Why content is NOT king!

Why content is NOT king!

Memo to all BizTrekers:

They say "Content Is King" right now. We think that's a bunch of malarkey!

Everywhere we turn, we see lots of people and companies generating masses of content that nobody looks at or cares about. It reminds us of the same people who think that huge numbers of social media fans somehow equates to more revenue (it seldom does).

We live in a world where more and more people are looking for ways to REDUCE the clutter. They are overloaded and bombarded with stuff from well-meaning people who truly provide no value. Those "content providers" never see the light of day or are banished to the trash bucket with a second or two!

So ... if content is NOT king, then what is? Memorize this next phrase and embed it into your company culture. RELEVANCE IS KING! It does not matter how much content you pump out. Some people who pump out far less are likely outperforming you because they are finding ways to be relevant. So, with that in mind, here are 7 ways you can be relevant:

1) Be a source for new ideas: The world moves fast, so we all need a way to keep up with fresh ideas to feed our brain.
2) Show the way to a better future: Everyone has aspirations to make their life better and we need folks who help us get there.
3) Be a micro-specialist: There are a lot of social communities (hobbies, sports, careers, skills) that interest a deeply embedded network of loyal fans.
4) Provide wise counsel: We like to know what smart people think and why they believe it.
5) Help people feel good: The world around us can feel heavy at times, so we enjoy people who lighten the burden.
6) Be a center of debate: Sometimes spirited dialog with others helps us make sense of things and work through or modify our own opinions (yes, even politics and religion).
7) Be a targeted news channel: Many of us don't trust the big guys. We want to know what people on the front lines of our community or industry see and think.

How to go from bland to engaging

How to go from bland to engaging

Memo to all BizTrekers:

Have you ever noticed that picking up and checking your mobile device gives you a little chemical kick? Researchers have noted that when you do so, you get a tiny shot of dopamine. However, that little chemical response does not last long. So, when you interact with your audience, keep it short, because reader enjoyment goes down fast.

More than half of mobile device users now rank brevity as a crucial factor in reading messages and then responding or sharing. We are constantly bombarded with messages on every front, so anything that takes more than about 30 seconds bores us. We no longer have the patience to go longer. If you have more to say than fits in this tiny window of opportunity, segment it into multiple messages, or even spread it across different interactive platforms. (BTW this message is 215 words).

So what will people look at, and then share? Two thirds (67%) will engage with something that triggers an emotional reaction or laughter. Almost as many (60%) will share something that is helpful or informative. Finally, about 60% will respond to something that hits a deep personal nerve. If you want to stand out from the crowd, capitalize of people's low expectations and surprise them with something they value. 

The future way to gain market traction

The future way to gain market traction

Memo To All BizTrekers:

If you are OVER 40, you'll probably groan when reading this, but after a few moments to think, you'll realize the truth of what follows. If you're UNDER 40 you'll totally understand and start to see new businesses opportunities ahead.

The modern social world has become highly fragmented, and the fragmentation is increasing rapidly. Friendships with neighbors and locals are becoming less common while friendships with distant kindred spirits are increasingly more common. Think about people you know who share vegan recipes, or actively participate in a band's fan club, or spend hours in discussion forums about a particular breed of dog.

Many people have more "online friendships" than they have face-to-face friendships. If they ever have face-to-face visits with those online friends, they will often travel significant distances to attend an event designed specifically for that group of people.

The social world, which was once hyper-local, is now hyper-specialized. More than ever, people enjoy letting their freak flags fly. Which is why over 80% of new business growth now happens within extremely narrow social clusters. 

However, gaining traction within these clusters is difficult. People have built these communities on their own time, and they have many protective barriers to keep outsiders out. You won't get far, or last long, if you try jump in with both barrels loaded. Rather, seek and build relationships with key leaders or influencers. Use them to help you learn the lingo. Gain their trust slowly and you will be properly rewarded. However, always remember that you are a visitor, not a member. 

