Tick Yes Blog

Category - News & Views

Is My Smartwatch too Smart For Me?

Ok, confession time: I’m not 21.
Or 25.
Or… well, you get the picture.
Even though I’m not a ‘millennial’ (whatever happened to Gen Y?) I do love digital technology and the brilliance of how it can help us do today what we couldn’t do yesterday.
Yes, I made a big assumption in the above paragraph i.e. that you have to be a 20-something to be able to grasp the intricacies of all things digital.
Which is, of course poppycock.
What is undeniable though is that the adoption rates of new technologies among older demographics is lower than with ‘digital natives’. Why? Put simply, it’s human nature to retain the habits and fashions of our youth.
I still remember as a young boy seeing old men walking around the city in hats; the fashion of their youth.
Which brings us to Smartwatches, the hats of today. Like many of us I watched in bewilderment and admiration at the frenzy whipped up by the launch of the Apple Watch. What a toy, I scoffed.
That was until a friend bought one and raved about how amazing it was. He also said it was just a gadget; but one he couldn’t do without.
Not being the slightest bit competitive, from that moment on I HAD to have a smartwatch. But rather than follow the herd I did my research. That was was when I discovered Kickstarter sensation Pebble smartwatches.
On the back of $20.3 million worth of pre-orders on the crowdfunding site, the new Pebble Time release promised to be the smartest of smartwatches. So smart and so cool that it’s ‘geek chic’. People were breathless in anticipation of touching this incredible new watch.
Of course I placed my order.
There was no hiding it; I couldn’t wait to get it! Everyone in the office was sick of me going on about how fantastic my new watch was going to be. My excitement was palpable right up to the day I received my black, gleaming Pebble Time.
And there it was. And then, well, is that all? I think marketers call it the post-purchase dissonance blues (I added the blues part but same, same).
It was nice, it looked great but after playing with it for 10 minutes I was bored. It was hard to read – maybe you need millenial powered eyes – and the apps are a little clunky. Which is not surprising I guess as it’s essentially Pebble 2.0; I’m sure we’ll look back at this version in 2-3 years and be amazed at how ancient it seems as we do with all ‘old’ technology.
Maybe I’m missing something, though. Or maybe I’ve been spoiled by Apple whose iPad and iPhone 6 – which, unlike Pebble Time is mature technology – I love along with the App Store.
The other alternative of course is that the wonders of smartphones may be above my ability to comprehend them. If that’s the case, that’s fine.
Looking on the bright side, I now have a new hobby: working out what all the fuss was about.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

Sampling Campaigns Should Give and Take

Everyone loves free stuff. It’s the ultimate win for Joe and Jane Public. Particularly when what we want and like is being given away without us having to pay for it.
The whole sampling industry is predicated on this fundamental aspect of human nature. If you give me something that I value and in return I don’t have to give you anything, I’m all in.
Billions of dollars have been spent by companies wanting to get their (usually) new products into the hands of eager potential consumers.
The white board strategy goes something like this: allow consumers to sample our amazing new ‘insert product here’ and they’ll be so impressed they will be inexorably drawn into buying it until the end of time. PLUS, awareness will go through the roof as they rave and post about our brand on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat etc. Simple. Elegant. Compelling.
So where’s the failure in all of this?
Another fundamental aspect of human nature is the law of reciprocity: if you give something to me I’m compelled to give something to you. More often than not, however sampling companies just give, give, give and ask for nothing in return.
Big mistake. Huge.
Here’s a chance to capture the details of people who almost certainly have tried your product and you let them walk away, in all likelihood never to be seen again. That’s your future revenue and profit merrily skipping away with their free booty.
In fairness, some companies go half the way by telling consumers where they can purchase the product they’re about to enjoy for free. But they’re the exception.
Consumers WILL give you their name and email address if you give them valid reasons to do so, particularly if you’ve just given them something for nothing.
Then, you can contact them about competitions, events, surveys, content to post on social media, cross-selling other products etc etc. The mind boggles with the marketing opportunities created by building a simple database.
Even better, when it comes to a product sampling campaign building an email database is an ‘off-cut’ of the main game. So that way everyone wins, not just Joe and Jane.
So that way it really is simple, elegant and compelling.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

