Tag Archives: marketing

Branding 101

July 9th, 2009

Please avoid specific industry terms, like ‘Ben Young Property’.  What if after 5 years you want to sell up? Or you find property isn’t your market.

By being too specific you box yourself into a corner.

You are far better off using something like bwagy, Nike or Starbucks that way over time you can evolve the brand to mean more than what you originally intended.

Create your own term then associate meaning to it, that way as your business evolves so can your brand.  Literal terms tend to halt this as they have literal meaning.  And there is nothing worse than putting a limit on your business from the get go.

What if Nike had been called ‘Fast Shoes’, could they have evolved into Basketball? Swimming? Fitnesss? I doubt it.

Knowing your audience

July 7th, 2009

No one should know your market better than you.

Otherwise you’ll end up with too much disconnect…

And if you’re disconnected your customers are going elsewhere.

My vendetta with Fax Marketing

June 16th, 2009

A while back I had a new client who wanted to work (within a reasonable budget) to grow their market share.  Like most small businesses they had dabbled in a few bits and pieces.

Their latest attempt was to spend $1800 on Fax Marketing – they got a blast out to every local businesses fax machine.  Not once but twice.  Just to make sure they got it.

First round – return was zip.  Second round – return was zip.

Figured that was the end of it.  Nope.  They then sunk the same amount back into it, in the hope that by annoying people enough they would pick up the phone to order.

Nevertheless this wasn’t a good sign of business aptitude (amongst other signs) so we parted ways.

Since then I have come across others doing Fax Marketing.  Fax Marketing is the worst kind of spam – not only is it rubbish but now you have to physically deal with it – and once you’re on a list they keep coming.  Sure if it was relevant, anticipated and timely it could work, but it’s not.

So please if you’re looking at Fax Marketing give it a miss – pay a student $1800 to play with internet marketing (if you must spend the money) you are more likely to get a solid return – or at least know where your money was wasted.

Even better stick with the marketing basics (talk to your customers, listen to them, obsess about helping them).  The basics build real business.

Psst! Pass it on!

June 15th, 2009

Included in my standard ordering of 100 minicards from moo there is a card at the end which says:

Psst! Pass it on!
I’m a MiniCard from moo.com
MOO prints things with photos
or designs – like StickerBooks,
Postcards and Greeting Cards.

On the flipside is a coupon code for 15% off your first order.

(Mine is 2RB2CK feel free to use it, first in first served).

Not only are the cards themselves a talking point – but they have given me something to give to someone who also thinks they are pretty cool.  Neat huh?

So sit down, map out the customer interaction process, ensure you are leveraging each of those interactions, then implement.

All the small things add up! (You can see Moo is doing a fine job of it.)

Establishing Behaviour

June 14th, 2009

Creating a repetitive behaviour is a surefire way to solidify your product.

Yet how can you establish a new behaviour? Or remind your customers of it?

Slide your product back into their routine with freebies.  Give away a sample of your product in the right place at the right time.

Sell chewing gum? Give a stick of gum with every bill at a restaurant.  Create the routine of paying the bill and getting some gum.

Sell hand sanitiser? Have a free dispenser outside public toilets.  Remind consumers that they need your product.

Sell shoe nugget? Give away free samples with every pair of leather shoes sold.

Sell body wash? Give away samples at the gym.

The list goes on…. apply it to your industry.  The point I am making here is consumers often forget about your product – so give them a kind reminder.  They will appreciate it.

Bank hires an extra 100 business managers

June 10th, 2009

A local bank did this earlier in the year.

Smart move as this sends a strong signal to the market, we are here to help you, give you extra services.

In all reality though they could be losing market share or strategically pouncing.  Probably both.

Either way the end result is a strong look on the business banking front, especially to small businesses who are questioning what level of service their bank offers.

You see actions themselves are huge marketing messages.

Take all of this offline

May 27th, 2009

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?

The (subtle) Art of Persuasion

May 21st, 2009

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.

Map out the customer interaction process

May 18th, 2009

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.

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

May 11th, 2009

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.

Focus on the product!

May 10th, 2009

Look, honestly, if your product isn’t shit hot – all the marketing in the world ain’t going to save it.

Sure you will get a bit of a boost when you get nationwide coverage on tv, or a mention in the paper, but honestly is it going to be the answer to building a sustainable business? No.

