Greetings folks,

"It's an odd thing, Mr. Ireton. Every
man who wages war believes God
is on his side. I'll warrant God should
often wonder who is on his."
Oliver Cromwell, From Cromwell (1970)

last week just zoomed by, so this
week's opportunities are short, but
meaty. enjoy.

1. STRATEGIES: examining etrading cards
2. EMAIL: email marketing 101
3. CRM: what you can learn from Xbox

*************** al berrios strategies ***************

STRATEGIES: do etrading cards work?
a new strategy being unleashed by
larger marketers such as AOL Time
Warner's theWB network and News
Corp.'s Fox Television Network for
their kids' programming, and most
recently, gamer Activision w/their
release of a new Star Trek vid game
is putting images of fans' favorite
characters on digital cards on their
web sites, w/the hope that fans will
flock to them to trade them like
real cards over and over. to this,
i say, bullsh!t. kids love exchanging
pics online, that's a fact, but what
these marketers are forgetting is that
their target aud isn't over 13, but
under: these kids don't understand
the concept of collecting or trading,
don't understand software & storage
requirements for this sort of thing,
and don't know how to read half
the instructions! anyone over this
is too busy trying to pick up other
teens and exchanging real life pics
of each other, b/c as i've been saying,
the internet is about interacting,
not ecommerce. neither group will
never dedicate the time necessary
online to make this a viable marketing

bottom line: perhaps at some point,
etrading cards will happen, as a
generation of kids grows up online.
but for the time being, it's a waste
of money to think that people will
actually collect & trade anything
other than mp3s and porno. the
strategy is built on a sound fact
of the internet, peer to peer is the
next big thing, but not on assets
a large enough base of users considers
valuable enough to use up precious
storage space. what kind of no life
losers do marketers think people are
when they come up with these sort
of gimmicks, anyway?

read more:
Heim, Sarah, "R/GA Enlists 'Trek' Fans..." AdWeek Magazine, Nov. 5th, 2001, p. 5

*************** al berrios email ***************

EMAIL: whenever i make a pitch to
someone, most people only hear one
thing, email. what i have found
interesting is that most people don't
seem to use emailing as a marketing
tool correctly. naturally, if you're a
business owner, you think everything
you have to say is important to your
audience. you feel that since it is your
email list, you can email 9 times a week
if you want. but most surprisingly,
whether they've read it somewhere, or
were informed by a "CRM" expert,
business owners & consultants alike
think that their email list is the only
tool for CRM and that CRM can't be
accomplished w/o the fanciest software
around. if you fall within any of these,
may i recommend a career change?

bottom line: news flash, you can be prez
Bush & people still won't care what you
have to say. it is important to always
consider your audience when sending out
emails. remember that they interact w/
other brands & their time is very precious.
always provide your audience with an
experience that they signed up for,
w/strict editorial direction with regards
to your content. don't think that they
love your email enough to read it 9
times during the week, either. remember,
too much of a good thing is never good.
they'll grow tired of your email &
consider it spam, deleting every time
they see your name. is this really
a way to build loyalty to your brand?
which, in case you're still not sure, is
what CRM is all about. whether it's by
call center, web site, sales rep, even
Michael Jackson's Return from the Grave
tour sponsored by Your Brand, CRM is
all about extracting more value from
your current customers by extracting
more information from them rather
than spending money on getting
new ones. and the reason CRM has
exploded is because marketers have
formulized better ways of allowing
customers to interact w/brands through
more enjoyable experiences, whether
online or offline, not fancier tech
that analyzes every click a customer
makes within an email. nothing is more
incorrect about CRM than the following
statement: "While [this company] has
about 7.5MM UVs each month..., it's
essentially a one-way street. The
newsletters, however, allow [this company]
to get a firmer grasp on what interests
its most avid fans by monitoring
their click through behavior." this
is not only expensive, but requires
strict discloser of what you're doing
when someone is reading a newsletter
or on your site, which, when created
with the proper tools, is a two-way
street, not one-way as suggested by
this company. Amazingly, i have always
found that just asking your customers
what they think and want has resulted
in better data, better relationships w/
them, and increased conversions, since
you're offering them a truly two-way
interacting experience. and guess
what, you don't need to spend more
money on incentives to do it. so then
the point i usually stress after a
pitch is, what good is emailing if
you don't have people receiving your
emails? and what good is CRM, if you
don't know how to execute a profitable
CRM strategy?

read more:
Lawler, Edmund, "Fine line between added value, spam", Advertising Age, October 29th, 2001 p. s4
Dobrow, Larry, "Tread Carefully on privacy", Advertising Age, October 29th, 2001

*************** al berrios crm ***************

CRM: think you know what it's really
about? the launch of the new Microsoft
Xbox provides a good example. it doesn't
involve super high tech software or
billions of dollars in marketing budgets.
it simply involves a really good product,
and reading what fans have to say about it
on gamer internet message boards. when
i am working on a campaign, the first thing
my iMarketers do is go to the target audience
message boards. there you will learn what
they like, where they go, and keywords to
use in creative & search engine optimization.
then, go to a chat room, talk with some of
them, and voila, you've saved $150,000 on
fancy CRM software.

bottom line: i advocate the use of fancy
technology, after all, that's how Wal-Mart
got to where they are today. but i also
advocate a more effective approach, which
is more manpower intensive, but will always
work better than technology. just put it
in perspective, Wal-Mart needs tech because
they can't speak to the 400 MM people that
pass through their stores worldwide every
month to ask them what they want. but online,
you can talk to over 50,000 per month of your
users by just talking to one person. me.

read more:
Garfield, Bob, "Effort manages to capture some of Xbox's 'kickassosity'", Advertising Age, November 5th, 2001 p. 49

*************** al berrios iMarketing ***************

Disclaimer: The recommendations, commentary and opinions published herein are based on public information sometimes referenced via hyperlinks. Any similarities or likeness to any ideas or commentary from any other sources not referenced is purely coincidental. al berrios & co. cannot control any results occurring from advice obtained from this publication nor any opinion(s) conveyed by any reader of this publication.

(c) 2001-2005. All Rights Reserved. al berrios & company, inc. Published by al berrios & co. This Report may not be reproduced or redistributed in any form without written permission from al berrios & co., subject to penalty.