Why there’s nothing wrong with “adios amigos” tweet by KLM.

KLM worldcup tweet

KLM worldcup tweet

There’s a big debate going on amongst marketers about the stupidity of a tweet by KLM during the world cup. I have a different view. It wasn’t stupid. It was on-brand.

Humanization of Brands

I don’t get it. We’ve talked for about a decade now about the humanization of brands. We all shout out that there’s no B2C or B2B any longer but everything is H2H, human-to-human, peer-to-peer.

This consequently means brands and organizations start to act more and more as human beings, as people. Sure, you notice loads of faces on websites and other communication to show “the humanization of brands” but that’s merely “spielerei” and old school marketing trickery.

Humanization = to show personality

The humanization of brands comes down to showing a personality. Who are you? What do you stand for? How do you act? When one looks at KLM, they clearly are Dutch. It’s a genuine part of their DNA. And Dutch stands for innovation, entrepreneurship and being self-confident maybe slightly arrogant but bold and courageous without a doubt.

What you say? That’s right. Personality and identity of brands has less and less to do with logos, colours, fonts and other design elements.

Only boring personalities are loved by everyone

Just think about your social life. Do you really like everybody as much? How do you feel about politically correct people? Right, they are boring. They don’t inspire. But nobody really hates them. On the other hand, people with a vision and specific personality and identity are loved by some, hated by others.

Why the KLM tweet wasn’t stupid?

I truly believe the KLM tweet was beneficial. Apart from some Mexicans nobody was truly offended. On the other hand, it generated tons of Brand Mentions everywhere. If you didn’t know KLM before, you’ll probably do now. And do you truly believe Mexican people will not fly KLM anymore? They’ll probably do anyway. Because of the price, because of the service, because of social seat selection, etc.

So brands, it’s up to you: boring and indifference by all?
Or a human personality who’s hated by some, loved by others?

Content Marketing Canvas

I recently conceived a canvas based on the Business Model Canvas of Alex Osterwalder. It’s a great tool to use in a workshop to structure and overview your initial content marketing actions. The business model canvas seemed a logical inspiration. After all, most businesses need to think like a publisher. So they equally need to think “Media Business Models”.

Feel free to use the below tool in an interactive session. Or would you rather have a storytelling canvas because you already understand your “content marketing big picture”? Yes, a storytelling canvas exists as well.

How to outperform a Big Data competitor with Tiny & Small Data?

“We’re lost. Competition has more intelligence through their Big Data solution.”

Size doesn't matter - on data

Size doesn’t matter – on data

If you recently ran up to a marketing manager slash director slash VP Marketing, you’ll probably have heard the above sentence. And it seems to make sense at first sight. After all, there are plenty of articles stating that marketers should do Big Data or otherwise their organization will become obsolete because Big Data-driven Competitors will make them irrelevant. So if you want to sustain your marketing credibility, you better start your Big Data Project.

“You’ll win. Outperform them by using smart Small and intelligent Tiny Data.”

I disagree. Strongly. Most companies shouldn’t do Big Data. First of all because most are unable to collect them. Second, most are unable to crunch them into meaningful insights. To get to these insights, look at Small Data and Tiny Data. Small & Tiny Data are key to outperform your Big Data-driven competitor. Here’s why.

Why Tiny & Small Data are more important than Big Data.

As life partly moved to the internet and the internet became mobile (phones, cars, houses,…) , traces of our life are recorded and consequently quantified. This is what makes Big Data well … Big. It’s a collection of large and complex data sets. Insights and understanding of these data bears a lot of potential in them. But on the other hand, Big Data starts from a shaky premise: “we don’t need to think if we analyze sufficient data the numbers crunched say it all”.

In case I remember my stats courses well, this is just plain Bullshit. First of all there’s the difference between a correlation and a causality. It’s not because things are correlated that we understand the causality of the phenomenon. Furthermore, adding more data points to a collection does not automatically takes away all data issues. Just think of a “biased sample” in this respect. What if all “Big Data” you gather are from those people who are totally off-focus? Or do you really believe you can gather “all data” to counter all statistical reasons against Big Data. I guess you’ll never have “all population data”.

“Big Data for the What. Tiny Data for the Why.”

Big data show you the what. Tiny Data prove the why of that what. Marketers need to understand the why and work towards that insight. In today’s world, most marketers need to rely on Tiny Data to get those crucial insights on the why.

What is Tiny Data?

Tiny Data is a collection of qualitative / interpretative information. The data sample is rarely big. You take a few well-selected data points (sample) and get in deep touch with these data points. Observe these data points in real-life (participatory observation), talk with them individually about the subject (interviews) or run collective discussions (focus groups) to retrieve the information you’re looking for.

