The New Purchase Journey

January 10, 2011

When consumers purchase something, almost anything, these days, they no longer go through the traditional “awareness, familiarity, consideration, purchase, loyalty” funnel so many sales and marketing teams are brought up on.

Instead, there is a continuous evaluation and feedback loop going on – consider, evaluate, purchase, enjoy, advocate.

From this:


Traditional Purchase Funnel/Journey


to this:


New Purchase Funnel/Journey


It’s up to us as marketers to acknowledge and adapt to these changes in as smart and sophisticated way as possible.

via Speed Summary | HBR on Social Media & New Rules of Branding | Social Commerce Today.

The Art of Marketing Special Offer: Toronto March 2nd

January 18, 2010

The Art of Marketing conference takes place in Toronto on March 2nd and you should be there. More on that later. The event features six global marketing leaders although it only needed one to convince me that I should go (as a guest of the organizers):

Seth Godin. I am a huge fan of Seth’s and having watched almost all the YouTube/TED videos I could find of him, I am so very excited to see him speak in person.

However, I don’t want to let my fanboyishness of Seth obscure the other great speakers who I am equally excited to see. They include my friend Mitch Joel, Dan “Made To Stick” Heath, Max “Experience the Message” Lenderman and Sally Hogshead while James “Adland” Othmer rounds up an all-star cast.

From the conference Web site:

Developed to answer the questions currently facing your organization The Art of Marketing will provide a clearer understanding of how marketing has changed, what role it now plays in the buying decision, its impact on your business and ultimately how the consumer views, interacts and positions your brand in a crowded marketplace.

But far more importantly than that, this event, from my perspective, will open your mind to new techniques and then inspire you to try them for yourself and for your employer/clients. If working in this space has done anything for me, it has broadened my horizons quite considerably and allowed me access to some of the best thinkers in our industry. For that, I am forever grateful.

More details on the day’s agenda are here.

Because this seems like such an awesome opportunity, I asked the conference organisers to allow me to give the opportunity for one lucky Blogging Me Blogging You reader the chance to attend the conference as my guest. They agreed so I have one free ticket to see these amazing speakers on march 2 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Please just leave a comment to this post (with your email address in the form field) saying what you would hope to get out of the event below. I will pick my favourite and even buy you lunch at the event – travel is, unfortunately, on your own dime.

If you don’t fancy the lottery of trying to win a ticket, you can purchase one at a reduced rate and save $50 off the list price (link has the discount already embedded).

Thanks to the fine folks at The Art of Productions for this offer.

**UPDATE** I will be doing a draw on Feb 2 so get your “entry” in now!

**UPDATE 2** Better late than never. Just did a draw and Rob Gee has the free ticket. Congrats Rob; sorry to all the other commenters.

Misperception is Perception

January 11, 2010

From the New York Times Q&A with Zappos’s CEO, Tony Hsieh:

  • Q. If you could ask only one or two questions to get a sense of a person, what would they be?
  • A. “If you had to name something, what would you say is the biggest misperception that people have of you?” Then the follow-up question I usually ask is, “What’s the difference between misperception and perception?” After all, perception is perception.

Very insightful. (Mis)perception is perception.

via Corner Office – Tony Hsieh of Zappos – Celebrate Individuality – Question –

Four Quadrants of Innovation

December 8, 2009

In a meeting with my former CEO at Fleishman-Hillard, Dave Senay, he told the group, in response to some  heavy thinking, that “every consultant has to have a matrix”. Mine is still a work in progress (very nascent work in progress!) but this caught my eye, from Hutch Carpenter over on the Blogging Innovation blog:

Four Quadrants of Innovation

As always with these matrices, you want to be high and to the right. My one gripe with this matrix is that it is too leading. There are clear benefits to being in each of the other three quadrants which, for this to have any merit, need to be articulated. We should not be scaring our clients or colleagues into making the wrong decision by with-holding or diluting the data needed to make those decisions.

