Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Interactive Advertising - Putting the Fans in the Super Bowl

The idea of user-generated advertising during the Super Bowl fascinates me. That companies would be willing to allow Joe or Jane Public to control the content of the most expensive time on television is intriguing. Not that the advertisers are totally hands-off, as Chevy learned the hard way what happens when the public gets their turn at the advertising wheel. Doritos, bless its cheesy little heart, is going it alone – sort of. They’ve created a contest for fans to vote on their favorite commercial among five finalists. The winner will be announced this Sunday at the Super Bowl in Miami and broadcast on TV during the game.

I love user-generated content because it allows consumers to connect with brands in so many different ways. It cuts through the clutter and gets right to its target audience. It also builds a sense of community among a group of people with shared interests.

Here are a couple of links to articles: one about user-generated advertising and another about how it relates to the Super Bowl.

Instead of being passive spectators, the trend of consumers actively engaging with brands is one that is sure to grow. Any smart marketer should know better than to put a stop to consumers who can act as an evangelist and spread good cheer through whatever channel possible. And if the cheer isn’t so good? Consider it an opportunity to improve, I say. Shouldn’t marketing be a two-way street?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Redefining Comcastic

Given that it’s been three weeks since my last posting, it’d be very easy to assume this blog was just another passing fancy and had been left to die a slow death in cyberspace. But that would be incorrect. The lack of internet access is partly to blame. (The other part can be explained by a lack of inspiring ideas. I don’t post for the sake of reading my own writing.)

Lack of internet access?! It’s 2007! How could that be possible?! Well, let’s just say that I was not having a Comcastic week last week.

My modem died on January 12, but it took three service technicians over a week to make the diagnosis. I’ll spare you the details. I was able to sneak peeks at my personal e-mail here and there, but not having the internet in my home office felt like my right arm had been removed. Needless to say, I was not pleased.

Just as I ended my last posting by saying how a positive customer experience can be a wonderful marketing tool, a negative experience can have the same effect – but not the kind a marketer would hope for.

So in the week that my internet was MIA, I at least had cable television as a link to the outside world. But in between watching my favorite shows, I saw more than one commercial advertising Comcast’s services. Which got me thinking, what’s the point in talking the talk if you’re not going to (or can’t) walk the walk? Shouldn’t companies make sure they’re able to deliver on current promises before they start making new ones?

The best kind of marketing is positive word of mouth from brand evangelists. But what kind of buzz can a company expect when those who are experiencing their brand (and are empowered to speak to it with authority) have nothing good to say? It’s time to reevaluate the link between marketing and customer service within the company.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Happy iPod Story for 2007

I am excited to start off 2007 with a tale of good customer service. Just before leaving town for vacation I noticed the screen on my iPod was broken. After a quick trip to the Genius Bar, my iPod was off to iPodResQ to be repaired. It wasn’t the cheapest option, but when I factored in shipping them my iPod, it was a wash. Here’s the 411 of how their process works, and I have to say, it really is that simple to deal with this company. I went from being really annoyed that my iPod was broken to a happy camper that I have my iPod back in working order. The lesson to be learned – never keep your iPod in your purse without putting it in a protective case. Thankfully it wasn’t a lesson to be learned by replacing my iPod entirely.

The (relevant) point of this story is a positive customer experience can be a wonderful marketing tool. We’re all quick to share horror stories, but when someone has a positive experience with your company or brand, their tale can be just as powerful when shared with those who find the source to be influential.