Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Doing some construction-type stuff at the moment.  Posts will be infrequent for about a week, sorry!

And now we're back rolling again.

Friday, August 20, 2010

How to be More Creative

A collection of tips from books, pop culture, mentors, classes, friends, etc.

  • turn off the radio.  let your mind free associate
  • take an unfamiliar route to work (using GPS is cheating)
  • think deeply, then stop
  • sit on your judgment
  • draw or write with your off hand
  • find yourself a "flow" state (sports, game, etc. - play)
  • use a daily routine
  • then break it
  • talk with others (anyone, even on the bus or train)
  • give yourself permission to make a mistake
  • create a mind map
  • go for a long drive.  don't plan it, just drive
  • talk some more
  • read up on something completely unrelated
  • write your first idea down.  don't filter yourself
  • now keep writing
  • go outside.  breathe

These are a few I've found from various sources.  Some in books, others in movies or tv shows.  Still others from professors or friends.  I've used all of these at one point or another and can honestly say that they work (at least for me).  What methods have you found to be helpful in your personal or professional life?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Scrabble: Buzzword Edition

Legend: next gen, green, crowdsourced, word-of-mouth, synergy, web 2.0, _(iphone,kindle)_ killer, guerilla, sustainable, value add, tail (as in long), buzz, return on investment

Some of my favourite marketing and technology buzzwords. :)
Bonus points if you spot the

Monday, August 16, 2010

ABC's of Marketing

Frontline (employees)
Job (lol)
Risky (sometimes)
It's complete!  I had to use the index of my marketing textbook for a few, and google suggestions for a couple as well.  This was more challenging than I thought it would be (I'm looking at you j,k,x and y)

Friday, August 13, 2010

Extraordinary Marketing Highlight

I wanted to wait a little longer to do this because of the blog transfer and all that but my hand has kind of been forced because such a great example popped up and I really want to touch on it.

That's actually a good lesson for marketers wanting to take advantage of new technology.  Like technology, marketing is a quickly changing field.  The area where these two collide is very turbulent.  The need for a quick response makes it absolutely essential that you be flexible.

And that's OK.  Remember, it's alright to make mistakes.  Being afraid to err is literally paralyzing.  Research shows it's actually a huge barriers towards innovation - something to keep in mind.

And The Award Goes To...
Naheed Nenshi is a mayoral candidate in the intense election for Dave Bronconnier's soon-to-be-vacated Calgary post.  There are 10+ contestants in this race so it's kind of analogous to duking it out for a saturated brand category except in this case the winner takes it all and the loser goes home to lick their wounds.
Differentiating yourself becomes extremely important in such a contested market.

 This is a highlight of somebody who seems to 'just get it'.  Nenshi has a plan (strategy), puts his mind to problem-solving (marketing) and gets the word out in innovative fashion (technology). 

I hate to gush, but really, the campaign is so well executed.  The central theme: "Better Ideas, Better Calgary" is awesome.  It reminds me of Gillette's The Best a Man Can Get - what do you say if you're a competitor?  We're Even Better?  The Bestest?  You're basically forced to change the channel which can be troublesome.

And honestly, if there is an area that has really fallen behind because of failure to take a stand, it has to be the politicians.  Fear of the consequences is understandable because nowhere else are the stakes so high.  There is no consolation prize; the loser simply fades into obscurity.  As a result we see this stagnation where politicians take wobbly positions that try (and fail) to satisfy everybody.

That's why I'm excited to Nenshi unafraid to articulate his vision and take a stand for what he believes in.  I'm just as happy to see him discuss a paradigm shift towards problem-solving and customer service at City Hall but the shining star in this extraordinary campaign has to be the iPhone app.  What a great way to embrace technology and keep your supporters updated.

Kudos to you Nenshi!  Calgary needs a strong leader with a clear vision.  If I could give one small piece of advice it would be to use your vision for Calgary as a missile aimed at the heart, not the mind.  Emotion - not facts and figures - will get people to the polls.  Best of luck in the campaign.

Note: I don't endorse, nor am I affiliated in Nenshi in any way.  My vote remains undecided until election day comes around.  As a marketer, however, I do respect a well-crafted campaign. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How to Make Great Products (DICE)

Don't you love when you find something so perfectly explained that it actually puts words to your own beliefs in a way that you could not?  In University, one of my prof's used the wonderful expression "born in the same cosmic egg" to describe this type of situation (he taught the History of Led Zeppelin class which may have had something to do with the expression).  In any case, it seems as though Guy Kawasaki and I may have been born in the same cosmic egg.

I've been reading The Macintosh Way lately.  Partly because I wanted to test drive the PDF support in iBooks (better than expected) and also because Kawasaki is currently giving it away for free to his Twitter followers.
As an added bonus, I got to try out Dropbox to transfer the file (and it's also pretty slick). 

