Monday, October 13, 2014

Post At Your Own Your Own Risk. (PAYOR)

Anything you post on your phone, tablet, or computer is accessible for the world to see.  Duh! It's as simple as that.  Nothing is private. I say again nothing is private. Post on a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even as Snapchat - nothing is sacred, everything is public domain. Don't be naive. Don't be stupid. Everyone has access-the government, business, your friends. your enemies, your employers, your future employers, your partners, your future partners- all have access. Be aware, be very aware.  Paranoia is a virtue

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The New 5 C's For Successful Marketing

The 4Ps Don't Work Well Anymore

By David Miranda

For years, the 4 Ps of marketing - product, price, place, and promotion have served the discipline well, e.g. the product offered, the selling price, the place available for purchase, and the promotion (advertising, etc) to solicit consumers to purchase.

Today, the 4Ps are no longer effective. Products abound, pricing is dynamic, locations are both online and bricks and mortar, and advertising media has fragmented into many shapes and forms. Marketers, large and small, are left scratching their heads on how to effectively and efficiently reach their target audiences.

It's time to mothball the 4Ps and embrace the 5Cs - Consumers, Context, Convenience, Convergence, and Community.

Consumers - Market power has shifted from the seller to the buyer. Consumers, using the power of the Internet, can search, shop, compare, and buy from a myriad of sources located either across the street or around the world. This has meant the erosion in the power of mass marketing and the growth in sophisticated targeting.

Context - Sophisticated targeting has led to message customization providing targeted consumers with relevant content and products/services making marketing more effective, efficient and precise than ever before.

Convenience - In an A.D.D., time poverished world, consumers seek convenience - drive-thru windows, express check-out, online shopping and banking, etc.

Convergence - Consumers want to access what they want and who they want anytime, anywhere from anyplace. This convergence of media and distribution channels is upon us.

Community - Consumers are individuals, but are also social creatures who aggregate in business and social groups both formal and informal to share ideas and experiences. This social networking trait has been powerfully enabled by new technology and platforms and will continue to have a powerful impact on marketing.

An effective marketing plan must consider the 5 Cs in its research, development, and execution.

Understand the nuances of the target audience; provide relevant and contextual offerings; provide the ability for the consumer to purchase more convenient than competitors; communicate and provide offerings across appropriate channels that the target audience frequents; and finally understand that a brand needs to "communitize" itself within the business and social groups of its target audience.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Are Your Customers Having An Affair With Another Brand?

Never Let The Honeymoon End With Your Customers

By David Miranda

If you closed your eyes and listened to any marketing presentation, you would think you were listening to a dating consultant or marriage counselor referring to their brand, as in, the brand "personality", the brand "identity", the brand "relationship", brand "loyalty", and most recently, brand "engagement".

There is a great deal of similarity in marketing brands and marketing yourself, as in a social relationship.

As a single male or female wishing to meet that special someone, you typically get all properly groomed and attired and seek out places where you are most likely to find that special someone, say a popular watering hole on a Saturday night. Upon entering, you peruse the landscape filled with others with the same idea. If you are fortunate, you will connect with someone who meets your criteria. If first impressions are positive, contact info is exchanged and perhaps a date will follow. A successful date might lead to steady dating. Steady dating might lead to engagement and engagement might lead to a walk down the aisle and, presto, marriage.

Marketing brands is similar. Brands want to meet "that special someone" - their target audience. Brands get marketing groomed and attired and seek out places where they are most likely to find that special someone - store shelves, television, radio, print, online, direct mail, and out-of-home. Brands seek to enter into a dialogue with consumer and contact info is exchanged. If the consumer experience is positive; it may lead to a relationship with the brand and perhaps even moving to the ultimate committment - brand loyalty.

The similarities don't end at the altar or with brand loyalty, however. Strong marriages and strong brands with loyal customers have a great deal in common. Each requires efforts to keep the bonds strong and robust over time. The biggest challenge is apathy - taking the other for granted.

