November 30, 2005
Don't call me stupid...
Grant McCracken has a brilliant reply to "It's the Purpose Brand, Stupid" - an article published in the Wall Street Journal yesterday by Clayton M. Christensen (HBS), Scott Cook (Intuit) and Taddy Hall (Advertising Research Foundation) .
While I agree with the authors of the article that "to build a product that people want, you need to help them do a job that they are trying to get done", and that many companies are building the wrong product by not following this simple rule, I also agree 100% with Grant that taking that to the next level and start talking about "purpose brands" is somewhat ludicrous.
I love it when he points to the costs of building true purpose brands:
"Some costs of the Purpose Brand proposition: Pucini becomes entertainment, indistinguishable from Disney. There is no difference between time keep devices called Patek Philippe and Timex. Ford makes the same thing as Volkwagen. All business schools, mark you, Dr. Christensen, are pretty much the same. Intuit is only a couple of features different from Microsoft Money. Most of all, Mr. Hall, there is no longer any such thing as advertising strategy. Now, it's sell the function all day long. (And to think that marketers and agencies actually fund the Advertising Research Foundation!) "
No reason to wonder what Grant really thinks about the authors...it's clearly stated in his post: "The three wise men are a wrecking crew. "
Are you focusing on big "M" Marketing or small "m" marketing?
As I may have mentioned before, we (Corante) are in the planning stages for a Marketing Symposium which will be held early next year. To help us create a real compelling event, one where the debate around the future of marketing goes a few steps beyond what you would find iin most other venues, we assembled an advisory board of thought leaders and practicioners. They include:
- Elizabeth Albrycht - a public relations professional, consultant, blogger, and permanent student of the industry
- Tom Asacker - writer, teacher, consultant and frequent speaker - Tom Peters calls him a "Marketing Guru"
- John Hagel - writer, consultant, business strategist, and frequent speaker
- Renee Hopkins Callahan - Director of Innovation Services at Decision Analyst, and blogger
- Lois Kelly - strategic communications professional, consultant, speaker, blogger
- Grant McCracken - cultural anthropologist affiliated with the MIT Brand Culture Lab, author, and consultant
- Johnnie Moore - marketing consultant, speaker, writer and fascilitator
During our last advisory meeting we debated what might interest CMO's, the circumstances under which they might be highly participatory, whether traditional marketing is dead - or merely going through a major transformation, whether companies have the right skillsets in their marketing departments, old models vs. new models, and many other topics that might help shape the event. If you have any thoughts on the topic - feel free to contact me!
But then we came to a topic that really struck a chord with me - how many marketers out there are focusing on small "m" marketing (the tactical stuff), when they should really be focusing on big "M" marketing (the fundamentals, the strategic stuff)?
I bet you it's way too many of them...
Marketers are often primarily focused on optimising tactics - how to get a better ROI on lead gen or other programs (or how to get to an ROI - period), how to drive more traffic to online seminars, how to get customers to upgrade faster, or how to better manage the PR and advertising budgets. In reality, and if marketers were brave enough to reevaluate their big "M" marketing - do you have the right value proposition, do you have the right customers, do you have the right people - many of the small "m" stuff would take care of itself!
I suppose that a lot of that is driven by job-preservation motives - but as counter-intuitive as it might sound, I think that having the guts to challenge the fundamentals, no matter how deeply ingrained they are in the corporate culture - will result in more successful careers than if you're just a good "operational" marketer. And regardless of that, such an attitude would definitely benefit your shareholders and customers.
November 29, 2005
The Corante Marketing Hubs went live today...
The Corante Hubs were designed on the premise that as information is increasingly becoming an abundant resource and attention is increasingly becoming a scarce resource—people will subscribe to people instead of subscribing to content.
With this in mind, we recruited a network of existing top-notch bloggers in the areas of marketing, media, and web technology, to act as reader's filter for what’s important in those fields. These experts continue to blog on their own blogs. At the Corante Hubs we aggregate their content and enhance it with technology to help readers track “conversations”, and find related content.
We also recruited knowledgeable editors for each hub, who editorialize what happens on the network—sometimes making connections that readers may have missed , sometimes taking the topics in a broader context.
We are planning on launching more hubs in the next few weeks, and are expecting to announce more bloggers to join the various networks in the next few days.
