Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Michael Bay at CES - Epic Marketing Fail?

As most of the internet has now seen, Michael Bay had some issues presenting the new line of Samsung Curve TV's at CES. Apparently he had some issues with the teleprompter, got rattled, and had to leave the stage.

In this day in age when there is so much information, media and ads, I wondered to myself whether or not this was truly a fail for the Marketing people at Samsung. The amount of coverage this video is getting, will undoubtedly reach more people than it would have otherwise. Is all publicity good publicity?

Anyone who gets nervous public speaking has got to feel for this guy though, but little does he know he may have just got Samsung way more exposure than if he had of gone up there and done a flawless speech.

What do you guys think? Is this is a fail, or ultimately a win for Samsung?

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Epic Social Media Fail

Have been pretty busy these days which has made the fails slow down a little bit, but here is a quick one that happened recently on Twitter. Apparently the agency who was running the account and the individual were fired, but unfortunately the damage has been done.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Pre-Show Tradeshow Email WIN

I recently attended the Marketo Summit in San Francisco, and was bombarded by the typical pre-show emails telling me to come to their booth and win an iPad. Then I got this email, and at first I thought I had an epic Marketing fail on my hands, but it turned out to be quite the opposite.

Mary Firme. Checkout those earrings. Amazing.

Hi Pierce,

In case you are being inundated with the same AMAZING marketing emails that I am, I thought I would share an easy cut and paste you can use for your replies:

"Hi - Yes I am excited to go to {(Marketo Summit)}, thanks for asking {(unnamed sales rep who never contacted me before)}. It will be life-changing!

And yes - Your booth sounds amazing, too. Your incredibly creative {(ipad)} giveaway is sure to be a great traffic builder. You'll be demoing? At your booth? Who would a thunk it? Yes, your solution will certainly change my demand generation life – or would if you understood my {(buyer persona)} {(company revenues)} {(experience using Marketo)}."

Oh yes, those sales guys. We hire email copywriters for a reason, yo.

So, no cheesy emails. Just saying if you really want to get something valuable at the summit, check out what you can pick up from me at ReachForce, Booth 36.

And yes, that is the 8-incher. Nothing but the best from ReachForce.

See you in class {(at Marketo University)} {(taking my certification exam)} at our Booth {(36)} as we introduce {(fully Marketo integrated continuous data quality management including lead de-deuplication and automated merge)} as part of our new Connected Marketing Data Hub and as I present {(Will the real lead please stand up? Tips and tricks to a great set of data")}.

Mary Firme, Chief Lead Accelerator
ReachForce | Connected Marketing Data Hub
(512) 327-9000
Email: |

*and of course, we are not giving away free beer any night but Monday, and as for the gold, that's what you'll find in your data after working with ReachForce!!


Anyways, it was so great I had to share it. Don't be afraid to be different guys. I spoke to Mary at the show and she said she had a 42% open rate (subject line: Marketo Summit - Free Beer, Gold for Everyone!), 37.5% clickthrough rate and only a 0.9% unsubscribe. But the biggest indicator is something you couldn't measure at all, and that is the fact that everyone at the show was talking about this email. Epic Marketing Win.

Friday, January 4, 2013

5 Things Marketers Can Learn from Glengarry Glen Ross

I was in a sales training meeting the other day, and Sales were all joking about the movie Glengarry Glen Ross. Anyone not familiar with the movie, here is the trailer:

I sat down to watch it the other night. Basically, it's about 4 real estate salesmen who have been having a tough time selling and are forced to enter a sales contest. Alec Baldwin's character puts it best:

"Cause we're adding a little something to this month's sales contest. As you all know, first prize is a Cadillac Eldorado. Anyone want to see second prize? Second prize's a set of steak knives. Third prize is you're fired. You get the picture?"

Anyways, it's kind of a dark comedy, but there are some amazing lines from the movie, some laughs and lots of profanity. At the end of the day, its a movie about selling. Whether you're selling real-estate or software, anyone is Sales or Marketing could relate to a lot of the stuff they talk about. Hopefully the tactics you use to sell are less sleazy than the ones employed in this movie, but you get the picture.