Serious Numbers

This week we achieved an incredible milestone. Our humble musings about all things digital, marketing and heck, life as we know it clicked over to a zero number of reads; lots of zeros in fact. Since ‘The Message’ was launched in 2011 our posts have been read over 400,000 times; by 266,000++ visitors no less.
So a BIG thank you. It’s astounding that our small blog that we haven’t really marketed in any meaningful way beyond a little bit of social sharing has been so popular. Of course there are many blogs that probably boast these types of figures every month but we never thought we’d be a able to attract even a fraction of the numbers that we have.
Did I mention thank you?
While we’re talking numbers, here are our five most popular posts (in order of number of reads) all of which still get major traffic every month:
1. How social media is helping beat cyber-bullying
2. Caveman porn
3. Instagram Joins the Video-posting Trend
4. A brief history of culture jamming
5. Are Anonymous’ days numbered?
OK, need to get back to work. 500,000 beckons!
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
In Life and on LinkedIn, Saying “Thank You” Can Take You a Long Way


Too Many Brands, Not Enough Money

Shock horror. Major retailer Myer has announced that it’s cutting 100 brands to make way for ‘new’ brands. This follows arch rival David Jones’ earlier decision to also axe 180 brands.
It’s all about rationalisation, freeing up shelf space, offering more mid-market offerings blah, blah, blah. We’ve heard it all before.
Cry not for the brands, however.
Frankly, the decision probably makes sound commercial sense. If the soon to be gone brands aren’t pulling their sales/profit weight they should be deleted. It’s always up to the brand owner to drive sales by ensuring that it’s relevant to its target market.
What these decisions do highlight though is the critical need for brands to take greater control of their distribution channel destiny. Clearly, you can’t trust the accursed retailers with their competing agendas.
As I previously wrote, this could not be more cruelly apparent than with supermarkets where Coles & Woolworths are doing a brilliant job of leveraging the demand created by their ‘brand partners’ to create their own premium brands.
So where does that leave the poor old brand owner now shivering out in the cold?
Go direct and retail intermediaries be damned!
Seek out your customers directly by connecting with them online. Open stores on Amazon and eBay. Build massive opt-in email databases and send regular eDMs focused on customers’ specific needs and interests. Engage your customers directly. If you don’t, someone else will and in all likelihood they won’t have your best interests at heart.
Ceding transactional control of your customers to retailers is an old paradigm. It’s not a redundant paradigm, mind you. If you can be listed in a major retailer, fantastic. Enjoy the ride and make your money.
But as hundreds of brand owners are now finding out, being on the inside with a retailer is not something you can or should rely on.
The only loyalty you can count on is from customers with whom you have a direct relationship. The margins are higher, the control is far greater and, if you do your job well, customer satisfaction will be the best it has ever been.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

SOS: Students or Staff?


Context Marketing

Last week I binge watched a new ABC TV series called Glitch. While it’s an Australian series to proud of, most noteworthy is the fact that viewers have been given the choice as to how they view the show.
Traditional viewers can watch the series over 6 weeks where they’ve always watched: on TV. Non-traditional – in the main, younger - viewers can watch the whole series on iView, ABC’s streaming service via their device of choice.
Netflix did the same by uploading all 13 episodes of its sensational House of Cards Season 3.
If you needed more proof was that marketers no longer run the show this it. Consumer ‘hyper-choice’ is the new normal.
Today, social media, digital and content marketing are the tools. Context is the strategic glue that binds.
What does that mean?
It means that we need to anticipate that our products and services will be used in so many more ways, place and times than were ever anticipated even 5 years ago.
Sure, we’ve been hearing that the consumer is now in charge ever since the internet sputtered to life via a dial-up modem.
With advances in our technical connectedness, however the context in which we choose to consume has not just evolved our choices, it has also evolved our expectations.
All of which makes it pretty tough if you sell something pretty standard like tomato sauce. Or Derek Jeter bobble-heads. Or calculators (remember when a phone was a phone and a calculator was a calculator? Good times).
This contextual paradigm shift has confounded some very clever folks across a range of industries including the media, publishing, music and travel.
Other industries, of course have risen and thrived. Gaming, IT security, micro-niche websites are examples.
So what to do to make sure you stay ahead and allow your customers the latitude they clearly expect?
Here are our context marketing tips:

Plan for the fact that your customers expect to be in charge of how / when / why they use your products. No longer doleful followers, we’ve been spoiled by choice. Unless you’re selling something unique, desirable and breathtakingly compelling, you need to satisfy this yearning..or else.
Let customers know about how wonderfully fluid your offering is. You’d be surprised how few marketers ‘get’ that the world has changed. Uploading a website or posting funny photos on Facebook and Instagram does not a masterful marketer make.
How can you link and associate your offering with those that are similar to provide an optimal customer experience. Cross and up-sell in the old parlance, the strategy has never been more important. I’m a huge fan of the smarty who came up with the McDonald’s Happy Meal that bundles together a range of food and toys to make kids happy and their parents spend more. What’s your Happy Meal solution?

The upshot of all this: focus on lateral ways you can market and sell.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

Is Your Company Ready for iOS 9?

