With the launch of the new eteamz login process this morning, a flurry of significant changes at eteamz has begun. We realize that the login launch was pretty rocky due to some unforeseen server issues, but we appreciate your patience and feedback in helping us get the new system up and running.
The login change is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many changes to the eteamz homepage, message boards, logo, and more that are going to be taking place in the near future. In order to give you as much of a heads-up as we can, please check out the following resources:
Jimmy Hendricks, our tennis account executive here at Active, made an appearance at the USTA Campus Championships in Cary, NC this weekend to represent the Active Network and our products.
Jimmy���s report of the weekend���s frivolities was overwhelmingly positive, sharing that it was a great experience to spend a weekend watching tennis and interacting with current and potential clients.
eteamz was one of the Active products represented at the event, for which we developed a two-sided 4.25x5.5 printed card as well as a corresponding landing page.
I have been trying to shift to a ���less is more��� strategy for our marketing materials, focusing on a couple key points about the product as well as big product screenshots. Historically, eteamz has gone more with the ���fit as much info into the provided space as possible��� approach.
Sometime in the near future the plan is to adopt this minimalist strategy across the board for eteamz in tandem with the re-launch of the Active.com site. However, at this point the focus is completely on fixing all the site performance and stability issues.
When will we see a paradigm shift in athleticism? Over the last hundred years, there has certainly been an evolution of the competitive athlete. Modern athletes are now bigger, stronger, and faster than ever before���I imagine that athletes from the early 20th century would have a hard time believing some of the things modern athletes can do (picture Joe DiMaggio standing next to Barry Bonds). But when will we see a truly revolutionary shift in athletic mechanics, not just strength and size?
I came across a really interesting new story on NYTimes.com this morning about an ambidextrous college-level pitcher at Creighton University, Pat Venditte. Now this would be a true shift in game mechanics! What if being ambidextrous became more prevalent in competitive sports? Not only would this have an enormous impact on general game mechanics, but it would affect the very strategy of the game���that is, at least, until being ambidextrous became mainstream and effectively eliminated the advantage.
Will a whole generation of new parents start teaching their children to train both arms, rather than just one? Will tennis players some day be able to avoid the dreaded backhand all together? Will golfers be able to switch stances when the lie of their ball necessitates it? Possibly, although I would pity the caddies forced to carry around two sets of golf clubs for an ambidextrous golfer.
The future no doubt holds a great many advancements in the world of sport, some being minimal, and some being revolutionary. It will be interesting to see how athleticism develops over the next 50 years.
It's always fun to browse eteamz sites and see the variety of different things our members use their sites for.
One of our resident eteamz celebrities, Pat Neshek, recently had his eteamz site/blog mentioned in an ESPN article! How cool is that?
For those who don't know, Pat is a pitcher on the Minnesota Twins and uses his eteamz site to post news updates about his life as well as share his passion for trading collectibles, yet again showcasing how eteamz helps teams, athletes and enthusiasts connect and share their passion for sports and activities.
Click here to view the ESPN article. Check out #6 to see where Pat is mentioned.
The re-launch of Active and eteamz in the upcoming months marks the advent of the video-age for the two brands. Active, along with our video partner JumpCut, are integrating top-notch video services into Active and the Active suite of products (including eteamz).
An interesting issue worth pondering though is the legal ramifications of video support and how the system will function.
Case-in-point: YouTube. Google has been embroiled in legal conflicts with major media networks recently regarding the use of copyrighted materials on Google���s recent acquisition, YouTube. Originally heralded as the next cash cow application on the internet, YouTube has experienced a mass exodus of sponsors / partners due to the legally volatile nature of the YouTube business model.
My question is how will you, the eteamz and Active community, use these video tools? I envision a vibrant network of folks sharing original video of sport-related accomplishment rather than recycled content from TV shows and movies. Videography and photography of sport can be a truly powerful and awe-inspiring thing, imagine how powerful this consolidation of sport-related video from around the world is going to be?
The key to sustainable business is honesty and good intentions; a genuine interest in adding value to another person���s life. This aura of good intention will then pervade the company, product, and community and become a more powerful marketing force than any of todays generally accepted mass-media marketing tactics.
This hasn���t always been true, but as monopolized industry becomes a thing of the past, the competitive nature of the marketplace is shifting power from the corporation to the consumer. With the ball in the consumer���s court, it is up to the company to create products and services that add value to the consumer as well as create an image that the consumer can relate to and support.
