Archive for the ‘Marketing’ Category

Zillow – Make Me Move

Thursday, December 7th, 2006

Zillow unveils its latest feature tonight, Make Me Move.

The idea is pretty simple, set a price that you would be willing to sell your house for and wait for the offers to come in. Ok, this is a bit gimmicky, but fun nevertheless.

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Of course, this is a pretty good way to get people to give Zillow a little more info about your home.

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But at least I can finally move my house down the hill where it belongs.

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Moving is a pain in the butt, but we all have our price.

TechCrunch has more on Z’s other new features, the Real Estate Wiki and free listings for agents and sellers.

Links for Monday, September 18, 2006

Monday, September 18th, 2006

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Build your own Atlas Gloves
Here’s a bit of extreme nerdery, but I’ve got a keen interest in alternative interfaces. Link contains instruction about how to make LED gloves that create an alternative interface to Google Earth. I’ve not tested these gloves, but look like a great weekend project.

YouTube, Warner Music in ad share agreement
Warner Music will provide it’s entire music video catalog for YouTube users to remix and reuse. Warner will get a cut of all advertising associated with their videos and their derivative works. Sadly, for users, they get nil for there efforts. PaidContent postulates that this is the model for deals going forward. Still, this is a step in the right direction.

24% of Gen Y reads blogs
Hmmmm… I think their might be something to this whole blogging thing. Marketers take note. [via MicroPersuasion]

How to beat the iPod

Monday, September 18th, 2006

The Zen Vision W launched in the US today and I took a look at the specs on Creative’s website. Looks like a pretty cool product, but they’ve got some work in the marketing department. Maybe they figure this thing will market itself.

Apple has probably the best marketing team in the consumer electronics and computer world right now. Creative should consider taking a page out of their book to win in the marketplace. Below are a few examples how they might combat Apple’s marketing team.

#1. Make your product pages clear and concise.

A little bird sent me this page today:

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When you click “Learn More” find out more, you are taken to this page:

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Um, ok, whatever.

#2. Sell the benefit, not the specs.

Ok, so it looks like the Zen will hold 15,000 songs. Cool.

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Except, maybe there was a misprint because one of them costs more than the other one and it has 60GBs instead of 30GBs of space.

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Nope, they meant to put that there. Congrats, my mom just bought the cheaper one!

So, if you can’t accomplish the other 2, at least:

#3. Try not confuse users.

Creative seems to have sent their “B” marketing team on this product. How the hell are you expecting to beat the iPod if you can’t figure out how to sell your device. For a device named the Zen, the site and the product seem awfully difficult to use.

This post is a little mean spirited, but I want the Zen to be better. Competition is the thing that drives product development and gets us better products. Maybe the Zune will bring their “A” team to the table.

Job Interviews

Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

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I’m a terrible interviewee. I get nervous. My palms sweat. My throat dries. My mind blanks. When I’m in an interview, I rarely show the dynamic, confident, fun, creative person that I am.

Seth Godin talks today about how bad the interview process is and how the best way to bring someone on is to actually work with them. I couldn’t agree more. Before I started at Epinions, I was given a “homework” assignment to come up with a few ideas to increase usage on the site. I returned with a laundry list of ideas and how to implement them. I also tend to shine when talking about ideas and how to implement them, so that didn’t hurt. Ultimately, it got me the job.

Forever ago, when I started at Yahoo!, every applicant to the surfing department had to take a surfing test. In general, the test took about 3+ hours and covered the gamut topic-wise. I know, a web surfing test sounds ridiculous, but not everyone is cut out to surf the web for a living. Thinking in categorical hierarchies isn’t for everyone, and this test successfully weeded most of those folks out. It’s not that difficult to see how a half day work sample will help you determine a candidate’s worthiness.

