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175 posts categorized "Word of Mouth Marketing"

Sunday, September 16, 2012

How To Launch A Successful Product: Lessons From the New Kindle Fire HD

I have been a fan of the Amazon Kindle device for some time now ... and I ordered the new 7 inch Kindle Fire the day it was announced. This weekend I had the chance to try it out, and have been fairly happy. What I didn't expect, though, was to take away quite so many marketing lessons from the announcement and launch of the device itself. In the leadup to the launch as well as after I had the chance to try out the device, there were a few extremely smart marketing choices that stood out to me - and should be useful for anyone aiming to launch a product or service into a highly competitive marketplace:

1. Set expectations strategically. When Jeff Bezos first announced the Kindle Fire HD, he admitted that it shouldn't be seen as a gadget. "The Kindle Fire is a service," he shared. Not only did this feel immediately believable based on Amazon's heritage as a retail brand instead of a gadget maker ... but it also was a great way to illustrate that the real power of the new Kindle Fire's are the seamless way they let you access Amazon's services. And if you don't plan to use all those services, then maybe this isn't the gadget for you.


2. Take advantage of dead space. One "feature" of the new Kindle Fire HD that is sure to annoy some users is that every time the screen goes to sleep and you want to restart the machine, you are delivered a new full screen ad for some piece of content or service (which you can choose to pay $15 to disable). So far, the ads I have seen have been beautifully designed, non-intrusive, and (dare I say) interesting. As long as this quality and relevance continues, it is a very smart way to add value, upsell and create another revenue stream for Amazon to serve ads.


3. Understand where you make your money. The new Kindle Fire HD is priced at $199, which many industry analysts are quick to point out may be at or even below Amazon's true cost to make and ship these. The thinking, of course, is that they will make their money back on users who seamlessly shop more often on Amazon with their new devices for products and digital services. So far, that gamble on that part has probably easily paid off in my case, with the apps and books I already purchased in the first two days of having my new device.


4. Create a cult around your core audience. The Kindle (and on some level Amazon itself) has always championed readers. With the new Kindle, one of the hottest features is "immersion reading" - the name given to the feature that allows you to hear a book read to you via Audible while you follow along reading the text on the device. Along with that, purchasing a Kindle book also gives you access to a public list of phrases from that book that other readers have chosen to highlight. As an author, this insight into what phrases of my book people found valuable enough to highlight was invaluable - and it was useful for me as a reader for several books I'm reading as well.


5. Release earlier than your competition. The holiday season at the end of the year is a busy time to launch gadgets. Many other players in the tablet space will likely be coming out in the next several weeks. By announcing the three models of the new Kindle Fire, and actually shipping the smallest one in mid-September, Amazon is poised to beat the rush and lock people into the Kindle platform early.


Thursday, August 09, 2012

Go Daddy Teaches Brands How To Grow Up?

IMB_GoDaddy3Love them or hate them, there is no denying Go Daddy's sex-based TV commercials designed to create a splash and introduce their brand to the world have been remarkably successful. Every year they have made a tradition out of having ads prepared that are "too hot" for the SuperBowl and get partially banned from airing. Then they publish them online, invite people to watch the full versions on their website and watch the traffic roll in. It is the ultimate awareness strategy, and has worked so well that Go Daddy now has a predictable new challenge: they need to grow up.

Now that the Go Daddy brand has been promoted aggressively for several years as a domain name hosting company, they need to go beyond simple awareness ... and they need to establish trust. Sound familiar?  It is a situation many other brands are likely to face at some point in their growth as well.  Eventually, the most important thing shifts from getting people to know that you exist to something bigger. 

Like any other domain name and hosting business online, Go Daddy's success doesn't depend on selling more domain names, but rather in providing the extended services such as hosting and web development that they provide for customers.  The domains are a loss leader to jumpstart a relationship.  Once you register a URL, the upsell starts.  And the problem with the marketing is that it never did much to establish Go Daddy as a great partner who knows anything about technology.  It was just a cheap place to get domain names. 

IMB_GoDaddy2The tempting thing for any brand is to abandon a previously effective strategy and start something entirely new.  We see it all the time.  Anyone see Jared from Subway lately?  Yet for Go Daddy, their latest campaign shows that you don't need to throw away what worked in order to evolve.  Their latest "Inside Out" marketing campaign, takes a funny and realistic approach to pairing the hot women they are known for featuring, with the "hot for technology" geeks who actually do the real work at Go Daddy. 

