Marketing

On Confessions of an Advertising Man

I recently finished reading Confessions of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy.

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found to be particularly insightful:

Today, the world of advertising faces four problems of crisis dimensions. The first problem is that manufacturers of package-goods products, which have always been the mainstay of advertising, are spending twice as much on price-off deals as on advertising…The second problem is that advertising agencies, notably in Britain, France, and the United States, are now infested with people who regard advertising as an avant-garde art form…The third problem is the emergence of megalomaniacs whose mind-set is more financial than creative. They are building empires by buying up other agencies, to the consternation of their clients.  The fourth problem is that advertising agencies still waste their clients’ money repeating the same mistakes.

(1) Creating successful advertising is a craft, part inspiration but mostly know-how and hard work. If you have a modicum of mostly know–how and hard work. If you have a modicum of talent, and know which techniques work at the cash register, you will go a long way. (2) The temptation to entertain instead of selling is contagious. (3) The difference between one advertisement and another. when measured in terms of sales, can be as much as nineteen to one. (4) It pays to study the product before writing your advertisements. (5) The key to success is to promise the consumer a benefit – like better flavor, whiter wash, more miles per gallon, a better complexion. (6) The function of most advertising is not to persuade people to try your product, but to persuade them to use it more often than other brands in their repertoire. (Thank you, Andrew Ehrenberg.) (7) What works in one country almost always works in other countries.

(1) I admire people who work hard, who bite the bullet. I dislike passengers who don’t pull their weight in the boat…(2) I admire people with first-class brains, because you cannot run a great advertising agency without brainy people. But brains are not enough unless they are combined with intellectual honesty…(4) I admire people who work with gusto. If you don’t enjoy what you are doing, I beg you to find another job…(6) I admire self-confident professionals, the craftsmen who do their jobs with superlative excellence. They always seem to respect the expertise of their colleagues. They don’t poach. (7) I admire people who hire subordinates who are good enough to succeed them. I pity people who are so insecure that they feel compelled to hire inferiors as their subordinates.

(1) I try to be fair and to be firm, to make unpopular decisions without cowardice, to create an atmosphere of stability, and to listen more than I talk. (2) I try to sustain the momentum of the agency – its ferment, its vitality, its forward thrust. (7) I try to recruit people of the highest quality at all levels, to build the hottest staff in the agency business. (8) I try to get the best out of every man and woman in the agency.

The agencies which are most successful in new business are those whose spokesmen show the most sensitive insight into the psychological make-up of the prospective client. Rigidity and salesmanship do not combine.

Some agencies pander to the craze for doing everything in committee. They boast about “teamwork” and decry the role of the individual. But no team can write an advertisement, and I doubt whether there is a single agency of any consequence which is not the lengthened shadow of one man.

(1) What You Say Is More Important Than How You Say It. (2) Unless Your Campaign Is Built Around a Great Idea, it Will Flop. (3) Give the Facts. (4) You Cannot Bore People into Buying. (5) Be Well-Mannered, But Don’t Clown. (6) Make Your Advertising Contemporary. (7) Committees Can Criticize Advertisements, But They Cannot Write Them. (8) If You Are Lucky Enough To Write a Good Advertisement, Repeat It Until It Stops Pulling. (9) Never Write an Advertisement Which You Wouldn’t Want Your Own Family To Read. (10) The Image and the Brand. (11) Don’t Be a Copy-Cat.

On a concluding note, “a collection of Ogilvy-isms”:

We prefer the discipline of knowledge to the anarchy of ignorance. Tell the truth, but make the truth fascinating. In the best establishments, promises are always kept. whatever it may cost in agony and overtime. Change is our lifeblood. It is important to admit your mistakes and to do so before you are charged with them.

A recommended concise and perceptive read in the areas of advertising, and influence.

 

On Steve Jobs

I recently finished reading Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- “I always thought of myself as a humanities person as a kid, but I liked electronics,” he said. “Then I read something that one of my heroes, Edwin Land of Polaroid, said about the importance of people who could stand at the intersection of humanities and sciences, and I decided that’s what I wanted to do.” It was as if he were suggesting themes for his biography (and in this instance, at least, the theme turned out to be valid). The creativity that can occur where both the humanities and the sciences combine in one strong personality was the topic that most interested me in my biographies of Franklin and Einstein, and I believe that it will be a key to creating innovative economies in the twenty-first century.”

2- “His wife also did not request restrictions or control, nor did she ask to see in advance what I would publish. In fact she strongly encouraged me to be honest about his failings as well as his strengths. She is one of the smartest and most grounded people I have ever met. “There are parts of his life and personality that are extremely messy. and that’s the truth,” she told me early on. “You shouldn’t whitewash it. He’s good at spin, but he also has a remarkable story, and I’d like to see that it’s all told truthfully” I leave it to the reader to assess whether I have succeeded in this mission. I’m sure there are players in this drama who will remember some of the events differently or think that I sometimes got trapped in Jobs’s distortion field.”

3- “Jobs said that his appreciation for Eichler homes instilled in him a passion for making nicely designed products for the mass market. I Jove it when you can bring really great design and simple capability to something that doesn’t cost much,” he said as he pointed out the clean elegance of the houses. “It was the original vision for Apple. That’s what we tried to do with the first Mac. That’s what we did with the iPod.””

4- “The Blue Box adventure established a template for a partnership that would soon be born. Wozniak would be the gentle wizard coming up with a neat invention that he would have been happy just to give away. and Jobs would figure out how to make it user-friendly, put it together in a package, market it, and make a few bucks.”

5- “Coming back to America was, for me, much more of a cultural shock than going to India. The people in the Indian countryside don’t use their intellect like we do, they use their intuition instead, and their intuition is far more developed than in the rest of the world. Intuition is a very powerful thing, more powerful than intellect, in my opinion. That’s had a big impact on my work.”

