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New blog design in progress. Excuse the scaffolding. This is just a short about section where you can describe yourself and your site. You'll want to keep it fairly long because there are some layout issues that arise if the area is below a certain width.

$200 off your email newsletter design

To celebrate our email design feature in this months .net magazine we are offering $200 of a custom email newsletter design order.
This offer is for two days only, after which the offer drops to $100 off.

Toddle email design in .net magazine

If interested click here for a quote.
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| | 04/06/10 01:40 PM

We are at Web2Expo this week. Say Hi.

Myself and Mary Carty are in San Francisco this week at the Web2Expo conference. If you are around give us a shout. We love talking to new people and feel free to pick our brains about email marketing.
You can find us on twitter alanorourke and marycarty

Alan

| | 04/05/10 11:44 PM

No place for dogs

We all know the importance of a good welcome. A great example we came accross this week, is our local bistro. Lots of families walk their dogs along the strand each day but it is pretty difficult to have dinner with doggie in toe.

The bistro owner has created a beautiful outdoor area where dogs can accompany their owners. Bowls are provided for water and food and doggie do do is taken care of with the placement of special bins located far away from the tables. Other diners along the strand actively discourage dogs (and their owners). What other café’s view as a problem; this bistro has turned into a selling point. Smart, effective and makes perfect business sense.

Are you making it easy for your customers to come back to you?

Image leelefever

| | 19/03/10 06:05 PM

Doc on One wins Gold

Award season is in full swing and we are thrilled to announce that Doc on One won Gold at the Digital Media Awards on Saturday night. Doc on One was an extremely ambitious project. The documentary team transferred over 300 documentaries from the archives online for the very first time. Launched last July, the Doc on One has become one of the most popular sites in Ireland and the Gold for best in Podcasting is well deserved indeed. It was such a pleasure to work on this project and we hope Doc on One continues to win more listeners and awards this year.

For the curious among you, this week’s documentary is “Ten minutes from Kenema”. Have a listen here, pure listening pleasure.

Mary

| | 01/03/10 04:08 PM

New Online: Brought to you by Spoiltchild

We had a very busy, creative 2009 so I thought you’d like to see work we launched in December.

On time for the Christmas season we created a cross channel media campaign for SafeFood. The campaign featured a festive website, email newsletter, Facebook fan page, Facebook landing page,Twitter page and a quirky competition. First, we built a new festive website for SafeFood showcasing all their fantastic Christmas content. We integrated the “I still love turkley” campaign on Twitter and Facebook to tie into the safe cooking message and to highlight all the creative goodness leftover Christmas food can make. The campaign also ran on Boards.ie were SafeFood gave their expertise to help those entertaining friends and family to make the perfect Christmas feast.

See the campaign here Safefood Christmas

“I still love Turkey” on Twitter http://twitter

SafeFood Christmas Facebook fan page.

Overall the new campaign was very successful with great traffic through the site and hopefully a few less disasters in the kitchen! It is really good to see how an intergrated approach like this can grab the imagination of users and generate lots of attention.

The SafeFood team are busy, passionate people so along with the Christmas campaign we also worked on the redesign of Weigh2Live. Weigh2Live makes it easy for anyone who wants to make changes to their diet and lifestyle. You may have seen the TV ad campaigns running on RTE at the moment. It’s a great resource for new year resolutions and for the rest of the year as well. The site also contains handy tools that will help you stay on track and keep you motivated. A good positive start for the new year for all of us.

In December we continued to work with our friends over on Rehab Bingo. Over the Christmas holidays the newly redesigned Rehab Bingo site was launched with the addition of a few new characters and extra functionality to help playability.

Have a look at the right game sidebar and you will find our new feature game Barnyard Bill. With a colourful array of farm animals and our kindly farmer Bill we are delighted with the reaction to the new game with Rehab Bingo players.

Take a look at our other feture game this month Bee Mine just in time for Valentines Day. Good luck and happy playing.

With all that creative output in December we are busy putting the finishing touches to a few more projects which we will announce in February. Will keep you posted!

Mary

| | 02/02/10 01:37 PM

Save $180,000 on your next tradeshow by renting a Yacht!

Paul Hayes

The Trinity Enterprise Network invited Marketing Consultant Paul Hayes from Beachhut PR to give a talk on building an international brand. And they very nicely agreed to let me come along.

Paul was previously Marketing and Communications Director at Havok and currently works with JoltOnline among others.

Paul had some brilliant advice and war stories from his time in Havok on how they, as a start up from Trinity, had go out and sell to the leading companies in games and film. Image it seams is vital but not that difficult… or expensive.

I got a lot of great points to take away from the day and here they are in no particular order.

PR

  • Start your PR locally. Use it as your training ground to hone and practice your message before you move international.
  • With everything showing up on Google do not underestimate local press. A Wired journalist rang up Paul after a story in the Tipperary Star popped up in his alerts.
    • Develop relationships with three key Journalists and publications.

