Thursday, January 19, 2012

microMarketing Big - Small, Small - Big

 microMarketing: Big - Small, Small - Big

Greg Verdino has a great storytelling style that really makes "microMarketing: Getting Big Results by Thinking and Acting Small" work.

Quick Tip:

Go to the Amazon link and use the "Look Inside" feature to read the Preface. Verdino lays out his premise, disclaims the idea of "the next big thing", and cautions the reader to understand the concepts rather than focusing on the technology or platform.

If the preface doesn't convince you to spend time with the rest of the book you have only invested a few minutes. And you should be questioning any role that you have in Social Media.

microMarketing triggered many reflections about missed opportunities. A quote from Peter Drucker - updated by Shiv Singh made me sad and reflective (p. 168), more details below.

As a consumer I could feel my teeth clench during the overview of Henry Posner's role at B&H Photo (on page 100).  A concise set of stats about publishing (p. 182) forces me to reconsider my writing goals.

First, the Past

There are not many days of my life that I can recall where my life changed. Not that many times that I knew exactly where I was and what I was doing. Sure, the Loma Prieta earthquake, the Oakland Hills fires, 9-11, my wedding day, the birth of my two kids... those are easy.

In February 2007 its snowed in Texas. Actually, it snowed, then froze. I wasn't in Texas - I was in Columbus, OH on my way to Austin-Bergstrom airport and San Antonio for an interview with Avenue A|Razorfish. Flight is cancelled, dream job interview is cancelled... an EPIC FAIL.

Funny thing, two weeks later I'm on a plane to Austin. Overnight stay in a hotel, eight interviews in six hours, and back to the airport. The job offer got to Columbus before I landed. A job with Dell Computer.

Shiv Singh's Quote

"The purpose of business is to create a customer who creates customers" was not part of my job description. My teams were tasked with delivering software solutions deep in the bowels of the order management application, tax applications and compliance. I have no regrets about working at Dell, but the cool, cutting-edge role at Avenue A|Razorfish was off the hook, never to be re-caught.

Now, the Present

Last June I made a small purchase on Amazon from Jabra - a Halo Bluetooth wireless headset.  I cannot talk on the phone without walking, pacing, and gesturing. Over time, the single button on the right ear cup has come loose. Not "falling off" loose, just loose enough to rattle when my head moves. This really conflicts with my need to walk, pace, and gesture - since these are rattle inducing activities. If I am forced to sit, I have a perfectly good Plantronics 655 USB headset.

Verdino spends several pages describing the awesome evolution of customer service that Henry Posner infused into B&H Photo. My teeth clenched when comparing the simple, high touch, B&H Photo story with the 180 degree absence of dialogue from Jabra. I've waited more than one week for the answer to a simple question. I submitted the question via an online form because an 800#, chat session or email address were not readily discovered.

The Question: Is the Rattle Under Warranty?

Heck, I'm OK with a "no, it is not under warranty" answer. I just want an answer. If I'm not important enough for a simple answer, I'll be sure to shop with providers that are willing to be open, honest and communicative with me. A "no" would have been just fine.

Soon, the Future

Here is a quick summary of a pretty large "chunk" from page 182:

    Total books in print: ~1.2 million
    Average book sales: 500 copies
    Percentage of books selling over 5000 copies: 2%
    Percentage of books selling less than 100 copies: 79%

Verdino provides and overview of these statistics, (sobering statistics for an aspiring writer and which probably extends to singers, artists, etc.), by recounting the story of J.C. Hutchins and his effort to market "7th Son".

Where I struggle with microMarketing is my poor attempt to wrap a model around the premise of the work.

  • Does sand-pile modeling and the unseen network of connections apply?  
  • Does Rogers Diffusion of Innovation apply?
  • What causes viral-ality?
  • Can a video, quote, info-snipet, chunk of content move all the way across Rogers' curve, become widely recognized, then forgotten nearly as fast? Is that modern social media?
  •     At what point does our ability to lend attention to the myriad chunks of information does it all become noise?  
  •     Can you apply hard work to accomplish a little bit of luck, or are the blessings of cosmic-karma waiting for just the lucky few?

Reading is Not a Passive Activity

Greg Verdino does and excellent job executing his book. In each chapter several small stories are presented, then woven together to bind his premise. Most of the stories are familiar memes of social networking and social marketing. More than anything, Verdino's style allowed me to have a quiet inner-dialogue. He allowed me to match his stories to stories of my own. Verdino forces me to think, ponder, and reconsider - exactly what I think a good book should do -  and exactly what I feel that Twitter just cannot.

Bottom Line

Read the Preface, then read the book, then read your tea leaves.

Any recounting of success - after the fact - has pitfalls. Verdino reveals the past, highlights the current lessons and provides the engaged reader with solid pointers towards future success.


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