Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Great Compete Against Themselves, Others Compete Against Them

You Should Find Your Fiercest Competitor In The Mirror

By David Miranda

Tiger Woods is the Number One Golfer in the world. Toyota is the most profitable car maker in the world. Google is the most successful search engine in the world. Competitors try and try but Tiger, Toyota, and Google still excel.

The question is why?

The simple answer is that their fiercest competition is themselves, not "the other guy." While their competition is investing time trying to analyze and copy them, they are investing their time on making themselves better than they were yesterday. Interesting approach.

Tiger Woods, even after achieving great success, decided to change his golf coach and his swing. Both his competitors and golf pundits alike were befuddled. Why tamper with success? When asked to explain, Tiger said he needed to improve. Tiger Woods improve? But improve he did! His fiercest competitor is himself.

During a recent interview Ford's new CEO stated that Ford was examining how Toyota was able to make better cars, be profitable, and continue to gain market share. His time might be better spent making better cars. By the time Ford is as good as Toyota is today, Toyota will be better than they are tomorrow. Toyota's fiercest competitor is Toyota.

Yahoo, AOL, Microsoft are all trying to compete with Google and Google continues to gain market share despite their individual and collective efforts. Google competes with itself.

Winners compete against themselves.

The lesson is this - if you want to be great, relentlessly great, compete with yourself.

Be your own fiercest competition. Be a Tiger!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Recognition Marketing - Calling Marketing "Audibles"

Marketers Can Learn A Lot From Tom Brady

By David Miranda

There is a great deal of time, effort, and resources invested in developing a marketing campaign. Budgets are allocated. Timing is determined. Research is conducted. Target audiences are identified. Creative is produced. Media plans are developed. The campaign is launched - but then things don't go according to plan. The playing conditions change. The competition throws up a few surprises. What to do?

Whether you are a football fan or not, marketers could learn a great deal from All-Pro quarterback Tom Brady. Many times after calling a play in the huddle, you notice him walk to line of scrimmage and immediately scan the defensive scheme. If he determines that the defensive setup will neutralize the called play, he'll immediately start calling audibles at the line of scrimmage making his teammates aware that a new play is necessary. You will even see him move key players around to counter the defense. This is all done in less than 30 seconds. This happens throughout the game.

Marketers need to do the same.

During the marketing campaign, when playing conditions change and the competition throws up a few surprises, marketers need to call "audibles", i.e. tweak the plan on the run, to be successful. After the campaign is over, it is too late and a post mortem of what went right or wrong is meaningless in impacting results for that fiscal period. The time to have taken action was during the "game".

Too often, marketers become spectators of their plans rather than active participants in the "game" while it is being "played."

Have a game plan, but be ready to call "marketing audibles". It's the mark of an "All-Pro" marketing QB.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Recognition Marketing - Missionary vs. Mercenary Marketing

The Difference Between Having True Believers vs. Hired Guns On Your Team

By David Miranda

mis·sion·ar·y [mish-uh-ner-ee] 1. a person strongly in favor of a program, set of principles, etc., who attempts to persuade or convert others.

mer·ce·nar·y [mur-suh-ner-ee] 1. a person working or acting merely for money or other reward; venal.

There is an intangible that too often either gets neglected, overlooked, or assumed in marketing. It's called passion and it has a powerful influence on even the most cynical among us. Passion is the societal adrenaline that, for those that have it, do great things primarily for the sheer joy of it. For those that love what they do, the monetary compensation is gravy.

Such is the case with marketing. Think for a moment about brands or pursuits that have a passionate following - Apple, Starbucks, professional and collegiate sports, and hobbies (golf, fishing, collecting, leisure travel, etc.). These are things that customers (fans and enthusiasts) are passionate about and they spend their hard-earned dollars in pursuit of these passions.

Unfortunately in the marketing arena, an environment which should exude passion, real passion is a scarce commodity. Often companies (and/or their agencies) are dominated by mercenaries, i.e. people in it "acting merely or only for the rewards" rather than missionaries, i.e. people who are honestly passionate about the brand.

A company that cannot hire and retain passionate marketers or who thinks they can "outsource" passion to mercenaries will suffer the dire consequences. Great companies source, hire, and retain passionate marketers. They understand the power of this intangible.

Look within yourself and your organization. Where is the passion?

Find and nurture the missionaries. Identify and expel the mercenaries.

Be a passionate brand.