Why Is Harvey Norman Stuck In The 1990’s?

Yes, yes, Harvey Norman does sell the latest technology: Plasma TVs, Laptops, Macbooks, Printers, Digital Cameras etc (at awesome prices), but why oh why do they contradict this image with the following:

  1. Dot matrix printers for printing out your receipt
  2. A 1990’s website
    • With a “splash” page (the home page just has a big photo and link to the rest of the website)
    • The navigation is located in 4 different locations (very hard to figure out where you are. Totally unintuitive)
    • No open hours (forces you to pick up the phone and ask – that is so 1990’s!)
    • No E-commerce (unlike ALL of their competitors: Dick Smith Electronics, Noel Leemings, Bond and Bond)
  3. No social networking activity at all
    • No Facebook page
    • No Twitter account
    • No Linked-in profile

Perhaps Harvey Norman has people in the marketing department (either here in New Zealand or in head office in Australia) fighting for these changes, but because it is a private company run by an old fuddy-duddy family, they are probably very happy with the way they doing their mass media advertising (radio, TV, flyers every day).

What have I missed?

Write your comments below.

The Sad, Sad Story Of The Man With The Worthless US$50 Million Music Collection

Have you heard about this guy, Paul Mawhinney?

He owns The Worlds Greatest Music Collection.

  • 3 Million Records
  • 300,000 Compact Discs
  • More Than 6 Million Song Titles

It’s a sad story (with no happy ending… yet).

He’s trying to sell his collection so he can retire. But no-one will buy it.

What is Paul Mawhinney doing wrong?

On the surface it seems like a reasonable deal. You pay $3M, you sell off the good bits for $3M+ (maybe even US$50!) and you get the profit and throw the rest in the rubbish.

Here’s his story:

So why isn’t it working?

I think there are 3 main reasons:

1. No-one can afford the price tag

Who has $3M to spare? (He refuses to sell the most valuable items separately)

2. He has forgotten the purpose of music

It’s for listening to. Not for archiving on a dusty shelf somewhere.

3. He has miscalculated the value of the collection

The collection isn’t worth US$50M. And US$3M isn’t a bargain either.

It’s only worth what people will pay for it.

And so far, all we know is that that price is less than US$3M.

What is he really selling?

He’s not selling music.  He’s not even selling vinyl records.

He’s selling his problem.

His problem is clutter.

I’m pretty sure he doesn’t want to sell the most valuable items separately because once they are gone he’ll still be left with thousands of vinyl records sitting on his shelf that no-one wants.

He’s spent his life collecting them.

He couldn’t bare to see them end up in a rubbish bin.  It would kill him. Literally.

And even a museum wouldn’t want them because the floor space the collection would take up has value.

What should he do?

He only has 2 options:

  1. Nothing. He could continue to sit and wait for a day that might never come.  Everyday the disappointment that no-one will buy his life’s work will eat away at him
  2. Sell the most valuable items on eBay, and call it quits. Let go, and enjoy the rest of his life.

I think he should go with #2.  He could sell the most valuable items one at a time to start with.

He will quickly get an idea of the true value of the collection.

I fear that it will be far, far less than he is hoping for.

Poor bastard.

I really feel sorry for him.

What do you think?

Write your comments below.

Dear Universe: Thank You For All The Free Software I Use Daily

It is time I thanked the universe for all the software I use everyday for free.

I make money out of using these tools (because they help me do my job) and it doesn’t cost me anything.

So here’s a list of my top 6 (in order of “most thankful”):

1. Gmail

What is it? Email/Webmail

Who made it? Google

What am I thankful for?

  • That it’s free
  • Cutting edge spam filtering
  • Accessing my 6 email accounts in a single place (POP3, SMTP, IMAP)
  • 7GB of online storage space so I never have to delete an email or get stupid “your email account is full” and having to save stupid Outlook archive files to my computer
  • Email search that is just as clever and easy to use as Google Web Search
  • Filters that keep my inbox clean and tidy
  • Labels instead of folders (so a single email can be in more than one place at once)

2. WordPress

What is it? Blogging & Website Content Management System

Who made it? Matt and the world (open source, collaborative)

What am I thankful for?