Last month, on June 8th, Apple introduced its newest operating system called iOS 9. The system will be for iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad and will be released in a few months. The new system will include all the...

An Unmitigated Disaster

Australians have a reputation for being laconic and laid back. There’s not much that we universally take terribly seriously. ANZAC Day is the exception.
We’re proud of the diggers who have fought and died in wars, often under the flag of the old ‘mother country’ England. The 1915 military disaster that was Gallipoli was a coming of age  for our still young colony. The valour demonstrated by the Australian and New Zealand soldiers during that campaign has served as an emotional lightening rod for all Australians ever since. It’s also why ANZAC  Day is celebrated on April 25th – the date when soldiers landed in Gallipoli – every year.
Which brings us to a marketing disaster. With the centenary of the landing only days away, Woolworths, one of Australia’s largest retailers decided to link their brand to the veneration felt  for ANZAC Day. They even spun their ‘Fresh Food People’ positioning line into a tenuous link to the anniversary, complete with a haunting image of a soldier.
The question of course is how could this campaign have ever seen the light of day? Who approved this? Who had the appalling judgement to not screw this up and throw it in the bin after they first conceived it? It’s massive mis-judgements like this that perpetuate the image of ad agency and marketing people in general in less than flattering terms, as ‘tossers’ living in a ‘creative’ bubble. As a proud member of the broader marketing industry, it’s an unfair generalisation. Are there cowboys and insensitive, inexperienced and uncaring fools in the industry? Definitely; as there are in most industries.
The difference in the marketing industry is that our mistakes – and unmitigated disasters – are there for everyone to criticise. And rightly so. We’re in the communications business where we take messages / offers from our clients and attempt to compellingly expose them to the largest, targeted audience as possible. The desired audience response is usually to buy what our clients are selling. While some people find this manipulative, my position is that no-one forces anyone to do anything. If you don’t like what we’re selling, don’t buy it. Soon enough, if others are of the same opinion, it will go away never to be seen again.
In this case, the client and their agency deserve all the heat they’re getting. The campaign and it’s website has already disappeared. No doubt, careers and contracts will be affected. This will be one campaign that will not be boasted about in future job interviews.
Communicators have a great responsibility to ensure that the emotional responses evoked by their programs and campaigns are appropriate, sensitive and relevant. Linking a brand selling toilet paper, milk and tomatoes with a day commemorating Australia’s servicemen and women, many who died as a result of that service, is ludicrous and abominable.
Please, whoever was behind this, don’t ever do it again. Please, whoever is planning the next great, award winning campaign, use your heads and your hearts. Trampling over sacred emotional ground for the purposes of making a quick buck always has been and always will be a despicable thing to do.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

DON’T Send Flowers (If You Want to Keep a Customer).

We all love added value. Unexpected treats work big time. Well, most of the time.
The following tale of woe falls into the category of ‘don’t do this at home’. In fact, doing it at home is fine; it’s when it happens at work that it becomes problematic.
What’s ‘it’?
Picture this scene: there’s me busily working away in the office minding my own business when a courier arrives bearing gifts. Or A gift.
Think of the biggest, most sumptuous bunch of flowers you’ve ever seen. Then double it.
Another key part of the picture was that working in the office alongside me was my beautiful, newly ensconced Hungarian girlfriend. Did I mention the fiery Hungarian thing? Anyway, you get the picture.
Everything that happened next seemed to be in slow motion.
The courier asked for me by name. Bewildered, like any self-respecting man would be as he confronted his impending doom, I answered. Yes, the flowers were for me.
Now I can’t begin to imagine what my girlfriend was thinking at that point but the two metaphorical holes that were being bored into the back of my head as I signed for the flowers gave me some clue.
They were from my new, young, and yes, female masseuse. This was her way of welcoming me to her practice. I never found out why she chose the very expensive option of sending flowers as a relationship building strategy. A hand written card would have worked just as well.
What happened next was, shall we say, sub-optimal. Now that some time has passed, I can say that Susan was ‘actively intrigued’ that a woman would send me flowers just to thank me for my patronage. OK, she was furious and she took a lot of convincing that I was the ‘victim’ of a misguided marketing strategy.
Not surprisingly, the flowers did not engender greater loyalty from me to my now former masseuse. As well-meaning as her strategy was, it failed the marketing 101 test: having empathy with how it will be received and, more importantly, perceived by the recipient.
Perhaps SHE’D love to receive flowers from a new supplier so why not send it to a new customer. Maybe she was single and didn’t have to consider how her partner would view her receiving a beautiful bunch of flowers from another person.
Frankly, I never found out. After a very short phone call explaining that what she did was not a fabulous idea from my perspective I haven’t spoken to her since.
Add value by all means but before you do so, consider how it will be received by the target market. If there’s even the slightest chance it could have a negative impact, don’t do it.
Make sure your “WOW!!” doesn’t turn into “WHAT?????”
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

