Marketing World

Find out what’s happening in marketing & how it may effect you.

Lessons in Marketing From Sky

Today, I received a letter from Sky TV asking me whether I would be interested in upgrading to Sky HD. They also kindly informed me that though I may have a HD-ready TV, that didn't mean that I would get high definition channels. The cost for this enhancement of my TV viewing - a  one-off cost of £49, when you take out a HD pack of £9.75 EXTRA a month and stay with Sky TV for another year. This comes after I have just given in to their tempting offer of half price Sky Sports and Movies for 6 months!

Though I won't be giving in to temptation this time, I do like the way that Sky markets to its customers. Invariably customers will be given a very tempting, initial offer of half price Sky Movies and Sports, with a free Sky+ box, for the first 6 months. If you don't wish to take up the offer, you may well get a call or direct mail with an offer at some point in the future.
What  Sky do effectively is to try to move people along the Sky TV customer lifecycle. They never seem to tire of trying to get you to buy into more of their products and services. And, in the main, the products and services are very good and very competitive. It would be so easy for them to sit back on their laurels and generate income off their subscriptions each month. However, they are constantly on the look out for products that may interest their target audience, be it Broadband, phone, or even TV's. Some of these latter products you may not even consider unless you have gone further down the funnel and probably begun to 'trust the company'.
I like the way they market to their customers.
It makes me think of the number of people (clients sometimes) I have met who are more than happy to keep delivering the same products, to the same types of people. These are the sort of traits you find from those who don't challenge themselves:
  • More often than not they have their staple bag of products and services which their clients will buy.They don't consider what else they could be offering their clients.
  • In some cases they think locally. But if you've succeeded locally, there's a bloody good chance that you could sell your products and services further afield, even internationally.
  • More than likely their clients are not fully aware of the full range of products and services the company can offer. I remember someone telling me that the worst thing a customer could ever say to you is, "I didn't know you did that".
  • The company fails to spot new opportunities. These are often in abundance and can be found by checking out your competitors, reading about your industry, visiting conferences and speaking to your customers.
  • It takes its eye off the customer life cycle. Your customer may have bought a camera off you but have you tried to sell them accessories, training, new lenses, etc?

I like to think that I try to practice what I preach. I do look at the products that I offer clients and try and work out how I could offer them new, quality products and services in the future. If someone comes on the eMarketing Award, they will be invited to come on a Social Media or Business Blogging workshop. If they have don't have the time or inclination to develop a digital marketing strategy, I can offer them consultancy.

    The key is not to stand still. Be aware of what is happening around you, what your competitors are doing and offer superior products or services. Sky does it and it has developed a very successful business model.

    Great Advice From Great Leaders

    Fortune magazine dropped through the letterbox this morning and with it some more very good articles, like a review of how Welshman Howard Stringer is getting on with reviving Sony; how the Marriott is getting a makeup and a profile of Toyota's New Man at the Wheel. However, the the articles that caught my eye were on the subject of the Best Advice I Ever Got, including an interview with Bill Gates and his dad, Bill Gates Sr

    Here's some advice that Bill received from his dad

    Well, my dad and my mom were great at encouraging me as a kid to do things that I wasn't good at, to go out for a lot of different sports like swimming, football, soccer, and I didn't know why. At the time I thought it was kind of pointless, but it ended up really exposing me to leadership opportunities and showing me that I wasn't good at a lot of things, instead of sticking to things that I was comfortable with. It was fantastic, and now some of those activities I cherish. They had to stick to it because I pushed back a lot, but it was fantastic advice.

    And here's what advice was given to Larry Page of Google

    In graduate school at Stanford University, I had about ten different ideas of things I wanted to do, and one of them was to look at the link structure of the web. My advisor, Terry Winograd, picked that one out and said, "Well, that one seems like a really good idea." So I give him credit for that.

