You did a very successful campaign. In fact, you did many successful campaigns. They were all good and sales were great. You wished you could repeat the same every year and with different products. But in marketing it doesn’t happen that way. Because situation changes, consumers change, the competitive landscape changes. Can you still make it work? Yes, but with changes. You need to move on, evolve and embrace the future now before the future becomes your past. What’s your next success?
Can Newton’s Second Law of Motion F=ma be applied to your marketing campaign? If F= Force, m=mass and a=acceleration then can we assume: That F is the impact of your marketing. Hence it is dependent on m= the mass of your campaign. How big it is. And a= the speed in which you execute it. So to have your campaign make an impact, either increase your marketing mass i.e., m or increase it’s a i.e., acceleration – the speed in which you execute your plans. Or better yet – both m and a. What’s your marketing force?
It’s not that you are not creative. In this hyper-speed world of information, you tend to add and multiply things instead of subtracting and dividing things. You want new ideas to pop into your head? Get as much silence as possible. Practice meditation if you can. Watch yourself breathe. Know that a little is a lot. Music is beautiful, movies are great, but silence is magical. Say nothing. Listen earnestly. Contemplate fully. Stay silent so that ideas can roar at you. What do your ears see?
Better to pause then to rattle. Especially, if you are trying to convince someone of your point. It gives you focus. Ever attended a meeting where everyone just jumps in to give their point of view? Ever presented and have someone in the audience saying one point after another and before you can complete your sentence, she is at it again? As if rattling her submachine gun mouth will kill the idea that she does not like. Better yet, I think is to pause. Breathe. Filter all the useless bullets and use one. Just like the snipers. Breathe. Focus. Pull […]
Because you: 1. Check personal email, Facebook, news, Youtube. 2. You lie to yourself that you can multitask. 3. You are on your mobile phone with sms, whatsapp, and whatever else. Stock prices? 4. Feel anxious when you turn off these things. So you leave them on thinking it’s only a few seconds here and there. 5. Stay on the phone too long than you need to with someone. Especially a personal call. 6. Take lunch longer than you should. Your justification is – “I need the break”. 7. Allow yourself to be distracted each time you need to start […]
Why do you want me in the room if you are not going to listen? Never mind if you are not going to accept my idea. But listen. Accepting and listening are very different things. You can listen and learn something even when you do not accept it. But if you refuse to listen, then there is no way to accept. One has to come before the other. Want to learn something new?
I get a lot of emails forwarded to me and I forward some. Things I find interesting and things I think may benefit others. I even curate some of the things that get popped into my mail box and I keep them aside. Sort of like a hobby. Collecting interesting topics that I then send out as a newsletter called “Because Tomorrow’s Friday”. (Sidebar – I send it out on Thursday reasoning that people have more time to read them on Friday – they are more relaxed. If you want to receive a copy of this irregular newsletter send us […]
One small drop in the ocean won’t create much of a ripple, but one small drop in a cup can make it overflow. A small sampling campaign can give you a leap in sales in one outlet. But that’s not enough to contribute to the national sales figure. You would need a lot of small sampling “campaigns” to get to nationwide and make an impact. Why not work a plan that can get you the bigger ocean than a splash in a cup? Where’s your next impact?
