Where Selling What You Build is a Failure

I can’t remember where I found this article, but it’s been an open tab since some time last week.

An acquisition is always a failure

An acquisition, or an aqui-hire, is always a failure. Either the founders failed to achieve their goal, or – far likelier – they failed to dream big enough. The proper ambition for a tech entrepreneur should be to join the ranks of the great tech companies, or, at least, to create a profitable, independent company beloved by employees, customers, and shareholders.

Here Jake Lodwick talks about why “selling out” represents a failure for the entrepreneur, a failure to keep running until you cross the finish line.

It’s a somewhat philosophical view, I think. I appreciate the lofty, artistic fervor of the sentiment.

But I do also think people have different ways of measuring success and I am sure there are a lot of people out there who get involved with start-ups with plainly expressed hopes of getting bought out. So, acquisition isn’t a failure to them.  Maybe that is a problem unto itself. I don’t know.

Anyway, Lodwick makes a nice point to which I am fairly sympathetic.

Register for My Talk on Online Privacy!

I will be giving a very brief lecture on privacy online at ATLOSCon this year and registration is open!


Sign up today!

Bits & Pieces

Headline: Marketing is HARD

I’ve had this article open in my browser for a couple of days now and I am kicking myself for not reading it sooner. So, just go read this excellent piece by Ryan Holiday in Beta Beat: The Real Thing: Don’t Listen to Coke, Social Media Works… At Least As Well As Regular Media


However, the idea that advertising or chatter on social media is going to drive short-term sales of soda is stupid (and that’s all Coke’s study ascertained). I’m not even sure that social media buzz can lift sales in the long term. Not with a brand so well known.

Perhaps social media isn’t working for Coke because they’re not doing a very good job at it. Perhaps their ads are targeted poorly. Perhaps their 61 million Facebook fans aren’t generating much value because Facebook has surreptitiously walled off up to 85 percent of those fans and charges exorbitant rates for reaching and communicating with them. Maybe nobody wants to tweet (or listen to tweets) about 100-year-old sugar water. Who knows?

There’s more deliciousness in that article, though.  So, seriously, go check it out.


Bits & Pieces

I Just Called Every Consumer in the World a Manslut

The Hidden Danger Of Precision Targeting

Most [consumers’] purchasing habits are just that — habits. Interpreting their behavior as some sort of ideological commitment to your brand is a delusion.

This is why social media have proven to be highly suspect in building sales. Who follows you on Facebook and Twitter? They are mainly your committed customers. They are not your primary source of growth. Should you ignore them? Of course not. But neither should you be obsessed with them, as is common practice in the world of social media.

Some good food for thought in there even if I disagree with some of his points.  For instance, there are numerous cases where consumers do make a big distinction between two products in a category: Coke and Pepsi, from his own list of examples.  Consumers really do appreciate the difference. Here in the southern parts of America, one’s appreciation for the distinction between Coke and Pepsi is expressed in loud voices and unfriending efforts on Facebook.

Also, I think it is critical to understand the difference between advertising objectives and audiences.  As much as the marketing funnel makes me want to drive my car into a ditch, it does make a valid point.  Not everyone knows about your brand and at the top of the funnel you’re just trying to get them to be aware of you and you want them to like what they think they see.  Farther down the funnel targeting exercises should seek to deliver particular value messages that the selected audience at that particular place in their customer life cycle.

To the point about social media targeting, I think it’s true: when it comes to driving growth and acquiring new customers those efforts are highly suspect.  But is that the point? Or is the point of social media marketing better directed toward fostering a love for the brand — at whatever level one can?  I think the latter.

Maybe consumers are brand sluts (see the link in the post above) but brands are hollaback girls, so what does it matter if it’s 2am when the consume calls to “hang out” just so long as he calls.

comScore’s February Numbers

comScore Media Metrix Ranks Top 50 U.S. Web Properties for February 2013

“Valentine’s Day had consumers searching for gift ideas at Flowers, Gifts and Greetings sites, making it one of the top-gaining categories for the month,” said Jeff Hackett, executive vice president of comScore. “Cars were also at the forefront of Americans’ minds in February, between high-profile Super Bowl ads, auto shows around the country, and an improving economy that has many consumers back in the market for their next car purchase.”

Google sites remain #1 while Yahoo! sticks to #2.  But I saw an article on MediaPost this morning that says Yahoo! was granted some new patents that they hope will attract advertisers.


Big Brother, Big Business, Big Irony

A coworker alerted me to a Dateline special from a while back called Big Brother, Big Business.  I think it must be re-running in her area because she mentioned that she was going to watch it.

Anyway, I went to the page for the show and over 50 different tags fired!  On refreshing the page, I see around 20 (the numbers vary) firing.


But still. Ironic that a story that seems to be sounding the alarm about online privacy is apparently invested heavily in that very activity.


Recommended Reading: Forrester Research Alert

This is another obvious one. Forrester is one of the big research firms out there and I’ve found them to be an indispensable resource for both researching technology and for learning about the competitive landscape.

What I did not know, though, is you can sign up to receive alerts for newly published research.  Unfortunately, the site is kind of clunky (It makes me sad to say this since Forrester is my favorite.) and it’s not obvious how you sign up.  But if you search for a particular term like “Enterprise Listening Platforms” or “Content Management Systems” you can set up an alert for that term.

I follow a number of digital technologies and have found their alert for “CMO & Marketing Leadership Professionals” very useful.

Attention, Brand Tweeps!

Found over at Swiss Miss