the Permission Marketing horn.
It's all true. A VC: Permission Marketing
The latest book, Poke The Box is a call to action about the initiative you're taking - in your job or in your life, and Seth once again breaks the traditional publishing model by releasing it through The Domino Project.
I was waiting for someone to figure out how to do this, because RSS is a little scary for us mere mortals. Bloglines | Free, Web-Based News Aggregator let's you put all the blogs you read in one place.
You lose the wonderful formatting that makes blog reading magazine-like, but it sure makes it easy to keep track of what's up. Thanks to Ray Tse for the tip.
Meike van Schijndel probably isn't going to start selling bathroom fixtures any time soon. But a quick look at her site, Welcome to Bathroom Mania! sure makes it seem that way.
This is funny and clever and outrageous and it demonstrates her talent and drive. In fact, most entrepreneurs who say they don't have the resources to launch their purple cow (and are worried that someone will steal their idea) can learn a big lesson here. Her idea is likely to catch on (if the interest is any indication) which means that someone will either license it or rip her off. Either way, if her idea spreads, she wins, because she's the undisputed source of an ideavirus.
(Thanks to the Viral Marketing Blog for the tip.)
Jan Miner just passed away. You probably don't know her name, but she played Madge in the Palmolive commercials for 27 years.
Try to imagine, just for a second, a new product launching on TV and becoming successful... and having that success be so profound that it could support the same spokesperson for 27 years.
Inconceivable. Yet it appears that's what most advertisers continue to shoot for.
More than half a thousand people, organizations and companies have already been nominated to appear (for free) in my new ebook, coming out in May. You can check it out at: BULLMARKET 2004 :: COMPANIES THAT CAN HELP YOU MAKE THINGS HAPPEN
The last two in January were terrific, so, by popular demand, I'm announcing a new seminar for March 25th.
If you send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org (with the word PRACTICAL as the subject line) I'll be delighted to point you to my seminar-only blog which will give you all the details.
The seminar lasts about 6 and a half hours and is designed to take you (and others from your company or organization) through a process that leads to lasting change... and gets you to the point where you can solve your own problems. The focus is on ideas, idea diffusion, brands, marketing, persuasion and web design. Mostly it's about how to turn your group into a Purple Cow.
There's a 100% money back guarantee, but no one has ever asked for a refund.
The fee is $1,000, which includes you and a colleague. Bring your boss too if you can. Space is really very limited, so I'm unable to grant discounts. If you paid for the last seminar but were snowed out, you get to come to this one for free!
Have you ever noticed that whenever people take a Polaroid picture (even professionals), they shake the film a little bit before they peel it?
In fact, I've never seen anyone NOT shake it.
Where did shaking start? How did we learn to shake? How does one person learn about shaking--from someone else?
Anyway, all that was answered today: CNN.com - Polaroid warns buyers not to 'Shake It' - Feb. 17, 2004
Virus writers are always anonymous.
Vicious political lies (with faked photoshop photos of political leaders, or false innuendo about personal lives) are always anonymous as well.
Spam is anonymous.
eBay fraudsters are anonymous too.
It seems as though virtually all of the problems of the Net stem from this one flaw, and its one I’ve riffed on before. If we can eliminate anonymity online, we create a far more civil place.
How hard would it be to do?
What if the five leading search engines all agreed to create default setting that only searched pages that weren’t posted anonymously? You could always opt to search the larger, seedier web, but most users wouldn’t want to do that. Google news could skip the anonymous news feeds as well. Authentication wouldn’t be particularly difficult—it’s really hard to get an anonymous credit card, for example, so a fee of $20 or $30 a year ought to make a certification agency awfully happy.
What if the leading mail programs had a simple method to block all anonymous incoming email? In this case, the easy way to guarantee that email isn’t anonymous is to sell stamps for a tenth of a cent each. The average user might have to pony up $2 a month—and all that money could go to fund the work I’m talking about.
It’s ironic that we’ve set up two very different standards for our trust. In the real world, we’re skeptical of strangers. At the supermarket the other day, someone picked up my favorite brand of olive oil. I waxed on about how great it was, and of course, the shopper put it back and bought something else instead. Online, however, we’re happy to believe whatever image someone sends along, or buy something from a spammer.
As part of the PR push for my new book, the PR firm is looking for a few organizations that have been impacted by Purple Cow. If you've got a neat story to tell about how you put the Purple Cow ideas to work, and you want some free publicity, here's what you can do:
Write a note to Erin Hollrah at email@example.com.
