Posts Tagged ‘Advertising’

Noticing the Unnoticeable

Different marketers have found different sources of creativity. I’ve found noticing the unnoticeable to be mine.

When I notice something extraordinary, I pause, look again, stare and think. Then I make associations in my head with the thing I’m looking at, “What I’m working on right now needs exactly this thing to be different and to sell.” 

I take notes, mental notes and sometimes voice recordings as well. Taking a spin around the block can also usher in new thoughts and reactions. I believe ideas come when you’re not noticing, when you’re caught off-guard. In fact, I find driving , not talking about the idea, a great companion to decision-making, especially when it comes to making quick and important decisions.

Maybe that’s why we still see billboards on highway, that TV commercials are still selling today.

Can we cut out the ads before a trailer or video online? Coz the way they pop up is too noticeable and predictable. Put ads on plates, coffee cup sleeves, paper napkins, shoe-boxes and any place unexpected – places where you won’t normally look for sources of creativity.

Inspired by reading Magic Beans, TV and the web, watching Julie & Julia and eating at Max Brenner.


In marketing, don’t claim to provide “24/7 customer service” if you can’t deliver

Marketing won’t work when what your promise doesn’t deliver. Your marketing promise doesn’t deliver when –

  1. advertising backfires
  2. promotion ideas don’t sell
  3. customer service fails

Of the three, customer service failure seems to be the most difficult to reverse, and probably the most detrimental to any business brand.

Customer service representatives are the frontline soldiers of any brand or company, they are the first to be called when customers need help with a product or service, report issues or provide feedback; they deliver the first and an important impression of a brand in customers’ minds besides the product or service itself. But how often do we get good customer service when we want to inquire about a product? How often do we get all the answers we want when we’re reporting a problem? And how often do we get our problems resolved satisfactorily through customer service?

If the company, service or product is a “monopoly” in its category or geographical region, the marketing/customer service experience tends to be worse, to the point of even being schizophrenic. Schizophrenia happens when a company makes all the promises it wants on TV, in print or online, but customers are feeling disconnected and disengaged when they interact with the company through repeated product/service failures to perpetually bad customer service. (This is when customers started using Twitter and Facebook to share bad experience with companies, products or services.) I think these companies know who they are.

Marketing won’t work in any case with these companies because the fundamental principle of good marketing has been violated – marketing dollars can only be justified and delivered by great customer service. You can spend millions on a TV campaign telling stories of how good a product is, how environmentally concerned a company is, or how lives have been changed through its service to the community, but if customers call and all they get is a “What?”, “I don’t know what you mean”, ” Sorry there’s nothing we can do”, “You gotta calm down ma’am” type of responses, I don’t think these companies will ever get anywhere with their marketing, and they simply cannot justify their marketing spending. Instead of creating a facade of goodwill, diversity, social responsibility or whatever it may be, these companies should seriously dedicate resources to re-training customer service, re-tuning infrastructure, and refining its business philosophy — create a long-term, growing commitment to its customers.

I’ve been placed into a perpetual queue by calling into a utility company‘s 24/7 customer service hotline for almost 45 minutes now…

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On Marketing…Inspired by a 21:9 Cinema Proportion Online Ad

Go to for the full view of Philips’ 21:9 online ad titled “Carousel”.

When you have a great product topped with a brilliant marketing plan, it’s a sure-win. This isn’t just another webisode I want to share with you – it’s Philips’ viral commercial to launch its 21:9 Cinema TV. That’s right, not 16:9 but 21:9. For your home theater, this TV allows you to view the widest screen possible giving the fullest gratification of being in an instant cinema. The benefits aside, let’s talk about the commercial.

The approach for the commercial is unique – having actors and actresses wired and frozen in action as the camera glides slowly across the hallway and up the stairs of a building that’s under the attach of anarchistic clowns. Explosions, gunfires, murders and fights were seen “real-time” in one smooth, uninterrupted shot. One may think it’s nostalgic of The Dark Knight in 2008. I can’t help but marvel at the superior level of precision and creativity of the production – by Tribal DDB Amsterdam and Stink Digital. Unrivalled, the movie sweeped the Film Grand Prix for long-form Internet film at the Cannes Advertising Festival several weeks ago.

This is the second year in a row that an Internet commercial bested other award-worthy TV spots. If audience attention to commercials is moving away from TV to the Internet, then what does it mean for marketers like you and me? There’s not much of a doubt that a seismic shift is taking place right now where commercials are exploding and consumers yearning for a heightened level of creativity and experience online.

If you haven’t yet considered the possibility of engaging your customers and clients online, think again. Think how much more often you can join in their conversations, get their feedback and plan your business accordingly; think how many more consumers you can touch over a relativley short period of time, and think how much more scalable your marketing can be when content, people and time are in your hands.

There’s a Chinese wisdom saying that goes – success comes where time, location and people are harmonized. In our terms – if the stars are lined up.

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How Social Media Redefines Integrated Marketing

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Remember those days when people talked about integrated marketing? They were referring to channels and media — print, TV, radio, event, Internet and so on. By now, we’ve come of age in terms of “integrating” marketing. Marketing has become such an integrated discipline that it’s impossible to do “marketing” and “advertising” apart from technologies used by consumers on a day-to-day basis. What are these day-to-day technologies? All of the social media tools available online – one integrated channel, all for free.
Imagine a world of advertising and marketing purely online – no more direct mail, newspapers and magazines. The focus will be on the consumers, users and fans – they will help us popularize our brand, spread our messaging and generate more content. Sounds like a marketing utopia, doesn’t it?
This is all reality now, with the advent of social media. Assuming every product or service has a dedicated website (with an eCommerce engine to take customer orders), a Blog to share information and knowledge, a Facebook page to create a fan base (generate business leads), a Twitter account to cultivate followers (more business leads), a LinkedIn group to interact with industry communities (more leads and publicity for your business), a YouTube channel for its latest product or service offering (free advertising online), and a marketing/advertising powerhouse behind all these tools to push the technology envelope to its limit – I think we’ve got something pretty powerful going on here.
If all of the above (except for a marketing/advertising powerhouse, which takes time and talent to build up) are absolutely free for use, then why isn’t every company embracing and adopting social media? Why is there still a great deal of skepticism, myths and under-information lingering out there about the intent and power of social media tools? Let’s take on “under-information” for a moment here. How many company CEOs and business owners are taking time to read up on these tools? Yes, they may have people working for them who know something about social media, and they may even have a marketing department in the company whose main mission is to drive sales and advertising programs, but are these folks informing their C-level management about these tools with a sense of clarity and urgency? Are these folks believers of social media itself?

Social media tools are things you can’t simply read up on like you do about computers, cameras or refrigerators. These are interactive, creative and living technologies that grow and change with users and developers every day. One has to dive in, play with the tools, test-drive them and make them part of your life. (Live and breathe them!) Majority of these social media tools can be embedded and adapted across different sites. To integrate them into your sales/marketing/advertising strategy is NOT difficult if you are clear about the objectives and audience you’re trying to hit, come up with a strategy and implement the technologies required to fulfill your strategy. Implementation is KEY. Without integrating these tools as essential elements of your business marketing process, you simply won’t be able to enjoy the abundance of features, functions and benefits these tools have to offer.

I still think we’re coming close to a marketing utopia, if we’re not there yet…