Either great marketing or great "customers for The Office

Now, I know there is much debate about 1) whether the American version of The Office is good and 2) whether the British version is better.

That’s not what this is about.

If you watch the U.S. version, you know that last week’s episode involved a trip to “Schrute Farms,” a farm B&B owned by one of the characters, Dwight. During the episode, he discusses his listing on Trip Advisor.

So, today I get an email from a friend that leads me to Schrute Farms on Trip Advisor. There are already 182 comments from people who have “visited” Schrute Farms.

Now, I don’t know if NBC set this up or if a dedicated fan went to the trouble because there’s not much there that couldn’t be pulled from the story line of the show. A fan that watched closely could have put this up.

Either way, I think it’s great. NBC has done a lot to promote involvement with The Office outside of the show. They set up a “recruiting” site called Dunder Mifflin Infinity where you can “apply” to work at a branch. The branch is made up of other viewers in your geographic area and is essentially a social networking site built around the common interest of The Office.

Like I said, I don’t know if NBC set this up or if a fan did, but if NBC is NOT behind it…they need to get involved quick. Why not create “Schrute Farms” and actually link to it on the Trip Advisor site? Make a tourist attraction out of it? Sure, it would be difficult to put it together, but I have a feeling they have some bucks for it.

I think these types of extensions of various shows is the future of television. Heck, it’s the future of nearly every media. That driving people to the web to interact with other people like them will become even more common than it is today.

With the upcoming episode involving Second Life, I’ll be interested to see what they do to involve their audience.

I think NBC is doing some things right to engage their audience beyond simply putting more ads out there to watch the show.

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Either great marketing or great "customers for The Office

How to have a great business card

When you’re designing a business card, make it something that people want to keep even AFTER they’ve entered your contact info into their PIM/CRM system.

Then it goes beyond giving someone your info and turns into giving someone a little insight about who you are.

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How to have a great business card

Kudos Zappos…All the Way Through

I read this post by Seth Godin today referencing a post by Zappos from July of this year.

If you haven’t read the post he’s referring to, you have to. It’s here.

All I could say when I read it was WOW. Zappos absolutely gets it. But, I was a bit guarded until I went to the Zappos site. I didn’t find any press release or mention of this situation on their site.

This wasn’t a “stunt” by Zappos to get some press.

There was no, “Look what we did” post or press release.

This was a company caring about their customers.

This was a company realizing that business IS personal.

This was business at its finest.

Kudos Zappos.


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Kudos Zappos…All the Way Through

What I don’t understand about blog(ger)s

Lately I’ve noticed that some of the blogs I visit and haven’t yet subscribed to make it very difficult to subscribe.

They seem to hide the subscribe function either in small type at the bottom of the page, don’t use an icon or simply don’t have a link to subscribe.


If the whole point of a blog is to get people to read and subscribe, why isn’t the RSS icon and subscribe function the most obvious thing on the page?


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What I don’t understand about blog(ger)s

What is the new Radiohead album worth?

I know this isn’t breaking news or anything, but Radiohead recently announced they will release their new album with, as Joseph Jaffe puts it, the honor system built in. Essentially, it’s a download that they say you should, “Pay what you think it’s worth.”

I think that from a social media and new marketing standpoint, this is a great idea…with a hitch. I think that in industries like music, offering “free samples” to get people interested in the music is a great way to get new fans. It won’t hurt to expose people to their music. Some of those people may have never purchased, or would never have purchased a Radiohead album. Maybe this will get them interested enough to purchase the back catalog.

Perceived Value

My initial reaction to this idea was, “Hey, that’s cool. They’re grasping onto social media and new marketing. Great!” Now, don’t get me wrong, I still think this is a great idea and will make for an interesting case study. I wonder what will happen to the value of the Radiohead brand, though.

I don’t think this will have the effect that it would have for a consultant, business, etc. but, could this idea hurt them? C.C. Chapman had an episode of Managing the Gray in which he discussed the possibility that new media marketers are selling themselves short. Basically wondering if offering discounted rates hurts the perceived value and effectiveness of new marketing/social media. It was a great cast (as they all are) and you should really go check it out.

It’s been said numerous times that offering deep discounts/free services can hurt a company because it lowers the perception of the value of the product or service. Does Radiohead run this risk by letting people “pay what they want?” By saying that the audience can decide what they think the value is, do they run the risk of people not thinking it’s worth as much as they’d like?

I don’t think the situation will play out this way. For a couple reasons:

1) Radiohead is an established brand with a large following and is really giving something back to the people who have supported them for years. I don’t think this would work as well for a band that is still trying to “make it.”

2) From all accounts (I’ve not really listened to them much), Radiohead has good music (great content…) worth listening to that will stand on its own whether the listener paid $2 or $20.

Ultimately, I think this will be a good thing for Radiohead, but I would be interested to see the sales data illustrating the “average price paid” for the album.

What is the new Radiohead album worth?

Advertising Frequency vs. Relevance

Everyone knows the “rule of 7” when it comes to advertising. It takes someone 5-7 views of an ad to be driven to action.

This may (have been) true, but I wonder if it is still as important as it once was.

Sure, if you see something enough times, it may stick in your head…but if it’s not relevant, what difference does that make? I think that frequency is being eclipsed by relevance and content.

In an age where people are utilizing technologies to skip as many advertisements as possible, is it still realistic to simply churn out more versions of a bad ad and expect results? Doesn’t that just result in people just skipping MORE bad ads? Which leads advertisers to churn out more to try to get people’s attention.

I’m not “anti-advertising.” I think it is and will always be a necessary tool to reach new potential customers. For all the talk of engagement these days, we need to remember that people must first be aware in order to engage.

I just don’t think that the answer is more ads. Or ads more often. It all comes back to the Purple Cow concept. If your offering is compelling enough, people will come.

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Advertising Frequency vs. Relevance