Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Podcasting wish: rewind your radio & great sound

I have become over-dependent on the rewind and pause buttons through too much PVR and iTunes usage. I now want to pause conference calls and radio shows to make sure I heard correctly or because I had to pay attention to something else for a minute.

The latter may not be just a wish as more radio shows record for downloads. I admire how CBC caught on quick.

Since I'm going on about wishlists, how about podcasters who don't include their title and succinct note on what the episode is about? When I'm browsing my podcast subscriptions in iTunes I find I don't listen to them as often as those who do. Mitch posts his shownotes on his blog, but I wish they were in his iTunes info like Michael's.

Speaking of the latter, I'm enjoying Michael's ClientSide podcast -- it does what a good marketer should, which is respect the audience by editing and including valuable content. [rant] Nothing bugs me more than excess chatter, it's just rude! You want to talk to your friends, IM or call them, or label your podcast a "chat show with people I know", so I can stay clear of it. [/rant]

The latest ClientSide episode includes a chat with Rob Walch and they get into a discussion on sound quality and editing. Rob says that the podcast listener isn't as picky about sound quality, but I disagree. I like to equate podcasting today to desktop publishing in the 80s. Remember all that crap that came out when everyone and their dog thought they were a designer? Professional designers were aghast.

Same with sound engineers and broadcasters today. Generally I think the masses want good sound quality. This was a point made by someone at Podcamp Toronto and younger audiences having a low tolerance for crappy sound. And my sister who is an avid podcast listener. But she, and I admit I, mostly listen to professionally produced podcasts.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Marketing Mag Daily Finally Gets User Friendly

Way back in 1998/99 I had a dispute with the 'webmaster' at Marketing Magazine about the format in which they sent their regular email updates --- as an html attachment.

The argument he gave me was that this way they knew everyone could read it correctly versus the challenge of getting html to render in different email apps. Unh-huh.

I can partly buy this argument because they are dependent on advertisers and need to be sure ads can be read (although for a while still didn't work in gmail). But still, an attachment? That's been a no-no since day one, as attachments can get blocked, they add an extra step for the user, etc... They're just not user friendly, which most marketers hold as a key requirement, making it easy for the user to respond, read, etc.

September 25, 2006, they switched to providing a link in the email to a web page, with the simple message, "Click here to read today's Marketing Daily email." Still not sent from a friendly or understandable Sender name, but the generic, "Webmaster." And still forced users to click to get to the news (and their advertisers' messages).

And now I see they have finally moved into 21st century email marketing February 5th, 2007, by sending an html message, with a proper Sender name, and a topic Subject line tied to the day's content. But no link to view html online, no unsubscribe messaging, so they're 90% of the way there...

I do highly commend editor David Brown for including his email and phone number in the message. That's one feature other companies should look to emulate.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Direct Marketer Bob Stone Passes

Just read in DM News of Bob Stone's passing. He was the author of Successful Direct Marketing Methods, probably every direct marketer's textbook, coming out in its 8th edition this summer. I might have to pick up a copy in memoriam.