We're all familiar with "You don't understand me anymore"; "You don't appreciate me"; "We've lost that spark in our relationship"; or "We don't communicate like we used to". Normally attributed to personal relationships, they are just as applicable to brand relationships. Only problem is that customers don't bother to express these thoughts. They just move on to another brand who really cares about them and promises not to take them for granted.

Treat your customers today like you are wooing them for the first time. Never let the honeymoon with them end or they might decide to have an affair with a competitive suitor and eventually show you the door.

Save the brand marriage!

Business Prevention And Its Seven Deadly Sins

Proscrastination, Lethargy, Arrogance, Superstition, Myopia, Antipathy, Stupidity

By David Miranda

Before someone buys something, they first have to want it. That's what marketing does. It's supposed to create and sustain preference to "sell stuff". Sounds reasonable, right?

More often than not, however, marketing success is thwarted by the "business prevention department".

What is this "business prevention department"?

It does not appear on an official org chart, but it exists in almost every business, large and small. It is comprised of people in various positions within the company that do their part, either knowingly or unknowingly, in stifling or smothering potential business opportunities by being guilty of one or more of the seven deadly sins of business prevention. The irony is, however, is that these "business prevention specialists" honestly think they are doing their small part in contributing to the success of the enterprise. They are, of course, delusional.

The seven deadly sins of business prevention are as follows:

First, procrastination.
This refers to business preventionists who put off to tomorrow, things that needed to be done yesterday. These necessary, but belated actions eventually taken tend to be too little too late with opportunities lost as "competitive barbarians at the gate" threaten existing and future business.

Second, lethargy.
Great plans sluggishly executed causes frustration and eventual attrition of clients, customers, and key talent.

Third, arrogance.
Arrogance is the offspring of the marriage of ego and power. It assumes that business preventionists believe that they have all the right answers leaving no room for collaboration and dialogue with competing views.

Fourth, superstition.
This refers to the notion that there is a direct cause and effect between certain historical behavior and the resulting consequences as in the ridiculous example " whenever I wear a blue suit on a client pitch, I get the business." or "we've always done it this way".

Fifth, myopia.
Myopia is short-sightedness. It is the "Mr. Magoo Syndrome" where business preventionists lack "strategic corrective lenses" to see the bigger picture - the one beyond today and tomorrow. Those competitors with 20/20 strategic vision have a better view of marketplace.

Sixth, antipathy
By definition, antipathy is a feeling of intense dislike. This is the case when business preventionists have an aversion to those people and ideas who are change agents. Their antipathy causes animosity both internally and externally and stifles innovation.

Seventh, stupidity.
As a wise sage once noted "ignorance means you don't know; stupidity means you'll never know". Ignorant people can learn, stupid ones cannot. When an enterprise has "stupid" people in key positions, it is a terminal condition requiring amputation to save the patient.

Business prevention thrives in an environment where one or more of theses deadly sins are practiced.

You can, however, exorcise these business prevention demons before it its too late.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Marketing Today - The Sky Is Full Of Dogs

There's A Smarter Way To "Bag" Consumers

By David Miranda

An inexperienced bird hunter bought some prized bird dogs from a breeder for, what would be, his first ever bird hunt. After several hours of futility, he returned to the breeder quite disgruntled and demanded his money back. The stunned breeder inquired what the problem was. "Didn't get one bird!", replied the hunter, "not even close." "That's impossible," responded the breeder, "those are my best performing bird dogs." "Well," said the hunter, "perhaps I wasn't tossing the dogs up high enough."

The same can be said for a great deal of the marketing done today. There are consumers everywhere and marketers futily "toss up" marketing effort after marketing effort in hopes of bagging their prey. In fact, the marketing "sky" is full of "dogs".

To "bag" consumers today, marketers must be smarter hunters. The first step is to understand the media consumption behavior of their target audience and design a campaign accordingly. The mass market has given way to many niche markets each with its own unique characteristics. The proof can be seen in the audience erosion of traditional media such as broadcast television, newspapers, magazines, and terrestial radio and the exponential growth of the internet including social networking sites, user-generated content, and mobile.

