Marketing World

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

How to Win Clients the FedEx Way

The Church of the Customer have an interesting write up about a FedEx client who appears to have incurred the wrath of the mighty corporate company. It would seem that José Avila decided to use his FedEx cardboard packaging boxes as furniture in his new house - he apparently didn't have the cash to buy new furniture having moved from one part of the US to another - and then posted some of the pictures on the web. This is the story according to Joe Jaffe, who seems to have generated a lot of buzz surrounding the story:

* Jose moves from California to Arizona

* Doesn't really have the cash to go to IKEA, so in the spirit of
creativity and armed with the tagline, "it's ok to be ghetto", he decks
out his apartment with Fedex boxes

* Sticks a few pictures on his website and before he knows it, the web lights up with activity and interest...

* Word gets out to Fedex who find Jose's efforts to be a distraction
from the development of their next Superbowl spot or a raging debate
about the recommended Pantone colors from their next branding logo

* Fedex issues a Cease 'n Desist, citing everything from the Digital Millennium Copywriter's Act to Box Theft. Site taken down.

* Jose connects with Jennifer Granick over at Stanford who fights Fedex's imbecilic behavior all the way to the blog. Site back up.

* Avila maintains his position that it's ok to be ghetto and soaks up publicity from Countdown to the Today Show.

He believes that José Avila:

"a pink-haired, unassuming software engineer who could quite
possibly be the marketer of the year (or at least the hour)"

When you read something like this you can't help but wonder at how incompetent some of these large corporate giants can really be. Instead of promoting the story and using viral marketing to push the brand for them, they wheel out the big legal guns and try to beat the poor customer into sumbissions.

Stupid buggers!

Related Articles
Furniture Causes FedEx Fits

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Wired Celebrates 10 Years That Changed the World

Wired_cover10 years ago Netscape went public and to mark the event Wired magazine is decicating much of its recent issue to the events that shaped the past 10 years of the Internet. I haven't had a chance to look at the latest hard copy version of the magazine - I'll pop in to WH Smith tomorrow - but the Wired website has some interesting snippets and a timeline. Here's a taster:

The Whiz Kid - Marc Andreessen: "It's a lot more fun
in retrospect. Startups are stressful, and Netscape was no different.
The funny thing is, back then we thought the horse had already left the
barn. Netscape's ­predecessor, Mosaic, already had 1 million users. We
thought the market might be saturated. Even as late as '95, the Net was
populated by early adopters, defense contractors, techies, and

Mar: Jerry Yang and David Filo incorporate Yet Another
Hierarchical Officious Oracle (Yahoo!) and raise $2 million in funding
from Sequoia Capital.

The Music Swapper - Shawn Fanning:
"This was such a weird time for us. We were living in San Mateo, about a block from the Napster offices. Rolling Stone
had come to photograph. At that point, Napster had already experienced
massive growth, but it didn't seem real. Then the mainstream press came
around, and it was just a whirlwind, total craziness.

Dec: is the first publicly held dotcom to bite the dust. Woof!

The iPod Evangelist - Steve Jobs:
"We'd decided that
the iPod was too big to keep in the Mac universe, which turned out to
be the right decision. A little less than a year after this photo was
taken, we shipped our millionth iPod, which wouldn't have been possible
without the Windows market.

Jan: 544 million people around the globe now use the Internet.

The Candidate - Howard Dean:
"Dick Cheney was holding
a $2,000-a-plate fundraising lunch, so we asked Americans all over the country to join me the same day for a lunch in front of their computers. It sparked a huge response, and, amazingly, the online
contributions from that day matched what Cheney made from his
fundraiser. It showed that our campaign, and that of other Democrats,
could remain competitive thanks to a growing base of people donating
small amounts.

Jan: Starbucks offers overpriced Wi-Fi to go with its overpriced coffee.

When you review the past ten years in their entirety, it is quite staggering how the Internet has changed everyone's lives. If I remember rightly, it was around this time (1995) that I first discovered the Internet in some Internet Café in Madrid (that's a plug for my other blog!).

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Have Fun Googleising Your Name or Company Name

Steve Rubel has come across a site, called Google Logo Maker, which will convert the words you type into Google-style logos. Have fun!

