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connecting across platforms

Posted by Steve Buchholz on March 29, 2009

the office tv show's creation of online communities is a lesson for all marketers

the office tv show's creation of online communities is a lesson for all marketers

The TV show, The Office, is a huge hit that has done a great job of using the Internet to connect fans to the show. Here’s how they do it:

  • The show’s website is a lesson for all marketers. The site’s discussion boards allow fans to talk to each other, building word of mouth advertising, speculation, and anticipation about future episodes.
  • The show’s characters blog about life in the fictional office and their lives outside of work.
  • Multiple actors and staffers Twitter about all kinds of things.
  • There are videos, games, photos, and all kinds of other features that could keep a super-fan busy for hours.
  • There are even links to websites for obscure show-related products, such as Princess Unicorn.

The site is updated often, so there’s almost always a reason to come back. The built-in interactivity gives visitors a way to voice their opinions and discuss every aspect of the show with like-minded folks.

Whether you like The Office or not, the show has done an awesome thing here. They are giving fans multiple ways to connect to the show and its stars. There’s no need to wait a full week before experiencing the show. You can do it any time.

The Office can invade your inbox if you subscribe to the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch newsletter. The e-publication includes missives from various characters who write in character. It’s one more way for fans to connect.

The lesson for marketers is simple. Do something worth talking about and help people talk about  it. Make it easy for them to spread the word within and outside your community.

With out-of-the-box social networking tools like Ning and easy-to-use blogs like those at WordPress, it couldn’t be easier.


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vendor oddities part deuce

Posted by Steve Buchholz on February 19, 2009

The saga continued today.

I wrote yesterday about a strange encounter with a vendor. We had a face-to-face meeting today to continue the discussion about why they wouldn’t tell me the name of an item they were trying to sell me. The item in question: an open source social networking platform the company was going to customize for us.

It didn’t go as I hoped.

The vendor’s reps continued to refuse to give me the information I need to make a good decision about this purchase. The reason didn’t change from yesterday-they are concerned I will take the information and peddle it to someone else. I assured them I wouldn’t and even offered to sign a nondisclosure statement. They didn’t budge.

I told them this was a deal-breaker. I need to independently research the product, and I need to be able to answer questions my colleagues and superiors might ask. As I told the vendor, I cannot say, “I don’t know,” if someone asks me what I’m buying.

The meeting ended with the vendor’s reps telling me they would see what they could do.

For me, this is a trust issue. I’ve trusted this company to help us grow enrollments and improve our marketing, and we’ve paid them quite a bit of money during the past couple years. I’m not sure how this conflict will impact our relationship, but whatever the effect, it won’t be postive.

Posted in uncategorized, vendor relations | 2 Comments »