Sunday, October 26, 2008

Jack Cards turns its customers into its sales force

Jack Cards, an on-line purveyor of greeting cards has put together a great piece of marketing collateral to help it customers spread the word of its brand, turning its customers into its sales force. With each greeting card order Jack Cards includes a $10 gift certificate to be tucked into the greeting card before being sent out. Its customers get to give a little extra something to their loved ones and Jack Cards gets new customers.

There are only two flaws with this campaign. Jack Cards is such a great resource for unique cards that I'm hesitant to give up my source. And there's that uneasy feeling you get when you're obviously passing along a marketing message to your friends and family in their greeting card. The cure? Leave the gift card out of the greeting card, but pass it along to someone else. Bottom line, it's a great campaign and a huge improvement over the pre-stamped postcards boasting the Jack Cards brand that Jack Cards used to include with its orders.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A copy of Tribes by Seth Godin up for grabs

It's been twelve days since my last post; my goal is at least one post every week. Instead of offering a litany of excuses, I'll admit that I'm overwhelmed by social media, and I'll through in a free book for one lucky reader as an apology.

In the last two weeks I've had a handful of people begin following me on Twitter - I haven't updated Twitter in weeks so I don't understand why anyone would want to follow me (but I'll update with this post). I've joined a couple of professional groups on LinkedIn, posted a question to one group and received only one response from a group of 158 (disappointing). In the process of changing jobs I unsubscribed from a lot of RSS feeds and never bothered resubscribing in the effort to reduce the noise (yes, I understand the irony). And I joined Triiibes, Seth Godin's newest social media experiment. I haven't used the site other than posting one event, I don't check in on what's going on and I ignore most of the emails that come to my inbox, it just hasn't proven important enough for me to carve out the time it needs. As a thank you (in my case, thanks for nothing) for participating in Triiibes I received a free copy of the book Tribes, in addition to the one I pre-ordered as the price for admission to the group. And because I have two copies I'm giving one away. The first person to email me their contact info gets my extra copy of Tribes, no strings attached. What are you waiting for? Email me now at vconyngham [at] gmail [dot] com.

In the offline world I started taking a photography class. It's time consuming and takes away from the time I could be spending blogging, twittering, etc., but in opportunity costs it's worth it. And here I said I wouldn't offer excuses.

Update: The book has been claimed.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Coffee goes 2.0

Joffrey's Coffee and Tea Company reached out to bloggers a few months ago. They offered up free coffee for honest feedback and were up front in saying there was no pressure to blog about them or the coffee.

I tried the coffee, it was fine, but nothing to blog home about. That is until today, when I recieved a package of Coffee 2.0.

I haven't brewed it yet so I have no idea what it tastes like, but it is a great piece of marketing. Coffee 2.o was born out of the feedback Joffrey's received from the more than 1500 bloggers that took part in the initial trial.

The company took the feedback to heart, handroasted a new batch of beans and created a product package that speaks its audience's language, then mailed the coffee out to all the participants.

Coffee 2.0 is dubbed as crowdsourced java and sports a label complete with tags and categories. It's the perfect example of a company creating a special product that speaks a niche audience's language. Even if the coffee is terrible (which I'm sure it wont be) I still walk away with a great piece marketing.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Creating authentic customer engagement

Jay Ehret has been running a series of guest posts on his blog The Marketing Spot this past week and I'm happy to say I'm Friday's guest contributor. My post is about creating authentic customer engagement. Here's a snippet:
Small businesses are ideally positioned to create authentic customer engagement, much more so than their large counterparts. The reason for this is their inherent personality and expertise, usually a derivative of the owner’s. It’s a form of human capital that should be taken advantage of. All small business owners should account for this in their marketing plans.
To read the post in its entirety head on over to The Marketing Spot.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

From unique to non-descript

I was surprised to see/hear in a recent television commercial (yes, I still watch commercials) that Electrasol was changing its name. And the most surprising part is the blandness of the new name - finish. It's generic and the addition of the diamond image and tagline - the diamond standard of dishwashing - does nothing to take away the ineffectual rebranding.

It's usually a mistake to change the name of a product that caries a great deal of brand recognition, like Electrasol. Name changes can create confusion, diminish brand recall and soften sales. But if a company is going to change the name of a product, it should choose a name that's meaningful to the product, not a name that's muttered by parents around the dinner table (finish your vegatables, meat, rice, you get the picture) long before the dishes hit the dishwasher .

I don't know the background on this name change and a google search resulted only in a bunch of coupon offers to celebrate the new name. I only hope the marketers behind the rebranding effort were strong-armed into the finish name and didn't craft this meager candidate themselves.