Archive for the 'Blog' Category

Catering an experience for your customers

For a recent interview we were talking about the swing (and if there was any) that has occurred during the recession.

The biggest thing I see, is that, consumers are more assertive with their spending, before they would let minor things slide.  Now though they demand more (perceived) value for their dollar, and that value isn’t always a ‘functional’ benefit, it might be the ease of use an iPhone provides rather than an Android, or the time saving of a personal finance application or the status they get from using the service (or upgrade).

It’s all about catering an experience for each of your customers, it was beforehand, but now when people are assertive spenders even moreso.

Gourmet Supermarkets did will during the recession, as people would rather indulge on an afternoon experience with friends, whereas in the past they might have eaten out.  It’s not that they’re not spending, it’s that they are rewarding those companies which cater experiences that create stories.  These stories create status, memories and most of all a good time.

June 29th, 2010

Hey Kids. This is advertising!

Visit (as in Ronald McDonald the McDonalds character) and in the top right you’ll see this phrase.

Hang on wait. How can you expect kids to understand that? You’re right they can’t.

If you run a reading score on that it puts the reading level at 13-15 (Flesch Reading Ease 68.94). Browse the site, it’s definitely aimed at younger kids.  Much younger, more 5-10.

Come on McDonalds… if you need to say it’s advertising you’ve definitely crossed the line, and you’ve even crossed the line in a capacity that even your audience aren’t fully aware they’re being marketed to….shame.

June 28th, 2010

The Intel Inside Model

Intel were in a bit of a sticky position, they wanted to grow but as part of the value chain weren’t recognised by consumers, people couldn’t see the insides of their computers.

Thus they built the Intel Inside brand and stuck a sticker on every computer that was powered by their chips.

They poured money into marketing to help establish the brand, generate awareness and recognition.

Suddenly consumers became much more savvy and willing to discriminate based on the presence of Intel Inside.

This is a great model for businesses that operate behind the scenes and are trending towards becoming a commodity, it allows you to establish value and ensure your continual part in the value chain.

I’ve seen clothing companies do the same with fabric standards ie Gore Tex… you can be any brand but you want it to be Gore Tex.

June 24th, 2010

The Model

I am constantly referring to loose frameworks which provide a model for others to try and leverage with their own ideas.  The is one I mention frequently.

In short the model is to…

Engage with your audience tremendously well and do so in an ongoing capacity, grab as much attention from the market as you can.  This is exactly what does with their blog.

Then provide direct paths to becoming a customer from this attention, you immediately capture both sides.

1) The most amount of attention you can get from your market (and get them talking).

2) Then leverage that attention to provide a stream of customers.

It’s such a nice balance of community, attraction and ensuring business gets done.

June 23rd, 2010

The Idiot Tax

We all pay it.

It’s where you call up for service, then the service people treat you like the ‘average’ person (as they’ve been trained to do), if you are the ‘average’ person it’s great service, if you’re not, it’s not so good.  And hey face it we’ve all been on both sides of the fence, knowing nothing at all, or knowing more than average.

You feel like you’re being treated like an idiot.

It’s not hard to fix, bring in customer profiling, last time this person called they already knew this OR just be more polite and diligent in your customer service, that way we don’t have to pay the idiot tax.

No one is average, so don’t treat all your customers as if they are.

(Note: Often the idiot tax annoys your more advanced (and often most valuable) customers, the very customers you should be looking after.)

June 21st, 2010

Excellent article on TerraCycle: Google for Garbage

Give it a read over here.

I love the inspiration, the innovation in what is pereceived as a dull industry.

What I like even more is that they get the companies to pay them to collect! Smart thinking and great way to price discriminate whilst still achieving social good (the long tail of garbage).

Smart thinking can prevail everywhere.  Just need someone to stand up and lead the way.

June 20th, 2010

The Coffee Currency

Photo Credit: Thomas

Or Beer or Wine Currency.

That is, you ask someone to do something for a coffee.  And of course they say yes.

However if you asked them to do the same for the equivalent monetary value, would they do it? Probably not.

It swaps the value proposition, oh I can get a bottle of wine for this? Awesome that’s not too hard.  Whereas if you said I’ll give you $20 to do this, the internal memo is different “I’m worth more than that”, “that’s not that much” or maybe it is worth that much.

MySpace have a great example with some of their competitions, whereby you can win three prizes (don’t hammer me on exact details if I’ve made a mistake), a pinball machine, a holiday, a quad bike or $5000 cash.  Apparently the Pinball Machine gets disproportionality picked, even though if you took the $5000 cash you could buy 2 or even 3 of the other prizes!

The point is once someone receives money they need to do something with it, a Pinball Machine is much more fun than paying off some bills (which many would be compelled to do).