There are many other programs which we are planning in the context of the hubs - including running symposia as the one we recently organized in partnership with the Berkman Center for Internet & Society, or like the ones we are about to announce in the areas of marketing, media and law - which provide an opportunity for contributors and readers to mingle and discuss issues and topics face to face.
So rather than force-fitting a traditional publishing paradigm on this new social medium, we are trying to invent a new one - in collaboration with our network of contribuotrs! It is indeed our goal to get the contributors involved in the governance and strategic direction of the Corante Hubs.
links for 2005-11-29
viral map from coca cola
November 28, 2005
The fanaticism around web 2.0 tools sometimes confuses me...
Don't take me wrong - I am totally excited about this current wave of web innovation and a big believer in where it might lead us (as I wrote about it a few times - including here). What confuses me is the fanaticism with which the current tools are being promoted - and the associated "death of the old tools" predictions that go with it.
I already wrote what I felt about Business Week's prediction that "email is so five minutes ago". But the blogosphere is littered with other such examples. Take Basecamp - which is hailed as a "must use" web 2.0 collaboration tool for anyone that wants to be perceived as an insider of this current wave of innovation. More than once have I been dinged for using a Yahoo group for simple collaboration instead of Basecamp. But what's so 2.0 about it?
If I have a Yahoo Group - I can email to the group - I do not have to ever log in to the Yahoo Group itself to participate. While Basecamp will also give me email notifications - I have to log in if I want to comment or post something. If I have multiple Yahoo groups that I want to send the same message to - I email it once to three email addresses and everybody gets it in their email inbox. In Basecamp I have to log in to each project and cut and paste my message. If I want a to put something in italic or bold in my Yahoo Group message - I click on the B or the I icon. In Basecamp I have to remember to put a * before and after the stuff I want to appear in Bold and an _ before and after the stuff I want in italic - not to mention that I have to add h1. or h2. before stuff that I want to appear bigger as a header (I guarantee you that very few people are using bold, italic, or headers in the projects that I run in Basecamp). In Yahoo groups I can organize my files in folders, in Basecamp I cannot. So what's so 2.0 about this? Oh yeah - Basecamp has RSS feeds which you cannot have with private Yahoo Groups. But to me, project related work and alerts should come in my email inbox, and subscriptions should stay out of it and go into my RSS aggregator - a personal preference - I agree.
I am sure that Basecamp will improve over time - and although I am a firm believer that the wiki metaphor is a better collaboration metaphor than blogging - I am convinced that they will develop a loyal "mainstream" following over time. There are however collaboration lessons that were learned during the web 1.0 wave and the pre-web wave that will always stand in the way of group adoption. And the are remaining web 1.0 tools that are still working fine for certain applications - let's not become too snobbish about this whole thing - because that will impede innovation.
In general, and for the web 2.0 tools to find broader acceptance, they will have to have much better UI's, more depth, and be much more robust...
We knew how to do that before - why are we giving it up in this wave of product innovation?
November 24, 2005
links for 2005-11-24
Great post on the world's worst diseases by Tom Asacker
intriguing article in the Washington Times
November 23, 2005
Ads going along with the durex viral "Let the beast go..." campaign
RSS users visit 3 times more news sites as non-users
According to a recent Nielsen report:
"RSS users are significantly more engaged in online news than non-users, visiting an average of 10.6 news sites compared with 3.4 news sites for non-users...Not only do RSS users visit more news Web sites than non-users, they also visit those sites more frequently. RSS users visited the top 20 news Web sites nearly three times as often as non-users and all other news Web sites four times as often. This means that sites outside of the top 20 properties may be among the greatest beneficiaries of RSS. "Another interesting tidbit is that among the RSS users who understood the technology, 78% were male...
links for 2005-11-23
group meeting planner
November 22, 2005
Viral marketing embedded in social rejections
This one is too funny! NotMyNumber is a service that you can use to give a guy who asks you for your number a number, except it's not your reall number. When you dial the number ( I looked for a local number and got 617/459-4088), you get a girl telling you to go pound sand, but in the process she also praises budweiser.
[via agenda, Inc.]
November 21, 2005
Startups succeed if they gain credibility and if they mimic existing structures...
According to management-issues (via A PR Guru's Musings), a new HBS Working Knowledge interview with Assistant Professor Muktu Khaire reveals that startups succeed if they can acquire "intangible resources such as legitimacy, status, and reputation". I buy that...
