Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Spotted: A Missing Marketing Medium in Lebanon

We have had our ears pierced by radio ads, our eyes filled with tv ads;  we have endured polluted streets with outdoor ads, have suffered from junk emails and SMS (yes, it is a marketeer talking here). 

...But believe it or not, there's actually a marketing medium that has not been milked in Lebanon.

I have looked everywhere, asked everyone and even contacted some companies that use the medium themselves, but to no avail. Can you guess what it is?

Consider a business to business firm with a data wealth like no other. Each customer data file contains... let's see... a phone (telemarketing), an email (mass emailing), a mobile phone (SMS marketing), a fax number (JACKPOT!). 

There it was, the one single unexploited medium.. and for a good reason. There's absolutely no such service as fax marketing in Lebanon! It obviously exists elsewhere. It exists in Canada, in the US, in Europe... Hell, they even had to use legislation to regulate it! 

Yet, not only was I unable to find a single service provider in Lebanon, none of the online ones abroad were ready to service Lebanon. 

Now, there are other ways to do fax marketing (like fax softwares and fax machines' broadcasting feature), yet you'd have to kill your fax line with overload if you go anywhere over 100 faxes (trust me, I tried.)  Otherwise, there will always be the good old fashioned way... the manual one.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

In-App Advertising | A Striking Ad

Far from being an expert in the in-app advertising field, I am writing to share one striking in-app ad occurrence. 

Do I believe that in-app advertising is effective? 

The same applies to any advertising medium, it is impossible to make a general statement. 
The variables that come into play as to the success of in-app advertising are endless. 

Yet... They Made Me Click!

 I rarely ever notice in-app ads. They're usually in a covert 'discarded' part of the screen; at least that's what my brain is trained to think. 

Those ads were different. 

Somehow, they mimicked familiar images, brands and colors (copyrighting, anyone?). 

As a new user of this application, I did not know what was part of the design... and so I clicked. 

When it comes to in-app ads, you know you have clicked the wrong button, as soon as you get redirected!

...and so I clicked, and did not wait to see the brand behind the ad.  

To date, I am not quite sure whether the advertiser was genius for making me click or foolish for not benefiting from any exposure.
...and I cannot help but wonder if other people act differently in similar situations. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Compliance with Reality

Does anyone else feels that, as we grow older, we have less and less time to contemplate over meaningful thoughts? 
(No, I am not THAT old!)
I wrote this back in 2007, before I had even started this blog... which, consequently, meant I did not have a proper place to share it:

Your environment gives you clues as to where you position yourself. 

Following queues is only a means for cognitive shortcuts, a way to avoid wasting meaningful time on meaningless thoughts. However, sometimes it is the only way you can discern truth from lies.

Understanding is not necessarily done by digits and complex calculations. 

It is not made obvious by intriguing systems. 

A company’s health cannot be read in its income statement. 

Money gives you power but success does not come with influence, it comes with the capacity to efficiently exercise it.

I have come to realize what builds you up and places you on top of your industry is not the investment you generate. 

It is rather your resourcefulness and capacity to turn this investment into returns. 

Even better, it is not the return in itself that makes the difference, but people’s faith that you are capable of generating it that triggers its occurrence.

When you witness that your efforts are categorically copied, when your competitors avoid being confronted to you and when your employee's word ways heavy by simply citing their affiliation, you recognize the attestation of your leadership.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Marketing Through Web Design

Some marketing ideas are quite simple, others are plain out complex. Some concepts depict information in a very straight-forward fashion, you might even say, they are quite old fashioned... While others are almost deceitful.

Whatever the marketing strategy used, some methods strike you as impressively smart... and that's just one of those strategies.

Take a look at this website of a freelancer -  what do you see, at a first glance?
(image below)

That's a big impressive list of brand names. This freelancer seems to have a very impressive portfolio, don't you think? A bit too impressive, I am afraid.

Now, look closer.

"Here is some companies I have not worked with, yet." Genius? 

I would say he is, despite the language mistake. This person understood the heuristics we, as web viewers, use to scan a website.

Yes, we look at websites incredibly quickly. We focus on the big fonts, the bold, the supposedly relevant. 

He did not really lie regarding his portfolio. There is a link to his real work, right in front of our eyes. Yet, he manages to misguide a big fat chunk of his visitors... and no one can quite complain.

This is what I would call smart marketing!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Philips Fails at Customer Care - Revised

Final Update:

I was requested to head to BHV and pick up a brand new Philips Lumea between the working hours of the showroom manager. When I showed up, she asked me to sign 2 forms, the first for BHV, stating that I got my item repaired, and the second for Philips, stating I had well received a brand new Lumea. In addition, I received a limited edition set, made of an 'ion shine' hairdryer and a hair straightener from Philips to make up for what had happened.


