The Internet? Bah! Why cyberspace isn’t, and will never be, nirvana

Wow, this guy was so wrong…

I bet he regrets writing this article for Newsweek in 1995. This is clearly a case of a guy lacking any foresight.

Below are a few choice comments:

“Visionaries see a future of telecommuting workers, interactive libraries and multimedia classrooms. They speak of electronic town meetings and virtual communities. Commerce and business will shift from offices and malls to networks and modems. And the freedom of digital networks will make government more democratic.

Baloney. Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth in no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works.”

“Yet Nicholas Negroponte, director of the MIT Media Lab, predicts that we’ll soon buy books and newspapers straight over the Internet. Uh, sure.”

“We’re told that multimedia will make schoolwork easy and fun. Students will happily learn from animated characters while taught by expertly tailored software… These expensive toys are difficult to use in classrooms and require extensive teacher training.”

“Then there’s cyber business. We’re promised instant catalog shopping–just point and click for great deals. We’ll order airline tickets over the network, make restaurant reservations and negotiate sales contracts. Stores will become obsolete. So how come my local mall does more business in an afternoon than the entire Internet handles in a month? Even if there were a trustworthy way to send money over the Internet–which there isn’t–the network is missing a most essential ingredient of capitalism: salespeople.”

Hillarious!

Email Marketing Tip

You know that chunk of text usually at the beginning of the email you send out? You know, the one that says something like, “If you can’t view this email, click here.

Well, why don’t you take that ordinary chunk of text and make it work for you. Instead of the same old “If you can’t see this email, click here” tripe, work your offer into the text. You’ll get something like:

“Can’t view this email to save $20 on your next order? Click here to view the email.

Obviously, you’ll want to link the text in bold to the appropriate webpage.

Doing this helps get your offer in front of your reader that may have trouble viewing your emails.

Thanks to Bryan Eisenberg for the tip

Choice and your website?

Choice can be a powerful tool. Give a consumer the power of choice and they just might become a repeat customer or an evangelist.

Case in point, the Nintendo DS. It’s the hottest selling videogame handheld. Why? Well simply put, a lot of people buy them. In fact, a lot of people buy more than one. They buy two or three. Why? Because Nintendo offers consumers the choice of their favorite color. Buyers have the choice of white, red, pink, gold, and other colors.

This approach to offering consumers choice has been effectively used by other companies too. Apple with their iPods is another example.

But choice on the web is different. The more choices you give to your website visitor, in terms of links and navigation, doesn’t necessarily translate into a happier experience. On the contrary, it often leads to confusion and frustration.

The next time you’re writing an article or email, stick with one to two action points. Use one video on a landing page, not three.

Think of your site or email as a path. You want your visitor to walk the path you layout for them. But if the visitor comes to a junction where they have a choice of taking one of 4 splits, they’ll become uncertain about what they should do.

Guide your visitor down one path with zero splits.

Happy Birthday Blog!

That’s right, this blog is now 2 years old!

I must say, it’s been a crazy ride and a lot of it is thanks to this blog. It helped me land my current job, put me in touch with some amazing marketers across the country, and helped me get to know some students too.

Here are some stats from the past 2 years:

Number of visitors: 27,526
Total comments: 399
Highest views in one day: 563
Most read article: Starbucks Case Study

A special thanks!
I would like to thank all of my readers and subscribers. Having your input and interest has made me a better marketer.

The Marketing Power of Dogs

According to a recent Harris poll, nearly two-thirds of Americans have a pet. Seven in 10 pet owners have a dog. Furthermore, 93% of dog owners consider their pet to be a part of the family.

Take a minute to think about what that means. It means that those 93% of dog owners consider their pets to be a major part of their lives. How major? Again, according to the Harris poll, nearly 70% of pet owners let their pets sleep in their bed. Another 65% buy their pets a gift for Christmas. In essence, many dogs enjoy the type of lifestyle afforded to the humans in their family.

How can you benefit from these findings? You can set yourself apart from much of your competition, if you or your business makes a point to embrace dog owners.

Run a grocery store or market? Consider letting dog owners bring in their pets while they shop, and promote the heck out of it.

Own a business? Let your employees bring their dogs to work or provide an onsite dog-sitting service, and promote the heck out of it.

There are many possibilities.

Dog owners, like their pets, are faithful. If your market let’s them bring in their pet, they’ll start shopping at your store versus the one down the street. If your business lets employees bring in their dogs, that a great way to increase employee happiness – thus reducing turnover and snagging better employees than your competition.

Now I’m fully aware that there are limitations and you have to work out the details. But imagine the new market you open up to yourself – a large (two-thirds) and faithful market. It might be worth the effort!

Why do companies fear social marketing?

Why do companies fear social marketing (using blogs, social networks, and feeds)? The answer is fairly simple; they see it as unchartered territory. This is according to a recent Coremetrics survey of marketers. 

But you know what? Those marketers are wrong.

Social marketing and its mediums (again blogs, social networks, and feeds) is simply word-of-mouth marketing taking on a new form. 

Are the forms new? Most certainly. But the function of the forms is not new. People have always and will always look to the “influencers” and early adopters to see if they recommend a product or service.

So, if the word-of-mouth function has been around for decades and marketers have been using it for decades, then why is there this big fear or hesitation to get involved? 

Fearing what’s new and being afraid to try new strategies and tactics causes a company to become ordinary.

If you ask me, it doesn’t make sense.

Technorati becomes irrelevant

First, an apology. I’m sorry for the lack of updates to this blog. I’ve been focusing on work and consulting on other blogs. But I’m slowly starting to get back into the swing of things. Thanks for your patience!

Now on to the topic of this post.

Technorati has become irrelevant. Why? Because of spam. It’s true. According to Technoratie founder David Sifry, spam blogs account for over 99% of all the updates they get.

How did this happen? How can the once giant, #1 search engine for blogs become this way?

The 1st sign of this happened back when Technorati decided to include MySpace blogs in their search results. This was a bad move because it severly hurt the number of relevant search results. Instead of returning quality posts, you got useless tripe from 13 year old girls and college boys. The 2nd, and perhaps biggest blow, was when Technorati started to include Twitter posts in its search results. Now you got even more useless tripe!

As a result of these terrible decisions, Technorati has now become a search engine for spam not relevant thoughts on topics.

It all goes back to that basic marketing rule; focus on your core audience, not on everyone. By trying to appeal to a larger crowd (everyone) instead of its core (quality bloggers, the ones that are pushing the medium forward) they have become irrelevant.


Who am I ?

My name is Michael Morton. I believe in bringing energy and professionalism into the office, that knowledge is power, that leadership trumps management, that customers are more influential than advertisements, that content is king, and that two heads are better than one. I currently lead the marketing efforts of the Strategic Alliances department of my company. Let’s talk marketing!

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