Respect reaps rewards. If you think your consumers are stupid, perhaps it is time to talk to them. Really. No need for any focus groups no need for any quantitative research. Just walk the trade and show your ad or whatever to whoever your consumer is. Just talk. Tell them who you are and speak away. Sometimes, when you trap yourself in the title you carry and the nice office you have, you lose track of who you are. You become cocky. A healthy dose of respect for your consumers will bring immense rewards. Like your brand gets bought. Before […]
I get really tired when people talk and talk all day about branding and marketing. What am I talking about? Especially, when this blog is about marketing and yet I say I am tired and bored when people talk about branding and marketing all day? Well, yes. Point is this. Marketing and branding touches people’s lives. It affects the company. What you say and do needs to touch people. Otherwise, no one buys anything from you. That being the case, should you not read a lot more than just branding and marketing? Should you not concern yourself with psychology, sociology, […]
Plant humanity in your marketing. You talk about being authentic all day and being real. That you want your consumers to take you for who you are and what you stand for. But yet, but yet you lack humanity in what you do. Because behind your mind, you are driven by profit. The argument of course is that, who’s not? True. But understand that purpose builds profit. What is the fundamental purpose of what you are delivering to your consumers? That purpose cannot be profit. That purpose has to have humanity embedded in it. When you have humanity embedded in […]
Between principle and practicality, is there an in-between? Survival (or success), we were told is living between principle and practicality. This was when we mentioned hundreds of times to potential clients that we do not pitch. You usually get a very blank stare when you tell people that you are turning down their business. In practicality, we do need the money (I mean even if you have a lot of money, you will still want more money.) If you do not pitch you are losing out on a lot of potential profits. Well, true. But what do we believe in? […]
Numbers dictate the way we make decisions. Some people call it statistics. In marketing, you use lots of numbers. You make decisions based on chances of success or avoidance of failure. Whether you are approving an ad or deciding which market to go for. You make decisions based on the profit you will make. Again, numbers. I would argue that you make arguments for your plans and profits based on large numbers. Even when you are going after a niche market, you will compare all the niches and you are likely to go for the biggest amongst the smallest. Or […]
Some of us decided to expire our past lives and rebirth again as craftsmen we were destined to be. So we can use our hands and make something we are proud of. Sweat our blood into it. Bleed our soul into our craft. And use our name as the guarantee for our art. Just like Brad Estabrooke of Breuckelen Distilling Company and Joel Bukiewicz of Cut Brooklyn. It’s time our craft is hand made again. Here in Kuala Lumpur, you can call Choe Chee Sun, Mun Tuck Wai or us if you appreciate your marketing communications being hand-crafted. Is that […]
If you see passion, can you recognize her? Making your passion your work is a lot like marriage. You love the person but doesn’t mean it’s fairytale land that you will live in forever and ever. After the honeymoon, there are still the dishes to wash, trash to take out and floors to mop. Passion as work is a lot like that. You may love to work your passion and make passion your work, but passion doesn’t come naked like that. The satellites to passion are menial boring work. Work you least want to do. Let’s call them paper work, […]
Passion is contextual. What you like now may not be what you like later. Remember how you wanted to be a teacher when you were younger, growing up with teacher parents? Wow, the respect they got. You thought to yourself, “Yeah, that’s what I want to be.” It’s your passion you said. Then you grew up, you discovered by and large teachers are paid peas for an elephant’s work. Ah, maybe not you told yourself. Your interest changes all the time through people you meet, work you do, films you watch and books you read. And the challenge is people […]
Assuming you discovered your passion. (Congrats.) Now what? Now you have to make sure that your passion makes money. There are only so many socks puppet people will buy, no? Don’t get me wrong. I am all for passion. Just don’t have too romantic an idea about passion and work and bread on the table. Very. Different. Things. Can it be the same? Of course it can. But that takes work. Mountains of it. Can you pay the price? Doubt it. Because when you bought into passion, you thought intrinsically it means less work. Sorry. Here’s a wet blanket. Passion […]
I was driving out from my neighbourhood yesterday at 9.08am 26 March 2012 and there right in front of me were rays of sunlight piercing through the clouds. As I was soaking it all in, I caught my friend – Kelvin Chan (photographer extraordinaire) catching it on his camera. Teased him via sms if it was nice, he sent this saying it’s taken from his iPhone, no digital imaging, no tricks. Now I get to share it with you (Thank you, Kelvin). It’s one of my favourite scenes in nature. Now and then you catch this dance in front of […]
Every now and then I am reminded of the pain I was served by the bucket full when I counseled people on their work. Inevitably, passion as a topic will always appear. People buy into the whole romance of pursuing your passion and you shall not work another day. BS! Do I not believe in passion? Of course I do. I even created a model that has passion in it in order to create great work. Here’s the thing people do not understand. Sometimes passion needs to be discovered. And the process of discovery can be very difficult, painful and […]
If your marketing techniques work, that’s great. But if marketing were to be an art form, and I would argue that it is, then the greatness of your art will be dependent on your canvas, medium and execution. Surely, not every canvas will be the same. And mediums behave differently. More than that, the greatness of your art form will depend on how you are at ONE with it (I think that’s what Zen masters call it.) Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls it “Flow”. “Technical knowledge is not enough. One must transcend techniques so that the art becomes an artless art, growing […]
Yes, it is about telling the truth. But surely no corporation would tell every truth about their brand. So what else can you do? Well, for starters. Empathize. When you can feel how the consumers feel and they know you feel for them – that are one way to inch the trust further. Secondly, your own self-awareness. What does your brand stand for? How does it speak? You know, the tone and personality of your brand? The manner in which it ‘talks’? It must be believable. Whatever you say in your ads, the net take out about your brand must […]
You. Every. Single. Day. When you are gone, we hope there is enough good stuff for us to summarize into a nice little story. Perhaps one that will make us cry writing it because we miss you. And makes us smile because your life tilted ours positively. What are you leaving us?
