Monthly Archives: October 2011

Target Market?

Life Alert, why are you advertising on Sprout?

I’m sure you have a reason. Like, people with kids also are likely to have parents (or older relatives), and some of those parents (or older relatives) are your main audience.

But it still seems like a stretch. And for some of those viewers, potentially a confusing and even traumatic one.

As for you, LifeLock, I have no idea what you’re thinking here.

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Redbox: How to Communicate With Customers

Previously, I’ve talked about Netflix‘s communication woes. They’ve repeatedly managed to do a stunningly poor job of explaining their business changes to their customers, and it’s been costing them.

So it’s nice to see that another company either learned from that, or just knew all along how to do it better. A colleague forwarded the following e-mail that he got regarding price changes at Redbox. Take a look at how they explain why this is necessary.

New Daily DVD Rental Price

Redbox is making an announcement about its prices today, and we want to make sure that you hear it from us first.

Starting on Monday, October 31, the daily rental charge for DVDs will change to $1.20 a day.* The price change is due to rising operating expenses, including new increases in debit card fees. Daily rental charges for Blu-ray™ Discs and video games won’t change.** Additional-day charges for DVDs rented before 10/31 won’t be affected, either.

In order to make the transition easier, Redbox will discount the first day of all online DVD rentals to $1.00 from 10/31 through 11/30. Additional rental days will be $1.20.***

If you have any questions, please visit redbox.com/pricechange. There, we’ve provided additional information.

This marks our first price change in more than eight years as we work hard to keep prices low for our customers.

Thank you,

Redbox

See, Reed Hastings? That isn’t so hard, is it?

Occupy History

If you haven’t heard about Occupy [insert name of city], then you really haven’t had access to any media at all.

Yesterday morning, Occupy Oakland protesters were ordered to disperse. Later in the day, they reconvened and were met by riot-gear-clad police with tear gas canisters.

The response on the mayor’s Facebook page makes me wonder: what would the history books say now if the Bonus Army had had access to social media?

(Note: I am a former history book editor, and therefore I feel that I have some credibility when I say that the answer is more complicated than it may look at first glance–which is also worth considering as we evaluate current events and the impact of technology on communication.)

Photo by Theodor Horydczak, via Library of Congress (gift of Norma and Francis Reeves, 1973)

The Minds of Spammers

I get a fair number of spam comments. It’s been interesting to see different tactics. While quite a few are the usual gibberish (literally; I’m pretty sure they’re written in no language at all), a surprising number appear, at first glance, to be compliments on a particular post. They’re clumsily written, and a second glance often reveals them to be unrelated to the topic at hand. But if you weren’t paying attention, you might let them through. They’re quite calculated.

I do wonder, however, what the goal was with this comment that showed up today, allegedly in regard to my recent post about business communication:

The following time I learn a weblog, I hope that it doesnt disappoint me as a lot as this one. I imply, I know it was my choice to learn, however I actually thought youd have one thing fascinating to say. All I hear is a bunch of whining about something that you possibly can fix if you werent too busy in search of attention.

All I could think was, “Well, that’s new.”

Shut Up

Listen to your kids

Social media is not about “creating a narrative” and “delivering interesting stories to your audience.” And branding is not telling people what you stand for.

I take it back. Of course, both those are the case. But they’re far, far from the whole story. As marketers, we’ve always been able to create narratives, deliver interesting stories, and tell people what we stand for.

What social media does is let people tell us if we’re right. The best thing you can do with social media is not push, and not engage. It’s listen.

That doesn’t mean you don’t talk, that you don’t share content. Content is vital. Good content. But use that content as a starting point. How do people respond to it? How do they respond to you? And when do they initiate contact?

Your audience will tell you what your brand is. They’re the ones who see what you put out there, not what you think you put out there. They’ll tell you what that means. Listen to them.

Be their audience.

Photo by Bindaas Madhavi, via Flickr.

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