Rent or Own?

This one of my favorite comedy bits by comedian, Pat Brice, who unfortunately passed away a couple years ago.  It came to mind today when I was considering the differences between a word-of-mouth and traditional, media driven strategy.

Do you rent or do you own your marketing?

A traditional, media driven strategy is like renting.  Smaller upfront investment and less risky.  If something goes wrong, you call the landlord and they fix it.  But the problem is that you never own it.  You gotta keep paying “rent” (buying media) to stay in the game.

But a word-of-mouth strategy is a lot like buying and owning a home.  It’s bigger upfront investment and if something goes wrong, you own it and have to fix it.  But over time, you build equity in your home and your investment pays off.  Word-of-mouth is very similar.  Over time, the consumers start talking about your brand and you don’t have to keep paying rent to maintain awareness and improve image.

The big question is whether you have the patience for that investment to pay off.

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The Art of Zigging

“We need to ZIG when they ZAG!”

I hate that phrase.  It’s a total over-simplification of differentiating your brand from the competition.  What does it really mean anyway?  Let’s do the opposite of what everyone else is doing?  If so, that’s stupid.

Isn’t more important to:

  • differentiate your brand in a compelling way?
  • develop set of brand values and a purpose that guides everything you do?
  • have more speed to market than your competition?
  • do something that is different AND interesting?
  • connect with consumers?
  • make an impact?

It’s ok to zig/something different, just have some rationale and strategy behind it.

Consumer Funded Music the Next Big Thing?

I was listening to an NPR podcast and they profiled Jill Sobule’s new record that was funded by fans and consumers.  Jill raised $75,000 from her fans and one person actually paid $10,000 to sing on a track.

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Pretty cool concept.  It’s kind of like an entertainment version of Kiva.  It’s a perfect solution for all of those non-mainstream musicians who are getting killed on declining record sales and need to play live shows and find non-traditional revenue.  Of course you have to record new music to stay relevant and that’s not cheap.

Of course all of this has me wondering how it applies to marketing brands and starting businesses.  I’m still piecing that together in my mind.  Any thoughts/ideas from anyone out there?

Big Ideas and Big Decisions in One Minute

I’m not a regular viewer of The Big Idea on CNBC, but I caught some of Donny Deutsch’s show tonight and I really like his “One Minute to Millions” segment.  Here’s how it worked:

They do a short, 1-2 minute segment previewing new product.  In this case it was a scooter/bike hybrid called a “Kickbike”.

Picture 5

One-by-one, Donny and his two person panel (which happened to be Richard Simmons! and the publisher of Men’s Health magazine) spent one minute on the product innovator’s strategy in the following categories:

  • Concept
  • Packaging
  • Sales Channel(s)
  • Target Audience
  • Pricing

One minute per category! Total time for the segment was eight minutes and they pretty much hammered it out in that time.  This is a bit of an exaggeration and I’m sure there was some preparation involved, but it was a good argument against over thinking things and just getting to the point.

Push Tactics = Crack

The more I think about PUSH and PULL tactics, the more PUSH looks like Crack. As in Rock, Bones, Cloud 9, Crunch n’ Munch, Devil Smoke, Kryptonite.

Think about it, PUSH tactics are really addictive and give you a short-term buzz with a ton of side effects.

  • A well executed PUSH program results in a sales spike. (the high)
  • The success of a PUSH program spreads through the company fast. (the pushers)
  • A successful PUSH program lead to it being adopted as a “best practice.” (psychological addiction)
  • The more PUSH programming that is implemented, the less ROI it delivers, but you need it to deliver numbers. (physical addiction)
  • Too many PUSH programs train consumers to expect price reductions. (admitting the problem)
  • Strategy shifts to building consumer loyalty. (rehab)

I am the Director of Marketing at Flying Dog Brewery. This is my personal blog and these are my personal opinions.