flowing motion

Posts Tagged ‘marketing

Shooting in the dark ~ I don’t know these people!

I want you to imagine any situation in which you are preparing to work with someone who you don’t know well.

  • You are going to hire someone and you must write an advert
  • You are going for a job interview
  • You are taking a new class
  • You are going to a party and your host is relying on you to get the party going
  • You are scouting for new business and you are all but cold calling

Personas

In any of the situations, it really helps to write a persona.

We write down a little story of where the person has come from and where they are going to.  How many children do they have?  Who is their partner? What is their immediate concern?  What are the values that have guided their choice in the past?

Sometimes the persona just won’t flow

Once we start writing, sometimes we realize that our expectations don’t hang together.  We can’t make the story “come together.”

That  is the real core of our sense that we don’t ‘know’ people.  We must be able to imagine a coherent story to be comfortable.

Use a character builder

When I get stuck, I find a “character builder” online, fill out the questionnaires, and resolve in my mind all the little details I expect about the person.

The version that I use suggests a Myers-Briggs profile.   It is very good for settling on one persona.

Once I have a coherent picture of someone, then I can imagine what I am going to love about them, and also what I am not going to like.

Here is the key to resolving my ‘stuckness.’  What will I not like about the person? Where must my approach change to be reasonable?

Once I’ve got past this point, I can complete the scenario and write a few more, including scenarios of the person in the context of home, play and work.  Who else will be there and what are their personas?

Useful hack

I hope that’s useful: Use a character builder to help your write personas to understand people you don’t know well

Save the cost of the carpets

And the 3rd well-kept secret of social media is that it saves us the cost of wearing out the carpets.

In short, the story goes like this. Social media attracts more ‘window-shoppers’. The window-shoppers hopefully include surprise visits from people outside our target market. We have more people wearing out the carpets and not buying anything. They are also people who are different from our typical customers. To extend the analogy, let’s say they bring mud in on their boots too.

So is social media a good thing. If we have more people who look-see but who don’t buy, do we want them? Aren’t carpets rather expensive?

Yes they are. But in the virtual world, carpets are fairly cheap. But that is not the real point.  In the virtual world, if you are smart, people make carpets for each other.

Let your customers weave the carpet

In a conventional company, we’d be most unhappy if people came to our shop just to party with their friends. That’s because they are using facilities that cost us money. We figure it is cheaper to advertise “off the premises” in magazines and TV than in the shop itself.

In social media, hosting a party costs as lot less. Sometimes it costs us almost nothing per person because the first person invites the second and the second the third, etc.

Let your management report reflect the carpet weaving operation

It is so obvious to anyone in social media but our reports don’t always make this clear.

  • Attracting window-shoppers has negligible cost.
  • If we are smart, we looking out for unusual newcomers. We are using the window-shoppers to help us understand how our market morphs and mutates. We are in business when we understand our market as it is, not how we want it to be.
  • And if we are really smart, our ‘window’ morphs and mutates with the market so people see what they want to see and find what they want to find.

That’s what our reports and metrics should be reflecting.

  • The cost per visitor
  • The changing nature of the market
  • The way we are responding spontaneously to changes in the market and those of our goods and service that our window-shoppers find attractive.

Now, I told you the secrets for free. I’d be happy to know what you think of them!

Welcome to the first of the secrets social media marketers don’t tell you. Your job is not to get bigger. Your job is to change your market entirely!  Read on, and tell me if you agree that social media marketers have been oddly silent in this regard!

Conventional marketing requires massive numbers

The industrial age works on size. To make things cheap, we must make a lot. To make a profit from things that are cheap, we must sell a lot.

Competition is fierce. Look-a-likes are everywhere and the consumer is dazzled by choice and confused by the advertising that is in their face where ever they look.

It’s a vicious circle. To be noticed, we must get out there and compete with other advertising. So we add some more. And the competition is ramped up.

In the end, consumers learn to blank out and pay no attention to us.

Marketers are smart; they look for qualified customers

Marketers are on to this problem and they try to find ‘qualified customers’. They try to pay attention to people who have self-selected in some way.  So they sell us a loyalty card and once they have our email address, they bombard us with emails for ever after.

Google gives us free email. Then they serve adverts to match the content of our messages.

Both Google and Marketers are very numbers oriented and they very clinically track the number of ads we click and the emails we open (did you know that?). Google is happy with a 0.5% click through rate (CTR). They are happy if 1 out of 200 partially qualified customers responds to an ad and clicks on it.

It seems we open 2 to 3% of marketing ad that are sent to us. The rest are deleted unopened.

