Philanthropy is Marketing

Bcorps (Benefit Corporations) are doing good. The social innovation takes the organisation eye off the original prize, being the dollar, and transferring ones energy into society first.
From a marketing point of view, consumers want to know where their time and money are going. It needs to have meaning.

“A benefit corporation’s directors and officers operate the business with the same authority as in a traditional corporation but are required to consider the impact of their decisions not only on shareholders but also on society and the environment.”

Listening to this short interview of Internet entrepreneur, Twitter co-founder and Jelly Industries CEO Biz Stone nailed it for me. 

WATCH VIDEO HERE

“A BCorp has accountability of doing good”

What can we learn?

Give and you shall receive. As a business grows, the good they do will essentially grow with it. It creates traction, publicity and in turn, clients and customers. It may start on all scales, small business to multinationals.

For a start-up, the little time given is a monetary expense not incurred. Making this contribution from the outset incorporating it into a schedule can form part of a start-ups business model. The business will not know any different. Setting aside a small amount of time to contribute to your direct community, that may lead into the wider community, will bare fruit. Becoming known for your intentions. 

Established organisations can do the same. As they say there is no time like the now. Starting your campaign, slotting it into your planning to contribute will have the bells ringing.

A lot of great organisations are doing this as we speak.

BCorps are a way forward. Holding a legitimate place in today’s society, creating a synergy with the world.

Whilst I do not profess to be a master on  BCorps, it is apart of my ethos. To be able to see genuine marketing value at the same time is a win, win!

Philanthropy is a form of marketing. Volunteering is a form of marketing. Social contribution is a form of marketing.

Advertisements

Growth Hacker Marketing: Definition and Thoughts

EVANGELIST

It was only a matter of time before someone smart came along and said, “It doesn’t have to be this way. The tools of the Internet and social media have made it possible to track, test, iterate, and improve marketing to the point where these enormous gambles are not only unnecessary, but insanely counterproductive.” That person was the first growth hacker.

DEFINITION

A growth hacker is someone who has thrown out the playbook of traditional marketing and replaced it with only what is testable, traceable, and scalable. Their tools are e-mails, pay-per-click ads, blogs, and platform APIs instead of commercials, publicity, and money. While their marketing brethren chase vague notions like “branding” and “mind share,” growth hackers relentlessly pursue users and growth— and when they do it right, those users beget more users, who beget more users. They are the inventors, operators, and mechanics of their own self-sustaining and self-propagating growth machine that can take a start-up from nothing to something.

Holiday, Ryan (2013-09-05). Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing and Advertising (Kindle Locations 183-189). Profile Books. Kindle Edition.

Has this changed marketing as the majority knew it?

It has been evolving naturally for some time, the way we market our products and services. If you are not at least an arm’s length away from understanding the basis of being a growth hacker, it might be time to get there.

Ryan holiday’s book,Growth Hacker Marketing: A Primer on the Future of PR, Marketing, and Advertising gives us an understanding of the fundamentals. The days are truly gone where we get a product or open a store, do a press release, place an ad in the local paper or even use the basic social media platforms, sit back cross our fingers and watch revenue come in.

Technology has changed this. Consumerism has changed this. Knowledge has changed this. Evolution has changed this.

The book breaks down some Lean Launch Pad terminology and concepts into laymen terms e.g PMF(Product Market Fit) explaining how they fit into the Marketing jigsaw puzzle.

Whilst this has been happening for a while now, it is clear that adaption and implementation on a serious level is yet to take place in many private and public organisations.

This post by default looks like a book review, and to be honest I have not quite finished the book and is not intended that way. That being said I do recommend it, especially for those that may be junior starting out in the field.

I feel a combination of both ‘traditional marketing’ if that’s what you like to call it, combined with the Growth Hacking way has genuine benefits, especially in the transition phases launching a new product or service.

We essentially use science to grow versus using guess-work and money not knowing.

Pivoting is One Thing; Consistency is Another

Saul Kaplan tweeted the below, from Seth Godin.

FullSizeRender

My initial response to quote and re tweet was:

‘Pivoting is one thing, consistency is another.’

