Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Should You Play? These Gamification Statistics Say "Yes!"

Curiously enough -- one year ago, to the day -- I blogged about gamification. Now I revisit the growing influence of this marketing strategy with a compelling infographic from OnlineBusinessDegree. Thank you, Andrew Hunt, for sharing!

Winning at Their Own Game: The Business Benefits of Gamification

Friday, June 7, 2013

Thirsty Marketing: Slurp, Slurp

I've been watching Season 6 of "Mad Men." As fans know (and to boil it down to almost nothing), the show is about the history of advertising (the 50s, 60s, and 70s, so far) as seen though the eyes of copywriters and account pitchmen. The premise that the world can be moved by ground-breaking ad copy may have been true at one time. That time has passed. Here's the deal.

In 2013, consumers really have "heard it all" (about one million to seven million times per year, according to Yankelvich Research). 

No wonder, in this heavy laden content world, consumers both recognize and loathe being talked at and down to.

A case in point: Overuse of the term "community." Look folks, I'm your customer, not a member of your self-anointed community. True, I may love your product design and functionality (iPad) or treasure the incomparably customer-centric way you do business (Amazon). But I'm really just an Amazon enthusiast/fan and an Apple user (Note: Once upon a time, when the Mad Men were young, I used to be part of the Apple community because it was a community ...  but that's another story).

A second case in point: The co-opting of genuine customer service by the telecom industry's la-de-da marketing (or is it their NON-marketing) C-suiters. Have a problem? If you call in, you're sure to get recorded messages like these:
"Please hold; your call is very important to us."
 "A customer service executive will be right with you."
You've got to be kidding me, Comcast. Your customer service "executives" are paid a pittance. The big bucks go to investors and lobbyists who haunt Congress for de-regulation favors. We all know this. Get real .. or we'll get you. Lose your grip on that monopoly and you're done. We will remember.

Consumers Fight Back with Sharing
We've been hearing about "authentic" marketing for quite awhile. It matters ... a lot. But too many folks with something to sell, sell us short. We're getting even .. On message boards and Twitter and Facebook pages and Yelp. And here's an even bigger threat to "fool me twice": the sharing economy. Here, from an article in The Economist, check out what is, perhaps, the most successful peer-to-peer sharing scheme yet.

 "LAST night 40,000 people rented accommodation from a service that offers 250,000 rooms in 30,000 cities in 192 countries. They chose their rooms and paid for everything online. But their beds were provided by private individuals, rather than a hotel chain. Hosts and guests were matched up by Airbnb, a firm based in San Francisco. Since its launch in 2008 more than 4m people have used it—2.5m of them in 2012 alone. It is the most prominent example of a huge new “sharing economy”, in which people rent beds, cars, boats and other assets directly from each other, co-ordinated via the internet."

This! Your house and mine, now competing with one of the most price-aggressive, stable industries in the world: hotels!

It's not quite over yet, though. Here  are a few positives for combating cons and intrusions while retaining the marketing edge and dealing with/cashing in on/exploiting the trend to peer sharing:

1. Do be authentic. It's okay to be funny (Mayhem is) and brilliant copywriting still builds customer goodwill (brought to you by "the most interesting man in the world"). But don't even try to cover up the truth.

2. If you have loyal customers, you already have the makings of your own "shared economy." Group pricing? Hosted information roundtables? Shipping/logistics packages? None of these are brand new, but maybe you have a twist to add. Consider the possibilities.

3. The world is rearranging its parts, which suggests new partnership opportunities. For example, who would have thought that hands-on construction worker types-- or realtors, for that matter -- could so successfully partner with artsy-heartsy interior designers? The Property Brothers, that's who... and they are cashing in.

4. Customers are both voting with their feet and screaming as they head for the exit. Voting and screaming. This could work.

Stay thirsty, my friends.

-- scrubbed by MarketingBrillo

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

If Managing Your Online Branding Hurts, SYNQY Could Ease the Pain

SYNQY -- a new start up near San Francisco -- is introducing an innovation designed to help organizations standardize and update the information that current and prospective customers see online.

Chairman and CEO Michael Weissman says SYNQY applies Meta embed code to a subscriber’s “brand assets”—logos, photos, messaging, video, registration forms, donation pages, white papers, slide presentations, articles, brochures, and so on. Thereafter, when an online user clicks on any coded asset, the right intended information pops up.

How It Works
To demonstrate, Weissman points to an Internet user who’s browsing an online fashion magazine that features a red dress sold by a major online retailer. Typically, when the user clicks on such a photo, she’s yanked off the magazine's website and plunked onto a seller's website. Too often, she has trouble getting back to the online magazine again. With SNYQY, wherever she sees the red dress online—either at the magazine’s site or anywhere else—her click pops up consistent information without jumping to a new site.

That’s the buyer’s (and the magazine’s) advantage. But Weissman says the marketer’s advantage is greater. As the CMO responsible for selling that red dress, SYNQY code automatically ensures that the buying experience is going to be the same for every buyer, every time.

Right for You?
Whether SYNQY is right for a given organization depends on how often people search for or buy that organization’s product(s) online. Weissman explains: “A printing company that depends on direct sales, but very little inbound marketing, is less likely to be a SYNQY customer. But an integrated communications firm that does content marketing and creates news stories to drive sales would be an excellent candidate. Large fundraising organizations with networks of partners or advocates would find SYNQY an option in managing their brand assets, as would a franchise company, political campaign, automobile dealership, or any organization with chapters.”

A New Process
Weissman differentiates SYNQY from so-called brand asset management entities that simply store digital materials for distribution. That process depends on human effort, he says—a sales person, chapter or branch manager, dealer, franchise owner, and so on.  By contrast, SYNQY manages and distributes brand assets without human involvement, thereby saving money. “So often, marketers are involved in non-bonus activities like updating content and keeping channels current. But there's no return for these labor-intensive activities. SYNQY can take over that job."

Build It Yourself?
The concept is easy, but building a competing technology would be very difficult and expensive, Weissman adds. “That's why it hasn't been done before. It would take millions of dollars to replicate what SYNQY does and millions more to keep it updated, but using SNYQY software is easy and inexpensive.”

How Much?
SNYQY costs $100 per user per month, which includes one SYNQY embed code. Additional SYNQY embeds cost $100 apiece per year.

Weissman, who has 25 years of high-tech marketing experience, suggests the price is a bargain for marketers who must spend thousands of dollars—or more—updating widespread, disparate Internet content. “Simply turning a static asset into a SYNQY is a 10 to 15 second effort, from start to finish. So, to take a catalog of 10 brand assets and turn them into trackable, manageable code would take less than five minutes and cost $1,000 — very little for most companies.”

What about retrofitting all the brand assets currently floating on the Internet?
“Many of our customers are starting with new assets,” Weissman says. “Eventually, we expect they will retrofit. The other approach is to put an entire product catalog inside a single SYNQY. This gives the best of both worlds.”

Free 30-day trials are available at Click below for a short video.