Paul Skah https://paulskah.com Use consumer psychology to build a stronger brand Tue, 29 Oct 2019 07:39:41 +0100 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.3 https://paulskah.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/cropped-Avatar_2019_icon_512-32x32.png Paul Skah https://paulskah.com 32 32 How Do You Win The Price War? By Avoiding The Fight https://paulskah.com/how-do-you-win-the-price-war/ https://paulskah.com/how-do-you-win-the-price-war/#respond Tue, 29 Oct 2019 07:39:38 +0000 https://paulskah.com/?p=273 Oh, the famous argument, “the company X is selling it cheaper”. Your first reaction is to lower the price. But should you? Here are some tips.

Artykuł How Do You Win The Price War? By Avoiding The Fight pochodzi z serwisu Paul Skah.

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Imagine that a customer you are trying to win uses the argument “the X company is selling it cheaper”. You check. There are a couple of answers you may encounter.

  • First: company X is really offering the same thing cheaper.
  • Second: the company X is selling cheaper a product that is only similar to yours but your client failed to see the difference.
  • Third: it’s not cheaper at all but the offer has been constructed in such a way that the consumer thinks so (or he is bluffing all the way just to get you to lower the price).

What do you do?

A standard reaction would be to lower the price. After all, you’ve invested so much into acquiring this customer, it would be a shame to lose him “during the final lap”.

Wrong. You may be thinking you’re profiting off this client but the truth is you earned less (or you did not profit at all) in the short-term. And the long-term consequences of lowering the price permanently will be even more devastating. To keep selling for less, you start to skimp on quality. You earn less so you spend less on advertising and R&D. Fewer people buy less innovative products from you. Can you avoid the price war?

Sometimes this is just what doctor ordered.

When not to react to the price drop?

The simple information that your competitors have dropped their prices should not warrant an immediate reaction. Try to dig deeper, learn the reason for lowering the price. Because these price drops may be prosaic and you’ll be best off by… doing nothing.

Question one: do the customers know about the price drop?

In psychology, we have these cognitive biases. One of these biases causes you to assume a higher probability of a phenomenon you encounter more often. That’s why the fear of flying the plane is greater than a fear of driving a car — you encountered a safe car trip more often than a safe plane trip. But the statistics say that it’s the plane that is the safest.

It’s the same with your observation of the market: you keep an eye on your competition and know exactly when and how much they changed their prices. And because you know, you think everybody is aware of this as well. Yet it doesn’t have to to be true! So, until your customers start complaining — do nothing!

Question two: is the discount local or temporary?

There are many reasons why your competitor may want to lower the prices. Perhaps he wants to move the goods that are expiring soon. Or they need a quick cash fix to pay a due loan. Or maybe it’s just a local sale of certain goods (because they’re opening a new store)? In all the above cases, you’ll be better off keeping your prices intact. Wait it out. Or answer with a precise strike, targeting exactly the same customers. After all, if your competitor is discounting only to students, why would you discount anyone else?

Is it really cheaper? Instead of lowering the price… try to make the comparison harder!

OK, you’ve done your homework and it turns out that you really need to lower your price. Or do you? You may still have some tricks up the sleeve that allow you to avoid the price war.

Look to what Amazon did: now you buy your own price discounts.
  • Price variations. If your customer is complaining about the price… introduce a more expensive version of the product! Thus the thing you want to sell appears as the cheaper alternative. But there’s more to it. For your customer, it’s easier to compare your cheaper product to your more expensive one than to a completely different product offered by your competitor. It’s called “-A rule”. And it works. More on this in this article on the psychology of pricing.
  • A different unit. Two cans of soda at two different stores cost 70 and 90 cents. Which is cheaper? The answer may be obvious, but you failed to ask about… the can’s capacity. The first one holds 200 ml, the more expensive one is 250 ml. Which soda (not the can!) is more expensive? If the customer pays attention to cans, you can offer a cheaper can but with less soda in it.
  • Packages. The price of gas is easy to compare between stations. But if you create a package (the gas with a sandwich) you can speak about the lower price for the gas (because your margin will be in the sandwich).
  • Split the price. When you “buy” a bank deposit, you look at “the price” — namely, the interest rate you are getting. The higher the rate, the better, right? But when you actually come to the bank it turns out that the high rate only applies to a chunk of the money. Or is available only when you buy an insurance or a credit card with the deposit. Split the price and show off only the part that your customers pay most attention to.
  • Make them… pay for the discount! Amazon allows its customers to pay extra for the Prime service — and then get free delivery with every purchase. WizzAir has a Wizz Discount Club — for 30 EUR a year you can… buy cheaper tickets. In both cases, customers pay upfront for the discounts you are going to offer them.

Lowering the price permanently and for everyone should be your last resort. If you don’t want to harm your business, treat the above analysis as a mandatory element of each discounting process. Because discounting is easy. Converting the customer back to paying the full price — not so much.

Artykuł How Do You Win The Price War? By Avoiding The Fight pochodzi z serwisu Paul Skah.

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Six Memetic Strategies To Make Your Product More Memorable https://paulskah.com/six-memetic-strategies-to-make-your-product-more-memorable/ https://paulskah.com/six-memetic-strategies-to-make-your-product-more-memorable/#respond Mon, 21 Oct 2019 15:31:38 +0000 https://paulskah.com/?p=216 Having a high-quality product or service is no longer enough to make it shine. You must advertise. Or do you? What if products… advertised themselves? Learn more about memetic product strategies.

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Every entrepreneur would love to see people standing in lines to buy his or her product. The first and obvious step towards this is, of course, offering a product or service people would love. Bear in mind that I did not write a high-quality product. Quality is a subjective term, it means different things to different people. A product people love simply keeps the promise of fulfilling one’s needs. The ice cream sold by a walking salesman at the beach doesn’t have to be top-notch — as long as they chill, people will stand in lines to buy them. There is one more thing company owners often forget. They think that having a great product and telling about it is enough. Yet there is something much stronger than advertising a product: it’s a product that advertises itself. The one that infects others with its mere existence. How do you make a product more memorable?

The first iPod ads featured a black silhouette on a colorful background, and… white earphones.

I want that too!

The ice cream on the beach is a great example. You can, of course, see the seller from very far, you can hear him screaming “Cold ice cream!” but there is a greater chance that before he reaches you, you’ll see people eating ice cream. And when you do, you’ll want ice cream for yourself, too, right? When you walk through a park full of people, you might get infected by plenty of product-related ideas: frisbee, running, a new model of a bike… Such need creation is far more effective than traditional advertising. Especially in groups characterized by strong peer influence, such as teenagers. Producers have long been aware of that fact and have been modifying their products slightly so that everybody knows when someone is using their product. When Apple produced first iPods, they faced a problem: when you’re using your iPod, it stays in your pocket. But all it took was adding characteristic white ear-buds and you have yourself a viral idea. Nikon One or Beats use a similar strategy.

Ideas like viruses

Fashion or trend is an idea that spreads. It’s a dream of nearly all producers: to create a fashionable product increases the number of customers exponentially. But how do you go about it? Can you program fashionable? The science behind infectious ideas is called memetics.

The term meme describing an idea that replicates itself by infecting others was coined by Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist at Oxford University. In 1976 his book, The Selfish Gene popularized memetics. Just like genes store the information on our appearance, eye color, height and so on, the memes store cultural information: behaviors, fashion, clothes… And just like we are trying to modify genes in order to achieve certain goals, we can also try to modify memes to influence behaviors. The latter is especially interesting for marketers.

Memetics claims that different memes compete for the finite amount of our attention, there are only so many ideas we can consume. The fashion is created from the strongest memes, the ones that won the race for attention. This means there’s no definite way of creating a successful meme, as its success depends not only on its strength but is also dependent on the strength of competition. Though we can take some measures to ensure our meme is stronger. What can we do?

Show, teach, connect

In his book Virus of the Mind the author, Richard Brodie, defines three kinds of memes. If you’re doing any kind of marketing, you should familiarize yourself with them.

