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March 31st, 2009


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10:29 am - Ah, marketing bloggers
Looks like my mention of the Cheeseburger in Paradise restaurant in Columbus, OH, caught the eye of someone in CiP Corporate.

Read their comment in response to my post.

I'm somewhat amused. . . the "libations" have improved, apparently, but no mention of the central issue I had, the cheeseburger, is made.

I do suspect I'll try CiP again. . . a lot can happen in a couple of years in the restaurant business, and Casey will be getting a note back from me (I'm sure that my reply to the comment left won't make it back, since it was "anonymous"). I was thinking about headed back before the comment appeared (actually, while I was writing the post).

I'm highly amused at the way advertising and marketing has gone all bloggy recently, from the (usual) spam to the more targeted commenting (like this). Restaurants and airlines have their own blogs these days, some masquerading as customers with perpetually glowing experiences and some being honest about who they are and who pays them.

Of course, it all gives me a mixed response: social networking wasn't designed for advertising, but it sure is becoming the most heavily-used vehicle for it. I suspect it has something to do with too many young professionals, fresh out of college, who think that the cutting-edge tools are the way to go in all things. . . it begins to form an unbalanced marketing plan, though, I tend to think, especially with the cost of advertising on something like FaceBook or MySpace. . . compared with the annoyance that customers feel toward your advertisement. Still, these advertising schemes work, it seems, as people continue to use them.

Besides, how else are you going to manage to sell "McCafé," "Bob-b-Que," "Vanilla Frosties," "BOBurritos," or any of a million other mis-branded items to skeptical customers? If only the McPizza had had blog and social networking support, it might still be around.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Mood: amusedamused
Current Music: "Changing Channels", -JB

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Comments:


(Deleted comment)
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From:chronarchy
Date:March 31st, 2009 03:27 pm (UTC)
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I've never read an actual honest-to-goodness review of a CiP restaurant, so I don't know what the general feeling is from someone who gets paid to do that, but I see a good number of gripes here and there.

Of course, gripes are often much more vocal.

It wasn't at all that I disliked the joint. I was just, like you, underwhelmed. I was expecting more (too much?) and when I came across "common" I was disheartened enough not to bother going back.
(Deleted comment)
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From:chronarchy
Date:March 31st, 2009 04:00 pm (UTC)
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Casey tells me (we're now in correspondence) that they've both improved their meat (I specifically asked about that, because I know to from growing up with a meat-peddling father and dining at restaurants with him) and changed their seasoning. It might be a different experience now. . . dunno.

Sounds like he's going to drop me a coupon or something and I'll go find out.
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From:rfunk
Date:March 31st, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
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In the last year or two that I worked at the ad agency, there was an increasing amount of attention being paid to "how can we use social media for our clients". And yes, it was primarily driven by those fresh out of college. As someone who started using the net when commercial use was severely restricted, and has used social media for along time, I was pretty uncomfortable with it. (Of course, I totally accept the billboard advertising they also do, while someone of an earlier generation would've been horrified at that when they were new.)

Facebook and MySpace, of course, are explicitly driven by advertising; participating in their business plan bothers me less than co-opting the user side of things, pretending to be "just an everyday user" when you're really a PR shill.

And now we have Twitter which I think just went mainstream in the last few weeks. There's a democratization -- everyone is "just an everyday user" -- but you have companies trolling for keywords and spamming with replies or follows. (I mentioned drivers following too close and got a Volvo ad for some feature in their cars, plus a follow; I mentioned going to Raleigh and got followed by some "NC regional buzz" account.)


And don't get me started on the evils of "email marketing"....
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From:singingwren
Date:March 31st, 2009 03:24 pm (UTC)
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Ahhh I love and hate email marketing.

I hate it because it is evil, and yet I love it because as a consumer it's great to receive coupons and updates from businesses I care about. I definitely read most of the e-mails I signed up for. And while there are others I don't often read, I think that companies like Starbucks and BE really have their e-mails down. Few, infrequent, to the point, relevant, attractive, and often laced with coupons.. perfect.

