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28 posts from July 2006

Striking While the Experience is Hot

Nr_4 Managing the email program to the customer experience, off-Broadway producer Ken Davenport has an excellent method for generating referrals and repeat purchases for shows like Altar Boyz. More than other producers he thinks about the customer experience outside of the theater.

060728c Email Insider: E-Mail Theatrics, 2006-Jul-26, by Bill McCloskey

"Audiences were going crazy during the show, and I wanted a way to recapture that feeling." The solution was the "Thank You for Getting Footloose With Us" e-mail that went out the Monday after the show. Davenport studied e-mail sending and open rate patterns and determined that the best time to send his blast was a few hour after the women got to work and had had time to catch up on their day's activities.

Viral Balances Trust and Curiosity

Vm_3 Viral marketing treads a thin line between trust and engagement. Sometimes the engaging content pushes it over the cliff, and sometimes the commitment to friendship. Trying to market your assignment with viral marketing is tricky, but the better you understand the balance between "trust-me-this-is-funny" and "is-this-funny-enough-to-share," the better your ability to leverage viral marketing. It's not a game for amatuers.

EMail Insider: Viral E-mails: Dress Right For The Party, 2006-Jul-27, by Andy Goldman

My buddy is important to me. The content he forwarded wasn't. But when I got a personal endorsement from him, that all changed--and I gotta admit, that baby was pretty cute.

Mini Flaunts Customer Privileges

Cb_10 The new ad agency for the BMW Mini has surveyed the trends in customer-oriented marketing and produced a very interesting mash-up that seems to combine the grassroots feel of a Harley-Davidson rally with the exclusivity of Lexus' owner privileges. A magazine print campaign is running in conjunction with a direct mailing to Mini owners 060728 that allows them to decode secret messages in the ads and win prizes. At least some of the prizes help customers participate in a two-week road rally for Mini owners.

BuseinssWeek: For Your Eyes Only, 2006-Jul-31, by Burt Helm

"It's a covert and an overt campaign almost simultaneously," says John Butler, a creative director at Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners, Mini's new ad agency. "If you get the kit, you're rewarded. If not, you get the gist that owning a Mini is like being in a club." The prizes perpetuate that clubbiness. The first will be an invitation to join Mini's upcoming "Mini Takes the States" event, a cross-country rally where hundreds of Mini Coopers will drive from Monterey, Calif., to Lakeville, Conn.

Romance Authors Offer Connections

Cb_9 Using a new web site,, HarperCollins will stage a writing contest for their audience, with competition to write chapters and possible email contact from the authors in the Avon romance line. The authors will judge the competition and contact fans individually where they feel they have something to share. Trachtenberg and Steinberg note that similar contests have not always fared well. The publishers hope to defray the costs by selling advertising space on the web site and in the email announcements, but they have to find third-party marketers who can benefit from that environment.

060725b HarperCollins Turns to Web, In a Search for More Romance, 2006-Jul-26, by Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg and Brian Steinberg

"We're creating an online community that will bring the fans closer to the authors we publish," said Jane Friedman, CEO of HarperCollins. "If you are a fan and you get a communication from Julia Quinn, somebody you've been reading for years, then you'll be a fan of hers for life. And I think you'll become a fan of Avon's for life."

To Each Brand its Own Community

Cb_8 Building and running online communities for marketers is becoming big business. The Wall St. Journal has an interview with Peter Friedman, who has watched this business grow up. In 1996 he left Apple, where he'd been in charge of the customer support and started LiveWorld which manages communities for companies like Campbell's Soups, HBO, and TVGuide. LiveWorld recently partnered up with ad agency Ogilvy & Mather. Friedman believes that the community activities need to be an integrated part of a company's overall marketing strategy.

060725a Questions for … Peter Friedman, 2006-Jul-26, by Emily Steel

WSJ: Your service creates loyalty marketing communities, promising to integrate brands into customers' daily lives. How does this work generate a viral marketing buzz?

Mr. Friedman: We did a study with McKinsey that showed that people who participate in an online community, if it is done well, return to a site nine times as often and five times as long...that is a 45 times increase in loyalty.... So right there is a hard metric that shows if you do this community there is more happening. The second thing is that as you empower people within these communities ...they are talking. If they are talking about you online, then they are talking about you offline, so you create all of this word-of-mouth buzz. It is a word-of-mouth engine.

Visual Radio Coming in India

Em_11 In India, Hewlett Packard is sponsoring an experimental new medium whereby visual content is transmitted to people listening to radio over their cell phones. Video clips could be transmitted as well as concert ticket offers and offers to participate in promotions and contests. Anyone already interested in cell-phone couponing may find this an engaging medium.

060725 The Economic Times (published at Visual Radio: It’s going to happen in India soon, 2006-Jul-25, by Samidha Sharma

“This is a classic case of convergence of telecom, radio and music. The key here would be to provide our listeners with quality content,” says Pankaj Mathur, country manager, CME, HP India Sales. HP would tie-up with multiple players as far as radio channels and cellular operators go in order to cater to wider audiences. “Visual Radio caters to the demand for entertainment content on mobile phones by the Indian consumers,” says A P Parigi, Managing Director, Radio Mirchi.

T-Mobile VIP Events

Nr_3 Luxury brands have long courted customers with VIP events, but now mainstream marketers like T-Moblie are sponsoring intimate events where customers can bring their friends and see hot bands in off-beat venues. These events have limited reach, especially since they are not publicized beyond the inner circle. As a method of influencing influentials and creating community, they may pay a high return. I would say they will have to keep track of this audience and how much they advocate the brand in the future.

060724b BBC NEWS | Business: Brands take new ideas underground, 2006-Jul-20, by Simon Atkinson (via MediaPost Marketing Daily)

Although the Street Gigs typically have only 50 to 500 people, T-Mobile says they still represent good value for the marketing budget. "We know that people are telling two or three friends about the gigs, so word of mouth is growing hugely," Ms Harrison says. "The feedback we are getting is people saying they felt like VIP's. They never thought they would see these kinds of bands in such usual kinds of places."