media companies wrestling with the change in reader behavior

Media Companies: Stop Trying To Save The Past

Gee Ranasinha Business

John Einar Sandvand talks about a word that should be banned from the vocabulary of all media companies. What’s the word? “Cannibalization.” Many media companies today are happy to develop the digital side to their business, but only as long as it doesn’t negatively impact the revenues they generate from their traditional sales. As John points out, “What Can Become Digital, Will Become Digital.” As consumers, the immediacy and convenience that digital content delivery provides – whether that content is music, movies, newspapers, books, or whatever – is a compelling and attractive proposition to us. More importantly, even if the analog equivalent is ‘better’, it doesn’t mean that it has a given right to co-exist. The market will decide – whether or not we like the results. Take the music industry as an example. Why did the CD all but kill off vinyl? Because with a CD you don’t have the hassle of a turntable and stylus, and you don’t have to get-up to flip the record over when you want to hear “side two.” Similarly, MP3 files replaced CDs for many people because their reduced sound quality from an MP3 files is mitigated by convenience and immediacy of purchase: you don’t have …

Questions

Why Didn’t I Think Of That?

Gee Ranasinha Business, Marketing

We’ve all heard the phrase “there’s no such thing as a stupid question.” Asking a question means that you’re listening, absorbing, trying to understand. Religions are born. Regimes are created (and overthrown). Companies, products and services are conceived because someone asked a question. Too many times, at the end of a report or presentation, we ask the audience if there are questions with regards to the subject matter that was just delivered. Usually the reply is a pregnant, awkward silence. Does that mean that no-one in the room needs some clarification on whatever’s been proposed to them?  Usually not.  It usually means that no-one has the fortitude to start the ball rolling and ask the first question. More often than not if two or three questions get asked – and answered – quickly, more questions will follow. We should question the absence of questions. Asking questions is how we learn, how we understand. Questions are the beginning of how we effect change. So why do so many organizations effectively neuter their own innovation and development potential by instilling an aura of fear for asking questions? A lot of people in business behave in the same way that they did in …

keeping your social media fans happy

Keeping Your Fans Happy With New Content

Gee Ranasinha Advertising, Communications, Customer Service, Marketing, PR, Social Media

So, you blog regularly. Maybe you tweet as well. Perhaps you have a company Facebook fan page too. Good for you. Well done. By now you may have seen tangible results from your efforts. More and more people are reading your content. Maybe you’ve converted interest into leads, and into sales. Hopefully you’ve taken my advice and have a content strategy in place that helps you and your colleagues keep that social media ship on course. You’ve got followers, fans and evangelists and they like what you do. They’re on your side. But there’s a problem. Your most devout followers have been reading your stuff all of these months and, by now, they pretty much have a handle on what you’re saying. The problem is, that you’re saying the same thing again and again. Your most loyal of followers are being done a disservice since they feel that they’re reading the same message – even if it is being regurgitated and rewritten 101 different ways. They’re not being pushed, challenged, educated or informed any more. You’ve made your point to them – and they’ve got it. The only question now is how long they’ll continue to hang around reading your stuff …

translation management portal video screenshot

Translation Management with QARTO – Video Presentation

Gee Ranasinha Communications

I’d like to ask a small favor from you, if I may. Please take a look at the following video. (if you can’t see the video, then please go here). It’s designed to be a 36,000ft overview of our Qarto translation management portal. The aim of the video is to give an idea of what Qarto is about, and (if your company does a lot of translation work) whether the information would make you to look at Qarto in more depth. The reason that I’m asking for your help is that I’d like your opinion on how to improve the video. Here are my thoughts: 1.  At a shade over three-and-a-half minutes long, I may be asking a LOT for an online viewer to watch the whole video. When we produce such material for our clients, we generally advise that the final video should be no longer than two-and-a-half to three minutes maximum – and that’s only if we all agree that the video content is compelling enough for the target audience to want to sit through. Clearly, I’m breaking my own rule here. However, everyone that I’ve shown the video to all say that it doesn’t feel that long …

kexino test with vid.ly

Vid.ly: The Biggest Development In Online Video?

