Monday, September 21, 2009

From Gecko to Caveman

At DQ earlier this week, I was blown away as I realized just how effective Geico's caveman marketing campaign has been. I went out with my boyfriend to get an after-dinner treat, and the man behind us in line had a physical appearance, which to be frank, was not even close to the spitting image of the neanderthal from the commercials. In fact, the only attributes that were remotely close to the caveman were his long-ish hair and casual clothes. Yet, immediately when I saw him, my mind went to the caveman in a TV commercial during which neither Geico nor car insurance were even mentioned. All that played was the song, "Let Me Be Myself" by Three Doors Down and a loop reel of the caveman running in slow motion towards the camera. What an awesome thing, Geico. I applaud you.

My memory brought me back to an image of your all-too-well-known icon and a catchy song that will be stuck in my head (again) for the next week. All this, because some guy in line behind me at Dairy Queen had long hair. If every long-haired man in jeans and a t-shirt made me think of Geico, I can't imagine what it's doing to the rest of the world. Geico is the fastest growing consumer auto insurance company in the U.S. with over 9 million auto policyholders. With results like that, the marketing gurus working for Geico have got to be wondering: "What recession?" From Gecko to Caveman, someone's doing something right over there at Geico.

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Viral Marketing"

"Viral Marketing" is a scary phrase. People hear "viral" and think they'll contract a disease if they get involved. So, they tune out. How do we immunize so that we can go about our business of spreading the "disease" of our good name, brand, and products? Educate.

Wikipedia defines "Viral Marketing" as:
"A marketing technique that use pre-existing social networks to produce increases in brand awareness or to achieve other marketing objectives (such as product sales) through self-replicating viral processes, analogous to the spread of pathological and computer viruses. It can be word-of-mouth delivered or enhanced by the network effects of the Internet."

Twitter is one of the fastest-growing tools for viral marketing today. It enables individuals to share their lives, beliefs, thoughts, and work with people they've never met in an instant. That's a powerful thing. There's a lot of skepticism around Twitter, as there is around Wikipedia, since anyone can post anything to the sites. Yes, it's true that you can't trust everything you read on the internet. But, for the most part, people want to help others, not hinder them. Unlike Wikipedia, however, Twitter gives users a personal brand, by which they can build the trust of their followers. When I began using Twitter, I followed only the brand names that I already knew and trusted - CNN, Time, Digg, my family, my close friends, celebrities I respect. The more I participated in conversations on Twitter, the more I was exposed to other people, who I don't "know" per se, but who I've spoken with over the web and learned to trust information from. We tweet and retweet each other, and our networks have expanded as they have recommended their friends and followers to me, and I to them. Now, I have over 400 followers reading my thoughts, commenting on articles I've read or written, providing constant feedback of my work and my ideas. A business could do a lot with a system like that.

"Viral Marketing" in my own words is one person sharing a good idea with another person, who shares that idea with another two people, each of whom share it with another two people, and so on and so forth. That idea spreads rapidly this way, through trust relationships. For marketers, this is a beautiful thing, but viral marketing is difficult to track and measure results of a campaign. How can we realize the results of a word-of-mouth marketing campaign if it's all done in people's homes over dinner table conversation, or at coffee shops? There are tools out there that can do some of the measuring for us, for a hefty fee. There are surveys that we can pass on, asking our prospective clients how they heard about our ideas. But, our current clients are more likely to pass the idea on if there's something in it for them - an incentive.

JumpReach is a viral marketing tool that allows you to encourage your existing customers to share your ideas with their contacts (using incentives), makes it easy for them to do so, and tracks the results of your word-of-mouth marketing campaign, so you can easily see that the money you put into it was well worth it. We want your campaign to work. We want the business that you draw from that campaign to pay for our relatively inexpensive tool and much more. We are excited and passionate about this tool and what it can do for you; we are after hearts and minds, not just eyeballs. We want you to take a look at what we have to offer, and we want you to see how great it is, how affordable it is, how unique and valuable it is. We want your feedback about how we can make JumpReach better for you and your campaign. Follow/DM JumpReach on Twitter @JumpReach or check out for more information about this amazing new tool that could transform your marketing dollars spent into dollars earned.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

"The Game"

Sophomore year I decided to major in philosophy. I took an introductory course with my soon-to-be college advisor, who was inspiring and passionate about her subject. She had a way of explaining the material and prompting discussion that made me want to do the reading and participate in class discussions. But I had further motivation for my hard work in the class - a game.

Katherine, a friend and sorority sister of mine, sat beside me and we quickly befriended two boys who sat nearby. Early in the semester, the four of us began playing "the game" and as a result, we became the star students and key contributors to class discussion. I don't remember whose idea it was originally, but "the game" became a fascination for us.

Just before each class, we agreed on a word to incorporate into discussion, as well as chose a score-keeper for the day. Throughout the hour, each time the word was used without giggles, the user received a point. The scorekeeper deducted points for laughing and awarded extra points if the professor used the "word of the day" during your turn. After using the word, you had to wait for someone else in the group to use it before you could take another turn. This kept the game interactive and moving.

We selected words based on how they sounded, how challenging it would be for us to incorporated them into the discussion (and it was meant to be a challenge), and how often we used the words on a regular basis in our daily lives (the less frequent, the better). We used: "terrifying," "tiger," "quintessential," and "oblong," among others.

My favorite use of the word of the day was when we used "tiger". The class was discussing applied ethics. To support her main point (I don't remember now what that was), Katherine gave an example that compared human interaction to the relationship between a tiger and an antelope. The example was drawn out and awarded Katherine and all four of us lots of points for the day, since that one example stayed alive for a good 30 minutes of class-time.

"The game" was something that kept us motivated and entertained through sometimes slow-moving subject matter. I still wonder if our professor knew...