Zeus of Marketing


Posts filed under 'Social Media'

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

What if…Dr. Maslow was alive today?

 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words….

The Social Media Hierarchy

The "Hardware" becomes the basics...

They say a picture is worth a thousand words…. As always, I hope this gives you some food for thought.  Stay tuned for my next blog.  In the meantime, please share your thoughts below;  Now is your chance to become an amateur humanist psychologist. 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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December 7th, 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

The Advent of a New Era: Social Business: Are You Ready?

I hear cats are good web attention grabbers

It seems that every certain number of years different trends and events converge to cause major change, e.g.:

  • Millions of years ago, the world lost the Dinosaurs (65 million years ago to be exact, give or take a million, at the end of the Cretaceous Period),
  • The slow but finite decline of the Roman Empire over a period of four centuries, culminating on September 4, 476  (1600 hundred years go by in the blink of an eye),
  • The end of the cold war in the late 80’s which began with the coming to power of Gorbachev in 1985 and ended with the fall of the U.S.S.R in 1991 (it seems like yesterday).

While I can’t claim to have experienced 67% of these changes, I am glad to be experiencing the rise of a new era, that of the Social Business. The question is, do you want to go down in history as the tyrannosaurus or ensure the laws of evolution apply to you? What does it take to be part of the “fittest” to survive in this new era?

First we need to understand what is Social Business?

There seems to be two separate definitions, albeit closely related, as number 1 can be enabled and fed by number 2:

1. Social business, as the term had been commonly used, was first defined around 2006 by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Prof. Muhammad Yunus and is described in his books Creating a world without poverty—Social Business and the future of capitalism and Building Social Business—The new kind of capitalism that serves humanity’s most pressing needs. In Yunus’ definition, a social business is a non-loss, non-dividend company designed to address a social objective within the highly regulated marketplace of today. It is distinct from a non-profit because the business should seek to generate a modest profit but this will be used to expand the company’s reach, improve the product or service or in other ways to subsidize the social mission.

2. In 2011, IBM has started socializing, pun “intended,” Social Business as “the practice of  combining social networking tools – internally and externally – with sophisticated analytic capabilities, companies are transforming their business processes, building stronger relationships among their employees, customers and business partners and making better decisions, faster. This is what makes a social business – embracing networks of people to create new business value and opportunities.”

While at first glance the two definitions may seem at odds ( let’s face it, one is Nobel Prize-worthy altruistic, while the other sounds like just another “self-serving” tagline), in reality, we couldn’t accomplish one without the other.  Beyond Prof. Yunus’s actions with the UN and in Bangladesh, we are starting to see the rise of what I call the “Profit with Purpose” movement. To cite a few examples (you can click on it for additional details);

  1. TOMS shoes One for One Movement
  2. PepsiCo Performance with Purpose
  3. Starbucks, Chevron and IBM Financial backing for small businesses

I believe that there is a formula that will benefit all constituents in the new era.  Just like we survived and grew during the industrial age – we can look at networks (Social Media) as the capital of the 21st century and use it to our advantage (way beyond grasping for likes and followers in Facebook, LinkedIn or twitter).

Are you ready? – How to secure “survival of the fittest”

Multiple events are predicting the new era; changing demographic landscape , the “Occupy  (fill in the blank)”  movement,  the economy, even common sense tells us, what good is it to have a product to sell if customers can’t afford it?

It is time to take a closer look at your market,  your business model (the complete “value chain”), maybe even your positioning, and identify what actions you can start implementing today that will ensure your business success as well as that of the market (customer) you serve. Social Media networks can help identify your employees, customers and even investors sentiments – take a closer look at how you can leverage this information.  You know that there’s a faster, nimbler competitor out there doing it already – what are you waiting for?, an “Et tu brute” moment?