In that same interview she also argues that "mimicry of existing organizations' structures and activities to a certain extent is essential if new ventures wish to gain legitimacy."
Better yet is to find a way to sell a product that does not require the buyer to change the way they to do things in order to use your product - yet will transform the way they do those things dramatically once they start using it.
That being said, I am not sure that mimicry is the only way for new ventures to gain legitimacy. While it makes it easier to sell, there are radical new ways of doing things that have found relatively fast adoption - think search engine marketing, or downloadable music, snowboarding, just to name a few.
E-Mail so five minutes ago? I don't think so...
Business week this week has an article titled E-Mail Is So Five Minutes Ago (may require subscription) - in which they say that many people are tuning out email because of spam, and that consequently many companies are ditching email in favor of of other software tools that can function as real-time virtual workspaces - including wikis, blogs, IM, RSS and more elaborate systems like MS Sharepoint.
Maybe I am missing something, but this is not only mixing up apples and oranges its also confusing cause and effect. First off, spam is a problem that needs to be addressed and fixed, and I wish that the government would spend more time on that instead of chasing porn consumers - not the kid type, but the consenting adult type. But to mix spam and people's resulting email blow-off factor with a move to group collaboration tools is just not a logical conclusion. Email is typically a person's "personal workspace", while some of the tools suggested in the article - like wikis - are clearly "group workspaces". One will not replace the other. It's like saying that conference rooms will replace personal office space in the physical world. - not so...
While I agree that email does not work for most group collaboration scenarios - some of the tools mentioned in the article don't work any better. You cannot really collaborate through IM, nor can you truly collaborate through blogs. You can communicate through IM and have conversations through blogs - both of which may be components of collaboration, but clearly not the total solution. You could argue that you can collaborate through wikis, but then you're missing some important other collaborative components. And knowing that if people have to open up multiple apps (more than two or three) to get a job done, they will revert back to the "old hacks" - telephone, email, and increasingly IM - companies need to realize that unless they have a seamlessly integrated set of tools to enable group collaboration, frustration will continue to persist around the shortcomings of any so-called collaboration tool.
I buy the article's conclusion that "In the global race for innovation, it's not as much about leveraging what's inside your factories' machines as what's in your employees' heads", but not the sentence that comes right before that: "That's why fans say the beyond-e-mail workplace will become a key competitive advantage." Let's not forget that successful collaboration is maybe 50% technology and 50% people (individual behavior, company culture, etc.) Even with the best of tools, many companies will never be able to achieve great collaboration, just because of their anti-collaboration policies and cultures.
November 19, 2005
A free condom with your mainstream magazine?
Adverblog has the story about a mainstream magazine in Belgium (my home country) which is including a free durex condom in each magazine and promoting it through a very funny, albeit it "provocative" (by this country' standards) "viral" ad called "durex: let the beast go."
WARNING: this is perhaps not suitable for download at work in countries that harbor religious extremists - and I'll let you compose that list!
How many blogs do you read?
The importance of people announcements
I have always been against "people announcements" in companies - not because I think that people are not interested in some "star announcements" but because I believe that "personality cult/promotion" is not reflective of how a company really works and it can negatively impact morale - especially when less known individuals or teams are having a disproportionate impact on the company's success.
All that being said, I also believe that most people could care less...
Well I maybe wrong on that last point. According to a little test done by McClenehanBRUeR Communications and as reported on their blog (via Amy Gahran at Contentious), they sent out an email newsletter on behalf of one of their customers that contained all kinds of seemingly interesting content - including white papers and the like - as well as a few links to press releases at the bottom of the newsletter. The item with the highest number of click-throughs was a little news item about a couple of new people joining that company's advisory board.
While there is too little information to draw any serious conclusions (make sure you check the comment exchange between Amy and Jeff - the author of the post), it triggered a couple of interesting thoughts (at least I think so).
First off, promoting external advisers or board members is not the same as "personnel announcements". They are an indication that you are trying to open up another channel of market feedback into your strategy - be it your go-to market strategy, your product strategy or any other strategic issues that you are dealing with. And the most valuable proxies for good feedback/advise (=advisers) will also likely enjoy somewhat of a good reputation in your markets.
The second thought that I had when reading this is that most companies that do hire advisory boards do so for news-generation purposes only instead of for getting the great advise that such boards can deliver if managed properly.
