Marketers, Another Wake Up Call Video. Pay Attention.

I discovered this video via the Facebook page of Patrick Patparazzi Landry. It is the same type of short video, full of stats and thoughts, that makes you realize that the world of marketing is changing and it is changing fast. A few stats that you will discover in that video:

  • This year, traditional advertising is in steep decline.
    • Newspapers: -18.7%
    • Magazines: -14.8%
    • Radio: -11.7%
    • TV: -10.1%
  • My Space, You Tube and Facebook did not exist 6 years ago. They collectively get 250 million visitors/ month.
  • 90% of the 200 billion emails sent everyday are spam.

This is another official update to the original « Shift Happens » video. This completely new Fall 2009 version includes facts and stats focusing on the changing media landscape, including convergence and technology, and was developed in partnership with The Economist. For more information, or to join the conversation, please visit http://mediaconvergence.economist.com and http://shifthappens.wikispaces.com.

If you liked this one, you might also want to review this one about Social Media Revolution or this one about the Re-Invention of modern marketing. Similar contents, different formats, same powerful reality check. Great content, great stats.

Sources:

Content by XPLANE, The Economist, Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod and Laura Bestler. Design and development by XPLANE, http://www.xplane.com. You can follow them on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/xplane

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Publicités

Ne jamais dire jamais.

Note: Ce billet a été rédigé en réaction à l’article « RIP, les RP? Jamais! » dans la newsletter d’Infopresse d’aujourd’hui.

Je voulais réagir directement sur le site d’Infopresse  mais après avoir tout tapocher mon commentaire et appuyé sur « ajouter », Pouf! une page d’erreur apparait. Ca fait une couple de fois que ca m’arrive alors là je vais réagir directement ici sur mon « hub » à moi. Moins de coverage sans doute mais au moins on pourra débattre de la question! C’est plate parce que même si Infopresse essaie d’engager une converstion avec ses lecteurs, ils mettent tellement moins de barrières que ça vient freiner les élans de bien des gens. Il n’y a à peu près jamais de commentaires sur les articles qu’ils publient en ligne…, M’enfin comme dirait Gaston Lagaffe.

Je veux simplement réagir à un article publié dans la newsletter d’Infopresse d’aujourd’hui  à propos des pôôôôôôvres firmes de relations publiques. L’article a été rédigé par Monsieur André Bouthillier, président de Communications André Bouthillier.

Je pense que Monsieur Bouthillier fait fausse route avec son argumentaire. Il tente de « victimiser » les firmes de relations publiques avec ce discours qui se veut en quelque sorte, une réponse, aux pourfendeurs des relations publiques. Je ne suis pas un officiel pourfendeur des RP mais j’essaie juste d’apporter un regard neutre sur leur situation.

Quelques exemples tirés du texte de M. Bouthillier: 

  • « Certains pseudo-critiques se plaisent à associer les relations publiques à l’«industrie du mensonge»;
  • « Je suis toujours choqué d’entendre de fins observateurs parler d’«opérations de relations publiques» ou encore traiter les relationnistes (quel nom affreux!) de manipulateurs des journalistes. »

Son discours me fait un peu penser à celui de  la Fédération Professionnelle des Journalistes du Québec (FPJQ), que Michelle Leblanc a gentiment ironisé avec son billet « La FPJQ et les fabricants de fouet, même combat »: une démonstration flagrante de myopie marketing.

Ce ne sont pas les pourfendeurs des relations publiques qui feront disparaitre les relationistes et boites de PR si elles ne se ré-inventent pas,  mais plutôt:

  • des changements profonds dans les habitudes de consommation des médias (autnat les médias traditionnels que les nouveaux);
  • les modes de diffusion de ces derniers;
  • mais surtout la perception que les consommateurs ont des médias traditionnels.

