Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A Solution without a Problem

When I returned to TI as Worldwide Strategic Marketing Manager (after a two year round trip to Philips Semiconductors in Albuquerque) I found that the marketing organization had grown considerably. Attending marketing meetings were a fresh batch of new marketers who were engineers a year or two before. Most of them had no marketing training and certainly no experience. I found that their decisions were not based on sound marketing logic. All they knew about marketing was that they got to travel on company money, go to trade shows, and decide what cool give away to hand out this year. Marketing was fun and they were there to have fun.

While I'd been away, TI started running print ads in EETimes and other major tech magazines. The ads were pretty boring and did little more than state that TI was the undisputed leader in the world of 1394/FireWire silicon. The unstated goal (but clear to me) was to establish TI as the safe choice. This was similar to the old IBM ad which stated, "No one ever got fired for choosing IBM". Of course, most of you don't remember when IBM was in the computer what does that tell you?

I attended a meeting to select the next ad from a stack of a dozen boring ideas. I did not like a thing I was being shown. I'd known advertising majors in the MBA program and knew them to be the most creative people on the planet. What we were being shown had clearly been "made safe for engineering consumption." I.E. they only brought to TI the sort of safe, boring ads that engineers could accept. These people were no fools. They knew what TI was like. However, I'd been entrusted with the task of creating an innovative marketing team. Business as usual was no longer acceptable.

I wanted to move the group in a better direction, but first of all I needed to know what direction they wanted to head in. I needed to know what they were trying to accomplish by spending tons of money on print ads. Being new to the group, I asked the obvious question, "What is your reason for running a print ad? What is it that you want to accomplish?" It was a "deer in the headlights" moment for these young marketers who'd never thought about why they were running an ad. They were "marketers" and "marketers" run ads. That is "marketing."

The answer surprised me but I was pretty sure I knew what needed to be done. The short discussion that followed set into motion a quick series of steps that changed the way this team did marketing forever.

James Snider is an global marketing professional with 15 years experience in the semiconductor and high-tech industry. He is currently working as a consultant while looking for a permanent position. 

The Ying and Yang of Creativity in the Business World

When I was working on my M.B.A., I took an Advertising class. From the first night, the room was divided into two types of people. “Business Major Types” and “Creative Types”. The M.B.A. people were dressed in Dockers or slacks with a starched cotton shirt; with or without a loosened silk tie. The Advertising Majors were dressed in shorts and t-shirts with visible tattoos and things pierced that your Grandparents never imagined could be pierced.

The professor commented that he could tell a person’s major by the focus of their term assignments. The business majors were focused on ROI, spreadsheets, how to measure success, and business justification…with very boring ad campaigns. The advertising majors spent almost no time on numbers and gave all their attention to outlandish, entertaining, and very creative ads.

That was my introduction to the Ying-and-Yang of the business world. “Creative” and “Business” will always be at odds. Each one contributing what is required to keep the company going but always in conflict. In the business world of technology, Ying-and-Yang are not in balance which leads to problems which are masked by growing markets.

James Snider is an International Marketing professional, responsible for developing the 3.4 billion dollar 1394/FireWire market. James spent 15 years in marketing with 7 years working at "for profit" companies and 8 years as executive director of a non-profit.

James is currently looking for employment:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Apple's use of Social Media

Apple Bonus Round
...this was not part of my original 10 blog series on Apple Marketing....

This comes from an article on Marketing Megatrends written by Adam Kleinberg

To read the full article "5 marketing megatrends you can't ignore"

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.

James Snider is an global marketing professional with 15 years experience in the semiconductor and high-tech industry. He is currently working as a consultant while looking for a permanent position.