Gee Ranasinha Marketing

As regular readers to this blog (hello Mum) will know all too well, I’ve been banging-on about the importance of video within a company’s sales, support and marketing strategy for years. Hopefully, we all know now that video is too powerful a medium to be ignored. That if a visitor clicks on a video they are more likely to watch it until its end, then read a swathe of text. That producing and distributing video has never been easier or more affordable. Yadda, yadda, yadda. Today, we’re living in what some people are calling a Post-PC age. We no longer need PCs or laptops to do most of what we used to use computers to do. Emailing, surfing the web and (of course) watching video – whether that’s dogs on skateboards on YouTube, or any of the various TV channel catch-up services such as the BBC’s iPlayer. As I wrote in a previous article, today there are a plethora of video formats for all types of devices.  Different web browsers like different types of video format, as do various smartphones, not-so-smartphones (dumbphones?), tablets – even video games consoles. Well, I recently saw the future of online video for businesses. And …

First-Time Site Visitors Rarely Buy

What Do You Do For An Encore?

Gee Ranasinha Communications

SEO is all well and good, but all that does is get someone to your site that first time. When a visitor comes to your website for the first time, they need to find something that’s sufficiently engaging for them to bother to read what’s there. However, what’s just as important (and maybe even more important) is giving your visitors a reason to come back. There’s plenty of research out there saying customers need to revisit your site on more than one occasion before they’re reassured enough to buy from you. This is where many businesses get it wrong. They’re asking for the sale too early. You’re asking for their email address, phone number, or credit card when they’re still working out whether they trust you. It’s a bit like proposing marriage on a first date. We’re not there yet. If customers land on your site, and within 5 seconds get hit by a pop-window asking them to sign-up for a newsletter, you’ve probably blown it. You’ve put them in a bad mood by being pushy. You’re asking too much, too early. They’re probably going to leave, and it’s doubtful they’ll return. What a shame. So if first-time visitors to …

brain with question marks

Don’t Be An Expert

Gee Ranasinha Business

Are you an ‘expert’? I sure hope not. As consumers, none of us want to make the wrong decision when we’re looking to buy something. None of us want to be the one that bought a Zune. We like the assurance that third-party confirmation gives as part of the buying process. Maybe we seek out reviews from trusted sources such as specialist magazines, blogs, or websites. Or perhaps we’d let untrusted opinion guide us. What do I mean by “Untrusted opinion”? In recent years buyers have grown to trust the phenomenon of the Customer Review, essentially a word-of-mouth recommendation from someone that we don’t know. We often can’t confirm that the submitted information is accurate, or unbiased, yet we allow it to influence our purchasing decision. Word Of Mouth has been supplemented by Word Of Mouse. What’s amazing to me is that we often value the opinion of these people over and above the information from more historically-trusted sources. We’d rather believe a total stranger who may not even be real, over a brand’s own content. In the world of business – in sales, marketing, finance, HR, and so on – what we’re looking for, consciously or otherwise, is an ‘expert’. Someone who can …

ring love shadow

Show Your Customers Some Love

Gee Ranasinha Business, Communications

Happy belated Valentine’s Day. Reading Tim Sanders’ blog recently, I noticed that his book Love Is The Killer App is nine years old already. If I had to mention one book that had the single biggest influence on my business life, it would be this one – and I discovered it by accident. I just happened to be at a conference in the USA where Tim was speaking, and was blown away by what he was saying. I bought the book soon afterwards. What Tim was saying in his keynote presentation, and that the book explains in greater detail, was a way of interacting with people that I was unconsciously doing already. I’d never even considered that I was doing something that others were not. Tim’s presentation opened my eyes to how I was approaching people in business, and that more of us should be doing the same thing. If you’ve never read the book, it’s message is basically to give without expecting to receive. To go out of your way to help others in business, your employees, your customers, like you would treat family. Nine years ago such talk would have had you dismissed as some sort of pot-smoking …

Customer Relationship

Building Real Customer Relations

Gee Ranasinha Business

How far does your business go in building relationships with your customers? Today, many companies have realized that they need to do more than hang a “We’re Open” sign on the door to get customers to buy from them. They may even have heard that “People don’t buy from companies, people buy from people.” As a result, they schmooze, they cajole, they inform, they educate, they interact. To use the current parlance: They engage. If it all goes according to plan, then perhaps the customer makes the purchase. At which time, more often than not, they’re shown the door and we’re off playing the game all over again with someone else. But couldn’t – or shouldn’t – the customer relationship be more than just a way to get the sale? In some cases there is a relationship after the sale: Perhaps the customer has to pay for some kind of assistance or service following the purchase.  Or maybe there’s some ongoing training/induction type sessions that last an amount of time, that maintains the client/supplier relationship. But if a business – any business – sincerely exists to offer some kind of help or solution to their customers, then shouldn’t they view every …

