Thursday, October 30, 2008


A new company called ChirpTracker is using the Internet to get buzz about their product generating among birders online.

By just searching for you get a home page asking you to sign up for a newsletter to learn about the product--a way to get some directing marketing to target customers. They do have a "Chirp Chat Blog" giving readers glimpses of this upcoming product.

ChirpTracker has a Twitter Feed. If you are not familiar with Twitter, it is a free social networking site and can serve as a "micro blog." It allows you to send and update of up to 140 characters in length, or a mini blog. Since the character limit is small, users can easily send updates via cell phone through a text message. Updates are displayed on your public profile page and others can subscribe to it. Users can subscribe to other's Twitter feeds and that's how the networking begins.

Twitter is like the popular status updates that comes with having a Facebook account. Facebook is a social networking site where you can have a profile that let's you post photos, play games, write a blog and interact with other users. The status update is a way to let your friends know what you are up to and comment on it. ChirpTracker also has a Facebook fan page and the general public can view it, but members of Facebook and subscribe to it. Readers can learn much more about what this product is all about.

According to the ChirpTracker Facebook fan page, "ChirpTracker is a revolutionary concept that provides technological enhancements to birding hobbyists by birders, for birders. ChirpTracker utilizes the integration of satellite mapping technology with a community-based environment to steer the hobby of birding enjoyed outdoors, into the virtual realm of social media to provide a rich conservational, educational, user, and data driven platform to uncover new bird species locations around the country.

ChirpTracker’s media-rich environment provides the birding community with the capabilities to assist in the plotting of bird sightings geographically, logging and maintainance of life lists, and the sharing of user’s personal profile activities with other birding enthusiasts."

You can read more here.

It's just another way to build some buzz about your product, even in the birding market.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tips From MarketWatch

From The Wall Street Journal Online's Market Watch come 10 tips for surviving the economic downturn. Most are pretty common sense tips, but here are couple that offer some food for thought.

 4. Really get to know your customer. Rip out your answering machine, step up your
service and ask what they need. Understand how your target customer has evolved. In
general, "It's best to target high-end or budget buyers, the middle is gone," Steppe says.
"Do something fast or you're about to go out of business. People will be buying what
they need and cutting back on their wishes and wants."

5. Embrace the current economic reality, Part I. "The bottom of the cycle is a really
good place to start a business," says Wuensch, "because when you start off on an up
cycle, your assumption is that this (level of profitability) is going to go on forever." Those
who have studied the history of business will be comforted by the knowledge that
downturns always eventually go up.

6. Embrace the current economic reality, Part II. Competitors' failed businesses present
an opportunity. "If the fundamental need of their business didn't go away, people who
understand this can exploit it (often by buying the failed company or hiring top
employees left without a job)," Steppe says.

You can read the full list of tips here.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Advice Cards

For The Birds, makers of the BirdSong IdentiFlyer, are introducing a unique and memorable way for your customers to say: thanks, I miss you, happy birthday and mother’s day or Merry Christmas. They have created a collection of 8 note/gift cards with each bird enclosed in a 3D globe. These beautiful cards can by used for nearly any occasion:

Rise Early
Spread a little happiness
Keep a song in your heart
Think spring
Be Colorful
Feather your nest with friendships
The sky's the limit!

Your True Nature
also contributed positive, up-beat advice from each bird which adds to it’s appeal. Unlike most note and greeting cards which are opened, read and put in a drawer, these unique WingTips cards will remain openly displayed, leaving a lasting memory of the occasion.

Also available - an easy to set up card display rack!

For more information and a free sample call Terry Allen at 877-261-6556 or email

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hey, What's In Your Seed Mixes?

According to a press release from the Weed Science Society of America, Oregon State University, scientists examined 10 brands of wild bird feed commonly sold in retail stores. The samples contained seeds from more than 50 weed species - including 10 ranked among Oregon's most noxious weeds. Each brand tested contained weed seeds, with six different weed species found in half or more of the samples.