Shameless self-promotion

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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5 comments November 2nd, 2011

Occupy the Occupiers – a Social Media Opportunity? Let’s all Build – Not Complain

Is it just me? Am I the only person preoccupied with the potential effects of the “occupy” protests? Not to be an alarmist, but they could have dire results in our economy, results that would greatly please the forces that have been attacking our democracy. (A great resource for staying up to date: ListenLogic.com ‘s Occupy Threat Center for all the latest information, including the threat level graph).

My intent is not to be political, but to help identify potential opportunities to utilize Social Media  in a positive brand building, value generating way.  As I regularly post in my personal networks, what good is a protest that generates negative sentiment without providing potential solutions and recommendations? Reminds me of the tale of the Pied Piper which only objective was to lead the rodents to drown in the river. Who’s problem did that solved? Definitely not those of the rodents.

For years financial institutions have been talking about Customer Relationship Management, recently increasing their retail presence and positioning themselves as community pillars and civic partners in helping grow the local economies which they serve. Well, I would say the time is now to create a war room with your marketing departments, ad and PR agencies and develop strong messages that communicate potential solutions to helping America create value. Identify project opportunities that will not only enrich the economy in the communities they serve but also give a chance to aimless protesters to put their efforts into building instead of lame sittings, walkings and whatever else “occupiers” do.

My recommendation would be to look at campaigns such as Pepsi Refresh to identify ways to develop local economy opportunities via programs like micro-loans to small businesses, re-training facilities and even employ potential local ambassadors to help brand image and idea identification in their communities. Let’s provide the naysayers with tools and resources to build, not destroy. While an industry wide effort would be more efficient, I recommend that you start with the following steps:

  1. Monitor what is being said about your company
  2. Identify the influencers – where did the comments originate?, anyone or specific group is most vocal?
  3. Analyze their main concerns – Ideate ways to solve, ameliorate
  4. Engage

As business people and bloggers let’s start our own movement – “Occupy minds to produce not destroy” I welcome not only your retweets but your ideas on how we can help make a difference. Let’s take a break from writing about the meaning of a Facebook “like,” or the chances of Google + succeeding, etc, and come up with ideas and recommendations to use the tool of Social Media to rebuild and resolve.

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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6 comments October 12th, 2011

STOP!!! Social Media is NOT a Starting Point, Unless you are Using it to Listen and Monitor your Customers

Stop, Think, Plan then Execute

Everyday I open up my email and proceed to read between 75 and 100 posts, articles and blogs on Social Media. Most I dismiss right away as shameless self-promotion, some have great nuggets of marketing wisdom but their social-media-end-all spin obscure the otherwise brilliant insight, few truly focus on how social media can enhance your marketing objectives and those are the ones I usually forward, tweet, share, etc. Lately,  I have noticed an increased number of the latter and this is getting me excited. Could it be true that after all the hoopla and hype we are finally coming back to basics?

I would like to share with you two recent articles that serve to remind us that it all starts with a strong customer insight, a brilliant marketing idea and flawless planning and execution:

PepsiCo Argentina:  PepsiCo is combining product sampling with storytelling in Argentina in an unusual vending machine that appears to manufacture Lay’s potato chips before your eyes after a real potato, rather than coins, is dropped in a slot.  This campaign starts with a strong consumer insight (chips are artificial) and aims to dispel this misconception via strong visuals, innovative product sampling and high value trial. Expected results: Measurable , it can easily track sales increases in vending retail locations.  It also leads to a high potential for Social Media amplification as video can be shared via YouTube, Facebook, etc. – Brilliant!!!! While Pepsi faltered for over a year with things like Pepsi Refresh – this shows that they are now getting “the real thing”

Mattel HotWheels USA:  Mattel’s marketing strategy  was to “activate boys of all ages” by making Hot Wheels culturally relevant again, says Gretchen de Castellane, the company’s senior manager for community and user experience. On the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500, Mattel’s brand team sponsored a record-breaking stunt, catapulting a life-size “Hot Wheels” vehicle off a jump and sending it the length of a football field, partnered with ABC, who broadcast the stunt which in turn motivated viewers to share in Social Media. The stunt now has more than 6 million views on YouTube, and won Mattel 12,000 Facebook fans.

