The Marketer v. Fragmentum Chronicles: Battle for integration and focus (part 1)

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Batman has the Joker.

Superman has Lex Luthor.

The X-Men have The Brotherhood.

The Marketer has Fragmentum.

Yes, Fragmentum. The evil villain who’s sole purpose in life is to disorient Marketer’s ability to develop and execute holistic approaches by throwing more and more channels to reach audiences.

Born of technology and innovation, Fragmentum entered the scene decades ago. While at first a friend of Marketer, providing him with new channels to reach Marketer’s target audiences (broadcast TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, direct mail), Fragmentum started going overboard. Fragmentum’s modus operandi became “more is better.”

The villain’s power has more recently been seen disorienting Marketer and pulling him away from using targeted channels, and closer to disintegration – using more and more channels just because they exist. Marketer faces fragmentation of the channel landscape.

For the last decade Fragmentum has tossed dozens upon dozens of shiny new digital channels in front of Marketer, tempting him to try them all: Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, Instagram, blogs, microblogs, apps, QR codes, Google+, YouTube, Vimeo, digital billboards, email, cable TV, Orkut.

The temptation for Marketer is huge.

Despite knowing how important it is to utilize his finite resources (time, money, people) in a strategic way and focusing on high value channels, Marketer sometimes gets caught jumping into new channels without thinking through his strategy. He is drawn to the new channels without thinking through how all of the channels work together to achieve the ultimate goal of connecting with his audiences.

In some cases, Marketer doesn’t even know why he’s using a particular digital too/channel, or how it works with the others to reach a goal. He’s blindsided by Fragmentum; attracted by the novelty and the buzz of new channels. 

Could this spell defeat for Marketer, as he is spread too thin? Will he be unable to figure out what channels work best together to meet his goals.

Marketer most go back to his roots. He is trained in the art and science of identifying the optimal channels to reach his target, and then creating an integrated approach. He must make informed decisions to battle against “more is better.”

So what will Marketer do to regain focus and integrate the optimal channels?

Find out in part 2 of the Marketer v. Fragmentum Chronicles.

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5 steps to building a brand people want

"In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action." Michael Angelo

Michael Angelo’s “David” – photo by D H Wright

Michael Angelo once said: “In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.

Many entrepreneurs have a similar vision. They see the opportunity where others don’t. Like a sculptor, they are willing to chip away obstacles to bring their idea to life.

Here are 5 steps to turning that brand vision into a brand that people want:

  • Know what you are making – Just like Michael Angelo knew what to chip away at in order to reveal the sculpture, you need to know what you are building and why. Go beyond features and benefits and get to the heart of what your brand stands for. Simon Sinek’s TED presentation does an excellent job of explaining why you’ll want to start with answering the question “why.”
  • Know who you’re making it for – Sculptures aren’t for everyone. And that’s okay. Just like an artist recognizes that s/he doesnt have to be all things to all people, so should you. Once you’ve decided why your brand exists, identify the people you want your brand to connect with. Look at their demographics, psychographics and culturegraphics. Identify the size of your potential market and uncover actionable insights about what makes them tick. Doing so will help you craft the messages you need to deliver to cut through the clutter.
  • Use the right tools – Be it sculpting, woodworking, branding or marketing, there are always more tools and communications channels than you likely need to get the job done. Figure out what channels make the most sense to reach your audience. Then coordinate the use of those channels – email, social media networking sites, direct mail, etc.  Like the authors of “Marketing in the Round” explain, sync all messaging, strategies, and tactics and optimize every medium and platform to deliver the right targeted messages in an integrated manner.
  • Converse – Like great art, building a brand is about creating a conversation between the brand and a community. Using media channels to simply disseminate information is only one-way. Use your brand to elicit discussion about what matters to your audience. Create shareable content, respond to questions, provoke discussion, and listen.
  • Find out if they like it and what they like about it – The only way we’ll know if we’re delivering something that the people we care about actually want is if we observe and ask. Identify your key performance indicators for your business and for your communications efforts. Set benchmarks and then actively engage in the analytics. Google evangelist Avinash Kaushik suggests 4 social media metrics that will get you thinking about what you need to measure, and why.

There’s only one Michael Angelo. But then again, there’s also only one you. Use these steps to bring your vision to life and build a brand that people want.

If you have any other suggestions, please chime in!

Mix listening with action to create marketing magic!

We hear about it all the time; brands need to listen.

Why? Because people are talking. They may be talking TO YOU, ABOUT YOU or ABOUT SOMETHING YOU BOTH CARE ABOUT. If you spend too much time talking rather than listening, you will lose opportunities to create magic; the type of magic that endears someone to your brand.

My wife went to a small high school in Bethlehem, PA – Moravian Academy. And like many high schools today, the school uses social media to connect with alums and keep them up to date with the school community. A few days ago, my wife commented on a post on the school’s Facebook page that the smell of Moravian beeswax candles always remind her of Vespers at school. 

For the uninformed like me, I learned that Vespers is a Moravian Christmas tradition. The community gets together at the chapel during the Christmas season to sing holiday music. And, in everyone’s hand is a beeswax candle “dressed” with a special red paper trim for the traditional Christmas Vespers held in Central Moravian Church.

Yesterday, a small thin package arrived at our home addressed to my wife. It was from the director of alumni relations at her high school. Inside were two beeswax candles dressed in red with a little note. Magic!

Vespers Candles

The alumni relations director had not only taken the time to follow the conversation on Facebook (something all of us should do for our brands), but went the extra mile and took action. She could have easily just easily responded to my wife’s comment on the page. But instead, she picked up a pen, wrote a note and sent my wife a piece of her school experience – the beeswax candles. And the result…Magic!

Not only did the gesture strike a chord with my wife, but now I’m writing about Moravian Academy and will be sharing the experience with others. And it will go beyond the good words that we have for the school; we’re now committed to giving back to her alma mater. Not a bad return on investment for the school.

So kudos to the alumni director!

Let’s all find ways to do a little more actively listening and try to find those opportunities where we can take action and strengthen the relationships between our brand and its communities.