6- “Jobs is a complex person, he said, and being manipulative is just the darker facet of the traits that make him successful. Wozniak would never have been that way, but as he points out, he also could never have built Apple. “I would rather let it pass,” he said when I pressed the point. “It’s not something I want to judge Steve by.””

7- “Apple. It was a smart choice. The word instantly signaled friendliness and simplicity. It managed to be both slightly off-beat and as normal as a slice of pie. There was a whiff of counterculture, back-to-nature earthiness to it, yet nothing could be more American. And the two words together—Apple Computer—provided an amusing disjuncture. ”

8- “Jobs’s father had once taught him that a drive for perfection meant caring about the craftsmanship even of the parts unseen. Jobs applied that to the layout of the circuit board inside the Apple II. He rejected the initial design because the lines were not straight enough. This passion for perfection led him to indulge his instinct to control. Most hackers and hobbyists liked to customize, modify, and jack various things into their computers. To Jobs, this was a threat to a seamless end-to-end user experience.”

9- “Markkula would become a father figure to Jobs. Like Jobs’s adoptive father, he would indulge Jobs’s strong will, and like his biological father, he would end up abandoning him. “Markkula was as much a father-son relationship as Steve ever had,” said the venture capitalist Arthur Rock. He began to teach Jobs about marketing and sales. “Mike really took me under his wing,” Jobs recalled. “His values were much aligned with mine. He emphasized that you should never start a company with the goal of getting rich. Your goal should be making something you believe in and making a company that will last.””

10- “Was Jobs’s unfiltered behavior caused by a lack of emotional sensitivity? No. Almost the opposite. He was very emotionally attuned. able to read people and know their psychological strengths and vulnerabilities. He could stun an unsuspecting: victim with an emotional towel-snap, perfectly aimed. He intuitively knew when someone was faking it or truly knew something. This made him masterful at cajoling, stroking, persuading, flattering, and intimidating people.”

11- “But even though Jobs’s style could be demoralizing, it could also be oddly inspiring. It infused Apple employees with an abiding passion to create groundbreaking products and a belief that they could accomplish what seemed impossible.”

12- “The best products, he believed, were “whole widgets” that were designed end-to-end, with the software closely tailored to the hardware and vice versa. This is what would distinguish the Macintosh, which had an operating system that worked only on its own hardware, from the environment that Microsoft was creating, in which its operating system could be used on hardware made by many different companies.”

13- “Their differences in personality and character would lead them to opposite sides of what would become the fundamental divide in the digital age. Jobs was a perfectionist who craved control and indulged in the uncompromising temperament of an artist; he and Apple became the exemplars of a digital strategy that tightly integrated hardware. software, and content into a seamless package. Gates was a smart, calculating, and pragmatic analyst of business and technology; he was )pen to licensing Microsoft’s operating system and software to a variety of manufacturers.”

14- “I’ll always stay connected with Apple. I hope that throughout my life I’ll sort of have the thread of my life and the thread of Apple weave in and out of each other, like a tapestry. There may be a few years when I’m not there, but I’U always come back. If you want to live your life in a creative way, as an artist, you have to not look back too much. You have to be willing to take whatever you’ve done and whoever you were and throw them away. The more the outside world tries to reinforce an image of you, the harder it is to continue to be an artist, which is why a lot of times. artists have to say. “Bye. I have to go now. I’m going crazy and I’m getting out of here.” And they go and hibernate somewhere. Maybe later they re-emerge a little differently.”

15- “Jobs sometimes avoided the truth. Helmut Sonnenfeldt once said of Henry Kissinger, “He lies not because it’s in his interest. he lies because it’s in his nature.” It was in Jobs’s nature to mislead or be secretive when he felt it was warranted. But he also indulged in being brutally honest at times, telling the truths that most of us sugarcoat or suppress. Both the dissembling and the truth-telling were simply different aspects of his Nietzschean attitude that ordinary rules didn’t apply to him.”

16- “For all of his willfulness and insatiable desire to control things. Jobs was indecisive and reticent when he felt unsure about something. He craved perfection, and he was not always good at figuring out how to settle for something less. He did not like to wrestle with complexity or make accommodations. This was true in products, design, and furnishings for the house. It was also true when it came to personal for the house. It was also true when it came to personal commitments. If he knew for sure a course of action was right. he was unstoppable. But if he had doubts, he sometimes withdrew, preferring not to think about things that did not perfectly suit him.”

17- “Ever since he left the apple commune, Jobs had defined himself and by extension Apple, as a child of the counterculture. In ads such as “Think Different” and “1984,” he positioned the Apple brand so that it reaffirmed his own rebel streak, even after he became a billionaire, and it allowed other baby boomers and their kids to do the same. “From when I first met him as a young guy, he’s had the greatest of the impact he wants his brand to have on people,” said Clow. Very few other companies or corporate leaders—perhaps none— could have gotten away with the brilliant audacity of associating their brand with Gandhi, Einstein, Picasso, and the Dalai Lama. Jobs was able to encourage people to define themselves as anti-corporate, creative. innovative rebels simply by the computer they used. “Steve created the only lifestyle brand in the tech industry,” Larry Ellison said. “There are cars people are proud to have—Porsche, Ferrari, Prius—because what I drive says something about me. People feel the same way about an Apple product.”

18- “One of his motivating passions was to build a lasting company. At age twelve, when he got a summer job at Hewlett-Packard, he learned that a properly run company could spawn innovation far more than any single creative individual. “I discovered that the best innovation is sometimes the company, the way you organize a company,” he recalled. “The whole notion of how you build a company is fascinating. When I got the chance to come back to Apple, I realized that I would be useless without the company, and that’s why I decided to stay and rebuild it.”

19- “Why do we assume that simple is good? Because with physical products. we have to feel we can dominate them. As you bring order to complexity, you find a way to make the product defer to you. Simplicity isn’t just a -visual style. It’s not just minimalism or the absence of clutter. X involves digging through the depth of the complexity. To be truly simple, you have to go really deep. For example, to have no screws on something, you can end up having a product that is so convoluted and so complex. The better way is to go deeper with the simplicity, to understand everything about it and how it’s manufactured. You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential.”