short attention span

The Attention Span Of A Goldfish

Gee Ranasinha Marketing

One of the challenges in communicating online – websites, email, whatever – is how to get to your audience before they click off to somewhere else. The internet may be vast, but with the consequence that your online audience has a vast choice – and a tiny attention span. So how do you get your complex point across, in a world where your target market has a shorter attention span than Granny’s pet goldfish? The impact of the Internet has meant that many content creators feel that they can write at extravagant length, not only waffling on about their key idea but adding all the fine detail they think is important. After all, it’s not like it has to be squeezed into a magazine page or brochure, right? The problem is that the recipient is making a snap, two-second decision about what to look at and what to ignore, based on viewing maybe 20 words of that content. If they do look at it, they’re actually ‘scanning’ rather than reading. Even worse, they may ‘save’ the email to go back to later – which realistically means that they’re never going to view it again. End result? You think you’ve written …

winning in business

Playing To Win In Business

Gee Ranasinha Marketing

Imagine that you’re playing Blackjack at a swanky casino in Monte Carlo, Macau, or maybe Las Vegas. The cards are dealt out. Your hand adds up to 16, while the dealer is showing a ten. What do you do? Statistically, the chances that taking another card doesn’t push you over 21 is less than 40% (depending on how many decks of cards are in play). The odds that your card gives you a total of 18 or greater is around 25%.  Not great odds, I think you’ll agree. Based upon the chances of busting, maybe you decide to stick with what you’ve got. However, if you describe the above situation to any experienced Blackjack player, they would all advise you to take another card. Why? Because they will remind you that the aim of playing Blackjack is not to avoid going over 21. The aim of Blackjack is to win – and the chances that you’re going to win with a hand of 16 is slim at best. It’s the same in business. When we’re presented with a business opportunity, we make an assessment as to the likely probability that the decision that we make will yield a favorable result. If we …

Apple Inc Think Different campaign

Think Different

Gee Ranasinha Marketing

Perhaps the singularly most over-used word in the history of marketing is the word “New.” ‘New’ gets attention and provokes a variety of reactions. New means good, more advanced, more original, more unusual. New means better. New means cooler – more fashionable. Most of all, new implies that the object of our attention is something that we haven’t seen before. However, more often than not, it isn’t. The vast majority of products or services that are branded ‘new’ are anything but. Or rather, that they may well be ‘new’, but they are far from being ‘different’. Most ‘new’ things are simply revisited versions of what has existed before. New combinations of the familiar – or “mash-ups”, to use today’s vernacular – with a liberal sprinkling of marketing pixie-dust to help it on its way. Once you pare away the fancy packaging, the jargon and the glitter, you’re left with something that isn’t very dissimilar to what has existed before. Today, we have become desensitized to the ‘new’. Instead, we crave the ‘different’. The different is the new New. Examples of the different abound. The iPhone. The Herman Miller Aeron Chair. The Dyson Vacuum Cleaner. Even after they are – inevitably – copied, the different are remembered. In a world full of me-too products and services, the only hope of standing out …

It’s not voodoo, it’s marketing.

It’s Not Voodoo. It’s Marketing

Gee Ranasinha Business

A successful and effective social media presence isn’t voodoo, or another one of the black arts. It’s simply tried-and-tested marketing process applied to other channels. Perhaps, like many business owners, you’re looking at this year as being an opportune time to pin your business on the social media map. A social media presence is no longer the bleeding-edge of a company’s communication, awareness-building, and engagement strategy. If you are about to venture into building a social media presence for your business, may I give you a few words of warning. Many businesses spread themselves too thinly when it comes to social media. There are so many sites to choose from. Where should one start? • Traditional sites such as Facebook or Twitter? • Business-related sites such as LinkedIn, XING, or Viadeo? • Location-aware sites such as FourSquare? It’s tempting to think that you need to be on all of them. After all, you may be missing out on attracting possible customers, right? Technically you’re correct. But surely your business should already know where your customers are, when they are there, and what your organization should be communicating when they are listening? Social media doesn’t abdicate your responsibility in finding and directing relevant …