Sunday, July 15, 2007

Critiquing J.C. Penney's Plan

J.C. Penney's CMO calls out the dilemma of marketing clutter in his quote announcing the company's "2007 Back-to-School" campaign:

“While traditional marketing remains an important part of our approach, we are focused on incorporating new components into this year’s Back-to-School campaign that will truly reach youth in an authentic way,” said Mike Boylson, chief marketing officer for JCPenney. “Using this unique approach, we’re able to break through the marketing clutter and sameness to attract kids and teens – whether it’s at the movies, in the mall, on the phone or on the Web.”

But for all the channels J.C. Penney is working in this campaign, there's no social media! 

There's a lot of one-way information going on here.  I think the clothing retailer could really cut through the clutter by adding two-way dialogues with the teens and youths they're targeting.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Can you read me now?

If you found this blog while searching for "Buzz Cola," welcome.  If not, that's OK too.  Earlier this week my page views spiked because of so many people looking for a place to get their Simpson's paraphernalia fix.

As I mentioned recently, I'd like to explore viewing emails on PDAs.  Google seems to have this whole mobile apps thing down pat.  I have a Q and just discovered Google Maps.  (I tried it when I first got my phone and it didn't seem to work.  Now it will, but I can't get it to auto-start in Atlanta.  Oddly, it has this San Francisco bias...)  They even make it quite easy to get Gmail on a Blackberry.  (If you're wondering why I didn't hold out for an iPhone, that's a story for another day.)

The success of an email marketing campaign is partly dependent upon click-throughs.   But with so many people viewing emails on a PDA, the landing pages used in these emails aren't always optimized for a mobile browser.  What's the point in telling someone to "click here" for more information if the page won't load properly on their PDA?  It's narrow-minded to assume everyone is viewing the email from a laptop or desktop and subsequently taking the requested action from the same place.

For those who make impulse buys, not being able to click a link to a mobile-friendly page is a sure-fire way to kill a sale quickly.  I got an from Delta of weekly fare specials. It was easy read on my mobile browser, but it didn't allow me to actually purchase a ticket.  If I'd wanted to take advantage of the specials they were sending me, I would still need to call their 800 number for a reservation.  No thank you.

How do you read your emails?  Seen something you liked? How about a marketing email from a company that made you cringe? And how has an iPhone changed your email habits?

Please use the comments to share best practices for email marketing and PDAs.


Sunday, July 01, 2007

Using Buzz Cola to Garner Movie Buzz

The post I wrote about select 7-Eleven stores being converted to Kwik-E-Marts is one of the most viewed pages on this blog. The magical conversion took place this weekend. Actually, only a dozen of the 6,000 7-Eleven stores have been made over to look like the fictional convenience stores of "The Simpsons" fame. But the rest will be selling Buzz Cola, KrustyO's cereal and Squishees, the slushy drink knock-off of Slurpees.

If you Google "Buzz Cola," my post is the seventh link that comes back in the results. There are more Simpsons fans out there than I had imagined.

All of this hoopla is part of the July 27 premiere of "The Simpsons Movie." It's a cheap stunt for Fox since 7-Eleven is paying for the whole thing (which is estimated at costing in the "single millions").

So why do this? It seems like a pretty cheap way for 7-Eleven to stand-out in the generic convenience mart category. It gets them some good buzz (pun intended) in the press and may even bring in Simpsons fans looking to buy the limited-edition theme foods. But I don't know if it's really going to attract much more attention from Slurpee/Squishee loyalists.

This is why Fox participated:

"We wanted to make sure the movie stands out as a true cultural event this summer," said Lisa Licht, a marketing vice president at Fox. "It has to stand out from other summer movies and TV shows."

Hmmm.... separating the film from the cluttered summer movie scene, eh? I'll go with it.

7-Eleven stores that have been transformed into a Kwik-E-Mart are located in New York City, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Burbank, Calif., Los Angeles, Henderson, Nev., Orlando, Fla., Mountain View, Calif., Seattle and Bladensburg, Md. (UPDATE -- here are their addresses.)

Have you visited one of these stores? Did you go there because it was a "Kwik-E-Mart" or because it was just plain convenient? Please share your stories and opinions in the comments.

Technorati Tags: ,