Zeus of Marketing


Posts filed under 'Marketing Basics'

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

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

It’s the Customer, Stupid!!!* 2012 Predictions Part Deux

Do we really want to wear this t-shirt?

My apologies for the title. I do not want to insult anyone in particular,  but as I sat down to finalize part two of my 2012 “predictions” (Part I focused on Social Media Players), I couldn’t help but think back to the barrage of articles on Social Media “marketing” (the term has never been used so loosely before) focusing on unimpressive technology FEATURES (not even benefits) or on the need to waste time setting up pages in a new, user-participation lacking “social network,” so that you can help improve “THEIR” search market position. Where is the sound strategy in all these articles? Where is the consideration of the end Customer’s needs and preferences?. Like anything Kardashian, I wish I could blink them away. By the way, my Censors recommended “Silly” instead of Stupid – but seriously – would you have wanted to read it?

For 2012,  let’s start investing more in customer driven SUBSTANCE and VALUE ADD instead of HYPE – I have said it before and I will say it again: Let’s benefit from the opportunity this thing called the Internet gives us – the ability to have immediate feedback and direct communication with our Customers so that we can develop those 4P’s that will WOW your customer and the whole wide world.

Enough said: Let’s now focus on what I consider the top 3 Customer Insights that you should take into consideration when planning in 2012 and beyond.

1. Customers are Fed up.

Fed up is putting it mildly. The current feeling is that those that are supposed to lead and prevent crises are doing nothing for them so they will start taking matters into their own hands. The Occupy Wall Street Movement is nothing compared to what may be in store – I would call OWS an appetizer of what is yet to come if consumers continue to feel unheard and ignored. And it is human nature to maintain a very short fuse under this emotional state. Never before have empathy or putting ourselves in the shoes of our customers have been as important as now.

As reported by the NYT, the occupation may be over but the 99% versus 1% lives on, and there’s a lot of implied power in those numbers.

Do you rather be perceived in the “US camp” or the “THEM camp”?

2. Customers are Informed.
Not just about the news and the latest reality show gossip (unfortunately) but about data that will help them make real thrifty decisions from the cheapest toilet tissue within a 1 mile ratio (RedLaser for example) to where the latest “Louis Vutton” knock off can be found (I will not share the site as I do not condone piracy). It is no secret that under current conditions “the 99%” has become extremely thrifty and increasingly smart about finding deals and value.
3. Customers are Empowered.

You have any doubts? Here’s a couple of recent examples of how consumers have demonstrated that they have more power to rein in abuses than ever before:

Heard about Bank of America reversal to charge a $5 fee for debit card usage (which did not include any new service)? Many consumers moved their accounts elsewhere, others threatened to do so and thousands of others bombarded the bank with emails and online petitions, and they twitted and twitted and twitted to their hearts content.

How about Verizon? the nation’s largest provider of wireless service, dropping its plan to charge customers a “convenience fee” of $2 for the convenience of paying their bills by phone or online. A petition against the fees on Change.org accumulated more than 95,000 signatures in just 24 hours after their announcement.

How about Daimler AG? – in their presentation in the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) they used the picture of Che Guevara with a Mercedes logo in the beret during their presentation – within 48 hours, they were apologizing for this after an influential and well networked group found it in extreme bad taste to use the image of a mass murderer in promotional material and quickly mobilized all social networks (click here for details).

The question is not if this is going to happen again, it is how soon and how often.

 
Why Should I Care?

In the Pre-Internet, Networked Social Media days these occurrences/sentiments could have been dismissed, they could have been easily contained within a household (ever mailed a Free coupon to a complaining customer)?, a town, maybe even a city (It was so easy to merchandise a localized value promotion when there was only two, at most, three major retailers in a region).  Today, people realize there is power in numbers, and yes is true that misery loves company – and it has never been easier to find multiple “twin miserable souls”  and these souls will use the power of the network to make or break organizations, regardless of size (be it a corner deli, Brand, Company or even a Government).

What Should I do?

For starters try to internalize what these insights may mean for your business/organization. Confirm via listening/monitoring tools how customers feel about you and then, identify what changes you need to do in your organization to meet the needs of the new enlightened customer (think value and transparency for starters) and then and only then (because a hypocrite will be smelled a mile away) develop or adjust your Social Media engagement strategy.

