Archive for May, 2007

Good to Great: A Book Review

You must buy, borrow, or checkout Good To Great by Jim Collins. It is that good.

Simply put, Good To Great is really a research study. Jim and his team set out to find out how can good, mediocre, and even bad companies achieve not just greatness but enduring greatness. What they found was a small list of companies that met their criteria.

I won’t go into detail about the findings of the book. Why? Because I want you to read it. However, I will share with you some of my key takeaways from Good To Great. They are:

First Who, Then What – Find the right people first before you decide what path you want your company to take.

The Hedgehog Concept – Find out what your company can be the best at and stick with it. Don’t waste your company’s resources (manpower, energy, money, time) by trying to be good in a lot of areas — be great in one area!

The Flywheel and Doom Loop – Once you have the right people and are working towards a goal your company can be great at, keep at it. Don’t change direction and don’t use your energy on some other goal. Momentum generates momentum. If you change direction or plans, you’ll lose momentum.

The book deals with companies but you can apply the findings to your department and yourself.

Do yourself a favor and read this book!


How do you judge quality?

Do you judge it based on a product or service’s offerings. Do you judge it based on design or ease of use? The answer for most people is “yes” to all of the above.

But let’s not forget about price. Price can be the biggest factor in determining a product or service’s quality. Instead of being seen as cost-effective, a low price can give the impression of being worthless or not top quality. However, a high price almost always gives the impression of top quality.

Seth reminds us of this in his post:

“Wineries understand that the pricing of a bottle of wine is more important than its label or the wine inside. The price is the first thing that most people consider when they order or shop for wine.”

Quote o’ the day!

“In many organizations, everyone likes to please upper management. In high-performing organizations, they focus on pleasing the customer. They don’t just want to satisfy their customers, they want to create raving fans: customers who are so excited about the way they are treated that they want to brag about you to everyone. In a sense, they become part of your sales force.”

— Ken Blanchard author of “The 20 Minute Manager”

Whether you call it customer evangelism or citizen marketing, our friend Ken hits the nail right on the head!


Did you know that marketing is inherently evil?

evil monkeyFrom, a new study gives us the proof:

“Advertising convinces kids to try smoking while promotional pricecuts make the bad new habits stick. The study suggests that if in-store ads were dropped, an 11 percent decrease would result in youth who try smoking. Thereafter, discouraging pricecuts would decrease habitual smokers by 13 percent.”

You caught my sarcasm in this post, right?

A truly remarkable marketing campaign!

Nikon has struck marketing gold with their promotional campaign for their new camera the Nikon D40. What did the genius marketers do? They gave away 200 of their new cameras to the people in the picturesque town of Georgetown, SC, essentially making an entire town a brand ambassador!

But Nikon didn’t stop there; they created an excellent model of a promotional microsite in Picturetown. The mircrosite displays the pictures that the residents of Georgetown captured with their new cameras. It also gives viewers the ability to comment on the pictures, forward them to friends, and to download a copy. And when the viewer hovers the mouse pointer over an image, they get to see the photographer’s face and a testimonial praising the Nikon D40. Also, Nikon added profiles, video profiles, of select residents wherein they describe their positive experiences with the camera. On top of that, Nikon added their own, beautifully done, promotional video that I suspect they’ll run on television if they haven’t already.

I expect this campaign to be very effective. It gets past a person’s defense against product advertising and makes them think of the emotional aspect of taking pictures. Heck, it worked on me and I’m usually a no frills type of guy. I began thinking about all those moments that I would like to have on film.

Congratulations Nikon! This is an excellent example of a marketing campaign.

Oh, and if you would like to get a new brand ambassador in Nashville, Tennessee, then feel free to send me a camera!

Post-click marketing is a conversation

Right now I am involved in working on a new, rich Internet application that will take users to an online form, which once filled out and submitted, completes our goal. Originally, the application took people straight to the online form. I made a change to the process and now the application takes them to a small promo page that gives some stellar testimonials and has a link that leads to the form. Some of you might ask, “Why? Doesn’t adding an extra click to the process create a greater opportunity for potential leads to dropout?”

No it doesn’t, when it’s done right.

Think of the additional step as a conversation.

When you’re clothes shopping, a salesperson doesn’t walk up to you, hold a paper form in your face and say “Fill out this form to buy these clothes.” If they did, you would label them as the laziest and worst salesperson you ever set eyes on. A good salesperson, on the other hand, approaches you casually and starts a conversation. He or she will tell you which styles are the most popular, which items are the best sellers, and what looks good on you. The salesperson will show you the value of items making you want to buy them. But if you decide not to buy, he or she will most likely give you a business card so you can get intouch later.

An online form cannot come close to giving someone the same information. That’s why you need that extra page.

A good landing page is brief and acts as a good salesperson. It will tell you why you should fill out the upcoming form and give evidence of how it can help you. It will make you want to fill out the form. But what if it doesn’t convince users to fill out the form? Then it can also act as a business card when you include the ability to sign up for future communication, such as the company newsletter.

A note on word-of-mouth promotion

Word-of-mouth promotion is a powerful thing. These days in order to generate positive word-of-mouth for your product, it must be exceptional. As Seth Godin puts it, it must be a purple cow.

Nintendo understands this.

I purchased a Wii last week, which is unusual for me because I hardly play videogames – I just don’t have the time. So why did I buy it? I threw down $250 because of positive word-of-mouth. I have heard so many great things about the system from friends and coworkers. They kept told me how much fun they (grown adults) and their kids were having. They were right.

The Wii is really fun! We’re not just talking about playing games. The Wii lets you surf the web, read blogs, and watch online videos from your TV.

And Nintendo is making a killing. It’s almost impossible to find a Wii on store shelves because everyone is buying them. Nintendo has propelled itself to the forefront of the console market ahead of Sony and Microsoft. But how did they accomplish this?

The answer is they focused on creating a purple cow; a product that’s so unique and fun that it essentially markets itself through positive word-of-mouth.

Who am I ?

My name is Michael Morton. I believe in bringing energy and professionalism into the office, that knowledge is power, that leadership trumps management, that customers are more influential than advertisements, that content is king, and that two heads are better than one. I currently lead the marketing efforts of the Strategic Alliances department of my company. Let’s talk marketing!

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