marketing and sales executives from Silicon Valley

Friday, February 5, 2016

Oh Maker Shed, why do you mock me and steal my account credit?

I've been a subscriber to Make Magazine and even asked my family to send me gift certificates to buy items there. As such, I opted-in to their newsletter and patiently scoured each newsletter like a kid looking at a candy store, imagining the fun I would have when I purchased something on MakerShet.

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Finally, I found something that I wanted to spend my money on, but when I went to login in and make my purchase, Maker told me that my account didn't exist or have the funds I deposited. I tried to contact them and even send screen shots of parts of my Gift Certificates.  My requests have simply been ignored, and I don't know why. I've screen captured part of my follow up message after my first one was ignored.

They haven't lost my email, since they still send a newsletter to me, but their recover password system tells me I don't have an account. Even thought I've sent them evidence of my account, they choose not to respond. All I can do is keep posting on social media until someone notices or until I take other steps that will incur costs and times to recover the small, but meaningful value of the gift certificates that were were provided to me as gifts.

Any bets on how long it will take them to respond or resolve the problem? My first message was a week ago or so, and I just send another reminder today, Feb 5, 2016.

I'll keep a tally and track how long they ignore me and provide horrible customer service.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Goofy Accessory or Subtle Genius?

Fitbit is one of the best known pioneers in the smart fitness movement. I own a FitBit One, which is discussed here, and I recently saw an add for a product that immediately caused a love-hate reaction. 

The item in the image is the "Black/ Hot Pink Ribbon Wristband 2-Pack for Fitbit." It is basically a piece of cloth and rubber that holds a FitBit One. At first glance, however, it appears to be a piece of a scarf with a knot it it.

I mentioned that I have a love-hate relationship, and here's why -- the image makes the accessory REALLY look like a piece of $5 scarf that anyone could cut and use. A $5 scarf could be cut to make 10 of these, which merchants are selling for over $10 each. It looks cheap at first glance, but then I looked again and showed someone. 

The response? "That's pretty, and it looks way better than the cracking rubber case holding your FitBit One." She was right. it does look better than my aging and cracking rubber case, and it would sit on my wrist, instead of being stuck on my pockets which sometimes leaves me digging through the clothes hamper to find it. In fact, I had spend several moments thinking about buying a FitBit Flex or Charge over the holidays because I wanted the convenience of having a fitness tracker on the wrist, but I decided not to make the purchase.

The product suddenly made sense, and I wished I had one.

I still think that the product looks cheap and uses some terrible images, but I now believe that the product has a clear value proposition that I could really come to love. So this boils down to terrible presentation fighting high utility, an easily fixable problem.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Good or Bad Form: Leveraging a Strong Prototypical Character

Mercedes Benz introduced it's B Class, and all I could think about what how the introduction might rank as a "C" in terms of marketing choice.
The TV ad they used to promote the B Class tapped the prototypical mad scientist. I assume they somehow connected mad scientist with innovation for their electric car, but the visual and history of that electrification of corpses is too strong. If that already sounds whacked, it is, but it's worse on many levels.

In the Frankenstein genre, and every movie that taps into that "feel", the viewer is faced with a lonely and isolated location where there are few humans, whack science, and even macabre activities. The original storyline of Frankenstein is based on a mad scientist who robs graveyards for body parts to create a humanoid abomination. The stitched together body parts are then reanimated after focusing lightening on the corpse.

Does that sound like a way to introduce your latest car? Am I supposed to believe that the B Class is a combination of left over or junkyard parts? Is the B Class dead-on-arrival, requiring a jumpstart to use it? Is the B Class put together by a single crazy scientist or team of crazy scientists with questionable motives? I want to see the genius in this, but I'm stunned.  I can't help but think, will there be a bride of B Class that is also reanimated from car carcasses?

I may sound harsh, but this is less of a slam and more of a question about why Mercedes is shocking me so much. I expect Mercedes to innovate and create great cars. I don't expect to have Mercedes associated with left over body parts stitched together and reanimated by a stroke of luck. Refuse to believe that the Mercedes I've come to know for so many years is trying to push that message. I just hope that someone can see how this commercial is harming the brand.

Please oh please Mercedes, make some sense of this for me.