Les boites de PR ont grandi et fait des profits monstres sur la prémisse qu’il faille « packager » le message et le diffuser au plus grand nombre possible. C’est là qu’ils apportaient de la valeur. Malheureusement, ca ne fonctionne plus. Je ne vous apprend rien en vous disant que les médias de masse (Journaux, télé, etc) sont en processus de ré-invention. Ils se cherchent. Ils cherchent le bon modèle d’affaires car celui sur lequel ils ont surfé pendant si longtemps ne tient plus. La raison d’être des firmes de PR a longuement été à la remorque des médias de masse donc, elles doivent se ré-inventer elles aussi. Ce n’est pas ce que j’observe pour l’instant.

On ne veut plus de messages préfabriqués

Les consommateurs recherchent de plus en plus de transparence et d’authenticité. Ca devient un critère décisionnel d’achat particulièrement auprès de la génération X (et même de la génération Y pour ma part!). Ces derniers ont horreur des messages « packagés ». Ils ignorent tout ce qui sonne comme un communiqué de presse. Or, c’est expressément  ce qu’une grande majorité de boite de PR font: packager des messages et rédiger des communiqués de presse (qui ne sont plus lus par personne).

Internet n’a pas de concurrence en terme de performance de diffusion de contenu

Pour ce qui est de la diffusion, pas besoin d’en discuter longtemps. En quelques clicks de souris, on peut diffuser à une,  5000 ou 100000 personnes. C’est le même prix. Alors, pour la diffusion, le modèle d’affaire des relationnistes tient mal la route. En 2002, Al et Laura Ries écrivaient un best seller dans la communauté marketing: « The Fall of Advertising & the Rise of PR ».

Book Cover

Force est d’admettre que 7 ans après, la publicité traditionnelle poursuit sa chute mais je ne suis pas convaincu que les RP sont en si forte progression. J’attends le livre d’un autre gourou du marketing qui pourrait s’intituler: « The Fall of PR, the Rise of User-Generated Content »!

Qu’en pensez-vous? N’hésitez pas à commenter ci bas.

Are Trade Shows a Thing of the Past?

It is sad to say that but Trade Shows as we know it (Buyers and vendors physically meeting together at corporate booths in Convention centers), will dissapear. Slowly, but surely, it is a matter of time.  I just can’t tell when exactly. And like for many other old school marketing activities, there is one culprit behind that slow decline: Internet. More specifically, Search Engine Marketing over the internet. Let me explain myself by going through the main reasons why we participate in trade shows:

To Introduce New Products

In the past, industry trade shows represented fixed new product launch windows. Mostly on an annual basis. In the months prior to THE show, there was always a rush in R&D departments to finalize the development of their latest widget not to miss THE opportunity to present it at THE show. This is still true, but to a lesser extent. Now, new products are launched at a faster pace than ever before, and companies can’t no longer wait for trade shows to launch them. Where do they announce their new products first? Yes, on the Internet.

To Do Some Competitive Intelligence or « Reconnaissance »

I used to be responsible for the Business and Market Intelligence function at MAAX and Venmar. Back then, part of of my role was to track and monitor marketing activities, pricing strategies, new product launches from all of our key competitors. In the early 2000s, I would say that 20% of the valuable information could be found over the internet and the remaining 80% was in the hands of our reps, at our customers retail locations or, gathered through spying sessions at major trade shows. Now, I would say, it is quite the opposite. You can easily find most of the valuable information about your competitors over the internet (Specs, pictures, videos and so on). And the interesting part is that you will find an increasing share of unbiased information coming directly from users of your competitive products through online customer reviews or youtube rants about products. Let me tell you that you gotta to invest tons of money in consumer focus groups to obtain the richness of information you can get by reading a few product review on Buzzillions or watching an video customer reviews about your competitive products!

To Create and Maintain Business Relationships

One of the main advantages that will always remain with traditional trade shows is that they represent a wonderful window for all the key people in any given industry to gather and physically meet in one single place and discuss. Yes, this could be done over the internet or over the phone but nothing beats a real hand-shake and a face-to-face meeting. But at what cost? With all the professional networking tools such as Linked In and their group discussion board features, business professionals no longer wait for the annual trade show to discuss together on important matters. They do it live on the internet throughout the year. The nice thing about those written discussion tools: it leaves permanent traces.