The Impact Digital Readiness can have on Your Career

For organisations, money solves lots of problems. Glittering office blocks, sumptuous ad campaigns and offices dotted around the world are testament to that.
But there’s one problem money doesn’t solve, and that’s lack of intent. Without the will or incentive to evolve, invariably very little changes. Even if it needs to.
Sure, there may be some tinkering around the edges but that’s about it. If you want to place a bet, back the status quo every time.
This is why the digital marketing preparedness of many organisations lags so badly.
It’s understandable in many ways. Successful businesses often take decades to build processes, service/product offerings and of course a customer base. Most of which was achieved before or without the internet.
The only complicating thing is that while you and your competitors may not have changed the rest of the world has.
Of course you know about the digital revolution; you’re part of it for goodness sake! You live on email, post and comment on Facebook regularly and you have a symbiotic relationship with your mobile phone. You have adopted and adapted.
Now it’s your company’s turn to have strategic digital connectedness as a fundamental part of its DNA.
Easier said than done; if it was easy everyone would be doing it. It’s possible though and the supporting evidence for doing so is overwhelming.
Your opportunity, perhaps the biggest one of your career, is to help to transition your organisation to one of digital readiness. To ensure that data is captured, organised and utilised to better serve and sell to your customers. To ensure that every marketing campaign has digital interactivity as a central component and that it integrates with all other promotional elements. To ensure that senior management understands why digital is so important to the future of the organisation and is not something to ignore or pay lip service to on a PowerPoint slide.

Imagine looking back in five years’ time as the person who fundamentally changed your organisation by transitioning it to being digital ready and active. It would look pretty good on your CV, wouldn’t it?
Sure there are many people ‘doing’ digital within organisations but, through no fault of their own it’s usually being done as an add-on.
If you are ambitious, being at the forefront of the digital evolution is the place to be.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.

Does Your Brand Have Charisma?

Silly question.
Of course it doesn’t.
If it did, you wouldn’t be reading this. You’d be luxuriating in your Lake Como villa sipping on your Nespresso coffee with George Clooney.
Now Nespresso, there’s a brand with charisma, right? Well, no, not really. Little pods of condensed coffee ain’t sexy or fascinating in anyone’s language.
George Clooney, on the other hand has charisma to burn. And thanks to a rumoured $40 million fee, George is happy to share some of his charms with Nespresso.
Celebrities have been paid to endorse all sorts of products and services for decades.
There have always been dull brands desperately seeking some reflected celebrity ‘va-va-va-voom’.
So, can your brand be seen as fun, fascinating or exciting without needing to borrow all of this from someone else?
The simple answer is yes, but to do so you need to look for the humanity behind the brand.
We humans relate to other humans, their genuine stories, victories against the odds and all the things that make us laugh. Linking those emotional responses to the people who use your product or service can make your brand compelling.
For a brand to resonate, we need to relate to the people using it.
And therein lies the problem for many marketers. They’re so invested in making their brand a success, its consumers are sometimes forgotten in a haze of focus groups and bar charts.
Of course, any marketer worth her salt knows who her target market is but for many corporate brands in particular it’s all rather clinical; it’s coming from the perspective of the brand looking at the consumer rather than the other way around.
The more positive brand experiences that we hear about – via social media in particular – the more we can relate to that brand. Tell me about your amazing website log-in configuration or the unique cross-stitching on your sweater and you may as well pass me a pillow and tuck me in. Take me on a vivid, engaging journey – Lake Como anyone? – and I’m yours.

Of course, what your product and service does and the functional features and benefits it offers are critical. But unless you’re phenomenally clever – or lucky – your offering is just one of many that are the same or similar. Offering human insights stemming from using your brand can perhaps be your only differentiator.
In this vein, are non-celebrity endorsements from current consumers. Genuine testimonials, no matter how they’re presented, de-risk the decision to choose your brand over all the alternatives. These are the people who’ve put their money where your mouth is.
What’s the common denominator in all of this?
A vibrant, healthy brand is an emotional meeting point for a group of people. Sure, organising the best packaging, distribution, pricing, advertising, research solutions etc. need to be taken care of, but ignore the human side at your peril.
Charismatic people connect with people authentically and wholeheartedly. It’s that positive ability to relate to others that draws people in. Your brand is no different. Start with the customer and work back from there. It’s as much the key to charisma as it is to your brand’s success.
The Message is brought to you by Tick Yes – providing solutions for all your digital and content marketing needs.
Images Courtesy: ibtimes.co.uk; alexrister1.wordpress.com