Adidas Apologises for ‘You Survived Boston Marathon’ Email

After running a marathon of 42.195km and finally crossing the finish line, there is no doubt that the runners would feel incredibly satisfied with their achievement. There is no way that any contestant’s day will be ruined by a congratulating message email sent after the event right? Unfortunately, that was how Adidas messed up at the Boston Marathon last month and they had to release an apology to the public, and here’s why.

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After the event, as one of the official sponsors of the event, Adidas sent out an email to all the participants with the title of ‘Congrats, you survived the Boston Marathon!’. If this was the Melbourne Marathon or any Standard Chartered Marathons, runners would take it as a kind and reasonable congratulating email. However, Bostons marathoners won’t react the same way. This is because some runner didn’t ‘survive’ from the bombing incident that happened in 2013, where 3 people were killed and 260 were injured when two bombs exploded near the finish line. The email marketing team at Adidas has totally neglected the fact that the wording of this title is entirely inappropriate. As a result, this has gone viral and people are NOT impressed with Adidas.

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This is why marketers need to be extremely cautious when they undertake email marketing. If the title is not appropriate, no matter how interesting the content of the email is, it will still become a disaster. Readers saw the title of the Boston marathon congratulating email and immediately got reminded of the 2013 incident. They could’ve just simply word it like ‘You aced Boston Marathon’ or ‘A huge congratulations to all 2017 Boston Marathon participants’. The lesson for Adidas is that they need to do more research about the history of any incidents of a sponsored event before they come up with a plan with the digital marketing strategy that they have selected.

Let’s give Adidas a second chance and hopefully they will be more careful next time. Can you guys think of any other times when email marketing has gone wrong?



Augmented Reality- the Virtual Preview of Products

Wouldn’t it be so convenient if you don’t have to visit a physical store in order to look at the product that you are planning to purchase? Augmented reality is one of the solutions that many businesses are adopting right now.

Just in case you are not familiar with the term ‘Augmented Reality’ (AR), here is a definition from Wikipedia for you. It is a ‘live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are supplemented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.’ The Snapchat filters would be an example of AR.

I researched about the businesses that are already using AR and I came across with this article called ‘3 Retail Giants Who Used Augmented Reality to Sell’. In this article, Lego, IKEA and Converse are some of the businesses that assist customers’ purchasing processes using AR. Concluding from the article, I believe Customisation is the common characteristics that enable the effectiveness of AR.

Lego Since children have different preferences on the lego set they want, the AR would allow them to see the finished 3D model virtually before desperately asking their parents to buy it.


IKEA- I like the idea of the fact that you can see what the furnitures will look like inside your house. Consequently, you won’t even need to do the measurements in store and try to picture it in your head how it will look like in your house. You can also use it as an entertainment pretending to lift a sofa up like the kid in the picture below.


Converse- Shoes are also considered personal items since customers have different foot sizes and preferences. As a result, it enables customers to virtually try on all the shoes with all possible styles and colours without having to go in store and  embarrassingly ask the salesperson to get 20 (or more) pairs of shoes out for you to try on… then leaving the store without buying anything.


Obviously, AR does not work for ALL businesses. For example, I reckon supermarkets might not need to use AR since customers would already know what they want to buy and the information such as prices/ deals can easily be identified in the same section for comparison. Moreover, people wouldn’t want to crash into each other while being too concentrated in looking at the AR effects on their devices. Overall, not much value will be added for the adoption of AR.

Not just for big businesses, I believe that small business can also use AR in their businesses as their digital marketing strategy. For example, a local cafe. The cafe can possibly collaborate with businesses like Zomato, UberEats or just on its own to create an AR of the dishes being shown on the tables in front of them (at the restaurant or at home for takeaways). It would provide customers with a more interesting dining experience as well as being able to ensure the dish they ordered meet their expectations.

As AR is becoming more popular and more people are finding this new virtual concept interesting and useful, will this augmented reality soon become the next reality?



Mypal- One Step Closer To an Effective Myki System


The worse nightmare for you as a commuter is probably when you touch- on your myki on a tram and realise that it has a negative balance. Unfortunately, you can’t top up instantly because there are no top up machines on trams. Although Public Transport Victoria (PTV) has created a function for commuters to top- up on their website, it normally takes 90 minutes to 24 hours for the balance to reflect on your Myki. It would be too late to top- up then! As a result, there are two possible consequences to this: you will either be unlucky enough to meet a ticket inspector and get a fine. Even if no inspectors came on the tram, your entire tram ride would have been fearful.

