Archives for category: Uncategorized

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If it’s important for someone to be the smartest one in the room, it’s the smart move to let them enjoy that feeling.

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He started with nothing and created a movement. He didn’t have any of the tools, platforms, and technologies available to us to change the world. We have the responsibility to use the tools, the changing media landscape to make an impact. It’s easier than ever to be heard.

We are now faced with the fact, my friends, that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history, there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked, and dejected with a lost opportunity. The tide in the affairs of men does not remain at flood — it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is adamant to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words, “Too late.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

What are you waiting for?

 

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You found her on an online site, she seems intriguing, everything you are looking for.

You meet in person, the first impression is pure magic. You start the conversation and it turns within a few moments into a monologue. You learn everything about her, every last detail. You keep asking questions because that’s the only way to keep the conversation going. Whenever she asks you a question, she is bored immediately and wants to add her perspective. It’s easier for you just to keep listening to her, mentally walking away from the table, waiting for the moment you never have to see her again.

When you look at your inbox, it’s clear that brands are trained in the art of monologue. They act like 3-year olds sharing everything with their parents. That works most of the time for the little ones because they are closest to our hearts. It can’t work for brands but they keep trying because they don’t know better, the marketing engine has to run.

That’s only half of the story: Marketing is not about telling customers everything. It’s to make them curious to learn more. Just like a good date, the best marketing is to know how much information is enough, what to leave unsaid. And leave space for your own imagination to complete the picture.

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January 17. The gyms start to empty out, fewer runners in the park, alcohol sales start to pick up, the weekly book hasn’t been touched for more than a week. A large part of virtue consists in good habits. We are our habits and the patterns that permeate life.

Just think about the visit to your supermarket, a routine that you do on rinse and repeat. The brands you buy, the ones you avoid, the aisles you walk through quickly, the register you go to, your routine while waiting.

The majority of marketing is based on the paradigm to change people’s stories. Do you know how unlikely it is to change someone’s mind? More unlikely than changing your habits. We live our own story and outside forces won’t alter our version of the truth. But, we can try to understand the stories of others about who they are and what they believe, and we can build on that story.

James Carville said: “It’s the economy, stupid.” For marketing, it’s the heart, stupid. People don’t just change what they are doing and reverse course. But if we build on their story, they might take a small step towards a different version of their story.

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It happens almost every day: People connect with me on LinkedIn. Within 24 hours, you can set the clock, they pitch their services.

Odd sales metrics, not understanding how marketing works or plain laziness: This approach is like playing the lottery. It might work, but in reality, you are wasting your time, effort and, most importantly, the connection you just established.

It’s important to establish connections. But the real work is in creating and deepening relationships.

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It’s January 01, 2030. Your national government has outlawed any traditional marketing. What would you do without your digital levers, your print, TV, radio, Direct Mail and other forms of marketing?

After you got over your anxiety attack, I believe you would start with people. You would redouble your efforts with your current customers. And you would try to attract new customers by talking with them, not at them. You would get very good at explaining what you do, why you think your product/service is the best, and how it will make the lives of customers better. You would look closely at your customers, try to understand them better, empathize with them. You would be emotionally attuned to your customers.

That’s how selling was done before we started to rely on marketing, technology, and tactics. Brands made the best possible product for their known customers they wanted to serve. It was pretty straight forward, courageous and full of risks. But when it worked, it was glorious. Instead, we are hiding now behind efficiency and scale while moving away from our customers.

We have an endless arsenal of marketing tactics at our fingertips. Maybe these infinite options limit our ability to really connect with customers?

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One of the holiday traditions in our house is to work on a puzzle throughout these quiet times. In 2019, we decided on a Clementoni 1,500 pieces puzzle of the Piazza di Spagna in Rome. The goal was to finish in a week but life happened, business travel and the puzzle was harder than I expected. Last weekend, we sat down and decided to get it done by Sunday.

Sunday came around and the one thing happened that should never happen with a puzzle:

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And this:

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And another one

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3 missing pieces. We looked everywhere but it was clear the pieces were never part of the puzzle.

Clementoni had one job: Deliver 1,500 pieces of a puzzle. Nothing else. And they failed. All the LinkedIn Marketing, all the Instagram posts, the terrible website: It’s meaningless and even counterproductive when you don’t do your job.

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And, so we decided not to do our job and spend hours completing the blue sky. Final destiny for this puzzle? Trash.

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Because it is incremental. Yes, there are these Uber and iPhone moments when everything changes quickly. But the majority of digital transformation is incremental. Machines take over a job we never imagined they can do, and over time we get so used to it, we regard it as a natural step for machines to take on more and more tasks.

Machines are better at spotting tumors, trading stocks, execute all banking transactions, get us where we want to go, correct spelling, find cheap services and products, predict weather and find familiar faces in a huge crowd.

If you flew to Saturn 14 years ago and just returned from your awe-inspiring trip, you would not believe what happened to human-only tasks since you left the planet in 2006. But since we are being slowly boiled by technology and not water just like the frog experiment, we don’t consider these changes amazing.

Since jobs are being lost, the last thing we should do is our job. We need to be braver, more human, more focused and do things differently. There are huge opportunities out there. But you are missing out on them by continuing doing your job,

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It’s pretty basic: We celebrate success and deconstruct failure. Our culture tells us that success equals smiles, alcoholic drinks and relaxing by being surrounded by your own genius.

Failure equals long nights, deconstructing each moment leading to the results and doubt in your own capabilities.

If we deconstructed success and obsessed about each detail, success could be as much of a learning moment as a failure. But we rather celebrate. How about doing both?

 

 

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Last night I had to deal with a credit card company for almost 2 hours. We were disconnected 3 times, they never called back and I had to start the process four times from scratch. They always greeted me as a valued customer and every call started with the usual ‘Your call is important to us.’

Not important enough to call me back once we were disconnected. Not important enough to document my request and not ask me to start from the beginning four times. Not important enough to assume I’m okay with wasting 2 hours of my time on a Friday evening.

The more often a company calls out my value and communicates how much they care about me, the less they value and care about their customers.  Actions prove why words are meaningless.