Most people know you should not underestimate the competitor. But how many can truly do it? How often do you hear people in your organization running down the competitor? Or gives comments that you wonder where it originates? For example, “we should not worry about XYX, they are too big. They will ignore us the small fry.” Or “we should not worry about ABC, they are too small, what can they do to us.” Anytime someone talks like that I am curious as to what those words are hiding. Especially, when it is hidden with marketing sound bites. It’s also […]
It shouldn’t take a crisis to make you realize that you have done things wrong in many ways. In fact, all crises creep up on you. When it hits, you just label it as a very bad ‘accident’. Or a ‘crisis’. Did these phenomena all start small and accumulate enough criteria to fulfill before they become a crisis? (Ok, the word ‘crisis’ will not make you pay attention to this entry. It’s too ‘uncommon’. It’s not real.) Let’s use the word problem. Before a problem became a problem did it not start with a seed and slowly accumulated enough points […]
Sometimes you maybe too attached to the memories to what has worked. You are after all just memories of what we have been. Memories make you what you are today. Put another way, your history made you. So you are attached to your history. Of what worked and what did not work. Suppose you did not have the shackles of history, what would you do? A new marketing manager who takes over your place and is supposed to clean up the ‘mess’ you have created now. What will he or she do? This person wouldn’t be attached to your history […]
If you are an experienced person in your field, it’s good to want to share and pass on the wisdom. It’s also very good to have some humility. We understand your experience can only be won on the battlefield of the marketplace. The rest of us know, no amount of creativity can surpass the time you spent creating those credentials of yours. But pride in your work should be balanced with humility. Otherwise, your arrogance locks the door to opportunities. Don’t let your experience go to waste, but don’t let it get in the way either. What do you have […]
In nature, things very rarely work on its own. Everything is inter-related. A plant needs nutrients, water and light to grow. For the lion’s pride to survive, the rain has to stop so the wilder beast would migrate to other water holes close to the lion’s territory. You want good health? Eat a balanced diet, rest, exercise 30 minutes a day, drink lots of water. You get the idea. So, I find it interesting when marketers tend to rely on just one thing or one medium expecting it to deliver optimum results. If you want optimum results, you must know […]
What if you treat what you sell (ok, ok what your R&D department or your boss forced upon you to create) as a piece of art you created? Would that inspire you to think of a better way to market your brand? Think of a better story to tell? One that is immensely more motivating for your consumers? So, if you imagine the pen you are selling as an art piece of your creation. You would tell your story with a different sort of passion. You wouldn’t just be a product manager. You would be an artist. What is your […]
Sometimes applying what you learned in your years of marketing and applying it, is a lot like learning a martial art and hoping for it to work in a street fight. You know your basics, your patterns and your set sparring steps – whether it be one-step or 3-steps or whatever your sifu taught you. But knowing these or even having a ‘formula’ as to what works in sparring sessions is very different in a street fight. In the market, consumers change all the time. Trends, fads or even information and news about your category can change the way your […]
No one needs to tell me being an entrepreneur takes longer, harder and hurts more than anyone will tell you about. Or you would expect. Not that anyone will tell me. But I think the journey of an entrepreneur can be a great lesson for any marketer in any small, medium and immensely huge behemoth corporations. I think one of the best lessons is when plans do not work and the values of getting lost. Both makes you learn how to manage anxiety, create and keep walking. What do you learn when you are lost?
