Category: General Posts

What is Growth Hacking and What Can Good Marketers Learn from It?

Growth Hacking is Good Marketing

The latest buzz in startups is Growth Hacking. It sounds like some secret formula to grow companies to billions in valuation. But what is growth Hacking? What does it mean for marketers and for businesses? Is it Marketing 2.0 (or 3.0 or whatever version we are on +1)?

I have found the definitions by those who created the term to be inaccurate or of little value.  At first glance, it could appear that growth hacking is a marketing buzzword about marketing created by non-marketers.

After taking a closer look and reading all I could about it, I found that in trying to learn from it, a pure definition would not be as valuable as an observation of Gowth Hacking characteristics are:

  • Typically found in early stage startups – with no formal marketing teams or budget
  • Where marketing is performed by engineers or non-career marketers
  • That uses smart, cheap and unconventional methods to grow the business
  • With a strong focus on analytics, metrics, virality and scalability

Advocates of the term call out DropBox, Twitter and even Hotmail as success stories that prove the value of growth hacking. This view is somewhat misleading as there are a hundred startups following growth hacking techniques that won’t survive to their next round of financing. Which only proves there is no secret formula or buzzword that guarantees success.

The only guarantee of success is to have a great strategy, a great product, a great team, and great execution.  But let’s focus on what marketers can learn from growth hackers:

The latest buzz in startups is Growth Hacking. It sounds like some secret formula to grow companies to billions in valua...

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10 Fundamentals of Social Media Marketing

There are many guides, best practices and tips for social media marketing out there. This is a different list. These are 10 principles that are fundamental for organizations that are building a social media plan. The goal is to help you establish a mindset that will help you come up with a strategy. I learned these principles after more than a decade of working on social media and community strategies for startups to Fortune 50 organizations..

To start on a light note, let me share an extended version of an entertaining way to explain social media 101

Social Media Explained

– CLICK IMAGE FOR A LARGER VERSION – 

OK, now let’s get to the important stuff. For each principle I provide a summary and a link to an older post where you can read more on the topic.

The 10 fundamental principles for social media marketing

1. Social Media is not a strategy. Social media is interaction, it’s a channel, a tool that can be used for many things – like email, or video conferencing technology or a CRM system or in-person meetings. Social is most effective when integrated with other parts of the business to support a business strategy. Read more.

2. Social strategists are coaches. A mature social team crafts the strategy, provides a technology foundation, guidelines and coaching to enable multiple groups in the organization to be active in social media. If the social media is the only one participating in the conversation, you are doing something wrong. Read more.

3. Social Media is changing fast. My 14 year old daughter has no idea what Foursquare is. Her group use Instagram and Vine more than Facebook and Email. AOL is history. Be aware of social network and style preferences for each of your target audiences. Prepare to be adaptive. More stats.

4. Social media marketing will go away. Soon. Why? Because everything will be social or will have an aspect of social. Every well-rounded marketer must have social media skills and experience. Just like every well rounded marketer requires knowledge of SEO, web technologies or digital marketing. It’s just marketing.

5. There is no social media ROI. The exact value of a Facebook like or a Twitter follower is zero. At least until you come up with an integrated plan to engage fans and create value, they are worthless. If you are measuring ROI for social media activities you are doing something wrong. You must measure the contribution of social media tools and tactics to greater company strategies. Like customer acquisition, branding, support and customer feedback. Read more.

6. Correlation is not Causation. When measuring Social Media effectiveness it is easy to say things like ‘people who follow us on Twitter buy 40% more and buy 3x more often’. We are inclined to believe customers buy more because they follow us on twitter, while the opposite is more likely to be true: customers who like us, are loyal and buy more are likely to follow us on twitter. Correlation does not create value. Read more.

7. Don’t oversell social media. Ads on Facebook or Linked in is not Social Marketing, it is just Advertising. Publishing discount coupons on twitter and other social channels is just taking advantage of an audience to run promotions. Measure value holistically and take into account all costs (including effort, focus and cost of opportunity). Read more.

8. Most communities fail and die. It is alluring to ‘own’ our community of customers and advocates. The reality is that it is very hard to create a community. A better strategy is to fish where the fish are and participate in existing communities. We talk a lot about social media success, we need to talk more about our failures and learn from them. Read more.