Yes it plays up all the stereotypes, and yes it's still slightly offensive. But for a brand like Go Daddy - it constitutes growing up. The lesson any brand can take is that evolution doesn't always mean you need to throw out everything you've done in the past. If it works, keep it.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The Best And Worst Of London 2012 Olympic Marketing Roundup

NOTE - To see a full visual roundup of the best and worst marketing, visit my London 2012 Olympic Marketing - Best & Worst Pinterest Board.


IMB_savethesecretAs the world turn its attention to the Games in London today, I'll have to indulge my Olympic passion from afar this time around.  I've been a lover of the Olympics since I was in college in Atlanta during the games in 1996.  They were a big reason I moved to Australia in 1998 and I was in Beijing in 2008 helping manage the Lenovo Voices of the Olympic Games program where we had 100 Olympic athletes blogging their experience in a pre-Twitter world.  So yes, I'm an enthusiast.  

This time around, I am going to share my passion for Olympic marketing with a platform that I haven't yet used all that much - Pinterest.  As I spent the last week looking at some of the most interesting marketing efforts from around the world - I saw everything from P&G's emotional "best job in the world" video to British Airway's unexpected campaign to encourage Britons NOT to fly.  One of the best early stories, to me, was the #savethesecret campaign launched to encourage people not to share the details about the Opening Ceremonies so people will still be surprised in watching it - a worthy challenge that I accept (and so you won't find any spoilers in this blog post).

Throughout the Games, great marketing stories will continue to emerge ... and so I plan to collect and share them through my Pinterest board - London 2012 Olympic Marketing - Best & Worst.  Over the next three weeks, if you see any great marketing examples, I would love to see you share them there as well. In the meantime, let's all get ready for the international spectacle of the Olympics ... there really isn't anything else like it.

Monday, July 23, 2012

12 Big Trends Transforming The World Of Retail Right Now

Last week I had the chance to deliver a keynote presentation at a merchandising event put on for some of the largest retailers in the US by the trade association  I shared some trends built upon consumer behaviour and incorporating some startups that are getting a lot of attention right now.  I don't share many of my presentations as they are often custom created specifically for events that I participate in, but this is one of the few that I can open up to a public audience.  So below you can see the full presentation embedded from Slideshare (and you can visit my Facebook page to download the PDF).  I hope you enjoy it!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

The Problem With Curiosity

Curiosity isn't just for cats or cartoon monkeys. In fact, it may be one of the most powerful marketing forces that exists in the world today (and one I even wrote a guide for using several years ago).  Thanks to a combination of our natural human urges and what constitutes a "breaking story" in today's media environment - curiosity has been taking on a whole new significance lately.

Today, for example, the two LEADING media stories that people can't stop sharing, tweeting and talking about both peak our curiosity through their irresistable uselessness:

Pandas On A Slide:

San Diego Sets Off All Their Fireworks Simultaneously:

Both of these reminded me of a moment last year when I took a screen grab of the homepage of Yahoo. The lead story featured a headline of just three words: "Squirrel Dodges Lamborghini." At the time I tweeted about it, and dared people not to click the link. Few people were able to resist - just to see what the video would show them.

This drive to "see what happens" has always been a natural human behaviour. The ancient Roman thinker Cicero talked about curiosity as a "passion for learning" - and the noted Harvard psychologist Robert White in the 1960s wrote a groundbreaking paper about this human need to learn, calling it our "urge towards competence." For thousands of years, curiosity has been associated with learning and intellect. The best scientists were always curious about the world around them, for example. But curiosity means something else today.

Curiosity has shifted from a need to learn into a need for simulation. The phrase "for curiosity's sake" is just one example of how we think about curiosity today. In 2009 a veteran journalist named Charles P. Pierce wrote a brilliantly satirical book called "Idiot America: How Stupidity Became A virtue In The Land of the Free" all about the glorification of ignorance in our culture. 

Just wanting to "see what happens" has led to voyeuristic shows about misbehaving housewives, 450 pound "biggest losers" and anyone's silliest home videos memorializing their stupidity in exchange for cash payouts. The annual "tradition" for the 4th of July includes the idiotically American spectacle of a hot dog eating contest. No wonder we love the pandas. But there's a lesson in this as well. Curiosity will continue to have a hold on why people watch certain content and share it with others. In a world where there are more ways ot waste time than ever before, this new form of curiosity is likely here to stay.

