Repurpose That Content

I was fourteen years old when I attended my first concert in December, 1985. Thirty years ago! It was KISS at the Worcester Centrum (setlist here) and yes, I still call it the Centrum and yes, I will always call it the Centrum! This was the era when they toured without any makeup. At the time, I was blown away – all the people! So loud! Such showmen! In time, I began to realize it wasn’t a great era for KISS and the show was quite average.

Kiss without Makeup

Yeah, don’t do that again, guys.

As a total music dork, I’ve kept nearly ALL of my concert ticket stubs, including that KISS show. I’ve got some doozies, too. The Beastie Boys and Public Enemy in 1986 (Centrum!). Pearl Jam at Peabody’s Down Under in Cleveland (capacity 200! Setlist here). Nirvana on Halloween night in Akron in 1993. The list goes on and on. Those ticket stubs are somewhere in my house and I intend to repurpose that content at some point. The idea was to create a large piece of art that includes ALL my stubs and hang it up. Someday….

Which brings me to another topic – repurposing online content. By now, us Marketers know that the old adage “build it and they will come” doesn’t happen automatically – and it definitely doesn’t happen right away. Once in a blue moon you may catch lightning in a bottle and have something quickly go viral and man, let me tell you how good that feels. However, 95% of the time, you gotta work to make your content successful before and after posting.

Which is why I’ve never had any issue re-using old content. Obviously you need to choose wisely, as you don’t want to re-use content that is dated and will make you look out of the loop. While I was at Pure Hockey (large niche retailer), I consciously created content that I knew I could use down the road – and I did.

Our Hockey Stinks series, for instance, was an idea I came up with in January of 2014 and published in August 2014. Most of the promotion for this was for the hockey buying season of August-November 2014, but you can bet I repurposed this content a year later (Aug-Sep of 2015), when I used it for brand awareness on Facebook via some paid social campaigns. And guess what? It was good content that people can identify with, so it got tons of comments, likes and shares again. I also targeted the paid campaign to a slightly different audience, which helped.

There is nothing wrong at all with re-using content, as long as it’s the right content. If it moved the needle before and it’s not promoting an old product, there’s a good chance you can have some success or leverage it for another purpose later. So go ahead, post the same stuff multiple times. Different times of the day, different times of the month or different times of the year!

Sugar Pie Wants to Know

Personalization online is a hot, hot topic these days. Many people don’t even know or care that personalization technologies are present everywhere they surf, but trust me, they’re there – and some are more obvious then others.

Let’s look at Spotify, for example. Without too much fanfare, they launched the “Discover Playlist” over the summer and this kind of personalization is totally on point. You see, I’m a music dork and one thing I LOVE to do is find new bands and new songs that kick my ass. As a father of young children and a person who has a full schedule on a daily basis, though, the priority of discovering new bands was something that fell down the priority list. Here is where personalization solved that problem. Every Monday, Spotify drops their Discover Playlist into my playlists – personalized based on what’s in my library and what I’ve listened to.

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For those of you who remember such a time, this is pretty much the equivalent of your buddy handing you a new mix cassette tape every Monday. And guess what? It’s great every week! I was telling an old co-worker recently that at least one new artist a week gets a deeper dive from me when I listen to my Discover playlist. How do they do it? In a nutshell, they’re combining my personal taste in music with what similar fans are listening to and playlisting. It’s unique and it’s uncanny how on the mark they are with these playlists.

You may also occasionally receive emails from your favorite shops, see recommended products on websites and see banner ads on non-shopping sites that are closely aligned with your tastes. Not bad.

But here’s where it gets a little annoying, depending on who you ask – personal retargeting. Let’s say you visit walmart.com and explore the site because you need a blue blanket.  You don’t find one and you go to Facebook to check for the latest cat video and you see, right there integrated into your feed, a Walmart ad for blankets. What has happened here is personal retargeting, where Walmart has purchased Facebook ads on Facebook to people who visited their web site and left without purchasing.

Here’s an ad on my own Facebook page where it appears that J.Crew is targeting hockey players?

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How annoying is it? Well, to me it is and it isn’t. I could certainly see how people might be a little creeped out. I could also see how it could be helpful. For example, maybe Walmart’s offering a 15% off coupon to come back and purchase. It all depends on your tolerance. As a person who worked in online retail, I can tell you that certain offers for personal retargeting worked well and others did not.

Where it’s potentially REALLY annoying (and timely right now) is when you share a computer with someone else, such as your wife or significant other. You can easily ruin a nice surprise by seeing a retargeted ad on a gift that SHE found for YOU. Whoops.

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So…….good and bad, right? Want more bad? A couple of weeks ago I got an email from someone professionally that said “Hey Jeff, I saw you were on our site on Friday night, so I just wanted to check in with you to see if you found what you needed or to see if you had any questions.” Really nice follow-up! In fact, this is good practice. The problem? I hadn’t been on their site in months. Ouch.