In between all the f-bombs (128 of them), are some pretty good lessons for Marketing, so here it is:

  1. It's all about the leads
    Throughout the movie, Sales complains that they cannot meet their targets because they are either not getting enough leads, the leads are not good quality, or the leads are old. What really struck me is how much they talked about leads. There must be 100+ mentions of the word 'leads' in the movie. As Marketers, we should always be thinking that the leads we give Sales are their gold. It's is their fuel. We need to give them the best possible leads so they can do their job effectively.
  2. Not all leads are considered equal
    'Glengarry' is a new real estate project for the firm Sales works for, and they are considered the hot leads. Sales thinks that if they can get some of the Glengarry leads, they will be able to close more deals and meet their targets. At one point, one of the salesmen, Shelley, talks about actually paying to get some of the Glengarry leads. As a Marketer, this is the ideal perception we want Sales to have about the leads we hand-over to them. The reality is, most Sales organizations get the leads way too early, and prospects are not yet ready to be speaking with Sales. At this point, all you're doing is wasting everyone's time. Implementing a lead scoring system by Marketing Automation companies like Marketo can drastically help with this problem. They can help identify the ideal time a lead gets passed over to Sales, and create a 'Glengarry' like perception to your leads.
  3. Don't be like Kevin Spacey
    Kevin Spacey is one of my favorite actors, but in this movie he plays, John Williamson, the office manager who controls all of the leads. In the movie, Sales is starving for leads, and he bogarts them until the Sales proves that they can close the leads he's given them. Although I believe that Marketing should hold leads longer than what has historically been the norm, it is also important to keep your sales organization busy by providing them with enough leads to keep them busy. Furthermore, the sales team does not respect him. This is also something that is critically important for a good relationship between Sales and Marketing. There needs to be mutual respect and trust. Once this has been established, they can co-exist effectively. If you have a scenario like in Glengarry Glen Ross, it is almost impossible to make it work.
  4. Don't bother following up with 'the Patels'
    There are certain leads, that before you ever follow-up with them, you just know that they are not going to be a match for your product or service. There is no point of even sending these kind of leads to the sales team. This is where Marketing needs to work with Sales to determine the criteria for a 'lead' and also talk about leads that fit the 'wild goose chase' criteria. Then, this can be automated by using a Marketing Automation solution.
  5. ABC for Sales. ABP for Marketing.
    In the famous scene with Alec Baldwin, he talks about the ABC of sales. Always Be Closing. When you think about it, this is what all Sales is trying to do. As Marketers, we should strive to ABP. Always Build Pipeline. Leads build pipeline, and pipeline builds sales and revenue. At the end of the day, that is what we are all around to do.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Epic Marketing WIN: Byzantium Security

I recently got back from a trip to New York City. On Wall Street, I saw a pretty bold backlit ad on a Newsstand. I took a picture of it since it captured my attention. The resulting experience was one of the most dynamic and engaging marketing campaigns that I have ever encountered. Sorry, but if you are looking for an Epic Marketing Fail, you won't find one in this post...


We're Not for Everyone. Just the 1% that Matters.
With so much going on in New York City it takes a lot to stand out, and yet, the simplicity and bold nature of the copy on the above display ad cut through the noise. It was amplified by the die-hard occupy Wall Street protesters taking up space just a block away.

The ad's location on Wall Street makes it seem like it's targeted at 'the 1%' for some kind of security service. I was intrigued, I wanted to know more. I forgot about it until I got home and uploaded my pictures to iPhoto. Naturally, I went to the website. On the homepage there is an embedded video:

Byzantium Security Website
It's an ad for 'Byzantium Security'. It's very well done and talks about the value that Byzantium Security can bring to the world's elite. Okay, now I am even more intrigued. Who are these guys? Who uses them? Does Jason Bourne work here? I want to know more...