Using versus understanding. Being a user doesn’t make you an expert. More than being a user, you need to understand. It is interesting that there are still marketers out there who feels, being a user of social media automatically makes them good at social media marketing. It’s also interesting that some other marketers feel they know all about the utility of a website. Just because they have had a website for a very long time. I surely hope, just because you can make a cup of coffee from instant coffee powder, doesn’t make you a barista. How will you unlearn?
In one of the scenes in “The Patriot”, Benjamin Martin (a character played by Mel Gibson) told his son, “That Gates is a damn fool. Spent too many years in the British army, going muzzle to muzzle with Redcoats in open field. It’s madness. This battle was over before it began.” He was referring to the inappropriate tactics deployed by the Continentals against the British. I am reminded of this scene each time someone gets too comfortable with their tactics or when someone gets too lazy to innovate. You see something working well and you copy it, whether it is […]
The fear of failure can lead you to strive and work harder. It can lead you to success. But the fear of failure has a very detrimental side-effect; it can make you ignore facts that point you to potential failure. Because you are so obsessed with avoiding failure, you do not even want to entertain the fact that you maybe failing. So, you turn a blind eye to what is presented before you. You ignore every well-intentioned advice. In fact, if you had faced the facts early, you maybe able to avert failure. But no, you prefer to surround yourself […]
Let’s face it. You are unlikely to achieve your marketing nirvana. The nirvana of your marketing plan is pulled between your fantasized ideals and intolerable anxiety. The former, you are too afraid to reach, too much work, too little time, your boss will never say yes. The latter, you confuse it with risk and so you will never do it. The safe passage for you it is then, good sir. Always somewhere in between. Neither here, nor there. All fine and good. Just don’t push others to push the envelope. If you enjoy seeing places you have seen but never […]
Something is wrong if you are doing the same thing you did last year. If you are feeling cozy, ring that internal fire alarm. If your marketing bed feels comfortable, wake up. You maybe failing to realize that you are being repositioned. You may be a victim of your own laziness, your ego and your own comfort. What’s to love about change anyway? It means effort, it means discomfort from unfamiliarity. But change is necessary for survival. Heck, it’s necessary to thrive. That’s how homo sapiens got here. In nature, forest fires happen and the forest renews itself. What’s your […]
Once you have reached a certain formula for success for your brand – you know the kind of promotions that works, the hot buttons to push, the right words to say – what else do you do? Do you leave it? Let’s not fix what is not broken, you tell yourself? Not realizing that “not broken” doesn’t mean functioning at its optimum. I liken it to dishes you cook everyday – same style, same vegetables, same sauces. After a while…. Exactly. So, marketing is much like cooking it can actually taste better with a little dash of irrationality, a sprinkle […]
You will always hear from the noisy ones – the complainers, the whiners, the attention seekers – these three in fact make it sound like there are three million of them out there. And it makes you think the issue is a lot bigger than you perceived. That’s the easy part. These people will find you. Before social media, they will track down your designation with a phone call, write the letter, put it in an envelope, go to the post office, lick a stamp, smack it on the envelope and shove it in a post box. That is if […]
When times are tough – and from what I hear times are tough now – people tend to negotiate. They negotiate for a better deal, they try to lower your prices, and they try to squeeze more out of you. Heck, you try to squeeze more out of yourself. Interestingly, to define yourself it takes as many ‘no’ as ‘yes’ to stay true to what you are made of. It’s true of people, it’s true of business and it’s true for brands too. What’s your deal?