20- “Despite his autocratic nature—he never worshiped at the altar of consensus—Jobs worked hard to foster a culture of collaboration at Apple. Many companies pride themselves on having few meetings. Jobs had many.”

21- “”From the earliest days at Apple, I realized that we thrived when we created intellectual property. If people copied or stole our software, we’d be out of business. If it weren’t protected, there’d be no incentive for us to make new software or product designs. If protection of intellectual property begins to disappear, creative companies will disappear or never get Started. But there’s a simpler reason: It’s wrong to steal. It hurts other people. And it hurts your own character.” He knew, however, that the best way to stop piracy—in fact the only way—was to offer an alternative that was more attractive than the brain-dead services that music companies were concocting.”

22- “But Sony couldn’t. It had pioneered portable music with the Walkman, it had a great record company, and it had a long history of making beautiful consumer devices. It had all of the assets to compete with Jobs’s Strategy of integration of hardware, software, devices, and content sales. Why did it fail? Partly because it was a company, like AOL Time Warner that was organized into divisions (that word itself was ominous) with their own bottom lines; the goal of achieving synergy in such companies by prodding the divisions to work together was usually elusive. Jobs did not organize Apple into semi-autonomous divisions; he closely controlled all of his teams and pushed them to work as one cohesive and flexible company, with one profit-and-loss bottom fine. “We don’t have ‘divisions’ with their own P&L,” said Tim Cook. “We run one P&L for the company.””

23- “Despite being- a denizen of the digital world, or maybe because he knew all too well its isolating potential, Jobs was a strong believer in face-to-face meetings. “There’s a temptation in our networked age to think that ideas can be developed by email and iChat,” he said. “That’s crazy. Creativity comes from spontaneous meetings, from random discussions. You run into someone, you ask what they’re doing, you say ‘Wow,’ and soon you’re cooking up all sorts of ideas.” So he had the Pixar building- designed to promote encounters and unplanned collaborations. “If a building doesn’t encourage that, you’ll lose a lot of innovation and the magic that’s sparked by serendipity,” he said. “So we designed the building to make people get out of their offices and mingle in the central atrium with people they might not otherwise see.””

24- “Jobs insisted that Apple focus on just two or three priorities at a time. “There is no one better at turning off the noise that is going on around him,” Cook said. “That allows him to focus on a few things and say no to many things. Few people are really good at that.” In order to institutionalize the lessons that he and his team were learning. Jobs started an in-house center called Apple University. He hired Joel Podolny, who was dean of the Yale School of Management, to compile a series of case studies analyzing important decisions the company had made, including the switch to the Intel microprocessor and the decision to open the Apple Stores. Top executives spent time teaching the cases to new employees, so that the Apple style of decision making would be embedded in the culture.”

25- “”Steve has a particular way that he wants to run Apple, and it’s the same as it was twenty years ago, which is that Apple is a brilliant innovator of closed systems.” Schmidt later told me. “They don’t want people to be on their platform without permission. The benefits of a closed platform is control. But Google has a specific belief that open is the better approach, because it leads to more options and competition and consumer choice.””

26- “The nasty edge to his personality was not necessary. It hindered him more than it helped him. But it did, at times, serve a purpose. Polite and velvety leaders, who take care to avoid bruising others, are generally not as effective at forcing change. Dozens of the colleagues whom Jobs most abused ended their litany of horror stories by saying that he got them to do things they never dreamed possible. And he created a corporation crammed with A players.”

27- “The saga of Steve Jobs is the Silicon Valley creation myth writ large: launching a start-up in his parents’ garage and building it into the world’s most valuable company. He didn’t invent many things outright. but he was a master at putting together ideas, art, and technology in ways that invented the feature. He designed the Mac after appreciating the power of graphical interfaces in a way that Xerox was unable to do. and he created the iPod after grasping the joy of having a thousand in your pocket in a way that Sony, which had all the assets and heritage, never could accomplish. Some leaders push innovations by being good at the big picture. Others do so by mastering details. Jobs did both, relentlessly. As a result he launched a series of products over three decades that transformed whole industries…”

28- “Was he smart? No, not exceptionally. Instead, he was a genius. His imaginative leaps were instinctive, unexpected, and at times magical. He was, indeed, an example of what the mathematician Mark Kac called a magician genius, someone whose insights come out of the blue and require intuition more than mere mental processing power. Like a pathfinder, he could absorb information, sniff the winds, and sense what lay ahead. Steve Jobs thus became the greatest business executive of our era, the one most certain to be remembered a century from now. History will place him in the pantheon right next to Edison and Ford. More than anyone else of his time, he made products that were completely innovative, combining the power of poetry and processors. With a ferocity that could make working with him as unsettling as it was inspiring, he also built the world’s most creative company. And he was able to infuse into its DNA the design sensibilities, perfectionism, and imagination that make it likely to be, even decades from now. the company that thrives best at the intersection of artistry and technology.”

Regards,

Omar Halabieh

Steve Jobs

On Guerrilla Marketing

I recently finished reading Guerrilla Marketing – Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business – by Jay Conrad Levinson.

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- “Marketing is every hit of contact your company has with anyone in the outside world. Every bit of contact. That means a lot of marketing opportunities. It does not mean investing a lot of money.”

2- “Marketing is the art of getting people to change their minds or to maintain their mindsets if they re already inclined to do business with you. People must either switch brands or purchase a type of product or service that has never existed before.”

3- “Guerrilla marketers do not rely on the brute force of an outsized marketing budget. Instead, they rely on the brute force of a vivid imagination. Today, they are different from traditional marketers in twenty ways. I used to compare guerrilla marketing with textbook marketing, but now that this book is a textbook in so many universities, I must compare it with traditional marketing.”