9. Becoming a social business is not about adopting social tools, and launching a social campaign. It is about changing your culture to be more customer centric and putting the customer at the center of the business. Read more.

10. Social is just one of five key factors that are changing our world along with mobile, sensors, data and context. Read more about the Age of Context in this post.

If you are building a social strategy for a company, let me suggest this presentation by Warren Lee of Adobe. It provides a useful framework for organizing a team, integrating it with other areas in marketing and specific KPIs that is well aligned (is a good example even) with point #5 above.

Please share your thoughts in the comments below

 

There are many guides, best practices and tips for social media marketing out there. This is a different list. These are...

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PR in the Digital Age: Welcome to Influencer Marketing

Influencer Marketing is difficult and often misunderstood. Let’s start at the begging to understand what it is and how can it help with a marketing strategy.

We all recognize that we live in a world where people consume and share information in a very different way than they did just 10 years ago. There is no need to convince anyone of the impact the internet, social media, and mobile devices have had in business and in life. And still, in most companies, the PR function has not evolved in almost a century.

Only a few years ago, information sources were centralized. People got their news from a handful of newspapers, magazines, and TV stations. Reporters writing for these news outlets were the main source of information. They were, in a sense, a bottleneck or a monopoly in buyer opinion and education. Inside a company, the public relations function was the practice of informing and influencing these reporters with the intention of getting favorable news coverage.

Today, this is an obsolete paradigm as newspapers are moving from print to digital or going out of business. An article printed in this morning’s newspaper is not news anymore, it is history. We learn about the news in real-time via Twitter, Facebook or online news feeds. Millions of amateur and professional writers have become publishers thanks to blogging platforms and other social media channels. Anyone can write news. The problem in the world today is that we have too many news sources, too much to read and too many point of views.

Influencer Marketing is difficult and often misunderstood. Let's start at the begging to understand what it is and how c...

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Welcome to The Age of Context – and Contextual Marketing

The Age of Context and Contextual Marketing

What is the future of technology? How will technology impact your business and how does it impact marketing?

The preceding two questions are very important. Companies that are not able to adapt to rapid changes in technology are left behind to die. Examples abound, even innovative companies that were ahead of their times in their use of technology such as Blackberry, Blockbuster, Circuit City, among others. Most business executives recognize the need to evolve, as do most marketers. After all, that’s why I named this blog the Adaptive Marketer.

My oldest daughter just turned 14. I have had to explain rotary phones, cassette tapes, film cameras and typewriters to her. Kids born today will have to ask their parents to explain what a music CD and a DVD are. The evolution of these technologies has created and destroyed entire industries who failed to foresee the importance and impact of these new technologies. Any business person should be asking: What is the next revolution? Where are things going? How will these changes affect my business?

I found many answers in The Age of Context by the dynamic duo: futurist & technology blogger Robert Scoble and writer and storyteller & writer Shel Israel.

What is the future of technology? How will technology impact your business and how does it impact marketing? The precedi...

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12 Key Business Lessons from Steve Jobs

12 Business Lessons from Steve Jobs

How much can we learn from Steve on Innovation, Marketing and Business Strategy?

A few days ago I stumbled on this video where Guy Kawasaki shared 12 lessons he learned from Steve Jobs. Guy worked with Steve in the early days of the Mac. This presentation was delivered a few hours after Steve passed away. It is been viewed almost a half a million times, but it is 47 minutes long. I thought I should share a summary from my notes:

  1. Experts” are clueless – There are many people who will claim to be gurus and experts. Don’t trust them. They are more often mistaken.
  2. Customers cannot tell you want they need –” Back in 1984 they would have asked for a faster, cheaper Apple II (not a Mac). The day you hear Apple is using focus groups to create future products, that’s the day to short the Apple stock”. For more, here is a post on Steve Job’s Genius Ability to Innovate.
  3. The biggest challenges beget the best work – If you are going to change the world, you need to work on challenges no one else has solved before.
  4. Design matters. “Design is the product.” Especially for Apple, but true for more and more industries today. Another post on the importance of design.
  5. Use big graphics and big font in your presentations. Jobs was a master presenter. His slides make bold statements and don’t compete for attention with what he is saying.
  6. Jump curves, not better sameness – What Guy means is that Steve was not interested in incremental improvements, but on disruptions that completely change the game, Guy uses the example of the change from ice factories to having ice available in your refrigerator.
  7. It either works or does not work – “Don’t worship religions and fads. We did not care if it was ‘open’ or ‘closed’ only that it worked.”
  8. Value is different than Price. I could not agree more. Here are a few posts on the topic.
  9. Hire A players exclusively . A players hire A players. B players hire C players. As Jim Collins wrote: the most important thing is people – ‘who is on the bus’.
  10. Real CEOs can demo. Meaning executives need to be users of the products they sell, they need to be competent and demonstrate their passion.
  11. Entrepreneurs ship, not slip. Steve pushed his team to deliver on time. He did not wait for a perfect product (the first iPhone had many limitations) but it was developed in record time. Then there is time for continuous improvement.
  12. Somethings need to be believed to be seen. “If you wait for proof it will never happen.” This is so true

If you want to watch the entire video, you will find it here.

Guy Kawasaki Lessons from Steve Jobs

How much can we learn from Steve on Innovation, Marketing and Business Strategy? A few days ago I stumbled on this video...

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Are Super Bowl Ads a Good Investment or a Giant Waste of Money?

SuperBowl Ad ROI

Measuring the effect of advertising has always been a significant challenge for marketers. The Super Bowl presents a particularly interesting opportunity to study individual ads that reach millions of consumers and represent a major investment for brands at $4 million plus production costs.

I will use two sources of data to look at this problem: Un-aided recall by a random sample of consumers and sales results achieved by Go Daddy after their investment in Super Bowl ads.

Measuring the effect of advertising has always been a significant challenge for marketers. The Super Bowl presents a par...

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10 Marketing Observations from the 2014 Super Bowl Ads

Surprisingly, the Super Bowl is not the most-viewed sports event in the world. At some 150 million viewers, it represents a fraction of the estimated 720 million viewers for the FIFA World Cup final.  Despite this fact, it remains the largest advertising event in the world.

According to an informal survey we ran last week, over 60% of Super Bowl viewers claimed to watch the game just as much, or more for the ads.  Welcome to the Ad Bowl.

Why do people watch the SuperBowl

By now there are probably a couple dozen lists of top Super Bowl ads, and everyone has begun expressing their own opinions. In this post, I will share my observations on the marketing strategies of the brands and the effectiveness of their ads, as well as general advertising trends. Please add your observations in the comments section.

Surprisingly, the Super Bowl is not the most-viewed sports event in the world. At some 150 million viewers, it represent...

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Innovation – How Silvercar is Disrupting the Car Rental Business

Disruptive Innovation Example

It is a cycle we see too often: companies grow successful; an industry matures adopting many common practices, some good and some bad. Then these companies get complacent and fall asleep at the wheel. They stop innovating and often try to take advantage of consumers because of their position. And by doing so, they and create an opportunity for new entrants to disrupt the market.

It is easy to point at history and study how companies that were market leaders fell in this trap: Blockbuster, Motorola, Circuit City and Radio Shack are good examples. It is a lot harder to predict which markets or companies will be disrupted. But it is much more interesting to observe when it is actually happening in front of us.

This week I witnessed disruption in the rental car industry. I traveled to Dallas for a day and decided to give Silvercar a try. I am glad I did. How is the Silvercar experience better than the established companies who are asleep at the wheel? Let me recap my experience:

It is a cycle we see too often: companies grow successful; an industry matures adopting many common practices, some good...

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True Leadership is Invisible

Leadership is Invisible

Maybe you have had an opportunity to observe  leaders who are quick to accept credit and seem more interested in receiving attention and merit. Another style of leadership is one for whom the top interest is in creating a better future, offering new ideas and building the capabilities of the team, resulting in an organization that continues to thrive even when the leader is not present anymore. These are two styles of leadership, except only one of them is truly a leader.

Maybe you have had an opportunity to observe  leaders who are quick to accept credit and seem more interested in receivi...

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