  • That it’s free
  • Powerful CMS software that means I can build super-cool websites for clients (all it costs me is time)
  • Powerful plugins that extend the capabilities and functions of my clients websites
  • A community of theme developers that make it easy to make the website look great with just a click

3. Apache / PHP / MySQL

What is it? The 3 components you need for a website server. Apache: the software that runs on the web server.  PHP: the programming language. MySQL: the database software

Who made it? Nerds.

What am I thankful for?

  • That it’s free (for web hosting companies)
  • And super-cheap for me because the web hosting companies have low costs
  • Since it’s open source, it’s super popular, so there is thousands of people contributing to forums which makes any question easy to answer, every technical difficulty easy to solve

4. Picasa

What is it? Photo organising software

Who made it? Originally by IdeaLab, now by Google

What am I thankful for?

  • That it’s free
  • An easy way to store and access all my digital photos and videos
  • Easy upload and sharing to Picasa Web Albums (1GB of storage free)
  • One-click email (resizes on the fly, interfaces with Gmail)
  • One click back-up to DVD for peace of mind (and next time it remembers which files have already been backed up)

5. Skype

What is it? Instant Messaging/Web Chat, Phone Calling, Video Calling, Screen Sharing

Who made it? A bunch of Sweedish/Estonian entrepreneurs

What am I thankful for?

  • That it’s free
  • Free international phone calls
  • Free video calls with my dad to show him his grandson

6. AVG

What is it? Anti-virus software

Who made it? AVG Technologies (formerly known as Grisoft)

What am I thankful for?

  • That it’s free
  • It just does its job and doesn’t get in my way
  • So I don’t have to pay Norton

More Free Software That I Am Thankful For:

  1. Firefox (My window to the world, with truck loads of useful plugins available)
  2. Google Analytics (Website statistics)
  3. Open Office (Just as good as Microsoft Office, and completely free)
  4. Google Calendar (Keeps me organised)
  5. Google Docs (Online document storage, excellent for collaborating on documents with others)
  6. LimeSurvey (Powerful survey software, and completely free)

I’d be completely rooted if these companies started to charge (especially Google).

More Free Software That My Twitter Friends Are Thankful For:

  1. Gimp (Photo editor similar to Photoshop) @AudaciousGloop
  2. Zoho CRM (Customer Relationship Management) @AudaciousGloop
  3. Seesmic Desktop (Desktop client) @ShotByRobins
  4. Faststone Screen Capture @ShotByRobins
  5. uTorrent (Torrent client) @ShotByRobins
  6. Copernic (Desktop Search) @ShotByRobins
  7. VNC (Virtual Network Computing) @ShotByRobins
  8. Hootsuite (Twitter client) @WebSam
  9. Sylpheed (Email client) @WebSam
  10. Thunderbird (Email client) @DeepWebDesign
  11. Tweetdeck (Twitter client) @DeepWebDesign
  12. Oolite (Addictive online game) @DeepWebDesign
  13. Faststone Image Resizer @DeepWebDesign

What Software Are You Thankful For?

Add your thoughts to the comments below.

Evidence That The Whole Vegemite “iSnack 2.0” Fiasco Was A Genuine Mistake

iSnack2.0 Brand that lasted 5 minutes

The old way of launching a new FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Good) product:

  1. Marketing team comes up with alternative names (using focus groups, brainstorming etc)
  2. Present the shortlist of their favourites to management for them to choose
  3. The product is launched with the new name with a huge amount of expensive mass advertising

The new way of launching a new FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Good) product:

  1. Put the product on the shelf without a name with the promotion “Name Me” on the front inviting suggestions from the public
  2. Marketing team chooses their favourite 10 names
  3. Let the public choose their favourite name from the list
  4. Announce the winner
  5. Launch the product with the new name

5 Reasons Why “The New Way” Is A Superior Method of Product Naming:

  1. At each step you are adding thousands of potential customers email addresses into your database,
  2. and you get their permission to communicate with them
  3. You are telling your customers that you want their input – so they feel special
  4. The promotions are potentially viral
  5. The promotions are potentially newsworthy

But why did Kraft skip Step #3 (“Let the public choose their favourite name from the list”) the first time around?

