Zeus of Marketing


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

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

“MAD” Social Media Experiment : Open Letter for your Votes

A Latino in Mad Avenue in the 60's!!!

I  just emailed the “letter” below to almost everyone in my Yahoo contact list. If you are lucky (or unlucky enough) to know me, chances are you received a copy. Since I consider all the readers of my blog close friends I want to extend my request for votes to you as well. To get you in the “IN” of my plans, my ultimate objective is to write an article about Successful (or not) use of Social Media via multiple channels. I am using this weekend to ensure that I cover all the major channels (email, LinkedIn, Facebook, You Tube, Twitter, Text, even Google + – Click in any of highlighted “channel” to go directly to it) in my plight. My apologies in advance to those friends that will be receiving this via all channels – please give me a “poetic license” in the name of Social Media research.

Here´s the letter:

Dearest friends, family and acquaintances (I know, I must want something):

Lately, I have been paying attention to a campaign tie-in between Banana Republic and the TV show Mad Men. Overall their execution of the campaign has not gone smoothly to say the least.

They have also introduced a contest to give away a walk-in role in the show to the person to receives the most votes. I would love to write a story about the campaign from a consumer perspective as well as a marketer perspective. To do this I would appreciate your vote to get me to the show.

Please click on the attached AMC link and vote for me (registration to vote is quick and you can opt out of any further emails from Banana Republic or AMC to make sure there’s no spam consequences to your act of kindness):

Click here , or copy and paste the following url into your browser window:

http://madmencastingcall.amctv.com/browse/detail/446b1e1a038f4756b34098dbd4507e030b2ae1c9

Note – The site asks you to log in – once you do using your google, yahoo, twitter or facebook accounts – you do not have to enter any other information other than your Cable/Satellite provider – no need to upload a photo or anything else. Vote early and often,  just found out that you can vote once a day.

I think I can play the part - I'll change the vodka for whiskey

To increase the probability of making it happen, please enlist your most trusted friends, family and acquaintances in your contact list – ideally this could be a viral case study (and a book) – hey if Justin Bieber could write his memoirs at 16  – how could a forty……  not write his  (Laugh out loud , or as millennials say these days  hahaha or LMAO) . HELP ME GO VIRAL

For additional background on my writings and research so far on the Banana Republic/Mad Men campaign you can visit my blog  click here, or copy and paste the following url into your browser window:

http://jrgrana.com/blog/?p=657 .

Also in my Facebook page at:  http://facebook.com/zeusofmarketing

Thank you in advance for your time and consideration. I Will definitely keep you posted.

Cheers

Jesús (Mad Man Zeus) Graña

PS:  Vote early and often. Just found out that you can vote once a day. You can vote for more than one person if you so desire and/or have other friends participating

PPS: I know some of you worry that I may be tipping my hand by publicly announcing my objective  – but trust me, as a strategist, I have considered various scenarios and will be glad to review with you in a more private communication method. 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 20th, 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

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