Zappos hacked…say it ain’t so!

Sadly the online shoe retailer will be doing more than taking orders this morning.  They will be answering a lot of questions about their customer accounts.

Zappos has a great reputation for their marketing, sales and outstanding customer service…we talk about them all the time in the marketing class I teach.  However this week we will add something more to that dicussion – “how do you react when you have been hacked?”

I wish Zappos the best – if anyone can clean up a problem it should be them.  Their staff have always had a “can-do” attitude that cames from empowering your employees.

read the article here

“Dear beloved” – and so it begins

Many of the Nigerian scam letters I get in my SPAM – have “dear beloved” in the subject line – way too funny for one I know uses that term. Yet – it appears to be effective – I see it often.

When I worked in banking many years ago – occasionally someone would get a physical letter (now referred to as snail mail) informing them of wealth beyond their dreams if they would only do “X” in exchange.  Tellers would often see these letters and then alert higher ups that someone was being scammed.  With the invention of the internet and email the scams are cheaper for them to run their marketing AND they get a higher take rate and banking staff might not be aware of a customer being scammed.

While I have always blammed greed for those that get scammed – I do wonder if they aren’t just stupid as well.  I know that sounds mean but – seriously let’s look at the Nigerian Scam for what it is.

1. A person you do not know AT ALL suddenly contacts you and indicates they want to share their wealth with you.

2. You don’t know the laws of another country and yet you TRUST this person or entity that they are being legit.

3. Always in another country…not yours.

4. Add in all of the other crap that these emails entail..

Just in case you have wondered what might happen should you be dumb enough to follow through with a request – read this story – click here.  You can find a million other stories both online and at the FBI…don’t fall for these stories that play to your greed.


Live your brand

This past week I had the opportunity to present “Live Your Brand” along with my panel at SPARK here in Ann Arbor.  Just watched the video playback and I am posting a link to the event.  Great questions, good turn out and very happy with the whole event!  Thanks to my panelists, Rich Sheridan of Menlo Innovations, Anahid Derbabian of Integrity Communications and Yodit Mesfin Johnson of NEW.

If you want to watch the video – here is the link


The 9 P’s of marketing

The internet was the first giant, dynamic shift in Marketing in decades. Social Media was the next frontier that marketers embraced and both have changed the way we market everything.

Marketing classes have promoted the 4 “P’s” of marketing since they were developed in the 1960’s by E. Jerome McCarthy. They are classics, still taught today in educational institutions. However many in the industry say there are more than 4 if you want to truly understand current marketing methods.

The classic 4 are:

  1. Product -a physical product or a service is your “product”. The product and it’s benefits are in a constant rotation of the product life-cycle and need help from the other “P’s” to compete in this hyper-competitive environment.
  2. Price – in most industries this is a rotating target based upon competition, industry as a whole, current trends and predictions of sales.
  3. Place – is where you sell your product, distribution channels, and now the internet (not part of the thought process in the original 1960’s model).
  4. Promotion – includes public relations, advertising, sales, events, white papers, websites, ad words, press releases, sponsoring events, training events and many more, but I think you get the idea. I also lump process into the promotion category predominately because process is a lot about promotion. Proctor and Gamble is a perfect example. In December of 2010 P&G announced that they will no longer sponsor soap operas, they will continue to advertise during those time slots, but they are shifting their process of promotion to social media
  • Additional “P’s” that belong under promotion, Permission based marketing, Partnerships, and Personalization.

Contemporary approach with new “P’s”:

5.  Purpose – This is my favorite “P” – if you do not know the “why and what” you want from any piece of marketing material before you distribute or create it – you might be wasting a whole lot of money. With all that is available today for tracking from landing pages to unique URLS and PURLS (personalized URLS) specific to a marketing piece – why aren’t you tracking as much as possible. Know in advance – is it brand awareness or a call-to-action. What numbers are you aiming for (Predictions) – an increase in website visitors, conversion from visitor to customer, or new customer leads – I think you get the idea – know the “why and what.”

6.  People – I used to think that people belonged in the promotion category – but there has been a swing in a new direction as people “evangelize” your product. They may be employees, internet bloggers, or just people that love your product talking about it. People are also key to innovation when they actually take the time to talk to a company about a like or dislike of a product. Remember what happened when Coke changed their Classic Coke – that was a people rebellion on a grand scale. Engaging with customers and their engagement with you is priceless. You can learn so much

7.  Processes – you can have a great product or service but if you don’t have the processes in place, you are likely to fail. Processes include a strategic marketing plan which feeds into the business plan for the company, and a marketing budget – all should have short and long term predictions. Process also includes A/B testing of ads, copy, who will be your social voice, and what will be your social voice. Mistakes can end up costing jobs or reputation.

8.  Philosophy – it is no longer sufficient to be a company with a product or service. You also often share your philosophies with the world. Menlo Innovations– often invites groups of people, even their competition, in for up to week-long sessions – to show off their philosophy for developing software via extreme agile project management and paired programming. Green energy firms – Accio Energy, eco-friendly cars – Smart Cars, and electric bikes – Current Motor Company – all have a philosophy behind them. It is part of their company DNA, it is what they live and breathe at work.

9.  Packaging – from traditional packaging to non-tactile packaging on the web for services or downloads, packaging your product or service becomes more and more important as the global market place is now your competition.

There are other “P’s” that could be added to the list, but I think this covers the main old and the new “P’s” of the marketing world.

This article was originally published on – I own the copyright.