Changing the meeting type

A new post by Seth Godin, (Seth’s Blog: Three kinds of meetings), together with some feedback I’ve just had on a series of meetings, has led me to this post.

As always, there is considerable pressure on time and money. Magnified by the current economic climate, this is pushing everybody to do more with less.

I’ve just been involved in a series of meetings, or rather interviews, for senior marketing roles at 2 leading agencies. Interestingly, both roles went to 4 interviews. Yes, 4. And no – I wasn’t going for the CEO role. Which I’m sure would be at least 4. But I digress.

The interviews at both Houses (no, I won’t disclose who these agencies were), delved further and further into the potential roles each time we met. For one role, I even had to write my own job description and detail the salary. Interesting move forward. Both Houses pressed hard on the ideas I could bring to the table for their clients, and prospects. Not to mention how I would go about gaining said new clients and who they were.

I kept a lot of this info close to my chest. And for good reason. It turns out that both agencies were only half interested in new hires. They were dipping their toe in the waters. And with the economy plunging, they were looking for ideas.

When the chips are down (and the economy), it seems that good people can turn bad. And interviews change from interviews to fact-finding missions. It’s just a shame that not everyone at the table was told that.

Advice to all job seekers in today’s market: Don’t give too much away. Play your cards right, but play them close to your chest. Don’t give away the farm during your interview because you never know who is going to change the goal posts without telling you.

For those still on the job hunt. Keep your chin up. Good things happen for smart folks. Don’t let the economy turn you bad too.

Leave a comment

Filed under Employment

Is Twitter killing your blog?

It’s killing mine.

Every time I find something important that really gets the cogs turning, I simply hit the Fleck Tweet button on my tool bar and away it goes. I mean, sure I could hit Press This. Write a post. And then tweet about that. Which I do do sometimes. But that’s not the point.

I don’t use Twitter to keep up with friends. I have different social networks for that. I use Twitter as if I’m in a conversation with work colleagues or like-minded folk around the world. My online reading usually is focussed on business strategy, marketing, QR codes and other interesting marketing technologies. I tweet when I see something great. And then I move on, in the hopes that I’m providing useful information to the conversations I am a part of. It’s not a soliloquy. It’s a dialogue.

Alas, the ease of posting to Twitter has near stopped me blogging all together.

I’m going to have to make a concerted effort to write at least 1 post a day around the items that I tweet. At least with Fleck it stores all of my old tweets inc the URL.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Customer Service in the downturn

During an economic downturn, just about everybody is in the same boat. Every day you can’t escape media of all types reporting the impending doom resulting from the economic crisis.

So when you hear of some great customer  service in these times, it’s like a beacon from a lighthouse.

A friend of mine is a victim of this downturn, and was contracted to pay large fees at a Toronto gym. Hat in hand, my friend went to the gym asking for any kind of leeway in paying the fees. The gym actually bent over backwards to help. They not only instantly waived the monthly fees, they also waived the expensive personal trainer fees without any penalty at all. They even encouraged my friend to keep using the gym, at quiet times of the day, to get the most out of the gym and to keep you motivated as you search for a new job.

And if 3 months go by and you haven’t got another job? No problems. Just let us know and we’ll hold the payments for another 3 months.

This takes no effort on the gym’s behalf. And absolutely made my friend’s day / week / month!

What kind of response would your business offer to a customer in good standing that might be struggling?

Leave a comment

Filed under Strategy

Google exits newspaper industry

As fast as they were in it. They’re gone. As mentioned by Zac at Blogging Stocks, you do have to wonder how much money Google burnt through trying out print advertising. 

Google exits newspaper industry – BloggingStocks.

Personally, I would have like to see Google pursue the print ad arena. Afterall, newspapers are only going to need more ads and will be willing to sell them at cheaper prices. Why depart the scene already? Why not stick with it, promote it a little more, and see where it takes you?

Leave a comment

Filed under Strategy

Street Art, QR Codes and Google Maps.

Ok great. So here’s a nifty way of bringing vandalism into the 21st century: Let’s give  “street artists” (aka illegal artists) a platform to talk to anyone that appreciates their work. Nice idea. 

Street Art, QR Codes and Google Maps..

Now, let’s say that you snap a QR code on a vandalised wall and you allow your phone to call the associated number. “Street Artist” Jim captures your phone number, and your location, and can start to build a profile of you. Maybe he has the right software to capture enough data to highjack your sim card? Maybe you end up with a cell phone bill of $1000 with calls to Nairobi? Sigh.

Sadly, I can’t see any brand wanting to get involved with this. 

Turn this technology into something positive by starting with legal art. A QR code beside a legal piece of artwork should do the trick.

