FIFA Could’ve Done Better for Women’s Soccer

The other day I saw a tweet offering minor praise for Sepp Blatter, who was just re-elected to a fifth term as FIFA president. It was a reporter tweeting his colleague’s article in the New York Times.

Here’s the official NYT account’s tweet of the same article:

My first reaction was that it had to be a joke. This story ran amid the arrests of numerous FIFA officials on charges of rampant corruption. It glosses over his sexist tendencies and “creepier moments.”

The article describes Blatter’s work to promote the women’s game as if he has wholeheartedly and single-handedly championed the cause.

I would argue the opposite. Women’s soccer has come a long way since Blatter first took over as the head of soccer’s governing body, sure. But I propose there are millions of people (billions?) who could’ve led the sport to even higher heights.

Not to mention, the World Cup that starts June 6 would be played on real grass, not artificial turf. It’s hard to forget this image of American star Sydney Leroux’s shins after sliding on what feels like running on cement:

From the Washington Post, Jan. 21, 2015:

FIFA, however, would not back down from whatever agreements it made with the CSA and turf companies, and eventually the women were forced to withdraw the suit.

It’s hard to imagine that the man who rules FIFA intends to grow anything besides his own bank account. Suggesting turf was ignorant. Refusing to budge after the sport’s most respected ambassadors resort to filing a lawsuit is an insult.

Celebrities including Tom Hanks and John Oliver have stepped forward to support women’s soccer (and rail on Blatter).

Oliver referred to the Kobe Bryant tweet above on the most recent episode of Last Week Tonight. In his now familiar shame marketing technique, he offered to do anything if the major World Cup sponsors would “make Sepp Blatter go away.

Oliver has had some luck with his bully pulpit in the past. Just look at his #JeffWeCan campaign.

He might get his wish without having to down a bottle of BudLight Lime or donning a pair of Adidas : today authorities said Blatter’s top deputy Jerome Valcke is allegedly behind payments of $10M in exchange for votes.

Throughout the recent excitement, Blatter has remained defiant.

Just how aloof could one man be, you ask? For all of NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell’s faults, I’m 100% sure he would recognize Peyton Manning if they ran into each other at the MVP awards dinner. Blatter failed to do the same for Team USA’s Alex Morgan in 2012 when she was being honored as one of the 3 best women’s players in the world.

The only truth to Blatter’s self-described role as “the godfather” of women’s soccer is that he happened to be on the throne at the time. There are few people who could’ve done a worse job “promoting” a sport that has seen such meteoric growth.

Thanks, JG!
Source: US Youth Soccer

No, this post was not just an excuse to take my new pivot table skills for a spin*. And I realize the data above includes boys and girls. The split has moved from 55% boys/45% girls in 1995 to 52%/48% in 2008. I remember being the only girl on my youth teams back in the day.

Women’s soccer will keep improving alongside the men’s game. Imagine how much more could be done for the next generation with a truly supportive figure at the helm.

Aside from pressuring brands like Coke and Adidas, what can consumers do?

I’d recommend watching Oliver’s FIFA segment for a dose of inspiration:

*Shoutout to JG!

Battle Royale With Cheese

$2 off every order. Responsive customer service. The Bacon Sriracha Unicorn Diaries. This April Fool’s joke. On-demand food delivery service Eat24, recently acquired by Yelp, should be my first and last stop for ordering dinner.

How could you not give this company your money?

I go to Eat24 for funny, but I go to Seamless for food. This bothers me, both as a consumer and a marketer.

Emotion is one of the six principles most often at work in contagious messages, according to Jonah Berger in his book “Contagious: Why Things Catch On.” The Eat24 team exemplifies all six of those principles. They should win the day, right? Not so fast.

My friends at Eat24 have a knack for making me want to tell my friends what they’re missing out on. After ordering they tempt me with pre-written tweets. They asked customers to help them find menu mistakes (and customers delivered! Just look at how often @Tottums tweets @eat24. Engagement level: Supersized) It was a friend who introduced me to them via the Friday newsletter. She said she reads the entire thing, P.P.S. and all. And now I do too.

They’re also fearless and sensible. Customers send them actual love. Also, this. I wish my office had a bacon bell.

Great humor should be cherished like gratis guacamole. So I thought I’d lend Eat24 a hand with this feature comparison.

1. What to eat? Try a search. But don’t start typing until the page fully loads or you’ll get stuck in the search bar matrix.

Patience is a virtue.
Search Me?

2. Obvs I want Thai food. Pro tip: exercise patience while page loads, then type “Thai”…

Thai again
Hangry yet?

… the first two restaurants that pop up at the late hour at which I am writing this post are decidedly non-Thai. I’ve also experienced being unable to find a restaurant here that I was able to find on the other site.

3. Not sure what you want? Pick from the list of cuisines:

No one can say we’re starved for choice.

Choose wisely. There’s no simple way to clear all. Also I had to zoom out to 75% to see the full list without scrolling.

4. When the site stops working.

...or not.

Minor things, but they add up to mild annoyance.

Some factors in Seamless’s favor:

1. Sortable search results let me decide what’s most important.

Add: Bacon generosity level

2. And how far I need to walk for my edamame.

Wishful thinking?

