Archive for the ‘Advertizing’ category

Building a Smarter Planet

October 23, 2009

Are we always going to be plagued with the dumbest of the dumb seeking to accomplish the impossible?

One particularly annoying radio ad has a famous company offering to help build a smarter planet.

I find it more than just amusing that anyone, anywhere, would have the arrogance to imply that they could build a planet. Never mind a ‘smarter’ planet.

These folk would do well to build a smarter company by getting rid of the arrogant morons they have working in their advertising department.

Perhaps it is not arrogance. Maybe it is just stupidity. People who are so deranged as to claim they can build smarter planets need to do so in a padded cell.

Whatever their qualifications may be, real or otherwise, they certainly do not qualify to provide goods and services to the public.

Insurance

August 8, 2009

If you own a house and a car you are going to need homeowners insurance and automobile insurance. If the house is paid off you might squeak by not having homeowners insurance, but it is not a recommended way to go.

Anyone who has listened to the radio or TV will be aware that there is no shortage of folk selling insurance. Automobile insurance seems to be a popular offering.

Ever wonder about those commercials implying you can save hundreds of dollars by buying insurance from a particular company?
How can they promise you savings when they don’t even know what sort of risk you are?

Well you need to listen carefully to what they are telling you. Would, should and might always qualify their promise of savings. It is the bait they offer hoping to hook you into calling them for a quote. You are better off not doing that. Don’t ever call an insurance company unless you have a claim or are pretty certain you want to do business with them. Stay away from those outfits that offer to compare prices for you. There is a much better way to do comparison shopping for insurance of all sorts.

http://www.tdi.state.tx.us is the website of the Texas Department of Insurance. I am sure other states have similar services. On this website you can get a comparison of all the insurance companies doing business in Texas. They compare rates, complaint level, and rating. Bet you did not know that some insurance companies are less friendly to customers who file claims.

The state of Texas will give you comparisons without asking you a lot of personal information not required to quote a rate. Asking an insurance company for such information nearly always ends up with them getting as personal as you allow. Yes, I know they all have privacy policies and if you bother to read them you will discover that their policy is to do whatever they want with any information you give them.

I recently did a comparison of insurance rates both automobile and homeowner. The best rate for the homeowner insurance was offered by the company that is already providing that insurance.

The automobile insurance rates verified my suspicions. The rates varied from $250 to $1200 a year. Those companies that advertise most heavily on radio and TV were solidly positioned in the middle at around $600 to $800. The current rate of my present insurer was $265 a year. Looks like I am already saving all the money I can on automobile insurance. I am pretty sure it is not worth the hassle of changing to get the $15 savings from the lowest bid. Besides the lowest bidder did not have a very good track record.

So, you see. those racy cartoons, big bottomed spokeswomen, talking lizards, and good hands people don’t spend millions on ads because people are flocking to them to buy insurance. Oh, sure can save plenty with them when comparing their rates to the high priced spread at $1200, but that is not the kind of comparison most consumers are going to do and it does the insurance companies no good to point out that you can save even more if you go with a reliable company that has the lowest rate.

Landmines

March 24, 2008

Used to be you could click on a link and actually land on the site the link proclaimed. Noways the proclaimed sites are becoming harder and harder to recognize. Mainly because of google banner ads. These banner splashes are ‘in your face’ , unwelcome, distractions often advertising ‘the other guys stuff’ in a way that could easily trick the unwary into selecting unwanted, time wasting information.

That was my experience in a recent search on the web for multimedia software. After taking several promising leads from a well known search engine, leads touting xyz software company, I was presented with a large color banner proclaiming a link to zyx software company, a competitor to xyz.

Can’t help but wonder if xyz knows that those nickel a click google ads are costing him customers by taking them to his competitor. I suspect he has no idea about how badly he is getting screwed by google. He probably has not logged onto his website in months.

I am pretty sure that I am not the only unsuspecting surfer who was taken to the wrong URL.