  • Distinction — when you teach a person to tell a difference between one earphone and the other, he will be more likely to notice what he’s learned to distinct. Sociologists are perfectly aware of this phenomenon: a pregnant woman starts seeing other pregnant women around her. The owners of Alfa Romeo start to realize the streets are full of similar cars. Advertising explains to the masses, why a product is better, but the product should be easy to recognize by itself.
  • Strategy — a strategic meme programs us to take a certain action. We keep quiet when in a library, we buy popcorn when in a movie theater, we wear a baseball cap to the stadium. When building a brand, we program things we call brand rituals — like wearing Beats around your neck and not in the bag when you’re not listening to them. Earphones are treated as an element of clothing, thus becoming more visible.
  • Association — an association meme binds two things creating something new. When you put two known, positive ideas in close proximity and then put another, unfamiliar idea next to them, proximity association is formed. If I had a photo with George W. Bush and Barack Obama in my Facebook profile you would assume I mingle in American politics. We create similar associations by placing a product next to an attractive person or a star. Beats by Dr Dre, right?

Memetic products and services

If you start looking at your products using memetic point of view you’ll soon realize you can make them better by trying to win the attention race. Advertising and marketing strategists are aware of this fact. So next time you plan a product or service, consider using one of those winning strategies:

One of the first Coca-Cola ads targetting African American consumers, directed by Moss Kendrix, the first African American marketing specialist hired by Coca-Cola in 1948.
  • Tradition — if a product or service has always been around, there’s a greater chance people will try to promote this tradition. That’s why Coca-Cola tries to convince us that even your grandfather had it at his dinner table.
  • Evangelism – a product that creates a ritual of inviting others to join stands a much better chance of prevailing on the market. That’s why most social networks begin with invite your friends or see who’s already here ritual.
  • Familiarity — products that are compatible with what’s already in your head, wallet or house. The language barrier is a great example of overcoming this barrier. If you’re reading this but English is not your mother tongue, the same content would stand a better chance of going viral if it was translated into your own language.
  • Explanation — products that explain the way they work in a meaningful way sell better than the ones full of abstract or technobabble. The explanation does not have to be precise, it just has to make sense. That’s why stories or spatial metaphors are so powerful. See the painkillers that precisely target the source of your pain. It’s not how painkillers work, but it’s easy to believe in a targeting pill.

Memetics will not replace traditional marketing or brand building strategy, but adding this knowledge to your arsenal will let you take over the competition. Because the brand happens in the headWell? Will you share this post now? Even your grandparents knew that Facebook and Twitter have always been the best way of spreading knowledge.

Artykuł Six Memetic Strategies To Make Your Product More Memorable pochodzi z serwisu Paul Skah.

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The Psychology of… Your Name https://paulskah.com/the-psychology-of-your-name/ https://paulskah.com/the-psychology-of-your-name/#respond Mon, 14 Oct 2019 18:10:14 +0000 https://paulskah.com/?p=261 Does your name affect your career choices? Can it influence where you decide to live? Does your name change how you behave in different social contexts? How you react to marketing? Find out.

Artykuł The Psychology of… Your Name pochodzi z serwisu Paul Skah.

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Your first name and second name have a certain power. In fact, they affect you and those around you more than you might think. They can make a difference to which job you choose, where you choose to live and… which type of marketing works on you. In this article, I will write about what psychology tells us about your relationship with your name.

How Did Your Parents Come Up With Your Name?

Firstly, in the absence of any better criterion, your name is a label which the world judges you by. We all do it. Who’s more likely to have a mustache: Chris or Harry? You chose “Chris”, right?

The story behind a name is often related to the story of a famous person with that name — thanks to certain German and Austrian leaders, the name “Adolf” was quite common up to the end of the first half of the 20th century, but this name practically disappeared after the II World War. In Poland, the same thing happened with the name “Joseph” (this time, thanks to Stalin). For this to happen, the particular name doesn’t even have to belong to a real person – Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” made the name Ebenezer rather unpopular…

If you can’t decide on a name for your newborn child, I’ve got you.

Names tell you something about how old someone is and which social stratum that person hails from. A name (let’s say, Julia) often starts to be more common as a result of influences from popular culture, for example, thanks to a TV series; and that names tend to move down from a society’s upper strata to its lower strata. First, the aristocracy (or celebrities) choose an unusual name for one of their children and then this name becomes more and more widely accepted. Interestingly, such unusual names are taken up most quickly by people in society’s lowest strata. This is confirmed in the writings of, for example, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner.

Here’s a little task for you: find out the names of Kanye West’s child and Jamie Oliver’s children. And then think if you actually know someone who is called, for example, „North”.

Does Your Name Influence Your Career? You Bet!

In order to be invited to a job interview, how many CVs does a David have to send? Does a person named Marianne with the exact same CV have to send more of them to get an interview? Two researchers from MIT and Chicago University, Marianne Bertrand and Sendhill Mullainathan, claim that the answer is yes. Of course, they didn’t investigate the names Marianne and David — they did their research on American names from which it was possible to guess at the ethnicity of the holder of that name. It turns out that someone with the name Greg (which is the most popular name associated with white guys) has to send 10 CVs in order to be invited to a job interview, whereas Jamal (whose name is popular amongst African-Americans) must send a further five CVs just to get a job interview (even though the two CVs are otherwise identical).

But the conscious pinning of a “label” to your name (and thereby pinning the “label’s” story to you as a person) is not the only thing that happens with names. Your name also has an unconscious effect on others. For example, how easy it is to pronounce a name makes a difference.

Which Names Get Promoted Quicker?

Simon Laham and Peter Koval from Melbourne University carried out a very interesting analysis of lawyers’ names and their careers. It turns out that, if someone’s name is easy to pronounce (and to remember), that person’s chances of becoming a partner in a law firm within the first 4-8 years of being employed in that firm increase by 10%. That positive effect continues for about 15 years and then it seems to disappear, which the researchers think is based on the fact that, by that time, the career of a given lawyer is based purely on his or her reputation. So, if your name is Paweł Tkaczyk and you’re looking for work in Ireland, it could be a good idea to use an alias instead… Believe me, I know.

George, Where Do You Want To Live?

On the question of where we choose to live, more people with the name “George” live in the US state of Georgia than one would expect. Sociologists from New York University ploughed through large quantities of statistical data and came to the conclusion that we are unconsciously attracted to places which have names which are similar to our own name (the names don’t have to be exactly the same — it’s enough if our initials or some of the letters in our name appear in the name of the place).

Lauren, Who Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up?

The same researchers claim that a given name may affect the job you choose to do. They tested that theory on dentists and lawyers: they found the position of the name “Dennis” in the list of most popular names and then found which name was above and which name was below “Dennis” in the list. Next, they took the register of dentists and they checked to see if more dentists had the name “Dennis” than the statistical average. And what did they find? The probability that a little Dennis will become a dentist is almost twice as likely as the probability that someone with a different name will become a dentist (1.83 times more likely to be precise). It’s the same for Lawrences and Laurens, who are more likely to choose a career as lawyers. This is known as implicit egotism.

Have a go at this: what would be a good name for a child if you want to increase the chances of him or her becoming a doctor? And how about if you want him or her to be a blogger?

The Last Name Effect

Here’s one more interesting phenomenon, this time not related to your first name, but related to the effect that your surname has on… how you react to sales promotions. In 2011, Kurt Carlson and Jacqueline Conrad published their paper called The Last Name Effect in which they claim that, according to their research, people who have surnames which start with letters towards the end of the alphabet react much more quickly and more positively to sales offers which are open for a limited time period only. In brief: if you send a newsletter in which you write that a promotion for product X will end in two days, then it is probable that people with surnames beginning with the letters N to Z will answer more quickly than other people.

They explain this phenomenon in an interesting way. Carlson and Conrad (both names start with the letter “C”, which we’ll come to later) claim that this is a reaction to children being put on all sorts of lists and also being lined up in alphabetical order. People with surnames which start with letters in the second half of the alphabet “spent quite a lot of time at the end of the queue” and, as a result, have learned to react quickly to what’s going on — they know the feeling when there isn’t enough of something to go round and they are at the end of the queue. And what happens when a woman marries a man and then changes her name? In fact, the effect remains the same because the effect relates to the name which someone had when they were a child, and that habitual way of thinking has become part of that person from then on.

Researchers found something similar in the way that those who gained a Ph.D. subsequently looked for work. Those with surnames starting with any of the letters from “N” to “Z” put their CV online much more quickly than those whose surnames started with letters from the beginning of the alphabet. So, if you’re looking for an employee who will be very competitive, someone with the name “Anna Anderson” may not be a good choice.

