Friday, August 28, 2009

Are you the leader or the one with all the potential to lead?

I witnessed a gentleman roll out of a Ferrari showroom with his brand new black supercar yesterday. The ‘prancing horse’ was reflecting light from all angles. It was a 599 for the record. Not the point.

He pulled out, the engine burbling and immediately got stuck behind an 1976 Datsun travelling at 35mph . There were cars parked on the left for kilometres and there was no opportunity to pass for a while. Frustrating, I would imagine.

At the time, I said to my brother “would you rather be in the Datsun at the front travelling comfortable at 30mph with no one holding you back and you dictating the speed of all the cars that follow or in the Ferrari stuck behind the Datsun?”

It’s not about speed; it’s about potential or ‘propensity’ we thought. The speed is not relevant as that is dictated by the whatever is travelling in front of you, The potential is what is important and in this case the Ferrari is not utilising its full potential no matter how much fun, comfortable and exciting it would be to be sitting in the driver seat.

The true leaders will want to be in the Datsun, the ones with all the potential (who may or may not reach it-it is up to them!) will want to be in the Ferrari.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Learning from Lavoisier

In the late 18th century Antoine Lavoisier discovered through his numerous experiments that when matter changes its state say from a gas to a liquid and back again, there is no ‘weight’ or volume that is lost or gained it in fact remains exactly the same.

The other week I was chatting to a company that was launching their new website. It was a great website, it looked good, seemed to have worthwhile functionality and was easy to navigate through and find what you are looking for. This, conversely was the biggest problem- exactly what was it that their clients where looking for?

This particular company was looking to support the launch of the new site with a second burst of strategy aimed to increase firstly, awareness and secondly visitations to their new site.

I asked them if they had undertaken some research to ascertain what their clients would like to see on their new website. The response was, in short, that they were cutting costs and pushed for time so it was developed in-house with their marketing team. (Whom, by the way, have never bought or had any experience with this company’s products and therefore other than working for the company would never visit the site in question.)

Interesting…As this ‘cutting costs’ exercise only shifted the costs from the commencement of the project to the launch of the project and then furthermore to a second burst as the first burst was not as effective as they had hoped.

Just like Antoine Lavoisier’s discovery, this company was experiencing the marketing and business equivalent of ‘conservation of mass.’ Dollars they attempted to gain in the early stages of the project were in turn lost in the latter stages of the project or put another way, as the project progressed through its stages so too did the dollars- Overall, the total website investment remained unchanged whether the dollars where spent on R&D or a launch campaign (to support the lack of R&D)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Is The Christian Church moving forward?

I recently read that The Christian church is launching its biggest ever Australian marketing campaign. I was enthralled by this news and I decided to do some similar research- not on the campaign itself, which by the way will be incorporating many traditional and new advertising mediums- virals and social media and the like. I wanted to know about The Christian Church and its products, offerings and how they deliver these to a modern community* (their targeted market).

Apparently, the campaign is aimed at the ‘believers’ that do not practice and the ‘non believers’ who obviously do not practice. The part that I found most interesting was the fact that there was limited research and development done into the products and moreover how these products are delivered (logistics). This is where I see the majority of the marketing focus needing to hover- in R&D. There is no real problem with the awareness of The Christian Church, the health is strong and the affiliation with the brand is relatively positive in my opinion.

To employ a campaign to create awareness and promote a presence in the community without consideration of the product and offerings and the way it is delivered is seemingly a waste of time and money. The reason why a conversation fades to an echo is because the products have not been aligned with the audience.

A local shopping complex just finished renovations to align its proposition with the demands of the shopper. It was indicated through R&D that although the demand to shop is still alive as ever, this particular shopping complex failed to meet these demands and therefore its weekly attendance figures were merely a shadow of its former self. 5 years on, developments, renovations and accusations completed , the half million dollar marketing campaign is just about to launch. True story!

One of Australia’s biggest icons have also realised this fact and as a reflection just sold out of the second run of their new 4 cylinder range of cars. Sticking with the automotive theme, a German performance car manufacture has also realised this and starting production of a new ‘clutchless’ manual transmission and as a reflection of this they are experiencing a substantial increase in sales. There are many stories like it and even more with a contrary disposition. The products need to be aligned with the audience.

The moral of the story, it’s a fantastic development to target your audience with new and innovative mediums. To understand the channels that need to be infiltrated to influence the conversation but without offering the right product and service- one that the meets the needs and demands of the audience, it will only fall on deaf ears.

*“We have developed the campaign to promote a presence in the community in which all Australians will consider faith in Jesus as an option, especially in the difficult times we are facing at present,” said Daniel Willis, Bible Society CEO and co-founder.

N.B. This is a post about the marketing campaign not the Christian Faith or Religion in any way. Additionally, I know we are talking about Religion here and there are 2000 years of history and tradition behind it, but we are also talking about moving forward in a modern world and if its not considered it will only be a memory, whether it be in 100 years or 10,000 years. It will struggle to stay in the presence of the modern community.

Monday, August 17, 2009

To spend or not to spend

Marketers are faced with an interesting forecast; they have slimmer budgets because of any number of reasons but mainly due to the turn of the economy and the apprehension it has created. In saying that, some have larger budgets if they are the special few that were outstanding with their strategies and managed to defy odds, increase profits and gain market share.

This is exactly why marketers are faced with an interesting forecast-They are up against unfair, unsure and unpredictable circumstances.

The focus for marketers today is understanding the overall health of their market and their position. A good way to consider this is not how healthy your brand is but how good your immunity and tolerance is.

A brand must be fit and healthy to grow. It is only then that marketers can start considering where to spend.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The unwritten rules

Every country* has unwritten laws/rules.

Of course they have all the generic laws/rules, the usual ones where some will drastically differ and some will be very similar to most other countries*. The majority of rules however are unwritten. You won’t find them in a book, on a wall or etched on a grand stone somewhere. They only exist in the minds of those that inhabit, interact and experience that country*.

The country* operates day to day on these unwritten and rarely spoken rules.

When you visit a country* other than your own you will have a memorable experience. For better or for worse you will be intrigued about how the country* operates and you will talk about it with all the people that care to listen.

In the future these unwritten laws/rules will formulate your memories. It will be your predominant memory of that country* and your experiences with it.

*Country, countries = brand(s)

Now you may re-read if you can find the time.