Archive for the ‘home’ tag
A guest post by Jared Fabac of Idea Bright Marketing.
Our culture no longer has patience for commercials. We fast-forward through them. We do anything we can to avoid them. We endure them only when we have to.
That same mentality is taking place whenever a sales message is presented. We are slightly distrustful of what a company has to say about itself, whether the message reaches us through a traditional salesperson, traditional media, or even online media.
The Web has created in us an expectation to be able to evaluate a sales message. Somebody says to us, “We have great stuff.” You say nothing to them in return but make a mental note of “We’ll see…” And we then storm the search engines to avail ourselves to the vast amount of information available to us to review those claims. When you are pouring your heart into how much your product will do for your clients, they are reacting with the same apprehension. You are subtly saying, “Our stuff is cool,” and prospects are subtly saying, “I don’t trust you yet.”
Count Your Blessings… and Your Curses
Marketing on the Web is blessing and curse. It is a blessing because of the tremendous reach we have in communicating our message; it is a curse in that the mentality of a prospect is to hold up the process buying process until they have had time to review your claims. If there was ever any emotive function in the buying process, it is dissipating as the Internet evolves. Prospects and clients want the entire truth—and they want it to be verified. They neither need nor want hype.
All in How You Look at It
Savvy companies and marketers can use the both the Web and customers’ desire for verification to their advantage by engaging in content marketing. Content marketing can be a subjective term, but in its simplest definition, content marketing is making facts about your products available and discoverable to lead prospects into your marketing funnel. Content marketing takes advantage of an aspect of human nature that makes us more trusting to solutions that we discover ourselves over those that are presented to us.
What Makes Content Marketing So Effective
What makes content marketing so effective is that it uses Internet channels, such as the search engines, video marketing, and social media, to provide solutions to problems that exist in the everyday lives of prospects. Content marketers make solutions available for clients and prospects to find. Of course, marketers who do content marketing well conduct research on where those problems are being discussed and pondered.
Are these problems being discussed in an industry-related forum? Are they being discussed in a social media group on Facebook or LinkedIn? Are they being queried on search engines (such as Google and Bing) or video-sharing sites like YouTube? A needed skill in content marketing is finding out what the key questions are and where they are being asked.
The Home Improvement Companies Get It
Home improvement companies, such as Lowes and Home Depot, are light years ahead of other industries in doing this. A simple Internet search for problems, such as “how to fix a leaky faucet,” will present to searchers myriad instructional videos on how a customer can undertake that venture.
A careful screening of the videos provides a couple of clues on the nature of content marketing.
- The basis for the video is solving a problem—not to selling their products.
- The companies (Lowes and Home Depot) are transparent in their presentation. They are not holding themselves out as the only place to solve the problem.
The home improvement companies have successfully mapped the pain points of their target customers. They have provided information to help them solve perplexing issues—instead of selling them on how wonderful their store is. Helpful information is strategically placed; people who have problems can find solutions. The information is formatted, so it can be shared easily online.
When considering content marketing, ask yourself the following questions.
- Is there a better way to build a brand than to truly help a prospect—instead to selling them on how helpful you are?
- Can you associate your brand or your company as a solution-oriented partner at the point at which a prospect’s problems are most mystifying to them?
- Can you use the power of the Internet to be present when the most common problems are being discussed? (If you can, you can overcome the human element of a prospect to distrust you when you need state your call to action for them to buy. You can also build stronger relationships for the longer term.)
Companies can focus on marketing buzzwords, such as SEO, social media, and inbound marketing, and all those are necessary to undertake. It is pretty easy to get a YouTube channel, a Facebook Fan page or even to pay someone to make you visible in the search engines. But are you willing to use these channels to be customer-oriented before a sale is made? Are you willing to use those channels to position yourself as a problem solver? If you are, you will successfully embrace all the power that the Internet has to help you to market your business.
Jared Fabac is the director of Strategy at Idea Bright Marketing, an industrial marketing agency focusing primarily on Web-based strategy.
(Photo courtesy of Bigstock: Business Colleagues)
Sonic bug repellants, whether they’re supposed to ward of mosquitoes from your backyard BBQ or roaches and ants from inside your home, are largely based on junk science and wishful thinking, according to a Texas A&M entomologist who’s spent years studying the products. You’re better off keeping your money in your pocket, or just buying pest repellent that actually works. More »
The new social utility that serial entrepreneur Dalton Caldwell started in response to being, in his words, screwed by Facebook, is live. App.net, which Caldwell ran a Kickstarter-ish campaign to fund, blew through its $500,000 goal and currently sits at $595,150.
