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Extra Post #6 – “Why Advertising is Failing on the Internet”

Posted in Uncategorized on April 21, 2009 by Dave T

Back in March, I posted a very interesting article on the class Delicious link, Why Advertising is Failing on the Internet.”  As we learned in the Cluetrain Manifesto, the first thesis dictates that “markets are conversations.”  The typical push-advertising, similar to online, does not embrace the theory of a conversation.  First, let’s define advertising..

“Paid form of a nonpersonal message communicated through the various media by industry, business firms, nonprofit organizations, or individuals. Advertising is persuasive and informational and is designed to influence the purchasing behavior and/or thought patterns of the audience. Advertising is a marketing tool and may be used in combination with other marketing tools, such as sales promotions, personal selling tactics, or publicity.”  –Answers.com

A few words are very indicative of today’s digital environment.  “Non-personal message,” “persuasive,” “influence,” “marketing tool,” and “selling tactics” are all words that today’s online user is immune to – and to a certain extent runs from.  Today’s consumer is looking for the underdog, the feel-good story that seems like the first of its kind and that they can relate to.  How can “Joe the Plumber” relate to a filthy-rich supermodel as a company’s spokesperson?  Sorry about that analogy…

A few other interesting statistics…

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Why this incredible discrepancy between ads being noticed, and ads being deemed as ‘relevant?’  For one, according to Clemons, “consumers do not trust advertising.”  In fact, only 16% of consumers trust the information contained within a company’s blog.

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In addition to the “trust” factor, it stands to reason that consumers just don’t want to view advertising.  Take for example the explosion of TiVo.  TiVo gives consumers the ability to record their television shows and view later – all while skipping commercials.  Why?  Customers no longer want to be screamed at to buy a company’s products.   But, rather, they want to join the conversation, and in turn, tell you, the company, what they think.  Just look at the statistics…

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It all goes back to getting involved in the online conversation.  Scoble tells us this in Naked Conversations, that “if you choose to join the conversation, your company will be better for it, and your customers will be happier.”  It’s all about transparency…remember that word?  I think someone else’s mantra is just that.  Just look what transparency did for him…

Extra Post #3 – “What’s Up with Starbucks?”

Posted in Extra Posts, Uncategorized with tags , , on April 14, 2009 by Dave T
Starbucks

Starbucks

I will admit that I’m addicted to Starbucks.  Well, I was addicted to the once-upon-a-time Wall Street darling.  Starbucks, at one point, was one of America’s great growth stories from the late 90’s to as recently as the early 2000’s.   In less than 20 years, Starbucks grew from 100 coffee shops to over 12,000, and a record 2,000 stores opening in 2006 alone.  At one point, Starbucks had the brand equity most companies would die for. 

Typically, a company’s growth is a good thing.  However, many in the business community have quietly implied it was this explosive growth that has led to Starbucks’ demise.  Even the company’s CEO, Howard Schultz, himself admitted in a leaked internal document that for Starbucks, there are limits to growth.  Schultz pointed out that the company’s own growth strategy had posed problems.

“Stores no longer have the soul of the past and reflect a chain of stores vs. the warm feeling of a neighborhood store.”  – Howard Schultz

My, have times changed.  It seems the wheels started to fall off around the time of Schultz’ comments in 2007, following closely by the company’s announcement in mid-2008 that it was closing 600 stores and cutting 7% of its workforce.   Given its sales slump, Starbucks attempted countless efforts to diversify beyond the coffee cup – in an effort to lure new customers with ideas of grandeur.  Starbucks launched initiatives into pop culture, breakfast options, and most recently, VIA instant coffee.  Excuse me…instant coffee?  What happened to the “Starbucks Experience,” Mr. Schultz?

Which leads me to my final point – the customer service.  I remember around the time when my infatuation with Starbucks began in 2003, the customer service, or “experience” was impeccable.  Today, I’m greeted by grumpy “barista’s” who act as if they’re doing ME a favor, long lines with no sense of urgency from the barista, and my personal favorite – running out of coffee.  A coffee shop running out of coffee?  And, I’m not talking about running out during peak business hours!  And, I’m also not talking about this happening every once in awhile, but multiple times in 1 week.  This isn’t how the “Starbucks Experience” used to be…

Recognizing this, Starbucks closed all stores nationwide for several hours in 2008 to “re-train” their staff to guarantee complete customer satisfaction.   What a great marketing ploy that was, since in my opinion, they will need more of these “training sessions” to fix the broken business model.  If Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonalds or Caribou don’t give Starbucks its death sentence, Starbucks itself will with this “improved” customer service just might. 