Ikea is a great example of a company that delivers on all of these points. They are a trendsetter in the budget furniture market, constantly designing and producing numerous styles of furniture sets and they are also a company that has done a great job developing a hip and conscientious corporate identity.
Quality Product + Positive Identity = Success
Recently, Ikea started an environmental program where they are charging shoppers $.05 per plastic bag with the proceeds being directed to an environmental conservation group.
Ikea's U.S. stores went through 70 million plastic bags last year -- and officials want to cut that in half over the first year of the ''bring your own bag'' policy. That would equate to about 1.5 million trees being planted.
Polled customers responded favorably to this program, which makes perfect sense. Who wouldn���t be willing to deal with a minor nuisance in order to be a part of such a respectable and socially conscientious program? Programs like this help create an identity that people support and are proud to be a part of.
I���d love to get your thoughts on this topic regarding eteamz. Is the eteamz product something you are excited to use and proud to display? Can you easily identify what the eteamz brand stands for? Do you think eteamz has a positive image?
Modern society thrives on the connectedness that is offered by constantly evolving technology and the internet. Many of the things that the average person takes for granted are powered by computers and the ability of these computers to network with each other. However, at what point do security holes and information sharing begin to compromise personal privacy?
CNNMoney.com and Business 2.0 recently published their 7th annual ���101 Dumbest Moments in Business��� report for 2006. One of these moments which resonated with me was this blunder made by AOL:
In an ���attempt to reach out to the academic community with new research tools,��� AOL releases the search queries of 657,000 users. Though AOL insists that the data contains no personally identifiable information, the New York Times and other news outlets promptly identify a number of specific users, including searcher No. 4417749, soon-to-be-ex-AOL-subscriber Thelma Arnold of Lilburn, Ga., whose queries include ���womens underwear��� and ���dog that urinates on everything.��� The gaffe leads to the resignation of AOL���s chief technology officer and a half-billion-dollar class-action lawsuit.
In a perfect world, search queries and other tech-actions of a personal nature would live the moment they are processed and then disappear forever. Unfortunately, this is not the way technology works and pretty much everything done on a computer these days is recorded. But if all our actions are to be recorded, then we should at least be able to take comfort in the fact that this data will not be disseminated to random third-party organizations.
While personal data is quickly becoming the currency of the realm and extremely valuable to a wide variety of companies and institutions, holding this type of personal data in confidence is mutually beneficial for all involved parties.
Consumer confidence is maintained when a feeling of security and trust is experienced. Similarly, companies benefit from being trusted by their customers���trust that seems to be hard to come by for large companies these days. Case-in-point: avoiding costly lawsuits and negative publicity such as those experienced by AOL. I should patent this theory���C2: Eric���s Theory of Consumer-Company Relations!
It all comes down to trust. A senior executive at IBM shared his thoughts with me on this topic: when making decisions or faced with internal issues, he noted that he would apply the ���Light of Day��� test to the situation. How would customers, other companies, the general public, etc. respond if and when the decision, event, or situation saw the ���light of day.��� If AOL had applied this rule to their search query decision, they would have realized that sharing the personal data of over half a million users was not a good idea and avoided the negative situation that ensued.
However, mistakes can be productive learning experiences, and hopefully companies facing issues similar to those experienced at AOL will use this as a guide. To quote Batman Begins (and reveal that I am a total nerd), ���And why do we fall? So we can learn to pick ourselves up.���
As some of you may know, we have two monthly emails that we send out to our customers: a monthly promo email and a monthly feature highlight email. The monthly promo is an email with offers ranging from discounts on PLUS to gifts from our partners for upgrading to PLUS. The feature highlight is an informational email with the goal of helping our customers better utilize the features and tools available to them.
Just recently we sent out our January promotional email. I felt compelled to share this with our blog community due to how great the email itself turned out as well as the awesome offer we were able to procure this month!
The first point I would like to address is the email itself. A new designer (Alex) was recently hired to help out with our creative needs and holy cow has this made a difference! Alex joined the creative team and took over the creative tasks which previously had no one really responsible for (I had been filling the void with my meager design skills). Alex's latest work for eteamz, the January Promo Email, was absolutely tremendous and is viewable above.
The second point I wanted to touch on is the offer we were able to arrange for this month's promo email. Shutterfly (an eteamz partner) gave us 1000 photo books to give away as a prize for upgrading to PLUS! These photo books are really great and at a value of $30 a piece, a tremendous incentive for upgrading to PLUS! You can check out the photo books here, and if you are interested in upgrading to PLUS, simply enter in the coupon code: SHUTTERFLY during the purchase process and a coupon code redeemable at Shutterfly will be emailed to you. This offer expires 2/28/07, so don't wait until the last minute!
