Thursday, December 24, 2009

the Christmas Cheer

It's Christmas time.... (well very very almost) A time of sharing, togetherness, reflection and joy. All of us have a different way of looking at Christmas and that makes the world interesting...

Find below some vids that I consider to be part of the Christmas feeling in some way: some frivolity, some seriousness, sharing the warm fuzzies around. Thank you for reading my posts and I wish you a fabulous New Year: that it may bring you all the best for the future.

Have a great holiday!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

free marketing

so what's the story here?
Goats can be useful. They munch, they are fully eco operational and they provide free cuddles when interested. On top of that: you have yourself a weeds clearing operation. Why didn't I think of this? RENTAGOAT: now available in various breeds to suit your lifestyle... Nico we might have a more sensible use for our fluffy flowers after all (aside from the Angoran wool and the future milking.)

and what's the free marketing? Seeing is believing people.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Age of Free

“Don’t presume your product is still valuable”

Rupert Murdoch is throwing a tanty because media is changing. He doesn’t like it because he can’t control how communication (through Social media) will work from now on. Comparing how the printed media incorporate advertisement to the new business model of selling Free makes sense to me. The focus has shifted a while ago from an advertising medium to no advertising which now is changing to freemium centered models.

“The key is to create the right mix of features to segment out the people who are willing to pay, but without alienating the users who make up your free audience. Do it right, and your conversion rates might be as high as 20%. Do it wrong, and your LTV gets very close to zero.” - Andrew Chen

The “Free” has taken over. The selling occurs through (free) conversation/download and the services and products are being paid for as a result (by select members). It’s mostly about what problem is being solved and what feeling of satisfaction the client has regarding the product that determines whether they’d be willing to pay. The key word here is value and how it’s exchanged. A relationship needs to be established first.

What is Freemium?

“Freemium businesses are companies that generate revenue by offering a free product with an upsell or premium version. Their economics blends elements of the free, advertising-supported, “eyeballs” business with more traditional e-commerce and subscription businesses.” - Eric Ries

Initially it was extensively used exclusively by the Information technology and Internet companies. But with the costs of digital duplications coming down drastically more businesses from diverse areas are moving into this area. The freemium concept due to its inherent nature calls for a high quality product that can be duplicated digitally. This is essential in order to use it in the freemium model - The Freemium Blog: Taylor Davidson

So in this time of Free how do you determine what YOU will give away for Free, if at all?

Good question as all businesses owners now think about this. And: should you really?

Time is the new value. Most of us have enough income to live on; we need services and goods to make our lives easier and to use these items to help us relax. Also: we require programs and products to keep up with the latest technology. How slow will your computer get if you don’t upgrade and look after it?

So how to decide then what fits our needs best? In the changing time of recession many try to reduce cost and find things for free. Once we trust the person selling us something for free, we usually decide to continue using more of their services or we decide to buy their product. This is the method transferred from the digital to the real life sphere where we have a free consultation and then decide to hire the business’ services.

The other aspect that’s interesting is wanting to learn to do things yourself: the how-to-websites continue to glow hot. People want to learn; easy, fast and NOW.

“I will (mostly) give anything Free a go and when Free exceeds my expectations, then you have my credit card; hook, line and sinker.” - Sy Yin Khoo – web & print designer as mentioned in Idealog

The Freemium strategy

The strategy uses the ‘free’ to showcase your actual value. I see it as a shopping window where you see the baker’s scrumptious muffins and breads. You can smell it, get an idea of the taste and you will decide in that moment whether you will go in and come out the shop with breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea or maybe the whole lot.

According to Eric Ries there are 3 models:

  • Free serves paid. Trading 2 currencies + user-generated content sites
  • Free trial. The original freemium model
  • Free as inventory. Pay only when you want access to a person or item.

Bottom line: the decision will have to be made which customers you will have to turn away by default and which ones you will keep. Another word that comes to mind is Niche: determine who your target customer is as you cannot appeal to everyone. Decide what type of consumer you will offer your service to and how you will approach them.

So what’s the story? Provide something they can’t get elsewhere.