Due to character count I drafted this:

CONSISTENCY
Trust is built over time from consumers. Rarely do we see an instant genuine trust formed unless it has been a strong recommendation from someone we TRUST. By ‘manipulating’; a word I do not like, however true in this case will cause uncertainty. Customers want certainty and predictability. Nothing worse for a client or customer not knowing what an organisation is doing, they want to know where their hard-earned dollar or time is headed. Chopping and changing with the intent to sell to a client is unsettling and untrustworthy. The core of the business must be firm.

PIVOTING
That word. What does it mean?

piv·ot (pĭv′ət)n.

1. A short rod or shaft on which a related part rotates or swings.
2. A person or thing on which something depends; the central or crucial factor: “The pivot of the whole affair was the stupidity of some admiral” (Joseph Conrad).
3. The act of turning on a pivot.

Pivoting has been closely related to start-ups, changing direction as they uncover product market fit through their customer development phase. It is arguably necessary for all organisations to be aware of. This has nothing to do with consistency of an organisation and more to do with adaptions, market trends, customer demands, needs and wants. Conducting early research, pivoting to get the ‘perfect’ product to market. Keeping on your toes is essential and pivoting at times of need, again and again is essential.

Maintain consistency through your organisations value proposition, stick by this. Pivot as your organisation needs to, without blind siding your customers.

10 questions for Sir Edmond Barton: Australia’s first Prime Minister

This post inspired from Claudia Altucher’s, Become An Idea Machine: Because Ideas Are The Currency Of The 21st Century, Chapter 12.

If you are not familiar with the book, the broad concept behind it is to write down 10 ideas every day. The brain is a muscle and like any other muscle if we don’t use it, it has the potential to atrophy. Me personally have always written ideas down, or discussed them with comrades. This book gives a really nice guideline, with suggestions that you would not normally think about to get the brain working. This being one of them.

Chapter 12 of the book suggests:

LOCATE ONE CHARACTER IN HISTORY YOU ADMIRE (COULD BE JOAN OF ARC, OR BUDDHA OR ELEANOR ROOSEVELT, OR RUMI) AND WRITE 10 QUESTIONS YOU WOULD ASK OF HIM OR HER:

“I ’d like to meet Buddha. And I have a feeling that once I saw him in person all questions would be wiped out, so I would have to prepare. One thing I would like to know is how did he manage to keep the politics of the kingdoms around him and the growing number of followers he had from hating each other. Also, why did he not write down something? Could he not see that his teachings would be a little distorted over time? Did he not care? Who would you talk to and what are your ten questions? Pretend you could really talk to them and ask things that really interest you”.

Without thinking much, I came up with asking the first Prime Minister of Australia a few questions, Sir Edmund Barton.

Kind of random, however reasons varied. I have been born and bred in Australia so that’s one, and to find out a bit more of  our history would be another. Other things such as, the knowledge you would be able to gain from a person serving as the first leader of a country. The trials, tribulations and shenanigans of this era would be a combination of extremely educating and somewhat amusing!

This lead to me doing further research. Sir Edmund was known as a ‘Protectionist.’I was like, ‘What the ‘hell’ is a Protectionist!?’

The Protectionist Party was an Australian political party, formally organised from 1889 until 1909, with policies centred on protectionism. It argued that Australia needed protective tariffs to allow Australian industry to grow and provide employment. It had its greatest strength in Victoria and in the rural areas of New South Wales. Its most prominent leaders were Sir Edmund Barton and Alfred Deakin, who were the first and second prime ministers of Australia.

Delving a little deeper and without being too political, I am not 100% I totally agree what the party stood for.

Being a sports fanatic, I found this excerpt cool. Sir Edmund was a handy cricket umpire. While he was umpiring one time, a decision his fellow colleague made sparked the first logged international cricket riot.

In 1879, Barton umpired a cricket match at Sydney Cricket Ground between New South Wales and an English touring side captained by Lord Harris. After a controversial decision by Barton’s colleague George Coulthard against the home side, the crowd spilled onto the pitch and assaulted some of the English players, leading to international cricket’s first riot. The publicity that attended the young Barton’s presence of mind in defusing that situation reputedly helped him take his first step towards becoming Australia’s first prime minister, winning a state lower house seat later that year.[5]

My questions are as follows:

a) How did you get voted in for the big job?

b) How did you balance your supporters against your non supporters?

c) Whats is a Protectionist? What does it truly mean to be one?

d) What is the biggest change you saw in Australian politics at this time in your service?

e) Being the first Prime Minister of Australia and your position established, tell me the single biggest obstacle you came across?.

f) Key similarities and key disparities that you see in today’s politics compared to your time?

g) Describe your work life balance?

h) Did you feel more loved than not in your reign? Or were you all business at the time and didn’t care?

i) Corruption in politics at this time, how was it? And how was it combated, or was it?

j) If you could give one piece of advice on leadership, what would it be?

