Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Problem With Marketing.

The problem with marketing is not interruption. Nor is it false claims or agency/client compromise. All those things and more are deficiencies in the practice of marketing but they're not the root problem.

No the real problem with marketing is that it all too often follows the creation of the product/service and thereby is reduced to promotion. It is bad promotion that is the bane of most anti-marketers. Not marketing itself.

All those conference ideas about branded utility, shared interests and authenticity are good ones, but they'd be much better if they weren't add-ons.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Obsessive Sharing Disorder.

I haven't yet asked Iain if he was being serious or sarcastic. Chances are he was being both and I agree with him. We all know we are social, we all know we don't want to be interrupted, we all know that marketing needs to be shareable. We all know all this and agencies, books and careers have inevitably sprung up to fill the potentially lucrative vacuum.

But what is all too often forgotten is that it's optional not obligatory. We all want the opportunity to share, but most of the time most of the people aren't actually going to do it. I wouldn't be surprised if there's a 1:9:90 rule to be uncovered here. The massive are still passive.

We're becoming obsessed with the sharing when we should be obsessed with all our customers, especially the introverted majority. And in so doing, we run the risk of ending up with this sort of thing.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Props Don't Get You Props.

“Every time you take out a prop, your price goes down.”

Joseph Dunninger, the famed mentalist, was talking about magical props, but marketing props are just the same. Perfect the essence of what you sell and you won't need props.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Market Your Technology.

Two years ago, I saw these shoes in the exhibition section of a Nike pop-up store in London. The material from which they were made is now appearing in commercially available sneakers.

That exhibition made me realise that Nike is as much a technology company as a marketing company. Its a profile they've emphasised through initiatives like NikeID where technology is used to assist and enliven training regimes.

Next week, it will be taking a stage further here with Nike Grid when people will claim their own postcode/zipcode by running between specially adapted public telephone boxes. GPS iterations utilising apps like Foursquare are surely not far behind.

Running, their original raison d'etre, remains at the heart of all this, but layered upon it is the technology - another level of interestingness that draws you further into the DNA of the business. Making marketing interesting (while reminding them of the unique expertise that creates the products) engages the user intellectually, emotionally and socially. Every business could and should be doing it.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Refresh And Renew.

Seth Godin posted about Levy Flights the other day. This was not a reference to an obscure dancehall performer, but a discussion of the similarly obscure statistical distribution pattern that I first came across in Kristakis and Fowler's Connected.

A Levy flight basically illustrates that behaviour focuses in a small area for a period of time and then when that area becomes uninteresting, there is a flight/leap to another area quite some distance away where another period of grazing follows.

Seth's post sounded a little fatalistic to me, but Connected highlighted two interesting features of actual network behaviour. Firstly, when people make the larger leaps, the size of that average leapp is much greater than was expected under a random walk; but, secondly, those transitions actually occur more slowly than a Levy flight would predict.

That seems to me to suggest that customer ennui is not inevitable and that there might be more hope for retaining customers if you both make their experience continually excellent and refresh it regularly.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Talk The Talk: Use Conversational Language.

Sainsbury's have a Twitter account. They presumably think it will help them engage in conversations with their customers on a human level. But do their customers really want to talk to "colleagues"?

When seeking to engage the external (aka real) world, don't use the alienating internal language of the corporation. Just say "talk to us".

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Four Years Blogging And All I've Got To Show For It Is?

Today this blog is four years old. This is the thousandth plus post which will be read by a select group of people. Blogging is supposedly not as popular as it once was. The huge majority of them lie inert. Some, mercifully so. But not this one. So, what have I got out of four years of blogging?

1) Chinese comment spam, ridiculous PR approaches and offers of irrelevant guest blogs from total strangers.

2) A sense of guilt at still not having made this blog more visually pleasing and more easily navigable.

3) A nagging doubt that I have nothing else left to say.

4) An awareness that you need to keep repeating yourself because ideas actually spread quite slowly and orthodoxy takes a long time to overturn.

5) A constantly renewing knowledge of bands that only five other people have yet heard of thanks to a reader who has a passion for such things

6) A stalker - albeit a very nice one.

7) A true appreciation of our increased connectivity - courtesy of the night when one of my posts went global and I watched as readership swept across the globe to the extent that more people were on my blog than usually visited in a month.

8) A whole new international social circle - such that I can look at various meaningless A lists and the wired top 100 and realise that a number of these people are now my friends, as are authors I previously admired from afar but now am able to meet in person.

9) A realisation that rankings don't really matter. I'm no longer in the Technorati top 10000 nor the top 50 marketing blogs in the world and I still get noticed by new people and read by others on a weekly basis. Famous and useful for fifteen people is indeed the rule to live by. But remember, the fifteen are always changing.

10) A deep gratitude to all the readers, commenters and bloggers who have made the past four years a lot more interesting.