A. The conversation is the process.

I see examples of various businesses that – either deliberate or not – use the Free consultation services to build a relationship with the client through conversation. What does this social dance do?

A conversation establishes:

  1. Listening ear: the wants and needs of the client
  2. Education: teaching about the product, client learns
  3. Likeability: establishing emotional connection
  4. Authority: “they know” creates trust, client feels secure
  5. Problems will be solved = satisfaction and peace of mind
  6. Repeat business

“Today the creative person first step is not to find funding and professional help, but to find a customer and make an impression.- Allison O’Neill in Idealog

B. Your unique insight in how to help clients brings you business.

“Your business asset is your insights, not people or good customer service.” - Matt Ayres

You will know when customers tell you how special it is that you help them in your unique way because:

You understand and listen to them
You give them what they want and make sure it’s a winwin deal.
You are actually looking after them
You have a superior product
Your procedure just makes things easy: customer loyalty

C. Adapt to the market

Understanding your target audience, how they think, what their needs are and what you and your service/product can mean to them is essential. It’s your Business guide for Dummies. Think about your mission and what you’re offering. As times change, will you? Your customers are likely to change with the times as well. Be aware: look around, read, talk to people, and keep your ear to the ground. Don’t think it’s just a fad and everything will return like before because it won’t. The main thing is to look clearly at what’s working for you and HOW it’s working for you. That’s the key.

You will have to decide who your target customer is: define niche
Is the freemium business model right for you?
If so: what do you decide to give away for free?
HOW will you integrate the latest technology and developments?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas spirit

The count down has begun! Lalalalalala oh tannebaum.....

What am I doing? Sharing the Christmas spirit! I have started a fundraiser for Les to enable him to receive funds to get his heating fixed as he is experiencing the winter cold in the US.... So far I have received the twitter support from 6 twitter stars. Let me know if you are excited too to show your Christmas support! Donate 1 item (digital or not) that we can sell off. As a Christmas Spirit Supporter you will be mentioned on the RES (cue) LES website.

And for now; think the lotus...feel the lotus... drive the lotus..... :D

Monday, December 14, 2009

the things we do...

I must be insane at times. There I said it. Work is busy and there's tons to organize at home before my parents fly in for Christmas. Not to mention the fact my business needs occasional attention. But what do I do? I come up with an idea to support a friend of a friend on twitter to see we can raise money to fix his heating system as he hasn't the funds. He lives in the US and it's winter over there. Noble? Maybe. Insane? Definitely.

I guess I can't resist the idea of being able to help someone out and then not doing it because it's not convenient. Truth is: things are never "convenient". Dying relative? Oh not now! (See that sounds horribly insensitive - this is an example ok) Friend in personal drama? Ehm... sure. Organizing all the Christmas presents myself? Absolutely honey! When? Seeing people before Christmas wen I really can't? AArgh. Even my hairdresser is booked to the max. Of course. So I will have to chop my own hair.

Darn darn.

So what do we do? Staple all the to do lists together. Try not to panick. Just start at the top and work my way down. Thinking of that bourbon on Friday.

Now please don't expect any posts or emails around Christmas time at which I will have collapsed in a pile and got the phone off the hook, internet plugged out and it's just me, my dear canoodly husband, our animals, family and friends snoozing on the lawn or hanging about in the pool (not the goaties in that pool 'course) But before then I promise I will work my butt of to keep my promises and to help my friends.

Wishing you restful thoughts and a great family time for Christmas....

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

media is changing

How media has changed:
The 10 ‘Women Online’ Trends 2009

This article was first pucblished about 11 months ago - how accurate has it been? Very very turns out.

"2009 is a make-it-or-break-it year for nearly every business in existence today. And as for women’s websites and communities, we think this industry is also in for a bit of a shakeup" Wendy Piersall

1. Women’s Ad Networks Glam media, Blogher, MomLogic, Martha’s circle are a couple of the women’s ad networks. Consolidation may be upcoming. The online advertising industry is best positioned to weather the economic storm, albeit with only moderate growth. For publishers, it’s therefore getting harder to get in the networks.