One last piece of information to share – ignore it at your own peril:

A recent study by Conversocial (as reported by MediaPost) shows that more than 60% of complaints and questions about retailers posted online on social media are ignored, in part because of the sheer volume of content created on sites like Twitter and Facebook. Worse, 30% of the retail chains surveyed don’t respond to any questions or complaints posted on social media, effectively choosing to ignore issues mentioned in these forums. What’s more damaging, is that 88.3% of respondents said they’d be somewhat or far less likely to do business with a company that has visibly ignored other customers’ questions or complaints on social media.

Do you really want to ignore your customer? Only if you live in a self sustained Island populated by the 1%, but you know as well as I do that we are all in this together.

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.

 

* While I do not believe I am breaking any trademark or copyright laws (and I feel strongly about the title) I want to give credit to Ralph Crosby who owns the site http://www.its-the-customer-stupid.com/ and is the author of “It’s The Customer, Stupid! Lessons Learned in a Lifetime of Marketing,”  where he documents his education as a marketer and explains the critical nature of the customer-centric approach in today’s unique marketing environment. You can learn about his work and purchase his book by clicking here. I plan on reading it, seems very complementary to my plight.

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4 comments January 12th, 2012

2012 Predictions..or My Personal Wish List (You Pick) Part One

Is all part science/part gut

Not sure I have mentioned it before, but I read way too much. If there is a thing that I am grateful to the Internet for, besides its obvious networking and communications capabilities, is the trillions over gazillions (is that large enough?) of bites of information available to read at my disposal 24/7. Based on all this information and my passion for connecting the dots to identify strategic insights, I have selected what I find to be the most important insights and projections for 2012.

I will be focusing in two key strategic insights areas, in Part One, top tier dot com tech giants fate in 2012 and, in Part Two, Insights driven by the changing consumer sentiment and behavior in the new era (now available). As I have thought about these insights, I have placed as much weight in my experience as a user as much as in my business training and experience over the last 20 years. I urge you to read it from the same perspective – I promise you it will make a lot more sense. Enough preamble, here you go:

What will or should happen to the current dot com “Tech Giants” in 2012?

Amazon, Facebook and LinkedIn will further solidify their base and continue steady growth : Not sure if you have noticed but these guys continue to steadily grow and gain not only unique visitors but loyal converts (read active visitors). While others try to imitate their business model or position themselves as uniquely capable of creating personal or professional networks, the truth is Facebook and LinkedIn have these areas covered pretty well, respectively.  The only chance that anyone has to chip away from their current leadership is to buy them or find a segment large enough to cater directly to them (hey, Cuba now has its own Facebook, Red Social- There’s a Physician’s  Network, those HIPAA requirements are a bore, and some are even starting college student only social networks – what a concept!,  now that mom and grandma are in Facebook).

News of Yahoo’s demise have been extremely exaggerated.  Not sure if you have noticed – but over the last few months, even without a CEO, Yahoo has stealthily integrated Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds into its My Yahoo page. They are not trying to create a whole new Facebook, a whole new LinkedIn, etc.,  they are adding value to their users by giving them what they currently use in a single page.  A very smart move if you ask me. If they select the right leader (hopefully from outside the tech industry – read CPG ) they should do quite well (Remember Lou Gerstner and IBM´s turnaround?). Personally, I still prefer Yahoo mail over Gmail, it has constantly given me the best available web-based email since 1997 – if all users are as satisfied, they should have a strong enough base from which to build on a growing business.

When it comes to a digital “Mall of America” with sticky social elements – no one comes close to Amazon. You can find anything your little heart desires and have it shipped within 2 business days for free (using Amazon Prime). On the social aspect – its integration with Facebook allows its customers not only to check what their friends are recommending, but also send them a gift from their published wish list (who needs registries anymore)? How does Amazon top this? Building from their initial advantage of online bookseller, they have almost put the old and stodgy publishing industry to pasture via Kindle (authors are starting to go straight to Kindle, forget the middleman). I let the reader’s imagination run on how well this positions Amazon to go Tablet, Smartphone, Kiosks, Pop-up stores…

Twitter may finally find its right positioning – or maybe not, it’s future depends on it. Twitter’s point of difference, in my opinion, is its immediacy.  It is like the impulse purchase of Social Media – the talk before you think platform . If you don’t believe me ask Alec Baldwin, Ashton Kutcher , Gibert Gottfried, Kenneth Cole, the list goes on and on…

As a business, I believe it could carve a great niche as a coupon, deal delivery method (at least they could target and deliver in real time, not via email shotgun approach like certain over-hyped daily deal company that shall remain nameless) or as a customer service software cloud offering that could be integrated with salesforce.com.

