Archive for the ‘marketing’ Category

Source vs. outlet

November 6th, 2012

It’s worth remembering that money is not always being made at the source. Just because you create, build, assemble… that’s where the thing to be sold is made, but it’s only in commodities like crude oil where the source is the point of maximum cash conversion. In many other cases, the outlet is where you get the most bucks for your bang.

Which again is just a paraphrase of the old mantra: know who your buyers are, know their needs, build a direct relationship, etc. etc. Even if your source doesn’t spew out a commodity, it doesn’t mean it’s valuable right from the start. Increasingly more stuff is less valuable to more people. Ignore this at your own peril.

Trampling paths, building highways

August 27th, 2012

The first is what amateurs do. Since it’s only to solve a momentary need or problem, good enough will do. They can walk around that rock, so why bother? After all, they’re doing it for fun, so why take the fun out of it?

A pro can’t do that. Pros think in terms of long-lasting and scalable solutions from A to Z. They know they can’t have 300 cars a minute circumventing that rock, so they either think of how to remove it or find a different route. Because they’re not doing it for fun, they’re doing it for a living. Different story.

What customers are paying for

August 21st, 2012

They don’t pay for a product or service. They pay for an experience. This applies for consumers as well as for B2B. Which is why racing to the bottom makes less sense every day. How great an experience can you deliver when making a commercial priced at 3,000 bucks with an intended profit margin of 20%? As opposed to 30,000? Sure, you have to deliver a lot more, but not in the product.

The product itself will come and go, it is just a temporal symptom, a fad, not to be talked about once the shine has worn off. But the experience of how the customer got to it will last much longer. That’s what she remembers, what she’s telling friends, colleagues, business partners, even her competition will be hearing of it. That’s what brings future business.

How much it costs is not as important to a prospect as it is for the salesperson desperate to close the deal. Yet salespeople are often trying to make the whole transaction a safe one, knowing they can deliver what they have sold, or, if they can’t, have an excuse, because the customer wouldn’t pay more, etc. But the fact is, more often than not, they are afraid they won’t make the stretch, they are afraid of uncharted territory, of leaving their comfort zone. Their own perceived sovereignty is more important to them than the delight of their customer and the advancement of their own company.

As Seth already pointed out many years ago, the problem with racing to the bottom is that you might win.

Iconic

July 4th, 2012

When it comes to vivid explanations, Seth just is on spot. Again.

Rockets and Science

June 19th, 2012

Rocket science is fun not only because of the rocket you end up launching but the science that made it possible to make it so.

Just because now and then someone pops up to democratize rockets doesn’t render the science obsolete, but it takes away quite a large portion of the sense of achievement for the scientist.

So despite all the talk of looking at the big picture, labelling yourself as someone building and launching rockets, there might be more value in focusing on and emphasizing the thing you actually do.

Niche size

June 16th, 2012

What’s the size of a niche, preferably one you can seize? Because they keep getting smaller, they need to be smaller the more you want to be the first or maybe only one who caters to and for it.

Sports, for instance. Do we need another sports channel? Maybe not. Okay, make it one step smaller. Do we need another football channel? Maybe not. One more smaller. Do we need a sports channel for the football team of one state? Maybe… or maybe not. Do we need a sports channel for the football teams of one single city?

You see where it’s going. The big “niches” have already been taken, in most cases in such quality that it’s not worth putting up with it. So the obvious thing to do is to find the niche inside the niche. Once again, somebody was having this idea before you, bummer. And in terms of big media, i.e. magazines or TV, doing another iteration often is no use, because the audience keeps getting smaller and smaller, or, to connect the issue to numbers, the cost per reader/viewer starts to increase significantly because attention doesn’t increase proportionally.

That said, the question “Do we need another…?” is misleading in economical terms. When it comes to consumption, we have barely a scarcity of anything. The point is, when you’re not able to make a profit of owning the niche, why have it?

Instead of this deductive approach maybe an inductive one yields better service. A doctor is of most value to those who hurt. And it seems in general, western societies don’t hurt a lot at first sight. But we do, and often we’re not aware of it, because, and this is where the fun kicks in, for every obvious pain we’ve been educated to have there’s a remedy. Well, of course they’re placebos, because those who make them don’t intend to cure us.

So where’s the beef? Well, I think we as human beings want to feel alive, as much as we can. It’s only frustration that lets us drug ourselves down with consumables of whatever kind. If you turn your focus on how you can make people feel alive, that’s where the fruitful niches are.

Epilogue

June 7th, 2012

Somehow it’s a proof of concept, multiple concepts to be precise. When I purchased “Turning Pro” the other day, the draft for the last post had been lying around for two weeks as a scribbled note, I was just too lazy to sit down and post it. As a matter of consequence, an idea that would have been (also been perceived as) being original now appears to be a paraphrase of another. Which is why it’s really important to ship the stuff you come up with, because an idea without execution has little value.

Game mastery

May 17th, 2012

Everyone is where they are as a result of the things they did and didn’t do up to the point. Which also includes playing games. Some do it for fun, some because they think it’ll be getting them somewhere, and some have chosen not to start or to quit. But no matter what the choice, everyone has a certain level of experience or even mastery in games. Keep that in mind, always.

Strip out the middle

April 18th, 2012

Principal problems tend to create situation where they themselves are dormant, thus not being adressed, instead the problems they create downstream are. This process is often repeated until the solution is “use more”, “use less” or “buy X”, a typical symptom of Yak shaving.

The constructive approach is to then ask “Why are we having this problem at all?” until you’ve worked the whole way back to the initial problem, and compare it to the solutions proposed or already in place, stripping out all the middle problems. And when “We have trouble acquiring qualified personnel” is being answered with “use more Gaffer tape” or “we need to buy a cart”, everybody should know there’s something wrong and start doing their work.

 

Business and people

January 24th, 2012

Obviously some real estate agents think their business is not people.

Do you remember when it happened the last time that a website you visited was down, not because of technical issues, but because of a design overhaul? And all they could do is put up a ridiculous graphic (not the “under construction” road sign, thanks a lot), with their phone number and email (not clickable). No contact form, no replacement microsite, and in the end, no business, at least from my side.

There is no business that is not people.