Social Media – One Big Trade Show?

Ever get the feeling that social media is turning into one big trade show …  you know the kind I mean, where 90% of the booth traffic is other exhibitors and/or competitors, and not necessarily your customers.  It’s great to have friends and followers, but customers pay the bills.So if you are living the 90/10 experience, what can you do?  Here are a couple of ideas, and I’d love to hear more:

  • First, have a plan with specific objectives, both quantitative and qualitative;
  • As with any good trade show, send special invitations to your customers, current and potential, to your booth (sites);
  • Be bold; with hundreds of booths or millions of sites, find a way to stand out;
  • With the invitation, make sure they know it’s a good use of their time if they visit;
  • Eye candy is nice, but real customers come for knowledge/deals/rewards/ etc.;
  • Give them a reason to return, and let them know when they should and how often;
  • Make it easy to close them on the spot; time and distance create distraction and disinterest;
  • Let them know where else you can be found that better fits their schedule or interests;
  • Make them know you appreciate their business;
  • Measure your results, and then adopt or adapt.

As a colleague in the Advertising business used to say about trade shows, “If you can’t make a sale, at least make a friend!”

www.orogenmarketing.com

Posted in Advertising, Business Development, consumer goods, eCommerce, Marketing, Orogen, Public Relations, social media, Solar energy, startups, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lady Gaga Marketing 1O1

Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, a.k.a. Lady Gaga, and her management/creative team of Matt Williams, Troy Carter, and Vincent Herbert, have created a marketing template for today.  They base it on five simple things:

Lady Gaga

  1. You have to have the goods – gimmicks-only won’t do.  Lady Gaga is an exceptionally talented pianist/musician who writes all of her songs.  She wasn’t created by a record label or a producer, she told them what she was going to do and how she’d do it.
  2. Nothing is more important to her than customers/fans because without them everything else is irrelevant. In a recent Vanity Fair article she said,  “How could I possibly be better for you?  That’s all I keep thinking: I just want to be better for you.” She is the record holder with 32 million Facebook friends.
  3. Have a plan.  Nothing she does is thoughtless.  The more spontaneous she seems, the clearer it is her actions are well planned.
  4. Deliver on the Brand promises. This is the seed that grows trust to create the product/customer bond. Lady Gaga is Lady Gaga everywhere, always.
  5. Be bold; very bold.   With all the noise and distraction in the marketplace, your messages have to stand out.
Posted in Advertising, Business Development, consumer goods, Credit Cards, eCommerce, financial services, Marketing, organic, Orogen, Public Relations, renewable energy, social media, software, Solar energy, startups, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Would Marshall McLuhan Say?

While in college I had the opportunity to attend a panel discussion of communication theorists featuring Marshall McLuhan and Walter Ong.  To jog your memory, Marshall McLuhan is the guy who said “The medium is the massage,”   i.e., each medium produces a different “massage” or “effect” on the human sensorium (the place in the human brain to which impressions from the external world are conveyed and perceived). He also had a cameo role in Woody Allen’s “Annie Hall.”

So enough with the background … Assuming social media is not a “medium” by rather an aggregation of  community conversation mostly viewed on personal/individual communication devices, (e.g. computer screens, cell phone screens, portable notebook screens, etc.); often having a different format, (e.g. Facebook page, Twitter tweet, YouTube video); how do the various channels of social media affect (massage) the way the world is perceived (observed; recognized; understood; felt; sensed; realized; etc.), and what does that mean for us as marketers?

I am not talking about the significant body of work saying increased viewing of computer screens leads to obesity and bad backs.  Having a bad back or being obese may have an effect on how I view the world, but that is not what I am interested it.  I’m interested in how social media impacts the way the world “shows up” for people, and how that dictates/affects their behavior in it.

