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    Entries in marketing (8)

    Wednesday
    Jul172013

    Vacation Week - Read this instead #3

    Note: The blog is on vacation this week, so you should read this instead...

    Daft Punk's 'Get Lucky': How To Build the Song of the Summer

    From the piece:

    “The song’s success was really about the audience’s response to our marketing, more than the marketing itself,” Hahn says. If there’s one vital lesson he’s learned from the campaign, it’s the importance of leaving empty spaces. “The mystery lets the audience’s imagination fill in the gaps,” he says. “What it tells us is, there’s a great unexpressed desire in audiences worldwide to be active and to participate and not be spoken to as just a passive entity. You have to engage an audience in a way that inspires their imaginations. You have to invite them to participate.” We don’t want to be treated like consumers, he says. We want to be treated like dance partners.

    Read the rest here...

    Tuesday
    Feb052013

    Your customers as characters

    Most organizations exist to sell something - a physical product, or some type of service, or a combination of the two. They spend tremendous amounts of time, energy, and resources creating these product/service offerings, perfecting them as far as it is possible, offering them for sale, identifying the target consumers for these offerings, and finally investing varying amounts of additional time, energy, and resources attempting to convince these consumers to make a purchase.

    Sometimes it goes really easily for the provider - the product is new, even revolutionary, or it solves a problem in such a new, elegant, and powerful way that the product seems to sell itself. Think the original iPod, or later, the iPad. Or the product has an embedded, loyal, and rabid fan base just waiting to get the latest or newest version of the product. Think a new installment in a successful movie or video game franchise like Star Wars or even Angry Birds.

    But for most products or services on offer, the customer needs some convincing - they have time, flexibility, other competitors' options to consider - the 'sale' is certainly not assured, and the difference between winning and losing often comes down to which not (only) has the better product, but which one actually understands the customer's problem more deeply, and can speak more precisely and convincingly about how their solution can solve that specific problem.

    I know that sounds really, really obvious and basic, but I think that all too often providers can lost sight of that simple truism - focused too much, and sometimes single-mindedly on the product or service itself, and not how that product or service would actually exist in the customer's environment. Adding one more feature to the product, tweaking some minor element of the service package, or poring endlessly on ad copy, website design, or the 'tone' of the company Twitter account. When the customer has lots of options and choices, these incremental additions or improvements probably do less to sway decision makers than the providers like to think. Once the 'essential' or expected capabilities or services are present, and in a mature market they usually are, the provider that can connect, almost on an emotional level with the customer has the best chance of winning.

    How can providers get better at making that kind of connection, and focus more on solving a problem rather than delivering a product?

    This piece, about home furnishing provider IKEA's strategic approach offers at least one suggestion:

    Göran Carstedt, president of IKEA North America, summoned his top executives to a large meeting room to share his strategic plan. They arrived prepared for a flashy PowerPoint presentation complete with charts and graphs. Instead, Carstedt told them a story about a mother. He depicted a detailed scene of her and her husband getting two kids off to school in the morning. She gets up, makes coffee, wakes up the children, makes breakfast, and so on. Then he paused and moved to the heart of the matter: “Our strategic plan is to make that family’s life easier by providing them with convenient and affordable household items in an accessible location. Period.

     

    Carstedt, in short, wanted IKEA to enter the scene, to populate it with IKEA-supplied usefulness that customers would appreciate having in their homes as they conducted their daily lives. He wanted his executives, in effect, to write IKEA into their customers’ story in a way that improved the story for the characters that populated it. Brilliant! As Carmen Nobel, senior editor at Harvard Business School Working Knowledge, notes, “IKEA has made very clear choices about who they will be and to whom they will matter, and why."
    That, in a nutshell, sums up why people might be inclined to go with an IKEA table or dresser or bed, from among the literally hundreds of available options. Thinking more deeply about how their products interact and exist in the flow of their customer's lives allows IKEA to rise above a simple provider of easily substitutable products. Somehow, just by thinking of themselves as a fundamental an important element in a customer's home, they are freed to think more fully, and holistically about the products and how they will play a role in the customer's story.

     

    A good lesson to take to heart I think, for providers of all kinds of products and services.

     

    Happy Tuesday!
    Monday
    Oct152012

    Software is Eating Human Resources

    It is pretty apt timing that this piece, 'Software Is Eating Marketing', was posted on the Inc. blog just one day after the conclusion of the HR Technology Conference, the three-day annual gathering of HR Technology solution providers, HR leaders and practitioners, and the collection of press, analysts, investors interested in the space. You'll like it

    As myself and others have more frequently posited, (here on this blog most recently just about a week ago), the function, practice, and skills needed in Human Resources in the future will look, feel, and act more like traditional marketing ones, and less like traditional HR.

