Thursday, April 12, 2007

Engagement is Dead

Yes Consumer Engagement is all the rage these days. But its 15 minutes of fame is about to end. The painful truth is, consumers don't want engagement. I love Apple. But I don't want to engage with Apple. I want Apple to continue to produce wonderful, useful and cool tools/services for me to use. And I want them to keep the brand cool so I feel cool for using it. That's not engagement, that's good ole fashion smart business.

Consumers buy things today for the same reason they have always bought things -- to solve problems or make them feel better. Companies today need to spend a heck of a lot more time trying to understand what problems they can solve for consumers and less time trying to figure out new ways to interrupt them with irrelevant messages. And that extends to their marketing. Yes, marketing approaches can solve consumer problems too. We in the business just don't spend enough time thinking along those lines. We're too busy dreaming up ways to entertain them or interrupt them.

Success in the future will be based on deep, deep understanding of the consumer using traditional and non-traditional research techniques and then using that insight to create new products/services and yes, marketing approaches that all (product and marketing combined) contribute to the creation of a solution to a consumer problem.

Visual & Verbal Palettes

The only thing that matters in marketing today is what the consumer hears.

And with today's dizzying array of technological tools that give the consumer the power to skip, deleted or simply ignore your message, marketers have fewer and fewer opportunities to send the message in the first place. So every message has to count.

Successful marketers understand that the meaning of their words and images lies not with the speaker but the receiver of the message. Therefore, if we want to stimulate that Pavlovian, emotional response that triggers purchase, we must talk to consumers using their language. Otherwise our messages will be edited out and ignored as irrelevant, boring or worse, irritating.

Enter the Visual & Verbal Palette. Based on a process of verbal & visual mind-mapping combined with story-telling, VVPs proactively decode and decipher your consumers' verbal and visual ideas, concepts and constructs at the category and brand level. The VVP and other processes like it, provide marketing teams with a new level of understanding that stimulates the creation of more powerful and effective marketing communications programs, events and messages that break through the noise to generate action. And ensure that what you say is what the consumer hears.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Marketing Thought

The Silicon Valley chapter is publishing a book called Marketing Thought in connection with our Marketing Thought conference. We are trying to take a snapshot of the best marketing ideas from today's marketing thought leaders.

In connection with that effort, the chapter is calling for submissions from all marketers. The best ideas will be published in Marketing Thought and the authors of those ideas will be invited to present at our conference in Silicon Valley alongside Guy Kawasaki (The Art of Innovation) and Andy Sernovitz (Word of Mouth Marketing).

Ideas will be published here so that other marketers can comment prior to the conference. You can learn more about the conference and the book at . . .

Gene Hall