There are 3 possible reasons:

  1. They forgot
  2. Management actually thought that their own opinions were more important than their customers
  3. They skipped it on purpose to cause an outrage

In a recent poll, 75% of respondents did indeed think the the whole debacle was on purpose.

Recap of the Kraft Timeline:

  1. Launch promotion to name the new “Vegemite + Cream Cheese” spread using the hugely popular strategy of “let our fans decide what the name should be”
  2. 40,000 suggestions come in from Australia and New Zealand
  3. A junior marketing team creates a shortlist for the Kraft board of directors to choose from
  4. They choose “iSnack 2.0”, and hand out the prize
  5. The public goes mental. They hate the new name (but more than that, they hate that they weren’t asked what the name should be)
  6. Kraft releases a short list of 7 names for the public to choose from
  7. The most popular is Cheesybite with 36% of the 30,000 votes (winning by a 13% margin)

What’s on the shelf?

3 jars of the Vegemite + Cream Cheese spread, each with different labels:

  1. The first “Name Me” jar
  2. The second “iSnack 2.0” jar (which are now collectors items)
  3. The third “Cheesybite” jar

How many of those would you recognise and probably even talk to a friend about if you saw one on the shelf, or in your friend’s pantry or fridge?

All of them.

What did Kraft get out of the experience?

They looked like fools for a while, but were compensated by millions of dollars of free publicity, nationwide brand recognition, and thousands of product trials.

Their new brand is off to the best possible start.

Did they screw up on purpose?

Whether they did it on purpose is an interesting question.

Would you willingly look like a fool in exchange for the chance to make truck loads of cash?

Just as many people would as those that wouldn’t.

If you don’t have pride you have little to lose when you’re humiliated. If you are a business executive who wears a suit everyday, I suggest you would be proud and you wouldn’t take that chance.

So I conclude it was a genuine mistake.

But it doesn’t really matter if it was a mistake or if it was on purpose, what matters is results!

And they certainly got results.

Who in Australia and New Zealand hasn’t heard about Kraft’s new vegemite spread?

Very few haven’t heard about it.

Think about it. It’s vegemite. It’s not remarkable. It’s not a mainstream spread like peanut butter or jam. It has a unique peculiar and only appeals to a certain proportion of the population (popular with pregnant women including my wife and sister-in-law).

So they need to expose the taste to the largest population possible so out of the 10’s of thousands that try it, they can lock in the few that like it.

So what they have done is amazing.

What “mistakes” can you make “on purpose” to get this kind of attention?

Let’s have a brainstorm you and I, email me or phone (07) 575 8799

– Sheldon.

Is Your Target Market Small to Medium Sized NZ Businesses? How to Choose Advertising That Reaches Them

This article answers 2 questions:

  1. Where can you find stats about your target market (if you are B2B)?
  2. How effective is your advertising at reaching this target market?

1. Where can you find stats about your target market (if you are B2B)?

The ministry of Economic Development released the following report in July 09:

Small – Medium Sized Enterprises (SME’s) in New Zealand: Structure and Dynamics – July 09 (1.48Mb .pdf)

Essentially it is a very pretty version of what has been available from the Stats.govt.nz website for about 6 months.

