Monday, September 18, 2006

This is Broken: online bill notifications

I thought it would be nice to get my business phone bills online, thinking it would help me stay on top of client invoicing.  Unfortunately, the bill does not come any earlier. 
The notification I get that the online version is available is an amazing display of poor usability.  Here it is:

*****************************************************************************

Your latest statement for account number xxxxxxx is now available in the Online Bill Manager service.

To view your statement:
1. Go to the Bell Business Portal at www.interaction.bell.ca.
2. Enter your username and password, then click OK.
3. Click on the Billing link on the left side of the page.
4. Click on the Online Bill Manager link.
5. If the Online Bill Manager - Administration page appears, click on the Access link on the left side of the page. (This page only appears for users with administrative abilities.)

6. Click Statement.

If you have any questions about the Online Bill Manager service, please contact us by replying to this e-mail.

Thank you for choosing Bell.

*****************************************************************************************
By my count this is five clicks to link to the bill.  Definitely broken.
What it should do, IMHO:  give me a link to the bill that pops open a sign-in page.  Once I sign in, bingo, there's my bill. Why is this so difficult for an engineering company?

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Friday, September 15, 2006

Xerox uses unsubscribe questionnaire to learn

Xeroxunsubscribequestionn

While unsubscribing from some Xerox e-mail, I came across this rather nice little questionnaire. (Click image to enlarge.)  I thought it was short, had a good range of options for me to choose, and looked like it would probably help them understand their subscriber stats.

The truth is, I'm just not engaged with their category right now.  I was shopping for color printers a year ago, and seriously considering their solid ink option. But ultimately went with a color laser. 

Perhaps they could have added the option, "just bought competitor product" or something like that, but this questionnaire is still miles better than anything else I've seen on an unsub page.

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Friday, May 26, 2006

Will RSS Replace E-mail?

Eric G. Myers at ICE has an interesting post about the future of e-mail marketing, and its likely replacement with customized RSS.
His key points:

  1. Other people are ruining it for everyone. 
  2. People have to give more than they want to, to get what you have. 
  3. Unsubscribing doesn't always work.
  4. As e-mail effectiveness drops, costs rise.
  5. RSS puts control in the hands of the user, which solves most of these problems, as well as letting users see previous content before they sign up.  [Sampling is often effective as a marketing technique]
  6. RSS feeds are indexed by search engines

Yup. Other people are ruining it for everyone.  It's called the tragedy of the commons. The rise of trackback spam and useless Google search pages are the latest projects of these jerks. I think Eric's arguments make sense. He also has some suggestions for how to get good seats for this event now, before everyone gets in on the act.

[BTW, Eric is the only reason I have tags on this site, thanks to his tag generator, for which I am truly grateful.]

References:
Tragedy of the commons:  Wikipedia article here.  Scholarly article by Gareth Harden here, that speaks to this effect as it relates to pollution and overfishing.

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Friday, May 12, 2006

Online Advertising and the Cowboy Bar Analogy

Boringvscoolspectrum_2

Microsoft's announcement that they intend to enter the ring and compete in online advertising has smart folk all over the place talking about whether or not they can compete or even win.
Of course, this is classic Microsoft non-innovation -- wait until an idea has legs, then buy a position or muscle in using established distribution power.  It's a strategy that has worked well for them, and may well work this time. 
What interests me, and what no one seems to be talking about, is the emerging dichotomy of players.  You're either selling advertising opportunities, or you are buying them.  You either have an online offering so compelling that people will find you without advertising -- in which case you can sell advertising.  Or you have to buy advertising to support the world of really compelling things to do online. 
The ends of this spectrum are relatively clear.  Cool blogs are over to the right. [Ignoring for the moment that successful blogs typically have promotion strategies.]  Free online gaming sites would be over on the right. Free information sites are on the right. 
Over on the left are the products and services who are supposed to foot the bill for all the stuff on the right. [Except for those of us who are essentially volunteers]

There are a handful of people in the sweet central spot -- like perhaps iTunes -- that can play for both teams. This group has to make their choices very carefully to preserve their brand value, and avoid getting pushed to one end or the other.

