When Lead Gen Get’s in the Way of a Good Cause. 7 Lessons for Chevy & MLB.

I love baseball and I coach baseball and I’m a fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Recently I received an email from Pirates.com asking me to vote for pitcher Chris Resop for the Roberto Clemente Award which annually goes out to one player in major league baseball who selflessly gives back to the community. It’s a very prestigious award.  It was nice to see that Chris was being nominated since my son holds Roberto Clemente in very high esteem, and Chris’s father happens to also coach my daughter.

So why am I telling you about this?

Let’s look at the initial email that I received.

Seems pretty harmless and it’s an email that goes out to all subscribers of Pirates.com.  So when I go to vote for Chris, I am taken to the following landing page below. The first part of this is what you would actually see above the fold.  Which is poorly designed I might add.

But then, as I went to fill out the form, I’m greeted with the following:

Right in the middle of the form…

  • When do I expect to purchase or lease?
  • Please indicate the Chevy vehicle I want to learn more about?
  • I would like to receive further email communications from Chevy.

What tha?

I don’t remember this having to be part of voting for the Roberto Clemente Award.  I also notice that I have no choice but to answer the questions in order to vote for Chris Resop. So if I don’t want to use this form, do I really want to take the time and effort to “look” for a work around? What if I want my 12 year old son to vote? I don’t even know if he likes Chevy’s yet!

What can Chevy and MLB learn?

  1. You have to give people options when filling voluntary information out that’s only relevant to Chevy.
  2. Know who you’re sending emails to. Know your audience. Surely MLB and Chevy have  pretty decent CRM systems.
  3. Know that sometimes the primary focus doesn’t have to be on lead generation.  Think about the cause here.
  4. The devil is in the details, and the details were poor and misleading.
  5. The form will invariably bring back bad information of people who really don’t care about a Chevy, they just wanted to vote.  You have forced bad or misleading information into a system and have corrupted the data.
  6. You’ve tainted a good cause with large assumptions.
  7. Add a social component on the email and the web page for crying out loud.

I hate to say it, but this is a case study on bad email marketing. Hopefully this email didn’t go out to 20 million people; and wait till I tell Chris Resop’s dad about this!

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Word of Mouth Marketing

In my efforts to spread what I think is a very apt representation of viral or word of mouth marketing, I give you this:

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Viral Video Explained

Here are 3 great examples of viral videos.  The  viral elements are so apparent when using these 3 videos as examples of viral marketing. In short order, they can all scale quickly, which means that the viral growth is exponential, i.e. it can spread quickly. The sharing of the link or the video is effortless, and lastly it’s humorous/touching/strikes a nerve. The first video has been viewed over 900,000 times. Which is a pretty solid number.

Now 900,000 for a  viral video might seem like a large number but if we look at the numbers associated with Jimmy Kimmels F@cking Ben Affleck Response to Matt and Sarah video, you’ll begin to re-think what is construed as a viral video. 

Currently that Jimmy Kimmel video has been seen almost 9 million times. That’s right, 9 million times.  I would suspect that the Hey Jude video will eventually spike pretty high. But as you can see, the power possessed by a truly viral video can reach far and why and travel quicker than a tornado warning. Now admit it, right now you are thinking of sharing this post with someone who might appreciate it? It’s not hard to do, you merely send the link and off it goes. Quick, efficient and no sweat for you. Viral.

To finish off this post, here is the viral video that prompted Jimmy Kimmel’s response video. The Sarah Silverman-Matt Damon Video has been seen by almost 13 million people and blogged about over 1900 times. Make that 1901 times.


Mobile, Social, and Search. Quick hits.

In a quest to pare down my already slim posts, I’m going to fire off a couple of quick blurbs for everyone to chew on until the next post:

  • Aside from Microsoft not backing down in it’s quest to buy Yahoo, AT&T and Yahoo have entered in a multiyear deal to share revenue from advertising on Mobile phones. Yahoo will provide search and display advertising for AT&T customers. I’m shocked that Google did not get there first.
  • Speaking of Microsoft, the Wall Street Journal just cut a deal with them in which the WSJ’s paid search and contextual advertising services will be provided by Microsoft. Not to sound redundant but, I’m shocked that Google did not get there first…
  • Social media giants Facebook and Myspace will become application hubs and launch pads for niche based “smaller” social networks. Alot of this is the residual effect of Facebook opening its platform last fall.
  • Word of Mouth marketing is the new mode of marketing on the cheap. It’s also just as effective as traditional forms of marketing and has much more of a “buzz” factor.
  • Magazines drive more than 50% of online searches, followed by reading an article in a magazine and lastly by seeing something on TV.
  • According to Anderson Analytics, 32% of  the 1700 marketing executives polled cited “Green Marketing” as an important emerging concept along with it being considered the trendiest marketing buzzword.
  • The hottest demographic that you need to be marketing too, but are probably ignoring are the hispanic and baby boomers.
  • According to Informa’s latest report entitled “Mobile Social Networking: Communities and Content on the Move,” the number of mobile social networking users exceeded 50 million, approximately 2.3% of the global mobile user population on December 31st, 2007

