Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Decide To Misuse It.

While explaining their new customised newspaper business, Russell presciently observed that what they were saying to the industry was

"We've broken your business model, now give us your machines."

I was reminded of this last week during a presentation by an architect from Zaha Hadid's company. He was explaining how he had borrowed some CGI software to automatically generate a variety of ways to populate a piece of land with buildings. It was largely incomprehensible to me, but it seemed to work. And then he threw away this line.

"We just decided to misuse it."

Marketing is all too often about using tools, be that direct mail or a television campaign. The real skill is deciding how to use or misuse them.

That's something that's going to be increasingly true at a strategic level too. If the tools of your trade are the tools of a failing business model, you have no choice but to misuse them.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Performance Marketing.

Attention. Interest. Desire. Action. The goals of one famous marketing pathology. And the goals of any performer too.

I've already written about the marketing parallels of the way comedians end their shows, but attending a recent show by Sunset Rubdown reminded me how all our marketing should aim to mirror a live performance. It must be audience-grabbing, exhilarating, pacy and memorable. It's a one-off chance to impress and you have to perform.

Stealing a page from the Springsteen playbook, Sunset Rubdown started their show with three songs uninterrupted with a panache and utter confidence that had the audience eating out of their hand and me rather impressed. But then they paused to swap instruments and roles and the momentum was lost. This was repeated throughout the set and seemed to me to lose the majority of the audience and diminish their reaction.

I've since disagreed with some fans about but realise they are akin to the early adopters - and thus willing to put up with flaws because of their passionate devotion. But the majority are not so loyal and pacing is something that has to be addressed. They are a great band but, for me, they didn't recognise that live performance is a different medium and requires different techniques.

I'll return to this in more detail later, but if your marketing doesn't have the energy and focus of a great performance, you won't be getting the ovation you seek.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Misunderstood Marketing Terms: 1) Niche.

Niche does not mean too small for others to bother with - though it might start that way.

Niche does not mean specialist - though it might start that way.

Niche does not mean a different marketing mentality - though it might start with different tactics due to size of audience and budget.

Every market segment is a niche. Niche simply reflects customer focus. Coca Cola are niche marketers. So are you.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Remember Whose Time It Is.

I read a promotional message that assured me time was running out. Specifically, time was running out if I wanted to sign up for a seminar deigned to make my life/business happier/more profitable.

The time that was running out was not mine, but the sender's. They were running out of time in which to sign me up.

Time is the quintessential scarce resource and thus a potent trigger to action. But you have to ensure that the time you reference in your marketing activities is solely that of your prospects. If you don't, it won't seem truly personal and, like me, they won't sign up.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Two aphorisms I heard this week.

"If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together."

"Stand on each others' shoulders, rather than on each others' toes"

The former is a Chinese proverb quoted by neuroscientist John Cacciopo in his excellent book about Loneliness, the latter a definition of open-source computing. Both speak to the benefit of teamwork - which, I think, is very different to simply working in teams.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Leave Something To The Imagination.

Maybe this is where we as consumers are missing a trick. Too many toys do all the work of imagination for the kids, actually making them less imaginative not brighter. Every subsequent toy has to be more and more exciting as a result, whereas the kid just becomes an observer to the next fifty quids-worth of mass produced plastic as opposed to the designer of their own little piece of genius.

making an observation about his baby's infatuation with a toilet-roll. An observation that has implications for marketing, communication and product development.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Marketing Is Strategic, Not Tactical.

The Bahamas Tourist board are apparently sponsoring the next Mariah Carey album. The former still thinking that exposure is their goal. The latter seeking to guarantee cashflow and not wondering how that might impact her artistic credibility. I give up.