Sunday, August 28, 2011

Just looked up "Doctor of Marketing". It's a business degree... It also seems to be a specialization of Business Administration in many universities. Shouldn't it be a specialization of psychology? Or, in the case of multi-level marketing, criminal psychology.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Politically Insensitive

Dogs like pork, so why not use the best source?

Look for a personalized gift at Zazzle.

Politics and Marketing: The T-shirt

Marketing of politics is very messy, but profitable. You may not have thought about this, but our healthcare of millions of kids could have been funded if we would force politicians and any group supporting them and any thing else politically pushing an issue to cough up half of the money they spend to donate to a health fund for the uninsured.

Good causes aside, what this really means is that there is a lot of silly money in politics. Don't you want some? I think it is time to print some business cards and write a new resume.

Look for a personalized gift at Zazzle.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Promoting Your Book

Marketing books is a very strange thing.

Today I received a message from a company that wants to help me promote one of my books. This company promises an awful lot and thats even before they know anything about my book!

You see, this company mentioned me and my book by name. That sounds like they really understand me. I felt they had a lot to offer at that point. Funny thing. This is not true at all.

My book Jxta: Java P2P Programming is old, as in 1992 or 8 years old, is well, old! That is very old for a technology book. That aside, it is no Catcher In The Rye. You need to promote a lot to get such a book onto the New York Times best seller list.

Book Whirl is the company. The fellow that sent me the request to promote my book was the very observant Ace Caldwell. Old Ace offered to promote my book to ten million people! Wow!

Really, I'd rather not. If you can imagine, psychopaths are in the world, you get a bucketful when you push thing to ten million people. Do they filter the list first? Do you have to pass a test? Better yet, can they read technical manuals?

The real problem here is value. How much does twenty million eyes cost (assuming no pirates or victims of eye poking Larry, Curly, Moe or in a pinch, Shemp accidents). I asked and the retail price is about $3,000. Of course there are discounts, special deals, etc. Is this a great deal? Well, it would have been if the guy had looked at the publication date :o)

I took a 'whirl' around their site. Not too bad. I don't think they attracting the big name authors. At least I never heard of them before. That is good and bad. I can't imagine Steven King is a client, yet they have not done well enough that Steven King is their client or any other author seems like an up and coming Steven King. Chicken and egg, but no chicken and lots of eggs so far.

I might use their product. You never know. I have several new books and this could be worth the investment.

The message for marketing though is what occurred. They send an email that mentioned my book. My first thought was that they knew me and that is huge toward making a sale. The mistake is that they didn't really know me and I noticed. That's bad. Just sophisticated targeted spam. I was lured in, but they didn't keep my attention. I did look at it long enough that it might be a resource, but not really a potential customer because that book is not worth selling because the information has expired.

The lesson? You have the data, use it! Knowing the customer and showing you know the customer will make the sale. If they had started with mentioning the age of the printing, I'd be ready to jump on this for the next book. It is all how you manage the customer and your information.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Tribe of Fear - Persuasion and feeding time at the zoo

Why am I always talking about persuasion and influence? What does it have to do with the zoo?

I have never worked at a zoo. But there are a lot of animals in the zoo we call business. The first time I decided to go down this path of persuasion was my first attempt at selling an idea to a couple of wild engineering critters at Northrop.

I lost a bid to replace about a million dollars of work with a 75 cent part. I was shot down hard by a couple of good 'o boy, about to retire, last hurrah engineers that were in charge of a 10 million dollar project to create a piece of test hardware to test the the test hardware of the guidance system of the MX (Peacekeeper) Missile. Yep you heard it right, a tester for the tester of a mulit-megaton, death from the sky, firecracker.

How could I fail? It was 75 cents verses a lot of money. I worked for 6 months to write software verses 75 cents (well really about $150 after labor costs). How can you loose an argument like that? But I lost.

I was not just humbled by it, I was slammed to the ground with little understanding of why. The 'why not' was even sillier. Quite simply there was no real counter argument worth writing about. Just a dismissive attitude. I was selling to people unwilling to save a million bucks at the cost of a question to the accuracy of their design.

Nothing better than failure to learn how to do it right the second time. That was the day I decided that no idea can stand on its own. You must sell ideas:

o Find the reason from the customer's viewpoint as to why they need to accept your idea.
o You can sell all day long, but the buyer has to want to buy.
o Sell need, desire, a reason, motivation, and a cause.
o Find the reasons for change, make it easy to change, and don't pull or push, use honey to attract the bees.
o Help the process with influence techniques like reciprocity, authority, liking, scarcity, exclusivity, etc.

Persuade! Influence!

Persuasion is not just what you say, but the context. To sell that 75 cent part successfully, I needed to understand that the engineers would have been embarrassed to no end by my wet behind the ears and thus unencumbered creative thinking. Why is it so bad? Because if they failed to see a million dollar mistake, then they have made a really big get-you-fired mistake.

