Tag: marketing strategy

How To Avoid Creating A Monster

Digital Strategy, Social Media2 Comments

There’s a great quote from Jurassic Park that I’m constantly reminded of. Right after all hell breaks loose and dinosaurs have taken over the theme park, Jeff Goldblum’s character confronts Richard Attenborough’s and says “your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should.”

Probably should've thought this one through...

Every time when brainstorming, planning or generally creating, I try to reflect on those words to keep things in perspective.

Our natural inclination when designing anything whether it be a new website, campaign or Facebook page, is to cram into it as many shiny new things as possible. You will no doubt be familiar with the incessant tinkering and growing functionality that occurs without a tight scope and good leadership. When you work in marketing or advertising, it’s easy to get excited about what’s new because we all want to push the envelope and stand out from the pack. The danger comes when we push things that little bit too far and  we bolt on more features then necessary that it stops making sense to the consumer and becomes a confusing mess. The secret then is to keep it simple and focused on what matters to our customers.

  • Google destroyed Yahoo, Alta Vista and all the other search engines because it did what it did really well and put user needs front and centre. You type in a keyword, hit search and get back pages of relevant results. No muss, no fuss.
  • The best mobile apps aren’t the ones that try and do everything but are focused on a particular utilitarian task. They don’t try to cram in a whole load of features that might not get used and focus on the cherry on top.

But you knew that already.

The reason why I was inspired to right this post is because of a great book – actually, more like a manifesto – I read by Steve Pressfield, author of The Legend of Bagger Vance and The War of Art. Entitled Do The Work, it addresses the challenge artists face about overcoming internal resistance, putting your head down and getting to work. One of the techniques he suggests to stay focused is to think like a screenwriter or playwright and boil your project down to three acts:  a beginning, a middle and an end. Act One, Act Two, Act Three.

For example, this is how Pressfield explains Facebook in three acts:

  1. A digital commons, upon which anyone who wishes may establish, free, his or her own personal “page.”
  2. Each page owner determines who is permitted access to his or her page.
  3. Thus creating a worldwide community of “friends” who can interact with other “friends” and communicate or share virtually anything they want.

Everything in-between is filler; the tactics undertaken to get from 1-2-3.

Next time you sit down to develop your idea, first try and explain it in three sentences. Having this fundamental understanding of the what and the why could mean the difference between setting yourself up for failure and delivering a successful project in-scope and on-budget.

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Launching the iPad: A Marketing Perspective

Digital Strategy, Social Media19 Comments

apple-ipadWith the interwebs (especially Twitter) all aflutter over the launch of the Apple’s latest technological marvel, the iPad, I thought it would be timely to post my reactions. However, instead of passing judgment on a device that I am yet to get my hands on (hint, hint Apple reps), I thought it would be fun to look at the launch from an entirely different perspective.

First of all, this is not the first Apple product unveiling I have borne witness to. I was there (well, not actually there, but aware of it anyway) when Steve Jobs announced the iPod, iTunes, the switch to Intel chips and the original iPhone. Yet somehow, the hype leading up to those pales in comparison to the amount of speculation and praise that has been heaped on the iPad in the weeks and months leading up to Jan 27. It was hardly surprising that Mac Fanbois, spurred on no doubt by Steve Jobs own comments,  claimed that the then-unnamed Apple tablet was going to be a “game changer”, but then so too did the mainstream press who heralded it as ushering in a new era of computing, entertainment, media, etc.  all before the device had even be released.

While it might turn out to be a game changer, my first impressions are that it is nowhere near the giant leap forward that the iPhone, iTunes or even the iMac were. To me, those three did more to revolutionise how we think about mobile phones, music and the computers place in the home.

ipad_2

Irrespective of whether the iPad lives up to the hype, full marks must go to Apple’s marketing team for another outstanding product launch. They have leveraged the reach and power of internet (not to mention the brand’s mystique) to ramp the rumour mill into overdrive by saying, well, very little. Instead of shouting about it, they leaked snippets of information and essentially left their fans and industry analysts to let their imaginations run wild.

Next time you think about putting out another piece of collateral telling consumers how great you are, stop and ask yourself if you are saying more than you need to. Too much and you run the risk of painting yourself into a corner and alienating potential customers. Not enough and they won’t know what you’re about. While chances are you don’t have the same brand cache and fervent fan base as Apple, it is worth considering how much detail you need to put out there to tantalise your audience and to know what will get them excited.