November 17, 2005
Communicating through bloggers is different!
There are two good posts on how PR folks and marketers are still clueless when it comes to using the blogosphere in spreading their message.
First is Jeremy Zawodny over at Yahoo - who writes about the PR agency, who also happens to represent Six Apart (so you would expect them to know better), spamming the Yahoo! Search Blog email contact for some new AOL video format.
Next is Bruce Fryer - who writes about how he lost a consulting gig after he would not guarantee a startup that bloggers would indeed pick up their story.
Are people truly clueless? Or is it just all too new and we're doing something wrong in communicating what this new social media is all about?
...personally, I vote for clueless...
November 16, 2005
What did he say?
This just in: When asked about progress on the never-ending court battle with NTP over Blackberry patent infringement, RIM top honcho Jim Balsillie said he couldn't comment. He described NTP's action in June, which led to the failure of the settlement, as a "dramatic repudiation" that was "quantum deltas from palatability." Repeat after me: QUANTUM DELTAS FROM PALATABILITY. Does that mean it left a really really bad taste in his mouth? Gee, if the RIM gig doesn't work out for Jim, I think he definitely has a future in politics, or dare I say it, high-tech marketing.
November 14, 2005
Corante Symposium on Social Architecture
Tonight is the start of the Corante Symposium on Social Architecture. It promises to be a very interesting conversation with a very interesting cast of characters (disclosure - I am a partner at Corante). Watch for some more news coming from us later this week!
There are still a few (very few) seats left if you are interested in attending.
We will try to keep a blog going, which will also aggregate other posts that are tagged with "corantessa" (no quotes) at various tagging services.
[Technorati Tags: corrantessa]
IBM sees blogging as marketing's next big thing!
For an update on how IBM's blogging strategy is evolving - check out the AdAge article from last week.
Here are some of the highlights - there are 15,000 internally registered bloggers, of which 2,200 people maintain an external blog. IBM's embrace of new media in marketing extends to podcasting as well.
When the "un-official" Chief Blogging Officer Christopher Barges is asked about blogging as a sales and marketing tool, he replies: "This is a way to get our expertise out there, not by shoving it down people’s throats, but by just starting conversations,” Mr. Barger said. “It expands our reputation, perceptions and reach of IBM, at the same time expanding the number of people we can learn from.”
It's good to see that some large companies do get it!
November 13, 2005
A trail of breadcrumbs
I admit it. I am a sloppy surfer. More often than not I find that I get totally lost in link-land. It all starts when I find a site that interests me, like Steve Rubel's Micro Persuasion, which I usually check out on a daily basis. And good old Steve laces his posts with lots and lots of links, which I, in some form of Brownian motion, bounce from one to the next, often having no idea of where I am going. But more often than not, it is an interesting journey. So today I decided to lay a trail of breadcrumbs to keep track of one such adventure initiated by reading Rubel's blog. He has a post with an intriguing title : Bolgger takes on NYT food critic. He has a link to Julia Langbien, who has set herself up to be a critic's critic. The critic she is critiquing is Frank Bruni, top gun food critic for the NY Times. So I check out her site, like her style and figure that she must link to some people who are equally interesting. On her link list I find an entry that I just have to visit: Beans, beans. Sure enough, the author--who goes by the name Beans, is a hoot (or should I say Toot). After laughing to the point of tears about her Trout Disaster, she gets my attention with a post about Geoduck. This leads directly to a jump to Google Images, where I see photos of a Geoduck (you must see them for yourself, they are amazing). Now I am really curious to learn more so I end my breadcrumb trail at, where else, Wikipedia where I learn more than I ever wanted to know about Geoduck.
And this all started with a quick, I'll just see if he has anything interesting today, scan of Micro Persuasion. Thanks Seve!
November 12, 2005
[off topic] Ever wondered why it takes four people to paint a pool?