The information generated through these research techniques are not quantified. Variables are described in a human language. Not through statistical numbers based on – wrong – assumption. This in turn results in a better understanding. In true insights. Insights that are actionable. Insights that help you understand your customer. Insights that help you talk the customer’s language, etc. Don’t you want that in times where “engagement” seems a crucial marketing KPI?

“Big Data is here already. Big insights too but through Tiny Data”

Data without knowledge and information is useless. Current Big Data initiatives (like e.g. predictive buying) mostly lack true insights. As shown above, this will always be its problem. As this is a problem linked to the very nature of statistical modeling.

But what does one need to do now when he’s convinced he needs to be a data-driven business? Well, get insights through Tiny data. Second focus on getting your small data right!

“The Small Data challenge is already big enough.”

Regardless of the Big Data buzz, I notice a lot of companies not even properly handling their Small Data. That’s a shame because handling your small data well drastically improves your customer relations, lead generation, lead nurturing, etc. How do you automate your digital marketing communication without any solid Small Data behind it?

What is Small Data?

Small Data are the “regular” data information about a customer. These aren’t big – not large and not complex – but are crucial to get the conversation going. Think of elements like first name, last name, address, e-mail, birthday, sex, language, locale, channel preference, purchase stage, current products / services, …

And yes keeping those small data up-to-date is more important than gathering more and more data without any purpose. Or did you never get that “personalized e-mail” addressing you with the wrong name yet? “That couple who used to order a case of wine every fortnight for dinner parties is now buying diapers and baby food. Like your products, customer data has a sell-by date.”

“Size doesn’t matter?”

When it comes to data, size doesn’t matter. The goal of data is to get those that solve our problem or provide answers to the questions we have. For most problems and questions, small and tiny data do the trick. That’s how you outperform a big data competitor.

Why brands consider a new Marketing Communications approach.

Those who know me or read an article on this blog before, know I’m not really a fan of traditional marketing. My reasoning behind it is that “traditional marketing” is often narrowed down to promotional bullshit or advertising. That’s not how it works. And I don’t see any future for advertising as we know it today. Not even for the hot & trendy “native advertising”. I’m a firm believer in marketing as a value creator. Bullshit has hardly any value, unless we’re talking green fields here. But marketing can only create value if it starts thinking in a different manner. My Point-of-view here is that technology might help in transforming your marketing communication but that, on the other hand, you need to understand “why” so to avoid the “fool with a tool” effect. I had the chance to detail this through a seminar talk recently and I want to share that slideshare with you. You can find it below. Hope you enjoy it.

How CMS helps to change marketing communication because the world, the consumer & consequently business and marketing changed.

The Revival of the Hippie trend and why it matters to you.

Cavemen Speak. A marketing lesson from Family Guy S04E27.

Watching another Family Guy marathon on BBC Television earlier this week, I came to realize that we need to start taking back-to-basics marketing seriously. What marketing lessons do you see in this brilliant piece of storytelling?
I believe there are many lessons to observe in this Family Guy episode. They are detailed under the video. I encourage you to watch the full episode. It rocks. Hard.

On Evolution.

People are social animals. They live in hordes. We like to call that communities. Basically we’re still cave men. That’s how our mind works deep inside. As result, we can look at “Cavemen Sales processes” to understand marketing and communication lessons for today.

Cavemen Speak. Peter Invent Wheel. No one want wheel. Maybe Peter Wheel Sales Pitch not good enough?

Peter tries to sell the wheel to potential customers by putting up a story to convince them. He tries different tactics, tactics that might sound familiar to you:

  • Benefit Communication: communicate the strengths of the product. And believe people are rational enough to get the benefit. Failed.
  • Promotional Communication: communicate your product and offer an extra. Believe people are really eager to get the extra that they buy the product. Failed.
  • Means-End Communication: communicate your product as a means to an end. In traditional TV advertising this is often seen. Failed. Well, I didn’t actually in the episode but it often does in reality.

So, everything fails, huh? Yes. And maybe because the fragment doesn’t show how Cavemen Trade happened. It occurred while surrounding around the fire. Not on an advertising stage.

The snag: Cavemen didn’t have an “advertising stage”. They had a conversational fireplace.

There’s a snag in the above. Cavemen didn’t have an advertising stage. They had a conversational fireplace where all stories within the community resided. Sounds familiar? It should be. Today’s consumer sphere is mostly happening in a conversational fireplace. Yes, Think social media.