What I (and everyone) HATES are involunary e-mail messages. SO EVIL!!
[User Picture]
From:rfunk
Date:March 31st, 2009 03:57 pm (UTC)

You got me started..... ;-)

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Well, I'm not into coupons (generally more trouble than they're worth, and mostly used just to get people to buy or to find out their media source), but certainly I subscribe to some emails if they give useful information. And of course my definition of "useful" often differs from the sender's. :-)

Also my definition of "attractive" in email usually differs from, well, most people. That's because I view email as plain text rather than as HTML (it's too easy to hide nasty things in HTML), and when I do view as HTML I don't load remote images since that tells the sender that I read it (as well as allowing more nasty things). So for me an "attractive" email looks reasonable and informative within 80-column plain text.

At least I've managed to cut the spam in my inbox to less than one per day.

Yes, there are certainly legitimate uses for mass-mailing. And the two companies I've worked with who do it as their primary business seem to encourage good non-spammy practices (which is why I was willing to work with them).

But in a marketing context (or at least an ad agency context) there's just too much pressure for things like "I want to email every Kent State student about this cardboard shelf unit my client sells." (Yes, a real request.) Or more commonly, we'd be handed a list of email addresses and asked to send an email flyer to all of them, when even our client wasn't sure what those people had thought they were signing up for when they gave their address.
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 31st, 2009 03:33 pm (UTC)
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Billboards *do* catch attention, though: I know that I look at them and take note of things that interest (or occasionally offend) me. I'm virtually immune to online ads, though: they don't catch my eye or cause me to remember what their product is.

Take MySpace as a prime example. I know MySpace is covered in ads, and I know that they all have young girls pretending to look at webcams and flirt with me. I also know that these adverts are targeted to my profile. I could not, though, tell you what company/site they were for, nor have I ever clicked on one to get "more information". FaceBook is the same way. My profile page is covered in ads, but I don't really know who they're for.

Also, looks like Casey is on Twitter, too: it's clear he's doing a lot of footwork for this, and I have to admit I've got some respect for persistence.

At least he didn't find my Twitter account to "follow" me. . .whatever that means.
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From:singingwren
Date:March 31st, 2009 03:48 pm (UTC)
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Lol I notice the ads on my MySpace. Some of those dudes are hot.

And that's why I use it, anyway, to meet cute guys and flirt via my webcame with them.
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From:chronarchy
Date:March 31st, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
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Clearly. That's why we all use it, isn't it?
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From:rfunk
Date:March 31st, 2009 04:17 pm (UTC)
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I have mixed feelings about the targeted ads on sites like Facebook and MySpace. On the one hand it's a little disturbing that the advertisers know so much about me, but on the other hand that makes the ads a little less likely to be obnoxious. (Only if the advertisers pay attention to a significant number of attributes though, rather than just "male 35-40".)

Of course, quite often I use the adblock features of my web browsers and don't notice the ads at all. ;-)


I took a quick look at Casey's twitterfeed, and that looks like someone I'd block preemptively just because all his posts are basically the same @replies.

("following" on twitter is like "friending" on LJ, maybe with less expectation of following-back, and no extra privileges.)
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 31st, 2009 04:20 pm (UTC)
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I'm learning so much from this post ;)

I suspect that's what it means when it says people are "following" me, eh? Funky, that.
[User Picture]
From:singingwren
Date:March 31st, 2009 03:18 pm (UTC)
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"...I suspect it has something to do with too many young professionals, fresh out of college, who think that the cutting-edge tools are the way to go in all things..."

You know, you would think that, but that's not the case! As someone who is RIGHT in the middle of this I can tell you that the real problem seems to be too many OLDER professionals who THINK that tech-savvy youth are an essential tool for competition. They snap us up like oil at $1.00 a gallon and unleash us onto the Internet, spouting out buzz-words like "blogs!" and "Twitter!" without really understanding what they are doing.

For people like me this is frustrating. I don't WANT to be an internet marketer, but job after job everyone waxes poetic about my electronic accomplishments. Oooh, she's a blooger. Oooh, she's a traffic driver. Oooh she dominates Google Maps. Let's hire her and her and have her do internet stuff, then tell everyone she's a 'genius' and a 'whiz kid'.

Right. Whatever.

