Influence people

Friday, December 9, 2016

Breakout Time

Marketers are highly susceptible to bias. Some forms—racial bias, for example—are easy to detect in their work (just watch the holiday spot from Securus); some forms are less so.

Generational bias is one of the latter—and a "silent killer" of customer conversion.

Pop theorists are the guilty party. While they underscore generational differences, scientists do not. Pop theorists would have you believe:
  • All Traditionalists are patriots who value only self-sacrifice.
  • All Boomers are optimists who value only wealth.
  • All GenXers are pessimists who value only ecotourism.
  • All Millennials are narcissists who value only praise.
  • All GenZers are entrepreneurs who value only... well, who knows?
But if you believe the scientists:
  • Claims of generational differences are based on faulty studies—always.
  • There are no practical generational differences.
Does pop theory imprison your thinking?

It's breakout time.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

B2B Buyers Rational? It Ain't Necessarily So.

The B2B Kool-Aid claims buyers don't behave like consumers.

But two new studies show it ain't necessarily so.

State of the Connected Customer, from, reveals how consumer-like many B2B buyers have become:

  • 83% say technology informs them about product choices
  • 80% say they expect companies to respond to them in real time
  • 79% say it's vital to have a sales rep who's a trusted advisor
  • 75% say they expect companies to anticipate their needs
  • 70% say technology makes it easy to take their business elsewhere
  • 66% say they'll switch brands if they're treated like a number
  • 65% say they'll switch brands if a company's communications aren't personalized
Turned Off, from Sprout Social, reveals why buyers "unfollow" companies on social media:
  • 46% say the companies annoy them by over-posting self-promotions
  • 42% say the companies post irrelevant content
  • 35% say the companies use too much jargon
  • 18% say the companies are don't post frequently enough
  • 15% say the companies fail to respond to comments
You say, so what, who cares?

Well, Turned Off also reveals 75% of buyers have purchased a product after seeing it on social media.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016


Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination.

— Ludwig Wittgenstein

That the boundary between the real and the imagined is porous was proven this week when a well packaged web of lies provoked a gunman to shoot up my neighborhood pizzeria.

Words are how we think, and how we think is "not just mildly interesting, but a matter of life and death," says historian Howard Zinn

"If those in charge of our society—politicians, generals, corporate executives and owners of press and television—can control our ideas, they will be secure in their power. If they dominate our thought, they will not need soldiers patrolling the streets."

Words are powerful.

Handle them with care.

"Outright media lies are easy to debunk," says Shoq. "It’s the lazy, fact-free, inside baseball analysis that’s killing us.”

Monday, December 5, 2016

Face Up to the Fact: It's a Jungle Out There

I'm appalled by most tradeshows I visit.

While every other offline marketing medium has transformed itself in the past 40 years, shows have stagnated.

They hardly differ in the main from the very first ones I visited (working as a decorators' laborer) in the early '70s.

Indeed, those shows were better. Exhibitors used to unveil new products at them, and a large number displayed the products in pretty "hard wall" exhibits.

The next-level event has eluded most tradeshows,

Of course, organizers are quick to point out the medium doesn't need innovation. "Face-to-face" is all about faces, after all, and those haven't evolved much in 200,000 years.

That's like arguing the web is "all about electrons;" or direct mail, "all about stamps."

The real reason shows haven't improved lies in organizers' obsession with audiences.

"Most organizers are so focused on getting people into the venue that they have hardly skimmed the surface of understanding and influencing buyer behavior," says Stephane Doutriaux in a new white paper, The Smart Event.

Is that about to change?

Experience designers and event-tech suppliers insist it is, because the technology's costs have hit rock bottom.

I'm not so sure.

Technology doesn't deploy itself; it takes staff to oversee it. And audiences are as time-consuming to attract as they ever were, if not more so.

Time is the enemy.

But organizers need to face up to the fact: it's a jungle out there.

If you don't transform your show into a "smart event" now, you can bet a competitor will transform hers.

So get off your duff. Time's a-wasting.

When there's less of a cushion between you and failure, innovation becomes a necessity.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Lunch-pail Mentality

Playing the game for money produces the proper professional attitude.
It inculcates the lunch-pail mentality.
— Steven Pressfield

You can spot a pro a mile away. She carries a lunch pail.

The dilettante, on the other hand, carries a bag from Pret.

The pro shows up, rain or shine, and works her plan.

She persists.

The dilettante sits and waits—often in meetings—for the Muses (or the cavalry) to arrive.

He resists.

I love the name of conference planner Warwick Davies' company, The Event Mechanic! It perfectly—and authentically—describes Davies' lunch-pail attitude.

Journalist James J. Kilpatrick once likened the professional writer to a carpenter:

Our task is deceptively simple. It is as deceptively simple as the task of carpenters, who begin by nailing one board to another board. Then other boards are nailed to other boards, and, lo, we have a house. Just so, as writers we put one word after another word, and we connect those words with other words, and, lo, we have a news story or an editorial.

Jack London trained himself to write for money by copying other writers' phrases into notebooks, "strong phrases, the phrases of living language, phrases that bit like acid and scorched like flame."

And journalist Hunter S. Thompson trained himself to write for a living by typing for days on end the works of Faulkner, Fitzgerald and Hemingway.

That's persistence.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

No Wine before Its TIme

According to a study by Regalix, The State of B2B Content Marketing 2016, 73% of CMOs are dissatisfied with content marketing.

Crap content, of course, explains much of the dissatisfaction. Crap content won't give a brand a welcome seat at customers' tables.

CMOs' impatience explains the rest. They've spent all this dough. Where are the results?

Maybe they expect too much, too soon.

Content marketing isn't branding; but it sure as hell isn't selling, either.

To work, it takes time and amplification. Before results arrive, you have to cultivate an audience and win its trust.

Look at the number of readers you're getting. How large is your readership? How many readers are clicking from your blog to other value-added content? How many are sharing and recommending your content? If the numbers are low, you can't expect stellar results. Those take time.

So exercise some patience. Be like Orson Welles, who earned his "grocery money" in the 1970s by shooting TV commercials, the most famous of which has aged pretty well.  

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