4- “The Sixteen Monumental Secrets of Guerrilla Marketing: 1. You must have commitment to your marketing program. 2. Think of that program as an investment. 3. See to it that your program is consistent. 4. Make your prospects confident in your firm. 5. You must be patient in order to keep a commitment. 6. You must see that marketing is an assortment of weapons. 7. You must know that profits come subsequent to the sale. 8. You must aim to run your firm in a way that makes it convenient for your customers. 9. Put an element oi amazement in your marketing. 10. Use measurement to judge the effectiveness of your weapons. 10. Use measurement to judge the effectiveness of your weapons. 11. Prove your involvement with customers and prospects by your regular follow-up with them. 12. Learn to become dependent on other businesses and they on you. 13. You must be skilled with the armament of guerrillas, which means technology. 14. Use marketing to gain consent from prospects, and then broaden that consent so that it leads to the sale 15. Sell the content of your offering rather than the style; sell the steak and the sizzle, because people are too sophisticated to merely buy that sizzle. 16. After you have a full-fledged marketing program, work to augment it rather than rest on your laurels.”

5- “Creativity comes from knowledge. You must have knowledge of your own product or service, your competition, your target audience, your marketing area, the economy, current events, and the trends of the time. With this knowledge, you’ll have what it takes to develop a creative marketing program, and you’ll produce creative marketing materials.”

6- “Market primarily to customers, not to prospects. It costs one-sixth as much to sell something to a customer than to a prospect. Some experts now peg that fraction as one-tenth. Direct your marketing funds toward follow-up, surpassing customer expectations, gaining repeat business, earning referral business, and enlarging the size of your transactions. Your growth will pay off in profits even more impressive than the money you’ll save by the inward, rather than outward, thrust in your marketing.”

7- “Marketing is part science and part art — and the art part is very subjective. The artistic end of marketing is not limited to words and pictures; it involves timing and media selection and ad size.”

8- “Unless you really keep track of all your media responses, you are not a guerrilla. If you run your ads and keep selecting media on blind faith, you are closer to a lemming. You’ve got to make your marketing as scientific as possible. This is one of those rare instances in which you can measure the effectiveness of your media scientifically. Avail yourself of it.”

9- “As you know, guerrillas give things away. Giving and receiving are two sides of the same coin. The coin is called business. Guerrillas have learned. though they may have always suspected it in their bones, that the more they give, the more they receive. They are extremely imaginative about what they can give, shifting their generosity into high gear and seeing the world through the eyes of their customers. That’s where to start when determining what to give away.”

10- “You can delegate the marketing tasks, delegate the marketing details, and delegate the marketing assignments. But you can’t delegate the passion or the vision. Those have to come from you.”

11- “No matter what you think you do for a living, you’re really in four businesses at once. The first is the business you think you’re in — the one mentioned on your business card. The second is the marketing business. Whatever you offer must be marketed…The third business you’re in is the service business. Customers must be served and helped from the moment you meet them…The fourth business you’re in is the people business. Your products are made by people, marketed by people, sold by people, and offered to people. There’s a close correlation between your interest in people and your ability to convince and motivate them.”

12- “Whatever you think or thought service was, let me give you a new definition — a definition for guerrillas, a definition for a time when small businesses d all the help they can get and every possible competitive advantage. Service is anything the customer wants it to be. Service is not what it says in your service manual, not what you’ve rendered in the past, and not what customers dread it will be. Instead, it’s what they pray it will be. If you can  ive up to this definition of service, you’ll be practicing one of the most powerful marketing tactics in history — and also one of the very newest.”

Regards,

Omar Halabieh

Guerrilla Marketing

On Permission Marketing

I recently finished reading Permission Marketing – Turning Strangers Into Friends, and Friends Into Customers by Seth Godin.

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- “As clutter has increased, advertisers have responded by increasing clutter. And as with pollution, because no one owns the problem, no one is working very hard to solve it.”

2- “In addition to clutter, there’s another problem facing marketers. Consumers don’t need to care as much as they used to. The quality of products has increased dramatically It’s increased so much, in fact, that it doesn’t really matter which car you buy, which coffee maker you buy, or which shirt you buy They’re all a great value, and they’re all going to last a good long while.”

3- “To summarize the problem that faces the Interruption Marketers: 1. Human beings have a finite amount of attention. 2. Human beings have a finite amount of money. The more products offered, the less money there is to go around. 4. In order to capture more attention and more money. Interruption Marketers must increase spending. 5. But this increase in marketing exposure costs b\ money. 6. But, as you’ve seen, spending more and more money in order to get bigger returns leads to ever more clutter. 7. Catch-22: The more they spend, the less it works. The less it works, the more they spend.”

4- “Five Steps to Dating Your Customer: 1. Offer the prospect an incentive to volunteer 2. Using the attention offered by the prospect, offer a curriculum over time, teaching the consumer about your product or service. 3. Reinforce the incentive to guarantee that the prospect maintains the permission. 4. Offer additional incentives to get even more permission from the consumer. 5. Over time, leverage the permission to change consumer behavior toward profits.”

5- “Permission Marketing Is Anticipated, Personal, Relevant: Anticipated—people look forward to hearing from you. Personal—the messages are directly related to the individual. Relevant—the marketing is about something the prospect is interested in.”

6- “Permission Marketing is the tool that unlocks the power of the Internet. The leverage it bring to this new medium, combined with the pervasive clutter that infects the Internet and virtually every other medium, makes Permission Marketing the most powerful trend in marketing for the next decade.”

7- “By focusing media on getting permission instead of making the ultimate sale, marketers are able to get far more out of their expenditures. The response rate to a free sample or c affinity program or a birthday club might be five or ten times the response rate of an ad asking for a sale.”

8- “There are five levels of permission. The highest level of permission is called the “intravenous” level. The fifth and lowest is called the “situation” level. Here are the five levels in order of importance. 1. Intravenous (and “purchase-on-approval” model) 2. Points (liability model and chance model) 3. Personal relationships 4. Brand trust 5. Situation. There’s a sixth level, but it’s so low I won’t even refer to it as a level at all. It’s called spam (unsolicited advertising), and it’s covered last.”