Have you named your company or product well?

Have you named your company or product well?

Memo To All BizTrekers

Naming a company or product well is one of those marketing topics that generate a lot of heated emotion and diversity of opinion. In fact, our experience is that the emotions surrounding brand choices carry more weight than they should. 

However, there is a justifiable reason that opinions and emotions tend to rule the process. Few people know, or have even seen, a scientific or logical process for brand development and selection. So, we're taking this opportunity to show you a better way. It won't replace emotion and opinion, but it will give it a workable framework that maximizes the chance of success. 

The fundamental rule is that, when considering potential names for your company, product or service, it is vital that the process be kept as objective as possible. Subjective personal responses, such as "I like it" or I don't like it" or "I don't like it because it reminds me of an old girlfriend/boyfriend" are exactly that – subjective and personal. They have no bearing on whether or not a potential name will actually work in the marketplace as a powerful brand that supports all your positioning goals.

Most people quickly understand that basic counsel, but it doesn't go far enough. Clients often ask us to be more specific, to explain objectively just what makes a name work. With that in mind, we created a straightforward way to dissect potential names into the following nine categories to make it easier to understand why names work or don't work, and to more easily weigh the pros and cons of one name versus another:

1) Appearance – Simply how the name looks as a visual signature, in a logo, an ad, on a billboard, etc. The name will be seen in different placements and venues, so looks are important. 

2) Distinctive – How differentiated is a given name from its competition. Being distinctive is only one element that goes into making a name memorable, but it is a required element, since if a name is not distinct from a sea of similar names it will not be memorable. It’s important, when judging distinctiveness, to always consider the name in the context of the audience it will serve, and among the competition it will battle with for the customer’s attention.

3) Depth – Is there layer upon layer of meaning and association? Names with great depth never reveal all they have to offer all at once. They keep surprising people with new ideas and angles. Ever more interesting stories appear the deeper people dig.

4) Energy – How vital and full of life is the name? Does it have buzz worthiness? Can it carry a marketing campaign on its shoulders? Is it a force to be reckoned with? Does it have oomph? These are all aspects of a name’s energy level. 

5) Humanity – A measure of a name’s warmth, its “humanness,” as opposed to names that are cold, clinical, unemotional. Another – though not foolproof – way to think about this category is to imagine each of the names as a nickname for one of your children.

6) Positioning – How relevant the name is to the positioning of the product or company being named, the service offered, or to the industry served? Further, how many known and relevant messages does the name map or connect to?

7) Sound – Again, while always existing in a context of some sort or another, the name WILL be heard, in radio or television commercials, being presented at a trade show, or simply being discussed in a cocktail party conversation. Sound is twofold – not only how a name sounds, but how easily it is spoken by those who matter most: the potential customer. Word of mouth is a big part of the marketing of a company, product or service with a great name, but if people aren’t comfortable saying the name, the word won’t get out.

8) Magic – Consider the force of brand magic, and the word-of-mouth buzz that a name is likely to generate. Think about the mysterious "33" printed on the back of Rolling Rock beer bottles for decades. Everybody talks about this because nobody is really sure what it means. "33" is that certain something that makes people lean forward and want to learn more about a brand, and to want to share the brand with others. Can you create similar magic?

9) Trademark – This is the ugly, meat hook reality of trademark availability. Scoring is easy here, as there are only three options, and nothing is subjective: 10 = likely available for trademark; 5 = may be available for trademark; and 0 = not likely available for trademark. If you can't or don't protect your trademark, then you are in the weakest of all possible branding positions.

The key to sustained marketing success

The key to sustained marketing success

Memo To All BizTrekers

The key to sustained marketing success is the ability to make your business development processes self-regulating. What does that mean? Your goal should be to establish processes that do not need constant revision and supervision. They should be able to produce reliable, consistent, and predictable, results. You need to create a marketing machine that runs on auto-pilot!