Focus on the product, bring it up to speed, grow & evolve it from customer feedback.  As if it isn’t hot we can stick any marketing tactic to it and you won’t get the return.  

Whereas if you have a shit hot product – it makes it a million times easier to market – as it markets itself.

Take some time, refocus on what you offer, if not today when?

Living the brand

May 4th, 2009

Brand experiences tend to be post event. 

However now we have the technology for live experiences. 

Social networks with live engagement are such an example.

Local energy drink provider has taken advantage of this with their V Bebo Community.

Another great example is Vaughan Rowsell.

Now Vaughan is cycling the length of New Zealand Uphill (bottom to top) for charity.  He is just about half way now.

You can send him messages on twitter, see his blog, watch his videos.  I have included his first one below:


You can experience it as he does.  With the right software and cell coverage he could even stream live from his cycle trip.

Imagine watching the Tour De France from Lance Armstrongs bike with his commentary as he rides.  Motor racing does this with in car cams – but there is a ways to go.

You could be sponsoring such an experience as Vaughans, some great fits would be:

  • Hotel Chain (where to rest after a long day of travel)
  • Energy / Sports Drinks (providing the fuel for the journey)
  • Clearly the bike / clothing
  • Technology (we are where you want to be)

This isn’t for everyone, yes it is less controlled, you don’t know what will happen.  Maybe it will be boring? Or maybe you will be there when something remarkable happens.  It is reality tv meets real world.  We all know reality tv isn’t that real anyway so why not deliver an authentic experience.  (Hell if you even track Vaughan down you can partake).

Twitter, Blogging, Video all allow people to engage with your brand real time which creates an extremely loyal customer base.  Neat huh?

(Vaughan is raising money for a good cause TASC The Agency for Spinal Concerns, check his blog out for more details).

Living a brand rather than seeing it

April 30th, 2009

A brand experience is magnitudes times more valuable than observing a brand.

You experience the Apple lifestyle, you experience the Gary Vaynerchuk brand through his video blog, you experience my brand through this very blog.

Seeing an advertisement at a bus stop just doesn’t compare – however pairing that up with an experience completely changes the game.  A great example is a free ringtone which you can grab via bluetooth from the advertisement which then gives you something to walk away with and experience.

Living a brand is so much more fun, engaging and most of all attractive to others as they want to be a part of it.

Sure it’s not for everyone but those that can master it will reap the outrageous rewards….

Building a Business API

April 26th, 2009

API stands for Application Programming Interface.  A geek term which means you can build a system that uses functions from another (through the API).

Google, Digg, Twitter use APIs to stimulate innovation and really open the platform up.  

Having an API maximises the potential of your service.  Smart on every level: leverage, stimulate innovation, buy out those that work, learn from those that fail…

Arising amongst these purely ‘tech’ services are startups building web platforms that connect the previously unreachable  through their online platform.  Once they are connected innovation can really happen.

Take Mint.com for example, by working with many different banks across the USA and importing their data into Mint they provide an industry standard.  The data is in a centralised location, abides by the same rules and can be opened up.

You see once you have ubiquity across an industry of data abiding the same structured rules you then provide a platform for innovation to happen over the API.

What could you do with Mint transaction data?

Compare spending versus external events (like google news, browsing habits, locality), provide a ‘new’ cashflow management tool, let people check their bank account via twitter or text.

Imagine the possibilities if you can create the same platform model in other industries, a platform for every postshop in the world, connecting all car yards or even every mobile network in the world.

Build a real life business api, open it up, see what happens.

Entrepreneurship is Marketing

March 31st, 2009

Ok stay with me for a minute.

Marketing traditionally has meant to you, putting some advertising out, get your message in front of enough people, you convert a few to sales.  The return used to be enough to justify it.

However in a market where people are counting their pennies, you just aren’t getting the same return you used to.

Now organisations are going hey time to try something new.

Word of Mouth is on the tip of everyones tongue.

How do you stimulate word of mouth? Through action.  Actions that are worth talking about.  

Right so we have gone from advertising to action in all of 30 seconds.

Now how can you stimulate action? Through entrepreneurship.

Stimulate entrepreneurial traits in your employees, to try something new, perhaps it will make you a few more dollars but also send a message to the market.

Innovation, sales & marketing? Entrepreneurship is marketing. (And always has been).

What are you doing all the way down here? You could:
- View my about page
- Or for first timers the New Here? page
- Or maybe email this to a friend
- Or subscribe to get blog updates