9- “Once you have earned permission, you must keep it land attempt to expand it. These four rules go a long way to help marketers understand permission: 1. Permission is nontransferable. 2. Permission is selfish. 3. Permission is a process, not a moment. 4. Permission can be canceled at any time.”

10- “Miss the opportunity to build a permission relationship directly with the consumer, and your company is likely to become a commodity supplier. If you acknowledge the coming power of the permission holder yet choose to avoid the battle to become one, you can still win. If you start now, you can optimize your company for the role of supplying the permission holder, making yourself more attractive to these gatekeepers and locking in the long-term relationships that can give you insulation moving forward. On the other hand, if you go for the opportunity to deal direct, you’ll face the wrath of your existing intermediaries. It’ll be expensive to build and maintain a permission base, and risky too. But if you succeed, you will have built an asset that can offset the demands of the gatekeepers. You’ll be able to maintain fair pricing and generate better profits.”

Regards,

Omar Halabieh

Permission Marketing

On Free

I recently finished reading Free – How Today’s Smartest Businesses Profit By Giving Something For Nothing – by Chris Anderson.

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- “The “free” part of freemium is simple, but the “premium” part is tricky. Every company and industry is different, and each business must figure out what its customers will pay for even as it uses Free to attract them in the first place. Although the book includes hundreds of examples of how successful firms found premiums to go with their frees, there are countless others. There is no silver bullet, no universal freemium model that can offer salvation to all. Making Free work is hard, which is why it’s sometimes so scary.”

2- “Those who understand the new Free will command tomorrow’s markets and disrupt today’s—indeed, they’re already doing it. This book is about them and what they’re teaching us. It is about the past and future of a radical price.”

3- “Today the most interesting business models are in finding ways to make money around Free. Sooner or later every company is going to have to figure out how to use Free or compete with Free, one way or another. This book is about how to do that.”

4- “Cross-subsidies can work in several different ways: Paid products subsidizing free products…Paying later subsidizing free now…Paying people subsidizing free people.”

5- “Most transactions have an upside and a downside, but when something is FREE! we forget the downside. FREE! gives us such an emotional charge that we perceive what is being offered a as immensely more valuable than it really is. Why? I think it’s because humans are intrinsically afraid of loss. The real allure of FREE! is tied to this fear. There’s no visible possibility of loss when we choose a FREE! item (it’s free). But suppose we choose the item that’s not free. Uh-oh, now there’s a risk of having made a poor decision—^the possibility of loss. And so, given the choice, we for what is free.”

6- “The lesson from Harris’s experience is that in a digital marketplace, Free is almost always a choice. If you don’t offer it explicitly, others will typically find a way to introduce it themselves. When the marginal cost of reproduction is zero, the barriers to Free are mostly psychological fear of breaking the law, a sense of fairness, an individual’s calculation on the value of his or her time, perhaps a habit of paying or ignorance that a free version can be obtained. Sooner or later, most producers in the digital realm will find themselves competing with Free. Harris understood that and figured out how to do it better. With his survey, he looked into the mind of the of the pirate and saw a paying customer looking for a reason to come out.”

7- “Commodity information (everybody gets the same version)  /ants to be free. Customized information (you get something unique and meaningful to you) wants to be expensive.”

8- “It’s easy to see e why this is scary for the industries that are losing their pricing power. “De-monetization” is traumatic for those affected. But pull back and you can see that the value is not so much lost as redistributed in ways that aren’t always measured in dollars and cents.”

9- “In 1971, at the dawning of the Information Age, the social scientist Herbert Simon wrote: In an information-rich world, the wealth of information meat a dearth of something else: a scarcity of whatever it is that information consumes. What information consumes is rather obvious: it consumes the attention of its recipients. Hence a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.”

10- “There is nothing new about this—people have always been creating and contributing for free. We didn’t call what they did “work” because it wasn’t paid, but every time you give someone free advice or volunteer for something, you’re doing something that in a different context could be somebody’s job. Now the professionals and amateurs are suddenly in the same marketplace of attention, and these parallel worlds are now in competition. And there are a lot more amateurs than professionals.”

11- “The idea that knockoffs can actually help the originals, especially ir the fashion business, isn’t new. In economics, it’s called the “piracy paradox,” a term coined by law professors Kal Raustiala and Christopher Sprigman. The paradox stems from the basic dilemma that underpins the economics of fashion: Consumers have to like this year’s designs, but also quickly become dissatisfied with them so they’ll buy next year’s design. Unlike technology, say, apparel companies can’t argue that next year’s models are functionally functionally better—they just look different. So they need some other reason  to get consumers to lose their infatuation with this year’s model. The solution: widespread copying that turns an exclusive design into a mass-market commodity. The designer mystique is destroyed by cheap ubiquity, and discriminating consumers have to go in search of something exclusive and new.”

12- “The lesson from fiction is that we can’t really imagine plenty properly. Our brains are wired for scarcity; we are focused on the things we have enough of, from time to money. That’s what gives us our drive. If we get what we’re seeking, we tend to quickly discount it and find a new scarcity to pursue. We are motivated by what we don’t have. not what we do have.”

Regards,

Omar Halabieh

Free

On The Psychology Of Persuasion

I recently finished reading Influence – The Psychology of Persuasion – by Robert B. Cialdini.

Robert best summarizes the premise of his book: “Although there are thousands of different tactics that compliance practitioners employ to produce yes, the majority fall within six basic categories. Each of these categories is governed by a fundamental psychological principle that directs human behavior and, in so doing, gives the tactics their power. The book is organized around these six principles, one to a chapter. The principles—consistency, reciprocation, social proof, authority, liking, and scarcity—are each discussed in terms of their function in the society and in terms of how their enormous force can be commissioned by a compliance professional who deftly incorporates them into requests for purchases, donations, concessions, votes, assent, etc.”

