Perfection and it’s price

I just finished watching ‘This is It’ – the Michael Jackson documentary. One of the thoughts that struck me while watching it was just how good he was. And the sheer amount of work he threw into the show.

To be good at something, you just need to be talented and have a little experience. To be great thought, that requires more than just talent. It requires dedication and preservation. It requires sacrifice.

They say it takes 10,000 hours to become an Expert at something. Well, how much more time is required to become a Master?

I get a half-dozen newszines sent to my mailbox every day. I have another dozen RSS feeds from blogs that I feel should be read. And of course I wander through dozens of forums. And I barely feel adequate at times. What does your marketing consultant do?

Social Marketing – the latest buzz word

I’ve recently been noticing more and more of a push for Social Marketing Managers or Co-ordinators or Experts. It’s an interesting, hot new area that promises a lot and has caught the buzz.

However, I wonder how many of the companies looking to hire in those areas have actually considered the implications of Social Marketing. Both for their marketing plan and their organisation.

Not all companies would benefit to the same extent through social marketing. It’s a difficult area of marketing to get right, and it requires a large amount of time and resources dedicated to it. More importantly, it might be easier and better to use more traditional marketing tactics – especially if the company currently isn’t using any.

In addition, social marketing requires the company to interact with the audience. this requires giving up a lot of control of their marketing message – and understanding that it’s no longer ‘their’ brand, but the market’s. This can mean a lot of bad publicity as well as good – so it’s not always to the companies best interest to engage in the conversation.

It’s true that consumers are changing, and becoming more proactive, discussing brands and actively influencing one another. However,taking part / actively doing social marketing is the difference between being the parent who gives the children a house to hold the party but stays in the study while the party goes on and one who joins the party. If you’re out there, you better be ready to party.

Pricing and margins

One of the many things I’ve noticed about having worked with E-commerce businesses is that it’s important to understand the effects of pricing on margins.

Pricing is a complicated business that switches from a strategic to tactical decisions on a regular basis. Price too high in relation to your competition and you could price yourself out of the market. Price too low and you could drive yourself out of business as you struggle to make up your profits on volume.

At the same time, deciding to run loss-leaders and sales is a very tactical decision that can have long-term strategic effects. If you have a large sale every month, you can drive your customers to ‘buy the sale’. At the same time, not selling your excess inventory can cause cash-flow problems.

Learning how to balance this often requires both experience in the industry as well as an understanding of your overall strategy. Sometimes all that you need is an understanding ear.