Tag Archives: marketing

The Victoria Secret Fashion Show and Selling the Dream

Watched the Victoria Secret Fashion Show last night and I was surprised by just how well done it was. Both the production values, the editing, the musical guests and the cut-in segments showing just how much work goes into it.  It was an amazing branding exercise, one that I’m just in awe of us as a marketer.

Speaking with a friend afterwards, we discussed what Victoria Secret really sells. It’s not bras & panties.  Those you can get at Target or Wal-Mart or Marks & Spencers.  What they sell is a dream.  They sell sexiness and beauty.

It’s probably the hardest thing to sell, a dream.  It requires such a tight balancing act.  Your entire brand has to be in sync all the time because a moment of wakefulness for a viewer and the dream could be over.   Look at Lululemon – they screwed up, and instead of owning it, they accused their customers of being the problem.  Poof.   What? Not everyone can look good while working out? You aren’t selling the dream of looking good while working out? You aren’t granola munching love-the-world individuals? Oh…

It’s an incredible job to do that, to sell a dream.  It requires dedication and belief and the ability to see what is missing and the commitment to push through the slow periods.  On the other hand, once you have sold that dream… well, who wants to wake up from a good dream?

Facebook, Google+, Twitter, LinkedIn & Pinterest

So let’s talk about the various social media aspects out there.  Here’s my take on the above mentioned social media sites:


As a business you should have a Facebook Business Page.  That should be integrated to your main website so that customers can ‘Like’ your site immediately.

Things to note:

  • Probably the most widely used, so large audience numbers.
  • Social feeds can expand your reach quickly
  • Customers in FB are not intent on purchasing, so this is more a social awareness push – though on your page sale events and other promotions can be used
  • Recent changes in FB feeds has reduced the views of each update on your page.  Images are the highest, videos a 2nd and all others come a distant 3rd.  So to grow your FB likes, add lots of images.
  • Advertising to increase likes is a so-so option.  It increases likes fast but is costly and is not targeted.


Has been slowly growing with a more tech-oriented crowd and a higher level of interaction seen among those who use Google+.  However, not widely used so far.

Things to note:

  • Integration between Google+ Business Pages and other Google platforms can be tricky (especially if you’ve previously created separate accounts)
  • Not widely used, but much more interactive.  You need to be more active in Circles to get the most from this
  • Great for SEO – links are all dofollow and if shared a lot, can provide a good PR boost


Mostly useful for short messages and customer contacts

Things to note:

  • A must-have for customer relationships
  • Useful for disseminating blog posts, videos, etc if you build up the right followers
  • Auto-following everyone who follows you is potentially viable but can clog up your news feed too
  • Again, join conversations – don’t sit there by yourself shouting without interacting


Generally only useful for personal networking and service oriented businesses (b2b).  Not as useful if you are doing generic retail from our experience.

Things to note:

  • More professionals use this, so higher level of contacts and market
  • Great for creating warm leads in a sales environment
  • Can be useful for creating company profiles to develop additional reputation


Images driven, so if you have something image driven it’s really useful.

Things to note:

  • Pin images for your own company but also other images
  • Repin and follow people – create a social community again
  • Infographics do really well here




SEO – a constantly changing landscape

One of the most important aspects of gaining sales in an online environment is a good search engine position (generally Google, though Bing and Yahoo! are good too if you aren’t in Canada).  However, finding a good SEO professional is difficult.  There’s a few reasons for this:

– SEO is composed of multiple parts – onsite & offsite obviously, but also technical level changes and content changes

– there are a lot of charlatans out there

– generally, the good consultants are very expensive because they can command those prices

– often, the markets most businesses work in just aren’t valuable enough to be worth a good SEO consultant’s job

– the landscape is changing, so a good SEO consultant or good techniques one year can become bad techniques the next
It’s something that’s been written about by some great SEO writers; but Google has a tendency to burn SEO’s because once a technique / method becomes too popular, it can hurt their results.  So, even if you do follow what they say  – you can sometimes get burnt anyway.

