In most things, when you want to push to the next level there is usually pain. Whether you are fighting for that promotion, debating the reasons why your marketing budget should be increased or educating your ignoramus colleagues on the process of branding; pain will be there waiting for you. Don’t look for happiness there. Not during those moments. Unless, of course you like pain. When you are in pain to push to the next level, it’s the price you need to pay. You have to tell yourself that. It’s tough to find happiness when you are in pain, so don’t […]
Of course there are principles of marketing and principles of communicationsthat you have to adhere to. But using them as a checklist does not ensure a successful campaign. Apply the right knowledge, keep executing, taking note of what went right and what could be better and improving it the next time you execute will inch you closer to a successful campaign. You, of course know that already. The challenge is keeping yourself on the right track. How do you make a better plan?
Sometimes you are so busy making up your own conclusions to prove the other party wrong and wanting yourself to be so right that you forget to listen. You forget to digest and understand what the other party is trying to say. Thinking requires effort and deep thinking requires more effort than you are willing to invest. “I never allow myself to have an opinion on anything that I don’t know the other side’s argument better than they do.” – Charlie Munger Have you done your homework?
First you should be mindful about your own reasons when asking for an opinion. Did you ask to clarify? Did you ask to find out more? Did you ask to hear what you want to hear? Did you ask because you are fearful? Did you ask because you are excited? These are just some of the questions and context you need to be aware when asking for an opinion because it will affect what you hear. Then, of course you need to consider the person you are asking. Why did you ask this person? Is this person an expert? How […]
According to Robert Greene in his book Mastery, “By nature, we humans shrink from anything that seems possibly painful or overtly difficult. We bring this natural tendency to our practice of any skill. Once we grow adept at some aspect of this skill, generally one that comes more easily to us, we prefer to practice this element over and over. Our skill becomes lopsided as we avoid our weaknesses. Knowing that in our practice we can let down our guard, since we are not being watched or under pressure to perform, we bring to this a kind of dispersed attention. […]
I have seen enough of so-called marketers to say this – they don’t see the potential of their own brand and marketing that they dare to risk some money and some brain juice to change the market they wade in. They don’t want to risk any of it to improve their market and thereby improve their market share. No splashes. I am just happy with what I have. They think. Wake up. Poke the market. When you realize that you poke it with enough risk, money and brains, it will react. It will make things better for people, and by […]
In a planning cycle, it’s best to ask where you are and why are you in the position that you are now. I think some brands do not ask these two questions enough before they start on a new planning cycle. The cumulative actions of the past dictated the position you are at now and making adjustments to those plans and actions can determine where you will be next year. Why are you here?
When reviewing what your consultants present, don’t just give a barrage of random opinions. When discussing with your consultants your opinions should be a well thought out point of view. Which means it has elements of analysis, of what is good, what needs improvement, and why. Give examples from other scenarios or cases you have seen or read. Yes, it’s additional work. But it is not that tough in this age of technology. Think through what you want to convey. The better your thoughts the better the delivery in the next steps. What are your thoughts?
A week into the new year, how consistent have you been with what you have set out to do? Not just personally of course, but with your marketing plans too. Being consistent allows you to measure your progress. It allows the message you have wanted to drive home with the consumers’ time to seep into their consciousness. Don’t just give up. Make adjustments and be consistent in supporting that goal – whether it is personal or professional goal. How do you get there?
First, stick to a routine, especially for things that you have to do daily. I have a set schedule when I will write my blog entries. Like it or not, I sit and write away. Secondly, learn that there is no perfect place to work. Any place is a good place to work if you set your mind to it. There are many things you can do, while waiting for an appointment. Not everything needs cool jazz in the background and a warm cup of coffee before you can finish your work. Third, wake up earlier. You can get a […]
This year, at this moment, choose to be the person in the arena and if you fail, at least fail daring greatly. “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do […]
If you did not complete what you said you would complete, perhaps you missed some of these ingredients. “I never could have done what I have done without the habits of punctuality, order, and diligence, without the determination to concentrate myself on one subject at a time.” – Charles Dickens What will you do next year?
I have sat through many meetings like this. Perhaps your experience can confirm it? The Parkinson’s Law of Triviality – “The time spent on any item of the agenda will be in inverse proportion to the sum (of money) involved.” How much time did you spend?
I think it is important to be conscious of the “Law of Unintended Consequences”in all your plans and planning. It is also important to be aware that there are 3 possible outcomes. The first – it is possible that you will get a positive beneficial outcome. The second – it is possible to get a negative harmful outcome. And the third, a contradictory consequence than of what you intended. This is especially true when you try to manage or manipulate a complex system. I think your market is a complex system of consumers and competitors. There is a chance that […]
There is a time to follow the rules. And there is a time to break them. In order to do both and be good at it, takes experience. It means you need to learn the rules, the basis of how and why it works. Then find the wisdom through experience to break them and make them work for you. When you do that you create the foundation of new rules. But first learn the rules. Who breaks the rules?
