Archive for the 'Blog' Category

Missing the boat…on purpose

If you have target market X surely you should talk directly to them?

In all likelihood – yes.

However there is ALWAYS room to target the second tier.

Who influences this market? Who else do they interact with? Whose opinion do they pay attention to?

The best example of this is the most effective campaign in getting women in for cancer screening. Conversations were held with hairdressers whom were to then relay they conversations with their clients. By targeting this second tier they were able to reach their target audience in an effective manner.

The key here is to miss the same boat that your competition are taking ON PURPOSE!

Great engagement model when you do not have the capability to do so directly.

May 31st, 2009

Amazons obsession with its customers

You really have to hand it to them for looking after their customers.

Many years back my Dad told me the first time he ordered from Amazon (pre-2000 days) that they sent him the wrong book.  He let them know and they said hey can you donate it to your local library and we’ll send you the right copy.  Neat huh? He has told that story over and over for well probably about a decade now.  (Good Experiences compound!)

Also as I have found out – they provide a huge amount of detail in their tracking of orders.  See below:


This is amazing! I have been able to track my package from the moment it left to the moment it has arrived in New Zealand.  I have never seen that level of detail in tracking.

They realise that if I want to track it may as well expose as much data as possible.  No reason to hide behind (we don’t know where it is) but that’s where it is – if it’s not where it’s meant to be we will have to take responsibility.

Now who says customer obsession isn’t a winning model?

May 28th, 2009

Take all of this offline

Having my monthly coffee with Rich of GetFrank we were talking about all the learnings you get from running an online business.

It really is all about the groundswell – creating the word of mouth.

It’s less about sinking money into something and more pulling your sleeves up and getting your hands dirty.

These are the fundamentals offline as well, yet you forget the basics to be honest.

If you can take these basic principles back offline into a traditional market you can really dominate.

Imagine applying Internet Marketing 101 to staplers? fruit juice? car tyres?

Your marketing cost would be a fraction of the competition and I daresay magnitudes times more effective.

Basic concept of innovation – take a successful framework into a new context.  You could have some real fun with it – so why not give it a shot?

May 27th, 2009


How much experimenting do you do?

How often are you trying something new?

I hope you can recall the last experiment you made.

You see if you’re not trying something new, you’re not risking and if you’re not risking you’re not learning.

If you’re not learning your stagnant.  And being dead in the water isn’t helping anyone.  Let alone yourself.

I suspect if your reading this you do experiment, my challenge to you then is to encourage others to experiment, get them to question the world.

May 26th, 2009

Quantifying Word of Mouth

Easy – remember the adage that 64 people hear about a bad experience.

If you can go to the exact opposite emotive state but through a positive experience.  You are going to cut through the clutter to the same amount of people.

An example would be the Burger King Flame, $3.99 for a Whopper smelling perfume.  Sold out instantly.  Remarkable enough to cut the clutter.

So remember this, you are looking to leverage word of mouth to get this spread.  Each and every person has the potential to spread it indirectly to 64 people.  Now that’s why word of mouth can spread like fire.

May 25th, 2009

In Store Filters

I have to admit that I know a form of these are on the way.  Intelligent Shopping Carts which help you identify what you want to buy, notify you of specials etc.

However these are engineered for companies benefit moreso than the consumers.

What I would like is to walk into a store (thinking Supermarket here) – it knows my favourite brands, it knows that I always buy bananas or that if I wander down the meat section I never buy Pork but buy Steak, potentially even it can monitor my shopping habits and recommend new products based on others.  Kind of like but for food.

So how could you implement this? Intelligent glasses that glow on the products you like.  Too geeky methinks.

Shopping Cart is a winner – simply login, swipe each product as you add it.  Hey you could even tally my purchases as I go.  Now that would be neat.

Again like needs to be built around the customer – not the supermarket (whom just want to push more products into your trolley).  If you help me enhance the experience I will shop more often.  Simple as that.

May 24th, 2009

The (subtle) Art of Persuasion

I was at a launch party last night – now they had some cards at the bar with some neat stories.  Whilst I waited for my drink I purposely flicked through them, grabbed three out and showed them to my friend.

There was a guy in front of me waiting, he watched this, I chit chatted back and forth, then flicked back through the cards checking to see if I had them all.   I then pulled a couple out and left them on the bar for others to read.

Now I have to admit – I did this purposely to draw attention to the cards to the person in front of me.  Sure enough within 30 seconds he reached over, grabbed one, then flicked through to grab all the different colours.

Not only had I planted the seed that they were worth looking at – for whatever reason you need to get all three colours.  A bit cheeky but fun.

The subtle art of persuasion.

May 21st, 2009

Charities quite simply destroying themselves

Every christmas there are two I remember:

  1. The Salvation Army, they provide cheer and good will by having the band play christmas carols.  I really enjoy this and typically give them a few dollars.
  2. Cruelty against Animals, they typically dress up in dog costumes asking for money.

(Note: I ran into both of these within 10 minutes of each other a weekend before christmas.)

One of these is providing a positive experience and thus building their brand and goodwill.  The other is hassling consumers and destroying brand value.

