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January 2016

Hit ‘em right between the eyes

fotolia_97721829That headline is a show-stopper. An attention-grabber.

It’s meant to be. Because, frankly, as someone in the attention-grabbing business, I know that if you DON’T smack someone right between the eyes with a WOW message, you’ve lost your 3 second chance at their attention.

We’re all connected and it’s pretty darned noisy out there. You gotta fight to win every viewer’s increasingly short attention span.

Anything FocalPoint or any entity puts out there, from a Tweet to a business proposal – gets triaged by its intended audience. It either grabs attention and gets acted upon, or it gets thrown into the middle of the easily forgotten inventory of messages swimming in our brain (and email, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.)

We can’t possibly remember all of it. The best we can do is remember the top 5% (or less) of the messages aimed at us.

Bottom line? You have provided a very interesting proposal or a really good payoff to get across the triage hurdles, the biggest being:

“Is this info worth my customer’s time?”

Perfection is boring

Fear sells. We have to look.

Radical sells. Different sells. Uniformity gets ignored.

Sex (still) sells. Being PC doesn’t.

Beauty sells. Unless it’s so plastically beautiful that it becomes boring.

We’re human. We get tired of tried and true. This is why the world of television programing is getting weirder and weirder. And why talk shows push the envelope. And teenagers listen to radical music.

soup-of-the-dayDifferent is interesting. What we once thought was perfection, soon becomes boring. So what actually gets noticed and remembered? A reliable product? A better value? Something that is safer?

At FocalPoint, we don’t think so. What’s hot today is fleeting. We get that. Today’s consumer is seeking  “Spicey hot,” “Bold and unpredictable!” and “The quirkiest gizmo ever,” and “We’ve never made a (car) quite like this.”

We see consumers that are compelled by what they don’t see often. Now that we all can get what we want at the touch of a screen, we crave new experiences, new ways to make a connection, and new sensations.

The people at the edges, the thought leaders, the young, the people who care, those are the folks we are getting in front of. The folks that are seeking idiosyncrasy and things that makes them think.

At FocalPoint, we like that too. That is what piques our interest.

Post game analysis

New year, fresh start!

No matter what your business faced or how your team pulled through, now’s a great time to provide your team a well-deserved pat on the back and a thoughtful review.

  • Maybe that’s a half-day out of the office retreat.
Or a recognition lunch. Find something positive to recognize in each staff member, i.e., “Rookie of the Year,” “Best Use of Humor in a Low Moment,” “Most Inspirational,” etc.
  • Second, measure: Take stock. List your division’s accomplishments.
    • How close did you come in each category compared to your goal?
    • Where was growth centered?
    • How did this past year stack up with last year’s?
    • Think marketing. Where do you need to build? What should you be highlighting for future growth?
  • Lastly, where is your business headed? What will you keep as is? What needs to be changed or discarded altogether?
    • There’s no better time of year to debrief, reflect and regroup. If you take the time to do this now, it can prevent you from launching automatically into a repeat of this year. And progress and growth demand new vision.

Entrepreneurial Marketing, Selling the Sizzle

What's-Your-StorySteve Jobs was famous for entrepreneurial marketing. He created gadgets we didn’t even know we needed, and then marketed them so effectively, we knew we craved whatever he blessed – asap.

At FocalPoint, we’re quick to give Jobs his due, but we also appreciate that he’s not the only one to market entrepreneurially. There are many great examples of reading the marketplace correctly and capturing consumers’ attention, from hot movie franchises to new cars, popular political slogans to toy manufacturers.

According to Adrian Slywotzky, author of Demand: Creating What People Love Before they Know they Want it, “Demand creators figure out how to solve the big and little hassles we all face.” They tell a story about how their product will make our days more convenient, more productive and more fun. Then, they market that hassle-relief instead of the product itself.

It’s a great strategy, but not a new one. That theory used to be called “selling the sizzle, not the steak.” And it’s still a very effective way to market new products and new ideas because it relies on human emotion.

But it’s not always the first entrepreneur that succeeds in a big way. It’s the first to market to the emotional business or marketplace. Effective entrepreneurs and marketers have the uncanny ability to turn “fence-sitters” into customers by correctly pinpointing and marketing to buying triggers.

How can we help you use this marketing philosophy to help you with your business?