Tell her your:
Name of organization/company
Contact information (email and phone number)
Agreement to be contacted for interviews
How you've used Purple Cow ideas to impact your job, your business or your organization.
I can't promise anything, of course--it's not me, it's them. But if you want to take a shot at it... thanks.
My new column in Fast Company (on newsstands now) appears to have hit a nerve. I've gotten more mail in the last two days than in the last few columns combined.
The question that a lot of people are asking is, "when's the new book coming out?" This makes me quite happy, as I'm sure you can imagine. I'm delighted to tell you that it'll ship in about ten weeks. I'm also pleased to tell you a secret: the first press run (and JUST the first press run) comes in a collectible package. (more on this soon).
If you want to be sure to get the first press run, visit
Amazon.com: Books: Free Prize Inside: The Next Big Marketing Idea to get an early order.
I subscribe to a bunch of Jim Leff's newsletters. ChowNews - The ChowMarket. You should too.
Put aside the amazing food (don't, but imagine you did), and you can discover all sorts of stuff about ideas and marketing. From today's note:
MASS PRODUCED PERSONAL TOUCHES AT STARBUCKS
I can't believe I never noticed this before. Michelle Maratto writes in:
"In Starbucks they have "blackboards" with homey things written on them like "Just in: Mocha Java Sumatra Latte..." with little tea cups drawn on there. Something like that.
"But if you look - it's not really a BLACKBOARD -- it's a pre-made, probably mass-produced sign! No one who works there took out some chalk and wrote that on the board!"
This year, online spending on ads eclipsed that for radio. (In the UK)
It's possible that this link is wrong, though.
Check this out:
UK Interactive Ad Growth Overtakes All Other Media
Then, just as I'm starting to understand that the secret lies in the ability to message my network, Brad sent me a note pointing me to Orkut's IP policy. Basically, they own every word we write: The Register.
It makes it hard to imagine getting the critical mass that's needed. It's also a silly way to start the brand, since the value of this information is low, but the cost to the user is so high.
Just discovered a new search engine just for us: Internet Marketing Resources: Featuring reviews and links to the Top Sites 40 Marketing Categories. Nice work, Larry.
But this is just too much:
I did some of the very first online sweepstakes (starting in 1990) so I've seen a bunch, but this is a pretty good story. Pepsi finds a loophole in the rules: Apple - Pepsi - Offical Rules
It turns out that you must offer a "no purchase necessary" option if you want to avoid running a lottery. The Pepsi iTunes promotion offers you a 1 in 3 chance of winning a 99 cent song for free. To get your entry without paying, you must send them a SASE envelope (that means 37 cents plus 37 cents) which means 74 cents for a 33% chance to win a buck.
Wonder how many they get?
Mitch sent me to a movie, which sent me to: What a Crappy Present - CD Gift Advice, Parents and Kids.
What's so remarkable about the site (nicely done, by the way) is how unremarkable the sentiment has become.
Tim Manners talks about local search in today's Reveries. On a lark, I went to Google Search: magic near 10706
and to Yahoo! Yellow Pages
to look up magic stores near my house. Why? Well, there's a magic store in my little tiny town, which is weird.
Neither site found it.
Yahoo did, on the other hand, find an escort service and put it right up top. Sigh. Google wasn't any better.
The Yellow Pages works for a few important reasons:
1. it's usually a monopoly. Concentration of attention makes it worth advertising in.
2. The advertisers make the book. It's so expensive, it's not worth running a dumb ad. Besides, they have thousands of editors, working hard to make sure no one is cheating.
I have no doubt that one day the Yellow Pages will be digital. I just don't think it's going to be that easy to replace all those salespeople and all those dead treest.
Imagine. Turning teacher ratings into a public discussion.
What's it like to be Mrs. Peyser at the Brooklyn Tech High School? The lowest ranked teacher out of thousands of posted rankings at that school...
This isn't the end, of course, just the beginning. Soon, there's going to be a "Zagats" of just about everything. RateMyTeachers.com - BROOKLYN TECH HIGH SCHOOLTeacher Ratings
Pete Caputa sent me to eurekster search. I'm not sure this is the next google, but what's fascinating is how obvious it makes it that there IS a next google. Somewhere.