Net Takeaway

If you start from a Social Media end all perspective – chances are you will fail.  Having a Facebook page, tweeting 100 times a day or receiving a hundred likes per hour are definitely quantifiable but as a revenue generation metric they all fail miserably.  A thousand SEO experts and costly SEM software would never have helped Mattel create a viral Hot Wheels Video or PepsiCo think outside the box when it comes to product demonstration. What is the formula for success you ask?, as easy as 1,2,3:

  1. Focus on your customer needs
  2. Develop a marketing strategy that fulfills these needs
  3. Execute

Social Media should not be ignored, it  greatly enhances step #1 if you use it to listen to and monitor your customers sentiments towards you and your competitors. Social Media can also speed up step #3 when you  have a clear knowledge of where your customers congregate in the vast universe of the worldwide web.

Where we usually fail is in thinking that the priority is developing a Twitter or a Facebook , or God forbid a Google + , strategy as many “pundits” want you to believe. You should focus on your consumer/customer first, develop an overall strategy and at the end determine the best channels to “broadcast” your execution – it may start with a Point-of-Sale vending machine as in PepsiCo´s case, or a partnership with a broadcast network as in Mattel’s case. You will not know until you go through the steps.

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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7 comments September 18th, 2011

Irene: The Hurricane that Wasn’t, Using Social Media to Dominate the “Airwaves”

Not Gone with the Wind

Major social networks like Facebook  and Twitter  may have lost a big opportunity to position themselves as a truly unbiased and local source of information media network. Google + had no chance at this time due to its lack of critical mass activity. Facebook still fared well as the de facto leader. But, since neither network created a special application,  any company with a strong Facebook page fan following could have generated strong awareness and loyalty wins this weekend.  Let me explain, first by a schedule of what happened this weekend from a Manhattanite perspective:

Saturday, August 27, 2011:

Regular Media: 5:00 AM- 12:00PM Every broadcast and cable news network reporting about strict evacuation rules in the north east, particularly, NYC.

Social Media: 5:00 AM-12:00PM: Every Facebook (FB) friend posting on my wall, either telling me that things were not as bad as they appeared on tv, or asking me if I was still alive or having to evacuate my pre-war building in Manhattan Upper West Side (you should see some of my funny responses).

Regular Media 12:01PM-6:00PM: Every broadcast and cable news network reporting about how danger was still imminent in the north east.

Social Media 12:01PM-6:ooPM: Yours truly, spending an inordinate amount of time explaining to friends and family that everything was OK and that it was not even raining in NYC, also posting and in-boxing friends in North Carolina,  Long Island and Connecticut to ensure that they were all OK.

6:01PM-12:01AM IBID – More of the same, regular media being sensationalist, Social Media friends and acquaintances assuring each other that everything was OK and that media reports were greatly exaggerated. Even jokes started being cracked in statuses (unfortunately not appropriate for reproduction in this post)

Sunday August 28, 2011

Regular Media- All Day:  Every broadcast and cable news network trying to explain how important preparedness was and how every politician (including President Obama) was about to have a live press conference to pat themselves and their constituents in the back for a “crisis averted.”

Social Media- All Day: Sample of friends’ posts:

  • Elizabeth from Colorado: “I just love Facebook. It actually provided a more realistic update from my peeps in the east coast about Irene over any network, CNN or Weather Channel. Glad to know my peeps have survived. I know not to count full victory; since Boston and north are still dealing with it. Best to all!”
  • Linda from Long Island: “love facebook. As someone who was alone during the hurricane, it helped me feel as if my friends and family were right there with me… No kidding. This social networking thing is greater than just the socializing.”
  • Steven from Connecticut: “Everything OK in CT, intermittent power losses and some rain but family OK”
  • V from Fort Lee, NJ: “UPDATE: power is on, no broken trees, light drizzle, a little windy…..LIFE GOES ON !!!
  • J.R. from Manhattan: “Dear Mr/Ms [insert favorite politician here] stop using the Hurricane that wasn’t as a diversionary tactic and focus on solving the real issues”

Here’s the opportunity:
Now imagine if a national brand like Coca Cola or arch rival Pepsi, or maybe your own brand or existing regular media network, would have created a special application on their page with a map of the eastern seaboard where “fans” could click to find out the general sentiment of that part of the US regarding Irene’s effects. Tell me who would have scored MAJOR customer goodwill points?

