Category Archives: Marketing

You Don’t Need Marketing.

no-marketing-investments-man-with-no-pants-on-theoutsideviewblog-com-stock-used-moonlightdangetsdressed_bysenshistock-3-at-deviantart-com

You don’t need marketing. No you really don’t.

You also don’t need pants when going outside during the winter.

No you don’t, but having a nice pair of warm pants on might be nice, even if just to stop you from dying.

You will surely fare without any pants for a while, you might even enjoy the cold breeze whistling soothingly around your private parts. At least for a while. But given enough time, probably less time than you thought, you will start to feel the cold and then the pain will arrive. Soon, very soon from that, if you can’t find the right pair of pants, you will die.

Have you ever tried how hard it is to get pants that fit you when you yourself have none on?

Do you really want to get to that situation in the first place?

Do you really want to get caught with no pants on?

No you really don’t need marketing, but do you really want to be without any.

98% of Car Designs Are Crap.

98% of current car designs are crap.

1% of current cars are beautifully designed, but too expensive for 99% of the population.

0,5% of current cars are concept cars that never make it into manufacturing stage, as they are too beautifully designed and probably couldn’t get the ‘must get’ grades from the wind tunnel test.

0,5% of current cars have some hints of mojo in them.

And then there is the new Beetle.

The new Volkswagen Beetle is what the Mini used to be. It is what Mini was back in the days when it was still cool. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the Mini, but it is in a desperate need of something new (and the Mini Convertable just wasn’t what was needed for it to feel fresh again).

I love the new Beetle. We love the new Beetle.

It is just so cool. And yes, cool is good. Cool is in fashion. Cool is the new black.

Beetle is the new Cool.

Amid the extremely unexciting bunch of cars that all look almost the same, the new Volkswagen Beetle manages to  stand out. For now. Lets hope they don’t minify themselves.

What About The VW Beetle Advertising?

Oh, and the new Beetle minisite won the FWA award. Can they do anything wrong?

Lets leave with this. The very cool VW Black Beetle TV commercial with only tid-bit over 5.000.000 hits on Youtube alone.

We also warmly recommend a visit to Youtube for the full Black Beetle experience.

2012. Our Most Amazing Year Yet.

cannon-contentn-for-2012-our-most-amazing-year-yet-theoutsideviewblog-com-original-image-by-enframed-at-deviantartWe went live the 7th of December 2011. That is just 25 days ago.

The support and ensuing results have been amazing and that is, of course, thanks to you who are just reading this article. We have more followers and we have received more requests for being a contributor or a guest writer than we ever thought would be possible in such a short time.

That means, that we made the right decision to start this site. And are doing the right decision by pushing the pedal even more for 2012 to make sure we bring you the quality content you deserve, we want to make, and everybody else expects.

This is still just the beginning and for the 2012 we are rolling out the big guns.

We’ve been alive for 25 days straight. Huh, what an achievement.

During those 25 days we’ve already gathered 103 subscribers, more than we ever though would be possible in a such a short time. With no link building activities or giveaways what so ever, that is truly a miracle.

fireworks-what-is-in-store-in-2012-our-most-amazing-year-yet-the-outsideviewblog-image-by-wdwparksgal_stockSo thank you for the first 25 days and of the first year! And have a happy New Year!

Whether you’re celebrating it at the Time Square, next to that busy coffee parlor in Kioto, in your hut at Chamonix, at the Streets of Delhi or in your friends cozy place somewhere on the rough border territory of Espoo and Vantaa, be sure to take a look at the good things happened during the past year, and then quickly set your gaze towards the future.

Don’t do anything we would do. Have fun and Enjoy!

More Coming in 2012.

For 2012 we have a blast in store for everybody! With clowns, flying elves and maybe, just maybe, the next big thing in show biz.