In case the context is similar, one should deploy the success factors. These elements are the essence of back-to-basics marketing – which I detailed in an earlier post.

Back-to-basics Marketing. How Cave Men Traded.

To describe characteristics of Back 2 Basics Marketing, one can look at how “Marketing” worked in the age of the cavemen. Let’s dig a little deeper into that.

Cavemen initially had no media except for their own voice. Speech was important. It was the manner to transmit information from one to another. This not rarely occurred in “community gathering” fashion, to know, gathered around a fire.

It was the perfect moment to inform people about specific skills, knowledge and expertise another community-member possessed. The way information was transmitted was mainly through telling stories. Stories are easier to remember, pass through, etc. than e.g. bulleted lists.

Furthermore, discussing one’s “business” ( = something he could provide to the community) in a public forum (the fire) resulted in a strong focus on delivering quality and servicing customers. Successful cavemen entrepreneurs made sure their quality & service was endorsed over and over by customers around the fireplace. Today we call that customer advocacy & ambassadorship.

Finally, because of the above context, there was no single cavemen offering “crap” to the market. Crap couldn’t survive very long. All products and services had value that exceeded the pure financial one. Crappy products, services (and hence brands and enterprises) were put to flames during the community gathering.

Back 2 Basics Marketing

Back 2 Basics Marketing

Content Marketing vs. Marketing Content.

Just before we turn this year’s last pages, it becomes quite apparent that the first chapters of the 2014 book will definitely be about Content (Marketing). As I read a lot of confusing shit about Content Marketing, I believe it’s time to set things straight. First of all, imho, Content Marketing is not (merely) about Marketing Content. That’s why we have to start reviewing the very own definition of content marketing.

Defining Content Marketing

In order to get a solid foundation for proving my point, I’d like to start with the definition of Content Marketing as stated by the authoritative Content Marketing institute.

Basically, content marketing is the art of communicating with your customers and prospects without selling. It is non-interruption marketing. Instead of pitching your products or services, you are delivering information that makes your buyer more intelligent. The essence of this content strategy is the belief that if we, as businesses, deliver consistent, ongoing valuable information to buyers, they ultimately reward us with their business and loyalty.

Redefining Content Marketing 

Don’t get me wrong. The above definition is a valid one. But it just doesn’t live up to its own rules.

The definition mentions customers and prospects but in reality I often notice Content Marketing is limited to prospect communication. Servicing customers with information (content) is left out of the picture. That is a shame. Content is able to confirm the buyer that he made the right choice. I hardly see any content marketer focussing on these customer service content pieces.

Content Marketing is the art and science of communication with all your stakeholders in a non-interruptive way.

Content Marketing is too important to leave it up to marketing. 

Sure, you need marketing content. That’s the typical marketing powerword buzz “we’re the best / the cheapest / the coolest / ..” . That might be true. But people don’t buy that any more. We’re well-educated and see right through your typical agency / campaign power words. And that’s logic. An agency can never know your business, customers, industry, etc. better than you do – regardless of what they state. They cannot. They are very good at coming up with campaigns, making creative good-looking art work for it and generate a proper reach. But that’s campaign content. That’s not the essence of Content Marketing. That’s the essence of Marketing Content.

Content Marketing is structural. Marketing Content is campaign-ish. 

Content Marketing is “always-on” – be it long or short. It’s about bringing valuable content to your stakeholders  structurally, through specific platforms: owned, bought or earned media. The practices of Content Marketing focus heavily on the owned media (website, blog, app, social channels, webinars, …) whereas the practice of Marketing Content focusses on bought media. In short: marketing content is interruptive advertising; content marketing is timely information.

Content Marketing support by an agency? 

Forget it. Traditional agencies will – of course – state they know content marketing. But in fact they know Marketing Content. That’s valuable. But that’s not what you’re looking for. You need a different kind of breed. A new agency. A white-labelled media house. It’s the only valid way to bring content structurally to the right people within the right context.

Content Marketing too important to leave it up to marketing solely? 

As a result, content marketing needs in-depth information instead of shallow power word stuffed content pieces. As a result, one cannot give “Content Marketing” to Marketing only. It’s the marketers job to learn others to catch stories, write about them, etc.

In summary: Content Marketing vs Marketing Content. 

I don’t have any intention to believe that this list is exhaustive. What’s even more, I believe it’s only a starting point to make things more clear. The point is: it’s not about marketing content but about getting (and maintaining) market through your content.

Content Marketing vs Marketing Content.

Content Marketing vs Marketing Content.

%d bloggers like this: