As another case in point of how numbers lead the way, note Ben McConnell’s writings about record sales from the “American Idol” kids and influence of word of mouth marketing over at Church of the Customer blog. What struck me most was less about the articles and much more about the dissection of Ben’s numbers among the commenters. Tom Snyder’s comment on the first item in particular shows a clear understanding both of the numbers and of the Long Tail.
Does this mean that creative no longer has a place in the new marketing space? Sam Decker – another must read – doesn’t think so, at least not completely. And neither do I. At least not completely. But if I were going to miss on one side of this, I’d bet on the folks with the numbers on their side.
A weird pattern is out there today. The whole blogosphere (OK, Robert Scoble, Seth Godin and Fred Wilson), seems to have posts about determining what’s real, whether it’s press, Pablo Picasso or a presidential candidate. This is not just an existential discussion. Scoble asks a fundamental question about receiving credit. Seth, how we value our work. Wilson, how we choose our leaders.
When you evaluate yourself, which of these three matter most to you?
Lots of folks think they’re good at strategy. I know many folks who talk at length about their innovative ideas. Yet, in practice, it seems most are good only at copying their competitors. And vice versa. How many people have you run into claiming they are “just like MySpace, but different,” or “like YouTube, with a twist?”
The folks who truly innovate, who truly offer something new to the marketplace, find the unexplored areas and fill them with a service or product customers truly want. While many business books claim the secret to this “find and fill” action, few deliver. One notable exception is W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne’s "Blue Ocean Strategy." With a subtitle of “How to create uncontested market space and make the competition irrelevant,” Kim and Mauborgne set the bar high. However, they manage to clear that bar with room to spare, providing a clear roadmap to developing strategies that truly differentiate you from your competition. The book’s first two sections focus on what the authors mean by “Blue Ocean Strategy” and how businesses can create one. What separates "Blue Ocean Strategy." from other books of its kind, however, is its third part, which focuses on how companies can execute their blue ocean strategies. The authors not only chart a course for intrepid strategists to follow, they help companies pilot their way through rough waters to success.
The music choices brands – and bands – make kill me. Ohio State’s selection of the theme from Titanic during the halftime show of the NCAA Championship game – a game Ohio State tanked – made me laugh like little does anymore. And yes, I am a Michigan fan.
UPS has some new commercials. They look like this.
More important is what they sound like. Am I the only one who thinks it’s funny that the song UPS chose to play in the background is “Such Great Heights” by the The Postal Service?
I’m not stalking Fred Wilson. Honestly. OK, so I’m opening a second day in a row with a point from Fred. But that’s perfectly normal, right?
Is it better to say “yes” or “no” when faced with a business question? Fred argues for the latter, stating “I’ve gotten used to bumming people out.” I agree. In fact, it mirrors something I’ve often said to folks I work with. Because of resource constraints – which, let’s face it, we all have – we cannot possibly do everything online that various groups I work with would like. I’ve always said part of my job is deciding who gets pissed off each day. But I like “bumming people out” better. It doesn’t sound quite so confrontational.
The question that I struggle with is whether this approach is actually just a cop out. There’s no question that the answer often ends with a no. There’s also no doubt in my mind that setting reasonable expectations is a huge part of most discussions. But, I was struck by Jaron Lanier in Joel Garreau’s “Radical Evolution” when a he says, “A profound ‘I don’t know’ is the result of a lot of hard work.” Are Fred and I saying the right thing? Or are we just being lazy?