Less of one is not equal to more of another

Greg Stielstra (PyroMarketing) has post today called Sell Out to Your Niche.

It’s a good post touching on a couple of the themes from his book PyroMarketing.  He says that people are afraid to try it because it requires narrowly focusing on their niche…at the expense of other “prospects.”  He says that, “they mistakenly believe that a product with a less specific appeal will attract more general interest.”

This is nothing new or earth-shattering.  Businesses are scared of doing the difficult chore of focusing on their best customers because they feel that not catering to everyone is leaving business on the table.  The opposite is usually true, but I understand where the fear comes from.

Then, Greg goes on to say something that I read and re-read and it really hit home.  He says that companies will say, “If we can make that women’s book less feminine, then it will appeal to men.”  The point that drives it home for me is his summary of that thinking where he says, “If you want men, make your product masculine, not less feminine.”

Exactly.

When has doing something a little bit less ever made a product/business/person successful?  This, to me is what cost John Kerry the election in ’04.  Regardless of your political preferences, you have to admit that the bulk of his platform was that he was the “Anti-George Bush.”  Basically, he said that if you don’t like George Bush, vote Kerry.  Not because of his qualifications, or what he is doing, but because he’s not Bush.

In a business that is wholly driven by emotion, saying that you’re not as much of something as the competition will never get you anywhere.

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Less of one is not equal to more of another

You Tube and NBC; a Match Made in….

This article has me thinking about the whole concept of copy protection and “anti-pirating” of TV when it comes to YouTube.

Jeff Zucker says, “YouTube needs to prove that it will implement its filtering technology across its online platform.  It’s proven it can do it when it wants to.”  Which can be translated, “Please take away all this free advertising you are giving us.”

Here’s the situation as I see it.  NBC produces a great show…one that gets a following.  People love the show so much that they post clips/episodes/etc on YouTube.  People watch the show on YouTube.  Probably even comment about it.  Then, when the next episode is on, many of those people probably watch the show on NBC.

How does this affect NBC? 

In DVD sales.  Doubtful.  I can’t see people that were going to buy the DVDs settling for a YouTube quality video.
In viewership.  Maybe positively.  I see it more that people would latch on to a show by finding it on YouTube and watch it on TV.

If NBC wants to remove all digital version of its content (they can’t just limit it to YouTube!) then they should syndicate all their shows, put them all on DVD and make them all available to watch online and download.  Otherwise, they are missing out on an opportunity.

Zucker then goes on to say, “This company is about producing great content in all divisions,” he
said. “The issue is, how do we get that great content in front of new
eyeballs, on new platforms, with new money attached?”

You have the answer right in front of you Jeff, and you’re complaining about it!

YouTube is effectively introducing NBC to a mammoth Long Tail…for free.  To be upset about this, in my mind, is short sighted.  Instead, NBC should embrace the fact that they have loyal viewers who want to get their content out for them.  I don’t see too many people saying, “I hate NBC.  I know, I’ll record some of their shows, encode them and put them on YouTube…that’ll show them.”  NO!  People put your shows up there for one reason…they love them and they want other people to know about them.  I wish that was the problem I had.

NBC needs to find a way to work with YouTube or utilize it to build their viewership.  As strange as it sounds, fighting with YouTube will probably hurt them more than help them.

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You Tube and NBC; a Match Made in….

Managing Expectations the Right Way

Seth has a story today from Robin that I thought was interesting.  Then I got to the final sentence and left interesting in the rear-view.  I read the sentence a few times and just kept thinking about it.

Check out the whole post, but the final sentence is this, “To raise someone’s expectations then not fulfill them is worse than mediocrity.”  Absolutely.

So many marketers focus on great user experience, on making the customer’s time dealing with the company remarkable.  But what happens if next time it doesn’t live up to what you did (or worse, what you say you do!)?  Then the person goes away with a bad taste in their mouth.  They leave upset and with a worse opinion of you than if you had done nothing.

Customers today have so many options for how they spend their time, money and attention.  We have to build experiences worthy of their choice to work with us.  But, we then have to sustain those experiences so they don’t go away saying, “Well the last time I was here…”

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Managing Expectations the Right Way

The Order of Improving…Better, then Bigger

John Moore has a great post about McDonald’s today.

He remarks on the steady growth they’re seeing since posting their first ever quarterly loss in 2002.

John points out that this is from an inside-out approach to driving sales. He makes the point that McDonald’s traditionally grew by opening new locations…and not improving their current ones.

Sure, this worked for them for a while, but obviously the technique has caught up with them. Backlash from things like “Supersize Me” hurt them, but I don’t think this was the entirety of their pain. McDonald’s has wrapped up the cheap and easy in food sales. But, they rested on those laurels for so long that it turned on them. With the availability of so many choices, people started looking for quality as well as speed. People got used to good (or at least decent) food fairly fast and (through companies like Starbucks) we started to expect an experience…not just delivery.

Sure, McDonald’s may not compete with Starbucks coffee or experience, but that’s not their target. They saw that people liked better coffee, so they tried to make some changes to improve the coffee. They saw that people were looking for a “third place” so they started making their restaurants more comfortable. Will McDonald’s ever overtake Starbucks as a “third place?” I doubt it, but they are making the right changes to stay relevant.

McDonald’s is moving in the right direction. There’s some great quotes in John’s post, so I’d suggest reading it.

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The Order of Improving…Better, then Bigger

Is Second Life Really Sad?

Trevor Cook has a post today entitled “Second Life popularity shows the sadness of modern life.

He cites an ABC News item that refers to Second Life as, “the three-dimensional world where people escape their own existences to life a different virtual life.”

While this may be true for some people, I don’t think it’s the only reason for Second Life.  It may have started that way, but the following and participation has taken on a life of its own and for a different reason. 

Trevor goes on to discuss how he’s amazed at the fact that we have so many opportunities for entertainment and participation in the real world yet we look for other worlds to escape to.  He says that it may be a “sign of the disappointment a lot of people feel that their lives are not living up to some glorious vision that advertisers pump them full of.”

I think this view of Second Life completely misses the point and will cause people to miss out on the opportunities contained in this virtual world.  I should say that, while I see the opportunities, I haven’t completely emptied my glass of Second Life Kool-Aid.  I still don’t get the concept of having a drink/food/sex in-world.  Those things are lost on me yet, but I don’t think that detracts from my enjoyment or success in-world.

For some, they do get too wrapped up in Second Life, WOW, etc and completely escape their lives.  This can happen in any form of technology I think.  People choosing virtual over real worlds.  Some people are just more prone to go down that path…and that’s not unique to Second Life.

Second Life does provide one great thing, in a unique way…connection.  I have talked to people in-world that I would have either never been in a physical location to connect with or would be too intimidated to talk to in person.  But, in Second Life, I can find them, connect with them, talk to them and build a relationship in a way that wouldn’t have been possible before. 

Why not just do it via chat?

Sure, much of the “connection” revolves around the concept of chatting/typing words to each other.  It’s different though.  You can see someone (albeit a digital someone) in front of you.  You can look around at more than a simple gray and white box, waiting for the words to come back.  It’s more of an experience than simply a chat.

My conclusion?  Second Life will grow (assuming Linden can work out their issues) and people will continue to connect.  Sure, the avatars and digital people seem a little “geeky” and tough to get your head around, but to dismiss the tool because of this puts many at a great disadvantage. 

After all, we’re supposed to be about content…right?  The tools are just tools, but connecting with people to discuss content is what it’s all about.

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Is Second Life Really Sad?