Posted by mark @ 3:33 pm in General
We hope to develop a strong community of users at Alice.com. Step one of that effort kicks off today with the launch of our Alice community blog. If you are interested in the strategy behind this effort, please keep reading. If not, this is a really short post–I hope you use your extra time to check out the Alice blog, start following us on Twitter, and learn more about why we love toilet paper.
Marketing is about doing something for people
I watched a very interesting presentation by John V Willshire yesterday that captures a lot of what Brian and I think about the future of advertising, especially for start-up companies. The presentation is here (thanks to paul isakson for the find). I’d sum up my view of this presentation as follows:
Marketing has always been about connecting people with companies
In the pre-Internet days of mass produced, broadcast media, the easiest way to make that connection was with interruptive advertising
Then the Internet arrived, and marketing started to lose the mega-phone it held to yell at people to buy stuff
Without that mega-phone, marketing now has to add value to get people to pay attention
The result: if you actually do something useful for people with your marketing budget, they have the power to make more meaningful connections for you
This is especially true for the start-up. If you’ve got the next great product, the best way to introduce yourself isn’t with mass marketed, interruptive advertising. You’ll lose that game to a big company. The best way forward is to work really hard to be useful to a targeted community of users that will respond to what you are doing and will use their connections to spread your message.
The Alice community blog is our first step in this process. It’s an effort to spend our marketing resources engaging with people on their terms and in ways that (hopefully) enrich their lives. Please let us know what you think.
Posted by mark @ 8:03 pm in General
It was sad to see the news today that Microsoft has made the decision to shut down the Jellyfish Smack Shopping service.
This doesn’t come as a great surprise, as the published focus of the Microsoft acquisition of Jellyfish was to jump start what has become their Live Search cashback program and deliver a more customer-centric form of advertising to online shoppers. So although Smack Shopping is wrapping up, Jellyfish appears ready to live on in the Live Search cashback program. Brian and I think that cashback can be a game changer for online advertising, and remain excited to see what Microsoft is able to accomplish with the program.
Nonetheless, it is hard to see Smack Shopping go. From the start, the Smack Shopping community was fantastic. The talented team at Jellyfish worked really hard to deliver a unique shopping experience with Smack and the community responded, rewarding us in ways we didn’t even think possible when we launched the service. I’ve never seen a more loyal and engaged community of users online. All Brian and I can say is thanks to everyone who was involved. It sure was fun while it lasted. And we hope to see you stop by and say hello when Alice.com launches in a few months. Who knows, maybe even SD will be there.
So in honor of Smack Daddy (and Carl), here’s a toast to Smack Shopping and the Smack community. *Don’t wait too long buddy. Because once it’s gone, it’s gone
(Disclaimer: Brian and I no longer work at Microsoft and the opinions expressed above are from us individually).
Posted by mark @ 4:34 pm in General
Alice is beginning to come to life. We kicked off our first test of the service today, complete with a spiffy new beta web page.
Our beta test will begin with a core group of friends and family and expand from there. If you are interested in participating in the beta, you can sign up on our site right here.
We have never launched a company with a closed beta test, and I’m already feeling the benefits. It seems like quite a luxury to kick things off behind closed doors, learning and tuning the user experience before our official launch.