If you are chasing your dream and making a life for yourself, maybe late nights are worth it. That’s the price to pay. Yes, of course with the yadda yadda work-life balance conversation thrown in. Truth is – who knows what is your balance? And the price you are willing to pay for the life that you want. No one knows that and understands it. Only you do. If you planned well and did not waste time in the day, and it takes the nights to complete what will help you crawl towards your dream, it’s up to you to […]
Perhaps a good place to start is to see what makes you weak. Start to recognize the things and situations that have a detrimental effect on you. Some of us knows this well. Others choose to ignore it. Those who know and stay away from the things that makes them weak gets stronger. What is your kryptonite?
There are still two weeks left to the year but most would be cutting themselves some slack. The common excuse being, “it’s been a long year.” Have you given up on the year before the year has given up on you? Two weeks is a long time. It’s never too late to start on the project you planned for this year. Make a last minute dash for it. Games have been won because teams did not give up on the dying seconds. What reasons do you need?
One way to become better at what you do is to unlearn certain things. Across time as you age, you would have picked up rubbish that weighs you down. It could be an uncompromising way of looking at things, recognized fears that you have done nothing about or even a dogmatic ritual you do. Once you are aware what the rubbish you need to unload, the challenge is to be able to execute the dumping. You might think it is easy. But dumping rubbish has its challenges too, especially those you have been carrying for years. To dump that rubbish […]
Regardless of your age, what do you want to be when you grow up? We all grow old. But some people never grow up. “What does growing up mean to you?” is perhaps a good question to answer when planning your new year resolution. What’s your next system upgrade?
The brain or the heart? I don’t have an answer for this. It depends on who you think is responsible for the excuses and who is responsible for the reasons. I would listen to the one who gives me reasons to say “Go!” What did it say?
Being good at your job just means you are good at your job. Nothing else. Doesn’t make you a better person. It sure doesn’t give you the right to bulldoze others. In the work world, assholes (Dr. Bob Sutton first used this term in his book “The No Asshole Rule”) relish the opportunity to make others feel small. Sometimes, they even create the persona that they are better as a person. Don’t allow them to destroy your day or your work. Avoid them. Being good at their work doesn’t make them a better person. The sad thing is they don’t […]
If you are in a position of power, you need to figure out how to use it. Managers who are in a position of power must put in the effort to figure out how and when to use this power. Otherwise, you end up abusing it. Whether you use or abuse the power given to you depends on your ability to recognize the productive force it yields. Otherwise, destruction is the path you crave. What great responsibilities do you have?
Situations that make you uncomfortable can function as a stimuli to spur you to grow. But most times, you likely react with anger, frustration and disappointment. Especially, during times of stress. Whether it is a new technology, an unexpected request or an unwarranted call, these are random acts of discomfort that can make you grow. If you spend enough time introspecting things that bring discomfort, it can act as an examen. A realization of the deeper thoughts that drives your behavior can bring growth and with it comfort. Where is the challenge to make you grow?
At some point in time, you will likely want to develop others to take over your position. Or even the desire to have a protégé whom you can mentor and pass over the skills and knowledge that you have. But before that, how have you developed yourself? Managers tend to manage (well, lead if you like) others and things so well, they tend to ignore themselves. Either for the fear of confronting their own ghost or the attitude of “I know I am not perfect but it got me where I am”. And if they are happy with where they […]
Just like everything you do in marketing, even your sampling activity needs an objective and a strategy. Who do you want to sample? Why do you want to sample them? Presumably, you want to give free samples out because you want to recruit a new user. So, how many samples are you willing to part with in order to get this user? Does your product or service need to be sampled multiple times before there is even a chance of conversion? Does it have to be habit forming? If it does, then wouldn’t your sample quantities go up? All these […]
It is easy for business owners and managers to ignore the elements that they deem do not drive their business. For example, some business people do not think that it is important for them to have a website. So, they ignore it. After all, it is not a key business driver. But they often forget, while it may be a support – the support could be an important one. One that if you delay the decision, you could be missing out on a lot of opportunities. There must be other examples like these in your business. Things you feel aren’t your […]
I am not sure about you. But I am surprised some companies still do not have a website. If I have to convince you, you need one (even if you are a freelancer), then you should stop reading this post. If I met you via a friend or at an event and I am vaguely interested in what you do? I will look you up on the net after the meet. For us to do business, I should know what do you do exactly? Who you are? What you believe in? And tell me about your work. What do you […]
