2010-02-04

You don't know Jack about marketing

This morning I came into the office to find this promotional email from Marketo in my work inbox:

I am always up for a little challenge, and always ready to learn from the best, so I clicked through to the quiz, which lives here.

It turned out to be a Flash application, without much else on the page, so if you had Flash disabled, you would not see much. This is what the page looks with Flash blocked:

I have Flash enabled by default, and so the app began to load, with the progress counter finally stopping at... 101%.

The "Jack" guy in the picture follows your mouse movements with his eyes. I played with that for a second, and was just about ready to start the game, as my IM window popped up, and... OH, NOES! "Jack" guy's eyes went black as the browser window lost focus.

Unnervingly, the guy was blinking with his empty sockets at random intervals, as I exchanged a few sentences with a friend on IM. Scary!

The eyes came back as soon as focus returned to the app.

In all fairness, this only happened on my fairly out-of-the-box Mac (Snow Leopard), and not on a Linux box, however, it is clear that the app was not tested on Mac OS.

Finally, I clicked "Play now" to enter the game.

While it was loading (again!) I noticed that the tool tip displayed when you moused over the app said "ydkj," which looked very much like the famous "asdf" or "Lorem ipsum" placeholder text that someone forgot to replace. Then I realized this was an acronym for "You Don't Know Jack." Great.

Now, the app loaded, and immediately, music started playing. I searched for a control to turn music off, and did not find it. So I muted my speakers. The game began, and it became apparent that the instructions on how to play, as well as the questions, were spoken! So I could not play this game in my office without disturbing my co-workers.

Now let's all pause and think about this for a moment.

  1. You send me a link to my work address, asking me to play the game to find out how much I know about B2B marketing.
  2. It is clearly work-related, so it is reasonable to assume that I would play your game at work, and then as a result, like your brand more and hopefully buy your products/services.
  3. Now, that you know that I will very likely be at work, you still make your app dependent on sound to be usable?*

Basically, you have just cut out anyone who is considerate of their coworkers. I guess you, the designer of the app, just assume that everyone else is like you, living in a self-contained bubble, which thoughts about other people (such as how and where they may use your app) rarely if ever penetrate.

So while it became clear to me that I will not be able to play the quiz, I also realized that I would not care about the judgment of my marketing skill by someone so blatantly unskilled themselves.

I get very frustrated when I see the so-called marketers like the ones who created the "Jack" quiz give the rest of us a bad name.

* Don't even get me started on the accessibility implications for blind and hearing-impaired persons.