In a short-term study of what happens when stray bird feed drops to the soil, about 30 weed species sprouted in just 28 days. Between three and 17 weed species grew from each of the 10 brands of feed tested. The ten Noxious Weeds Found in the Bird Seed Evaluated in the Oregon Study:

Buffalobur (Solanum rostratum Dunal)
Bull thistle (Cirsium vulgare)
Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense)
Common ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia)
Dodder (Cuscuta spp.)
Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)
Jointed goatgrass (Aegilops cylindrica)
Kochia (Kochia scoparia)
Puncturevine (Tribulus terrestris)
Velvetleaf (Abutilon theophrasti)

When asked what ten brands were tested, Linda Edgerton of Linda Edgerton Communications, representing the Weed Seed Society of America said, "The team purposefully didn't list the brands in the test because they didn't want to single out any one manufacturer. That's because they suspect the problem is industry wide, and it seemed unfair to brand a handful of companies. I can tell you that those in the test ranged from products purchased at high-end retailers (who specialize in birding products) to large discount box stores."

When asked what percentage of bird seed mixes had weed seed, she said that researches found 539 weed seeds in one pound of a particular brand of bird seed and 1489 weed seeds another pound/brand.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tips For Navigating Advertising With The Economic News

Some advertising tips from Steve McKee of Business Week:

Don't Panic

The problem with panic is that it leads to bad decisions. While everybody else is selling, Warren Buffett, the second-richest man in the world (and soon to be the first), is buying. The reason? He always keeps his head. He understands the economic cycle. He knows that while things have gotten way out of whack, the laws of economics have not been repealed, and there are still real companies creating real value out there. While nobody can see a clear way out of these economic straits, acting out of fear will likely make things worse. That's as true of advertising as it is of investing.

Advertising panics usually take one of three forms. The first is cutting back the budget—sometimes to zero. Smart companies are careful about how and where they cut back, so they don't sacrifice the future on the altar of the present (see "Five Don'ts for Marketing in Tough Times" (, 7/11/08). The second is giving away the store, which is almost always a mistake (see "Low Prices Are Not Always Your Friend" (, 4/14/08). The third? Following the politicians down the poisonous path, trying to build yourself up by taking your competition down.

We're already seeing an increase in competitive advertising. Just this weekend I witnessed Burger King (BK) go after McDonald's (MCD), Prestone take aim at its smaller competitors, and Microsoft (MSFT) fight back against Apple (AAPL). The good news is that so far, these companies have resisted the urge to get nasty.

It's Eerie With No Ads

Think about the power of advertising. In the days following September 11, the networks temporarily suspended all commercials, and advertisers only slowly made their way back into the market. Watching television during that time was, in a word, eerie. We may not realize it, but the endless drumbeat of ads that are normally in the background helps assure us that the world of commerce is buzzing along as it should.

A similar phenomenon may happen in the days and weeks to come. Advertising won't stop as it did after 9/11, of course, but its tone could become noticeably more strident. If so, it will send a subtle signal that something isn't right. And will fuel consumers' continuing unease.

If you're considering targeting your competitors or changing your tone, stop and think about it. Consider other ways of accomplishing your goals, including using humor, a terrific way to dispel fear. Be as optimistic as you can. Above all, make sure you're not reacting out of panic.

As an advertiser, you can contribute to the fear or you can help diffuse it. The more consumers perceive you going about your normal course of business, the more normal things will feel to them. And the more quickly we can all get back to normal.

Read the full article here.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Now The Bird Calendars Sing Too

Chronicle Books has upped the ante when it comes to birding calendars: The Bird Songs 2009 Calendar.

It not only offers accurate bird illustrations, also a range map, and natural history info--but it offers bird songs too. Here's a video sample:

If you wondered if that last bird was an ivory-billed woodpecker--why yes it was. The calendar will have appeal to hardcore birders and maybe a little less to backyard birders. For example--eastern yellow wagtail is one of the species--unless your store is in western Alaska, not too many customers are going to be seeing that species.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Getting Creative With A Nervous Ecomony

From Market Watch:

KNG announces that when the stock market drops like it did last week, small businesses feel the impact immediately. Sales start to drop after the first internet reports of large losses on the stock market. And sales continue to drop off faster and faster as the stock market losses and the number of articles about the losses increase. "By the end of the day on Monday orders had slowed to a trickle," said Matt McDonagh (Marketing Director for KNG).

The company decided to take advantage of the situation by starting a stock drop discount program. For every 100 point drop in the DOW for the week KNG will give a 1% discount for customers using coupon code ST8918. "We are not able to make up for all the lost sales due to the decrease in consumer confidence, but at least we can make up part of the sales," says McDonagh.