Ignore Those Findings. Here’s How.

One important comment at the end. Remember that your destiny is not ruled by your name — you decide what happens in your life. The research mentioned above only indicates that there is a higher probability of something occurring by proving some kind of correlation between (on the one hand) someone’s name and (on the other hand) some kind of life-decision. If you would rather ignore those findings, I will help you to do that too. A very similar statistical analysis has proven that people whose names begin with letters at the start of the alphabet have more chance of publishing their research than people with names starting with the letters from “N” to “Z”. So the fact that Carlson and Conrad have already published their findings does not mean that there isn’t somewhere a Zych and a Yanecky who have come to completely the opposite conclusions but haven’t yet managed to get their research published.

Artykuł The Psychology of… Your Name pochodzi z serwisu Paul Skah.

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Persona — A Tool For Building Your Brand https://paulskah.com/persona-a-tool-for-building-your-brand/ https://paulskah.com/persona-a-tool-for-building-your-brand/#respond Mon, 07 Oct 2019 17:07:47 +0000 https://paulskah.com/?p=266 You know how much you need a persona to strengthen your marketing message. But how do you avoid the traps while building it?

Artykuł Persona — A Tool For Building Your Brand pochodzi z serwisu Paul Skah.

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If you want your message to spread, if you want your brand to be a topic of many conversations, you have three platforms you can use to distribute your content. First, you can pay for advertising (paid media is the name we use). Second, you can do something awesome so the media and consumers will talk about that (we call this earned media, the buzz you deserve). Third, you have your own channels at your disposal: your website, blog, your newsletter or Facebook fanpage — if you manage to gather the audience this may be an efficient and cost effective way to get your message across (we call this owned media).

But in order to succeed in using any of these platforms some strategic work is needed. You have to decide which you are going to use and what to write about. Creating a persona helps a lot with making these decisions. A persona is a list of information about a certain member of your audience. No matter if you are in B2B marketing or B2C, there’s always human buying from you in the end. So getting the characteristics of persona right makes it easy to reach this human with an interesting message.

Learn more about personas in marketing from this short & sweet video

The danger with creating a persona is filling it with a meaningless content. So here’s a list of questions that help you get it right.

  1. Demography. Who is your audience? Age, sex, location or education allow you to tailor your message. You will use one set of arguments when writing to a young woman from a small town, and another one when persuading a fifty-year-old university professor. And remember you have to choose only one version. You can’t be Jack of all trades.
  2. Work. What does he or she do? Position, job description, how large is the company (corporations tend to have a different set of values than mom and pop’s stores), what’t the industry (the slang they use will give you authority).
  3. Rituals. What does his or her day look like? What time does he get up? What does she read when eating breakfast? How does he spend his free time? This part will allow you to define the perfect brand touch points. If your customer spends half an hour on the bus on his way to work, you can decide to record a 20-minute podcast or serve him a longer text to read on his phone.
  4. Pain. What problems can you help to solve? These problems can only loosely relate to what you have to offer. It’s hard to imagine them reading your advert every single day. But if you manage to identify their problems, you have their attention.
  5. Values. What he or she values? What ambitions does he have? You can buy a product either to impress your boss, or to have no worries at work. If you identify the carrot, the prize they’re after, it’s much easier from there.
  6. Fear. What are they afraid of? When there’s a carrot, there’s usually a stick as well. If you want them to act on something, a fear serves as a great motivator. What is your customer afraid of? Which of his fears is the strongest?

Answering these questions will give you a scope of topics you can use to have a conversation with your customer. Remember: a good brand is a great conversation starter.

Artykuł Persona — A Tool For Building Your Brand pochodzi z serwisu Paul Skah.

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What Don’t You Know About Being Creative? https://paulskah.com/what-dont-you-know-about-being-creative/ https://paulskah.com/what-dont-you-know-about-being-creative/#respond Mon, 30 Sep 2019 16:09:25 +0000 https://paulskah.com/?p=268 What is creativity? It's definitely more than solving problems in a non-standard way. Learn how to define it and use it to your advantage.

Artykuł What Don’t You Know About Being Creative? pochodzi z serwisu Paul Skah.

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Do you think you’re creative? How do you define being creative? Many people would say that being creative means solving problems in a non-standard way. But I’m afraid it’s a little more complicated than that.

The American psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, who is famous for his theory of Flow, carried out some research on creative people and… creativity. Where did he find the people for his research? Of course, at an Art College. Students were given this task: look at a group of objects on a table and paint a still-life picture. So this was the same as they did every day at College.

Listen to the famous Flow TED Talk

Csíkszentmihályi observed that the students approached this task in two different ways: some quickly had an idea, set up the objects and started drawing. The others looked at the objects from all sides for a long time before actually starting work. Still the result was that every student fulfilled the brief and drew a still-life picture. But, was it possible to compare the value of the pictures?

The psychologists pulled in some experts and invited a group of artists to assess the quality of the pictures, naturally without knowing who drew which picture. And what happened? The first group, whose intention was just to complete the task, got significantly lower marks for their work than the second group. Csíkszentmihályi called this second group “problem finders”.

When we think about what makes creative people visionary and special, we don’t usually think about their ability to solve problems, but rather about their ability to see problems which no-one else saw previously. Coco Chanel with her “little black dress”, Steve Jobs with his iPhone and Mark Shuttleworth with his vision of a Linux eco-system: these are not people who solved problems which already existed nor are they solving problems which currently exist. They find problems which are waiting to be solved, and usually the solving itself is done by others.

Why am I writing about this? Because that’s the future for our line of business. Advertising agencies who only solve problems are doomed. Michael O’Leary, MD at Ryanair, claimed in an interview in the august edition of Marketing Magazine that “agencies are useless, expensive and serve up rubbish”. And I agree. I don’t agree that this applies to all agencies, but I agree that it applies to those agencies whose role is, as I see it, to “design logos and brochures”. A client comes to such an agency and says: “Design a logo and leaflet for me”. So what does the agency do? Of course, it designs a logo and brochure.

Click on the image to read more about Michael’s approach to marketing

But a client who sees clearly his or her problem is just one step away from solving that problem. In the era of the Internet and omni-present information, finding a solution to any problem often means … just searching in Google. But Google cannot solve a given problem if someone does not know that a given problem exists. Finding problems to solve is the future for all types of creative agencies, whether they are interactive agencies, advertising agencies, brand agencies or social media agencies.

When Rockefeller paid a car mechanic for some work, do you know what the mechanic famously said to Rockefeller? According to the story, Rockefeller paid him ten dollars. At that time, that was really a lot of money. The mechanic justified his bill: “For hitting something somewhere with a hammer: 1 dollar. For knowing which thing to hit and where: 9 dollars.” If you don’t know the story, check it out on Google. Actually that’s an easy fix!

Artykuł What Don’t You Know About Being Creative? pochodzi z serwisu Paul Skah.

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Creating a Digital Strategy? Try This Template https://paulskah.com/creating-a-digital-strategy-try-this-template/ https://paulskah.com/creating-a-digital-strategy-try-this-template/#respond Mon, 23 Sep 2019 18:43:01 +0000 https://paulskah.com/?p=275 Creating a digital strategy mights seem complicated, but with this template you'll get on top of it.

Artykuł Creating a Digital Strategy? Try This Template pochodzi z serwisu Paul Skah.

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My customers, who start a new company or begin their blogging adventure often ask me: how do I start? There are many advertising possibilities. How do you make sure you did not miss anything?

I want to show you a scaffolding that I use. It consists of two main parts: a digital strategy skeleton, and something called “the pirate metrics” (a popular tool in the startup world). But it’s their unique combination that creates a perfect tool for building your digital promotion strategy.

A skeleton of the digital strategy

What should your digital marketing strategy contain? The right answer is different things for different businesses. So, how does the skeleton below help you? First, it allows you to choose the elements you need to focus on. You don’t like the video? No problem. Your customers don’t enjoy social media? Don’t worry. Just pick and choose what’s valuable for you and your customers. Second, prioritize the components of the digital skeleton. It will tame the chaos that is ever-present in your day to day business activities. 

Website

Use ThemeForest to find a great template

It’s the central information hub for your brand. It’s what people find when they google your name. Make sure it contains only the necessary information, and it has a clearly stated goal — what do you want from your visitors? What do you consider to be a conversion? Is the path to the goal clear? Are your texts understandable?

Decide if you want your website to be more original or more functional. I know, it would be best to combine both but most companies don’t have the luxury of paying for the great design that has also been extensively tested towards UX. The most popular website engine, WordPress, plus a properly customized template from ThemeForest may address most of your needs.

Email marketing

Email is still one of the most engaging forms of communication — even in today’s world of messengers and bots. Your email strategy should not be limited to sending newsletters. I would start with designing your business email templates: how are you going to thank the customer for his buy? What offers are you going to send out? Making money first, marketing later.

Save these email templates in free Google Docs or Dropbox Paper — then you can share them with the rest of your team.

Content marketing

If your company is not known, you can’t count on your customers rushing to your website to buy things after they’d read your cold email. You have to show your knowledge, prove your authority. Writing articles for your blog or educating your customers via newsletter courses, even answering questions via LiveChat or on Quora — all those are the elements of your content marketing strategy.

Creating content is complicated and I can’t describe this process in a single paragraph. But long story short: create personas to tailor your content. Make a list of general topics you are going to build your authority upon. Search for places you are going to be heard at (using only your blog that has little or no traffic is not the best idea). Talk to a content marketing expert. And familiarize yourself with tools such as BuzzSumo or Google Trends — they allow you to check what’s the most shared content at the moment. Can you ride those trends?

Take 10 minutes to learn what Google Trends can do for you

Search engine marketing & SEO

When you’ve set up your website, it would be nice to see Google drive some traffic there. The first thing you should do is to connect your website to Google Search Console. It’s a simple tool that will tell you whether your site has some serious errors that can get you banned from Google. It will also provide you with some simple tricks (such as creating a sitemap) to boost your website’s position. If you use WordPress you’ll get your basic SEO audit from plugins such as Yoast or All-In-One SEO Pack.

Further steps are not that easy so you’ll have to either learn your SEO or talk to an expert. But at the beginning just make sure there are no serious errors on your website and you’re good to go.

Social media presence

Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter — these are the four most popular social networks in the world. There are plenty of others: depending on where you live and what your audience likes you may want to tap into Reddit, Pinterest, Snapchat or Vkontakte. Do you have to be present in all of them? Of course not. Social media presence strategy answers this very question: which channels are you going to appear? What is the character of your presence? Remember: on Facebook, most people look for entertainment or treat it as a customer service channel. Your all-serious content does not always belong there.

Paid advertising, PPC

Your first customers will not appear out of thin air. But inviting your Facebook friends to your fan page is not a good strategy either. People who like your fan page should be the ones who are going to buy from you, not your relatives. Thus, you need paid advertising. There are plenty of choices: Google AdWords, Facebook ads, sponsored posts on Instagram, directed content on LinkedIn… It is important to know what you are going to achieve (set goals and KPIs, define conversions) and measure the results. Without measuring you’ll end up throwing the money away.

Lead nurturing

Paid ads and social media presence brought a user to your website, she signed up for your newsletter, and she’s potentially interested in buying from you. What can you do to increase your chances? No, we’re not talking about giving away discounts (you can do that but it’s not the only method). This is a job for your content strategy! Good thing we’ve prepared it in advance. But, this is also a job for your creativity. Just remember: a user must come across the brand’s message 4-7 times before she trusts you enough to buy.

Think: what can you give to your users so that they remember you? You have the knowledge, exceptional materials, or perhaps you can… make them laugh? Don’t underestimate the power of emotions in lead nurturing!

Marketing automation

Probably my favourite email automation software

In the previous paragraph, we were wondering what to give to your consumers for them to remember you. An equally important question is how to deliver it so that you don’t spend too much time or money doing it. Here’s where marketing automation tools come in handy. Some of them allow you to send automated emails (I recommend GetResponse or MailChimp for that) others enable your visitors to talk to you on your website (check out LiveChat or UserEngage). 

Remember though: marketing automation is not about the tools. Plan your marketing knowing that there’s a real person on the other side of the communication channel. Plan not only the transfer of knowledge but also the transfer of emotions!

Video marketing

Your users spend more and more time watching videos. I even heard the saying “stories are the new wall”. If the attention of your users is drifting in that direction, you have to be there, too. I would consider three basic video formats:

  • Classic video — shot and edited, shared via YouTube, embedded on your website, posted on Facebook. My advice? Avoid “music videos”. It’s what I call these movie clips shot at conferences and events — they last three minutes, there’s music in the background and… nobody needs them. Tell a story instead!
  • Live — shot live, contain interactions with your audience and gain popularity fast. You can re-purpose them and use them as classic videos afterward.
  • Ephemeral (like Instagram Stories) — short clips that disappear after 24 hours. You can use them in a totally different context than classic videos — you can give your audience secret codes that are valid only throughout a certain day.

Analytics

Designing a strategy can be compared to planning a trip. You want to get from where you are to where you want to be using the means available to you at the moment. But even the best trip plan will fail if you… don’t know whether you’re moving in the right direction. That’s why you need analytics.

The bad news is in digital marketing you can measure everything. So marketers either drown in the data and decide they won’t be measuring anything or choose the wrong KPIs to measure. What good is the crowd of people on your fan page if nobody is buying from you?

When you have designed the important goals for your business, make friends with a Googe Analytics or a Google Data Studio expert. 

I would definitely recommend HubSpot from experience

Sales tools, sales funnels

The sales process itself, realizing orders on time, answering your emails, and sending the offers — all those are the elements of your strategy, too. What good are the perfect ads that bring people to your perfect website if they get no answer after they’ve sent you an inquiry by email? Get a CRM and use it from the day one: PipeDrive, HubSpot or ZOHO — choose the one that suits your needs.

Pirate metrics

The other element of the puzzle is called “the pirate metrics”. Why that name? The first letters of the metrics (acquisition, activation, retention, revenue, and recommendation) make an AARRR!

When measuring your business, you should be thinking about four measurements categories:

  • qualitative — observing your users, their behaviors on small samples, deeper analysis, searching for problems;
  • quantitative — simple tests of certain behaviors on large samples (or representative samples);
  • comparisons — all kinds of A/B testing (different email headers, different layouts of landing pages);
  • benchmarks — is comparing yourself to your competition (who has more Facebook likes, how big is their email database).

Pirate metrics are applied to simple things: quantitative measurements and comparisons. Here’s how we stack them:

Acquisition — how do users find you

You can measure your website traffic here, different ways of acquiring that traffic, the effectiveness of paid campaigns or the effectiveness of your landing pages (how many people who started reading dropped off after a couple of seconds).

Activation — how do you engage your audience?

We’ve said that people will not buy from you during their first visit. So what else can they do? You measure the number of newsletter signups, Facebook comments (if you can turn them into further engagement), likes… You check how many decided to create an account (if you offer online services).

Retention — how good are you in bringing them back?

I told you that your user has to see your message 4-7 times before she’s ready to buy, remember? Throw here all the metrics on the returning users. How many returning users do you have on your website? How many clicks do the links in your newsletters generate? How many returned to fill in their profile after signing up? If your first contact was to send an offer — how many replies did you get?

Revenue — how do you make them pay you?

These are the metrics crucial to the health of your business. What percentage of those who created free accounts became paying customers? How many buy after receiving a discount coupon? How many of those with whom you’re negotiating decided to hire you? What is the average cost of customer acquisition? What percentage of your customers brings you profit?

Referral — do your customers recommend you?

From simple KPIs such as NPS (Net Promoter Score) through measuring the satisfaction levels in different stages of the sales cycle. How many of those who received recommendation coupons passed them to their friends?

Digital Strategy Matrix

Imagine a great table. Columns are marked with different elements of the digital strategy skeleton — you have a “website” column, an “email” column and so on.

Rows are marked with pirate metrics: there’s an “acquisition” row, an “activation” row — you understand, don’t you? The matrix you’ve just created is one of the most effective tools when creating a digital promotion strategy. Each field contains a set of ideas to implement and to optimize. Imagine the field “acquisition/video” — it naturally generates questions: how to get more people to my webinars, how to drive traffic to my YouTube channel? Or think of the “activation/email” field: these are ideas for increasing the number of clicks or replies to the messages you send.

