Thursday, January 31, 2008

Nostalgia for Old Stores and Malls

Remember the way stores and shopping centers used to look? They're b-a-c-k and will live forever, at least on the Internet--sometimes in black and white, sometimes in glorious color. Here are a few sites to browse:

Monday, January 14, 2008

Buzz Only Kills a Useless Product Faster

Three INSEAD professors say that building a lot of buzz can hurt adoption and market size when a product is "perceived as 'useless.'" Read the whole article here. Bottom line, according to the profs:

"When you have a new product that is not useful, then negative word of mouth spreads quickly and leads to that product dying quickly.”

The point for marketers, therefore, is to generate buzz that reflects not just how new a product is but also how useful it is.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Getting Mushy over Store Ads

Recent JC Penney commercials are intriguing and moving, thanks to the interesting songs/lyrics and the focus on people, not products. Here's what Bob Garfield of Advertising Age thinks, including a look at the "Calendar" commercial featuring "So Say I" by Forever Thursday. I replayed this commercial 7 times and enjoyed it every single time, thanks to the wonderful music.

The store's new slogan, "Every Day Matters," goes to the heart of the matter (pun intended). People do care about products and brands, but they care more about their own lives. Penney's marketing reflects that priority, showing that it understands what's important to its customers (me included). And I like that the commercials aren't gussied up with voice-overs, dialogue, product plugs, etc., which lets me enjoy a few seconds of people enjoying their lives before the Penney logo shows up at the end. Watch for the diamonds, by the way, slid in subtly.

Monday, January 7, 2008

DIY Ringtones

Check out, where you can turn any MP3 file into a ringtone for your cell phone--for free. SmartMoney magazine mentioned it in the February issue, also noting that the service can be slow if many people are using the site at that time. However, making a donation to the company will send your ringtone conversion to the top of the list.

I don't know about the legal issues here, but remembering that people used to record all kinds of messages for their answering machines, I guess ringtones are the next level in phone personalization.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Marketing Resolutions for 2008

New year's resolutions for marketing:

  1. Know and honor thy customers. Without customers, no product can ever be successful. Customers aren't a distraction or a nuisance--they're what keeps every business in business.
  2. Know and check up on thy suppliers. Mattel is only one of a number of marketers that ran into trouble because of what suppliers did or didn't do.
  3. Know and nurture thy channels. Amazon has helped make the Flip camcorder (top right) a success by featuring it on the home page. Can Amazon make its Kindle reader a success too? Only time will tell.
  4. Know thy pricing limitations. No wonder DVDs are selling so well: It's much cheaper for a family to buy the latest Disney movie (even at full price) than to see it at a first-run theater (don't even think about buying that over-priced popcorn and soda). And because it's cheap and easy to download only the best songs from iTunes, CD sales should continue to plummet in 2008.
  5. Know and honor thy brand. The Hannah Montana franchise is strong because it stars wholesome Miley Cyrus but what will happen to Zoey 101 as long as Jamie Lyn Spears stays in the tabloid headlines?
Finally, like Frodo, reconcile yourself to change. It's the least we can expect from 2008. Happy new year to all.