Thursday, 17 January 2008

Are you a Pico-Marketer?

I recently stumbled upon a couple of ex-colleagues, Roger Warner and Stan Woods who are now running a Marketing/PRgroup called Velocity.

There was a great article the other day on their blog on Pico branding which is well worth a read (as is the rest of their blog). The net of it is that today's marketer needs to focus on participation in the little projects as well as the big mega-bucks corporate campaigns. In other words it's about capturing peoples interest via the "new" channels that they will be passing by - blogs, Twitter, Flickr, YouTube, FaceBook etc, and using that to drive them towards some of your more polished content. Here's a quote from their article

Pico-branding is not about building grand audience destinations (like the mega-bucks web site of yesteryear), because if you spend lots of time and money building it there’s no longer a guarantee that they’ll come (there’s every chance they’ll be polishing their Facebook profile instead).

No, Pico-branding is all about building smaller, more discrete stopping points across all of these new online outlets, with the aim of capturing your audience’s attention and either complimenting (and informing) what they’re doing or diverting their interest towards a destination that you do own (ie, something from your Mega-brand bucket of work).

A good analogy is with the board game Monopoly. Everyone knows it’s a bad strategy to invest in only one area of the board. Too random and not enough traffic. A better way to generate cash is to buy lots of smaller properties at all of the places that people visit regularly, as well as investing in the big stuff: so, collectively, a bunch of houses on Whitechapel and the Old Kent Road can add a great deal of strategic, money-making value to those expensive hotels on Park Lane.

I think this is an area that we need to focus more attention on . As reported in Wired some while ago  - "Attention has become the scarce resource of the information economy". While we continue to invest in large scale activities - large events, plush web presences, etc let's spend a little more time figuring out how we can attract people to these investments. The mantra of "be where the people are looking" has been espoused for some while, but often this only translates to a plan to increase Google search word investments. Don't get me wrong - buying Google words is a powerful tool and warrants a significant part of our spend. But there is much more that we can do, and much of it requires focus more than it does cash.

My own experimentation in this space with this blog has been quite instructive (for me at least!). I use Google Analytics (a free tool) to analyse the traffic that is coming to my blog. I'm frankly astonished by the huge amounts of insight it provedes about the audience coming to my site and where they're coming from.

In an effort to drive up traffic I've tried a few things. From my analysis here are some personal tips:

  • Blog comments drive visitors. Use Google to find a few Blog sites that have a broad readership in your subject area. Comment in those blogs and link back to your own content. Technorati can also help here to find the sites with the greatest influence. This can drive significant traffic, provided the comments you make are relevant and authentic. This has been the biggest contributor of new visitors to my site.
  • Social Bookmarking. By tagging entries appropriately in, Digg and other social bookmarking sites, I was pleasantly surprised to see an uptick in visitors coming from Delicious in particular.
  • Twitter. Personally I'm not a serious user of Twitter. I haven't figured yet how I can use it to add value to what I do, rather than act as another interruption. But I know many people are passionate about it. Signing up with Twitter and "following" a few people who are interested in some of the same areas as myself has also brought quite a few new readers to my site.
  • Linking all your activities. By trying to have my mail closing, my linked-in profile profile, and any other elements of my online presence all point towards the blog allows additional traffic to be driven with no incremental effort.
  • Keep at it. If I don't blog for a few days I can see the traffic start to tail off. So frequency is clearly critical

I guess I should also do something on Facebook but simply haven't got around to it yet.

Of course this is only the beginning of the journey. Having brought people to your page you need to provide a reason for them to come back. But that's a topic for another day.

What has worked for you? Please share.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Advice to all Marketers - Do it Wrong Quickly!

I was reading and interview today with Mike Moran, the author of the Book "Doing it Wrong Quickly". Mike also writes the Biznology blog that I regularly follow.

This particular quote resonated with me

"Marketing has traditionally been a high-risk endeavor. If you tape a series of TV commercials and buy the time up front, and then the ads bomb, it's a disaster. You don't undertake that kind of risk lightly. Instead, you constantly try to mitigate that risk by testing spots with focus groups, getting buy-in with all the key execs, hiring consultants to provide feedback, and making sure you have the best minds in the ad agency working on doing something that gets attention.

Succeeding in marketing on the Internet, however, in many ways requires the exact opposite behavior. You can write the copy for a paid search ad this morning, try it out on Google, and see by lunch time that no on is clicking. It cost you a couple of hours and a few dollars and then you tweak the copy and try again. You're not stuck with your decisions, they cost very little, and you know immediately whether they are working. Internet marketing demands that you experiment to get the best possible outcome.

You can imagine, however, that years of avoiding risk can make this kind of change a difficult proposition. Many marketers avoid risk automatically without knowing why, so it's wrenching for them to change their behavior. In the book, I spend a couple of chapters working through marketers' personal objections, and objections they'll run into when they try to float this approach in the rest of their organization."

However anyone working in a large marketing  organisation will know it's difficult to take risks. We try to control our Brand message with a religious fervour (quite understandably), but as a result end up with a Brand image that is not all that we want it to be.

So here's the challenge: How do we take more risks in our marketing communications without damaging the positive aspects of our brand image?

Friday, 4 January 2008

50 New B2B Marketing Blogs

blogger-publishing-in-progress I've written before about how we as marketers need to stay fresh on the latest new thinking in B2B Marketing. Of course the world of blogs is an obvious way to do this and when used in conjunctions with a decent RSS reader it can be done really easily.

Those nice people at Marketo have just compiled a list of another 50 new B2B Marketing blogs bringing their total up to 138.

Even better, they've even published the OPML to make it even easier to follow all of these in one easy go.

Please let me know which of these blogs you find particularly useful.

Thursday, 3 January 2008

Ring Out the Old, Ring In the New


I was reading extracts from the Tapscott and Williams' fabulous Wikinomics book just before Christmas (Chapter 1 is available for free online), and much of it has been on my mind ever since.

Wikinomics does a great job (in my opinion) of setting out the difference between the old corporate business model and the new collaborative model which is evolving. I've tried to paraphrase the key points below about the key attributes of the different models:

Old World

  • Knowledge is Power (It's your key corporate or career differentiator - so protect it all costs)
  • Hierarchical Management Structures (use organisation charts to to define teams - and expand to matrix management when that becomes too rigid)
  • Command and Control management system. Heavy emphasis on measurement and reporting, especially when the going gets tough)
  • Bestowed authority. (I'm the manager, so I know best.)
  • Routes to success
    • Employ brighter people than your competitors
    • Protect intellectual capital
    • Focus on customers
    • Think global, act local
    • Execution excellence

New World

  • Community is Power. A united community will be stronger than any individual
  • Collaboration. Openly sharing the knowledge we have and collaborating to apply that knowledge will deliver greater innovation
  • Self-Organisation. Teaming together because we buy into a common vision allows us to reach outside of the conventional hierarchical structure.
  • Earned Authority. Authority comes from the value you contribute,not from the rank you've been assigned
  • Routes to Success
    • Being Open
    • Peering
    • Sharing
    • Acting Globally

I particularly like these 4 suggested routes to success in the New World, and will aspire to apply them to my behaviour at work in 2008.

Happy New Year - I look forward to working and learning with you in 2008.