SINCE 2008

Semi-Irregular musing..

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Being ahead of the curve

This is not one of my typical blog posts. This is a rant, pure and simple. I write this just to get it off my chest and feel a little better, that’s all. I tend to have one of these rants once in a blue moon, and this is just one of these rare moments. I don’t expect you to understand where I’m coming from, but if you do – that’s great! I’m only sharing this for the few who have shared a similar experience and can relate. If that’s you, click the ♥ icon below 🙂

A couple of months ago I wrote about a Blue Ocean Strategy – an “out of the blue” approach to differentiation. Un-levelling the playing field, if you like. Creating something which no-one else has, doing something so different, there’s no need to compete fairly. Instead of playing by the rules in a known game, you design your own game, write your own rules, and win every time!

Sounds compelling, doesn’t it? As an entrepreneur, or a rebel, this is a great approach – Stay away from the crowded “red ocean”, and create your own playground…

There’s the catch though… Although it’s fun to create my own playground and write my own playbook, it can also be a good reality check. Being “out of left field” is hard work! I’m not just talking about creating the product, or service, or company and writing its’ own rule book. Let’s say you’ve done that already. Now it’s game time, and you need to find other players to join the game. In this game, you can’t just play with yourself – you need clients, suppliers and employees to learn about your new game, and to be willing to play.

Not too long ago I had that epiphany moment – I was having coffee with a friend, and fellow marketer. It was just a casual catch up, but then he said to me – “you know you’re ahead of the game, right?”.

Then it hit me!

I AM ahead of the curve! And that acknowledgement helped me realise some of the key experiences I’ve been having. The conversations I’ve had, the blank stares I sometimes get, and some of the knock-backs I’ve been getting.

It’s a LOT easier to compete in a known market, for several reasons:

  • There’s a market, therefore there’s a need. When people realise and acknowledge they have a need for something, the market develops.
  • People are already aware of the product / service / solution, so all you need to do is stand out.
  • Potential clients are familiar with, and therefore searching for what you’re selling. Which means they understand they need it. See point 1.

Being “ahead of the curve” brings on some real challenges:

  • There’s no certainty of need in the market, which means people need your product / service, but don’t know it yet.
  • If you’re dealing with large businesses, there’s no “tick box” in the procurement process, so the chances of getting in are a lot smaller.
  • The sales process becomes very long, as there’s a need to educate the market about your brilliant idea, and why they need it.
  • It can take years for you to educate the market (at your own time and expense) until you build a market awareness. By doing that, you’re paving a way for competition to come in and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

So far – it sounds daunting and challenging, and I must admit I had times where quitting was considered as an option. But then I’d take a breather, and force myself to remember why I’m doing what I’m doing.

I see the market need. I hear about it, and feel it! I’m passionate about the value I create and know there’s nothing else I’d rather do, even if it’s easier. I often wonder how other people missed this need, or haven’t done it already.

Sometimes I get encouraged by people who immediately “get” what I’m doing, and openly saying so… Getting acknowledgement along the way is a rewarding experience.

Of course, some people are already doing something similar. And I know it’s hard for them too. I don’t see them as competition, but potential collaborators. I see others trying to build a similar organisation, doing it differently. And that’s great! This is a validation point for me, that I’m not the only crazy one – others can also see what I see.

Being ahead of the curve means that I just need to be the first to carve out my market, build a stronger brand, and be quicker than others. Stay strong, focused, remember the “why” more often.

 

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Raz Chorev is the founder of Orange Sky, a unique blend of Marketing Consulting and executive-placement business. Orange Sky’s model involves the appointment of a part-time corporate marketing leader, to work hand in hand with a mid-sized business leader, bring global marketing expertise and leverage off the knowledge and experience of Orange Sky cohort of senior marketing executives.

Originially published on Medium.

How to convert customers into brand ambassadors?