What can you do?

– research.  Make sure you know what you are buying and who is doing the work

– catalog all the work (and make sure they catalog it for you) so you can revert anything that goes bad

– keep control.  Always, always, keep control of the process and all logins and the like

– lastly; go for quality over quantity always.   Good SEO doesn’t have to be expensive; but these days it’s really hard to get away with nothing.

Keyword – Not Provided

Last year, Google decided to start creating ‘private’ searches; basically automatically removing search result information from all logged in users.  At first, they stated that it’d only affect about 2% of your visitors – a small number.

Utter bullshit.

These days, they take up 28% of our visitors from Google Search.

Why does this matter? Well, more information is better.  But worst, it made Y-o-Y comparisons much more difficult.  After all, 28% of all visitors are being ‘wiped’ from our results – but there’s no way of knowing which results they were wiped from, so it could be 100% of these visitors from a search results to 5% or something.

It’s worth keeping an eye on and better yet, keeping an eye on the rate that this increases.

And if you want a workaround (work being the emphasis here); keyword data is still being given to Advertisers; so log in to your Google Adwords account.

Social Media and the glut of information

Oooh my heard hurts when I start thinking about all the social media sites out there. There are just so many right now, it’s beginning to really get bad. Google+ just launched in an attempt to take away from Facebooks dominance.  It’s better designed certainly, doesn’t feel as clunky but…

Do we really want all this social media in our lives? Read a few good cyberpunk novels or sci-fi novels and sometimes, I worry.  It won’t take long before all the information we put out there (whether or not we want it to or not) will be available.

On the other hand, the good news is that with all this information, it’ll get harder and harder to find anything.  If you’re looking for a business idea, data mining and analysis will be a major thing for the futre.

Social Marketing – the Next Big Thing

A long time ago in University, the Next Big Thing was the Internet.  Among the proclamations was that the Internet was going to render all other forms of advertising irrelevant.  The Internet was going to change everything in marketing.

I hear a lot of the same thing being said of social marketing these days, and I repeat what my Professor had to say to this ‘Hogwash’.

Yes, Social Marketing is important.  Yes, it has altered how we communicate.  Yes, it’s providing some great returns.  Sometimes.   However, it’s worth noting that it is a tool, and should be considered only one of a variety of tools at a marketers disposal.

Here’s an example.  In 2006; I worked for an e-commerce company that generated 80% of its revenue and leads from Search Engine Marketing.  It took me 6 months, but I finally convinced the CEO to allow me to do offline marketing.

We set up a new website and then  I took out a series of print advertisements in a magazine.  In 3 months, we had generated an ROI of 4.  In 12, our monthly ROI was 20.  3 years later, the company generates 50% of it’s revenue from offline advertising.

The fact is, your customers will have diverse viewing habits. Some might only do e-mail.  Others social websites.  Others, just skim the news and some favourite websites.  And even more might just not use the Internet at all except for work.

Your marketing plan must encompass all of these, or else you’ll just be fishing in the same spot repeatedly.  Sooner or late, that spot is going to go bare for new customers.

Pricing and margins

One of the many things I’ve noticed about having worked with E-commerce businesses is that it’s important to understand the effects of pricing on margins.

Pricing is a complicated business that switches from a strategic to tactical decisions on a regular basis. Price too high in relation to your competition and you could price yourself out of the market. Price too low and you could drive yourself out of business as you struggle to make up your profits on volume.

At the same time, deciding to run loss-leaders and sales is a very tactical decision that can have long-term strategic effects. If you have a large sale every month, you can drive your customers to ‘buy the sale’. At the same time, not selling your excess inventory can cause cash-flow problems.

Learning how to balance this often requires both experience in the industry as well as an understanding of your overall strategy. Sometimes all that you need is an understanding ear.