Thankfully, a software designer and developer Long Zheng has developed an app that would make things a little less frustrating for commuters. He has created Mypal, which is an unofficial myki app. You can download it for free as well! The benefit of this app is that it allows you to top- up and check your transaction/ commuting history on your phone. With this Mypal app, it will definitely provide myki users with a better experience compared to the official online website as the app is more mobile- friendly.


The Mypal App

Despite of this smart innovation, there are still some flaws with this app. Firstly, push notification can’t be enabled because of privacy issues. Although user experience can be enhanced by sending push notification to remind users to top- up, a higher level of access to personal information would be needed. Thus, security would become a concern as Mypal is an unofficial app after all. Secondly, there is still up to a waiting time of 60- 90 minutes for the balance to be reflected on your myki. It is great that the period has been significantly reduced, but the app still hasn’t achieved the instant transfer of credit on the myki yet. Thirdly, it is an app only available for Android users. Apologies to the Apple users out there. Apple is unwilling to allow anyone to upload a myki app apart from PTV.

Although Mypal does not entirely solve the problem yet, it certainly is a starting point for further improvement to the myki system. I reckon PTV should create an app to top- up already. The fact that we have to top-up through the website is just not good enough! If a software designer can develop an unofficial app for this, I am sure your team of professionals can do it too. Moreover, PTV should simultaneously come up with a solution for the waiting time. We shouldn’t have to wait that long for our myki balances to be reflected on our card. In addition, the push notification can then be incorporated into the app. Users would be more likely to trust the official app so security problem wouldn’t be a huge concern.

Let’s hope that we will soon be saying goodbye to the terrible myki system. If you have any more ideas regarding how to improve the myki system, feel free to leave a comment.




Nowadays We’d ‘Prada’ Purchase Luxury Brands Online

Ignoring the online shopping platform can lead to many missed opportunities. That is why Gucci, Prada, Saint Laurent and many other luxury brands are moving towards e-commerce to allow more potential online sales.  According to this article ‘Is luxury e-commerce nearing its tipping point?’,  it is predicted that online sales of luxury goods will triple in the next 10 years, and that by 2025, the online share of total luxury sales will reach 18%.

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Net- A- Porter is one of the online stores that sell luxury goods.

In order to be successful online, we must understand that the customer’s online experience is the most important factor that marketers need to consider. It will be more challenging because customers would obviously have a higher expectation towards luxury brands as opposed to online stores like Myer for example. A lot of the times, customers aren’t just looking for a luxury product itself, but also the exclusive access, customisation and the intimate customer service. As a result, it will be more difficult to provide these services to customers online.

However, the buying behaviour of luxury goods are changing. Statistics shows that the average age of luxury shoppers has gone down from the age of 48 to 34, meaning that luxury brands should be made suited for a younger, more diverse, tech- loving for these customers. Moreover, I personally believe that more university students nowadays would possibly have a part- time job, allowing them to afford small luxury goods. Price would be the main factor that they will consider before making a purchase as they would want to purchase the product at the lowest price. Therefore, although going online may make a luxury brand not as exclusive anymore, there is still a huge market of younger generation that they can target.

To sum up, brands that are making the shift online should be providing the online experience carefully. Fundamentally, I believe that they should provide content that tells an engaging story and connects to the brands’ heritage, exclusive offers, personalisation choices throughout the purchase process and more follow up. Can you guys think of any other ways that the future online luxury stores need to undertake in order to create a effective customer experience online?

Chat with a fruit. Get free vouchers.

Since a couple of weeks ago, Boost Juice have issued lots and lots of vouchers for Facebook users in order to promote the new launch of their new drink. Where do you get the vouchers from you may ask. Well, I got mine from a pineapple.

Now you are probably confused. Let me be more clear on this. The pineapple I mentioned is actually the chatbot that Boost has introduced. When you begin ‘chatting’ with Boost on Facebook Messenger, it uses artificial intelligence to have a conservation with you. Based on the answer options you picked, your response will then signal Boost again to respond based on the answer you selected. It will then assign you with a fruit, such as coconut, banana and pineapple. The fruit that you got assigned to might not actually be a fruit you like, but it does feel a little bit personalised in a way that Boost has ‘assigned’ a fruit to me based on my response to some questions.

You will then be chatting to the fruit in another conversation. It is also a chatbot but the conversation gets more casual… but weird in a way. However, since I am pretty keen on getting the vouchers, I have no choice but to keep on with the conversation…. and eventually, you get the voucher- $2 off your next purchase.


