Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Do you know your ABCs?

Whether you are playing a sport, learning to drive, diagnosing a disease or marketing your brand – always get your basics right. Then you can do the fancy stuff. Otherwise, the fancy stuff is just not going to work. 

Monday, January 27, 2014

Why did you market?

For many business owners, what they sell and who they sell to, is kind of like how some of my friends got sent to learn the piano when they were young. Their mom saw that the other moms were sending their kids and so their mom sent them. Which school they got sent to learn the piano is usually determined by how close is the school to their house? Or how famous is the piano teacher (or in some cases school). I am pretty sure you have friends like these. Some of them grew up to like music or the piano. Majority just hated it silently till this day.
Business owners who sells certain products because it is selling well and sells to the same market reminds me of my piano playing friends and their moms.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Are you curious?

One thing you will notice in good marketers. They have intellectual curiosity. They can carry deeper and better conversations with you.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

What is your definition of marketing?

Or rather what is your company’s definition of marketing? It is important to get these terms sorted out. Especially, within your company with the various stakeholders. You may think that this is a given but you will be surprised if you asked around the people who is involved in the marketing process in your organization.

Marketing to your tea-lady means going to the wet market every Sunday to buy her groceries. Marketing to your sales department means visiting dealers and closing the sales. Pounding the pavement and building relationships face-to-face with the dealers is marketing to them. Marketing to your chief financial officer is seen as a cost. To your CMO, it is an investment. What marketing is to your CEO depends on which route he took to get up there, it frames his worldview of what marketing is.

One simple word for an important process but with multiple definitions. It’s the reason why you need to sort it out and it’s the reason why the definition should be simple in your organization.

Now, for a tougher question – what’s your definition of brand? 

How do you plan to sell?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Who do they trust?

Seth has a very good entry here for a very basic question “Who are your customers?”

When you are able to answer the series of questions - no it’s not as easy as filling in a form – with insight on your consumer’s inside, then you truly know them.

What do they believe?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Are you looking at the right moment?

In most things, when you want to push to the next level there is usually pain. Whether you are fighting for that promotion, debating the reasons why your marketing budget should be increased or educating your ignoramus colleagues on the process of branding; pain will be there waiting for you.

Don’t look for happiness there. Not during those moments. Unless, of course you like pain. When you are in pain to push to the next level, it’s the price you need to pay. You have to tell yourself that. It’s tough to find happiness when you are in pain, so don’t look for it there. Look for it after you have paid the price.

There is no need to torture yourself.

Monday, January 20, 2014

How to succeed in marketing?

Of course there are principles of marketing and principles of communications that you have to adhere to. But using them as a checklist does not ensure a successful campaign.

Apply the right knowledge, keep executing, taking note of what went right and what could be better and improving it the next time you execute will inch you closer to a successful campaign.

You, of course know that already. The challenge is keeping yourself on the right track.

How do you make a better plan?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

What did you put in?

Sometimes you are so busy making up your own conclusions to prove the other party wrong and wanting yourself to be so right that you forget to listen. You forget to digest and understand what the other party is trying to say. 

Thinking requires effort and deep thinking requires more effort than you are willing to invest.

“I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.” - Charlie Munger 

Have you done your homework?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Who should you listen to?

First you should be mindful about your own reasons when asking for an opinion. Did you ask to clarify? Did you ask to find out more? Did you ask to hear what you want to hear? Did you ask because you are fearful? Did you ask because you are excited? These are just some of the questions and context you need to be aware when asking for an opinion because it will affect what you hear.

Then, of course you need to consider the person you are asking. Why did you ask this person? Is this person an expert? How would you evaluate the opinion given? What is the person’s background and how will it affect the way the opinion is given?

Whether it is your personal investment, relationships, or brand campaign; who you ask, why you ask and how you perceive the given opinion affects your decision. 

When the asking and listening is not done carefully and mindfully, it can be a very expensive affair.

Why are you asking?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Why are you an amateur?

According to Robert Greene in his book Mastery, “By nature, we humans shrink from anything that seems possibly painful or overtly difficult. We bring this natural tendency to our practice of any skill. Once we grow adept at some aspect of this skill, generally one that comes more easily to us, we prefer to practice this element over and over. Our skill becomes lopsided as we avoid our weaknesses. Knowing that in our practice we can let down our guard, since we are not being watched or under pressure to perform, we bring to this a kind of dispersed attention. We tend to also be quite conventional in our practice routines. We generally follow what others have done, performing the accepted exercises for these skills. This is the path of amateurs.”

Friday, January 10, 2014

Why are you happy where you are?

I have seen enough of so-called marketers to say this – they don’t see the potential of their own brand and marketing that they dare to risk some money and some brain juice to change the market they wade in. They don’t want to risk any of it to improve their market and thereby improve their market share.

No splashes. I am just happy with what I have. They think.

Wake up. Poke the market. When you realize that you poke it with enough risk, money and brains, it will react. It will make things better for people, and by making things better for people, you make things better for your brand. And your pockets.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Where are you?

In a planning cycle, it’s best to ask where you are and why are you in the position that you are now. I think some brands do not ask these two questions enough before they start on a new planning cycle. The cumulative actions of the past dictated the position you are at now and making adjustments to those plans and actions can determine where you will be next year. 

Why are you here?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What are you saying?

When reviewing what your consultants present, don’t just give a barrage of random opinions. 

When discussing with your consultants, your opinions should be a well thought out point of view. Which means it has elements of analysis, of what is good, what needs improvement, and why. Give examples from other scenarios or cases you have seen or read. Yes, it’s additional work. But it is not that tough in this age of technology. 

Think through what you want to convey. The better your thoughts the better the delivery in the next steps.

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How consistent have you been?

A week into the new year, how consistent have you been with what you have set out to do? Not just personally of course, but with your marketing plans too.

Being consistent allows you to measure your progress. It allows the message you have wanted to drive home with the consumers’ time to seep into their consciousness. Don’t just give up. Make adjustments and be consistent in supporting that goal - whether it is personal or professional goal.

How do you get there?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Want to get more done this year?

First, stick to a routine, especially for things that you have to do daily. I have a set schedule when I will write my blog entries. Like it or not, I sit and write away.

Secondly, learn that there is no perfect place to work. Any place is a good place to work if you set your mind to it. There are many things you can do, while waiting for an appointment. Not everything needs cool jazz in the background and a warm cup of coffee before you can finish your work.

Third, wake up earlier. You can get a lot done just by waking up 30 minutes earlier. You get in to the office earlier when the phones and emails are coming in yet. This precious 30 minutes allows you to get organized and be prepared for the day.

How do you get more done?

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Are you in the arena?

This year, at this moment, choose to be the person in the arena and if you fail, at least fail daring greatly.

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” 

- Theodore Roosevelt