9 posts categorized "Click Here"

February 03, 2011

Call Your Game. Play to Win.

Mike-tomlin At the recent AFC Championship game between the New York Jets and the Pittsburgh Steelers, near the end of the game, the Steelers clung to a narrow lead and faced 3rd down with 6 yards to go. The Jets were out of timeouts, but there were 2 minutes left in the game. Should the Steelers not convert in that situation, the Jets would be hard-pressed to march down the field on the NFL's best defense to score the touchdown they would need to win and advance to the Super Bowl. Conventional wisdom (as articulated by the announcers of the game) was to run the ball, eat as much time off the clock as possible, punt and let the Jets try its hand against that stout defense with just over a minute left to play.

It was a pretty good bet, all things considered, but a risk either way. Their punter had a kick nearly blocked earlier in the game, and quite frankly, he hadn't exactly been booming his kicks since he joined the team earlier in the season when their original punter was injured. A long punt return -- even for a score (which was the ruin of several Steelers games last season) -- wasn't out of the question.

A first down, on the other hand, would enable the Steelers to safely kneel down on the ball, and the Jets would be powerless to stop the clock. A first down meant the game would be over, but it was unlikely that the Steelers could get a first down by running the ball, since the Jets were stacking up to stop the run. An incomplete pass would stop the clock. For all intents and purposes, it would have been a free time out for the Jets. 

The Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, was not having a picture-perfect game, having barely completed half of his passes on the evening. It was no sure thing that he'd complete a pass or have the presence of mind to take a sack instead of making a risky throw against a very good defense. 

But when it came time to decide what to do at that critical moment, Steelers coach Mike Tomlin didn't hesitate. He did not vacillate. "Call your game, BA," he said to his offensive coordinator, Bruce Arians, who called a pass play that, in conjunction with some improvisation by the offense on the field, picked up a first down that sealed the game for the Steelers.

Had the pass been intercepted, or left enough time on the clock for the Jets to run down the field and score, Steelers fans around the world may still be calling for the head of Tomlin. Had the Steelers run the ball, punted and left the game to the defense, no matter what the outcome was, sports pundits would openly wonder if Tomlin lacked the guts to risk losing in order to put the game away.

Now, we have a tendency to measure success based on outcomes, and as such, it's easy to look at that game in hindsight, knowing full well the Steelers are going to their 3rd Super Bowl in 6 years and say that it was a smart move. Gutsy, even. But there's something the certainty of hindsight that makes us forget the loneliness of leadership.

Having observed Tomlin in action, I feel like I know enough to say that, had they let that 24-point lead they once had slip away to defeat, he would have simply said, "That was my decision. If you want to blame someone, blame me. I don't apologize for it. I'd do it again in the same situation." And he'd have plenty of evidence from his team's capabilities to supply such confidence, regardless of the outcome. But evidence doesn't necessarily stop the critics. That's what makes them critics.

A fond farewell

I bring this up today because I've recently decided to say goodbye to my friends and colleagues at Click Here and The Richards Group, with whom I've been fortunate to work with for nearly 7 years, to offer my user experience (UX) skills to the bright folks at Slingshot.

Though sad to leave the place I've spent so many days and nights and leave the good friends and good people who've toiled with me in rain, sleet, snow and sunshine at Click Here, I'm very excited about the opportunity that lies before me -- an opportunity to go for the win, not just for myself, but for my family, my new employer, their clients and their customers related to the projects I'll be working on with my new friends and colleagues at Slingshot.

How do you save the world? One project at a time.

In a recent conversation with a friend and project manager, Joe Wilson (this one, not that one) I expressed my philosophy on business and user experience that frames everything I do, and why I care and take my job very seriously.

In short, I enjoy helping good people and good businesses succeed for the right reasons, for their wealth brings higher employment and individual prosperity, and with that, a better opportunity to not only reduce poverty, but also help those who need assistance, voluntarily. 

"You're trying to save the world," Joe exclaimed.

"Yeah," I told him, "I am," without really reflecting on just how silly it sounded.

Because for man, this is impossible. I know this. Only God has that kind of power. However, that knowledge does not aleive us of our responsibility to our part. To make strides to his purpose, sometimes you need to pass when conventional wisdom says you should run. You have to take risks. You have to play to win, even if it means stepping away from the environment to which you've been accustomed to venture out onto a new playing field and a new strategy that you hadn't originally envisioned.

For one reason or another, that time has come for me.

I extend sincerest best wishes to the entire Click Here organization and everyone I've been blessed to work with over the last 7 years. I cannot express enough gratitude for what you all mean to me.

But I also look forward to the future with great hope and anticipation. Fasten your safety belts, folks. No matter what happens, we're in for a fun ride. - Cam Beck

 

May 11, 2009

Insights: Are Your Customers Lost? Because You're Lost Without Them.

