Some heavyweights (reputation, not weight) have joined together to create a loosely joined consultancy. If I had more money at my disposal, these would be the smart people I'd hire to instruct my entrerprise.
I'll be on my honeymoon during the election. Me and my soon to be wifey got absentee ballots to fill out.
I don't know anything about the people running for the other offices. So, instead of relying solely on name recognition and the number of signs I've seen on front lawns, I took it to the web to atleast review how they stand on issues. And it took a bit of searching to find most of their (re)election websites. Most I didn't find. Once there at the ones I did find, most of the websites didn't say much.
Councillor and Sheriff were uncontested in my district.
Senator in General Court:
Pam Resor (D) incumbent
Rod Jane (Can't find Website.) (R)
Representative in General Court:
Stephen LeDuc (D) no website. but this is cool
Kenneth A Cosco Jr. (Can't find Website.) (R)
Now, I did a handful of searches on google to find these sites. So, I didn't dig through a bunch of pages, or try other engines. But, I am sure that the searching I did was beyond what the average searcher would or could do.
This is pretty pitiful.
So, evite launched user generate reviews of bars and restaurants with the goal of increasing real estate for contextual CPC advertisers.
This provides a glimpse into what drives evite's business model and their new feature development focus: cost per click advertising or what many small businesses (eg restaurants and bars) call online lead generation.
I met with a limo company the other day. He praised google adwords and overture and lectured me on the difference of spending on online branding and lead generation. He likened CPC as lead generation. He sees his traffic go up, he knows how much he is spending for it, and he knows how many leads actually turn into sales.
Evite/Citysearch is smart to jump on this cpc revenue stream, because small business owners are getting it and they like it.
On the flip side, I am also a very happy man if evite sticks to that business model. While they let users generate free bar and restaurant reviews, there are a handful of us innovating to bring online RSVP's and tools that foster offline community at events online b4 and aft the event... to the next level
The funny part is that they call these user generated reviews: "social software". Even Marketing Vox gets carried away with calling this social software. Come on here. If you want to talk social software, atleast get back to its roots.
If you want to peak into the mind of someone that is thinking about how to create a compelling online experience to complement an offline event, take a look over at this post by Gregory Narain.
not to toot my own horn, but we just launched some landing pages for WhizSpark's premium services. We'd love some feedback.
SideNote to Marketing Vox: Where's the freaking trackback link? oh, Not there: Selfish & Elitist!
I used to work at Clairol when it was owned by Bristol Meyers Squibb. Now it is owned by P&G. Anyways, I worked on some stuff that was later used in their new hair conditioners. And I learned that most hair products have the same ingredients, but just different amounts of different ingredients. And the majority of the "R&D" was actually concept, look, smell and packaging related.
Which brings me to my point. Can Herbal Essences Rock? Can you say "oxymoron"? And can they do it on the WB? Come on! Maybe Herbal Essences is ready to Slow Jam. Or chill with some jazz. But, Rock? I am not buying it.
btw... just to maintain some of my manlihood: I use whatever is in the shower. And I use the cheapest stuff in there.
Herbal Essences is Ready to Rock. Are You? ************************************ Be the first to experience the brand new sound of Herbal Essences: Jadyn Maria ************************************ See why she became the Herbal Essences featured artist in her special guest appearance: WB's "What I Like About You" Friday, October 15th at 8PM EST. ************************************ And look out for our new line of improved shampoos and conditioners hitting shelves this December! http://www.herbalessences.com/home.asp ************************************ Herbal Essences' new style, new attitude and new sound will "Rock You Senseless." http://www.herbalessences.com/home.asp
Why do people spend so much on Halloween?
Alain Jourdier has a theory:
As one person interviewed for this article said, adults dress up to "reclaim a portion of our childhood, if just for a few hours." The lesson for us marketers is that people crave for something unusual to experience, whether a faux holiday or a new car. Our customers are starving for value that will take them away from the proverbial rat race. Even if only for a few hours. So look at what your business is about, it may be humdrum or less than exciting, but that doesn't mean you can't make it a memorable experience. Think of all the "branding" we marketer always tout and look to achieve. Why do we evangelize about it? It's because there are too damn many choices, many of them nominal in incremental value in comparison to the other brands, and we are seeking the different, the exotic, the solid experience no matter if we're buying steel or selling Disneyland.
Summer concert attendance this year was dismal, according to the Wall Street Journal. The most likely culprit is overpriced tickets. The full year may be off by as much as 40 percent.
