Crystalline Marketing

I just deleted a multi-paragraph literary metaphor on the nature of business, because really- who has time to read all of that. Let’s cut to the chase. Bottom line? If we are really trying to re-invent business, then we need to re-think the concept of Viral as well. Adam Penenberg wrote a guest piece on TechCrunch this morning to call for the renaming of Viral/publicize his new book, “Viral Loop” that got me thinking (if all you are interested in is a fast buck, sign out here- no hard feelings. That is not what this is about. If you are interested in building long standing, lasting relationships with customers that has value… read on) .It is not just that we need to re-name Viral, we need something this is just as effective, but behaves very differently.

In today’s social media intensive marketplace, businesses have to understand that their end users are empowered to carry on active dialogue and build relationships- with the company and with each other- as never before. Viral Marketing behaves like it’s namesake… tearing through the online community as fast as possible, “infecting” as many people as possible- not caring who it touches or when it strikes. When you play the numbers game, exposure is everything the more people who see o participate in your latest viral campaign, the better. But like a virus, these campaigns wear out the user and never have a long shelf life. There has to e a better way to build a relationship with users without behaving like a pathogen.

What if we started marketing campaigns that behave like crystals instead? What if you could build a marketing campaign that seemed to coalesce out of nothingness, and formed strong beautiful structures that endured outside forces and people wanted to come back to again and again? This is Crystalline Marketing. Thinking back to their youth and jars of sugar water sitting for weeks gathering dust, some argue that crystals take too long to grow. Rate of crystal growth is however affected by the concentration of material, temperature and the availability of nucleation sites. There is also good evidence that the fastest rates of crystal growth happen when the Gibbs Free Energy Rates between the states are highest- which only happens when the process is reversible.

What does all this science mumbo jumbo have to do with your next promotion??

1) Saturation of the solution. This one is obvious to almost everyone–the more people you who know/love your product, the easier it is for them to connect with each other and form bonds. If only two people know you exist, you need to work through normal social media channels to spread the word. You can not fake it. Adding sand into a container of water with a little bit of salt is not going to get you salt crystals more quickly. Depending on your product and your social media savvy, this could be an overnight phenom or a long slow process of gaining trust and building relationships. But taking the time to do it correctly will result in lots of pure strong crystals.

2. Temperature.. Simply put: a little heat speeds things up. This might be a new promotion, a new product launch, a new event or entering a new social media venue. the important things? Stop thinking of these campaigns as the ends- the are merely the heat that gets your solution excited and speeds up the growth of crystals. It is also important to remember that too much heat too quickly can disrupt the crystal forming process and just result in molecular chaos.

3. Nucleation Sites. Given the right environment and the right solution, crystals will eventually form almost anywhere= but it is much easier for tem to form if they hagve nucleation sites- places where they can easily coalesce. This might be a blog, a Twitter stream, a Facebook page or a YouTube channel. Make sure you make it easy for your fans to find not only you- but each other as well.

And so what’s all that nonsense about Gibb’s Energy? In simple terms, think of it this way- the relationships have to be a two way street. Not just users coming to get something, but users gathering to give something as well. Give them a chance to participate, lead, create as well as win prizes, gain fame and download coupons. The more potential for give and take, the faster users will coalesce and form strong crystals of support for your product or brand.

Remember that in real life, crystals give us everything from nourishment to cutting edge utility to perfect beauty. Why not put Crystals to work for you and build a relationship that will last through time?

The blame game: Technology is evil

“Professor Tara Brabazon, from the University of Brighton, said too many young people around the world were taking the easy option when asked to do research and simply repeating the first things they found on internet searches.” So states an article in The Argus earlier today.

This is without a doubt a true statement, what is troubling is her solution :Ban Google and Wikipedia as options for her students doing research projects. I am so very tired of the people playing the blame game and turning the blame around to the newest technology. Yes, too many educators adopt technology without thinking about how/why to use it in their classroom. But many do a great job with it- working hard late at night to update lesson plans to be sure students are learning relevant information, technologies and life skills. The fact that students are being lazy and taking short cuts on their work has nothing at all to do with the technology and everything to do with the nature of students.