This answer may be above my pay grade, so here are a few questions to begin the conversation:

  • If most conversations using social media are a series of monologues, e.g. I talk, then you talk, then I talk, then you talk, without body language or interruptions, am I likely to shy away from actual physical contact during communication because the form/forum is less predictable and controlled, i.e. less safe?
  • Will people begin to demonstrate an openness to the world because much of their personal information is already in play, so why not?
  • Will the physical shopping experience become an exercise in frustration with its limited information (salesperson) and limited inventory (on the shelves), compared to online available information/discussion and inventory, and will most people move from the point of sale to the point of convenience?
  • Will social media lead to an “Island” mentality where people can survive perfectly well with little or limited physical social contact?

I’m not quite sure what the answers are, but I am convinced social media will have a much greater impact on marketers then just the obvious buying and servicing online.

Posted in Advertising, consumer goods, eCommerce, Marketing, Mobile Payments, social media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Impact Customer Behavior By Gain, Pain, Or Rules Change

There are three ways to affect customer behavior:

  • Gain – They will experience an advantage by doing things differently.
  • Pain – They will avoid or lessen negative consequences.
  • Rules Change – It is the way things are done within their operational universe.

It’s that simple.  If  one of those doesn’t happen for your customers, don’t expect their behavior to be different.  

To see a substantial or immediate difference, you must raise the degree of Gain, Pain, or Rules Change.  Here are three examples:

  1. Substantial Gain – eCommerce – Customers can buy what they want, when they want it, quickly and at a good price.
  2. Immediate Pain – Gasoline over $4.00/gal. – Just ask the car manufacturers how much and how quickly customer behavior changed.
  3. Immediate Rules Change – Government incentive for first-time home buyers – When it went away, existing home sales dropped 27%.

Gasoline over $4.00 per gallon

These were three macro-examples, but the idea translates to each market, each company.  Do you use pricing or give-aways to promote gain?  Is scarcity a “pain” tool you can utilize?  Is there a way to revise distributor rules to incent sales?

Check your marketing plan.  Are Gain, Pain, or Rules Change in it?  If not, don’t expect to impact your customers’ behavior.

Posted in Advertising, consumer goods, Credit Cards, eCommerce, financial services, Marketing, Medical technology, Mobile Payments, renewable energy, software, Solar energy, startups | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Consumers Are Becoming Numb And Numb-er: What To Do

First, let me explain the two reasons behind consumers becoming numb and numb-er:

  1. Marketers have found an enormous number of ways to get in front of consumers; letting marketers in is the price consumers pay to be connected, diverted, inspired, or informed.   But let’s focus on what “letting marketers in” means.  Today, it means trading personal information for those benefits, e.g. who your friends are, where you are, what you’re doing, what you’ve done, multiple levels of “contact” information, etc.  Consumers don’t seem to mind (numb) trading personal information for access to those benefits.  The Wall Street Journal has estimated that if you have visited the top 50 websites, then over 3,100 different trackers have been attached to you, watching where you go on the web.
  2. Communication stimuli:  24/7/365.  Ubiquitous. (numb-er)

So, consumers have opened their personal information gates, while simultaneously, and by necessity, fortifying their incoming communication filters. The result: numb and numb-er.

Here are five ideas for marketers to sensitize your customers today:

  1. Have a plan.  Don’t jump into any communication channel without having a strategy behind all tactics.
  2. Be bold; be very bold!  You have little time to capture and retain someone’s attention today. The first few seconds are critical.  Average viewing time for a YouTube video is less than one minute, and 35% of all viewers leave that video within 30 seconds.
  3. Give consumers something of value in your communication; a coupon, a promotion, knowledge, community membership, great service, the scoop about a new product, a smile, etc.
  4. Measure your effectiveness, i.e. your ROI, Brand scores, etc.
  5. Adapt.

Eventually, we will end up with these two questions:  How numb will consumers allow themselves to become, and how bold are you willing to get?

