Posts Tagged marketing

Marketing Lesson: Smartphones Outsell PCs


According to IDC, smartphone manufacturers shipped 100.9 million devices in the fourth quarter of 2010, while PC manufacturers shipped 92.1 million units worldwide. Or, more simply put, smartphones just outsold PCs for the first time ever.

via Smartphones Outsell PCs.

The above quote should not come as a surprise.  Change happens.  The real question becomes, “How are we preparing our clients, or shaping our projects/campaigns for this shift in the marketing landscape?”

Nostalgic Deja Vu

I was just telling one of my classes yesterday that even though the assignments are focusing on 8×11 documents they need to keep in the back of their mind the fact that their message might be seen on a small screen so always plan ahead.

This problem seems to be resurfacing constantly in the technology sector.  I can remember, in my brief stint in development, which now seems like three lifetimes ago, the revelation that the developers I worked with all had power user machines: top of the line CPU’s, memory maxed to capacity, every bay in the tower loaded with the largest hard drives that could be purchased, the biggest fasted monitor and video board that was sold at the time.  Not a real problem unless you consider the average ‘consumer’ of these developers were running on machines three generations behind, and were loaded with the least possible equipment to save costs for the company purchasing the hardware.

At least we were lucky to have a great software development manager, my brother-in-law, who demanded no code go into production unless it passed a speed test on a machine comparable to what the user base was currently using.  So we always kept a box in the corner of the office with the current configuration our clients had.  This created some awkward moments when the entire development team would watch as one of the developers would run the cpu/memory/video gauntlet with a piece of code that ran like greased lighting on his box.

Some Possible Action Items

Here are some things you should do right now:

  • Test your existing site: get a smartphone, get several with different size screens, and test what you currently have out there being viewed by visitors to your site.
  • Update Project Requirements: only accept work that can be used on a smartphone screen.  It will cost more, but if your site works and your competitor’s doesn’t, well that’s just priceless.
  • Update Your Marketing Plan: Think mobile.  What items in your plan can change now as this wave begins to form, rather waiting until is past you and you are playing catchup.

Let me know if you’ve encountered feedback from your visitors about your site not working on smartphones and what you did to fix the problem.

Good Hunting.

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Marketing Success – Jackie Chan Style


In “Success” magazine (Success.com February 2011) I found a great article on Jacky Chan. In this articles they list Jacky Chan’s 7 Traits for Success.  I found his thoughts fit nicely into internet marketing as well.  So I’m going to take his traits but add my own thoughts to each of his traits.

1) A willingness to crash and burn

I can’t stress enough that each internet marketer should try to fail, often, and big.  Two phrases come to mind “Go Big, or Go Home!” and “Failure is an event, not a title!”  Your embrace of risk might be the deciding factor that helps you find your niche.

2) A discipline for fitness

The key word being discipline.  Fitness is needed for everyone, but in marketing, we need focus, intentional creative disruption.  We often try many tactics for our clients.  We need to perform our duties in such a way that our measurements tell us which tactic produced the results and then build on them.

3) A disdain for wasted time

As Zig Ziglar wrote in his “See You at the Top” recording your activities and understanding what it takes to create positive results in critical.  Equally important is understanding what is not helping you create success.  Avoiding time wasters are equally important then improving skills.

4) A need for alternative opinions

It’s important we seek out and study other disciplines and build on the lessons of those.  Reading materials from other continents, or cultures.   Subscribe to blogs from other marketers on other countries.  Spend time discussing ideas on twitter or in blog comments.  It will improve your ability to communicate your positions to clients and prospects.

5) A set of high expectations

Never be afraid to say “That’s not good enough” and demand more of the outcomes of your tasks and tactics.  With internet marketing it often a series of “shoot, ready, aim” moments, but that doesn’t mean we can expect some impressive marksmanship!

6) An accurate moral compass

A marketer with no moral compass is simply a politician.  Enough said.

7) A relentless sense of humor

By all means, have some fun.  If you can’t laugh and laugh hard at your work, you will often find yourself  ‘chasing rabbits’.  I know we call it work, but push the limits, always create a version of your latest project that is an exaggeration of the client requirements.  By creating this outlier, you will find your other ideas less risky and at the same time take some risks.

So which one of these traits caught your eye?  Which of these traits are you doing well at?  Which one of these traits do you need to work on?  I’d love to get your feedback.

Enjoy!  Good Hunting!

