Rock and Roll in Your Email! Broadband
March 5, 2001

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Reaching Great Minds Online
March 5, 2001 Issue #79
Mike Valentine, Editor,

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Rock & Roll In Your Email?
by Mike Banks Valentine

You groggily stumble from bed and turn on the computer as you
pass by on your way to the kitchen. Returning with the morning's
first cup of coffee you fire up your browser and log-on to the
web as you take the first few eye-opening sips. Downloading
your personal email, you notice your favorite Bruce Springsteen
song title in the subject line of the seventh email message and
open it first.

There is a photo of the Boss (that's Springsteen to you non-fans)
smiling out at you from the email window above a small button
that is labled "Play". Expecting to hear some good music, you
click the button and Bruce Springsteen springs to life in your
email! He's talking to you! Not at you, but to you, using your
name! "Good morning Mike! It's time for a concert update."

How the *!?*)@(! do they do that? You have been looking
forward to his concert this coming week and can't believe
your ears as Springsteen continues to talk with you, mentioning
your 3rd row, center seat number and reminding you of concert
time this Thursday evening. You are tempted to answer him as
he pauses and smiles but then the opening riff of guitar
begins of your favorite song from the new album and the Boss
is performing for you from your email box!

He pauses and tells you that you can order his newest album
from the form below and as the video finishes and the music
fades you scroll down to find a "Buy it Now!" button. There
is no need to enter any credit card information as it was
saved when you purchased your concert tickets online. You
are just about to click the "Buy" button when you notice
there is a search function just below that. You've been
wanting to find a copy of an out of production CD and type
in the title in the search box and click "Search".

The results come back from the entire music collection of
this record label to announce that you can purchase that
CD online now and pick it up at your local record store
tomorrow! You click the checkbox to order that title and
see that you can buy your concert memorabilia now and wear
that sweatshirt to the concert by picking it up at the
same record store. What the heck. You click the "Buy"
button just as your spouse emerges from the bathroom with
her toothbrush working.

The Boss' voice says "Thanks for your order Mike and I'll
see you Thursday night at eight." Now you have to explain
how you spent $83 before breakfast and scroll back up to
the top of the email to click "Play" again to demonstrate
the process to her and see the toothbrush motion freeze
when Bruce Sprinsteen uses your name during the video.

Don't be surprised if you get an email like this within
the coming weeks. Personalization, music, video, catalogs
localization and overnight delivery for products in your
own interest areas will be the norm within the year as
advertisers, marketing companies and business begin using
the latest available technology for email. (If you allow
it and privacy concerns are addressed sufficiently by
businesses adopting the available tools.)

The above technology was highlighted last week at the
Washington State Convention Center in Seattle by businesses
demonstrating at the Direct Marketing Association show
titled "net.Marketing 2001". The DMA show was halted early
by an 11am earthquake that rattled the downtown area and
shook us all up more than the new technology did. Rock and
roll took on a different meaning and nearly brought down
the house. Bruce can rock and roll, but this was serious
rumbling as if to emphasize the drama of the technolgy.

But we all emerged unscathed by the rumbling of nature to
contemplate ways to harness the latest in compression and
embedded rich media in email. Privacy concerns will clearly
be the biggest hump to dump if companies expect to use these
tools effectively while addressing consumer worries and
finding ways to adequately protect sensitive information
from third parties.

Here's an email from Ed McMahon and Publishers Clearing
House! How long will it take me to get used to celebrities
addressing me by my own name and playing my favorite music
as background to those personalized videos?

WebSite101 "Reading List" Weekly Netrepreneur Tip Sheet
Weekly Ezine emphasizing small business on the Internet
articles available:


The Myth of "Pay to Play"

Don't look now, but the sky is falling -- again. This time,
the Chicken Littles are scurrying about, following the headline-
grabbing pundits who claim that the days of free internet product
and service are over. Everyone, it seems, is scrambling for a
"pay to play" strategy.

Not me.

First, I've never been any good at panicking. Second, I'm even
worse at blindly following anyone, let alone self-proclaimed,
budget-bloated pundits who spend more time talking than doing.
Third -- and probably most importantly -- because it doesn't make
any sense.

This week, announced a really dopey ploy, in which every
advertiser -- if I read their notice correctly -- MUST spend at
least $20 per month or risk having charge them the
difference. You read that right: if you were paying 1 click,
the minimum bid has just been shifted to 5 per click,
theoretically quintupling your advertising expense on that
particular engine.

Dumb. Yet another propulsion toward an engine whose results are
directly influenced by the size of your wallet.

Also this week, my good pal and associate, John Audette, floated
the idea of pay to play for subscribers of his I-Sales list, in
a bid to increase profitability. Wanna take a guess at the
subscribers' responses?

Hey, wanna take a guess at MY response? Yeesh!

Look, we're all in this to make a buck. The days of holding
hands and singing Cumbaya have long since passed. But suddenly
turning up the lights and shouting that the party's over is hardly
the way to ingratiate your clients, customers and users. If
anything, in this precariously-baclanced-on-the-edge-of-recession
economy, ANY threat of increased costs is going to send them
stampeding toward the doors in one big thundering herd.

So what's the solution? The brand, of course.

As I mentioned to John, the secret to profitability is NOT
suddenly changing the rules, unless your main intent is to
seriously undermine your credibility and destroy all that
trust you've sought to built. The secret is creating brand-
related content and product that your users, customers and
clients are willing to pay for voluntarily, because they
believe in your brand and wish to invest in it further.

Want a great example? Here ya go: FrankelBiz is free. Those
who are more interested in more brand-related content, my
archives at are also free. For
those who are really serious, there's a book for $36. For
those who are budget-challenged, but want to actively apply
brand related tactics, there's a tape set for a few hundred
bucks. After that, there's consulting and so forth and so on.

Free samples are just that. They're not revenue generators;
they're opportunities for upsell. If you don't have anything
to upsell, that's likely where your problem is.

The stronger your brand, the more readily your users, clients
and customers will buy, mainly because -- if you've done it
properly -- they're already evangelizing for you. They believe
in you and want to further your brand. They already know that
the more they invest, the more solutions they'll receive.
It's a natural progression.

Of course, first you've gotta have that brand strategy nailed
down. Then you gotta follow it. Do that. And when the smoke
clears, you'll see: only the strongly branded survive.

Rob Frankel,
"Branding is not about getting your prospects to choose you over your
competition; it's about getting your prospects to see you as the only
solution to their problem." (sm) -- Rob Frankel

"The Revenge of Brand X" is available at

2001, Rob Frankel, branding consultant, speaker and Moderating
Dictator of FrankelBiz, the newsletter and business
transaction/promotion list. Subscribe for free at: Complete article Archive and reprint
policy at


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Copyright 2000 Mike Valentine

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  June 10, 2001