Lessons Learned from B2B 2006: Part 1

B2B 2006 Logo

Well, Wednesday was a huge highlight of the year for me. I helped present the BMA Tulsa / OSU annual seminar. The speakers were great and included John Moore (johnmoore) of Brand Autopsy as well as some very impressive local speakers. I was blown over by these guys.

There were SEVERAL “Aha” moments for me. So many, that I decided to break them up by speaker and post them intermittently.

First up is the final speaker of the day, Dr. Todd Arnold from Oklahoma State University (my alma mater). Todd spoke on market evaluation for new products and services. This is an area that I do not handle personally and anticipated I would not find terribly interesting. Instead, Dr. Arnold gave me some very helpful knowledge in practical ways that markets can be gauged.

He explained Disruptive Market Research he used when working with New Edge. Instead of me explaining it, you can view New Edge’s presentation on Disruptive Market Research. After the intro, click on “Disruptive Market Research”.

Dr. Arnold also gave me my new favorite term: ‘What This Town Needs Is’ syndrome. This is when a few buddies are kicking back a few brewskies and one says to the other, “What this town needs is…” Then he goes on to list something the town doesn’t have. He’s right, they don’t have it, but usually there’s a good reason why. Todd went on to give an example of a store in Columbia, MO that sold 6 foot ceramic tigers. Columbia is home to the University of Missouri, whose mascot is a tiger. But why would college students buy them? The store was started and abandoned during Dr. Arnold’s studies at MU.

Marketing Mindset Mashup

johnmoore of Brand Autopsy referred to a NY Times article in his post, Harvesting Collective Genius. The article outlines how Rite-Solutions uses an internal stock exchange for the submission of ideas in which employees invest part of their allocated $10k fantasy funds. johnmoore also quotes from the book, Ideas are Free, mentioning the ideal that small ideas are more likely to be implemented than big ideas.

Read the post.

Beyond that, johnmoore’s post gave me cause to consider something. By combining the ideals of Rite-Solutions and Ideas are Free, he has created a more powerful concept. If this creation comes about by merging two similar, yet differing, concepts… would it work by merging others together as well?

I call this Marketing Mindset Mashup.

Let’s try it out on a few other examples:

Permission Marketing + Purple Cow
With permission marketing, you typically create a promotion which entices people to sign up and request your marketing in trade for the opportunity to gain/win something. Add the concept of Purple Cow and either your promotion, your means of collecting information or your means of communication is so unorthodox that people stop dead in their tracks to check it out (if you’re really good, all three areas are purple cows).

Viral Marketing + Traditional Advertising
Next time you shoot a series of traditional broadcast commercials, you shoot 2-3 extra (and extremely viral) ads that go on your website or YouTube or enter an email stream. They never enter the traditional media market. (example: Powerade)

Edgecrafting + Cause Marketing
The business world is in no shortage of sponsoring great causes and events. Typically though, companies attach themselves to very well-known or broadly affecting causes. But by applying edgecrafting, you look for causes that are relevant to fewer people. Though smaller in number, these people are extremely loyal because they may see the organization with which you sponsor/collaborate as the only one that understands them.

Now the idea of Marketing Mindset Mashup is nothing new. We do this all the time naturally. We take parts of this idea and merge it with that idea. What it DOES do is cause you to be intentional in merging mindsets, allowing you to increase the impact of your efforts.

If you have a Marketing Mindset Mashup idea, write a comment about it.  If you have a blog, better yet, post about it.

Big Ideas vs. Big Distractions

What is the big idea in what you do? In why you do it? In how you do it?

Ask most business people those three questions and you get three answers:

Money
Money
Money

And those answers happen to be:

Wrong
Wrong
Wrong

Money is the sustainer. It allows you to accomplish the big idea, it isn’t THE big idea. People say they know that, but their actions belie their words.
Ask the question again and you’ll probably get three different answers:

What = Product

Why = Profit

How = Position

These are better answers. Yet, I still believe we’re missing the boat. Product, profit and position are important, but when we bury our noses in them and make them the focus… they become distractions from the big ideas.

Is the difficulty of the juggling the focus, or is the big idea in the connection people make?

(hat tip: Seth Godin)

Upgrading

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I’ll be upgrading from WordPress 2.0 to 2.2 today. So, if you experience hiccups in your hopefully usually excellent Casual Friday experience, I ask for grace. Trackback spam is getting cumbersome.

