Reverb P.R. Firm Settles Case on Fake Reviews

The Federal Trade Commission said on Thursday that a California marketing company had settled charges that it engaged in deceptive advertising by having its employees write and post positive reviews of clients’ games in the Apple iTunes Store, without disclosing that they were being paid to do so.

OK, so we’re taking this whole “paid promotion content” thing seriously.

Interesting.

(via NYTimes.com.)

How the Old Spice Videos Are Being Made

A team of creatives, tech geeks, marketers and writers gathered in an undisclosed location in Portland, Oregon yesterday and produced 87 short comedic YouTube videos about Old Spice. In real time. They leveraged Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and blogs. They dared to touch the wild beasts of 4chan and they lived to tell the tale. Even 4chan loved it. Everybody loved it; those videos and 74 more made so far today have now been viewed more than 4 million times and counting. The team worked for 11 hours yesterday to make 87 short videos, that’s just over 7 minutes per video, not accounting for any breaks taken. Then they woke up this morning and they are still making more videos right now. Here’s how it’s going down.

So far, this is one of the best advertising pushes I’ve seen on the Internet. It’s truly inspired.

(via How the Old Spice Videos Are Being Made – Read Write Web.)

It should be easy to address a problem, …

It should be easy to address a problem, and we should be proactive and have a manager touch each table. People look at that like it’s amazing customer service. No, it’s not. It’s the fricking baseline of customer service. That’s the minimum you can do.

Wayne Prichard, @stlchipotle

What I don’t like about department-based…

What I don’t like about department-based marketing is the belief that the only people who can send the messages about what the products are, who the company is, and what they believe in are the people in the marketing department. That’s the way I see most companies today operating. In reality, it’s everybody, every single person. The customer service department has some of the most important marketing people, but they’re not traditionally in the marketing department. Their impact is marginalized, when actually they have a huge impact. I don’t mean to say we’re perfect at this, but everything we do considers the overall impression we make on our customers to be our marketing. We want all our employees to worry about that.

Jason Fried, “10 Questions on REthinking the WORKplace”

Josh Bernoff on why traditional marketin…

Josh Bernoff on why traditional marketing and social media marketing are at odds with one another:

The problem is simple. Marketers don’t understand channels where you have to talk and listen at the same time. Like one of those maddening not-full-duplex speakerphones where you can’t interrupt somebody, this is what drives customers nuts. Think about it. None of those talking channels allows a response. None of those listening channels encourages actual feedback from the company.

The marketing industry’s idea of a two-way communication is to put an 800 number or a web address in an ad and take orders.

Like any shift in thinking, it’s already started with motivated individuals who wish to make a difference. It’s only a matter of time before this kind of thinking begins to permeate the culture of successful organizations.

Like Drinking, Be Reponsible when Using Social Media

Chris Brogan on company presence management:

Let’s say you build a pretty decent stream of conversations on Facebook. Maybe it’s your junior comms person and they’re just drumming up excitement for a new product that the people want. Everything’s going great, and there’s an active group, and people feel like they’re being treated like humans. Know who comes next?

Marketing. In some companies, they come crashing down from the hills like angry Mongol raiders, set on converting people from interested community members into hot leads to purchase. They start asking to push materials down the community channel. They ask for lists. They push for opt-ins for email marketing.

Is it the right move? Not as listed above. Not if that’s not how you set the presence up to begin with. It will feel like horrid bait and switch. People will flock away pretty darned fast if you switch them over into convert mode. They’ll also hate you if you just pull up stakes and run after the product is launched. If they’ve committed to talking with you at those points of presence, they want you there for the long term.

Be wary of this. Think further out than a single campaign. If you set up the direct line, you have to be willing to answer it for more than the short term.

I don’t always agree with Brogan (or even the rest of the article), but on this I think he’s spot-on.

The most important thing for you to do with social media and interactions is to talk with your customers and to listen to them. Give them the “direct line,” as Brogan says elsewhere in the article, and then embrace that method of communications. It shouldn’t be a single point of contact for all your customers, but instead a network of people who are invested in their work who are passionate about serving people and connecting with the people on the other side of their work.

Have We Learned From “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”?

Seth Godin:

A newspaper that only had a few dozen employees would be doing great today. But they have hundreds or thousands of employees because that was an appropriate scale twenty years ago. When I started my first web combany fifteen years ago, the idea that you could be successful with six or ten employees was crazy, but today many of the most successful companies have not many more than that. That’s 15,000 fewer employees than eBay has.

It’s tempting to get bigger. But is bigger better? In many cases, it’s worse, particularly when you can leverage reliable systems that are cheaper and faster and more stable in the outside world. If you can make your product better by assembling it yourself, you should. But if that action makes it worse, why do it?

Is your organization too big? Too small? Just right?