Zeus of Marketing


3 Marketing Resolutions You Must Keep for 2014

einsteinI am confident that you have these 3 resolutions in your list – but just in case is always good to check your list twice – when it comes to marketing and your customers you rather be nice than naughty right?

It starts with your customer and culminates with change – its an easy recipe.

Please read on in my marketing column in Latin Business Today:

Top 3 Marketing Resolutions for 2014

As always feel free to comment to your heart’s content. I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. Feel free to reach me if you would like to review my thoughts in a more quantitative and practical manner. You can contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com

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December 12th, 2013

The Next Big Thing – WARNING: Brace up for the Hype!!!!

Will the "shoe-phone" be next?

Will the “shoe-phone” be next?

Somewhere along the line – we have forgotten the importance of value add into our activities.
The constant need for hype and speed is creating a blind spot towards what’s important to our customers.

While this article coat-tails on the “latest and greatest” hardware hype of the Smartwatch, my intention is to promote a more intelligent discourse towards where is technology taking us and how we can integrate into its ecosystem in a manner that creates value not only to us as marketer but, more importantly, to our customers.

Check out my point of view and recommendations on how to deal with the latest hype here:

The Next Big Thing – WARNING: Brace up for the Hype!!!!

Moving forward – if you haven’t done so yet, take a step back and focus on identifying how to best integrate (not use) your product/service strategy and your customer insights within the digital ecosystem – stop following old business models and forcing them into the newest CuSoAbbs (cute sounding abbreviations) – which only make sense for what they were created: rebranding newly gentrified neighborhoods.

As always feel free to comment to your heart’s content. I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. Feel free to reach me if you would like to review my thoughts in a more quantitative and practical manner. You can contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com

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1 comment September 10th, 2013

The 10 Commandments of Social Media – Ignore at your peril

Prophesying from Mount UWS (Upper West Side)

Prophesying from Mount UWS (Upper West Side)

With so many 500+ words Social Media articles still inundating my news-feeds and inbox, I decided to create a 10 point summary for easy “digestion.” You can blame the title to my guilt driven Catholic upbringing. Please click below to view the 10 Commandments in my Latin Business Today’s column.

The Ten Commandments of Social Media

As always feel free to comment to your heart’s content. I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. Feel free to reach me if you would like to review my thoughts in a more quantitative and practical manner. You can contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com

 

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August 28th, 2013

The Power of the MEME

 

keepcalmstaystrong

Long Live Boston

Sometimes it takes a horrible event to introspect into what type of messages break through the clutter and touch our hearts as much as our intellect.

At a time when we are bombarded with the latest trends on Social Media; “mobile is king, content needs graphics to resonate, video is indispensable” and on and on…The vision of a MEME kept coming up in my head all last week. In today’s Latin Business Today, I wrote an article on how the “Keep Calm” MEME helped me communicate my feelings and what we can learn and apply it to our digital activities.

Please click to read on the full article on how to best leverage a MEME at Latin Business Today here.

As always feel free to comment to your heart’s content. I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. Feel free to reach me if you would like to review my thoughts in a more quantitative and practical manner. You can contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana.

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April 25th, 2013

Why I Don’t Trust Google – Do Not Get Caught in a Quest for Omnisciency Backlash

Could be as early as 2020

Warning: Could be earlier than 2084

The inserted graphic, found by chance in a Bing Image search, pretty much summarizes my reservations about Google. While I couldn’t find the original source to give it credit – this particular picture was found on analytics20.org.

In one sentence (my elevator pitch): In a world that is becoming increasingly concerned about privacy, Google is positioning itself as the omniscient netizen behavior sentinel. It’s a train-wreck waiting to happen.

I could go on and on with other negative factors such as, low viewership of banner ads, increasing desensitization of search ads, loss of control over the Android OS via strengthening “host brands” like Samsung, low G+ engagement in spite of major marketing investment…

Tip: a good way to confirm Google+ take in real time : always check the “share counter” in any article for how many people have liked or shared in Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn versus number of G+1 shares. Here’s an example from a c|net article:Screen Shot 2013-03-07 at 12.54.12 PM

…Above all, the one overriding Google Achilles heel is its counter-trend move by intending to keep tabs on everything about everyone. It may be a marketer’s dream (and seemingly Wall Street drank the Kool Aid too), but one that comes with a level of responsibility that, in my opinion, Google continuous to avoid.

