New from Amazon – WOOT!

woot!Quietly last week on July 12, 2014 began promoting   I know this because I was ‘invited’ to join. Being curious I did just that. The home page offered what I felt was the burning question – ‘WHAT IS WOOT?’.

This is what the site home page notes:

A discussion of ill-advised efficiencies, failed idealism, and trampled dreams.

Woot is a lifestyle. Woot is a vision. Woot is a pungent aroma that never apologizes for what it is. Woot is the hope in the eyes of a child when that child realizes you don’t have to pay List Price for cool stuff. Woot is an ever-evolving deal maelstrom churning around a tornado circling a mystery. If you haven’t seen Woot since yesterday, you haven’t seen Woot.

Pardon me if the above explanation did not leave me all that satisfied. Checking I found the following:

Woot is an American Internet retailer based in the Dallas suburb of Carrollton, Texas. Founded by electronics wholesaler Matt Rutledge, it debuted on July 12, 2004.[3] Woot’s main web site generally offers only one discounted product each day, often a piece of computer hardware or an electronic gadget. Other Woot sites offer daily deals for t-shirts, wine, children’s items, household goods, and two other sites that offer various items. On June 30, 2010, Woot announced an agreement to be acquired by

Now I get it. Woot is a flash sale or daily deals site. At least that’s what it seems.

More from Wikipedia:

‘Woot’s tagline is “One Day, One Deal”. Originally, Woot offered one product per day until its stock of that item is sold out, or until the product is replaced at midnight Central Time with the next offering. If a product sold out during its run, the next item would not appear until midnight, except during Woot-Off promotions. However, post acquisition from Amazon, if a product sells out fast enough(generally before Noon CST), a new product will be offered for purchase. Products are never announced beforehand. This sales model means that defective products cannot be replaced, only refunded. The company also does not provide customer support for the products it sells; in case of problems, customers are advised to seek support either from the manufacturer or through the online user community on the Woot forums.’

That has been around since 2004 surprised me as I was only vaguely aware that there was a site but had no idea what it was about. That decided to purchase seems like a natural fit.

That it took two years for to promote Woot to me – a loyal customer is head scratching. But then these days causes lots of head scratching.

This week Amazon officially released the Kindle Fire phone.   I have not tried it yet and have heard mixed reviews so far.

Are you a daily deals and/or flash sale aficionado?   Have you heard of or tried







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Marketers are targeting – what’s it to you?

Targeting WSJ BN-DR632_CAMPAI_NS_20140714195702I hesitated to include what is nearly an entire article even from a venerated newspaper (or content provider?) such as the Wall Street Journal.   However since my partners and I continually discuss the nature of successful advertising, effective targeting is at the center of nearly all of our discussions – with and without clients in the room. 

Everyone knows that when online they are being targeted to some degree.   I feel the article below from Tuesday July 15, 2014, has a distinct point of view and goes far beyond what one might consider impartial reporting.

I don’t believe we have a single client that would ask us that we target less precisely, or charge them more money in order to not overly target prospective customers.

It is said that politics makes strange bedfellows. I will ask you to be the judge. Is the article below meant to scare or impress?  Or is it something else?

WASHINGTON—Politicians are moving away from blanket TV advertising, now that they know you better and where to find you.

When New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie wanted to reach Hispanic voters during his re-election campaign last year, a team of outside data crunchers discovered that viewers of “Dama y Obrero,” a Spanish-language telenovella about a woman torn between two men, would likely be more receptive to his message than people who watch “Porque el Amor Manda,” a romantic comedy.

That discovery came from marrying private consumer research with detailed voter information and big batches of ratings data, all compiled by the political consulting firm Deep Root Analytics.

The new technology borrows heavily from traditional targeting methods that use information about where a person lives, how they have voted and what products they buy to predict future political behavior, and combines that research with richer-than-ever data about what shows people watch and when they watch them.

The result, writ large, is revolutionizing the billion-dollar business of political advertising, with implications for those who buy and sell it.

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Such specifics about people and how to reach them can help campaigns determine where to find groups of pivotal voters, both large and small, and target them at the lowest possible price.

