Start Up Blog

False Positives

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on June 5, 2014

The promise of online advertising was the ability to find an audience based on interests more that just demographic profile. An audience based on interests. This advertisement below appeared in my twitter stream which not only gave me a little chuckle, but reminded me that the web is full of false positives.

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As a reminder a false positive is a a test result which wrongly indicates that a particular condition or attribute is present.  No I am not a One Direction fan. I have never mentioned them in a tweet. But I do very often tweet about music and music videos and use such hashtags. Clearly I’ve been incorrectly identified in one of the parameters for the advertising as being a potential teenie bopper.

It reminds us to think through what the web tells as and to use our own internal analytics to tester, our brain, to see if what it is telling us is valid.

A key word is used in social media might actually mean the person doesn’t like it and the keywords were among other derogatory sentiments. The number of followers and readers we have in a social forum doesn’t necessarily mean we have that many followers of readers. It just means people clicked a button once upon a time. I have over 5000 twitter followers, but I’m certain only a small percentage of that ever see my tweets. My weekly twitter report tells me this as do the number of clicks the links I post in my tweets get (which I track). Not to mention that anyones tweets can now be muted with no one knowing.

Numbers do not necessarily equal caring. It’s also true that media organisations through the ages have used these grey areas to create massive profitability. And even though the technology is getting better at giving us a more accurate measure, there is a still a long way to go. It’s worth remembering that the actions and interactions are what matters, not the numbers.

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Just start working

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on March 22, 2014

If you want to work with someone, or for someone, people falsely believe that they have to ask for permission.  That they need approval to start  working with those who inspire them. The opposite is true and if we really want to work for someone, then all we need to do is start working for them. Start being a resource and creating value to what they do. It’s probably the best way to end up doing business with someone. To prove your capability, to demonstrate effort and to do it without asking for anything in return in the first instance. To be the resource.

I recently happened upon a great example of it. Aspiring advertising graduates went right ahead and did that for Tesla Motors. Here’s an advertisement they created below.

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The interesting thing is that it got a all the way to Elon Musk.

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Just think about it, they’d never be able to get a meeting with him, to pitch an idea for an advertisement (mind you Tesla does not do any traditional advertising and does’t really need it – which is what happens when you make great products). But the lesson here is a vintage case of modern day bootstrapping. If we have resources at our disposal for connection and creativity, there’s nothing stopping us from using them. It’s those who create first without asking for anything who win respect and future opportunity.

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Worlds colliding

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on April 15, 2013

In 2013 I think we can all agree that there is no digital. There is only life. We all now move seamlessly between our digital and analogue selves. The transition is unnoticeable and omnipresent. It’s a surprise that most marketers and even some tech startups fail to realize this.

Key hint: If you have an on-line strategy something is wrong. The strategy is the strategy.

The increasing number of layers and channels is just another example of our world increasing in complexity and contextual differentiators. Something that will only continue on its current trajectory. And it is not just about retailers getting their digi-on. It’s also about those who live on line understanding how they can enter the physically world – it’s still where we humans live!

The advertisement below inspired this post. A  great example of a few hallmarks in advertising:

  • Humour when relevant
  • Customer centric strategy
  • Real world integration

Sadly most Australian retailers are still yet to realise we operate in a new world.

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Great Advertising – by Wikipedia

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on November 27, 2012

While Wikipedia doesn’t run any adverting on it’s, it sure knows how to write a copy line to sell it’s fundraising. If you’re like me, Wikipedia has become an indispensable life resource for self learning and contribution to society. So giving something back is dame fine idea for a non-profit like Wikipedia, but like all things it does take something to get us across the line from intention to action. This was the line that inspired me to take action.

….”If everyone reading this gave $5, our fundraiser would be done within an hour.”….

To me this line is close to perfect. It tells us so much with so few words. A small amount from it’s readers in a ‘moment of time’ would do it. It’s a clear indication that it’s part of the fabric of our everyday existence, and that all it takes is a little from many. It was enough for me to tip in the paltry sum of $30. And the additional message from Jimmy Wales is also some great copy writing. Seen below.

If something is delivering us great value, then it’s worth us giving back so it doesn’t change its shape into something less attractive.

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Starting from

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on October 1, 2012

A regular marketing tool is to let potential customers know what the entry price point of a product or service is. I was driving into car park in the city when I was exposed to this method of marketing.

