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Strategy | Intent | Persistence (and tigers and bears OH MY!) December 8, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in advertising, business strategy, digital strategy, industry news, intent, philosophy, work/life.
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7 comments

Digital strategy is a business decision, not a marketing decision. That doesn’t mean your marketing team shouldn’t be in the room, it means everyone else should be there with them.

Julian Cole wrote a piece a few months back saying “Don’t trust an agency with your digital strategy.” It does then beg the question (if I may, for a moment, speak client-side) “Then whom shall I trust in your festering cesspool of sharks, narcissists and hopeless egomaniacs?

Good question.

A single unit needs to own a company’s strategy, and they need to be able to talk about each channel with authority. That sounds like a no-brainer I know, so I’m going to put this out there and see how it feels: you won’t find it anywhere where the last name of an ad giant from yester-year hangs their name on the front door. That isn’t because they don’t have intelligent folk from all disciplines working for them, that is because their business models and internal practices will not permit the structural changes required to achieve genuine innovation and next-generation creativity for their client’s businesses, let alone their own.

If anyone is hearing that for the first time, I promise I’m not the first.

I can’t say I know all of the answers, or even any of them. But not enough people are asking the question. Or questions; you can phrase them in a myriad of ways, let’s maybe start with something like this: why does Clemenger BBDO in Melbourne now have four people in its planning department, none of them digital natives? Tim, who worked there as a member of the planning team up until a week ago, had this to say:

I’ve been arguing for a long time now that as product, advertising, sales and service, all get closer together, advertising agencies really need to become creative marketing consultancies…some drastic restructuring needs to take place.

Drastic restructuring then did take place, though perhaps not along the lines he was thinking.

David Armano has talked about a move away from the silver bullet, much like Tim has. I took a personality test recently that told me I rated close to 0 when it came to perfectionism, but was a polar opposite when it came to creativity and a love of thinking. Call me biased (I won’t argue), but that sounds like something very different to where we’re currently at, and given that test it is no wonder I’m a fan of this new direction. I’m also a fan of offering substance, something advertising doesn’t do very well at all.

I’ve talked a lot about intent, and I think this chart speaks to the heart of the same thing I’m on about. It is also the same thing Seth Godin means when he says the following:

Persistence isn’t using the same tactics over and over. That’s just annoying.

Persistence is having the same goal over and over.

My friend Michael Hewitt-Gleeson calls it SDNT: Start Do Notice Think.

I call it intent, and when I talk about it, I talk about constanty refining the work we’re doing to ensure the outcome is matching the intent; if it isn’t we change it until it is.

Intent is at the heart of everything we do, and the group that owns your strategy should have it etched onto their brains, directing nothing less than strategy that delivers the intended result tomorrow better than it did today. Starting here I’m advocating a move away from the single-minded proposition to the statement of intent; it is fluid and flexible, and it ensures the goal is forever just over the horizon. It will keep you and your organisation passionate and motivated and restless.

And that is how it should be.

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Calling Social Media Out November 13, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in philosophy, web 2.0, work/life.
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22 comments

I’ve had enough. I’m done with social media and I’m calling you, you and particularly YOU out on it. I’m nailing it to the wall for the crock that it is. UGC was the first to cop it, social media is next.

I’m looking at what Jules is doing with The Population, my friend Matt‘s work with DP Dialogue, whoever else is out there. Yes, we have the Beersphere tonight, yes I blog, vlog, put music on MySpace, I comment, bookmark with del.icio.us, I use compfight to search Flickr for Creative Commons-licensed imagery, I discover new music via Last.fm and Pandora, and I Twitter. I do all that, and I’m telling you right now social media will be, in the great history of the web, hell in the great history of the next three years (if that long), the 2.0 equivalent of Pets.com.

And here is why.

First, we have to agree on something. You can choose to disagree, and I welcome that, but my stance is this: the web is inherently social. Not for everyone, particularly not for older generations, but from me back to the babies it is inherently, indiscriminately, and unavoidably social.

Next, we have to agree that the web is young. The web is still figuring out what it is, what it wants to be. You know movies? The name comes, need I remind you, from moving pictures. Photos that seemed to come to life, truth 24 times a second. Web 1.0 was moving pictures, we’re now in the Talkies. Imagine if film had stalled when talkies came along and we suddenly found the actors had horrible voices?

That is where we are; social media is “the talkies” of the Internet.

Social media isn’t anything special, it is just the Internet in its current form. All media is social – Julian says this himself. It is a period that will forever be known as a time where it became as easy to create content as it was to consume it. THAT is the important part of what is going on.

