Archive for December, 2009

Build Trust and Authenticity For A New Free Music Marketing Service

Monday, December 28th, 2009

need marketing services online?

Interested in licensing songs as part of our free music marketing offer?

Don’t forget to mention it when you email kurbpromo@gmail.com

Hi It’s Matt from Kurb – talking about demonstrating authority and trustworthiness in your brand – in online marketing being perceived as reliable is so important! There are such basic things you can do to improve how your site comes off to potential customers, because there’s only so much advertising can do before clients will start asking questions that determine how likely it is they will get good service and value for money.

Video marketing is one of them, because watching a video can help clients and customers feel they know you.

We service clients with online marketing and presentation needs all over the world but we can also offer New Zealanders our cheap and fast colour copying and disc duplication services also.

Website design and set up – bio / press release / sales page / newsletter – blog posts – article marketing for SEO – basic video presentations – music video – full concept video – youtube promotion – Email management + PPC adwords campaign (includes $150 free credit) – Social Media Promotion – marketing consultation – Poster / banner / flyer design: $67

When you have a product with a high margin, the trust and authority of your brand becomes more important than ever because there’s only so much effect that advertising style promotions will have before perception of your brand becomes the key factor in whether people who are aware of your offer decide to trust you and believe you have the ability to deliver.

You have to really demonstrate.

My new music promotion service offers something valuable – music marketing services – in exchange for something I can receive money for – a selection of products and services to be purchased online.

so the problem is, creating the atmosphere where people feel they can make that decision confidently.

I think I need to be more strident, pushing trust into the equation of the proposition, offering the marketing services free upfront, just to get some way of getting them through the gate, getting them interested, so I can then determine quickly whether they are suitable or not.

I need to put the options fo free music marketing and free music video production upfront as a gesture of goodwill.

If we sign an artists song, we will do the music marketing free upfront in good faith, then have them perform the pruchase, then issue a bonus cash reward, or other service.

Again, it’s not a timely proposition, as long as the artist is willing to carry out the purchase, the work involved will all be in the sell, and then some paper work, and arranging for the free music marketing services to be provided.

Which means I do have the potential to process 2-3 orders per week,if I was to get my marketing strategy so refined that I was attracting enough traffic to do that, as well as building a core of a dozen or so acts that come back regularly.

I could even then offer to sell the system set up to them for $3k that way they could make their own money doing exactly the same thing.

but how to get that much traffic . . . or – whether buying that much adwords traffic is going to be worth it?

New Small Business Marketing Plans for 2010

Monday, December 28th, 2009

all the online marketing and promotion services you need here at kurb Promotions in Auckland New Zealand!

Email kurbpromo@gmail.com

We service clients with online marketing and presentation needs all over the world but we can also offer New Zealanders our cheap and fast colour copying and disc duplication services also.

Website design and set up: $147

pro bio / press release / sales page / newsletter : $47 for 1  $97 for 3

blog posts: $47 for 3

article marketing for SEO: $47 for 2

basic video presentation: $97

music video: $297

full concept video: $497

100k views: $797

50k views: $497

20k views: $297

Email management + set up: $97

PPC adwords campaign (includes $150 free credit): $297

Social Media Promotion: $97 p/month

Business consultation and administration: $47 p/hour

Poster / banner / flyer design: $67

Alright time for a kurb small business marketing and business coaching post coming right here from Auckland, New Zealand for 2010, what are we excited about?

Relaxing! And having business systems in place to make money without issues, and probably also to leverage content like this in a far more meaningful way.

We have our secondary ideas of cheap video production, colour copying and of course both the pirates and the talent agency which reveolves around long term brand building,

That’s all straight forward. You have the service in place, you do the marketing, you take the orders, you do the work.

With the branding, well, you clip away at the brand hoping you can launch something within a year. That takes vision and commitment.

But what about easy money, what about ideas for small business marketing that will make money fast?

Well ideas are about delivering the most value for the least cost. A digital information product can make that information available quickly and easily, but without any kind of service attached to it,is hard to charge for and puts you in a competitive market.

However my strategy is to sell the info product with upsell opportunities. Sure the content is very valuable at $47 but for $97 what could I offer?

– 3 free blog posts

– 1 hours free consultation

– 2 weeks social media promotion

– 1 free poster or banner design

as I said I don’t want the info product to be perceived as a rip off though. And also, my marketing strategy will be selling it as if it was a service, as in instructing anyone who emails me to buy the product as a starting point, but also, everyon who buys it, can email me.

Finally with my little affiliate music marketing scheme, well, sales appears to be the hardest thing and I need to find a way of making these deals happen. That’s the problem, people don’t seem to be interested and for the first time I’m faced with a product that won’t simply sell itself.

