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Archive for January, 2012

Don’t look at me this way and probably because of you. Not the way that Marketing is a dead function, useless or released away, but the fact it all has changed…To be more focused on where, I’ve started a short list of assumptions that show in which range things have changed. You love or hate Marketing would not change that datas shifted in many parts, exploding audience, collaboration and brand footprint in the web marketplace. But let’s figure out how…:

  • connect to customers: i think it’s in the title…If you didn’t see the fact that customers want to be considered as a real people, with advice, voice and opinion, and not as number or a cash machine!
  • stop deafness: listening new insights and voices for brands shapes marketing of products and services…from the outside of the company
  • ability to make marketing accountable, with one of the “three dimensional” skills of CMO: quantitative methodic
  • staring at “where” are customers are (and “fish where the fish are”)
  • a temptation to make marketing a C-level role to strategic level
  • starting the socialization of customers with SCRM where systems are not owned by companies but fully controlled by customers
  • achieving the shift between manufacturing culture to consuming culture, with social stones
  • be “there”, after all: where are really the customers (the difficulty is the mobile era that boost the necessity of being ubiquitous for the brands)
  • “messages are bi-directional and morphing”, because brands must listen and stare at what’s going on now, from the valuable opinions all around social web
  • customers have a voice and know now, how to use it: being too much deaf would produce deaf services and products for empty market
  • “the monologue has passed away”. Try to sort of the noise confusion and get the smartest ideas from out of the box…
  • “embrace the challenge of new medias”: the abilities to “talk” to customers boosted in a multi-directional shape means using the tools where they talk, listen and take informations. The new platforms for audience…
  • reinvent marketers curiosity: more than ever curiosity is the most efficient skill to “open world” communities, and makes you “breath the trends”
  • “fail can become an option” for learning, experiment and grow the value purpose. Shorter cycles, decisions and experience samples and protos
  • customers, but employees, partners, audience, suppliers…do marketing for you too. Let’s party with them, and grow communities!
  • “like” the likers: be aside all who make effort to click and send love to you
  • identify virtual tellers and workers who shape their own opinion of your brand
  • know and learn or grow your new skills as: creativity, design but dealing with figures and datas. And if you hire, don’t hire a marketer but an artist, social inspired.
  • “marketing is experience”: make us free for customers and create the CEM for your brand (Customer Experience Management)
  • “marketing is experiences”: allow customers to share fails, tests, samples and experiences, even make them build their own with your brand/products. You can’t even imagine how fertile, collaborative and addict are your silent fans…and btw, they will shout it on the web!
  • “the customer is not an idiot, he’s your boss” ; live with it or die!
  • the new management paradigm: push/pull balance with innovation, customers, market. Marketing as a regulator, “community manager” more than the brand dictate

All lot of reason why marketing we knew has changed and is probably dead, for brands that didn’t realize it. The sum of research on the subject is huge, but always turned from the companies that stare markets, without really engaging with the customers, or doing it their way, but not on the control of who buys: the customer. Think of how you can be patient and demanding as a customer, but beyond your simple need: being considered. A best seller know as “cluetrain manifesto” lead us, 10 years ago, the frame of what’s now, concrete and operational. For those who didn’t read it, you’ll find a totally actual subject in these assumptions, with customers who were already fed up and felt upset of “bad” practices.

Renewal is king and the necessary “central” function, protected from “one to many” is dead. The fact is now to put it in the center of the debate: social platforms, everywhere, anytime of the consumer’s life, to improve experience, collaboration and efficiency, dealing with “markets” not as targets but “doers” and influencers.

Products, services, sales propositions, all are on the shelves, but on the “social shelves”, driven to success or death. It’s up to you to decide how you deal with it and which marketing you deserve. Or decide to set up, now, for your teams…

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Small is beautiful…and useful, efficient now. Look at all those blue chips, coming from new economy, with light structures, skilled minds and clever intentions. We use to see big monoliths as never ending winners, champions in any industry. That used to…before the web. Web and linked technologies tumbled down lots of industries, because of disruptive ways of marketing, production, delivering. How can we consider software, technology or social networks could value so, in the middle of such big companies that build and need so much capital intensive? Past jobs disappeared on the effect of technological shifts or processes that completely changed the organizations, including big structures.

That makes this new subject about “size” of companies to be compared and valued, as new challenges in world commerce points out. But not only “size”, but also the ability of reaction facing the speed up of competition and focusing on abilities to compete on “time-to-market”, with great resources and know-how. In fact, the size might be the effect of several causes in growing up companies:

  • Raising the business and activity
  • Raising the R&D tasks
  • Complexity of processes, needs for controlling or middle management
  • In direct effect for human intensive resources needs

And we said “size” might be increased by the complexity of organizations, not directly focused on results and too much on means. To get an impression of what’s going on and the different leverages that could be used, it seems necessary to compare strengths and weaknesses of the two ways to do business. Having in mind that there is no “good” or “bad” but relevant with your activity, your business plan and the kind of business you’re in. You could be a startup in a whole big group and act as well. The simple fact to measure and value the differences between small and big structures make sense to the way you organize path to delivering.

And it seems startup models spread through all industries now, according to the fast moves from software and IT power. Having a different method to go faster and rethink the way doing “business” or simply create and deliver products or services. The “lean startup” or light structure company steps aside of traditional approach of:

  • Business plan
  • Financial goals
  • Design and building
  • Launch

Recovering some kind of instinct creativity with:

  • Hypothesis
  • Experience
  • Trials/samples/prototyping

Faster than ever in the creativity cycle and the way it can improve really on the go, the starting defaults and mistakes. No need to start with perfect products, but having in mind “testing and launching fast” instead of trying to do the best at first sight. The idea behind is to be more flexible and test any possibility, with several trials, formulas and prototypes to cover all situations before really launching. The different kinds of issues allow lots of consumer reactions, corrections and empower the experience cycle. Doing, building and destroying in short decision cycles make the whole creation experience more interesting and collaborative too. And these practices are particularly owned in startups spirit, where ideas run and go, as fast as the wind…Building, creating other combinations means agility and flexibility that big companies can envy, but don’t handle correctly.

This new method, named “pivoting”, in the lean startup concept, brings a new approach for innovation and collaboration between customers and teams, including fast innovation and reaction to dead end, studying more easily B plans. Big companies and schools, with the whole scrambled education system turn their eyesight to these behaviors as business cases and practices to hold, nurture and leverage. This makes another round for risk taking too, that is a huge danger in strong and long process for big companies, who then hesitate to innovate and launch new concepts. But we all know differences in appreciation of “risk” and failure: some fear and some learn, just this difference means a lot in an entrepreneurship environment and mindset. A culture where failure is considered only as a “bad side” is doomed to sleepers and followers. But meanwhile, if you risk often and fast, you’re in the know for an incredible venture of learning more efficiently than others. Because, instead of fearing yourself and your skills, you enforce them by example, mistakes and make it a “friend”. Not a loser, but a learning machine to enhance your creativity and trust potential.

The lean startup model knows to cope with it, so that it could be a strong model for biggest companies, out of order with creativity, flexibility and relevance.

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