Social media marketers are even smarter; they know we listen to our friends

Social media works on a simple principle. We are more likely to open an email sent by friend than by a  company. Our open rate might even go up to 10%! (Do you leave 90% of email from friends unopened? It seems people do.)

Even with this ‘unopen’ rate, the increase from 0.5% to 2% to 10% is large enough to make the social media effect, or echo chamber effect, very interesting to marketers.

Why these tactics aren’t the whole story

These three tactics

  • Do more. Get more
  • Talk to people who are interested. They buy more
  • Get people to bring their friends. Half the selling is done by a friend’s recommendations

are good, but not enough. This is why.

We have worked hard to get more people. We carefully talk only to people already interested in us.  And they bring their friends.  I am all for focus and specialization but our market is getting smaller and smaller.

And it will continue to get smaller. Our personal networks and habits are changing continually. Slowly, but continually. We shed friends and gain friends the way we shed our skins. Slowly, but surely.

Social media marketers are oddly quiet about the way we replenish and refresh our networks.  This is where I think we should pay more attention.

An example from classical marketing

Coca-cola, the masters of classical marketing don’t change their product from decade to decade (lest its consumers revolt as they once did).  Nonetheless, they continually renew their relationship with the market.

Long before we we gave Gen Y a name, Coca-cola had worked out their character and formulated their market response.

They also continually look for new channels. I remember the day they put a cool box onto the mini-buses that work the streets of Johannesburg. Coca-cola have people whose sole job is to find new channels. That’s what social media should be doing!

What we learn from classical marketing that social media marketers have kept quiet

Yes, it is cool to expand our current customer base. Yes, it is cool to strengthen our market with connections between customers. Yes, it is cool to listen to what our customers are saying and to give them what they want.

It is also smart to add change to constancy. We should also ask whom of our visitors are new – not only in name but in character and need. We should challenge our social media analysts to come up with something like a new channel – something refreshingly surprising about the market.

  • What do we understand that we never understood before?
  • Who has come window shopping who never came before?

Social media marketers have been holding out on us. Our job is not only to get more customers – tough as that might be.  Our job is to map the changing landscape. I haven’t seen any metrics yet that report change.  That’s where the value is.

Next of the three secrets tomorrow!

We don’t want them to wear out the carpets

There is an old saying in business: we don’t want them to wear out the carpets.  We want inquiries, but only from people who actually buy something.  Here endeth the lesson on selling. We will sell far more to people who are genuinely interested and who have a means to pay.

Social media shock: we need to supply carpet for 200x our customers

And there beginneth the lesson on social media.  Social media specialists, beginning with Google Alerts, concentrate our attention on the numbers.

  • How many people did we reach? (Hits)
  • Did they pay attention? (Time on the site)
  • Did we invoke curiosity? (Did they explore the site?)
  • Did we get them to take an action that shows interest & intent? (A goal in Google Alerts-speak)

Getting hits is hard and getting people to stay and explore is hard.

Conversion – taking the first step to a sale is even harder.  It is shocking the first time we realize that 0.5% of people click on an advert.  That is 1 out of 200 of people wearing out your digital carpets are actually looking for something to buy.  And those 1 out of 200 don’t necessarily buy anything.

Maybe we need carpets for 1000x our customers!

Social media is advanced window shopping

Social media is advanced window shopping.  Surf.  It says it all.  It’s like going to the mall with no money and no credit card. Well, people do.  I don’t understand.  I assume they have nothing else to do.  Or maybe they have cunningly cut costs on the gym by doing their surfing on foot.

But to my point:  marketers have brought their finely-tuned focus to the web.  It’s great to have Google Alerts, to drive up our hits and get people to read and explore our content. It’s real cool when someone transforms from lurker to commentator and contacts you.  It’s rip-roaring-fantastic when they suggest some collaborative action.

Thank you marketers.   Because carpets are  expensive we must try to get the people on them to buy something!

This is all a bit industrial age, isn’t it?

What marketers don’t seem to talk about is this:  if the same people come day after day, and the same people look (very nice, welcome!), our business will never grow.

We can get more hits, and in theory as we move from 200 to 400, we should go from 1 enquiry per day to 2. Fine.   Good prediction. Throw in some natural variability and some days we get none and others more than 2.

We can confirm all of this with some elementary high school statistics.

The point is that the underlying dynamics stay the same.  Getting bigger to get richer is the thinking of the industrial age.

What marketers don’t tell us

Social media gives us three new opportunities.

1.  Reach different people. Completely change the market.

2.  Move up the value chain.  Get a higher margin per hit.

3.  Cut out the cost of replacing the carpets.

Come back tomorrow if you want more.  See you then!  The Welcome mat is out.  I’ve still got carpets!  At least for a while!