I know – almost every “blogger” at one time or another has sang Google’s praises – I am still holding back and continue to be a Google skeptic (See my Axioms for Google in my previous post on my 2012 Predictions post) The fact that its stock price increased double digits over the past 6 months is not a function of an improved company but the lack of rationality in the market when it comes to valuing tech companies (Groupon opened at $20? enough said). Or worse yet, lack of creativity in using available technologies for innovative business models.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you probably read my 2012 recap where I mention that during 2013, Privacy issues will continue to grow – while somewhat buried in my advice for marketers section, I believe that it will start taking a stronger hold than any other manufactured hype that the industry may think of (insert one more shameless ridiculing of the term “SoLoMo”).

Before exclaiming “bullocks!!!!” (I am not British by the way – I´m just trying to keep a G rating), I urge you to take on a user perspective not a marketing perspective on this. Ultimately, part of marketing 101 is to put ourselves in our customers shoes. As background, here are the key factors fueling this trend:

  • Increasing points of data-entry will speed up user maturity and realization- whether we, as users, realize it or not, we are sharing more and more of our information as more applications and devices are introduced that help make our lives easier, but at the same time add higher risk of over-sharing. There comes a point in which people will “Google themselves” and realize “OMG” if this is publicly available and free, what information can be accessed by a fee? Am I willing to expose myself like this? What’s the cost? Orwell would be so happy.
  • Publicity on Large Corporate data hacks: “If a large corporation can be hacked – what level of protection do I have?” /Did GM Cadillac really acquired JEEP, was Burger King really gulped by McDonald’s)?
  • Legislation: While I am not a proponent of government censorship – left unattended and lack of self-regulation will fuel increased legislation (globally) No amount of lobbying or simple hand slapping will silence such a sensitive topic.

Google’s actions to integrate all its web properties to maintain a single user database, and at the same time attempt to control the OS of every Internet connected device (including glasses, TV’s and Cars besides phones, tablets and laptops) AND the applications running on them (while working, playing or vegetating) places them clear in the center of any privacy backlash firing Sight (rifle reference to appease any NRA reader).

Furthermore, in plain business common sense parlance, not just strategically, do you want to fund/fuel the creation of a single supplier to support your whole corporate value chain? Oligopolies are so 19th Century.

If my prediction is right (an logic and observation cearly supports it) and privacy issues become an increasingly important factor amongst netizens, here’s my recommendation to make sure you are not caught in the backlash:

  1. Transparency – be very transparent with your customers as to what the data you collect will be used for (have a privacy policy).
  2. Speak in natural language, not legalese – in following number 1, do it in everyday speak – remember you are looking for customer trust – not Court “CYA’ing.” (I look forward for someone to start a legalese-to-natural language translation website – ironically, the liability hurdles are probably insurmountable)
  3. Look beyond banner and display and search ads – be very clear as to how reach is achieved – is it invited or forced based on somebody else data (are you completely sure of how that data was obtained)? While you may not be legally liable, the court of public opinion will continue to strengthen (fueled by that same trends that brought you the “digital advertising” opportunity in the first place)
  4. Last, but most important, truly leverage the opportunity that the digital world offer you: romance your customer, mine and maintain your own permission based customer profiles (database) and engage with your best to spread the word (advocates). In my opinion this is the true promise and benefit of a digital world in marketing.

As additional resources:

I just came across this eMarketer article on Consumers reactions to “uninvited” brand outreach: Brand Social Outreach Must Walk a Fine Line – Consumers are sensitive to how much companies listen and respond to them online

Also – I found the articles and resources in the TRUSTe newsletter to be a good way to stay abreast of the privacy topic.

What am I missing? Am I way off on left field? As always feel free to comment to your heart’s content. I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view. Feel free to reach me if you would like to review my thoughts in a more quantitative and practical manner. You can contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana.

