Perspective’s role in your marketing messages

perspective and marketingIf there is one commonly overlooked “truth” in the world of marketing it would have to be the importance perspective plays in creating the marketing messages.

If you’re in charge of creating marketing messages, then it is CRUCIAL that you recognize how your perspective  colors your perceptions.  In the blog post Business Building Secret: People are actually pretty smart… I wrote about how if  you perceive  that your potential customers are idiots – then that perception will permeate your business to the core.

Not only will your perspective color the marketing messages that you create but it will permeate and affect every aspect of your business.

There’s a story which illustrates the importance of perspective… I’ll tie in how it relates to marketing perspective after the story…

One day , a wealthy father wanted to show his son how poor people lived so he made arrangements to spend a  week living on the farm of an impoverished family.

As they returned to their mansion –  the father asked his son , “What did you think of the trip?”

“It was great , Dad.”

“Did you see how poor people live?” the father asked.

“Oh yes , ” said the son.

“So , tell me , what did you learn?” asked the father.

The son answered:

“I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. We have a small piece of land surrounded by walls and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We buy canned and packaged food, while they eat freshly harvested food they grew themselves. We have walls around our property to protect us , they have friends to protect them.”

As the boy’s father tried to formulate a response, his son continued,  “Thanks Dad for showing me how poor we are.”

Notice, the father ASSUMED that the son would naturally see the “superiority” of the carefully manicured lawn,  the crystal clear waters of the carefully maintained swimming pool and the lavish house which they called “home”.

If instead, the father had taken a moment to see the world through his SON’S eyes – he would have seen what a difference perspective plays in perception.

I vividly remember riding the school bus by one of my classmate’s house and seeing dogs, cats and chickens roaming the yard.  I was perhaps six years old and I thought they lived in the most wonderful, magical place on the bus route.  Years later, when I drove past the same house – I saw it through different eyes.  What looked like untold wealth to my six year old eyes – looked like squalor thanks to the changes in my perspective.

Perspective and the role it plays in your marketing messages.

Most of my book Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results focuses upon the importance of viewing your business through your customer’s eyes.

Maintaining that perspective is an essential ingredient in creating marketing messages that deliver results.

One example I use in the book is to look at creating marketing messages targeted at busy mothers. In the book, I cover how important it is to be able to see the world THROUGH a busy mother’s eyes in order to create marketing messages that “connect” with her.

By trying to see the world through the busy mother’s eyes – you can hopefully gain the perspective you need to “connect” with your customer.

A glaring example of what happens when the marketing message creators perceptions “leak” into the message is the now infamous Motrin Mommy Ad:

The backlash was positively EPIC in response to the ad. One of the tweets on the subject hit the nail on the head:

“Obviously they never consulted any REAL mothers before they ran that ad.”

Obviously.

What is also obvious – the contempt the ad’s creators have for new mothers.  You can hear the contempt DRIPPING from the voice over on in the ad.  To be honest, the delivery of the marketing message is probably the most offensive part of the campaign.

The result of this underlying perspective being exposed via the marketing message – Social Media Armageddon.

It’s impossible to remove your perspective’s stamp upon your marketing messages and I’m not sure you should do it, even if you could.  Your perspective is a vital part of creating marketing success.  However, it is possible to recognize the effect perspective plays in creating marketing messages.

Recognizing  the role your perspective plays in your marketing  can help you to avoid creating your own Social Media Armageddon.

Facebook Fan Pages – Ask WIIFM

social media marketingWIIFM – What’s In It For Me – it’s the foundation for any successful marketing campaign.  However, it’s important to note that the What’s In It For Me should not in any way, shape or form be applied to your OWN selfish needs and desires.  You must maintain laser focus instead upon the satisfaction and delight of your customers and potential customers.

It’s with the WIIFM mantra in mind that I will ask the question here – what’s in it for me to become a “fan” of your business on Facebook?