This is what talking to a fruit looks like.

If you think it stops there, you are wrong! Your fruit will start talking you again after a day or so, probably until you get annoyed and gradually lose the will to get more vouchers so you will eventually stop replying to them when it tries to talk to you again (which was what I did).

I feel that it is a really interesting way to distribute vouchers by chatting to a chatbot as it feels more interactive with Boost. However, although it may seem interesting during the first time, people do get less and less interested in ‘replying’ the chatbot over time. Boost may want to reduce the times the fruits talks to you perhaps from every day down to every two/ three days if they want to use the same promotion strategy in the future. In addition, the chatbot can be further developed to provide more ‘genuine’ replies.

I think this type of marketing strategy would suit other food and beverage businesses as well like Gelato shops and fast food chains. I would say it will work since they are priced at a similar level. It will be fascinating to see when more companies start to use chatbot to communicate with their customers in the future.

The Smartphone’s Rise As An Online Purchasing Device


Perhaps one or two years ago, despite access to online shopping sites on smartphones being another purchase option for consumers, the majority of them would still prefer to use them in the research and advocacy phase only. It means that they would only use it for purposes like searching for a range of products and checking the price of a particular product. When it comes to making the actual purchase, most consumers found it more comfortable using PCs/ laptops because it seems safer making purchases on a bigger screen.

However, this trend is gradually changing. According to the Global Web Index, security concerns have been holding consumers back from using their phones to purchase things, but more shoppers are coming around to agreeing that smartphones are a fast and secure way of online shopping. Thus, smartphones are now being more utilised from the beginning to end of the customer journey.

According to this article Smartphones ‘Catching Up To PCs For Online Purchasing‘, most (73%) online retailers expect an increase in mobile and tablet transactions compared to a year ago, based on a survey of 215 online ecommerce professionals globally conducted by SLI Systems. More than half (53%) also anticipate an increase in the individual order value.’

I personally think that as the sizes of smartphones are being made bigger and the touch sensitivity is getting better, the check-out process would indeed become quicker. Furthermore, I believe that nowadays businesses target the younger generation through advertisements and the use of social influencers on Facebook and/ or Instagram. As we would normally access these social networking sites on our smartphones, it is likely that if we see a product that we are interested in, we would simply click on the link which immediately brings us to the business’s website. It creates an opportunity for the business to make a sale on the smartphone because of its convenience.

Marketers should definitely be constantly improving the business website by ensuring that the business website is mobile responsive which will enhance the customer’s experience. If a potential customer enters your website and has to keep zooming in and out, and dragging in all direction to find a link in the website or to enter personal details, it is less likely that the customer would have the patience to proceed with the check- out stage. Moreover, marketers need to select the appropriate social network for the exposure of their products. For example, if you are a clothing company that targets the younger age group, it may be more suitable to place heavier exposure on Instagram through hiring social media influencers to wear their products in their posts, rather than placing advertisements of a model wearing the product on Facebook.


Smartphones have come a long way to persuade consumers that they are a fast and secure method of shopping online. It will be interesting to see how it is going to perform in the next year or so.




Using SEO for small businesses


Not optimising the search engine is no doubt a common mistake by many small local business in this digital age.

What is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) after all? Well, SEO can create the opportunity for your business to be more exposed as it enables potential customers to look for what you offer. However, business owners might have forgone this opportunity since they may not have the knowledge of how powerful SEO can be.

Let me give you an example of how SEO could’ve benefited customers like myself, when I first started working in Brunswick East, I had no idea where I should go for lunch. I have searched on Google for ideas but most of the results appeared to be pubs which wasn’t what I wanted to look for. As a result, I have always been eating at the same restaurant opposite the office for over 6 months. As I explored  more and more about this area, I have finally discovered some really nice restaurant that suited my taste buds. Then I thought to myself, those restaurants could’ve gotten more business if they have better SEO.


Getting back to the theory, these are some of the factors the determines the rank of a webpage:

  • Location and frequency of keywords on page
  • Page title
  • Content
  • Quality and relevance
  • Number of other sites linking to page
  • Number of click‐throughs generated by searches

Local restaurant might not have many resources to focus too much on SEO, but they should definitely invest more time on creating a webpage that include the factors that I have just mentioned above. For a local restaurant, they should just start off with creating links to pages like Tomato, Facebook and Instagram. They can also enrich their content by updating their webpage with their special lunch deals or news about the restaurant.