I guess the real problem comes in when such professionals unleash kids who have the same experiences I mentioned above, btu who DON'T have backgrounds in communications and PR. Or people skills. Or tact and judgment. Nothing sucks more than having marketing people comment on social media in a scripted, professional, "sell sell sell" kind of way.

Were I asked to repond to a Google Alerts that caught your blog, for example, I would have read a handful of your entries to get a feel for who you are, your sense of humor, your position of influence, etc. I would have seen that you are laid-back and written you a comment as one person to another rather than as marketer to customer (although I would have identified myself.)

It'd still be annoying, I guess, but would you feel better if you'd gotten a comment like this?:

"Sorry to go all 'marketing ninja' on you, but my Google Alert caught your blog and I just had to comment. My name's Anna and I work for CIB. I've had nothing but a great time here and I'm sorry to hear that you definitely did not... Can we make it up to you? If you'd like to trade e-mails I'll send you a $5 coupon to use toward trying it again."

[User Picture]
From:rfunk
Date:March 31st, 2009 03:34 pm (UTC)
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"For people like me this is frustrating. I don't WANT to be an internet marketer, but job after job everyone waxes poetic about my electronic accomplishments."

Heh, I sorta get this from the other side: "Oh, you're an email expert? We've got clients wanting to do email marketing, and your skills would be perfect..."

"I would have seen that you are laid-back and written you a comment as one person to another rather than as marketer to customer"

I actually read your sample comment more as good-marketer to customer, while too many others try to be person-to-person and come across badly because they're still a stranger coming in out of the blue. People who don't use Google Alerts tend to be frightened at its power to draw strangers into their obscure little corner of the net. (As I recall even you have been surprised at Google's power. :-) I think your first sentence in the sample comment makes all the difference in making it less annoying.
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From:singingwren
Date:March 31st, 2009 03:58 pm (UTC)
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Awww you did NOT just call me a good marketer... *blushing*

That's one free pass to the Tower of Doom for you! Meet me in the Cafeteria of Chaos and we can drink the blood of consumers together ;D
[User Picture]
From:rfunk
Date:March 31st, 2009 04:22 pm (UTC)
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But I thought I escaped the Tower of Doom a few months ago.... but I *am* getting kinda thirsty.....
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 31st, 2009 03:41 pm (UTC)
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Seems it depends on where you are as to who drives it: rfunk has had a different experience with the age group. That's to be expected, though: any marketing agent is going to be after the latest, greatest thing so they can get a step ahead, so I can see older execs being convinced this is the way to go (and maybe that other advertising is somehow "dead") and really jumping on board hard. When conservative leadership changes their mind about something, they stick to it, damnit.

I think that if Casey had just told me that the burgers were better than they were four years ago, I might have gone up to CiP tonight to see what the fuss was about. That was, after all, the point (fairly strongly made, I thought) of the post. My disparage of the drink-list probably didn't warrant a "we have awesome new libations" line, since I wasn't upset at a lack of drinks so much as the prominence of drinks, though I suspect that I got a pretty scripted response (this is, actually, fine to me: I have a feeling that Casey does this quite often, several times per day).

As to your response, it's great, except the mention of the Google Alert. . . which I'd just replace with, "I came across your blog. . ." It's more active that way: you weren't passively sitting about in a giant marketing tower of DOOM waiting for any random post to occur, but you were surfing around and came across my blog, possibly in your off-time, and decided to comment.

Didn't know you had a giant marketing tower of DOOM, did ya?
[User Picture]
From:singingwren
Date:March 31st, 2009 03:53 pm (UTC)
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I dunno, I think Google Alerts is actually pretty active and efficient. I guess if they want to convey the "yeah I was surfing LJ at work" vibe (which I might... if only bosses would not monitor me so much, I could probably be a hell of a lot more effective... oh so everybody says in every job XD) then you're right, but I wouldn't think they were sitting around if they had set trip sensors everywhere and were immedately responding to whatever triggered them.

Then again, I rather fancy the idea of a giant marketing tower of DOOM.

New career goal.......
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 31st, 2009 04:04 pm (UTC)
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I suppose. Knowing nothing about what Google Alerts is, though (as a consumer), it sounds like a set of tripwires. Which are great for a giant marketing tower of DOOM, but not for customers. Unless they visit the giant marketing tower of DOOM, of course. Then you need tripwires.