The second and only other call-to-action on the site is to complete a series of tests to see if you have what it takes to be a security operative at Byzantium Security. I've always wondered how I would do on one of these...

Define 'normal'.
What follows is a series of 5 psychological tests. After every stage it offers up a personal & tailored results based on your selections. My curiousity lead me to find that they actually worked with a cognitive psychologist to produce the tests (more on that later...).

Each stage of the tests prompts you to share your results on your social networks, making the campaign extremely viral. But don't be mistaken, its not the fact that the social media buttons are present that makes it sharable, its the experience and content that makes you want to share it.

I got 99 problems but social ain't 1.
At the VERY end of all of these tests, you discover that this has nothing to do with 'Byzantium Security' at all, in fact, it is ALL for a new Cinemax show called 'Hunted'.

This absolutely blew me away. The lengths they went to build this campaign are unbelievable. The amount of time spent developing the psychological testing, the fake website for the security company and the video that was shot with the show's lead actress, Melissa George, must have been a massive effort. But the payoff was all worth it.

The thing that does it for me is their non-traditional approach. It's an approach that produces a memorable experience along the way and that is the result of all of the above elements working together seamlessly.

  1. Create an experience.
    Many marketers struggle with getting their audience to share their content. This campaign created an experience that was simply too awesome not to tell other people about it.
  2. Keep it simple
    The display ad didn't have any distractions. There weren't unnecessary images or QR codes, just what you need.
  3. Bold
    The copy on the ad was bold and timely. The whole 1% thing has been a huge topic of conversation and controversy, especially on Wall Street where the ad was found.
  4. Intrigue
    Although the topic of assassins and CIA operatives is intriguing in itself, the marketers created a desire to figure out what Byzantium Security was all about.
  5. Different
    You can only make a movie/TV trailer is so many different ways. This was a truly different and unique way to promote a TV show that is much higher impact and memorable than any 30 second trailer could ever be.
  6. 1 call-to-action
    From the display ad to the website, to the interactive psychological testing, a fairly complex campaign comes off with apparent simplicity. It's absolutely critical to make it as easy as possible for your prospects to take that next step to get them to do what you ultimately want them to.
  7. Escape hatches
    If someone wants to abandon the test at any point (not sure why you would, but I tried just to see what would happen) they show their final call-to-action, which is the trailer for the movie.
  8. Social
    Creating a social campaign is so much more than having the icons on your email/website or landing page. It all starts with creating an experience that compel people to want to share it.
If you haven't already, go to and check it out for yourself. I don't want to ruin the end of the testing, but if your results are anything like mine, it's truly mind-blowing. Once you have, make sure to share your experience on the ever growing list of comments on their Storify feed. Slow-clap for Campfire for putting this together.

This is for you, Campfire.
Finally, remember, as a wise man once told me, 'Dont treat your audience like they are working for you, treat them like you are working for them'.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Unsubscribe Page Fail

It's the marketer's final frontier. The last place you want your prospects to show up is on your unsubscribe page, but depending on how you approach it you might just have one more shot at keeping them in your database. On the other hand, like we'll see in today's epic marketing fail, you can also turn an unsubscriber into an active detractor of your brand.

My telecommunications provider occasionally sends me emails that I never signed up for. They provide no real value and as a result, I decided to [try] to opt out.

Here is their unsubscribe page:
The unsubscribe page.
So I can't just click a button to unsubscribe? You are going to make me go through great lengths to get off a mailing list I never subscribed to. OK. I am determined to get off this thing. Let me enter in all my information and my 'Home Phone Number'.

Do you want my Passport and Driver's Licence numbers too?

So my phone number didn't work. Well, this is getting frustrating. Let me dig up my account number from an old bill... yep, so that doesn't didn't work either. So I go back to the email, to write them to ask to take me off their mailing list, and then I get this email in return:

"Hello, we don't like to listen to our customers".
Yeahhhh. So after several unsuccessful attempts, I am still receiving these emails, and every time I get one it is a reminder that it's time to change service providers.


