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Jeff Cobb – Hedgehog & Fox Newsletter – 01.10 – Apple Buzz – Education, Entertainment, Economics
Volume 3, Issue 1
IN THIS ISSUE
1. Quote of the Month
2. A Brief Note from Jeff
3. Feature: Education, Entertainment, Economics
4. A-list Blogging Bootcamp
5. Upcoming Speaking
6. High Value Clicks
7. Contact Me
Do you market Webinars? Or market with Webinars?
1. Quote of the Month
“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world”
– Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosopher
2. A Brief Note from Jeff: The Power of Great Products
I wrote a blog post earlier this month on how marketing begins with
product and not, as people tend to assume, with promotion or any of
the other classic “4 Ps.” If you have a great product, you still
have to price it correctly, place it correctly, and yes, promote
it. But each of these parts of the marketing mix become
dramatically easier if the product is great.
As I was preparing to put together this newsletter, Apple was on
the verge of announcing a new product. http://www.apple.com/ipad/
It’s hard to think of a better example than Apple for the impact
that great products can have.
We know today that the new Apple product is the iPad tablet
computer, but before yesterday, Apple had not said much of anything
about the new product. Even so, the Web was buzzing with
anticipation about “it,” other companies (especially Amazon) were
already announcing strategic moves in reaction to “it,” and people
were lining up to by “it.”
Of course, we have no idea whether the iPad will prove to be a
great product or not, but Apple has such a reputation for previous
great products that people are willing to flock to new products as
a matter of faith.
Now that’s great marketing.
I mention the Apple example and the important of products as a
complement to my main piece below on communicating with and
engaging customers. The approaches I suggest – education,
entertainment, and economics – are all very important, but they are
also of little value if they don’t have a great product or service
to go with them.
So, as we start to kick into full speed for 2010, it’s worth
pausing for a minute and asking “Do we have great products and
services? How do we know? And what could we do now and over the
long term to make them even better?”
As always, I look forward to any comments or questions you may send
P.S. – If you market/sell Webinars/Webcasts or market with
Webinars/Webcasts, I’d be grateful if you would take the Webinar
marketing survey at:
I’ll share the summary data with you.
3. Education, Entertainment, Economics
Last month I finished up my “Essentials of the New Web” series. At
some point soon I plan to put those together into a more polished
form and will share that with readers of this newsletter (just one
of the many perks that subscribers enjoy ;-). In the meantime,
though, I have been thinking more about the options for using those
tools effectively. I’d argue you really have three main options
when trying to engage Web users in a way that produces business
results: education, entertainment, and economics.
Becoming a valued educational resource for your customers takes
time and effort, but in my opinion, it is by far the most logical
and powerful long-term strategy available to most businesses.
Education means going well beyond just providing information about
your products and services. It means helping customers build
knowledge and skills related to the problems your company helps
An example I gave during the Essentials of the New Web series was
the Rapid E-learning Blog published by Articulate. The company has
an audience that wants to be able to create online training fast
and as cost-effectively as possible. Its products support this goal
by turning PowerPoint into a sophisticated but easy-to-use
Even with a great tool set, though, there is a lot more to know
about how to actually get the job done well. And that’s where the
Articulate blog comes in. On a regular basis, Articulate provide
readers with highly useful tips related instructional design,
multimedia development, and graphic design, among other topics. The
blog now has a loyal following or more than 50,000 subscribers (up
nearly 20,000 since I wrote about it just 6 months ago!).
Articulate rarely does anything to “sell” these readers, but you
can bet that a significant percentage are or will become customers.
How are you educating customers in a way that supports use of your
products or services?
If 50,000 sounds like a great number, what about 50 million? More
than that number of people have viewed the highly entertaining
videos produced by Blendtec, a commercial blender company with its
eyes on the retail market. Using a basic digital video camera,
tripod, and simple editing tools, Blendtec’s head of marketing,
George Wright, has lead the company in creating dozens of videos of
company CEO Tom Dickinson put two-by-fours, iPods, golf clubs and
any number of other objects into a Blendtec blender.
You can find the videos on YouTube or at www.willitblend.com. As
you can imagine, people have found them highly entertaining and
have been quick to share them with friends via e-mail, blogs, and
social networking sites. As a result, a little known brand has
gotten a huge boost – and in a way that is completely relevant and
on target with the types of products it sells.
Now, this level of success with entertainment can be tough for most
companies to achieve. Moreover, sustaining and monetizing it is
much more difficult, in my opinion, than educational approaches.