Time is an interesting concept. Of course, if you ask someone who is dying, the answer can be yes her time is more important that yours. After all, her time is limited. But so is all our time. Recently, I witnessed a teleconference being postponed not once but twice by a manager with people in three countries. The first time, she had an “important ad hoc lunch meeting” to attend. Somehow an important meeting for a specific purpose over lunch did not seem more important than a teleconference set a week ago with people in three countries. But I won’t […]
Almost every friend in the marketing world is obsessed with the Facebook “Like “ button. I am not such a big fan. Well, do I like to have a lot of “Like” on my company’s Facebook page, well, of course. But I am not obsessed with it. There are many reasons to the like and I would like to know that the likes are for a good reason that my brand stands for. I suspect, my friends who are obsessed about the “Like” button on Facebook is confusing it with loyalty. A “Like” on Facebookk does not equate loyalty. Eventually, […]
In the age of speed and connectivity, we are only a fingertip away from our smart phone, tablet, PC, etc. Within each proudly owned gadget we have multiple choices to communicate by voice, text or images. Yet we are faced with countless “I can’t get a response from you”. And the answer to that is “I didn’t receive any missed call nor SMS nor email”. What’s the best solution? A dear friend suggested the unfashionable but ever reliable snail mail. It’s un-intrusive, it arrives in the hands of your recipient or it will be returned to you (provided you write […]
Each time a new idea is presented, the question arise – cooking again? Game show again? Can we do something else? Well, it can be. If you are not selling food product. How else do you want your consumer to use a food product differently? What about the festive celebration? Do you ask the same – Christmas again? Same Chinese New Year? Yeah it’s the same. The difference is each family builds their own rituals and each generation evolves through the years. What about your brand? Are you obsessed with the same old or creating new ones?
We tend to believe what our trusted friends and spouse says. And we seek approval from them all the time. This is not wrong. After all, they are closest to us. However, are your friends and spouse spectators to your products or are they using your products like your real consumer? Because if they are not your consumers, why are you benchmarking your marketing against their opinion? What answers do you really want?
Being better is a great idea. But if you are a marketing manager, you need to caution yourself. Thinking that you are better than your consumers would mean you will fail to connect with them. Having a better intellect has nothing to do with trying to connect. The moment you fail to connect you have lost business, without you even knowing about it. Oh, while you are thinking about this – no fake humility either. That, you will only know if you are a self-aware person. When is being stupid smart?
The guy that cuts my hair took over a hair salon a few months ago. Alex is his own boss now. Ever since then I have gone to his salon 20 minutes drive away. Paying extra for toll. A friend asked me why am I doing this? Is Alex really that good? Alex does more than a decent job. But more importantly, I am there to honor his courage. We usually say “give support”. My friend said, one additional head isn’t going to save him if he doesn’t cut it as a businessman. I don’t know if Alex will cut […]
You want to have less stress? Wake up early. Yeah, I know you are too tired. Sleep early then. Yeah, I know you have unfinished work. Start early then. Start early tomorrow. From the people I have observed, people I work with and effective homemakers? They have tonnes to do, but they are stressless. Well, nearly stressless. Because they wake up early. On days I can wake up early? I feel a lot better, a lot more productive. There are just too much time wasters in a day you get sucked into. Get rid of those and you will be […]
If you have been in your industry for a few years, you should start seeing patterns or trends. The core motivators of your industry, what drives it and what makes it turn. And you should be able to synthesize the information after years of doing your work, or create a system. Your own system. You are wasting your time if you have not observed anything. Start connecting the dots. Are you listening with your eyes?
When we started our business, my business partner and I decided that we will do the opposite. We will be nice people. There is just too much nastiness in the business world we see. So, we try to be polite and nice. We can be stern but we will be nice. But these couple of months our resolve is being tested over and over again. It seems this world is filled with people who will only fulfill your request. Meet their responsibility or even deliver good service, when you become nasty. We are just not sure why people take nice […]
How would your consumers know you truly love and care for them? Assuming that is what you covet from your consumers and from that you earn their loyalty. After all, love can be deceiving. It’s not enough to just say, “I will always love you”. That love needs to be backed by action. No, not promotion. An act that tells your consumers that you care and you think of them every step of the way. Perhaps it is time to look into your SOP? Your product formulas? The way your service is delivered? After all, if the consumers want to […]
Risk? Failure? Planning? Analysis? Or is it fear? Go ahead, wager your ego. Have the courage to curl a cherubic smile when failure rears its face. Know how much planning is enough. And understand the analysis that you need. Stop. Then decide. It’s time to move. Is a full stomach holding you back?