    And, as the recently concluded HR Technology Conference continues to reinforce, the future of HR will be powerfully influenced and in some ways driven by technology - not just the traditional kinds of HR Technology that are necessary and routine, but by a continually evolving and advancing set of new technological innovations that promise to ensure that the most savvy HR professionals of tomorrow will have as a key competency a familiarity, comfort, and deep understanding of technology.

    The Inc. piece, about the influence of technology and software on marketing, could have just as easily be written about technology and Human Resources. Take a look at a few paragraphs from the 'Software is Eating Marketing' piece, with 'Human Resources' substituted for 'Marketing' as in the original piece, and tell me it doesn't read just as tellingly:

    Within the $1 trillion Human Resources industry, the impact of software eating Human Resources has now reached the board room.  With the explosion of digital Human Resources, it is clear that technology is radically transforming the Human Resources function and the role of the Human Resources professional. 

    The repercussions of social, mobile, video, Big Data, CRM, cloud and other disruptive forces are impacting all aspects of business, but particularly Human Resources. As a result, Human Resources leaders and agencies now carry the burden of understanding technology’s impact on their business, the entire customer experience, and leading innovation within their enterprises, not simply following a course set by their IT department. 

    In much the way Apple disrupted the music and phone industries with smart industrial design and clever software that shielded users from complexity, technologists are building sophisticated systems with interfaces that are as simple for Human Resources and designers to manipulate as their iPhones. 

    If you think the last few years were disruptive, imagine how much the Human Resources industry will be transformed in the next three years!

    Even with the sort of excessive repetition, those sentiments from the original piece about the growing role and increasing importance of technology on marketing make just as much sense and reflect one of the most significant industry trends for Human Resources as well.

    It's a simple logical progression really. If HR = The New Marketing, and Marketing is being consumed by technology, then one could plausibly argue technology is eating Human Resources.

    And just as the smart marketing professional knows that he or she needs to embrace these changes, so to does the smart HR and Talent pro.

    But you already know that right, I mean you're reading this, which I'd gather indicates you are one of the small, (but growing), ranks of HR pros that get the fundamental changes and incredible opportunities that a real understanding and appreciation of technology and software present to both your organization, and to your professional development.

    It is a great time to be in the HR Tech space, I think.

    Wednesday
    Oct032012

    These might be the next HR roles you need to fill (or perform)

    It has become kind of edgy or possibly trendy, (my guess the first three times a new idea is pitched it is edgy, after that it becomes something else, and trendy was the only term I could think of in less than five seconds), to talk about Human Resources in the future in diametrically different contexts that the traditional ones most of us are familiar with. Think about how many times you've read about 'HR is the new PR' or 'HR (and more likely recruiting), is really Sales and Marketing', and even takes that advocate HR as the organization's owners of social media and internal collaboration and productivity initiatives. While sometimes these kinds of analyses and predictions about the evolution of HR are optimistic, (if occasionally sounding a little bit like wishful thinking from veteran HR pros just a little weary of FMLA claims and 401(k) migrations), if they are going to prove true, or at least directionally correct, then there are some implications for the roles that will be required in HR, and naturally, the kinds of skills the HR professional of the (near) future will need to possess.Mark Rothko - Untitled

    What might some of those roles and skill sets entail?

    Well, that sounds like a hard question, and rather than try to figure it out for myself, I will take the lazy route, and co-opt some examples from a neat piece on the Simply Zesty blog, titled 'The Job Roles You Should Be Hiring For', an examination of the roles, skills, and titles that are sought after in the Digital and Social Marketing space.

    Think you know how to staff the HR department of the future? Or perhaps a more important question for you personally - Do you think you have the right skills for the potential evolution of HR?

    Well, take a look at some of the roles and skill sets that the Simply Zesty piece thinks the modern digital marketing team needs and then think about your answers: (NOTE: roles and descriptions lifted entirely from this piece, please don't sue me)

    Data Analyst - With a large amount of data being collected by brands across social profiles as well as more traditional data-gathering channels such as email marketing or phone lists, there is a pressing need for smart analysis of this data to ensure you reach your customers (employees) in the best way.

    Futurologist - This is a slightly more adventurous hire and likely only really feasible for those companies with larger staffing budgets, but it’s an important one. With communications technology developing at the rate it is, there is a demand on companies to stay relevant and also impress their customers with the future-thinking stuff that gets talked about and shared, (by employees, perhaps?)

    Designer - Most brands will have a designer or graphic design team already, but it is an important hire even for smaller businesses to bring an element of this in-house. The need for beautiful design for your website (or company career site), or product to live online is more important than ever. Where once it might have been enough to just have a website, then a mobile site, then a Facebook Page and then an app, now there is a need for these to be beautiful and responsive.