I daresay the collections for the former are much higher than that of the latter.

I do not hold anything against the cause itself I just think they could be doing it better.

How about having big cute dogs out in public to pat? Or having some dogs doing some tricks, or show huge photos of animals that have been saved.

As honestly when we (yes you and me) are stressed, pushing through the crowds, doing our shopping, the absolute last thing we want is something to make us feel guilty.  We are already wired! Try and cheer us up.

The Salvation Army certainly are….

May 20th, 2009

Why are car parks flat?

Interesting question.

But why was I thinking this?

Driving around – I thought it was neat how all roads are virtually flat and smoothen out the bumps.

Then I was like, ok same with car parks.  But what about car parking buildings?

Quick calculations (using the old 1, 2, square root 3) we can find if we elevate a 4m car park 30 degreees, we can accommodate a flat surface area saving of 15%.

That is, if you elevated every car park in a building, you would have 15% more room for extra car parks.

So why haven’t they done it?

  • Most likely the fundamental assumptions haven’t been questioned
  • Comfort / Usability
  • The norm

From a cost perspective

  • Increase car density within a car park (thus higher ROI for the same surface area)
  • Setup price discrimination, flat car park 50c/hour

Clearly there are some issues that need to be investigated…such as safety, consumer reaction, cost of setting up.

Flipping the fundamental assumption that parks need to be flat – yields a whole new insight.

Crazy huh? This exact approach is what is going to differentiate your firms service offering, flipping solutions on their head to deliver something no one else can.  What better way to obsess about your customers?

May 19th, 2009

Map out the customer interaction process

Sit down and think about all the interactions people have with your brand before, during and post your value exchange.

Now at each point – are you communicating your message as you would like it?

(Let’s be honest unless you have done this exercise before it isn’t.)

Now modify in light of the bigger picture.

This simple exercise can completely change how you interact with customers.

May 18th, 2009

101 Ways to Import Drugs

No matter how much drugs Customs find, dealers are still looking for new ways to hide it.

And why are they doing it? The allure of the wealth.

I see this as the equivalent of a price war in a downward spiral.  As adept as customs officials are they aren’t nearly as motivated as the drug dealers who keep one step ahead of them.

What do I propose to end this? Crowdsourcing.

Open up the problem to the public, give them the constraints Customs operate under and what the avenues are.  Get the public to help you figure 101 ways to import drugs in almost anything that is coming into the country.

Then Customs can get ahead of the game.  Sure the public will reveal new ways that haven’t been utilised yet but (in theory) those methods would have been exploited at some point in time.

So stop chasing your tails and take control of the game.

May 17th, 2009

Fundamental Assumptions

Fundamental Assumptions are what I question almost everyday.  

So what if it’s always been done that way, doesn’t mean we should continue.

Things change.

What I find is that going to the complete opposite yields not only greater understanding but the opportunity to tackle a problem in a way that hasn’t been attempted before.

Also no one else is doing it… which means you should at least give it a shot.

May 14th, 2009

Building a Marketing Strategy

Building a Marketing Strategy is not straight forward, well not at least till you have done it over and over again.

Of recent I have had a lot of focus on very early stage strategy, taking a brand from nothing, starting from scratch.

The benefit of getting in at this stage is it’s very exciting, the possibilities seem to be endless, also very open to risk.

Often my job is like that of a rider, to rein the horse in, refocus on business objectives and how can we achieve that.

The strategy is always highly constrained; on time, funds & absolute need for leverage.

Oh and usually the only funds available are for my time (sometimes not even that!)

Where I am going with this is that building a marketing strategy is all about taking the steps from beginning to end and to keep taking them.  

Simplicity works over complexity.

May 13th, 2009

Patience is a virtue

Please stop freaking out that things aren’t happening as fast as you want.

Just be patient.  Keep plugging away.  Even though it takes twice as long as you thought it is just as (if not more) rewarding.

Often things don’t happen as quickly, rather than stress, keep walking and maintain your momentum.  For patience is a virtue.

May 12th, 2009

You can get going in the wrong gear – but it's bloody hard!

I remember fondly my first motorbike experience – a family friend put it in gear for me and told me how to release the clutch and turn the accelerator.  I immediately raced off and bailed in a ditch.  No problem got on again and off I went.

From then though it was up to me.  I knew what to do – I just had to do it.

But you know what? I tried for weeks and weeks and weeks to get the knack of it, I couldn’t for the sake of me take off, I would always stall.  It frustrated me that I couldn’t get it right.  Finally I got the knack of it and managed to coerce it into action – after what must have been hundreds of attempts.

A few months later, I found the problem, guess what it was? I was in the wrong gear, 1 up from neutral was 2nd gear, not first.  First was 1 down.  That’ s why it would always die on me.  I was in the WRONG gear!

Lesson learnt – you can get going in the wrong gear – but it’s bloody hard.

For whatever goal you are seeking, have you checked the gear you are in?  If you just swap gears, you can probably get there much much faster (and not make it so hard on yourself).  

If you’re not sure what gear you should be in, ask those that have fulfilled the goal already, often they can get you into the right gear within seconds.

May 11th, 2009

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