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Monthly Archives: March 2011

Are You Killing Your Own Business?

There’s an old saying “In order to make money you have to spend money.” Well there’s a new saying “If you want to have a successful business get out of your box.”

Today in such a competitive market where pretty much everyone wants to open their own business there exists little room for chance or for missed opportunities. Everyone wants a successful business right? But you may be killing your business without even realizing, even if you are a big brand that’s been around for years. How you may be doing that is through missed opportunities to improve the level of your business, by ignoring the future of business interaction and communication, or any other area for that matter.

No this isn’t another rant about how businesses are ignoring the power of Social Media. I’m pretty sure that point has been overly stressed for the past two years. They get it, Social Media is a good thing, you can stop now.

This is a rant about even today in such a technological inclined era there are still businesses who are stuck in the old way of doing things. As if that point hasn’t already been proven by the countless other multi-million and multi-billion dollar businesses and industries who over the years failed to move with the crowd and ended up falling flat on their faces…who remembers the railroad era? They ignored the possibility of flight and underestimated the power of the automobile revolution. Well I’m pretty sure Ford, Toyota and Boeing have something to say about that.

Perfect example. Recently I briefly attended a Marketing seminar for University students. There were a lot of companies promoting their products and services to the students. Being a now conditioned salesman my first thought was “opportunity knocks” so I decided to approach one of the companies to introduce them to Enterprise SMS, and how it could further enhance and improve not only their client-communication but also their overall business. Her first reaction was “No not interested”. Again I say being the now conditioned salesman I tried yet again explaining the benefits that SMS offers, especially within their Marketing strategies. Yet again a resounding “No not interested” came from her.

Now it’s important to note that I was not trying to sell her on the product, all I wanted was for her to open up to the possibility and even slightly consider how SMS could benefit the company, even if it wasn’t using our product. I pleaded with her to just consider it; I told her even if she doesn’t spend a dime that’s fine (hey that rhymes). All I wanted her to do was to give me the chance to open her eyes to the possibility. If after she felt that it wasn’t for the company I would forever leave her be. Yet still she refused.

In her mind what the company had been doing has worked for them over the years and she doesn’t see why she should consider implementing SMS. Now a thought like this in any business is dangerous play. Never be so closed-minded to the opportunities that exists around you that you will only end up sabotaging your business in the end.

I was not trying to sell her on the product, what I was trying to sell her was that the future of business communication existed within SMS, and just as how leading up to 2008 many businesses ignored the power of Social Media and are trying to play catch up now, so they may soon be doing with SMS. Brands such as Starbucks, Coca-Cola or Red Bull are not necessarily extremely successful in Social Media because they are the best at it. They are successful because they were the first at it. The Innovators and not the Late Majority or Laggards. Just the same the company will be forced to play catch up or be forced out of business by still ignoring the opportunity for business growth that exists right in front of them.

Many businesses of the past failed because they failed to move into the direction, and with their customers as they were moving. This is why it is important to constantly keep abreast of trends within and out of your industry to have a competitive advantage, to be and continue being successful. Successful brands know that there is no such thing as remaining the same forever. They know that they have to constantly reinvent their brand and business in order for it to evolve and stay relevant and interesting to their target market.

You should do the same and not fall into the trap of stagnation and destruction of your business.

What’s your take on it? Leave a comment below to let me know.

The Ranter.

 

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Why Claro Failed to Beat Digicel

So by now everyone should have gotten the news that Claro has sold their Jamaican division to Digicel Jamaica. I do not know the real reason why Carlos Slim decided to sell, since I wasn’t in presence of the negotiations as it happened. Furthermore, I do not know why he decided to enter the Jamaican market in the first place. Some say it was to prove a point as Digicel Group had entered their territory after an informal agreement not to, so they simply decided to return the favour by coming to Jamaica…or so it said at least.