Ask most business service providers where most of their customers are coming from, and you’re likely to hear the most typical answer — “Word of Mouth”. WOM is a powerful marketing strategy, but it doesn’t just happen on its own. As marketers, we can’t sit around and wait for our customers to recommend our businesses, can we?

Back in 2011, Boston Consulting Group published a Focus Report as part of their Digital Economy publication series. Within the report, BCG included the below survey results, clearly showing what drives business purchases. Read more

Should Brands In-source or Outsource to agencies?

In our industry, when a client decides to replace their agency with internal resources, it seems like a major loss to agency-land, and in some respect, it is. It’s not an easy decision for a company to stop outsourcing, and there are challenges faced on every step of the way. But everyone knows it will be challenging, so why do it?

Foxtel’s Justin Robinson, Director of Marketing Operations & Media, and Sam Smith, Managing Director at TubeMogul inc spoke this year at ad:tech about Foxtel’s 3 years journey from outsourcing their media planning trading, to bringing the function in-house. When Foxtel began that journey, many wished they would fail. However, with careful planning, a strong vision and focusing on what’s really important, the transition was bumpy, yet worth it.

Here are some of the reasons for insourcing, the way the guys from Foxtel articulated it:

Resourcing

Agencies have a notorious reputation for high staff-turnover. People at every level move around, and often. From a client’s perspective, it’s

  • Hard to build relationships,
  • The quality of work is inconsistent, and
  • There is a constant need to bring new people up to speed, which is a time-consuming exercise (time=money).

In addition, agency campaign managers had little knowledge of Foxtel programmatic requirements, making it frustrating to communicate with them and gain mutual understanding.

Efficiency

Working with an external service provider requires time just as much (if not more) as managing an internal team, and every company has a different approach and various processes, which don’t always match the client’s. When bringing expertise in-house, you have better control over processes, and as a company, YOU are responsible for your team’s efficiency and output. Speed of service was also an issue, as requirements for speedy resolution following an issue or a problem had increased significantly in recent years.

In Foxtel’s example, their business case included significant cost savings, both in the short and long term.

Insights & transparency

One of the issues Foxtel had with their agency — and this quite common in an agency-client relationship — was the lack of control the client has over their reporting and insights. When Foxtel needed real-time insights, it wasn’t always available, a fact that increased their level of frustration.

Having an in-house resource also provides an enormous opportunity for knowledge and learning, and creating an internal IP and knowledge base. Outsourcing tasks prevent those opportunities.

Data

Data plays a major part in the corporates decision-making process — consumer behaviour and customer data are two of the most valuable assets a company has, and having the data collection, storage and analysis function in-house makes perfect sense. From a strategic perspective, IP and 1st party data should sit within the brand, and not with the agency, as it is potentially sensitive information that needs ongoing protection.

3 POTENTIAL ENGAGEMENT MODELS FOR BRANDS OR ORGANIZATIONS

Should brand insource or outsource to agencies?

At the end of Foxtel’s journey, some functions were still outsourced, but the majority of control stayed with Foxtel, both from strategy and implementation perspectives.

WHAT YOU SHOULD AND SHOULDN’T OUTSOURCE

The discussion isn’t about whether or not to outsource or in-source business functions. No business can do everything in-house, no matter how big and complex the business is. There’s always a need for specialists to perform certain duties and tasks. The real question is what should and shouldn’t be outsourced.

I really like the following decision-making model by consulting firm ATKearney:

Insource verses outsource

Considering what should and shouldn’t be outsourced, especially in the marketing/digital space, really depends on the following factors:

  1. Capability – does the business truly understand this area of expertise?
  2. Cost Benefit Analysis – does it make commercial sense to bring in house expertise?
  3. IP and Sensitive Information – Is the function responsible to creating or protecting the company’s competitive advantage?
  4. Continuity – Do we have enough work to justify an in-house resource on an ongoing basis?

Foxtel took a brave step and brought important functionality in-house, as illustrated in the table below. There aren’t any hard and fast rules that can be applied here, as every business and situation is different. There are only some considerations to guide us and help us make a decision.

