Archive for category Marketing Warfare

Digital Media from the Internet

Catching up on my reading. I got tired of reading on the screen so I switch to print for a while. I get some of my best ‘what-if’ ideas reviewing the metrics posted in periodicals or polls. This number caught my eye:

Percentage of Online Adults Who Download Digital Media

43% Download digital media

57% Do not download digital media

Business Opportunity

This tells me there is an opportunity to flank a lot of business with an untapped user base. Not only would a company have the position of introducing something new to a large audience, they would have them as a captive audience for a little while.

Source: Metrics (2008, November). EContent, 8

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Marketing: Who really wins?

I have a long standing debate with many of my marketing friends and associates. Where do you place your emphasis: customer, product, competitor. At ROI Hunters, we tend to follow the disciplines of Marketing Warfare as documented by Al Ries and Trout .

Marketing Philosophy

Product Focus – your energies are focused on market share and positioning of a product or it’s family or a brand.

Client Focus – your focus is on client acquisition, client retention, or life-time-value of a client (share of wallet).

Competitor Focus – focus is becoming the leader in your field (product or service), by making your competitors incapable of attacking your position or unwilling to attack your position.

Which is best?

So now the poll. Please answer this simple poll to help us understand where you think marketing energies are best focused and produce the longest lasting results.

In the end, the customer/consumer/client wins. But we must all be prepared to build a strategy to that end.

Good Hunting!

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Failed Bailout Bill Marketing Plan

This post is an attempt to create dialog around the marketing aspects of political life in the US. It is also my attempt to better understand the situation because several facts don’t seem to make sense about this failed bailout bill. I want to see how people would work their way out of this problem.

Strange Facts

These are the facts that are not in allignment with all that I am seeing on TV and reading on news sites or editorials about this failed bailout bill.

  1. The Democrats hold a majority in the House and Senate and thus control which bills will be worked on and when
  2. The President is currently on the same side as the Democrats on this issue. The likelihood of a veto is very slim. The bill would have to be very one-sided for that to happen.
  3. The Republicans, being in the minority, could not stop this bill without looking very bad so are left with procedural tactics at best.
  4. The news organs and politicians in both parties are constantly crying that the public wants this bill and wants it turned into a law now.

So the enigmas running around in my mind are this:

  • Why couldn’t the Democrats simply ram this failed bailout bill through last week?
  • Why didn’t the failed bailout bill pass with all the reporting hype that has transpired in the last 2 weeks?

So now to the failed bailout bill discussion:

  • You can pick any interested party in this situation you desire
  • You must provide an actionable item in your comment. This could be part of a plan or campaign but it must be focused on reaching an objective.
  • Name calling only or a post that lacks any action items or suggests doing some illegal or unethical will be removed in the moderation process. Sorry this is not meant to be a venting ground, we want to focus on marketing plans.

Based on the sample size this discussion brings, I will try and have a follow-up post on this topic.

Good Hunting.

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Jott Thought: RSS Usage and Knowledge

Jott Thought: RSS usage and knowledge. 88% don’t know what RSS is. listen

Powered by Jott

Expanded Thought: This is among US Employees. This would be a great niche to fill as a flanking marketing tactic by a service providing RSS Readers or RSS Add-ons!

Source: Workplace Print Media, August 2006; MediaBuyerPlanner, August 2006

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Community Marketing Tactic

While out to dinner with the family, we ran across a ‘boat map’ which suggested we find the 30 boats in the city of St. Joseph. It’s a beautiful little town, trying it’s best to bring in tourists considering the rather large number of Lake Michigan harbor towns along Michigan’s west coast.

We decided it would be a great photo hunt for the boys and planned a day trip. I took my family for the afternoon and preceeded to located the boats marked on the map of downtown St. Joseph Michigan. I have included the photo link to

Boats 'n Beaches Hunt

Not Bad – Could be better

As I was traversing the 8 block area the street art had been placed in this picturesque downtown, it occurred to me that this could have been planned out better. I’m sure the “Mommy, Mommy, we need to go to St. Joe and find all the boats” drove some families into the heart of the tourist town and thus into stores located near the displayed boats. But with a little more thought, we believe we could come up with some better ways to drive people into the stores.

