Now I'm not slinging mud at anyone here. I just love it when I stumble upon things like this.

Fido Campaign - 2007

Samsung Website - 2004


Crack Shot

Thought this was an
interesting video in that it shows how a concept in photography becomes reality with the use of some inspired thinking, powerful software and a fair degree of effort. Its really quite a fun concept and the video of how it was done gives a great insight to what goes into pulling off a little photo magic. There are plenty of examples of elaborate photography out there and certainly some are better than others but it is seldom you get to see the "how did they do that" documentation. Have fun!

Measure Your Web 2.0 Activities

Web 2.0 allows a different type of interaction with your customers in that it promotes longer term relationships. It remains integral to measure immediate conversions such as sales, however understanding your visitors over time is also key within the web world. The reason for this is that one interaction may not result in an immediate conversion, but it may influence an action the next time the consumer interacts with an element of your campaign.

Some are quick to judge one part of their campaign, for example the offline portion or online display ads, when their pay per click campaign appears to be generating the highest conversion rates in terms of sales. What they cannot see, is the value that the other campaign elements have on a visitor’s perception of the brand by the time they are exposed to the pay per click ad.

A sports apparel company that wants to understand the effectiveness of each aspect of their marketing mix which includes RSS, display ads, and paid search, would benefit by doing this type of session-by-session evaluation. I've named our persona “Jim” for the sake of personalizing this description.

Session 1:
- Jim finds the sports apparel website by clicking on a display ad that pops up while he’s reading sports news.
- Jim browses through a few pages of content, registers for RSS and then leaves.

Session 2:
- Jim regularly reads the company’s RSS feed and sees one article of special interest, so returns to the site.
- Once back on the site, he continues to look around for about 20 minutes, interested in additional related content.

Session 3:
- Jim is searching for articles on the Grey Cup game and responds to a natural search listing for content on the apparel company’s site – the cheerleaders were outfitted with their clothing.
- Jim posts a comment on the article and then leaves.

Session 4:
- Jim continues to read the RSS feed regularly and after reading many strong reviews on the company’s clothing, he becomes more committed to the brand.
- One day, Jim is in need of a new dry-fit top for working out, and so he accesses the apparel site directly and makes the online purchase.

Now, if the session-based data were analyzed as individual units, then all of the marketing activities would be undervalued or the last activity resulting in the conversion would be assigned a false high value:
- Display ad didn’t convert
- RSS didn’t convert
- Natural search didn’t convert
- Accessing the site directly converted

You need to see the complete picture to make appropriate decisions, and if the sale is the desired end goal, then measure it, but find a way to follow the paths consumers take to get there. There are tools out there such as WebTrends and even Google Analytics that are capable of it (some more sophisticated than others). It will take pre-planning and thought to set things up properly and of course time to analyze results regularly so that they are meaningful and actionable.

Marketing is an evolutionary thing, and moving visitors along in the sales cycle should be seen as equally important as the activity that results in a sale. Other types of activities, such as signing up for RSS or commenting on an article, are still ‘conversions’ – and therefore should be measured and considered to be successes within their own realm.

Fortune Telling

Back in September I posted a piece on Apple and their brilliance in business building. Well it seems that Fortune magazine agrees! CEO Steven Jobs tops the list at number one of the 25 Most Powerful People in Business. What does the future hold? One certainly hopes that Apple continues "creating new innovative products that will surprise and delight our customers". Bring on the iPhones, movies, music, touch-screens and all. For my part, I look forward to something a little more straightforward — not having the PC /Mac chasm to deal with. Within our own walls and between our customers and ourselves the investment in IT and cross-platform challenges come at a price. Perhaps Mr. Jobs has the kind of power to make that manifest.


Seven Amazing Lead Gen Tips!!! Absolutely Free!!!

... but to get them you have to fill out a two-page registration form, give your credit card information and they're only free for 3.74 minutes.

This drives me crazy.

I'm referring, of course, to e-newsletters that promise one thing and then in a back-handed way get you to give them something else. Not only is it bad business practice, it's also breaking a cardinal rule of permission-based marketing.

By now you as well might be feeling a bit ticked off too. After all, I promised lead generation tips and so far you haven't got them. The fact is, I can't tell you what that e-newsletter had to say about lead generation, because I refused to pay for something I was told was absolutely free. And not only that, I will never know what kind of pearls of wisdom that service might "share" with me, because I not only deleted the e-mail, I unsubscribed from the service.

I'm not going to give you seven lead generation tips (at least not in this posting). I'm going to give you one tip about permission-based marketing. The advice stands for certain kinds of lead generation as well: to get something, you have to give something of equal or better value in return. This is best done in a climate of confidence and trust. If you say you're going to give me some great advice for free, and then you don't, I won't trust you. But if you say that I can have access to some great time-limited information for free and that I need to register, I will at least be able to respond to you in good faith. You might get fewer click-throughs. But you'll also get a lot fewer people who will unsubscribe from your services in the future.

In my next post, I'll share some advice about using search engine optimization to boost lead generation. I promise.


Jersey Day Polaroid Gallery

This Flash implementation takes a series of photos (either by a
Flickr RSS feed or an xml file with the list of photos) and then randomly spreads them out on a surface like a stack of Polaroid photos. The photos have captions, as if they were written on the bottom of the Polaroids. You can drag the pictures around, and double-click on them to open them in a larger view. You can also cycle through the pictures by clicking on the right and left arrows.

These photos are from a recent theme day we had at
BSL; Jersey Day. The cool thing about this gallery is that you don't have to know anything about working with Flash. It's incredibly easy to add your own photos and post it to your server. It took me about 5 minutes.

Click the image above to see the gallery.
You can download everything (including source .fla if you want to see how it was made)


High Anxiety

I am in the habit of taking long walks at lunch for a couple of reasons. The first is purely health related and the second is to clear my head. I sometimes take my camera along and shoot things that catch my eye and that serve to inspire my creative efforts. I have shot public transit, signage, parks, flowers and buildings both old and new as I find architecture a fascinating subject.

Recently I was walking down Preston street at lunch (a very busy restaurant area) taking pictures from the street of anything that caught my eye. There is a brand new corporate building just south of the Queensway that offered some interesting architectural design elements and so started to snap a few angles. The security guard came out of the building and questioned me about my purpose and then informed me I had to get permission to shoot from the “management’.

Now I understand we live in anxious times. Security concerns have shaped mindsets to the degree that one has to allow for suspicion of motive when hanging around sensitive areas (e.g. CSIS) with a telephoto lens. But I have waltzed by the American embassy among other such places blithely snapping away from public thoroughfares. Now I find that I will have to research my rights as a photographer in public spaces beyond the usual reproduction rights. Seems a shame really. I wonder what will happen to the camera clicking hordes of tourists that may need to get permission to shoot every building that finds its way into their lens.


Don't Be Afraid to Go "Below the Fold"

There is a web design principle called “Above The Fold”, which refers to the space a user sees on a web page without having to scroll down the page.

The myth has been that users do not like to scroll down pages, so the idea is to cram as much content and information above the fold.

Here is a study that demystifies this idea and concludes that users will scroll to view content.

Click here to read the full blog post.