The optimistic hope in this is that maybe over time we'll learn that "just seeing what happens" may actually become a legitimate form of learning as well. After all, you never know when you might need to dodge a Lamborghini for yourself ... 

Monday, May 21, 2012

How To Be A Better Entrepreneur, Friend, Parent, Marketer & Human

NOTE FROM ROHIT: Likeonomics is now AVAILABLE - if you read my previous post and decided to wait to buy it because I asked you to, thank you!!

Please purchase your copy of Likeonomics RIGHT NOW!

About four months ago I was sitting at home during an unseasonably warm evening in late January. It was the night of the State of the Union address, and was feeling that unshakeable mixture of happiness and sadness that happens usually on the last day of an amazing vacation. That day I had just delivered the final manuscript for Likeonomics, but as I read the news online that afternoon I found a story that was still bothering me hours later. 

The media was reporting on comments from politicians delivered in something called a "prebuttal." A prebuttal (as opposed to a rebuttal) is based on the idea that you can talk about all the ways that you disagree with someone before they have even said a word. Welcome to politics in 2012. In fact, welcome to the world itself. 

I have written before about how we are in the midst of a very real believability crisis and to find our ways out of it and build a more trustworthy world will take a new philosophy.  Along the path to writing Likeonomics, I researched (and wrote about) many interesting nuggets from history, such as the moment when Microsoft almost bought Pixar to the moment almost exactly thirty years ago when two guys with a crazy idea started The Weather Channel. From the story of Nelson Mandela in South Africa to the surprising tourism policies of the Bhutanese government, the process of writing the book also took me to some unexpected places.  Ultimately, what I learned was about far more than marketing or even business.

Likeonomics is really a book about how any of us might become better people. How likeability might be the real secret to trust AND success ... and most of all how BEING more human could help any of us be better in every part of our lives.  

This week is launch week for Likeonomics. A chance for me to FINALLY share everything about the book with you. A chance for me to tell you NOT to wait anymore and to go out and buy the book and buy as many copies as you can! 

So every day this week I'll be sharing a different story and exclusive excerpt from the book here. Each day will be from one of the chapters featuring a different principle of Likeonomics:

  • Monday - This Post!
  • Tuesday - Truth
  • Wednesday - Relevance
  • Thursday - Unselfishness
  • Friday - Simplicity
  • Saturday - Timing

My goal is simple. The more I can share about the idea of Likeonomics and offer some value back to you and your daily life, the more likely you are to see what the book is about and perhaps decide to pick up a copy. 

To give you a head start, here is a password free, no-email-required, completely FREE download of the Prologue from Likeonomics, starting with the interwoven stories of a Lard Salesman, an NFL Agent and a YouTube Star:  

If your interest is peaked, or even if you are just up for doing something to support me and my efforts this week because you may have found some value in my blog over the years, PLEASE consider buying a copy of Likeonomics RIGHT NOW.  

Not only do I hope it will help you become a better entrepreneur, friend, parent, marketer and human ... but I look forward to sharing some real stories and lessons from the book with you throughout this week to show you exactly how!




Sunday, April 08, 2012

How Case Studies Can Set You Up To Fail

My life would be a lot easier if I loved case studies. After all, they are all around me. In our agency, we produce case studies for our most successful work. Clients share case studies of previous work or industry standards with us all the time. In the educational world case studies are plentiful, and the majority of "practical" marketing and business courses are built entirely on using them to teach principles. So why don't I love them like so many of my peers do?

It's not that I don't believe you can learn a lot by studying other industries and other campaigns. But when it is packaged into a typical "case study" format, there are a few common problems that arise:

  1. People are often not good at self diagnosing what worked well and what didn't, and case studies are often not written by the same people who executed a strategy either - which results in second hand information.
  2. Case studies mostly focus on the positive or successful, but often we learn most from failures. Have you ever seen or written a "case study" on something that failed?  We need to see more case studies of what didn't work so we can learn from failure as well as success.
  3. They are often written in a siloed way - looking only at individual channels (such as social or advertising or PR) and missing the broader point of integration and how it contributed heavily to their success in the first place.
  4. The core behavioural insight is often missing in reports and case studies (ie - WHY did people respond to a particular message or approach as opposed to simply noting that they DID respond)
  5. Results are often be presented in terms of numbers and volume does not necessarily proove effectiveness when it comes to actual impact achieved
  6. Real first hand expertise is often missing because case studies may not be written by the person or people with the most direct knowledge of why something worked or didn't.