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Destroying the Trust: The Top 50 Mailers


I don’t know if it’s just my cynical nature or that I haven’t got enough sleep lately but the article “The Top 50 Mailers” in Target Marketing got my attention.   I was struck that only 9 of the top 50 do not rent lists.  Now I’m happy that someone is making some money in this economy, but I’m beginning to see why so many people are keeping the free email market alive by using bogus or SPAM avoiding  gmail, hotmail, and yahoo accounts when giving out their email addresses to organization they don’t trust or think they will sell their information.

Anyways, just wanted to send a shout out to the companies that took the time to create their own lists and making money with them: (in order of sales/revenue) Citigroup, Procter & Gamble, Mutual of Omaha, The Salvation Army, ALSAC/St.Jude Hospital, AARP,  AAA, Gerber Life Insurance Co., Suarez Corp.

Good Hunting.

Top 50 Mailers measured by volume

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Marketing Focus


After reviewing the chart below, I couldn’t help but wonder how many of these issues would drop off if companies were following the principles explained in “Marketing Warfare” by Al Ries and Jack Trout.

Doesn’t it make sense that the marketplace,  and by that definition consumers,  wins if the best companies and products battle it out?  And does this change if it’s B2B or B2c?

Enjoy.  I would love to read your comments on this subject.

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Marketing Civil Rights: Impression’s Inequalities and Injustices


At  some point with each of my clients the question will come up; Should I advertise here?  The client, having seen how effective internet marketing can be, now begins to ask the age old marketing question of REACH.  How do I expand my reach with this wonderful tool or environment?  And if so, where?  And if I stumble across somewhere, is this a good place to advertise?

Inside the question lies a misconception, a costly one.  This misconception has been the death knell of many small business marketing plan’s attempts at internet marketing.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all ads and the locations they are found are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Attention, Re tension and the Guarantee of Profit.

Each failed attempt at increasing reach creates the awkward self-fulfilling prophecy that Internet Marketing doesn’t work in my business.

Russian Proverb: “Trust, but Verify”

The advice is simple, and profound.  With each instance of advertising activity you must build in the process of measuring effectiveness.  Internet Advertising has a distinct advantage over several other forms of advertising: rapid feedback.  I think this is one of the reasons I like to work in the space.

Over time you will come to realize that certain activities produce results and others do not.  The trick in moving forward is to build feedback loops into the campaigns so that your team and clients can understand the effectiveness of the new cost.  Even more importantly, you will have the ability to answer the age old question; Should I advertise here?

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Exceptionalism: Focus on the Never


Firstly, I need to apologize up front that I don’t remember where I got this idea from.  It is not my idea, I have used variations of this exercise in my consulting practice,  but I wanted to pass it along.  One of the problems I have when listening to a host of podcast products  is that at times I am not in a good position to stop and take notes.  This idea I found on either Phil McKinney’s “Killer Innovation” or on a “Venture Voice” interview, but that is a guess at best.

We all need tools to help us think of new ways to solve old problems.  We have a lens that we use to evaluate data as it comes in.  Every so often we find a new lens which helps us provide a breakthrough in performance or understanding.  In this case I wanted to share with you a new way of looking at things with a hope that it produces exceptional results.

Always / Never Brainstorming

This is an excellent team exercise.  I would expect at least two large hanging paper sheets and a pile of sticky notes and some felt tip markers would work nicely.  Here are the steps:

  1. Define the topic or focal point.  Try to be specific.  I prefer these questions NOT be open-ended if possible to make sure you are focused as possible. Here are some example:
    1. “What are the first impressions of our company/organization/church?”
    2. “What’s the last thing people remember about ?????”
    3. “What do people expect when they ????”
    4. “What happens when a person doesn’t ????”
  2. Have the team brainstorm things that ALWAYS happen (Time limit 10 minutes or until the ideas dry up)
  3. Now, have the team identify things that NEVER happen for this topic (Same time limit, and keep the answers relevant)
  4. Take a break – you just spent 20 minutes hurting your brains! (5 minutes)
  5. Nominal Grouping next – spend 5 to 10 minutes  moving the stickies together that are talking about the same thing (duplicate stickies if the idea is relevant to two groupings)
  6. Focus on the Never – now ask the team to come up with ideas that would make the never become a reality and be considered exceptional. (20 minutes)

Innovation Bonus Exercise

Now I did get this great idea from a Phil McKinney podcast as I was driving back from a State Cup soccer tournament.  This is the first time I heard this exercise described this way and should provide you some great ideas and insights.

Our brains are programmed to stop thinking once we think we found the right answer and often we leave ideas in our head and never share them because of this reason.  You as the leader or facilitator need to force your team past this creative barrier.    Here is the bonus exercise:

  1. Have all your nominally grouped ideas placed on a grid.
  2. Each idea group should run across the top of the grid
  3. Each idea group should run down the left side creating a matrix.
  4. In each matrix box, FORCE the team to come up with a new idea.
  5. Use this Hybrid list of ideas for innovative ways to move forward.

