Do Not DIY

Don’t try this at work. A discussion recently erupted within an online marketing mavens’ forum. Someone wondered if Do It Yourself (DIY) market research using social media would eliminate more traditional forms of research and many of its freelance practitioners. I responded that amateur efforts create amateur results, and that SMBs would thus find new and exotic ways to stay small through inappropriate research. Oddly, everyone agreed with me, which is surely a sign of the End Times. Services like Survey Monkey have created a great deal of poor research because research is a scientific pursuit and Survey Monkey is a digital chemistry set for DIY researchers. The internet is now littered with invitations to participate in surveys, and as a result people have grown numb to these invites (which makes our research work here at Silicon Strategies Marketing more difficult). Sadly, the results obtained by ad hoc surveys and … Continue reading

Real SoLoMo

Intersections cause collisions, but also opportunities. A basic marketing strategy is practice to find the intersection of what customers want to achieve (expected outcomes) and where the market is not providing that solution. Alternately, one can look for places where different technologies can, for the first time, be combined and create previously unavailable value. Smart phones are now ready to facilitate SoLoMo. The three raging factors in markets and marketing today are SOcial, LOcation-based apps and MObile. The real-time enabled combination of these three may well be the next major moment in consumer technology and marketing. The ability to reach people in tight geographical clusters, who are sharing an experience or looking for one, will be an exciting market in which to pitch. Social is about sharing. As witnessed by Facebook posts, it is the moment in which the user has the impetus to share that is important. What one … Continue reading

B2Bing Social

The word “consternation” could be illustrated by faces of B2B technology marketers trying to leverage social media. Social media is plate tectonics under marketing terra firma. It is a fundamentally new way of reaching people that at least augments, and in many cases replaces, traditional marketing. Getting unpaid people to carry your message to potential buyers seems to be a gift from the Gods, or at least Mark Zuckerberg. Well, for B2C marketing mavens. B2B has uneven results in social promotions. Part of the reason is that motivations for sharing a YouTube video with Grandma are very different from sharing anything with your co-workers, boss or peers. And whereas Nanna might forward your email to cousin Don, your boss might never forward it to anyone. Motivations for sharing are the center of any social outreach, be it passing the collection plate at church or making off with the offerings. Business … Continue reading

Terminal Videos

Video is a great marketing tool that people use poorly. The current vogue in online video, aside from cheap distribution of funny commercials on YouTube, is the animated 60-second-or-less landing page. These short videos relay the primary value proposition of a product, and perhaps some insight into how the product works. In the chain of discovery that buyers endure, this is the very first step — understanding why they should care about you. Short landing page videos give buyers a reason to investigate further. They then are forced to either divulge personal information in ham-handed calls-to-action (and risk getting a sales phone call), or wade through increasingly dense web copy in order to learn important product details. Why do companies stop using video after the landing page? This came to mind while reviewing case studies of Silicon Strategies Marketing clients. We once scripted a series of “deep dive” overview videos … Continue reading

Faking Authenticity

It is odd to encounter plain spoken and seemingly honest politicians. Being a professional cynic, I doubt nearly everything. Having been a political animal my entire adult life, I’m doubly cynical about anyone who campaigns to achieve power. To be disappointed in broken political promises is a sign of naivety. To believe any political brand shows trust where there should be none. So to witness a handful of governors and other candidates speaking bluntly, without equivocation, and taking positions normally considered poisonous … and then watch their poll numbers rise … is both a lesson in marketing and possibly a sign of the Apocalypse. Authenticity matters in all matters. If you could not take your spouse’s word, then your marriage would be destined for the dumpster (which always makes me wonder about Bill and Hillary). When corporations promote products that do not deliver, the acquired lack of authenticity becomes fatal. … Continue reading

Channeling Brands

A local Sprint store sale punk demonstrated Siri on the new Apple iPhone 4S by saying “Siri, I’m drunk” to which Siri relied “There are 15 taxis in the vicinity …” This demo would kill Steve Jobs. Other customers on the sales floor were a mixture of amused and offended, though before the demo all had come cash-in-hand to see the new iGizmo. Each now wore a creepy expression on their mugs — similar to the ones they likely wore upon discovering the Santa Myth (which is not to be confused with the Santana Myth which claims that Carlos can sing). The iPhone’s image had been tarnished by a frat boy stunt in a place trying to sell iPhones. Apple’s G-rated brand was slammed with an R-rated demo, and nobody left that Sprint store with a 4S. Growing or preserving a brand through channels is slightly more difficult than balancing the … Continue reading

Cult Brands

A cult is a religion with no political power. Tom Wolfe Cults are good in the context of marketing, though not so much in real life. Religions are slightly more respectable, though each views the others as large cults. Yet the mechanics of cults, religions and matters of faith are informative in shaping a corporate brand. The difference between fanbois and followers is thin. In the early iPhone era, Apple customers were called a cult. Early adopters of iPhones were evangelical to the point of annoying. Regardless of personal motivation, iPhone fans fawned and proselytized the new portable computer. While their numbers were small and their zeal was large, the cult moniker was apropos. With relatively no market (political) power, the iPhone faithful were as bedeviling as Jehovah’s door knockers. Today, iEverything is a religion because the masses have adopted most, and sometimes all of the doctrine. Cults, religions and … Continue reading