Facebook Fan Pages: The Facts

Do a bit of research on Fan Pages on Facebook – and you’ll see lots of marketer’s singing it’s praises.  Among the chief selling points:

  1. It’s free.
  2. Pages contain links.  (Links to your own site – even though you can’t control the anchor text – well, hey – see #1 … it’s free.)
  3. The updates appear on every fan’s page (free publicity)
  4. You can send updates to fans – for free.
  5. A Fan Page has the potential for higher SERPS for a variety of reasons
  6. Um – did I mention it’s free.

So creating a Facebook Fan Page is FREE.  Great – free is great – when there’s value. KFC discovered that free is a powerful marketing incentive – but it’s a disaster when you offer free without limits.

There’s no doubt that a Facebook Fan page can provide GREAT value for the businesses that create them.

Ann Smarty at Search Engine Journal writes in evaluating the difference between creating a Facebook GROUP and creating a Facebook FAN PAGE:

  • Pages are generally better for a long-term relationships with your fans, readers or customers;
  • Groups are generally better for hosting a (quick) active discussion and attracting quick attention.

Ok – so there are a LOT of benefits to smart marketers by creating fan pages or groups on Facebook.

Notice, I qualified the above statement – SMART MARKETERS.

Because – again – creating a Facebook Fan Page without keeping in mind the WIIFM mantra (or worse yet, applying that mantra to your OWN selfish needs and desires instead of focusing upon the satisfaction and delight of your adoring fans) – means that you won’t get much other than free links with meaningless anchor text (worth exactly as much as you’re paying for them)  from your Facebook Fan Page.

Before you create a fan page – ask yourself – WHY would anyone want to become a FAN of my business?

WHAT’S IN IT FOR THEM?

In order to answer that question – you’ve got to have a clear vision of your customer’s GDP (Goals, Desires, Problems).

Seriously – if you don’t know the answer to “what is my ideal customer’s GDP?” – pick up a copy of my book Beyond the Niche: Essential Tools You Need to Create Marketing Messages that Deliver Results

Knowing what makes your customer’s buy is the most important piece to the marketing puzzle!  If you don’t know – you need to figure it out!

Sometimes – if you’re lucky – your fans will take matters into their own hands.

One of the most searched for recipes online is the recipe for Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits.  The chain has a closely guarded secret recipe for those delightful little biscuits which overshadow every other offering on the Red Lobster Menu.  (Seafood… really, they serve seafood there too?)  The biscuits are by far the best thing on the menu so it should come as no surprise that the Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits fan page on Facebook has over 400,000 fans.

What is surprising is the fact that the fan page was not created by Red Lobster!!!

It was created by true “fans” of the delicacy – likened by the page’s creator to “the Krabby Patty on Spongebob”. A fan of the product had time on his hands and created a fan page.  The “viral” properties of a Facebook Fan Page took over from there.

Every time a fan of Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits posted a comment on the fan page – it showed up in the fan’s news feed.  Other “fans” found the page and many of the fans write disturbingly amusing love notes to the delicacy … and provide other social commentary.

The page creator posted on April 30 that he “just talked to the President of Red Lobster…. he approves of the page!!!!”

Um – if you’re a business owner, the fact that anyone can create a “fan page” for your business should cause your blood to run cold.

I’m just saying – a fan page can get ugly FAST!   Read The shit fight is beginning- should you join in? for how fast – and ugly – things can get in the social media universe.

The fact that the Fan Page not being controlled by the Red Lobster chain may be the reason it is so popular.  Even though the President of Red Lobster approves – he has to be uncomfortable knowing that one of his flagship products branding is now in the hands of a true “fan”. (The fan page is #6 on a search for the keyword by the way- well ahead of any “official” page sanctioned by the Red Lobster chain.)

What’s in it for fans of the Red Lobster Cheddar Biscuits?  Well, a recipe for the delightful treat along with a lot of witty banter.    What’s in it for Red Lobster?   Perhaps the real value of this fan page is to provide insight for the chain as to what people REALLY love about Red Lobster – and unfortunately it isn’t the seafood entrees!