As I write this, I'm also realizing that the team on the left offers goods and services we are actually willing to pay for. Like cars, cell phones, tax preparation and music. That's why they can afford advertising. Over on the right we have a lot of free content -- in many cases, content that is offered free to attract you to the advertising. Or to attract you to the superior subscription service.

Cowboy bars work this way, too. Girls get in free. Cowboys pay a cover charge.

Where will it all end?  How much of the free content can we expect the product world to pay for?  And what happens when they start to get stretched too thin by all this fragmentation?

Friday, March 31, 2006

Brand Lecturing is Out - Co-Creation, Sharing, Architecture of Participation is In

I've been documenting examples of a trend recently that I call Content Co-Creation.  Turns out other people have spotted this too, and have written some interesting posts on the topic:

Kathy Sierra at Creating Passionate Users calls it sharing:

Sharing knowledge, lessons learned, product reviews, tips and tricks, links/bookmarks, and even photos

She points to Tim O'Reilly's definition of Web 2.0, where he labels this the architecture of participation:

Web 2.0 is the network as platform, spanning all connected devices; Web 2.0 applications are those that make the most of the intrinsic advantages of that platform: delivering software as a continually-updated service that gets better the more people use it, consuming and remixing data from multiple sources, including individual users, while providing their own data and services in a form that allows remixing by others, creating network effects through an "architecture of participation," and going beyond the page metaphor of Web 1.0 to deliver rich user experiences.

Co-Creation in Action

Here's a good example of what I'm talking about.  The Lance Armstrong Foundation has created a donation site where you can upload a photo of someone who has battled cancer into a mosaic.  You can be part of the creation of something special that a lot of people will see.  It's much more personal and more connected than simply sending a cheque in.  As the copy on the site says, "we want you to be part of it".  [Thanks to Jennifer Rice for bringing this to my attention]

My Take
Tremendous energy is going into anything and everything that lets people become part of the conversation. If your brand is only doing one-way communication, you are missing out on an opportunity to become part of a richer dialogue with your customers.
Risky? Maybe.  But if you want to differentiate -- and you do want that -- you can't wait until everyone else is doing it to get started. 

Let's Try a Little Co-Creation: Send in Examples
Seen a good example of this trend?  Please post ideas, links, thoughts...

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Monday, February 27, 2006

How Good is Your Support Site? Customer Problems and Service Recovery

Logo_palm

I spent quite a bit of unproductive time on the weekend trying to resolve hot-synch problems on my Palm TX.  When I saw "do you have a minute to take a survey?" you can bet I clicked.  The last of about five questions was this: "would you recommend Palm Support?" 
You've got to be kidding, right?  Not "would you recommend Palm", but "would you recommend Palm Support". 

The "would you recommend" question is a classic loyalty question often used to determine an overall rating benchmark in satisfaction and loyalty research.  But putting it in this context seems like utter nonsense to me.

The only reason anyone would ever be on their support site is because they are HAVING problems. Even more important, the support site does not stand or fall alone -- it is part of the total brand experience.   

Here are some better questions that would make this short survey more relevant and useful:

  1. Were you able to resolve your problem to your satisfaction?
  2. How much time have you spent on this problem?
  3. How easy or difficult was our support site to use in solving your problem?
  4. Would you recommend a PALM PRODUCT to a friend or colleague?
  5. Thank you for answering our questions.  Is there anything you would like to tell us?

Number 4 is the loyalty question that matters.  It's a short way of asking this:

Now that you have experienced some problems with our brand, how do you really feel?  Do you still like us?  Are you going to tell ten friends how irritated you are and advise them never to buy our product? 

