Category Archives: Online Marketing

SuperBowl XLV Commercial Roundup

As seen through the marketing eyes of Travis:

Every year I look forward to the SuperBowl and especially if my team is not playing, I can’t wait to see the commercials. For as long as I can remember the commercials have been what everyone talks about the day after the SuperBowl. Our office was no different, we barely talked about any of the great plays, but rather how companies portrayed their brands and what our favorite ones were. Shockingly, I was surprised we all were of the same opinion; we were let down this year.

Maybe it was due to the economy; actually I am hoping it was. I hope with all the bailouts of big business the last few years, all the layoffs and unemployment, many companies refused to advertise and pay the outrageous prices. It seemed to me that this was the Doritos, PepsiMaxx and Budweiser advertising campaigns in-between the football game. So I pose a few riveting thought-provoking insights, my takes on the advertisements and whether they succeeded in my mind.

So the overall consensus was that Volkswagen was a unanimous winner for “The Force” commercial. While yes it went viral and it was so talked about and everyone loved the little “Darth Vader”, I polled several people who actually had no clue what that commercial Brand was. I had responses from, “The car would be too obvious, I’m not sure who it was” to a flat-out I have no idea but I loved it! So was this spot really an epic fail if no one remembers the brand?

The other commercial that had failure of epic proportions was Best Buy. Everyone watching at our SuperBowl Party was clueless on who we were being marketed by. Our conversation ranged from “how old is Ozzy nowadays” (Yes we even googled it) to “what kind of meds is he on? We can actually understand him!” to everyone wanting to punch Bieber in the face. Best Buy was totally lost on us and in the end we were also asking what is 6G network?

Okay now for my “I can’t believe you did that commercial” at first I was in love with the Doritos “Pug Attack” commercial, then I thought about it. Really the intention on the spot was for the pug to crash full speed into a plate-glass door. That is kind of cruel don’t you think? As cute as the Pug was running, I just sat speechless afterwards thinking about how cruel that really was. Do any of my dog loving readers agree?

Also, what is up with HomeAway with the smashed baby in the “Test Baby” ad? Did they really think that was a good idea? I had to look up who ran the ad, again a Brand that was lost on me once the baby smashed against the window. I see that they have since pulled the spots, I wonder why?
Here are some of my honorable mention, bad commercials:

  1. Groupon – the dark humor was not missed, but I thought 2 of the 3 were offensive.
  2. GoDaddy.com – I’m just tired of the same theme…go online to see what you missed and when you do, there I nothing there. How about a new concept? And also, Danica seemed to be #2 on the importance factor, and I thought she was the face of GoDaddy.com…hmmm
  3. Sketchers – Even Kim Kardashian couldn’t save this one. I mean really, even after several Dr’s and trainers have come forward talking about how bad these shoes are for your posture and how they actually don’t help your booty.

After it was all said and done, I think it was safe to say we all lost interest in the commercials right around the end of the third quarter and nothing really caught my attention. PepsiMaxx was too busy throwing cans at people in just about every ad; Bud Light to me was not very memorable probably because they had so many ads. So my top three favorite commercials ended up being probably the least talked about.

So here they are:

  1. Telaflora – Come on it was Faith Hill! Besides with Valentines Day just around the corner, it really hit home, we all want to say that on a card, from the heart!
  2. Chrysler – Eminem’s Detroit, being from Michigan it kind of hit home knowing how bad off that whole state is. “Imported from Detroit” I loved it!
  3. Volkswagen – Mini Vader, although no one remembers who it was for, I loved it for the reason I should, it played with my heartstrings for the generation I am in, I’m a Star Wars Junkie so of course I loved it! (okay this one was talked about A-LOT)

A Couple Honorable Mentions:

  1. Volkswagen – Black Beetle was actually a great spot. Watching a beetle race around like a car, we were guessing VW even before the commercial ended.
  2. Budweiser – Wild West, who doesn’t like singing cowboys? Especially when they flex their golden pipes to Elton John!
  3. Movie Trailers – Pretty much all of them! Since the majority of them were for some up and coming action flicks, most of which I would see, I was down for watching them, some were better than the dribble that was out there.