However, I’m not here to discuss why Carlos Slim decided to establish Claro in Jamaica or why he sold, I’m here to discuss why Claro failed to beat Digicel. To be honest I can’t say that I’m surprised at this action.  I have been observing Claro from the very beginning when they entered the Jamaican market, and they were doing things wrong from the very beginning in so many areas. They entered the market under the impression that Digicel’s success was merely due to great marketing, and therefore if they could enter the Jamaican market and ‘outmarket’ Digicel then they could take Digicel’s dominance in the marketplace. Sure Claro can easily outmarket Digicel in terms of  dollars and cents, I mean it is owned by the richest man in the world. Therefore, this not only means more money-spend on better marketing, I reiterate: in terms of dollars and cents, but also a lot could be spent on R&D for the latest technology that Digicel may not have access to, and also they could offer lower rates than Digicel could, I mean they could afford it.  So the plan was simple, outspend DIgicel. Sounds like a fairly reasonable and logical plan, more money for marketing and better tech, and lower rates. Business over the years has taught us that if you offer a better product at a lower price then you’re sure to beat the competition. Except they left out the fundamental, core, at the heart reason why Digicel was successful in Jamaica in the first place…the people.

Let’s not take into consideration the other guys that had a monopoly once upon time who digged their own grave in the past, making it all too easy for competition to set in and take over the market. Let’s ignore the fact people wanted a change, and like Obama Digicel brought that change…let’s ignore that fact. That only made it easier for Digicel to successfully penetrate the market, but it is its connection to the people that made them successful, more importantly the young people. The young people who are pretty much the ones who spend the most on the latest tech in the first place.

Digicel came to Jamaica during a time when it was next to impossible for young adults, especially those just leaving university, to get a job. There was always the painstaking fact that no one wanted to hire employees with no prior experience (but then you ask how are they suppose to get experience if they have no job to begin with? But that’s something for another time). Digicel took in all those unemployed university graduates and said “Hey come work for us, we can relate to what you’re going through.” Not only that, Digicel pretty much made it look cool to work for somebody else back in the day, everybody wanted to work at Digicel. It was overrun with university graduates which added an element of fun and hipness to the work scene. So then the virality effect took over, a friend told another friend who told another friend and soon enough Digicel was the had more than their share of university graduates working for them. Digicel was where it was at. Digicel went a bit further to offer exceptional customer service, something that was/is pretty much non-existent in most Jamaican businesses. So through that mere act they were able to differentiate from every other Jamaican business. Then guess what, not only were the staff talking but now the customers were talking, and Digicel’s snowball effect grew even more instantly propelling them to dominant market share and to being the Bigger Better Network (I’ve been waiting for the chance to put that in).

Digicel made a connection with the Jamaican people, and I think that is what Claro missed out on and failed to realize. They tried to buy out the people instead of making an emotional connection with them. Instead of first trying to build their brand into something that everyone wanted to be associated with, which is what Digicel did. They tried the traditional, bully tactics thinking it would work and it failed. Why did it fail? Because today the power is with the people not the brand. The people decide who they want as their representative, not the other way around. I only hope Digicel recognizes this and does not become too complacent and comfortable in their possession of success to realize they need to maintain that connection if they want to continue having the success they currently are.

This only proves in today’s marketplace, Jamaican or otherwise, it is not about who has the bigger budget but who can make the greater connection. Digicel made that, established it, and put their stamp of approval on it, the Marketing simply helped to reinforce their brand and remind the people why they chose Digicel in the first place.

Take a page all you other competitors out there, Digicel is here to stay.

The Ranter.

 
 

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Charlie Sheen Tweets Worth Big Bucks

I find it both ironic and convenient that in my post yesterday Charlie Sheen: Insane or Brilliant? I mentioned how Charlie Sheen’s antics may be a strategic Marketing move on his part to increase his virality on a level that is unprecedented, whether intentionally or not.

Well it seems my hypothesis has proven to be correct, and maybe he isn’t as insane as he may appear.  Apparently now Sheen has been inducted by Ad.ly as one of the top celebrities whose tweets could be worth anywhere between US$1000-US$10,000 per tweet. Celebrities who have made the list are ‘Keeping Up With the Kardashians’ star Kim Kardashian and Pop superstar Mariah Carey.

In two days Sheen’s Twitter following has grown to 2 million and continues to grow with each insane act. Suffice to say his Vial Marketing seem to have pulled it off, and he is now being paid for his insanity, or brilliance, depending on how you look at it.

