Category Archives: Marketing Madness

FireFold

I’d like to welcome my blogs first sponsor, FireFold.

FireFold is one of the online e-commerce divisions of Grouse Industries,

FireFold

 Inc. Their company offers thousands of networking, audio/video, and communication products in stock at the lowest prices. Their products are ready to ship same day for orders placed before 5:00pm EST. FireFold provides Home Theatre installation services and IT Solutions for homes and businesses in and around the Concord, NC region. Whether you are setting up a multi-million dollar home theater or simply trying to get your dvd player to work properly, their online store has everything you need to get the job done, and from the comfort of your own home.

You can follow FireFold at:

Twitter: http://twitter.com/FireFold
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/FireFold

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The McRib!

Mmmmm McRib

 

Every so often I allow myself the indulgence of eating the McRib from McDonalds.

I’ve been eating McRibs since I was a kid. I always look forward to when they come back on the menu.

McDonalds does a great job in marketing the McRib. They take a niche product and reintroduce it every so often to create new news advertising for the brand. This creates incremental sales for the chain during key periods of time. This also sets customers into a frenzy for the McRib. People write songs and post blogs like this all the time talking about the McRib.

When I see the commercial on TV telling me that the McRib is back I make it my personal goal to have one before it leaves again. Sure, I have no idea what kind meat is in the McRib. And yes, I know there is 10,000 calories in each one. Given all that nothing can compare to the saucy goodness of BBQ smothered pressed meat.

Until next time McRib. I say next time since it will take me at least a year to recover from the one I just ate.

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Social Media Case Study for QdobaNC

Yes, I am back! It’s been quite some time since I’ve written a blog post. Yes I have been busy but I also have been a little lazy. 🙂

So what have I been up too? We’ll I have a new client and they have let me and my agency start to handle their social media outreach. I even get to play director and videographer, more on that later.

The client is Qdoba of the North Carolinas. They have a modest number of restaurants in Charlotte, Raleigh and Triad . Qdoba of NC or QdobaNC wanted to establish social media channels to engage with their existing customers. We have started Facebook pages for all three NC cities so that we can talk directly to that customer base. Along with the Facebook pages we have a central Twitter feed called @QdobaNC. This feed is geared to engage all the Qdoba fans in the North Carolina area. Along the way we have found a number of Qdoba Brand Evangelists. Click on the hyperlink to see one said fan.

One of the things I am really excited about is the QdobaNC YouTube Channel. This is the first time I have shot video content for a clients channel. QdobaNC has a weekly Tailgating Tips episode that talks about well….tailgating. So far we have 4 shows up on the YouTube Channel with more slated through the tailgating season. The Tailgating shows have talked about how to grill and marinate chicken to how to make pico de gallo.

In upcoming episodes we will be taking the QdobaNC Tailgating Tips show on the road. One destination is Raleigh where we will have a fan co-host an episode with us. Speaking of co-hosts we had a fan send us her own tailgating tips and we have asked her to help co-host an episode as well.

To date the QdobaNC YouTube Channel continues to grow at a moderate pace. One thing that we have seen is that QdobaNC is starting to get referrals off of YouTube searches. With YouTube being the second most used search engine the QdobaNC Channel should see more growth over the next several months.

Modest QdobaNC YouTube Stats

QdobaNC has great content coming this fall. From more Tailgating Tips episodes to Twitter parties (Qweetups). I will keep this blog updated with new Q news as I get it.

Enjoy!!

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Beware, Mad Scientist At Work

Hard at work!

Hard at work!

I have been busy in my laboratory the past couple of months working on a social media experiment that is  getting ready to launch (with help from my colleagues).  I can’t divulge to much of the experiment.

The one thing I can say is that it will use a ton of social media applications. I will be using the normal cast of characters in the  experiment. Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr and WordPress will all be used in unison. The purpose of the experiment is to see if all these social media applications working together can truely benefit a brand. Oh, dear…I may have said to much.

Sorry, I can’t let you know exactly what I am doing. I will however give updates on how things are proceeding from time to time. At the end of the experiment I will let you all in on the secret.