The ALWAYS List

This list represents the performance bar that all expect from any organization in the specific category examined.  This list becomes the managers performance list.  The manager will use this list to help identify talents and skills needed by the staff to accomplish these objectives.    Mentoring, training, feedback and possibly team reconfiguration (fire/hire) might be needed to help the team reach the Always Base Level, if they are not already there.  It is imperative that the manager get his team to this level and make sure they stay there.

The NEVER List

The Never list (and Innovation Hybrid List) is used by leadership to determine what the group will take on next.  An assessment needs to be performed first.  Do we have the right talents?  Do the correct skills exist at the right level to take on the new item?  What do we gain by taking on the new item as it relates to our competitors?  How long can we have an advantage before the competitors catch up to us?  And let’s not forget, how much will this cost us?

Marketing Warfare Correlations

Now before I get emails asking me how this relates to Marketing Warfare let me break this down quickly.  This exercise will work for three of the four areas of the strategic squares.   I’ll try and break this down by market position:

Market Leader – you are using this exercise to create a Defensive Marketing Plan.  The goal is to create a moving target for the competitors in your space.   The ultimate object of these  repetitive successes would be to discourage your competitors from attempting direct attacks on your position.

Market Non-Leaders – since you are not using this exercise to attack the leaders weakness within their strength, this exercise should be used in creating a flanking attack and would work best if you focused on an area in which the leader is currently not focusing on.

Local or Regional Leaders – this exercise will produce great ideas for guerrilla marketing warfare plans.    Many of these ideas will place you in a strong competitive advantage to the national companies that cannot respond to the dominance you hold in your local or regional spaces.

Please let me know what you think of this post.  I hope it helps you and your organization.  Your feedback is most welcome!

Good Luck and Good Hunting!

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A Picture is Worth …


A picture is worth more than you can imagine.  Our brains make connections based on many stimuli, not just our 100_3387ability to absorb text and react to call-to-actions.  We are helping one of our client return to this principle by finding images from past events and incorporate them into their web site and print materials.  The goal is to have this become a natural occurring event in their day-to-day activities.  One of our biggest challenges is to get them back into the habit of taking lots of shots throughout the day, regardless if the shots are not perfect.  It’s not like you are buying film for them to use!

No Excuses

With great quality low cost digital cameras so plentiful, there are very few excuses not to have your staff carry a digital camera with them at all times.    It is a habit that they need to learn.  Just think of the possibility if you had the following library of images available when producing update to your web pages, or print material.

  • smiling client faces
  • staff having a great time
  • work in progress
  • celebrations of completed projects
  • any form of excellence

Make It Worth It …. to start

Contests are something we always recomend.  In this case, we recomend having a “best picture” contest that everyone can take part in.    Monthly, three images would be selected to represent every employee entry.  If one of their images is selected they receive a comp day to be taken the next month.

And before those sole proprietors chime and say anything, just think of yourself as the judge, jury, and executioner.  After you start taking your photos, you are simply left with asking the question, which day do I want to take off next month for winning this contest!

Start Today

So the first step is getting everyone a camera and some memory sticks.  Create a process in which they can turn in the photos and receive new memory sticks.  Create a process to catalog the images, maybe use something like Flickr or some on-line tool.    Start building you library of images that can be used in the future for campaigns or materials.

It will pay for itself in the long run!

Good Hunting,

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Twitter’s Design Flaw


I have come to the conclusion that Twitter has a major design flaw and it is making it difficult for me to continue to grow my network of followers.  Not that my number of followers are very large,  this is more of a philosophical debate raging inside of me to justify my limited time I have on this planet and the effort it takes to accomplish something in said limited time.  I, like others, am a complex human being.  I have many faces or areas in my life which are in different stages of maturity.  I don’t just share on a singular topic.  I expose myself in many ways, to the horror of some, yes!

For Twitter to continue to become the social force that it is destined to be, it must move beyond this singular voice that it has granted us.

Before I Forgettwitter-follow-me-180

What kind of a Twit would I be if I didn’t take this opportunity to invite you to follow me on Twitter.  Sometimes the most obvious mistake for Twits is not to simply ask people to follow them.  Thanks!

My Many Masks! (or Filters?)

So, what are the chances that my Twitter followers are just like me.  That they enjoy everything I do, or for that matter, are at the same maturity level in those similar areas of our lives.  Here are some of the areas I Tweet about, randomly mind you, and often based on what other’s Tweet about also.

