Monday, April 16, 2012

see ... it's not just me

At the end of his review of the new BMW 328i in the 'ingear' supplement of the Sunday Times [April 15, 2012] Jeremy Clarkson commented:

"Then there's the problem with buying a 3-series. Go on, try it. Engage your internet, go to BMW's website and try to make sense of what's there. You can't. Not till you've found your reading glasses, and then go to Boots to buy a pair that is even more powerful. And even when you are able to read the microdot typeface, your computer won't have the plug-in necessary to enjoy an of the site's features. Not that you will understand what's on offer anyway, because it's either flowery rubbish or techno goobledygook. Soon you will give up with the complexity and buy something else. Well, I would, and that's a shame because whatever you buy will be worse."

I can add nothing.

Footnote: Today I had reason to look for something on the
MINI website. Not only was the usability so poor that could I not find what I was looking for, but the pages took an age to download [on the university's T1 connection] - and eventually the site crashed my firefox connection. At least BMW are consistent in their website presentation.
Footnote's footnote: I revisited the MINI webiste to copy the address for the link in footnote #1 - leaving the website open in another tab ... and after a couple of minutes I - and my colleagues in the office - were deafened by music from a video on the site. I have complained for years about un-invited music on sites, and this was an un-invited video.  

Sunday, April 8, 2012

when is Sunday not Sunday?

... when it is Easter Sunday.

I needed to get some DVDs for my mum and the excellent [read: cheap] Thats Entertainment * has a branch at the Royal Quays outlet centre in North Shields. However, I hate shopping in crowds so I went online to check the opening times so that I could be there when the shops opened - and got this on the website:

So I was there this morning at 10.30 - but only a couple of shops were open, with signs in others saying they were open at 11. Worse still, around half weren't opening at all citing 'Sunday Trading Laws'. It is, of course, Easter Sunday, so I will assume that is the cause of the limited opening - but surely the law applies to all shops?

Anyhoo - open at 10.30 was Costa [so I had a cup of coffee] and Thats Entertainment did open at 11, so all ended well. But here's the reason for this entry:

As I have said plenty of other times on this blog; unlike printed material, website content is easily changed - so why was there no accurate details of opening times for Easter Sunday? I wonder how many people travelled to the centre for a 'day out' only to find half of it closed? Was it deliberate because advertising the real situation may have meant fewer visitors? I noted on my way home that many other retail parks were closed completely - so why not do the same for your centres? Because here's the thing managers at Royal Quays: the chances are that those people who wanted to go shopping would have gone on Bank Holiday Monday [the next day] if they knew the shops were closed on Easter Sunday. 

* though it does bug me that they miss out the apostrophe in that's.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

right career for the web marketer ?

This is a long one ... so make yourself comfortable.

In chapter 10 of Internet Marketing when talking about Integrated Marketing I say that 'online' is often the poor relation of marketing and that it should be an integral part of any promotion - in this case the launch of the government's new National Careers Service.
Whilst having my breakfast this morning [banana, strawberry, kiwi fruit & yogurt smoothie :-) ] I saw part of the BBC's Breakfast News which included an interview with some from the Government Careers Service talking about the launch of a new service. So ... full marks to the PR dept for getting the story on national TV. However, if the interviewee mentioned a domain name or URL I missed it - so I fired up Google and search for "national careers service" - and got this:

Yep ... no listing for the new service, so [a] no pro-active SEO, and [b] no PPC ad.

So I searched on "national careers service relaunch" and got:

So I clicked on the top listing and was taken to - and half way down that page was the message:

So I put "next step" into Google and got:

When I clicked on that link I was redirected to: [note the URL - the new services has a dedicated third level domain name and website - which should have appeared in my first Google search].
Note that near the bottom of the page was a promotion for something happening today - but only when I hovered my mouse over it did the message 'Launch of the National Careers Service' appear. Nothing else on the page told a visitor why they had arrived on the website of one organization [the National Careers Service] when they clicked on a link for a different organization [Next Step] - let alone tell them why/how the new service will be better than the old one - which is what the guy on the TV did to alert me of the story.

Integrated Marketing? I think not.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

the bank that wants your number

I've trying to set up an online banking account with LloydsTSB and I'm having all kinds of problems, an example of which is this return I got when trying to fill in a form ...

Yes, you techie folk as LloydsTSB - I think you will find that J O A & N are actually characters and not numbers.