A Quick Summary of My Favourite Statistics From the Report:

  • An SME (Small – Medium Sized Enterprise) is defined as 0-19 employees (97% of all NZ enterprises)
  • 67.8% of New Zealand businesses have zero employees
  • How can an enterprise have zero employees?
    • “could be working proprietor-only, or self-employed, businesses or of enterprises that may require no labour input, such as asset and property investment”
  • How many SME’s in the top 5 major centres?
    1. Auckland 147,622
    2. Canterbury 58,457
    3. Waikato 48,427
    4. Wellington 46,606
    5. Bay of Plenty 31,115

What can we do with these statistics?

Actually not much.  We have to dig a bit deeper using the “Table Viewer” on the stats.govt.nz website to really find out what’s going on.  (It’s a bit tricky at first, but you’ll get used to it, and then it becomes very powerful)

If your business is B2B (Business to Business), we can determine the size of your target market.

For example, the target market for my business (Marketing Consulting) is Tauranga businesses with 1-19 employees.

  • Total number of NZ businesses: 507,800 (with 1,970,000 employees)
  • Total Tauranga businesses: 13,600 (with 51,200 employees)
  • Proportion of NZ businesses with 1-19 employees: 29.3%
  • Estimated SME’s in Tauranga (0.293 x 13,600) = 3,985

So there are 4,000 local businesses in my target market.  More than I could reach one at a time with phone calls or knocking on doors, so perhaps some advertising could serve to filter these business and determine which ones are in need of my services.

But what types of advertising can reach this target market?

This brings us to the next question:

2. How effective is your advertising at reaching this target market?

What are your favourite methods of advertising?

  • Community newspapers?
  • Daily Newspapers?
  • PO Box Drops?
  • Direct Mail? (i.e. using purchased mailing lists)

Let’s look at the Business PO Box Drops as an example.  I am asking “How many of the businesses in my Tauranga target market can a Business PO Box drop reach?”.

The first step is to ask Reach Media how many business PO Boxes they have in Tauranga: 2500.

They can’t tell me which of those are owned by SME’s, so that number includes all size businesses, so:

  • Total business PO Boxes in Tauranga: 2500
  • Guess of the % of those with 1-19 employees: 50%
  • Reach: (0.5 x 2500) = 1250
  • % of target market reached by PO Box: (1250/4000) = 31%

So 31% of my target market can be reached by PO Box drop.

This indicates that using this method of advertising in isolation will only reach a third of my target market.  Therefore, to reach more of my target market I would need to build in other forms of advertising into my campaign.

Would you like me to crunch the numbers on your business?

Are you wondering about the answers to some of the questions listed above?

I can help. Call me on (07) 575 8799 today or email me.

Should You Sell Space On Your NZ Website For Banner Advertising?

You might be thinking “hey, we’ve got quite a bit of traffic to our website these days, we could earn easy money by selling space for banner advertisements!”

STOP you silly goose! Here’s why:

5 Reasons NOT To Sell Space on Your NZ Website For Banner Advertising:

1. Because you don’t really want to send potential customers away to someone elses website

I assume you work reasonably hard at getting visitors to your website in the first place? Perhaps you use techniques like:

Why, after all that hard work, would you send them away again as soon as they arrive?

Is the revenue model for your business “to earn 30c by sending a potential customer away to someone elses website”?

For your sake, I hope not.

2. Because it’s not the action you want your web visitors to take

When you were planning your website with your website developer I’m sure one of their questions was “what action do you want your visitors to take?

You may have chosen one of the following:

  • To call your sales team
  • To fill in a contact form
  • To sign up for your newsletter
  • To buy from you online

Was the answer to that question ever “to send them to someone elses website”?

No, of course not.

3. Because you’re not the NZHerald or TradeMe

Banner advertising is suitable to “portal” website which have truckloads of daily visitors and gazillions of web pages.


Well then selling banner advertising space is not a viable revenue generation model for you.

4. Because you don’t want to look cheap

It is common knowledge that the effectiveness of banner advertising has reduced over time.