So are traditional case studies useless? Not at all, but I think there are much better opportunities for learning in a different way. The most powerful way to learn in many ways is still a face to face experience with a person - and when you couple that with real engaging experts who are actually DOING great things, then you have the type of experience that can really offer the most valuable learning. 

That's why I'm thrilled to announce two events coming up that I've agreed to participate in as a speaker coming up very soon.  Both offer amazing opportunities to go beyond the case study and learn something real and actionable from experts who are actually doing real and amazing work:

WOM Crash Course (Austin - May 10, 2012)

IMB_WOMCrashCourseThe one thing I know for sure is that Andy Sernovitz knows how to put on a great word of mouth learning event. He and his team remain unromanced by the allure of just focusing on social media ... which means this event is one of those unique moments when you will learn how to ACTUALLY create great word of mouth by using social media along with lots of other tools. From his unique format of having only real practioners present to his unique lunchtime sessions where six authors all show up to simply have conversations (no powerpoints allowed!), attendees always rave about this event. If you want to join us in the great city of Austin, just leave a comment on this post for a 25% off registration discount code - and the first 2 readers to comment will receive 50% off registration!

Corporate Social Media Summit (New York - June 13-14, 2012)

IMB_UsefulSocialMediaCorpSummitThe fact that I have worked with the Useful Social Media events team for the past 3 years and agreed to speak or moderate sessions at multiple events for them is evidence of one thing: this team knows how to put on a great learning event. What sets the Corporate Social Media Summit apart is their laser focus on social media for big brands. If you work at a large organization trying to plan for using social media at an enterprise level, this event is for you. The speakers are all from big brands (just look at the agenda!) and the conference stays far away from any fluff or vendor pitches. In the past, the hallway conversations from attendees learning from one another have been just as powerful. To get a 10% discount on registration, use the code "OGILVY10"

Whether I was participating in both or not - I highly recommend trying to make it to one or both of these events. Hope to see you there!*

*There is also chance that all attendees of one or both events will get free copies of my new book Likeonomics!

Thursday, April 05, 2012

How Whiskey Inspired The Making Of Likeonomics

IMB_talisker-labelThe "fourth best island in the world" (according to National Geographic) isn't warm and rarely sunny. Yet the Isle of Skye is a celebrated part of Scotland and a popular tourist destination. If you ever happen to find yourself traveling there, one of the most popular places on the island is a unique distillery that produces some of the world's finest whiskey: the Talisker Whiskey Distillery. 

Though it has been more than a decade since I first visited there, I can still remember the tour that I took. A few months ago heading through the duty free store at an airport, the memory of that experience inspired me to purchase a bottle to take home. I do love a good drink ... but when I drink from a bottle of Talisker, it is still a different experience. And it doesn't have anything to do with how it tastes, or how it is aged, or what kind of barrels they use.  In part, I love the whiskey because I've been to where it was made.  

IMB_TaliskarWhiskey1The reason it matters is a powerful one, and it explains a lot more than my love of one brand of scotch. There is a reason that Zappo's has a standing offer to pick up any of their customers from their hotel in Las Vegas and bring them out to their headquarters for a tour. It is the same reason that Intel has a museum on their main campus in Palo Alto. The more personal connections you have to something, the more likely you are buy or recommend it to someone else. Personal experience matters.  

This, in a nutshell, is the strategy behind a pretty unique virtual web chat that I am going to be hosting on April 19th called the "Making of Likeonomics." I partnered with a company called Shindig to use a brand new virtual chat platform to create an introduction to my new book that goes beyond your usual webinar.  


Using a two way video session (where you can see me and interact directly from your browser without any downloads or signups required), I will take participants through my process for actually researching and writing Likeonomics. Here are just a few of the things you'll learn:

  • Why you should write a book (and why you shouldn't!)
  • How to come up with a big idea for a book
  • Who really came up with the title Likeonomics (hint: it wasn't me!)
  • What it takes to sell a book to a big publisher (and why you should or shouldn't)
  • Do's and don'ts of research
  • Mapping your story flow and chapter outline
  • How to produce quality writing (it's different from writing a blog post!)
  • Pitfalls of book writing and what I struggled most with
  • Working with an editor (and picking a good one!)
  • How to build a content based marketing strategy
  • And anything else you'd like to know about writing, marketing and publishing a book ...

