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back to article New-age tech marketing secrets REVEALED

Traditional marketing is all about risk management. Say nice things about your product. Do whatever you can to prevent people from saying bad things about your product. Run down the competition, but do so without being obvious about it. Never under any circumstances admit you're wrong. This "control the message" marketing …

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First rule?

The first rule of 21st century marketing is quite simply "have a good product to sell."

Never mind the 21st century, hasn't that been the first rule since Ug tried to persuade Og to swap an antelope leg for a basket of berries? Okay, not a guarantee of success, but still a pretty important starting point. Crap products sell, but eventually people see through it. (Eight 'beef'burgers for a quid anyone?)

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Happy

In other words...

more honest advertising (if such a thing exists) and less of the flashy, creative ego-wank. I could live with that.

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Where's "flood communities with paid commenters until everything else is drowned out?"

Or as I think it might be called "Reputation management". A marketing technique which seems to have pretty much destroyed several tech sites, naming no names (*cough* *slashdot* *cough*)

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Re: Where's "flood communities with paid commenters until everything else is drowned out?"

That would be traditional marketing. "Control the message."

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Allow pre-sales staff to speak as technicians to technicians

If your first real contact with a vendor is their sales droid, you know they don't know the product intimately but will recite marketing blurb and empty promises

If your first real contact is with an experienced technician or engineer, they can answer questions not using the marketing blurb but from experience. They can tell you what did and didn't work. Engineers are less likely to lie, or mislead by omission, they have professional credibility at stake, and many engineers value that over commission if it came to the crunch. They can sniff out bullshit and expect other engineers to also sniff it out.

Have an engineer pre-sell to other engineers, then the twat in the Audi gets to come in for an easy 'close' if the buyer feels they trust the engineer and any tech tests they may have run

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Anonymous Coward

I think your second paragraph is entirely contradicted by Apple's crazy success !

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Thumb Up

Not only young people

"To put it bluntly: young people can see right through this crap and they are functionally immune to things like product placement, jiggling imagery, spamvertising, cold calling and high-pressure sales. Not only have two whole generations been inoculated against this crap, using these techniques actively triggers enmity among today's discerning technologists."

Exactly, but it doesn't only apply to young people. I'm a fully paid-up baby boomer and feel exactly the same way.

Give me the information I need. Cut the crap!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Not only young people

This is just it, you can see an advert for a product and within minutes have a series of reviews up on-screen which can tell you if the advert is talking rubbish.

My life is very lacking in exposure to adverts for this very reason. If I want something I can search for it, I can then work out if it is decent by looking at reviews.

Advertising is a pre-Internet mechanism.

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Unhappy

Was spiceworld 2012 a conference on the spice girls or for fans of spices?

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My question was funnier

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Product placement, jiggling imagery, spamvertising, cold calling and high-pressure sales

Is the perfect way to advertise to me that your product can't stand on it's own two feet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Product placement, jiggling imagery, spamvertising, cold calling and high-pressure sales

Why is why Aston Martin, Johnnie Walker and others have been in many films?

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Happy

I See What You Did There

With that nice little VMware plug snuggled nicely into the article...

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Sounds like "The customer is always right" to me.

'The first rule of 21st century marketing is quite simply "have a good product to sell."'

This is 99.999% of everything, in fact. I do not care whether you are advertising in store X or webpage Y, I don't care that you have a Facebook account or a Twitter account or a forum of your own. Your product (which includes sourcing, supply, support, and even customer service) has to be good enough that I'm willing to pay. Fall down on an item and the value drops. I will no more buy a product from someone who can't keep to a delivery time (or even give me one) than I'll buy from someone who doesn't answer support tickets or only has a mysterious support form on their site with no email, phone, head office, etc. Because there's only ONE reason to hide such information - you DON'T ever want me to call you if I have a problem. So why would I buy from you? The guy I buy an old banger from on eBay gives me his name and address and phone number, so why can't you?