    Mark Hurd, CEO of Hewlett Packard has this to say:

    Nine years after starting at NCR, I moved to a head-office job in Dayton in 1988. An NCR executive was giving a presentation; he had great slides and an even better delivery. The CEO, Chuck Exley, listened to the entire presentation in his typically gracious, courteous manner. At the conclusion, he nodded and said something brief but profound: "Good story, but it's hard to look smart with bad numbers." And as I reflected on it, the presenter, articulate as he was, as good as his slides were, simply had bad numbers.

    Bob Iger, President and CEO of Disney offers us a bit of Shakepseare:

    My father wrote in my sixth-grade yearbook quoting Hamlet - Polonius to his son, Laertes: "To thine own self be true." I was 12 years old, but it had a powerful impression on me then, and I've often thought of it since.

    Elon Musk, Founder and CEO of Spacex

    "Don't panic." It's from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. You have to be wary of emotion clouding your decision-making process - and of making a decision that you'll later regret. You have to be as clearheaded as possible. Of course it's a fine line, because you don't want to be completely dispassionate

    Peter G. Peterson, Co-founder and Senior Chairman, Blackstone Group 

    When I was at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, I had Milton Friedman as a professor. He worshipped free markets and was also a powerful advocate of Adam Smith's concept of comparative advantage: Focus on those things you do better than others. That has been enormously helpful in defining our business strategies

    Brand Gap – A Great Example Of Great PowerPoint

    I was just checking out the slideshows on Slideshare, mainly Social Media ones, when I came across this presentation by Marty Neumeier, of Neutron LLC. One of the first things that caught my eye was the number of views: 517,397; the second was the timestamp: 3 years ago. Having seen the slides I can understand the first stat, the second is irrelevant. It is a superb presentation on the essence of Brand. Enjoy!

    Speaking Engagements for CIM

    Over the next 2 months I will be giving a couple of presentations for the Chartered Institute of Marketing. The first event will be the 7th Annual Tutor Conference at Moor Hall, Berkshire, whose theme is Planning for a digital future, Building a business for tomorrow. The second, this time being run by CIM Wales, is titled An introduction to online marketing. My presentation is entitled, The position of online within your overall marketing strategy. Let me know if you're coming along.

    Spring Into Spring With Do Re Mi From Antwerp

    If you've never heard of a flash mob or if you just love Julie Andrews and the Sound of Music, click the play button below and enjoy!

    Banner Ads That Work


    If you're like me, you probably have a tendency to blank out banner adverts that appear to the top, left and right of web pages you visit. This 'affliction' is commonly referred to as banner blindness and has resulted in a huge reduction in the number of people likely to click, or interact, with the message on a banner. In order to engage customers, marketers have had to resort to more interactive, or rich banner ads, that catch your eye as you fly through a busy website - think Yahoo!, CNET, New York Times.

    Recently, I must admit, I have started to become a lot more aware of banner ads - probably due to the clever videos, brand or some other trick and have, on occasion, moused over the ad to see it displayed full screen, in all its glory. These sorts of ads don't require you to click and usually fill the whole, or part of the screen, with their video content.


    Just this morning I saw a very simple, powerful ad from Cancer Research UK, for Race for Life, which not only ran the video but also invited viewers to share the video. The great thing about these 'share facilities' is that they can be used by most web users. Practically all of us fit into the category of MySpace, Facebook or Yahoo! users, whilst others are bloggers on TypePad, WordPress or Blogger; a smaller amount of us use Vox or Squidoo. This facility is so neat as it means that the coverage of the banner ad moves out of the portal or website that you're viewing it on, with its own defined target audience. and extends out into Facebook and MySpace profiles pages and networks or onto blogs that cover an array if topics, like this one!