I have been very fascinated with this question ever since I read it in the December 2011 issue of Forbes magazine Indonesia edition. It is one thousand one million dollars. How do you contextualize how much that it? This is how much it is and I am regurgitating from memory what I read. If a baby is born and is given a billion dollars, the baby can have a million dollars every year of his life. Does no work, does not reinvest the money, etc. The baby can spend about three thousand dollars a day. And assuming the baby lives […]
I pity my colleagues in the marketing department over at my client’s end. When some things do not sell well, they become the firing board. You did not support it with ads. Your advertising sucks. You did not put enough budgets in it. You bought the wrong media. On and on, the sales team will fire their tirade. In a very sales oriented organization where the sales people make the call, that’s what happens. But some times, I feel the sales people should know when marketing ends and when sales begin. If everything is marketing’s fault, then where is sale’s […]
When I used to have a lot of staff under me and I pushed them slightly harder or challenge them a little more for the elusive excellence, I get an oft used retort. It’s just work. Well, is it? It depends. It depends on what does work mean to you. It depends on what work delivers for you. Beyond money, bread on the table or that retirement by the beach, sipping coconut water in the late afternoons, beer before sunset and whatever else you choose to do by the beach. If you have the same line all the time in […]
This topic was brought up by a very intelligent client of mine. He was lamenting that almost every time someone cannot get anywhere to close the deal with you, they will muster a “This is a win-win situation.” The challenge is that most times these situations aren’t win-win. Technically all win-win situations should be 50:50. Equal benefit for all. If ever someone can quantify deals – besides their monetary returns – aren’t always 50:50. If ever you have to propose a win-win next time, see what the other party can gain from it. Ensure that you are interested in them, […]
Whatever line you are in, I am sure you will find some science in it. In the ad industry, many gurus propagate that it’s all art. Analysis leads to paralysis, they shout. But I suspect, a lot of it is because they see research as a way of curtailing their creativity. Does it mean that I believe advertising is all science? Absolutely not. I believe there is a place for science as in the focus groups, the quantitative analysis, the statistical data that helps solidify a position one is taking. Be it a target market or an insight. The art […]
If you have to give an advice today to: A student An employee A kid A businessman Whoever else… What would it be? Is it something from your personal experience? Something that have taught you huge expensive lesson, you would freely share with whomever that wants to hear it? Have you got it written down? We are all very good at dishing out advice. But when asked in a situation like this, there will be lots of “umms and ahhs”. Time to think what are you really good at?
Fear and inertia are two of the biggest things that hold back most people’s decision making. How do you then overcome that? Understand that all taken risks bring fruits. The fruits being either success or failure. If it is a failure, you risk your ego being bruised (money is usually secondary, most people rather risk losing their money than their ego being bruised). If your ego is bruised, then consider it a fee to pay for the learning. Realize that “Doing” is the easy part. “Thinking” about it that is the hard part. And the more thinking you do, the […]
Not by the stars and the moon in the skies. Just simple brand promises. Meaning if you said you will not add any artificial colouring, that includes even permitted artificial colouring. No artificial colouring means no artificial colouring, permitted or otherwise. If you cannot keep a promise then don’t make it. When you make promises you are not going to keep, it bleeds the blood of trust of your consumers. Promises are promises, there are no exceptions. Promises with lots of conditions and premises, I think they are called contracts. If you have a promise that has a lot of […]
I meet with brand owners all the time. Big and small brands. Smaller brands ask this question more often. How did the bigger brands got big? Well, they get big on a smaller scale in smaller market segments. Then they get bigger on a bigger scale in a bigger market segment. And they repeat. In the process they invested in failure. Repeated successes. Made a few mistakes. Spent some money. Invested behind their brands. Yeah, sounds like hard work. Don’t be afraid to invest behind your brand. Oh, money that’s the hard part. But that’s how big brands got bigger. […]