Was your experience of our support site so great that you actually like us even more than before, and you'll be raving to five friends about how great we are? Are you left feeling that you were fairly and justly treated? Or did we act like no-one has ever had a "runtime-error-r6025-pure-virutal-function-call" problem before? 

When you have to replace this product, will you remember us as helpful and caring when the chips were down, or swear never to do business with us again?   

If you solve a customer problem well, your customers will like you more than they did before.  This is not just some squishy, feel-good marketing stuff, this phenomenon has been researched pretty thoroughly. 

But the reverse is also true.  You can make committed antagonists for your brand if you don't solve a problem effectively.

Yes, my Palm is now synching again.  But only because I removed some software. And I'm wondering if I should have listened to my tech guy who told me to buy the Dell.  If the TX can run flawlessly for about a year, I'll probably be loyal again.  I'll let you know.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Connecting with your Customers with Blogs, Community Sites, and Forums

Bod

The controversy over the TV show "The Book of Daniel", which NBC has now pulled off the air, left me wondering what might be on their web site.  Very interesting!  Whatever you think about the controversy, you need to have a look at how NBC is interacting with their audience online. 
Here's what I found:

Continue reading "Connecting with your Customers with Blogs, Community Sites, and Forums" »

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Trying Again to Get it Right -- Don't Do This to Your Customers

Bell has been encouraging me to use a variety of online subscriber services to manage my business account.  They are really trying to be customer friendly, but it's not their strong suit. They've got some reasonable features in the new interface, but they are buried beneath layers of intimidating interface.  If you have an appetite for usability testing with a sample of one, read on...   

Continue reading "Trying Again to Get it Right -- Don't Do This to Your Customers" »

Monday, October 03, 2005

"Please keep this email for future reference"

How often have you seen those words in an e-mail?  I just saw them again in the subscription confirmation for a business blog.  Over the last few years, I have subscribed and unsubscribed to literally hundreds of things like this, and so have you.  If there is some control freak out there who actually keeps and files all this stuff, they should get some kind of award. 

We could give another award to the folks who have time to read all the legalese they have agreed to.  As one executive I met put it recently, "I don't have time to be a responsible citizen [and read all these agreements]".

We need to ruthlessly examine customer communications for this kind of nonsense and surgically remove it whenever we find it.   And  forget that "everyone does it" -- you know that never washed with your mother, and it won't wash with your customers either.

We all have limited band-width:  save your customer's attention for meaningful messages.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Focus on the message, not the navigation, or why you should leverage behavior patterns, not try to change them

Igiveup
I just finished reading a rather disappointing e-mail item from IT Business, that appears to be sponsored by Telus. When they were Clearnet, they were customer-focused and very very good marketers.  Unfortunately, Telus bought them, and things have changed.

I opened the click-through e-mail to find out more about Telus' videoconferencing capabilities.  Instead, I spent maybe 30 seconds trying to figure out how to scroll. 

My touch-pad scroll was disabled.  My arrow keys were disabled.  My Pg Up and Down keys were disabled.  Finally I clued in -- see if you can figure it out. 

So the time I could have spent absorbing their message about video teleconferencing, I spent being irritated by their clever navigation scheme.  And I chose to write this blog article instead of reading the case study, or finding out what their product can actually do for me.   

Behavior is Hard to Change, Don't Try

I hear the phrase "educate the customer" every so often.  This is code for "make them do it our way".  It's hard to change people.  It's much easier to be where they are, help them do what they are already trying to do.   

Navigation is a good example.  People now have some expectations about where menu items will be, and how to move around on a page.  Why waste your energy teaching them some new method, when you can spend those precious seconds providing some value added? 

Let's just make the point really clearly:  if you make your customers or prospects spend time on something that isn't ADDING value, then you're spending some of your brand capital. 

Okay, enough ranting from me.  Let's hear what the experts have to say about this.

Is the navigation in this info-advert stupid, or is it Susan?

Enquiring minds want to know.