Social Media and Communication: How your mindset shapes the mesage.

social media marketing communicationSocial media marketing is all about communication.

Communication is a funny thing in that such a small part of communication is the words we say, write or read.

The whole “context” issue is a huge one in communication.

I got a clear lesson in this today.

How I ended up with a brown paper bag filled with 10 multi-colored condoms instead of moist towelettes.

This morning, I had to take my oldest son to the health department to get a vaccine he’ll need to live in a dorm in college next year.  As we signed in, I was acutely aware that we were entering a place filled with “ill patients”.

I guess the recent conversations I’ve been having about a horrible flu virus that is going around must have been triggered as I was signing in.  One of our friends was actually hospitalized recently because of this “super bug”  and a client of mine was complaining that one of her trainers was sick with it yesterday.  I share this to properly frame what happened next.

As I’m signing in, I see a basket on the counter with a sign that says,

“Take one and protect yourself.”

The basket is filled with brown paper bags, neatly folded and taped shut.

Remember, the overwhelming thought in my mind at the moment is, “Oh please, I really don’t want to get sick with that flu.”

So I grab one of the packages, confident the “protection” it provides will be against the myriad of diseases being incubated in the life sized petri dish called a waiting room.  I pick up the brown paper bag along with the number assigned to us and I head to the crowded waiting room.

My son asks, “Hey!  What’s in the bag?”

I reply, “The sign says it’s “protection”.  Maybe it’s a shank!”

I’m not joking as much as I’d like to be.  A couple of the people in the waiting room were kind of scary looking and a shank might come in  handy.

My son snickers at my comment.  I continue, “No, seriously  it’s hand sanitizer.”

With that statement still hanging in the air, I open the bag and reach in.  I was expecting to extract those little packets with the moist towelette inside.  Instead, I pull out a brightly colored condom.

It wasn’t exactly the kind of “protection” I was expecting.

I guess my utterance of surprise was very audible.  My mistake was on display for all, much the distress/ amusement of everyone in the waiting room.

I spent the rest of the visit enduring relentless razzing from my 18 year old son.   I made sure to let him know that the proper use of one of those 18 years earlier would have meant I would have had this morning free to do what I wanted instead of dragging him to the health department.

I still defend my misconception… er, misunderstanding of the sign!

I mean,  my greatest concern wasn’t catching an STD or preventing pregnancy – my most pressing concern was making sure I didn’t contract one of the multitude of diseases being incubated in that waiting room!

By the way, I did eventually find an antibacterial goo dispenser when we entered the 2nd “inner” waiting room and I doused myself liberally.

The moral of the story and how this applies to social media marketing…

When people arrive at your blog, website or other advertising material, they already have a conversation going on inside their head.  If the conversation on your blog – on your website or in your advertising materials isn’t clear – you might be surprised at how “distorted” you message can get.

Had I seen that basket at the check-in counter of a strip joint, I probably wouldn’t have been confused as to what they meant by “protection”.  However, as I looked at the sea of coughing and visibly ill people – I wasn’t thinking sexy thoughts – I was trying to figure out how to escape without catching what they had!

I just wonder how many children have grabbed one of those bags and been treated to an impromptu sexual education lesson in the lobby of the county health department.  I’m just happy I wasn’t having to explain to a six year old why he couldn’t play with the brightly colored, individually wrapped balloons.

Context plays a HUGE role in communication…. both on and off the web!

Your Digital Footprints…

Do you give much thought to the digital footprint you’re leaving?  Unlike footprints left in the sand, your digital footprint can be notoriously difficult to alter.

There’s a song I learned in Sunday School long, long ago…

“Oh, be careful little feet, where you go. Oh, be careful little feet, where you go.. There’s a Father up above, looking down in tender love, So be careful little feet, where you go.”

Ah – those were the days.  Back then, I only had to worry about an omniscient and omnipresent God  hearing what I said, seeing what I saw and watching where my feet took me.

