2 great TED talks that underscore the changing world of media. One where we the companies can’t be afraid to lose control of what we put out there. With risks come new opportunities to achieve our goal. Too often we as marketers say that we want to achieve something, let’s say greater brand awareness, but only if it won’t backfire on us or only if we can be behind the scenes architecting the story. But when we do that, when we become risk-averse as marketers and as organizations, we’re losing something much greater. We’re losing the opportunities to achieve something remarkable, to spread our story in an authentic way, to scale the message beyond our beliefs. We’re becoming “reward-challenged” as Morgan puts it.
Morgan Spurlock: The greatest TED talk ever sold
With humor and persistence, filmmaker Morgan Spurlock (the man behind Super Size Me) dives into the hidden but influential world of brand marketing, on his quest to make a completely sponsored film about sponsorship. He illustrates how risk and transparency can go a long way.
Alexis Ohanian: How to make a splash in social media
In a funny, rapid-fire 4 minutes, Alexis Ohanian of Reddit tells the real-life fable of one humpback whale’s rise to Web stardom. The lesson of Mister Splashy Pants is a shoo-in classic for meme-makers and marketers in the Facebook age.
I recently moved into a new house and discovered that I had an ant problem. Ants were everywhere, taking up residence on all 3 floors. So I went online to set up a pest inspection. It was after hours, but I figured I’d send a request for them to call me the next day with a quote. As I’m filling out the form, a chat box starts dancing in front of me asking if I’d like to get a quote right now. I click on it, give the guy all my information and describe my ant problem, only to be told that someone will call me tomorrow with the quote/schedule. So what purpose did the chat serve? The technician (aka sales rep) calls me the next day and proceeds to ask me for all of my information as well as if there is anyt specific problem I’m calling them about. Don’t they have the records from my chat last night? I give her all the same information and describe my ant problem again. Two days later a technician shows up at my door. The first thing he does? He asks me why I called them in, was I having any issues? I just start laughing and blurt out, “nope, just thought I’d introduce myself.”
Buy with me and you’ll save money! Lower your OpEx spending with our products! Enhance your ability to sell more with us! Etc, etc, etc.
We’ve all heard versions of these lines a million times and they’ve lost impact. Why? Because those statements are all about (1) your service or product and (2) they’re logical pitches. They don’t tell a story about where the customer is currently at and where the customer is going. There is nothing unique here; nothing that would get them interested enough to look up from their smartphones. In fact, here’s a good test. If you were to substitute another company’s or product’s name in place of yours, would it look like something they’ve done? Would they be able to back up the same claim? If so, then you have told a compelling story.
Here’s a great approach to solve this that I read recently in CED’s Sales Leadership Roundtable blog.
In general, we marketers tend to be perfectionists. We craft each word and each image carefully. We spend just as much time on the last 5% as on the first 95%. But customers today are expecting speed, not perfection. They want fast responses to their posts, requests, and comments. And with all the monitoring tools out there, marketing now has the ability to listen and respond to customers in real time on a scale that was unheard of just a few years ago. This takes shape in B2B by delivering relevant content as you’re on our website. In B2C, it’s instant offers when you walk into a store. And yes, you’ll make mistakes. But in today’s world where speed is king and corporate veneers are ignored, done is better than perfect.
Clearly, chairs and pants are the enemies of corporate success…
We’ve all been here before. When management tries to figure out why we’re not successful, attempting to jump in and help us pinpoint the problem. While this cartoon is great for a laugh, it also reminds me of the power of intent listening. Being fully present, suspending judgment and letting go of your tendency to influence the conversation. Do this and you can develop more profound outcomes while inspiring greater trust.
We’re oftentimes so busy managing today that we forget to invent the future. I recently heard this thought from Wendy Clark, the SVP of Integrated Marketing Communications at Coca-Cola. We get so caught up in putting out the fires and delivering results today that we never get around to thinking of the new. But we should. Do not accept the status quo. Take the time to create a disruption between what your customer expects they’ll get from you and what you actually give them. Do the same with what your leadership expects from you, from your team, from marketing in general. Spark a more innovative and passionate environment, encourage crazy ideas, focus on drawing people and customers in.
So I recently wrote about the pitfalls of marketing operations management software (what a mouthful). Afterwards, a friend sent me this Dilbert cartoon that perfectly encapsulates pitfall #2, “what are you trying to accomplish”. Enjoy