Acknowledgements
Thanks to staticfree.info/graphics for the animated gif.   
Thanks to web expert Tema Frank for her useful comment (see below)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Customer Experience Design De-mystified: The Carnegie Public Library in Pittsburgh

Carnegiewebsite
The Carnegie Public Library in Pittsburgh wanted to update their user experience.  The old library was out of date, confusing and intimidating for users.  The new library has an integrated multi-channel experience that users are raving about.  Find out what they did and how they did it
here

The presentation provides a clear illustration of the kinds of tools available to use to rethink the user experience, and the principles involved.  Even better, it is a delight to read, has wonderful graphic illustrations, and will get your creative juices flowing. 

The presentation comes from
Marc Rettig and Aradhana Goel's presentation at
Adaptive Path's User Experience Week 2005 in Washington, D.C. 

A few of the gems inside this presentation:

  • When tested, library users preferred the term "Customer Services" with the s, to "Customer Service".  Customer Services sounded to them like a place they could get help with many things, whereas Customer Service is a place you go when you have a problem
  • Using user-centred language meant changing "Reference Desk" to "Ask a Librarian".  The online and offline experiences have been mapped to be as similar as possible, so "Ask a Librarian" is a button on the web site, as well as a sign in the physical space. 
  • Signage used to be stuck on top and on the sides of desks.  It was quickly hidden by other people in the library.  And it was hard for users to tell which information was important, and which trivial.  (Sounds familiar, doesn't it?)

This is one of the best presentations I've seen in ages, and only wish I was actually AT the conference, which is going on my wish list for next year.

Acknowledgements
Thanks to Gavin McGovern at Play with the Machine for bringing this to my attention.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Web Analytics: Today in ClickZ

Neil Mason at ClickZ writes in Beyond Web Analytics Data: Online Surveys:

Total reliance on Web analytics data can be likened to driving down a road at full speed while only looking in the rear-view mirror. You can tell where you've been, but you don't know what's about to happen. Getting beyond the "what" and more into "why" enables you to predict where the business is going. To do this, you must learn why your customers do what they do and how they feel about it.

Surveys are one of the most common methods of understanding what customers think and how they feel. Developments in usability and affordability of online research tools make conducting research among a customer base easier than ever. However, there's a huge difference between deploying surveys that generate useful insight and pulling together a few questions or doing a site poll.

Well said.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

RSS feeds, Feedburner, Usability and creeping corporate non-speak: we apologize for asking you to resub

Randy Charles Morin at the RSS Blog commented on my request to readers to resubscribe:

This is so wrong! You shouldn't have to tell your subscribers to resub. Typepad needs a checkbox+textbox option that says you'd like to burn your feed over there.

Randy, you may be right. I suspect that Typepad wants to keep control of their feeds for the same reason that Feedburner wants them over at Feedburner:  potential future revenue from enhanced tracking tools, advertising revenue, etc. 

The world is never as open-source for customers as customers want it to be, regardless of the category.  And blogs are rapidly becoming commercialized.  But maybe that's okay too.  (Speaking as a major fan of Typepad's comfortable usability, and amazing low subscription price.)

The real culprit here is moi, who should never have posted anything like that post, which didn't offer a clear benefit to readers.  (What was I thinking?  d'oh)  Like Mom always said, the fact that everyone else is doing it is hardly an excuse. 

Creeping corporate non-speak is everywhere.  The Clue-Train Manifesto needs to be republished.  Remember these inspiring words?

...learning to speak in a human voice is not some trick, nor will corporations convince us they are human with lip service about "listening to customers." They will only sound human when they empower real human beings to speak on their behalf.

We now return to our regular programming.

Friday, May 06, 2005

Multi-channel integration for better customer experience: is it technology, organization silo problems, or both?

HourglasssmallHow long have we heard talk of multi-channel integration, and seen so little evidence of it?

