In a tech economy with four major players (Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Apple), Fast Company’s Farhad Manjoo describes what Google has as “a coherent, long-term strategy to fight the tech war on every front.” While the other three are leaders in a specific area, Google’s strategy can prevail on three different time horizons: today, next year, and the far-off future.
Amazon has become the online shopping leader, Apple’s iPhone garners 3/4 of the world’s mobile phone profits, and Facebook has, by far, the largest social network. Despite this, as Apple fan and blogger John Gruber puts it, “Google is getting better at what Apple does faster than Apple is getting better at what Google does. Google, despite trailing in mobile profits, Google’s Androids account for nearly 70% of mobile units sold worldwide — a total that has sparked competitive action from Apple in the form of the iPad mini release and talks of a cheaper iPhone. What few may realize is that Google has 330% more ebook titles available than Amazon. Finally, Google crushes Facebook in online ad revenue and, despite possessing a smaller network, collects more data from its users.
How can data-dependent app developers compete with Google? How can other search engines improve at a competitive rate? The fact that Google’s mobile advertising game is unmatched is an indication that, in our increasingly data-driven world, if you’re winning data-mining then you’re well on your way to a sustainable competitive advantage; something hard to come by in a turbulent tech world.
What This Means for You:
For the purpose of this post I’m going to focus on business owners. As a business owner, Google’s strength means two things:
Google’s data-mining capabilities are reflected in its Google Analytics tool, allowing you to do what they do in a smaller way. Google Analytics should be the backbone of any company’s marketing plan. Educate yourself before you spend a single dollar.
Use tools like SEO-Moz to evaluate and improve your search engine optimization. Google’s success and our increasingly referral-based world will have your business’s success depending on where you come up on Google and what people are saying about you. It’s as easy as our mantra: Create, Engage, Share, Measure.
1. A clear vision of who you are and where you’re going (Westjet)
I don’t care if you’re Bruce Willis in Die Hard 2, if you don’t have a clear vision of who you are and where you are going, you have have no hope in hell of getting anywhere. If you are successful it’s purely out of luck. I love the quote from Alice in Wonderland:
If you want something in life you have to work your ass off for it. Anything worth having is worth working for. So to be successful, to get what you want in life, you have to do an unhealthy amount of work for as long as humanly possible. Then you might have a fighting chance.
Whether it be your sports team, your health or your career, it’s difficult to see the results of hard work in the short term. But the only way to guarantee long-term success is to work unbelievably hard in the short-term. Sometimes it’ll feel like an endless upward climb going nowhere.
The harder the squeeze the better the juice.
Here’s the paradox.
When you’re done, when you ship, when it’s all over, no one will recognize the work you put in. No one cares about the amount of hours you’ve put in, the sleepless nights, the psychological battle, nobody cares about it. All we care about is the result.
It’s going to be up to you to determine if the juice is worth the squeeze.
Begin with the end in mind. You must shy away from busy work (this won’t get you anywhere). You can’t just do work for the sake of work and expect to get somewhere.
Doing the difficult work is a recipe for success, but when you get there don’t expect people to be patting you on the back and praising you for how long you’ve been working at it. All they care about is the result.
You try and you fail.
You succeed and don’t know why.
You lead when times are tough. You follow when times are great.
You have to be mature in the worst moments possible when you want to fly off the handle and freakout.
You learn what self control actually means.
You learn how to read people emotionally.
You learn how to deal with different types of people and different types of personalities.
You learn to create an over all goal then try and work like hell to achieve it.
You learn to be self aware in emotional situations knowing that for a moment 8 guys lives literally depend on how you approach adversity.
There’s nothing worse than letting down a 14 year old kid.Read More›
As I hope you’ve read in my recent post, An Urgent Message for All Businesses on Twitter, it’s (still) time to stop shouting about yourself and start listening to others on social media platforms and in life in general. Marketing is now way more about what others are saying about you than it is about what you are saying about yourself. If there’s a disconnect between these two things, people will find out. That’s now easier than ever to do so. Think of marketing as being completely reversed. Advertising and bleeding incessant brand info is the old way. Now, you can be the most effective by zipping your lip for awhile and listening to what others are saying and, whether its positive or negative, using the information constructively to make improvements to your product or service’s core and rectify customer dissatisfaction.
I’ve tweeted my thanks to multiple businesses on this week upon receiving slightly above average customer service and quality repairs. I’ve received a response or acknowledgment roughly one third of the time. Yes, ONE THIRD. ONLY ONE THIRD. I’m basically tossing Jose Bautista an underhanded lob in the middle of the strike zone and watching him refuse to swing. As far as I’m concerned, these businesses who aren’t listening might as well delete their accounts immediately. Their tweets about themselves have very little value and EVEN LESS VALUE if they aren’t going to respond to their satisfied customers.
