At Mighty Ape, we get asked a lot when we're going to "start advertising" and we're told that "no body has heard of you" - which is kinda funny, given that over half a million people visit our website every month.
Of course, Mighty Ape does advertise on platforms such as Google Adwords and Facebook, and plenty of people have heard of us through friends and word-of-mouth. So I think what people are really asking, is "why don't you take out a few billboards? Why don't you advertise on TV?" (i.e. why don't you advertise to me while I'm busy driving my car to work, or interrupt me in the middle of the six o'clock news or my favourite TV show...:P).
I wouldn't rule out Mighty Ape testing out traditional TV advertising at some point in the future, but there are some good reasons why we haven't done that yet. Like any small business (are we still small?) - we want bang for our buck, and we believe there are better ways to acquire customers, retain customers and build a business for the long-term.
Google Adwords is a hugely important channel for many online businesses today. Adwords has been fundamental to building Mighty Ape’s brand in New Zealand over the past 5 years, and has been responsible for introducing Mighty Ape to thousands of new customers.
Fresh out of University and straight into a marketing job at Mighty Ape, my good friend Paul Minors has recently launched a Kickstarter project to teach university students Google Adwords skills.
If you’re interested in marketing, growing a business or maybe you know someone who is, I highly recommend checking it out.
When the Third Reading of the Marriage Amendment Bill (a.k.a Marriage Equality) took place a Parliament on Wednesday, Mighty Ape showed support for the Bill by posting this image to our Facebook and Twitter accounts, which together are followed by over 200,000 New Zealanders.
Mighty Ape is a business reliant on paying customers, so obviously the decision to show support for a potentially divisive issue wasn't without risk. We are primarily a retailer, after all.
I'm surprised more people don't start things. Internet things. New ideas. New opportunities. New websites.
There are a lot of super-smart people in New Zealand. Super-smart designers, developers and business people working hard to maintain the status-quo.
We can do more.
I don't usually go to conferences. Webstock 2012 was not only my first Webstock, but the first conference I've paid to attend.
It was great.
Above all else, Webstock does a brilliant job of inspiring you to do great work. The event itself is run to a super-high standard which infects and inspires both the speakers and the attendees. It sets the stage for brilliance. The execution of the basics is world class on every level. The web site, the communication with attendees, the programme, the ID tags, the goodie bag, the venue, the graphics to introduce the speakers, the guest speakers, and of course the all-important after party. Every detail was thought through and highly polished and it motivated everyone to step up.
News broke today that book chains Whitcoulls and Borders have been placed under voluntary liquidation in Australia and New Zealand.
Did the first domino fall? Is the digital revolution upon us? Will this lead to the demise of bookstores all around the country?
Possibly. Far more likely, though, is the large book chains down-under can no longer take the heat from online stores offering a much broader range of books at more competitive prices. On top of this, both Borders and Whitcoulls have been under siege on the high street too, competing with The Warehouse and new entrants JB Hi-Fi in DVDs, Blu-ray and Music.
Earlier this year Lance Wiggs blogged about The challenge for Fishpond and presented a well thought out arguement for the eventual death of the bookstore, online or otherwise, at the hands of electronic devices such as the iPad and Kindle.
Given time, Lance may well be proved right, but until that time comes I will continue to buy, own and collect paperback and hardback books, and I bet I'm not the only one.
Back in 2001, migrating my entire CD collection to my iPod was a compelling proposition. Finally I could hit the gym or hit the road with my entire music collection in my pocket. It rocked because I could shuffle between my favourite songs quickly, and I was no longer restricted to a single album.
At Mighty Ape we're proud to be a customer-focused company that's willing to do whatever it takes to make customers happy.
The warehouse team is measured by its ability to deliver on our promise of same-day shipping of in-stock orders. Our development team scramble at 3am if the web site goes down and constantly respond to suggestions and insights from our customers. Send Mighty Ape a message and you can rate the helpfullness of the reply from our customer service team, and we value this above call and message volume.
In addition to the obvious benefit of generating more business for Mighty Ape, the unexpected payoff from this is that making our customers happy makes us happy too. Receving fan mail is huge part of what makes Mighty Ape such a fun place to work.