Marketing Strategy

    Cashiers, Conversationalists and CMOs.

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    There are two factions in online marketing these days: Cashiers and Conversationalists. 

    Cashiers

    Cashiers care about the sale. They have the small dashboard that tracks click-to-sale and spits out an ROI calculations. Cashiers can’t wait to wake up in the morning to see the new numbers. They are in to usability testing, shopping cart abandonment, media optimization and other measures but their interest and energy pretty much stops at the sale. The buck stops there.

    Conversationalists

    Conversationalists are a daintier.  They immerse themselves in the process.  They want to make friends.  (Like the kid with the runny nose in grade school, sometimes they just walk right up to you and ask “Do you want be my friend?”)  In my world, conversationalists are actually more likely to find truths and insights about their products and win in the long term.  All the pop marketing gurus today are into the conversation. They are not technologists, thank God, so they are easy to listen to and learn from but their failing is that they’re a little too caught up in the sausage making, not the sausage tasting.

    CMOs

    For a CMO it’s great to have both types of people on staff.  A Yin and Yang thing. Cashiers are imperative for sales now. Conversationalists care about future sales, and loyalty and sale predisposition. But it’s hard to take predisposition to the bank. Good CMOs have a brand plan in place that gives direction to the factions.  A brand plan is informed by the work and findings of both factions, but it drives them.  A brand plan helps Cashiers and Conversationalist organize “claim and proof” in a way that creates Return on Strategy near and long term. Peace!

    Rubel, Facebook and Fruit Cocktail.

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    There’s a pretty interesting debate going on over at Steve Rubel’s Posterous stream.  It revolves around his moving his stream (sorry, guys of a certain age) to Facebook.  He’ll continue at Posterous but feels Facebook gives him more visibility, a bigger audience and a richer discussion. 

    Mr. Rubel initially moved to Posterous because it was a place for him to aggregate his musings. Plus it was an easy and elegant interface.  (The aesthete in me likes the Posterous look better than the templatized Facebook frame.)  Sequestering most of his business and digital observations on Posterous and moving everything  else — business, personal, real time — to Facebook seems like a good strategy. But is it? Time will tell.

    Specificity

    In America and countries that look to America for tech and taste, specificity rules the day.  No one ever became president (of anything) being a generalist.  Let’s leave Mr. Rubel for a moment and use Ms. X as an example.  Say you’ve never met Ms. X but you think she’s a brilliant marketing mind. She may be a lousy partner, driver, dancer and cook but she can really mesmerize a room filled with marketers. You may be marginally interested in her meatball recipe but it is certainly not the driver of her attention.  The more meatball recipes in her stream, the less likely she is to be unique. By mixing all of her postings into one stream, Ms. X is not managing her brand very well. Her fame is diluted.

    Moving Toward the Middle.

    This is another example – common a couple of years ago when social computing companies were all trying to match each other’s feature sets – where everyone is moving toward the middle. It should not be. LinkedIn is about business relationships. Twitter is about real time info and immediacy.  Facebook is about friends and self and entertainment.  As Facebook moves to the middle, attempting to be all things to all people (brand fan pages included), it becomes like fruit cocktail — that can of fruit in the back of the cabinet where everything tastes like peaches. As quickly as Facebook is growing, I’m afraid it will mirror Google and turn into nothing more than an amazing advertising platform. (And then divest.) Peace!