November 2008

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:

unorganized thoughtsadmin on 21 Nov 2008 08:35 pm

Read this quote from a noted playwright George Bernard Shaw: “The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself“.

I would have agreed with that, had I not been living my life.

More than a few times, I have felt that I am way to reasonable in a world where by its very nature everybody is unreasonable. And so, it is my problem that I am unable to adapt and achieve the basic level of unreasonable-ness. I think I have always wondered why other people are different, not maybe if they are not and instead I am!

A very clever person mentioned in his book something about how to achieve something incredible, the trick is to find a balance between aspiration and pragmatism. I guess I have always leaned towards the pragmatism and have paid the price of not having achieved something incredible.

Maybe that is the key. Find that imbalance, and lean towards being a little more unreasonable, a lot more non-pragmatic.

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“.

unorganized thoughtsadmin on 21 Nov 2008 06:56 pm

I don’t want to be know when I will feel happy, but can someone just tell me when I will forget how the pain felt?

I realized this the other day. If you have been sad, instead of looking for happiness, wouldn’t it be easier to just try and get to a stage where you no longer remember pain?

Though the trick would be to figure out what your one-word reply would be when someone asks, “how you are doing?”.

Yes…the title of the post is inspired from the Dave Matthews Band song “The Space Between”.

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.

unorganized thoughtsadmin on 12 Nov 2008 12:10 am

I have always believed that people are good. And most people want to do good. They just don’t want to selfishly live their own life. They want to do something, make something right, make something better for the world. The problem is however, most people don’t do anything.

I think I know why; It’s because they are just hoping to find someone else to do their part of making the world a better place.

Wouldn’t that be convenient, if we could outsource our “doing something good for the world” part and continue living our life? And wouldn’t it be ironic if you could outsource this, to say a country with cheaper labor and the work is making lives of cheap labor better?

unorganized thoughtsadmin on 12 Nov 2008 12:04 am

I do this often these days. I think of something (unorganized or not), and then I let that thought sit in my head for a few days, sometimes even weeks. Its almost like over that time, the thoughts sit and marinate.

If thoughts can be marinated, can feelings be too?

Chicken, when marinated tastes damn good. So, if you let feelings marinate, do they get  better, more pleasing? Does the feeling of love for someone when left sitting in your heart make the feeling more special?

And on the flip side, does the feeling of anger, hate, bitterness and loathe for someone when left marinating change that feeling? When you think of it, no matter for how long or with what you marinate turd, I bet it still tastes like crap.

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