Where there is one mistake, there may be more. Where there is a mistake, there is a reason to loose your job. This is basic stuff. No competence, no job, no food, no house. People and lions get all uppity and irrational when you get between them and their food.

I'd be doing worse than stealing their food in this case. These guys were close to retirement. I was stealing their early retirement to green pastures.

I should not have sold my idea as my idea or even mention the savings. It had to be their idea. It had to be based on other motivations. It had to be their win. It had to be a reason for the boss to put more food on their table. All the persuasion I could muster would just bounce off without defusing even the tiny notion of a mistake.

Good book to read on this area: Dinosaur Brains: Dealing with All THOSE Impossible People at Work. The premiss of the book is that small bit of brain associated with primal wants, needs, and desires is alive and kicking in the modern brain.

The workplace is filled with over-stressed animals. Every day you can see the grim nature of fight or flight as territory is defended and ideas and blame substitute for contributions to the heard.

Primal actions are destructive. Most of us just see anger and irrational behavior rather than the true motivators. You know it when you see it. Pull out the wild animal guidebook or watch the Discovery Channel to understand the key indicators.

For the record, before I could learn all of this great wisdom, I also submitted a design that would have saved about 8 million on the same project. I was again shot down in flames.

Funny though, the Air Force a couple years later said to loose 8 million in costs or cancel the project. Funny how the new design looked just like my unsavory proposal.

No reason to gloat over my design wining out in the end. The proposal was submitted two years before and could have saved even more of our tax dollars in a very over budget project.

Back to leading the tribe. Irrationality is everywhere. It usually comes from a fear of loosing food and shelter or membership in the tribe. Persuasion and influence is just as important to a sale as it is to keeping the tribe healthy. Do you want your tribe to make million dollar mistakes because they are being territorial animals acting on instinct rather than rational thought?

It might be time to teach your people how to set the animalistic fears and motivations aside. Especially in this economy. Imagine how dysfunctional the world is starting to get as people fear for their jobs.

I'll talk about removing fear in my next post. For now, what do you think, right now? Have you experience the animals in the workplace? Is it getting worse when the market dips? Let us know by posting a comment below.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

If I could only read your mind... oh yeah, I can!

It is amazing how the internet works. I wrote an article for a software magazine a few years ago about using magic and mentalism to help create better software. Funny though that the magazine either does not exist or does not have a googlable index so the only reference from the Googleplex was this:
Magic Is Golden - Pulling Rabbits Out of Hats (Software and Magic).

Follow the link and take a look. It is pretty good stuff and could open your mind to a new way to think about human/software interactions or even the harder human/human interactions.

The gist of it all is this: Use the information you have to both impress that you know something and further use the information to make accurate predictions about the demographics and psychographics of your coworkers/customers/tribe.

One of the important rules of persuasion is 'Liking' and found in the following book:Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. The point here is that a person that finds common ground is more apt to do a deal with you. By using mentalism techniques you can find common ground that you can leverage opportunities.

Use the clues. Don't just sit in your customer's office! Look around. Find the sports, art, books, etc. Find common ground, even if it is common ground between your customer and another customer of yours. Just knowing someone like your customer helps you seem likable because of the common thread in your shared social network.

Caildini also looks at authority as persuasion. A simple lab coat can make people do things they would never do for anyone else. you can use mentalism techniques to be the knowing doctor. This is wacky simple. Look at many drug ads. Old=disease. How fortunate that they know and understand my problem!

But Cialdini also talks about the dishonest persuader. If you trick simply to gain advantage, the lack of honest persuasion causes issues later on. The key is to truly use a technique to to help the target of persuasion. If you simply trick, then you don't get repeat business. This is clearly seen with reciprocity (exchange of gifts). The Hari Krishna are a great example where they would give an unexpectant rube a flower which caused a reaction to give a donation. But the ploy failed as there was no real benefit and people learned to avoid the followers. The Hari Krishna are now banned from many places mainly because of their less than honest techniques. Of course many of you reading this don't have any idea what a Krishna is and that is in large part their own doing causing society to bad a practice and thus also limiting the exposure so much that it is no longer as widely known.

Here in Bangkok (I am here 6 months out of the year) we have horribly disfigured beggars. Though there is a travesty for these poor people, they are placed by criminal gangs that reap the donations. The result is that these poor people that would have normally eked out a living are now mostly ignored. On the other hand the Buddhist temples bring in vast sums of money because their spending of the money is usually transparent. The reciprocity is in the form of both offerings and luck/fortunes and other spiritual services. The people are happy to pay for the spiritual piece of mind and it pales in comparison to the offering plate at your local church.

Back to mentalism, a less spiritual miracle of observation, statistics, choice words, and a little prestidigitation. Be honest, surprising, and appear to know things that others do not. This will help you go far if you do so honestly with the benefit of your friends, family, and tribe clearly a goal.

What is a the most important part of the tribe beyond the leader? Shaman or witch doctor and in some cases they are the leader as well.