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10 Things Social Media Can’t Do

Social Media1 Comment

Amid the endless pronouncements about social media — often shortened to “social” these days by consultants trying to sound like they know what they are talking about — is the reality that social media is not a solution, or a sure bet.

Social media can’t:

  1. Substitute for marketing strategy
    A Twitter campaign, or a Facebook page that announces your weekly specials is not a marketing strategy.
  2. Succeed without top management buy-in
    Social media requires a way of thinking that includes willingness to listen to customers, make changes based on feedback, and trust employees to talk to customers.The culture of fear (of job loss, of losing message control, of change) is ingrained in corporate cultures. Top management has to want to change.
  3. Be viewed as a short-term project
    Social media is not a one-shot deal. It’s a long-term commitment to openness, experimentation, and change that requires time to bear fruit.
  4. Produce meaningful, measurable results quickly
    One of the complaints about social media is that it can’t be measured. But in fact there are many things that can be measured: including engagement, sentiment, and whether increased traffic leads to sales.Those results can’t be produced or measured in the short term. Like PR, social media marketing often produces its best results in the second and third year.
  5. Be done in-house by the vast majority of companies
    A successful social media campaign integrates social media into the many elements of marketing, including advertising, digital, and PR. Opinion and theory are no match for experience, and the best social media marketers now have more than 10 years of experience incorporating interactivity, blogs, forums, user-generated content, and contests into online marketing.You need strategy, contacts, tools, and experience–a combination not generally found in in-house teams, who often reinvent the wheel or use the wrong tools.
  6. Provide a quick fix to the bottom line or a tarnished reputation
    Social media can sometimes provide quick results for a company that’s already a star. When a well-loved company like Zappos, or Google employs social media, its loyal fans and followers pay attention.However, there’s a lot of desperation in a lot of corporate suites these days, and many companies seem been convinced that a social media campaign can provide a quick fix to sagging sales or reputation issues. Sorry, nuh, uh.
  7. Be done without a realistic budget
    Building a site that incorporates interactivity, allows user-generated content, and perhaps also includes e-commerce doesn’t come cheap from anyone who knows what they are doing.Even taking free software like WordPress and making it function as an effective interactive site, incorporating e-commerce, creating style sheets that integrate with the company’s branding, takes more than time. That takes skill, experience, and money.
  8. Guarantee sales or influence
    Unless your effort can pass the “who cares” test – and most simply can’t – your social media efforts will fall flat.And unless you know how to drive traffic to your contest, video, blog, event, etc. you’ll have little more than an expensive field of dreams.
  9. Be done by “kids” who “understand social innately”
    You can climb Mt Kilaminjaro without a sherpa guide, but why would you? Experience and perspective can make the trip easier, or even save your life.Companies trying to run social media without experienced consultants waste time, money, and reputation on their efforts. And then, sadly, many decide that this new-fangled approach doesn’t work.
  10. Replace PR
    No matter how great your website, video contest, blog, Twitter strategy, etc. you still need publicity. Or you may end up with a tree falling in the forest, and nobody hearing it.

Via whatsnextblog.com

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Sylar’s lessons

Digital Strategy0 Comments

Despite the last season of Heroes being uneven at best and overall pretty poor compared to previous efforts, these lessons from Sylar are still pretty bad ass:

1. Always have an objective.
2. Know your end game before you lift your hand.
3. Keep a clear head — emotions make you sloppy.
4. Understand your motivation — always know what you want.

Even if you can’t fly, teleport, stop time, etc, etc, I reckon there’s something in this for anyone working in marketing. In short, know why you’re doing it before you do it and always put strategy before creative!

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When the customer isn’t always right

Uncategorized0 Comments

In The Simpson’s second season episode “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?”, Homer is given a job at Powell Motors by his half-brother Herb. With their cars  losing ground to foreign competitors, Herb believes his company has lost sight of what their customer’s want and asks for Homer’s help to design a car that would appeal to the ‘average’ American. Despite the protestations of his employees, Herb encourages Homer to follow his instincts. The high cost to develop the car and the high purchase price ultimately leads to Powell Motors going out of business.

Literally giving your customers what they want can be risky, especially if they aren’t exactly sure what they mean. Ignoring them altogether is just plain suicidal.

In Homer’s case, when he says that he wants a car with two bubbles; one in the front, while the one in the back is for quarreling kids, and comes with optional restraints and muzzles; all he is really saying is he ‘more privacy’.

The challenge for marketers is to translate what their customer’s are saying into workable insights that provide the basis for consumer-centric product designs that meet the needs of their customer’s.

http://think.squareholes.com/2009/08/customers-dont-always-know-what-they-want/

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