M-commerce will work…for Gen Y…for now.

In the next 12 to 18 months analysts predict that m-commerce revenues will reach a half a billion dollars.  Pairing that with almost 300 million wireless customers, “someone” is going to be buying something through their wireless device. The question is who is that person? Is it the Baby boomer? No, they are just becoming comfortable with their computers and shopping online. Is it the Gen X’ers? No not yet, although they will follow pretty quickly as soon as the cool and the perceptive ease of use factors rises to a palatable level.

The answer my friend lies in your Gen Y users. The 15-29 users who just so happen to be your biggest social network users as well. This is, by no means coincidental. It makes complete sense on a lot of levels but here it is in its simplest terms. This generation is so technologically saavy that buying “things” using their mobile phones is nothing more than another viable option for spending money, communicating with their friends and being in the NOW.  It’s just another way to simplify their overly simplified “Me generation” entitled lives. It is a mere blip on the landscape that is their socialized technified world.

Not to sound bitter, and if I do it’s only because this generation can embrace a new technology so easily and so seamlessley that the projections for what kind of money might be generated might be underestimating the puchasing power of this group. The only way the numbers get pushed down is by overestimating the mobile purchasing power of a 15-19 year old who might not have a credit card to complete the transaction.

Gen Y users have 2 things working in their favor as well. 1) they account for almost a 100% ownership of cell phones and 2) have a purchasing power of almost $200 billion.  Add to this the fact that this group has no problem accessing the mobile web with relative ease, and couple it with their comfort level in regards to their expectation that mobile web sites meet their demands, and you have volatile mixture of a captive audience ready to buy with expendable cash.

In the next 12-24 months, marketers, consumers and advertisers will need to look to Gen Y to call the shots in regards to usage numbers, trends, and expectations. As soon as Gen X and the Boomers see how well it works for Gen Y. Look for M-commerce to explode. Look no further than Japan for a classic example, where in the last year e-tailers rang up almost $10 billion in revenue from M-commerce sales.

The growth of social networking

By 2011 about half of U.S. online adults and 84% of online teens will be using social networks. This according to eMarketer. What this points to is an evolution or a continuing evolution of children who currently are becoming aquainted with and more comfortable with, “How social networks work”. This also points to the greater value that adults will put in their social network. “Their” being the operative word.

Furthermore, this raises a very poignant question. Though Facebook and Myspace are the darlings of the moment, can they continue the momentum that they can surely take credit for? Will they be “The” players in 3 years?

As it is right now today the evolution for most users looks something like this:

Club Penguin/Webkinz—->Myspace—->Facebook—-Linkedin.

I use Linkedin as the last one for professional reasons but really after Facebook, the usage fractures into a 100 different niche based social networks. This usage in the next 3 years will continue to evolve into hundreds of other social network sites.

My educated guess, though they (MySpace and FB) will still be viable, there will be others that will come along, if they have not already, that provide more to their niche than the current duo do. Here is the reasoning. Myspace is for teens/bands and tire-kickers and fringe users. Facebook is for college aged and older users who have more of a familiarity with the social network and all that it can provide.

So in 3 years when your current crop of Facebook users for instance, graduate and possibly outgrow the Facebook newness/coolness factor what do they do then?  What do adults who are currently using Facebook do in 3 years? The same thing I suspect that AOL users did once they found out that AOL wasn’t the only game in town. Everything will evolve. Including the knowledge and expereince of the users. Thus the reason that by 2011, social networks will be so entertwined in our daily lives that it will be assumed that you are part of some SN.

The good news, and really none of this is bad news, but worldwide Ad spending will increase at a healthy 20-39% each year between now and 2011 according to eMarketer. In the U.S. alone social network ad spending is expected to rise to $2.7 billion in 2011. Currently the pie is being divided naturally towards Facebook and MySpace, but look for that to change significantly with the growth of niche and marketer oriented sites.