When I was 6 years old I witnessed a homeless man get shot for absolutely no reason. My father and I were walking along the lake in Benoni when he approached us to ask for some coins. We didn't have any so he went on to ask a family who was having a picnic nearby. The man just turned around and shot the guy in the stomach before he could even say a word. When the police arrived he told them the man had attacked his wife. The crowd that stood bent over the man's body all kept quiet even though they knew it was wrong.
There's a certain superpower that comes with understanding the difference between choice and selection. It could be the defining factor of your entire customer experience. Choices are usually infinite and selection is limited to a few options. For example, RocoMama's gives customers a choice to build their own burgers. However, this is both an advantage and a flaw at the same time. Some customers may enjoy the freedom and others might find the experience a bit daunting. Especially because you may end up putting together the shittiest combination of sweet, savoury and sour toppings. Even though you made the choices yourself, it leaves a negative impression on the business. On the other hand when you go to McDonald's you have a limited selection of options. Really easy to pick from. So a customer may prefer the simplicity of choosing from a set of limited options rather than spending 30 minutes feeling like they are writing a test paper and can't figure out the answer to an infinite multiple-choice question.
Is it just me or is it a little weird when your computer needs confirmation that YOU are not a robot? It's really confirming that I am human? The irony! Between me and the computer, who's the one plugged up to a power source? I get it, the ReCaptcha is used for security purposes when you log in to certain sites to confirm that you are not trying to hack it. However, this is one of the downsides of artificial intelligence. It makes me wonder how far things will go in future if a mere computer is confirming my humanity. The marketer in me can't help but wish the question was just phrased a little different. It just doesn't feel right for a machine to ask me if I'm human. Next time my computer asks me if I'm human I will have to prove my power and cut it's damn power cable off!
"Funny" is not a sustainable strategy. I know this will be an unpopular opinion but hear me out. Firstly, the user base on TikTok is mainly little kids. Kids get over things quickly. It's only a matter of time until all the TikTok challenges become challenging to keep interesting. Do you know why most young people ditched Facebook? Because their moms got on it too. Yes, as marketers we see the large user base as an advertising opportunity but remember what happened to Vine? Vine was similar to TikTok. It had a ton of users posting quirky clips. It made a few stars. Boasted 1.5billion video plays a day and soon went bust. The kids ran to Snapchat until their moms got on it too. Now they're all on TikTok. Watch what happens when all the moms and dads are on TikTok. Kids are barely playing outside these days, now we're even ruining the spaces that they play in online. Bloody marketers!
What makes Nando's so relatable on social media? Apart from the fiery personality and tone they always have, the fact that they always speak to relevant topics is key to their success. Instead of bombarding us with unsolicited ads of how tasty their chicken is or latest specials, they always find a way to include themselves in hot and sometimes daring conversations. You might post a negative review and instead of getting the robotic "Dear valued customer, we have escalated your concern to.. blah blah blah" type responses, they might make light of the situation in a relatable and more person-to-person manner. Many brands fail to achieve this type of success online because they don't understand the power of context in the world of content.
So economists say that 50 bucks in a first world country and 50 bucks in a third world country are not the same. The marketer in me finds it really hard to grasp. What we're in fact saying is that one piece of paper that has gone through an identical printing process and perhaps has a different colour scheme and picture of a different dead guy on it has a higher value than another. The fact that some guy in New York or London is paying 5 bucks for a Big Mac meal and I have to pay 70 bucks is mind-boggling. When I'm standing in front of a cashier at the airport and I give the lady 50 bucks and she gives back less of a "more valuable" currency feels weird. It reminds me of the same feeling I got when I'd buy R12 airtime from a spaza-shop for R13.
How often do you use your cellphone? Your Tablet? Okay.. and your laptop/Computer? Let me use these three examples to show you the difference between a feature and a product and the risk of mistaking the two. This can be the difference between success and failure in launching a new business. Your cellphone and laptop are great products. Your tablet, on the other hand, is a great feature. Why? When you want to do anything mobile, you'll grab your cellphone intuitively. When you want to write up a proposal, you naturally use your laptop. But most of us got tablets because it was just something cool to have. A great feature. Features are a short-term play. Like fidget spinners, hoverboards, selfy sticks... all features that will make you a quick buck, however, you can't build a long-lasting business based on a feature. Long-lasting businesses are built on great products.
Have you noticed how this pandemic has rebranded a simple cough? Last winter nobody really paid much attention to anybody coughing or sneezing at this
Ever walked into a supermarket and bought something because of your race? Never, right? There's no narrative that gets under my skin more than the one to "Support black businesses". I know this may not be a popular view, but hear me out. Some say, well, the problem is access to market. But there's no market as accessible as the black market. Not the illegal black market but as in that of black people. Ko Kasi, you can just find a corner and start a business. No Permit. No certification. Some of the greatest tasting food spots are the ones with that touch of questionable hygiene. The conversation should be about how we can brand ourselves better. Create better systems. Bathu didn't sit and complain about how SportScene isn't stocking their black-owned sneakers, they branded themselves well and created their own distribution system. Business is not SASSA! Nobody owes you a damn thing. Your race is not a unique selling proposition. Customers buy value, not race!
First of all, can we just lay down one fact? Newspapers were a communication innovation. But magazines are just glossy newspapers. This is exactly why it seems print magazines are dying quicker than newspapers. However, newspapers also face the same fate. Mainstream media survives off inefficiency in communication. The unique selling point of the most popular magazines and newspapers is giving exclusive news. But what happens when we get the news faster than they can print it?