Park from $5

I was there for 3 hours and it cost me $38. Which is quite a distance from the initial promise. It turns out that pretty much every retail offer in market use the prices start from premise. Cars, insurance, concert tickets, airline flights, they all do it. And because they all do it, we all know we need to be suspicious that it does not represent the truth. In fact, we know it’s a bare bones offer, a best case scenario for pricing, in which the probability of that serving our needs is very low. In short it’s a trick to gain attention, it’s inauthentic and often misleading. But now that the trick has been used for such a long period of time, people with a level of intelligence simply ignore the message. We know better than to believe it, let alone act on it.

Every now and again we need to flip the way we go to market. Often because the people that came before us ruined it for everyone. Maybe it is time to flip the ‘starting from‘, to become ‘ending at‘?

What if we told consumers what the most expensive version of the product or service was, the one with all the bells and whistles? Yes, the thing we actually want. While this might sound crazy, it would have an important impact on the perceptions of what we are selling. The experience could only get better than the promise, not worse. And instead of generating negative word of mouth or brand associations, it would probably generate some positive ones. Not just from the authenticity and respect we are providing our customers, but also due to the positive sentiment that comes when we realize something is better value than we expected.

It comes down to a simple principal, do we want to create disappointment, or inspire unexpected delight?

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Inspiring change – Superhumans

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on August 4, 2012

Changing someones opinion is one of the hardest things to do in business. Our world views are very often entrenched and shaped over many years. A consistent improvement in products or service over many years can often get the job done. But this is a long game. Every now and again someone manages to do it a couple of minutes. I have recently had one such moment personally with an advertisement. Watch this below and then I’ll bare my soul to you…

It’s kind of embarrassing to admit this, but before I saw this advertisement I had zero interest in the Paralympics. I honestly felt as though I was compelled to respect them. As though it was evil not to like the event or even care about it. But I didn’t care at all.

Fast forward 1 minute 30 seconds and I not only want to watch them this year, but have a new found level of respect and interest. It’s another great example of how we no longer buy what people do, but why they do it.

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3 cool videos

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on June 19, 2012

Here’s 3 cool videos that have landed on my desk top that are worth sharing for different reasons.

1. A great advertisement which I’m putting in the anti-social media category. Taking a simple human truth that is top of mind for many of us as we blindly forge ahead into the world of big brother. I really do feel like we might see a lot of people moving against a digital public life soon. Is this the start?

2. Another more subtle advertisement from Quiksilver. The thing a like about this is that it moves deeply into the mind of the surfer. It unlock how emotionally attached to surfing we are. And for those who have never been inside a tube – it looks very similar to the visual in the film below.

3. Is of the art of presenting to an audience. It is the late Steve Jobs who knew how to use theatre to sell. Here he demonstrates the first ever laptop with wifi way back in 1999.

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The Power Flip – Update

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on June 1, 2012

Guys – this link was made private by the Arts council while they get other stuff ready – they promise me it will be available shortly and I will advise.

Here’s a talk I did for the Arts Australia Council Marketing Conference. It’s kinda long – around 30 minutes, but it might have a few useful ideas for my readers in the entrepreneurial and marketing space.

(I apologise for making up the word ‘decomplexify’ during the talk. My mouth was moving faster than my brain at that stage)

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Fan Culture

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on May 31, 2012

In the early years we had ‘customers’.

Then we invented demographics and started using that horrible word ‘consumers’.

We went on line and started talking about ‘users’. (Sound like drug addicts to me)

I rather prefer the word people….

But if we do really well we might even develop some fans. And fans are what we should be aiming for. This doco below on fan culture looks interesting. I’d be keen to know if anyone has seen it. I even hear Sean the Sports Geek might even be in it…

And before you watch this trailer it’s worth having think about the things, people, ideas and brands that you are a fan of and why. There are some nice clues in this thought experiment.

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Experience vs Youth

Posted in entrepreneurship by Steve Sammartino on May 16, 2012

I was recently reading an article which asked advertising people if they had to choose youth or experience what would they choose.

Ogilvy executive chairman Tom Moult sited the exemplar below.

There’s an old David Ogilvy story. He was looking at some creative work from a junior. He asked how the guy how he knew the ads would work, the junior explained that he was sure they would as his intuition told him so.

Ogilvy said, “Imagine your appendix ruptures right now, and I rush you to hospital. There are two surgeons available, one is an experienced surgeon, and the other one is new to the game but is offering to operate on you using his intuition. Which one would you choose?”

While David Ogilvy was a genius, and this is a compelling allegory he forgot one important thing. Advertising is not surgery. It’s not even a science for that matter, so we should never judge it as such.

What would I choose?

A youthful attitude.

Youth is a state of mind and our mind is as nimble or as old as we let it be.

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