Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Breaking the Code

Switch, the new book by the Heath brothers, uses story-telling narrative, to illustrate transformative change. As a Business Catalyst, facilitating change is my mantra. Not an easy task, but it is all about breaking the code.

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I am heading to Chicago tomorrow for the National Restaurant Show. I will have the opportunity to share with my peers how foodservice needs to move from the status quo and enter the conversations that are going on out there, exclusively with their key customers guests’ conversations. As a result, foodservice must now focus on more “pull” versus “push” marketing strategies – execute
hybrid marketing, the topic of my last blog. So how am I going to break the code?

For starters, I am going to keep my message simple: social media is one new strategy that needs to be executed consistently in conjunction with a manufacturer’s current marketing mix. You do not have to be all things to all people. Explore and choose the platforms that works best for you (e.g., company blog, Facebook, YouTube, etc.).
It is never too late to implement a social media strategy.

Next, I plan to strike an emotional chord with my audience. I will benchmark success stories from other industries, as well as share some hypothetical examples based on my research. I will advocate “Baby Steps” since change represents a new way of thinking. Back in 1989, who would have guessed that Americans would be paying $3.00 for a cup of coffee – Starbucks anticipated.

Markets are composed of consumers; consumers have to eat in order to survive. Thanks to Web 2.0, consumers are sharing information online about what they eat, where they eat, even as I post this blog. These are the conversations we need to tap into. As I addressed in
The Waiting Place, stay away from the status quo and enjoy the places you will go.

Time to fly to Chicago and break the code.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hybrid Marketing

Marketing boot camps are the current rage – a local gathering of marketing professionals exchanging ideas, more often than not, about the “buzz du jour”, interactive marketing. We now live in a digital age, but the real winners will know how to balance new and classic strategies, thus implement hybrid marketing.

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This year marks the 10th anniversary of the business classic
The Cluetrain Manifesto. The book predicted the end of business as usual. To paraphrase authors Locke, Levine, Weinberger and Searls: "A powerful global conversation has begun. Through the Internet, people are discovering and inventing new ways to share relevant knowledge with blinding speed. As a direct result, markets are getting smarter—and getting smarter faster than most companies." Note this book was released in 2000, pre-Web 2.0.

An established brand that implements hybrid marketing well is M&M’s® candy. First launched in
1941, M&M’s® has utilized classic marketing strategies to grow their business internationally – product extensions (including color), packaging changes, television and print advertising campaigns and multiple channel strategies. The M&M’s® Characters made their debut in 1954 and have evolved into America’s favorite spokes candies. In recognition of their characters popularity, M&M’s® jumped into interactive marketing full force. On their website, in addition to product information, recipes, a merchandise section, M&M’s® Racing club, they have a fun & games section (downloads, e-cards, videos and ads) to engage their customers. People can follow them on Facebook (over 950 thousand people worldwide). They used this social media platform to sample and launch their latest new product, M&M’s® Pretzel (FYI: not all of the comments posted were favorable). There are Twitter accounts for each of their colors/characters since they are currently running an integrated campaign across all medium to have their fans vote (online or via text) for their favorite color. Given that M&M’s® understands hybrid marketing, I would be remiss not to mention that they launched two classic marketing strategies in the past few years – an upscale strategy with premium candies; an exclusivity strategy offering consumers customized M&M’s®.

Marketing is morphing given all the new technology. More importantly, tech savvy consumers now want to engage with their favorite brands; have a voice. In spite of the advancement of Web 2.0, smart marketers understand the balancing act they need to now perform between executing new and classic strategies, better known as hybrid marketing.

I forgot to ask, who is your favorite M&M’s® character?

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Perfection Has Its Price

What time is it? I just take out my BlackBerry for the answer. Some people look at their Rolex watches.
Perfection Has Its Price.

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Disclaimer: I am not a watch person.

According to Business Week, Rolex is one of the world’s most valuable brands. Since the Swiss company’s conception in the early 20th century, they have been renowned for manufacturing precision wrist watches – their
brand's stamp. Over time they tapped into the luxury market of watches. Their product line is exclusive, synonymous with the timepiece of choice for the wealthy, status-conscious and celebrities. A quick search on the Internet revealed a Presidential line for both men and women timepieces ranging from seven to thirteen thousand dollars. With another pixel, I located on Amazon.com the Rolex Oyster Special Edition Cosmograph Daytona Leopard Men’s Watch for $51,600. I wonder if the owners of these watches are any more punctual than Timex owners.

FYI: Roger Federer is a spokesperson for Rolex. Enough said. Perfection Has Its Price.