One of the major reasons for this is a phenomenon known as “Banner Blindness“.

This is a condition where the more you use the internet, the more you are able to determine what ads commonly look like, and where they are likely to be on the page, so you can easily “tune them out” to the point where you are not conscious of their existence at all.

In response to this “Banner Blindness”, many advertisers resort to cheesy techniques designed to interrupt your visitors in the middle of their tasks, such as “CLICK HERE, CLICK HERE!”

The use of these techniques cheapens your visitors experience of your website.

Additionally, you probably spent considerable time and money getting the colour scheme of your website just how you like it?  Well, it is in the best interests of advertisers to create banners that clash with your colour scheme so their ads have a better chance of being noticed.

And if the flashing text and images annoy’s them, who gets the blame for being annoying? Not the advertiser, you. After all, you chose to allow those ads to flash in your visitors faces, so you get the blame. Do you really want to annoy potential customers?

Your website will look cheap. And I’m thinking that’s not the image you were going for?

5. Because it is not as lucrative as you might think

Let’s say for the sake of argument that you choose to use the Google Adsense programme to handle serving your banner ads for you to save you the significant hassle of doing it yourself.

Let’s see what daily revenue you can expect:

  • Daily visitors to your website: Eg 1000/day
  • Typical Click-through-rate for Banner Ads: 0.5%
  • Typical Earnings-Per-Click: $0.30
  • Total Earnings per day: $1.50

It’s just not viable.

It makes even less sense if you are using Google Adwords to get people to your website.  If you are spending an average of $1 to get a visitor to your website and earning $0.30 to send them away, you should be fired.

What should you be doing instead?

Here are a few ideas for how you can improve your website and earn more money than you ever could with banner ads:

  1. Count the number of clicks it takes for a web visitor to take the action you want them to take. Make changes to halve that number.
  2. Reorganise the content of your website around your potential customers goals (i.e. solving the problem they’ve got), rather than around your goals (i.e. selling what you’ve got)
  3. Invest in Search Engine Optimisation so Google sends you potential customers for free

Need More Help?  Need to Generate Better Results From Your Website?

If you have a small-medium sized NZ business, then I can help you with:

  1. Generating more traffic using Search Engine Optimisation and Google Adwords
  2. Converting your web visitors into paying customers

Call me now on (07) 575 8799 or email me for your FREE 45 minute Marketing and Advertising Review.

How I Completely Redeveloped an Education Brands Marketing to Increase Enrolment and Drive Down Student Acquisition Cost

The Story

The client was offering a high quality education product but didn’t have the resources in-house to market and package it well.

Problem areas identified included:

  • A single webpage about the product hosted on an unrelated website
  • Confusing brand name, logo, and other imagery
  • Poorly formated promotional material
  • Unattractive, hard-to-navigate, error-ridden intranet for enrolled students
  • Poorly performing advertising

Steps I took to fix these problem areas:

  1. Constructed a business and marketing plan by answering questions such as:
    • Who is the target market?
    • What do they want?
    • What do we have to offer them?
    • Why would they choose us over a competitor?
    • What questions do they want answered before they will committ?
    • What kinds of advertising would reach them?
  2. Renamed the product with a simple, descriptive name
  3. Created logo
  4. Built an independent website for the product and optimised it for search engines (and later, redeveloped the student intranet)
  5. Wrote completely fresh content for the website with a focus on the target market: prospective students
  6. Wrote a long copy print advertisement (200 words)
  7. Tested several variations of the print advertisement over a 6 month period to determine the best headline, body copy, and call to action
  8. Tested various advertising mediums such as radio, daily newspapers, community newspapers, internet advertising (google adwords)
  9. Measured the response. Made incremental improvements.

The Results

150% increase in Enrolments over time:

78% Decrease in Cost Per Enquiry over time:

Could your business benefit from results like these? It’s time to hire your own marketing department (but at a fraction of the cost)

Contact us today or book a free 45min consultation now