Most of the time, marketers are trying to increase the conversion rate of their landing pages. The unsubscribe page is one major exception to that rule [despite it usually being the highest converting page you have - talk about irony...]

BUT, there is hope. Kind of like when you think your sports team is down for the count, someone puts the team on their back and throws up a Hail Mary to completely turns things around.

One amazing example of this that I recently ran into was the Groupon unsubscribe page. When you visit the page, you see this:
Groupon Unsubscribe Page
By pushing the little button (great call-to-action btw) this video plays:

This is definitely an example of how marketing has the potential to be awesome. Marketers just need to have the courage to go outside of the norm and do something different. I'll bet a bunch of people watched that Groupon video and decided to give the newsletter another chance.

Moral of the story/post: make it easy for people to unsubscribe, but try and give them one compelling/interesting/different/awesome reason why they shouldn't.

And someone please get Derrick a doctor... and a raise!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Westin St. Francis Marketing WIN

Switching it up a little bit this time. I'm reading 'The Book of Business Awesome / The Book of Business UnAwesome'. It's a two-in-one book, where part one discusses how businesses succeed to create awesome marketing, and the other side (near and dear to this blog) are a bunch of marketing fails.

I've been inspired by the 'awesome' side of author Scott Stratten's book, and decided to share a story of my own from my recent honeymoon to California. 


My wife and I were having a fantastic time on our trip. We spent a week up in Sonoma and Napa and finished our trip with three days in San Francisco. We stayed at the Westin St. Francis in Union Square. One thing that we discovered on our honeymoon, is that most hotels will make your stay extra special when they figure out you're on your honeymoon. The Westin was no exception. They upgraded us to the penthouse floor of the old building, with an awesome room and an even better view of Union Square.

Awesome view - and this isn't even the best part.
We were loving our time in the city. On the Saturday night, we heard that the Giants were playing. Having never been to a game at AT&T Park, we decided this would be a cool experience.

We headed down to the concierge to figure out the best way to get tickets. The concierge gave us kind of a cold greeting, told us the game was sold out and there was essentially no way to get tickets. It was pretty disappointing. I asked if there were any other options to get tickets, even inquired about scalpers, and she just basically just said that we were screwed.

On the elevator back up to our room, I remembered that some of my friends use the website StubHub to get tickets. I never used the site before, but figured it was worth a try. Within 15 minutes, I had bought tickets, printed them in the hotel's business center and we were on our way to the game.

While enjoying garlic fries, looking at the massive StubHub ad in the outfield and seeing Tim Lincecum pitch an almost flawless game, we heard this was the 127th consecutive sellout. I thought about how many other people have been to that concierge, and were told unnecessarily that they simply couldn't go to the game?

Sellouts don't matter with StubHub.
When I got back to Ottawa, I got a customer satisfaction survey from Starwood Hotels. At the end, in an attempt to help them improve, I left a little comment about how the concierge could have been more aware of alternative ticket options. Shortly afterwards, I got a call and an email from the hotel's Guest Services manager. She offered her apologies and said that their concierge's are supposed to know about these options, but they would be giving them a refresher. I was happy to hear that no one else would unnecessarily need to miss the game, and that they were going to do something with my feedback... but it doesn't end there.

The Guest Services Manager asked me for my address, so she could send me 'a Giants baseball momento'. I gave it to her and forgot that I did, until a couple weeks later, I got a package from Fedex. 

Giants momento.
Inside there was a nice handwritten letter from the hotel, a baseball hat AND a shirt. This was above and beyond what they needed to do, but it showed that they really cared.

I am obviously a little biased now, but I've also stayed in a lot of hotels in San Francisco. If you want to stay an an awesome hotel, that could not be in a better location and that cares (a lot) about their guests, then checkout the Westin St. Francis.

Have you guys experienced a similar situation? I would love to hear about it. Please leave a comment in the comment section below.