Philips reacts... Twice.

 I got a call from a manager at Philips Lebanon, the day after posting this. He asked me 'who I talked to' and explained that 'he did not know who is right or wrong' (not much of an apology!), but in any case, I will get a new Philips Lumea within a week. He also asked whether I wanted it delivered at BHV or at Philips, and seemed rather disappointed when I said BHV.

...Then a 'real' customer care response came.

Yesterday, I was out of the country (2 days after the blog post). I got 5 missed calls from what turned out to be Philips. When I called back, I was told that the owner wanted to speak to me. He apologized, stating that the girl who handled my case in the beginning was the receptionist, and that it was not her task, 'but I understand that the manager called you yesterday, and I want to make sure that everything is ok' he continued. He even suggested to deliver the Philips Lumea to my home address!

I am not sure why or how my complaint got such a prompt response, but I am glad it did. I am updating this post prior to receiving the item, as I feel that it might have caused some undesired ripples. 

I guess it still mattered that it was Philips, as I finally got my guarantee covered.

The initial blog post: 

I am guilty, I confess. 

I believed in the hype behind a big name. I figured if anything goes wrong, there's Philips, an international company, that was supposed to be professional, that got my back.

I trusted a claim by Philips and it cost me $1, 200! 

Woman using Philips Lumea
Source http://www.lumea.philips.com/ 

I fell flat on my face, and even the Philips headquarters did not move a finger to right their wrong! 

I thought that the item was indeed new, it was indeed expensive, but it was a Philips and was supposedly guaranteed for 2 years. Two years is not that much, but I was willing to take the chance. 

Philips Lumea, its cover, and extension
Source: http://www.girlsngadgets.com/

I bought the Philips Lumea hair removal at the beginning of its launch - I also purchased its extension.  I took the plunge, but kept the box, the return note, the cover, just about everything. 

As though something in my heart was telling me that this product was going to fail me... and it did.

11 months later, although I barely used the product, and had kept it safely with all its cover, box and kit,  Philips' Lumea hair removal broke down. Without a notice, without a glimpse. I had just picked it up, and had barely used it for 4 shots. The 5th, lit the ready signal, but no laser shot came out. 

I didn't panic. It was still under guarantee and I still had the exchange note with the written date in which I had purchased it. I took it back to BHV, and their customer care team said that of course they would fix it. Philips, however, had a change of plan.

Philips Lumea BoxSource http://www.nannakrebs.com/

Yesterday, one month and a half after I had put it for repair under guarantee, I got a call from the BHV saying that Philips refuses to repair it. The representative reverted me to a Philips representative, Diana. 

I called, and she kept insisting that it was not their fault, claiming that it does not get defected like this, blaming it on a fall that never took place! I tried to explain to her how it turned off, but she wouldn't listen.

I bought the Philips Lumea only because it was produced by a professional company, Philips (or so i would still like to believe). That's what I wrote in an email to Philips customer care. Their feedback? They reverted me to the same company that failed to serve their guarantee policy in Lebanon, az Electronic. 
az electronic
source http://www.1stlebanon.net/

I do not often stumble upon new technologies like Philips Lumea's laser hair removal tool, and it is even less common for me to venture into buying an untested expensive equipment such as Philips' Lumea... But I did so, unfortunately.

How many items have I purchased in the past simply because they claimed to have a guarantee, I cannot count... How often do companies in Lebanon blame their defect on the client and where is our safety net as Lebanese citizens?

PS. they said that the technician that had 'tested' the product would call me, but he never did. The equipment is still in their possession to date. 

4G in Lebanon

4G was launched in Lebanon on May 15, 2013 by Alfa and was soon followed by Touch.

Regardless of your stand: whether you believe it is a big improvement  for Lebanon, or whether you find 4G to be too big of a step for an internet toddler like Lebanon - the idea of having 4G in Lebanon is exciting news.

More Interest in 4G in Lebanon

A quick Google trends search of the term '4G' conducted through Google in 'Lebanon' for the past 12 months, shows us a sudden peak of interest lately. The results are embedded in the graph below.

4G Speed Tests in Lebanon

I was lucky enough to be selected to be among the first in Lebanon to try out the newly launched 4G services from Alfa.

Here are a few tests I have conducted so far OUTSIDE the area officially covered by Alfa! (you will find Alfa's 4G map in this link)

In Dbayeh, Lebanon - 4G speed test:

In Zalka, Lebanon - 4G speed test:

In Hamra, Lebanon - 4G speed test (covered area):

4G Speed Standards

...and if like me, you are curious to see where we stand compared to the international scene, here are the 4G-LTE peaks based on Wikipedia:

Peak download 100 Mbit/s
Peak upload 50 Mbit/s

If you have a 4G dongle and would like to share your location's results with us, please leave a comment.

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