I think with adwords, I;m going to have to start finely targeting my audience and raising the click price, so maybe I’m spending 10c a click but if I can get 1 sale for $10 it will be worth it.

It really is a great proposition for artists wanting to earn money and get free music promotion, and it’s an opportunity for me to make good money but trust is a huge part of the operation. I need to really create trust and authenticity,.

Setting Out Business Plans For Small Business Marketing and Development

Saturday, December 19th, 2009

here’s lots of all the services you need for online marketing and promotion here at kurb Promotions in Auckland New Zealand!

Email kurbpromo@gmail.com

We service clients with online marketing and presentation needs all over the world but we can also offer New Zealanders our cheap and fast colour copying and disc duplication services also.

Website design and set up: $147

pro bio / press release / sales page / newsletter : $47 for 1  $97 for 3

blog posts: $47 for 3

article marketing for SEO: $47 for 2

basic video presentation: $97

music video: $297

full concept video: $497

100k views: $797

50k views: $497

20k views: $297

Email management + set up: $97

domain + hosting for a year: $47

PPC adwords campaign (includes $150 free credit): $297

Social Media Promotion: $97 p/month

Business consultation and administration: $47 p/hour

Poster / banner / flyer design: $67


Alright still riffing on my next venture in the pirate entertainer business. I’m teaming up with another performer to focus on building the brand while he expands his performing bookings.

The approach I’ve come up with however means initially, he’ll benefit from my marketing contribution with increased bookings until we can bring it to a point where the brand is powerful enough to create alternative streams of income, specifically:

– regular video and blog content – this, paired with standard internet marketing practices, will bring increased visitors from around the world which in turn generates opportunities to earn from advertising and adsense. this will be improved with a regular newsletter.

– the development of a performance show that could be performed for audiences of 20+, and be pitched at $600 for 2 performers, or $800 for 3 performers (one of which would be me of course), and also extended value packages for private shows

– the securing of sponsorship/endorsement opportunities

– creation of content products – cd/dvd/download products with additional merch etc., and of course a

– finally the creation of very high standard content products – scripted animated episodes that could be licensed as well as sold as a dvd set or download

So how are we going to move towards those goals?

My first job, which may not be completed within the first year, is simply to build the marketing and the promotion of the brand and the site so that my performer partner continues to get work, and contribute the necessary content:

– blogs and videos

– rehearsed 50 min performance

– content for endorsements/sponsorship material

– scripted episodes/content for licensing/ high value content products

So what am I going to say at our next meeting?

I’ll be offering him free marketing and website development so he can get more work, build his brand and continue to charge more as demand increases.

My return will come directly from the website, and some returns form performances, but ultimately I will want to push forward with the development of a performance and increasingly higher quality material.

the first aim is to secure endorsement/sponsorship, even if that begins by replacing advertising on the site, then to a small endorsement or sponsorship fee from a local business promoting to children.

Then I feel we’ll be in a confident position to move forward to developing sponsorshipand licensing opportunities with a high standard animated feature or series of features.

Auckland Pirate Entertainment Spoils For Children’s Performers

Friday, December 18th, 2009

Need an Auckland based pirate children’s performer – check out the link  . . .

Still keeping it real on the kurb blog with business planning and thoughts – basically, I don’t want to get in to deep on a joint venture if I can’t see what I want and what other realistic outcomes exist.

For example, there are certain levels of activity we’re going to have to get to before I start seeing a decent return, and in order to reach those levels I will have some expectation of mutual participation.

Initially, perhaps even for a year, advertising and affiliate marketing probably won’t generate $100 a week which is my minimum.

Basic outline of the partner ship I propose.

– each party receives 20% of others performance earnings over and above $250 p/performance

– performer receives 20% of all profit over $250p/week from website

marketer receives 20% of all proceeds generated from the delivery of digital service content

– all proceeds of sponsorships, endorsements,  licensing, publishing to be split 50%

– each party would retain a claim of no less than 25% of profit from all sales of content and merchandise bearing or making reference to the brand

So if we ot really excited and committed to 2 years into the future, I think I could definitely be earning:

$100 from the site in sales and advertising

$50 perhaps from high value performances which include video services, party planning etc.

And also digital performances, but stage / show performances, if they’re worth $600 each I could be earning $50 each from also. Of course I have the option to step om and earn $200 doing a show myself.

In two years I would expect at least some deal with a sponsor, or some kind of endorsement deal to have taken place to the tune of at least $5k a year so that would be another $50 to me but as soon as we licensed our first video, that would also put money in the pocket but I’m not sure if that would happen within 2 years.

