Some companies really get it

I post this on twitter:

Then, one hour later I get this message from Twitter:

from Twitter
subject Six Apart is now following you on Twitter!

Hi, eirikso.
Six Apart (sixapart) is now following your updates on Twitter.
Check out Six Apart’s profile here:
You may follow Six Apart as well by clicking on the “follow” button.


Sixapart makes Movable Type. The biggest WordPress competitor.

Look for people talking about your brand on the internet and follow them! But you should also follow people that talk about your competitor.

Some companies really get it

Officially tagging your business

I just did a presentation for an organization that house a couple of truly fantastic hotels and restaurants in Norway. I was talking about new media, marketing opportunities and the future traveler. The fact that more people in general can reach out with their message can be a problem if you have a bad product or just a bad day. Before you know it horrible images and videos of your establishment is all over the internet.

But if you have a great product the amount of happy customers will outnumber the angry ones. I keep quoting Hugh MacLeod in my presentations and I still agree with this:

“The best way to control the conversation is by improving the conversation.”

And if you run remarkable hotels or restaurants like this group there is a great chance that a lot of people already want to help you improve the conversation. Here’s the result for a search on Flickr for one of the hotels in the organization. Pretty nice. A problem might be that most of the satisfied customers don’t publish their images and thoughts. The angry ones does.

That’s the reason you need to encourage people to give their opinions. Let them publish their images, their videos and thoughts. If you have a great product this shouldn’t be scary. If this sounds scary you need to improve your product.

But you want to find the stuff they’re publishing, so why don’t do like most technology conferences these days? Define a tag for your business? The next time I enter a hotel room I want to read on the TV: “Welcome Mr. Solheim, the official tag for this hotel is…”

Like “FOWA07” was announced one of the the official tags for Future of Web apps 07. Like “DLD08” was the tag for this years DLD conference in Münich. Those keywords make it easy for me to find images from DLD08 on Flickr and videos from DLD08 on youtube.

Put it in the information in the room or on the menu in your restaurant. On your web page. On your business cards. That’s utterly cheap and potentially very powerful marketing.

And by the way. That beautiful image at the top of this post is from one of the hotels in the organization. You find the rest of the images I snapped while staying at Kviknes in Balestrand last autumn over here.

Officially tagging your business

Register more than your domain!

I just finished a post (norwegian) about the fact that we registered the name of our Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation tech blog “NRKbeta” on a lot of social networks and places around the web. We did that the second we decided on that name for the blog. And I think that is becoming an important part of your marketing strategy.

I try to be pretty fast on registering “eirikso” on the different services popping up around the net. You never know who’s gonna strike big, and right now it is quite nice that addresses like, and takes you to stuff that I am in control of. Eirikso is my brand on the internet. If you try the same with NRKbeta we’re there as well.

So let’s do a quick test. If you happen to make very nice sports cars you might want someone that visit to find something else? And Microsoft on Flickr? Probably not extremely important, but as big web sites become huge services and places where we spend a lot of time this is getting important. The second race for domain names. At this point…whatever company… isn’t close to the importance of http://www…whatever company… but it is getting more important as these giants grow.

And, if you decide to go out there and register your company just to reserve the space, then please put something honest in there. Register at twitter and simply post one single update. “Company nn has registered this user. It’s currently not in use.” or something like that.

My former place of work, the american consulting company called Accenture seems to have done something like that: Or have they? I don’t know if this is Accenture or just some dude that has registered that user. And that last twit is just plain stupid. You’ll never get any feedback by simply registering a user on twitter and start screaming “anybody out there?”. And my guess is that some clever people at Accenture have registered this one as well. And they don’t have to use it. But at least put in one video and a quick message. Same as for twitter. “This is the official YouTube channel for Accenture. It’s currently not in use.”

And please. Don’t bring back that horrible “under construction”-gif from the late nineties! Register to reserve the space. If you’re going to use it, do it properly, if not be honest and tell people it’s not in use.

Do you have any nice examples of profiles that should have featured something else? Like Porsche on YouTube?

Register more than your domain!

Video fun: the truth in advertising

This post has some videos embedded. If you read this in an email update or your RSS feed reader the videos might not show up. In that case you’ll have to click through to to see them.

(Image: Coca Cola advertising in Romania)

I’ve been working several years within the professional consulting business. Going to endless meetings discussing projects, marketing, design, business plans and you name it. Sometimes you sit there wishing you could say your raw and true thoughts, but you can’t. You have the client in there. You have the boss in there. Etc. But in fiction you can. This video has been out there for two years, but I guess some of you haven’t seen it.

The Truth in Advertising. If you have been working as a business consultant or within marketing it’s worth the 12 minutes. This is what happens if people say the truth. You have the whole cast in here. The boss that has no clue and only wants to add some fear. The creatives that only want to win an award. The lousy director that really wants to do something else but needs his house renovated and so on. Have fun.

You find a low quality 3 minute excerpt here as well. And another similar video called The Truth in ad sales is also on the tube.