The definition of marketing varies depending upon who you ask. One of the definitions I've heard over the years which resonated with me is marketing as a process of building long-lasting relationships with customers. Marketers often focus on inundating current and potential customers with messaging focused on corporate goals and their own bottom line. Rather, marketing should be a series of communications between related parties featuring content that both the marketer and the customer find interesting and compelling.
One of our marketing projects that just went live is our autumn sale offer to current free site administrators. This piece is visible when logging on to the eteamz admin area and accessing a free site. The purpose being to spread a little autumn/holiday cheer by offering 20% off PLUS as well as to educate about why eteamz PLUS is the best web site solution for teams and groups. More storage space, increased customization, a laundry list of features and tools...there is nothing you can't do with PLUS!
For those who missed out on the autumn sale piece, all you need to do is enter the coupon code: AUTUMNSALE when purchasing PLUS in order to take advantage of the 20% discount.
We'd love to hear your thoughts on the autumn sale piece as well as eteamz marketing in general. Are our offers compelling? Do you find our creative interesting? Would you like to hear from us more? Would you like to hear from us less? We're all ears!
As I have mentioned in prior posts, we have a ton of exciting changes and additions planned for eteamz in the near future. One of these changes is a fresh logo design for eteamz! Check out the latest eteamz graphics from our own resident design guru, Rob Cameron.
We would love to hear what you think about this new logo design. Do you love it? Do you hate it? Do you have no strong feelings one way or the other? Please email me your thoughts at email@example.com.
Ahoy me maties! I be needin' to have a bit 'o a chat with yarselves about yet olde eteamz marketing program! What be the type o' plunder that yarselves would like to see pillaged from the eteamz coffers?
Okay, as much as I love Halloween, that is more than enough pirate talk. For those of you who got about half-way through that paragraph and gave up due to the headache you no doubt developed, here is the translation.
Hi everyone! I want to talk to you about the eteamz marketing program! What type of incentives would you like to see us offer in our marketing programs? What do you find personally compelling when it comes to upgrading to a PLUS account?
So far, we have stuck mostly with discounts and free upgrades as incentives in our promotional materials, but as a team full of indidviduals plagued with A.D.D., we are looking for some new ideas to spice it up a little bit...not to mention an excuse to milk our partners a little bit for free goodies!
Without further adieu, I present to you the top 5 worst ideas for promotions that we have come up with so far. Enjoy these treats....
Can you imagine a greater thrill that sitting down and sharing a meal with one of the creative geniuses who run eteamz? I sure can't. Upgrade to PLUS today and be entered in the drawing to enjoy a lunch with the eteamz staffer of your choice at any one of these fabulous restaurants: Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, KFC, and Wendy's. Don't forget your credit card, because you're buying!
Number 3 - The Angry (and potentially rabid) Ferret Speed Trainer
Bob and weave. Any boxer will tell you that training to move quickly and be light on your feet is essential in any bout. Strength and speed are two of the most important characteristics in any athletic endeavor. Behold! The angry ferret speed trainer! This eteamz exclusive is available only to those who sign up for a PLUS account. Train your team to be the fastest in the league by setting this little bundle of fun on them! The ferret's speed and erratic movement will no doubt guarantee almost immediate athletic improvement in whichever participant he decides to chase first.
What says "team" better than a ballpark hotdog or a big juicy hamburger? Not a whole lot, right? Well, now eteamz and our partners are bringing you a special promotion...custom printed meat products! Put a picture of your little all-star on a hotdog and chow down. Print a picture of that championship-winning play on a hamburger and celebrate! Sign up for a PLUS account today and receive 15 free meat prints!
Number 1 - The eteamz Urn
Is sport your life? Does your sweat pool in the form of the ESPN logo? Sign up for a PLUS account today to share your love of sport with the world and receive your very own custom eteamz urn! Continue your love of sport into eternity after your mortal presence is long gone. Be remembered the way you deserve with a custom designed eteamz urn featuring your choice of photo printed on the exterior courtesy of our partners. Supplies are limited, so act now!
In all seriousness, please send any ideas that you would like to see made into a marketing reality to firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear your opinions. Otherwise, look forward to your face on a hamburger patty!
P.S. A private company actually does offer MLB themed urns, check it out here.
"A flower falls, even though we love it; and a weed grows, even though we do not love it."
