Archive for the 'marketing' Category

Kip Knight shares how to utilize the power of all to build your business

I was fortunate to attend the Cincinnati area AMA lunch today, where Kip Knight, Vice President – Marketing of eBay spoke about “using the power of all of us to build your business” where he outlined his thoughts on the trending of business and marketing of companies moving into an open sourcing and collaboration model and away from the command and control model so many companies are familiar with.

Kip covered ground quickly, and interspersed his big ideas with humor to keep it light. As a result I left with a couple pages of notes. While Kip didn’t plant to many new ideas in my head, he proved a great review of blogs and articles I’ve read in the past few months. It’s also great to see yet another industry leader such as eBay to embrace these ideas.

You can view my full notes here (pdf download), but I thought I’d share a couple things he mentioned which I found very helpful and interesting.

First, Kip talked about a couple methods/programs they use to monitor the pulse of the eBay community.

* Voices – They fly in 20 users (sellers/buyers) each month and senior management with other key employees sit and talk with these users. Learning what they like about the site, what they don’t like, features they’d find helpful, etc. Once these users visit they become part of the Voices community and can be called in the future to answer questions and provide opinions on new ideas.
* Visits – This method takes 3 ebay employees to visit site users in their homes and watch them sell/buy on eBay. One employee asks questions, another takes notes, and the last video tapes.
* Views – Once a quarter, they conducts topical focus groups around the country on topics that are important to the company and it’s user base. i.e. Topic for Q2 2008 is safety

Secondly, he mentioned a couple stats I found very intriguing, the first of which is that 40% of the things sold on eBay are sold/listed via their API. 40%! That’s huge!

He also mentioned Wikipedia and how it’s huge user base allows for it to have a minimal staff of 5 full time employees, yet it is very agile in maintaining it’s product (obscenities last online for 1.7 minutes). It blows my mind that they are that quick in removing information that doesn’t conform to their community rules.

His talk sparked quite a few questions and ideas that require a bit more development, but I’ll follow up with additional posts later as those thoughts tie in for me, especially how they work with Abunga.

He also endorsed a book that I’m currently reading which is “Ultimate Question: For Unlocking the Door to Good Profits and True Growth” by Frederick F. Reichheld. The book focuses on the use of what is called the Net Promoter Score, boiling down to the question – would you recommend us to a friend? Pretty simple question, but very pertinent.

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Have a great Easter.

i got .99 problems

I was in a gas station driving up to Pennsylvania last week and I saw the sign below.

My first thought was, “wow what horrible presentation, don’t they know that if they did, X, Y, and Z it could be so much better” However, as I thought about it I realized how wrong I was on multiple fronts. First, I was wrong because it’s fully functional. Now of course it could have a bit more appeal, but the sign does what it needs to do. It tells me that Gold Peak tea is .99. Before I walked in I did not know that the tea was .99 and because it’s clearly stated and easily seen, 3 steps in the door and I’m fully aware of that pricing.

Secondly, this made me think about the marketing/communication we do in a larger context. How often do we create a mountain, when a mole-hill would have worked? I know I often create relatively layered messaging, or features for Abunga because I want to show prowess rather than creating a simple design that communicates the message clearly, quickly and easily. In the end, it’s not about me, it’s about the user, the customer and if I give them what works for them best, they’ll probably come back.

How can you simplify what you are doing today? What features can you remove? What words can you cut?

underdog push

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I read a post over at engadget a couple weeks ago on a push email client called emoze. (Click here for the post) I don’t currently receive email on my cell phone, although free push email such as emoze certainly makes me think twice about it.

This post is not about the ability of emoze, or even that it’s free. Very interesting ideas, but this blog is mostly about, marketing. So this post will be about, their marketing at CTIA.

Check out the poster below:

emoze went head-to-head (back-to-back as the poster says) with BlackBerry in a wireless showdown. Wow! What a great idea. It’s great for a couple reasons:

  • it’s interesting idea that connects us to years of yore
  • if they lose the competition, they still get their name out
  • if they win, they have beaten the dominant mobile email service provider, that’s like beating Kleenex at being a tissue!
  • if BlackBerry had said no, or didn’t show up it could cause even more stir!
  • They’ve got nothing to lose, so they fully embraced the adage, of “go big or go home”

It creates a fun story that people can tell. I wasn’t at the event so I’m not sure how hyped up they made it. But I can only imagine the performance possibilities. I can just see people walking by and saying, “what in the world is going on over there?” Then taking out their BlackBerry and telling a bunch of people about the event they just witnessed.

It also creates an emotional bond. We want someone to win, and if we have a BlackBerry we’ll probably be rooting for them…but I’m sure many people that hate Microsoft also hate RIM for their total dominance in market and would love to see them lose, even in a little showdown like this.

I think it’s a good idea. It makes me wonder how I can do something similar?

What about you, can you do something like this?

Oh by the way…..emoze won.

have a great day!

sushi design

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This past weekend a friend and I went to downtown Knoxville for a concert. On our way we decided we’d have dinner downtown; I’m becoming a lover of sushi, so we headed to a great little place called nama. Excellent atmosphere, great food, great service, overall a wonderful time. I’d highly recommend it. When you go I suggest asking your waitress about specials that aren’t on the menu. We had two of the fore-mentioned specials and they were fabulous. This isn’t about the food though, this is about design.

So on our way out I grabbed a business card so I could put the number into my phone for future reference. When I got back to the house to put it in I noticed that the front of the card is fairly normal looking.

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A pretty clean trendy design. When I flipped the card over to put in in my drawer I noticed that the graphic continued to the back side, creating chopsticks holding a fish. Now I find that ingenious. Sure it’s just a little design kick, but it’s the attention to detail that I find intriguing.

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Which reminds me of an e-newsletter last week from a local design group, Hornsby Brand Design, who incidentally does great work. In the newsletter they quoted an interview Tom Peters did for Corporate Design Foundation’s @ Issue magazine (Vol. 6, No. 1). He had great stuff to say, but the line that struck me the most was the following.

“I think 99% of us appreciate design on a personal level. Why else do we agonize over what color car to buy and what style reflects who we are?” he said. “But we turn it off when we come to the office…Pay attention to stuff that turns you on or turns you off–and don’t worry about why. You’ll begin to find that your preferences go from the deep soul aesthetic stuff to ‘usability’ features.”

Essentially, we all care about design when it’s “Me, Inc.” that will be represented, but we stop when it’s our company brand that is on the table. Personal preferences matter, because without them we develop brands without preferences. Which makes it like sushi rice. Sushi rice has pretty much no taste, but when you add the various meats, sauces, garnishes, ginger and wasabi it comes to life.

I know I need to be more diligent in this application in my own life.

What about you?

Have a great day everyone.


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