Not Web 2.0, not new media, not digital media, not post-media and certainly not social media. If all media is social, media must be inherently social and if we agree the web is inherently social then the Internet is, my friends, just a collection of media (we need to separate that idea from the business of media). We have created a new taxonomy in an attempt to somehow describe the “otherness” of this new space, which is itself not a recent development; we’ve separated movies and TV for years even though they showed us essentially the same thing (like FM radio and Pandora do now). Watching video online is no different, and soon we won’t treat it like it is.

In fact, thank God (or Dawkins for the atheists) we’re rapidly coming back around to a place where we’re not stuck on discussions of platforms and mediums; there will only be one platform where everyone produces and, once again, content will be king. That platform is the Internet, and, dear client folk, if someone comes to you with a digital strategy that does not have a focus on creating 1-to-1 connections in your audience, then run for the hills. But do not be caught up in the myth of social media, that is just the interwebs as we know it.

As Iain Tait said much more succinctly than I, digital is not a thing anymore.

Now, let’s talk about something interesting for a change.

**Update** I got the name of Matt’s social media company wrong as he points out below. Apologies to him and the good people at De Pasquale.

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Three of the best for Marketers November 7, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in conversation, marketing, philosophy, social media.
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My friend Matt put up a great post – The Ten Best Marketing Tips Ever. I’m not crazy about all of them, but these three are gems:

  1. Make your customer service truly remarkable. No, seriously, you don’t understand. Not good. Not brilliant: remarkable.
  2. Find time to get active in your industry association. Offer to be secretary and do an amazing job. Do extra stuff that no one wants to do and do it really well. You’ll be a captain of industry in six months.
  3. Engage your customers properly, start conversations with them online and offline (you know, like, when they’re in your store) and do it because you want to, not because it’s the latest fad. Smile like you mean it.

Some thoughts:

  • Remarkable is such a good idea, and so under the radar still. Take it, eat it for breakfast. Own it. Be it.
  • I was telling my new friend Lisa, there’s always an opportunity to be a thought-leader, and she’s reaching out to small businesses on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and making a really positive impact by just being good. If you’re in that area and need a hand, get in touch with her.
  • Passion counts for more than degrees and experience and networks combined. Full stop. Look at my friend Jules for proof of that.
  • Matt references Gary Vee’s brilliant talk from the Web 2.0 conference, which is required reading watching if you’re a reader here (“Stop watching fucking Lost!”). The other great insight from that talk is (and I’m paraphrasing) “Listening is one thing, giving a shit is a whole other thing.”

OK. Go enjoy the weekend.

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The company and kindness of strangers October 9, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in blogging, social media, web 2.0, work/life.
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3 comments

A month or so ago I was interviewed by Brad Howarth on social media and blogging for an article he was writing for B&T. That has just hit the news stands, which is great. You can find the article on page 34 (it’s also available online).

Brad also contributed an article to Smart Company and I’ve been included in a list of 15 of Australia’s best business blogs. A couple friends such as Julian Cole and Gavin Heaton are included, along with a great new blog I’ve only recently discovered, Get Shouty which is written by The White Agency’s Katie Chatfield. In addition there’s a collection of other blogs I haven’t had the chance to read yet, but I’m looking forward to getting into them.

One thing I’m quoted as saying in the B&T article which is absolutely true is the comments on this blog at times have been far more insightful and valuable than the post they were attached to. To everyone who stops by and shares their two cents, it is really appreciated.

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Mo’ money, mo’ problems September 24, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in digital strategy, marketing, social media, web 2.0.
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2 comments

So I got on a bit of a soap box earlier today regarding what I think I’ll come to call Currency 2.0 (where was that when I needed it). Currency 2.0 concerns itself with appreciating what is precious in marketing that isn’t a physical world dollar. Email addresses, phone numbers, these things matter, it is a form of currency that you can build ROI around, and you should.

Julian Cole has been tagged at the end of this, it’s an idea we’ve been kicking around for a while where we’ll post a video and tag someone ese at the end to respond. It’s open to anyone who wants to play, just be sure to create a video response on YouTube and we’ll pick it up.

Step by step September 15, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, conversation, marketing, strategy, work/life.
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7 comments
Step by step

Step by step

This is something I touched on in a much earlier post, but never really dug out and gave it the attention it deserved. I shared it with others over a beer, Julian gave it a good “shit-test”, and Scott Drummond even stole my thunder and quoted me on it. So, here it is, David Gillespie’s Marketing Mantra. Five points, 2 of which are mine, the other three are linked to their authors who you should absolutely take the time to read.

Try it on for size and let me know what you think.

