Monday, July 30, 2007

Bad week...better weekend

Last week was a tough week. We were doing a little test with our Google Adwords account where we increased our spend by quite a bit. Our expectation was that our increase in spending would increase sales based on higher click through rates and better ad placement. For thise of you that are not familiar with adwords, you are probably very bored. I would like to direct you to more interesting content on my blog before you click to some other site. Anyhow, we spent lot's of $$ and we had an exceptionally slow week from google. I bought a couple of books on PPC from Amazon at the end of last week to see if we could be doing things a little better. I bought:
Search Engine Marketing, Inc.: Driving Search Traffic to Your Company's Web Site and Ultimate Guide to Google Adwords

My summer reading list is not exactly "To Kill A Mockingbird" and "1984."

Anyhow, by Sunday morning our customers were back and all was well in the world again. I am still trying to figure out is there is a software solution to managing my bids more efficiently. Another project for this week.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Don't Blame Michelle Wie

Sometimes I think most of us forget how poor our judgment was at 17 years old. I can remember meeting up with friends in my high school parking lot on a Saturday night, driving into the worst part of Hartford Connecticut to buy beer and drinking it in my school parking lot before we figured out to go. As an adult, I would consider that poor judgment and basically stupid. I realize now that I was very lucky that I did not get caught. However, I was not a stupid teen but I was a normal kid doing stupid teen things. My parents also dictated a lot to me and influenced my judgment and corrected me on a lot of things. Most kids enjoy a similar experience growing up. There are some exceptions - kids from the great depression, kids from broken homes who have to fend for themselves, etc. However, for the sake of this rant let's assume that Michelle Wie has it pretty good. I am fairly sure she did not buy golf lessons and greens fees with a paper route, food stamps, and 5 cent soda can redemptions. She had a pretty comfortable home life like me.

Michelle is dealing with a lot right now, injuries, missed cuts, negative media attention and criticism from other golfers. I blame her parents for a lot of these issues. A professional sports career or a great career of any sort is a marathon not a sprint. Tiger played a couple of years of the U.S. Amateur and a year at Stamford before going pro. Michael Jordan played college hoops, and Kobe Bryant was not the MVP in his first year. It appears that Michelle Wie's management team made a lot of poor decisions on her behalf and may have done a lot of damage. Let's not forget she is a 17 year old girl and she has the emotions and feelings of a 17 year old girl - she is not a robot and all of this must be hard for her. She did not make the decision to go pro at 15 by herself, she did not pick up the phone and demand sponsors exemptions into men's events only to miss cuts. She did not make the decision to pursue PGA greatness before establishing herself as an LPGA great. Somebody made these decisions with her. However, only Michelle Wie feels the embarrassment and emotions that comes with these events, missed cuts, losses, and media scrutiny coupled with the insecurity and emotions that a teenage girl already feels. I feel really badly for her right now. She is a kid who has been badly mismanaged.

Because Ms. Wie is a celebrity we forget her age and we also forget that behind her there is a family, sponsors, and management that dictate where she goes, what she does, and where she plays. The next time Michelle Wie says something to the media that makes you roll your eyes, or she misses a cut, or has a questionable injury think about what you were doing at 17 years old and then give her a break. She is a victim of those around her.

I hope that Michelle Wie has the opportunity to meet Jennifer Capriatti one day. Jennifer was a teen sensation in tennis and in her formative years she took a break and did some of the things that the rest of us did as teens. She got caught. I got caught too. However, my picture was not in People Magazine when I got caught. Jennifer resurrected her career on her own terms and played some great tennis and she seemed really happy doing it. I noticed when Jennifer Capriatti had her comeback I did not see her dad parked behind her at the press conferences anymore.

Good luck Michelle. I hope that you are happy. If you are not, I hope that you find it because you are 17 and you deserve nothing but happiness.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Warrior Custom Golf "Field Test Program"

I received an email a couple of days ago from the "VP of Client Services" at Warrior Custom Golf telling me I have been specially selected to field test their 2008 clubs and receive $100 of free gifts. Pretty sweet huh? Apparently the VP of Client Services does not use his or her name. Just the title. email was from "VP of Client Services" email address was I have been in sales a long time and I have never seen people use their titles as email addresses or not give their name at all. Maybe I will change my email address to "el"

Anyhow, all joking aside, I called to redeem my offer. Warrior Custom Golf (WCG)was very warm and friendly and they asked for my name, redemption code etc.
We established my Handicap and then the friendly support person walked me through the offer. At first I thought that they were going to send me a bunch of Fairway Woods and a Driver customized by their master club fitter for me to try. The email clearly states that I need to pay shipping and handling which is totally cool by me.

Here is where I struggled a bit. Warrior is going to charge my credit card for $139+ per club for this special field test. I pointed out that I could go to a store or web site and buy Fairway Woods and a Driver for a little less money and I would not be obligated to field test them. I also asked some questions about what was required of me for the field test. One thing about me is I am very polite on the telephone. I ask a lot of questions and I don't like to upset people. However, when I started asking a lot of questions about why I have to pay for the clubs and the details of the field test, I was magically disconnected.

I have made this point before and I will make it again...there is no such thing as a free golf club unless you are displaying it when you tee off at the US Open or your mom buys it for you for your birthday.

I would like to thank the VP of Client Services at WCG for the generous offer. Free clubs for $139+ each plus shipping. However, I never got to hear about the $100 of free SWAG that comes with my free field test. Best deal I have heard about in a while.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I hope this guy is a customer

I think when we had "recreational golfers" in mind with our product line we were thinking of this guy. I pray he had a GRIP driver in his hands.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Review Sites

I have a few questions/comments about golf review sites. We need to get more exposure for GRIP Golf. We always need more exposure, media, attention, buyers, friends etc. We also like ideas. Well, we like good ideas.
Anyhow, we are going to encourage our customers to write unbiased reviews of our clubs. However, we need to figure out the best review sites for clubs. Here are the candidates:
1. - we are listed on Amazon, sales have been slow. I think our sales rank just behind the Michael Jackson Home Face Distorter Kit at number at #50,995. The good news is that our Amazon sales really stand to improve. Last year when we went live on Amazon we encouraged our customers to add reviews for us and it went pretty well.
2. - they have a 4 out of 10 Google page rank. I have not used them myself. Are they reliable? Do golfers visit the site? We do have one GRIP Driver review already on the site
3. 3 out of 10 Google page rank. I know of them but once again, I don't know if people really use them.
4. - I hear these guys are the best. We have requested that they add us to their epinions golf category. Hopefully we get the respect.
5. Any other ideas?
Please let us know your opinions. We are going to send a note to our customers offering a sleeve of balls for a review on one of these sites. The note will only go to existing customers and not just people looking for a free sleeve of balls. Thanks, we appreciate your feedback.