I didn’t intend this to be a likes versus dislikes post, but when all is said and done, remembering your Brand and increasing visibility for said brand should be the most important thing when you are spending over 2-million dollars. Here is an idea, how about a salary cap for commercials? Every spot costs the same and we lower the price tag in these economic times so that more people don’t get disgusted about being laid off then see your old company run a SuperBowl commercial. We know how tough it can be being one of 300 people laid off before Christmas due to economic difficulties only to see a commercial air. After all we are not just a bunch of monkeys going to work everyday.

Disagree with me? Check out these guys:
Andrew Billmann
Advertising Age
Mashable
The Lint Screen

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Talking Foursquare – Over 20 Million Reasons and Counting

By: Travis E. Blythe

I recently blogged about foursquare and how I thought companies could use the program to track sales staff whereabouts.  I still think this will happen should they get savvy enough to realize it is more than just a game amongst friends.  With that being said, I was interviewed on Celebrity Radio earlier this month and they asked me to speak on Foursquare.  I was asked what it is and how can businesses utilize it.  Although I did not touch nearly as much on the topic as I probably could, here is my interview and comments on the subject.

I appreciate all feedback and comments!

Trade Show Marketing 1.1

By: Travis E. Blythe

In an earlier post, I outlined what I thought were the three main steps or stages involved in a trade show conference.  In this section, I am going to talk about the first step.  This is normally called the “Planning Stage”, and hopefully you don’t wait until the last-minute to schedule your conference or trade show.  With that being said, the planning stage is one of the most important stages.  It is here, you create the awareness of your company being in attendance and where people can find you at the conference.

Okay, you signed up to be an exhibitor at the best trade show of the year.  You sold the powers that be, this conference is the “be all to end all” conferences your company needs to be at and needs to have an exhibitor/booth space.  Everyone is usually skeptical (I mean the CEO/President/Owners) because they think they are throwing money away and no one really works a booth or they can’t measure the ROI.  Well, you haven’t met me or my tactics for trade show marketing yet and I can usually always bring home some business.  One of the first items of business is to make sure you post on your website exactly what conferences you plan on attending for the year.  This is important, especially if you have a strong client interaction with your website, some clients may see you going to a particular event they didn’t know about and will thank you.  The second step is to get the attendee list once you pay your money for the exhibit space.

Now that you have the attendee list, item number one is to send out the “Email Blast” to all the attendee’s telling them exactly where they can find you and what prizes you have to offer to get them to stop by.  Make sure you entice with a big-ticket item (something they think they can win) and an awesome give away item (like a cool, hip t-shirt).  Just don’t SPAM the email though, address them individually and don’t let them know you mass emailed it.  There are several programs out there that do this. If not, then send them all separately if you have the resources.  With today’s Social Media taking off the way that it is, you should try to look up all the people you want to target, or all the attendee’s you want business from on Linkedin and Twitter.  Send them invites to connect or follow them.  I would also include in the email ways they can find your company on social media. Engage them to connect with you.

When you have the proper time to plan for the conference, study the schedule and whether you will have time to entertain clients.  Find out what current clients or potential clients are going and set up dinners.  There is nothing worse than to arrive to a conference and have nothing lined up or trying to do it the same day.  Most everyone will have plans and you will end up waiting for everyone to return before you can engage and entertain them.

The next part of the planning stage, which is important is packing up all the materials you will need to be successful.  The number one item is obviously the business card.  Make sure you have all of your company’s literature, a nice 1-page graphic of the prize you are giving away, a bowl for business cards, business card holders, pens, and what I like to call the contact sheet (for those who forget or run out of business cards).  Because I never trusted the other sales reps who attended the trade shows with me to be as responsible as I am, I usually brought all the stuff with me even though some of it is packed inside the booth already.  Somehow the trade show booth fiery always lost or broke something.  Also, don’t forget to have all the “swag” shipped to your conference so you actually have stuff to give away.

One last food for thought is to make sure you have booked your travel.  Scout ahead of time to see if you need transportation from the airport (if flying) or if there is a shuttle to conference site. Show the boss you saved money by booking 2-3 weeks out. Same for the hotels, most conferences offer a conference rate to stay at the hotel where the conference is located or one relatively close.  I understand there maybe cheaper places to stay just down the road, but remember you have to be traveling back and forth sometimes and it can be a pain if you are 5 miles away.  Especially when you are lugging around supplies, laptops or want to change your clothes when the exhibit hall closes for the day.