My main question in all of this is….. Will this experiment work or will I have created a monster?

Promotional photo of Boris Karloff from Franke...
Image via Wikipedi

Only time will tell….

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PSA – Public Social(media) Alert!

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...
Image via CrunchBase

I read an article on Yahoo (see below) this morning warning about viruses and worms invading social media sites. While this is probably old news the frequency of these types of problems is rising. For new social media users this could be very problematic since some won’t be able to tell what is and what is not a legit social media outlet.

Just be careful out on the social media highway. It is a fun place to interact with all kinds of people. However, there are others out there that look to prey on users that are niave.

Yahoo Article:

As Facebook works to make itself more relevant and timely for its growing member base with a profile page makeover, attackers seem to be working overtime to steal the identities of the friends, fans and brands that connect though the social-networking site.

Indeed, Facebook has seen five different security threats in the past week. According to Trend Micro, four new hoax applications are attempting to trick members into divulging their usernames and passwords. And a new variant of the Koobface worm is running wild on the site, installing malware on the computers of victims who click on a link to a fake YouTube video.

The Koobface worm is dangerous. It can be dropped by other malware and downloaded unknowingly by a user when visiting malicious Web sites, Trend Micro reports. When attackers execute the malware, it searches for cookies created by online social networks. The latest variant is targeting Facebook, but earlier variants have also plagued MySpace.

Koobface’s Wicked Agenda

Once Koobface finds the social-networking cookies, it makes a DNS query to check IP addresses that correspond to remote domains. Trend Micro explains that those servers can send and receive information about the affected machine. Once connected, the malicious user can remotely perform commands on the victim’s machine.

“Once cookies related to the monitored social-networking Web sites are located, it connects to these Web sites using the user log-in session stored in the cookies. It then navigates through pages to search for the user’s friends. If a friend has been located, it sends an HTTP POST request to the server,” Trend Micro reports.

Ultimately, the worm’s agenda is to transform the victim’s computer into a zombie and form botnets for malicious purposes. Koobface attempts to do this by composing a message and sending it to the user’s friends. The message contains a link to a Web site where a copy of the worm can be downloaded by unsuspecting friends. And the cycle repeats itself.

An Attractive Face(book)

Malware authors are investing more energy in Facebook and other social-networking sites because that effort pays off, according to Michael Argast, a security analyst at Sophos. Facebook alone has more than 175 million users, which makes it an attractive target.

“Many computer users have been conditioned not to open an attachment from an e-mail or click a link found within, but won’t think twice about checking out a hot new video linked to by a trusted friend on Facebook,” Argast said.

Argast called the Koobface worm a mix of something old and something new. The new is using social networks as a method to spread malware. The old is using fake codec Trojans linked to a saucy video to induce the user to install the malware.

Argast said people can protect themselves by running up-to-date antivirus software, restricting which Facebook applications they install, thinking twice before clicking on links from friends and never, never installing a codec from some random Web site in the hopes of catching some celebrity in a compromised situation.

“I would expect to see more attacks on Facebook,” Argast said. “As long as this is a successful propagation method, the bad guys will double down and invest more. They are entirely motivated by financial gain. If it pays, they’ll continue to romp in your social playgrounds.”

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Diving into the social media pool.

To any marketer out there that is thinking of diving into the social media pool, below is a newbies guide to getting started.

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Part I:

I have read countless blog post and news articles by the so called “experts” of social media telling me what social media  is and how it should be use. I know, I know I am going to be a hypocrite right now but I swear you’ll appreciate it.

Ok, so a few months ago I was starting out in the new social media world. I was a kid in a candy shop, all these wonderful toys to play with and no one to tell me how to use them. I first started out using Facebook, connecting with friends and reconnecting with old friends. From there I stumbled upon LinkedIn and reconnected with old colleagues. Later, I moved onto the wonderful world of Twitter. I now write my own blog, albeit about nothing.

