Monday, July 31, 2006

Say Hello to Wi-Fi Phones

Remember when cell phone technology disrupted the traditional land-line phone industry? Now Wi-Fi phones are on the way, becoming the new, new thing that will disrupt the cell phone companies that once disrupted the land-line companies.

The New York Times reports that Earthlink is building networks in Pennsylvania and California in preparation for launching Wi-Fi phone service priced at a fraction of cell phone service. Skype has several manufacturers producing Wi-Fi phones compatible with its Internet calling service.

Hello to Wi-Fi, goodbye to land-lines and cell phones? I've already cut one of my two land-lines in favor of a Vonage line . . . maybe I'll hang up on cell technology when Wi-Fi phones come calling. How about you?

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Stressing Benefits, Not Just "Lifestyle Side"

Yesterday's N.Y. Times has an advertising column about Reebok's new campaign, starring NFL athletes like Peyton Manning. Reebok's vp-marketing for North America says that Adidas-Salomon, which now owns Reebok, wants "to re-emphasize [the brand's] performance heritage and capabilities" instead of the "lifestyle side of the business."

Because Reebok is the official supplier of NFL-licensed clothing, it makes sense to showcase Reebok's performance benefits, not just brand "sizzle." What a great idea--to actually suggest that the product can satisfy customers' needs! Music-dominated ads may entertain and convey a fashion image, but how well do they inform or build interest in the product itself?

The market for athletic apparel is huge; surely some of those customers must care about what the product offers to meet their needs? Let's see whether deemphasizing the "lifestyle side" in favor of product performance brings sales results.

Monday, July 17, 2006

The eyes have it

Today's WSJ reports that OgilvyOne and Eyetools have teamed up to find out which specific parts of an e-mail marketing message people look at and read -- and how to improve customer response.

One thing Cisco Systems learned is to have strong imagery at the end of an e-mailed newsletter to draw the reader's eyes through from top to bottom. IBM learned to make customer response fast and easy by putting clickable icons and buttons in its e-mails.

Here's how the Eyetools Eyetracking works:

Progress! What an interesting idea whose time has come.

Monday, July 10, 2006

More on Adware and Spyware

Business Week's July 17th issue covers the business end of adware and spyware, focusing on Direct Revenue and other companies that use annoying and sometimes PC-crippling approaches to get "ads" out to a still-unsuspecting public. Read the fascinating story here:

Why would any legitimate company choose this ethically questionable route to reach consumers? I can't imagine a worse way to introduce goods or services to prospects--or a better way to alienate such a large audience. Down with adware and spyware!

Thursday, July 6, 2006

The Weakest Link!

Companies spend millions to keep trade secrets safe--but people really are the weakest link in the security chain. Here's's brief account of the apparent attempt by a Coca-Cola employee (and two accomplices) trying to sell some Coke secrets to Pepsi:,0,4607400.story?coll=sfe-guide-headlines2

Pepsi, of course, did the right thing, as I'm sure Coke would do if the same kind of offer reached its management. A happy ending after all and at least the landmark Coke formula was never at risk...