But that does add up to $200 p/week and probably another $200 if I wanted to perform also, and we’re not including slaes of content or merchandise at this point either.

So not incredible prospects but if you added $100 for licensing and sponsorship each year, and $50 for improved website income, plus another performance and in 4 years time it could be making $900 p/week as long as I came and performed twice a week. That might be a bit much but if I could be earning $500 p/week off that I’d be stoked, and if my perfomrer partner was also earning $300 through licensing and sponsorship each week and doing 4 performances for $1000 he’s be pretty happy too.

Getting My New Business Concepts Right

Friday, December 18th, 2009

here’s lots of all the services you need for online marketing and promotion here at kurb Promotions in Auckland New Zealand!

Email kurbpromo@gmail.com

We service clients with online marketing and presentation needs all over the world but we can also offer New Zealanders our cheap and fast colour copying and disc duplication services also.

Website design and set up: $147

pro bio / press release / sales page / newsletter : $47 for 1  $97 for 3

blog posts: $47 for 3

article marketing for SEO: $47 for 2

basic video presentation: $97

music video: $297 9$35)

full concept video: $497

100k views: $797

50k views: $497 ($100)

20k views: $297 ($50)

Email management + set up: $97 ($25)

domain + hosting for a year: $47 ($15)

PPC adwords campaign (includes $150 free credit): $297 ($50

Social Media Promotion: $97 p/month ($20)

Business consultation and administration: $47 p/hour

Poster / banner / flyer design: $67


I really can’t deny what I have to do now. I’ve had some humbling experiences and I’ve learnt enough to know I just have to do all the stuff I gotta do.

There’s no extra brilliant idea I have to think of.

My sites need to look better and my videos need to be more professional, I need to take the time to do these things right,

It’s mainly about presentation. Those presentation issues have to be fixed, so I can think about sales and all that kind of thing, which will be another job in itself, the aesthetic isn’t just shabby by the sales talk needs a pep up too.

Then it’s on to the only ideas I want to develop.

I have an information product I would like to be developing

And I have a new music service I would like to develop.

When both of those projects have been developed to a suitable level then I will be in a position to think about where I’m going forward developing my business.

Whether video services is something I’m still interested in pursuing or not will really depend on how these other projects go. Same applies to the pirates. The colour copying business is bound to continue because it’s manageable and it’s solid, so I guess that’s it!

Make the websites and the videos much more presentable. I have two main ideas that I’m pushing for developing new revenue, meanwhile my other projects – video, colour copying,  pirates are pretty much going be developed relative to how much I personally feel it will be worth it.

The video stuff and the pirate birthday parties need more work, but with the pirate stuff at least I’m looking at teaming up with another pirate but I’m not quite sure how we’ll divide the spoils, so to speak. I’m not really interested in developing the business as a platform for me to perform at all but really the combination of our knowledge of the subject, him being more interested in erforming, me being more interested in marketing.

So really, my primary interest is in developing for long term goals, and we don’t know how that’s going to go.

What’s the end goal? Well what if a sponsor did come on board with $50,000? Sounds like a lot but not really.

But what if we made an animated series all off our own back?  We could sell as a dvd or we could license it on ourselves r use it as the basis of a presentation to a major brand.

More Small Business Development and Marketing Plans

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

There’s lots of all the services you need for online marketing and promotion here at kurb Promotions in Auckland New Zealand!

Email kurbpromo@gmail.com

We service clients with online marketing and presentation needs all over the world but we can also offer New Zealanders our cheap and fast colour copying and disc duplication services also.

Website design and set up: $147

pro bio / press release / sales page / newsletter : $47 for 1  $97 for 3

blog posts: $47 for 3

article marketing for SEO: $47 for 2

basic video presentation: $97

music video: $297 9$35)

full concept video: $497

100k views: $797

50k views: $497 ($100)

20k views: $297 ($50)

Email management + set up: $97 ($25)

domain + hosting for a year: $47 ($15)

PPC adwords campaign (includes $150 free credit): $297 ($50

Social Media Promotion: $97 p/month ($20)

Business consultation and administration: $47 p/hour

Poster / banner / flyer design: $67

man I’m getting excited about my digital music onformation product and the new services I’m thinking about also.

I really want to do it, but I think the thing with doing things is that you’ve got to actually have a plan on how you’re going to get a thing done.

It’s not enough to say well I’m going to set up a website with a landing page and an adwords campaign and then leave it at that. But we know from our experience with the online video production sites that we need more than that effort.

Often it’s about the straightes t;ine from a to b, from idea, to generating revenue. Which ideas are the easiest to implement and what ideas have the furthest scope for development?

