Collaboration is the be all and end all of human interaction.
Isn’t collaboration the essence of business?
Or otherwise called ‘value exchange’.
And in this era of real-time media and one-to-one marketing, product personalisation and customer feedback data mining, we can take collaboration to the n’th degree.
Marketing superficially means ‘promotion’.
But true marketers with any sense of historical insight (you’ll get it in spades on my site) will understand that marketing requires understanding the needs of a profitable audience segment and delivering a satisfying (value added) service in the most preferred way (whether it be high quality or low, cheap or expensive).
As technologies progress and systems develop, the full marketing process is really about ongoing collaboration with the individual end-user.
Collaboration is the ‘new’ marketing – delivered through diligent Service Design.
Marketing Departments can be re-named as ‘Unified Collaboration Centre’s, or some such.
2. make the market see a problem it didn’t see – and then solve it
The important difference?
1. Is easier to get a foot in the door
2. Depends on having access, and then demonstrating the problem, preferably showing why ‘you’ (your place in the value chain) are actually the source of the problem! – And then showing how you can fix it to mutual benefit.
A Contact Centre Manager may know they have problems with scheduling agents against call volume spikes, because they see the problem regularly.
But they may not know they have a severe problem of brand erosion because they are not yet sufficiently set up to monitor social buzz about their brand and so aren’t even aware that the problem exists (e.g. twitter may be flooded with customer complaints after a recent product launch).
If you have access (possibly because you previously solved or are in discussions about a problem type 1, and you want to introduce a proposal to help with a problem type 2, then you need a way of revealing the pain caused by the problem.
So on what basis are changes, innovations, or developments taken by your prospect?
Do they need to see increased effectiveness / efficiency projections based on:
Reducing customer attrition?
Maximising workforce contribution to value creation?
Point being… what are the metrics and measures, KPIs, Criticical Success Factors or relevant industry standards, that YOU can use to demonstrate that your target audience has a problem?
It’s rarely nice to pick holes in a prospects strategy without their comfort and buy-in, so a gentle and effective way of introducing this new awareness is to explain how you yourself have recently become aware of the problem and that low and behold you yourself are actually part of what has created that problem!
Or at the very least, demonstrate how industry innovations have moved on, not in small part to the thought leadership contained in your own company of course…
And that you therefore take responsibility, want to agree the problem with the client (prospect), and then work out together whether there is a viable business case for implementing a solution, whilst outlining the likely options that the solution may take.
I.e. build the business case / proposal together in collaboration with your client!
Then it becomes a co-creation, a joint discovery, to increase performance for the client, thus raising their profitability or whatever other core metrics they are measured by, whilst giving your side a new solution to deliver and thus revenue.
And they tend to get in the way of quality marketing and advertising.
Just take a listen to David Ogilvy in this video if you don’t already know the debate between high graphic brand advertising and long copy direct response marketing.
The philosophy I adhere to, is that design (‘how it looks’) is far LESS important than what an advert says (the words).
Take for instance the example of a thirsty man in the desert.
Is it necessary to advertise a bottle of water with high graphic images demonstrating the thirst quenching effectiveness of said water based product?
All that’s necessary is a visible sign that says:
‘Get Water Here’
Visual Marketing seeks to deploy visuals in a way that appropriately supports the relevant communication, does not distract, does not necessarily entertain, and most certainly does not lose the message within its creative waste (a few TV adverts of coloured balls bouncing around town supposedly advertising quality colour TVs comes to mind).
Visual Marketing seeks to hone the viewers attention precisely on the message, to emphasise the message, and let the message speak for itself.
Cartoons in Marketing
Drawing Attention by Stu Heinecke is an excellent introduction to the application of cartoons to marketing.
Caption could be: “[Firstname], you’re the friendliest competitor I’ve ever known. Thanks so much for the new chair!”
There is huge potential for the use of cartoon style visuals in marketing, although as Stu Heinecke explains, it really has to be done right or else we fall into the traps as so poignantly identified previously by David Ogilvy.
But for digital media, we can even move one step further with…
Animation in Marketing
I really like the attention grabbing power of cartoon animations with overlay narrative, like this:
There’s something mesmerising about this technique.
And it’s actually not complicated to duplicate. Use a big enough white canvas, fix a camcorder looking down, prepare your presentation and then just draw it out whilst recording on video. Then, record the voice over and using video software, speed up the animation to match the voice over. Ok, it’s kinda complicated… but any digital marketing person could figure it out. Or outsource it.
The point is, if the message really is the right message, then visuals can help emphasise them, or at least draw attention to them, as visual marketing through cartoons and animation has enough novelty factor that it can help grab attention.
General Electric in the 50s saw the marketing function as precursor to today’s array of experience design methodologies.
On marketing’s role in business process, General Electric stated in its 1952 annual report:
[The marketing concept] introduces the marketing person at the beginningrather than at the end of the production cycle and integrates marketing into each phase of the business.
Thus, marketing, through its studies and research will establish for the engineer, the design and manufacturing person, what the customer wants in a given product, what price he or she is willing to pay, and where and when it will be wanted.
Marketing will have authority in product planning, production scheduling, and inventory control, as well as sales, distribution, and servicing of the product. (1952, 21)
What typically exists in most organisations is not marketing in the sense described above.
Rather, promotion and advertising typically gets labeled as ‘marketing’ and hence the need for new departments under the umbrella of ‘experience design’ such as user centered design and interaction design.
Experience Design bridges the gap between the 2 basic functions of a business as so poignantly described by Peter Drucker:
“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two—and only two—basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”
Hence, from different perspectives:
Strategic marketing places experience design for innovation at the heart of the business
Experience Design places marketing at the heart of the business.
With a foot in both worlds… I have seen how small to medium size businesses do online marketing… and I have seen how independent online marketers do it.
They are often battling for the same customer.
And I have to say that there is no clear winner of what works best.
But both can certainly learn a lot from each other.
In SMEs it goes something like this:
Bright spark Marketing Manager finds a new fandangled idea or software. If he could only convince the Director, or find a way to justify the added expense on this quarters… or even this years budget. Through the touchy approval process he runs the gauntlet and after 1 or 2 weeks, hopefully, he may have approval for that 1 new piece of kit or subscription.
Now of course, the Director who approved the purchase order wants to know what ROI they are already getting by next week. Until such can be substantiated, the poor marketing manager couldn’t dream of requested approval for another software application, no matter if it’s better or more up to date.
Meanwhile, the independent online marketer has been using that piece of kit since it was offerred at a discount price when it first launched 6 months ago. He understands that it’s just one tool out of many that he must juggle to achieve the right balance of inlinking, social buzz, lead generation funnel, etc. So when he sees a new shiny service or system, he goes for it. He buys it on the spot with his paypal account or credit card and takes it for a test drive.
The marketing manager must work very hard to create sufficient flexibility in the yearly marketing budget for new services, software, programs or subscriptions.
The online marketer must learn to validate each purchase, through tracking money and time invested with an effort to measure the success of each tactic.
If you are working within a corporate environment, or want to know what the guys in the suits do, check out the page on Corporate Strategy. It helps the Marketer and Copywriter understand the broader picture for each marketing campaign.
Development: Strategic Business Units
In essence, the SBU is a profit making area that focuses on a combination of product offer and market segment, requiring its own marketing plan, competitor analysis, and marketing campaign. Read about Strategic Business Units.