But, from my response and rfunk's response, it's pretty clear that different people have different responses to the same thing: for him, your initial response is great. Of course, he knows what Google Alerts are. I haven't managed to wikipedia it yet. :)
[User Picture]
From:singingwren
Date:March 31st, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)
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Google Alerts is a way to have Google notify you when the search term you specificed shows us / is captured by google.

For example, if you put "Chronarchy", it would let you know whenever someone mentioned this word. I follow "Skate Zone 71" to track viral calendar updates (yayy they spread to one another), read reviews people post, etc.

"Google Alerts" is quite terrifying as a blogger and absolutely the reason why I was naive to think I could blog about companies (remember the infamous post that closed my journal to friends only?!)without getting caught. I bet RMD had that notification in a second. WHOOPS!

I only abbreviate company names when I blog publically now. Friends-locked posts are fine though I think. But still, careful...
[User Picture]
From:rfunk
Date:March 31st, 2009 04:08 pm (UTC)

Giant Marketing Tower of DOOM!

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It IS a set of tripwires! :-)

But I like knowing that they're using the tripwires, and what tripwires they're using.
[User Picture]
From:rfunk
Date:March 31st, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC)
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I think the age thing depends on the individual's goals. I worked with people whose explicit purpose is to get more clients and get more business for those clients. I think singingwren's goals are a bit different.

The younger people I saw were at least more savvy about the technology and how best to use it. The saddest examples (e.g. "spam the students") were from older people trying to do the new thing (usually seeing it as cheap and easy) but not really understanding it.


I think the mention of Google Alerts is good, if that's what happened. I like honesty, I like people saying where they came from, and I hate people pretending it was random chance when it wasn't. Of course, the fact that Google Alerts seems to be primarily used my marketers is a little scary (along with what it does), but it's way too late to fight that one.
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From:ravenna_blue
Date:March 31st, 2009 03:19 pm (UTC)
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Wow....and here I thought LJ was a place for folks to vent, whine, bitch and tell the world about the minutest details of one's life.

Maybe I should start posting about acting gigs being crappy in Ohio, maybe I'll get an agent!
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 31st, 2009 03:49 pm (UTC)
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Maybe!

Pretty much everywhere on the 'net is saturated with advertising. It's just the way it is.
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From:singingwren
Date:March 31st, 2009 03:55 pm (UTC)
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Lol write product reviews until you've established yourself as an influencer. then companies will start offering you free so that you can host give-awayes etc. Mom bloggers are ALL about this, especially the thrifty ones. I have given some of them coupons, and it makes me so jealous to see how much crazy awesome stuff tey get for free just to test and review.
[User Picture]
From:rfunk
Date:March 31st, 2009 04:19 pm (UTC)
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Not too different from what I always tell people -- do it for free until someone notices your skills and is willing to pay you to do it for them.
[User Picture]
From:wishesofastar
Date:March 31st, 2009 04:43 pm (UTC)
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Heh. Heh heh heh. (Sorry, junior high humor sensors kicking in.)
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From:aerynyvtv
Date:March 31st, 2009 04:34 pm (UTC)

McPizza!

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For the record, I loved McPizza as a kid (and still get the It's-a Pizza Happy Meal, pepperoni and cheese... song stuck in my head sometimes). If they reintroduced it right now, I'd drive to McDonald's and buy one. It'd be nice if they had ONE thing on the menu I genuinely liked.

Totally OT from everything else here, but I don't know much about marketing.
[User Picture]
From:chronarchy
Date:March 31st, 2009 04:37 pm (UTC)

Re: McPizza!

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Oh, I don't know much about it, either. I'm just endlessly amused by how it seems to go, and what people seem to do in the pursuit of various marketing solutions.

And poor McPizza, suffering from such a horrible naming convention!
[User Picture]
From:wishesofastar
Date:March 31st, 2009 04:44 pm (UTC)

Re: McPizza!

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McPizza was my husband's all-time favorite pizza (I never tried it myself.) He regularly mourns its loss and wishes for its revival. Hey, maybe some Mickey D's marketing guy will be Google-alerted by this and get an idea...

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