Posts Tagged ‘E-mail’

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The Original E-mail from Dyson US

Monday morning, I received an email from Dyson US entitled “What has Dyson invented now?”  I usually delete sales messages right away but having owned three Dyson vacuums over the years and spent some time poking around the website that celebrates his charmingly curious mind, I opened it up.

The headline inside read “We did away with bags.  Now we’ve got rid of ___ in ____.” The copy went on to stress the familiar Dyson themes of re-imagining old technology, ultimately ending in a link to learn more.  So I clicked that.

The link led to a slightly-overlong video of people staring, mouth agape, at some remarkable object just below camera.  They couldn’t identify it but loved the object’s look.  Clearly, it resembled nothing they’d ever seen.  By the time I finished the video, Dyson had engaged me for three and a half minutes.  But then they dropped the meat in the dirt…

They simply supered “October 2009” and ended the video.  After investing all that time they gave me nothing, not even a glimpse of the unidentified object to pique my curiosity about what it might be.  Frustrated, I combed the rest of their website but found nothing.

Suddenly, I kinda hated James Dyson.  I hated his plastic contraptions, his British accent which I had long found intellectually appealing now rang twee, and the blueprints of other objects just looked like so much self indulgence.

The man had wasted my time.  And I deeply, deeply resented it.  Advocates tout the advantages of digital technology largely along the lines of engagement, user experience and information.  Web users have come to expect that anything they need to know is just a few clicks away, and often more comprehensive than they need.  But this tactic, which began with a simple, well-written email, dishonored those expectations.  It treated this medium like TV, where I might see a teaser ad on “Family Guy” one week then see the corresponding explanatory ad the next week, since I watch that show regularly.

But there are no appointments with the web.  It is always on, always available, and always presents an entirely fresh experience with little sense of prior history and absolutely no narrative arc.  What had started as an awesome advertising launch tactic ultimately backfired, alienating an engaged user.

Happily, there’s something else unique to the web: you can adjust and edit your content in real time.  So this morning, when I sat down to write about this madding experience, I clicked the link again and landed on a whole new page.  Perhaps they received complaints, perhaps they noticed people left the site pretty quickly, or perhaps they embedded cookies so that anytime someone revisited the site they would receive an answer; whatever they did, they corrected the problem.  And I was engaged once more.

His new item truly looks wildly original.  Suddenly, I like James Dyson again.  Good design and good will amongst men: both good things in this world.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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The Web Is Growing Up   

The Web Is Growing Up

Today’s 19-32 year olds may be the Net Generation, but surveys by the Pew Internet and American Life Project show a surge in net use by Boomers in their fifties and sixties, and even those in their seventies, to the point where the Seniors’ proportion to the total US population nearly matches their proportion of total internet usage. People of all ages download video these days and engage in internet commerce.  Even e-banking has begun to reach equilibrium among the various age groups.  In fact, now that social networks have become the chosen communication tool for younger generations, those sixty plus dominate the email sector.

All of this makes sense.   Technological advances don’t drive mainstream adoption, usefulness does.   The ever increasing integration of web use into daily life springs directly from its practical value.  Email beats looking for stamps, Google beats running to the library, cnn.com beats CNN the channel because you only skim what interests you.

The kids might always be first, they might do more and flashier things online, but to assume that gives them sole providence over the internet would be foolish.  The numbers tell a far different story.  Unfortunately, the advertising and entertainment world ignores this far too often.  That’s why Hollywood makes more violent movies than proven box office-friendly family fare, though Kevin James is laughing all the way to the bank as Paul Blart: Mall Cop.  And Angela Landsbury commanded a million dollars an episode by the end of twelve seasons of Murder, She Wrote.  Look, the kids do neat things and they certainly look better…

But never underestimate the value of experience.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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Experience Generates Perspective...and Discernment

Experience Generates Perspective...and Discernment

A Consumer Electronics Study reports that people from their fifties to their seventies are nearly as tech savvy as their younger counterparts.  For all practical purposes, this demographic will use a hi-def TV, a cell phone or a search engine just as often as an eighteen to thirty-four year old.  In fact, the only real difference was that the older generations prefer a more personal touch; while they research online, they like to talk to a sales associate before buying.

Frankly, this comes as no surprise.  All the nonsense about people under thirty being digital natives disregards the basic reality that older consumers are far more discerning and demanding.  They only use tools that make sense to them; they don’t just try something because it’s new.  They don’t Twitter?  That’s not because they don’t get it; it’s because micro-blogging makes no sense to them.  Instead, they e-mail, because it fits their notion of community.  I can’t be the only guy with a seventy-ish father-in-law who way over-indexes on forwarding funny–or allegedly funny–clips and jokes, albeit without ever erasing the long legacy strings of duplications and e-mail address headers…

Underestimating, or far worse–disrespecting, your market is an inexcusable professional sin for any marketer.  To be a top practitioner of this craft, one must possess genuine empathy.  Just plain liking people helps too.

By Dennis Ryan, CCO, Element 79

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