Muppetting

Yes, my second muppets and morons meeting, a monthly ra-ra session to raise the energy of we floor-level people.

This one was held in one of the plush meeting rooms of a local beer distributor, which is a clue about profit margins in horrible suds. I wonder how many dopes drinking what they think are US brands know that they’re sending money to Belgium?

Bait was our business though, and whilst it felt a little better organized than the first one I attended, the difference was marginal.

First impression is that the hosts and presenters think that everyone knows who they are. Etiquette – let alone politeness – would dictate that they state at the beginning who they are, where they are, and how they fit in. Formality never goes out of style.

Second impression is that public speaking is immeasurably improved when everyone can hear without straining. I was again toward the front of the room, and so got most of what was going on, but I know people behind me did not. Mike everyone.

Third impression is that these guys are pretenders. They know the sales steps, but earthworms are really not their strength. As the last module before food – another subject worth another post – a guy from an earthworm producer in Italy introduced his stuff (4 off) and his worm operation. He was clearly a little nervous, and needed someone to bounce off. Did any of these “professionals” give him a hand? Did they make open-ended enquiries to give him an opening? Were they not interested in learning more about an operation that supplies us with thousands of cases of product each year?

No. These dummies were as uninterested as a bowling ball. And whilst he was trying to talk, idiots were opening samples and generally getting in the way, creating noise and distraction.

I was embarrassed to be there. They’re not bad people, they’re merely Kool-Aid drinkers. That’s all.

Focus

We’ve taught ourselves to think of price before anything. By “we” I mean retailers, marketers, advertisers and pretty much anyone with anything to sell. Oh, and consumers, too.

Attempting to sail against this wind (gale?) makes no sense, because there’s nowhere to go to find still air. When everyone is playing the same game, any advantage must be garnered within the prevailing atmosphere.

The problem is so acute that even the idea of value is meaningless. If we think of value as being better utility or style or longevity per unit money, the flattening of opinion about those secondary qualities means that all sales come down to the nominal cash price. Everything – no matter how sophisticated or complex – starts with a comparison to the Family Dollar store. Only the price tag matters.

Now to find a way around that myopic view.

Show or Tell?

Logic rarely wins. If logic ruled human behavior, there would be no need to convince people – we would analyze data and draw reasonable conclusions. All of us. The end.

Feeling is the way most of us figure how to choose. We feel it’s the best choice, this path feels right, this feels like it was meant for me. This is the way most of us walk through life, allowing our magic internal decision mechanisms to reign.

Which leaves those of us who sell in an interesting quandry. Should we spend out time telling folks all the reasons our service or products are the best, or is our time better spent figuring out how to appeal to their emotions?

Not At Home

Facebook’s mobile revenues were up in the last quarter, a lot. Astonishingly, nearly 20% of the world’s population has an “account” with this company, which tells us something, although I am uncertain just what.

The advertisers’s dilemma continues. On the one hand we have this shift to life on devices. On the other we have legacy media still operating, albeit at a much lower level. I can still remember the heyday of the newspaper classified ads business, when Fairfax, the then owners of the Sydney Morning Herald, declared their small-ads business a “river of gold”.

Noteworthy, thirty years on, of its replacement with the “river of drivel” that are most social media.

The question remains: how to find your customer? As Matt Drudge proclaimed about the likes of Twitter and Facebook, the internet is increasingly ghetto-ized. I wonder if consumer taste and choice is the same. Are we happy in our consumption fortress, or are we open to new ideas?