Let’s take a little trip back into the way back machine. Way way back when I was in grades 7-10, the xerox copier was becoming much more common place. ( told you I was old) Libraries were starting to make them available to the public for small fees. Usually the fees to copy were small enough that students could easily xerox whole pages from books at once- making the process of note taking very simple. However, some students took the easy way out and were soon turning in research papers that were copies of article out of World Book or Encylopedia Britannica. Others were blindly quoting what third level sources told them without going back and checking facts. Teachers were angry and frustrated at how this new technology was destroying the students ability to write original papers- so they banned the use of xeroxes during library time and you were required to turn in hand written 3X5 index cards with your notes on them to prove that you actually wrote notes and did not just xerox them. In some small percentage of cases, this probably discouraged students from copying whole articles from the encyclopedias- but it never did keep students from blindly quoting and writing the first references that they found and doing fact checking. As a matter of fact, it tended to discourage lots of fact checking, because the process was painfully manual.

The really good teachers incorporated the copy machine into their lesson plans and used it to free up time students would have been manually writing notes and gave lessons in how to be discriminating with sources, do good analysis of opinions and facts stated in articles and spent time helping students learn to find great sources. These teachers focused more on the process of analysis than on the process of hand writing notes.

I do not believe that this was a new story with our generation, either. I have an odd mental picture of University lecturers griping about the deterioration of their student’s memorization abilities, because of the introduction of the printing press.

This is not a new idea- Neil Postman actually addressed this in his book “Amusing ourselves to Death”, in which he posits that the current media format ( specifically television, but also web video, etc..)has considerably eroded our attention span. I do not argue the truth of this, or that it is a mental capability that people need to continue to work on build and enhance. The ability to hold long threads of thought, argument and discourse is part of what allows researchers to innovate and discover new things. However, the solution is NOT to become luddites and ban technology so that we can get our attention span back. There is simply too much information today for very old techniques( memorization, oral tradition) or even moderately old( card catalogs, book indexes, flipping journal pages) to suffice in a comprehensive search of information. A better approach is to first teach effective search technique and then to spend lots of time on the oldest subject around- critique and analysis of sources.

Rambing, Stumbling Saturday night

I a fairly certain that my Synthroid dosage is too high, leaving me fractured, irritable and easily distracted.. blood work on Monday will show if that is true- in the meantime I am on mad house cleaning/organizing sessions and wild late night tromps around the wilds of the internet. Something good and/or interesting should come out of this, right?

Here are some of the things that might make you stop and ponder the energies that are expended in the great wild web:

I enjoy BSG. I was a big big fan early in the show, then got grumpy about the soap opera-esque turns some of the shows were taking. I admit I missed a few episodes. But this very very cool art and the hints for next season mean that I am going to have to get caught up before the new season in April. It may be marketing, but it just worked…( spoilers if you did not watch all of last season.. big huge jaw dropping ones…)

Since I have teenagers sleeping over at my house tonight, it is likely I will be making waffles from scratch tomorrow morning. ( apparently few moms do this any more, it is highly requested). It would be even more fun if I had this keyboard waffle iron. This is just way way too cool. (I do accept gifts)

If you really like to play with your food, you should consider this “how to” article on making edible Flying Spaghetti Monsters…

I had to add a link to a picture of this very cool art... insanity is about how I feel these last few nights. Imagine 99 wolves, streaming full force in a pack chase… straight into an invisible glass wall. Wow.

Then the art takes a truly twisted turn. ’nuff said.

I am not sure if this qualifies as art or not, but a life sized Christopher Walken Mask, every true fan should have one. If you do not know yet why you should be a Walken fan, comment and I will follow up.

The art having taken me down twisted and dark alleys into fear and despair, I returned to the geek… a T-Shirt from ThinkGeek that has a wi-fi detector built in. Now if we could only get shirts like this with “jerk” detectors in them….

Finally, as the late night munchies and cravings gnaw at my stomach and my mind, I leave you with an excerpt from Michael Pollen’s newest book: In defense of food; whose opening lines I hold dear to my heart: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”