Enough lead in.  Here's the excerpt that caught my attention (I've chopped some parts and changed some bits to condense for this post, but the idea remains).
A great product is based on insight and inspiration, and it is an accomplishment - particularly in a world that tolerates and buys mediocrity.  A great product is like pornography - you'll know it when you see it.  There are four characteristics on which to base your judgment: a great product is deep, indulgent, complete, and elegant (DICE).
  1. Deep - The product appeals to both passengers and sailors (as Jean-Louis would say).  ex. techies and non-techies
  2. Indulgent - feeling good (and guilty).  Great products are indulgent.  They make you feel delighted and a little guilty because they are overkill for the tasks at hand.  ex. a fountain pen for signing books, important documents, etc.
  3. Complete - support, enhancements, and infrastructure.  ex. technical support, a stream of enhancements and upgrades, and an infrastructure of power users, consultants and developers that can help a customer achieve maximum satisfaction.
  4. Elegant - ready and waiting.  Great products are elegant.  They have many features, but the features are tastefully and transparently implemented.  ex. MS Word is not elegant, VCR's are not.  The iPhone is elegant.
 To be completely honest, I'm surprised the acronym isn't thrown around more often in marketing circles (especially with our addiction to four-letter acronyms).

How many great products (brands) can you think of that satisfy these requirements?  Starbucks and Apple both clearly do, as well as many designer brands and fashion accessories.  Lululemon might be an obvious example in that category.  Luxury cars like the Infiniti work too but so does the much more affordable pint of Guinness.  I could keep going, but I'll save a few for your comments.

On Marketing Philosophy...

Picture this, you're a young, recently graduated student in the field of marketing.  You went to a respected business school and eventually found your calling.  The classes were stimulating, the people exciting and there was the opportunity to be creative and solve real problems.  There's just one problem.

It's that gargantuan stink cloud that's always floating overhead, polluting the environment and contaminating everything it touches.  It's there when you're attending lectures, in the halls, the coffee shop and even at the pub when you're kicking back a few with your friends.  And what is this rankness?  It's the abysmal, crummy, godawful, pathetic (look up bad in the Thesaurus) reputation of marketing and it seeps into everything this multi-billion dollar industry touches.

Where did we go wrong?  The textbook definition of "The Marketing Concept" is almost noble in it's unabashed calling to serve your customers.  Let's look at what a few of the few of the great business minds have to say about marketing:
Marketing is not only much broader than selling, it is not a specialized activity at all It encompasses the entire business. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of the final result, that is, from the customer's point of view. Concern and responsibility for marketing must therefore permeate all areas of the enterprise.  DRUCKER
The marketing concept is a philosophy, not a system of marketing or an organizational structure. It is founded on the belief that profitable sales and satisfactory returns on investment can only be achieved by identifying, anticipating and satisfying customer needs and desires.  BARWELL
A philosophy of doing business centered on satisfying the customer as your only hope of ever being profitable.  From a customer's point of view that sounds pretty damn good, doesn't it?  So why aren't businesses lining up to serve us, to strike up a conversation or to make our day a little easier?

How did we, as marketers, get away from this fundamental concept?  I think the answer lies in our recent shift to modern media-centric consumer culture.  Things like television and radio gave more power to large corporations at the expense of the customer who could be easily replaced.  Even the word "consumer" reflects this apparent change in values.  In short, we've become drunk with power. 

Of course there are organizations that have taken the philosophy of marketing to heart.  They're the ones using all their strength and power to improve the world in little ways, to solve their customer's problems and to make the world a better place.  There's more of them than you think.  And as technology continues to evolve it will radically change the relationship between company and customer.  It's an exciting time to be a true marketer (not a telemarketer, or one of the thousands of offshoots sullying our name).  

The Road (Movie Tie-in Edition 2009) (Vintage International)Marketing is not a process, it's a philosophy.  It's a way of structuring how you think about and approach [business] problems.  It's a philosophy that takes a lot of hard work, creative solutions and an unwavering commitment to do good for your customers.  This is why I say that you need to think like a marketer - as though your customer were your entire world.  And if you need some help to imagine what that might look like, read Cormac McCarthy's The Road for a glimpse at the true meaning of love.  With marketing, it's never "just business."

Monday, August 9, 2010

Transferring to Blogspot

I'm working on transferring The Extraordinary Marketing Blog to Blogspot (from for two fairly simple reasons:
  1. Flexibility. If you’re not self-hosted, Wordpress is really quite limiting (can’t touch the template). Blogspot has more options in this regard.
  2. Education. One of the initial reasons I chose to start a blog was to play with and become comfortable with social media. It just makes sense that I should experiment with other platform's.
This page should be up and running like a finely tuned machine by the end of the week (if not earlier). In the meantime, please be patient as I tinker around.

Lastly, if you’ve made this transfer before, let me know how it went in the comments. I’m looking into importing the old posts but it seems most people go the other way (because they move to self-hosting) so if you have a WordPress –> Blogger solution I’m dying to hear how you did it.
Otherwise I might simply start anew. The old posts will be stay over on Wordpress and I'll borrow ideas from the good ones on days when the creative muse remains silent.

I'm really excited for this move! I think it will be good for the blog and lead to better content. Just hold tight during the groundswells and gravitational shifts.

Things will be back to normal before you know it and soon this minor hiccup will be nothing more than a half remembered dream. :)

Hello, World!