Socially, the most it can offer is to be the entertainment industry information hub for the star struck set (although there’s only so many Kardashian tweets a human can take). It has recently become the number one multitasking online activity while watching TV shows such as X-Factor (Instant voice lessons coupon anyone). Seriously, how about twitting a Pepsi coupon to the interacting TV audience next time they log-in with their location based application at their local store (Is that capability “ON” already?)

With that said, it will also continue to be a great tool to monitor for potential PR nightmares as its immediacy makes it optimal for wronged consumers to vent, sometimes irrationally.  Any business model that allows a company to monitor and engage on these “vents” should be well received. The “maybe” comes from the fact that Twitter doesn’t seem to grasp well its raison d’être, clearly evidenced by its last change (is it me or does it look like Facebook circa 2007)?  Read my lips – you can’t out-Facebook Facebook.

The start of Google’s decline, unless they change their ways. If you have read many of my previous posts, you saw this one coming   All I will add to this one is three key time honored axioms:.

  1. You can’t be all things to all people all the time – search, portal, social network, phone OS, browser , notebook – Google, whats your target?, what’s your positioning?
  2. Build on your Competitive Advantage – last I heard having idle cash is not a sustainable one. Doing this right (read Amazon above) could help Google with axiom one.
  3. Market Position Bullying = Antitrust Consent Decree – It has happened to IBM , Microsoft and others – trust me the cost of  compliance monitoring can deplete innovation and resources faster than you can type Michael Porter in the Google search box.

At the time of this writing, Google is ignoring all three axioms. Signs of missteps are starting to surface, Google + initial user sign up slowed down as rapidly as it started, trust me, unless your target is a young male tech professional demo you are wasting your time with Google+ (do ensure you claim your brand name in a page, thus preventing the Bank of America faux-pas). Latest news on  Android’s “Ice Cream” OS upgrade support are not too rosy either. It is time to gather the troops, analyze and focus or risk “googling” no more.

What, nothing about Apple? To tell you the truth Apple would be a post series all by itself. To net it out for brevity’s sake, their key competitive advantages are;  flawless design (read unparalleled insight into user experience), expert deal making and a fanatical cult following.  Apple will continue to be the source of copycats and wannabe’s for years to come but to reach the type of growth they have experienced so far, they will need to penetrate the TV and Cable Industry  – their real competitors are not HP, Dell, Google or Microsoft, but potentially/most likely Cablevision, TWC,  AT&T (Uverse), Verizon (FIOS)  – remember “coopetition¨?,  et al…  I see Apple as a key catalyst (followed by Amazon) of the long awaited convergence of Technology, Communications and Media (definitely deserving of a separate blog post series).

In truth, you can pick out the winners by following how efficiently they partner with complementary offerings (Apple with the Entertainment Industry, Amazon with manufacturers and retailers, Yahoo with news sources and existing social media leaders). While I did not touch on mobile and location based services in this post – the industry will develop within these mega-players as key partners and alliances are stroked.

As mentioned in the title these are part forecasts based on strategic insights and part “wish list” based on my opinionated views of how things should work. We are in a new era which is not only driven by technology but also by a fundamental shift in consumer behavior and sentiment. The latter will be the subject of Part 2 of my predictions to be published in the beginning of 2012. In the meantime I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and that the new year brings you all you deserve and more. 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.

PS: Unfortunately , I do not own stock or currently have any relationship, other than as a user, in any of the companies mentioned above.

 

 

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4 comments December 26th, 2011

Is NOT About You !!!

When it comes to Social Media - It should NEVER be!

How many 0’s and 1’s are being wasted in spinning the latest Google + change?  The latest Groupon “brilliant” offering that will make its valuation real? The illusion that you have to participate now or “miss the boat”? I hope that, at least, we are not printing these articles/blogs and sparing a forest or two for our children. I have news for you – It’s not about you – It’s about your customer!!!