And counting, with 31 hours left.
Caldwell announced the success on his own site, taking pains to state that third-party verification of the funding process will follow. App.net’s home page has the current results: 8,894 backers who contributed the almost $600,000, including 58 who signed up for the Pro tier at $1000, which includes developer access, phone support, and a personal meeting with Caldwell.
App.net is a different kind of social platform, as Caldwell is fond of saying. Users can’t join for free; they pay $50/year for the privilege. Like Twitter, users post status updates and follow friends and contacts. But they get a generous 256 characters instead of Twitter’s more parsimonious 140. And the social network itself, the place where all the connection happens, is not the point. Rather, the point is services built on top of the system.
Oh, and there’s no advertising.
In other words, if you remember that Mark Zuckerberg used to talk about Facebook as a “social utility,” Caldwell is really serious about simply providing electricity, or water, or maybe, more aptly, a dial tone. Most of the cool stuff with bells and whistles and cute puppies in pink will come from the apps that developers build on top of the infrastructure.
Hence the name: App.net. Not very sexy, not very friendly, and not something that reeks of Next Cool Thing for Consumers, exactly. But very developer-friendly, and very protective of consumer/user rights.
Personally, I think the odds are high that App.net will be the next Diaspora. But it also has a good chance of being the exclusive private social network for the digerati.
Image credit: Harris Shiffman/ShutterStock
- What do you do to make lunch at work healthy, quick, and easy?
- What’s the best weapon to protect yourself with during a home invasion besides a real firearm that requires a permit?
- Any indoor painting tips & tricks from those who do it often/have done it recently?
- Has anyone run into any quirks with Google 2 step authentication on an iDevice?
- Does anyone know if the Surface will be available through third-party sellers or only through Microsoft?
- What browsers are you using with OS X Mountain Lion?
- My iPhone 4 has a spiderweb crack cover one-quarter of the back. How much will this affect what I can sell it for when I upgrade in October?
- Anybody have any experience stripping DRM off of content purchased from iTunes on a Mac?
- When I download a new app on both my iPhone 4s and New iPad the app goes to the next page even though I have plenty of spaces left. How can I fix this?
- Does anyone have a good browser extension for Firefox or Chrome to make them look simpler without huge adds and colorful text?
If you’re the type of person who never takes the time to chop up vegetables but know you need to start cooking at home consider going to a salad bar and only filling your salad container with mushrooms, diced ham, cheeses, and other ingredients that would work well in omelets, quesadillas, and other foods. More »
Keeping things spicy in the bedroom can be tricky. Maybe you exhausted all your tricks early on in the game, or perhaps the sheer exhaustion that comes with balancing kids, a home and your work has taken its toll. But fear not, lovers of the world, for a new startup has entered the scene that may be the answer to your sexy prayers.
It’s called Dejamor, and it originally started out as an app. But once founder Rodrigo Fuentes realized that the engagement and input required with an app was only adding work to people's lives, he realized a subscription service was a better fit. Dejamor sends you a box every month with all the ingredients for a special, romantic moment with your significant other, and instructions to make sure you don't screw it up. It's as simple as that.
Think Boinkbox, but classier. And for couples.
When you receive your package, you'll see a box marked "His Eyes Only," and a box marked "Her Eyes Only." (If you're in a same sex relationship, obviously they both say His or Her.)
The starter His box contains bubble bath, a package full of rose petals, and a piece of paper with a clear canister. The instructions tell you to wake up earlier than your girlfriend, wife, whatever, and sprinkle rose petals in a path to the bathroom, where you've run a bubble bath and let a note (a message in a bottle, if you will) float along the top in that canister. Then start making her breakfast.
The lady's box is a bit different. It comes with a lace sash, with which you're told to tie up your man and let him undress you with his teeth. It's not entirely original, for either party, but the results should be pretty phenomenal.
The next month, you'll both get another surprise. Fuentes tells me that Dejamor will continue to learn more about you as you give feedback for each box, and each month should only get better and better.