Even so, as Blendtec demonstrates, entertainment can be a great
strategy for some companies when it comes to engaging customers on
Are there ways you could be entertaining your customers? Would the
entertainment be relevant to and on target with the types of
products and services you offer?
Finally, as much as people like to be entertained and educated,
sometimes a good deal or a freebie is most effective. As I note in
a recent blog post on Facebook business success stories, Beverly
Hills-based Sprinkles Cupcakes definitely understands that people
like the idea of getting something for free.
Each day the company posts a word or phrase on its Facebook page
that a specified number of customers can use to get a free cupcake.
The result? Droves of people in the stores and nearly 100,000
engaged fans on Facebook. Giving away a few cupcakes, of course,
costs next to nothing, and once you get people into a cupcake
store, the likelihood that they will walk out without buying
something is very low.
Naturally, not every business has something as low cost and
tempting to give away as cupcake, but chances are you can offer a
tempting coupon or discount – and use a platform like Facebook to
distribute it. Or, you might be able to give away a free eBook or
set of videos on topics highly relevant to your customers.
What kind of “deals” or freebies could you be offering your customers
Now, you may be thinking “Gee, that Sprinkles thing isn’t just
about economics. It is also highly entertaining and educates people
about the Sprinkles product.” And you would be right. Most
successful marketing on the Web (and pretty much anywhere else, for
that matter), combines all three elements – education,
entertainment, and economics – but one tends to dominate, depending
on what the strategic objectives are.
I can think of any number of cases where I see these elements at
work in successful Web marketing (do a search on “Wine TV” for one
I have in mind), but it would be great to hear from you. What do
you consider to be some great examples of Web marketing that
incorporate one or more of these key elements? Drop me an e-mail
firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll mention you and your example on the
blog and in the next newsletter (unless you tell me not to).
4. A-List Blogging (Sign-up)
I don’t do it very often, but occasionally I encounter products or
services that I think will be of value to my readers. So far that
has included Copyblogger Brian Clark’s Teaching Sells program –
which I think is amazing – and the newsletter of my Futurist
colleague David Houle. This month, I’d like to highlight a program
for any readers who are **really serious** about creating a
high-traffic, high-subscriber blog.
At the end of last year, I participated in Leo Babauta’s A-list
Blogging Bootcamp. For those not familiar with Leo, he is the
creator of zenhabits.net, a blog that has gone from 0 to more than
150,000 subscribers in roughly two years. Those numbers alone
should make it clear that he knows what he is talking about.
Leo is continuing to grow the Bootcamp, and based on a great
experience with it myself as well as my general view that Leo is
really a super guy, I have decided to join his newly launched
affiliate program. To find out more about what the program offers,
and to get some fantastic free resources that will help you
blogging no matter what, just click the link below. I guarantee you
if you are serious about creating a big time blog, this is the
program you need:
5. Upcoming Speaking Engagements
I recently spoke to members of the NC Association of Medical
Equipment Services on social media marketing. Next up is
participation on an “Ask the Experts” e-learning panel at the ASAE
Technology Conference on February 12 in Washington, DC. If, by any
chance, you will be at the conference, drop me a line an let me
know. Still firming up my next few engagements.
6. High Value Clicks
I churn through any number of links in a given month. My goal with
this section is to offer up 5-7 links that I think are really of
high value. Here they are for this month:
New Studies Show Marketing Power of Facebook
I am not exactly in love with Facebook as a marketing platform, but
you just can’t ignore the numbers. Here are some of the most recent
ones on the social networking behemoth.
The Innovators DNA
As noted above, great products are essential to great marketing,
and innovation is essential to great products. This is a good
article from Insead (one of the top European business schools) on
the five skills that need to become a habit for successful
There’s No Money in Content Creation
Conversation Agent Valeria Maltoni makes the important point that
content is “not an end in itself, it’s a beginning.” It is a point
that is highly relevant to the feature article above.
Internet Marketing for Smart People
If you are serious about increasing your Internet marketing
knowledge and skills (you are aren’t you?), it is hard to think of
a better resource – much less a better free resource – than the
Internet Marketing for Smart People series from the folks at
Copyblogger. Really. Sign up today. I mean it.
The 2.0 Media Tour
Marketing guru Seth Godin is a bit like Facebook – love him or hate
him, you ignore him at your peril. This post details the “book
tour” type activities he has undertaken with his latest book,
Linchpin. The book is a must read, and this post is a study in
excellent marketing strategy and execution.
7. Contact Me
I truly welcome your thoughts on how I can make this into a
newsletter that fits your needs in the best possible way. Always
feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com or call me at
919.201.7460 with any comments you have about the content provided
in the newsletter and suggestions for future editions.
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