How you do it? I don't care. A nice forum with an active community is good, but Red Hat has that. It doesn't mean I'll pay their prices or think their product is worthwhile for my needs. Positive / honest product reviews? I *EXPECT* your product reviews to be positive and honest. If they are not, then you either have a crap product or you PAID people money to LIE to a customer, so why would I touch you? (This is why I don't pre-order video games: I really WANTED Aliens: Colonial Marines - but all the reviews were sucking up, didn't tell me what I needed to know, or were embargoed until release... so I "embargoed" my money until release too and found out that the company was basically paying others to lie on its behalf).

This isn't some marvellous 21st Century marketing strategy. It's called "doing good business". Yes, some companies have not being doing that recently, or in the past, but that's always been true. The day you get off your backside and decide to do good business, all these things come automatically. Shall we lie to customers or tell them the truth? Shall we let reviewers publish a review of our product that contains criticism (and respond to that criticism) or shall we pay them to lie? Shall we give our customers a free forum so they can chat to each other? Shall we sponsor some community organised event centred around our products that really helps our customers get in touch with each other? Shall we put some technical people into those forums to resolve complaints rather than just let them linger unanswered? Shall we give those technical people the power to escalate problems, complaints, suggestions, etc.? All of this is just common sense once you've decided to do business well.

It's not a guarantee for business success either - the guy who ran a hardware shop in my old town was the nicest, sweetest guy in the world and would fall over himself to help you. It doesn't mean he's a multimillionaire nor even that he hasn't gone bankrupt since I last saw him.

Start from the premise "What would I want as a customer?" If you don't follow that through, then you should at least have a very good reason that you don't mind explaining to your customers honestly ("Sorry, we can't provide telephone support because we're very small and the costs are crippling, but I'll be glad to do...." as compared to "Sorry, but we can't provide telephone support because then you'll phone up and complain and we'll have to pay thousands to listen to you whinge about the failures of our products").

Instantly, this should remove any question of doing things any other way. If, as a customer, you would expect a refund quite quickly and easily for problem X, does a customer who has that problem get a refund quite quickly and easily? If not, why not? What can you do to fix it? How can you help? Where do they have problems? Do I have to suspect every customer of being dishonest in their refunds, even ones that spend thousands of pounds of with me every month and are only asking for a refund on a £5 product? And so on.

Do business well, these things come naturally. When it's a "shock" or a new "strategy" or some "paradigm shift" for a business to treat its customers nicely, you have to wonder what the hell it was doing before, or what the hell all its competitors are doing.

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@Eadon

That is certainly true for new products, but the majority of advertising is from big corporations for products we know enough about to find them if we're interested. But the quoted statement still holds - if the product is no good you might sell a few on the back of a big promotion but it'll fall flat on its face when disappointed customers start tweeting and blogging what it's really like.

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Mushroom

@Eadon

We all know nowadays that "have a good product to sell" pretty much involves some of the points you make about manufacturing, sales, legislation, finance etc so I for one don't see your point...

EADON REAL WORLD FAIL

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Eadon's right

People in the main will go for what's cheapest or best plugged or what they're accustomed to. They also tend not to see failings in their products because they don't educate themselves[*] so mediocrity prevails.

Wouldn't it be something if people bought TVs based on what was broadcast rather than how many inches it is on the diagonal.

[*] one can't learn everything, or even all that much, but so many can't be bothered to learn anything, and it shows clearly in the ambient standards of IT.

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Where do draw the line?

I'm not so sure that content marketing inherently calls for truth in advertising. Especially when it comes to reviews. I have been long convinced that reviews for video games are all but paid for advertising (Giant bomb drama?). Defects might be pointed out in AAA game reviews but they're usually downplayed and aren't reflected in scores unless truly egregious. Some sites gave Sim City a 5/10 review yet one was kind enough to give it a 7/10. In this case things seem to be working fine. The problem I have is that there seems to be only two extremes. Bad scores and extremely good scores. Seems like every other AAA game get's an editor's choice or at least a score in the 90 percentile. Then again, perhaps this really an example of traditional marketing but I think perhaps the line is a little blurry in the minds of some marketing departments.

The other annoying aspect of content marketing, well perhaps content marketing done badly, is when sites post bits of barely newsworthy tripe about a product repeatedly in an obvious attempt to keep it topical or 'trending' as it were. I suppose there is something to be said about quality over quantity.