Having a digital information product will require a lot of set up work to create the product and then will require some good sales marketing to actually sell the product to visitors.

My new service that involves brokering favourable affiliate deals in exchange for services can be slapped together very soon and advertising tested. I can just envision the sales being a bit of a struggle there, so as well as the website and the as campaign which I have already started I need to be aware of the sales copy and sales letters I’ll use to respond to enquiries explainign exactly the processes involved.

Colour copying I think will go well just steering it the way I have been but I am becoming aware that if I can establish a firm reputation for service in delivering colour copying services, that could easily expand.

With the pirates and the birthday entertainment stuff, obviously there needs to be a leap from where I am now doing the performances to a higher level of earning and although the market is quite obviously lucrative, it’s hard to pinpoint what I could be pushing on the short term. other than filling up my diary and establishing a reputation that will keep me working for higher fees but that’s still no more than a few hundred give or take, per week. it’s not really much of a ceiling until I can come up with other ideas rather than just a nifty website with all the regular brand and monetization stuff.

But it is a good example for my talent agency – I can illustrate my work to potential talent with my pirate website as an example of how we build a brand toward profitability. With my talent agancy, again, a very long journey to profitability from where I’m standing but I;m passionate about it and that’s what will keep me pushing.

Much like the affiliate brokering, it’s getting through the process that may prove a challenge.

Anyway, that’s all for now!

Business Models, Music Marketing and Management and the Role of Artists

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Getting Past The ‘But Artists Should Just Be Artists’ Myth
from the it’s-designed-to-keep-you-down dept

At Monday’s excellent SF Music Tech Summit, there was a really good discussion in the final panel of the day, that crystallized in my mind why it’s hogwash when some repeat the refrain that “artists should just be artists” and not worry about business models, connecting with fans or social networking. It’s a claim that is made over and over again — sometimes by musicians themselves. In the past, we’ve pointed out that this is fine, if artists just want to be artists then they need to do one of two things: either not expect to make much money or partner with someone who can focus on the business model and social networking side of things. Dave Allen, who was on that panel, used his manifesto on why artists needed to stop whining and start taking charge as a kicking off point, and brought up his concept of why all bands needed “a fifth Beatle” to manage that side of their efforts. In many ways, it reminded me of Andrew Dubber’s recent manifesto that pointed out that if you wanted to make money as a musician, you had to become a musical entrepreneur.

But, two other comments on the panel made the point even more clear. First was Sebastien Keefe, from the band Family of the Year, who talked about how the band (more his bandmates than himself, actually) did a really good job connecting with fans online, including a special private concert that only Twitter followers found out about, and a cool postcard promotion, where people would pay $5 for a postcard, and the band would send it back to the fans from their tour. When the question came up of artists claiming that they didn’t want to spend the time on social networks to connect with fans, he noted first that it wasn’t that much time, and second that an artist unwilling to do that was “selling themselves short,” in not really building up their audience.

Though, what’s really cementing the myth of “artists should just be artists” was Tim Quirk’s comment. Quirk, of course, got a lot of publicity recently for revealing how major record label royalty statements are often total works of fiction, using his own royalty statements as an example. On this topic, however, he noted that the people who tell artists that “you should just focus on being an artist” were almost always “feeding them bullshit” in order to gain more control over the artist. That is, it’s a line you often hear from record labels or managers who want more control over a musician’s business. So all three of those musicians (Allen, Quirk and Keefe) highlighted how the claim that “musicians should just be musicians” isn’t just a myth, but it’s often used to limit the potential of musicians.

Right after that panel, there was a short (and very sparsely attended) talk given by Stephan Jenkins, of the band Third Eye Blind — and without realizing it, he put the exclamation point on this particular discussion from the previous panel. While he said he was grateful for his major label experience, he also talked about how being on a major label actually made it harder for the band to really focus on their music and artistic ideals — because the label started dictating everything that the band should be doing. From that, he felt like the band really got away from the sort of music that it wanted to create, that had helped make the band big in the first place. He talked about how piracy has given the band “a second chance” by letting a new generation of fans discover their original music, and that has resulted in the band’s most recent album, which he felt was much more true to the band’s musical roots. He noted also that, now that they were out of the major label system, they were making a lot more money, even if they were selling fewer units.

All in all, it really helped solidify the idea that the claim that “artists just need to be artists” and shouldn’t be concerned about business models or talking to fans is really just a line used by record labels to try to gain more control over artists, at their own expense. That doesn’t mean that artists shouldn’t try to find that “5th Beatle,” to help them when it becomes necessary, but that they should make sure that whoever that 5th Beatle is, he or she is really aligned with their thinking in where they want to go with their career.