    25 Years Ago Macintosh Was Launched


    I was just looking at the Guy Kawasaki website and saw an article that stirred up some memories - Macintosh 25th Anniversary Reunion: Where Did Time Go? To commemorate the event many of the people who were involved in that launch came together at the home of one of software evangelists - there are some nice pictures of some of the people who made a huge difference to the way that we live and work today. The picture of the Macintosh 128k really did remind me of the first time I actually used one of these wonderful machines, having previously used an 'IBM-compatible' machine running on MS-Dos! With its exciting new graphical user interface and operating system, using the computer for mundane tasks became a joy.

    The applications that you used with it were also a revelation - MacPaint and MacWrite were surely the precursors of applications like Word and Photoshop. There was also a programme on there called HyperCard which allowed you to stack cards and link them to one another - sound familiar? And anyone who wrote an assignment at college using Macintosh and not an IBM-compatible' machine always gained a few extra marks - purely because of the beautiful presentation!

    This machine really did kick start a revolution and many of the machines and much of the technology we use today can directly relate back to this event. Microsoft even identified that it had to change its offering to become more 'Mac-like' to get ahead. This nostalgia may even make me think of boxing up my Acer and buying a new Apple!

    ** UPDATE **
    Here's a very neat interview, entitled How the Mac was made, from the Guardian with some of those involved in creating the Macintosh 25 years' ago, including Steve Wozniak.


    Related Article
    Recommended Books For Summer (including iWoz book review)

    Seth Godin Interview

    After years of buying .Net magazine at Borders and WHSmith I have finally decided to sign up as subscriber - that way I'll never miss an issue again. The first issue has been a very good one and includes articles on Why Google's blue links are history, Tomorrow's trends in web design, making a better 404 page and an interview with Seth Godin. In this article, which is not available on the website yet, they ask him: "why haven't you got a Twitter account? He replies:

    "The Dip, one of my books, describes the fact that you only come out ahead when you focus on things where you ca be the best. Having a second-rate blog isn't worth the time, for example, because most people, given the cohoice, would choose to read a first-rate blog instead. Well, I'd be a second-rate Twitterer."

    I must admit that he has a very good point here and I do feel that a number of top-rate bloggers have probably neglected their blog, whilst busy updating their Twitter account with 140-character postings. And this trend towards more micro-blogging is bound to continue - partly driven by the fact that you don't have to spend too long thinking about how you will write a blog article.

    Acer Direct Problems – Follow Up

    If you remember, last month I wrote an article about my bad customer experience problems with Acer Direct. Well, here's an update on what has transpired since. When I wrote the article I also fired an email off to their customer services department (pointing them to the Acer Direct article) and this is the reply I had:

    Can you please resend the question you asked 2 months ago? As this was not received by ourselves.

    So, two emails that I sent to a total of 4 people never got seen!

    By the end of the afternoon I had received an email from the Managing Director, Nick Glynne, asking me to phone him later in the week.

    I did and got his voice mail. I have now phoned twice and emailed once, yet still no response.

    However, I have had a great response from Google!

    I would now like to explore the results which I have gathered from Google AdWords and Analytics.

    AdWords Data
    For the search terms, "acer uk", "acer laptops", Laptops direct", "acer direct" and acer notebooks" I received a total of 75 clicks from 10,00 page impressions on Google's search network and 23 clicks from 23, 510 impressions on the content network. The click through rate was great but the ad was scheduled to run at various times of the day and certainly got seen by people.

    Analytics Data
    Here's the data from Google Analytics:


    This data is pretty good as it indicates that 119 different individuals saw this article, they took the time to read it: 3 minutes and 58 seconds and 86.61% people went in and back out again. This stat is what I'd expect for an article like this but would be bad if they came in for my other articles!! One further stat shows that these 119 unique views came from 61 "cities" across the UK.

    Google Search Results
    Now the Google AdWords campaign has taken a break (until I use another Google AdWords voucher!), the organic search results have taken over. Here's the article in position number #8 on Google for the search term "acer direct".


    On my new Blackberry device, it appears #2, directly under Acer Direct themselves!