I guess this might be the future of the banner ad. MarketBanker - The Internet's Ad Marketplace
Once you boil it down to a commodity (with a nearly infinite supply and a close to zero clickthrough rate) it becomes clear that making money on the web by selling banners is awfully difficult. (I wrote about this in 1998--when I claimed in Fast Company that banners were doomed by the year 2000. I was early, but not wrong).
The insight of Adwords and other keyword buys is this: These are relevant ads that Google (and others) have TRAINED the user that it's useful to click on.
Google will fire you as a client if your ad doesn't get good clicks. The reason is obvious: they only win when you leave the site, and ads where people don't click don't work.
I hope and wish that one day we'll have a viable model for supporting content-based web sites with advertising. But it's pretty obvious that today we don't. (pintshop.com is the site the headline refers to).
If I was willing to work a LOT harder, I'd do something like this.
If I wanted to work a little harder, I'd just rip it off.
Instead, I'll just point to it. Have fun. Viral Marketing Blog
For a whole host of reasons. For what it says about our culture, our technology and most of all, about how hard it is to get anyone to PAY ATTENTION! SignOnSanDiego.com > Sports -- Janet Jackson most watched moment among TiVo users
A day after posting about eye doctors, I got this link in my email box. Welcome to eyeconX!
Glad to be just one step behind the curve.
"I guess this doesn't apply to opthamologists". I guess that's not really a question, but it's what someone in the audience muttered when I finished my talk.
OF COURSE it applies to opthamologists.
Remarkable marketing is the only way to grow. That's not what they teach you at eye doctor school, but even doctors are beginning to understand that the health insurance free ride can't and won't last forever.
Medical care has operated in a weird twilight zone for a long time. Basically, many customers of health care don't pay (except with their time) for the services they get. In a marketplace where people are fearful (they want the best, not something flaky) and where everything is free, it certainly appears that the best approach is to play it safe, to keep your head down, to force your product to become a commodity and just wait for your fair share of the business.
In essence, most medical professionals are focused on being reasonably well recommended and reasonably convenient. That keeps the waiting room full, and until recently, the coffers filled.
The problem (at least in the USA) is that health insurance doesn't pay as well as it used to, doesn't pay promptly and often (for more and more people) doesn't pay at all. In other countries, doctors are compensated by their popularity, so there's an incentive (though not as much) to get people in the door.
Bottom line: remarkable doctors (the ones that people talk about) can charge more, can see more patients and have more security.
Being remarkable is not about a better ad in the Yellow Pages. It's about everything from the way the receptionist interacts with the patient (hint: receptionist comes from the word 'reception') to the way the doctor talks to the patient.
What's become clear to chiropractors and dentists (who went first in the marketing game) is that the actual quality of the medical care is often secondary. The fact is, we have nothing to compare the medical to. We don't know if a different doctor would have cracked our back better, or if a different eye doctor would have made our vision less fuzzy. What we DO know is how we're treated, cared for, accomodated and talked to. And it's amazingly easy to do this in a remarkable way.
The sooner you start doing this on a regular basis, I would have told my friend the opthamologist, the quicker you become remarkable.
I gave a seminar at the library down the street yesterday. A fund raiser for a good cause. It was fun but I was nervous, because, after all, I've got to see these people in the supermarket and at school every day.
After I finished, there were some spirited questions.
The best question was in response to my story about my sister's quest to create a remarkable resume, something that short circuits the, "Mail my resume to 1,000 companies that would scan it into the HR database and promptly reject me" approach to finding a job.
Sharon pointed out that in addition to creating a remarkable resume, my sister was also putting the recipient in a spot where THEY had to be remarkable. In essency, being 'risky' was the safest path for my sister, but didn't it require that the recipient take a risk by interviewing her? After all, they'd be breaking the rules by voiding the faceless HR shredder.
"Of course," I grinned. "You've got it!" Sharon had cut through a lot of my blather and gotten to the essence of the Purple Cow. The only way you're product or service grows is when people who are willing to color outside of the lines take a chance on it. The only way you get a job interview outside of the status quo is when an interviewer takes a chance on it.
The thing is: if someone isn't willing to take a chance, YOU'RE GOING TO FAIL ANYWAY. Krispy Kreme grew when people willing to take a flyer on a new donut bit one. The folks who were Dunkin Donut fans, unwilling to try a taste of something new are invisible no matter what, right?
In other words, the only growth, the only breakthroughs, the only new customers and great jobs come from people/customers willing to go out on a limb a little bit. So WHY NOT cater to those people from the start?
If you cater to the ignoring masses, they will ignore you. That's what they do.