Monday, June 13, 2011

Pinball Marketing

Bowling vs. Pinball: The evolution of Marketing

Ten years ago, in the marketing age of Bowling, we controlled our game; We saw the target, we planned our approach, our pace, our arc, our spin. And if your plans and short-term goals were all met in this one-directional game, you would have achieved a substantial amount of success.

Today, those pins hurl the ball back at you.
Reaction is the name of the game in today's age of marketing Pinball. As your message makes its way through the spring-loaded bumpers of social media, you find yourself hoping that you actually make some noise and that your message doesn't come back at you in an unexpected, and perhaps unplayable, manner. You quickly realize that you have to poise yourself for something that is both defensive and artful. There are opportunities and bonus points for sending your message to seemingly unreachable areas. There are also traps and multiple balls in play when you activate certain triggers. How do you analyze and optimize that? You don't, at least not in the moment. The point is, you rack up more points the more those social media bumpers bounce your ball between them. And all you can do is react to their energy. 

The one-directional game is over, social media can react.  The beauty about the new game is that it pays you back the more you play.  Get your message into the game and let the social world bounce it around.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pick the Niche

Whether you are managing a brand, looking for a job or running a small local charity, you have to find your niche and tell a story.  The past few years have outlined this trend and people seem to be putting it into practice and seeing great results.

Brands that are so hyper focused are constantly polled by consumers as more believable. That doesn't mean you can't expand your focus down the road, but you have to be authentic and specialize in one area before you can attempt another.  A prime example of this is Keen shoes.  When they started, they were focused on the outdoor segment.  They made shoes for hiking and sandals that were great for camping. Now they make trail running shoes, biking sandals and a series of bags that work with the outdoor lifestyle. Although they have expanded their base, those areas make sense for their target consumer.  If they started making baseball bats tomorrow, consumers wouldn't believe it.  It's too far from their core.

When you live in a niche, you own it, you set the rules. started something that was needed but didn't really exist.  They created a way for people around the world to help a person or village get a cow or a goat or seed for their farm.  Their online micro-lending model is so simple, that it's almost unbelieveable.  However, the more you research it, the more believable and amazing it is.  And what closes the deal is when you hear that, to date, they still have not had one default on a loan.

Pick your niche, commit to it, live it and the loyalty you will see from customers will validate your efforts.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Move past the Idea

At each stage of business, there is a goal that needs to be reached before setting another goal.  In talking to various businesses, especially small start-ups, I find something in common with many of them.  THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT THEY DON'T KNOW.

It takes so much time and effort to start a business that while building it, you don't have time to look over the fence.  What I tell companies I work with is that the idea is not the value.  It is the total sum of the parts. You need a great idea, but you also need the right team, the right sales plan, the right growth strategy etc... All of them are equally important and the same amount of effort has to be given to each area for you to be successful

If you spend all the time on the idea and think people will find you, you are wrong.  You have to build your brand as you go.  Connect with people and put yourself out there for people to see and comment on.  That immediate feedback will help you focus your efforts.

When all the pieces are combined, that is when the magic happens.  Be ready to admit what you don't know and reach out to people who specialize in the areas you don't understand so it creates a well oiled machine.