Things used to be much more civilized when google ads were restricted to right and left columns reserved for such nonsense. I just never expected some loud, gaudy, and unruly banner clown would jump out at me like an aggressive carney barker to keep me from getting to the site I was seeking. And to do that in the center column as the first entry that shows up when the desired URL is opened is just an intensely rude and inconsiderate tactic. It is like getting spamed in real time with no defenses.

Most people know how much I love and respect spamers. Yeah, these google banner ad morons are not getting my business either and I will go out of my way to educate everyone I know.

Professional Services

August 21, 2007

Here is a copy of an open letter to Professional Service providers that do direct mail marketing.

We thought you might find it interesting.

—————————————————————

This is an open letter in response to your recent inquiry or mailing.

The number of unsolicited offers of professional services to this address have increased over the years. Generally they originate from vendors unknown.

I am sure you realize that marketing professional services in such an indiscriminent way is somewhat less than professional. It is not unlike marketing door to door. Such marketing might work for selling magazine subscriptions or Girl Scout cookies but it is inappropriate for the services you seek to provide.

You might want to consider the following before continuing to present yourselves in a less than professional manner.

1. If we have never heard of you, your salutation will find a home in the dustbin. We are not referring to brand recognition only. By ‘heard of you’ we are referring to positive knowledge of your services, recommendations of your services from trusted friends who have been your satisfied clients, or really big brand name recognition.

2. You may very well be an excellent provider of services but making the assumption that EVERYONE will want those services raises doubt about your judgement. When it comes to providing professional services judgement is a very important factor. Poor judgement in marketing makes prospects suspect such poor judgement may spill over into the services you seek to provide.

3. Prospects who are smart enough to realize they need professional services are also smart enough to investigate those qualified to provide such services. Such investigation does not include unsolicited referrals submitted by the service provider.

4. There are entirely too many ‘offers by mail’ that are misleading, too good to be true, and downright fraudulent. If you want to be considered a reputable provider of professional services, you do not want to be using marketing tools used by folk out to defraud.

5. Some offers of real estate and financial services are accompanied by an invitation to a ‘seminar’ with the lure of a free supper or lunch. The majority of these offers deal with products sporting sizable price tags or serious investment requirements on the part of prospective clients. In short, these products are in search of people with deep pockets. Unfortunately, people with deep pockets do not spend their time at seminars in search of a free lunch. So here we have a marketing strategy good at attracting people who are not qualified to purchase the products offered.

6. Mailings, handbills, repetitious radio and TV ads, all disclose the possibility that those using these marketing means are desperate for business. It makes prospects wonder about reasons for such desperation. This is particularly true when is comes to professional services of ANY kind. Successful professional service providers already have a client base. They have no need to beat the bushes or offer services to uninterested parties.

7. Congradulations on your sale of the house next door. However; it is not polite to toot your own horn as loudly as you have in your recent mailing to us. It is also somewhat presumptious of you to think that everyone else in the neighborhood wants you to sell their houses as well.

Requests for Advertizing Space

June 24, 2007

I use Akismet to take care of any spam that might be directed my way and onto the blog. Akismet is pretty efficient and about 99.9 percent effective. However, I still get one or two bits of spam a week disguised as comments to posts.

Comments to posts are welcome but must be reviewed and approved before they are posted to the blog. If I did not do that, I would have all sorts of morons competing to spam my posts. Unfortunately some people are denser than others and still try to advertize through the comment feature.

I view these as requests for advertizing space. Even if you disguise your name and falsify your email address to gain access to the commenting feature, I still get your IP address. A simple click on that IP address discloses who you are and where you originate. So you cannot really hide by submitting false information. Your IP gives you away everytime.

Having your IP address allows me to chose several options. If I wish, I can contact your ISP and request that he deal with your misuse of bandwidth. Not all ISPs are responsible enough to discourage spamers, so I can always block your IP or even the entire range of IPs assigned to your ISP.

A very creative but labor intensive remedy is to send the offender a registered letter informing him that further spam events will be considered default acceptance of an offer to provide bandwidth and storage space for that spam at a rate of $100 per occurance. Future occurances are then billed. After a number of billings go unpaid and unchallenged they are taken to small claims court where the judgement is usually against the spamer.

Or, I can offer you advertizing space on my blog.