Now that I have that off my chest, in my usual “holier than thou” mode (I hope it doesn’t put you off too much) let’s go back to Marketing 101: It’s all about your Customer, it’s about what he/she is saying, it’s about where he/she is saying it, it’s about who is he/she saying it to.

Most of you don’t know me from Adam, but you will make me very happy if you consider the following (oops I forgot, it’s not all about me, either):

1. Before investing another second on considering to “G+ or not to G+”,  or even continuing to read this post – go back to your positioning statement – who’s your target?, whats your benefit?  your frame of reference? Use this information to track/monitor these variables across the Internet. You will be surprised the amount of customer and competitive insights you could gain with this exercise.

2. If you are feeling adventurous, develop scenarios about your customers and how they will be interacting with you 1 year from now, 5 years from now, in a decade. Will Facebook have a 7 billion user base by then?, will Google have become the all inclusive Portal it wants to be (shattering every rational bone in my body that keeps reminding me of the failure of every Internet business model that has tried to do this, again, AOL anyone)?

If you need a starting point for a scenario – consider the following basic one – which keeps coming back in literature all the time. “Your refrigerator will become your household´s  “Command Center” It will be powered by your Smartphone where you will have constantly updated applications that YOU choose (not someone else latest acquisition integration). Every morning and night you will sync your smartphone with the refrigerator which will remind you what products you need to replenish, at what time is your kid’s soccer game or school play, what to take to your best friend’s housewarming party based on their Amazon purchasing history, etc. Under this scenario, do you really care about creating a G+ page or is it more important to predict which companies/applications are gaining strength for grocery delivery, calendaring and recommendations? Do you really think that under a “best-of-breed-multiple-options-modular-cloud based” world,  a closed network/portal will survive?  Talk amongst yourselves….or better yet comment below.

As always, I hope I have given you some food for thought as I try to bring the discussion back to the basics – forget the hype – Marketing is all about your customer – where are they , where will they be and securing you are there for them before your competitor does. Time to do some “WOWING” and less “aimless wondering.”

Stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime, 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

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3 comments December 1st, 2011

Marketing Basics : Want New Business Model Growth? Think as a Customer

I hope that today’s blog is read by publishers and authors everywhere.  While today’s post is not your regular social media insights type, it does bring you insights as to how new business models can help you identify product development ideas and strategies to grow your business. Particularly, when you take on the perspective of the end user – after all – we are not only marketers – we are customers and consumers as well.

Like many of you – I just acquired a shiny new iPad2 – it has not only improved on-the-go productivity but has increased my book readership by over 500%, whereas I used to read about a book a month, now I am reading 5+. Why, you may ask – my favorite time to read is at bedtime (yes I am of those people that now wake up with the iPad next to them). Before the well lighted screen of the iPad, I wrestled with anything that would provide a reading light, including the “itty bitty light” – they never worked well.  And falling asleep with the bedside lamp would only guarantee a restless sleep as I would always fall asleep with the lights on.

At first the whole idea of ebooks bothered me, I couldn’t imagine not being able to fold the page corner – but being a 21st century guy, I did buy a Kindle. While it was good to read in the subway or the beach – I still needed a night light source for my favorite reading time. When I learned that I could download Kindle books to my iPhone and now my iPad, my reading life changed forever. There is nothing like finishing a book in a series (Think The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the Lincoln Lawyer novels by Michael Connelly) at 2:00 AM and being able to instantly download the next one to find what happens next.  Or in cases that you are stuck waiting at the DMV or the doctor’s office, being able to whip out your iPhone and keep reading is “priceless.”

So what is the insight for “product development” in this case:

As an author or publisher:

1. Make sure that there are sequels to the book.

2. Time the sequels as close in time as possible   – you want to leverage the “2:00 AM” download (even consider digital previews over hardcover)

3. Ignore the e-readers versus tablet controversy – as long as you have an open platform like Kindle that can be used across all OS´s – the argument is moot. This is one area where Apple has not gained a proprietary hold.

4. If you have not started publishing digital books – prepare for a quick death  – I recently had to purchase a business book as a pre-read for an upcoming executive seminar and the fact that it was not available for download made me think twice about long term survival of McGraw-Hill.

This is only one example of what I find to be a great digital business model  – I would love to hear from you about your examples and insights in this or many of the other new digital opportunities in this brave new world.

Stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime, 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. You can also 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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2 comments June 30th, 2011

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