Tuesday, August 30, 2011

No Longer a Commodities Market, Rather a Experiential Market

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Steven Johnson speaks about concepts in his book "Where Good Ideas Come From."  Here is his speaking to the TED conference. I learned from Steven that the coffee shop came along in Europe at a time when most folks drank wine or beer with everything. He joked about how the sobering up around the time of Benjamin Franklin helped as well as brought folks together for dialogue. Actually he said Sotherby's was first a coffee shop that grew into a insurance company.

I just got to spend two days with some of the coolest experts on marketing. Here are some of the folks I met and links to their works.

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Barry Schwartz, author of Practical Wisdom and The Paradox of Choice. He spoke to the group about how too many choices can be a bad thing and not enough choices is also bad. 
After hearing a few of the speakers there were some conflicts, but the past couple of days was very mind stretching.  These would not have been people I would normally sought out to listen to and this is one of the reasons I love what I do.  People pay me to cover their events where I get the added bonus of hearing people outside my normal interests that stretch me.


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Julie Ask is the VP and Principle Analyst for Forrester Research.  Julie talked about the key consumer and mobile technology trends, highlighting the opportunities to engage our customers and explore an approach to developing and deploying a mobile strategy that supports business and marketing objectives and delivers value to our customers.

Julie Ask made the statement that mobile is quickly becoming a major player in the market.  At this point only about 23% of phone users are using their smart phones for most of their computer needs.  She sees this number growing.
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Aiden Tracey is the CEO of Mosaic Sales Solutions, one of the fastest growing and leading privately held agencies in North America.  He talked about how old rules of marketing get re-written by new technology and empowered consumers, it is critical for marketers to take a close look at their current go-to-market strategies to evaluate the approaches that truly deliver ROI. 

Aiden Tracey showed where the technology introduction moments changed how we do marketing and business.  This graph he used here shows when radio, TV, Cable and the web all were introduced and the resulting impact.
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Tom Asker, Author and Brand Strategist, talked about unlocking the hearts and minds in today's idea economy.  At the core of his thesis is there are doors, invisible metaphysical doors, to people's hearts and minds.  And more importantly, there are specific keys and designs which will unlock these doors.

All the speakers were addressing the idea that we no longer live in a commodities market.  We live in a experiential market.  While some even talked about how the entire Walt Disney World is an experience and not so much a commodity they pointed to more and more things that today drive higher sales growth are linked directly to an experience the company provides.  A good example of this is Starbucks.  One presenter commented that he heard the CEO of Maxwell house just say how nothing knew had happened to coffee in the last 15 years.  The CEO was still thinking about the commodity of the coffee itself and not the experience that Starbucks had done to the industry.
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David Butler, VP Global Design, The Coca-Cola Company, talked about how design is used to create competitive advantage. He used the example of how kids need to brush their teeth for 2 minutes and they found a product that played a 2 minute song that his daughters would use to time their brushing. A creative solution that was a system that addressed an issue.  Coke new 100 plus flavor fountains is something Coke has created to help create a system that offers variety for the customer.

Take what your company does that ends in ING and make a list of it.  Things like roast-ing, or cook-ing and then think of new words that you have not even thought about your company and make up a new word with ING.  I might write photographing, capturing and things related to taking pictures.  Then I would create new words like "storying," "vizwording," and so on.  This is how I see myself helping folks tell their stories by combining words and visuals.
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You can tell from the expressions of the attendees at the conference that this was an enjoyable experience.

If you want to be the next Starbucks, Google, or Facebook business success--study them and you will discover they are all creating experiences and not just a commodity.  What kind of an experience are you creating for your customers?
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Everyone was eager to collaborate and interact with each other.