Or if all that fails, we’ll expand the article warehouse with more witty writings and how-to articles in marketing and design, interesting perspectives on some socio-economic footprints and in-depth looks into modern technological achievements from new gadgets to cloud computing secrets and more. We have just started and the cream of the crop is just to follow.

We also have already listed the help of three new senior level contributors, who will be posting selected articles throughout the year.

It is gonna be an interesting year that 2012. For you and for us.

As Apple would put it: 2012 Is Our Most Amazing Year Yet.

Advice Requested on a Twitter Anomaly. A Reward Given for Advice.

twitter-follow-unfollow-outsideviewblogWe are making a request to both the twitter advocates and advisers, as well as, to the majestic blogosphere.

We need your help to sort out the statistics of our Twitter account: Why do people unfollow as soon as they follow? Is it a new Twitter trend, is it due the nature of our tweets, is it a normal percentage (statistics are below) and we just haven’t noticed it in other occasions, is it something we do, or something totally else? Is there some way it could be avoided?

Any and all help in solving this anomaly is more than appreciated!

The Questions Is: Why Do So Many of the Ones Pressing the Follow Button Unfollow You in the Same Instant?

We been on Twitter with this account from the 1st of October, and with originally created content through this site from the 7th of December.

Based on a quick analysis on our Twitter follower status today (on the 28th of December 2011), a whopping 55% of the ‘followers’ have ‘unfollowed’ us in a weeks time from the original follow-action. To us this number seems huge. Are all of these so called followers just follow-baiters or is the question of something else?

We imagine that many are trying to bait us to follow them, but as newbies in the usage of twitter for blogging purposes (in a non-corporate or strictly personal capacity), we are really amazed at the number of ‘poppers‘ we get to our account. ‘Poppers’ or what ever you want to call the accounts or the persons who try to bait you to follow them. Easy due to the old Twitter culture of ‘if you follow me, I follow you’. A kids play of a habit may we dare to say.

If You Know Or Can Guess the Reason, We Would More Than Appreciate Your Advice!

To us this is a new evolution in Twitter, something we haven’t encountered before in business or personal context. As such, we are extremely intrigued by it, by the ‘anomaly’.

Have you encountered it before? Are all all of those just link baiters? Are we doing something totally wrong with this twitter account? What is your take on the reasons? If you can provide us with any insight, we more than appreciate you comments or direct messages to us.

As A Reward We Commit to Building a Link to Your Page of Choosing.

As a reward for your time and trouble, we will help you to build links and so do our small part in increasing your traffic. We will build a link to the account you mention in your comment in a separate post communicating the resolution to this predicament. Besides this small link building effort, you of course,  deserve our warmest heartfelt thank you! So oncve again, and already in advance, thank you! We give a two month time span to get and create enough content for the new article and for you to help us with the answer.

I Invented the Apple Newsstand App!

features_newsstand_folderThere’s a thing I have to say aloud related to the Apple Newsstand app: I invented it first!

Unfortunately, it is not about what you invent, but when (and how you proceed to implement it).

I discussed about a concept not unlike that of the Apple’s Newsstand paired with iPad already during my first years in college sometime before or after the turn of the millennia, i.e. circa 1998/2001. I was adamant that the way magazines, newspapers and books are read is going to change dramatically with digitalization. My concept consisted of a thin, portable terminal, to where you can ‘order in’ you newspaper and magazine subscriptions, as well, as books. With an automatic update and delivery of these items every time a new issue is published. Sound familiar?

amazon-kindle

courtesy of gadgetgeek.in

My vision of the terminal was much more like to that of Amazon’s kindle though – not Apple’s iPad. And apart from reading books, magazines and newspapers with browsing the internet, I didn’t envision other purposes or uses for the terminal. I saw clearly that the storage and charging area for the terminal would be the entry hall or corridor of the house (in a nice looking wall fixture). From there you could still easily pick up the terminal like you used to pick up the morning paper and easily read it during your breakfast – again as you were used to doing before, with no change in the morning routines. Simple and easy.