These benefits are clearly laid out in the post (link below) but for those of us who just like to look at pretty pictures…

Blogging Innovation: Four Quadrants of Innovation

Is Listening an Endangered Skill?

November 5, 2009

Four habits of highly effective listeners:

1. The listener thinks ahead of the talker, trying to anticipate what the oral discourse is leading to and what conclusions will be drawn from the words spoken at the moment.

Although, I hate it when people vocalise this. It is distracting when someone constantly interrupts you and tells you either what you are about to tell them or, worse, what they think you are about to tell them.

2. The listener weighs the evidence used by the talker to support the points that he makes. “Is this evidence valid?” the listener asks himself. “Is it the complete evidence?”

3. Periodically the listener reviews and mentally summarizes the points of the talk completed thus far.

4. Throughout the talk, the listener “listens between the lines” in search of meaning that is not necessarily put into spoken words. He pays attention to nonverbal communication (facial expressions, gestures, tone of voice) to see if it adds meaning to the spoken words. He asks himself, “Is the talker purposely skirting some area of the subject? Why is he doing so?”

Very interesting stuff and something we can all work on.

via Is Listening an Endangered Skill? – HBR Editors’ Blog – Harvard Business Review.

Not so interesting but also kind of cool: this was posted using the funky WordPress “Press This” bookmarklet.

The Stringer Bell Business School

November 2, 2009

Stringer Bell Business SchoolIf you follow me on Twitter, you’d know that I am a rabid fan of The Wire. It is, simply put, the most amazing TV show. I would usually add the disclaimer “that I have ever (ever) watched” but in this case it is entirely unnecessary. It is so good that when I finished the last episode I felt a profound sadness that it was over and that I would never experience watching it for the first time ever again. I have however watched it (all five series, in order) many times since then. I also take great joy in recommending it to anyone who asks, and quite a few that don’t. I envy these people. I envy anyone who will experience watching this masterpiece for the first time.

Stringer Bell is undoubtedly one of my favourite characters in the show. He is a businessman trapped in a gangster’s life. And he can teach you almost anything you need to know about business as long as you are happy with NOT SAFE FOR WORK language. But hey, he’s from the mean streets of Balitmore. What do you expect?

Reminder, not safe for work language in the below video and quotes which are after the jump.

The Stringer Bell Business School is raw and grimey and gets results!

Read the rest of this entry »

One more thought on Free

July 1, 2009

The Anderson/Gladwell debate on Free rages on. Seth adds his thoughts (and a Squidoo lens) while Mark Cuban weighs in and there are a tonne of others, including my friend Mitch Joel who has an excellent recap, adding their thoughts to this fascinating debate.

I was chatting with my father-in-law this morning and we both came to the same conclusion. In our experience, people place value on things based on how much they paid for them.

  • If you pay a high price for something, you place a higher value on it.
  • If you get something for free, you place less value on it.

Ergo, the more you charge, the more value the buyer places on it. Want to add more value (in the eyes of the purchaser) to your product? Charge more. Not less.

Take Seth Godin. We get the same knowledge from his blog as his books, which as he acknowledges are *just* curated versions of his blog posts. But what do you place more value on? The $26.99 book or the free blog post that pops up in your RSS reader? I know what I value more.

Free may be the future but if you can’t charge nothing, charge a lot and add value.

This debate will go on for years. There are so many ironies and paradoxes in play that it will take a long long time to come out in the wash. I think that this shows we are diverging away from middle. Your products will either be free (and supported by some complementary business model) or they will be very expensive. This recession is showing that there is a race to the bottom in some industries, while others are doing very well by charging a premium. It is the middle, the mediocre, that is suffering, not the edges.

As an Internet user, I see free all around me while as a consultant, I want to provide fair value to our clients – so it feels as if I am playing both sides.

Google’s Business Strategy

June 30, 2009

Reading Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent (and acerbic) review of Chris Anderson’s Free in the New Yorker (Anderson’s response here), I was brought back to a thought I’ve had many times but have yet to fully commit to a blog post.

