Nintendo Eyes Top Console Slot

From the consumer electronics trade mag TWICE ( “Nintendo Eyes Top Console Slot” by Peter Suciu (21 July 2008 print issue).

Bottom line… In less than 2 years Nintendo went from “Are they crazy?” and “They don’t have a chance against Sony and Microsoft” to the killer of not just one giant but two. More than anything Nintendo had vision from the bottom all the way up to C level – and created a whole new market targeting a whole new kind of video game user. In retrospect it almost looks obvious.

The moral of the story: Never underestimate passion and a willingness to take chances and innovate. A classic case study for sure.

Search? No, find

“The road to finding is paved with data: Web analytics and user experience” by Louis Rosenfeld (, Think Tank section) is a brilliant blend of Information Consumption and The Guest Experience. So good that the AU value add on this one is simple… Read it!

More food for marketing thought

The NY Time’s “Restaurant Chains Close as Diners Reduce Speding” by Michael M. Grynbaum is a perfect example of what happens when a brand is built on the cookie cutter me-too approach. In discussing the troubles at Bennigan’s and others in their space there’s a quote:

“Another hurdle facing these restaurants is their copycat nature. Though Bennigan’s modeled itself as an Irish pub, its menu had Black Angus steaks, Southwestern-style appetizers and tempura shrimp, items that would not be unfamiliar to patrons of, say, T.G.I. Friday’s and Ruby Tuesdays.”

Yes, that about sums it up, doesn’t it? Same ol’ same ol’ begets a forgettable Guest Experience. Even Starbucks is suffering from a watered down, middle of the road mentality. (Btw, did they REALLY believe that it was the scent of breakfast sandwiches that was causing some their problems?) For example, Starbucks went from releasing cool obscure music on their record label Hear Music ( – what a pathetic UI / UX) to the likes of Ray Charles, Paul McCartney, etc.

While we have nothing but respect for Mr. Charles, Mr. McCartney and other well established legends there’s nothing new, fresh, exciting, etc. about “discovering” them. So Starbucks went from standing out and delivering something special to just another spineless corporate gingerbread man/woman. It almost seems as if these companies eventually take on the lifeless personalities of the MBAs that run them.

Size matters?

We got a newletter from Chief Marketer ( and decided to read Grant A. Johnson’s “In Email Copy, Length Matters”.

This is the letter that was sent to Mr Johnson. It’ll be interesting to see what his reply is. If he even replies. IMHO, his three points are trumped by AU’s six points and those six use less words.

Hello Grant

I don’t have time to test so I’m gonna have to hit you with the less is more version :)

IMHO there are really 6 important factors and one can not be defined without considering the others.

1) *Quality* of copy. Discussing quantity is ok but not really as important. In other words, one line of great copy is better than three lines of good copy, and certainly superior to five line of crap.

2) The type of message being delivered. e.g. Sale vs. new arrivals vs. some other news. Obviously some things entail more detail than others. That said, if you can’t distill it then go back to the drawing board. I’m not suggesting anyone to dummy it down, just keep ideas bite sized.

3) The target market. e.g. Never a buying customer but on your list vs. new customers vs. repeat customers. Each will probably have a different attachment to the brand and thus a different “attention span” and/or willingness to be engaged.

4) Images. As they say, “A picture paints a 1,000 words.” If it can be easier said with an image than sack the copy and let ’em see rather than read.

5) Presentation. For example, it’s best to purposely break up copy at non-paragraph points just to make it easier for the eye to digest. Looks matter. Looks can kill :)

6) ALWAYS put yourself in the readers’ shoes. The receive ALWAYS defines the communication. Be objective and don’t assume they share your passion for the subject matter.

As a rule of thumb I find I’m most like to read Headline > then a brief summary > and if I want still more info I’ll click the Click Here For More link. Therefore, it’s most effective to put the headlines at the top and if it’s important then keep it “above the fold”. Always assume the reader won’t even open the email. They’ll probably  just scan it in their view pane. Finally, defiantly assume that even if they do open it they won’t scroll.

Thanks for your thoughts, etc. And thanks for listening to mine.

Mark Simchock
Chief Alchemist
Alchemy United
Princeton NJ

The best SEO is still word of mouth

“Searching for More Traffic” by Jim Rapoza (eWeek, 15 April 2008) hits the SEO nail on the head. What’s unfortunate is that the majority of the people who need to read this aren’t reading something like eWeek. Kudos to Jim for his one page stroke of genius.