Monthly Archives: May 2013

Everton and Liverpool

Everton and Liverpool are two football teams based in Liverpool.

As you can imagine, the rivalry is fierce.

Blue vs. red.

One side of the city vs. the other side.

But there is one place where one of the clubs has used creativity to become the clear victor.

Everton decided to open a new club store in one of the city’s premiere shopping centres.

The club had to choose a name for the store.

They already had The Everton Store at their stadium.

So they decided to change the name of their original stadium store to Everton One.

Making the new store Everton Two.

Nothing particularly clever in that.

Until you consider what the shopping centre is called.

Liverpool One.

So the address on every piece of advertising is:

Everton Two, Liverpool One.


NB: For this an similar stories I recommend you have a read of

Should I start an e-commerce website?

No, you shouldn’t start an e-commerce website.

Still want to huh?

To help you decide whether you have what it takes I have put together this list of 10 questions you should ask yourself, to help point you in the right direction.

10 questions e-commerce webmasters should ask themselves:

  1. Are you cheaper than Amazon et al?
  2. Do you have at least 2 full time members of staff to run the website?
  3. Do you use the internet to buy things?
  4. Do you have any knowledge / experience of running a website?
  5. Do you think a site that doesn’t rank number one in Google can still be a success?
  6. Do you stock products that people can’t buy anywhere else?
  7. If yes to previous question – do people actually want to buy the products you exclusively stock?
  8. Are you cheaper than Amazon et al?
  9. Do you know what a USP is?
  10. Are you cheaper than Amazon et al?

If you answered no to any of these questions don’t start an e-commerce website.

Best of luck in the future.

Companies in orbit

Bob Hoffman, AKA the Ad Contrarian wrote a storming piece this week about how stupid people in business can’t do too much harm.

That’s because the companies that they work for have already achieved orbit.

That could be the reason why rash, social media driven decisions, no matter how misguided tend not to destroy companies completely.

Take PepsiCo for example.

In 2010 they launched the Pepsi Refresh Project that saw them divert most of their Pepsi advertising budget towards social media, most notably at the expense of their Super Bowl ad spot.

The project was an unrivalled failure and was clearly the product of a stupid person.

Despite losing some ground (-5% market share), things aren’t too bad for PepsiCo, they are still selling pop.

Despite making a decision that would have killed a lesser brand, consumers are on the whole oblivious to any change.

That’s because PepsiCo is in orbit.

As Hoffman explains:

“With enough energy, a satellite will escape the gravitational pull of earth and will achieve orbit. Once it achieves orbit, it operates on its own. It will circle under its own power for years. And the only way to knock it down is to get in its way.”

Businesses are the same.

PepsiCo and the brand Pepsi has so much history, so much advertising success and the weight of so many customers that they have achieved orbit.

PepsiCo has broken free from the gravitational pull of the world and has been orbiting for a long time.

It would take something catastrophic to take it down.

The governments of the world banning brown fizzy drinks would probably do some damage.

A stupid marketing executive isn’t that powerful though.

They can redirect the entire marketing budget to social media for a year and not worry too much about destroying the company.

So next time you see a big company do something rash, don’t just assume that it is a good idea because a big company ‘wouldn’t just do something stupid without having good research’.

Chances are it is a bad idea, just not bad enough to knock them out of orbit.

SEO industry is influenced by complicators

Search Engine Land is arguably the most regularly updated source of news for online marketing professionals.

Currently at the top of the bill is news of a new Google Penguin update.

The update is called Penguin 2.0, or Penguin 4.

2.0 or 4?

Which one is it?

Whilst I sit here with my morning coffee, trying to decipher the name of the update is hard, so what chance does anyone have of working out what the update actually means?

This is endemic of the current state of online marketing, where obfuscation is used as a tool to confuse clients to the point of compliance.

Look at this article from Search Engine Land about Penguin 2.0 / 4.

A full three quarters of the way down the page and words are still being used on working out what the update is called.

I (like many I suspect) scan these types of articles in the brief moments of down time I have throughout a day.

I like to think of myself as relatively able at understanding new ideas.

Yet I have no idea what this article is about.

“but if this next one is the “true” Penguin 2, are we going to make a mistake calling it Penguin 4? I’ll argue not as big a mistake as if we called it Penguin 2.”


After all of this name calling there is a video at the end of the article by Google’s alpha geek, Matt Cutts who explains what the ‘future holds’ for the search engine.

His headline message is this:

“Make a great site that users love…we try to make sure that if that is your goal we (Google) are aligned with that goal.”

That sounds pretty simple to me.

Don’t build a crappy website.

Don’t build a website people won’t care about.

Put hard work in and you will succeed.

That last one sounds familiar.

Oh, that’s right, that’s because it applies to absolutely everything else in the world.

Don’t overcomplicate things. Just work hard, moron.

Nothing is new

Everything creative you think of has been done before.

Stop fighting it, you won’t win.

Someone better than you did it first.

And then someone else did it again.

You are just repeating the cycle.

No matter how hard you try, nothing you do will be new.

Although this sounds like a desperate situation, it really isn’t.

Dave Trott champions predatory thinking.

Predatory thinking is about changing your perspective on a problem and only solving the part that you need to in order to reach your goal.

In practice, this means beating your competition instead of achieving perfection.

Trott tells the story of two men walking through the jungle being stalked by a tiger.

One of the men laces up a running shoe whilst the other scoffs: “you will never outrun a tiger”.

To which the other man replies; “I don’t need to, I just need to outrun you”.

The goal is to not get eaten.

Beat your competition and you achieve your goal.

And so back to creating something new.

To create something genuinely new is perfection.

It is hard and in most cases impossible – like outrunning a tiger in the jungle.

But why even bother?

True creativity is taking something that exists and showing it to a new audience.

To the new audience the thing will be new.

You know it isn’t, but they don’t.

One of the best examples of this is in music.

Pendulum is an Australian dance / rock music act.

They used to make run of the mill dance music.

To a seasoned dance fan’s ear the music was the same old thing they had heard before.

The true creativity of a band like Pendulum was to go chasing the affections of rock music fans.

They appeared in Kerrang magazine and played at rock festivals.

To rock fans, Pendulum’s music was absolutely new.

Yet the music isn’t new, the fans are.

But the fans don’t know that.

The band gets hailed as trailblazers by one camp and copy cats by another.

But at the end of the day they achieve their aim: sell lots of CDs.

Nothing is new, but your audience doesn’t know that.