People interpret currency differently and you can (should) use this to your advantage where possible.  My Dad famously (at least in Queenstown, New Zealand) is always owed a coffee by someone, which he then trades up to something even more valuable…

June 15th, 2010

The absolute best gift you can give an entrepreneur

Is this.

Buy them an iPod Shuffle (or some other cheap mp3 player).

And download and sync all the Duct Tape Marketing Podcasts.

If they listen to each and every one of them (a couple a week) it will dramatically change their journey.  In my experience for the better.

John Jantsch does an amazing job and if there was one gift I wish I’d been given this would be it.

It is absolutely the best, most productive consistently great business input I’ve had (or had the pleasure of sharing).

Update: John also has an iPhone App – which is my second choice 😉

June 14th, 2010

Being exposed, oww, no thanks, not for me, or is it?

Or is it?

Our instant reaction is that being exposed is a bad thing, that is only if we have something to hide, which for most people is nothing.  But that is our first reaction. No thanks, I’ll stay in my safe warm place.  However…

Every threat is also an opportunity and every opportunity is also a threat.

It’s just nice to think, that being exposed, also exposes you to good opportunities, good things, it’s not all bad.

June 13th, 2010

How can you be more creative?

Creativity is like getting fit, often you need to nurture it to be more creative.

At a basic level, creativity is creating new links between existing ideas. The Wikipedia definition is excellent:

“Creativity is the ability to generate innovative ideas and manifest them from thought into reality. The process involves original thinking and then producing.”

So how can you be more creative? It’s all about creating new patterns, but here are some ideas:

  • Mix up your inputs: how & where do you absorb knowledge, new ideas, conversations?
  • Watch different tv shows
  • Meet the crazies (new people)
  • Wear different clothes
  • TRAVEL! Travel to places where people live completely different lifestyles
  • Read lots of books, and different kinds of books, include magazines, blogs in that mix
  • Listen to podcasts, radio, interviews, TED videos
  • Drive a different way to work, everyday, or walk a different path (or cycle, bus etc)
  • Express yourself! Start a blog, do some painting, take up an artful sport, photography.  You don’t have to share it with the world just do it.
  • Learn a new language
  • Attend different conferences, meetups, network & meet people
  • Do the YES experiment, say yes to all social opportunities which pop up for a period of time
  • Learn new skills! Take an art class, join a kayak club
  • Question everything, you’d be surprised what you learn and how quick
  • Invest in alone time, reflection, time to be quiet and relax
  • Do tastings! Of food, art, culture
  • Get a journal, draw ideas down, write them, scribble, tear our pages, stick them on the wall.  The mere act of pen to paper stimulates new thoughts & action, pushing through your existing ones.
  • Share ideas! Let them go and get new/better ideas.

Go, try one of them, get creative! If you think you’re boring, I bet you’re not, we’re all creative in our own ways – just give something a go.

June 10th, 2010

If your business was a charity what would your purpose be?

Great question Duncan asked me the other day, it’s a nice way of putting it, and answers the why, why we exist, why we do what we do.

As Simon Sinek discusses below, why we (as an organisation) do something is often underlooked, and those that understand why they do something perform magnitudes times those that don’t.

Give Duncan’s post If You Were a Charity What Would You Do? a read and watch Simon’s video below.


June 9th, 2010

Know what works but accept that it isn't permanent

A good mantra to have “know what works but accept that it isn’t permanent”.

Just because a solution works today, doesn’t mean it will tomorrow, or next year.

And vice versa, what doesn’t work today, may work next year.

Holding this mantra true keeps you proactive, receptive to new ideas & opportunities but most of all creating a habit of questioning everything.  And that’s not too shabby a habit to have.

June 8th, 2010

No seriously, how often do you meet someone who's not busy?

It’s redundant.

Who isn’t busy?

If we’re all busy, why state it?

Come on, let’s retire it, at least for now…

June 7th, 2010

Keep the bar low enough, that people can get over it, with a little effort

In particular language.  Keep the language barrier low, about 12 – 14 years, that’s a level that you can reasonably expect most people to understand.

Remember that language is self selecting, if you want to talk to graduates raise the bar…

Funnily enough this was the difference between Google & Microsoft in the battle for search engine market share.  When a misspelled search occurred Microsoft would say ‘try rephrasing or using synonyms’ whereas Google said ‘try different words’.

Subtle changes but profound effect.

June 3rd, 2010

Some people shouldn't be entrepreneurs…not yet anyway

Especially when you realise that if you’re employed:

1) Your employer covers the costs of your mistakes (within reason)

2) Keeps you accountable

3) Will (in most cases) invest in your knowledge

However, if you think you can bear the cost of your mistakes, keep yourself accountable and most of all generate enough profit to continually invest in yourself… it might just be the time to make the leap.

June 1st, 2010

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