Update:
You can now click on the header to return the main page of my blog. I’ve been trying to make that happen for a while, but just discovered how easy it was to do. This is why I’m not a web developer.

4 Things to the Power of 10

Good ol’ Michael Wagner of the White Rabbit Group has apparently tagged me via his Own Your Brand! blog. In the 4 Things Meme, Michael says he hoped I would accept to do this because of my servant’s heart. When someone says that about you, how do you say no… without contradicting him?

Besides, it seems like an interesting exercise. So, if you care to find out a little bit more about me, read along.

Four jobs I’ve had:
Grocery bagger – my first job working at my grandparents’ grocery store: Staiger’s Grocery
Creating decorative ceiling tiles for the Federal Courthouse in Tulsa, OK
Creative Director for a Tulsa ad agency
Marketing Director for a Tulsa telephone company

Four movies I could watch over and over:
The Natural
While You Were Sleeping (hey, it’s a cute movie)
The Bourne Identity
Clear and Present Danger

Four places I have lived:
Kellyville, OK (hometown)
Saltillo, Mexico (at a mission with parents at 2 years old)
Stillwater, OK (college)
Broken Arrow, OK (now)

Four TV shows I love to watch:
Alias (will they ever finish the final season?)
CSI
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (I’m a sap)
Frasier reruns

Four places I have been on holiday:
London, England
Guatemala
Carribbean Cruise (highly recommended)
Branson, MO (about 25 times, so if you need a tour guide…)

I hope to visit Germany since it is the land of my ancestors. My wife and I think we’ll do a European tour in the next 5-10 years.

Four websites I visit daily:
Seth Godin’s Blog (shocker)
Tom Peters’ Blog & TP Wire (another shocker)
Business Week (they have great marketing and small biz info)
Acheivable Ends by Bill Kinnon (he speaks my language)

Four of my favorite foods:
Chicken Fingers
Enchiladas (my wife’s homemade version)
Congo Bars (homemade dessert)
Cannoli (hard to find in Tulsa)

Four places I would rather be right now:
Home, playing with my kids or talking to my wife
A large, family gathering (like Thanksgiving/Christmas)
OK State Football/Basketball game
An Apple Store

And four bloggers I am tagging:

Bill Kinnon, if he’ll accept, because (as I stated above) the guy speaks my language.

Jory Des Jardins, if she’ll accept, because of her authenticity and transparency.

John Moore, if he’ll accept, because he puts the wonka-wonka in “marketing wonk.”

Jennifer Rice, if she’ll accept, because she is one of the most cerebral and decisive young marketers I’ve ever met.

…and I’ll add one more list to this meme:

Four books I’d recommend
The Gift of Being Yourself, David Benner
Orbiting the Giant Hairball, Gordon McKenzie
Velvet Elvis, Rob Bell
Permission Marketing, Seth Godin

Humble Marketing

Johnny & Damian

This is probably less insight, and more of just a flippant observation.

My wife and I were watching some college basketball last night. During which, we saw an ad for Carrabba’s, one of our favorite places to eat. Toward the end of the commercial, Johnny Carrabba says, “This may be the best Italian food you’ve ever eaten.” (or something very close to that)

You might think that was a pretty conceited thing to say. But my wife turns to me and says, “That’s probably true the way he said that. He said it ‘may’ be the best.” I was shocked. Not that my wife would make a great observation. She does that. But this is the same woman who rolls her eyes as I critique everything from TV ads to the fonts selected in a restaurant menu.

But her observation got me thinking of how simple it was to make a remarkable statement (This may be the best Italian food you’ve ever eaten) without sounding conceited. Compare this to most of the marketing that is out there today.

By the way, I have to say their Pollo Rosa Maria Chicken IS one of the best Italian dishes I’ve ever had. And they consistently deliver on that promise to me.

Class Starts Today

While I’m out of my typical Friday funk, I might as well post this since it is time-sensitive.

Business Week has put together a couple of free online courses. If you’re interested in professional development, you might want to take a look. I’m brushing up for a presentation next month, so I ‘enrolled’ in the course called How to Give a Great Presentation. It’s just my first day, so it was pretty basic stuff, but some good fundamentals.

They also offer a course of Online Marketing Tips. I’ll probably check that out as well.  As the title of this post suggests, class LITERALLY starts today, so check it out soon.
So, who’s forming a study group?