Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Financial Crisis: Your loss my gain!

The current financial crisis has sent the weak of heart into a tail spin. However, the strong of spirit have done what they always do; Get smart, flexible, fast and make money!

There are a few tips to know when looking at the financial crisis and how to exploit it for your own gain:
  • Everyone is more scared than you

  • Most businesses over react

  • Customers are desperate for confidence and reassurance

So how can you turn this to your advantage? The solution is surprisingly simple and can strengthen your short and long term position.

Everyone is more scared than you

It is true. Remember your survival is based on your ability to keep your cool and think and act smart. Don’t cut off your arm to save your finger. Make decisions that continue to keep the most profitable segments of your business vital. Additionally, you must not neglect any area of your business. Provide a strong showing of confidence for your customers.

Most businesses over react

Businesses in difficult time usually have one response or actually three that look very similar; freeze, cut and fire. Because pulling away when all your competitors are doing likewise only creates a greater gap of opportunity to be filled, and since bigger businesses are often less capable of manoeuvring deftly, smaller more flexible companies often have an advantage in filling this opportunity gap.

This is the time to strategically review your marketing approach and utilise channels that reach your consumers at the level that most touches them and provides verifiable metrics of success. That is why we have seen an immense surge in Social Network Marketing amongst smart companies recently. It touches consumers at their level, is cost effective and provides measurements of success.

Customers are desperate for confidence and reassurance

In troubled times we need reassurance. This is evident in the amount of activity of CGC in social sites. Average people are talking to each other, sharing thoughts, ideas, solutions and comfort. What is also noticeable, is that business is not sharing in these conversations. Instead, in a display of ignorance or insensitivity they continue to advertise, thereby missing the opportunity to connect in a meaningful way with consumers about issues that are relevant to them.

In summary, it is quite simple on how to gain reward in the financial crisis. You must simply ask yourself what support you would want in difficult times and that is probably what your customers want too.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Data Driven: What Men, Rich Women and China Love

Men love sex . . . and the Internet
Rich women love to shop online
China's loves the Internet

Men, Sex and the Internet
Unremarkably, Break Media reported that men prefer sex to most anything else. That is not terribly remarkable, but they also reported that for the first time men spend more time online than watching TV -- that is remarkable!

Women love shopping . . . online
Another unremarkable set of data reported by the New York Times shows that women love to shop. Wow, that is a show stopper. What is remarkable is that affluent women love to shop online. The urban myth has always been that ladies who lunch prefer to do their shopping in person. Whereas it is very important to see and be seen, who wants to be seen squeezing your size 8 bum into a size 6 pair of jeans? Some secrets are better left to the privacy of home I guess.

China loves the Internet
Unremarkable is that online ad/ marketing budgets are gaining an increasingly larger percentage of total spend. Even in these uncertain economic times, digital budgets are increasing because they have a a more accurately measured ROI. What is remarkable is that China is exploding!!! A 40% year on year increase in online budget spend tops anything imaginable. Go China go!!!

Sunday, 19 October 2008

Social Network Marketing: Catch More Flies With Honey

Web 2.0, rich media, social media, social networks what ever you want to call it, IT IS DIFFERENT. In this blog I write tirelessly about the need to largely abandon much of the traditional advertising methods that have been in place for eons and embrace the wonder that is the new medium.

Since the beginning of time advertisers have been positioning their messages "next to" interesting content:

  • Read the newspaper for the news, the ads are little boxes next to the news

  • Watch TV for the shows, the advertisements are for snacks and toilet breaks

  • Surf the web, the advertisements are the banners around the interesting content, and banner ads served all around them

  • Videos on the internet now have advertisements tagged to the front and back of them

After all this time you would think that someone could have come up with something a bit more clever. But the reality is, since the beginning of time the same method of serving up advertising has changed very little. And not surprising people's views on advertising have changed even less.

If people don't like advertising and people do like engaging content (e.g. news, tv shows, web pages, and videos) why is it an impossible leap for advertisers to just start creating interesting content and say "forget it" to advertising.

Well the truth is most likely of three sources.

  1. With an industry as large as the advertising business, it is unlikely that even if it wanted too, it would or could change quickly

  2. Old habits are hard to break, and consumers support the old model, even if they don’t consciously want to

  3. Well, I can't think of anymore

Thank goodness for Social Networks. With the creation of Social Networks each individual now has the same ability to influence as big business has traditionally had. Collectively, individuals on the internet can now make or break a brand by their input. Now content created by individuals is viewed more often than professionally produced content making the internet a truely democratic forum.

So, like in any true democracy, you need to vote for what you like and against what you don't. Therefore, if you like content vote by clicking on it. And if you don't like advertising -- don't click on it!!!

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Data Driven: Social Networks Saves Business Big Money

Finances are tough for everyone. In lieu of this there are additional drivers for business to move to digital advertising solutions. Additionally, something we all knew is that Mom's are on the go all the time to take care of the rest of us and they are using the internet to make their, an our, lives better.

Thanks mom,

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Always a Bridesmaid, Never a Bride

There is a significant industry built around the idea that if you stand next too, wear the same clothes, drive the same car etc. you will be as magnificent and glamorous as the people in the advertisements. We all know that this acquisition of fabulous attributes through proximity is absurd. So why is it that advertisers continue to push on businesses the concept of placing their advertisement next to interesting content is the preferred, if not only, method available? After all, it is still advertising and no matter how engaging the content is it is placed next too; it is will always be advertising. Would it be better if the advertising was really the interesting bit?In the digital age it is now easy for anyone to develop content and distribute on the internet. So why should businesses settle for "being next to" when they can be the "centre of attention". That is right, everyone can now be a bride and all of us are the better for it. Imagine if all the money that was spent trying to attract your gaze away from the interesting content was spent on making interesting content in the first place.

All of us are sophisticated enough consumers that we would certainly "get it". After all we know that if we want to be a star athlete like our heroes we will need to buy the kit. And if we want to catch the babe we need the car, clothes and cologne.

Prosperity Research is working hard to educate small and medium business' that it is O.K. for them to be the centre of attention. They do not have to be a 2 inch square advertisement at the bottom of the weekly paper. They can create rich media to WOW their customers,

So if you had your choice, would you be advertising or interesting?

Friday, 10 October 2008

Data Driven: Stocks down, video up, online ad spend up, social sites up

As the financial crisis worsens more and more businesses are turning to online advertising for better ROI. They are especially finding the use of video and social networks to be the most beneficial. Print media is taking a hit and TVC is losing ground. The budget tightening requires more precise targeting, higher conversion and visible metrics that traditional marketing channels do not provide.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

7 Things You Must Know about Social Marketing

Paradigm shift is how I have referred to the unparalleled increase in influence of Social Network spaces on most all aspects of our lives. In this blog I have written about the 7 required shifts that businesses need to make to survive the move from real world to digital. I will continue to articulate and refine these shifts because they are at the core to business’ success in the digital world. To survive business must move from:

1. Advertising to Interesting
2. Me to You
3. Side to Centre
4. Viral to Social
5. Video to Burst
6. Push to Pull
7. Print to Pixel

Taking these on board is not as easy as reading this blog. Steering clear of the many pitfalls that line the path to change is not easy. Very few "Social Marketing" companies actually do social marketing. What they do is attempt to cut and paste old school methods into the new world and we all suffer badly for their ignorance. Good luck on your journey.