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Ocean Marketing Meets Penny Arcade And Learns About Business Ethics


Not all hype is bad. However bad hype is. Lets get into a little cause and effect discussion here. Your business may desperately need a gut check.

The good hype is the kind we can agree with at an emotional or gut level with no resistance.  An easy example in recent times is anything Apple related.  Of course this continues to be good hype because the entire Apple experience is fulfilling from product to service to the human experience with brand, and the shared conversation with Apple customers geeking over the latest iPhone or musing over favorite apps on the iPad.

The bad side of hype, of course occurs when one or many claims about a product or service are not agreeable at the emotional or gut level.  The easiest way to know bad hype is in a continual re-surfacing of bad experiences.  The easiest way to spot hype gone bad is negative-word-of-mouth.

Now, how the two intertwine.

Fast, faster and even faster hype – the slug fest of right and wrong.

Keep in mind, hype doesn’t help especially when you are trying to leverage hype without much concern for the world your service or product serves.

Consider the recent Ocean Marketing crisis where a “regular” customer got mistreated at the customer service level and sent a few emails to other businesses in the industry looking for help and ended up being supported by industry leaders as they systematically dismantled an unscrupulous marketer. All within a couple of days via email and blog posts.

Although the big drama was watching things spin out of control at Ocean Marketing as Paul got choked out for being a bully, the small and important lesson for all of us is that the customer was worried about the early hype that got him to put money on the table during pre-order sales. He questioned that hype, fearing he would not get the product he paid for and his very basic questions were no different than you or I would ask. The story that unfolded after that is now internet lore with over 600k views on YouTube since being posted 6 days ago.

Make no mistake, even though it was “business as usual” for all the parties involved, it became hype along the way thanks to the power available to regular people and the internet.

With all the parties involved, the technology and viral nature of the web has threaded out several channels of hype just in this one situation – a pre-order of a game controller and a bad customer service experience. Those that did not know about the product the customer bought are now advocating and probably purchasing the product, where as Ocean Marketing, the company responsible for marketing and customer service has been crippled through the event, while Mike and his site Penny Arcade have fostered even more support and genuine appreciation by fans and industry leaders. And to further claim his point-of-view and support for the regular person, Mike reported:

“It might not always make the most business sense and it is a policy that has caused us some legal problems, but I really don’t give a shit about that. When these assholes threaten me or Penny Arcade I just laugh. I will personally burn everything I’ve made to the fucking ground if I think I can catch them in the flames.” — Mike Krahulik

It’s virtually impossible to disagree with his perspective.  Bad people shouldn’t get away with bad things – and this means that bad marketing, bad service, bad relationships are more and more subject to this type of situation. So, if ever you needed to see the way basic customer service, email, and social media can work for or against you and your business, here it is.  And this is not an anomaly – This is the new baseline.

Look at your business

Hype is going further, faster, and with more ease than ever before.  As a business owner, marketer, and human – we are one moment away from a house of cards falling. There has never been a better time then now to guide your business with a simple “Do the right thing” influence from the top down, inside and out.

Take a look at who you are aligned with. Do they pass the gut check? Have you made a decision in favor of a vendor only because of low cost or their ‘results’ even though you question their performance or integrity? Have you worked hard to build your company, but not cared much about the human experience of your customers, suppliers, or peers?

Now is the time to consider these things and make changes if needed. You never know when a “regular” customer will introduce you to a lesson on business ethics.


Cracking Coconuts Part 1 – Biz Dev for Small Small Small Businesses Like You


It’s time to share the goods on business development for the very small business owner, the one-man company, the side-business-masterminder, the consultant, the independent artist and developers alike. You know… people like us.

First, What exactly IS Business Development?

For the big machine of corporate America (and most businesses with several employees and revenue of a million dollars or more), business development is a set of tactics, processes, and planned actions that identify customers, markets, and sales opportunities in an organized and structured manner. The eye-crossing, glaze over definition of biz dev that Wikipedia offers gets deeper if you want more of that. Most companies have a Sales Director, VP of Sales, Biz Dev Team, etc…

But not you.

Business Development for the Small Small Small Business is very different.

Primarily because you have to do it yourself – all of it and you’ll probably have no support from others. As a result, you’ll typically default to your only known business development tools; basic sales or price, word-of-mouth, friends and family referrals, tinkering with social media, maybe some ppc or affiliate stuff and praying!

Please note, “sales” is not business development nor is networking, tweeting, emailing or “dialing for dollars” or running a booth at a conference or running advertising online or in the media.

For our sake as a small small small business,

business development is:

philosophy + boundaries + process to follow + action to get results you intend.

“PB PrAR”. I suppose that’s pretty simple. If you notice the “R” above , it’s for ‘results’, but can also be seen as ROI, the return on investment. So, say it like “PB Praroi” and we can start our own inside lingo. Ok.. Moving on.

A Practical View of Biz Dev

By now, you know what the big machine calls business development and you know that you are not the big machine. You also know that the small small small business has to look at biz dev in a different way. The PB Praroi way.

But right now, you might still be thinking this is all too much for you and you don’t really need biz dev. I beg to differ.

When you know biz dev, you know how your business works to help others in a profitable (or at least in a revenue generating) manner. You want this, now, you need this. If you are in business, you need some sort of biz dev in place and this helps you see a more complete view of the customer getting side of your efforts.

In the next post in this series, we’ll cover the PB Praroi formula and how to put it to work for you. For now, chime in if you have a biz dev process, want one or still unsure.

Hype doesn’t help

Hype by:

Hype is everywhere – from healthy heart claims on yellow cereal boxes to red liquid that gives you wings when you drink it. This is not new information. However, the hype machine is going to create serious issues for business operators and marketers. Here’s why: It’s easier to produce, fabricate and manufacture hype then every […]

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Naming Lessons Learned from Netflix

If you are a Netflix user, or are familiar with the service, you may have heard the backlash to their splitting of their two main services offered. This week Netflix finds itself in another PR nightmare that we can learn from as marketers and business owners. Netflix merged their DVD-by-mail service into the newly named, […]

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Twitter Web Analytics Makes Long-Awaited Debut

Twitter Web Analytics Preview

We’re only at the beginning of the quarter, and it’s been already been an exciting season for Twitter. The social media giant announced passing the 200 million user mark at the beginning of September, a collective that sends out 230 million tweets per day. If you or your business has tweeted recently, you’ll notice a […]

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Chromatology and Marketing: How Color Can Affect Your Brand

Color Associations & Suggested Uses

  Color is one of the most powerful methods of design; it affects our moods, emotions and our buying habits. It can even raise blood pressure or suppress appetites. Just as red means stop, and green means go, the colors used for a product, website, or logo can cause powerful reactions. There have been many […]

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Facebook ends Daily Deals after four months

Thinking about utilizing Facebook’s Daily Deals feature to bring in local business? Think again. Facebook has pulled the plug on the local deals offering after rolling it out just four short months ago. Facebook Daily Deals was introduced as a competitor to Groupon, Living Social, and other deal sites but failed to find legs in […]

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Know the Lingo: Demystifying Design Speak


Sometimes, we designers forget that not everybody lives and breathes graphic design, and we can be guilty at times of throwing around odd terms like vector, ghosting or sans-serif and expect everyone to know what we’re talking about. It’s almost as if we have our own secret language, and it can be baffling if you’re […]

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Hello, My name is ‘Heello’

It’s been an exhausting, but exciting summer of startups. It has felt like every other day, someone is asking me, “have you tried out ____” yet? I can’t keep up. Today it is no different– I’m staring at the interface of Heello, a virtual twin to Twitter and I’m asking myself what the big deal […]

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Should You Hire a Professional Designer to Create Your Logo?

See any similarities with these logos? Do any of them stand out as unique?

Starting a new business can be described at the very least as… overwhelming. With tons of start-up costs, new business owners are faced with cutting corners wherever possible; and unfortunately, many decide to skimp on their logo. Many people don’t understand how important and valuable a good logo is. It’s the first impression people get […]

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