You can place this table on one of the walls in your office. Fill it with color post-it notes and assign them as tasks to the members of your team. And if you don’t want to clutter the wall, you can use an online tool such as Trello.

Artykuł Creating a Digital Strategy? Try This Template pochodzi z serwisu Paul Skah.

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I’m an introvert. How do I build my personal brand? https://paulskah.com/im-an-introvert-how-do-i-build-my-personal-brand/ https://paulskah.com/im-an-introvert-how-do-i-build-my-personal-brand/#respond Tue, 17 Sep 2019 13:39:26 +0000 https://paulskah.com/?p=202 Introverts often wonder if they are capable of building a strong personal brand. In fact, they might be better at it than extroverts!

Artykuł I’m an introvert. How do I build my personal brand? pochodzi z serwisu Paul Skah.

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You’re looking for work, but you’re an introvert? In a culture which is obsessed with the idea that every team must be “young and dynamic”, it can be difficult to build your personal brand on the basis that you prefer to do your own thing and be on your own. So you have to pretend to not be introverted, at least at job interviews. But does it have to be like that? People who are introverted actually have more going for them than one might think.

It’s important to understand what it means to be introverted

“Quiet” by Susan Cain
“Quiet” by Susan Cain

Contrary to popular opinion, being introverted doesn’t mean “not liking other people”. Although it’s true that introverts like to “get their energy” far from the madding crowd, this doesn’t mean that they are loners. An introvert who doesn’t have any contact with other people over a long period of time will get depressed in the same way as other people. On the other hand, a shy person feels uncomfortable in situations which require some form of interaction with others. So what really is the difference between an introvert and other personality types? In her book Quiet, Susan Cain describes introversion as being more sensitive to external stimuli. That’s why introverts are regarded as being quiet people; whereas extraverts need a lot of stimuli, for example, music which is turned up loud, in order to have something to react to, the same stimulus in a much smaller quantity is enough for an introvert. The interesting thing is that we are born with a certain level of tolerance; it is already possible to test whether a child will be an extrovert or an introvert when the child is only four months old. And, contrary to appearances, children who are introverted are the ones who make… more noise. When they experience any kind of unpleasant stimulus (for example, loud music or being touched with an ice-cube), they start crying much sooner than other children because they are less tolerant of external stimuli.

Watch Susan Cain speak about introverts during her TED talk

What’s good about being introverted

Following on from Jung, psychology defines introverts as people who “focus more on what’s happening inside themselves”. But that’s not the whole truth. Introverts are excellent at observing what’s going on around them. They are more aware of subtle signs than their extrovert counterparts. And they value quality over quantity in terms of interpersonal relationships (whereas extroverts function best in a crowd), so introverts are excellent listeners.

All of that means that introverts are… excellent at selling. In today’s world, where we are allergic to aggressive selling, someone who actually listens to you is a real treasure. And this is confirmed by the available research. When it comes to complex sales (those in which the keys to success are the relationship between buyer and seller as well as matching the product to the client’s needs), introverts get much better results than extroverts who focus on what is superficial and spinning a yarn.

What should introverts put in their CV?

I agree that being good at listening and selling is a bit general, so what should you write in your CV if you want to be the “introvert” on the team? Actually there a few things which could convince your potential boss of your value. Just tell the right real-life story.

  • Introverts come better prepared. On the way to every meeting, extroverts just take a quick look at their notes (because they were busy with other things), and say to themselves: “I’ll just wing it”. Introverts know that that strategy doesn’t work for them, so they’re always prepared.
  • Introverts look at the bigger picture. In today’s “multi-screen” world, it can be difficult to hold the attention of the person you’re talking to when he or she is constantly distracted by incoming text messages or tweets. An introvert will not only listen to you but will give you his or her complete attention.
  • Introverts learn to be someone they are not. When a child spends his or her recess reading a book, his or her teacher will write that the child “has problems functioning with his or her contemporaries”. That means that quite a lot of introverts have learned to be pseudo-extroverts. And that is something which one has to work really hard at, constantly pushing oneself. Introverts know the value of practicing before any event and will always make appropriate preparations.
  • Introverts communicate slowly and precisely. Just think of any politician who said something on the spur of the moment without thinking it through (often in public or on the Internet), and was later made to look silly. None of those politicians were introverts. In today’s world, well thought out communication has a great deal of value.
  • Introverts are better at working in groups. It’s true that they don’t like the noise emanating from the “open space” at the company where they work, but, as Corinne Bendersky and Neha Shah discovered, introverts are much better at finding the right balance in terms of the time they spend working on their own compared to communicating with others. If you give the right tools to a team made up of introverts, they will achieve more than a team of extroverts.

Where is a good place for introverts to work?

Bill Gates — an introverted leader
Do introverts make good leaders or CEOs? You bet! Bill Gates is one of the best examples.

It would be better to ask where is not a good place. It’s easy to imagine an introvert writing (being a copywriter, editor or blogger), programming (being a programmer or tester) and counting (being an accountant). They are also outstanding managers and… leaders. As they are very precise in their thinking, it’s difficult to beat them. Mahatma Gandhi was an introvert and Bill Gates is an introvert. But an introvert as a public speaker or actor? Those are also good career options because introverts are skilled at pretending and passionate about being prepared. And let’s not forget about being sales-people. Especially when it comes to selling an idea. Given that they are capable of listening carefully and picking up on the tiny signals sent out by the person they are talking to, they can be better salespeople than merely superficial extroverts.

What can introverts do to build their personal brand?

Introverts are patient by nature and more inclined to focus on one task than extroverts. What’s more, they are often good at writing and can be highly observant. So what’s my advice to them?

  • Help other people by answering questions on a variety of internet forums, for example, LinkedIn or Quora. It will demonstrate your experience and expertise in the area of work that you’re interested in. What you write will say more about you than anything you could say at an interview.
  • Think about setting up a blog. A blog is a long-term investment, but this will give your readers the chance to see how good you are at understanding your expert area and writing about it. And, again, what you write will say more about you than any other actions.
  • Try to arrange for good references, preferably from several extroverts. They will do your talking for you, so arrange for it to be possible for you to give your referees’ telephone numbers to any potential employer.
  • At the interview itself, be better than the rest of the candidates put together thanks to being well prepared and knowing your subject. But I didn’t need to tell you to do that, did I?

Good luck! 🙂

Artykuł I’m an introvert. How do I build my personal brand? pochodzi z serwisu Paul Skah.

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What do people who demand innovations from Apple just don’t understand https://paulskah.com/what-do-people-who-demand-innovations-from-apple-just-dont-understand/ https://paulskah.com/what-do-people-who-demand-innovations-from-apple-just-dont-understand/#respond Wed, 11 Sep 2019 06:53:32 +0000 https://paulskah.com/?p=204 If you are going to build a business that lasts, you will have to face the different phases of growth. Here is a thorough strategy lesson on how to cope with that.

Artykuł What do people who demand innovations from Apple just don’t understand pochodzi z serwisu Paul Skah.

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Apple is no longer appealing to technology enthusiasts. This is an element of a well-known and perfectly executed strategy that is called “crossing the chasm”. Let’s try and explain what people who demand innovations from Apple just don’t understand.

Two Books Tim Cook Has Definitely Read

In 1991 a book titled Crossing The Chasm appeared, with the subtitle Marketing And Selling High-tech Products To Mainstream Markets. The author, Geoffrey Moore had worked in McKenna Group as a consultant for tech companies from Silicon Valley. It is there that he noticed a peculiar regularity when it comes to implementing innovations. But before I tell you about this regularity, I must introduce you to yet another book, because it contains an idea that was fundamental to what Moore was observing.

Exactly 29 years before Crossing The Chasm a groundbreaking work on implementing innovations saw the light of day: Diffusion of Innovations by Everett Rogers. If you are working in a business that is even remotely connected to innovations, both these titles are required reading for you. Rogers’ key idea was called product life cycle — he divided implementing the innovations into phases (development, introduction to the market, growth, maturity & saturation, and decline), then he named four groups of consumers who would be interested in innovation at each of the phases. These groups are:

  • Innovators — technology enthusiasts, seeking new things, willing to sacrifice their convenience for the privilege of being first. Think of all those Dropbox beta testers or the ones who stood in line to buy the first iPhone back in 2007.
  • Early Adopters — the visionaries who had read some enthusiastic reviews from the innovators and want to implement the new technology as soon as possible. They may be not willing to sign up for the beta test, but they are eager to read the first reviews and… buy soon after.
  • Early Majority are pragmatics. They invest in technology when they see real benefits, and when someone has proven that it really works, the market is growing fond of it. Convenience and support are much more appealing to them than new features. They go to Radio Shack to buy a tablet and they choose the iPad “because everybody has it”.
  • A Late Majority is a group of technological conservatives. They approach innovations carefully, and only when the solution becomes a de facto industry standard are they willing to give it a try.
  • Laggards are very skeptical of innovations. If they could, they wouldn’t have changed a thing. The only reason they buy touch screen smartphones today is that they can no longer buy their favorite Nokias with big keys. The cloud in 2019? No kidding, there’s still time for that…

The chasm is where your innovative, disruptive products begin to spread among the mainstream users — the pragmatics are considering using it. And do you know what the problem is? Well, both groups on the left of the chasm want new features and performance while all the groups on the right of the chasm prefer convenience and reliability.

Abandon all your customers you who enter here

Quick question: do you know the name of the chip powering your phone? If you answered “yes” chances are you’re a technology enthusiast, you read the performance comparison tables, and it matters to you whether your phone has 64 or 128 GB of memory, whether it has a replaceable memory card. And if you answered “no”? You are more interested in a phone “just working” so you can do what you need to do with it (and by “what you need to do” you don’t mean “replacing the factory-issued ROM” or even “change the default system apps”). The first iPhone had apps (innovators were drooling over), yet it did not allow you to send MMS (pragmatics raise their brows in amazement). Crossing the chasm (i.e. targeting an innovative, disruptive product towards the mainstream market) means changing two things:

  • First, you have to change the product itself, and its communication. Disruptive innovations in each generation are gradually replaced with incremental innovations. What changed in the latest iPhone? Battery life and picture quality. No bells and whistles, no wireless charging of your AirPods. It’s exactly what the market demands.
  • Second, target customers change. And this means one of the most difficult business decisions you may be faced with: you need to abandon the people who were your customers so far. The very ones who brought you to the position you are in today. Simply because there’s just not enough of them to power your further growth.
  • Case in point: sir Jonathan Ive. Also a visionary who complained that there was nothing left to design at Apple anymore. The company is reusing the same shapes and forms of the iPhone because it works. Because scaling is now more important than innovating.

Instagram: yes. Twitter: not so much.

Twitter logo
Twitter should have abandoned its hardcore users long ago.

There are many companies that struggle with crossing the chasm exactly because they are not able to implement the changes I mentioned above. Example? Twitter. The “other” social network not by their choice but because they’re struggling with increasing the market share. But it can’t be done without radical changes within the product itself, changes that will irritate the first, long-time, hardcore users. Twitter was trying. When they announced they were to abandon the 140-character limit of a single tweet, the hardcore users rebelled. The result? Twitter backed down a couple of times (though they shouldn’t have), implemented the change a couple of years too late.

Who did well? Take Instagram. I don’t know if you remember the beginnings of this app (it launched in October 2010) — also as a kind of “the other photo social network” (Flickr dominated the space back then). It differentiated itself with three functions:

Instagram logo
Instagram was not afraid to innovate — despite the protests from the hardcore users.
  • It was available exclusively on iPhones;
  • didn’t allow you to add photos from Camera Roll (which meant you could only share the photos taken within the app, here and now)
  • the only proportions it allowed were square photos.

The first Instagram users were proud of this “eliteness”. Well, it didn’t last. One day they woke up to Instagram opening itself to Android (March 2012), and abandoning the “in-app photos only” policy, allowing professional photographers to share their professionally-taken photos… Hardcore users screamed “Betrayal!” but nobody listened because Instagram grew like crazy.

In April 2012 it was bought by Facebook for around 1 billion dollars — an investment that proved great because in the following year Facebook grew only 3% while Instagram grew… 23%. So abandoning the innovators turned out to be a good thing.

Starting from August 2015 the photos no longer need to be square…

A Company Led By Accountants

“The company forgot what it means to make great products,”

Steve Jobs on Xerox’ demise
The Whole Brain Business Book by Ned Hermann
Ned Hermann’s “The Whole Brain Business Book” served as the basis for Robertson’s work

The pundits are comparing the above quote from Steve Jobs to Apple’s situation today. And this is exactly what crossing the chasm means. But there is one more thing… The recurring theme I often read is “Apple without Steve Jobs is not the same company. They lack passion and vision. Tim Cook’s Apple is a well-rounded tech company, but is it enough to keep a leader’s position?” The answer to this question was provided by Peter Robertson, an American-Belgian psychologist who specializes in management styles. Robertson took an analytical method called HBDI (Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument, developed some time ago for General Electric) and combined it with… Rogers’ product life cycle curve. HBDI is a tool that diagnoses which of the four parts of your brain is dominant when you’re making managerial decisions. These areas are:

  • Logic (blue) — your thinking is analytical, you are fact-based, numbers matter.
  • Vision (yellow) — you see “the big picture”, you rely on your intuition, you’re great at synthesis and connecting the dots (facts and areas that are seemingly not related).
  • People (red) — your interpersonal relations are very important, you build emotional bonds, you are a great negotiator.
  • Control (green) — procedures, planning, and details are what matters to you, you are a well-organized person.
HBDI – Hermann Brain Dominance Instrument (c) by Hermann Global LLC
The Whole Brain Model by Hermann Global LLC

Jobs was clearly a visionary, plus there were stories about his total lack of people skills. This — according to Robertson — is a perfect managerial style for the first phase of implementing an innovation: development. But when your product gains market share and you are faced with the challenges of growth, the “people” and “control” should be dominant factors in your decisions. And while Jobs obsessed over details, I don’t think he was a big fan of plans and procedures. Not to mention maintaining good relations with large groups of people. Yet this is exactly what Apple needed to leave the market niche.

Apple’s market share is bigger than BMW’s or Mercedes’ or Porsche’s in the automotive market. What’s wrong with being a BMW or Mercedes?

Steve Jobs (from Six Marketing Lessons)

Jobs was good at making BMWs. Tim Cook is the perfect “peacetime manager”. He listens to the market, he creates products based on the demand, not the vision, intuition or “because I say so”. Innovators don’t find it attractive, but… Apple is not for them anymore. Just think what Porsche’s hardcore users said when they first saw Porsche Cayenne. “Betrayal!”, “It’s not a Porsche!”. Think Mercedes A-Class, BMW 1… Will the company from Cupertino return to the graces of tech enthusiasts? It will have to, one day… Will they do it with Tim Cook? Well, I have to tell you about yet one more thing.

Jumping The Waves

Every innovation comes to an end — that’s why the product life cycle is shaped like a wave. And the company that intends to survive on the market has to behave like a surfer: it has to know when to jump to the next wave, the one that is on the rise. “Closing sails” on a market (since we stick to marine-and-ocean analogies) requires — according to Robertson — yet another type of a manager (or: management style). The one who ignores interpersonal relations when making critical business decisions. “Logic” and “control” are to dominate. No surprise there, “jumping the wave” means restructuring and often layoffs for the company. I’ve never seen Tim Cook’s HBDI test results, but I suspect he is more of a “peace-time manager” than “war chief”. So he’ll need substantial help from the rest of his team when the time arises. But — as they say in “Game of Thrones” — not today.

I’ll leave you with some more food for thought: perhaps it’s wise to listen to Publius Flavius Vegetius, a Roman historian who — in his De Re Militari (Latin for Concerning Military Matters) treaty wrote: Si vis Pacem, para Bellum. And perhaps this is exactly what Apple is doing right now. Automotive and health market are ripe for the taking when it comes to innovation.

Artykuł What do people who demand innovations from Apple just don’t understand pochodzi z serwisu Paul Skah.

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Six Types of Ads To Include When Designing an Advertising Campaign https://paulskah.com/six-types-of-ads-to-include-when-designing-an-advertising-campaign/ https://paulskah.com/six-types-of-ads-to-include-when-designing-an-advertising-campaign/#respond Wed, 28 Aug 2019 12:55:34 +0000 https://paulskah.com/?p=247 Do you want to design an advertising campaign? If the customer who sees the ad has never heard of you, he or she will never buy from you. What can you do? Adhere to these six steps when designing an ad campaign and watch your results skyrocket.