Contrast that with today when anyone with access to the internet can be granted an unprecedented level of omniscience – at least when it comes to observing digital interactions.  Online we’re constantly being judged by what we write! The blog posts I write, the comments I leave on other blogs not to mention the information contained in various online profiles are available for ALL to see.  Combined, those interactions are creating a digital footprint that can’t be easily erased or altered.

Internet access + basic computer skills = a level of  omniscience previously unknown to mankind!

The new Web 2.0 is providing a level of transparency which is unprecedented and is making social networking very similar to showing up naked to a cocktail party.

If there’s one term that you must keep in mind when you decide to engage in Social Marketing, it would have to be TRANSPARENCY!

Remember, launching a social marketing campaign is like showing up naked to a cocktail party. If you haven’t been hitting the gym, EVERYONE is going to know as soon as you enter the room. Oh, and if you’re a pre-op transvestite… well THAT fact is going to be obvious as well.

Now it’s more important than ever to be authentic in your interactions!

In What Every Business Owner Must Know About Web 2.0, I share that bloggers are the ULTIMATE power customers. If you don’t believe it – read about Cath Lawsons recent hosting experience and see if it doesn’t color your perception of her previous web host. If you’re a business owner, then it’s essential that you know what people are saying about your business.  The “new web” not only allows your customers to engage in more open conversations – it also allows you to monitor and join those conversations.   Your customers are helping to create your business’ digital footprint.

However, while customers are definitely helping to create your business’ digital footprint – it’s possible that  the one doing the most damage to your online reputation (a.k.a. “digital footprint”)- could well be YOU!

“We have met the enemy and he is us,” Walt Kelly in Pogo

Last Friday, I was having a conversation with a beloved long time client.  We met virtually in 1999 and have worked closely together over the years.  Over the past decade, this client’s profile has risen significantly, and that meteoric rise has been reflected in her fees.  While in 1999 she was an upstart in this “new” world called the internet, she’s now a highly sought after keynote speaker and consultant.

Last week I got an email from her, inquiring what I knew about a blog that had nominated her as one of the 50 “best” in her field.  The award was a classic linkbait post.  In this case, the blogger was attempting to curry attention and inbound links by creating his own award and  nominating the “top” performers in the field in this post.  It seemed the criteria for nomination was to be listed in the first few pages of Google in a search for a particular keyword term.

Unfortunately, my client was not amused by the company of practitioners nominated by the blogger.

One of the things I ADORE about this client is her wickedly sharp wit.  (There’s a reason she’s a sought after keynote speaker.)  In this situation, my client could have chosen to “ignore” the nomination or she could have done as many other “nominees” and thanked the blog owner for the “honor”.  However, she chose a different path – that of direct confrontation via the comment section of the blog.

She sent me via email the comment she left and it was positively sardonic.  I love her for that.  The blog owner replied defensively and the battle had begun. My client was winding up to take another swing and sent me a preview of the reply.  In a battle of wits – the blog owner was definitely unarmed and blissfully unaware of this fact.  My client was about to let loose with a salvo that would illustrate this clearly.

When she contacted me originally – I had suggested she politely thank the blog owner for the award or ignore it.  As she wound up for another round, and again asked my advice,  I took a more “direct” approach.  I told her, “When you stir shit – it stinks!  STOP STIRRING!!!”

See, there is a tactic of shameless self promotion where a blogger is encouraged to try to make enemies and therefore increase blog traffic and name recognition as a result.

In the case above, the upstart blogger had a lot to gain from positining himself as my client’s “enemy” – and my client had nothing to gain from such a pairing.  She’s well known within her industry and he is not.  It is my professional opinion that she doesn’t need to provide him with a “leg up” by engaging in this battle.   Quite honestly, her responses were entertaining enough to provide significant value to his blog.

We had a conversation about this on Friday and she thanked me for reminding her about the digital footprints she was leaving as she ventured into the strange new land of Web 2.0.