November 11, 2005
Marketing is not just about demand generation - it's also about listening
Brad Feld has a great post on how marketing in startups is broken. He despises the word "marketing" because it is often the weakest link in a startup company. He goes on to say:
“Marketing” is vague and non-specific, often poorly executed and measured, and usually a huge waste of money relative to the output. Oh – and while there are plenty of “tried and true” approaches (that any marketing consulting would be happy to charge you plenty of money to explain to you) – the effective approaches have been evolving a lot lately, especially as user-generated content becomes ubiquitous.So far I sort of agree...marketing is not only broken in startups, it is broken in most companies. There are many reasons for this - including what I call a lot of "text-book" marketers who don't truly understand marketing and manage marketing as a set of predetermined task lists (that should be the same from one product to the next, and from one market to the next) and who measure their productivity by the number of press releases, or the number of leads (regardless of quality), or number of trade shows they attended (regardless of whether trade shows even make sense for their particular products). Today, failure for those people is guaranteed at an even faster rate, especially in the face of a marketplace where the old rules are no longer valid - you don't "control" the message, people distrust you and they don't have time to listen to you, they listen to other users, etc. So yes, I am sure that you will find many consultants that will gladly take your money and give you advise - but buyer beware - many of those consultants are the same people who used to be "text book" marketers before, and may not realize that their marketing text-book is no longer valid!
In his post, he goes on to say:
Several years ago, I suggested to my portfolio companies that they fire their VP of Marketing and hire a VP of Demand Generation (it could be the same person if the VP of Marketing was willing to accept a quota and meaningful, measurable variable compensation.) Hopefully, this VP of Demand Generation understands the incredible power of having your customers so happy with your product that they’ll talk about it online.Here I am only partially in agreement because the solution he brings forward is only part what I think the solution should be. Of course marketers should do whatever they can to get the buzz going, and be measured accordingly, but they should own that same metric/goal with the person running customer service - who is probably still measuring his call center performance by how long the wait is to get a live person (good), and the length of the call (bad) - and the person running sales. All of the customer touch-points need to be looked at as an integrated set of levers through which you will create the enthusiasm needed for market buzz.
And then the marketer needs to be held accountable for a whole bunch of other things, because if you only measure her or him on "new" demand generation metrics, all your go-to-market efforts will ultimately fail. The other tasks for which the marketer should be responsible for can all be bundled in a category called "listening" - listening to marketplace for emerging negative buzz - so you can at least "try" to nip it in the but early; listening to the marketplace for competitive moves and thought leadership - so you have the right inputs in your strategy; and of course listening to the marketplace for what people really want - so you can bring the right offer to market. Because without the right offer, you can do anything you want - you will never be able to create buzz. At least not the kind of buzz you want to...
November 10, 2005
Marketing is all about getting someone's attention
"To create awareness at point-of-purchase, we rigged everyday shopping trolleys with motors, thereby creating and arsenal of "ghost trolleys". The trolleys were then filled with ghost pops and driven by remote controls from hidden locations. They moved around supermarkets by themselves prompting shoppers to take a pack while getting quite a few interesting reactions."
It all goes to show that marketing is all about getting people's attention - and that is increasingly hard to get.
November 9, 2005
Deciders suffer alone; nondeciders make everyone else suffer
The Wall Street Journal yesterday had a great column by Jared Sandberg on the impact of people who cannot decide in the workplace (looks like access is free this week).
It goes without saying that the impact of indecision is bad - but what surprised me a little (ah...maybe not) is that it gets more frequently rewarded than decisions. How can that be? It is much harder to spot bad decisions than indecisions...
This problem is truly a bad one. In most surveys, indecision is listed as the top workplace tormentor. A recent survey mentioned in the article found that 3 out of the 6 obstacles to performing their job mentioned by employees were related to decision-making.
November 8, 2005
You know you're a marketer when...
Here are few of the entries from a fun survey conducted over at Marketing Profs. These and other entries are available in their newsletter, Marketing Profs Today.
From Roberta Silverstein:
"You query your friends at Super Bowl parties regarding their unaided recall of product/company ads."
"At the local diner you start rewriting menu descriptions for better purchase appeal."
"At home you rearrange your cat's food dishes into a POP display."
From Bill Stiles, Stiles Healthcare Strategy:
"During annual physicals your doctor encourages you to smoke and drink a little more."
"You divide your hours worked into your pay and realize you are making 4 bucks an hour."
"You lecture Girl Scouts at your door on how to segment the cookie market by the types of vehicles parked in neighborhood driveways."
"You don't have family reunions—you have a Boomer, Buster and Gen-X focus group."