Posted in Advertising, Business Development, consumer goods, Credit Cards, eCommerce, financial services, Marketing, Medical technology, Mobile Payments, organic, Orogen, Public Relations, renewable energy, siliconvalley, software, software-as-a-service, Solar energy, startups | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

10 Observations About The Great Depression That May Apply To The Great Recession

Consumer behavior changes based on a complex series of external and internal factors, usually based on pain, reward, or a change in the rules.  The Great Depression of the 1930s significantly changed consumer behavior for a number of generations.  So, what did we learn from the Great Depression we can apply to the generation of The Great Recession?

  1. Long term benefits are not as important as immediate basic needs, but durability is essential.
  2. Hyper-competitiveness has less allure than cooperation.
  3. Ideological extremes become more popular for people seeking solutions.
  4. The very rich keep on spending, but with a lower profile.
  5. Disposable income among minority communities will be much slower to recover.
  6. For younger investors, investments need to be safe and beyond reproach; “get rich quick” will not have the same pull as it did for their parents.
  7. Entertainment options should be local and cost efficient.
  8. Cooking at home is increasing in importance.
  9. The arts provide solace and an escape to an emotionally satisfying place.
  10. Self-improvement becomes appealing among the unemployed or under-employed.

Now the question is: How do they apply to your business, or do they?

Posted in Advertising, Business Development, consumer goods, Credit Cards, eCommerce, financial services, Marketing, Medical technology, Mobile Payments, Orogen, Public Relations, renewable energy, siliconvalley, software, software-as-a-service, Solar energy, startups, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If You Don’t Feel You Are Over-Communicating, You’re Probably Under-Communicating

A fatal flaw we have as humans is we know what we mean …  and make the leap of faith others know what we mean.  Many companies have perished from that jump.

You may be saying to yourself, “we have great products, services, solutions, but the market is not embracing them the way they should … and I don’t know why.”  It’s possible your customers haven’t incorporated the reason those offerings are so great into their mindset.

“Impossible,” you say, “the benefits are obvious!”  Well, maybe not so much.

Do you really think because those benefits were mentioned once in your Webinar or sales pitch, you’ve broken through all the communication distractions your customers have, and implanted them in such a way to become actionable on their part?

An old teacher of mine once said to me if you want to get something across to someone, you must communicate the idea at least three different times in three different ways.  With the cacophony of communication coming our way each day, you may need to multiply those numbers, but the theory is sound.

Back when I was first learning about reach and frequency analysis for television commercials, I remember one of the primary rules was you should never reach the same consumer with the same commercial more than 16 times during the life of the commercial.  Afterwards, the consumer became irritated by it, and your brand.  But think about it, 15 times was OK … 15 TIMES!

Maybe it’s time to re-evaluate your marketing communications plan to make sure you are using all the appropriate communication channels, in a variety of ways, at different times, until you feel you are over-communicating … which may be just about enough.

Posted in Advertising, Business Development, consumer goods, financial services, Marketing, Medical technology, organic, Orogen, Public Relations, renewable energy, siliconvalley, software, software-as-a-service, Solar energy, startups | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Time To Move From “Point of Sale” To “Point of Convenience” Marketing

We’ve all experienced sales migrating from place-based to opportunity-based; from Point of Sale to what I call Point of Convenience; allowing us to buy what we want, whenever we want it, from wherever we are.  For a long time we haven’t had to go to Borders to buy a book, IKEA to buy furniture, or Safeway to buy groceries.  Still, many of us continue to appreciate using our five senses when first interacting with products to make purchase decisions.  But the generations are becoming more accepting of purchases based on convenience, not proximity.  Why?  Because it fits within their lifestyle … because they’ve learned to trust it … and most important, technology has allowed them to do it.

 It doesn’t mean those companies having roots in the Point of Sale are in imminent danger of irrelevance.  Companies who sell end-aisle displays, floor signage, window banners, register decals, store clerk apparel, in-store coupons, shelf space planning, etc., should recognize their opportunity to expand and need to adapt.  One of the big questions is: which companies will lead in merchandizing/monetizing the Point of Convenience? Visa just announced a new product that moves in that direction called RightCliq .  Or, is it Google or Twitter, mobile payments providers like TSYS or Square, or telecommunications companies?  Then again, could it be a savvy POS merchandiser who can translate its deep-seated knowledge of consumer buying habits at the moment of decision into a digital advantage?

