Wednesday, June 27, 2007

It's the Experience, Stupid

A recent article on the Business Week site, titled "Experience Is the Product," brings up a topic that can never be flogged enough. Yes, it's a long article (3 screens) but a quick read . . . and yes, some of the products it mentions are really old (like a Kodak camera from the turn of the last century).

Four words sum it all up: It's the experience, stupid. Let me repeat: The only thing that customers care about is the product experience. The niftiest packaging, the glitziest commercial, the slickest features, the best pricing won't make a best-seller of a product that's difficult, inconvenient, or downright unsafe to use.

The article brought me back to some of the experiences I've had, as a customer, with favorite and not-so-favorite products. I love my iPod, for instance, but disliked the tedious process of unpacking it, hunting for every little component in the nooks and crannies, and ending up with a mountain of packaging stuff. Another Apple thought: will the company hit a speed bump if iPhone buyers don't like the quality of the AT&T network they'll have to use?

Why can't all companies put their "customer hats" on and remember that the product experience is the only thing that counts?

Monday, June 11, 2007

Marketing in Second Life: Effective?

Lately, Second Life has been getting a lot of coverage in the traditional print media as people debate its value in marketing:
  • Business Week's "Beyond Second Life" article observes that Starwood Hotels, Wells Fargo, and some other major corporations are seeking online alternatives. Take a peek at the slide show connected to this article.
  • The New York Times's "Awaiting Real Sales from Virtual Shoppers" article indicates that American Apparel, Reebok, and other marketers with a presence in Second Life are not yet seeing tangible results.
  • Financial Times quotes Second Life veterans, in "Virtual Style? In Another Life," saying that established, real-world brands have no particular edge in Second Life.
Sounds like Second Life may support brand awareness among the avatar crowd but bankable "ka-ching" activities are virtually elusive at this point ;)

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Happy 125th Birthday, Grandpa

Today would be my paternal grandfather's 125th birthday. Although he died before I was born, I'm learning about his life through genealogical research.

In fact, Internet entrepreneur Paul Allen, who owns a small stake in (parent of, sees immense industry growth potential as millions of consumers worldwide log on to find their ancestors. Tapping this interest,, the #1 genealogy Web site, uses the marketing technique of free limited-time trial subscriptions (plus word-of-mouth communication) to attract new members.

A few days ago, my friends Mary and Ray, genealogy enthusiasts of considerable expertise, told me about Ancestry's free trial period. Now I'm happily filling in my family tree with data about relatives going back three and four generations. So birthday greetings, Grandpa, and I'm looking forward to getting to know you.