Archive for May, 2013

Shifting the Story?

Monday, May 20th, 2013

“I am not a crook.” President Nixon

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman” President Clinton

“We promise not to screw it up.” Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer

Well, you can’t fault Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer for being honest and upfront. Earlier today Yahoo! announced that it had paid $1.1 Yahoobillion for microblogging service Tumblr. Nice acquisition, big headlines and all that. However, when I read a number of articles about the announcement the thing that jumped out at me was Mayer’s comment. While CEO’s, especially in the tech sector, are known for hyperbole and hype, I found it refreshing to see such candor from Mayer. But I’m curious to know what led her to issue such an off-the-cuff remark? Could it be that social media has become such a big part of our world?

Her comment appeared in numerous articles but it seemed to first appear on her Twitter account. I realize that we live in a 24 hour news cycle world full of sound bites and infographics, but her self-deprecating humor felt to me as one of those “what have I got to lose” moments. More important, I feel that this is a perfect example of how social media has changed the game. In the past an acquisition like this would have a press release (politically correct language approved by corporate lawyers) and a series of interviews for the leaders of the two companies. But now, with social media, news and comments are out there for public consumption immediately.

To me this is an example of the PR tactic of shifting the story. I believe that people will be talking about Ms. Mayer’s comment more than about the news itself. Yes, Yahoo! has had its fair share of screw-ups and has made some poor decisions, but by making fun of itself, Yahoo! has bought time to make the acquisition work and has helped to shape its image. The question is…is this an image that the company wants?


Channel Surfing

Friday, May 17th, 2013

I don’t know about you, but I find it overwhelming to channel surf on my cable system. As I tell my son, “hundreds of channels, nothing to watch.” But when we’re talking about marketing and we say “channel”, it’s a whole different ballgame. Traditionally the channel refers the various outlets you use to share your product or message with potential customers such as the retail channel, reseller channel, or mail order channel, just to name a few. But in today’s world, thanks in part to social media, the channel has grown.

It used to be that you could get a story published in a magazine or newspaper about your company or product, but now there’s the world of online media, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. For marketing and PR pros it can be overwhelming.

If you want to learn more about how to manage all of your marketing channels, take a few minutes to read an article that one of our clients, Oliver Jaeger at e-Spirit, recently published. The article recently appeared in Marketing Executives and it’s titled Six Ways to Improve Multichannel Marketing.

Marketing and PR pros often wear many hats and, at times, managing so many channels can feel like you’re drinking from the fire hose. The key is having a strong Web Content Management system in place to not only manage all of your online marketing materials, but to help improve your customer’s experience.

Let’s do some infographics!

Friday, May 17th, 2013

One of the tactics we often recommend to clients is to create infographics. These graphic images pull together a lot of information on a particular topic and present it in an attractive way that can be easily shared. Editors and bloggers love them because they drive click throughs to stories, while the infographic sponsors get their names and logos splashed across the Web.

A problem for vendors is that publications might see their infographics as overly self-serving. An effective way around that, as in the example below, is for vendors and industry organizations to work together to create the infographic. In this case, Hyland Software/OnBase worked with the government community site GovLoop to build a nice infographic on how governments are using enterprise content management software. Naturally, given how much publications dig infographics, it landed on Government Technology’s site as a news item. (Full disclosure: we did not work on this one, it’s just an example of some good work.)

At McKenzie Worldwide we enjoy turning on the creative juices and brainstorming concepts for infographics that help build your brand. Hope to hear from you.


ECM in government infographic
ECM in Government infographic example


BETTERY Fans Want Battery Swap Stations at Safeway Too!

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Today’s Oregonian featured an article on the cover of the Living section about battery recycling which highlighted the work that our terrific client BETTERY Inc. is doing in this space. Carrie Sturrock’s well-written article, Battery Recyclers Turn Up The Juice, takes an in-depth look at the issue and includes some great quotes from BETTERY execs Charlie Kawasaki and Bob Altabet.  And one Safeway shopper says she wants Safeway to get with it and offer BETTERY kiosks in their stores.

Are you recycling your batteries and using rechargeable ones to help the environment? You should! Check out this article for more information.


Managing So Many Channels Gives Me a Headache

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013

textingOver the weekend I was shopping at the grocery store and something caught my eye that made me laugh. A mother was pushing her cart and adding groceries with her three teenage kids in tow. All three were looking down at their phones and texting furiously. Not a care in the world nor any realization that people with carts were moving out of the way.

While I completely understand the benefits and enjoyment we all get using handheld devices and the importance of staying connected to family and friends, the image of these three kids made me stop and wonder. When is it too much? Business Insider CEO Henry Blodget recently commented that “Second screen is a big opportunity,” noting that more 80 percent of young TV viewers (ages 18 to 24) simultaneously use a phone or tablet while watching the big screen. I mean, how many screens/devices does a person need? Talk about stimulation overload.

The digital revolution has created so many opportunities for PR and marketing folks, but have we gone overboard? Has digital technology taken over our lives? I’m beginning to wonder if it’s gone too far. In fact, this weekend I read about the new Barbie Makeover Mirror that allows kids to apply makeup on the iPad screen using facial tracking technology. Creative…yes. Ingenious…yes. But, wow, isn’t this a little much? surfwatchtv

The bigger question (at least for those of us in PR and marketing) I began to ask myself is, with all of these channels available and the continual advances in bandwidth technology, what is this doing to the marketing landscape?

Customer segmentation and target marketing used to be the backbone of marketing and PR activities. Tailor your message for your customer. But in today’s world, with so many channels available to connect with customers, how can marketers decide which areas to focus on? Does this mean that you can abandon the old channels like TV and radio advertising? Can you sideline your website for social media sites or mobile apps?  In most cases, the new channels are one more thing to worry about. One thing is certain – capturing our increasingly short attention spans is getting harder and more complex than ever.

0.3E8AOne of the companies we work with, e-Spirit, recently discussed the challenges with content consistency and localization on a global level. With information and channel overload creating more opportunities – and more opportunities for missteps — to reach target customers, how can marketers manage everything?

My question to you, the reader, is how does your company manage so many channel opportunities? How can your company maintain brand consistency using so many channels?

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