6 New Rules of Marketing: Get Enlightened, Stupid.

Apparently I have to relearn marketing again, which is fine... it wasn't hard the first time.

The coolest thing about marketers are the titles they give their books. Common, right? They’re marketers. What do you expect?

Yep, while marketing and advertising may be dead, the business of proclaiming it even more dead... is booming. Here are the six rules, and as you can see they defy the 6 marketing rules I learned in my MBA (which I’ve added in italics).

Oh- I think it goes without saying that I haven’t read the book, but I am considering adding it to the prized bookshelf of “The Enlightened Stupid Marketer.” At least he embraces book covers over books, right? Is there any irony to the fact that years after shooting that video I’d write a book and, to date, not read it?

  • The Core is Everything (screw the customer, kill or be killed, don’t sleep)

Key chapters: Brand essence is important, customer knows best, your reputation is vital, play nicely, sleep soundly and work fearfully.

  • You Have Nothing Without The Foundation (integrity is for the unemployment line… Ps in 2006 were product, price, piss the customer, and pimp it)

Key chapters: Integrity, single word or symbol, whole is larger than parts, mind your P’s….

  • There Are Many Choices But Only One Customer (there’s a sucker born every minute; it’s easier to find a new customer than try to keep one).

Key chapters: Strategy is the heart and measurement is the blood, frameworks, perception really is your customer’s reality, communication, more than channel surfing.

  • Do the Right Things for the Right Reasons (we watched Wall Street in Ethics class, talked about Walmart, and then all proclaimed: greed is goooood).

Key chapters: Relationships matter, partner, it’s about them not you…

  • Infrastructure is More Than Pipes (in fact, a virtual tributary allows for add-drop multiplexing of subrate traffic… come to think of that, I might have learned that when my boutique web agency was acquired by Qwest Telcom).

Key chapters: Technology is just an enabler, right information, right people, right time… and don’t have wrong thought.

  • Lead And Others Will Follow (be a fast follower… let your competitor take the arrows, then pull them from their body and use them against anyone that tries suing you for stealing their idea; be sure to pluck out their gold fillings… they won’t need them anymore because they’re dead).

Key chapters: Leadership is a verb not noun.

So, yeah. I have to relearn marketing again, but this time there’s not a test (which sucks because I would have cheated off of my friend Mike Skoler). I wonder if my damned MBA comes with a money-back guarantee (It probably does, but the small print says “not valid on days ending with the letter Y”).

For the record, this marketing-satire video (“Enlightened Stupid Marketer”) was indeed shot in a conference room of an employer who shall remain nameless. You’d never know that unless you worked there, so while I maintained the spirit of the no-camera law (confidentiality), I broke the “letter” of the law. More importantly, it was a satire not of my co-workers at the time but of a Coke executive I’d seen a month prior at a conference. Nobody believed me, and a number of people took offense to this (like the guy who sucked my will to live).

The nice thing about this video is that if you’re offended by it, I’ve struck a vulnerability nerve haven’t I? Are ya offended or are you secure in your marketing competencies? Do you see yourself lampooned, or do you giggle at the absurdity occasionally? If your teeth clench while watching, you MAY just have gelatophobia. There’s only one cure. Avoid people unless wearing ear muffs and blinders. Or just keep reading the latest marketing book that proclaims the last guy slightly dumber.

Three Golden Rules of Online-Video Creation

Nalts is Moses (not God)For years I’ve written countless words about “do this” and “don’t do this” related to online video creation. Some of this applies to amateurs or pros, and some to advertisers and brands. Today’s advice pertains to three “Golden Rules”, and it’s important for all of us- but especially creators.

Let’s look at the Three Biggest Mistakes made by online video creators (and that does include “viral campaigns”):

  1. Emphasizing quality over cost.
  2. Believing good content will get seen.
  3. Caring about what the audience thinks.

Now you skeptics just mentally formulated the three following counterpoints while reading the Big 3 Mistakes above. I’m right, aren’t I?

  1. Higher production value generally means the content is better
  2. The social aspect of the web means good stuff rises and bad stuff dies
  3. The most savvy creators listens to audiences and predicts them, thus creating content that’s more popular.

The good news is that your counterpoints are indeed accurate. The bad news is that if you live by them, you’re going to be broke, frustrated and unsatisfied in your work. I promise. And a promise is a promise. So today, Uncle Nalts will serve up the 3 Golden Rules that shall guide you on your path to online-video sustainability. They’re subject to change as the market matures, but who cares?  If you succeed you’ll find your own reasons to explain it. And if you fail, you won’t soon return to this post because it will piss you off.

Golden Rule #1: At all costs, manage costs. There STILL isn’t a safe online-video monetization model (advertising, purchase, rent) for the majority of video content online. This is actually good news for amateurs like me, because we’ll sustain while better creators come and go — studios simply can’t justify a team of writers, producers, directors, actors, editors on the hopes of finding an audience (that day will come perhaps). I certainly am not the best video creator, but I’m probably one of the most profitable. I write, shoot, edit, and act… So I don’t have costs beyond my excesive time (which I justify by joy, not an hourly wage) and the nominal amount I spend on equipment and variable fees. Most of the people in my videos are acting for fun like I do, and occasionally I’ll pay them with bribes and gift cards.

Golden Rule #2: Good Content is Not Popular. It’s time you separate your notions of what’s good and what’s popular. You couldn’t have predicted 10 years ago that a cup of coffee would cost more than a gallon of gasoline — and that you’d bitch about gas prices while sucking down your overpriced moca frapolati venti with vanilla sprinkles. Good isn’t popular, and popular isn’t good. Does that mean you strive for popularity? Nope. That’s like trying to change the direction a boat is taking by hoping the wake shifts direction. But don’t lose hope here! Nalts doesn’t drop crap on your desk without telling you how to clean it. The lesson is that you’re responsible for getting your videos seen if you want your videos to be seen. I’ll bet you’ve been obsessing on what you do before you hit upload, and subconciously starving everything that happens after that (as if it’s beneath you). Don’t pimp and spam it (I know some video creators that should be Amway reps), but invest in some gentle efforts to get the video to a relevant audience. If the video is about cheese, did you remember to send it the cheese blogger? He’s got an audience of cheese lovers, and not much else to write about.

Golden Rule #3: Screw The Audience. I’m serious. This is really, really hard to do. There are times where you’re hypercharged by the feedback and audience interaction. It’s validating, it helps hone your storytelling, and it’s instant gratification. But almost no online-video creator is at risk of losing touch with their audience — the medium consumes them. Rather, most popular creators lose their steam because they focus on feeding the audience instead of instinct. What began as a fun outlet becomes an obligation. Experimentation becomes repetition of a formula that seems to work (Zipster08 and SMPFilms have, interestingly, spun off LocoMama and a Sparta the Cat channel the same week — these were recurring bits that grew and sustained much of their audiences, but fatigued others). By focusing on the audience above all, desperation and frustration sets in. The remedy for artistic sustainability is caring less. Get back to doing what’s fun and ignoring the “you’ve lost your edge” cold-prikly comments but also the “that’s the best video you’ve done” warm fuzzies. Every video creator I know (and I know a lot of you) pays too much attention to feedback, and I’m quite confident it’s the root cause of death spirals (including my own). For you advertisers, I’d adapt this rule as follows: don’t follow the formula because it’s already been done. The best judge of future viral failure is past viral success.

Moses has spoken.