Religion – As a Christian, it shapes my thought process and value system immensely.  I enjoy studying and talking with people of other faiths, but it is unlikely that this interaction with change my core belief system.

Family – I love talking about my family.  My wife and boys are the greatest gift and treasure  I have and love sharing them with others.

Marketing – My passion, my hobby, my mistress.  Yes, I tend to focus my vocation on internet marketing, but I still love the field.  I happen to follow the principles of Marketing Warfare which at times places me at odds with other marketers in how we approach solutions to problems, but that is also part of the fun!

Soccer (true Football) – I absorb all that I can about the game.  My hands on experience is at the youth level, mostly because of my four boys.  I train, coach, ref at the U15 level or below and volunteer with different clubs and organizations in the area.  If there is a match on the TV, I’m watching it over all else.

Chess – I consider myself a novice.  Yes, I can put my boys is a good chess smackdown (sometimes) every now and then but put me in a room with a person rated over 1500 and I look like a fool who’s never seen a board before!

SUDOKU – I loves all things Sudoku.  I’m even thinking about learning Japanese so I can solve puzzles faster!

And the list goes on and on ……

Now imagine trying to find a set of people on this planet who have the same interests.  Ok, now I have a following of 5.  Now what?  What are my odds of getting to six, without investing heavily into cloning?

Twitter is Tone Deaf!

Now images your Tweets had Tones!  Let’s say that each of the areas I’ve described above had a Tone.  This would allow people to follow not only the person, but the areas of their life they had an affinity with.  Thus, when I  Tweet, I would associated a Tone to the Tweet so that you would only hear the items you wanted to and not the other things I find so interesting (and bore the hell out of you!).

Or ….

Twitter was simply meant as tool to tell others “Hey I’m going out to lunch, will be back in 30 minutes” and there is some developer  somewhere laughing his ass off for what Twitter is being used for today!

Good Hunting,

See Also

Business Twitter Idea

What is Social Media

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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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Business Twitter Ideas


I’ve been reading some interesting posts on Twitter tweets with the tag marketing and I have been trying to understand the relationship between the two. Mind you, I loved the posts, just not sure about how some people tag their work. No biggy really, but I wanted to see if I could come up with some examples of how Twitter could be used to create a brand, (personal or corporate), and if not, just have some fun with it.

First let me start by saying the two posts that got me thinking about this topic are Twittiquette by Ron Shevlin and Twitter for Business — What’s Appropriate? by philbernstein

Fun Stuff – BOSS Tweet

This idea, I originally, came up in the 90’s as “BOSS Cam” in which you place a wireless video camera on your boss’ forehead and can see where he is all the time on a PC window. I’ve adapted this concept to Twitter Tweets, but it does require a RFID implementation of sensors throughout your campus and RFID markers in your security cards used to gain access to buildings and rooms.

With this implementation you will get BOSS Tweets when the following happens:

  • Parking Lot Entry – The Boss has arrived – you have about 15 minutes to look busy.
  • Building Entry – You now have about 7 minutes to make your office look like you’re really busy.
  • On the floor – Have your boss’ cup of copy ready in hand and ready to give
  • Movement Tweet – he’s moving about the building and you know where.
  • Mining Tweet Alarm – uncomfortable levels of methane are in his office, STAY AWAY! (methane monitoring equipment sold separately)
  • BOSS BOSS Tweet – your boss just met with his boss, HIDE – WORK IS COMING YOUR WAY!
    • Note: use Movement Tweets to evade your boss for the entire day if necessary.
  • Parking Lot Egress – time to stop hiding from your boss and get some work done real quick and go home.

OK, another example of American ingenuity and exceptionalism in the can!

Branding Exercise – Project Tweet

In this example, your team has landed a new client. You want to impress on them how great your company is, and especially how great they are at projects like the one the just won. You explain to your new client that you will be using Twitter to keep them updated as the project progresses through the different stages of project management.

Some things they can expect to see in the Project Tweet:

  • Meeting Titles – and who attended
  • Meeting action items – post meeting
  • Key milestones or meeting action items delivered
  • Gratuitous comments from the team stating how smart the client was for picking them!
  • Documents updated on the shared project library
  • Lots of positive statements with the client’s staff names included so they are all sitting around waiting for their names to show up on a tweet.
  • “Hey check this out” messages asking them to head to the team web site and review something

I know some of the themes of twitter BLOG posts have been about ‘too much’ tweets, but in this scenario, the more tweets focused on the project, the better you look.

Good Hunting,

See Also

Twitter’s Design Flaw

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