Archives for posts with tag: value

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Do you suck at Twitter?

There are many things I don’t like about Twitter: the platitudes, the public handshaking and showboating, the Sisyphus-like race to follow and unfollow, just to follow again.

As an avid user of Twitter, the great outweighs the bad: The connections you develop over time, the amazing discovery of content and the immediacy of the platform.

You tweet too much. You don’t tweet enough.

While Twitter is a new platform made for pull marketing, it still pays to apply the basics of push marketing: be consistent, be in the market and repeat your messages. I tend to tweet 20 times a day, 3-4 times pushing blog posts. It works: I see clicks on the blog throughout the day, some people are more inclined to read new content in the morning, others are more interested late night. Add to it that almost 40% of my Twitter followers live outside the US and it becomes almost impossible to plan the perfect schedule for the audience.

One measure of success are the number of clicks to posted links and the amount of sharing in my social graph. The other impactful metric is the growth of a community: If you don’t grow, you’re destined to fail. Both measures of success tend to change the mindset of many people: They hunker down, tweet even more often, repeat their messages more often and be constantly around and in people’s faces.

Should you be great on Twitter?

Repeating your tweets and being in the face of your followers constantly makes you great at Twitter. But, does it benefit your business? You can cram your feed with content all day long and get the most out of Twitter. How does this impact your business, the bottom line?

You have to make your own use case.

You’re a fool if you want to be good at Twitter. You want to be good at your business. To be good at Twitter, you need tweet more, spend more time on the platform, be completely immersed. To utilize Twitter as tool for business success, you have to find a balance. Twitter is a great tool to connect, to find new opportunities, to showcase your thought leadership.

It’s hard not to get sucked into the numbers game. It’s easier when you remind yourself that most of the numbers are irrelevant. What’s relevant what you get out of your Twitter presence. For some it’s about numbers and shouting. For me it’s about quality and sharing.

Twitter is what you make of it.

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Last night I was standing on our patio, admiring the sunset with my daughter. She looked at me and asked:

“Do you like the sunset?”

“Yes, I like the sunset.”

“I like it, too.”

According to some brands, agencies and consultants, that simple interaction turned both of us into ‘fans’ of the May 16, 2012 sunset. The company that created the May 16 sunset just acquired 2 valuable ‘brand ambassadors’ that have an influence on the bottom line of ‘May 16, 2012 Inc.’.

Welcome to the silly world of Facebook likes

The way some ‘experts’ cherish likes, you’d think they were lengthy love letters written in blood. Well, given that toilet paper has 10,496 likes, the premise that people click on things that mean a lot to them becomes absurd quickly.

Still, many brands and agencies use ‘likes’ as a metric to measure brand popularity.

The reason? It’s the easy way out and has no downside – besides that more and more brands go down the evil path of buying fans, putting ‘like’ traps in front of valuable content and eliminate any favorable feelings through forced love tactics.

Facebook is the Unicorn world. What would happen if the platform would introduce a “Don’t like”, “Don’t care”, “Hate it” and “Love it” button? The majority of brands would say goodbye quickly because expressions of apathy and dislike would outnumber any favorable interaction. Well, we know this is not going to happen. Revenue on Facebook would decline dramatically and, let’s face it, that’s what Facebook is all about, isn’t it?

There’s value in Facebook likes

There’s no value in considering like as an expression of brand favorability, love or passion. Most people push that thumbs up button as easy and mindless as they flush their toilet.

There’s a lot of opportunity in the social space. Brands will never unlock it if they continue to look at the Unicorn world through pink colored glasses.

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This is not the only business that offers this service. Here, here, here and here are more.

All these people should win the marketer of the year award.

Being helpful in hard times pays off in the long run.

Remember Hyundai’s buy-back program? Look at them now: One of the few automotive companies growing dramatically each month.

Helping out people in need not only buys you loyalty for the rest of their lives. It also buys you the goodwill of the rest of your customers. They will be happy to frequent your business and spread positive feelings across their social graph.

Don’t let the fear of abuse keep you away from implementing an idea like this. The super-majority of people are good, decent people. And the dividends will outweigh the abuse of a few. I’ll guarantee it.

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Gas prices are hovering around $4.

You would think people would drive less.

Or be on the hunt for a cheaper gas station.

Actually, the majority of people just resigned themselves to the cost.

