Warm Coke

One drop of water makes a difference. In marketing and product design, the accumulation of tiny details motivates people to want. I would argue that Apple designed the iPhone with a critical mass of tiny little features, and the one huge feature of simplicity. Together they wowed the world. In marketing, knowing the motivations of your target audience and subtly tickling each fancy creates an irresistible offering. Which makes me wonder when Coke forgot this reality. Coke is one of the best marketing machines on Gawd’s grey earth. From cuddly polar bears (who in real life can rip the flesh off a seal in seconds) to kumbaya songs suited to the hippie era, Coke touches consumer sentiments and constantly creates product preference (being a Georgia born southerner and former Atlanta resident, I have natural bias about their product anyway, as do most people south of Masson and Dixon). But Coke … Continue reading

Microsoft Defense Dance

Is Microsoft buying Nokia a final point of Ballmer failure? Likely not, but with his track record one has to wonder. Microsoft is buying Nokia’s handset hardware business and licensing Nokia mobile technology patents (something that Apple also did after a nasty bout of litigation). Most folks think Microsoft is attempting to clone Apples 360° product offering. Microsoft already started down this road with their Surface tablets, which received rave reviews from both customers. Recognizing that they are desperately behind in the now-dominating consumer mobile market, Microsoft seems to be building a new product offering by bringing all the hard and software in-house. (The obvious punch line is that Microsoft is adopting their own orphan since Nokia is the only handy maker squarely behind mobile Windows) The more interesting aspect of this news item is Nokia’s patents, which Microsoft is licensing (Nokia was wise not to sell that revenue stream). … Continue reading

Social Inequity

Short is sweet. No, this is not another diatribe on compact market messages, though that lesson is well worth repeating.  Where sweet and short nicely collide is in the sales cycle.  The shorter the cycle, the sooner the revenue, the happier the stockholder and the fatter your bonus check. Marketers know that social media is becoming an intrinsic, if not superior, tool for finding and landing customers.  What has not been well quantified is the degree to which social media helps.  The folks over at the Software and Information Industry Association, where I am a perpetual CODiE judge, recently presented some data that indicates how and which social media may be helpful in shortening the sales cycle (click the graphic for one large enough to read). The blue bars represent sales closing in less than 90 days, and the gray bars sales lasting more than 90 days.  Where you see … Continue reading

Positioning Power

Growing your market in the modern age without knowing your positioning is like driving motorcycle down an Interstate while blindfolded.  You will lose and the resulting splatter will not be pretty. Positioning is simply establishing where on a competitive map your products are in the eyes of the market.  The concept is quite simple if you ignore for a moment the complicating factors of market maturity, multiple segments many buyer genotypes, or 3,274 other elements.  To determine one’s position you simply have to identify the issues that are of primary concern to your buyers, and either measure their attitudes about competing products and perform a realistic evaluation of all the entrants. Sounds simple, but it isn’t, and often leads to awkward issues.  Here’s an unfunny example. Silicon Strategies Marketing recently performed a series of investigations for a client to determine what the market felt was important about a services offering … Continue reading