    • THE trade publication of the industry.
    • A national publication
    • One international publication.
    • Wired Magazine

    • Wired is THE publication for a technology company and it took Havok a year from initial contact to getting covered in the magazine.
    • The easiest way to get international PR is to get on a plane and go have a drink with a Journalist and start a relationship.
    • Journalists do not write for their readers first. they write for other Journalists and their editor. Remember this when pitching a story.
    • It’s easier to get coverage if you ‘promise’ to take out advertising in the future. Most trade magazines are run at a loss to maintain an audience for other business activities, events for example. So do not stress too much if you are unable to take out advertising for a long while.
    • Third paragraph PR is better for credibility. The public are very media savvy. They recognise a PR piece about a company for what it is.

      However if your opinion is mentioned in an overall industry piece it lends more credibility to you being an industry expert.

    • You are the best person to tell your story. Do not use a PR firm to be the middle man. It annoys Journalists.

    Business

    • The first sale was for $1 to get past the ‘First Customer’ credibility problem.It was a marketing deal in return for using the customer in PR, Marketing and Case studies.
    • There is value in everything you produce. Watch out for opportunities. Havok had an artwork tool to help users of their main product. 3dStudio Max wanted this for their application and it generated $18 million for Havok over 3 years.
    • Paul believes Tradeshow stands are a waste of money. Think smarter or of a ‘Meta Stand’.Instead of a stand Havok would organise wacky transport (with a bar) carrying VIPs from a tradeshow to the afters party and again at the end of the night back to their hotels. A fraction of the cost, and more memorable.Microsoft Trade Show Stand
    • One horror story in the early days of Havok involved spending half a million on a stand, intending to make a splash. They ended up wedged between Microsoft and Sony who each spent about $10 million to launch their next gen consoles. It almost broke them.
    • At a tradeshow in Calais they rented a $20k Yacht and moored it outside the event instead of spending the $200k cost of a stand inside. They also got to save costs by sleeping 8 people and eating on it as well.
    • For a tradeshow all you need is you and a laptop walking around. Just as effective.
    • In most cases you are not selling your features. What you are selling is reduced risk.Customers assume that your product works. They want to know you will be around in 3 years and will not make them look bad to their piers and boss.
    • And last was a question from the audience asking if the Trinity name helped them abroad when making contacts and selling. He said at the time no but after the very successful companies that have emerged over the years including Havok and Jolt Online it can open doors now.

    Alan

    | | 01/02/10 03:33 PM

2009 a learning year

They say there is a time for every season and situation under the sun. For us last year was a time of intensive learning. At the start of 2009 we set ourselves a goal, to push outside our comfort zones and to learn as much as possible. We wanted to develop new thinking and expand our competencies in areas of finance, strategy, marketing and business development. All of this work coincided with the running of business as usual and producing what we believe and you have told us, is our best work to date.

As 2010 begins I thought I’d review how we got on and how this new thinking has impacted on our business, our personal and professional development and the lessons that are bearing fruit for us now.

Last year, as many of you know, Alan completed the Hothouse Programme in DIT. From the intensive nature of the programme together with a fantastic bunch of like-minded entrepreneurs, who supported, encouraged and facilitated much refining and aligning of our business model, Hothouse enabled us to present a fully rounded, well executed business plan that was highly commended at the Seedcorn competition this year.

While Alan was busy in DIT, I completed the Advanced Diploma in Management Practice for the Arts with the University of Ulster and Business to Arts. Again it was a fascinating course and opened up my thinking on strategy and business development. It also facilitated meeting a fantastic group of people who work in the Arts in Ireland, they continue to inspire and inform my thinking.

Alan and I were then accepted onto the amazing Enterprise Ireland iGap programme that has pushed our thinking and our business forward at breakneck speed, most importantly, at the perfect time. All three programmes are proving to be an incredible experience and we will continue to reap the benefits well into the future.

And the final reward; as the last days of 2009 came to a close, our very first Innovation Voucher landed in the mail box. It will be used now a new development phase that has been well considered and researched thus using these funds to their optimum potential.

To sum up, taking part in any programme can be daunting but the clarity it gives, the perspective you gain at one remove, of your structures, product, customers and your thinking is worth the effort. The biggest benefit we have received is focus and clarity and a plan to make our business better by working smarter not harder.

As I said earlier, there is a time for everything. And as the world grapples to put Humpty back together again, maybe it is time to learn something new or improve skills you have already. It may be uncomfortable at first but will certainly stand to you in the end.

Mary

Image brianjmatis (CC)

| | 21/01/10 04:24 PM

How not to die (as a startup) BizCamp Belgium Takeaways

For my second takeaway form BizCampBe here is the presentation from cofounder of myameise.com, Paul Geurts. Paul gave an inspiring talk about his strategies for staying alive as a start up. Lots of light bulbs went off for me listening to his talk. Paul is certainly not afraid to take chances and to prioritize the big stuff. His approach is a must read for every start up CEO. Go check out Paul’s company and see the promotional video they made on a shoestring budget; impressive.