Please - don't split marketing even further
[warning: rant coming] The latest issue of productmarketing.com has an article on "where does product management belong in the organization?" Very shortsightedly the author recommends that product management should have its own exec reporting directly to the CEO. He calls it the VP of market problems...and describes the VP of marketing as the person who owns collateral, sales tools, lead generation, and awareness programs.
Come on - give me a break! This is such industrial revolution-like reasoning...If that is how your organization looks like you do not fix that by hiring a VP of product management, but you do it by firing your marketing department. Besides the fact that it is idiotic to still believe that they are "in charge" of lead gen - the marketing exec has to be the person in the organization that owns how the company behaves in the marketplace. And that includes defining the offer that you bring to market. Product management is not just a "marketing function" - it is marketing. It is at the center of everything you do in the marketplace.
The biggest problems with companies is that marketing is as fractured as it is. It is because the marketing departments are siloed that we witness all those weird company behaviors these days - where the left half of the company behaves totally different from the right half. We do not need more division of labor...we need less!
Sure enough - the product strategy has to be on the CEO agenda. No question about that! But it has to be on the agenda as part of the overall market strategy - not as another independently measured "thing". And companies need to realize that there are different types of new products - some which belong on the executive team's agenda day in and day out, and some that don't. And to believe that product management should be driven by fixing "market problems" is not just ignorant - it is a dangerous assumption for any company to hold. I can just hear the next sentence - "if your product looks more like an aspirin than a cure for cancer, you will fail!"
All that being said - the development of a product, much like all the other marketing functions, is not a one person/department affair. It is clearly a cross-functional activity that crosses all departments in a company. And just like with any cross-functional projects - different people have to take the lead for different components at different stages of the project.
Of course - just by reading the intro to the article's side bar: "I have found that the key to success in technology companies is an understanding of Star Trek" - and how companies should evolve from Start Trek the Original Series to Star Trek The Next Generation - I should have known about the quality of the article and skipped it instead of getting all wound up about it...really - he missed all the wonderful lessons from Star Trek Enterprise and Star Trek Deep Space Nine!
[end of rant]
November 7, 2005
Half the teens are content creators
- 87% of those teens use the internet
- 57% of online teens create content for the internet
- 33% share their own creations online, such as artwork, photos, stories or videos
- 19% blog or maintain some personal online journal, 38% read them - 22% have personal web pages
- 19% remix content
Remixing is a fascinating phenomenon - but every time I think about commercial applications for remixing, I bump into the IP limitations of what's possible. (or perhaps I just run into my personal limitations in terms of subject-matter knowledge).
November 6, 2005
Somehow I came across a mention about this small book with a provocative title by Peter Morville. Go here to check it out on Amazon. After reading an excerpt on A List Apart I knew I had to buy a copy. Remember that I said that I "somehow" came across a mention of the book. So Mr. Morville immediately calls my bluff in the book's preface. Opening sentences: How did you get here? How did you find this book? What were you looking for? And so on. He asks because the odds of actually finding his book are vanishingly small. Estimates place the worldwide stock of books at between 75- and 150-million titles; plus there are millions of blogs, billions of web pages, countless radio and TV shows, RSS feeds, podcasts, and the beat goes on. As Morville points out, given this vast array of information competing for my attention I would be more likely to win a lottery than find his book. And yet, without actually being able to accurately answer his questions about how I found his book and what I was looking for when I found it (as best as I can remember, I was bored so I started surfing, and somehow found a blog that mentioned the book, which led me to A List Apart, which motivated me to go to Amazon, which prompted a decision to buy).
Now that I have dug more deeply into the book, I realize that the mindless ease with which I moved from becoming aware of an interesting concept, to holding a book in my hands that helps me learn more about it is really a small example of ambient findability.
Now the plot thickens. Today I decide to check out the author's website. Here I browse some of his earlier articles, such as one he wrote on Ambient Findability in 2002. As I skim the article I notice a reference to The Diamond Age. This as it turns out is a sci fi book published in 1989 by Neal Stephenson. But was is really amazing (to me at least) is that literally minutes before seeing it mentioned in Morville's article, I saw the book mentioned in my daily Reuters Technology Report email. This time it was in a story about an enabling technology for Ambient Findability: electronic paper. In Stephenson's book, a young girl carries a book that can speak to her and continually change the contents of its pages. Over a decade after his book was published, Phillips of Holland demonstrated that what was once science fiction is about to become the real deal.