Below are key excerpts from this book that I found particularly insightful:

1- “The impressive aspect of the rule for reciprocation and the sense of obligation that goes with it is its pervasiveness in human culture. It is so widespread that after intensive study, sociologists such as Alvin Gouldner can report that there is no human society that does not subscribe to the rule. And within each society it seems pervasive also; it permeates exchanges of every kind.”

2- “The reciprocation rule brings about mutual concession in two ways. The first is obvious. It pressures the recipient of an already made concession to respond in kind. The second, while not so obvious, is pivotally important. Just as in the case of favors, gifts. or aid, the obligation to reciprocate a concession encourages the creation of socially desirable arrangements by ensuring that anyone seeking to start such an arrangement will not be exploited.”

3- “Certainly, then, good personal consistency is highly valued in our culture. And well it should be. It provides us with a reasonable and gainful orientation to the world. Most of the time we will be better off if our approach to things is well laced with consistency. Without it our lives would be difficult, erratic, and disjointed. But because it is so typically in our best interests to be consistent, we easily fall into the habit of being automatically so, even in situations where it is not the sensible way to be. When it occurs unthinkingly, consistency can be disastrous.”

4- “Once an active commitment is made, then, self-image is squeezed from both sides by consistency pressures. From the inside, there is a pressure to bring self-image into line with action. From the outside, there is a sneakier pressure—a tendency to adjust this image according to the way others perceive us.”

5- “The tendency to see an action as more appropriate when others are doing it normally works quite well. As a rule, we will make fewer mistakes by acting in accord with social evidence than contrary to it. Usually, when a lot of people are doing something, it is the right tiling to do. This feature of the principle of social proof is simultaneously its major strength and its major weakness. Like the other weapons of influence, it provides a convenient shortcut for determining how to behave but, at the same time, makes one who use the shortcut vulnerable to the attacks of profiteers who lie in wait along its path.”

6- “These results suggest an important qualification of the principle of social proof. We will use the actions of others to decide on proper behavior for ourselves, especially when we view those others as similar to ourselves.”

7- “Few people would be surprised to learn that, as a rule, we most prefer to say yes to the requests of someone we know and like. What might be startling to note, however, is that this simple rule is used in hundreds of ways by total strangers to get us to comply with their requests.”

8- “Compliance professionals are forever attempting to establish that we and they are working for the same goals, that we must “pull together” for mutual benefit, that they are, in essence, our teammates.”

9- “This paradox is, of course, the same one that attends all I major weapons of influence. In this instance, once we realize that obedience to authority is mostly rewarding, it is easy to allow ourselves the convenience of automatic obedience. The simultaneous blessing and bane of such blind obedience is its mechanical character. We don’t have to think; therefore, we don’t. Although such mindless obedience leads us to appropriate action in the great majority of cases, there will be conspicuous exceptions—because we are reacting rather than thinking.”

10- “The evidence, then, is clear. Compliance practitioners’ reliance on scarcity as a weapon of influence is frequent, wide-ranging, systematic, and diverse…The first is familiar. Like the other weapons of influence, the scarcity principle trades on our weakness for shortcuts. The weakness is, as before, an enlightened one. In this case, because we know that the things that are difficult to possess are typically better than those that are easy to possess, we can often use an item’s availability to help us quickly and correctly decide on its quality. Thus, one reason for the potency of the scarcity principle is that, by following it, we are usually and efficiently right.In addition, there is a unique, secondary source of power within the scarcity principle: As opportunities become less available, we lose freedoms; and we hate to lose the freedoms we already have.”

11- “Very often in making a decision about someone or something, we don’t use all the relevant available information; we use, instead, only a single, highly representative piece of the total. And an isolated piece of information, even though it normally counsels us correctly, can lead us to clearly stupid mistakes—mistakes that, when exploited by clever others, leave us looking silly or worse.”

12- “We are likely to use these lone cues when we don’t have the inclination, time, energy, or cognitive resources to undertake a complete analysis of the situation. Where we are rushed, stressed. uncertain, indifferent, distracted, or fatigued, we tend to focus on less of the information available to us. When making decisions under these circumstances, we often revert to the rather primitive but necessary single-piece-of-good-evidence approach. All this leads to a jarring insight: With the sophisticated mental apparatus we have used to build world eminence as a species, we have created an environment so complex, fast-paced, and information-laden that we must increasingly deal with it in the fashion of the animals we g ago transcended.”

Regards,

Omar Halabieh

The Psychology of Persuasion

On I Love You More Than My Dog

I recently finished reading “I Love You More Than My Dog” Five Decisions That Drive Extreme Customer Loyalty in Good Times and Bad by Jeanne Bliss.

Below are key excerpts summarizing the main concepts advanced by the book:

1- “Your decisions reveal who you are and what you value…When you make a decision, it results in an action. And the accumulation of those decisions and actions become how people describe you and think of you. It becomes your “story.””

2- “The Five Decisions Made by Beloved Companies: DECISION 1: Beloved Companies Decide to Believe. DECISION 2: Beloved Companies Decide with Clarity of Purpose. DECISION 3: Beloved Companies Decide to Be Real. DECISION 4: Beloved Companies Decide to Be There. DECISION 5: Beloved Companies Decide to Say Sorry.”

3- “Companies have been able to suspend the cynicism. They have diminished the rules. And instead, they have decided to believe: in the good judgment of the people they hire. that trust is reciprocated between companies and their customers. in the honesty and integrity of their customers. that honoring the intelligence of employees grows their business.”

4- “Decide with clarity of purpose…Beloved companies take the time to be clear about what their unique promise is for their customers’ lives. They use this clarity hen they make decisions so they align to this purpose, to this promise. Clarity of purpose guides choices and unites the organization. It elevates people’s work from executing tasks to delivering experiences customers will want to repeat and tell others about.”

5- “Decide to be real…Beloved companies establish lasting bonds with customers—by deciding to blend their personalities with their business decisions. In the beloved companies: Leaders blend who they are as people with how they lead. Business decisions combine purpose and passion. Leaders give employees behaviors to model and permission to be ‘real.” Relationships are between people who share the same values.”

