why guitar hero rules

Heidi Klum rocking out to Guitar Hero:

Now Heidi is just loving it, going crazy on the plastic guitar pretending she’s Tom Cruise from Risky Business. She probably can’t actually play a real guitar, but that doesn’t matter.  This is the closest she can get to that feeling. And that’s what made Guitar Hero and Rock Band so popular and addictive. People want technology that transports them deeper inside the things they love. How can you leverage technology to do the same in your business? So your customers can also join in the fun. But also do so in a way without the hassle of being in a rok’n’rol band, or being GM of professional sports team (fantasy sports) or being a shoe designer (NikeiD) ?

google vs yellow pages

This is probably a no-brainer to people in there 20’s, but watch this quick video survey done in Melbourne – questioning the merits of Yellow Pages:

Now I ask you… Why do all these companies still pay for advertising when NO ONE IS READING IT? Because it’s business as usual. Its worked for the past 30 years, and to suddenly stop it would mean to be not be part of the “club”. Yet all these people in this random video survey, young and old, are using google to find something, and they usually only look at the 1st page.

I wonder how long it will take until they phase yellow pages out altogether? Bill Gates famous quote in 2007:

“These things always take time, but Yellow Page usage amongst people in their, say, below 50, will drop to zero, near zero over the next five years.”

You may argue Bill Gates doesn’t have crystal ball by listing examples of when he was wrong before. Okay fine.  Someone is obviously still reading it. Perhaps a more engaged audience  is checking the add, and instead of calling the number, they’re copying the company url in there browser. Which gets me to ask, how do you measure that? “Half my advertising is wasted, but I don’t know which half.” The monopoly Yellow Pages used to have is over.

Online vs print – what to do in the short term?

If your a small business you should budget for both.  But you have to start  learning how google works. Its not about selling a scarce resource anymore – which is how print works. Information isn’t scarce online, its everywhere! Google sells peoples intentions, there expressed desires – and this is growing fast. Free information is the future. It’s more accessible and is the platform the next generation is most comfortable with.


Move from Abundance

Tyler Durdens words of wisdom:

First of all, every minute of this movie has something to teach you, so please go and watch it if you haven’t already. Its based on the novel of the same name, Fight Club.

Now the message? Anti-consumerism! No that isn’t exactly what I’m addressing. But what I can safely say is just about any kind of material good is now available in about any place in North America. Go to any climate controlled shopping centre and you will find entire sections of the mall devoted to home theater equipment, or 30 varieties of cell phones, or 14 different doggie biscuits. You want it? you got it!

And for some reason we’ve gotten so used to this that it doesn’t seem so remarkable anymore. If you told about this world to your grandparents back in the day they would be awestruck. They lived in a world of scarcity, but changes in modern life has resulted in a world of abundance.

Daniel Pink discusses this issue in his book —- A Whole New Mind.

In one of his countless examples he notes that we have so much stuff that an entire industry has been created to cater to this “extra stuff”. Self storage has become a 17 billion annual industry in the US! What does this all mean?

In pop culture, in movies and television shows like Heroes, there is this overwhelming trend of people needing transcendance and meaning in there lives. Were getting richer, better standard of living, but  hasn’t increased our happiness. Exotic practices such as yoga and meditation once thought as very niche subjects in North America have now gone completely main stream.

What does this mean for marketing? This spiritual war that Tyler Durden addresses – this constant consumerism – isn’t going to satisfy the need for meaning. We now desire more. This abundance has resulted in push for more beauty and meaning in the products we buy and companies need to know this to continue.  Its not enough anymore to create a functional product.

Recently I bought a box of Maynards candy and each box bought  goes toward a brick in constructing a school in Africa. I love it!  Not only am I rotting my teeth but its helping people improve there lives. Now I bought the box of candy cos I love the candy, but when I read that its going towards something greater that made me feel good.   A company that promotes this form of social entrepreneurship creates a story that there consumers will share with one another.

I want to purchase shoes from TOMS one day, not only because they make quality shoes, but because the company has meaning. And isn’t this an idea thats worth spreading? In a world of material plenty, we now have more significant desires. Companies who know this will have a huge advantage.

a lesson from cialdini

Ali&Beatles_large
Kings of influence: Muhammad Ali and The Beatles

Robert Cialdini speaks about Commitment and Consistency in his book Influence: The Power of Persuasion.

There’s a story there about a study conducted on people placing bets at the horse racing track. People were interviewed about their chances on winning – both immediately before, and immediately after placing a bet.

What the researchers found was immediately after they placed their bet, people were more confident in their chances of winning – even though nothing about the race itself had changed.

Why? Because they made the initial commitment. People will go to great lengths to behave consistently with previous actions they have taken.

So whats the practical use of this?  Well ask clients for their feedback on their previous purchase and as soon as possible. This is when customers are most committed to their decision, and it’s the easiest way to get ten star testimonials. Ask while its still fresh in the mind – when they remember how good it felt to get the product from you. Not a few months later when they have possibly forgotten about your product. Booyah.

Rogers doesn’t get it

I’ve recently came to the realization that my 3 year contract with Rogers (Canadian Wireless company) has come to an end. Now I can finally get an Iphone! However my happiness lasted about 10 seconds when I realized the lack of options for us Canadian Iphone lovers. Were getting ripped off big time people. Check out the below chart, courtesy of Andy Peatling.

iphone3gcosts21

The costs are based on Iphone 3G in 2008, so there are some adjustments for the 3GS, but it remains roughly the same – obscene prices. I mean only 400 mb data? THAT is the WHOLE POINT OF GETTING THE IPHONE – to use the amazing online apps!!! Feel like banging my head in mirth.

I also a big fan of shoddy service. Why didn’t they inform me my contract was over back in July of this year? Why should they I suppose. They can do whatever they want in Canada. Rogers has exclusive rights for the Iphone and thus have been maximizing revenues off Canadians the past 2 years. However, now there is upcoming competition with Telus and Bell getting rights to sell the Iphone.

What Rogers doesn’t get is users are less likely to switch if the customer service is great and if the prices are reasonable. With the economic slowdown they could have easily secured there market share by not charging such high prices and lack of service. Too late now Rog. As soon as Bell and Telus or any future competitor comes out with a better plan – sayonara.


Being Punk Rock

Don’t have to do it right. You can do it wrong. It just matters if you got something to say. That is the mantra of punk rock. This also seems to be the only way to survive in our over crowded marketplace.  Thats how Gary Vaynerchuk did it! Just in case you have been living under a rock for the past 2 years (I only heard of him about 2 weeks ago to be fair), he has become the biggest wine expert in the world through his video blog site: winelibrary.tv

His approach is that in todays online world it is now possible to make a living following your passions. What most comes across in his discussion is his realness. He knows everything there is to know about wine, but could only display his love for wine through his own colourful language. I love how he has been able to do this!! I love his no bullshit, honest approach to business. This guy isn’t suave and elegant like my initial perception of what an wine expert is. He’s loud, over the top and hilarious. And he can’t change that, because that just how he is.  That is what has made him so successful. He knows what it takes to win, out working everyone and also having fun at the same time.

This is his keynote speech that he gave last year at Web 2.0 conference talking about building a reputation. Honestly watch this to not only laugh your face off, but also because he is punk rock. He’s a prime example of how the barriers of entry to creation have been lowered. It’s inspiring. I wonder if he’s heard of Johnny Rotten.