Some Possible Variations:

  • Photo Scavenger Hunt – images would need to be posted on a campaign blog. No worries, a local photo store would help those that didn’t have the computer handy (in the photo store next to all the impulse items of course)
  • Best Community Fact – Each street art piece would require the contestant to find an interesting artifact or piece of knowledge about the art work or author or sponsor. Of course, there would be plenty of material in the shops near the street art work. Entries would be placed on the campaign BLOG.
  • Best Costume – contestants would dress up in something which complements the street art work and have their photos taken. The entries would be posted on the campaign BLOG. Bonus if you are using something purchased from the stores nearby. (not sure I like this one, but didn’t want to lose the thought)
  • Crossword Puzzle Drawing – Each week of the campaign, the contestants would be asked to find words on the street art plaques or displays and posters within the stores nearby the street art work to fill in a crossword puzzle. Persons submitting a correctly completed crossword would be entered into a drawing. A new drawing with a new set of words could be created each week, possibly around a theme or set of stores.
  • Stamp Collecting – contestants would collect a clue sheet and a stamp card from the city welcome center and search for street art based on the clues. Once found, they would enter the nearby shops to get stamped, thus showing they found the correct art item based on the stamp. Each week could be a different set of clues when a different set of winners.

We like the idea of using BLOGS in this case. People can post their submissions. The contest rules would state the ‘right to use’ of the city conducting the contest, which is important for future marketing materials. Who doesn’t have a digital camera, or who wouldn’t love to sell some cheap digitals in a tourist town.

Guerrilla Marketing at it’s best

Since the goal is to drive more visitors to your tourist town from the other nearby tourist towns, you are conducting a guerrilla campaign. Your ability to start or stop the campaigns are very flexible and have little or no overhead because the street art work is already being sponsored by local organizations or companies. With some minor adjustments to prizes and reach, you could push your campaigns into the other nearby towns with little or no cost.

It was a great time for our family and we actually did visit some stores. With a little more campaign effort, I bet we would have visited many more stores.

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Flanking Warfare Example: Battlefield 2 Ad Server

The ROI Hunters had a very spirited discussion the other day about our differing marketing philosophies. The other agency focuses their marketing energies on consumer or product disciplines. While we treat marketing as warfare with the intent of defeating a competitor on the battle field (the mind of the consumer), rendering them incapable of waging war, or simply destroying their will to wage war.

The Challenge

We were asked to come up with an example, which we thought would best illustrate one of the four strategic areas of marketing warfare: Defense Marketing, Offense Marketing, Flanking Marketing, and Guerrilla Marketing.

Flanking Warfare Rules

“Pursuit is a second act of victory, in many cases more important then the first.” Karl von Clausewitz

Taken from “Marketing Warfare” by Al Ries and Jack Trout

  • A good flanking move must be made into an uncontested area.
  • Tactical surprise ought to be an important element of the plan.
  • The pursuit is as critical as the attack itself.
    • This example first started out in my mind as a Guerrilla Warfare example, but I couldn’t justify the expense of setting up the infrastructure and be willing to drop the investment in a moment’s notice.

Uncontested Area

We chose a space which we believe is uncontested: Ad Services for First Person Shooter Gaming Systems. Specifically we are focusing on a very popular on-line game Battlefield 2. There are many maps which include space in which ads could be posted for players to see.

The ad services code would be added into the game to show up bill boards, walls, or boarded up windows. The ads would be geo-specific so that local advertisers to the players who have registered accounts providing all the information for geo-targeting.

Tactical Surprise

We also chose BF2 because it is also several versions out from the lime light of the newer releases of current games. The code could be introduced in a patch to the existing millions of BF2 players and thousands of game servers. The code would be designed to be modular so that other game interfaced would be build from the core used by all First Person Shooter games.

Pursuit is Critical

The team would be prepared before the introduction of the new code to the BF2 gaming system to branch out to other popular gaming systems. This is key to the planning of this project. We would not plan after we realized the success, but rather we would have our resources in place to take advantage of the successful flanking attack. We would make the competitors think twice before trying to enter this now contested space.

Flanking vs. Guerrilla Marketing

You choose which tactic based on your position in the market compared to your potential or current competitors, the resources you have available to you, and your ability to pursue and dominate a new market or successful campaign. In this example, I assumed that the software development, contractual agreements, and investment in time and money was too great to assume a guerrilla attack. But if I were a multi-billion dollar company I might see this little adventure as a guerrilla campaign.

This was a fun brainstorming exercise. Good Hunting.

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US Soccer Marketing Problems

I spent the weekend at the Chicago Magic’s “Best of Midwest” tournament and am playing catch-up so this post will be different then most. Fist let me start by saying I live, breath, and eat soccer. I coach, train, ref, at the youth level, and I bleed “Chicago Fire Red” blood. I am my 4 boy’s most fanatic fan, even if they don’t play soccer.