Should-brands-insource-or-outsource-to-agencies

Take a look at your business. What function do you outsource within the marketing department, and what’s important for you to have in-house?

 

Originally published on Firebrand Talent Blog

Bigger Spend = Quicker Growth?

I often wondered what makes certain companies grow faster than others. What makes a company like Tesla, for example, overtake established market leaders like General motors, or the European or Japanese car makers. Those car-makers have been showing steady Year-On-Year growth, over more the 100 years, yet Tesla is catching up to them, currently being in the top 5 list of automakers by market cap. I’ve read many research documents, excellent books such as Jim Collins’ Good To Great & Built To Last, and other research based books to try and answer that question. Read more

6 Essential elements of a Kickstarter campaign

I had a unique opportunity, when I was contacted by Judy (not her real name), an entrepreneur who was running a Kickstarter campaign, and wasn’t happy with the take-up and support she was getting.

I would assume that most entrepreneurs who have launched a crowd funding campaign on either Kickstarter, Indiegogo or any other crowdfunding platform, are likely to face similar challenges. Digging a little into the Kickstarter stats, here’s what I’ve found:

2 out of 3 projects on Kickstarter are unsuccessful. Only 36% of projects actually get off the ground.  The project Judy had launched, was in the Fashion category, which is even harder to fund, with less than a quarter of projects get funded (24.14%).

Read more

A blueprint for managing a social media crisis

Let’s put things in perspective: we’ve all heard about social media crises, and what companies need to do to prevent them. However, if we look at the definition of a crisis:

Crisis – a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger, 

we need to be careful NOT to create storms in teacups.

Not every negative comment on a company Facebook page, or an abusive tweet, as horrible as it might be to be on the receiving end, equates to a crisis. PR professionals will tell you there are numerous ways to deal with public comments, but the first decision you need to make is quite simple: to respond, or not to respond.

Read more

Ever stepped on a Lego in the dark?

Bonus – theres a hidden link in the text below, with a useful surprise.. try it!

Imagine –  you wake up in the middle of the night, urging for the bathroom. It’s dark, but you won’t put the lights on, as everyone is sleeping, and you don’t wish to wake them up. Although you’re certain you know the way, as you’ve gone there many times before, finding your way in the dark isn’t as easy as you thought: That wall on the right is wayyy closer than it used to be; there’s one more step in the staircase, that you’ve forgotten about; and who the [explicit language] left that Nerf gun leaning on the doorway?? How can there be so many surprises  on such a short and familiar trip? Read more

What’s involved in crafting a Social Media Policy?

Originally published on T2Consult Blog

A survey undertaken by Deloitte Touche LLP in the USA in April 2009 showed that:

  • 74% of surveyed employees say it’s EASY to damage a company’s reputation on social media
  • However only 22% of companies surveyed have formal social media policies
  • 61% of employees said that, even if their employers were monitoring their social networking sites, they wouldn’t change what they were doing online
  • 49% said a company policy wouldn’t change how they behave online.

Read more

Why you shouldn’t create a marketing strategy

A world-class marketing strategy creates very little value. The value is created when you implement that strategy #outsourcedCMO

Strategic plans are a waste of time, and money. Consultants and executives all over the world, work tirelessly with CEO’s and boards, to create a strategic direction for the company to follow. Depending on the scope, that project can include an offsite or two, many hours of meetings and discussions, and an email trail, which when printed, could kill a small forest. Read more

Tooting ones’ horn – LinkedIn’s Social Selling Index

There’ve been a lot of talk recently about LinkedIn’s newest feature – Linkedin SSI (Social Selling Index). When you click on that link, while you’re signed in to your Linkedin account, Linkedin will analyse your engagement with the platform, and will give you a score from 1-100, comparing how you use Linkedin to your network, and other people in the industry. Read more

STRATEGIC MARKETING AND BUSINESS GROWTH

Startups, Corporates and anything in between..