Leave a comment

Filed under QR codes

QR codes make it to Google Adwords

Google are dipping their toes into the print ad arena, with the aptly named Google Print Ads. On the surface, this seems like a complete sideways shift for the search giant. Though as with all Google strategic moves, this one is no human error

For Google, this is an excellent time to branch sideways, and capitalise on not just a struggling newspaper, but a struggling industry. Google has already signed over 800 US newspapers. And counting. (caveat: newspapers must be paid circulation, though with the recent launch and expected boom of The Printed Blog, rules could be bent.)

It works the same as Google Adwords, in that users can create a line ad or a small display ad for a particular paper, or a particular audience. Google handles the media buy, placement, trafficking, and invoicing. This technology was already built and honed for years on the Adwords platform. Thus, the total cost of ownership is instantly shared among business units, reducing the ROI goal for the search giant. 



QR code




As an added bonus, advertisers are given the opportunity to try their hand at a 2d barcode, or a QR code to most punters. Why is it that the cheapest form of advertising, line ads and classifieds, are the ones about to embrace this latest technology? It’s taken someone like Google to endorse the technology, and to make it cool. Of course, this serves a huge blow to Microsoft’s Tags and High Capacity Colour Barcodes research. (Is playing catchup their mantra?)

I have yet to find a North American, European or Australian brand willing to dive into QR codes. Have you found any examples?

Leave a comment

Filed under New marketing, Strategy

Engage + Interact = Success

Tourism Queensland in Australia has advertised to fill the role of Caretaker on The Great Barrier Reef’s Hamilton Island. As part of the job description, the successful applicant will have to snorkel, scuba, walk through the tropical rain forest and make friends with the locals. Oh, and keep a written and video blog of the day to day. You’ll also get free rent in a million dollar waterfront apartment and be paid $150k AUD for your troubles. Sounds amazing.

The truly amazing part is that the campaign is entirely viral. The job is real. And the returns on the viral campaign are equally real. Currently they are on track to get $70m AUD  in publicity. The story has been picked up by Sky News in the UK, the NY Times, and every other major publisher in the world (not to mention the ensuing blog posts). 

Engage: Applicants must submit a video CV

Interact: Applicants can view other applicant’s videos.

Success: $70m worth of publicity from probably $300k outlay.

The Rush for ‘best job in the world’ crashed the website. A success indeed. And the cost of adding a few more servers, plus the 6 month salary for the position, won’t come close to the returns. 

Turning the hunt for a new recruit into a viral marketing campaign takes today’s cake as a creative marketing execution.

Leave a comment

Filed under New marketing

Matt Harding: Where The Hell Is Matt? an ‘Elaborate Hoax’ | Amateur Traveler Travel Blog

Great answer to the furore that says the Where the Hell is Matt video is a hoax.

Matt Harding: Where The Hell Is Matt? an ‘Elaborate Hoax’ | Amateur Traveler Travel Blog.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

First moves

The city of Toronto is currently putting plans together that should see a significant reduction in the number of paper coffee cups ending up in the City’s landfill sites. Canadians drink, on average, 10 times more coffee than most other developed nations. This is largely due to the Tim Horton’s franchise. Incidentally Canadian’s also eat 3 times more donuts per capita than US citizens. Again, all thanks to Timmy Ho’s. 


The way I see it, coffee houses like Tim Horton’s, Starbuck’s, Second Cup and Timothy’s are in a standoff. The smart company will win the PR competition here, and no doubt win a few new customers on the way too.

There are probably a few options to meet the new regulations:

  1. Give a discount to consumers with their own re-usable cup
  2. Increase prices for those wanting a take-away cup
  3. Find a greener packaging alternative

Even if the City imposes a discount for refillable cups, complying will be seen as just that. 

The Forward Thinking Coffee House (FTCH) should provide a discount, a greater discount than the City stipulates. This pushes the other coffee houses into a corner. If they meet the City’s discount limit then they haven’t matched the FTCH.  If the match the discount then they’re an Also-Ran. This still leaves the greener packaging. Which will take time. And money. 

To all the FTCH’s out there: Give the discount. And buy yourself some time to make greener packaging. By moving first you break ahead of the pack, you get some good PR. And you get to sleep better at night knowing your Coffee House is ahead of the CSR curve.

Leave a comment

Filed under Coffee, Franchise, Strategy

QR codes – it’s time to embrace them before your competitors do

He who embraces the QR code will win.

Hands down, QR codes are one of the most exciting technologies emerging today. Next to sunglasses that have a virtual 60″ viewing screen and facebook integration, of course. As with all shiny new technologies, the more creative the use the more impact it will have. See some examples on Mashable

The fact is that, marketers need to stop concentrating on how to execute the Five P’s according to Kotler, and start asking: What would make our product / service truly amazing?” Quickly followed by: “How can we commercialise this new feature?”

You can’t drive a car by using the rear view mirror. Start looking forward.

1 Comment

Filed under New marketing