Here is some advice to smarter hunting:

  • Zero-base your marketing. The marketing landscape is morphing very fast. New channels are emerging that can be more effective and efficient. Don't be married, therefore, to the status quo.
  • Feed what works; starve what doesn't. Set performance benchmarks for marketing efforts. Have a clear R.O.M.I. (return on marketing investment) and hold people accountable.
  • Avoid I.G.T.D.T.T. (I've Got To Do That To). This is the infamous me-too approach when a marketer observes a competitor's marketing initiative and copies it irregardless whether the initiative worked or not.
  • "Do" outside the box, not to be confused with "think" outside the box. Observe consumer trends and behavior in the marketplace and adapt accordingly and quickly. Today, preference is perishable and consumers are literally only a mouse click away from a competitor's offerings.

Here's to smarter hunting!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Stratactics - The Alchemy of Strategy and Tactics

Time Compression Demands A New Methodology To Attain Sustainable Competitive Advantage

By David Miranda

Today, the business environment is like a NASCAR race.

Take a NASCAR driver vying to compete at almost 200MPH. Imagine the countless split second decisions that need to be made and the physical and mental skills required during the course of a 500 mile race. The objective? Stay in one piece and cross the finish line before anyone else. The successful driver begins with a race strategy but continually must employ tactics during the race to ultimately come out on top. Call it "stratactics" - where strategy and tactics are alchemized into a powerful "alloy".

Such is the case in today's volatile marketplace. Things are moving fast, aggressive competitors are bent on "putting you out of the race" exploiting your tiniest hesitation or miscalculation.

What is needed in business today is a "stratactical" approach.

Stratactics is the morphing of strategic vision and tactical execution. Gone are the days of having the luxury of spending weeks and months in the planning process defining strategy and then developing the tactics to be employed. It is the tyranny of the urgent.

What to do?

  1. Protect the decision-making process from bureaucracy. It robs the business of time-sensitivity.

  2. Surround yourself with wise, experienced people - smart, knowledgeable, intelligent is not enough.

  3. Find out what is working and keep doing more of it.

  4. Find out what is not working and stop doing more of it.

  5. Wanting to succeed is not enough; have an attitude of "not being afraid to fail".

  6. Live in the moment but with an eye on the horizon. Carpe diem.

  7. Communicate relentlessly with both internal and external stakeholders.
Be stratactical and win the race!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Trusted Brands Need To Stand Up And Be Counted In A Down Economy

Customers Will Gravitate To Brands They Admire In Tough Times

By David Miranda

When times are tough, people gravitate to safe havens and there is no greater safe haven than a trusted brand that has historically delivered excellent value. Who is more qualified to help in difficult times than a brand that has been there for me in the past and will continue to earn my trust in the future?

In challenging times, it is time for trusted brands to leverage their accumulated brand equity in the marketplace. It is called brand "capital".

Let's be clear. This is not about indiscriminate price promotions. Those are just knee jerk reactions and historically have caused unintended consequences, i.e. dilution and displacement of revenue.

In challenging economic times, available demand always searches for the best value and the best place to find the best value should be with trusted brands.

What should admired and trusted brands do in times of economic uncertainty?

  1. Show leadership - Communicate quickly and effectively with the marketplace that you understand the challenging environment and empathize with the audience, i.e. "we feel your pain".

  2. Seek competitive advantage - Be first and bold with solutions that customers gravitate to rather than wait for the competition to dictate your strategy.

  3. Be "stratactical" - In a down market, people and businesses alike make decisions within a more compressed time frame. This means a brand needs to consider strategy concurrently with tactics, i.e. stratactical solutions that allow quick adjustments to volatile market conditions.

  4. "Don't take the bait" - There will be the impulse to react to competitive offerings. Urgency is the handmaiden of chaos.

  5. Steal share - The pie shrinks during downturns so getting a bigger piece of a smaller pie is key to success.

  6. Understand that great brands that do smart things during difficult times become greater.
Stand up and be counted.