I’ve been to thousands of job interviews (thankfully as an interviewer mostly) and I have come to the conclusion that the entire effort is a waste of time. At least half the interview finds the interviewer giving an unplanned and not very good overview of what the applicant should expect from this job…
The other half is dedicated to figuring out whether the applicant is good at job interviews or not.

Tara Hunt adds to the conversation by talking about how interviews tend to weed out anyone who might rock the boat.

I’m just guessing, but I think most unruly people are not good interviewees and get most of their jobs the way I’ve gotten most of mine: through their references…their actual work…the way they prove themselves by doing and not just saying.

Amen, sister!

Small Business and Social Media

Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

getlocal.jpgA very good friend of mine is relaunching her seasonal store in San Francisco this fall. It’s a really great non-profit business that sells items made by local artists. I talked to her the other day and was trying to convince her that even though the store is local, she should try to use some free online tools out there to help publicize her business online.

Some of these items are specific to the store I’m helping, but others are applicable to any local store. I’ve listed my recommendations in priority order and I can help you with most of the below if you like.

Cheap and Easy

Blog
Your current website is great, but I bet it is hard to update and may not get updated as often as you’d like. Setting up a blog is relatively simple to do and with your down time through the week, you could use your spare time to write about items in the store. Also, write a little profile for the artists/crafters that you feature (or better yet, ask the artists to do this for you). A blog is a great way to both show off what you are selling in-store, but also a way to attract other artist’s to sell their work as well.

Your blog also serves as a good place for people to ask you questions, for reporters to gather info about your store and best of all, other folks to link to you. Blogs tend to get more Google love, so hopefully, it brings you more customers.

Local search
Make sure that your store has a listing in all the local search engines like Yelp, Yahoo, Google, CitySearch, and Judy’s Book. Asking customers to review your store on these sites post purchase probably wouldn’t hurt. Search engines are devoting a lot of effort into these areas and you can only assume that they (at least the bigger ones) are getting a lot of traffic.

Flickr
Photograph everything that comes into the store and post lower resolution images (ie not printable) of the items that are for sale. I know there may be some sensitivity surrounding artist’s work, so make sure they know (and are ok with) you posting pix online. Tag all the images that you upload with your store name and thoroughly tag what they are and who they came from. This will help folks find either the artist or the work in the future.

Also, use Flickr to post pictures from the launch party, (which is something you would probably do anyway). Encourage other photographers to tag their Flickr images with your store’s name. This will help create a larger pool of pictures.

A little sidebar – a good way to make your products look good is to use a lightbox when photographing them. Here’s a link to make a cheap one.

MySpace
Create a MySpace profile for your store. Add all of the artists that you work with as your friends. Join groups and post on forums that make sense for your business. I know that many of your artists have a presence on MySpace and promoting your store and artists in MySpace will get those crazy teens in your store. Seriously, tho, MySpace has helped many a business get going moving product and it’s not outside the norms of MySpace, nor is it against their TOS. And hey, no web design chops necessary ;-).

A little more work and expense

Etsy
Etsy is a great online marketplace for handmade goods online. Create a store to help sell and promote your artists stuff online. I know that the focus of your store is selling local stuff locally, but ultimately, you are the artists agent, and I’m not sure they really care where it is sold, so long as they are putting food on the table. Etsy just did a great promotion with the upcoming Craft magazine from O’Reilly (another great resource to check out).

Second Life
Build a virtual store on Second Life. Ok, this one is a bit more difficult and might take an actual programmer, but a lot of your locals spend time on Second Life and people are spending real money on Second Life. If any of your artists are virtual, perhaps you could get them to sell their virtual goods in your virtual store. The options are virtually limitless. This is one you’d have to find someone else to help (I know a guy).

In the interest of full disclosure, one thing I would recommend is that you should make sure that artists that sell through your store should know what you are planning on doing with their work. You can decide whether to let them opt out of the program, but ultimately, these recommendations can be great ways to promote both your store and the artists.

Ok, that’s my top level view. Any questions?