Clearly, some fans will pay $350 to watch Madonna live; more power to her. But for the majority of music lovers, most artists are pricing themselves out of the market. Concert promoters exacerbate the phenomenon by agreeing to too-high guarantees, and most lose money if they don't come close to selling out. Why should ticket prices for a show at Madison Square Garden be exactly the same at the Mayo Civic Center in Rochester, Minnesota?
One potential solution to flagging attendance: Let the marketplace decide the value of artists' concerts at each venue via auction.
In an auction-based system, fans and artists see the real-time value of their future performances, location by location. Fan communities and fast-moving word of mouth are the key players here: Remarkable, buzz-worthy performances early in a tour could subsequently drive up bids for future tour dates. An auction-driven ticket system is a transparent solution to what's perceived to be a too-opaque industry. A fairer system means more access for a larger community of evangelists.
If eBay were to enter the concert ticket business, it might even compel Ticketmaster to lower its exceptionally high service charges, too.
I'd have to agree. Ticket sales would be a perfect business for ebay or even amazon or yahoo auctions to get into. Or even a small upstart with some clever "word-of-mouth" techniques for promotion. Ticketmaster/IAC has a lock on this market. They even have the low end concert (mid-sized venues) locked up pretty well with TicketWeb.
But, this area is ripe for some innovation. And although the Ticketmaster hegemony is locked up with long -term contracts and an awesomely scalable online ticketing and boxoffice management backend, there are lots of companies working on each of these pieces. And the pieces are getting cheaper and cheaper to hobble together.
I've pitched some major tours/major venues on using some of WhizSpark's services to promote shows/sell tickets, but haven't had anyone take a bite yet. Soon, we'll be announcing a little project to test the waters with big time concert pre-ticketed shows. We will definitely be letting the market have what they want: low priced tickets. And even some zero priced tickets.
WhizSpark is doing three more big events:
A Ski Trip called the SnowJob
1,000 Halloween Costume Contest @ the largest non-concert capacity venue in Worcester, The Irish Times.
Wine (& Cheese) Tasting at a S-P-Q-R, an Italian caffe.
The SnowJob was actually the genesis of WhizSpark. My two buddies (also two of my groomsmen), Seth Popinchalk and Jeremy Olszewski and I decided to have a ski trip and simply invite everyone we know. Two months later, we had 86 people going to an early season ski trip. We brought a band. People still talk about the first one which happened 4 years ago. We did that through Yahoo Invites, which no longer exists in the way that it was then (ie an evite clone).
Two years ago we peeked at 125 people on the trip. We've had people come from as far as NYC, Philadelphia and NJ. And every state in New England has been represented at the SnowJob. We even had a guy from Brazil at the last one.
3 Years ago was the first time that we used a version of WhizSpark. That year, I incorporated the business with my first and current partner, Jeetandra Mahtani. We've come a long long way, and the pace of what we are doing, has picked up about ten-fold. But, it has taken 3 years to get where we are now for WhizSpark and the SnowJob.
This year is going to be the biggest ever for the SnowJob. We are doing offline marketing, signing on major promotional partners, etc. So, if you like to ski and hang out with 100s of your soon to be closest friends, I highly recommend you sign up:
For Halloween, we are promoting a big event for our first large customer, The Irish Times. They are giving away $1,000 in costume prizes, have a well known local Dj mixing, a band on the first floor and a celebrity panel of judges. (more info)
As an aside... the difference between the way that Halloween & New Years events are marketed is very distinct. For Halloween, in Worcester, MA alone, there are 4 venues that are giving away $1,000 dollars in prizes. For New Years last year, most venues in Worcester & Boston charge a minimum of $50 to get in.
First of all, why is there such a big difference? And don't tell me because the cheap buffet and the champagne toast cost $50/head.
Second, what if a bar/nightclub did a New Years event where they gave away $1,000 to you or to your favorite charity? And still supplied the buffet & champagne toast. That'd be purple-cowish. And wouldn't that be a little closer to the Holiday Spirit? And how you can turn Halloween into a $50/head event? What if you gave away $10,000 in prizes? Now, we're talking.
The third event is a wine tasting at a new Italian Caffe: SPQR. The place is owned by the same company that owns the Pulse Magazine, a local lifestyle and entertainment magazine. These guys have been a huge help in helping us get what we are doing out to potential customers, as they were a sponsor of the WNL Madden Tournament.
And there are more food and Holiday events on the way. Also, we will be expanding out of Central MA and into other target demographic markets, promoting larger events... With ambitions of playing with the big boys, all while following Jason Fried's advice:
My advice to these new companies with their new products and fresh-faced enthusiasm… Keep it small. Start small and stay small. Borrow from yourself before you borrow from someone else. You can have an impact with just a few people. You can build great products with a small team. You can do it on your own. You can.