-Dogen (Japanese Buddhist monk and philosopher, 1200-1253)
An interesting thought. That which is beautiful and loved will eventually decay and perish with time; that which is ugly and unwanted inevitably grows and develops.
Is this the natural order of life and death? Is this cycle a necessity? Or does the flower rise again, like a phoenix, from the ashes of the weed when properly cultivated and cared for?
Now, you may be thinking, "Oh no, Eric isn't making any sense...he must be off his medication again." Not so! As a matter of fact, I'm not even on any medication! These ramblings are simply pure Eric-Genius; pay heed as it all comes together....Behold! A product announcement haiku!
Over time, weeds (in the form of patchwork content that has been pieced into the original eteamz.com web site) have constricted and slowly killed the flower that was once eteamz.com. Do not weep, however, as the eteamz.com flower is being re-grown by us, your humble team of corporate cultivators. The current eteamz.com web site is hard to navigate, confusing, overwhelming, and antiquated. Based on your feedback, we have decided to re-work the web site in order to create a much more positive user experience; making everything much easier to access and utilize.
This project is still in the planning phase, so please feel free to let us know what you would like to see happen with the eteamz.com web site; any feedback, suggestions, and criticism will help us create the best site we can. Either "comment" on this post with your thoughts, or feel free to email me at email@example.com.
"With love and patience, nothing is impossible."
-Daisaku Ikeda (Japanese peace activist and Buddhist Leader)
With the amount of love and zen-like patience which pervades the eteamz community and staff, we are certain that nothing is impossible and that eteamz.com will reach a new pinnacle in its history with the re-working of the site.
I am reminded of an anecdote written by Hans Christian Anderson in 1837 entitled, "The Emperor's New Clothes."
For those who are not familiar with this tale, Anderson describes an Emperor who is so obsessed with his own material gratification (i.e., clothing) that he completely neglects his responsibilities as a leader; such as his soldiers, citizens, etc. Rather, the Emperor spends all of his time buying new clothes and parading around his city to show them off.
Eventually, two swindlers drift into town and proclaim to the Emperor that they can weave the most amazing fabric ever created...a cloth that is not only exceptionally beautiful, but is also invisible to any man who is unfit for his office. The swindlers pretend to work tirelessly day and night to weave this magnificent fabric, and finally present to the Emperor his new suit.
The Emperor immediately is draped in his new imaginary clothing and proceeds to once again tour the city to show off his new garments. As the Emperor roams the city not one citizen has the courage to recognize the Emperor's nudity until a child watching the procession comments, "But he has nothing on at all." The Emperor finally realizes that he has been swindled and proceeds back to his palace with as much dignity as he can muster.
Now, you might be wondering, "Eric, what does that have to do with anything?" My answer to that: besides being a delightfully funny story, "The Emperor's New Clothes" offers valuable insight into the world of marketing. Specifically, the story shows us the value of honest public/customer opinion and feedback. One can not possibly expect to develop long-lasting customer relationships without having an open and honest dialogue with one's constituents.
I have had the chance to chat with many of you lately regarding eteamz: who you are, how you found us, what you like about our service, and what you dislike about our service. I would like to personally thank all of you who have participated for the wonderful mix of positive reinforcement and constructive criticism that has been offered thus far.
The more feedback you give us here at eteamz, the less naked we feel; and being a particularly modest individual, I would appreciate as much feedback as you can give! Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts and feedback and we can work together to make eteamz the best it can be!
Once every so often, throughout the fleeting passage of history, certain individuals and teams accomplish awe-inspiring feats which demand recognition; the Romans and their system of aqueducts, Sir Isaac Newton and his theory of universal gravitation, Jack Kilby's integrated circuit. Today I speak, of course, about our own resident eteamz football titans: the Byrnes Rebels and the John Curtis Patriots.
USA Today regularly publishes a rankings list compiled by Christopher Lawlor based on a school's strength of schedule, the level of competition in the state, and the quality of the athletes. This round, the Byrnes Rebels in Duncan, South Carolina secured the #2 spot, while the John Curtis Patriots in River Ridge, Louisiana clawed their way to #13. With a national population of approximately 17 million high school age kids (according to 2004 Census data), this is truly an impressive accomplishment.
All of us over here at eteamz are incredibly proud of your accomplishments. Keep on keepin' on and good luck with the rest of the season! If your team is also a top contender, let me know! Please email me with your team's URL at email@example.com.
"Sports serve society by providing vivid examples of excellence." -George F. WIll