6- “Decide to be there…companies were able to reach uncommon decisions that connected them with customers because they: Imagined their customers’ lives. Were clear on their purpose for delivering a solution to their lives. Built their experience from the customers’ point of view. Executed with operational reliability.”

7- “Decide to say sorry…Aaron Lazare, author of On Apology, says, “The apology is a powerful and constructive form of conflict resolution, embedded, in modified form, in religion and the judicial system. It is a method of social hearing that as grown in importance as our way of living together on our planet undergoes radical change.” Moral of the story: a good apology trumps the legal system. As long as the apology is sincere and the effort to make amends is genuine…Your apology must: Be genuine. Restore confidence in being associated with you. Honor those harmed. Explain and work to resolve the problem. Be delivered swiftly and with humility.”

8- “Beloved companies shed their fancy packaging and break down the barriers of ” big company, little customer.” The relationship is between people who share the same values and revel in each other’s foibles, quirks, and spirit. And that’s what draws them to each other. Beloved companies decide to create a safe place where the personality and creativity of  of people come through. It makes them beloved to customers who gravitate to their particular brand of humanity.”

Regards,

Omar Halabieh

I Love You More Than My Dog

On SPIN Selling

I have recently read SPIN Selling, The Best-Validated Sales Method Available Today. Developed From Research Studies of 35,000 Sales Calls. Used by the Top Sales Forces Across The World. by Neil Rackham.

The main premise of this book is best summarized by the author in the first chapter of the book: “The traditional selling models, methods, and techniques that most of us have been trained to use work best in small sales. In this book I’ll be showing you that what works in small sales can hurt your success as the sales grow larger—and I’ll be sharing with you our research findings that have uncovered new and better models for success in large sales…One of the simplest models of a sales call does seem to be applicable to any size of sale; almost every sales call you can think of, from the simplest to the most sophisticated, goes through four distinct stages 1. Preliminaries: These are the warming-up events that occur before the serious selling begins…2. Investigating: Almost every sale involves finding something out by asking questions…3. Demonstrating Capability: In most calls you will need to demonstrate to customers that you’ve something worthwhile to offer…4. Obtaining Commitment: Finally, a successful sales call will end with some sort of commitment from the customer…We decided that the focus of our research would be to develop new and positive questioning models that could replace the old ones, which were proving so unsatisfactory…We found that questions in the successful call tend to fall into a sequence we call SPIN. In summary the SPIN sequence of questions is: 1) Situation Questions: At the start of the call, successful people tend to ask data-gathering questions about facts and background…. 2) Problem Questions: Once sufficient information has been established about the buyer’s situation, successful people tend to move to a second type of question… 3) Implication Questions: In smaller sales, sellers can be very successful if they just know how to ask good Situation and Problem Question…4) Need-payoff Questions:Finally, we found that very successful salespeople ask a fourth type of question during the Investigating stage… is that they get the customer to tell you the benefits that your solution could offer.”

Below are key excerpts from the book that I found particularly insightful:

1- “The psychological effect of pressure seems to be this. If I’m asking you to make a very small decision, then—if I pressure you—it’s easier for you to say yes than to have an argument. Consequently, with a small decision, the effect of pressure is positive. But this isn’t so with large decisions. The bigger the decision, the more negatively people generally react to pressure.”

2- “By forcing the customer into a decision, closing techniques speed the sales transaction…Closing techniques may increase the chances of making a sale with low-priced products. With expensive products or services, they reduce the chances of making a sale.”

3- “The first step in successful closing is to set the right objectives. The starting point for obtaining a commitment is to know what level of commitment from the customer will be needed to make the call a success.”

4- “So what’s the test of closing success? What’s the result, or outcome, that allows us to say that one call has been successful while another has failed? The method we finally chose involved dividing the possible outcomes of the call into four areas: 1)Orders: Where the customer makes a firm commitment to buy… 2)Advances: Where an event takes place, either in the call or after it, that moves the sale forward toward a decision… 3)Continuations: Where the sale will continue but where no specific action has been agreed upon by the customer to move it forward…4)No-sales: Our final category is where the customer actively refuses a commitment.”

5- “Obtaining Commitment: Four Successful Actions 1. Giving attention to Investigating and Demonstrating Capability…2. Checking that key concerns are covered..3. Summarizing the Benefits… 4.Proposing a commitment”

6- “The purpose of  questions in the larger sale is to uncover Implied Needs and to develop them into Explicit Needs.”

7- “Demonstrating Capability Effectively: 1.Don’t demonstrate capabilities too early in the call…2. Beware Advantages…3. Be careful with new products.”

8- “Making Your Preliminaries Effective: 1. Get down to business quickly…2. Don’t talk about solutions too soon…3. Concentrate on questions.”

9- “The Four Golden Rules for Learning Skills Rule 1: Practice Only One Behavior at a Time Start by picking just one behavior to practice…Don’t move on to the next until you’re confident you’ve got the first behavior right…. Rule 2: Try the New Behavior at Least Three Times…Never judge whether a new behavior is effective until you’ve tried it at least three times…Rule 3: Quantity Before Quality…When you’re practicing, concentrate on quantity: use a lot of the new behavior. Don’t worry about quality issues, such as whether you’re using it smoothly or whether there might be a better way to phrase it. Those things get in the way of effective skills learning. Use the new behavior often enough and the quality will look after itself…Rule 4: Practice in Safe Situations…Always try out new behaviors in safe situations until they feel comfortable. Don’t use important sales to practice new skills.”

10- “The most important lessons come from the way you review the calls you make. After each call, ask yourself such questions as these: Did I achieve my objectives? If I were making the call again, what would I do differently? What have I learned that will influence future calls on this account? What have I learned that I can use elsewhere?”

Regards,

Omar Halabieh

SPIN Selling

On Tested Advertising Methods

I recently finished reading Tested Advertising Method (Fifth Edition) by John Caples, revised by Fred E. Hahn.

