When we start projects at StratLab we like to understand the organization we’re working with, the best way we’ve found is to be what David Kelly would call The Anthropologist.The most success we’ve had (and still have) is really getting to know an organization. Going to the Annual General Meeting, Christmas Party, Golf Tournament, Fundraising dinner, basically anything they will invite us to we’ll go. You get to know people on a different level when you see them out of the office in the “wild”. Don’t ever be afraid to get out from behind your laptop to do some hands-on research.
One of the most successful projects we worked on was with the Regina Police. It was an internal marketing strategy where we were to change their core values, vision and mission to better reflect their current culture. It took Six months longer than we thought because we really didn’t want to rush the research process of interviewing every level of different Police officer. It was amazing
To observe without judgement. To develop an empathetic understanding of the organization. You must look at the tiniest of details, the most mundane things can have a major impact on what the end consumer takes away in their experience.
From the book:
The Anthropologist is rarely stationary. Rather, this is the person who ventures into the field to observe how people interact with products, services, and experiences in order to come up with new innovations. The Anthropologist is extremely good at reframing a problem in a new way, humanizing the scientific method to apply it to daily life. Anthropologists share such distinguishing characteristics as the wisdom to observe with a truly open mind; empathy; intuition; the ability to “see” things that have gone unnoticed; a tendency to keep running lists of innovative concepts worth emulating and problems that need solving; and a way of seeking inspiration in unusual places.
Look into a company as if you were Sherlock on a case
Asking questions, becoming very curious, always asking “why” and never excepting “that’s just the way it is here.” The Anthropologist needs to uncover the hidden story behind what the client isn’t telling them. Remember what Sherlock Homes said, “the devil is in the smallest of details.” -or something thing like that. The little things matter. Pay attention to the little things.
Create a company “idea wallet”. Much like your wallet that you carry money around in, your companies idea wallet is where you think and pitch ideas.
How do you get to really know an organization?
By asking questions of course you silly nilly!!
Any question that leads you closer to the central purpose of that organization, generally it’s not your run of the mill questions that are going to get to the bottom of things. People never simply open up to you, you must gain their trust first. Be positive, listen to their answers, and be very respectful (no judging). You need to get creative, the more out there the question is, the more people have a chance to show you their personality. See some ideas on research questions you could use.
Seeing a problem for the first time, through a new lens. The definition of Deja Vu is seeing something you’ve seen before in a ridiculously clear manner. Vuja De thinking is approaching problems like you’ve never seen them before. Trying to solve your organizational problems with novel solutions we’ve never thought about trying. The next time you want an “expert” to solve the problem instead why not ask a beginner to take a stab at it, you may surprise yourself!
Last year’s Beta version of Big Idea Camp blew our expectations. The participants, the companies involved, and the sheer creativity these students brought to the camp was inspiring enough to grow it even bigger.
A photo posted by Strategy Lab Marketing (@stratlab) on
Enter Big Idea Camp 2.Alright Alright Alright!!!
4 days, 8 competitions, 9 corporate sponsors, 2 teams going head to head in the wildest, most creative business competition in North America.
All the fun starts August 2nd and goes till August 5th. Thanks to Cowork Regina for the office space they generously donated for the week. Some of what to expect for the week:
The Carmichael Outreach Diaper Challenge. Who can acquire the most amount of Diapers and donations for Carmichael Outreach!
The Creative Options Regina (COR) Postcard challenge. Who will design the winning postcard that we’ll print for COR on behalf of you!
The What The Food Truck Downtown Regina challenge. Who will win the Chop style “cook-off” in the park for lunch!
The Capital Auto 30-second spot competition. Which team with create the commercial that Capital Auto actually uses for their marketing material?!?
The Association of Regina Realtors Snap Chat Challenge! Who will complete the Snap Chat Scavenger Hunt first?! Get your filters ready!!!!
The #PulseCity Challenge. How do you sell an amazing superfood that widely unknown but a staple in our local farmers fields?
Financial Friday! A trip to Conexus Credit Union for several competitions with the topic being financial literacy! How well do you know #FinLit? Test your teams knowledge not only on financial literacy but also teamwork and creativity.
Huge thanks for all our sponsors who make Big Idea Camp happen. Conexus Credit Union, Association of Regina Realtors, The Home Expert Team, Carmichael Outreach, Capital Auto Mall, Creative Options Regina, Regina Downtown, Cowork Regina, and of course Strategy Lab.
Product, Price, Place, Promotion. They’re dead. Though I can’t take credit for their annihilation, John Jansch talked about it in The Referral Engine. The 4 Ps is what you were taught in Marketing class in University five years ago, from the text book that was five years old, based on cases that were 10 years old. Hell of an education it was!
The four Ps are dead, enter the four Cs:
Content, Context, Connection, Community
But first, the funeral.
It’s no longer wise to focus a large portion of your time on your “Product”, as the Innovators Dilemma points out, companies rarely develop a product on the first iteration, usually not even on the second adaptation but more likely on the third try. Instead of focusing on the perfect product, develop your product quicker and seek out feedback on it faster than your competition. If you know exactly what your target audience (community) wants (context), it will be much easier to provide them value (content).
A wise man once said “If you think having the lower price in your industry is a good strategy, remember that someone is always willing to go broke faster than you.” That wise man was John Morgan, the author of Brand Against the Machine. What he means is that if your one major advantage over your competition is price, you’re in trouble. Pricing will continue to be a contested topic in business circles because of the ease of communication (one Tweet can notify thousands of other about an abnormally high or low price). I can find out what anyone pays for just about every product imaginable with a few Google searches.