Asaf Buchner, writing on a  Jupiter Research Blog  reports on the 2005 Net Finance conference.   Most multi-channel integration efforts are at the level of consistent look and feel across off-line and online.  But better efforts are starting to emerge, according to Mr. Buchner:

The few banks that were able to achieve a true integration offer a superior customer experience, allowing a client to start a dialog with the bank in one channel and continue it in another (e.g. start an application online and continue it from the same point off-line). In the following months, I will investigate the success of banks like Wachovia and Wells Fargo that were able to overcome technological barriers and break silos in the organization to fully integrate their marketing channels.

It's been a long time coming, hasn't it? 

The internal organizational barriers are real.  It's not just that people won't work together -- it's that most of our organizations are set up to encourage and reward other kinds of behavior.  Employees doing the right thing for customers are often doing it in spite of, not because of the organization. 

I had often wondered if there was just a paucity of innovative thinking from customer experience marketers in financial institutions.  However I'm learning this is not the case at all. 
The technology barriers have been real -- compounded by the data barriers.   

A really clever fellow from IBM Global Services, educated me on this topic at a roundtable sponsored by the Access Group in early March.   There are actually lots of good and innovative ideas out there -- but either the technology or the data are a barrier.  Or both. 

Not necessarily that the tech solution doesn't exist.  But few firms have the capabilities that Asaf Buchner is writing about.  (Yet).

What's your perspective?

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Online Shopping Behavior: Explorers, Hunters, Trackers

Columbus
Mike Baxter recently wrote us about some new research on online shopping sites.  The free sample report has some useful definitions of some segments in online shopping behavior.

A tracker knows exactly which product they wish to buy and uses an online shopping site to track it down and check its price, availability, delivery time, delivery charges or after-sales support.

A hunter doesn’t have a specific product in mind but knows what type of product they are looking for (e.g. digital camera, cooker) and probably has one or more product features they are looking for. The hunter uses an online shopping site to find a range of suitable products, compare them and decide which one to buy.

An explorer doesn’t even have a particular type of product in mind. They may have a well-defined shopping objective (buying a present for someone or treating themselves), a less-resolved shopping objective (buying something to ‘brighten up’ the lounge) or no shopping objective at all (they like the High Street store and thought they would have a look at the online site).

You might come up with some additional ones, such as "research online, buy offline" -- but it is useful to look for these kinds of patterns in your data.  And consider different behavior patterns when you are designing your site. 

(PS - Photo is not Mike, it is Christopher Columbus)

Monday, May 02, 2005

Online Experience: Missing Links, Missing Products, Buried Treasure and Confusion Zones

Confusionzone_1Mike Baxter writes:

I thought I'd let you know about some of the research I've just published.

I analysed 15 of the best-known brands in UK online retail and found that they all have ‘confusion zones’ within their navigation paths: either missing links, missing products or even ‘buried treasures’.

Take Argos for example. They actually offer 20 different photo printers. Why then do they show only 5 of them under ‘Photo printers’ in ‘Photography’, 16 under ‘Photo printers’ in ‘Office/PC Printers’ and only 1 in both categories? And who would imagine that Littlewoods actually stock 8 different hover mowers when only one is listed under their one link that is called 'Hover Mowers'?

The prize for buried treasure however, goes to Next. On the fifth page of their ‘Homeware - Storage’ section you find a fine selection of hair-styling products! Is this a devious cross-selling strategy for customers who have bought a storage box and have nothing to put in it… or is it simply bizarre?

Thanks for writing Mike.  More on his research in the next post.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Mr. Picassohead, Ikea and Other Miscellany

MrpicassoheadselfportraiThere are so many banal intrusions from ActiveX every day that one almost forgets how many interesting things are being done with it.
Here's an example:  my self-portrait done on Mr. Picassohead.   

A few months ago, I had a lot of fun with a similar tool you can download from Ikea to design your own office. 

You may have tried things on  using  My Virtual Model at LLBean and other places.  It's not quite as good as being in the store, but better than a flat picture, and gives you a more realistic sense of cut and length. 