I´ll end it here this week, I am sure you can use your creativity and imagination from here and take this suggestion to the next level. In the meantime, please remember that you can still help me with my “Mad” Social Media experiment (http://jrgrana.com/blog/?p=707)

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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1 comment August 28th, 2011

Successful Marketing = Flawless Execution

Madly Confused?

I seldom post outside my regular schedule, but when I see an opportunity to remind my colleagues about the tenets of marketing, I am sure to grab it right away. In my years of experience, a successful marketing launch requires a relentless look into detail and the ability, as humanly possible, to force the integration of chaotic detail into a flawless rendering of a beautiful concerto. It’s like we were Beethoven composing the famous 5th Symphony while being deaf (but wait, he did).

With this in mind, I want to share with you my real life case study from a consumer perspective over the past few days. I will let you judge for yourself, and definitely welcome your feedback/comments.

HEADLINE:

Banana Republic has gone social with its Banana Republic –  Facebook  Get Mad Campaign

What seems right from a teaser campaign perspective:

Outdoor Advertising Spotted: August 6
AP Press Release: August 10
Facebook Page seen: August 10
Store Availability:  August 11

What definitely seems wrong:

Outdoor Advertising Spotted: August 6

Columbus and 72nd Street

Outdoor ad information to link into Facebook page: None
Probability that a “fashionista” will go into the store 2 blocks away to find out about it: 99.9%
Date I personally visited 3 Banana Republic Stores (I look great in 60’s fashions): August 7
Knowledge of sales team about Mad Men style introduction: Zip
Confused consumer: Me for one – Imagine the 100’s of thousands additional ones out there.

See where I am heading?

Furthermore;
If you are tying a major launch to an event such as a TV Show, wouldn’t you want to time it as close as possible to the hype surrounded by new news? In reality:

Mad Men Season 4 DVD Release Date: March 29, 2011.
Mad Men Season 5 Premiere: March 2012.

Last time I checked my calendar, it was August 10. When is the last time you thought about Don Draper and company?

Net:

Like I said before, I’ll let you be the judge.  Lets focus on being “Beethoven-like,” not succumb to hype for hype’s sake. Trust me – the ROI will follow – no need to attend one more webinar to learn how to do it.  I can’t wait for the published results (if they ever share them), from where I stand. I say it is a miss.

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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8 comments August 10th, 2011

How to Maintain Social Media Investment Focus in Times of Hype : Simply Listen

Don't let hype do this to you - Follow your customer - Not the hype

Let’s go back to basics. There’s been way too much “ink” wasted in relating the pros and cons of Google + over the past month. I am as guilty as the next by dedicating my last blog post to the benefits, or lack thereof, of Google’s newest venture. What worries me the most is how fast agencies and consultants are offering new services promising to develop the right strategy for  developing your Google +  strategy and presence, sending social media managers everywhere in a frantic search on how to reallocate their current budgets to include yet one more service.