 

 

 

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March 7th, 2013

It’s a Wrap: 2012 was a “BLAH” year for Digital/Social

Wrapping Up 2012

Wrapping Up 2012

After reviewing my 2012 predictions/wish list written last December, I have come to the realization that 2012 was a “Blah” year in Digital/Social. What do I mean by that? Other than the meteoric rise of Pinterest, nothing else happened to materially change the predicted trends. If anything, it seems like some of the strong have weakened, thus opening the door to new offerings which should make 2013 a lot more interesting. Here’s some highlights:

  • LinkedIn continues to strengthen its position by focusing on its point of difference and adding tools that benefit its audience.
  • Google continues to create news by manipulating user statistics and spinning news about every product prototype or research regardless of how it fits, or doesn’t, its positioning. While it seems to have averted an FTC consent decree they seem to still be gun-ho on being the gatekeeper (toll-taker) of every ad served digitally (World domination anyone)?
  • Amazon continues to strengthen its position as a global retailer and master integrator.
  • Yahoo may still rise from the ashes – as predicted due to its strong e-mail user base which has been the first service updated by the new CEO.
  • Twitter, again, what’s your raison d’être ? Yes I know that it is a public forum. Yes I know celebrities and Media love to post and create interactive “second or third” screen chat – but tell me- is this a long term, user retaining money making proposition? Or is it just a many to many IM (instant messaging) service?

While, in my opinion, there was no major breakthrough, a couple of players have somewhat fallen from the pedestal I had placed them in. Here’s a friendly warning for Facebook and Apple.

  • Facebook’s new public status seem to have changed their long term user driven positioning to short term user-unnerving monetization at any cost (which could very well be loss of users). Part of what has made Facebook successful is the ability to communicate with friends and family and share your life “timeline” with all you deem appropriate. Picture sharing and album storing, for example, not only creates customer satisfaction in using the service, but also creates a major barrier of exit for users to leave Facebook (talk about having some skin in the game). If overnight you decide that these pictures are yours to use as you seem fit and not the users (hear this Instagram) you are in essence breaking down one key barrier that’s keeping your users loyal to your service.
  • Apple, dear Apple. What’s happening to your Customer Service? As a consumer, I have spent about $10,000 over the past 2 years in your products, services and accessories ecosystem, mostly through your online and retail stores. I would say that while not enterprise spending level, it is a pretty sizable amount for an individual customer. Why do you chose to ignore service calls and provide only one choice for service; that of having to deal with “always-late-to-appointment-time/leave your-Mac-for-a-whole-week-to-repair” Genius bar. Please, If you decide not to invest as heavily in customer service then,  increase the quality of your product features at launch time. The sub-par performance of Mountain Lion and Apple Maps is just two examples of flops this year. I still have faith in you Apple, do not disappoint me further.

Stepping down from my soap box now, I see some key 2013 implications and advice for marketers:

  • Prior to any investment (time or money) in digital – look under the hood, kick the tires, make sure that whichever medium you choose is true to your end customer – keep any barriers of exit low until you see that there is no risk of being “guilty by association” and prevent monopolistic pricing  (are you really getting better returns from that ever increasing key word CPC)?
  • Do not fear Big Data, embrace it – the only way you will be able to understand who and where your customer “hangs out” and how they interact is by processing those numbers that are now freely available in the digital world. But be very aware of the point on privacy below.
  • Privacy issues will continue to grow- be preemptive and err on the side of caution. Correct handling will put you closer to Amazon type of performance, mishandling it will bring the wrath of customers à la Instagram, Google and others.
  • Continue to be weary of buzz words and fragmentation of one tool into multiple strategies – there is no such thing as Social Media versus Mobile versus Location Based Marketing – it is still good old Marketing with various digital tools and channels to better reach, acquire and retain customers. Do you really want to loose sleep at night to create a “SoLoMo” (social local mobile) Marketing Plan?  The 2012 integration of all major services and networks with mobile versions and application should more than proof this point : One strategy -> multiple channels execution.
  • If you are a B2B marketer, by all means leverage and get the most out of LinkedIn. In my opinion it is the only “major” that knows what is doing.
  • If you have anything to sell – identify how you could integrate Amazon as a channel – I don’t think their train will slow down anytime soon.
  • Last but not least – redirect all traffic to your own website. In the end the “Twitters” and “Facebooks” may come and go but the customers you have acquired should remain with you – where best to create this community than in your own property?