Of course, as the case many times is with new inventions, the universities and business entities didn’t see the concept and the related business model viable in any form and the business was left to the start-up ditch.

But finally, here is the time to say to all those in doubt: HAA HAA. I was only app. 10 year ahead the time.

Now after the successful launch of Apple’s Newsstand  we can also take in one of the most important factors in business – timing. On business, timing is everything. It is the be all and end all of any go-to-market strategy. It is the key to whether a new revolutionary invention will truly be a revolution or just a forgotten pile of papers inside the forever-closed cupboard. And it is crucial to the success of a launch – together with how you do it.

Timing – it is everything.

*top picture courtesy of Apple.com

Viral Marketing for Dummies

viral-marketing-guide-theoutsideviewblog

Welcome to the 10 part viral marketing encyclopedia: Viral Marketing for Dummies – the complete resource for viral marketing for dummies like you and me.

Whether you are a seasoned professional or a business student, there are new insights to be gained to viral marketing through the methodological step-by-step dissection we take. In the 10 parts you can find everything from viral marketing definitions and principles to strategies and real world tactics to case examples and analysis, as well as, an empirical study on where all the instructions given are put to a test.

The 10 parts are published one at a time. You can find them below and from the marketing section in this site as they become available. Please enjoy.

Content

01. Foreword for Viral Marketing

02. What is Viral Marketing

03. Three Reasons Why Viral Marketing is Popular

Next: 04 Viral Marketing in Your Marketing Mix

Later: 05 Viral Marketing Benchmarks

Later: 06 Tools For Viral Marketing Success

Later: 07 What is a Successful Viral Marketing Campaign

Later: 08 How to: The Recipe for Viral Marketing Campaign

Later: 09 The Viral Marketing Experiment: Building a Campaign From Scratch And Reporting the Results

Later: 10 Viral Marketing Concluded

We will be accepting suggestions for content (guidelines, suggestions for good benchmarks and case studies, pages to use as a reference, etc.) till the final chapter. Enjoy and spread the word.

Marketing: The Chuck Norris Strategy

WALLPAPER - CHUCK NORRIS

“If your company were to be Chuck Norris, you wouldn’t need to do anything”.

– A Wise Man

  • You wouldn’t need to invest in knowing the market and your customer.
  • You wouldn’t need to invest in researching and producing the solution your customers need when they need it in the way they experience it the best way possible.
  • You wouldn’t need to invest in people designing new ways to catch the interest of your target audience.
  • You would need to invest in reaching your target audience often enough to not only catch their interest, but to keep it and convert it to sales.
  • You wouldn’t need to invest in monitoring the market and the reactions of both your current and potential customers in order to see the effects your actions, and those of your competitors, have had and learn and improve your ways.

No you wouldn’t need to. As Chuck Norris just is. And that is more than any competition can handle.

There is no Chuck Norris here.

The Key to Solving Problems and to the Secret of the World

the-secrte-of-the-world-problem-solving-analysis-consulting-outsideviewblog-com

Solving a business problem is very alike to trying to find the secret of life. Why? Because it all boils down to just one question.

You – like many of us – probably have had days when you are just so close to discovering the secret of life and world. You almost get a grasp of that one idea, which could solve everything, that one mystical secret you see just beyond the edge of your vision. You probably also have experienced a well reasoned and beautifully deducted chain of thought that you yourself, just milliseconds later, proved to be faulty straight from the initial hypothetical thought? At least we have.

Lets for example examine this thought pattern:

a) Why is the earth round?
b) Probably for the same reason all the other planets are round as well.
c) There has to be one force in effect that makes all planets the same shaped – a force that affects all the planets, no matter where they are in the universe.
d) Gravitational pull – that has to be it. All planets are affected by gravity, whether it is the gravitational pull of nearby planets or systems, stars or galaxies. Gravitational pull is still there in some form.
e) Ok, it has to be gravity.
f) But why the round, globe-like spherical form and not a cube, a flat circle or an ellipse?
g) Is a round shape the most natural shape in the world?
h) Could it be the shape everything – energy and mass – is trying to get towards to, a shape everything around us is trying to achieve?
i) Erosion makes things rounder and erosion is also all around us.
j) Is round shape the best shape?
k) Is round shape the shape we all end up to in the end?
l) Oh yeah, earth isn’t round. Dammit.