I don’t know if I can consider this one to be a great Marketing move, but what I will say is right now it seems his tweeting antics will be keeping him in the minds and media of a lot of people for a bit longer than we expected.

In case you’re interested here’s the article that goes into greater detail of the lucrative potential of his tweets Behind Charlie Sheen’s tweet lies a new world of social media advertising Thanks Mirna Bard for this.

What do you think about this? Leave a comment below.

The Ranter.

 
 

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Charlie Sheen: Insane or Brilliant?

Lately Charlie Sheen has been getting a lot of attention, not necessarily good but attention nonetheless. When my Twitter list, who comprises of mostly marketers I might add, are sending updates one every 30 minutes with something relating to Charlie Sheen I know something is wrong. One has to wonder if he has completely lost it and has decided to throw away his successful Hollywood career, especially with the recent success of Two and a Half Men, a sitcom on CBS.  I’m beginning to wonder if he’s competing with Lindsay Lohan for the title of ‘Celebrity to destroy their career the quickest’ or ‘Crazy Celeb of the Century’ award.

Yeah there was the alcohol and drug problem, the prostitute incident, and the Ustream video, but one has to wonder is he really intentionally hurting and destroying his career, especially since he was on the brink of a comeback, or is it something else?

Since his recent publicized antics, and his further actions intensifying the situation, he has become the most talked about incident since probably the Obama inauguration.  Talk about Viral Marketing, this is the golden gate, the keys to heaven for most Marketers, to have their brand talked about a lot across pretty much every media channel there is, whether online or offline. Now you may be saying negative publicity such as these may destroy a brand, and this I completely agree with.  However, there is such a saying as ‘there’s no such thing as bad publicity’, and in Charlie Sheen’s case this may hold true considering the traction he is now receiving and the longevity of it. As bad as it may be, maybe that’s his intention.

Maybe he’s just a little bit crazy and dare I say a bit stupid for his actions, but then again past men and women were considered crazy during their time of ‘insanity’ and are now renowned as some of the greatest minds of all time…case in point Albert Einstein.

What do you think, comment below to share your thoughts.

The Ranter.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 10, 2011 in Celebrities

 

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Digicel ‘Jus Buss’ Is A Mus’

If you have been following my tweets you know for sure I am not a fan of the dancing and singing commercials.  Not because I have a problem with dancing and singing, but because I honestly believe we (by we I mean Jamaicans) have exhausted that advertising tactic way past its expiration date.  It seems every last commercial for the past since the invention of the television has been about someone doing a dance or a sing-a-long tune to catch the ears and eyes of potential consumers.  To be honest it just shows a lack of creativity in my view. Now don’t get me wrong maybe 50 years ago it was a hit, but at some point you have to put Old Yellow to rest and just shoot the dog.  It has now become tacky and useless, and I think my senses are becoming somewhat numb to any commercial once I hear it starts off with a catchy tune and a song.

With that being said…

Every millennium there is that one Ad that surprises me and catches me off-guard.  Suffice to say my senses are reawakened by the exhilarating feel of excitement and pleasure that comes from a well executed Marketing effort. Yet another lifetime has passed and I feel I have found it in the new Digicel Jamaica ‘Jus Buss’ Ad. For those of you who may not be aware Digicel is a major telecommunication company in Jamaica, and the term ‘Jus Buss’ means something that has just been released, hence meaning it is new and trendy.

Now what they are doing is nothing new as far as I am concerned, it’s the same dance moves with the same dancers and the same concept. However, I believe what is different this time is the execution of the Ad. I didn’t realize it at first because as mentioned as soon as I hear a tune start playing my senses become numb.  In this instance however, half way through the Ad I found my senses doing quite the opposite.  I was attentive, I was receptive, I wanted to know what the Ad was about.  Still, my attentiveness, receptiveness or curiosity was not what made the Ad successful in my eyes. It was the unexpected truth that even after the Ad ended I found myself still singing the tune with a cheerful step.  It stuck with me through the night into the morning.

