Mooch Marketing Archive

August 21, 2009

Trademarks: Where have all the words gone?

@ 4:42 PM
Buffalo.jpgGoogle adwords do a good job for us. There is no other way that we can drive highly qualified buyers to our sites at the 5 or 6 pence we currently pay.

There are challenges - succinct messages, effective calls to action and maintenance of real time prices to name a few.

Maintenance is taken care of by the increasingly impressive Mooch Engine. We can now receive a voucher code at midday, apply it to every relevant price immediately and include all of those prices in adwords within 10 minutes. We can now often get the price to market before the issuing merchant... which is good.

My recurring annoyance is the unrestricted spread of trademarks. Merrell don't want us to use their name to sell their products, neither do Ferrari, Brasher and a host of other name brands. This I can cope with (albeit we are actually trying to increase their revenue). These aren't words commonly used in conversation outside of the brand.

But how about "dancing on ice" this phrase, that used to belong to everybody, now belongs to a private company for the purposes of making money. No one is now allowed to use this three word string without the permission of a faceless marketing man... bad, but not the worst.
Imagine my delight when today I found out that buffalo is now a trademark. Someone owns this word and they won't let you use it (at least not on adwords).

This annoys me, but I bet it annoys mozzarella manufacturers, close relatives to bison and those gals who dance round the outside, a hell of a lot more. Not to mention the residents of that US town in the state of New York.

It is stupid but not unassailable - you see BuffaIo is perfectly acceptable... do you see what I did there... You should come here for Blogging tips!

Oh and while I'm at it could someone tell Google that Speed is more often used to describe motion than it is to describe amphetamines and Need for Speed is not a junky mantra it's a movie and a Wii game.
So use the words while they're still in the public domain, you'll miss them when they're gone.

July 3, 2009

What do Affiliate Networks actually do?

@ 3:09 PM

Babalu: Rickshaw Pilot and Affiliate extraordinaire

Mooch Marketing currently makes its way in the world by producing affiliate sales. We point people to the merchant with the cheapest price for a given product, they buy it and the merchant gives us some money.

If you've ever sat in a bicycle rickshaw in Delhi and ended up at the best 'Government Approved' sari shop in India you will know that the concept is global.... payment for introduction / sale.

However, unlike India in this market we introduce a third party who sits between the sari shop and the rickshaw pilot and takes some of the proceeds of the deal.... but for what?

To date, apart from one notable exception (which is the main reason for this post) our only contact has been to ask them to help us with problems we're encountering with merchant and network technology. Almost universally this has resulted in our chasing them 2 or 3 times as the Chinese whispers start, the complication ramps up and the problem remains static.

In every one of these cases we would have preferred to speak directly to the merchant because when we do things happen.

But earlier today I had a teleconference with Sophie Metcalfe of Affiliate Window and Martin from one of our mutual merchants. The whole thing was set up by Sophie who had identified both parties as having the potential for a closer working relationship and had clearly started to consider what and how was possible.

In one sense this is pretty straightforward but as we are a price comparison site who aren't prepared to promote or suppress prices (you know who you are) the opportunities can, at first sight, appear pretty blunt. Despite this we spent 40 excellent minutes learning about what each other did, finding some common ground and seeing if we could make something of it.

And we can - the potential for mutual benefit looks really promising.

So thank you Sophie for doing what we kind of hoped Affiliate Networks would do and for actually doing better than we had hoped. 

June 23, 2009

Yahoo Search Marketing. First Impressions or lack of...

@ 11:20 AM
We have a small problem: we can't move our ad budget through Google without compromising margins. As a result we decided to offer some money to the Yahoo people through their 'Sponsored Search' programme, which whilst sounding like the latest fund raising idea for the local primary school shares most of its characteristics with Google Adwords.

The initial sign-up process was largely uneventful although I'm not sure why all of the networks insist on the creation of a complete campaign, adgroup, keyword list and ad before being able to seriously look at how you're going to structure the account or anything else.

We had established that it was possible to upload our Google campaigns using csv files and chose the most straightforward example as our test - 6 ad groups in a single campaign. The import process starts with an export from the Google Adwords Editor. Top tip here is to only export one campaign at a time, since the Yahoo upload can get a bit lumpy otherwise.

Next you use the Yahoo interface to convert the file to its format before uploading it as a bona fide Sponsored Search campaign. This proved a bit tricky. The interface shows two fields where the link 'download' could be shown, unfortunately if there are errors in your file this lionk only appears in the comments box, and if you don't immediately realise that this combination of box and term are negative you assume all is well and try to continue.

At which point you have your first encounter with the message: 'The upload file you selected does not contain a valid header', which is Yahoo code for "You haven't sorted out the errors yet because you've taken this from the comments field and not the Converted Campaign File field where the nice downloads hang out".

yahoo.pngThe way you go about breaking the code is to do the same thing 3 or 4 times again before googling (sorry yahooing) the term and surfing the forums and blogs.

So if you're arriving here at this point in a similar journey I can tell you that "the upload file you selected does not contain a valid header" is almost certainly a result of negative keywords in the original Adwords Editor csv -  just delete them, start again and you'll be back in business.... or will you?

No, you won't. Yahoo want to check your site out before running your ads and this will take them.... 3-5 business days!!

So our first impressions are, well none yet, unless we're talking about being a customer of Yahoo which, so far, is significantly less impressive than being a customer of their major competitor.

I think I'll go and see what Bing is up to....

June 19, 2009

Adwords Professional

@ 11:28 AM
adwordspro.pngI'm chuffed to say that this morning I passed my Google Adwords Professional examination and having fulfilled the other criteria of loitering for a while and giving Google a few bob in ad spend I can now sport the natty GAP logo.

Now the next step... Mooch is currently running 5 accounts with upwards of 3,400 adgroups and even though we've automated 95% of them (more of that in later posts) there's plenty to go at.

Our oldest account celebrates its first birthday on Monday and we've amassed a huge amount of practical knowledge (none of which appeared in the test...) that has made a significant impact on our effectiveness.

The single most important thing for us is (in the words of Douglas Adams) the 'fundamental interconnectedness of all things' that's to say all things in the customer journey. Therein lies the rub, the approaches we get from Search Engine Marketing (SEM) consultants only point at that end of the journey, they often revolve around a very limted number of keywords and they rarely concern themselves with the bigger picture of site structure and customer experience.

So we're thinking that someone needs to properly join the dots and that maybe it's us.....