Unfortunately, often the initial faulty question doesn’t come to you that easily.

Trying to find the solutions to the age-old questions on the universe, life, health and the world is not just quite like, but exactly like, trying to find the answers to a business problem. There is only one way to get the irrefutable truth on what your customers need, is your strategy the correct one or is the product viable for launch. Exactly like there is only one way to find the correct solution to the secret of life, to whom you should marry or how serious the global warming threat really is. There is only one way, and unfortunately it is often very hard to see.

The results from any analysis depend on the hypothesis or the question being the correct one. If you ask the wrong question, you’re bound the get the wrong answer. No matter how brilliant the pattern of analysis and deduction is in-between.

It all boils down to just one question. The question better be the right one.

What is Marketing According to Google and I?

what-is-marketing-theoutsideviewblogThere are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of different definitions for what marketing actually is – this variety in definitions does not differ from any business, technological, cultural, social or even religious practice in the world. We all have our own perspective and take on different practices, as well as, the inherent need to define concepts and so make sense of the world around us.

So how to determine what marketing is? Lets take guidance from two of the most brilliant minds in our times:

Fox Mulder of X-Files said, that there is a truth out there.

Will Ferrel tweeted, that When looking for something in Google, if it is not on the first page of search results then it doesn’t exist and my journey ends there.

I gather that the truth to what marketing is has to lie in those first page results of the Google search on ‘what is marketing’. And if not, I’ll always have my own experiences and thought to draw from.

What is Marketing According to Google?

So what is marketing according to Google search – the one source of all answers worth asking for and the Nr 1. creation of the company whose mission it is to organize the information in the world? A search on Google with ‘what is marketing’ gives 1.230.000.000 results. The 11 first hits give the following answers (and let’s not try to fool ourselves, most of us are just way too lazy to venture past the the first page of search results so, as Will Ferrel said, the universal truth has to lie in those first 11 results):