The quote that got the synapses firing was:

Companies ought to be able to make huge amounts of money “around” the thing being given away—as Google gives away its search and e-mail and makes its money on advertising.

For my money, the idea that Google gives away so many services for “free” because it makes its money from advertising is a little…simplistic.

If you start with the assumptions that Google has the best search engine, and despite the innovation in the space, we have to presume that it is, you start to see why Google is so committed to free services.

  • The more content that is online, the more a search engine is needed. [Blogger; YouTube]
  • The more search results that are returned, the more people will be willing to pay to be on top of those results. [AdWords]
  • The more people that embrace the Web, the more people will start to consider to create more content. [Gmail]
  • The more Web site owners understand about their users and traffic, the more they will consider purchasing traffic through AdWords. [Google Analytics]

As I said on Mathew Ingram’s blog, when discussing Google’s “Google Trends for Web sites” as a free service:

If I’m an e-commerce Web site owner, and I sign up for free analytics, I can put a price on my traffic, based on conversions. When my traffic has a price, I’m now more likely to try to buy traffic using AdWords.

The more blogs there are in the world (, the more content needs to be indexed and the more competition there is around key words. Now as a marketer, in order to ensure I’m top of the pile when it comes to people searching for my key terms, I buy them.

Similarly, the more marketers know about the Web, and its metric driven effectiveness, the more they will spend on AdWords to attract new users and new customers.

For Google, free is not a business model, it is a strategy designed to feed into a business model based on scale and market leadership.

Good to Great: The Forgotten Analogy

June 20, 2008

Everyone working in business has no doubt, at some point, heard the Jim Collins analogy about needing to:

“Get the wrong people off the bus, and get the right people in the right seats”

Great quote. I loved it when I read it five years ago and I still like it, even if it has been overused to the point of cliche.

Unfortunately, the quote allows lazy managers an easy way out. If you take it out of context, and I’m sure a lot of people do, it means that if a business wants to go from “Good to Great“, all it needs to do is hire great people and put them to work in the right places.

The rest will take care of itself.

Or will it?

Well, the analogy that precedes its more famous sibling says not.

A fox wants to eat a hedgehog, and has many tricky ways to ambush the hedgehog. Every time, the hedgehog has one tried and true response – curl up in a ball. It’s a simple strategy that can be repeated ad nauseum and works every time.

So in order for the bus analogy to be relevant, you need to first get your house in order and decide what your hedgehog strategy is.

What is the one thing that you (will) do better than anyone else?

If everything else turns to dust, the economy fails, customers desert you and the shareholders are clamouring for your head, what is the one thing you can turn back to to get you out of this mess?

Where is the bus going?

There can be many stops, but only one destination.

The same is as true for your career as it is for your business.

If everything turns to shit, what can you guarantee will get you through the hard times?

Note: “Blue Ocean Strategy” notes that most of the companies analysed in G2G would no longer be classified as “great” by the metrics defined in the Collins’s seminal work. I thought this was very interesting.

What marketers can learn from the 2008 NBA Slam Dunk Contest

February 21, 2008

Over the weekend, the NBA had its All-Star Weekend  which featured the Slam Dunk Contest. Now, from what I’ve seen, slam dunks are much of a muchness.

In past contests, I’ve seen the same dunks, or variations of those dunks, done harder, higher, faster stronger with more rotations, ball-pumps, having someone stand in the way of the basket.

And they’re great – as the players get more athletic, the dunks get more spectacular.

But it’s hard to differentiate between them and Dwight “Superman” Howard’s dunks were nothing like anything anyone had ever seen before.

When the rest of the market is racing to become more efficient and refine one product, marketers need to change the game.

Innovate; don’t replicate.

Case study:

Nintendo realized it couldn’t compete with other gaming platforms in terms of power and graphics. So it decided not to. It decided to compete with the standard remote control. Nintendo declined to play a game where it was just one of three competitors with no real differentiators and decided to play a game it was assured of winning – because it was the only one playing.

The only question was how big the spoils were. For Dwight Howard and Nintendo, the spoils were pretty big.

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