I’m not quite at the point to sign up for the “I Hate Starbucks” blog, but I am a regular of this nifty little website giving me non-Starbucks alternativesChris Anderson would certainly love this site – the mom and pop’s not hoping for the big hit, but rather working to thrive in a niche market.  Certainly, not the strategy of Starbucks.

Response Post #11 – “The Iraq War”

Posted in Uncategorized on April 14, 2009 by Dave T
Iraq War Images

Iraq War Images

Wow, is all I have to say of the things I discovered as I researched digitally  the The Iraq War, part of the broader War on Terror.  It’s the first war of its kind – the first war since the inception of Web 2.0.  And, the blogs, podcasts, articles, etc. on the web is quite astonishing.

I have to admit that I have not been a good Web 2.0 user during the war as I rarely have used these mediums to get my news.  I find it fascinating how Swarthmore College has created a way to truly offer un-biased news reporting on the war and the affects on troops and Iraqi citizens.

It’s funny how on the networks of ABC, CBS, and NBC, you don’t hear the statistics of an “all-time high optimism of Iraqis,” where “80% of them are positive about the state of the country, up from 50% in 2007,” or “those who think democracy is the right way is at its highest percent ever, and those people feel more and more safe in their neighborhoods.”  Very interesting indeed how transparent this war has become. 

The transparency transcends from blogs, to pictures, to documentaries, to videos, all offering viewers an inside look at the front line of our war – something never done before.  It ignites many feelings I’d imagine – but for me, a growing sense of patriotism.  While I may not fully agree with the primary intent of our going to war, the fact remains that we have American brothers and sisters in the Middle East, fighting for our freedom, our democracy.  Any bit of good news that our soldiers are accomplishing – should be published.  Everyone knows, the mainstream media will not report it.

Conversely, if we have soldiers who are not carrying out the American constitution and providing goodwill toward others, that should be documented, also.  As evidenced by Kevin Sites’ videotape of a Marine allegedly shooting an unarmed Iraqi, the footage stirred a lot of outrage and questions as to whether there is too much transparency with the war.  As far as I’m concerned, NO.  Unless our national security, or the security of our soldiers is in question, I say share it!  It ensures justice and (hopefully) bolsters the truth…

Extra Post #1 – Domestic Violence Response

Posted in Social Media Course, Uncategorized with tags , , on April 1, 2009 by Dave T

Response post to Sassing Me’s “Domestic Violence” post.  From a man’s perspective:

Hilary, I couldn’t agree more.  Remember the old adage “if he does it once, he’ll do it again”?  In Rihanna and Chris Brown’s case, this is allegedly true.   So sad that two mega stars, one a beautiful grammy-award winning Pop icon, the other a rising R&B star, could be entagled in such devastating fiasco – both equally at risk of losing their star power.

Why both of them?  Rihanna has become an icon – looked up to by girls of all ages because of her rise to fame and sheer beauty.  A girl who was visibly beaten by her love interest (allegedly), yet still decided to reunite with Brown.  What type of example is she setting for youth around the world – that’s is perfectly acceptable to be beaten by “the one you love”?  Seriously…

And, Chris Brown, if the charges turn out to be true, is at severe risk of losing his star power simply because he is below scum of the Earth.  Anyone that would raise a hand to a woman is worth nothing at all. 

According to an AtHealth survey, 2 out of 3 females in this population have been attacked by a family member or a person with which they are acquainted.  And, over 45% of battered women routinely take back them men who have assaulted them in the past – however, women who leave their batterers are at a 75% greater risk of being killed by the batterer than those who stay.  And, a woman in the United States is beaten every 7.4 seconds.  What startling statistics…

I cannot fathom for the life of me how a man can say “I do it because I love you.”  Mostly, according the Domestic Violence Fact Sheet, male abusers typically follow a “Cycle of Domestic Violence” behavior wheel.  It begins with tension building, then violence, then seduction.  Women, too, go through their own cycle – Love, Hope and Fear.

Take it from a man’s perspective.  Any man with any worth, would never lay a hand on a woman.