Time to Market(ing) vs Just being better

The Bad News Bears finished 2nd - but were they the better team?

The Bad News Bears finished 2nd – but were they the better team?

In the technology sector it seems that first to market is something almost every tech company strives to be the best at, but it is just marketing fluff?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a marketing guy first and foremost, and there are benefits to being the “first to announce” some new fangled feature, capacity point, or even form factor. Analysts love it because it gives them some perspective on who is innovating faster, who is the “market leader,” who is the “technology leader” in a given sector.  The press and bloggers love it because it’s something new to talk about, and of course, the tech company’s love it because their “first to XYZ” is being talked about, tweeted, shared, liked, commented on, etc.  But, to truly embrace the advantage of being the first to market / announce is to back it up with the evidence that it does indeed mean something besides being the first to issue a press release.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s great when you are the first to announce something, but do you know what is better?  Being the first to actually ship something and see it get used in the real world, and make a difference for both users and, let’s face it, the company’s bottom line. This seems to happen quite a lot in the tech space.  A rat race to be the first to this, or the first to that.  Do consumers and business users really care who is first?  Or, do they care more about when they can get it, use it, advantage from it?  I would guess it’s the later.

Sometimes, being first doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best.  Des Traynor wrote a great piece titled “Why Being First Doesn’t Matter”  where he says, “more often than not, it’s the other way around. 47% of first-movers fail, compared with only 8% of fast followers…First-mover advantage isn’t automatically bestowed unto the first product in a category. It’s not even guaranteed to exist in your industry and, when it does, it is fought for and earned.”

So, being first is great and companies should continue to strive to being the first to announce something new and innovative that offers real advantage for users. BUT, maybe, just maybe, being first should not be the primary goal, because nothing is better than being the best.

Now that’s something to market.

Why Storify is all about “conversation curation”

I love this quote…

“The online social landscape today sort of feels to me like search did in 1999. It’s a mess…Everything is decentralized… As a user, I spend far too much time weeding it all out to find the few gems of real content from people I care about. And I end up missing a lot of important content that I want to know about.”  – Michael Arrington Tech Crunch

It’s true. It’s virtually impossible for individuals to take notice of everything, and equally as difficult for brands in social media to ensure their message is being heard, by the right people. One product that may help messages get through and help consumers find what they want is Storify (now in public beta).  You have content curation services like Scoop.it, Curated.by, Trunk.ly,  Redux, heck LinkedIn has one as well called LinkedIn Today.  The way I look at it is Storify is a “conversation curation” tool that enables “storytelling” (as Storify puts it) in the eyes of the consumer with engagement by the brand.  Storify defines themselves on their FAQs page as:

“Storify is a way to tell stories using social media such as Tweets, photos and videos. You search multiple social networks from one place, and then drag individual elements into your story. You can re-order the elements and also add text to give context to your readers.”

Content is everywhere on the web and in social media. We are bombarded with content one by one on Twitter, Facebook, RSS feeds, Blogs, etc. For me, I scan headlines and take a deeper dive into the pieces that grab my attention, or cater to what is already within my stream of consciousness. But sometimes, I want to know what people are saying about a product, service, or brand in general.  I do what almost everyone out their does…Google Search. And what comes back?  Typically more content organized one by one, and my entire process of reading headlines and diving in to the ones that catch my attention starts all over again.

I think Storify has an opportunity for brands to do the work for us, while maintaining the impartial, unfiltered opinions and ideas we crave in the social environment. Why? It’s simple:

  • People love stories
  • Stories evoke emotion
  • Emotions drive behavior

And isn’t that what brands ultimately want from consumers – behavior?  Think of the countless stories you could empower your customers to tell. In some cases they are being told without you having to do anything. This can be a good thing or a bad thing. The beauty is that brands have the ability to “curate” these conversations where the story is unfolding and pull in ideas and opinions from other storytellers, engage with the storytellers, and literally either rewrite the story, or make it that much better.

And a bonus – its SEO friendly, so it may just be that much easier to find.

What stories have you helped tell?


Image by: http://www.fightpink.org/healthy-living-tips/create-a-supportive-life-story.html

How content becomes a company’s digital memoirs

Remember when the About Us page was all there was to learn about a company?

Today, how do we learn everything we need to know about a company? We Search like a bunch of Sherlock Holmes trying to solve a mystery.

I have been writing  a lot about content marketing and the importance of content with respect to the buying process, influence, scalability, distribution, metrics, and more.   What I have not touched on, but is as equally important is search.