Caqbs9yr I'm still trying to finish the scrabble puzzle at TD Canada Trust -- you get to scratch for new letters every time you pay a bill.   I don't know that it's making me want to pay more bills, but it does make the process kind of fun.   (Something sorely lacking in most banking customer experiences for the most part). 
 
Miscellaneous Stuff

Readers have asked me for an e-mail link -- there it is, on the left, Bot-a-blog.  I'd welcome any feedback as to how well it works for you. 

A much better option IMHO is to set up a Bloglines account.  You can easily add feeds (like this one and lots of other good ones, a few of which are shown on the blogroll on the right). 

Instead of having to remember the addresses of various blogs, you can quickly scroll through what's new since you last read it,when you have a few spare minutes and need some mental recharging.  You only have to bookmark your Bloglines page. 
Then when you are on a blog that looks interesting enough to follow for a while, you can just click the button that says "Sub Bloglines" and you can easily add the new blog to your list. 

One brief note on blog etiquette -- if the writer leaves a space for comments, comments are welcome.  Don't hesitate to add to the discussion.  You might even get hooked enough to start your own blog. 

Friday, April 15, 2005

EVerything You Need to Know About Web Site Usability: Billboard Going by at 60 mph

This great review of Steve Krug's book is well worth clicking over to, even if you don't want the book:  Accessify.com - Book Review: Don't Make Me Think, Steve Krug. A common sense approach to web usability.

Here's the extract that caught my eye:

We're thinking 'great literature' (or at least 'product brochure'), while the user's reality is much closer to 'billboard going by at 60 miles per hour'

Yes indeed.  We do tend to think our corner of the world is central to the lives of our customers, not just our own.  A good reason to do experiential research, so we put ourselves in the shoes of our customers, in the same context they have as much as possible.

Monday, March 28, 2005

The New Marketing Order: How to be Chosen

Pamela Parker, writing in ClickZ,  The New Marketing Order: How to be Chosen, makes an important point about control:

It all comes down to control. People want control over how they're marketed to, and they're clamoring to get it. Witness 158 telephone numbers registered per second on the Do-Not-Call registry, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Witness consumer anger over spam, resulting in the most punitive anti-spam law yet. Witness the incredible success of a "pull" medium, search, over which consumers have control. To accommodate new expectations, marketers must change strategy. Ignore consumers' collective desire at your peril.

Now that we have the tools to give us more control, we're not going to surrender it willingly.   More interesting dynamics at work in the world of customer experience.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Teenagers don't like tiny print online either according to Jakob Nielsen

Some interesting research by web guru Jakob Nielsen crushes several myths about teens and tech. Yes, they like cool design.  But no, they don't like noisy design, small print, or mystery navigation.  Their search strategies and reading skills tend to be lower than adults, and they have very low boredom and patience thresholds, so they abandon quickly when they can't find things.   

When using websites, teenagers have a lower success rate than adults and they're also easily bored. To work for teens, websites must be simple -- but not childish -- and supply plenty of interactive features.

Read the whole story here:  Usability of Websites for Teenagers (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox).

Thanks to Kyle Coolbroth over at the experience journal for bringing this to my attention.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Google Maps

Finally a good online mapping experience, at least at first blush.  Thanks to Karl Long   for bringing this to our collective attention.

Okay, what is Google doing right here?  Many types of specific search options visible on the right-hand panel.  But you can just put in an address and a city in the top search bar as well.  Fairly predictable and controllable zoom in and zoom out.   And found my address -- accurately -- on the first try.

We are still a ways from having the web respond to how humans think and categorize information, however.  For example, a couple of people have recommended to me a small computer store near a specific intersection, but they can't remember the name of the store.   But we are definitely closer.

It almost makes you want to set your skepticism aside!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

The great support myth or why Microsoft just can't afford to stand behind their products anymore

I spent basically another full day trying to get back into the information age.    