As I sit back and think about it, there were many people that I could of chose, Elvis Presley, Da Vinci, Captain Cook and so on. Other than being nothing but a fascination, it would be something powerful to have the ability to do this to many.

The overarching thought behind asking these questions to a leader of this time is the rawness that could be harnessed to use today. The learning lessons in my opinion would be invaluable and as stated before amusing.

Who would you chose to bring back and interrogate?

 

‘Hug it out!’: Coopetition

Hug your competition. As a business we spend the whole year concerned about what our competitors are doing.

Can we match them in price?

Is our product or service better?

Is our perceived value better?

Does our marketing strategy differ from theirs?

Will we be the first to market?

It can be forgotten that industries need to get together, like brothers in arms to continue to grow and make our market sustainable. Coopetition is healthy. One of the most well known events in Australia, Mercedes Benz Fashion Week is a prime example of this.

An environment where all brands and organizations gather in the one place, at the onetime showcasing and viewing product ranges, seeing what everyone is doing.

The media are there in their droves publicizing the event and giving that extra exposure needed.

Many formal and informal discussions take place that deliberately or inadvertently assist in keeping their market a float with exciting launches, guests and one or two well known models strutting their stuff down the run way.

This can be adapted for smaller industries in a scaled down version. One would argue it is somewhat more important whether that be for a physical business or a virtual one.

Hug your competitors, get together to continue to build your market and maintain a healthy customer base.

Refreshing: A Young Boy Reading a BOOK

Sitting at breakfast with my better half on a Sunday morning. We find a spot outside in the strip, beach side suburb where we live. I go in order our breakfast, come outside and sit down. We look to our left and see a young boy – let’s call him Jack, perhaps 8 years of age – squatting like a monk on the tall bench seat next to us.
I said to Elle, “How refreshing is that? Seeing a young boy immersing himself into a thick paperback book.” These were my first comments followed by “more kids need to embrace this.”
In today’s tech world this is a rarity. It is either an iPad, iPhone, reader, computer and so on. The pure form of an actual book, although dwindling, will never be replaced. To hold the book, the touch, the smell of the original way that it was expressed is irreplaceable.
I went to say that Jack will be the clever one if he keeps that up.

20 reasons why children should read more books.

Although electronic devices increase the ability to multitask, there is always a distraction element – you can switch screens, play a game at the same time, check emails (if at that age you have one) and surf the web.
Concentrating on the one task and taking the information from the book in this case provides Jack with the ability to learn and process the information properly. It was so refreshing to see.
As Jack, his Mum and their friend got up from the table to leave I expressed to his Mum our thoughts, her reply:

“That means so much to me, thank you. It really does.” She then called Jack and said “Did you hear that? These people said how nice it is to see you reading an actual book.”

We walked away feeling like it had made her day. Not that this is the moral of the story, however it was evident that Jack’s Mum had a fight on her hands with an illness. Maybe, just maybe she has a little ammunition to use against Jack next time he wants to play on his iPad!

Sentiments that have been talked about many times before. Such a rarity to see!

‘The Horse before the Cart’: Marketing before the Product?

‘The horse before the cart’. Which comes first?

We know that a product is only as good as the customers who want it. Supply and demand, right?
What is your niche? Have you solved a problem?

Much has been discussed of start-ups or established business coming to marketers, all be it the best marketers in the world to gain velocity in their product and make it some sort of revolution.

The home truth is that you can have the guru of marketers strategically planning a campaign for your product; If the customer development phase has not been carried out thoroughly the marketing plan can be useless.

It does not mean that your product won’t be successful however to market properly you need to know your customer first to market appropriately and make an impact.