Insights

Findability is one of the most overlooked tools of marketing. There's just no glitz in making things easy to find. Yet, in nearly every case your customers and potential customers  come to you, they aren't seeking out a "brand experience." They're looking for a solution to a problem or an answer to a question. If they can't find it on your website, often they will simply look elsewhere.

Making sure they can find what they're looking for is the first step in making yourself approachable -- a trusted resource.

In this week's column at the Click Here blog, I wrote about 5 Ways to Ensure Your Online Customers Never Get Lost.

It's not likely to happen by accident. First you have to plan for it. - Cam Beck

April 13, 2009

Insights: The Secret That Every Experience Planner Wants You to Know

Insights

"What do you do for a living?"

It seems like such an innocuous question.

But if you're in an immature industry and/or an esoteric field, explaining it concretely, accurately, and thoroughly can be a bit complicated.

Last week at the Click Here blog, I took on the task of explaining what an information architect is, and how one of its evolutionary paths has led to experience planning.

A lot of my readers have asked me the same question over and over again, so I figure it's long past time I gave them an answer.

Drop by, take a gander, and let me know what you think. - Cam Beck

Related posts
Three Essential Qualities of an Effective IA
R.I.P., IA
Experience Planning

February 09, 2007

Sales Genie: Dumb Like a Fox

Salesgenie

Every once in awhile... Okay, more than I'd like to admit... I get to see, hear, or read something that effectively teaches me I don't know half as much as I think I do. I watched the SalesGenie.com ad and was flabbergasted. In no way, I thought, was this worth the $2.6 million they paid for it. I was tempted to leave open the possibility that the ad had such low creative value that it stood out and was memorable, but ultimately I didn't think that mattered to anyone but advertisers. In a marketing extravaganza where consumers look at advertisements as entertainment, this certainly would fall flat, right?

Well... not so much.

You see, the bean counters at SalesGenie.com figured they needed to add only 700 new subscribers (at $180 per month) to break even. Since the Super Bowl, they added 10,000. Had they spent millions of dollars in overproducing their ad in an effort to "brand" themselves, they could very well have muddied the ad, increased their costs, and decreased the ad's effectiveness. Paul alluded to this on our last episode of DMZ... Some of these (Super Bowl) ads are creative and funny, but what good ist that if no one remembers the company? SalesGenie.com's message is simple: If you're a salesperson (and in our service economy, we have a lot of those), this product will help you succeed. Apparently that resonates with a lot of salespeople. 10,000 since the Super Bowl, in fact.

As for the "brand," well, this is where the rubber really meets the road. Brand isn't simply the warm fuzzy feeling you get from watching a great ad. Brand is, as Stan Richards says (The agency I work for, Click Here, is affiliated with The Richards Group), a promise. SalesGenie.com just brought in 10,000 subscribers willing to commit $180 per month in the hopes that this tool will help them grow their business. If it works, then their brand will be enhanced. If it doesn't work, their brand will be damaged.

To the brand's detriment, Paul also pointed out the site didn't display right in Firefox, which was something, to their credit, SalesGenie.com quickly fixed.

I suspect that this site will be like a lot of tools salespeople use; it will work for some and not for others. If it works very well for some, they may even become evangelists. If it holds intrinsic value, then most of the people for whom it doesn't work will realize that they are the problem, not the tool. However, if all it does is open up the flow of sales calls and junk mail to the same markets, it will fail miserably to build a good brand, and SalesGenie.com will go the way of the dot bombs of the 90s.

Whatever it is that we do as marketers, we tell ourselves that we constantly have to be cutting edge. We want to wow people with our message or in the way we deliver it, since that's our job, but in reality, not everything has to be cutting edge to be effective. Sometimes it's a simple message that people are dying to hear. In the case of SalesGenie.com, it was, "Work smart, not hard with our product." Time will tell if they're able to deliver on that promise.

This applies to websites as well. Eugene Loj points us to two low-budget websites that have worked well for their owners. We should resist discouragement wrought by this discovery. We just have to be careful about the lessons we draw from it. The websites are awful by a lot of ways we can measure success, and improving the websites' design and content might just improve their businesses. But this should prove sufficiently that all websites don't need pizazz. They don't all need to be bleeding edge for its own sake.

I think we can say that it was the accountants, not necessarily the "expert" marketers, who won this round (and there are many rounds to go). But that just goes to prove Seth Godin's maxim, that marketing is too important to be left to the professionals. - Cam Beck

December 13, 2006

Geez! What a Site!

Casiogzone

The agency I work for, Click Here, recently created a site for a new Casio cell phone, the G'zONe (pronounced "Geez-One"). I didn't have anything to do with the site, personally, which makes me a little sad, because our team, which included fellow ChaosScenario contributor Brian Linder, did a bang-up job on it. I don't know anything about the client, the product, or the project except for what I read or watched on the site.