 We’ve learned not all online Ads, Promotion, PR, Followers, Fans, and Friends are the same; just like not all in-store coupons are the same.  The twentieth century was focused on Point of Sale; the twenty first century will be all about Point of Convenience. Let’s get the level of research, analysis, and execution know-how comparable, and for that to inform the new generation of enablers, marketing services companies, and manufacturers/producers/retailers.

Posted in Advertising, Business Development, consumer goods, Credit Cards, eCommerce, financial services, Marketing, Medical technology, Mobile Payments, organic, Orogen, Public Relations, renewable energy, siliconvalley, software, software-as-a-service, Solar energy, startups, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Organic Marketing

A few months ago I had the opportunity to tour Taliesin West, the Frank Lloyd Wright house in Phoenix, AZ.  As I was walking through the property, I was struck with Wright’s “Organic” approach. Like Wright’s architecture, organic marketing should evolve from a time, a place, an industry (my term), and a need.  What follows is my take on Organic Marketing, inspired by Wright and his students. 

Organic Marketing is the harmony between customer needs and business objectives so sympathetic and well integrated they become part of a unified, interrelated composition.  

Basic strategic and tactical principles continue to repeat themselves throughout the marketing effort as a whole. The idea of organic marketing refers not only to the company’s literal relationship to the marketplace, but how marketing is carefully thought about as if that function and the company were a unified organism. Strategies throughout the marketing plan’s design build a central mood and theme. Essentially organic marketing is also the literal design of every element of marketing: From logos, to product introductions, to media, to sales presentations; all the things intended to market the brand. Everything relates to one another, reflecting the symbiotic ordering systems of nature.

 

Rules for Organic Marketing

Let marketing:

  • be inspired by the marketplace and be sustainable, robust, conserving, and diverse;
  • unfold from customer needs and product capabilities;
  • exist in the “continuous present” and “begin again and again”.
  • follow the flows of the market and be flexible and adaptable;
  • satisfy customer needs;
  • grow beyond common solutions and be unique;
  • celebrate creativity; and
  • express the power of the brand.

The brilliance behind Wright’s ideas cross many disciplines and multiple decades.  They are now up to our interpretation and action.

Posted in Advertising, Business Development, consumer goods, financial services, Marketing, Medical technology, organic, Orogen, Public Relations, renewable energy, siliconvalley, software, software-as-a-service, Solar energy, startups | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Be Obsessed With Your Company, But Don’t Let Your Love Of It Blind You

In May of this year Brad Feld, Managing Partner of the Foundry Group, wrote about successful entrepreneurs having A complete and total obsession with the product.”  No argument here, however I think we need to take that a step further and warn against blind love of your business.  Obsession in business means focus, energy, commitment, and with the best of the obsessed, objectivity.  Blind love means never having to say you’re sorry for the last product revision. 

It was the famous 17th century mathematician, philosopher, and inventor of the first calculator, Blaise Pascal, who wrote, “The heart has its reason which reason knows not.”  By scrupulously analyzing your business, constantly looking for ways to make it better, and rejecting the applications or ideas that don’t work, your chance for success goes up exponentially.  But if your reason is impaired by your love for the business, you may be in for a broken heart.  How many inspired entrepreneurs lost their company because they couldn’t see what had to be done, or couldn’t bring themselves to do it? 

Be obsessed with your business, and make sure your deepest emotional commitment is to your customers, investors, and fellow employees.

Posted in Advertising, Business Development, consumer goods, financial services, Marketing, Medical technology, Orogen, Public Relations, renewable energy, siliconvalley, software, software-as-a-service, Solar energy, startups | Leave a comment