Does your company have a mission statement? Are you a little embarrassed by it, or even baffled as to what it actually means? Or is it a clear statement which keeps you on the right track?
You no longer have the option of signing one big purchase order for a giant trade show which everyone attends, or a magazine which everyone reads, because those things are dead. Instead you need to address lots of smaller audiences.
Even if you're being interviewed for an in-house initiative, such as a newsletter or blog, you should at least have thought about the approach you're going to take.
I’m sure many of you read Seth Godin’s blog from time to time; there aren’t many writers who make me nod my head in agreement as often as he does. A recent short post called Alienating the 2% hit the nail squarely on the head. If we produce work we’re proud of, we almost expect praise, and certainly don’t treat it as seriously as we do criticism. But people are much more likely to be moved to criticise than to praise. For every bit of negative feedback you get, how… Read MorePlay the numbers »
Seth Godin’s Blog reckons it’s time to say Goodbye to the office. Of all the reasons to have an office which he can think of, only “I need someplace to go” seems to be still relevant in many industries, and therefore “once someone figures that part out, the office is dead.” Thinking back to office jobs I’ve had, he’s right (although of course, it’s taken technology which has only become available in the past few years for it to become so). I enjoyed working in the same building as other… Read MoreTurning your work colleagues into friends »
Over the weekend Seth Godin wrote a piece about the ‘scamminess’ of the website belonging to the US Postal Service. Now, whilst that’s not a site which many of us have to deal with, his complaints apply to many websites worldwide. The most interesting comment of all though was the concluding “there’s something about the mechanics and arms-length nature of the web that just begs companies that know better to treat people in a way that they’d be humiliated to try face to face.” That’s something we can all learn… Read MoreWhat do you mean, there’s another supplier next door? »
One of Seth Godin’s recent thinkpieces made an excellent point. In The circles (no more strangers) he reminds us that strangers are expensive to reach and hard to persuade. And yet that’s where so much of our marketing expenditure is directed. Instead of spending £1 each trying to get to 1,000 people we don’t know, maybe there’s more business to be had in spending £10 each on 100 people we do know, or £100 each on the 10 people we know best of all. There’s an obsession with reaching new… Read MoreThe business on your doorstep »
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: giving your products proper names, rather than marketing them by their part numbers, is an underused opportunity in the technical B2B sector. It’s so much easier for your salesmen and your customers alike to be selling and buying the “Big Blue Widget” rather than the “XCV-T45/43000b”. It’s something they can actually refer to by name when they’re talking about it! Samsung’s SGH-D500 is a fine mobile phone, but however interesting it is, nobody’s going to drop a name like that into… Read MoreYou can’t talk about it if you can’t say it »
It seems like ages since we had one of Seth Godin’s pearls of wisdom here. So I’ll refer you to his recent post Why are you apologizing? for some of the usual food for thought. In summary, he says that if you’re sending out something with an apology for sending it, then don’t send it in the first place. He’s right.
Seth Godin has got 70 “big thinkers” to contribute to a free eBook called “What Matters Now” with inspirational articles about “Things to think about (and do) this year”. I guarantee you’ll get one good idea from this. I won’t take selected quotes from it or anything, because it’s only a 3Mb download away.
Once again Seth’s Blog hits the nail so firmly on the head it probably came out the other side. This one was posted a couple of weeks ago, and I’ve been meaning to mention it ever since. In The magic rule of seven (and the banality of alphabetical order) he tackles lists, and how unhelpful they can be. Firstly, drop-down lists on web pages. How annoying is it when, to complete your address, you have to select your country from a drop-down list, which is set inevitably to “Afghanistan” by… Read MoreWhy your “Aardvark” model gets more enquiries than the “Zebra” »
Seth Godin has been irritated by some B2B companies which force him to contact them in the format they want, just so he can ask them to sell him something. Read Promiscuous dispersal of your email address for the full story. He’s right, you know. “Contact Us” forms with limitations on what can be entered, and requests for extraneous information, suggest that the marketing department hasn’t thought about the process well enough, and hasn’t insisted that the web designers find ways around the limitations of IT systems. If I need… Read MoreWhy make it difficult for me to buy your stuff? »
We seem to have a bit of a theme going on this week. Following my article on Monday about the problems being faced by trade magazines, I got into some interesting correspondence with my former colleague Mark Simms, Editor of Industrial Technology magazine, one of the few titles which is refusing to panic in the current market conditions. Mark has some fascinating theories about the trend away from brand advertising towards measurable response advertising, which I’ll mention tomorrow. This sort of thoughtful analysis is why I’m sure that independent publishers… Read MoreFilling the advertising vacuum »
