Buzz Kill

Why is everyone talking about Kim Kardashian’s rump and not your disruptive, world-changing app? So many startup marketing plans are based on building buzz, yet achieve none. The reason is that founders believe their own hype. They see the intrinsic usefulness and beauty of their products and believe that everyone else will too. Based on little more than this borderline egocentric outlook, startups rarely get people talking because they missed the point about why people talk. People talk to one another out of personal motivations. Seth Godin once presented a monstrous list of why people share ideas, which gives you a clear idea of why the motivations of your communications conduits are more important than your features and benefits. People talk about products because … Continue reading

Marketing Expectations

Marketing sets expectations, creating a gap between customer desire and results

Your customers expect what you tell them to expect, and what you don’t tell them to. Outbound marketing is largely about setting customer expectations, which we do through branding, messaging, feeds-and-speeds lists, pricing and so much more. After encountering a product, customers have gut-level sets of expectations. Drive past a posh French restaurant and a dirty taco truck, and you have two completely different expectations concerning your culinary experience. Where bad and good buzz begins is when you set one expectation and deliver another. Set expectations low and deliver high, then people sing your praises everywhere. Invert the expectations and results and you likewise invert a customer’s public reaction. Marketing is responsible for defining those expectations, and presenting most of them (every employee who interacts with customers is also responsible, and great CEOs make sure they all set the right expectations). Marketing defines the brand – a primary expectation-setting tool … Continue reading