Targeted ads also can be considerably more specific than going after fans of a certain show. DirecTV Group Inc.DTV +0.43% and Dish Network Corp.DISH +0.28% , the country’s two biggest satellite-TV providers, offer direct access to chosen households. That means one person might see a campaign ad during a certain show but his next-door neighbor won’t, even if he is watching the same show.

“Instead of sending a letter to a post box, we’re sending a 30-second spot to a TV set,” said Warren Schlichting, senior vice president of Dish media sales.

To preempt privacy concerns, political operatives and industry executives are quick to say the identity of individual television viewers is protected through encryption and a process to remove names and other identifying information. A third party uses that anonymous data to match targeted voters with actual television viewers, but not by name.

Media outlets and political campaigns won’t provide specifics about the various costs of TV advertising, but it is undisputed that some shows and networks cost considerably more than others.

Fox News, a unit of 21st Century Fox, draws a huge share of GOP primary voters, but it is expensive given its audience size and it is saturated with ads for Republican candidates. In the run-up to the Texas Republican primary in March, 64% of all the spots aired by Republican candidates ran on Fox News, according to research done by Tim Kay at NCC Media, a cable industry market-research firm.

In the Kentucky Senate race, Deep Root discovered it could reach a similar share of the voters it sought by advertising on HGTV—a house and garden channel—for a fraction of the cost of Fox. Likewise, during last year’s Virginia governor’s race, both sides found the NFL Network a less expensive option to reach swing voters than other cable networks with a larger audience.

This same kind of analysis led the Christie campaign to run ads during ” Friday Night Wrestling” on the SyFy channel, in an effort to reach people who had a low propensity to vote but would likely cast ballots for Gov. Christie if they did.

Similarly, a super-PAC helping Senator Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) picked “Bones,” a Fox show about a forensic anthropologist, in the Evansville, Ind., media market, right across the Ohio River from Kentucky, having determined that the show’s viewers were highly likely to vote in the Kentucky race and could still be swayed to support a Republican candidate.

(Until the middle of 2013, 21st Century Fox and Wall Street Journal parent News Corp were part of the same company.)

Republicans and Democrats who do this work say they can help a campaign stretch its ad budget by as much as 30%.

“These are calculations we just couldn’t do before,” said Alex Lundry, a Deep Root co-founder who led the data team for Republican Mitt Romney‘s presidential bid in 2012.

Deep Root and other data analysts buy consumer information from data-mining firms, including movie and TV-measurement firms Rentrak and Nielsen, as well as credit-score firm Experian.

And unlike traditional TV ratings, which generally focus on age brackets, these new targeting tools monitor the viewing habits of individuals. Cablevision Systems Corp.CVC +1.87% and Comcast CMCSA +0.29% Spotlight, a division of Comcast Corp., have started providing campaigns with more specific audience information to give them detailed, real-time information about what people are watching.

The analytics firms then use computers to sort through the information and steer campaign efforts, as they do for businesses’ marketing campaigns.

President Barack Obama‘s re-election team in 2012 pioneered these media cost-benefit analytics during his White House race.

His advisers expected Republicans to have more to spend on television, thanks to a collection of well-funded outside groups, and they wanted to maximize their media budget by focusing solely on the 15% of the electorate they believed would decide the election.

“One of the ways we approached the spending disadvantage is that we decided to buy [media] differently,” said Larry Grisolano, the campaign’s top media adviser and an architect of these new targeting techniques, which are now used at the company he founded, Analytics Media Group. “The data gave us the confidence to try something different.”

Since the 2012 election, a number of firms have emerged to offer candidates this service. GMMB, another leading Democratic ad firm, joined forces with other Obama alums at Civis Analytics last year.

A group of tech-savvy GOP operatives launched Optimus from a cramped Capitol Hill townhouse to offer similar tools to Republicans, including a political action committee tied to Florida Sen. Marco Rubio.

In the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, Deep Root built a tool similar to one used by the Obama campaign for Mr. Romney. His media buyer never used it, the Deep Root founders said. ( Stuart Stevens, a top Romney adviser, said the campaign used the products “that were helpful.”)

“Contrary to a lot of public perceptions, Republicans weren’t asleep at the switch,” said Sara Taylor Fagen, another Deep Root co-founder who served as political director under former President George W. Bush.