  1. “Noun: The action or business of promoting and selling products or services”. (http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&client=safari&rls=en&q=marketing&tbs=dfn:1&tbo=u&sa=X&ei=Y8SJTpPuL4TE0QXiq6DtDw&ved=0CB4QkQ4)
  2. Tutor2u.net (http://tutor2u.net/business/marketing/what_is_marketing.asp) gives the following definitions and explanations:
    1. “The all-embracing function that links the business with customer needs and wants in order to get the right product to the right place at the right time”
    2. “The achievement of corporate goals through meeting and exceeding customer needs better than the competition”
    3. “The management process that identifies, anticipates and supplies customer requirements efficiently and profitably”
    4. “Marketing may be defined as a set of human activities directed at facilitating and consummating exchanges”
    5. Which definition is right? In short, they all are. They all try to embody the essence of marketing: Marketing is about meeting the needs and wants of customers;
Marketing is a business-wide function – it is not something that operates alone from other business activities;
Marketing is about understanding customers and finding ways to provide products or services which customers demand”.
  3. From the Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marketing): Marketing is the process used to determine what products or services may be of interest to customers, and the strategy to use in sales, communications and business development. It generates the strategy that underlies sales techniques, business communication, and business developments. It is an integrated process through which companies build strong customer relationships and create value for their customers and for themselves.
  4. According to the marketingteacher.com (http://marketingteacher.com/lesson-store/lesson-what-is-marketing.html): “There are many definitions of marketing. The better definitions are focused upon customer orientation and satisfaction of customer needs.
    1. Marketing is the social process by which individuals and groups obtain what they need and want through creating and exchanging products and value with others. (Kotler)
    2. Marketing is the management process that identifies, anticipates and satisfies customer requirements profitably. (The Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM)). The CIM definition (in common with Barwell’s definition of the marketing concept) looks not only at identifying customer needs, but also satisfying them (short-term) and anticipating them in the future (long-term retention).
    3. The right product, in the right place, at the right time, at the right price (Adcock)
    4. This is a snappy and realistic definition that uses McCarthy’s Four Ps: Marketing is essentially about marshaling the resources of an organization so that they meet the changing needs of the customer on whom the organization depends. (Palmer). This is a more recent and very realistic definition that looks at matching capabilities with needs.
    5. Marketing is the process whereby society, to supply its consumption needs, evolves distributive systems composed of participants, who, interacting under constraints – technical (economic) and ethical (social) – create the transactions or flows which resolve market separations and result in exchange and consumption. (Bartles). This definition considers the economic and social aspects of marketing.
  5. The tenonline.org gives a descriptive and easy to understand definition of marketing with especially entrepreneurs in mind (http://tenonline.org/art/mm1/9301.html). To cut it short the punch line is: “marketing is everything you do to place your product or service in the hands of potential customers”
  6. At number six on the search results is one description from about.com (http://inventors.about.com/od/fundinglicensingmarketing/f/Marketing.htm): “Marketing is an activity. Marketing activities and strategies result in making products available that satisfy customers while making profits for the companies that offer those products”.
  7. About.com occupies also the seventh position (http://marketing.about.com/od/smallbusinessmarketing/a/whatismarketing.htm), and on that they say: “Marketing is the process of teaching consumers why they should choose your product or service over your competitors; if you are not doing that you are not marketing. It’s really that simple! The key is finding the right method and defining the right message to use to educate and influence your consumers”.
  8. The first video on the list is at number eight. The philosophically toned, maybe a bit lengthy video from the ‘Gypsy Bandito’ discusses marketing from various angles. It starts by explaining the concept of the market and moves onwards to the concept of marketer, etc. before discussing the various aspects and perspectives of marketing itself.
  9. An Article at the MarketingProfs (http://www.marketingprofs.com/2/whatismarketing.asp) ends by defining marketing the following way: “Marketing is, in fact, the analysis of customers, competitors, and a company, combining this understanding into an overall understanding of what segments exist, deciding on targeting the most profitable segments, positioning your products, and then doing what’s necessary to deliver on that positioning”.
    1. Max Kalehoff at attentionmax.com (http://www.attentionmax.com/marketing) answers the question of what is marketing by: “Marketing is the art and science of creating, delighting and keeping customers, while making a profit and building enterprise value. Marketing integrates, formally or informally, many disciplines and every organizational function. Marketing should embrace the highest ethical standards, respect the environment, and strive to make the world a better place”.
    2. Last, but not least, the last entry on the first page search results, the davedolak.com uses the definition of the American Marketing Association from 2007: “Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

    I agree with many things said and described, even though the more theoretical takes by the likes of Bartles or Palmer don’t really get my support. Their definitions are just way too complicated to act as any kind of a guideline for any type of activity in any type of forum outside of the educational institution.

    On a side note, a detail that is highlighted a bit differently in the article of Max Kalehoff, a seeminly normal guy like many of us, is that he emphasizes that an organization should always define what marketing means for it, in order for the marketing function and all the related functions to work effectively. I agree with that with 100%, even though it often means that the end result will not live up to the full potential of what the marketing as a practice can or should encompass.

    What is Marketing. My Take.

    As with any practice, marketing has a myriad of different theoretical takes on what it is and what it should be. Working with marketing the past decade in national and multinational companies has let me evidence the many different views the CEOs and companies have on it. The most common observation being that marketing is usually given the function of advertising or promotions. This is true even when the top executives would speak of the larger role of marketing. On theoretical level the larger role is spoken of, but in reality and in practice, advertising or the promotions part of Kotler’s 4P’s (or of the modern 7P’s) is more often than not the sole function the marketing department is given. That function and role is quite different to how I see marketing.

