marketing thoughts

marketing thoughtsadmin on 13 Jan 2009 02:11 am

If you are a car-thief, you have to be really good at being a thief. You have to learn how to find unmarked cars on lonely streets in the middle of the night, disable the alarms if they are enabled and pick the locks. And I bet the competition is significant too from other car-thieves. You also have to keep updating your skills as the car manufacturers come up with new methods to deter you.

On the other hand, if you are an “airplane thief”, you are fairly sure where to find your ‘targets” and with the planes you don’t even need to pick the lock! Also, when was the last time you heard an airplane-thief getting arrested? That tells me there isn’t a lot of competition either.

And those are just some of the benefits of thinking big!

Convinced yet about the power of thinking big? If yes, then unless you are a car-thief, spend a few moments today from your work day to figure out how to _think_big_ in your own profession.

marketing thoughtsadmin on 27 Nov 2008 01:13 pm

I often look at new IT companies who have a complicated idea to address a simple and necessary need.

Their challenge often, when marketing their product, is being able to effectively communicate  information that is highly technical to an audience whose only concern is if the bottom line ($$$) is addressed and their problem(s) solved.

There are a few common characteristics of all highly technical information:

1. Its highly comprehensive, and hence the quantity is large.

2. It has data that does not make the best “slides”, but better in a white board presentation.

3. Its is new and conceptual that would take a highly technical audience to completely understand.

Coming up with presentation material from any information with all those characteristics is a challenge that IT startups might be better off avoiding.

The solution is to take a page out of some other masters of presentation. Put a short four minute video on your website that combines a white board presentation with actual slides of technical data. It gets the overview of the idea across, grabs the audience who now armed with the conceptual idea would be in a better state to understand a fact sheet or a white paper.

This is a damn good example…

marketing thoughtsadmin on 27 Nov 2008 12:37 pm

Whatever happened to “a picture is worth a thousand words”? This video has absolutely no pictures, but it said a LOT…

and here is another good one:

marketing thoughtsadmin on 21 Nov 2008 07:56 pm

Driving into work today, I heard a J C Penny commercial on the radio. They were touting the ability of their stores that are designed for men so that they can shop efficiently. Quickly walk in, find their clothing needs and be on their way in this busy holiday season.

The idea is right. Based off the old wisdom that “women go shopping” and “men go buying”.

However, the execution is not. If J C Penny is marketing their stores to men during the holiday season, and their stores are designed so that it is more welcoming to men, the products that should be “accessibly” placed are not mens clothing, rather the products that these men would be looking to buy. For most cases, it will not be clothes for themselves, but rather gifts; toys for the kids, jewelery for their women and that unique something for the family they will be visiting.

And, since I have not been able to use this since I heard it on The Colbert Report, “thats just my two cents, which used to worth a dollar a few months ago“.

marketing thoughtsadmin on 21 Nov 2008 06:37 pm

Since I can remember going to the movies, there has never been a time when I have liked or wanted to purchase the completely unreasonable $8-popcorn. Mainly because I am cheap and refuse to pay for a simple product at an exorbitant price, and partly because I don’t like popcorn.

I can understand the need of the movie theatre to:

a) make a significant profit from the very few options it has to have the customer pay more than the basic ticket price

b) avoid associated charges with management of more complicated food items besides popcorn.

However, for some really savvy business people, how difficult can it be to figure out how to charge a reasonable price for a better service/item and not more for a basic service/item and still make even more profit? If other businesses, to stay competitive, need to constantly modify their product offerings, why have theaters been offering the same popcorn since years?

As far as business goes, wouldn’t it make sense to give more than a single incentive to your customers?

marketing thoughtsadmin on 21 Nov 2008 06:07 pm

The biggest challenge for a dot-com or a web-company these days is:

The customers are NOT users and the users are NOT customers

Take Google for example (when it was really a web company). Its users are you and me and a lot of us who probably never paid a single dollar to Google (directly). However, its customers are the clients (companies, institutions and sometimes individuals) who paid Google so that they could advertise on Google.

That, I believe is the most interesting challenge if you are designing and building an Internet company.

marketing thoughtsadmin on 21 Nov 2008 05:42 pm

Customer FeedbackALL feedbacks that I have been requested to provide are objective. A ton of multiple-choice picks, and a ton of yes/no questions.

The problem with this, as I see it, is that a feedback can only be valuable and worthwhile if it is subjective rather than objective. If I can express my opinion using one of the 5 or 6 choices that you have already thought of (multiple-choice) or with a simple yes/no, then obviously I am not giving you any “feedback”. I am sampling my opinion and converting that deep, much-more information oriented analog opinion into a predetermined (multiple-choice) or a binary message that is by design incomplete (sampling is always lossy).

The reason why feedbacks are designed to be objective in the first place is because you are expecting your customers to do you a favor, for free. You want them to take their time and give you an honest analysis of a lot of the aspects of their experience with you, sample their thoughts and give you a summary so that you can then spend minimal effort and gain something out of this. Did I mention for free?

The solution, make the surveys subjective, detailed. Figure out a way so that you can provide your customers the ability to give you a honest and a detailed feedback (maybe videos?) and reward them for the quality of feedback (maybe discounts on next purchase or a Starbucks card?). And have a team of qualified people do the sampling to get the information you are really looking for.