Politicians need to get with the digital age, experts say. Campaigns will devote about 57% of their overall advertising budget to broadcast TV, according to projections by Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group, and another 15% on cable. Digital advertising, meanwhile, will account for just 7% of the average campaign budget, less than half of the amount most candidates will spend on direct mail.

“In politics, as in advertising,” Mr. Grisolano said, “you have to follow people by the choices they make.”




Posted in Advertising, Best business practices, Targeting | Tagged , , , , , , | 2 Comments

CRUMBS turns to dust and it’s not a surprise

oh crumbsThis past Monday Crumbs bakeries abruptly shut their doors.    I cannot resist a little ‘I told you so’ as I wrote about the oddity of the Crumbs IPO when it was announced back in 2011.   Crumbs, like Krispy Kreme and Cold Stone Creamery, will most likely re-emerge at some point in the near future as a scaled-down version with far fewer outlets.

It was in my opinion a huge long shot that a single platform concept – high end gourmet cupcakes could be rolled out as a lasting business model.   The cupcakes are great and all but not enough people went to them regularly.   It’s like that with treats – when they become commonplace they are no longer a treat.   I feel the same about smartphone games like Farmvillle (wrote about that too), and more recently Candy Crush from King Entertainment.

So how can you tell the difference between a fad as opposed to a concept or product that has lasting value?   It’s not easy but there are more visible signs of overall weakness then there are of future success.  I’ve a good friend who is a very successful restaurateur.  He and his partner came up with a restaurant concept back in the mid-1990’s that still exists and is in fact thriving today.   They’ve since added a second and different restaurant concept and it too is successful and growing.

Are my friend’s restaurant concepts fads?  Not in any way.  Why?  Because their focus has always been on delivering a great and consistent customer experience in every single location (combined the number is approaching twenty).   How do they do this?  In their case it’s by actually being IN the locations on a regular basis.  As the company grows that makes it more difficult – and exhausting, but they are adding quality people to the team who share the desire to maintain the value proposition.

One trick ponies like Crumbs, Krispy Kreme and Cold Stone Creamery have a tall order when it comes to lasting success.  I looked into owning a Cold Stone Creamery franchise several years ago but had great difficulty in accepting that being in the U.S. northeast, sales would not die horribly from December through April.  Glad I passed on that one.

As I noted last week I think wearable technology is a fad.   I just don’t see people continually wearing colorful wireless enabled wristbands/watches displaying information moment to moment.   They will try it for a while and like so many fads tire of it and stop. Doesn’t that constitute a fad?

If you have a moment take a look around and please offer your ideas on other things you see as fads and let me know.  I’d love to hear.

Posted in Brand Advertising, Franchises, Marketing stuff | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Buyer’s Remorse


Well stated by my partner..

Originally posted on Diary Of A Media Man:

A new CEO comes in, ousts the CMO and VP of Marketing and tells his smaller media agency that he won’t renew their contract because he has a larger media shop he’s worked with and believes their BS about bigger agencies always buying better than small ones.

This happened to us recently. When the CEO’s preferred media agency submitted a ridiculously high compensation proposal suddenly we’re back in the mix. Our fee proposal was very fair. We even offered the client a better deal. We get an opportunity to pitch ourselves to the new CEO who, for the previous two months, wouldn’t even acknowledge our existence.

We have a great meeting. We explain the fallacy in believing that larger agencies “always” get better pricing. We tell him you get best pricing (and overall work) from people who care about their work and have time to do a great job for…

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Money right under your nose – your business data assets are valuable to other marketers

Money keyCustomer acquisition via email is a tricky business.  In the (B2C) business-to-consumer segment positive ROI is particularly difficult to achieve.   (B2B) business-to-business marketers have considerably more success for a myriad of reasons that include higher price points for products and better targeting capabilities since consumer marketing is so broad-based.

Email marketing is always worth testing since it offers a low-cost channel that if viable can be a primary business driver.  Most marketers are aware that building a data-leverage-able house file (internal customer and prospect databases), is a critical part of CRM.   However too many companies miss the opportunity to leverage (make money) by not marketing and trading their customer data.  Hampered by their own draconian privacy policies, marketers are ignoring list rental revenue as well as reciprocal opportunities with non-competitive partners.    And it all stems from trying to protect customers/users from receiving supposedly unwanted emails.

