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I post ideas from crazy to great, share the best stories that I find on the net, and work hard to provide great content to my readers. From the practical business uses of social media to information on direct mail, I’ve probably written a post on it.

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This is going to be fun.

Well Done Netflix.

Posted by on Dec 4, 2014 in Ryan's Thoughts | 0 comments

Every once in a while you come across something so amazing and so fresh that you just wish that you had thought of it.

This summer I learned about a behind-the-scenes video that Netflix had produced to promote their streaming fireplace video around Christmas 2013. Since it’s quickly coming up on Christmas 2014, I thought it would be fun to take a look.

And yes, I mean THAT streaming fireplace video. The one you turn on if you don’t have a fireplace in your home, but you feel like hearing wood crackle and pop. To promote the fact that Netflix now offered this program (the same program local cable companies have offered for years, I suspect), Netflix produced a short video about the ‘making of’ – and it’s pure gold.

Raise in your mind every stereotype that you can about film directors. Skinny jeans, hipster facial hair, dark-rimmed glasses, scarf –  you name it, and this video features it. In just over 2 minutes, they carefully outline just how much work goes into building the perfect fire for television (“That isn’t a frontside log, that’s a backside log.”)

The result is just amazing.



Well done Netflix.



Are You Ready For CASL?

Posted by on Jun 3, 2014 in Ryan's Thoughts | 0 comments

Image From Wikimedia Commons by Christophe Finot.


It’s been coming for a while, but you’ve been busy thinking about other things – such as forming a marketing strategy, setting goals, and acting on your plans. Or maybe you’ve just been cruising Facebook.

Whatever the case, CASL is upon us. CASL (which stands for Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation) goes into effect on July 1, 2014 – and it changes everything for marketers.

Well, kind of. First of all, if you’ve been paying attention over the past couple of years, and you’ve been following the rules for CAN-SPAM, then you’re more than half-way there. Two of the biggest requirements of CASL – having a clear unsubscribe option for your email lists and having clear contact information in your emails – will already be met.

Unfortunately for marketers, there’s more. In fact, there’s much more. Some of the new regulations are just common sense (don’t add random people to your email list), but others could potentially be quite onerous. And CASL has some pretty strict penalties too – up to $10,000,000!

And just because CASL is a Canadian law doesn’t mean my American friends can ignore it. CASL covers any email originating from or going to a digital address in Canada – and address includes not just email addresses, but any digital address – including a text message  (it doesn’t cover faxes or telephone solicitations because those are already addressed under other legislation). Where is your email provider located? How many of your customers are mail order customers from Canada? If you collect email addresses at point-of-sale, how many of those customers are from Canada? If you’re a mom and pop in Austin, Texas, probably not many. But if you’re located near a border or in a popular travel destination you may have a lot of Canadian customers, and you’ll need to be aware.

I can’t go into detail about the requirements because, frankly, I’m not a lawyer. What I can do is share a couple of resources with you that I have found helpful. The first is the CASL website; it has tons of information about the law and how you can make sure that you conform. The second link is this webinar that was done by Marketo a couple of weeks ago: Not only does it cover a lot of the highlights, there are also some great checklists provided by the host for you to use in your own business.

If you’ve been paying attention up to now, great! If not – you’ve got 4 weeks to get ready. GO!


Getting Out In The World

Posted by on May 23, 2014 in Ryan's Thoughts | 0 comments

Last week I left my desk behind for a day and went out into the real world to do some one-on-one marketing. What a treat! I learned more about my current marketing campaign in 4 hours of talking to real people than I did in two weeks of looking at data from Google Analytics and social media.

Of course, that shouldn’t be a surprise. There is a reason why, despite having huge marketing budgets, companies like Coca-Cola and Pepsi still have sales people on the ground and employ street teams. Meeting people in person and asking them questions works. It’s not scalable, but it really complements your other efforts. In addition, if you’re marketing something tangible, giving people a chance to interact and touch your product is something that you can’t simulate on a computer screen, on a billboard, or in a newspaper.

But don’t take my word for it. Some guy in Washington D.C. thought he’d give street marketing a try earlier this week, and he seems pretty pleased with how it worked out for him.