Are you ready for Ambient Findability? Remember, it is a two way deal. You get to find what you want, when you want it, where ever you are. And conversely, you and everything about you are equally easily findable by anyone else.
November 4, 2005
Marketing by learning from politics
I have been saying for awhile that for us marketers, there is much to be learned from the world of politics. Thanks to Elizabeth Albrycht I found this great article in the Herald Tribune on how Wal-Mart is doing exactly that - hiring politicos from both the Kerry and Bush presidential campaigns to help them improve their image.
They set up a rapid-response PR team that operates out of a "war room" in Arkansas - much like a campaign war room. Their target is the "swing voter" - that consumer who has not soured on Wal-Mart yet.
November 3, 2005
How brand advocates are born
iMedia has an interesting chat with Guy Kawasaki in which he talks about consumer evangelism.
I especially like the part when he is asked about examples of innovative uses of evangelism:
"Very few companies use evangelism. Sure, they hand out business cards to employees with the title "evangelist," but "evangelist" isn't a title, it's a state of mind."As you know, I feel that way about marketing in general. He continues by saying:
"To start, the key to evangelism is a great product. Very few companies have a great product, and very few companies understand evangelism. Thus, the set of companies that have a great product and understand evangelism is tiny -- about as likely as a professional hockey player from Hawaii."I love it! This is so true. Now that word-of-mouth is the latest craze in marketing - I cannot wait to watch all those people who will try using it (or more likely abusing it) to promote crappy products.
November 2, 2005
Traditional interupt marketing is dead!
Yesterday I was having lunch with a friend who was lamenting about the fact that most high-tech company marketing departments she deals with are still so silo-ed - with budgets for events separate from budgets for PR and now even influencer marketing being set up as a separate activity. She was also telling me how many companies were disappointed with the results of sponsoring recent events.
To me these kind of statements make my blood boil. So many companies are so stuck in old ways of doing things that it is surprising to me that they succeed at all. There are two major problems with this. First off - some of the comments show that there is indeed very little corporate memory. Companies stopped doing event sponsorships after September 11th, 2001, because nobody went to conferences anymore. Now that people are traveling to conferences again - companies are rushing to sponsor events - forgetting that event marketing was something really hard to do well and with success before 9/11!
As a company you need to realize that most conference attendees are not going to those conferences to see YOU. Get over it! They are there because they have needs that most likely go way beyond what you have to offer. A good portion are probably there for reasons that you cannot do anything about.
But the problem with event marketing, and traditional interrupt-driven marketing in general, is much broader than that. You need to realize that what people have in deficit is "attention". If you try to "hijack" that attention without delivering real value - whether through aggressive conference exhibit behavior or intrusive email actions - you will turn them off! We need to start thinking about how we can deliver value when we get their attention and we need to stop thinking about "interrupting them" or trying to get their attention in silos. A much better thing to do is to take a lesson from politics - in order to get the vote, you need to have a clearly articulated and well understood value proposition which needs to be delivered, and "received" by the voter, through at least three different channels.
And when you think about how to deliver "value" - keep in mind the inherent need that most people have to help others, but also to warn others. If you deliver true value and your value proposition is easily understood and retold, then people will pass that value on to others because they too want to deliver value to acquaintances. If on the other hand, they feel like they've been had, that same motivation will cause them to "warn" others about the dangers of wasting their time and energy with a particular product or vendor. And these days, when they warn others, it can hurt much more than it did when they did so a few years ago (i.e., my airline story was in top 4 Yahoo News stories for 2 days).
In general, companies have to think about marketing as a way to behave in the marketplace - not as an unrelated set of independently measured interruption activities. I know the metaphor is a bit overused, but it truly comes down to participating (no NOT managing!) in multiple market conversations that cross multiple media and that can last for a long time - and where the buyer is in charge.
It really is simple...
November 1, 2005
Maybe you too can help
Evelyn Rodriguez, a Tsunami survivor herself, is going back to Thailand to capture some more oral history as part of her artisan journalism project - one year after the Tsunami disaster. She is raising money and also looking for other ways that people could help her - like helping her find leads for by-lined article opportunities, loaning equipment, etc. You can find all the ways in which you can help her here.
In her latest posts she also takes apart the different ways in which one can create buzz as an individual - quite interesting.
So here is to helping a good cause and increasing the surrounding buzz a little. If you blog, consider doing the same.