The one thing a company should never overlook is the fact that the web is in effect the company’s digital memoirs, but not only in the eyes of the company (autobiographical) but in the eyes of customers (biogrpahical). And the one thing that drives all of this is content. Whether it’s autobiographical like the company’s website, white paper, or case study, or biographical from customers such as tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos, or user reviews, content defines who a company is, what it does, how it operates, and who its customers are, and most importantly what customers think of the company. And it’s open for everyone to read.

Just like getting a good idea about who a person is/was by reading their memoirs, you can do the same for a company by searching the web. The one major difference: a company’s digital memoir is being written and re-written everyday making the case that content in all its forms ultimately defines a company’s brand.

Can you get any more important than that?

Why "follow the leader(ship)" messaging no longer works

We all have seen these… companies that tout / message their products and solutions, or themselves  as…

  • The worldwide leader in…
  • First company to deliver…
  • XX% of the world’s ABC use…
  • Over X years of experience in…

Who says you are a worldwide leader in….?  Market share? Revenue? Nope…leadership is a perception, not a truth, or a right. Who cares  if you were the first company to deliver a product or technology? The only ones that are going to buy are the early adopters…the masses typically wait for a second option, or even a second generation.  I never buy the first year model of a new car, why would I anything else?  Okay, I admit…maybe an iPad, or iPhone, but Apple has a history of doing it right. And, they seldom tout themselves as first in anything, and look where they are….the perceived “leader” in a number of markets.

XX% of the world’s ABC use your product? C’mon. All that tells me that a bunch of people (supposedly like me) bought your product. It doesn’t tell me if users are happy with it, heck if users even use it anymore. Plus, I’ll believe the user, before I believe your message and follow  like a sheep. And, when it comes to experience or expertise, in this day and age, that can be purchased, rented, borrowed, etc. Truly creative and intelligent people are everywhere, and many of them may be right out of college or even high school for that matter.  Being old, does not make you a leader.

See the trend…leadership messaging is all about you, when today it’s all about us (consumers).  Tell me what you are doing, have done, or will do to earn, and more importantly, keep my business.  The fact that you are the worldwide leader in some product or technology, does not tell me anything, nor is it really that credible, original, or creative…it’s a crutch as far as I am concerned. If you have to resort to product leadership messaging as your stand-by, then all you are saying is that you don’t fully comprehend what my needs are.  You aren’t offering a solution to a problem, you are chest pumping, and no one likes hot dog, hence, Peyton Manning = leader, Terrell Owens = not really.

In the end, who really awards leadership?  Not you.

8% trust what a company says about itself…avoid becoming a "company"?

There’s plenty of research and proof that a company’s brand perception is shifting from what the company says, to what consumers, or everyday people say.

Ashley Haugen writes in a post for the MN AMA…a recent study of consumer purchase influence by Alterian and eMarketer indicates:

  • 40% trust friends and family
  • 28% trust professional reviews on web sites, newspapers or magazines
  • 19% trust reviews from people “like you” on web sites
  • 8% trust what the company says about itself
  • 5% trust advertising or promotional features

With social media and the drive to promote one’s own “personal brand” are we heading down the same path? Could we as individuals be heading down the path that only 8% of people believe what we say about ourself? Probably not, because true social media is a 2 way street, hence the term social. We engage to engage with others, to share ideas, opinions, expertise, entertainment, and enjoyment.

We all remember first starting out on Facebook and Twitter.  For many of us, it was all about building up the number of friends and followers.  The truth of the matter is that no matter how many “followers” or “friends” you have, it does not automatically equate value, importance, influence.  You could have hundreds, thousands, millions of followers or friends, and offer little to no real ideas, opinions, expertise, entertainment, and enjoyment value.

The real value, is when someone you are connected to shares what you share on FB, or retweets a tweet on Twitter, or comments on a post…that’s how at least I perceive evidence of value…that what I share resonates, informs, entertains, or invokes thought from my connections.

So no worries…you can believe what I say…I’m not a company.

Trust me 🙂

Seinfeld: a textbook in marketing strategy

If you are a fan of the show Seinfeld, and how can you not be, as well as a marketer, and who among us is not?  Check out this post on MLC’s Wide Angle.  It’s a great take on consumerism and how Seinfeld’s stories about nothing are indeed something to take note of as marketers.

Who knew that watching Seinfeld could be so educational?

It’s even got some clips to grab your daily dose of laughter. Check it out.