Archive for December, 2006

New Brand, Same Content!

Maybe you’ve noticed or maybe you haven’t but I have changed my blog’s name to… Marketing Monster!

You may or may not be asking, “Michael, why the change?” Boredom is my only answer.

So never fear the few of you who are loyal readers! The name has totally changed, the look has changed a little, but the content is still the same!

Have a Merry Christmas! (None of that politically correct “Holiday” crap here!)

Take care and be safe!


Is Starbucks Killing it’s Cool Factor?

A post by Lewis Green on MPDailyfix and a comment from Cam Beck got me thinking about this question. To fully understand my thought patter on this, it might be helpful to read the post.

I think the Marines and Special Forces units brand themselves (tattoo themselves, buy special shirts, etc.) to show that they’re different from the rest of the armed forces. They want people to know that they are different from the rest of the crowd (of soldiers and civilians). Don’t get me wrong, pride in what they do is also a factor. But let’s apply this idea of setting yourself apart to Starbucks…

It’s obvious that employees and customers (me included) love Starbucks. But our culture is becoming inundated with Starbucks stores. One street in Memphis has five locations in a five mile stretch. Consequently, if it hasn’t begun already, Starbucks will become the norm. When that happens, customers and employees will begin to look for a cooler/more hip alternative. My friends and I have already begun to wish that a Caribou Coffee (or some other competitor) would move into the area to offer something different.

Could Starbucks be slowly killing its cool factor by over-expansion?

"Networking" otherwise known as "How to Climb the Corporate Ladder"

In an effort to get to know my fellow coworkers, I have decided to establish “Tuesdays with Morton.” What is “Tuesdays with Morton?” It is simply an invite to a paid lunch with me on Tuesdays. The first “Tuesdays with Morton” was held today and I invited the two graphic designers from the broadcast division, Paul and Brian. It was exciting to get to know them better. Both of them are extremely talented. Brian was voted “Rookie of the Year” at the company Christmas party this past weekend and Paul is the Creative Director for the company.

Why do this? Like I said earlier, it’s a great way to get to know my fellow coworkers. But there is another reason. The more I network within my company, the more likely I am to foster goodwill towards myself and my department. I can also learn from those in a position of authority and I can share my knowledge and ideas with them. Hopefully, all of it will result in recognitions and promotions. And since I will be eligible for the “Rookie of the Year” award next year, maybe my networking will help me win it. Only time will tell…

"If you can’t measure it, it’s not worth doing!"

“If you can’t measure it, it’s not worth doing!”

I love that saying. I first heard it from my boss at my previous employer.

There’s also another saying, “More clicks equals less customers.”

I believe both sayings are absolutely true.

One of my key responsibilities at my new position is to make sure our web pages are functioning at a hundred percent. That means I have to make sure that there are no unnecessary clicks or superfluous steps in acquiring information from our website visitors. The way our website currently stands, there are many superfluous steps. A plan to correct the problem and enhance the user experience has already been created (by the web team and myself) and is currently in production. However, it will be a month or two before the pages are changed.

In the meantime, I have setup goal tracking and defined funnel navigation in my Google Analytics account for the current site. In keeping with the spirit of the saying mentioned in the title of this post, I need to know the current exit rates throughout our process. At what steps are potential customers exiting the process? How many potential customers do we lose from step one to the final step? Having the answers to these questions is very important. It will allow me to compare the numbers before the webpage changes to the numbers after the changes have been implemented. This, in turn, will allow me to see what impact the changes had on our business.

If I didn’t measure the change then I would have no clue if the changes were worth the time that the web team and I put into the project.

Like they say, “If you can’t measure it, it’s not worth doing.”

Make Your Marketing Dreams Come True: Set Goals

Dreams are wishes that seldom happen.
Life doesn’t hand you your dreams.
Dreams become reality when they become a vision.
A vision that is ready to work is a goal!

Goals are bite-sized visions.
Goals convert vision into energy.

Marketing Mistake: I’ll know it when I see it

Are you new, relatively new, or a veteran of marketing or PR? You probably are considering that covers everyone in both industries. But I digress. If you are, chances are you’ve heard this sentence before, “I’ll know it when I see it.” It’s the sentence everyone dreads to hear because it means another cycle of creative effort that will most likely end with another, “I’ll know it when I see it.” And the cycle continues.

I hate, “I’ll know it when I see it.” And I have a little message for those who use the sentence…

You won’t know it when you see it. You didn’t know that Apple would define the portable music industry when you saw the first iPod. You didn’t know that MySpace would usher in the world of social networking. You didn’t know that blogging would grow in such popularity that it would threaten the newspaper industry. To quote Seth Godin, “You hardly ever ‘know it’.”

“I’ll know it when I see it,” is a crutch of those in authority, those with the power of approval and disapproval. It’s what they say when they really should be saying, “I don’t like it because I don’t even know what I like,” or “I’m too busy to give better input,” or “I don’t really know what to do.”

If you’re a person of authority, offer some feedback. After all, you are in a position of authority; you’re expected to offer feedback. It makes a big difference and is a lot better than “I’ll know when I see it.” Offering good, constructive criticism always helps. Offering an “I’ll know it when I see it” often de-motivates employees.

FYI – I have been extremely lucky in my current position. I have not encountered the insipid sentence. But if I do, I’m sure I’ll know it when I hear it.

Goodbye Keywords, Hello Carewords!

Another (long) excerpt from Gerry McGovern’s article. This guy knows what he’s talking about.

I was once told a fascinating story by a friend of mine who is involved in the investment banking industry. Investment bankers were looking for investors in what they were calling “third-world economies.” Nobody was having much luck. Then some banker started calling them “emerging economies,” and there was a phenomenal increase in investment—all because of a couple of words.

Fortune magazine had a similar experience. For years, it had been publishing a supplement on retirement options with headlines like “Better Plans for Retirement.” Then someone came up with the idea of using the headline “Retire Rich.” Those two words resulted in a huge jump in sales, making that issue the company’s most successful in its entire history.

Words matter, and they have never mattered more than they do today. In this hectic world, we are inundated with so much stuff that we simply home in on the things we care about. And we express what we care about in a small set of words—I call these words “carewords.”

I could call them “keywords,” but then you’d yawn and put the book down. The problem is that—like “third-world economies”—the word itself is uninspiring. Of course, the way keywords have been used hasn’t helped. Many people think that they are something you quickly add to the HTML of a page and have only a loose association with the actual content. Keywords are also associated with metadata, a word so boring it deserves a health warning. So I’m going to call them “carewords” from now on.

Listen up: The secret of Web communications and marketing success is to be found in the concept of carewords. There’s something in them that has explosive potential, something that gets to the essence of modern human behavior. As Web readers, we are hunter-gatherers once again—only this time, instead of scanning the horizon for prey, we scan pages for carewords. When we see these words, we click, we act. And that is what the Web is all about: tasks and actions.

What do most people care about when flying today? Low fares or free coffee? You’d probably say low fares. When people go to a search engine, are they more likely to type “low fares” or “cheap flights”? Suppose I told you that one of these careword phrases is 400 times more likely to be typed into a search engine than the other.

Wouldn’t it be important for you to know that if you were working as a marketer for an airline?

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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