Jack Wild as the Artful Dodger in Oliver!, the...
Image via Wikipedia

In brisk, post-Thatcher Britain, we go to a lot of networking gigs

Post-Thatcher Britain, you may know, is an elbows-out sort-of-place.  Everyone is touting their wares like a scene out Dickensian Britain.  Do you remember the song “Who will buy?” from Oliver.  Well, it is like that. Except, people don’t sing so well.

Wannabe Artful Dodgers

There are wannabe Artful Dodgers at every gig.  They are not up to making-off with your wallet and silk handkerchief.  But you can see that is why they joined such a convenient crowd!

Fagin will be unhappy

When they get home, they will be in trouble with Fagin, their conscience, who asks them the wrong questions.

  • How many business cards did you give out?
  • How many business cards did you collect?
  • How much free food and drink did you score?
  • Did you find someone to give you some work?

They need to get a better conscience and a better Fagin to ask them these questions:

#1  Did they promise at least 5 favors to at least 5 different people?

If there weren’t at least 5 people at the gig who needed something they could do with their littte finger, they are sooo at the wrong gig, or soooo under-qualified to eat and drink with those people

If they were the Artful Dodger, they would pick a neighborhood better suited to their skills, or start to behave like the people in the neighborhood they’d chosen.

Or, they were so obsessed with themselves, they found out nothing about the other people there.

If they were the Artful Dodger, they would start to watch the crowd while Oliver stood in the shadows, singing mournful songs!

#2  Did 5 different people offer them 5 different favors?

Hmm, did they look at a lot of gift-horses in the mouth?  Maybe they talk too much and not give the other person even a few seconds to chip in and some assistance?

Oliver got help from all over because he was cute and un-pushy.  The Artful Dodger was admired but never got help from  anyone.

Had he washed his face, people may have helped him.  But then he wouldn’t be the Artful Dodger!

I suppose we really have to decide whether we want to work sooo hard or whether want to let luck find us!

#3  Did the person they help, or the person who took their card, write to say thank you?

Did they just hand out their cards like a free newspaper and walk away?  Or did they stay with the conversation to the point that they could offer to do something specific for the other person? Or ask them to do something specific and useful? Did they take the conversation through the stages of forming, storming, norming to performing?  Or. did they jump from forming to adjourning?

The Artful Dodger knew the endpoint – to hand his pickings over to Fagin.  But he didn’t jump there in one fell swoop. He watched, he followed, he ducked, he dived.  He fell into the other person’s rhythm.  Then he cleanly picked the other pocket and moved the contents smoothly to his own!

#4  Did they write to thank people who gave them their card?

Did they have anything at all to say to the people with whom they spent an evening?  Did they waste more time by sending an automated message when they got home?  Or did they talk to people in sufficient depth to remember them and be remembered?  Does their note reflect something they ‘did’ together?

The Artful Dodger would remember the people he met -more clearly than they would remember him.  He would know exactly how many pockets in each person’s suit, and exactly what is in them!

Which is your next networking event?

Maybe I will see you there!  I hope I remember you and you me!

I wonder what we have in common and what we could do for in each other, right there, in the few moments we share together!

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We are perishing for a want of wonder not a want of wonders.

G. K. Chesterton

Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Brand Marketing and Brand Management, Ogilivy, speaking at TED.

For social media types, check 15:30 for the positive psychology value of social media.

There is a saying that we should give up those things that never get any easier.  My Moo cards take too long to make and I doubt the work and time provides equal service to my customers.

So what shall I do for the next batch of cards that I will be making in time for Christmas and the Social Media Mafia unconference on Thursday 17 December, 2009 (in London)?

These were my Moo Cards 2009

Last year, I made some cards with Christmas greetings.

Joy goonies by zenera via Flickr piknikedNew Gold Dream by law keven via Flickr pikniked

This is my thinking for Moo cards 2010

I am thinking of making 20 different cards, each describing someone I follow.

I follow @tojulius
Julius builds customer lists in London and Europe from zero to pleasurably profitable.
I wonder how long it will take Julius to build a profitable list for Rooi?

I follow @audio
Chris generously introduces noobes to his massive network in sound engineering, social media & online education.
I wonder if  anything we do at Rooi will help him strengthen or widen his ties?

Comments on my first-go at turning my Moo cards into a valuable gift?

I need to edit the wording,  a lot.  But as editing takes a lot of time and effort, maybe you could comment first.

Do you like the direction I am taking?

Would you prefer to take your pick of 20 “I follow” cards?  Or, would you prefer a Christmas card?

My wording?

Am I right to value @tojulius and @audio?

My prompt?

Have I suggested a useful start to a conversation with @tojulius and @audio that might lead to a mutually advantageous space?


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