Archive for September, 2004

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September 27, 2004

Burger King Corporation Appoints Cedric Burgher Chief Financial Officer

You just KNOW the person writing this press release could not stop laughing while penning something like “Mr. Burgher joins Burger King…”. The power of good naming applies to people as well as products!

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September 24, 2004

Careless Love — Madeleine Peyroux

Based on a glowing review in the WSJ (my wife thinks I pay way too much attention to everything in the WSJ!), I picked up this disc. Ms. Peyroux has a rich and question-filled voice, aching with a little bit of lost dreams. She is very much in the jazz tradition of the female singer/songwriter that could be your drinking buddy at the end of a late night, or the girlfriend you regret losing.

The arrangements are very straight forward, and the disc bears repeated listening.

Unstuck — Keith Yamashita & Sandra Spataro

If you have ever felt stuck, then you know how much you want to feel “unstuck”. This handy little book encapsulates a variety of techniques for identifying the ways in which individuals and teams and organizations get stuck. Although not “rocket science”, the suggestions and exercises are very illuminating and can provide anyone with a handy reference for moving along when the mental traffic is a little too heavy.

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September 23, 2004

Latest News and Financial Information | Reuters.com

Appeal to the masses and then do what you want anyway. Not much really stops the world’s largest company from getting what it wants.

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September 21, 2004

That good old timey religion…

Ok, it is not tomorrow, but several days later.

Imagine that you are trying to convince people to change religion. You have your Christians, Jews, Muslim, Buddhist, etc. and you want to convince them to move to some new religion. Let’s call your new religion “Netology”.

The first thing that you decide is that instead of trying to convert everyone to Netology, you will just look for the “influencers” in the community. Those individuals that others look to for council and guidance. These are the “architects” of faith for the people.

Every architect, of course, already has a religion (or no religion at all) and each has some very specific reasons why they believe in what they believe. They might think that their religion is best because it yields salvation sooner, it has lower tithes, or it is compatible with other spiritual pursuits. Everyone has a reason they believe.

What is the marketing strategy?

1. Identify the architects.
Not necessarily as easy as it sounds, since these individuals may hide in the guise of others. They may be influential but low visibility. They sometimes just don’t want to be found since every new religion targets them for evangelism.

2. Identify the pivot points for the architects.
What convinces someone to make a change like this? Is it the promise of a better heaven? The appeal of a faster response time to prayer? Find the pivot point and push. The pivot point, of course, is different for each architect.

3. Document your success.
There is no substitute for showing the lame man walking or the blind child seeing. Show the world the amazing power of your particular religion to cure their ills.

4. Have great collateral.
Collateral material of all types is essentially a way to be there when you are not there. From the web to printed materials to video and demos, collateral serves an important purpose. For some religions there is just one good book that seems to get the job done. For other, things are a little more complex. But, they all have their collateral and you need to have it too.

5. Celebrity spokespeople!
Getting those relevant spokespeople lined up behind you is critical to success. Maybe a famous architect decides to make a film about his particular passion for Netology. People believe people that are like them more than people that are not like them, except in blind faith to the famous. Leverage both opportunities.

6. Beware of competition.
You are not the only new religion on the block (and some of the other, more established religions are not going to give up the ghost without a fight). There is a new-age thing called “Linology” that is promising salvation without penance, and many of the kids are turning to that. The architects of faith are looking for something, anything, to carry them and their people forward. Another solution for salvation might sneak in behind you.

If you have ever been to a church, mosque, temple, shul, etc. you know that preaching to the faithful is also important. Don’t lose sight of those that have already come into your camp in an effort to find the newbies. Continue to deliver salvation to the folks that brought you to the dance in the first place.

Now, do all this fast, cheap, and with pressure from all sides. Be successful or be thrown to the lions (to borrow an image from the Romans).

Welcome to my world.

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September 16, 2004

Come October 1st, I am starting a new position at my company. I am pretty excited about it, and since the whole team blogs (most are super scary smart software architects), I guess I have to speak for the marketing side of the house on a regular basis.

My job in this new role, as it has been in a more limited sense for the past year or so, is marketing to “architects”. By this, I mean the people that design software and IT systems, not the folks that design buildings. Funny thing, though, is that in searching for a contract employee to fill my old role, I received a resume from someone that did marketing to “architects” — but the kind that design buildings, not software! I told the recruiter that the person was not exactly what we had in mind.

This raises the issue of how relatively unknown and invisible the role of architect (assume I mean the software guys in this blog unless I explicitly state otherwise) really is to the general public (and to many people in the software business). I am often asked to explain what I do and about 30 seconds into it I see the blank stares and see people mumbling. This is not the way to entertain folks at cocktail parties.

I am not going to explain what architects do here (a post for another time), but I am going to comment on the fact that marketing to these people is not an easy task. Why? That is tomorrow’s topic.

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September 13, 2004

I have been struggling lately with trying to find the right balance between how much we invest in “events” for our top-line customers and how much we expect in return. It is amazingly easy to spend 100’s of thousands of dollars to throw an event (if you are not in marketing you probably have no real idea of how costs can add up quickly — trust me, they can!) and once spent we then to have find some way to measure the success of that. If we can say that customer X decided at this event to sign a deal for $Y, then it is pretty easy to justify (especially when $Y is greater than the entire cost of the event for all attendees).

However, sometimes the direct connection between the event and subsequent customer behavior is very far removed. This means that a lot of what we base the success or failure of the event on is how we “feel” when it is all over. Marketing people, at least “old-school” marketing people like me, have a highly developed sense of “feel”. We know when something is going well and when it is not. In fact, I can usually tell in the first 2 hours of almost any event if the event is going to be a success or not.

For many, however, going with feel is not sufficient. “We need numbers!” they cry. That is when it all becomes fuzzy again.

Do we make a big investment and hope for the best? If yes, then we believe in evangelism and marketing as the creation of a connection between company and customer. If no, then we most likely spent a little too much time in the quant lab at B-school and not enough time meeting with customers.

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September 10, 2004

Yahoo! News – Naomi Campbell Goes Public About Her Drug Addiction

I turn your attention to this quote from the above piece:

“This is a very good day for lying, drug-abusing prima donnas who want to have their cake with the media, and the right to then shamelessly guzzle it with their Cristal champagne,” he said in a statement.

I do like sentences like this. I really like sentences like this.