If you follow these steps, you should be very prepared for your conference or trade show and ready to conquer!

Enjoy your conference and safe travels!

Next up Trade Show Marketing 1.2 – The Show

Things I Think – Thursday 3/18/2010 – SXSW Edition

Nothing says good times like a road trip!  Since Austin, Texas is a mere three-hour and some change drive, the plan was simple, road trip to South by Southwest (SXSW). I have looked forward to this for months, I was not even sure I was going to get to go, then in the 11th hour I got the nod. Since everyone in the industry kept saying how fantastic this event is, my mouth was watering for the experience of SXSW.  It was like nothing else, geeks, techies, directors, actors and musicians all descending on little ‘ole Austin, Texas for nearly two-weeks of good times.  Since I was a SXSW virgin, I was hoping the event would take it easy on me.

So we loaded up the Broscalade pointed the GPS south and mozied on down highway looking for adventure.  Why is it that the first leg of the road trip is always the best? Jamming out to some great tunes and having great conversations, versus just loud music and 20 min naps on the way back.  So we jammed to Rob Base-It Takes Two which was our mantra for the trip (did I just date myself?), drank some coffee and energy drinks all the way down, and arrived ready to rock.

So here is what I think about SXSW. As a whole it is a great concept, there were a bunch of people and cool things happening.  But, I think most of the class sessions were over rated.  It seemed more to me like social media for dummies than anything else.  Although I left some very dumb classes (Zombies, Vampires, & Monsters: Fostering Loyal Genre Communities), I did manage to learn a ton from some of the good ones. One of the more interesting sessions was about Citizen Journalism. I thought a Jerry Springer episode was going on or we were being punked, because the arguments which ensued were comical to say the least.  Are journalist really worried about a blogger like me or citizen journalist taking their job away? I guess so, they were pretty heated, I was waiting for the chair to get busted on someone’s head.  Good Times!

I have a few favorite quotes from the long weekend so I thought I would post them.

  • Hey man you dropped your shank
  • You can never have too much flatware when out in Austin
  • What is it Amateur night? (friends dragging limp body of a friend)
  • It’s kind of like a dating website without the dating
  • I wasn’t that drunk was I? No, except for the part when you fell down
  • We are kind of like Entourage, no I am not Turtle! (and the Not-It’s begin for the “Turtle” designation)
  • Yeah, Brogan didn’t make the list of celebrities to earn the “Name Dropper” badge – Foursquare Dennis Crowley

I got really excited when I saw through my twitter stream the “The Oatmeal” was in town.  I hit him up a couple times and told him I wanted to meet him.  No I am not a crazy stalker guy, I just thought his stuff is really funny and since he is from Seattle, it would be cool to meet him.  Yeah, about that…he dissed me.  Didn’t even get an acknowledgment. Oh well, one day he will be asking to meet me because I am that cool (yeah right), in the meantime, still check out his website The Oatmeal.

Foursquare came/saw/kicked apps! Yes the Foursquare group lead my their Fearless leader and Co-Founder Dennis Crowley brought their own ball, invaded Austin and took on the local favorite Gowalla.  I am sorry Gowalla, but you were TKO’d again this year.  Everywhere you went you heard people checking into this class, creating the line to get into a class or event or how to get this badge and that badge. I ended up with 8 out of 16, may I suggest Mr. Crowley you add a “See the Bats” badge for next year, I couldn’t convince anyone to check them out.  Did I mention that I ran into Mr. Crowley while in line waiting for…ahhh just in line and he is actually a cool guy.  I was asking the secrets of obtaining an elusive badge and he actually told me. I then proceeded to tell him my thoughts on how to make Foursquare better…

I also was able to meet Mr. Mashable himself Pete Cashmore, I even had a cool picture to prove it.  Unfortunately the SXSW Camera monster ate it and I am afraid it will be lost forever.  He actually asked my thoughts on social media and we were conversing until these two chicas (not even very hot) so rudely interrupted for their picture. Can you believe the nerve of them? I mean really, I was talking out of my ass to MASHABLE!!

