Friday, April 26, 2013

Two Holes-In-One

What a Week
While playing golf in Texas a few weeks ago, my uncle made two holes-in-one within four days. Incredible! (That's him on the right after the first one.) According to Callaway, there are fewer than 150 people who have done this while using Callaway golf balls, like my uncle was. And that includes professional golfers. (My uncle is not a professional golfer.)

That got me thinking:

Have you ever seen an ad for golf equipment? Every single one of them features a pro golfer. Every single one. Why doesn't one golf manufacturer take a different approach and focus on everyday golfers with incredible stories like my uncle? That's much more appealing and approachable to the vast majority of people who play the game. Sure, there's something to be said for inspiring amateur golfers by showing them that professionals play with their equipment — and I'm not saying golf manufacturers should ditch their professional player sponsorships. I'm just saying that the stories amateurs tell are much more compelling for the majority of golfers, and I'd love to see one major golf equipment manufacturer tell those stories. I'm looking at you, Callaway.

Add This To Your To-Do List
Celebrity endorsements have proven to be very valuable. In fact as a sponsor, Tiger Woods is often single-handedly credited for building Nike into a highly successful competitor in the golf equipment industry. But it's important to tell the incredible stories of regular customers, too. Celebrities give us something to aspire to, but amazing everyday stories give us something to relate to. For big brands, it's often important to feature both. Are you collecting the amazing stories of your customers? Are you featuring those stories in shareable ways? If not, why not start now? You never know what can happen in just four days.

There's never a lack of ideas.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Campaign Critique: Lincoln Turns to Train Riders for Tweets

Train Station Take Over
In March, the Lincoln Motor Company took over nearly all the billboards in Chicago's Union Station. The ads (examples seen on the right) all talked about "firsts" and invited people to share their firsts on Twitter by using #LincolnFirsts.

Now, I try not to use this blog as a way to critique marketing campaigns very often because as an observer, I don't know what Lincoln's goals were for this campaign, nor do I know how it performed against those goals. But I can make some educated guesses and I've come to the conclusion that this campaign was an example of marketing priorities gone wrong. Just look at some of the responses Lincoln received on Twitter. I assume Lincoln was hoping for better responses than these actual Tweets:
  • The first time I saw this ad at Union Station I wanted to punch it.
  • The first time I stole a car.
  • The first time I pee'd in a bottle in a car
  • The first time I went to a concert it was PDiddy. A rocker girl lost in a sea pot and bandanas.
  • The #lincolnfirsts campaign is such a waste of money. May as well purchase billboards that declare, "We don't understand social media!"
Trains and Automobiles?
Next, think about where these ads were placed: in Chicago's busiest train station. The people who pass through Union Station every day take the train from the suburbs to downtown and vice versa. See anything wrong with that?

They take the train every day.

These people (I'm one of them) likely drive infrequently.  I assume Lincoln was attracted to this audience because it comprises wealthy professionals who may be likely to consider a car a status symbol. I get that. But there are plenty of other ways to reach the same types of people who actually drive to work every day and will use their car much more than train commuters.

In my new book, I write how companies big and small need to engage customers in one community really well before moving on to other communities. Companies do not have to have a Facebook page and a Twitter account and a Google+ page and a Pinterest account. They just need to start with one way to engage their customers in a community and then move on to other platforms. 

Lincoln fell in love with the idea of reaching customers on Twitter and didn't think through how to best engage their target markets on the platform. They fell in love with the platform because it's hot right now. But they didn't think about merging that hot platform with their desire to reach their target market. If they had stopped to think about the best way to engage their target market, I think they would have chosen different tactics than placing billboards in a train station.

I love you, Lincoln, but I didn't love this campaign.

There's never a lack of ideas.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Join Me at TEDx

An Idea Worth Spreading
I'm incredibly excited to be presenting at TEDx at the University of Illinois at Chicago this Friday evening — April 12th. I'll be discussing a few of the frameworks outlined in my new book, Hey Marketers, Get Your Priorities Straight. I'm speaking at 7:20 pm, which is late in the evening, so I'll do my best to keep it lively and entertaining. TEDx is for ideas worth spreading, and I hope you'll be inspired by my talk.

Tickets for the event are sold out, but you can tune in via the event livestream. But don't worry if you can't view the event live — I'll post a link to the video of my talk after the event organizers post it.

See you on the stage!