These videos illustrate the consulting and marketing business like they’ve always been. But there are big changes going on regarding the relationship between the advertiser and the consumer. Fredrik Hallberg pointed me to this video some months ago and I think it illustrates parts of that change very well.

Video fun: the truth in advertising

Missing a marketing opportunity

EMI is my favorite record company. They got that position when they stopped using DRM on their music back in April. The marketing value of that move was probably worth millions.

Yesterday I did a presentation for the nice people at EMI Norway and during my preparation I did a Google search for “buy high quality music“. And guess what. The EMI press release about leaving DRM in iTunes is hit number one.

The press release was linked to from thousands of web sites. The page with the press release has Google Page Rank 7 while the home page of EMI Music has page rank 6.

Meaning that they are hit number one on several searches. Like “superior sound quality downloads” and a couple of others.

In other words. That page will get traffic for years. Traffic from people wanting to buy music etc. And this is where EMI (and I guess most companies that publish press releases) miss something important.

What’s on that page? That valuable page with a very high page rank. The press release. And some site navigation.

Companies should plan for this. When they have a press release that will get some attention they should think about what they put on that page. They should think about what words they use. And how they can lead people further into their web site.

So for EMI this page is very valuable. And they still have possibilities. As long as they don’t change all the content they can add stuff to this page and keep their Google Page Rank.

EMI, what are you waiting for?

Missing a marketing opportunity

The power of some words

(Image: Bangkok 1997)

You’re in this far away country and ask the taxi driver to recommend a nice restaurant. He drives you to one and when you leave the cab you clearly see that the driver receive two dollars from the waiter. You know that taxi drivers might not be the best ones to recommend restaurants, but you get slightly annoyed anyway. That bastard didn’t take you there because the restaurant was good. Simply because he got paid.

The next day another taxi driver does the exact same thing. Drives you to a restaurant and get paid two dollars from the waiter. But this time you’re more than happy and actually tip him an extra three dollar.

Why? Some words.

The second driver tells you immediately that in this city he’ll get paid by the waiter no matter what restaurant he takes you to. The amount varies. One restaurant gives him five dollars some give him less. He tells you that he’ll take you to a restaurant that will only give him two dollars because that one is much better than the one that gives him five. He wants you to have a nice meal. That’s more important for him than the extra three dollars.

That was enough. You’re happy. Of course this guy deserves that tip. But really, the situations are identical. Taxi driver. Recommendation. Get paid two dollars. The story made the difference.

Think carefully and tell the right story the next time you want to sell something, hire someone or want to impress your spouse.

(Image: Marrakech 2007)

The power of some words

Blogs are important marketing tools

Yesterday I posted a short article about a promising software called McNucle that lets you set up your Mac at home as an advanced media server. A couple of hours after I posted it I got an email from Mr. Maarten Bruyninckx of the iNuron team. The people making McNucle:

Hi Eirik,

We noticed you reviewed our software on your blog. We’d like to thank you for taking the time to give our product a go and write about it.

If you have the time, could you tell us a bit more about the problems you had and what didn’t feel intuïtive to you. We’d certainly appreciate that as this kind of feedback is invaluable to us. We know the interface by heart after testing it for hours and hours… A fresh look on things always helps us to look at it from a different point of view.

Thanks again and good luck with your blog,

Maarten Bruyninckx & the iNuron team

This is a win-win-win-win-situation. I immediately think of iNuron as a serious company that listen to their customers. Chances that I remember them is instantly higher because of that mail. Chances that I write about them again (like right now…) is higher. And I will probably give them valuable feedback when I get back to the software and test it again.

I am not the New York Times or CNN, but I have between 800 and 900 subscribers on my RSS feed and thousands of unique visitors each week. If you have a quick look at this blog you will see that the content is mostly about media technologies and internet services. So, the people hanging out around here is probably pretty interesting for a company selling media server software.

And even better, the prize of that mail was a couple of minutes worth of writing. Cheap, effective and non-intrusive marketing if you ask me.

Some examples

I have experienced this a couple of times during my years as a blogger. Tim Cutting of Niveus media that immediately answered my pretty bad review of their remote control. Gibu Thomas of Sharpcast commenting on my review and communicating with my readers. Lucas of AmieStreet really listening and discussing their product and possible improvements on my blog. And other small signs of attention like Mary-Louise that works for Guy Kawasaki commenting and the quick “Thanks” from Jeff Jarvis.

And how do they do it?

Here are two (of many) solutions:

1. Follow the logs of your own web site. Look at the referrers. Suddenly you see that you have some traffic coming in from a strange place called or something similar. Check it out. If it’s a blog or a forum consider leaving a comment.

2. Subscribe to a search with your company and product names. Two places to do that could be Technorati or Feedster. Learn how to use an RSS reader and add a search feed. For the guys from iNuron this search at Feedster will always keep them up to date on blogs mentioning their product. Or this one at Technorati.

For corporate people that only check their email it is also easy to add such a feed to Outlook or run it through another service that can give you an email alert.

If more people knew this maybe companies like Lefdal would have commented on this one etc…

Now you have no excuse. Join the conversation.

Blogs are important marketing tools