Artykuł Six Types of Ads To Include When Designing an Advertising Campaign pochodzi z serwisu Paul Skah.

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Do you want to design an online advertising campaign? Here’s what you need to know

Did you know that the customer has to see your brand’s message 4-6 times before they are ready to trust you enough to buy something from you? Therefore campaigns with ads that focus solely on the “buy” call to action will not work. Even if your customers register the ads, they still will not trust you enough to buy from you on the spot. Fortunately, when designing an advertising campaign, you can use a template that increases the effectiveness of your ads by incorporating the psychology of decision-making. How does it work?

Building awareness 

The first stage of a good advertising campaign is called “building awareness.” Facebook even allows you to choose this as a goal for your campaign in the Ads Manager. What it does not tell you is what to include in those ads.

Meanwhile, the answer is simple: the customer has to get used to the fact that you exist. Don’t try to sell yet! You don’t know one another well enough, the time will come. Instead, show your logo, your product, your company name. That’s it. Why only this? Because your brand has not yet earned more attention.

If you’ve ever wondered why companies pay for big signboards or neon signs at the tops of buildings, then you have your answer. A neon sign with the name of the company doesn’t sell anything, it merely builds so-called aided brand awareness. A customer who is asked, “Do you know the brand X?” will answer “yes.” And this is the first step to selling.

Paul Skah – Building Awareness
A logo (or a face in case of a personal brand) and a brand name. That’s all. The goal is the maximum reach.

Assigning to a category

When you’re building your brand, there are two basic measurement dimensions you should pay attention to. We covered aided brand awareness in the previous paragraphs. In addition to that, there is also a dimension called spontaneous brand awareness. How do we measure it? We ask the customer, “Name products in X category.” Try it on yourself: digital cameras, gaming consoles, elegant shoes. The brands that come to your mind spontaneously are called “top of mind” brands. It is imperative that your customers can assign your product to a specific category.

How to design an advertising campaign at this stage? Think. Why do people go to McDonald’s? To eat something (cheap and consistent quality). We go to IKEA to buy furniture. You’ll reach for Dan Brown’s book when you’re looking for a holiday read, and Jimmy Fallon will make you laugh (the process works the same whether you’re building a personal brand or a product brand). Your audience thinks in categories before they start thinking about individual brands.

So if you want to sell, you need a message that will assign your brand to the category that is present in the mind of your client. Remember one thing: the category should be useful. If you help solve a real — and frequent, if possible — problem, you are golden. BMW’s “Designed for Driving Pleasure” ads are an example of such a campaign.

So, find a category and attach yourself to it. But watch out for category names that are too professional (hence not commonly used) — your clients who want to “have a website” can’t really tell the difference between a front-end developer, a programmer, and a UX specialist. It’s like with doctors: more people know they have the cough, they don’t know they want to see the pulmonologist.

A familiar key visual (colors, image, fonts, logo) and assigning to a category. This is a typical ad for the second step of the ad campaign. This one is also aimed at maximum reach.

Look at the picture in this article. Graphics and fonts are the same as in the first stage. Thanks to this, the “familiarity effect” is activated in your client’s mind — he’s ready to devote more attention to something he has encountered before. That’s why we needed the first stage: to increase the effectiveness of the ads displayed in the second one.

Liking

Many companies think that proving their product is better than the competition’s is enough for the customer to choose them. And you know what? They are right. If your customer is convinced that your product is better, he will buy from you. However, consider the following scenarios:

  • You sell the exact same thing as your competition. Apples, hammers, English classes, or chips. Your product is easy to understand, or the consumer doesn’t care much about differences.
  • You sell a complicated product that isn’t necessarily better than the competition, though it is definitely different. And the consumer cannot compare one with the other. Cars, bank accounts, trips to Scandinavia — they all have a lot of parameters, and everyone will value something else in them.
  • You sell a product significantly better than the competition, but understanding this difference requires a lot of attention from the consumer.

The consumer who doesn’t see or understand the difference will choose the product… which he likes more. The one which made him laugh, feel better, more appreciated… A consumer who feels that is willing to devote time to understanding the differences between you and the competition. Therefore, “liking” is a kind of emotional foundation for the next stage of your campaign — building preferences.

Designing an advertising campaign – stage three
Duplicate or similar image? Check. Joke? Check (though it’s a groaner). This is the stage at which you build an emotional bond with the client. Show these ads only to people who saw the first and the second one.

Building preference

One definition of loyalty in marketing says that it is a “lasting preference.” Therefore, your ad must first build preference and then maintain it. How?

First, understand that preference is always based on a comparison. I choose X instead of Y — awareness of X’s existence, even the perception of X’s individual features won’t help you if the customer is unable to say how it differs from Y. So are we doomed to comparative advertising? At this stage of the campaign… yes. Although you can cheat a little. How? We will come back to that in a moment.

Secondly, understand that our brain has an enormous problem with processing numbers. They are perceived as abstract values. The brain desperately wants to put them in context, which gives room for some manipulation.

  • Sentences like “Works twice as fast” or “Hits the source of pain more precisely” create an imaginary context (you don’t have to say that your product works faster compared to X, the customer will fill it in himself).
  • Anchoring is placing product features (such as price) near other numbers (for example a higher price crossed out). The brain combines these numbers and builds relationships between them — and we remember those relationships (cheaper, faster, brighter) much better than the numbers themselves.
  • Authority transfer is “borrowing” authority from something that the customer already knows and respects. Esteemed clients for whom your company has worked or the awards it has won.
 Transfer of authority from an award I received. Thanks to that, your consumers are convinced of the superiority of your product over others. This ad should be seen by those who have already gone through the previous stages of the campaign.

Purchase

At this point in our campaign, the customer knows you. He knows what you do. He likes you and can see the differences between what you offer and competitive products. It’s probably high time to start selling.

Advertisements at this stage should have a clearly defined call to action (buy now, visit the site, register) — remember that “sale” doesn’t necessarily mean spending money. The customer can pay with his attention, personal data, opening a new communication channel… In the end, you must, of course, earn, but look at the “purchase” in a broader meaning.

What helps at this stage? “Spurs” and deadlines.

  • Spur is a short-term stimulus, often negative, which you emphasize in your advertisement and which is meant to force the customer to act. “Only two tickets left,” “three people are watching this product at the moment” — if you choose them wisely, you will push an indecisive customer towards the purchase.
  • Deadline is exactly what you think it is: “the discount is valid for 30 minutes” or “if you subscribe to the newsletter within an hour you’ll receive…”
Designing an Advertising Campaign – step 5, purchase
Call to action? Check. Limited places and dates? Check. Typical sales ad. It works better if your customer knows what to buy and why it’s worth it (and this was said in the previous stage of the campaign).

If you want to know more about this step in designing an advertising campaign, read the article on the psychology of pricing.

Performance Partnerships by Robert Glazer
There’s an entire book on building a recommendation engine.

Recommendation

What if you sell products that the customer rarely buys and you can’t speed up the process? Imagine you’re selling wedding dresses (driving lessons or apartments). If the customer isn’t getting married, they won’t need your product. And what about the customers who just passed their driving license exam? You put a lot of money into convincing them to buy from you. And now they’re not coming back. What then?

You can design a campaign in such a way that clients who don’t necessarily have the need or opportunity to use your services (but know you, like you, and appreciate you) recommend you and your services. Launching the “recommendation engine” using an extensive advertising campaign (for example, on Facebook) is often much more effective than a tedious hunt for customers who are ready to buy from you. Let your would-be and former customers be your advertising media.

Have your customers already bought from you? Or they are not ready to buy yet? Convince them to do something else!

The question of how to design an advertising campaign is — I hope — already behind us. The campaign created according to the above six steps will be much more profitable than even the best-constructed sales creations. Good luck!

Artykuł Six Types of Ads To Include When Designing an Advertising Campaign pochodzi z serwisu Paul Skah.