1. Markets are conversations.

2. Conversations happen around social objects.

3. Social objects are products or services that are remarkable.

4. Remarkable is not just something special, but something worth being remarked about.

5. A great product, and even better customer service are the most remarkable things you can offer.

Image courtesy of Pensiero, with thanks to compfight.

Harsh words are spoken, promises are broken September 1, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, marketing.
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7 comments
Acta non verba

Acta non verba

Are we really marketing something 24/7? Ourselves? Our world view? The part of town we live in? The kind of computer we use?

Well…yes.

My mate Jules refers to it as social capital, and while in this series he talks about it with regards to a necklace, there’s really an element of it in everything we do.

Our workplaces have it as well, and often companies market to themselves and to their employees just as much as they market to potential customers. The transaction is the same, and goes like this:

  1. A statement is made.
  2. An action takes place.
  3. An observer (the employee, the potential customer, my friend at the pub) hears the words and observes the behaviour and then checks if it matches up.
  4. An opinion based on the correlation between words and deeds is formed.
  5. We rinse and repeat.

That’s marketing people, it isn’t rocket science. If your actions do not routinely match what comes out of your mouth, nobody will take you seriously. Marketing is a part of business strategy, a process of aligning a business so that its actions (which is the core function of the business) match up to the words (which is the core function of marketing).

Can someone please remind me why marketing and business development are still arranged at odds with each other?

Image courtesy of Rico Morán (note: not Rick Moranis), with thanks to compfight.

It wasn’t me August 25, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in business strategy, marketing.
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4 comments

Moving on from last week where I was thinking about marketing and strategy and the blurring lines between the two, and yesterday’s thoughts around the lack of imagination inherent in the day to day lives of most marketers, I’m thinking now maybe most marketers are thinking more about treading water and doing their best to attract the least amount of attention while only a handful (like me and mine) are interested in hanging our careers out to dry in the hope of actually doing something remarkable.

Julian Cole and I (who I imagine will wind up one day the old guys in The Muppets) were at breakfast the other day trying to figure out where the chips were going to fall in terms of the companies that drive social media forward.  Straight after that conversation I read a piece I can’t find now suggesting the likes of McKinsey et al would soon enough swoop in, grab the brightest in social media and whisk them into the ivory towers of business strategy and management consulting.

While I find the idea somewhat abhorrent, I don’t particularly like being in agency land much better; any industry that defines itself by stating what it is is a touch too old school; let’s state what we are not and then see where the road goes.

Image courtesy of photo.bugz, woth thanks to compfight.

One bourbon, one scotch, one beer August 23, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in branding, conversation, marketing, social media, strategy, web 2.0.
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4 comments

Julian Cole and I have been going back and forth a bit lately on social objects offline and some of that chatter is making its way online. He put up a vlog yesterday which Scott from Marketing Magazine chimed in on. Not wanting to be left out, I added my 2 cents. I hadn’t actually uploaded anything to YouTube before, brought back some of the initial terrors that come with blogging (the world will see this, oh no!).

Anyway, the videos are below. Watch them (Scott’s alone is priceless for the shots of his afro, little children may turn away in fear, you’ve been warned) and then leave a comment, or better yet, add your own response! While you’re at it, give Julian some stick for the video responses needing to be approved by the owner – Jules I thought the whole point of social media was acknowledging you couldn’t control the conversation right!?! 🙂

It’s hard to say you love someone (and it’s hard to say you don’t) July 17, 2008

Posted by David Gillespie in blogging, web 2.0, work/life.
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I am currently crunching out my latest column for Marketing Magazine’s…hmm…September issue I think, I tend to lose track. So my thoughts are preoccupied with telling the offline marketers how to get the conversation started while delivering a few home truths, we’ll see how that goes.

But I’m also grinning ear to ear as I type this, so much good work out there this morning, and rather than talk about one thing, I want to point you in a few directions.

1. Gaping Void – a recent post from Hugh Macleod which really hits home for me at the moment:

It’s good to be young and full of dreams. Dreams of one day doing something “insanely great”. Dreams of love, beauty, achievement and contribution. But understand they have a life of their own, and they’re not very good at following instructions. Love them, revere them, nurture them, respect them, but don’t ever become a slave to them. Otherwise you’ll kill them off prematurely, before they get the chance to come true.

2. My good friend Julian Cole has a social media framework which is a great piece of thinking, it should be read and pondered and then executed. No questions.

3. Lastly, because I’m in a goofy mood, XKCD. It is a regular web comic, often bizarre, rather amusing.

OK, back to the column. Happy Friday everyone, let’s go light on the marketing today and put a little bit extra into the stuff that really matters. Deal?

Deal.