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18 posts from September 2010

Why all marketing communication has to be driven by the issues challenging the audience

Marketing communication that doesn't help somebody who's trying to resolve an issue doesn't get heard or read. News from the marketer is dead meat. If you can't address the issues pre-existing for the audience, you can't win their attention.

Marketing (UK) magazine blog 'Reinventing Marketing': The end of retailer power, 2010-Sep-22, by Alan Mitchell

I have now talked about two key mega-trends spawned by the buyer-centric revolution 1) an ongoing reconfiguration of marketing communications around the decision-making needs and processes of the buyer, rather than around the brand manager’s messaging priorities. Marketers’ new imperative is to provide information and communication that buyers think are worth searching out and paying attention to, and 2) the end of retailer power. Both of them are big, unavoidable, systemic and long term Oh, and by the way, they’re just the beginning.

Making the future where you want to be

Most organizations set out to fix a problem, not to remake the future. As I'm working on the Houston Summit, I'm thinking how different these approaches are. 100929c

One innovative Houston organization that is working create a new way of behaving is MyCityRocks. I just got the invitation for their "Rock for Houston's Youth Concert," and I'm just in awe. Learn more about the concert, and learn more about Cliff's philosophy of corporate sponsorship below.  

MyCityRocks Executive Director Cliff Kurtzman: order for an organization to truly realize the full potential of being a good corporate citizen, it must first develop a strategy that will align charitable giving activities with long-term corporate objectives and a vision of the desirable society of the future. There are a wide variety of options that an organization can use in pursuit of its philanthropic objectives. ...

The corporation should start in a proactive manner by attempting to identify which charitable causes might help shape a future that will benefit the company, and by determining the appropriate mix of each of the above four options to be used in each instance.

Ideas always have good company. See a great idea? Look for its fabulous neighbors.

Steven Johnson has developed a new way to describe possibilities. He says that next to every idea is the next possible idea. If you see a great idea, all you have to do is look around, and you'll find plenty more.

Wall Street Journal: The Genius of the Tinkerer: The secret to innovation is combining odds and ends, 2010-Sep-25, by Steven Johnson

The adjacent possible is a kind of shadow future, hovering on the edges of the present state of things, a map of all the ways in which the present can reinvent itself. The strange and beautiful truth about the adjacent possible is that its boundaries grow as you explore them. Each new combination opens up the possibility of other new combinations. Think of it as a house that magically expands with each door you open.

Making your customer database come alive

Many companies keep a customer database, but few of them keep that database alive. Names are dropped in never to be updated. Databases which are driven by transactions are a little better, but transaction data can be very misleading when trying to commmunicate with a person.

In order to stay close to your customers, you must build a database based on real human-to-human interactions. Salespeople do this instinctively, but we may have to do a lot of planning to make sure that the company's main database reflects the customer's interaction with all the people in the company. The main challenge is not technology, but training.

FutureLab Marketing & Strategy Innovation Blog: Ernan Roman on Voice of Customer Marketing, 2010-Sep-21, by Denise Lee Yohn

...there’s no database that is particularly accurate, whether it’s a customer database or a transactional database. So therefore we need a higher level of intelligence and accuracy so we can target and communicate effectively.  That can only come from primary, first-person-generated information. So step two is to engage people to give information so we can profile a tremendous amount of information about their expectations and preferences about their communication so that from a data-capture point of view we have the machine, the data to drive the use of this information.

On being the voice in the wilderness with others saying real marketing is about attending to customers

Yes, yes, saying that real marketing is about focusing on customers and not on non-customers makes one feel like the voice in the wilderness. At least I'm not alone in the wilderness... I'm going to order this Jaffe book right away.

RIA Unplugged: An Open Challenge to Chefs, 2010-Sep-13, Ellen Malloy

I am feeling as though I'm having a harder time actually painting the picture of what restaurants "should" do. I allude to focusing on current customers and clarifying the brand and image.  And I will forever contend that restaurants that are vague or try to be something they are not (mostly this is fine-diners trying to be casual spots) generally end up in a no-man's land of restaurant purgatory. But I am not sure I gave anyone any specific to-dos.

So I was happy when I found Flip the Funnel: How to Use Existing Customers to Gain New Ones by Joseph Jaffe. Because in that book, I found a to-do and even a challenge.

The Glance for Sept. 20, 2010: John Seely Brown on power of conferences to spur new innovative insights

John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, and Land Davison: The Power of Pull, 2010:

We need serendipitous encounters with people because of the importance of the ideas that these people carry with them and the connections they have. People carry tacit knowledge. ... As edges arise every more quickly, all of us must not only find the people who carry this new knowledge but get to know them well enough (and provide them with sufficient reciprocal value) that they're comfortable trying to share it with us. This helps to explain a contemporary pattern taking place in new areas of human endeavor: Conferences spring up to accommodate the desire of participants to share stories about their experiences with like-minded people.