Sure, there’s bitching.

But, we still drive 5 miles faster than we should.

I’m in the market for running shoes.

I have a price rang. Nothing over $150.

I could wait another month or so.

As an avid runner, the health of my feet is very important to me.

I pay $80 more if I get value (comfort, less injuries, etc.) in return.

There are cheaper toothpastes than Colgate Total. But I would never buy another brand.

Same goes for Nutella.

When it comes to bigger purchases, I might have spent a minute or two thinking about it.

When it comes to small purchases, no conscious decision was made.

Everything was automatic, pre-programmed.

I had enough good experiences with Nutella, reinforcing the brand promise, making the decision about whether to buy it next time more certain over the years.

Increasing the likelihood to recommend it to someone else. (Buy Nutella.)

Nutella has to continue to provide value.

Or I will look somewhere else.

The majority of purchases are not about price. It is about value.

Value is defined by the desire that a brand elicits.

If the price barrier is lower than the desire, the actual transaction is the value.

Times are tough. But brands that focus on price are communicating they don’t have any inherent value.

There are some gaps that having a large, positive gap between desire and price. Apple, Sony and Mercedes-Benz are representatives for highly desirable brands in the premium space; Huggies, Alpo and Target good example for great value.

And then there are the brands that balance desire and price very well and profit handily: Southwest Airlines and Corona come to mind.

Being considered valuable in the eyes of your customers, transforms your brand into a successful and profitable enterprise.

No wonder nobody cares that much about the price of gas.

$4 per gallon just reinforces the value proposition.

And that’s why you’re not wasting your time trying to find the cheapest gas.

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Marketing and selling professional services is all about building relationships in which you are considered a trusted advisor. You demonstrate your expertise in ways that build credibility and trust.

Check.

If we all agree on that, why do I see all these service overviews, capability presentations, client lists and process overviews?

Sure, you might check off some boxes but it doesn’t help you achieve the ultimate goal: Establish yourself as a thought leader and trusted advisor.

Imagine two agencies:

Agency A develops a list of prospects for their services, creates a capabilities brochure and website, and sends out an email to their prospects, to be followed by a call few days later.

Agency B uses the same prospect list but they invest money in researching either the vertical they’re targeting, the regional area they want to work in or the service expertise area they want to target. And they share the insights gathered by research with their prospects.

Now, which company would you like to meet with?

I get bored just thinking about Agency A.

Agency A provides no value and doesn’t differentiate itself. (“We are another agency that can do the same thing as all the other agencies. Choose us.”)

Agency B provides something of value and showcases their expertise without being annoying. The prospect might have an agency they work with but Agency B has a good chance to stand out and get some business going. They don’t want to talk about themselves, they want to talk business, starting a real relationship.

So, forget about marketing your services, your processes, your capabilities. Spend your time and budget on creating value. It delivers better ROI, establishes trust and is a good start to a long, fruitful relationship.


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Image: Courtesy of Music Philosophy

I’ve seen hundreds of laundry detergent ads. None of these ads affected my purchase behavior. Why? Because I don’t have a laundry detergent problem.

I’ve seen tons of American beer commercials. I’ve never bought one of these brands. Why? Because I don’t have a beer problem. (Meaning, I don’t drink any mass market US brands.)

Good advertising helps people solve problems. Gives them concrete reasons to buy this specific product/service. Explains them why this tomato sauce tastes better, why this computer works better, why these jeans make you look nicer, why this service is more convenient or tells me why this product gives me more value. There are just a few categories where people want to connect on an emotional level with brands. These are mostly frivolous purchases, things that make you feel better (or worse in the long run): clothes, liquor, soda, cigarettes.

In these categories, brands need to build emotional connections because there’s no real problem to solve. And there’s no real difference between a Pepsi and Coke. After all, it’s just carbonated sugar water. A good reason to spend a lot of money on branding. And emotional connections.

That model doesn’t work for problem-solving products. Still, many brands try to apply the emotional connection model to a problem-solving brand. And believe in joining the conversation and building connections with their user base.

Arguably, most people don’t want to talk to a brand. They just want to get their specific problem solved and move on. Just ask the people using self service kiosks in supermarkets, retailers and airports. So, decide in what business you are in. If your goal is to solve problems for people, the best thing you could do is making your solution even better. Let other people do the talking.