February 22, 2012

5 Insights from Inventors Inventors think about things that don’t yet exist; that aren’t there. They operate on a different frequency. They iterate, incubate, massage, manipulate and relentlessly test ideas. They seek to fix things and fill voids. Some ideas are radical, some incremental, some innovative, some ingenious, some inventive, some derivative, and some inexplicable. Some become prototypes though far fewer become viable products. Inventors can’t rest and can’t except the status quo. They have to fix it, find it, create it, built it, fabricate it, re-route it, re-wire it and make something new. Here’s 5 marketing lessons these guys taught me. Experience is Everything. We are sentient creatures. How we feel determines what we want and what we do. Feelings drive us. Marketers have to communicate or stimulate feelings to move the needle. Everything is Filtered. There are no fresh or new experiences. Language, culture, experience, media and context filter everything. Every communications choice – words, color, image, music, tone, face etc – hits pre-set buttons which condition the response. Before we start, some part of the target audience has already made up their mind. Each individual brings a huge bag of pre-judgments to every experience and every message. Knowing nuances and idioms, improves our chance for breaking through. People React Predictably. There’s no better barometer of human nature than watching random consumers react to something new. You can almost see the mental gears grinding as people sort, filter, file and compare the new thing against their stored databank of information and experiences. Some are surprised. Some instinctively point out the flaws or speculate about the downside while others instantly riff on the new thing suggesting features, changes, colors, applications and functions to make it better. By understanding and planning for the spectrum of predictable reactions, marketers can anticipate how we experience the new and to shape both the initial presentations and the follow-up messages. We Live in a Tower of Babel. It is very difficult to frame a single idea and communicate it to a wide range of people who come from different places, think differently, use words differently and hear differently. The inherent difficulty of framing and transmitting commercial messages hits you in the face. There are few common understandings about what is funny, cool, sad or ironic. It’s All About Differentiation. What’s new, what’s different, what’s better and why should I care are inventors’ and marketers’ challenges. If it isn’t different or different enough it dies. Marketers must exert as much effort and creativity into positioning and framing the difference as inventors must in creating something different.
Facebook's New Ad Units Does it really surprise anyone that Mark Zuckerberg has his own vision of how advertising on Facebook ought to work? Is anyone really troubled by the fact that he is willing to force advertisers to conform to his wishes by changing the rules yet again? New ad units and parameters are expected to roll out next week. This continues the evolution of an advertising universe in which Facebook encouraged brands to build apps, buy ads and run promotions to aggregate large audiences. Then Facebook encouraged individuals to sort themselves into sellable segments. Then Facebook created filters using a sophisticated EdgeRank algorithm that essentially eliminated the free reach they enjoyed from spending to collect all those fans. And now, after experimenting with sizes, placements and formats, Facebook offers brands options to buy back the access and the reach they previously enjoyed. If you feel like a rat running through a maze, you’re getting the point. The new units, which were leaked online, are touted as bigger, more prominently placed, and likely to prompt more engagement, better recall, more brand affinity and greater purchase intent based on research that nobody has seen. They will be better integrated into fans Newsfeeds and will be sold on CPM basis, like broadcast advertising, and because they are intended to be used for awareness and brand building. The units will be inherently social drawing copy and images from posts on brand pages. They will also automatically clue Facebook friends that you engaged with an ad and give users the options to Like, Share or Comment on the ad messages. The system is designed to parallel and reinforce the Facebook experience and gestalt, which will materially improve communications for many brands, especially those who took a banner ad approach in their Facebook ads. Ideally the changes will be a trifecta by making Facebook fans, brands and shareholders happy. Let’s see how it shakes out!

Danny Flamberg

I am a veteran marketing consultant working with leading and emerging brands

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