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Sarmistha Tarafder's Articles
Change, Challenge and Charge Your Brand Marketing - 
Part 2 [The Cha
llenge]


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Remember, about 10 years ago all the rave about RAZR phones. Motorola was determined to be the "King of the Thin." For a while it did. It rode the crest of the RAZR wave, often slashing prices and narrowing margins to keep the device flying off shelves. And, it bitterly paid for it. "We didn't look at what's going to disrupt [the RAZR] ... someone else was. We didn't invest in disrupting our own leadership." (Yes, 10 years is an eternity. And, Motorola exists as a tiny residue in our distant memory.)

On the other hand, you have Red Bull. It did not set out to overtake Coke or Pepsi. It defined it's own space in the over crowded market of over caffeinated, sugary water. It created it's own category and worked on becoming number one by it's own might. While other brands are busy segmenting their target audience by demographics, Red Bull defines it's audience by their "state of mind." They cater to people who aspire to be mentally fit and wide awake. They do not ride the wave of success. They create success.

And, of course, no story is complete without Apple's iPod and it's rival Microsoft's Zune. Microsoft did everything by the book. It hired the hottest ad agency in town. It had some very desirable product features, in fact, it was better than iPod as a listening device. Yet, after 40 million dollars product pushing and product marketing, Zune was a flawless flop. To give you a perspective: while iPod was moving tens of millions of units a quarter, Microsoft could only muster 2 million in sales in the 18 months, since it's launch in Nov 2006. It was the "10th biggest tech failures of the last decade. "Time Magazine.

You see, with all the successes and failures that have happened in the last decade, we sure have become smarter and swifter, yet, we are very paralyzed by the CHALLENGES that are facing us.

Brian Solis paints this picture for us very well. "We are now living in an era of endless innovation where technology continues accelerating exponentially while businesses struggle to adapt arithmetically. Today, there are 50 times more people on the Internet than in the year 2000 and they are connected at speeds 180 times faster. The same cloud and big data used by international oligopolies is now universally available to those wanting to plot their own destinies at a fraction of the cost off a decade ago. Risk capital, which was once controlled by large banks and private equity firms, is aggregated directly by crowd funding and micro-lending sites. Bitcoin and blockchain technology now empowers ideas and capital to flow seamlessly across borders and trade barriers." 

THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE FACING MARKETERS, IS "UNDERSTANDING THE DEGREE TO WHICH CUSTOMERS DON'T CARE."

Seth Godin, in his recent blog, puts it very definitively:

1. Advertising and marketing are no longer the same thing.

2. The most valuable forms of marketing are consumed voluntarily.

3. The network effect is the most powerful force in the world of ideas.

Just about every big organization ignores all three. 

THE CHALLENGE THAT YOU HAVE TO WRAP YOUR BRAINS AROUND–IN THE ERA OF EASY INTERNET BUYING AND SELLING WHY WOULD PEOPLE GRAVITATE TOWARDS YOU.

Start with the understanding that 95% of the marketing messages are being ignored. We are aware of them, but we do not pay attention. For example, you are a manufacturer of drones, and you are exhibiting at CES, and . You have spent money on media agencies, media planning, creative agencies, exhibit designs and campaigns. {You are thinking, 'people love our brand', 'they will remember us', 'we had a great show'. You are sitting in your comfortable echo-chamber, and, BAM... your numbers does not prove it.} You see, all the media planning and all the campaigns bought you Awareness, not Attention.

Awareness is about how many likes you can garner, it not about active participation and active recommendation. Awareness is about passive participation. Awareness is not about loyalty: it is about brand recall, brand equity. Awareness is about one-to-one or one-to-many. The goal of Awareness is to capture 100% of market share.

THE CHALLENGE OF THE CHANGING TIMES IS TO GET A SEAT IN THE 5% THAT REPRESENTS THE SWEET SPOT OF CUSTOMER ATTENTION.

You are in a good place if you start with the assumption that customers do not care. It is your job as a marketer to make them care. How do you make your customers and your prospects a part of your story. "Is it relevant?", "Is it about me or my network?", "How does it solve my problem?" The CHALLENGE for marketers today is that we are drifting away from the model of buying and selling attention to one where we have to earn it.

If you want to win customer attention, you need to build a culture that caters to it. You need to build a foundation where customers are able to co-create with you. Your tools and platforms should be focused on telling the story of your customers. Your trade shows and your events should be designed around the stories of your customers–their triumphs. their challenges, their networks.

"The future belongs to marketers who establish a foundation and process where interested people can market to each other. Ignite consumer networks and then get out of the way and let them talk." Seth Godin

This point is worth noting when you come to realize that all but 61 companies have been wiped out from the original 1955 Fortune 500 in this dynamic phenomenon that we call Creative Destruction.

 "The river
where you set
your foot just now
is gone–
those waters giving way to this,
now this."
–Heraclitus,
 (c.540 - c.475 BC)
 

In the last last article of this series, I talk about the different ways you can charge your marketing.

Sources:
http://www.neowin.net/news/why-was-the-zune-brand-so-hated
http://www.theverge.com/2013/10/3/4798828/status-symbol-motorola-razrhttp://www.sellingpower.com/content/article/?a=9437/the-powerful-sales-strategy-behind-red-bullhttp://www.aei.org/publication/fortune-500-firms-in-1955-vs-2014-89-are-gone-and-were-all-better-off-because-of-that-dynamic-creative-destruction/Fragments, the Collected Wisdom of Heraclitus.
The Brand Leadership Manual by Graham Brown

 

© 2015 by Sarmistha Tarafder