How not to die (as a start-up)

1. Know when to pay and when to hassle
2. Don’t be afraid to spend money
3. Make decisions. Don’t think I should have had …
4. Act
5. Be creative with Banks, Governments
6. Lie, just a little
7. Do what you do best
8. The press is your best friend
9. Never lie to the media
10. Never lie to users
11. Mobilize your friends
12. Invest in Pizza and Beer
13. Be good
14. Understand the Art of War
15. Never attack the walled city

Let me know what strategies you use to keep moving forward as a startup. Would you agree with Paul’s list?

Mary

Image Hadassah28 (Martha’s Vine 90% done) (CC)

| | 08/12/09 10:52 PM

How to Market your product to my Mother. BizCamp Belgium Takeaways

At last here are my notes from some fantastic lectures at BizCamp Belgium back in October. First up, “Marketing your technical product to my Mother” by Charles E. Crouch.

Charles lectures in Marketing and eBusiness in Brussels and Boston. He gave a great talk on how to market your product to non-tech savvy people, just like his Mom. This was a master class in putting your customer first. Here are my takeaways from a fantastic lecture. Hope you enjoy it.

Mary

Marketing message:
“We have just launched this fantastic web 2 thingy and it is seriously cool!” Fail :(

Your user does not care if your service/product is the best thing since sliced bread. All he wants to know is how it will solve his problem. Here are a few simple points to remember if you believe you have created, developed or have an idea for the next best thing.

• Everyone has technology
• Few understand it
• The benefits to most people are not clear
Technology is now seen as a commodity therefore it is hard to put a value on it.

How do you communicate to your user that your product is worth something?

Also consider carefully:

• Who is your target market?
• What do they want to know about your service?
• Not what you want to tell them.

Marketing is all about attracting and retaining customers. Traditionally marketing was considered to be the 4 P’s, Product, Place, Price, Promotion. They were pretty much static. Once a price was set, then that was it. We are now at a junction where the four P’s have become much more dynamic. Product now becomes Personalization and Promotion becomes Persuasion. Pricing once static is now much more dynamic. Pricing is harder to fix because of lower production costs, global sourcing, overcapacity and easy price comparisons in real time online.

If we look at Promotion traditional outbound marketing like direct mail has been replaced by social media, blogs and websites. Now the consumer evaluates the product or service and makes decisions based on their interactions with that product online. Today consumers monitor and influence the types of products they acquire. Consider Amazon where you look for a book and the search engine throws up others in the same field or category based on your previous selections.

Place becomes Presence, customers actively searching and comparing goods and prices online. In essence what does all this tell us? Buyers now decide for themselves based on their experiences, preferences and interactions. To come to the crux of the issue;
when a customer is making a decision are you first in line?

Every purchasing decision follows five key steps:
Awareness
Consideration
Preference
Action
Loyalty

It’s the same with your website. Do you make the decision process easy for your customer? 98% of users do not make a purchase after landing on your website. Do everything you can to help your customers at each step in the process.

Here are a few important things to get right:
1. Design your website for your target audience – mostly non-technical
2. Include tailored content and marketing material
3. Make sure your content is high value, educational and gives a business reason to buy your product/service
4. Make sure it solves a business problem for your user
5. Include a call to action
6. Include an action

Most of all identify with your customer, solve the problem, share real stories and case studies, and make sure your information is relevant.

Usability Resources for More Sales.

I have been doing more research into usability lately for a talk / workshop I have been giving. In the process I have assembled a collection of links that you will definitely find useful if you are running a website.

Books


The Big Red Fez by Seth Godin.
How To Make Any Web Site Better.
A really easy short book ideal for anyone starting out. Its presentation is simple, a big screen shot of a website on one page and a few lines of text on the opposite page about what works and what doesn’t.





Don’t Make Me Think – Steve Krug
This is the must read book for anyone serious about web usability.
Check out the video below for a better idea of the man and the topic.



Landing Page Optimization – Tim Ash
The Definitive Guide to Testing and Tuning for Website Conversions by Tim Ash.




Websites


The $300,000,000 Button
eConsultancy Tips
Marketing Experiments
Google Website Optimizer
I Am A Landing Page Designer
A Collection of Form Designs

Podcasts


Landing Page Optimization
A weekly radio show from Tim Ash (book above) on Webmaster Radio. Tips from the most prominent experts in the industry on how to improve your landing pages and conversion on your site.
iTunes link here.

Video

Steve Krug on the least you can do about usability

Usability testing is important, but you’ve got other things to do. In this video, Steve talks about informal usability testing and how the minimum of work can give you extraordinary results.

Joel Spolsky

Joel talks about how to become number one. You have clean code, usable software and decent marketing. But how do you get to the next level? Joel talks about three things you must do to go from average to awesome.

Any resources or links you can suggest? Let me know in the comments.

| | 28/11/09 03:46 PM

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