Starting out, I purposely didn’t read any articles  just so I could have an untainted experience in social media. It seems that every Tom, Dick and Harry has an opinion about social media. This person says you have to do this. This person says you have to do that. How can you put rules and guidelines on something that is social? Isn’t that the point of all of this? We the user makes social media what we want it to be. I have all the control on what I want my social media experience to be. I have experienced different social media tools and decided what I wanted to get out of them. Some I like and some I don’t but the point is that it’s all up to me. Oh and I forgot one really big piece of advice. “Have fun” in social media. If you are not having fun it becomes work then you won’t get any enjoyment out of being part of this brand new medium. Also, remember it’s an experiment. You are out there trying new things and gaining new insights.

For more on getting started see my previous blog post about integrated marketing (I know shameless plug).

Part II:

Brands and Social Media:

So how do you take what you have learned and apply it to brands/clients/marketers? In gaining your own experiences in social media you can  help guide your clients in this brave new world. What I wrote above can be thrown out the window when it comes to brands and social media.  Brands do need to think about how to use the social media tools. What voice should the client have in interacting with people? What should they say? How should they say it? Does every company need to use social media? Let’s use the current Twitter debate as an example shall we:

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One interesting debate that is raging right now is whether or not Brands should use Twitter. I ask, why shouldn’t brands use Twitter? If a brand is truly engaging with their customers who’s to stop them, especially if the customers follow and engage them back. Using Twitter is still in it’s infancy stages, marketers are still trying to figure out how it can benefit their business. If a brand actually engages with their fan base as opposed to trying to sell them they will have a better experience with Twitter.

Personally, I follow a number of brands on Twitter. Some get it and some don’t. I see brands post price points and offers while others actually try and engage their followers. That’s the real key. People don’t want to be sold to. People like to feel like they have a voice and business’s that engage allow those people to have that voice.

The Twitter debate is really the key in all of this. How does a brand/client/marketer use social media? The answer? It is all an experiment. It’s trial and error. What works for one brand may not work for another.

I told you in the beginning that I was going to be a hypocrite didn’t I. That said, I think what I said has value. Don’t let others influence your experience (like me:). Go in and explore this new world, it’s not going away. This will help you in guiding  your clients in the social media world.

One more thing. I am not a social medai expert. I am a user of social media trying to help other newbies.

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So we’re in a recession. Who knew?

This past week the  National Bureau of Economic Research announced that the US economy has been in a recession since December of last year. Wow, it took them a whole year to determine this? This news didn’t come as a surprise to US citizens, what with the housing situation/high gas prices and now the layoffs.The endless news feeds telling us that another bank has problems or that the auto industry is in trouble.

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For all of this I have two words. PRESS ON!!

I was recently in a meeting where the speaker talked about “Press On”. He was referring to the fact that the recession we are in right now is a mere moment in time and that it makes no sense to dwell on the abysmal economy. But to focus on what we personally can control. Making sure that your family is safe and secure. Make sure you are in good health both personally and professionally. With the holiday season is full swing it becomes difficult not to dwell on the negative but remember, a new year brings new possibilities. Think about ways to positively effect what you can control. If you have to make monetary cut backs for the time being then do it. Recessions always end, it just may take longer for this one to end.

So Mayhem, aren’t you concerned about the state of the nation?

Yes I am. Working in the advertising field makes me a prime target for layoffs. For a company the first thing they usually look to do is cut marketing budgets. Which means that my job and others in my field are not as secure as we would like. Everything I have heard points to a reduced advertising/marketing pressence for 2009. Even from a QSR stand point the budgets could be lower in 09. One thing that concerns me with QSR’s is the franchisee’s. Not the really big ones but the “little guys”. The guys that own a handful of stores. I am already hearing that the “little guys” are in financial troubles and that a prolonged recession will all but close them down.

Mayhem, How are dealing with things then?

Well, I crank up the metal \m/ to 11 (Spinal Tap reference) and rock out. I also enjoy the time I have with my wife and kids (I know sappy). I also follow my Redskins and Capitals!

Oh, and I “Press On”.

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