Trends in Modern Marketing You Can’t Ignore

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

Article Highlights:

  • Savvy marketers are recognizing the impact of mass collaboration and constant connectivity
  • The broader trends of globalization and corporate distrust are reshaping how consumers interact with brands
  • The global sense of urgency to fix the world’s problems goes well beyond the green movement

Next In Focus

Finding the elephants in the room

What’s a megatrend, you ask? It’s something big. I’m talking really big.

Think of a giant unstoppable tsunami of change transforming society as we know it. Think global warming scale — then apply it to mass human behavior. Think glaciers carving the grand canyon of consumer sentiment.

Compare and contrast. Here are some regular trends:

“Everyone is on Twitter these days.”
“Boomers are investing more in home renovations as they approach retirement.”
“Green is ‘in’ this season.”

All of these are important. None are mega.

Here’s a megatrend:

“Social media has permanently transformed the way people connect and share information.”

See? Big.

Much of the planning that goes into positioning a brand takes into account product attributes, competitive differentiation, and target insights. These are all critically important considerations. But they’re not what I’m talking about here.

I’m talking about what is so often left on the table — the elephant in the room. Megatrends. Latching onto these tectonic shifts can surge an entire brand strategy forward way ahead of the curve. Google caught on to an access-to-information megatrend. Facebook caught on to people connecting. Yet, these megatrends are rarely leveraged by brands. (This was confirmed for me by the sheer difficulty I had coming up with campaigns for this article).

Most companies wait until a megatrend is so pervasive and obvious that it becomes a minimum standard, a non-differentiating proposition — so that leveraging them does nothing to differentiate their brand. Case in point: Who doesn’t have a “green” message these days?

So what are the new megatrends that I believe will transform society in the coming years? What brands are taking advantage of them? And what can you learn from them?

Read on.

Megatrend 1

Mass collaboration is powering the new economy

It’s no secret among iMedia readers that “user-generated content” was a sucker punch to the jaw of the marketing world over the past several years. A fundamental shift has occurred in which brands have become a conversation — and audiences have just as much of a say in the shape of that dialogue as marketing directors and agency copywriters.

But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

In their book, “Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything,” Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams describe a new economy where companies are taking advantage of a new collaborative world to foster innovation and grow their enterprises.

Of course, the UGC and social media titans are part of this mass collaboration. YouTube, Facebook, Pandora, and MySpace are all based on the participation of their communities. This new shift encompasses this trend, but extends far beyond how we entertain ourselves online.

Brands like Procter & Gamble, BMW, Lego, Boeing, and Netflix are all actively going outside their walls to find new ways to innovate and better ways to produce their goods and services. These companies are pioneers of the collaborative economy.

And now, Steve Jobs has taken note.

The brand that gets it: Apple
It almost seems cliché to mention Apple in any article about great advertising. But this article isn’t about what’s great — it’s about massive change reshaping the future. And Apple’s iPhone campaign is all about mass collaboration reshaping the future of Apple.

The campaign is in line with most Apple advertising. The product is the hero. The voice is friendly, clever, and straightforward. The ads simply state that whatever you want or need to do with your iPhone, “There’s an app for that.”

“There’s an app for that” refers to the tens of thousands of applications built on the iPhone API that are available for download in the iTunes store. The vast majority of those apps were not built by Apple.

If you’re familiar with the history of Apple, you know that relying on outside sources to fuel innovation just hasn’t been the way things were done — until now. You’d also know that Apple doesn’t always do things first. (The iPod wasn’t the first MP3 player.) But when it sees an opportunity, it goes after it in a bigger and better way than anyone else ever has.

Apple has seen that opportunity in mass collaboration.

Last year Apple announced it would dump Macworld and instead focus on WWDC, its Worldwide Developer Conference. Why? Because developers create apps.

This is where the driving force will come from that will maintain Apple’s leadership in innovation in the years to come. This is a major strategic shift for Apple — and the absolute right one.

Constant connectivity in an on-demand world

I’m wired. Almost every minute of every day, it seems I am connected. Emailing, surfing, Twittering, streaming, gaming, texting, Facebooking, downloading, chatting — will it ever end?

No. It won’t. Constant connectivity is a megatrend.

More and more, we are relentlessly connected to one another. We weren’t when I was a kid. We weren’t five years ago. But you can bet we’re not going to stop anytime soon.

Why? A new generation is growing up and entering the workforce in droves. The Millennial Generation is the largest this country has ever seen — bigger than the baby boomers — and it is the first generation that has grown up with technology and connectivity ubiquitous in their lives. To them, it’s all they’ve ever known.