    How I see what marketing is, is very close to the key definitions on the first page of Google search. I would also argue, that it is very close to how the leading customer focused marketing organizations are seeing it. As always, the meaning behind all the easy to understand, key definitions is the same, just the wording differs.

    As there is always room for one more interpretation of the world around us, for one more definition for marketing, here is my take on it: Marketing is figuring out what needs to be done in order for You to sell more and then doing it.

    You can always try to prove me wrong.

The Banana Effect

the-banana-effect-retail-chiquita-private-labeltheoutsideviewblog

Small things can have big effects. A smile to a girl living at the neighbor ends up to a loving marriage with two kids, a carelessly dropped banana peel on the street results in a massive brain damage for a passerby, or a cancelled plane ticket saves you from a fatal crash – the butterfly effects of the real life.

If a movement of a butterfly’s wings can result in a tornado at the other side of the world, can a small decision at a retail store result in a bankruptcy for a multinational company? In the real life? That’s the question I raised after a near store experience.

The Incident

Today, on a quick routine pop-up to the small convenience store around the corner I fell head first into a banana – incident.

On the store shelf were the standard Chiquita bananas you can find in many, if not most convenience stores, but only the price tag and a scale number* for the usual second variant here – the Fair Trade bananas. Going around the corner to ask the sales clerk what is the scale number I should use, I got the somewhat bored ‘why are you asking’ look accompanied with the following discussion:

Me: “What’s the scale number I should use to weight the bananas? I noticed there was only a price for the Fair Trade ones, but You only had Chiquita bananas on the shelf”?
The sales person: “Chiquita bananas don’t have a scale number in the system”.
Me: “Aren’t the Chiquita Bananas much cheaper?
The Sales Person: “Well, not that much”.
Me: “Should I use this number then or should you go and change the scale settings?”
The Sales Person: “Well, we can give a small discount on the still”.

And that was it for the discussion. I got the small discount, walked out, and looked back at the incident with some confusion.

The encounter got me thinking about the sales of Chiquita. And of course about the correct course of action for better customer service and experience, but that’s a topic for another occasion.

 

The Vicious Circle of Bananas

If given a bit of lenience for this though pattern of causal effects and time, the seemingly small decision to not put a scale tag for the Chiquita bananas could have an extremely adverse effect on the business performance of Chiquita.

Why?
Because,

The sales for Chiquita bananas go for the Fair Trade bananas

      = Measured lower sales for Chiquita and better sales for Fair Trade in the system
      = Poor results in retailer business and assortment review for Chiquita
      = Chiquita loses space and assortment

= Chiquita sales decline, profits go down and people get fired.

And all of this due to a small missing scale tag.

Of course, or at least hopefully, the end result will not be as grand or menacing as the cause-effect relationship would suggest, but it highlights the importance of having the details correct at the store level. The much advertising saying of ‘retail is detail’ proves to be true again. Even with the banana effect.

 

Who’s to Blame on the Downfall of Chiquita?

Most of the time the simple reason why the seemingly small things are left undone is due to people not fully understanding the impact their decisions have on the business – whether it is the placement of goods on the shelf, the price markings on the product or the missing scale numbering, if talking about it in the retail store context. And I’m not saying that there aren’t ‘more important things’ to do at the store level, there always are, but still all things, no matter how small, have to be done at some point – and if these things have an effect on sales, preferably done sooner than later. As a previous boss of mine said, “it’s a matter of career choices”, and in retail one has chosen to get into to the details – always.

Who’s to blame on the upcoming downfall of Chiquita then? The management of the retail chain, the management, the management, the management. And communication. Of the management. Don’t blame the banana. Blame the management.

That’s the Banana Effect. You can always try to prove me wrong.