And what of crowd funding? It's like community management and pledge drive all in one! I have mixed feelings about it. On one hand I'm waiting for the bubble to burst when a very high profile project is a complete disaster, but on the other I do enjoy the fact that some long awaited sequels are seeing the light of day.

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Re: Where do draw the line?

Whether or not content marketing calls for truth in advertising is a hotly contested topic. Consider debates regarding the nomenclature of "cloud" an you have some appreciation for how this is perceived in the marketing community. My investigations say most feel content marketing must contain truth in advertising otherwise it is not content marketing. It is traditional marketing trying to look like content marketing.

"Keep the topic trending", however, is very much content marketing. What would separate this from traditional marketing (which tries to do the same thing) is that content marketing tries to keep it trending by providing useful information that the readers actually want to read. Traditional marketing doesn't care what tripe is written just so long as it makes the client in question look good.

The difference in these circumstances is almost one of attitude. Content marketing is about providing something in exchange for your time reading/watching/etc that you find to be of value. Traditional marketing is about "raising the profile" while "controlling the message." Traditional marketing treats people like robots to be programmed; content marketing treats people like individuals capable of making a rational assessment for products at hand.

Which is superior in the long run is the subject of great debate, however, I think that in IT circles at least, content marketing will be king.

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Devil

Re: Where do draw the line?

The cloud...

Cooking at home takes too much electricity and produces too much heat so I like to take my ingredients to my favorite restaurant to have them cook it for me. The bill is an alphabet soup of itemized charges reflecting the amount of the kitchen's capacity I've used but at least I don't have to worry about the messy details of maintaining my own kitchen! The total is oft times more than if I had just ordered off the regular menu, but then I wouldn't have a customized private solution... err meal. You know what happens when you special order, right? They do dastardly things to your food! /sarcasm off

Don't get me wrong. I can certainly understand how well content marketing can work for the IT industry. I've fallen prey to even the the more direct type in the course of my early years in IT work when microsoft whitepapers on best practices made me more invested in completing a project with their tools. Despite my reservations of getting locked in it was the solution I had at the time.

I guess I'm always one to worry about what sounds good on paper being a pile in practice. Still, I must admit that it's easier to get a hold of product information than it has been in the past. So perhaps things are largely working as intended. I just can't help that but feel like the message is still somewhat controlled.

As far as trending goes with the release of multiple articles I guess we're in agreement insofar as it has to provide some value. Blog's, in my experience, tend to have a highly variable value in their content.

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Pirate

Marketing

I farted and a pea rolled out.

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This might be what comes and bites Google in the ass

That part about building a following by listening. Listening does not mean being nearly impossible to contact and kicking problems to public forum and maybe if you're lucky a real Google employee might read it.

To give two examples, for a while now my navigation has had a horrid sounding American voice (the Brit nanny voice vanished in an update). My system is set to British. I listed my settings to say that. I also pointed out that with the British voice only in Pico there was no spoken navigation until I installed the multi language pack with American. So it seems to me as if Google's Navigation is currently hardwired to the US voice. Reply on forum? Some bloke said I needed to switch to British English. Useless. No comment from Google, no fixed version.

The second thing? Well yesterday it wanted me to drive down the on ramp then take a sharp turn to drive the wrong way up a dual carriageway! Got screenshots and all. This worked a few months back, so somewhere/somehow it has been altered to be crazy-stupid-wrong. I plan to drop this into their support forum when I've calmed down enough to keep it polite.

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FAIL

Re: This might be what comes and bites Google in the ass

Here you go, example plotted route: http://goo.gl/maps/WZplU.

We drive on the right in France. That's a dual carriageway. Morons.

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Trollface

vExpert

vex: to irritate; annoy; provoke

spurt: a synonym for drip

I leave it to the reader to put them together...

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h3
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Vmware really has mastered marketing.

Maybe it is all good but it is astronomically expensive to get the tools.

(I would rather be dealing with a homegrown system. Hyperv Server (With samba 4 PDC/BDC) and either kvm or xen and the stuff that is really mission critical on a Mainframe or AIX.)

I find just using other peoples tools not very interesting.

I have never worked in a huge enterprise but I have worked quite a few places that just wasted astronomical amounts of money on things that were marketed well to them.

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