As always feel free to comment to your heart’s content. I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view.  Feel free to reach me if you would like to review my thoughts in a more quantitative and practical manner.  You can contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana.

Have a wonderful New Year and successful 2013!!!

 

 

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1 comment December 27th, 2012

A Single Tip That Will Increase Your PDF Whitepaper Readership “a hundredfold”

This is probably my shortest post ever – but in the name of efficiency, I figured I would give advice and at the same time let one of my biggest content pet peeves off my chest.

We all know how content development is one of the most important strategies we can use to increase our digital presence these days. Besides helping with organic search it can also place your company in very high regards with your customers and prospects (read high purchase intent) due to your altruistic information sharing and thought leadership. With so much at stake combined with the following points:

  • In a world where most people are now reading their information from Smartphones and Tablets,
  • In a world where many are helping the environment by choosing to read from the screen rather than print it,
  • In an aging demographics country where more and more people need or are starting to need reading glasses…

..WHY SO MANY WHITEPAPER PDF’S HAVE MULTIPLE COLUMNS???

Here’s my very simple tip to improve readership of the, more often than not, very thoughtful and researched whitepaper:

WRITE IT ON SINGLE COLUMN!!!!!!
(Always make your text easy to read no matter what screen is used. When in doubt, edit for the lowest common denominator).

Back to marketing 101 – put yourself in your customer/audience “shoes” first (EMPATHY) – have you noticed how unnerving it is to move up and down the screen to continue reading the next column?

We could add a few more tips such as efficient use of graphics, keep it simple, etc., etc, but I bet that just this ONE tip will go the distance in readership growth.

Next, I may tackle my second biggest pet peeve, 2-point sized font text in Infographics (remember, infographic stands for delivering a message via a visual medium, NOT, adding some pictures to 1.000 words and making them small so it fits above the fold).

As always feel free to comment to your heart’s content. I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view.  Feel free to reach me if you would like to review my thoughts in a more quantitative and practical manner.  You can contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana.

 

 

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3 comments October 16th, 2012

DO NOT Attempt Social Media Without Having the Basics Covered

To this date, I still hear customers demanding to start a Facebook Page without first understanding what their brand stands for – or even what benefit their brand delivers to a customer. How can you develop a Social community and a following without first understanding who you are? Imagine the awkwardness of Mitt Romney trying to mingle in an ACLU mixer. The same goes for any brand trying to generate a following without first understanding what they stand for and who is most likely to sympathize with their message.

In this Latin Business Today installment, I explain the basics of a Positioning Statement:

Positioning Statement 101..

One of the most basic tenets in marketing is one of the most often overlooked by entrpreneurs as they start their businesses. For the most part we all seem to get “starstruck” by the social media phenomena. Instead of thinking about who is our customer and what key benefit our product delivers to them, we ask how to start a Facebook page or what to tweet about….(read more)

Once you have your positioning statement you can continue to my post on Brand Persona for further help in Customer Social Media engagement.

As always feel free to comment to your heart’s content. I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view.  Feel free to reach me if you would like to review my thoughts in a more quantitative and practical manner.  You can contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana.

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1 comment August 14th, 2012

Time for a Gut Check – Have You Forgotten Your #1 Digital Media Asset?

Your Website is your Hub for all that happens

First, my apologies to my readers for not posting as regularly lately. Fortunately for me I have been kept extremely busy by a great forward thinking client which have not only kept me challenged, but also away from a continuous barrage of trivial information. The one thing I have noticed though, is that with all the writing going on about Pinterest growth, or Google + Hangouts broadcasting or even Facebook’s IPO, we seem to be moving farther and farther away from the basics of Marketing and closer to the resource wasting H&H (hoopla and hype). As you can imagine this has been my Pet Peeve from Day 1.

With this in mind, and in my quest to keep us all grounded, I just published an article in my colleague’s webzine, Latin Business Today which focuses on reminding you one more time of the basics.  Before adding one more Social Network to your portfolio – have you given a closer or second look to your own website?