I am incessantly networked, but I think something’s wrong with me. This massive new wave of population has no such hang-ups.

What these people do have are expectations borne of their condition. They live in an on-demand world. They know no other. Want a song? Download it. Want to know something? Google it. Want to tell Susie what Bobby said? Text it. Now, now, now.

The brand that gets it: Sprint
Sprint has zeroed in on this expectation with pinpoint accuracy. It used to be the phone company. But it’s no longer selling just phones. It is selling the concept of “now.”

The “Now Network” campaign was created for a new product called a mobile broadband card. But it hardly matters. Sprint isn’t trying to dominate the mobile broadband card market. It is trying to dominate the space in the consumer’s mind where the word “now” lives.

Goodby, Silverstein & Partners — the agency I affectionately call the “other great creative agency on the California cable car line” — initiated the campaign online with a microsite at now.sprint.com that featured a mesmerizing array of tiny widgets showing different things that live in the now: top words being used online, current world population, a tiny game of Pong.

This digital experience has been elevated to a brand campaign with TV spots inspired by the online execution. The ever-present “Now Network” message is a consistent presence, diligently working to build a bridge between a constantly connected consumer and the brand that wants to deliver that connection.

Globalization: Making the world a smaller place

Last month, I attended the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) SME Summit in Hangzhou, China. Former President Bill Clinton addressed the crowd. He told us that the world’s greatest hope for financial stability and sustained economic growth is a massive shift in wealth from a handful of precariously balanced and self-interested financial institutions to a multitude of small and medium businesses across the globe doing business with one another — and technology is the accelerant bringing this change to life.

Bill’s words. Not mine.

Globalization is an unstoppable force reshaping our society. The world’s economies are inextricably linked. Technology has made geography irrelevant. Businesses around the world are doing business with one another and will continue to do so. This is big. This is mega big.

Many Americans have been slow to realize this. The web has given us all access to a whole new world of markets and partners that we can and should do business with. Technology can make every business a global business.

The recession has left millions of Americans out of work, many wondering what their next move should be. Today, they can start their own global business from the comfort of their living room.

The brand that gets it: Alibaba.com
Alibaba.com is the technology platform that is accelerating globalization. (Full disclosure: Alibaba.com is a client of my agency.) It’s a website that helps small and medium-sized businesses around the world find suppliers or manufacturers for virtually any product or service they might need. Alibaba.com makes it possible for virtually anyone with a laptop and an idea to find a supplier half a world away to help them build a business. The site has 42 million members, and the company has grown from 18 employees to 10,000 in a decade.

When I was first introduced to Alibaba.com, I went on its website to check it out. I clicked on an interesting-looking button that said, “Submit a buying lead.” Three minutes later, I had filled out a form seeking a supplier to produce 2,000 cashmere sweaters (I have expensive taste).

What happened next was amazing. Within 36 hours, I had 27 people from real companies around the world — China, India, Egypt, Italy, Vietnam, and Bangladesh — sending me emails offering to produce my sweaters, to send me samples, to be my partner. If I didn’t love this agency gig so much, I’d be in the cashmere business right now.

Alibaba.com faced a tough challenge in the U.S. market this year. The brand was a relatively unknown quantity to most Americans, and the very notion of finding a trusted partner halfway across the world was foreign to a majority of small business owners in the U.S.

Alibaba.com introduced itself to the American with a marketing campaign that summed up everything you’re able to do on its site:

Find it. Make it. Sell it.

“It” could be just about anything.

The campaign features stories of entrepreneurs that found partners on Alibaba.com that helped them create successful businesses. An integrated brand narrative used TV, print, and online media to build awareness and drive customers to success.alibaba.com where they could watch “mockumentary” videos of the campaign characters telling their stories, delve into case studies of real-life Alibaba entrepreneurs, and learn how they can get started using Alibaba.com for their businesses.

Megatrend 4

Pervasive distrust in big corporations

Does our economic situation have you infuriated with corporate America? Do you feel like the jerks on Wall Street and the incompetents in Detroit almost destroyed this country’s financial system to line their own pockets? Do you trust big banks to have your best interests in mind?

If you answered “yes, yes, no,” to the above, you’re not alone.

The impending financial doom this country faced a year ago had a tremendous impact on consumer confidence in America, but even greater damage was done to consumer trust. News reports have created a mass perception of banks hoarding bailout money provided to loosen credit markets in order to boost profits and fund exorbitant executive compensation packages. Despite the hope and good faith many Americans have in our new president (myself included), our government appears incompetent at best, complicit at worst.

