Why Conventional Wisdom Is the Enemy of Marketing Innovation

By the time innovative, creative and insightful marketing trends become conventional marketing wisdom, they are no longer innovative, creative or insightful.

(via: Hammock.com Idea Email) By the time innovative, creative and insightful marketing trends become conventional marketing wisdom, they are no longer innovative, creative or insightful.

Conventional wisdom is where innovation goes to become institutionalized, codified and organized around an ecosystem of conferences, acronyms and buzzwords. Conventional wisdom is where innovation goes to receive venture funding, branding and a corps of true believers who are willing to master its language, metrics and software platforms.

(Continue reading on Hammock.com…)

Customers Don’t Want Your Content

Key to content marketing: help customers become smarter.

While lots of people (including me) call it “content marketing,” I’ve yet to meet anyone who says they want content. Contentment, yes, but content?

People want knowledge, insight, expertise, wisdom, to laugh, to be entertained.

People want to know how to move a Google doc into a Google Drive folder or help in deciding which among 20 different paper shredders should they buy or where’s the closest place they can order breakfast food for supper.

People want to learn new things, lose weight, be better at bocce, or know what bocce is or have someone explain to them  how no-one they know likes Donald Trump but he leads in the polls.

florida-whiteboardGive people such knowledge and you won’t need to pay for expensive infographics. (The late Tim Russert didn’t need high-tech graphics to make people smarter.)

So here’s how to become great at using content to increase revenues, create long-term customer relationships and many other things you’d rather tell the boss about that how many pieces of content you’ve posted:

Stop thinking about this thing where companies use content in their marketing as “content” or “marketing.” Focus  rather on developing as many ways as possible that enable you to help your customers become smarter.

They’ll love you and you’ll become marketer of the year.


(Sidenote: Whenever I write something like this, I feel the need to credit Doc Searls. He makes me smarter all the time.)

Owning a Tablesaw Doesn’t Make You a Carpenter

As with the desktop publishing myth, a company can purchase all of the software and mine all the data, only to discover that it is the talent, experience, creativity, skills and intelligence of the people using those tools that will determine the success or failure of an organization’s marketing.

The current Hammock Idea Email uses several analogies that remind us of something we should all know by now, but keep trying to convince ourselves isn’t true: that “tools” are only as good as the people who use them. Don’t just “get” tools. Learn how to use them.

What “desktop publishing” was to the 1990s, “content marketing” or “social media marketing” can be to today. As with the desktop publishing myth, a company can purchase all of the software and mine all the data, only to discover that it is the talent, experience, creativity, skills and intelligence of the people using those tools that will determine the success or failure of an organization’s marketing.

(I encourage you to read the rest: “Great marketing isn’t the result of the tools you use. Great marketing is the result of who’s using the tools.“)

PacMan Eats Up Amazon’s Home Page

Earlier this year, I noted a new design of Wired.com that supports “takeover” ads. These are not pop-over or pop-up ads that you can click an “x” to remove. These are ads that are actually a part of the background or are, in some graphical and often animated way, an actual element of the page.

Today, I thought I saw Amazon come as close as I’ve seen it come to promoting a product using a takeover approach (that wasn’t a letter from Jeff Bezzos). However, upon looking at it more closely, I realized it was a standard size Amazon uses — a “slider” approach to promoting various products that someone viewing the site on a desktop screen will see. (I use lots of smaller screens, so seeing something on a big screen jumps out.)

2010 Google Doodle
2010 Google Doodle

Later: No wait. More than a takeover ad, this now reminds me of a Google Doodle from five years ago (left).

 

Small Business marketing words vs. words used in marketing to Small Business

If you are an actual small business, there’s a major possibility that you have no idea the meaning of marketing department jargon like like SMB, microbusiness and SOHO.

(Note: Much of this post can also be found on something I wrote recently for SmallBusiness.com. As “marketing to small businesses” is a topic I’m going to be writing about on RexBlog during the coming months, I decided to crosspost it here.)

As within any tribe of professionals, it’s normal for those who market products and services to small businesses to develop an inside language of buzz-terms and acronyms as shortcuts for long strings of words or common concepts. As business-to-business marketers can’t do what consumer marketers do when they describe customers as a set of demographics (women, ages 18-21, for example), marketing strategies for reaching small business decision makers tend to describe the customer by the size of a company (revenues or employees), the industry “vertical,” or other factors like location. For that reason, the proxies for consumer-like demographics have evolved into terms like:

  • Microbusiness
  • Small office/home office (SOHO)
  • Small and mid-sized (or medium-sized) business (SMB)
  • Small and medium enterprise (SME)

As marketing strategy terms, those labels may make sense. However, if you are not a marketer to small business, but an actual small business, there’s a big possibility that you have no idea what any of those terms actually mean. And even if you did, you’d likely prefer to be described as a small business, anyway.

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