Here’s another one of Seth Godin’s thought-provoking Seth’s Blog posts. Pick anything – the calculus of change points out that the default position for most customers is “do nothing”. If they don’t know whether there’s anything in it for them if they do something, then they’ll do nothing. Therefore if you want them to do something, you need to pick the moment when they have to make a choice. Now, for us in industry, it’s difficult to find out when they’re going to have to make a choice (although the… Read MoreBeing there when they decide to stop doing nothing »
For those of you who instinctively think that because you sell widgets, you need to throw everything you’ve got at getting to number one in Google for “widgets”, here’s another good article to make you realise that you can spend your time more productively. How to make money with SEO on Seth’s Blog says that you’re wasting your time, for two reasons: you’ll probably never get to number one, and anyway, do you really want all that traffic from such a general enquiry? Unfortunately, search engine consultants can make more… Read MoreThis one won’t go down well with some of the SEO consultancies »
Another week, another great piece to think about in Seth’s Blog. What would a professional do? is asking the question: Are there aspects of your job where you’re competing against professionals who may be better than you are (because they’re specialists) – and how are you going to cope with that? Have a think about the tasks your company requires you to perform where your competition uses specialists who will probably be better than you. The customers won’t make allowances for your ability to juggle so many skills, because they… Read MoreHow to outperform the specialists »
Long-time readers will know that like thousands of other people, I love Seth Godin’s take on marketing. With Do Ads Work? he’s hit the nail on the head again. He says: “Why, precisely, do you have an ad budget? If your ads work, if you can measure them and they return more profit than they cost, why not keep buying them until they stop working? And if they don’t work, why are you running them?” If magazines, exhibitions, websites or email newsletters were as good as they say they are,… Read MoreWhy, precisely, do you have an ad budget? »
Another week, another great Seth’s Blog article. Gravity is just a theory is one of those ideas which will immediately get you wondering how it applies to your own marketing activities (it did for me, anyway). What Seth Godin is saying is that if you really want to be able to get people to act on your message now, it should not force them to change their minds and should be demonstrable before they get bored. Easier said than done, but once you start thinking about it, you may find… Read MoreLook from a different angle »
Right, one of those short posts from marketing guru Seth Godin today, which – as ever – hits the nail squarely on the head. In How to answer the phone he recounts the difficulty of getting through to a company on the phone, and reiterates the maxim: the only reason to answer the phone when a customer calls is to make the customer happy. Bland yes, but also dead right. He continues: “If you’re not doing this or you are unable to do this, do not answer the phone. There… Read MoreKey 9 to go to the next menu »
Seth’s Blog is always good for articles which make you go away and reassess your outlook to marketing and customer relations. In Old marketing with new tools he says we use technology to do less for our customers, when we should be using it to do more. It’s a good point, and something all of us (including me) are probably guilty of. It’s amazing how little individualised care we give to high-value customers because we’ve become so used to mass-communication tools. But if this is a general problem (and it… Read MoreIs technology putting your customers off? »
I don’t want to seem like some sort of unquestioning fanboy for Seth Godin’s Blog, but the guy hits the nail on the head so squarely sometimes that you can only sit back and admire. In Should small businesses whine?, Godin points out that people are happy to do business with small suppliers – but these have to differentiate themselves from the big ones, and provide tangible benefits. Duh, you may say, of course they have to. But are they making the most of that? If your competitors are bigger… Read MoreTaking on the big fish »
OK, I know the point of this blog is to seek out articles which are of particular relevance to the UK industrial and scientific marketing community, but I’m going to break the rules slightly today by quoting an article which is about high-volume consumer marketing. What’s more, it’s about how to manage scarcity, which is a problem I doubt many of us will ever have the luxury of having to deal with. However, apart from being a fascinating article, I think Scarcity, from Seth’s Blog, raises many issues which should… Read MoreMaking scarcity a benefit »
I don’t want this blog to get too technical about online marketing, so I try to draw attention to more conceptual marketing thinkpieces as often as I do to ones which talk about search engine optimisation or pay-per-click advertising. When it comes to making you think, one of my favourite blogs is from the American writer Seth Godin, and in the latest entry on Seth’s Blog he once again gives us a worthwhile coffee-time read. In The statesman, the lawyer and the marketer, Seth asks why as marketers, we act… Read MoreAre you really, always, the right choice? »
“In study after study, respondents rate themselves as less racist than average, smarter than average, more generous than average”, says an amusing short posting in Seth’s Blog called All customers are smarter than average. The lesson is not so much “the customer is always right”, more “don’t try to reason with them”. Industrial marketing folks should take this one to heart.