31 Aug

Marketing definitions #2: Seth Godin

Seth Godin’s marketing definition from his recent post :marketing morality.

  • “Marketing (the use of time and money to create a story and spread it)

If I get you right here Seth, “the story” is everything you do to be remarkable, from your product/service to the customer experience, the price; everything.

“Spreading it”
however is what many people see as marketing. I like this one, as long as you know the thinking behind it or it could be mis-interpreted as advertising and promotion.

28 Aug

The trouble with the definition of marketing

I started my marketing consulting/services business based on the realisation that many small and medium businesses in the B2B sphere have few, if any, dedicated “marketing” resources. What I mean by that is there are few people with “marketing” in their title, or people who are formally charged with “marketing”.

Those people with “marketing” in their title are in most instances responsible for marketing communications; keeping the website up to date, a newsletter, maybe some PR and organising the occaisional customer event. However, if you want to talk about revenue, profits, customer aquisition, differentiation, competitors, loyalty or any other “marketing” issues, you talk to the Sales Manager. Or the CEO. But not “marketing”.

Here is my point; using the word “marketing” in conversation is meaningless unless you give an immediate description of what bit of it you are referring to. Don’t ever assume that you and the person you are talking to actually understand it to mean the same thing.
(Come to think of it; what is the point of a word that means something different to virtually everyone? If a key responsibility of “marketing” is communication, why have we not been yet been able to sort this one out?)

Search Google for the “definition of marketing” and you’ll see what I mean. If it is confusing to marketers, how on earth do we expect non-marketers to understand what we do, when we say that we are “marketers”.

This is what the American Marketing Association came up with in 2004: “Marketing is an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.”

Somehow I just can’t hear myself using that the next time someone asks me “what is that you do, exactly?” (And incidently, I don’t think it’s right either; what if my marketing goal is to attract more talented employees to the organisation? They are not customers, is it therefore not marketing?

So I have decided that the only way to go is to write down what it is that we do, exactly.
How about this: I assist companies in creating, developing and maintaining profitable relationships. Far from perfect, but I think people will relate to it better than the official version.

24 Aug

Some good thoughts on being successful

I hope I remember this when I work with my clients; it is very simple, but very powerful.

davidmaister.com > Passion, People and Principles > Two Entrepreneurs

# Be worthy of trust. # Everyone knows that you are smart — don’t try to prove it. # You are there to help, not to be right. # Be a concierge – if it needs doing, do it. # Develop services and products that are worth paying a premium price for. # Do business as if you were working with a good friend –

Thanks David Maister and Geoff Considine.

22 Aug

Tapping into global marketing expertise

You don’t read a lot about it but I believe that Marketingprofs Know-How Exchange is one of those gems of the web.

The system is based on the exchange of points which you can earn by answering questions, or use by posting questions. With around 200,000 members there is a good spread of skills available.

Subjects are organised as follows:

This is how it works: you’re stuck with a marketing question, you find the right category and you post a question. Now all you do is wait for the answers to come in. Whenever someone posts an answer you receieve an email notification.(they could really provide this in RSS to, couldn’t they?)

You select the answer most appropriate and you award the points you have offered (the points you offer are based on how difficult/urgent you deem your question to be; the more points you offer the more interest you will naturally generate)

I have both contributed and in turn used my points to ask questions and it really is an example of the web at work.

Does anyone else have experience with this?

19 Aug


Writing is something that must be in my blood. My father was a journalist and writer, and although I have spent my working life marketing everything from second hand books (very early on) to villa’s in the south of Portugal before I got serious and became a professional B2B marketer, with a passion for technology.
Since 1991, home is Melbourne (Australia), but I was born and raised in The Netherlands which explains my rather long limbed frame.
The reason I write this blog is simple; it connects me to people and their thoughts on marketing and branding and stimulates my thinking.

For a marketer, this is a great time to be alive, as it is increasingly challenging for business to differentiate and build relationships in hyper-competitive, rapidly changing market place.

For a professional bio, you can also find me on LinkedIn

19 Aug

Moved to WordPress

I’ve moved my blog to wordpress to get the benefit of the additional functionality etc. What I don’t know if all the people who have subscribed to my feed have now suddenly lost me…this was probably a little risky. Please let me know if you have lost my feed and had to come back and re-subscribe. I do apologise if that happened.

16 Aug

Great ideas in using RSS

(source: “The Business Case for RSS”, R Hrastnik)

If you are reading this, it is probably safe to assume that you have a basic understanding of RSS, or at least know what it is.

Since discovering Newsgator and the use of RSS I have been fascinated with the potential applications of RSS for marketing.

One of the things I did was create a “client” feed using the clipping feature in Newsgator. The problem is of course that most of my clients don’t have RSS readers. So I used the “headlines” feature and published the headlines on the dedicated customer page where I store their work. But that’s abou as sophisticated I get.