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WOMMA – Word of Mouth Marketing Association Conference in Chicago

Womma_2WOMMA stands for the Word of Mouth Marketing Association, if you're not already aware. In Chicago on July 13th, it will be holding the first-ever conference, called Measuring Word of Mouth, on measurement, metrics, and standards in word-of-mouth marketing. I must admit that I wasn't that familiar with the organisation unil I had an email from one of their people - Ben - asking if I could mention the event.

According to their website, WOMMA:

is the official trade association for the word of mouth marketing industry. WOMMA's mission is to promote and improve word of mouth marketing by:


  • Protecting consumers and the industry with strong ethical guidelines
  • Promoting WOM as an effective marketing tool
  • Setting standards to encourage its use

Judging by their line-up of speakers and subjects it does sound like it could be quite an interesting event to attend. There are speakers from the Harvard Business School, Future Now, Brand Dimensions and Nielsen/NetRatings. WOMMA claims that attendees will learn 5 things from the event:

  1. Measure and Track Word of Mouth
  2. Prove the ROI of WOM
  3. Create a WOM Media Plan
  4. Discover Why Messages Go Viral
  5. Understand Why Customers Talk

Some of the talks and presentations that caught my eye were:


Optimizing WOM: Which Words Work?

Why People Talk: Consumer Behavior and Word of Mouth

"A Case For Using The Internet To Track Offline, Organic Word Of Mouth"

"The Blog Universe: Influencers, Early Adopters and Online Tenure Rolled into One"

"Customer Evangelists are Not Loyal Customers"

If you're interested in going to the event, please send me an email and I can send you a $50 discount code.

Look and Find – but not in Madrid

I am currently spending a couple of weeks in Madrid - my wife´s home town and it´s quite interesting to see how different 2 countries - Spain and the UK - are with regards the Internet. On arriving in Madrid one of the first cars that I saw had emablazoned across it the name of a well-known estate agents - Look and Find - yet nowhere was the web address displayed. What´s even more bizarre is that the website has a complete listing of properties for Look and Find across the whole of Madrid and Spain!

Even coming from a town which is around 200 miles from London, I find this is very strange to see indeed. The internet cafe that I am currently writing this post doesn´t have a website address - though it is very busy and quite good ( - c/Tetuan, Madrid). I think every small company - even those with under 5 employess - that I work with have a website in the UK.

This is not to say that Madrid and Spain have not adopted the Internet - ADSL is cheaper here than the UK and one of my colleagues told me only the other day that a friend of his is dealing with a Madrid company that´s at the cutting edge of streaming video and doing things which are far more advanced than anything in the UK! 

I´ll continue my observations over the coming week.


Have You Heard of the Long Tail?

Long_tail_1If you haven't heard about the Long Tail, then you probably soon will - as it is one of the most bandied-about business phrases of the moment. The idea of the "Long Tail" was first coined by Wired's editor-in-chief Chris Anderson in a Wired article October of last year and refers to:

"how the mass market is turning into a million
niches. The term refers to the yellow part of the sales chart [above],
which shows a standard demand curve that could apply to any industry,
from entertainment to services. The vertical axis is sales, the
horizontal is products. The red part of the curve is the "hits", which
have dominated our commercial decisions to date. The yellow part is the
non-hits, or niches, which I argue in the article will prove equally
important in the future now that technology has provided efficient ways
to give consumers access to them thanks to the "infnite shelf-space
effect" of new distribution mechanisms that break thought the
bottlenecks of broadcast and traditional bricks and mortar."

