Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How to avoid being crushed?

I pity my marketing colleagues. They are always under tremendous pressure from all sides - production, sales, finance, legal and risk, and you name it. The worst thing we have seen happen is when the head of the company jumps in to stomp on them even when the fault is not entirely caused by the marketing department.

We recently witnessed the head of a company pulled the plug on a perfectly executed communication which on the long term would bring immense returns. But sales jumped in to say they see no effect, sensing blood finance jumped in to say it is too expensive, production seeing an opportunity to do less work in the future agreed – even when they have no locus standi.  

Persistence, my friends is your friend and it is what will help you avoid being crushed. Persistence in marketing. Persistence to be good at what you do. Persistence in the face of failure. 

Persistence is your antidote against the four contagions. The 4Cs that will kill your plans – first, the critics who are driven by their internal agendas; second, people casting out every idea without offering any of their own; third, contemptuous characters who thinks by making you look bad, they will look good; and fourth the Apatosaurus who knows they will be extinct soon crushes everything in their path. 

Is the force strong with you?

Monday, April 29, 2013

What ideas do you have?

As a marketer, you should not relegate the role of idea generation to your agency alone. Ideas generation is really the most fun part of marketing. To relegate ideas generation to your agency is to give up the best part to someone else.

Try ideas generation yourself. Even if you don’t think it is very good. An idea builds on another and many times, it is the seed for huge idea tree capable of producing many juicy idea fruits.

To generate ideas, just ask good questions, observe people in action like when they are shopping, listen to people when they talk and when they give feedback, check out the online forums. When you have a collection of these information, make connections. That’s one way you come out with ideas.

Are you giving fun away?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Who do you serve?

In common marketing speak, who is your target market? 

Spoken and written to death is the fact that you need to focus on a segment of people you would like to serve. No not everybody, not just homemakers (what sort of homemakers), not just youths (but youths that loves to do what?), not just women who wants to be beautiful (but what sort of beauty do they seek?).

Well, you may snigger. But after 20 years in this industry, we still get briefs with these words written on it.

What are you serving today?

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Who is propelling your company’s marketing?

There must be the thrust and drive within your company to ensure that marketing and branding is going in the right direction. And also given the right attention. Someone has to do it. Ideally it is the CEO. When the CEO puts focus on marketing and branding, you can be sure the company will be driven that way. 

If marketing and branding is new to your company, this thrust and drive is what is needed to punch through the doubts and fears associated with doing new things.

Who’s providing the propulsion to your marketing thrust?

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What’s your focus?

Why would you spend millions of dollars building a plant to manufacture goods your distant cousin in China and Indonesia can make for far cheaper? Eventually you have to ask what is your key differentiating factor. 

Increasingly, a brand is what will differentiate you from your competitors. If you accept this fact, then you need to put more focus on it. To focus on something means to give it your undivided attention. Put your best sweat, blood and flesh into it. Oh yes, money too. The companies that became the saints in branding focused on it. 

Do you suffer from marketing myopia?

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

How hard do you train?

Derek Sivers wrote the other day that, “A hidden world opens up to you when you dive deep into an art form. Years of studying jazz at Berklee School of Music opened up that world to me. Art is so much deeper when you get the contexts and references.” 

One could argue that marketing and branding is an art. If you agree to that, how have you deep dived into the subject? Nothing replaces practice, practice, practice or effortful study (as I like to call it) in any art form.  

Why aren’t you as good as you want to be?

Monday, April 22, 2013

Can you work at it?

It takes effort to become really good at what you do. The challenge with some SME bosses and marketing teams is that they think they are good at marketing. When you think you are good and do not work at it, that’s when you stunt your own growth 

It’s precisely because marketing challenges do not have a “yes” or “no” answer, that you have to keep doing and doing. It’s hard work so you have to work hard. It creates a database of experience for you so you get better and better at what you do. 

Branding nirvana is achievable but not easy. You got to work. Not many people like that.

What do you not know?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Do you love it?

In my twenty years in this industry I see all kinds of marketing people. Some of them make you feel like it is school and they hate school. They would rather be out there filling your gas tank than be in here stewing a marketing plan with you.

