How Success is Misunderstood

September 29, 2010

How do you define success? Number of leads generated? Amount of sales or deals closed? If you answered “it depends”, then you’re thinking smart. Success can be based on a number of different factors and it also varies based on who you talk to, after all, we all have different objectives (personal and professional).

Now let’s go one step further. If you see another company being successful (however you define success) and you try to apply the same method, can you guarantee you will also achieve success? If you said “it depends”, you just got yourself an extra point! As marketers we all know it’s not that simple. Questions about what the target market is, what industry are you talking about, and such are the first things that come to mind. A method of selling hot-dog on the street can be used to sell software, but I wouldn’t follow it by the letter.

That’s why it still amazes me that discussions about following a formula for success often get stuck in how you define “success” instead of discussing the differences between target markets. If you are a blogger and your readers are software entrepreneurs, you can’t really expect that the bag of tricks used to attract social media consultants will work the same way. A B2B company applying tactics used by B2C companies can be very successful but only after some necessary translation is done.

How do YOU define success and do you have a special formula?


Web Prototyping With PowerPoint

September 27, 2010

Prototyping with PowerpointWebsite re-designs are a common project on the hands of marketers at companies of all sizes. From quick home page makeovers to complete re-design and re-branding,there’s a lot of communication between the marketing team and web developers and designers, a process that involves lots of meetings, the developers spending hours on photoshop mockups that don’t look like what you asked, and a lot of scribbling on paper and on whiteboards.

How can we improve this process? The answer may lie in a tool most people already have… MS PowerPoint!

PowerPoint Prototypes

What I’ve successfully done in the past to help the communication between the marketing team and the designers is to use PowerPoint as a way to visually communicate with the how the new design and functionality will work. Instead of waiting for the designer to come up with a Photoshop or HTML mockup of something that doesn’t resemble what I asked for, the PowerPoint slide can serve as a guideline and visual discussion tool for everyone involved.

Marketers are good at visual communication, but not necessarily experts with the design tools. PowerPoint is something everyone knows how to use, though. So why not take advantage of this free (your company is likely using MS Office suite which comes with PowerPoint) tool and use it for some brainstorming? Mockups or prototypes created w/ PowerPoint are not supposed to replace professional wireframing tools such as Balsamiq, Justinmind, or Sketchflow, but should rather be used to help non-programmers and non-designers communicate their ideas. Plus, if you are discussing elements of the website design with other management team members or the CEO, the ability of quickly changing something on the slide will help you get approval faster.

Although you can make interactive prototypes using PowerPoint, my suggestion is to keep it simple and focus on key elements you’d like to communicate to the designers such as overall layout, placement of objects, and so on. You can get so deep into making sure your animations work if you’re going for a full interactive prototype that it will cost you many hours that will be just thrown away since it won’t be used again.

The key is to keep it nice and clean. A good starting point on how to do this is Travis Isaacs presentation “How to Wireframe Like a Ninja“. It talks about Keynote (a presentation tool for the Mac), but 99% is transferable to PowerPoint.

It also helps if you download something like this PowerPoint Prototyping Toolkit from Long Zheng, which gives you some nice tools you can start using right away.

So what are you waiting for? Start prototyping today! 🙂

The Opposite of Advertising

September 20, 2010

How can a company embark on an branding campaign without prominently displaying its logo? What seems to be the opposite thinking of the advertising school became the winning campaign of Banco Hipotecario, a financial services business based in Argentina.

After becoming the sponsor of Racing Club de Avellaneda, a big soccer team in Argentina, they decided to do something audacious, maybe even heretic in the minds of conservative brand strategists: they decided to NOT put the bank’s logo on the soccer jerseys. Crazy as it seems the whole strategy leveraged the ongoing “Creator of Owners” message Banco Hipotecario was already running (the message focused on showing how the bank was helping people become house owners through their mortgage lending business) and created the slogan “Racing: Duenos de su camistea” (Racing: Owners of their jersey), to show that the bank really cared for the sport and the team they were sponsoring. After being picked up by local media and sports commentators, fans raved about the new jersey.

Banco Hipotecario’s facebook page has over 14,000 fans and was the centerpiece of their second phase of the campaign. They asked fans to vote on a phrase to be printed on the shirt that would evoke how the fans feel about their beloved team. The winning phrase, “Duenos de una passion” (Owners of a passion) received 2,398 votes.

Voting on Racing's new slogan for their jersey

Although it was reported that some fans were against the printing of the phrase (and the choice of phrases themselves) on the shirt, it’s undeniable the level of participation the branding effort generated and how quickly they were able to engage the fans.

Sometimes going against established “best practices” may pay off.

Sources for more info on this story are:

Creativity Online article, F*ck Smaller. Make the Logo Disappear.

Marca del Gol post, Second Phase of Invisible Advertising (in spanish).

Communicate Good blog post, Invisible Branding.

Marketing News article, Marketing Across the Americas (requires login).

%d bloggers like this: