Tag Archives: marketing

Adverse Book Sizes

I’ve got a little bone of contention to pick with book marketers. You see, my wife gave me a gift card for Barnes & Noble for Christmas. Perfect opportunity to knock some of those titles off my “Must Buy” list, right? Well, it’s a nice theory.

One set of books I’m interested in is Nick Sagan’s _Edenborn/Idlewild/Everfree_ trilogy. The first two, at least, are in paperback now; I’d seen them on shelves not too long ago, and I found them again today. Standard price for paperback novels is between $6.99 and $7.99, right? Not so. Apparently, it’s a popular idea nowadays to take a novel from a $25 hardcover and then dress it up in a $15 paperback that is taller than your standard 7-inch paperback. Both the price tag and the size are awkward. Obviously, some genius thought this would be a great way to milk consumers for a few extra bucks, and it must work, since they keep using it. It’s just my ill fortune to be interested in some books that are still new enough to only have a couple of editions printed, none of which are cheap enough for me to maximize my financial resources. Unfortunately, I bypassed Nick’s books this time around, choosing instead to wait until the next – and smaller, cheaper – edition is printed. I also passed up Orson Scott Card’s _Magic Street_ for the same reason – the smaller $7 version wasn’t available yet.

If this is a marketing technique that works, it works on someone else. _This_ consumer refused to pay $15 for a paperwork that he’ll be able to get later for $8 cheaper – and he’s patient enough to wait for it. I’m disappointed, of course, but $20 will only go so far. I’d rather get _three_ new books, rather than settling for just one or two.

Update: Turns out, those larger versions are called Trade Paperback Editions, and they follow immediately after Hardcover Editions. The types of paperbacks I apparently prefer are called Mass Market Paperbacks. You learn something new everyday.

“Seriously, Though, For Real”

Penny Arcade! – Seriously, Though, For Real

I love it. Penny Arcade makes an interesting point. It _is_ rather ridiculous that video game companies produce only a limited supply of units every time they bring their new consoles to market. I’m honestly not sure why it is they do this. After all, they have to know that there are thousands of gamers out there just waiting to plunk down the greenbacks for the latest and greatest in gaming entertainment. What units make it to the shelves the first day are gone within minutes, whether through pre-orders or through those hardcore (and insane) fanatics who wait in line for three days ahead of time – no matter what the weather.

So why do the video game companies like play things so coy? Wouldn’t they make _more_ money by producing two or three times the number of units and selling even more on the first day? Or is there some sort of marketing strategy to draw in more sales later by making consoles hard to get those first few weeks? Maybe they’re counting on the drama and tension to elevate desire, turning consumers into a pack of slavering beasts with no mind other than to acquire one of these most coveted gaming systems. ((Except that this very fact of hard-to-get turns a lot of people _off_ to these new consoles, a fact that may or may not be overlooked by a marketing team that may be using this sort of strategy, unless of course, they count those as acceptable losses, given how many gamers _do_ buy their consoles in the long-run.)) Maybe they’re using the first consumers as a sort of pseudo-beta test group; after all, we all know that all these consoles are rife with glitches and problems straight out of the factory. Maybe they need a test group to buy them, play them, then gripe about all the problems with them so that they can fix them in the second or third factory runs for happier customers later. ((Yeah, yeah, pipe dreams. I know.))

Either the corporate marketing gurus are a collective of geniuses hard at work or a gaggle of fools who have no clue about their target populations.

Commercials and Marketing

I will periodically remark on a commercial I’ve seen or heard with a comment like, “That was really stupid. That company ought to fire whoever wrote that commercial.” My wife will then give me this knowing smile and say, “But do you remember what company the commercial is _for_?” When I say that I do, she then says, “Well, then, that guy _doesn’t_ get fired. He’s done his job.” And I am chagrined to find that I see her point.

For a while Taco Bell ran a series of commercials that I thought were pretty lame. More recently, Subway has been running their “Subway Dinner Theatre” commercials, which I find so obnoxious I have to turn the radio down or change TV channels just so I don’t have to put up with them. Geiko’s commercials, which are usually extraordinarily funny, have also gone the way of unfunny lately, and now “PS3 has a new commercial”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJaGScKpZuU&mode=related&search= that is just strange, bizarre, and quite disturbing.

Have the marketing people done their jobs? Do I remember these brands, even long after I’ve seen the commercials? The answer to both questions is ‘yes, I do.’ And it’s strange – but logical – that I would remember _these_ commercials, the ones that annoy me more than entertain me, better than the ones that make me laugh. For whatever reason the human psyche tends to remember negative reactions better than it does positive ones. It is the ‘bad’ experiences we remember best, possibly because we often spend more ranting and raving about how annoyed or irked we are. So, in that sense the marketing guy has done his job and done it well.

On the other hand, though, perhaps he has not done his job so well. For people like me, who miss the humor in some of these commercials – like the Subway ads, which are obviously supposed to be humorous to a certain (male) demographic – or, like the PS3 ads, find them disturbing enough to avoid watching them a second time, the reaction is to avoid buying _anything_ from these companies. Why reward a grain of sand for falling into one’s eye, after all? I don’t have any idea how widespread this reaction is among the general populace. Perhaps most people simply disregard their annoyances and give their patronage to these companies, anyway. Perhaps brand loyalty overcomes weird, strange, and obnoxious commercials. I know I certainly haven’t done much, if any, business with any of the companies cited above. Could be I’m all wet on this.

There are certainly a lot of factors involved here, requiring anyone studying this aspect of psychology to develop a complex and comprehensive experiment to measure the effects of advertising. Obviously, it must work, else these companies wouldn’t waste their millions on them. Subway, for instance, has been running these dinner theatre ads for months now, and Geiko’s last few commercials have likewise, in my opinion, been duds. Could be I’ve just lost my sense of humor.

Misunderstanding the Gospel

I am of the opinion that the Gospel is the single most misunderstood topic in the history of mankind (even among Christians themselves). It has incited Crusades of death and persecution and yet has inspired millions to give their lives to Christ.

The most current example of this misunderstanding is the criticism of the release of The Passion of the Christ. One news periodical criticizes the movie harshly, saying, “The Reporter also says that the movie’s violence is so intense and more important than character development that audiences may have trouble with that.” I’ve not yet seen the movie (though I hope to this weekend), but the point of this particular movie is NOT to provide quality character development or shield us from the violence of that moment in history. Quite the opposite in fact. It is to show us the very graphic nature of what Christ went through to atone for our sins. And quite frankly, if you want character development, take some time to read through the Gospels for the complete view of Christ and his earthly ministry.

A local talkshow host advocated the movie during his broadcast last night, pointing out that many of the critics of this movie have yet to see it. His advice to said critics was to go see the movie and then form an opinion. And while he advocated the movie and was so close to being correct, he was also soFAR from being correct. He made the statement that Gibson’s goal in producing this movie was marketing and that local churches also are using it as marketing to get people into the pews. This is both correct and not correct (and here is a facet of the misunderstanding). On one hand, it is marketing insofar as it is intended to draw people. But that is NOT the primary goal. The primary goal is to share the Gospel, using a clear depiction of what Christ went through in His final hours to drive home the weight of that moment that has forever impacted and changed history. This is the thing that the unsaved world simply cannot understand. It is not marketing that we care about — it is souls. We desire to bring others to Christ so that they, too, may be spared from eternal damnation, as we have been. And the ONLY reason this movie has been so criticized so harshly even before its official release is because it is a religious movie, and a Christian religious movie at that. No one complains about the intense violence and lack of character development in a Jean Claude Van Damme movie (or any other movie or television show, for that matter).

..edit.. This website is a prime example of the Christian contribution to the misunderstanding of the Gospel. While I respect this organization’s attempt to exhort and correct a perceived wrong, it is Christian ‘wackos’like these who inspire hate and disgust of all those who bear the name of Christ while at the same time taking the Scriptures out of context in order to suit their own purposes and interpretations of the Bible. And it is exactly this kind of ‘Christian’ that makes me want to distance myself from everyone who claims to be a follower of Christ so as to avoid tainting my own ministry to others and to cleanse this bitter taste from my mouth.