After listening to Ryan Holiday speak on Jason Gaignard, author of Mastermind Dinners and producer of Mastermind Talks podcast, he gives a 15 minute talk focused around this. Ryan’s story(not that Ryan knows me) is compelling. In a nut shell and I hope I don’t offend! Dropped out of college, turned in turn, turned marketing director, turned consultant with some of the top dogs, turned author. He has spent time with the likes of Seth Godin, Robert Greene, Tucker Max, Tim Ferris, author of the four-hour work week, American Apparel and the list goes on. Ryan has written a bunch of top-notch books, one of them being The Obstacle Is the Way about Stoicism.. and gets through about two hundred reads a year himself. In his talk he touches on some of these key things that resonate with me:

  • Understand your customer. Who are you doing it for and where are these people located? Steve Blank and the Lean Launch Pad emphasis’ this hugely. ‘Get out of the building’. Learn who your customers are. Interview them.
  • A Marketers role is to facilitate. This the communication phase, knowing your customers and communicating effectively to the influence’s. What strikes an emotional chord with them?
  • The product does all the heavy lifting. Your product leads the way. ‘The cart doesn’t lead the horse’, so to speak. We cant expect miracles if you simply put your product on Instagram, receive a write-up in a magazine or even see some air time. If the product or service is unable to lift, the impact of marketing will be up against it.

“Successful businesses have something new, provocative and know who they are doing it for, and where these people are located”

Keep the horse on track.

POSTING: Timing is Everything

Social Media is conducted at lightning-speed scrolling on your preferred device. Without quoting the exact statistic it is clear that mobile phones are the most commonly used device to view your social media on.
The aim of the game is to post well-thought out content at the right time. Think carefully about your timing in order to avoid wasting your time.

A common mistake is for business to under-index their posts by not posting at the right time. @garyvee highlights this in one of his most recent books Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
– coincidentally containing a case study on the company I currently work for.

Nestle posted a Kit Kat advertisement prior to the Super Bowl with great native content, hitting the mark. However, when I say prior to the Super Bowl I mean well before the Super Bowl. It was 6am EST, early enough, think of the San Fransisco 49ers fans.. it was 3am in their timezone! Now, of course there will be a few super excited fanatics who can’t sleep getting up and waiting for kick off, but most of civilized people are getting some shut-eye at this time.

Point being, Know your customers’ social habits and post accordingly. Remember they are scrolling super-fast over hundreds of status updates, tweets, ‘grams – you name it.

Get your timing right and your content right… Touchdown!!

 

‘3 Years, 3 Million: Lessons Learned’

A small post in regards to an early start-up I was involved in, and some key lessons I learned along the way.

From day one we built our database and truly got to know our customers, and our timing and marketing were right on point. We supplied our customers what they wanted, we serviced them as good as possible and we were evangelists to a certain degree in opening a specialty retail of this kind in major shopping centers in Australia.

The title of this blog captions it; we went from zero (or shall I say a small personal loan) to an annual turnover in excess of $3m in 3 years of trading. A significant amount at that time for a SME of its kind.

Here’s some of the things I would do differently. Hindsight is a wonderful thing:

  • Have a mentor. Especially at a young age. Learn from someone’s mistakes. Don’t be stubborn.
  • Keep an eye on your rate of expansion. Growth is exciting, however it needs to be measured and calculated properly.
  • Know your figures and do them correctly. Don’t just rely on accountants or one adviser. Cross-check with your partners or another trusted source.
  • If customers want to speak to or see you, make sure you are there. This was a big one for us.

“If the business has made it upon you personally being at the forefront and customers have obviously come to see you, stay there, at least for a good portion of the time.”

  • Grow with your customers and get to know the up and comers. As we know, time doesn’t stand still therefore your product today may not suit your customer tomorrow.
  • Reward yourself throughout the process. Put money into the business, but be sure to keep some for you. It’s a slog, so reward yourself along the way. It’s difficult not to pour every cent back into your expanding business, put some aside for you and your team.
  • Exit at or before the business peaks. This is tricky to be accurate with, but the point is to always have an exit plan. An exit plan one way or another is comforting. Be forthright with this.

Admittedly we are in a new era, however for the most part the fundamentals can be transferred to start-ups today:

Feel free to keep adding and sharing experiences.