US Soccer Marketing Strategy

Is there any? I’m not trying to be cute here, but really, is there any? To me it seems the US Soccer strategy is HOPE! Let me give you an example of what I think the US Soccer marketing plan looks like:

We, US Soccer, HOPE:

  • that people will somehow learn that soccer is a sport in their country
  • that people will want to come to a stadium and watch a match
  • that people will get tired of some other sport and maybe consider Soccer – if that would be OK with you other sports out there.
  • that sponsors will see the light and choose to purchase TV coverage even though we won’t try real hard to increase the market share.
  • that more kids each year sign up for soccer leagues even though we aren’t sure what to do with them after that.
  • that people learn just how popular soccer is by the tens of thousand of teams playing each month at a tournament – even though we won’t make any effort to let anyone know ourselves.

Major Problem – Relegation

  1. US Soccer doesn’t seem to want to fight against the other US sports to gain market share.
  2. They are willing to take a back seat to all other sports – even NASCAR. (someone drives in a circle for HOURS, and it beats out soccer programing and news coverage!!!!)
  3. They don’t capitalize on the World Soccer movement. The #1 watched sport in the world.
  4. There is a strong US Youth Soccer movement, that is untapped and taken for granted.
  5. There are several key tournaments every month going on somewhere in the US and you would think the sports news reporters thought these were quarantine zones to avoid.
  6. TV coverage is poor at best. There are a dozen good US matches on in a week, we can see 3 if we are lucky. (MLS, USL-1, W-League, MNT, WNT, etc.)
  7. The MLS leadership/owners demands new mini-stadiums, further validating the sport is smaller then the others – AND THEY CAN’T FILL THEM!!!!

Get Serious – Become #1 – or at least try!

If US Soccer is going to do anthing, they had better start acting like they should be the #1 sport. Whether they can do anything about that now or in twenty years, I don’t care. Stop acting like table scraps is a great way to dine, and demand some steak!

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Ad-Supported is all the rage! (Remake)

The ROI Hunters have been watching the latest fad: Ad-Supported Software. One such example caught our eyes and we sat around saying “Good idea, but who cares?” We are talking about Microsoft Windows providing a free ad-supported version of their successful operating system with free low end machines. After all, shouldn’t Hunting ROI be a win-win situation?

Defensive Leader Tactic

Microsoft is executing a defensive tactic, which we applaud. They are the leader. After all, their popular operating system generated around 13 Billion in sales last year (give or take a few Million), so it is not like they will be hurt by giving their software away with low end machines. This is an excellent response to some of the UNIX flavors running around for the last decade. Actually, it did make us wonder why it took them so long to give it away, at the low end of the price spectrum.

The Plan

Free Computer System: Give away the free ad-supported Windows OS on a low end $300 machine to those that can’t afford or don’t want to spend a lot on their technology needs. Obviously, there is a tether to the internet in this package somewhere. Either a low-cost dial up or wireless connection will need to service the ad generator. The ultimate goal: Increase Market Share & Attack UNIX competitors that have been flanking Microsoft.

Who Cares

Our question is directed at the poor soles that will buy advertising space on this channel. Which demographic would you place someone in that can’t afford or doesn’t want to buy a $300 dollar machine and the $100 operating system. What exactly are their on-line spending habits? How much do you think they will purchase on-line? Let’s face it, JupiterResearch reported at 40% increase in online ad spending last year, but we are fairly certain that this demographic was not the leader in this increase.

Maybe we are seeing the beginnings of the Lotto Advertising Network. (I hear the jackpot is going to be really high next week, but don’t ask me what your odds are) Good Hunting.

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Attack Yourself – A Difficult Prey

The ROI Hunters sat with a client last week. This client, with hard work and the scars to prove it, had worked to take a marketing hill and become a leader in a specialized area within a geographical region. So now they asked “what now?” and we began to strategize and create a plan. After all, Hunting ROI requires a the best map you can create.

Attack Yourself!

Ok, before anyone posts that this is not an original idea, you are correct. Not only did we discuss the tactic in depth, we also recommended they read the book “Marketing Warfare” by Al Reis and Jack Trout, which places the discussion in the correct context. A must read for anyone in leadership responsible for creating actionable plans for their organization.

We asked that the group identify their greatest strength and their most obvious weakness. We then took this group through an exercise of creating a plan to displace the leader with a new competitor in the marketplace. What would this new threat do to push the leader from their entrenched position?

The group came up with several very creative ideas and walked away with the impression that leadership only lasts as long as you work at it. Some ideas were very time consuming while others they would accomplish in a week.

This tactic creates a moving target for the true competitors in their space and should deter the less determined. We plan to hold another session like this in six months and create a new marketplace threat scenario. It should be a good yardstick for the leadership to show progress. If all goes well, we should be reviewing a different strength and weakness at our next meeting.


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