The long tail doesn't refer to the hugely popular 'hit' books, CD's and DVD's which the large retail stores sell to cusotmers (usualy at hugely discounted prices) but the niche products which sell many times less. In a Guardian article on the Long Tail - entitled A Miss Hit - writer Jack Scofield highlights how the average American cinema has no tail, whilst things change greatly with DVD rentals and dramatically with online sales of DVD's:

"Sell movies on DVD,
however, and the economics are different. A movie that wouldn't fill a
local theatre can still sell 1,500 copies across America. And instead
of making a couple of hundred movies available, like a cinema, a
typical Blockbuster can stock 3,000 titles. Most sales will still go to
the big Hollywood hits, but at least we can see the start of a tail.

movies online and the equation changes again. On Anderson's figures,
for example, Netflix offers 25,000 DVDs. The 24,000 or so titles in the
tail may not sell many copies each, but they add up. (Most of Amazon's
sales are of titles the average bookstore just doesn't have room to

The Guardian article cites Amazon, eBay and Google as good examples of the Long Tail in action - the latter due to its Gogle Adsense programme. The Internet has proved to be a great enabler of niche markets and those products that appear at the other end of the tail. Here's a great example of the long tail in action (again from the Wired article):

"To get a sense of our true taste, unfiltered by the economics of scarcity, look at Rhapsody, a subscription-based streaming music service (owned by RealNetworks) that currently offers more than 735,000 tracks.

Chart Rhapsody's monthly statistics and you get a "power law" demand curve that looks much like any record store's, with huge appeal for thetop tracks, tailing off quickly for less popular ones. But a really interesting thing happens once you dig below the top 40,000 tracks, which is about the mount of the fluid inventory (the albums carried that will eventually be sold) of the average real-world record store. Here, the Wal-Marts of the world go to zero - either they don't carry any more CDs, or the few potential local takers for such fringy fare never find it or never even enter the store.

The Rhapsody demand, however, keeps going. Not only is every one of Rhapsody's top 100,000 tracks streamed at least once each month, the same is true for its top 200,000, top 300,000, and top 400,000. As fast as Rhapsody adds tracks to its library, those songs find an audience, even if it's just a few people a month, somewhere in the country."

Dan Farber, writing about PC Forum - PC Forum buzzword alert: Long tail and Ecosystem - goes as far as to say:

"The longtail captures a key phenomenon enabled by the Internet that is
the equivalent to the impact of the transportation system in the
mid-20th century. The ability to expose and access all forms of data in
a friction-free, low-cost manner via the Internet permanently alters
hierarchies that ruled over the last millennium."

It still sounds like there's a place for the little man in online sales - now that can't be bad, can it?

Send a CV, not a Red Letter, to Rachel Elnaugh at the Dragon’s Den!


Over the last couple of months the BBC has aired a TV series called the Dragon's Den, where would-be entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a panel of 5 successful business people in the hope of getting some investment. One of the panelists was Rachel Elnaugh, a businesswoman who founded the successful company Red Letter Days 15 years ago and which is now a £25 million business.

Well, it seems that Red Letter Days is looking to recruit some Strategic Development Managers and is cleverly using Rachel Elnaugh's increased media profile to advertise these positions. Here is a taste of the adverts that were placed in last week's Guardian:

If you've been lured into the Dragon's Den, BBC2's new 'business start
up' show, you'll have seen me warm to some great ideas - and also singe
a few misplaced egos. Now it's your opportunity to face me and pitch
your most valuable product - yourself.

This time my den is Red Letter Days, the company I founded, which is
now a £25 million business and the UK's leading 'experience' brand.

This fun advert ends with the invitation:

So if you've got a burning ambition and think you can charm a dragon, I want to hear from you.

If you'd like to enter the Dragon's Den, go visit the Guardian website (before 18th February).

Register, it’s Free!

How often have you gone to a website, been invited to sign up and then found that you would have to pay subscription?  Having been directed to the AdAge website from a business blog, it was refreshing  to see straight away that subscription was free (though for premium articles you do have to pay).


Technology for Marketing Conference

Next week the Technology for Marketing Conference will be held in London's Olympia on the 8th and 9th (February). They bill themselves as:

UK's premier event dedicated to helping marketing, customer service and sales professionals implement technology solutions to optimise their marketing strategies and campaigns.

There looks like there will be quite a few Internet Marketing exhibitors there - Google will be holding its 'Google University' to let novices, and more advanced users, into the secrets of Google AdWords. Cheetahmail, Webtrends and Vodfone will be participating in seminars in the Email, Mobile and Web Marketing seminar theatre, whilst there is a good cross-section of companies represented on the stands.