There is a cab driver I often use to get me to the airport. He is a free agent. You have his number and you book him when you need him. In one of those trips to the airport we discussed about his business ‘model’. I was curious how he would handle his clientele when it gets larger? How does he handle conflicting schedules? Turns out, he passes it to his friends when he cannot attend to his clients. Isn’t that risky? I mean after all, your friends now have access to your clients. His reply to me is that, […]
When you work in a company, it is important that you understand what does ‘winning’ mean in the company. Of course, the easy answer is money. Or profits. But beyond that how does the company defines winning? Or how it views itself as being successful? Match the answer to your values or what you value. This will lessen your cognitive dissonance of joining a company that stifles you. It will also help you play the game in such a way that you win by helping the company win. Think about it. Unless you know what winning means in the company, […]
Balance is a very “in” word. It especially likes to be banded around work and life. I am not sure if there is a formula to finding balance. But I can suggest an inspiration for finding the balance that may lead you to tipping to the right balance. The answer may lie in our daily experiences – hunger and fullness, tiredness and alertness, being active and inert, boisterous and subdued. How do you find the balance? When you are mindful, you adjust. When you are not and you tilt over to either side, there are consequences. These consequences make you rethink […]
Contests are great for creating excitement. Might even attract some new users.But sometimes it can attract the wrong crowd. You get contest hunters or professional contest participants instead of genuine users to participate. One way to neutralize these professional participants is to make the contest so exciting that genuine users will want to take part. It takes a lot to move the real users. It takes even more to move the potential users. So work harder on your contest mechanics and yes, prizes too. Don’t bother if it is too small or too low in quantity. When you get a […]
Your consumer may not want to be the person you want them to be. Or do the thing you want them to do. Now everyone can be Ronaldo doesn’t mean everyone wants to be Ronaldo – some people love to be Ronaldinho. When digging for the holy grail of insight, you need to truly understand what your tribe wants and needs? Its aspirations and fears. You start with them and if that’s what they want and it can really position you uniquely in their minds; then take that position. Taglines don’t come out from thin air. It starts with your […]
Is it the board of the company who have big discussions about brand direction every financial quarter, or is it the aunties who gossip about whether your claims of no artificial flavourings, no added MSG and no whatever is true? Get real. Get relevant. Speak to your consumers now and then. Get to know them – not in your sterile rooms but on the dirt of the wet markets. The image you want may not be the ingredient they care. How is your company defined?
Is your company so ingrained into culture, that it would be a big shock to consumers if it one day went bankrupt? Or would it be forgotten and it’s just another article in the newspaper? Striving to be ingrained into the community’s culture is one way to create an enduring brand. You will need to work hard to build trust via great quality.Staying relevant to your users. And being loyal to your consumers and not your cash. Does your consumer care if your company goes down?
You rarely think about this – how does your competitor contribute to the industry? To answer this, you need to see where their positions are in the industry. Yours as well. Where do you sit in relation to each other? Once you know this, you can better answer the role each will play to expand the industry. How would you position yourself against them? What would you echo together with them? If you are the category leader, what should you champion? And thereby benefit the industry but benefiting yourself more. How do you contribute to the industry?
Consistency – that’s what brings results. Some say it is the difference between failure and success. Think about all the things that needs long term commitment to see results and the reoccurring theme is consistency. Unless you are consistent, you can hardly benchmark it well. Comparing a onetime event with another does not give you very rich data to work on. In a campaign, consistency gives the brand a chance to gain traction and build on the previous campaign. It keeps your message and communication relevant to the people you are talking to. Whether you are courting your dream partner […]
There is no need to win every argument. Or have the last word in every discussion. “You are right. That’s one way of looking at it.” Unless your ego is blocking your vocal cord, it’s easy to say. It’s easy to end a draggy discussionthat is going nowhere. Can you say it?
I think marketers should add this as something to worry about – “How good is my knowledge of marketing acquired through study and practice when compared to my peers?” I suppose this doesn’t just apply to marketers, does it? I shouldn’t have to tell you why you should worry about it. If you don’t care enough then it’s pointless to convince you. How good are you at your job?
People who have not done their homework for the plans they propose hate questions. They especially hate “why” and “how” questions. These two categories of question can only be answered well when they have done their homework. “Answered well” means not using management and marketing sound bites but clearly thought through logic. Even the most well intentioned, properly phrased “why” and “how” questions put forward in the most docile tone and manner will make those who did not do their homework fumble. How do you plan to answer this?
Perhaps the question you need to answer for yourself is – what can you contribute? It may lead you to narrow the field and inch you closer to what you may love to do. Don’t just blindly believe in “do what you love.” You can do what you love but if you cannot contribute something of value consistently, eventually it fizzles out. Your contribution must match your love. What can you contribute?