This has propelled pervasive distrust to megatrend levels.

The impact of this is not limited to financial institutions and automakers. According to Interbrand’s annual assessment of the top 100 global brands, the list’s total value fell by 4.6 percent in the past year. While brand valuation is a murky science, those are not good numbers.

Yet, in adversity lies opportunity. As distrust reaches near universal proportions, a brand story based on trust can be a powerful weapon.

The brand that gets it: Ally Bank
Tired of being screwed? Now, you’ve got an ally. Ally Bank.

“Who?” you ask.

You know how Prince became The Artist Formerly Known as Prince?

Meet your new Ally. The Bank Formerly Known as GMAC.

The duplicity of a giant U.S. bank combined with the ineptitude of a giant U.S. car company. I’d vomit if only this wasn’t such a well-crafted brand. Here’s the brand’s elevator pitch (verbatim from its website):

“We are Ally Bank, built on the foundation of GMAC Financial Services. And with that experience we’ve learned that these times demand change and a new way of doing business. So we’re taking banking in a new direction.

That means talking straight, doing right and being obviously better for our customers.”

The tag line for the campaign is simply, “Straightforward.”

TV spots show a little girl get shafted by a banker-type guy who didn’t tell her she could have had a real pony instead of a toy. “Even kids know it’s wrong to hold out on somebody. Why don’t banks?” the voiceover asks. Good question.

This straightforward, human tone seems to emanate from every pore of this brand. Copy on the website assures potential customers, “We won’t deal in half-truths, kindatruths, or truths only buried in fine print.”

Even the brand color, purple, screams, “We’re not like the other guys.”

It remains to be seen whether past associations can be overlooked, but my suspicion is that Ally Bank’s actions will speak louder than its words over the coming years. If it really embraces the values it espouses in the way it does business, people will talk about it, and Ally will bec

A global sense of urgency to fix the problems of a modern world

When I started this article, I swore I would not write about “going green” as one of the megatrends. It certainly is a big deal, but it’s one that has been thrust so far into the limelight that it’s no longer an opportunity to differentiate. Being green is a minimum standard.

What do I mean by minimum standard? Take the airlines. Whoever came up with the concept of frequent flier miles had a great differentiator for business travelers. It was so great, that soon everyone else in the industry followed suit and now having an incentive program for frequent fliers is a minimum standard in the industry. Every airline must have one to compete.

Virtually every brand in every category has a green story these days.

But being green is symptomatic of another megatrend that is influencing the world on a massive scale — a global sense of urgency.

It’s no secret to anyone that… well… we’re screwed. The planet is falling apart. We’ve got global warming, pollution, overcrowded cities, not enough energy, we’re running out of water, and running out of fish.

But the eco message is just the tip of the melting iceberg. Advances in technology have put fixes to so many challenges within reach. Conventional wisdom now begs to ask: Why wouldn’t we take advantage of solutions available to us? Why wouldn’t we digitize health care? Why wouldn’t we use smart toll systems to ease traffic jams? Why wouldn’t we implement technology to make our school systems more efficient?

Today, governments and enterprises around the world are rushing to play catch-up. They sense the urgency. To wise up. To get smart.

The brand that gets it: IBM
IBM has wrapped its big blue arms around the massive sense of urgency that is sweeping the globe with its campaign for “A Smarter Planet.”

The campaign overview page on IBM’s website sums it up:

“The technology is here.
The people are ready.
The time is now.”

This looks far beyond the important-but-limited scope of coming up with new ways to conserve energy or limit emissions — the subject of so many campaigns targeting the “think green” mindset. In addition to energy, water, and construction, IBM’s “Smarter Planet” campaign encompasses solutions for traffic, cities, banking, retail, education, telecom, and health care.

But the campaign is also about aspiration. About fixing things before it’s too late. It’s optimistic. It’s motivating. It’s the kind of message that Americans swarmed to when they elected Barack Obama.

And best of all, it’s tangible. Which makes it empowering.

“A less expensive energy bill. A package that gets delivered in two days instead of seven. Quarterly school reports available online. Bit by bit, our planet is getting smarter. By this, we mean the systems that run the way we live and work as a society.”

This is how IBM is describing its vision for a smarter planet. It’s talking about all the different ways to make a difference from a 10,000-foot view and then bringing it down to tangible solutions provided by IBM to make a smarter planet a reality.

Tactically, I think IBM is also doing a great job integrating this message across every advertising touchpoint and using social media to reinforce thought leadership. It’s using Tumblr as part of this effort, a powerful, yet simple tool that I personally think has the potential to be the next big thing in social media. Think of the consumable nature of Twitter, but the ability to post and tag anything — videos, pictures, and prose.

