Posts Tagged 'Entrepreneurs'

Tapping the Facebook Audience

The Problem:
How can a small, start-up company with a miniscule advertising budget target a limited-edition product to an elusive demographic without breaking its bank?

The Company:
Bonobos, selling trendy athletic-cut pants online since October 2007.

The Technology Solution:
Andy Dunn, the Chief Executive at Bonobos has a Stanford MBA and a jaundiced opinion of advertising. But when his business partner designed a limited edition line of pants for Chicago Cubs baseball fans, Dunn knew he’d have to do some innovative marketing to locate men willing to spend $120 to wear bright blue pants with baseballs decorating the lining material and pocket edges.

Dunn decided the best approach would be to try a new Facebook self-service display ad system that had just been introduced in November 2007. Taking its cue from Google’s economic rise via self-service text ads, Facebook designed its Social Ads to be simple to create and deploy. Dunn figures that it took only a few minutes to create an ad only seen by Chicago-area men whose Facebook profiles stated they were Cubs fans.

The Outcome:
Dunn’s quickly launched ad ended up costing the company a total cost of $63. The ad was seen more than 250,000 times. And Bonobos sold out the entire line of pants.

Still, despite the obvious marketing potential offered by Social Ads, there are many Facebook members who consider them problematic. Because Social Ads are based on Facebook’s Beacon technology, there are recurring concerns about real and imagined privacy violations.

Facebook’s introduction of Beacon instantly met with resistance from its community members because there was no mechanism for its 50-million users to opt out of the system’s activity posts. The result was advertiser-sponsored stories being spread to each community member’s circle of friends in a manner that was generally considered an unacceptable form of spam.

Then in October 2007, retailing giant Target further soured the sponsorship possibilities and scored a widely publicized black eye with its misguided attempt to control the actions of its Facebook group dubbed the Target Rounders. The bad publicity made members even more reluctant to trust Facebook’s monetization efforts. Although Social Ads now allow members to prevent any public Facebook display of their private transactions made on other websites, there still remains no way for them to permanently block Beacon ads.

For now, Bonobos’ success proves that Social Ads can provide a win-win-win situation for small-budget advertisers, social network sites, and their online communities. Tomorrow DataDocsDailyDose.com will examine how one company used e-mail to transform its customers into advocates.

–J.D. Mosley-Matchett, Ph.D.
The Data Doc
You have questions? She has answers!

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Writing the Next Great Novel

Everyone has a story that the world needs to know. But there has always been a prohibitive cost factor if you wished to share your story with people outside your circle of family members and acquaintances. Fortunately, current technology has not only simplified the process of publishing, but it has also reduced distribution costs to zero for aspiring authors.

Following Gutenberg’s invention of the printing press in 1440, little changed over the centuries. Granted that the twentieth century provided automation and power improvements, but presses remained the tools of mass communication and the improvements more directly benefited commercial ventures rather than individual writers.

The first technological breakthrough in personal publishing came about with the rise of the personal computer, laser printer, and desktop publishing programs. Even so, these tools lent themselves more to the production of report and pamphlets rather than bound volumes and novels. There was also the remaining problem of distributing the resulting tome beyond one’s immediate sphere of contacts.

In July 2005, online bookseller Amazon purchased CreateSpace which produced “on demand” DVDs for aspiring videographers. CreateSpace later expanded its production capabilities to include book printing on demand (POD). In August 2007, CreateSpace announced an on demand, self-publishing service for printed books, audio CDs, and video DVDs. Authors can use readily available layout programs to submit their formatted texts to CreateSpace. Amazon.com then lists the book and collects orders from interested buyers.

The physical books aren’t printed until ordered online by paying customers. And the final product is available in either a hardback or paperback version, regardless of whether one copy is sold or a thousand.

Because this POD system requires no advance payment or set-up fees from the author, you no longer have any excuses for keeping your “inner novelist” under wraps. So, get busy and start writing! Meanwhile, DataDocsDailyDose.com will be investigating a new communication technology to share with you tomorrow.

–J.D. Mosley-Matchett, Ph.D.
The Data Doc
You have questions? She has answers!

Offshore Outsourcing for the Masses

As a university professor, I was fond of assigning group projects. Besides teaching leadership and delegation–not to mention the wisdom of contingency planning–group work is the central mechanism for getting things accomplished in a business setting. I often pointed out to my students that there are no sole proprietorships among the Fortune 500.

So, having recently read Timothy Ferris’ best seller The 4-Hour Workweek, I may have to reconsider that oh-so-20th-century assertion. Mr. Ferris takes the notion of organization and delegation to new extremes via the time-shifting, currency-altering, Web-based world of the 21st century entrepreneur. In light of the variety of outsourcing scenarios presented in his book, those Fortune 500 corporations may well find themselves being successfully challenged by techno-savvy sole proprietors backed by legions of virtual assistants.

Spotlighting firms such as Brickwork India and GetFriday.com, the author points out that it’s not merely the relatively modest pay-scale for highly educated, offshore knowledge workers that makes them perfect candidates for rounding out an understaffed Western business. An equally strategic element is that an assignment made at the end of an American or European work day can be accomplished overnight during normal working hours in India.

So what kind of tasks can a virtual assistant located halfway around the globe perform for your company? Well, virtually anything that doesn’t require a physical presence. They can perform information research, draft written documents, maintain the firm’s accounting books, and even sift through an overloaded e-mail backlog.

Of course, that does raise the question: How many virtual assistants does it take to screw in a light bulb? Well, some things continue to be best done in person. Still, all those outsourced tasks could provide you with enough time to write a best-selling book of your own! So next time, DataDocsDailyDose.com will examine how technology has transformed the modern world of publishing.

–J.D. Mosley-Matchett, Ph.D.
The Data Doc

You have questions? She has answers!


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Dr. J.D. Mosley-Matchett


As advisor to a broad range of clients, including IBM, Texas Instruments, and J.C. Penney, Dr. Mosley-Matchett combines both practical experience and advanced training in modern marketing methodologies. Her background includes multimedia and video production, Web development, and the latest in marketing research methodologies. Internationally recognized as a published author and noted researcher, Dr. Mosley-Matchett has been a member of the graduate faculty at the University of Texas at Arlington and has conducted numerous seminars on a variety of marketing topics for the International Institute for Research, various conferences, and numerous professional organizations. She currently serves as the Managing Director for Words & Images, Ltd., an interactive communications development firm located in the Cayman Islands.