You must price your product or service in a reasonable range and be sure as hell you’re ready to justify it. Negotiating contracts where the price far exceeds the value is a sure fire way to go out of business fast. Deciding on your pricing shouldn’t be difficult as long as you’ve set up a strategy to garner the feedback from your customers and clients (community), and are willing to act upon their recommendations (connection).
Location in the past may have been one of the most important factors in the success of your business. Have a lot of foot traffic near by? Your coffee shop will do well. Do a lot of cars drive by your dealership? Again, you used to benefit immensely. But today, while doing most of your in depth product research at home on your iPad, location doesn’t mean as much as it used to. Businesses that solely relied on their location for their success will face a major uphill battle against the kid in his basement selling the same product for the half price.
Promotion is still relevant today but in a different context. Thirty years ago you could blanket the population with your message and people would buy. Today, it’s very difficult to saturate your message on the masses. With an estimated 2,000-5,000 “brand” impressions every day it’s no wonder we have to ignore so much of the advertising.
The way promotion can work is to determine an audience that wants to hear your sales pitch for your new product and “wow” those people. Blatant Promotion only works if it’s anticipated, pleasant, and something of value.
Simply advertising is more of an awareness tactic and very difficult to do effectively. I’d suggest getting familiar with Chip and Dan Heath’s “Made to Stick”, so you can begin making advertising that is, Simple, unexpected, concrete, credible, emotion, stories.
So why are the four “C’s” the new marketing norm? Let’s discuss.
What are you creating specifically for your target clientele? Is it original, real, and compelling? Yes, I’m talking about that generic monthly newsletter you’ve been sending out, that’s potentially great content that can help sell your product or service. All your outward facing communications are some form of content you’re in control of. You can develop your own voice, your own style, your own company personality and optimize the way you communicate over time.
What’s your key talkable difference, your competitive advantage, your key differentiating factor? If you’re just doing what everyone else is doing remember what Scott Ginsberg said; “there are no cover bands in the rock n roll hall-of-fame.”
Example: Nike produces some of the most amazing, original sports content in the world, see the star studded cast of their latest video series, The Kobe System.
In what context do your target customers interact with your brand? Are they searching for you? Do they see your commercials on TV? Do they look at youebsite? Is your website a positive representation of your brand? Is it easy to navigate? Are your services easy to purchase? Remember Mark Cuban’s Quote “Make your product easier to buy than your competition, or you will find your customers buying from them, not you.”
The context how how you represent your brand on and offline tells us a lot about how you treat us, your customers.
Example: Redbull knows precisely how to communicate with their target audience, so much so that they even have a button on their home page titled “Holy Shit”.
If you shut down business tomorrow, would your customers miss you? If not, you have a serious problem. If you’re not making an emotion connection with your audience/customers it’ll be extremely simple for your competitors to undercut your price and steal away your customers. Do you think Blockbuster was making an emotion connection with their clientele? Do magazine publishers actually care about you, the reader, or are they just trying to maximize their advertising revenue?
Yes some industries are immune to needing to connect with their customers to survive, but if you can create a connection that’s more than transactional you have a major competitive advantage.
Example: Mitch Joel of Twist Image (an Agency in Montreal) writes regularly on his blog, produces a Podcast every week and will answer you on Twitter when asked a question. He’s humanized his agency and gained a lot of trust in by running his business this way.
Creating a connection doesn’t have to be creating a blog, podcast and monitoring Twitter 24/7. If you ask Capital Ford in Regina, sometimes all it takes is one Tweet: I think the Regina Police would agree that making a connection will exponentially grow long-term value.
Who’s got your back? Who would stick up for you when people post defamatory comments on your Facebook page?
If you’re not developing a community, a tribe, a following, a group of raving fans then you may have to go back to the drawing board. If your product or service is really as good as you say it is, it shouldn’t be hard to tell a few people and have your message spread organically. That, however, is much easier said than done.
Growing a mutually beneficial community around your brand isn’t an easy task but as with anything in life, doing the difficult work will pay off in a big way over time. What does your “community” want? A place where their voice is heard? A forum to connect with like-minded individuals? Maybe they just want the most up-to-date information on your area of expertise. Whatever it is, the only way to find out is to begin to ask and try to help potential customers without trying to make a sale. I’ll say it again if you missed it. Help potential customers without trying to make a sale, engage them, seek feedback every step of the way and provide more value than you’re extracting from your tribe.
Example: I have a paid subscription to SEOMoz software, I pay for tools to measure client websites more effectively. They send out a monthly list to subscribers, of the ten top articles they’ve found over the past month and every single article is extremely valuable. They also put out a video every Friday called White Board Friday, which usually consists of some advice or case study on how to improve your online presence.
Finally, a lot of the copy and writing on their site is done in a lighthearted, even funny way. I really enjoy a website that makes a relatively boring experience just a little bit better with humor.
They’ve established a community that goes way beyond a simple transaction.
So you see, we’re living in a completely different marketing era. What you did even five years ago may not be relevant today. You must constantly be measuring to understand where to make your largest return on investment and conversely, where you should be readjusting your strategy to systematically rid your marketing mix of useless tactics.
Have an example of one of the four C’s? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.