years. But despite all that time as a Web guy, I’d adopted some rather unhealthy attitudes. I was studiously uninterested in knowing how many readers read my columns, and only took a passing interest in their reactions to them. I thought that my job was to be a thinker and a writer. Worrying about traffic numbers? That was somebody else’s job – and a lesser calling.

This was arrogant and dumb, and a few weeks of writing Faith and Fear showed me that. On my own blog, the numbers were of immense interest to me. I pored over them every day in an effort to figure out what posts were connecting with readers and what posts weren’t. I was singing for my supper, and it made me a better columnist. If a column was well written but didn’t seem to connect, I wasn’t happy with it. I no longer dismissed Web traffic as not my job, complained about writing promos for my stuff, or gave reader comments and emails short shrift. And I realized those folks on the business side were critical to our collective success, and could teach me things. [Emphasis added.]

I’ll add this: journalism’s biggest mistake was allowing business apathy/hatred among the editorial ranks. That’s a far more egregious “sin” than publishing free Web content.

What we need is a good-better-best approach to digital content

Paramount is out with a new online service that lets customers purchase clips from films. As this New York Times article notes, it’s initially aimed at advertisers and marketers who want to use the clips in campaigns. Consumers will be let in on the action later.

I have a couple thoughts on this:

1. Kudos to Paramount for giving this a shot. It certainly can’t hurt, and we need all the experimentation we can get.

2. I think this is a fantastic opportunity to test good-better-best quality levels. I’ve long thought there’s a way to service different segments of the audience through resolution, features and convenience.

For example, writers, bloggers and others who simply want to reference a clip could grab a lower-resolution version for free (as many already do through YouTube). This boosts awareness and creates branding opportunities for the content provider.

One sidenote: The Times piece suggests folks on the low end — consumers, mostly — may have to pay a low per-clip fee. That’s the wrong move. These aren’t ringtones. Ringtones are a public expression of personality linked to an always-on, always-available device. Embeddable movie clips require placement within media forms, be it a website or a DVD. The all-important personality element is muted. I’m not going to shell out cash if that so-bad-it’s-good movie clip only broadcasts my ironic sense of humor to a limited audience. I need exposure, dammit!

But I digress …

Moving up the scale, companies that want to aggregate clips or make them available as part of another content product could pay a reasonable amount (likely a flat rate for a certain number of clips) and gain access to DVD-quality content. I can see utility here for the education world. A one-stop shop for clips could take a lot of the pain out of the copyright quagmire law-abiding teachers currently face.

On the high end, marketers and advertisers who need full-resolution (1080p, if available) and the absence of co-branding would pay a premium.

What won’t work is an “everyone must pay” declaration. I’m assuming that since this got written up in the Times, and given that a consumer option is part of the longer-term gameplan, Paramount wants this to be more than a back-channel marketers’ tool. Otherwise, why publicize it? This is clearly a public-facing product. As such, it needs to properly service the unique needs of all audience segments.