Comments and observations on business, marketing and life: by Martin Donohoe

Tag: Google

In praise of the direct mail shot

For lots of SME level marketing, email rules. There’s no doubt that a well crafted email campaign, sent to an engaged and anticipating audience will generate great results. Except, that it seems to that many small and medium-sized businesses in the UK still haven’t “got” email marketing (although it’s probably fair to say that many large operations haven’t got it either).

You don’t have to look too hard to find a litany of graphic only emails, weak marketing messages and ‘electronic leaflet’ mails that break all the rules, but still get knocked out week in, week out. It would be interesting to know just how much email blindness this causes amongst customers of these businesses.

So, what to do when emails just don’t cut it any more? Well, judging by the barrage of direct mail I keep getting from my favourite search engine, direct mail still cuts it. Certainly, in a b2b environment the general amount of direct mail seems to have reduced so maybe now is the time to use mail to get cut through with your customers. Email isn’t going away, but it might benefit from a short holiday!

Google off line – fish out of water?

I’ve received several copies of a letter from Google UK recently, promoting their Adwords (pay per click) advertising product. Nothing wrong with that, as an online marketeer I use Google’s products, so it’s good targeting. Or is it?

Firstly, I already have more than one Google account where I manage reasonably sized Google Adwords accounts. Clearly Google are failing to make the link that some of their registered users already have that service in their Google accounts. Secondly, the letters, whilst addressed correctly and with the right name (!) have a job title that reads something like “SEO Manager / Online Manager / Internet Manager”. Come on Google, direct marketing 101, use the right information, or don’t include it at all!

Perhaps most annoyingly, the letters contain vouchers (typically £30 or £50) to use on an Adwords account, but it has to be one that has been opened in the past 14 days – so no use to my existing accounts.

So to summarise Google UK’s direct mail efforts:

  • Badly targetted – I already have the service being offered
  • Uses an incorrect / non-existent job title (not hugely annoying but not professional either)
  • Making a useless offer which potentially alienates existing customers – “hey new customer here’s something for free, but for you loyal customer spending many hundreds of £’s – nothing”
Compare this to Google’s slick, precise and targeted online presence and it really makes you think they should stick to the virtual world and avoid envelopes! Of course, this will presumably have happened all across the country to others involved in online marketing – much wasted paper and money!

Google – you’ve got to hand it to them they’re good – Chrome

Chrome comic strip

Chrome's comic strip guide

The web is ablaze with news of Google’s surprise release of their new browser. I’ve had a quick look and it seems good, but it’ll take a few weeks to really see how useful it is.

Setting aside the actual browser, I think that Google have done something really interesting with their launch of this application (no, I’m not referring to them letting the imminent release slip out). I’m referring to the fantastic comic-strip guide they used to launch the browser and give the back story to its development.

As I read the guide, I was tremendously impressed with how well it conveyed the content and held my attention. I certainly wouldn’t have read 10 pages of text about the development! No wonder then, when I got to the end with the feeling that the style looked familiar somehow, it’s been drawn by Scott McCloud, my favourite ‘comics as a serious form of communication’ guru. If you haven’t read his book Understanding Comics yet, it’s well worth a look.

Full marks to Google for daring to be different, but then I suppose they can afford to be.  Now what is Chrome like to use….

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