Whether you have ever aspired to write a book yourself, you are already a published author, or you just want to hear the real and whole truth about the ups and downs of being an author and writing a book ... this event is my chance to take you behind the scenes and answer all of your questions. I want to build a personal connection by giving you an unfiltered and VERY personal look at Likeonomics, directly from my home office where I worked to write it.

As a bonus EVERY REGISTERED PARTICIPANT WILL GET AN EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT OF THE BOOK (whether you manage to make it to the LIVE virtual conversation or not). In case this event looks interesting, I would love for you to register here (the event is completely FREE):

Registration Link:

There may even be a guest appearance of some Talisker Whiskey. So now you really don't have a reason not to join me! :-)


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Upside of Being Ordinary And Obvious

IMB_BlackberryKeyboardHow much time do you spend trying to be ordinary or obvious? Probably not a lot. In fact, most marketing people actively avoid talking about the ordinary or obvious qualities of their business. Instead we spend days in creative brainstorms trying to create new messages find that brilliant unique thing that no one else has. We want to use new and sexy social media tools and find a winning creative idea that will get everyone's attention. And we forget the ordinary and obvious stuff.  

But what if the most unique thing about your business was also the most ordinary? Here are a few reasons why the ordinary and obvious side of your business may actually be your biggest asset:

  1. Customers have ordinary and obvious requirements. It is easy to think that having an endless list of new product features will appeal to people. The problem is, it is confusing. I recently went shopping to replace a light bulb in my ceiling. The one I bought was the one that said the size most clearly on the box.  
  2. The ordinary and obvious are the most important. The number one reason I book any flight has nothing to do with comfort of the seats of what type of food they might offer. I look for a direct flight. Whichever airline I can fly directly to my destination with is the one I choose. Exactly how many airline ads have you seen in the last six months that ever focus entirely on the fact that you can fly directly from point A to point B? I can recall only one - Singapore Airlines promoting their direct NY - Singapore flight.
  3. The ordinary and obvious may have its passionate fans. Anyone still using a Blackberry today (and I am one of them) does so just for one reason. It's not the collection of apps (which suck) or for the stunning quality of the screen resolution. No, most are just so familiar with the keyboard that they can't imagine doing work and typing emails on a touch screen. Again, how many Blackberry ads have you seen promoting the quality of the experience of using their keyboard versus slow and inconsistent touch screens? Exactly zero.

I love a good creative idea as much as the next marketing person. The point of the post, though, is that sometimes the most stunningly creative thing you can do is choose to focus on the most obvious and ordinary part of your business. You might be surprised at how effective it can be. 


Thursday, January 26, 2012

FinnAir, Republic Day & Why Celebration Is The Best Marketing Strategy

A few weeks ago it was my birthday. The day before on a Saturday morning, my two boys came leaping into our room very excited to wake me up. It wasn't so much about my birthday, unfortunately, as it was about getting ready to do their favourite thing on a Saturday morning: going to IHOP for pancakes. And when there is a birthday involved, it is an even bigger deal. Your birthday is a celebration there. They bring over at least 6 of the wait staff to sing their own version of the birthday song to you. You get ice cream for breakfast (what kid wouldn't love that?).

People love celebrations - and they love to be at the center of attention. Birthdays are easy. Probably any restaurant would do something special for your birthday. But what about the moments that people forget to celebrate? 3 days ago was the first day of the Chinese New Year. It is the Year of the Dragon. What did your business do to celebrate? Unless you happen to be Chinese, probably nothing. 

Life and culture gives us plenty of moments to celebrate, but often we let them pass without doing anything. If we could, however, it would be an unexpected delight. Today FinnAir offered a perfect example of that - as they filmed and posted a video on YouTube of their cabin staff performing a surprise Bollywood dance on a flight from Helskinki to India in celebration of India's Republic Day:

South Asians and anyone with a passion for India (or marketing) have been sharing this on Facebook and talking about it all day today. It is going what you might call "micro-viral." In other words, it is going viral among the exact small target community that a marketing team should care most about - people highly likely to travel to Southeast Asia. The timing is perfect too, as one of the things that many South Asian families start to think about at the beginning of the year is planning their travel for the rest of the year. And flights to India get booked far in advance.

So this surprise dance has a potentially beautiful marketing payoff - to get people who are considering travel to India later in the year to consider using FinnAir to get there. As of now the video only has a few thousand views. Perhaps it will never get a million or more. But by offering an unexpected celebration, they have positioned their brand as one that offers a connection to India (literally and figuratively). My guess is that it is already paying off.