Tag Archives: branding

Confessions of a Marketer

How can I make him stand out more? Picture by Carlos Lopez-Barillas, 2013

How can I make him stand out more? Picture by Carlos Lopez-Barillas, 2013

Being a marketer isn’t easy. In fact, it’s a burden.

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon with Dorothe and Sabine in a nice café in Zurich. They are two of the co-authors of our book of short stories. We discussed our book and a couple of others subjects, we could further explore upon. We just bounced some ideas off, and I gave some unwanted lectures on promotions and brands. All in a sudden, Dorothe and Sabine made me realise, how much I live in marketing mode. I can’t help it, I turn everything into a business idea or a future brand. At least, they were amused…

In contrast, I left the café in deep thoughts: Should I go and see a therapist? Are there actually any therapists for addicted marketeers? Is there an “AM community” (Anonymous Marketers) anywhere out there? And then: Probably not. Should I found one? I could make it popular. Okay, where would I find my target group? I could do affiliate marketing with marketing associations, I could…. STOP!

Mark Zuckerberg never showed up!

Another story of my life is my marriage. Getting married wasn’t only about bringing our love to the next level of commitment. To me, it was also a question of “re-branding”. I mean, I was about to change my name!!!

So while my future husband was planning our wedding, I was planning my re-branding. (Sorry, Darling! For the audience: he’s subscribed to my blog.) For the wedding ceremony, he invited friends and family, while I had obviously plenty of industry leaders and influencers written down on the list, disguised as “friends and family”. (Weird and impolite: Mark Zuckerberg never showed up!) Afterwards, I also cut my hair short. Total new style. New name. New brand. Well, sort of.

I don’t buy by a brand’s name

As a marketer, I’m also not brand loyal. Shouldn’t I buy successful brands and – by doing so – show my recognition for other marketers that are doing a fantastic job? I can’t help it, I’m always skeptical. Despite the fact, that I am doing marketing within the scope of ethics and honesty myself, I trust my colleagues out there think the same. Just one brand disappointment, and we are caught out. It spreads within minutes on the web. Yet – I don’t buy by a brand’s name. I buy according to my inner price-value-algorithms or according to product comparisons. Both is very time-consuming and can be exhausting.

I wonder, which brand is going to hook me into its brand story? Will I then miraculously turn into a normal customer and citizen? Identify myself with brands, wanting to be like the people in their ads and not wasting time on my price-value-algorithms and comparisons? Simply trusting its promises?

Oh, life would be so easy!

P.S.: @Mark Zuckerberg: The wedding event was awesome. You really missed out on something special.


The Naked Marketer

I once worked for a B2B start-up in the retailing industry back in Germany. This was almost two decades ago. The company was already on the market for a few years, but they hadn’t had any breakthrough yet. The internet actually enabled them to change their business model and to replace their data and product CD’s with a B2B marketplace. Later on, they connected from SAP systems to ERP systems and vice versa.

As a marketer, working for a start-up is an amazing experience. It’s marketing heaven, because you really get to understand, how communication works and how you get noticed. You can experiment with instruments, but you are also forced creativity, because you usually run on a small budget.

In my case the name of the company and the logo already existed. However, I was able to negotiate a new, more modern look & feel that I applied to all stationary such as letters, business cards, to presentations and almost to my colleagues. I created a corporate design handbook for prints and digital media and made sure, no one skipped a pixel anymore.

But that wasn’t enough. The Internet business was new to the industry, no one had a clue about the Internet and I had nothing to present or to explain to people. I was a “naked marketer”.

I could convince the management to hire a skilled graphic designer, and we became a twin team in communication and visualization. We created a small handbook on how to use and navigate the online market place with screen shots and clear explanations. We did the same online on the starting page of the marketplace. Don’t forget! This was in 2001! You. had. to. point. out. EVERY. click.

The next big thing was, how to make our prospects return to the market place. To make them familiar with it, until they would finally become loyal customers. We started an online magazine, called the “Café” and published articles regularly in three languages. There was no other online magazine for the industry. Just two printed magazines that mainly consisted of retailer profiles and product press releases. So I could go crazy on content about business subjects such as loyalty cards for retailers or brand management for suppliers. We sent out e-mail newsletters regularly, which resulted in inquiries about advertising in the newsletter and café. Something that – unfortunately – didn’t match with our business model.

Fundamentally, I had two roles. I was a journalist as well as the Marketing Manager. I prepared our booth and activities at the exhibitions, was present for prospects and customers or went to interview important people or attended press conferences. I think, I was hardly ever so close to the market and became an influencer myself. So believe me, it wasn’t for long that I felt “naked”.