When leading and embarking on a ReLaunch effort, imagine that you are not part of the business. Look at everything from the outside and create systems accordingly. You must break the "we've always done it that way" viewpoint. Your future customers don't care about that!

Ask yourself what your various marketing processes need to look like and how they will work. Integrate successful marketing practices and remove unsuccessful or unpredictable tactics. Cultivate and refine tactics and practices that are capable of working without you.

Your goal is to create a marketing system that is unique for your company. You don't want to sound and act like the others in your industry. You need to stick your neck out and stand tall. Think of the giraffe on the African plains. Be different. Stand tall. Be visible.

 

How to think like a prosperous entrepreneur

How to think like a prosperous entrepreneur

Memo To All BizTrekers

About 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci said "He who thinks little errs much." Indeed, that is still a common failing today, but there's another side to be consider. To master the art of thinking, you must know the right things to think about.

In the field of entrepreneurship, thinking about the right things, at the right time, in the right way, is often the difference between failure, mediocrity or wild prosperity.

The things you think about at launch are, and should be, very different from the things you think about while on the growth highway. Not long ago, Inc. Magazine helped prove this point by conducting a survey that asked entrepreneurs about their thought process for starting their business. Here were the top five results: 29% to create something new; 24% to take control of their life; 14% to make money; 14% to be their own boss; and 10% to prove they could do it.

However, those motivations don't automatically drive prosperity after launch. In his 1982 book "Out Of The Crisis," management guru W. Edwards Deming declared that "94% of success belongs to the system." He further explained that the system that people work in, and their interactions with others, is the primary driver of peak performance. To prosper, you must eliminate corporate choice and digression at the basic levels. You must generate predictable results at all levels of the business through reliable core processes.

The prosperity formula becomes quite simple. Process + Reproducibility = Success

Most entrepreneurs understand this to be true with their production lines, with their bookkeeping, and even with their employment practices. Sadly, they too often neglect this vital principle in the area of revenue production. If a business seeks to grow, they must create a reliable marketing and sales system that allows them to expand upon, and project, future results based on past successes.

Said a different way; To grow your business faster, easier, and with less financial risk, you must first establish a story worth repeating, find ways to repeat it, and then energize it so the story gets told. THAT is what you should be thinking about!

Why (and when) entrepreneurs become incompetent

Why (and when) entrepreneurs become incompetent

Memo To All BizTrekers

In 1969, Laurence J. Peter wrote a seminal and thought-provoking management book titled "The Peter Principle." As a professor at the University of Southern California, he formulated the concept that organizations selected and promoted people based on their performance in their current role rather than on the abilities relevant to the intended role. The book stayed on the New York Times bestseller list for over a year, and it’s still in print today.

The light-hearted book proposes that people only stopped being promoted once they could no longer perform effectively. In effect, they rose to the level of incompetence, and then got stuck there. They hit a career ceiling and their employers, in time, had increasing numbers of incompetent people filling key positions. 

In a nut shell, Peter's solution was to 1) "demote' them back to the level where they were a star performer, or 2) provide them with specialized training, or 3) fill positions based on needs rather than past performance..

Think what you may, it is an interesting concept, with useful application to the world of entrepreneurship. Just like corporate hierarchies, every entrepreneur will rise to the level of their own incompetence. For some, this is early in their journey. For other it comes much later. The difference is marked by the level of skills and know-how possessed by the entrepreneur.

Most budding entrepreneurs launch their business because they have the capacity and skill to do so. However, as the venture grows, they start bumping up against new challenges. They may master some, but eventually, they will encounter a growth ceiling that they don't know how to overcome. In effect, they will grow to their level of incompetence.

So what must be done when that happens? One option is to step aside and sell the business. Another option is to hire someone else who has a different set of skills. Neither of those options appeals to most entrepreneurs until much later in their journey. The third option is to seek specialized training for their areas of weakness. It may be a dent on the ego, but the fruit of success often makes it an easier pill to swallow ... and a wise decision.