Tag Archives: Promotion

Aggregation vs. Filtration Pt.2

Two years ago I was floundering as an online marketer for my sketch comedy group Extra Medium. Every time I posted our library of short films to a site, a new, more hip alternative arose.

I posted to Vimeo, Veoh, Dailymotion, Break, Funnyordie, MySpace, Google Video, Prelinger Archives and even made a little money from Revver‘s click-through ad system which awarded content providers per redirect.

Then YouTube rose from the muck the apparent victor, was bought by Google and cracked down on copyright violations. I had posted a digital video short which featured a snippet of a popular artist’s song and YouTube deleted my account. The hours of tagging, uploading and writing descriptions were void. Instead of blocking one video or asking me to verify my right or to remove the video myself, YouTube lost my 40 videos with thousands of hits. And I haven’t been back since.

Soon, new means of distributing feeds and rich media became mainstream. I launched the same online video as a podcast, subscribable through iTunes, RSS readers and browsers.

I was trying desperately to compete with Portland’s self-proclaimed “best” sketch comedy ensemble The 3rd Floor. They host the region’s best sketch comedy festival, have the best performance space, a long legacy, the most accomplished cast of trained, working actors, great press and great buzz. But not much online video. Web searches for sketch video were much more likely to bring up Olde English, Lonely Island or locals Cinema Queso. I thought I could flood cyberspace with one of the most sought-after commodities, funny video, and come out on top somehow. It turned out to be an awful marketing strategy. It essentially left a paper trail of dirty jokes and pixelated web-dross to my personal online identity. How am I going to explain that to a potential employer? If I’d spent just as much time blogging that Extra Medium were the best sketch comedy collective in Portland, I could have spun that into some real press and buzz. No wonder The 3rd Floor stole my girlfriend.

Too much information means all the while people are collecting more feeds, news, updates and e-letters, the more they ignore, scan and bounce. But legitimate sources of information get qualified hits. Their real estate get the right eyeballs. I liken my video proliferation campaign to flyering telephone poles. It’s throwing fistfulls of pea gravel, hoping you hit something significant. In the meantime, you’ve made a gritty mess and annoyed unintentional targets. What always drove traffic to our sketch show was word-of-mouth, friends-of-friends and being recommended as pick-of-the-week in local weeklies.

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Commerce and Culture meet, get along, but no sparks fly

I have been effectively marketed-to by a short list of bands 1) releasing an album early online-only, 2) announcing a prestige packaging / limited edition version of an album available between certain dates in brick & mortar stores or 3) giving fans on their mailing list first ability to purchase live concert tickets online.

In each case, I felt duly incentivized and clicked outside of the email ad to an external site, where I had to register all over again and navigate a checkout process, OR, better, I stepped away from the computer, left my home and bought something using my real phalanges and dirty green wallet-lining.

Each instance demonstrated the same pattern: 1) I would have bought it anyway, the email blast made we aware of its existence, and 2) they advertised things which I’d grown accustomed to purchasing elsewhere and convinced me not to put off the purchase, but compromise and but now. It didn’t feel more convenient. I like record stores and would be visiting one soon anyway. The only campaign that prompted greater revenue was one which convinced me to buy the same album twice, once as pre-release mp3, then months later on vinyl record.

If I translate that to myself as a marketer using online tools, I really need a good email list of people who voluntarily signed up for updates. Such individuals will happily open my can of spam, taste it and not complain that it’s too salty. Then they will need to feel that their relationship with me is exclusive, limited, VIP. Because they feel special, I’ll offer something in short supply, to collect and relish, to strengthen customer loyalty. Then, by strategically releasing my commodity in stages to various tier markets, each segment can feel it was uniquely addressed and supplied.

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EMail Accounts Manage Multiple Personalities

Remember when Jason Bourne opens his safety deposit box to find a pile of passports, each from a different port of call, each purporting a different identity? Very handy for a sleeper assassin, just as different email accounts prove very useful for everyone in managing information overload.

I like consolidation, simplicity and easy retrieval of information. My first email account through Oklahoma State University had a typically spartan interface and expired months after my last registration, so in 1998 I started my first Hotmail account. “Why pay for email hosting,” I thought, and after I watched service providers folding or being taken over, was glad I hadn’t. By the way, Netscape Navigator was the browser en vogue with technorati, and showed no sign of losing ground to Microsoft Explorer.

By 2000, I was getting so much spam that a second, reply-to-only Hotmail account filtered running dialogues into a prioritized inbox. I returned to school in 2003 with my first Mac in tow, so learned how to access my pdx.edu webmail using Apple’s Mail application, avoiding the university’s clunky Web 1.0 and mass-mailings.

To join a stand-up comedy message board for Portland, I needed a Yahoo! account, even though my digests are sent elsewhere. Now that login accesses my flickr account and little else. I made an AOL ID for instant messaging, but found more friends used MSN IM. I opened some SMS account for mobile phone messaging too, but texting since became universal and required no outside hosting.

I’m very anal-retentive about cleaning out my inbox, so when GMail recently introduced labels (similar to Hotmail’s folders), I got a little excited. I keep action items visible and archive everything else in GMail, then cross my fingers that a boolean search of my 785 MB backlog will locate a specific thread. It doesn’t. I’m also anal-retentive about what I keep, so it’s real bummer to get a reminder of a tirade from an angry ex-girlfriend in a search for a password or software serial number.

I’ve stuck to primarily using one GMail account for everything requiring immediate attention, or which seems legitimate enough to trust it won’t sell my address to solicitors. It’s spam filter is merciless compared to Hotmail’s, which after specifying any number of filter parameters, can still be easy fooled. Saving myself from multiple logins, passwords and avatars has streamlined things. I even do all (if any) IM within GMail chat. Sometimes I feel like a catfish bottomfeeding a murky information pond, filtering so much muck each day for tiny bits of sustenance. Generally, I just feel like it’s a fact of modern life.

THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 12 LIGHTBAR LECTURE SERIES:
The DeSmurfi Code and The Skywalker Paradigm
7:30 PM DRESS CODE: SMURF and/or JEDI
Local raconteurs Illion Maybe and Jack Eggers use the LIGHTBAR realtime propaganda system to reveal the shocking untold truths behind the official histories of Luke Skywalker and the Smurfs!

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Golden Greats @ Light Bar

Saturday, February 28. Closing night party of Light Bar, the SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) combatting temporary structure filled with artificial sun. Eclectic funk masters The Golden Greats can even get feet to scoot on grass, as will be the case at this raucous outdoor event. Drums made of recycled materials and the senses-defying photoreactive Drum Buddy rock along with horns, vocoded keyboard, searing guitar and gurgling bass.
Free, all ages, 536 NE 27th Ave Portland OR 97211

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Help! A Book Trailer!

I wish I could’ve posted the higher-res version from vimeo, but the WordPress code doesn’t like their embed code.

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