Showing posts from April, 2009

How Postcards Can Get Their Groove Back

Cell Phone Trouble
It’s probably safe to say that the travel postcard industry isn’t booming right now. I have no facts to back this up, but in an age where it’s so easy to snap a picture with my camera phone and send it to all of my friends, I just don’t think postcard sales are through the roof right now. So what can postcards do to stay relevant today?

Limited Options
The way I see it, travel postcards have two ways to stay relevant:Sell inexpensive photographs that ordinary people can’t take by themselves.

Sell something novel that’s worth paying a premium for. Travel postcards have pretty much been following the first idea since their inception. But I’ve got a new idea for them, and it’s based on the second option…

I Smell a New Idea
Travel postcard printers should start selling scratch n’ sniff postcards. Think about the possibilities: Dear Mom, I’m in Hawaii right now. The fresh pineapple is fantastic. Just scratch and sniff the pineapple on the front of this postcard and you’ll be a…

A Table for 5,600 Please

That’s a Lot of Tapas
Mesón Sabika, a tapas restaurant in Naperville, IL, gives tables of up to four people a 40% food discount if at least one of the four people at the table works in one of the two local school districts. Between Naperville school district 203 and Aurora school district 204, that’s 5,600 employees who qualify for the discount.

A Brilliant Discount
The discount for school district employees at Mesón Sabika is brilliant for four reasons:
It’s a significant discount. 40% off of food is a great reason to go to a restaurant. It’s hard to go anywhere else if you can get 40% at a great restaurant. It’s not a rinky-dink 10% discount. 40% off is a great deal no matter how you look at it.

It’s a great form of word of mouth marketing. One person who works in the district can bring up to three non-district employees and get the discount for the whole table. Thus, the discount encourages district employees to bring their friends and families to the restaurant. The discount, itself, i…

Five Questions with Room & Board

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how the oversized fabric swatches at Room & Board are fantastic marketing tools because they allow customers to truly see what they’re going to get when they’re looking into purchasing furniture pieces with custom upholstery.

The Room & Board Marketing department put me into contact with Sarah Garcia, a Design Associate in the Oakbrook store, who was kind enough to answer five questions about the fabric swatches and the marketing strategies in place at Room & Board. Here’s what Sarah had to say:
How did Room & Board come up with the idea for the large fabric swatches?

Several years ago we recognized the benefit of the larger samples as a working tool for design associates and customers. We worked closely with our upholstery vendors to implement the samples and our store visual team to create the best experience for our customers.

Have you been able to judge the impact of the big swatches on furniture sales? Can you tell a difference in the w…

Dear Ashton Kutcher

A Pleasure to Tweet You
Ashton Kutcher is a force on Twitter. He has more than 900,000 followers on the micro-blogging platform. And he uses his fame to do good deeds. He has recently pledged that if he earns one million followers before CNN does, he’ll purchase 10,000 bed nets through on April 25th – World Malaria Day. If you’re not following him on Twitter, you should be. His name is @aplusk.

I really respect what Ashton is doing and I hope other celebrities follow his lead.

It’s Time for Ashton’s Followers to Give Back
Ashton is helping great causes through his prowess on Twitter. While Ashton has nearly a million followers on Twitter, he is currently following only 70 people. I think that Ashton Kutcher needs to hold a raffle for folks who want him to follow them. One winner would be chosen. Ashton would agree to follow the winner and interact with them on Twitter as he sees fit. Here’s how it would work:
Ashton would work with his favorite charity to create a spe…

42 Cents – Sold!

Mail-In Rebates are a Pain
Nobody likes submitting rebate forms.

Sure, we all like the idea of paying a lower price for something. And in principle, it seems so easy to get a rebate – just cut out a UPC code, photocopy a receipt, and mail in a rebate claim. But let’s be honest, it’s a pain and many times we forget to file the rebate until it’s too late.

According to Businessweek, 40% of rebate claims are never submitted.

Having to fill out a rebate claim is one of my biggest beefs with buying a new cell phone. Almost every phone out there is advertised at a price that includes some sort of mail-in rebate.

A Surprise from Verizon
My most recent visit to the local Verizon Wireless store showed me how a company can take the pain out of filling out a rebate form – and it only cost them 42 cents.

After purchasing two new Blackberry phones, the salesman pulled out a pre-stamped envelope and handed it to my wife and me. He told us to use it to submit the rebate claim. He then showed us where to fin…

Cable Needs a New Pricing Model

How Much is Too Much?
It’s expensive to have cable television.

By the time I add up the charge for a DVR and a basic package that doesn’t include any movie channels, I’m out at least $70 per month. But I don’t even watch half the channels that I get. So what am I paying for? And how many people don’t have cable because of how expensive even a basic package can be?

Cable companies need to offer a new pricing model to attract new price-conscious consumers. They need to offer a pay-per-channel (PPC) model. Think if the system was set up like iTunes. Each channel would cost $0.99 per month. High definition DVRs would come free with service. Installation would be free. There’d be no low initial fee that eventually balloons. No contracts to sign. Pay for what you want.

People who don’t currently have cable because of its cost would flock to the new PPC model.

In the PPC model, you could turn on the channels that you want and turn off the channels that you don’t want each month by …

Christian Louboutin Responds

In the Beginning…
In my first-ever blog post, called Christian Louboutin: Seeing Pink?, I wrote about an idea for high-fashion shoe designer Christian Louboutin to create and sell a pink-soled shoe that could raise millions of dollars for breast cancer research while increasing his brand awareness.

Recently, I received a response from a Christian Louboutin representative in New York about my idea. This was the response I received from Christian’s Director of Communications in New York:

Dear Mr. Scarpino,

Thank you kindly for your interest. However, while your event is certainly worthwhile, we will be unable to help you. Due to the trademark of our red soles, we cannot ever produce a shoe with anything but the red sole, nor would we.

Please do not hesitate to offer any further ideas in the future, and we would be happy to review for consideration.

My Response
While I am happy that someone from Christian Louboutin’s company took the time to write me back, I don’t think that she took the time…