Customization doesn’t mean saying “yes” to everything. Customization means making sure the solution fits your customer. Making sure the solution fits your customer may mean saying “no” to her. People in the business of mass are go out of their way to say the most “yes” to the most people. Which business are you in?
Basics. But worth repeating. Every medium is good at doing one thing well – newspapers, magazines, billboards, brochures, radio, TV, poster, postcard, shelf talkers, wobblers, whatever. Use it for its primary strength in relation to your objective. If you want to get on TV and say what you want to say in your brochure, use an infomercial. Not a 30 seconds TV commercial. Don’t put on a billboard what you should be putting in your press ad. You wouldn’t use a pen knife to chop a tree. Nor a needle to nail a wall. Mediums are like our tools. Use […]
If you want to make things better and improve, you should use less of these phrases in your company – “If it ain’t broken don’t fix it” and “Don’t reinvent the wheel.” Every invention was created because someone thought the existing ‘whatever’ was broken. Maybe not broken to a lot of people but ‘broken’ by their standards. So they went on and fixed it. Can you not challenge the status quo and still be better?
Know this – everyone can criticize your job without knowing everything about your job. Doesn’t mean that they are right or they have the right. It’s just that they can. They don’t need anyone’s permission in order to do that. Then it boils down to how much credibility you give to people who are criticizing you. How answerable you are to yourself. And what do you want to do with the criticism. Get better. Don’t get upset. Immensely more difficult. But immensely better. How happy can you be?
The answers that we are most attached to are the ones we have invested the most. The more investment of time, money and effort the more we are attached to it, the more we believe it is the right answer. The answer takes a life of its own. It answers to no one. Not even the original question. The relationship of a question and its many answers should last as long as it is the solution. When it is no longer the solution, the answer should abdicate itself as the answer. You as the decision maker need to isolate yourself […]
Well, if you fail, you fail. People who want you to fail gets to laugh at you, mock you. If winning requires taking risk, if winning requires experimentation, if being better requires failing, so get all the fails that get you better. “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” – Samuel Beckett When you are laughed at enough and mocked enough, you will grow so used to it, it won’t matter anymore. But you would be way ahead of these people. Will they still be laughing?
Eventually your job as a marketer is to connect with the consumer. You build trust with great products and services you sell. And you gain their loyalty. You stay true to the values your consumers buy into. It’s a relationship you build; no different from the one you build with your friends and relatives. So it stands to reason that how you market your products and all the sales promotions and discounts you give will have to be genuine. And sincere. And real. Not something with deception and tricks built into it, hoping that the consumers do not notice. Why […]
In a world where initiatives are rare, people with initiatives can be considered golden geese. In a world where good ideas are rare, people with ideas can be considered golden geese. In a world where good ideas, initiatives and the boldness to execute is rare; people with ideas, initiatives and the boldness to execute can be considered golden geese. They lay the figurative golden egg. Sometimes you don’t find many golden eggs in your company not because you do not have any golden geese. Sometimes it is because you put butchers with sharp words as their saber in position of […]
I often hear from people in the industry that the good old days of agency-client relationships are gone. Where they can tear into each other’s argument for the sake of the brand and still enjoy a cold one together later. I like to think it’s not gone. That sort of relationship takes time to build. If we collectively invest enough time to build trust, take risks together and forget who we are (i.e., you are client, I am agency) – we can fight, do good work and still have a good time together. Build trust then forget who you are. […]
Advertising is serious business. It’s in the business of getting someone to DO something which results in the increase of market share or volume for your brand. I get a sense that some marketers do not treat advertising as a very serious activity that they are involved in. They fail to plan. There is no strategy. They don’t fight for a budget and they don’t think through who and what their competitors will do. I can go on. But you get the idea. They do a small activity and tout it as a campaign. Expecting good results. If they are […]
We were talking to a prospect recently about a particular challenge their brand was facing. In the discussion, we suggested a certain way of doing it and using a certain medium. They resisted by saying that they have tried it. The only similarity we see between what they have done and our suggestion is the medium. The context and content of what you have tried, not to mention the expertise behind it – can make a huge difference in the results. Will you try it again?
There are things you do and habits you have that will have long term effects on your health. Things like dietary habits, sleep patterns, rest periods, exercise plans. The effects accumulate over the long term and short term effects are difficult to see. There are also things you do in your company where the long term effects accumulate and the short term gains aren’t that clear, yet. Things like research and development (R&D), training, talent recruitment and branding. Failure to invest in good long term habits like a good diet, proper sleep and rest and a consistent exercise plan can […]