This is the type of execution that very few are able to accomplish. The method may not have been new, but the purpose was accomplished: getting me to keep the brand in my mind long after the Ad had passed. I am very impressed as this is a feat very few (if any at all) other singing-dancing Ads can accomplish.

So I have to give this one a 4.5 out of 5 rating.  Good job Digicel, keep it up.

Below is the video, let me know your thoughts by commenting below.

The Ranter.

Ad

Hey look they even have a music video for it

 
 

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What I Like About the New Facebook Page

With the new feature of using Facebook page as an account I can easily realize the benefits that come with this.  I am going to mention one in particular that I noticed that may have missed a lot of other Facebook marketers and brands.

I was thinking about running a competition for another business where existing fans would get their friends to “Like” the page in order to qualify or be eligible for a prize.  Basically who ever got the most friends to ‘fan’ the page wins.  This may not be a new concept at all, especially with brands and Facebook.  However, my problem was how could I know who recently “Like” the page and how would I reach out to them to find out who suggested the page to them if i didn’t know the recent ones from the not so recent ones?

Evidently, it now happens by using Facebook as you page people who have recently “Like” your page now shows up in the Friend Request section as a notification, as recent fans who have “Like” the page.  This makes it easier for businesses to now measure (1. How many fans Like the page on a daily basis and overall to gauge the effectiveness of their campaigns and (2. Who exactly LIke the page so that one may follow up accordingly, maybe with a simple ‘Thank you for Liking our Page’ gesture.

With this new feature I am glad that measuring these results will not be as painstaking as before and there will still be hope to run the campaign after all.  Now I know I may have bashed the new page functionality in a past post, but that was only as it relates to the chronological order of the status updates which I am happy to announce has been fixed, so I am now 100% pleased.

Good job Zuckerberg…good job.

The Ranter.

 

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3 Ways to Kick Your Competition in the Nuts

While having a drink with one of my friends we began talking about his new business venture. He was preparing a proposal for a potential client and wanted my input on what exactly to include. Then he mentions while doing his updated market research he discovered a new competitor. This is why it is wise to do consistent market research on new trends, potential customers, and unforeseen competitors, but that’s a post for another time.

Today we will be talking about the very same advice offered to my friend, which will not only help you gain the advantage over competitors, but also how to win customers over the competition.

1. Take your competitors strengths

Examine what your competitors are doing now that makes them superior to your business, or that wins them customers. Adopt it, improve on it through your own creativity, uniqueness, and innovativeness, and implement for your business. This way you’re using their strengths to become stronger than they are, and constantly outdoing them. After you have done that be sure to highlight these new found strengths in all marketing efforts.

2. Exploit their weaknesses

Identify your competitors’ weaknesses. Find out what makes these their weakness and then find ways to take their negative weaknesses and turn it into your positive strengths. This way you’re become strong in areas they are weak, and are doing things they can’t do, which surpasses them. Here’s the final trick: it’s not so much to identify their weakness and use it to your advantage, but you must highlight these weaknesses to your customers and their customers, and show how your business succeeds where the competition falls short. Basically you are giving the market a reason to choose you and not your competitors by highlighting their weaknesses and making them look inferior in comparison to your business.

3. Do what they aren’t doing

There are a lot of businesses who are stuck in their old ways of doing things, they figure if it’s been working all these years why change? Here’s where you can gain the advantage. Today’s marketplace(customer behaviour, competitors, tech) is changing so rapidly having the “If it aint broke don’t fix it” mindset is a sure formula for inevitable business failure. Therefore, look at what your competitors aren’t doing or refuse to do that you can use to improve your business. A great way to uncover unconventional, new ideas is to examine things that other businesses in other industries are doing that works for them that aren’t being done in your industry and use it to your advantage. Sometimes the best ideas come from the places you least expected. Be sure that it can fit within your business model and aligned with your business objectives without disrupting what is already in place.

There you have it, using these methods of competitive analysis is sure to give you the competitive advantage.

Also, ensure that this is done for ALL competitors, even the little, seemingly insignificant guys. You’d be surprise how a little guy can turn into a multinational, multibillion dollar brand…just ask Walmart.

The Ranter.

 
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Posted by on March 5, 2011 in Competition

 
 
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