As all businesses are different, some local business owners may argue that they do not need digital marketing. I have worked at a local Japanese restaurant before and I have realised that word- of- mouth marketing would be the most effective strategy rather than using social media. However, if you think SEO would benefit your business, you should definitely go for it!


How hotels are battling with Airbnb

Ever since Airbnb has launched in 2008 and gradually building up its reputation in the recent years, hotel industries are threatened by the fact that customers are turning their backs on hotels and switching to booking rooms though Airbnb. Although the competition is tough, I believe that it is definitely not the end of the world for the hotel industry.


The reason why consumers, especially millennials, favour booking accommodation through Airbnb is the idea of feeling like home even when you are visiting a foreign country. As the slogan suggests, ‘Don’t go there, live there’ opposes the traditional concept of having just ‘a place to stay’ when you are on a vacation. It offers consumers a place like home at a reasonably cheaper price. This article ‘Hotels vs. Airbnb: Let the Battle Begin‘ mentioned that many hotels have already identified the change in consumer preference.  As a result, they are implementing new strategies attempting to get their customers back. They will do this by focusing on designing a homier setting, improving their communal spaces. Most importantly, they want to digitalise the whole experience where possible. For example, enabling keyless entry to hotel rooms via a smartphone app.

Senior couple with computer

As well as changing the perception of millennial, the hotel industry should think about new strategies to advertise to the older generation. After all, they are a significant group of consumers who still prefer comfort and security over price. During spotlight this week, an issue was raised with regards to whether it is appropriate to target the older generation such as the baby boomers in digital marketing. The discussion has concluded with a solid ‘YES’ because a lot of evidence has  shown that many people from the older generation actually uses the internet for various purposes nowadays, especially when planning their vacations. I reckon hotels can improve their digital marketing by providing more online platform (like trip advisor) for users to share their experience and upload nice photos during their stay.

It’s going to be a long war between the hotel industry and Airbnb. Although it seems like Airbnb is currently taking over, who knows if the hotel industry will turn the tides in the future.


Attention! Myer Now Allows Customers to Buy Now and Pay Later

Great news for all you shoppers out there! Myer has recently signed a two year deal with Afterpay, a payment firm which allows customers to purchase a product now and make repayments afterwards in 4 fortnightly instalments. Before you keep reading, you might want to read the related news article by clicking the link below:

Myer Signs two-year deal with payments firm Afterpay


Look how excited the Myer chief Richard Umbers is.

The internet is changing the way Australian shops. Rather than making an effort to go out and shop, many people enjoy shopping online nowadays because of the convenience of online marketplaces and swift delivery of their purchased items. Although Myer has been   offering online shopping to customers, this conformity simply isn’t enough. Why would people choose Myer over other online shopping websites? As a result, Myer has to come up with strategies that allow customers to see them as their first check- point when doing online shopping.

Afterpay is a smart concept that increases the willingness of shoppers to make purchases. Fundamentally, it allows shoppers to buy now and pay later, but unlike credit cards, no establishment or monthly fees are charged to the customers. Given that you pay on time, no interest will be incurred and you will just be required to pay the balance in 4 equal instalments. For example, for an item that costs $100, the customer only needs to pay $25 fortnightly until it’s paid for in full. As a result, customers will favour this repayment method because they can pay it off little by little rather than entering into traditional loan arrangement or pay upfront fees to retailers.



Perhaps a few of you might think that this is another cliche Shia LaBeouf meme, but hopefully, the majority of you who read the title will immediately associate it with Nike.

Nike’s mission statement is “to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world”. They don’t just want you to see them as a sportswear company, they also want to become your inspiration. They want you to experience the excitement and joy when working out, rather than doing it solely for health reasons. As the realm of social media is constantly evolving, Nike has also taken a step further with their social marketing strategy to create brand loyalty from consumers – by motivating people to exercise.

Apart from heavily marketing their products on mainstream social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, they have also created mobile apps for personal use. At the moment, the apps available are Nike+ Training Club for workout/ fitness, and Nike+ Run Club for people to keep track of their runs. They are also a social platform for users to share their updates and progress with their workouts/ runs. I am personally a Nike+ Run Club user and I find it extremely useful. I love the fact that not only you can keep a record of how long you have run, but it also allows you to review your performance after each run. It is essentially a diary for running! I often go back and compare my older runs to my recent ones and it is truly satisfying to see how much I have progressed throughout the years.



An example of a workout summary in the Nike+ Run Club app.


By using an app developed by Nike, satisfied users are more inclined to purchase sportswear products from them. Just like the logo, the tick can never go wrong. ✔