These are some pretty basic personalization tactics – it can get much more complicated, but I think these real-life scenarios are just fun to look at.

I guess it comes down to the marketers of the world and making sure your data is dependable, spot-on correct and you’re doing it in a way that doesn’t creep out your customers. If Sugar Pie wants to know, then Sugar Pie should make sure she’s buttoned up and ready to deliver something meaningful to you.

Get The Wire Cutters

Stephanie and I had an interesting conversation the other night. What if we were get rid of Comcast entirely? Our phone would go away and we’d be on 100% cell. We’d have to pay for an internet connection, of course, but could get that through Verizon’s Fios. TV is easy – you can now get pretty much any show (HD and non) via the Apple TV, which we have. We only have about 4-5 shows that we watch regularly, so it’s not like we’d be breaking the bank for it.

Yes, other costs would go up (cell bill, internet since it’s not packaged) but it seems like we’d save some relatively significant money. This is a problem the cable companies are going to face sooner than later as Apple TV-type boxes make their way into people’s living rooms. Getting TV shows and movies via the internet instead of via your coaxial is coming fast! 

Alas, there’s one major issue here – sports. Still can’t get that via Apple TV. And while I don’t watch much sports these days, I still want the option to watch it and it needs to be there and available to me, even if I only watch four games a year of whatever. But I can’t imagine it’ll be long before the pro sports leagues realize the importance of the “on demand” model and start piping it in to you the same way we’d get our shows – live via the Apple TV or some similar contraption, for a per game fee. Oh yes, I’d do that in a second.

Bullets & Stock Tips

Ever since 1990 when I first attended Kent State, all my friends, acquiantences and strangers always had some kind of remark about the 1970 shootings. Lots of people told me things like “make sure you wear a bullet-proof vest” and “don’t get shot.” Never very clever, really, but still, I have to agree it’s a pretty easy joke to make. It also got old pretty quick. Whatever. But The Onion’s article this week actually did elicit a chuckle out of me, particularly the picture. Good stuff. I’ve laid off The Onion over the last year or so, so maybe I should start reading regularly again.

Stock tip? A few months back I started using Comcast’s OnDemand more than I had been previously. The reason? We cancelled Netflix when the babies were born, because the day they were born, the same four movies sat on the TV stand for about 3 months. It was a little sad, because I had been a member since June of 2000! But I couldn’t accept paying the monthly fee for dust collecting. We might subscribe again, but with Apple’s announcement and Comcast’s OnDemand, we may not need it.

Anyway, OnDemand requires a lot of backend…….stuff. That backend is powered by a company called SeaChange International, who handles OnDemand for many of the tier 1 and tier 2 cable companies in the U.S. I think it’s fairly clear that the cable companies will be a player in this stuff, so growth seems imminent. Now might be the time to hop on board SeaChange and get some stock – it’s at a very cheap price right now and they also just announced another deal with a top 5 cable TV provider. So I added them to my stable.

As a sidenote, 2 out of 3 companies I’m invested in are within 15 miles of my house. That’s one way to support the local businesses, I suppose.

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Now playing: Sweet – Wig-Wam Bam
via FoxyTunes

Facebook

The rise of Facebook has been meteoric, even Google-esque. Of course, I have a profile. I have to, really, so I can stay on top of things for work and it’s also, believe it or not, a decent networking tool. Not as helpful as LinkedIn on the professional level, but still helpful. The fact that you can play Scrabble against your friends is also a nice cherry on top! I am hopelessly addicted to Scrabble.

Anyway, there are rumors a-floatin’ that Microsoft is in talks with Facebook to take a 5% stake in the company. The 5% stake would value the total Facebook business at – get this – $10 billion dollars. Yes, with a “b.” To that, I say ohmygoddontdoit. Microsoft is in a very interesting position these days – they’re not cool anymore. That is the single biggest problem with that company. They can innovate as good or better than anyone. They’re just not cool. Facebook, be careful. Let’s also not forget how these sites aren’t just flavor of the month, they are more like flavor of the day! It wasn’t long ago we were all buzzing about Friendster and MySpace. The former is a ghost town and the latter is well on its way.

So apparantly there’s been some kind of back-end upgrade to WordPress, the site that powers this blog. I had to do some downloading and some FTP’ing, along with some moving around of files that end in tags like “php” and all kinds of stuff I don’t know. It was scary, man. At one point, I went to my site and it was ALL white. At another point, I got onto my page and everything looked normal – except that it said “this blog has no posts.” After I cleaned my underwear, I calmly sat down and figured it all out, though, and we’re back up and running with an upgraded, fine-tuned new version of WordPress on the backend. You will see virtually no difference here, except for a new tagging system and I have the ability to drop a signature with the song that is currently playing on my computer (via the excellent FoxyTunes).

So there.

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Now playing: Johnny Society – Chinese Torture
via FoxyTunes