You read it correctly.  I am advocating that companies consider renting their customer names (more valuable) and even prospect names (less valuable but still some value), to curated third party marketers whose products and services would match up well with the house file.

There would of course need to be a clear description of how to unsubscribe so that the recipient could immediately opt-out and never receive emails from that curated third party marketer again.   Since this type of endeavor would likely require a change in the company privacy policy, house file names would have to be made aware of changes in the privacy policy and given the opportunity to opt-out of all third party messages if they so choose.     Believe me when I tell you that there will be a significant portion of the customer and prospect database that will remain ‘opted-in’.

The list rental business has been undergoing major changes in recent years as business and consumer mailing lists have dwindled in popularity and email lists have taken hold.   Back in the 1980’s and 1990’s there were extremely few companies that were created simply to acquire and resell customer names.  At the time birthday names were especially valuable.  People would send a dollar (they would mail it as this was the 1980’s after all) to receive within a week their personal horoscope for the day on which they were born.  A computer algorithm would spit out the horoscope and off it would go.  In the process the marketer now had personal data – birthday, name, address, gender etc.   Those names could then be rented to other marketers (permission marketing was still a long way away) and the real value was the multiple rentals of (list rentals are one-time use only), customer data to a wide variety of third party marketers.   Cheesy – oh yes for sure.  Successful?  At times, wildly so.

To be clear, I am not suggesting a return to cheesiness.   However I strongly feel that businesses that are struggling to make ends meet (there are more than a few) are not leveraging what is a valuable asset.    We’ve all seen enough digital display advertising and retargeting ads to understand that people who looked at sites, bought things etc. have affinities for ancillary products.  The right offer from the right third party marketer at the right time is of benefit to the recipient.  People tend to not like to admit that.  It’s as if they’d prefer drowning in a sea of irrelevant email and display offers.

For marketers remember you have gold contained in your customer data.   I know many companies that would love to trade data (in a reciprocal arrangement your customer data to them their customer data to you), or rent that data.

Is your company ready to reconsider its privacy policy so it can realize untapped revenue?



Posted in Advertising, Best business practices, Direct Mail, Direct marketing, Email marketing, Marketing stuff | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Affiliate Retargeting: the next, next thing?

Thoughtful idea from my partner.

Affiliate Retargeting: the next, next thing?.

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Wearable technology still has far to go

Dick Tracy 2wrrI remember Garmin.   So Garmin has gotten into the market for wearable technology (I guess Tom-Tom and Magellan must be doing the same thing as how irrelevant have stand-alone GPS units become?). I find it interesting that as a growing panacea (because that’s really what it is) wearable technology has received so much attention, interest and investment from large players like Apple, Google, Samsung and Nike, just to name a few.

Why do I say that ‘wearables’ have far to go? Because people will tire and ultimately not want to visibly wear technology.   Google Glass is cool and I definitely want to try one but I don’t see myself wearing a Google Glass for all of my waking hours.   Which begs the question – when to wear the technology and when not to?   I’m interested and curious enough to try wearables (on the wrist is most common), to monitor my health, activities, and conditions.   The idea that I want to look at my wrist to access things on my phone is, I guess, the future and will become normal behavior (as if I am too lazy to take out my phone?).

Are you going to ‘wear’ an Apple smart watch to bed every night?   It would monitor your sleep patterns which is cool and interesting – once or twice but every single night?   I don’t know about you but when I sleep I want to be as comfortable as possible. Having something on my wrist while asleep is not and cannot be more comfortable than going without.

I look at the path of wearable technology as just that – a path. Today it is ‘watches’ (those of us that remember reading the Dick Tracy comic and he had the coolest watch) that are the default wearable, but in the end I see wearables as a chip (that will be virtually invisible) that is placed behind your ear.   In my view, a behind the ear wearable is something that could be truly worn 24/7 without interfering with your outfit, (i.e. how would wearable technology look with an evening gown, or bathing suit?).

People are far more concerned with their appearance in the long run.   Visible wearables will be replaced by invisible or barely perceptible wearables.

Do you agree or disagree?


Posted in Communication, Consumer Behavior, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Comments