As a small aside, when I saw what this phone was able to do, I was taken back to one time while on an outing with my Sunday School class, when we went on a canoe trip down the Brazos river. I waterproofed the phone in a resealable bag, but I didn't pay attention to detail, because some water (it wasn't much) got in and ruined my phone. I only brought the phone for just in case we got lost, stranded, or if someone got injured. Well, needless to say, had we needed the phone (and thankfully Murphy spared us that day), we would have been both figuratively and literally up a certain creek, perhaps without a paddle.

Also, I don't know if our military is planning on using it, but I can see how they would find its features useful. In the Marine Corps, I fixed electronic communication equipment, which we were always told looked big and clunky because they had to make it rugged. This just looks like a regular cell phone, which is nice.

The website is an awesome little experience, but I gotta admit -- client or not -- I kinda dig the phone, too. - Cam Beck

June 28, 2006

Picky Pretzel People Pick Pretzel Perfect Pretzels - Say that Five Times Fast

Here's another new website we just launched by Click Here - Pretzelperfect.com, a site promoting pretzel purveyor Auntie Anne's Tongue Twister contest. Kids across the nation are being encouraged to say “Picky Pretzel People Pick Pretzel Perfect Pretzels” as precisely and passionately as possible for a chance to win a $2,500 scholarship, a $500 shopping spree and a year’s supply of Auntie Anne’s pretzels. They can either submit a video or DVD of themselves reciting it, or come into a local participating Auntie Anne’s and let staff do the judging. (Mall locations, event dates and times are posted on the site.)

Check out the video clips of some of the kids who have attempted the tongue twister.

Kids ages 6 to 12 have until July 23 to submit their entry, and will receive a bookmark that includes a voucher for a free Auntie Anne’s pretzel. Auntie Anne’s will also donate one book per entry to the child’s school library. The grand prize winner will be announced August 14, along with 20 national finalists who will each receive a pretzel perfect party for their class and a $20 gift card.

The Pretzel Perfect site has all the details and contest entry information.

Here's a link to the press release we put together about the contest and website we built to support it. Let us know what you think ...

- Harley Jebens

DREAM Fund - helping colleagues in the adverising industry when catastrophic injury or loss strikes

Click Here, the company that I and the other Chaos Scenario posters work for, has just launched a website you may be interested in checking out.

The DREAM Fund is a nonprofit foundation whose goal is to aid colleagues in the advertising, public relations and media communities in the southweste U.S. when catastrophic injury or loss strikes.

Click Here helped revamp the foundation's website, the just-launched dreamfund.org. DREAM Fund's goal is a worthy one, and we were all proud to be able to help put this website together.

Regarding Click Here’s involvement in designing and producing the new site, Click Here Principal (and Chaos Scenario poster) Pete Lerma said, “We had the opportunity to witness firsthand the good this organization was capable of when one of our own was diagnosed with a terminal disease. DREAM Fund took care of her bills (quickly) and provided support for her in such a caring and compassionate way that everyone was moved by her experience. We were honored to be able to contribute our resources and time to help DREAM Fund help others like her in their time of need.”

Here's a link to the press release we put together about the site.

DREAMFund.org

Take a look and tell us what you think.

- Harley Jebens

May 31, 2006

Podcasting Sponsorship for Travelocity

Clickzlogo_8In my latest article on ClickZ, I talk about our recent efforts to help Travelocity explore the world of podcasting. The article ran on Tuesday of this week, and I've received a ton of feedback about it from readers. Podcasting is growing quickly as a marketing platform and people are eager to learn how it works. As I point out in the article, "how it works" is relatively undefined. With the exception of a few networks which are aggregating podcasts and offering some standardization, it's really something you have to negotiate on a case by case. Either way, we're really excited about podcasting as a platform. Check out the article here. - Pete Lerma

February 16, 2006

Come Join Us

Click_here_red_logo_smallerThere comes a time in your life...as an agency, when growth can be painful. The interactive marketing industry is growing. The agency I lead, Click Here, is enjoying an enormous amount of growth. As I was thinking, "What should I blog about?" it occurred to me that bloggers often talk about things that are top of mind. Well, at the moment, this human capital is what occupies my "everyday." We're looking for a few really good people, and I mean really good. Click Here is the interactive division of The Richards Group. We've built a strong reputation working with brands like: Atlantis, Hyundai, The Home Depot and Travelocity. We're a full service interactive marketing firm, which means we do websites, online advertising, search marketing, viral, etc. We have close to 60 people in our group. And currently, we need to add an interactive media supervisor, an account supervisor, an interactive project manager and a data analyst for our online advertising campaigns. If you have advertising agency experience, think you're qualified or know someone who is, let me know at our ChaosScenario emails address, [email protected]. I'm sorry for the shameless plug - but if you blog what you think about, I guess it's appropriate...Who knows, you could be the next Click Here team member and author for ChaosScenario. - Pete Lerma