So, all in all I thought this conference was just…okay, maybe 3 out of 5 beakers.  I think they had too many classes going on at the same time and none of them were ever repeated. So,you basically had to choose and if you picked wrong, then you had to haul ass across the convention center, cross the street to the Hilton, up the escalators 2 floors and get to another session.  At least it felt that way to me.  I never walked so much in my life, me feet still hurt! I think the SXSW producers purposely held the nightly events across town from each other to keep the rickshaw bicycle guys employed. But I am cheap so I walked everywhere.  I met some great people and future leaders of our country (yes I have faith in all of you!) as well as learning about what is to come for 2010…Location, Location, Location.

My name is Travis and I talk to strangers.

Trade-Show Marketing 1.0

I recently attended a trade show event and afterwords I had to laugh at the wasted opportunities I felt were left behind.  I was actually getting mad at these vendors at the lack of initiative. I put my card in the bowl of opportunity and was shocked at the lack of follow-up. This prompted me to give my opinion or advice, depending on how you take it.  It seemed to me at least, as I was walking around this particular trade show, the purpose the vendors was to promote the product or service and attract new clients and customers.  What kind of ROI can you expect if you don’t follow-up?  I am no stranger to the trade-show or conference events as I was once labeled the road warrior of conferences.  I have a system in which I feel, if you follow these simple instructions, you will be successful.

This is more than likely going to be a several part series as I don’t want to bore you to death in one long post on what you need to do to develop and nurture your business. So I am going to break them down in to sections and speak about each one. For me when I attend a conference there are several stages which make it successful:

  1. Pre-Conference planning
  2. The Show
  3. The follow up

So you decided to attend a conference or trade-show as a vendor.  What I mean by the term vendor, is that you paid to have a vendor space or booth space.  So you ponied up the money (hopefully you got the early registration in order to save the company a few bucks) and you are ready to pack up the booth or table top display and head out.

As I outlined there are three major steps in planning for your trade show.  The first step can either be one of the most important or least important.  It will depend on who your target audience is.  The show itself is where all the magic happens and where you can be a “sales superstar” and brand yourself and your company.  The final step, I call the follow up is where you make your money.  I will break down all three steps on an individual basis, so stay tuned on how you can become the “Conference Superstar.”

Is Your On-Line or Social Media Marketing Like a Texas Snowfall?

By: Travis E. Blythe

If you live in Dallas or the DFW Metroplex, you can pretty much count on having snow fall at least once a year. In most areas of the country, this is not a bad thing and usually it is not anything to worry about.  However, if you live in Dallas you are very familiar with the nightmare which encompasses our yearly snowfall. Most of us weigh the options of whether or not to travel and venture out into the city.  People who are used to snow and wintry conditions usually fail to understand is that we don’t have salt trucks, we don’t have snow plows, what we do have are a few trucks that are able to dump sand and dirt over the top of the snow and ice that accumulates. We all know that is really not a solution for the problem, but rather a temporary fix to get through the problem.
 
Has your online marketing turned into a nightmare? With all of the buzz surrounding social media and how to effectively utilize it within your business model, are you reluctant to travel out into it?  Are you worried that you do not have the tools to properly engage your clients and potential new customers?  Are you putting a little “dirt” on the problem hoping for a quick fix to get you by?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, maybe it is time to invest either your time or your finances to learn how to effectively approach your social media or online marketing efforts. Normally when you head out into the cold, snow and ice, you make sure you are prepared.  You check your tires, make sure you have plenty of gas, you dress properly and then hope for the best. Your marketing strategies should also have plenty of preparation.  You need to make sure that you are ready to launch the campaign in order to make it successful, you have the time to invest, and you utilize all the tools available to you.
 