Read more about my high level tips advice about tending to your Company Website at Latin Business Today titled When it Comes to Digital Marketing: Focus First On Your Number One Asset.

And as always feel free to comment to your heart’s content. I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view.  Feel free to reach me if you would like to review my thoughts in a more quantitative and practical manner.  You can contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana.

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1 comment May 15th, 2012

I’m a Muppet, You´re a Muppet – and “Social Media” Will Make Sure Everybody Knows It

Muppet: noun (UK) informal; a stupid person (not a cuddly furry Kermit or Elmo)

 

When I wrote about the need for transparency in my last blog post – I couldn’t have imagined that it would become so increasingly important so fast. Goldman Sachs has just become the latest “victim” of the peril of thinking that you are above any reproach in the digital era (Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs). Shortly, within hours, Goldman official response was to call Greg Smith a disgruntled employee and minimize any weight to his article by reminding the public that the role of vice president in Goldman Sachs is “a relatively junior position held by thousands of Goldman employees around the world.”  Seriously??? At a time when people are  blaming Wall Street for the economic meltdown, and from a company that was recently fined over half a billion dollars by the SEC for not having their clients interest at hand, is that the best they can do?

As marketers, communicators, brand builders, or more importantly, as humans, what should we learn from this event?:

Listen – First and foremost they should have known it would happen. “Social Media” conversations are not something that “happen to other people” they are happening to me and you both internally and externally.

Be Prepared- Hopefully you are already taking actions to remedy what potential threat there is, but just in case the solution has not been reached when “it hits the fan”  ‘fess up and honestly state what you are doing to remedy it. I am sure Mr. Smith’s sentiment is not news to Goldman and they should have been better prepared to respond with a more honest statement rather than go on the defensive.

Be Fast: Dismissing your customer as “muppets” or pawns in a “profit seeking scheme” is probably one of the worst allegations a service organization could face.  Any customer detrimental rumor, be it fact or fiction, should be handled immediately with reassuring facts on what differentiating benefits/value add you bring to them. The longer you take to reaffirm your customer commitment, the more severe the damage to your business.

Be Transparent-  In the old world truth and ethics may have been dependent on what could be found out. In the new world, everything becomes public knowledge, so truth and ethics need to be demonstrated in real time. Under the current environment, a defensive posture will only increase public outcry. Here are just a few examples of current discussions (all having been shared 100′s of time- isn’t that social media share counter a great little widget)?

WSJ: Goldman Rejects Claims Made by Outgoing Executive
Chicago Tribune: Workplace experts weigh in on commentary by departing Goldman Sachs executive Greg Smith
Forbes: The Real Problem at Goldman Sachs? You, The Muppet Client
Washington Post: Goldman Sachs loses market value after searing Greg Smith essay

I personally saw all these via my Facebook feed, amongst many others (and mind you, Facebook is my friends only network not my business information network – I use Twitter and Linked In for that). Imagine how many are there via Tweets, Linked In updates, emails etc. I bet the Kermit picture in this post will end up in Pinterest (wishful thinking).

What’s your take? As always, I would love to hear your opinion on how should Goldman Sachs have handled, or is handling the crisis. Moving forward, to differentiate my post, I will continue to focus my editorial on how the new era affect our business from an end user perspective (be it customer or consumer). I promise I will not waste 1´s and 0′s in hyping Pinterest,  Google + or the latest fad – Remember , it is only relevant if it serves your objectives and strategies.

Please share your thoughts below; I appreciate each and every one of your insightful comments, and I promise to pay extra attention to any opposing point of view.  Feel free to reach me if you would like to review my thoughts in a more quantitative and practical manner.  You can contact me via email: zeus@jrgrana.com, Twitter: @zeusofmarketing and Facebook: Zeus of Marketing. You can also find additional contact information via LinkedIn:http://www.linkedin.com/in/jrgrana.

P.S.: BTW, If two instances a trend makes, I also came across this blog on Why I Left Google While not published in the New York Times, it is still significant to understand that there’s no immunity in our connected world.

 

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March 15th, 2012

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