Here's our story so far:   A mild-mannered businessperson has problems with her laptop, which she is unable to fix, despite spending hours -- days in fact -- on reinstalls and support.   Desperate to restore productivity, she simply goes out and buys a new notebook PC, and pays for shrink-wrapped XP Pro, in order to qualify for support for the inevitable future software problems which will be encountered. Said PC comes pre-installed with the 60 day trial version of Office 2003.   But she is still happy with her old Office 2002, so installs that.  Is unable to remove the trial version of 2003.  Experiences software conflicts.  Cannot type a memo or send e-mail.  Spends the morning on the phone with HP support, who is unable to fix the problem and recommends starting over with the recovery disk.  Uses the recovery disk, which does not solve the problem.  Tries downloading the free trial again, hoping to install, and then successfully uninstall it.  Does not work.  Decides the solution may be to just go BUY Office 2003, and drives to Staples to get it.  Attempts to install new software according to instructions, but continues to receive irritating error message from Windows Installer about missing cab file.  Our story resumes...   

Continue reading "The great support myth or why Microsoft just can't afford to stand behind their products anymore " »

Monday, February 07, 2005

Buying a Notebook PC: Overchoice and Channel Integration Challenges

It's been close to a week now since I was set up with a fully functional PC.   The whole story is long and not that interesting, but I did learn a few things about buying PCs and software.   Like so many customer experience situations, what seems perfectly reasonable or even good from the standpoint of the company, can be incredibly frustrating to the consumer. 

Here's the nine things I learned along the way

Continue reading "Buying a Notebook PC: Overchoice and Channel Integration Challenges" »

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

PDFs for online reading

I'm not sure anyone should use PDF's for material designed to be read online.  But this goes double if it's a newsletter of some kind that is not to be published off-line.

If you are going to use PDF for this purpose, PLEASE give your readers a break and don't use some kind of two or three column format designed for print that calls for scrolling up and down.  I've raised this issue with my otherwise wonderful alma mater, who publishes a nice business journal that is generally worth reading.  Surely they can afford two formats, one for online reading, and one for print? 

I think this has damaged their brand image, and I'm not kidding around here. How can you claim to be leading edge thinkers when you can't get this kind of thing right? They could take tips from the journal of a major consultancy, that offers both. 

Sunday, January 30, 2005

Missed Sales Opportunities: Quickbooks and the cliff

The cliff is what customers are staring at when they are on your web site, motivated to buy, ready to buy, but you don't give them any kind of "buy now" or "next step" button or link.  Here's an example of exactly what I'm talking about.

Continue reading "Missed Sales Opportunities: Quickbooks and the cliff" »

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Vioxx vs Tylenol

Brilliant direct mail piece arrived at my home yesterday from some smart marketers looking to capitalize on a market opportunity created by the recent Vioxx studies. 

  • Told me about an arthritis remedy that has few side effects or drug interactions
  • Showed me the logo of The Arthritis Society, who has commended (note the choice of word there) their easy-to-open cap
  • Provided me a meaningful coupon to try the product:  $5.00 off (that's practically free)

Of course this was the clever people at Tylenol, who know how to act on a market opportunity when they see it.

Continue reading "Vioxx vs Tylenol" »

Friday, December 31, 2004

This Whopper Rocks

In Phoenix airport recently, I scarfed down a burger before boarding TED, United's bare-bones regional service.  My Whopper wrapper invited me to enjoy a free music download by entering the printed code at an AOL site, or at www.haveityourway.com

Nifty idea -- too bad the promo ended before I got around to downloading.  Their site is clearly working hard at the cool factor.  Clearly not targeted to my demographic (fine by me).

On a related theme, I have often wondered why more brands don't offer us unique ringtones to download, so we can more easily identify our tribe.

Postscript January 2005 -- I have been hearing a lot more about customized ring-tones lately.  I don't think I can take credit...