    Creative Thinker - So not exactly a descriptive job title, but that’s sort of the point. While we get bogged down with the technological aspect of social media, it’s tempting to subject the creative process to the same process as you would approach a technological solution. This is an important role if you want to develop the kind of content that you see dream brands such as Innocent, Nike or Red Bull executing. Creativity should be as high on the agenda as marketing or sales, with proper investment made to get the best ideas you can

    A Good Copywriter - One of the highest demands on a social media manager is the expectation that they will suddenly be an able copywriter, able to write just as effectively for email marketing, Twitter updates, Facebook Page copy, websites, online ads, etc. And while many social media managers will of course be more than adequate at this, given the amount of time they will spend across these different formats anyway, there is a huge difference between copy that just does what’s required of it, and copy that makes people stop in their tracks and think. Unless you’re making this a key role in itself, you will always get sub-standard copy that just does the former

    There are a couple of other roles listed on the piece, but you get the idea I think.

    If the conception, practice, and profession of HR is really going to morph to look more like marketing, PR, and digital advertising, then it seems logical the HR department of the future will at least partially be populated with the kinds of folks in the roles listed above. Whether or not people with those particular sets of skills want to actually reside in HR I suppose is a question for another day.

    Today, I will leave you with these, simpler questions: 

    So, do you have some or all of those skills on your HR team?

    Do you have some or any of those skills yourself?

    Tuesday
    Aug142012

    WEBINAR: That's Your Pitch? Raise Your Social Recruiting Game

    Since you are a savvy HR or Recruiting pro in 2012 that means one thing -  you are all over the web. 

    SEO optimized careers site? Check

    Engaging content on your 'Careers' tab on Facebook? On it. (don't worry eventually you'll crack 100 'likes')

    Witty yet informative Twitter feed that helps get the word out about your company and openings? That's so 2009, but you are on top of it.

    Job postings being syndicated, (I am not totally sure what that even means, but it sounds complex and important), all over the whole wide world wide web. You bet.

    Awesome coverage, presence, and reach. So why are you still having trouble attracting the talent you need, connecting with the right audience, and generating excitement and buzz about your brand?

    This just in - the internet is a big, loud, noisy, confusing, confounding, and if nothing else, distracting place.

    Look over here! No, look over here! Free stuff here! Funny cat videos here!

    And, I don't know this for sure but I heard some people at an HR conference talking about this recently, there may be parts of the web that feature, shall we say, adult content.

    If that is true, and again I only recently heard about this, well good luck getting anyone to notice let alone pay more than 5 seconds of attention to your lame-o career site, or your exceedingly boring JobsAtAcme twitter feed.

    So what can you do to rise above the pack, crawl free from the swamp, swim against the current? (insert your favorite 'distinguish yourself' analogy here)

    That's what your friends over at Fistful of Talent are here for with the next installment of the often imitated, never duplicated FOT Webinar, set for Wednesday, August 22nd at 1:00PM ET, and titledThat’s Your Pitch?  How to Raise Your Social Recruiting Game By Acting Less Like ACME and More Like Apple.

    On the webinar the FOT crew will cover:

    1. The Top 5 Traits of Successful Marketers and Advertisers that recruiters should use to raise their promotional game.  We’ll deliver this in true Mac vs. PC style.  What do great marketers do to generate interest?  What do average marketers do?  We’ll break it down and contrast it to the recruiting world.
    2. How to Prevent Your Job Postings from Being Lame.  FOT will walk you through alternate ways to present employment opportunities that break through the noise/clutter of the web.  You need more than a title and bullet points – and we’ll show you what to include with live examples ripped from the companies we love.
    3. How Cool Companies are Experimenting with Elements Beyond Text (including video, audio and more) to deliver some pop to traditional recruiting campaigns.
    4. We’ll play a game we like to call, “That’s Your Freaking Pitch?” – where we peel back the cover and take a hard look at traditional messaging that flows through your recruiting function today after the job posting goes out – including ATS messaging, live call recruiter scripts and more.  We’ll highlight the average vs. the outstanding and let you decide what to do next.
    5. A Plan to Customize Your Social Distribution Message Across the Big 3 (LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook). You know the same message doesn’t work across all social channels, but you’re not sure how to customize your approach to each.  Never fear – FOT will be bringing in Michael Center (from iCIMS) to outline key messaging structure to be used for each social channel to develop deeper connections and foster candidate engagement.

    Message received. Stop thinking like a recruiter and start thinking like your marketing friends down the hall. 

    So register today for the August 22nd webinar here.

    And remember, as always the FOT Webinar comes guaranteed, 60% of the time it works every time.