Have you ever “pulled back” and not commented on a blog post for fear of the impact upon your digital footprint?  Have you ever edited blog posts or comments with your digital footprint in mind?  How do you keep your personal digital footprint distinct from your professional digital footprint?

Everything’s relative… setting your life thermostat

Today in my little corner of south eastern Florida – it’s 60 degrees today.

BRRR!!!

I don’t expect you to cry me a river – especially if you’re living in the path of the bitter cold that is blanketing much of the northern United States. However let me assure  you that temperatures in the 60’s feel positively FRIGID when you’ve spent a few summers surviving “surface of the sun” heat indexes in the mid to upper 120’s.

Meanwhile, a check of the weather back in my hometown in Indiana reveals that the current AIR temperature is currently -11 and the wind makes it feels like -29 … and those temps are °F by the way!   It’s even worse where my in-laws live.  It’s -20 and it feels like it’s -40 below just an hour north!  (Yes, I’m deeply concerned about the state of the plumbing in my Indiana property!)

But this whole weather thing has got me thinking about how where we are (and who we’re with) affects us and how our experiences shape our view.  In other words – there’s more than one setting on your life thermostat.

For example, I know that the weather today at my house would have felt positively tropical in January when I was living in Indiana five years ago.  Unfortunately, KNOWING that doesn’t make it FEEL any more tropical today.  Living down here for four short years has reset my thermostat – without my “permission” I might add.

That’s right.  I didn’t make a conscious decision to TRY to reset my body’s  thermostat.   I didn’t attempt to use “positive thinking” to change my body’s physical reaction to temperature so 60 degrees would feel cold to me.   As a matter of fact,  the opposite is true.  I desperately didn’t WANT to be a “Flor-idiot” who complains about being cold when it’s 60 degrees outside.

It didn’t matter what I desired, by moving to southern Florida, I changed my physical environment and as a result, my body’s physical responses have been altered.

Setting your Life Thermostat

However, there are other aspects to setting and regulating your life thermostat – beyond that of your physical perceptions of hot and cold.  Call it self help, call it self awareness, call it authentic expression or call it creative productivity –  the input you allow into your mind greatly affects your life thermostat settings.  (Oh, and if you think you can separate your “business” from your “life” ….. good luck with that.)

Just as your body will get “adjusted” to your physical environment – your mind will also get “adjusted” to the environment you create there as well.

Way back in 1997, I taught myself to code in HTML.  When word got out around town that I had acquired this skill, local business people started hiring me to create websites for their businesses.  One day about a year later, a very progressive woman who called herself a “life coach”  hired me to create a website for her business.  This turned out to be a significant “life thermostat altering” event.

What you read – what you watch – and the people you choose to accompany you on this journey called life – all have a dramatic effect on where your “life thermostat” is set.

Because I started working with forwarding thinking, successful people, my life thermostat settings changed… to the point where I find it difficult to relate to people from my “previous” life.

I recently was contacted by a co-worker from my past.  She was laid off from a subsequent employer and worrying about what she would do when her unemployment ran out in a few weeks.  She contacted me in hopes of landing a “J-O-B”.  However, her passions don’t lie in administrative work – and as much as I would have LOVED to have a passionate virtual assistant, it was easy to see that she was not that person.  So, in the course of the conversation (which lasted less than 40 minutes), we came up with a plan for her to start her own business based on the very things she was passionately devoting her time to during her unemployment.

I was surprised at how blatantly OBVIOUS what she SHOULD be doing was – and then I realized that my life thermostat settings have changed DRAMATICALLY since we last worked together.  She’s been punching a time clock, rubbing elbows with other “wage slaves” over the past decade.  Meanwhile, I’ve been spending the last decade connecting with other people who breath “rarified air” on a daily basis.

I am honored and feel privileged to be surrounded by such an amazing group of successful business owners.

Don’t underestimate the power of your surroundings to impact your perceptions and thinking.   What changes have you made (or do you need to make) to change your life thermostat?