Jul 26, 2018
My podcast editor, Jeff Julian, drove his RV all the way to Anaheim from Kansas City to attend Vidcon with his wife, Michelle, and kids, Brandon and Addison. Actually, this is a fun conference. The tagline for Vidcon is ‘For people who love and make online video’. Frankly, this conference is packed with tons of YouTube celebrities. It’s really a venue that allows young millennial and Generation Z fans to meet their YouTube stars. Such a cool idea to link fans and YouTube celebrities together, why didn’t I think of that?
Anyway, as the whole family is already on the West Coast, they might as well drive all the way to Portland to see Pam, right? It’s only 980 some miles. And he did. It was wonderful to see Jeff, Michelle, and their kids. Since I did several podcasts about marketing takeaways from my visits to Lima, Macchu Picchu, Chatsworth Manor in England, Jeff was joking about me doing a podcast about his visit. Of course, I am going to do an episode to commemorate his visit.
So, what is my marketing take away from Jeff’s visit?
We took a trip to Trillium Lake near Mount Hood. When the light is at the right angle, you can see the reflection of Mount Hood in the lake. We didn’t see that, but it was still a beautiful day. People were kayaking, swimming, and fishing. We took a hike instead.
Jeff and his son, Brandon, are into geocaching. For listeners who are not familiar with geocaching, it’s like a treasure hunt. You use GPS or other navigational techniques to find hidden containers, called caches. Once you find it, you sign the log with your code name and date to show that you’ve found the cache.
I know about the game, but I’ve never tried it. First of all, I don’t have much patience for ‘hike’ and seek. Secondly, it requires me to look at the GPS constantly. I don’t want to look at my phone screen while I hike. Lastly and the most important reason: I have no sense of direction. If I were doing that, while hiking, I guarantee that I’ll get lost and never find a way home.
Jeff and Brandon were looking for a geocache while we were hiking. And, when Jeff found out that I’ve never done geocache ever, he insisted that I needed to do one. I agree. The first cache we tried to find is called Rodent Warning. With this clue: right out in the open, five feet off the ground in the crack of a tree. Really, the description is vague and not clear. The GPS led us to a place covered with trees. What does it mean ‘right out in the open?’ Does it mean the open ground area surrounded by the trees or an open grassy area from which we can see the sky? So we were not sure which area… And we kept looking up, but we couldn’t see the container in the crack of a tree. Either GPS was wrong, or we were just completely blind. We weren’t able to find the cache. I blamed the GPS and the unhelpful clue.
Well, I gave up. It’s interesting that for things like this, I give up easily. For work-related stuff, I don’t give up easily and will work until I find a solution.
Jeff and Brandon didn’t give up and tried again with another cache. This time, Jeff and Brandon went ahead and found it. Then, Jeff gently nudged Michelle, Addison and me to find it. Ok, this one was not hard to find, because the clue is clearer. Here is the clue: Look for two huge root balls of fallen trees. It’s deep in the center of the smaller one, covered by a piece of bark. Ok, we found two huge roots of fallen trees right away. We went around the roots. Right in the center of these two fallen trees, we saw a piece of bark. Viola. Behind that, a robot. I found my first geocache robot. I signed my name and dated it. A major milestone for me. Yeah!
So, what is my marketing take away from this experience? Well, the two descriptions made me think about marketing. To me, one description is vague, the other is clear.
There are times, as a marketer, you need to provide clear and straight-forward content, especially content related to product features and benefits, to guide your customers through their purchase journey. There should not be confusion in terms of what you want your customers to do or how you want them to behave. This is especially true for point of sale. Make it easy for them to buy, like Amazon’s one-click system.
But there are times, you may need to be vague, in general, like when you are giving a sneak peak of your product launches, clues for creative marketing campaigns such as interactive gamification or contests. There are times and places that you can make your customers work a little to get what they want, but you need to provide certain incentives to entice them to do that.
So, 1st geocaching adventure for me, one marketing take away from Jeff’s visit and one podcast.
We had a great time at Trillium Lake. Portland, Oregon is a beautiful place. You should visit. If you are in town, let me know.
Again, send me your marketing questions or thoughts via Twitter @pamdidner
Be well. Until next time.