Posts Tagged ‘marketing mistakes’

Zappos’ targeted ads: privacy violation?

About five days ago I decided it was a time to retire my old brown dress shoes so I went online, as I usually do, to shuffle over the hundreds of models that my search yielded.

So I went to my usual first option:, but couldn’t find something I liked so, I went to a few other sites until I did and finished my transaction. All good now, time to forget about brown shoes.

Today while reading a few blog posts at, one of my preferred blogs, I was creeped out by some ads displaying the shoe models I was looking at at Zappos! But on my favorite blog?

As an interactive marketer I had always supported targeted and personalized advertising but now that I experienced it, I think this went too far, it is just creepy.

It’s like I went to the shoe store and five days later the shoe salesman approaches me at lunch, out of nowhere, to tell me to buy the shoes I “touched” during my last visit, I personally find it outrageous!

So I tweeted the following:

@ferdelat 11:40am:
Zappos ads that show the shoe models I didn’t shop are annoying and creeping me out a lot. Stop stalking me!!

And this is the response from Zappos

@Zappos_Service 12:37pm:
@ferdelat I’m sorry. Those ads are running on your computer’s cookies and cache. If you clear them, the ads should go away.

Although Criteo, the company serving those ads, states that the information is anonymous you would have to go to configuration to prevent these ads from showing. What I’m concerned about is that I never signed-in and now I have to opt-out.

What happened to the question: Would you like to receive more information about ____________?

And the fact that a different company, not  Zappos, is controlling that information creeps me out even more! Why does Criteo know what I’m watching online? What else do they know?

When I’m done buying shoes I just want to close the window and forget about that. I don’t want to buy 25 pairs of shoes! Same as when I leave a store.

So, the ad wasn’t relevant, but it did creep me out. I’m blocking these ads and if you want to do so here is the opt-out link:

And remember, you are being watched and followed – stalked would be a more precise word according to my experience.

What do you think?

Poor design begets cheap customers

October 13th, 2008 No comments

We all have heard sayings such as “Love at first sight,” “The first impression will never be forgotten” or “You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression.”

It shouldn’t come to a surprise that these sayings apply to your marketing communications as well, specially where the customer is going to buy the final product, like a store, a catalog and of course your website.
With an overwhelming number of offerings in the market, customers tend to make snap or gut decisions, usually determined by what they see and their reaction to it. This doesn’t mean, of course, that there are no educated buyers that do an exhaustive research before buying, because there are; however it will depend on what are you selling and how the benefits of your product (or service) are evaluated by your customers.

If you portray a poor image of your product or service, especially during the first impression, that doesn’t match your desired positioning you are in big trouble because you will be losing an important time to connect with your customers. I have seen countless websites that sell computer security and the look sketchy. How the hell are you going to trust someone that doesn’t look trustable?

Well, some people may not like the following statement but the vast majorities of humans are superficial and tend to judge based on appearance (maybe not all, but be honest, you have done so at least once in your life). Therefore if you are selling based on the image or brand your product begets then make sure you are sending a compatible message between not only your brand strategy and your product, but also your customer. You have to make that connection in order to excel on perceptions and expectations.

This is why design is an important part of marketing communications and should be carefully guarded. It should be a tool to reinforce your product or service benefits and if you get it right, it will contribute to consumer’s good will and loyalty. But here is a tipping point on this especially for designers and marketers: Your opinion is irrelevant; it is your customers’ what matters… but I’ll leave that for another post in which I’ll talk about it and about customer-centric organizations.

If this is the first time you read my blog, I hope I’ve made a positive first impression.

The guys from Site Tuners forgot about Economics

While doing my daily research about new products and services related to search engine marketing (SEM) or search engine optimization (SEO), I stumbled with a white paper from Site Tuners that is outrageously incorrect.

The product is called PriceTuning and they claim to: Establishing the profit-optimal price for a product or service. They supposedly do this by testing various price-points and getting the highest price you can charge your product or service according to the revenue per visitor, and here is the fallacy.

First of all what they are measuring is the Maximum Willingness to Pay for the customer, not the optimal price point. Why? The maximum willingness to pay is the highest price a customer agrese to pay for a product or service whereas the optimal price-point would be defined as the price that maximizes your profits of the business.

But, if I sell always at the maximum price wouldn’t I be maximizing my total profit? Well, not necessarily, and here is where the Site Tuners guys trip.

There is something in economics called price elasticity of demand that measures the nature and percentage of the relationship between changes in quantity demanded of a good and changes in its price. Uh? In simple words it measures how many units more or less are sold when a price change occurs.

I think is better if I explain it with an example, and I will use Site Tuners exhibit to illustrate it:

Site Tuners Error
This image was taken from the Whitepaper ProfitTuner from

You are selling a product and the price may range from $20 to $50, then you go to Site Tuners and they tell you the optimal price is $47 (according to their graph, because is the maximum point of the curve) and this price will give you the maximum profit from each visitor. This would be the optimal price only if your demand is perfectly inelastic. However, the optimal price should be linked to the quantity of sales you make. That is, if you charge the $47 you may have only 50 clients while you could be selling at $33 and getting 300 customers.

This analysis is done assuming there are no incremental costs if you produce more or less pieces of the product, circumstances that change the profit curve (but don’t worry, site tunes didn’t take this into account)

So, if you are using PriceTunning, review your total profits, you may be leaving money on the table, and please be careful on who you trust your pricing strategies. In addition, Site Tuners, please don’t call optimal something that is only half true, that could come back to you in the future as half number of clients maybe.