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Six marketing lessons. A tribute to Steve Jobs https://paulskah.com/six-marketing-lessons-a-tribute-to-steve-jobs/ https://paulskah.com/six-marketing-lessons-a-tribute-to-steve-jobs/#comments Sat, 24 Aug 2019 20:09:55 +0000 https://paulskah.com/?p=206 What made Steve Jobs one of the most iconic, visionary CEOs of our time? Can we learn something from the way he managed Apple? Six lessons below.

Artykuł Six marketing lessons. A tribute to Steve Jobs pochodzi z serwisu Paul Skah.

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Steve Jobs played a great role in shaping how I view brands and marketing today. His return to Apple coincided with the beginning of my fascination with what I do nowadays. He was one of those people who made you think once you began observing him. Why was he successful? Why don’t others act the same way?

I originally wrote this article some years ago, when I heard Steve Jobs had resigned from his role as the CEO of Apple. At that point, he had been fighting a terminal illness for years and had a few victorious battles behind him. I’m far from sentimental, but one can’t just pass by Job’s achievements without a moment of reflection. Hence, here is my little tribute to the man, who – to some degree – helped shape me, marketing lessons, which I “picked up”, observing him through the years. Lessons, which I try to employ in my own company, despite some of them needing an iron will – a trait quite hard to copy. I hope, that what I offer will be of use to you.

Act and don’t worry about what others might think.

One of Job’s unique abilities as a manager was his courage to act without paying much attention to what others might say. People who can pull this off are called visionaries. Jobs wasn’t the first one. Henry Ford, when he launched the mass assembly of his cars, was allegedly asked if he listened to his customer’s opinions. He is said to have replied: If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!’ Jobs held consumer research in similar regard. When back in 1988 he was introducing the NeXT OS computer to the market, he said:

You can’t just ask customers what they want and then try to give that to them. By the time you get it built, they’ll want something new. Therefore, if you think, that you have an idea for something truly innovative, do it. 

Steve Jobs

Don’t look at others, don’t ask “can I do it?” or “what do you think?”. People who you ask, don’t know half of what you do. Show it to them and they’ll understand.

Do things to the best of your abilities, so that you can sleep soundly.

In 1985 Mac was on a roll. The first computer with a graphic interface, it sold like hot buns. It was expensive, but it owed its success to the fact, that in spite of being mass-produced, it was crafted with an almost artisan attention to details. In an interview he did for Playboy in 1985, Jobs explained his product philosophy:

When you’re a carpenter, making a beautiful chest of drawers, you’re not going to use a piece of plywood on the back, even though it faces the wall and nobody will ever see it. You’ll know it’s there, so you’re going to use a beautiful piece of wood on the back. For you to sleep well at night

Steve Jobs

If you run a company, you don’t have to look back at your competition. Do what you’re good at to the best of your ability. You can choose to believe it or not, but everybody expects… less of you. Hence, you’ll give them quite a surprise, giving every endeavor all that you’ve got. Especially, since “doing it the best you can”, will never be above you, right?

Real artists ship!

I have a friend who paints. She finished just a few pictures in her lifetime because… she keeps correcting them. I’m sure that she threw out more of her pieces than she has sold. Even the ones that she did sell, almost had to be taken from her by force. She paints with a sense of piety because she is a true-blue artisan, she wants her pieces to be perfect. The problem is, each day brings new things to correct. All artists are like that. Only a handful of them can muster the will to say “stop” and show their latest masterpiece to the world. Andy Hertzfeld, who worked for Apple in 1984 (the year in which the first Mac hit the shelves) describes the emotions that accompanied him during the last few days before the grand premiere. The team of programmers was convinced, that the operating system needed tweaking, hence they asked Jobs to delay the date of its release. Jobs refused. He was to say:

Real artists ship!

If I were to analyze the phenomenon of Steve Job’s success as a manager and visionary, I would bet my money on the unique blend of two key traits: an obsessive attention to details (something connected to art and craftsmanship) as well as a firm ability to cut himself off from his word and show it to the world (which, in turn, is something attributed to accountants and managers with their ever-pressing budgets and deadlines). 

A visionary surrounded by pragmatists 

Unfortunately, the combination of the aforementioned traits is incredibly rare. I don’t think even Jobs himself could truly cut away from his obsessive attention to details. He could, however, surround himself with people that were able to convince him otherwise. Simon Sinek, in his book Start With Why, tries to convince us that there are two types of managers. On one hand, you have the visionaries who inspire, not because they tell others what to do but because they can present why something has to be done.

Jobs was exactly that kind of visionary. In 1984 he was able to convince people to lock themselves in a separate building, hoisting a pirate banner above the entrance and work restlessly on the new Macintosh. But Steve Jobs would be nobody without Steve Wozniak. That’s because the other kind of managers are people who know how something has to be done. They have the technical knowledge, they navigate among budgets, deadlines, and boundaries. They aren’t visionaries, but without them, the visions would never come true. Jonathan Ive (responsible for such revolutionary products as the iMac or iPhone) and Tim Cook (a capable manager, who took over as the head of Apple after Jobs’ resignation) are examples of people who are a necessary balance for the visionary.

What about you? Which type are you? If you are more of an artist and visionary, make sure to have someone nearby who will keep your feet on the ground. Or perhaps, you prefer to forge visions into action? In that case, you need some creative counterbalance, otherwise – in solitude – your business will fall into the routine. 

A brand is a grand idea. 

Marketers worldwide for the last three decades have been reaching a conclusion which Steve Jobs sensed all the way in the ’80s. Said conclusion being, that people buy products not for their functionality (let’s be honest here, each computer will let you check your mail and each car will drive you to work) but for their emotional values, for the greater idea behind the brand. Apple’s vision was, that back in 1984… they treated the computer market as a mature market. They didn’t sell a computer – they sold an idea.

Ridley Scott’s famous commercial “1984” never even mentioned what computer it was promoting. It focused solely on why you had to have it.

Ridley Scott’s Apple 1984 commercial

The idea behind the Apple brand being a “revolution” let them expand their product offer with MP3 players, phones and tablets. All because people never bought their “products” but rather their “idea”. 

Watch the following commercial. Made back in 1997 by the TBWA/Chiat/Day agency, it comes from a time when Apple produced only computers. Nevertheless, it could easily be used to advertise the whole range of their products these days. That’s because it sells an idea.

Apple’s commercial narrated by Steve Jobs. It was never aired with his voice, they decided to change it in the last minute.

What about you? What idea does your brand sell? Why should people care about it? 

A brand is a focus. 

One last thing, and one of my favorites too. Do you know what Steve Jobs did when in 1998 he returned to Apple in order to save the company from a collapse? He got rid of most of the products in its catalog. In the ’90s, Apple sold more than just the Macintosh (which came in various models under meaningless names like the LC 550 or LC 575). It also sold the Quadra (610, 630, 650), Performa (5200, 5300, etc.), PowerBooks (190, 1400) and the Power Macintosh series (4400, 5500, 6500, 7300).

Steve Jobs Matrix
The simple product matrix that helped to save Apple

Jobs crossed out the matrix on which one axis divided the products into stationary and portable, and the second axis into professional and casual products. In those four spots, he wrote in the Power Macintosh (professional, stationary), PowerBook (professional, portable), Macintosh (casual, stationary) and… he left the fourth segment empty. Later on, the Macintosh was replaced with an iMac and the empty space was filled by the iBook. Thus, everybody knew which computer suited them the best. This was the exact same way Apple had been selling iPods (iPod Touch – offers different storage space and color), iPhones (two models per generation: regular screen or large screen, plus the standard variety of storage space) or iPads (the iPad and iPad Pro).

Your brand doesn’t have to be for everyone. The greater the discipline you follow in your focus, the more you will earn solely thanks to your loyal customers. Apple earns more by selling one phone model than Nokia ever did on all their models combined. Porsche has better a better profit from selling just a few models than Fiat or Toyota with its wide array of cars.

And since we’re on the topic of Porsche. One last Steve Jobs quote. When asked about his thoughts on the fact, that Apple had a small presence on the computer market, he said:

Apple’s market share is bigger than BMW’s, or Mercedes’s or Porsche’s in the automotive market. What’s wrong with being BMW or Mercedes?

What about you? Would you rather have your company be the Mercedes or Fiat of your market? 

Artykuł Six marketing lessons. A tribute to Steve Jobs pochodzi z serwisu Paul Skah.

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