This is smart marketing. I anticipate that many readers of this article are deep into planning for 2010 right now. Before you close that PowerPoint presentation, I advise you to take a step back and ask yourself, “Am I missing something? Is there a bigger opportunity here?”

We live in a time of tumultuous change. That means there are huge opportunities out there, waiting for marketers with the foresight to find them and the courage to act on them. There just might be a megatrend out there waiting for you.

Advantages of Offering a Digital Marketing Information Product

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

Okay okay it’s time to keep going on and on about new ideas, which I know you love because it’s all so fascinating and relevant the stuff I tend to go on about, isn’t it?

Look I’m sure you can pick up a little bit of this and that if I can outline some of the principles at work.

My new idea at the moment is an information product, which sounds pretty boring at first glance, much like the typical internet marketing stuff you’s pretty much expect but let’s review some of the concepts behind this:

– selling a $47 information product is a pretty good way of gauging someone’s commitment. If they’re not willing to spend $47 on my information product then what’s the chances trying to convince them to spend $600 will be a good idea? This also helps the client to be more aware of exactly what is involved, and I can change up the deal a little bit by throwing in some consultation for $50 and offering to take that expense off the final cost of an online marketing package should they choose to go ahead with it.

– as I suggested, the information product actually paves the way for a whole lot of extra services that can be offered, by focusing on pushing the info product it actually sets up a series of what they call “upsells”

– all marketing efforts can be directed toward selling the information product, and any upsells will be the result of a happy coincidence.

– just had another idea – I could give my information product FREE to all my past clients as a way of sweetening the customer experience they had with me, especially if they’re all still disappointed that $600 didn’t buy them fame and superstardom.

so yeah it’s agreat idea! where do Is tart?

Well with my suer info product I guess, what’s the big idea? Well I’m just going to tell all my secrets basically all the most important stuff that I know. That doesn’t mean you won’t have to do the work or spend the money but you’ll know everything I know that makes a difference.

And not me telling you what works or special little tricks – it’s not about tricks. It’s about knowing where to go to get a great deal on the marketing strategies that work.

what kind of idea will those be?

Well you need a website cheap. you need cheap video production, youu need your blog set up, you need lots blogs written and you need articles marketed.

Finding the people to do this for you on a tiny budget is completely possible and I iwll show you how. An overview of a few basic concepts that serve me well,  and how they’re applied.

All about online advertising and how to get it to work to your advantage, plus connections to get free credit – that could be a real selling point too – pushing the free $100 worth of credit.

I don’t ant to dress it up or pad it out. Just the selected few bits of info that will change the business of anyone who applies them, and an honest straight up approach.

Online Marketing for Digital services and Products

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Website design and set up: $147 ($20)

pro bio / press release / sales page / newsletter  : $47 for 1 ($10) $97 for 3 ($30)

blog posts: $47 for 3

article marketing for SEO: $47 for 2 ($13)

basic video presentation: $97 ($15)

music video: $297 9$35)

full concept video: $497 ($66)

100k views: $797 ($190)

50k views: $497 ($100)

20k views: $297 ($50)

Email management + set up: $97 ($25)

domain + hosting for a year:  $47 ($15)

PPC adwords campaign (includes $150 free credit): $297 ($50

Social Media Promotion: $97 p/month ($20)

Business consultation and administration: $47 p/hour

Poster / banner / flyer design: $67

so I can sell the guide as it is for $47.

but I could sell it with a personal consultation for $97, the purpose of those consultations to lead to US$250 p/month ongoing marketing or individual services from the list above.

I could sell a bundle package with:

I’d really like a $197 package. It sounds hot.

the secret guide
1000 mysapce friends (15)
1 youtube video(20)

+ 3 x article +  marketing + $97

+ 10,000 added youtube views +$67

+ web set up and design = $147

but thats just me going on about my info product.  Going to do that some more and talk about other options to expand on online marketing without the drama of consultation based services.

Because the other options were my video and youtube services, where I already have experience, but now I’m pretty excited about the idea of a digital product.

But the main idea is that I have an idea, I can roll out a landing page, I can turn on the adwords, and keep trying until I get the presentation right, and people start buying. But I’m over customer interaction, video will still require lots of customer interaction.

But it’s the idea of focusing on one product which is a doorway for selling everything else I already sell, and having all the marketing revolve around this product which is just getting me keen as. Less customer service, and whatever customer service I do provide will be a veiled series of upsells, and as I mentioned, the full force of my marketing focused on one product.

Until of course I make two more, one for business and one for other interesting things online, so I have 3. but i think lets look at that next time.