TGIF Random Ruminations

“Have a take, don’t suck” is one of my favorite quips from Jim Rome. If you are even mildly a fan of his over the top in your grill sports talk radio show, you will recognize the phrase.

I use it because as a “face to the screen and finger on the pulse” digital professional, I see most everything that comes down the pike. Of course as soon as I say that I have missed 3 new-new trends …..

In any case, my point is that at times I question whether I really have anything incremental of value to add here. Someone said, it’s all been said before, right?

Value is the critical and oft overlooked component in the “hey it’s cool, check it out!” conversation, which of course adds value cuz it cuts through the clutter and garners you that illustrious15 minutes of fame Warhol envisioned.

Last year I attended the annual In-Store Marketing Expo Conference and one of the key seminar’s Retailing 2015: New Frontiers, a report released by PricewaterhouseCoopers and TNS Retail Forward highlighted the top game changing trends.

It resonated with me that the new-new thing, trends (fads or otherwise) will come faster and end sooner in this age in which technology accelerates the pace of information dissemination. Stay close and be ready to act or The Matrix Meets Boiler Room starring Boy Scouts!

Granted there is no more exciting time in marketing, unless you like to juggle knives, than the current  environment which applauds companies and brands that are truly authentic.

However, here is an interesting conversation pricepoint…

I wonder why I thought that Apple had an outstanding social media strategy? (when in fact it’s quite the opposite)

Jobs, fake or not, definitely abides by an old school, competitive, close to the vest, command and control, information is power mantra. However, it occurred to me that the reason it appeared that Apple was employing a successful social conversation with its constituents was because of the extremely, bordering on obsessive, loyal fan boy (and girl) following.

Could it be that Apple as a culture simply listens more effectively through traditional/conventional business communication mechanisms? That combined with the key success factor of moving quickly to actualize those implicit and explicit customer needs. It’s the combination that is crucial in my book. HHhmmm.

Well, I certainly hope that the new media technologies will not overwhelm the CMO who has less than 2 years to make an impact into being distracted by the shiny new communications tactics and forget “it’s the product (or service) stupid”.

In the final analysis, being a thought leader to me at least, means converting the insights into actionable plans and getting things done… I am a huge fan of the most recent IBM campaign, “Stop Talking, Start Doing!

So, back to work at finding those nuggets of insight to implement for clients….and time to refresh my lens with some of that groovy non-alcoholic monitor spray.

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2 thoughts on “TGIF Random Ruminations

  1. I agree with you about Jobs and apple, but I think the biggest part of their success is their hiring process. They screen applicants that are knowledgeable and seem to have a passion for the brand. This is very similar to what Starbucks was doing for a few years, but their growth was so quick that there was a lack of quality control on hiring new employees. The bottom line is apple sells the “experience” and does it very well. A lot of companies try to imitate their system but are unsuccessful because they fail to adopt the system as a whole and only imitate what they see as being successful.

    Rather than seeing the company as a whole, managers at apple have turned to “core” competencies, “critical” resources, and “key” success factors. In fact, it has become a far more central component of competitive advantage than most realize. Apple’s strategy is important because discrete activities often affect one another. A sophisticated sales force, for example, confers a greater advantage when the company’s product embodies premium technology and its marketing approach emphasizes customer assistance and support. A production line with high levels of model variety is more valuable when combined with an inventory and order processing system that minimizes the need for stocking finished goods, a sales process equipped to explain and encourage customization, and an advertising theme that stresses the benefits of product variations that meet a customer’s special needs. Such complementarities are pervasive in strategy. Although some strategy among activities is generic and applies to many companies, the most valuable fit is strategy-specific because it enhances a position’s uniqueness and amplifies trade-offs. Check out Michael Porter’s article in the Harvard Business review on “What is Strategy?” 1996.

    Great blog, keep it up.

  2. Randy,

    You raise some great points. I think that Apple figured out a long time ago that marketing from a soap box was not going to reach their target consumer. They opened up a two-way dialogue with the early adopters and brand advocates and provided resources for these evangelists to effectively spread the word.

    When you speak about authenticity, I feel that Apple created the most viable form of marketing and that is a quality product. Brand loyalty will still be earned over time through consistent positive experiences and engagements with a product, service or company. As Jeff Hicks from Crispin Porter + Bogusky said, “We think the future of advertising is great products that have marketing embedded in them.”

    Apple consistently delivers incredible product innovation! When they do advertise they focus on utility, and how their products can make our lives better.

    The internet has helped us refine our bullshit meter. A brand or company can not easily hide its flaws. Engaging with the consumer through quality content, authentic communication, and a convenient platform to do so, has helped brands like Apple.

    “It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” Steve Jobs

    By listening to the consumer (engagement) through digital ethnography (what the people are sharing) brands can gather rich consumer insights and begin a collaborative marketing effort that fulfills a true need. Apple has done this time and time again.

    “We don’t ask consumers what they want. They don’t know. Instead we apply our brain power to what they need, and will want, then make sure we’re there, ready.”
    Akio Morita, Co-Founder, Sony Corporation

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