Rates are $30 per month per ad payable through paypal. Your ad will appear in a radio button similar to the one used for paypal. Interested prospects can click on that button and it will take them to your website where you can provide more information.

We reserve the right to refuse ads for certain products and services.

20% OFF

February 7, 2007

That is what the sales ad promised. Twenty percent off. Meaning that you would save 20% over the normal cost. So on a $100 item that would amount to a $20 savings. Sounds like a good deal but how do you know that the item is worth $100? Maybe it is a $60 item marked up to $100, being sold for $80 and your expected $20 savings is actually a $20 loss!

Maybe it is last years model or worse.  It could be seconds.  Seconds are flawed mechandise that does not pass quality requirements yet is not completely worthless so it is offered at half price or less.

This is why it is wise to shop around. See what other stores are charging for the same or similar items of equal quality.

I have always rejected most of the sales hype that we are deluged with. You can go broke at a 20% off sale saving money. If I don’t go at all I save 80%.

Pointless Ads

November 20, 2006

I have been noting an increase in the number of TV ads that try to sell automobiles based on their superior sound systems. One even claims to have a convenient MP3 player connection and cup holders.

They never mention any of the automotive characteristics, features, or claims about reliability or economy of operation. The whole ad leaves you with the impression that their marketing department has decided that they can sell a $20,000 cup holder, mp3 player power connection or radio.

Makes one wonder, if they have such crazies employed in their marketing department, what sort of insanity is occurring in their design and manufacturing departments. Must be pretty bad if they can’t talk about the car, just the accessories.

Smoking Ads

September 22, 2006

No, these are not hot, these are ads concerning the smoking of cigarettes. They are cleverly disguised as ads aimed at preventing kids from smoking cigarettes, but they mention that cancer causing product nonetheless.

Talk about a coup! I am told that those ads were court ordered as part of a settlement in the governments case against tabacco companies.

Can our government do anything right? Good call on making them sponser public service ads on the hazzards of smoking but allowing them to identify themselves just reminds people who made and still makes cigarettes.

Hey folks, they are still here and they are still a legal product. We still make them and you can still buy them at any store. So, if you are not underage, run down to the corner market and light up.

Okay, I know that is not in the ads but it might as well be, because that is what exsmokers hear.

Headlines

September 20, 2006

I just read about drawing readers by writing good headlines. The gist of the article is that if the headline is good, it will attract interest. We are also told that if a headline attracts interest, it is good.

I dont know if all that is true or not. Or if it works. My posts dont have headlines. They have titles. I always thought a good title was one that accurately described the content of the post. There was no goodness weighed on its attention getting ability, just on how well it described the content.

An attention getting title in front of a boring article is just going to make the reader angry. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. If reader dissapointment is extreme or if the reader thinks he has been fooled, he may remember who did it and not allow that to happen again.

Then you have the case of a really good title (or headline) with equally valuable content but it is only of value to a small percentage of the reader base.

My take on titles (headlines) is that they are not all that important. They take care of themselves as long as the writer focuses on good content and the title accurately announces that content. Finding content that has universal appeal is difficult to do.

How about ‘FREE MONEY‘? Talk about universal appeal? Go ahead, dont be chicken. Click on the link.

Newspapers

September 19, 2006

As long as the internet lives and people can log onto it, newpapers and magazines will continue their slow but definite decline.

I was getting a free newspaper each Sunday for some time. It was a promotion. A sample of the wares offered by the Dallas Morning News to entice me to subscribe.

At one point I was tempted to call them and insist they quit littering my lawn every Sunday morning. I decided the newpaper was still useful as packing material.

I get my news from the internet. Either Google or Yahoo. Is that good? I have no idea but that is what I do. It certainly is convenient. Each morning I get up, turn on the computer, check the headlines on Google to determine if I should go back to bed or stay up.

Newspapers no longer deal in news. They deal in history. Even then they sometimes get it wrong.

We have one paper, one editorial opinion, both giving a historical recap of what used to be news. Why should I pay money to someone who may be trying to propagandize me?

Okay, I will subscribe to the newspaper but only if they pay me.