Going to the beach for the day is great, but dealing with the inevitable sand collection you bring home can be a pain. DIY crafting weblog Between the Lines offers a design for a mesh beach bag from window screen material that will last nearly forever and also greatly reduces the amount of sand you track home from the beach. More »
Your home is a place you want to keep secure, but getting all the high-end security gadgets and services available to help you do that is a pricey endeavor. This weekend, roll your own DIY security system. It’s more fun and it’ll save you some money. More »
Turning around a ship as big as Yahoo is going to take a long time, but new CEO Marissa Mayer is already off to a good start. (See my commentary on CNBC from yesterday.)
Although her moves so far are largely symbolic — removing the company’s stock price from the home page of the company’s intranet, making meals free, and introducing weekly meetings with leadership — symbolism is important. Tiny details add up to a company’s culture and provide indicators to both insiders and outsiders about what’s important to a company.
Mayer’s moves indicate a desire to be a company that wants to be collaborative and innovative, that values the time of its employees.
The first moves an executive makes provide important insight. When NBC’s Randy Falco became CEO of Aol, one of the first things he did was install physical barriers with restricted access keycards to keep rank-and-file employees away from the executive suite. He also redirected the company’s corporate shuttle that flew between New York and Washington D.C. to fly to and from an airport closer to his house. The message was clear: I’m more important than you.
No one is going to join Yahoo because it offers free lunch. But some might choose not to go if it didn’t. It’s not because of the economic value of lunch, it’s because of what charging for lunch represents. It means that the bean counters are in charge. For a rapidly growing tech company, the cost of offering meals to employees should be so insignificant relative to the value that they create that it never even merits discussion at the management level. (Square gets a free pass here because the point of charging for lunch is not the money, it’s about ensuring that employees experience what they create.) It should also ease the transition for Googlers who decide to defect.
I worked at Tellme shortly after it was acquired by Microsoft. Tellme had a history of offering the most delicious cookies I’ve ever eaten. One day an email came down from Microsoft’s food services that the Tellme cookies were more expensive than the cookies that Microsoft could get from the suppliers they used for the Silicon Valley campus. We could either choose to get the free Microsoft cookies or pay a small amount to cover the cookie gap. This started many days of discussions on internal listservs, including a poem that talked about how Microsoft was taking away our buttery goodness because of its generous health plan. In the end, an anonymous Tellme exec covered the difference. But it was a clear sign the culture was changing.
When I visit companies, I notice little details. I notice whether they charge for coffee. I notice whether the CEO sits on the floor with employees or is secluded in a far-removed office. I notice that PayPal doesn’t seem to use PayPal software at its cafe.
I rarely call out such details. But they do help form my overall impression of a company.
Removing the stock price from the internal home page is even more significant. I’ve long said that you can’t innovate when you’re focused on quarterly returns. The best innovation — think iPad and iPhone — take many quarters of expenses before they show any return. Yahoo employees need to be focused on building great products, not each tick. If Mayer’s going to replace it with anything, I recommend load time of Yahoo pages. They just feel much slower than Google.
Yahoo still has a lot of assets. About three-quarters of the U.S. Internet audience visits Yahoo sites at least once a month, according to comScore. Only Google and Microsoft do better on this metric. (Facebook has slightly fewer users, but they spend much more time on the site.)
Yahoo has some great properties. Yahoo Finance is still one of the best finance sites. (Nearly 3 months after Facebook’s IPO, Google Finance still has its market cap wrong.) Fantasy football remains a major draw. I’m a big fan of IntoNow, which Yahoo acquired earlier this year. Although few people use that product, it’s an innovative entry into a nascent space. And it might not be too late to resuscitate Flickr.
Mayer does have one challenge that Page at Google and Zuckerberg at Facebook don’t have: She doesn’t have supervoting control of Yahoo. Page and Zuck can, if they choose, ignore Wall Street. Yahoo still has to deal with activist shareholders.
But maybe, after the previous administrations, those shareholders will realize that Yaho! can’t cut its way (Bartz) or troll its way (Thompson) to success. Yahoo’s success will come from product and innovation. And I can’t think of a better person to get the company on that track than Mayer.
Filed under: VentureBeat
Glass is a godsend, allowing us to experience the outdoors without being exposed to the elements. But the material has one major pitfall: glass stretches out sunlight and turns it into heat. You know that if you’ve ever been stuck in a parked car exposed to direct sunlight. You also know it if you’ve got a greenhouse or glass room in your home. If that’s the case, you may want to look into keeping your glass enclosure cool. The DIY experts at Stack Exchange can help. More »