In reality, if you have already developed a sound social media strategy, you already know exactly how to move forward without disrupting your current efforts. Below, I have copied my recommended five steps (always iterative) for a sound social media strategy including the links to my posts focusing in that specific step as a reminder of what I mean:

  1. Listen:
    Two Ears, One Mouth, Truism for the Ages – The Social Media Age that is.
    January 25, 2011
  2. Monitor:
    So You Are Listening, Now What???
  3. Analyze
    “The Unexamined Life is Not Worth Living”
  4. Engage
    “Past Dreams are Enabled by the Present to Ensure the Future”
  5. Measure
    “Traffic is Just the Means to an End”

If you have followed these steps, or any variation, you have nothing to fear. Particularly because:

  • You already know what your customers are talking about and how to engage them (even understand any potential ZMOT strategy).
  • You already know where your customers can be reached
  • You can easily identify any shift to new services and understand if you need to follow them

If your customers, particularly your identified influentials or evangelists, are migrating in hordes to a new service such as Google + , by all means FOLLOW THEM.  If not, do not succumb to the hype – you know better. At the end, no matter how influential you think Google is in search and worry from a potential backlash from not having a Google + page, reality has shown that content and relationship trumps SEO. I was further convinced of this by Roger McNamee’s (facebook investor) latest presentation where he states:

Google is a victim of its own success: its search has become polluted by SEOs. What shows that Google has failed is all those “non-search” services that really solve a search problem, like Match.com or Realtor.com. If you add them all up, they account for 50% of searches.”

As always, I invite you to draw your own conclusions and provide feedback/comments to my assertions. I hope that you learn as much from my posts as I do from your comments. Do not go crazy reallocating you budgets. remain true to your initial objectives – your ROI will thank you.

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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3 comments July 28th, 2011

To Google: The Plus (+) is so 80´s – You Just Don’t Get It

Where's the beef? I mean the +

Do I know the right people?, Are we in a Time Warp?,  Will Google succeed? From where I sit, the answer to these questions seem to be No, Yes and No, respectively. First, while my contact list includes a wide cross section of successful business people, particularly in the area of Marketing and New Media, none of us have received a direct invite to join Google +. While I may be writing from a scorned lover perspective (poor little me was not invited to the party), I am wondering if Google has specifically singled us out as people that know too much about real marketing to risk a real review about its shortcomings. With that in mind,  I’ll go on to explain my answers to the other two questions because I am sure that I know the right people.

80’s Time Warp:

It was a sunny day, my first day as a Brand Assistant (BA) in Procter & Gamble. I received my assignment, you will be the proud BA in Always Plus - The sanitary napkin with WINGS. Just a couple of corridors from me, one of my best friends was the BA for ERA Plus (improved protein takes out protein), and just next door my new colleagues were working on Charmin Plus and Puffs Plus (paper with lotion). In most cases this was a brilliant flanker strategy which clearly communicated an improved product that could command a premium price and minimize revenue loss and cannibalization by maintaining the parent  brand on shelf. The PLUS product offered a clear and distinct benefit differentiation versus parent AND competition. Now I can explain my answer to the third question;

Will Google + be successful?:

Let’s try to answer the question with questions,

1. Does it offer a strong differentiation versus existing competitor and existing brand? (Please remember the power of a network is directly proportional to the number of participants in that network and facebook is currently estimated to have 750 million users). Additionally, last I checked, Google still stands for search engine, Android for mobile OS,  YouTube, a great video repository, what is Google + a plus of?

2. Does it offer a clear answer to a need identified from a clear customer insight? When was the last time, from a customer perspective, you heard someone say I really need another facebook – Other than Justin Timberlake there were not many rescuers for MySpace and LinkedIN is pretty successful in filling facebook’s gap of a truly professional contacts network.

3. Once tried, does it meet customers expectations? I’ll let you, the one’s that have been “lucky” enough to be invited to the beta trial to be the final judge – although I “hear” that the way it siphons personal data from its members, it makes facebook’s privacy issues look irrelevant.

Advice for my reader’s:

Going back to an unifying theme in my blog: BEWARE of the HYPE. True value comes from following basic business strategies – not PR spins on technology amplified by techies that haven’t taken the time to learn business basics. I beg you for comments on this.

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

P.S.: I just got an Invite, Please visit my LinkeIn poll: http://tinyurl.com/5syfjt8


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13 comments July 14th, 2011

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