I recently re-read an introduction to Rok Hrastnik’s book “Unleash the marketing power of RSS in PDF format (about 30 pages) and it has been a great read.

He starts with making the business case for RSS, i.e. penetration, opt-in nature etc, which is fine but I’m already sold. The best part of the article are his examples of how to apply it.

Considering the often longterm relationships of Business to business marketing RSS seems to be particularly appropriate to deliver relevant information in a format that is opt-in and non-intrusive. Some of the applications would be:

  • Product updates – its relevant to the audience and often time critical
  • Software updates – ditto
  • Catalogue publishing
  • Special offers and events
  • “Thought leadership” articles – write them or find feeds and re-publish

One of the key issues for business websites is meaningful and fresh content. They just don’t have the people/focus to publish regularly. So the potential to publish content from a partner, distributor etc without having to do anything must be very persuasive.

PS: just realised that I posted on this in October last year. Ah well, if it is good it deserves another go.

12 Aug

Anyone who is not taking customer service seriously should look again

I love this story about a chinese man who didn’t quite get what he expected from Dell and wanted action. Only a few years ago the power balance between complaining customer and multinational would be tipped well and truly towards the multi-national. Not anymore.

Instead of the Intel Core Duo T2300 processor Relevant Products/Services from Intel he had expected, the computer had a T2300E, which lacks “virtualization technology,” a feature that allows the computer to run more than one operating system at a time. Dell says it’s of little use to laptop users, but Zhang says he wanted it anyway.

A few years ago the 30-year-old Zhang might not have gotten very far with his gripe. But 53 million Chinese are denizens of online forums, making it easy to find folks with equivalent complaints.

In the old days, we’d tell our friends and family, influencing maybe twenty people around us. This might mean some lost future revenue to the company we bought from but realistically, would Dell feel that?

Now look what happened: not only did this guy find a bunch of people like him with the same complaint as well as a laywer to take the case but more importantly, the story zipped around the world in a matter of days. I picked it up from two sources; Steve Rubel’s post on Dell’s response and CRM Daily about the actual case. Now, if you hadn’t read it yet from another source you have read it here….

For now, this is about a big, global brand but it won’t be too long when every brand, local or internationally will have to contend with the fact that customers will be able to compare notes, talk about your firm, your delivery, your service whatever it may be.

12 Aug

Who’s in charge of “Marketing”?

The confusion of what marketing is, should be, or should do is never going to stop. We’ll need a new word. Seth Godin wrote about “The myth of the CMO” (Chief Marketing Officer) on his blog, the myth being the fact that they are in charge of marketing.

I feel sorry for Judy Verses. She’s the Chief Marketing Officer of
Verizon, a brand that is justifiably reviled by millions of people.

Is Verizon disdained, mistrusted and avoided because Judy’s not doing a great job? Of course not. She’s doing a great job.

The reason we hate Verizon is they act like a monopoly, have ridiculous policies, a lousy call center, a bad attitude, plenty of outbound phone spam and crazy pricing.

We hate Verizon because of all the things Judy doesn’t get to influence or control.

The myth of the CMO is the C part. They don’t get to be the chief of the stuff that is really what marketing is all about today. CAO, maybe (Chief Advertising Officer) but not CMO.

He is right of course. The real issue is probably that “marketing” the way it should be covers the entire organisation, from the frontdesk to the person who sends out the invoices, to the engineer in product development. Now who is in charge of those people? The CEO. Is he or she a marketer? Sometimes, but not very often.

The best change marketers with the ambition to influence real outcomes has is to become the “trusted advisor” to the whole team on anything to do with customers.

If old style “advertising” is going to be replaced by an increased focus on word of mouth, driven by customer experience than this paradigm will have to shift. There’s no option.

01 Aug

What podcasting means to marketers

Steve Rubel posted a link to this fantastic online presentation on what podcasting is all about. It seems a bit lazy for me to refer to other blogs like this for my content, but it happens to be something that covers a couple of really current subjects:

  • How is the interaction between marketers and their markets changing?
  • How can marketers practically use new communications opportunities like podcasting?

This presentation does a good job in explaining both. As a B2B marketer, the format of this presentation in itself is also really interesting. Considering that in B2B virtually all your customers will have a broadband internet connection this type of simple presentation could very easily be done for many businesses.

  • How many business owners/ceo’s/sales managers struggle to explain their value proposition on paper but are dynamite in person?
  • How powerful is it to do a virtual boardroom presentation, using whatever props you like, rather than a flat piece of paper or an html page?

The key will be how well this can be executed at a cost that allows for businesses to have a crack at this. As it is online, measuring the success at least should be relatively easy. It’s pretty exciting stuff.