My point is, to be good in marketing (or anything else for that matter) you need to love what you do. If you don’t love what you do, then do your company a favour. Abdicate. Let someone else who can contribute take over.

What can you do better?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

What are you feeding them?

Complimenting mediocre work is like fertilizing a parasitic plant. Eventually it kills the tree.

What kind of growth do you want?

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What is it that you want to know?

To those who know, a simple explanation is enough. To those who do not know, no explanation is ever enough.

How do you understand?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What media should you choose?

Choose what works. How do you know what works? By looking at what others in your category has done. What works may not be sexy and overly creative. But it’s what works. And that is important. You need to get started with what works first. Then you can start experimenting.

Choose what will meet your objectives. Even if it is traditional and conventional. You can start experimenting when sales come in and you have proven you can make things work.

First, do the tried and tested. Then, the new and novel. Especially, if you are a newbie. 

What are your priorities?

Monday, April 15, 2013

How do you keep up?

Knowing your priorities.
Keeping to your commitments.
Knowing your importants.
Not allowing someone make their important your urgent.
Recognizing resistance dressed as opportunities.

Your turn.

Do you fear losing out?

Friday, April 12, 2013

When did opportunity knock on your door?

Opportunities. They are the enemy of your commitment and conviction. And they are also the test. When you decide you want to pursue something, there will be countless opportunities that looks tastier and sexier than what you chose to commit to earlier.

The trick is to remind yourself, what you have chosen is real business. These supposed opportunities are just things that add to the busy-ness. 

Best to ignore them and keep slogging at your field.

Have you seen a masked opportunity?

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Are you the devil that we know?

Here’s a thought. The “devil’s advocate” is not the advocate. He (and she) is the devil. Not the advocate. Notice people who always use the term as a caveat to throw an opinion usually does not offer any solutions?

Be an “angelic proponent”. Bring solutions. Make things work. It’s far more effective than the devil.

Where should devil’s advocate go?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Who do you learn from?

Finding a good mentor is tough. Finding a good protégé is even tougher. 

Who do you teach?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Why are you so convinced?

What is worst than not knowing what you don’t know? Believing what you know to be correct when it is actually wrong. I don’t know if these are mutually exclusive. Or if one is the cause of another. But you do meet people like that very often.

What if you are a little more open minded?

Friday, April 5, 2013

What books do you read?

Marketing books often appeals to marketers (and they should) but reading a marketing book doesn’t make you a marketer.

What do you want to be?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Who are you trying to reach?

You already know this. But worth repeating because we still hear some marketers say, “What I used to do is no longer working.” Of course it is not. Times have changed. Used to be, if you bought into 2 TV channels and 3 newspapers you would get everyone. 
Now everyone is everywhere. Running an ad no longer works.

What works is running after them. Once you know who they are (and truly know what they do and what you want them to do), it gets immensely easier.

But easier comes after you bring your stamina and brain power.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

What’s the price of what you love?

It’s so romantic to say you want to do what you love. But most times, people don’t want to pay the price of doing what they love.

You want to start a business but you refuse to put in the capital.
You want to be a writer but refuse to give up spare time to sit on your ass to just – write.
You want to be an artist but is too afraid of criticisms. 

There is a price for e.very.thing. Especially expensive is pursuing what you love. It costs you blood, sweat and guts. 

Is it more than you can bear?

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Is this perfect?

For some perfection is a predetermined number of boxes to check. If they go through the boxes and they can all be checked then that’s perfection. Problem is assumptions were made when these boxes were defined. When new information and knowledge appears, they are not adapted and adopted into new boxes. So, perfection is not visible even when all the boxes are checked.

What is perfect?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Are you paying the right attention?

One of the toughest job as a consultant is telling your counterpart sitting on the other side of the table that he is paying the wrong attention to the problem.

Sometimes it is a challenge to tell him, what he is paying attention to is what will make him look good. Not what will deliver positive results to his company. Sometimes, the two things are mutually exclusive.

How should we put this?