3. Some design-y things I can’t quite put my finger on but maybe a professional designer could help me elucidate.

It’s only been a few months since Yelp bought Eat24. I’m thrilled to see they’ve kept their wacky sense of humor. They recently added some data to the mix, which is bound to make the ordering experience more delicious.

I’d love to see even more data-driven on-demand goodness. And better ways of deciphering restaurant quality beyond the five-star model. Bigger and better photos (maybe the ones already on Yelp)? Integration of customer reviews? An option to see a grid of photos showing dishes that link to the restaurant menu?

Tell me which service you use to order food in the comments.

Balancing creepy with helpful: A marketer’s view

I sign up for way too many newsletters. They come recommended by friends, co-workers, blogs and of course other newsletters.

This puts me in the top of the funnel for all sorts of products both relevant and not. All promise to make me better at my job.

In this post, I’ll walk through a few couple recent pitches and explore their effectiveness. Sales and marketing are intertwined. There’s little patience for sleazy sales pitches. Productivity trumps persistence. If you’re taking my time to show me your product, make it worth my while. I have a lot of respect for sales reps doing cold calls, demos, lead scoring and the works. It’s an intense, unforgiving business. It’s great to see more and more real pros who respect my time too.

You can probably spend an entire year demoing various products to monitor your social audience, work leads through the funnel, nurture prospects and automate yourself silly. Some of the tools I’ve used are really cool and useful by offering a closer look at your individual audience members.

The challenge  for the modern marketer (aka growth hacker) is balancing the creepiness of looking over someone’s digital shoulder with the potential for helpfulness by solving your customer’s headaches.

Here’s one example of a sales email that came after I registered for a virtual sales conference. The subject line was simply, suggestively: VoicemailDon't Do This.

First, I don’t mind that he sent it. I liberally share my email address with vendors to gain access to their guides and so-called premium content created to elicit my email address. (Note to self: write post about how to create premium that kills)

The problem with the email above is that it’s based on a lie: he couldn’t have left a voicemail because I haven’t set it up yet. This sets a bad tone from the beginning of my relationship with this guy. A colleague of mine also pointed out two other negatives:

  • Saying “My job is to schedule your one-on-one follow up conversation” depreciates his role and creates less of a reason for me to reply.
  • Thanks, Regards, … is just sloppy.

Chance of replying: 0%

In my second example, here’s a marketing email from The Daily Muse. I really like what they’re doing to make it easier to find quality career advice. The “What’s it like to work at…” posts offer a glimpse into companies that you won’t find through most branded Facebook profiles or company team pages.

The point of the email below is to get me to go to their Facebook page and like the brand. As much as I know there is value to be unlocked on Facebook for B2C and B2B marketers, this attempt falls flat at first blush.

Not amused.


But I’m torn on this one. At first I dismissed it as annoying and a waste of my time. I signed up for musings of the daily variety, not this. The “jab” in this email is that I’d see more of their great content quickly. Since I don’t really use facebook to find content, I have little incentive to give away my like or clutter my feed.

Also, dudes, don’t be greedy! As of posting this, The Daily Muse facebook page has 125K+ likes (from 112K in the email gif)! Mysterious forces at work here. Or just marketing genius.

Chance of clicking the CTA: 0%

Chance of trying a riff of this: 100%

What do you think of these two strategies? I’d love to hear your thoughts and tips.

My Kryptonite

I spent the first decade of my working life as a journalist, most of that with The Wall Street Journal. As an editor responsible for keeping updated with the best and most relevant content, I kept tabs on all the news I possibly could. That meant frequent contact with our bureaus around the world, a few computer monitors, a full Tweetdeck, a bank of TVs set to the major news networks or sometimes cartoons, daily news meetings, our own site’s live metrics…

It dawned on me the other night. One thing I really love about my new job at CB Insights is that I get to deep dive in one subject area: private company data.

It’s a big change from constantly jumping from central bank meetings to elections and everything in between, not to mention launching new websites and running a team.

I’ve slowly come to notice a pattern in what makes me less productive: trying to move to a new task before the original one is finished. It’s futile to try to focus on more than one thing at a time. How does that add up for a digital editor charged with keeping tabs on every major news event throughout the day?

One answer is teamwork. I worked with the most generous, intelligent and talented group of people in the business.

Another answer is focus.

To put it another way, multitasking is impossible. Even though you’re probably reading this (hey, thanks!) while thinking about lunch or eavesdropping on someone’s obnoxious train conversation, your brain can only process one of those thoughts at a time.

I want to embrace that fact. There are many strategies for processing large amounts of disparate information. I use boxes. If a distraction pops up that would take me away from the task at hand, I put it in a figurative box in my mind and set it on a shelf.

It’s a strategy I’ve learned from friends and mentors to help manage personal as well as professional matters.

The impetus for starting this blog–something I’ve had on my massive to-do list for years–is three-pronged. First, I offered to start a blog back and forth with Peter Boyce, and want to deliver! Second, I want to be more focused. Third, I want to share my love of writing with others.

I come up with ideas for blog posts every day. How many of those have I written and published in the past year? *Ahem* zero.

I plan to write about a few areas of personal interest, which will probably morph over time: storytelling, sports & outdoors, travel and technology.

My goal is to blog regularly as a means to improve my productivity in work and play. If you’d like to join our blog tag-team, drop me a line in the comments or shout at me on twitter.

Thanks for reading!