I’m going to cease this rant to illustrate three easy ways to listen to your customers online:
1: Twitter Search
This is so simple. Search your business name, your product name, or some industry keywords to get a perception of what people are saying. Just be sure you’ve got all your basic bases covered before you do this (replying to those who have mentioned you, thanking people for sharing your information, and acknowledging new followers). Twitter culture allows you to jump in on conversations that pertain to you without being deemed a troll. Try this out and don’t fear negative feedback. It presents a world of opportunity.
2: Net Promoter Score
Net Promoter Score is a feedback system easily added to websites and bricks and mortar businesses that asks customers to answer one simple question: How likely are you to recommend our product or service to a friend or family member? We love it and think no business should move a muscle until NPS becomes their starting point. View a quick slide show.
3. Asking Simple Questions
Sometimes listening and getting feedback is as simple as asking. Don’t be so afraid of the answers you’re going to get that you avoid asking your customers questions. Avoid asking just for the sake of asking or asking questions with the sole intention of sounding like you care. Embrace any information you receive. This is a tactic that will result in valuable information if executed correctly AND create the kind of engagement that will be constructive for your business.
Forget everything you’ve learned about having a presence on Twitter. Start over.
Twitter has never been about incessant self-promotion but, luckily, people have put up with businesses like yours repeatedly reminding them of your groundbreaking 10% off sale for quite some time now. The charade is over and patience is wearing thin.
Check out your past ten tweets. If more than two of them are telling your customers something about yourself, I’m willing to bet you’ve become white noise by now. Marketing is changing. At first, businesses thought it was good enough to just be on Twitter. That was never good enough and now, being a business who interacts a bit but spends most of your tweets bleeding brand information is the same as “just being there.”
The change is apparent. It’s 90% about what people are saying about you and 10% about what you say about yourself. Twitter and other platforms exist to allow you to listen – not to allow you to shout. It’s not an opportunity to be the one in a one-to-many scenario. Flip that megaphone around and be the one who listens to many. If someone’s mentioned you or your business on Twitter and you haven’t responded, take whatever cash you have in your pocket, crumple it into a ball, and toss it at the nearest waste basket. This is exactly what you’re doing. A response to one person is likely worth more to your company than a blanket promotional tweet to no one in particular. Not responding is the quickest way to form negative brand impressions in a world where there is no such thing as a neutral one. Grab that low-hanging fruit.
Luckily, the overwhelming majority of people and businesses are doing things horribly wrong. It’s never been easier to stand out. Create contrast. Think like Will Smith and flip that school uniform inside-out.
Your ears grow until the day you die. Your mouth does not. Coincidence? No.
Use platforms to be the one learning from many – not the one yelling at the desensitized masses.
You can start right now:
Three Simple Ways to Listen Online
This blog post is based on John Medina’s book Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School. I loved this book, it’s a thought-provoking read. It teaches you about your brain in a way that’s actionable and easily remembered. At the end of every chapter he sums up what the important parts of the chapter were. Kind of like a coles notes of his own book. Atta boy John, good on you.
1. Exercise helps you think better.
You’re in a bad mood, you need to cheer yourself up. Some people go on a shopping spree, some people eat their feelings. If you think spending money on yourself is going to make you happier you’re wrong, kinda. The feeling you get after you spoil yourself with materialistic gifts is short lived and your long-term happiest isn’t affected at all.
So how do you make yourself happy?
It’s a remarkably easy solution.
Do something nice for someone else. Biologically we get more of a benefit from spending money on other than we do on ourselves. If you don’t believe it check out this article on how to buy happiness.
Here’s a video of me talking about how to make yourself a happier person.
If you want to learn more about the study on how to buy happiness here’s the Ted talk.
I’m the type of person that needs music playing to help me work more efficiently. Not only does it keep me motivated, but it also helps keep me focused. What I listen to often depends on the type of project that I’m working on but I’ve put together a list of albums that are my go-to. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I’m not a Top 40 kind of guy so you might find not be used to some of this stuff. A lot of the songs are instrumental so I don’t get distracted by lyrics. But hopefully you find one of the albums below to help you work.
Menahan Street Band – Make The Road By Walking
Toro Y Moi – Anything in Return
Zedd – Clarity
Anything by this guy!
CFCF – Exercise
(Slowing it down a bit here)
Nujabes – Spiritual State
Washed Out – Within and Without
That’s all I can think of for now! I’d love to hear what you play when you’re working in the comments below –>