To Get Press Coverage

Most trade shows have their Press Centers where trade and mainstream media journalists go to find great stories to diffuse in their papers or other media. Get your act together and prepare a complete press kit including a press release. Have a remarkable story to tell at the show and you might get some coverage if you are lucky. If you do a real good job and your story is original enough, you may have journalists seeking  interviews to get more details about your story and then, you will have greater chances to get your story vehicled.

To Reinforce Your Brand

Trade shows still represent a nice opportunity to do a big splash about a remarkable new product introduction, an important corporate announcement or to communicate intangible benefits about your organization and its products  (i.e. The friendliness and warmth of your company through your staff, your brand personnality through the signage and marketing material you use at your booth and so on).

To me, branding is probably one of the most important element to justify the investments in traditional trade shows. For many SMB, besides your product itself ,that could be seen and touched at your retail locations, trade shows do represent one of the last element of your marketing mix which let your customer literally « touch and feel » your organization. With the  materials, colors, messages, signage, products, POP, the way your staff is dressed, etc, you communicate about YOUR brand.

Therefore, if you decide to participate in traditional trade shows, because that is still the name of the game in your sector, you better do it right and use this opportunity to clearly brand your organization! Be smarter than your competition. Be clear and consistent. Have ONE or TWO clear messages.  Do not try to be everything to everyone.  Execution is key. Do it with a high level of professionalism (in your overall presentation) or… just don’t show up!.

You only have money to pay for your booth space to display a few products? Then, do not show up! It won’t do justice to your company.

This last one  remembers me an experience I had a couple of years ago at the K/BIS show. I was working for a North American leader in the bathroom fixtures and plumbing sector. It was well known in the industry that our financial situation was not very solid and although we always showed up to the KBIS with a nice booth and investing approx. 1/2 million in that show in the prvious years, some executives, decided, with their great marketing mind, that we could skip a year at the K/BIS and not show up….. After a long debate amongst Marketing & Sales Executives and other key executives, they finally agreed that we couldn’t just skip a year, especially with the rumors about our weak financial situation that were spread across our customer base. Therefore, to make sure we would communicate a strong « personalized » message to our key customers about our not-so-bad financial situation, we organized a big VIP party at a nice hotel location in downtown Chicago. It was on invitation only. A real « WOW » evening. With acrobats, sushis, open bar, DJ and some of our key new products showcased. That was an amazing night and our customers really enjoyed it and still remember it… I think! 😉  The only problem with that approach: this wonderful celebration was on Saturday night and the show was opening on Friday morning. You can imagine how much a evening like that can cost so, to save money, and still show some presence on the show floor, we rented a tiny 10’X10′ space (we used to have a 40’X40′ booth) that we loaded with a few LCD flat screen TVs,2 leather sofas and we played corporate videos in loop on the screens. Can you imagine what was the reaction of our customers when they came to see us the first 2 days of the show? It putted us in complete defensive mode. After they’d spent hours to locate our booth (which was lost in the sea of chinese gimmicks importers!), they had only ONE thing to say: « your company is really in a weak financial situation ». Our overall booth presentation was, by our fault, confirming the rumors that were spread about ourselves. It was « talking » silently on our behalf. So even if our sales forces was trying to reinforce the corporate message that we were still strong financially and so on, our marketing actions were not in line with that speech and the message was completely distorted.

In my honest opinion, marketing-wise, we should have just focused on the big evening party or not show up at all on the show floor.

Key takeaway of this post: Internet is redefining how we will do trade shows in the future. So, be prepared. Web sites, blogs, media sites, etc make it possible to find products and services 24 by 7 very easily and in an amazingly convenient way. The younger generations might never have to participate in trade shows in their whole life ;-). Internet is becoming the biggest tradeshow in many sectors. It is open night and day and has a worldwide reach. Depending on your sector, you might have to balance between Internet and traditional trade shows for a few years still. Therefore, if you need to exhibit in your industry trade shows, make sure you do it right or don’t show up and put this hard earned marketing money elsewhere!

FYI, you will find an interesting article on how to maximize the ROI on your trade shows here.