Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Great Quotes that apply to Marketing

These two quotes are very appropriate in today's world.

The first by Einstein....

"If you can't explain something to a six year old, you don't fully understand it"

The second attributed to Twain, Cicero and Voltaire...

"I would have written you a shorter letter if I had more time"

To write the "short letter" in marketing to address the ADD issue discussed previously, you really have to know your products and your target audiences.  When you do, you know which words to use to illicit the desired response.  Words are expensive, you can only use a few (see bill board marketing discussion below).  Therefore, by knowing what will excite your target audience and fully understanding the intersection of your product and them, you will be able to create the terse, salient messages required today.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

If SPs become a dumb pipe everybody loses

If service providers become a dumb pipe, everybody loses – even Google.

The answer – Network APIs

Since the worldwide web took off over a decade ago we’ve all witnessed and benefited from constant innovation bring us new services and new applications.  Imagine life without web-based maps and directions or watching videos on your mobile device. Much of this innovation was a result of higher and higher bandwidth to each home and office.

Facilities based service providers do the heavy lifting of building and maintaining a network.  The heaviest lifting occurs in the outside plant part of the network.  Whether copper, coax or fiber the outside plant needs to withstand extremes from the cold of winters to the burning suns of summers.

Over-the-top providers (OTTP) have received essentially a free ride over the SPs networks including the high speed core, metro and the access networks.  OTTP have been benefiting from the build out and upgrades the SPs are investing in.  SPs are struggling to generate any-play bundles that add value, increase revenues and margins and attract and retain customers.  OTTP want the network to be a free dumb pipe.  However, SPs fear is becoming this dumb pipe.

Up to now, everyone has benefited from the constant increase in affordable bandwidth.  SPs have continuously invested in network equipment to remain competitive and to reduce OPEX.  OTTP providers have utilized this increase in bandwidth with a constant stream of innovated applications with an increasing amount of video and rich media.  They’ve benefited with an increase in number of users thus revenues.  Consumers have also benefited from the SPs and OTTP investments by enjoying an exponential increase in compelling and useful applications.

History – SPs continue to invest – everyone wins.

SP revenues go up
SP’s network investment goes up
Bandwidth goes up
Innovation engine continues
OTTP revenues go up
Consumers benefit from new compelling applications and services

If the OTTP get their way and the SPs do in fact become a dumb pipe everyone loses.  If SPs are an electric-like bandwidth utility with fixed margins their infrastructure investment will become flat or will decrease.  Equipment will be depreciated over 20 to 30 years like Class 5 PSTN voice switches were in the past.  Bandwidth will remain flat with best effort transport only. OTTP will suffer because the end user experience will become “hit or miss” and consumer will abandon sites and application with poor performance. The bandwidth hungry innovation engine will slow to a crawl.  Consumers will be impacted with a sudden halt to new cool applications and services that improve their lives.

If SPs become a dumb pipe – everyone loses

SP’s revenues become flat or decrease
SP investments go flat or decrease
Bandwidth remains flat
Innovation slows
OTTP revenues become flat or decrease
Consumer do not benefit from new cool applications and services

The Solution

SP’s need to create value to get the OTTs to want to pay them.  A network API strategy properly implemented is the solution.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Small Business Marketing Dilemma

For the small business cash is king.  So when things are going well, you don't feel the need to spend cash on marketing.  Yet, when things are not going well, you don't want to spend cash on marketing.

Perhaps the answer is to spend cash on marketing when things are going well to keep the pipeline filled.

ADD is a Global Phenomena

ADD or attention deficit disorder has been widely discussed at the latest condition affecting young people today.  It seems that all childhood issues ranging from misbehavior to poor grades is attributed to ADD.  Perhaps it's the manufacturers of Ridilin(R) that are driving this epidemic.  Let's not belittle those that suffer from some maladay, rather let's adopt the concept of ADD in modern day life and how it impacts marketing today.

ADD is a global phenomena.  It's not limited to the US and advanced western economies.  People around the globe are overwhelmed with information and advertising and are awash in choices.  Whether it's a the beer store, the supermarket or on the TV, global consumers have more options today then even one year ago.  

The causes of ADD are many.  We can point to the proliferation of texting and twitter for example.  We communicate with 140-160 character messages that would make english teachers cringe.  Our verbal vocabulary has expanded to include "words" like OMG, LOL, .  These acronyms have even entered into our verbal conversations.  

What does this mean for marketers in the 21st century?  The answer is what I call “billboard marketing”.

“I would have written you a shorter letter if I had more time”

This quote in various versions has been attributed to Twain, Cicero and Voltaire.  It doesn’t matter who actually said it first. What matters is it defines the role of marketeers today.  

To get your message across to overwhelmed consumers requires marketeers to sharpen their pencils and spend the time to write the shortest letter possible.  These “letters”, whether documents, presentations or videos, need to get the key message(s) across quickly.  The apt metaphor is the billboard.   

Billboard marketeers need to get their message across to drivers in less than a second.  Think of driving down the highway at 65 mph and glancing at a billboard.  You don’t have time to read lines of text.  You have time to grasp an image and a key phrase.  That’s why billboard marketing is the ultimate form of messaging.  Creators must boil the value proposition over and over again until they have it terse to the nth degree.  Figure 1 shows some examples that illustrate this point.


Figure 1
Examples of Effective Billboards
Source: Google Images

These examples are effective since the leave the view with a clear message of the value of the product.    Looking at the first on, we see a tasty hot dog and are asked whether we love dogs.  If we do, we leave with the action to think Pink’s.  The second example hits the viewer with a simple message:  Natural, a pineapple and Skyy Vodka.  As you can see each of these takes advantage of the number 3.  

Call 978 992 2203 to discuss how billboard marketing can work for you