My only added comment would relate to the Medium used. A HAND WRITTEN poster. Marshall McLuhan said “The medium is the message” meaning that the form of a medium embeds itself in the message, creating a symbiotic relationship by which the medium influences how the message is perceived. The simple hand written poster has a greater impact that a professional looking poster would.
The the person who wrote this poster has a problem that is common, and posters are a common way of appealing for help. Recently a large area of Launceston was papered with hundreds of laminated, professional looking colour posters about a lost or stolen dog, and offering a $5000 reward.
This poster is, for me, more effective. It is not just the message, that is discussed in detail in this post. The format, or medium contributes a powerful message itself.
Update: Tom advises that Merlin has been safely returned to his owner – sorry cats don’t have owners, they have STAFF.
Some years ago I worked for a computer company that was (at that time) the sixth largest computer company in the world. We had just won a contract to supply 22,000 color computer work-stations to one of the biggest government departments in Australia. This was pre-Internet, and almost pre-PC. Microsoft was selling MS/DOS (probably 2.2) and a good computer had one floppy- disk and a 10Mb hard-disk.
Our sales department had made some foolish compromises to win the contract, one being free training. Training is one area that companies like ours actually made money in, and it had been given away. We needed a smooth transition to the new equipment.
A Big Problem
Then the Union got involved. The keyboards for the new terminals where too stiff. Staff would get RSI (repetitive strain injury) from using the new, stiff keyboards. The keyboards had to be modified.
The keyboards were a new type, much like the typical computer keyboard today. They had extra dedicated function keys, but were similar in design to the keyboard you probably have in front of you now. Key pressure was controlled by a spring under every key. changing the key pressure required replacing the springs in 22,000 workstations, 2.64 million springs.
The company was fighting for it’s life. The government department wanted its terminals installed, and the Union (like most Unions) would not be moved. We had a meeting of all parties to try and resolve the issue.
The Union representatives sat and typed. Sorry, too hard on the hands, we need a solution. The three parties went to and fro for an hour with no solution. We were looking at the biggest financial disaster in the company’s history.
Then the service technician, who was on hand to make sure there where no problems with the terminal during the meeting stepped up and offered to provide a solution.
He sat and made a couple of changes and the stepped back saying “that should do it, but I can go a bit further”. The Union rep sat and typed. Then she called in her number two, who also sat and typed for a minute or two. They agreed it needed a little more work. The technician went back to the terminal, unruffled, and made another change.
This time the Union reps where unanimous, the changes where acceptable. Crisis averted. We left the meeting relieved but puzzled. What had our tech. done?
A lateral Solution
He admitted that he had simply lowered the volume of the click that was produced through the terminal speaker to make up for the lack of a physical click by these new keyboards. It had made no difference to the feel of the keyboard, the effect was purely psychological. Nonetheless, the workstations went into service and lived a long life.
A sudden piece of lateral thinking had changed a potential disaster into a victory. And that thinking had not come from the sales department or management, it had come from a field technician with an idea.
Social Media Marketing – DON’T Send Your Customers to Mark Zuckerberg
More and More, I see marketing campaigns sending customers to Social Media web sites.
Don’t do that! Really. Stop it now! The visitor is interested enough in you or your product to read a web page, blog post, tweet and look for more information. Instead of sending them to your web page, you are directing them to a site you do not and cannot control.
Bloggers are doing the same with Follow us on Twitter and Find us on Facebook buttons. A visitor has come to your site, hopefully to read your content and perhaps buy your products, and you then send them to Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg thanks you. Your customer has now become his. In the Internet age we all have the attention span of goldfish. Once your prospect hits Facebook they may follow you, but they may never actually engage you. It may be days or months before they return to your web site.
Don’t Send People to a Place You Do Not Control
“Ahh”, you say, “but we have build a GREAT site on Facebook and are getting thousands of Likes”. Perhaps you are, but what real engagement are you getting, and how much control do you have?
Many businesses have used a standard Facebook account and use it a business page. A Group has some advantages, but today Facebook is pushing everyone towards Fan Pages. Many businesses have fallen foul of Facebook’s ever changing rules and had there site taken down. See the account by Ars Technica. Some have had the page taken over by hackers or ex-employees who have changed passwords and locked the business out of it’s own site. And many people will use comments on a popular Fan Page as a platform for their own purposes.
Facebook Changes Again
At the end of March 2012 Facebook is changing the rules about pages again. Fan pages, or Facebook pages are now being brought into line with the normal user page. The look is changing. Here is the facebook page of one business before:
Some businesses have spent $50,000 (and perhaps more) getting pages like this designed. Now much of that work will be thrown away.
McDonalds Australia. A Big Marketing Campaign pointing to Facebook
McDonalds Australia have been running an advertising campaign featuring their Facebook page. Their web site ( it doesn’t work for me most of the time, I have Flash disabled) also has a link to this page. I tried clicking on the link to Facebook and got a rather disturbing pop-up.
Eventually I accepted the caution and when to the McDonalds Facebook page. The advertising campaign seems to have worked. They Have 285,580 persons who like their page. There was a reward for doing liking the site. Of those 277,965 have actually visited the site, but only 13,933 are Talking About the page.
This page will, of course change within the next week or so…
Be prepared for Damage Control
A quick browse through the comments on various posts indicate that many of the comments are less than flattering.
I wonder if I commented on the violent bout of food poisoning that almost put me in hospital after eating a McDonalds, would it be deleted? Would it help their marketing?
Keep your traffic at Home, Mark Zuckerberg has enough. Remember, Facebook is not there to help your marketing effort. Their goal is to get your customers engaged, gather information and target someone else’s advertising at them
A far better use for the precious seconds of their time someone has given you would be to direct them to you own web site. Preferably a custom landing page that has been designed to call them to action. Sign up for a news letter, subscribe to a feed or make a purchase.
Use Facebook and Twitter for Inbound Marketing
Facebook and Twitter have a very real place in marketing, but it is in the other direction. Don’t send people there. Use Tweets or posts to encourage people who find you on those sites to follow you because you point them to interesting content. If that content is on your web site, so much the better. The main thing is to give them something worth reading, commenting on or re-tweeting. Then they will bring their friends to you.
So when that Social Marketing Guru comes knocking, say “No, thank you, I would like to send my potential clients where I can control the message.”