Below are excerpts from the book that summarize the key points presented by the authors:

1) “Caples’  Three-Step Approach To Creativity: 1) Capture the prospect’s attention. Nothing happens unless something in your mailing, or your commercial makes the prospect stop long enough to pay attention to what you say next. 2) Maintain the prospect’s interest. Keep the ad, mailing, or commercial focused on the prospect, on what he or she will get out of using your product or service. 3) Move the prospect to favorable action. Unless enough “prospects” are transformed into “customers,” your ad has failed, no matter how creative. That’s why you don’t stop with A/I/A (Attention, Interest/Action), but continue right on with testing.”

2) “Caples’ Three-Step Approach to Testing: 1) Accept nothing as true about what works best in advertising until it has been objectively – What Caples called “scientifically” – tested. 2) Build upon everything you learn from testing to create an ever-stronger system that you return to with each new project. 3) Treat every ad as an ongoing test of what has been learned before. When something new works better – or something old stops working – be ready to admit you were wrong about what you thought you “knew.” But don’t just accept it. Find out why and apply it the next time.”

3) “…There are four important qualities that a good headline may possess. They are: 1) Self-Interest 2) News 3) Curiosity 4) Quick, easy way”

4) “The most frequent reason for unsuccessful advertising is advertisers who are so full of their own accomplishments that they forger to tell us why we should buy.”

5) “Here are some of the things you should notice about the various Reader’s Digest openings: 1) They are fact-packed. 2) They are telegraphic. 3) They are specific. 4) They have few adjectives. 5) They arouse curiosity.”

6) “By its attention value it (drama) can make a small advertising appropriation do the work of a large appropriation.”

7) “Thomas E. Dewey: The advertising profession is an integral part of the life of a free nation. It has helped create markets where markets did not previously exist. It has not merely sold products which the public wanted. It has sold products which the public did not know it wanted. More important still, it has made possible the only free method for the large scale manufacture of goods on a mass basis.”

8) “Three well-known and often neglected aids to pulling power are: 1) Short paragraphs, 2) Short sentences, 3) Short words.”

9) “Advertising can never become completely accurate, however because of the human element involved – in advertising you are dealing with the minds and the emotions of human beings, and these will always be, to a certain extent, unstable and unmeasurable. That is why it is necessary to test, test, test – to test copy, media, position in publications, seasonal variation, and time of day in broadcast advertising.”

10) “Test everything. Doubt everything. Be interested in theories, but don’t spend a large sum of money on a theory without spending a little money to test it first.”

11) “Four important factors in every advertising campaign” 1) Copy – what you say in your advertisements. This includes the appeal used and the method of expressing that appeal. 2) Media – which magazines, newspapers, broadcasting facilities, or other media you select to carry your message to the public. 3) Position – what position your advertisements occupy in publications; which day of the week or what time of day you select for your broadcast messages. 4) Season – in which months of the year you run most of your advertising.”

12) “It (testing) enables you to keep your finger on the public pulse. It enables you to sense trends in advance. It enables you to separate the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats, the winning ideas from the duds. It enables you to multiply the results you get from the dollars you spend in advertising.”

Regards,

Omar Halabieh

Test Advertising Methods

On Positioning

I recently finished reading the book Positioning: The Battle For Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout.

This is a classic in the marketing field. The authors define positioning as “a new approach to communication…But positioning is not what you do to a product. Positioning is what you do to the mind of the prospect. That is, you position the product in the mind of the prospect.”

The book then goes on to present the concept of positioning, and the associated challenges and opportunities. What sets this book apart is the plethora of examples that are provided from a variety of industries (both services and products) that illustrate both how position can and should be used, and how it shouldn’t be.

Finally the authors extend the concept of positioning and show how it can be applied to one’s self and career. In addition how one can start a positioning program for a business.

A very insightful and educational book –  a must read in the business arena and particularly the marketing field.

Below are some key excerpts from this book:

1) “Positioning is an organized system for finding a window in the mind. It is based on the concept that communication can only take place at the right time and under the right circumstance.”

2) “Leaders should use their short-term flexibility to assure themselves of a stable long-term future. As a matter of fact, the marketing leader is usually the one who moves the ladder into the mind with his or her brand nailed to the one and only rung.”

3) “This is the classic mistake made by the leader. The illusion that the power of the product is derived from the power of the organization. It’s just the reverse. The power of the organization is derived from the power of the product, the position that the product owns in the prospect’s mind.”

4) “But today in the product arena and in the political arena, you have to have a position. There are too many competitors out there. You can’t win by not making enemies, by being everything to everybody. To win in today’s competitive environment, you have to go out and make friends, carve out a specific niche in the market. Even if you lose a few doing so.”

5) “With a good name your positioning job is going to be a lot easier.”

6) “A name is a rubber band. It will stretch, but not beyond a certain point. Furthermore, the more you stretch a name, the weaker it becomes.”

7) “The lesson here is that a succesfull positioning program requires a major long-term commitment by the people in charge.”

8) “The solution to a positioning problem is usually found in the prospect’s mind, not in the product.”

9) “Positioning yourself and your career…Define yourself…Make mistakes…Make sure your name is right…Avoid the no-name trap…Avoid the line-extension trap…Find a horse to ride…The first horse to ride is your company…The second horse to ride is your boss…The third horse to ride is a friend…The fourth horse to ride is an idea…The fifth horse to ride is faith…The sixth horse to ride is yourself.”

10) “Positioning your business…What position do you own?…What position do you want to own?…Whom must you outgun?…Do you have enough money?…Can you stick it out?…Do you match your position?…The role of the outsider…What the outsider doesn’t supply.”

11) “Playing the positioning game…You must understand the roles of words…You must know how words affect people…You must be careful of change…You need vision…You need courage…You need objectivity…You need simplicity…You need subtlety…You must be willing to sacrifice…You need a global outlook…What you don’t need.”

Regards,

Omar Halabieh

Positioning

Positioning