2. Women’s Social Networks. Piersall sees an epidemic of social networks to women, and in particular, moms. She points out that winners will be social networks and online communities for the top three activities women engage in online: shopping, reading the news, and socializing.

3. Number of Women online. Numbers will go up, as out-of-home entertainment with the recession will become more popular.

4. Social Media Marketing. Since social communities are here to stay, and women are extremely active in these communities, companies and brands are getting to the point where they can’t ignore social media marketing any more.

5. Beyond Advertising. Online communities will change their business models, introducing products, services and incentives instead of 100% advertising based models. The number of social shopping networks will increase: a mix of Engadget, Facebook and Shopping to find new ways to generate revenue.

6. Companies will Lean on Recession-Proof Industries. Craft retailers, health & skin care, groceries & cooking, children’s clothing and educational products are all relatively safe places to be in 2009.

7. Women Love a Deal. In 2009 women, and especially moms, who are increasingly online will ‘need’ a sale; so bargain hunters may increase activity across networks of sites, even in this economy. The lowest prices will win, and any site that serves up savings is going to do well.

8. Local Family Recreation & Travel Moms seeking cost-effective activities for their kids will be turning to the internet to find more things to do close to home. Families will go camping, do more locally at parks, attractions, and local tourist destinations, all to be sought online.

9. Think Green. Green will become mainstream in 2009. Women will be doing more (online)research about living more eco-friendly and finding green products.

10. How to- sites. The discussion about trends gave trend number 10, ‘how-to’ sites will do well.

writer: CEO, Wendy Piersall of Sparkplugging, a US blog network dedicated to work at home resources

Monday, December 7, 2009


So what IS it with happiness? All of us seem to be continually on the lookout. What if this... when will I win Lotto? But why would you want rescuing from your life? What could you do now to change it, and most of all: your perception of it?

Here's the Recipe for Happiness:
  1. Be a do gooder
  2. Don't sweat decisions
  3. Spend well> experience
  4. Aim high - but not that high!
  5. Be a joiner
  6. Stop dwelling
  7. Be grateful
So there you go,  that wasn't so hard to follow was it?  Forget about the result of the soup though... it's how you decide to cook it that makes the difference.

(Source of how to be happy)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Joi of Design

Now and again, when I'm very fortunate, I meet likeminded creatives that are slightly off the wall too. Joi Murugavell is a Designer Extraordinaire and works as an Art Director for her own business Joi Design, which she owns with Casper Buchanan. She works both in Melbourne - Australia, as well as in Auckand - New Zealand, and San Diego - US.

Last weekend I was very humbled to find on Twitter that Joi had done her "Oodlies" inspired by 4 people, 3 stars: @lewisbostock @simonmainwaring @audaciousgloop (Simon Young) and then also this Dutch chick she had met recently @QualityLMiriam... (read her posterous-post here)

I find her illustrations truly wonderful, Joi's style reminds me a bit of the artist Miro, who's work I'm still very fond of. Joi's "Oodlies" excude such a flirtatious wonder of life. They Zing Zang and go POPPPPPP!!!!!!

I also follow Simon Mainwaring. Simon is an advertising creative director, branding consultant, speaker and author based in Los Angeles US. Check out his website here.

The truth is there are many very active and intelligent cookies to discover beyond the usual realmness of our daily lives... Lewis Bostock (website here)  is a Public Speaker, Video Blogger, Citizen Journalist, Independent Filmmaker, Film Critic, Social Media Consultant. Another Kiwi, Simon Young has just started branching out in #SY (website here). Simon is a social media consultant, entrepreneur, writer and speaker.

So what did I want to touch on with this post? That unexpected things happen; that the wonderousness of people can still touch and amaze us.
That this week I'm very happy to catch up regularly with Joi -she is working on a snazzy project which involves my humble bovine-, but also with another Miriam I have met this week who is as cookie nerdy as me and then there's the lovely Shauntelle, who's finishing off an interview with me for her website. More about that very soon! Keeping you woockily doodly posted.....