It is pretty comical how the “local residents” in Dallas-Ft. Worth tend to drive when we get our annual snowfall or “wintry mix”, as they call it. Since this happens once a year for a maximum of two days, no one has any experience in driving in snow, ice, and slush.  This makes it even more hazardous to the rest of us that do know how. I am always amazed at how I see people get stuck for driving too slow, or they can’t go up a hill because they are driving to slow. I thought it was common sense to utilize traction when driving on ice, but here in Texas apparently it is not.  When you approach how you want to market yourself, you should also be experienced in what you are doing and know what you want to accomplish. We all have several “pains” from the previous marketing experience or the latest efforts.  Don’t get caught going too slow when it comes to your social media and online marketing. You need to make sure you are 100% invested in seeing it through otherwise it will be a waste of time and money.  The last thing you want to happen is to start your social media campaign and stall half way through because you didn’t have the tools to execute or you “ran out of gas” along the way.  Make sure you have the traction you need to gain the optimum results you are looking for.
 
I could go on and on about the six ways for this, the six things for that, what to do to get started and how to go about your marketing efforts in order to be successful.  However, the plain truth is, you should consult someone who is experienced in this field. You could spend all day shoveling snow out of your driveway, or you could use a snow-blower and have it done within the hour.  After all, you are a business owner and the proverbial phrase “time is money” definitely applies here and your main goal is to find creative ways to increase revenue and build your business.
 
With a new year looming around the corner, are you prepared to get back out on the roads? Are you ready and prepared for a successful marketing plan? Don’t just sit at home and wait for the weather to clear.  I guarantee your competitors are not waiting.

Is Your On-Line or Social Media Marketing like a Texas Snowfall?

If you live in Dallas or the DFW Metroplex, you can pretty much count on having snow fall at least once a year. In most areas of the country, this is not a bad thing and usually it is not anything to worry about. However, if you live in Dallas you are very familiar with the nightmare which encompasses our yearly snowfall. Most of us weigh the options of whether or not to travel and venture out into the city. People who are used to snow and wintry conditions usually fail to understand is that we don’t have salt trucks, we don’t have snow plows, what we do have are a few trucks that are able to dump sand and dirt over the top of the snow and ice that accumulates. We all know that is really not a solution for the problem, but rather a temporary fix to get through the problem.

Has your online marketing turned into a nightmare? With all of the buzz surrounding social media and how to effectively utilize it within your business model, are you reluctant to travel out into it? Are you worried that you do not have the tools to properly engage your clients and potential new customers? Are you putting a little “dirt” on the problem hoping for a quick fix to get you by?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, maybe it is time to invest either your time or your finances to learn how to effectively approach your social media or online marketing efforts. Normally when you head out into the cold, snow and ice, you make sure you are prepared. You check your tires, make sure you have plenty of gas, you dress properly and then hope for the best. Your marketing strategies should also have plenty of preparation. You need to make sure that you are ready to launch the campaign in order to make it successful, you have the time to invest, and you utilize all the tools available to you.

It is pretty comical how the “local residents” in Dallas-Ft. Worth tend to drive when we get our annual snowfall or “wintry mix”, as they call it. Since this happens once a year for a maximum of two days, no one has any experience in driving in snow, ice, and slush. This makes it even more hazardous to the rest of us that do know how. I am always amazed at how I see people get stuck for driving too slow, or they can’t go up a hill because they are driving to slow. I thought it was common sense to utilize traction when driving on ice, but here in Texas apparently it is not. When you approach how you want to market yourself, you should also be experienced in what you are doing and know what you want to accomplish. We all have several “pains” from the previous marketing experience or the latest efforts. Don’t get caught going too slow when it comes to your social media and online marketing. You need to make sure you are 100% invested in seeing it through otherwise it will be a waste of time and money. The last thing you want to happen is to start your social media campaign and stall half way through because you didn’t have the tools to execute or you “ran out of gas” along the way. Make sure you have the traction you need to gain the optimum results you are looking for.

I could go on and on about the six ways for this, the six things for that, what to do to get started and how to go about your marketing efforts in order to be successful. However, the plain truth is, you should consult someone who is experienced in this field. You could spend all day shoveling snow out of your driveway, or you could use a snow-blower and have it done within the hour. After all, you are a business owner and the proverbial phrase “time is money” definitely applies here and your main goal is to find creative ways to increase revenue and build your business.

With a new year looming around the corner, are you prepared to get back out on the roads? Are you ready and prepared for a successful marketing plan? Don’t just sit at home and wait for the weather to clear. I guarantee your competitors are not waiting.

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