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Selling soap and predicting the future

March 14th, 2006

What does selling soap have to do with being an entrepreneur?

After all, companies like Procter & Gamble and Unilever are so huge and command such massive advertising resources that they’re playing a completely different game, right?

Maybe not…

P & G and Unilever may be the biggest advertisers in the world, but they still have
to launch their new products in crowded, noisy marketplaces – just like
we do.

They have to hold their market share against aggressive competitors and
hopefully grow the share they’ve got –  just like we do.

They have to work like the devil to keep their customers happy and their vendors on their toes – just like we do.

The one thing the big soap merchants have that some small business
owners don’t is the luxury to think ahead.  But actually, for giants
like these two, it’s not a luxury. It’s a life and death necessity.

Like an oil tanker, a mega-corporation can move a lot of product, but
when the marketplace changes and the boat needs to change course, big companies are handicapped because they’ve not able to change
quickly, which is why these companies invest so much in trying to see
what’s beyond the next bend.

So what is beyond the next bend? 

Readers of this letter may be surprised to find that the world’s top buyers of advertising are just as confused as we are.

A quote from today’s Financial Times "Unilever revamps approach to advertising"

Here’s what Alan Rutherford, Unilever’s global media director, has to say about today’s media environment and how the world’s top advertising pros are dealing with the challenge.

Remember, Unilever, like P & G, is among a handful of 800 pound gorillas that spend more on advertising in one month than the economies of some small nations produce in a year – so not only do they get to critique the ad industry, the ad industry listens and takes notes.

"Where the ad industry is struggling is in putting all the components of brand communication together…
There is a struggle to have traditional media and digital and content and public relations under one roof."

My translation:

"Advertising isn’t the simple "buy an ad and count the sales" business it used to be. There are new tools now that not only enhance traditional advertising, but are becoming necessary to cut through the noise. Coordinating all these tools is not easy."

Learning the new marketing tools (blogs, audio, video, viral marketing strategies etc.) is one thing. While there is a learning curve, at the end of the day, it’s a finite task.

The real challenge – and the one that no one on the entrepreneurial side of Internet marketing is talking about – is how to integrate all these tools into a focused approach to marketing.

Well actually, someone is talking about it…

Two months ago, I visited Martin Wales in Toroto where he and I and a select group of System Club members spent the day talking about how to harness the new Internet marketing tools so they pull together with maximum power.

We captured the day on video and are in the final stages of editing it. 

At some point in the near future, I’ll have Martin on as a guest on a tele-conference and we’ll cover this subject in greater detail.

Meanwhile, if all these new media options have you confused, that’s a good sign.

People who aren’t confused are coasting, aren’t thinking. Someday they’re going to wake up and wonder where the party went. 

As always in business, it’s pay now or pay later.

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  1. March 14th, 2006 at 13:37 | #1

    Hi, Ken!
    Really enjoying your posts about online A/V! Teri & I are running around with our GL2 putting some stock material together for future use, but had a quick question:
    Are there any sites you can recommend as sources for stock Internet video clips with rights?
    Doug & Teri Champigny.

  2. Ken McCarthy
    March 14th, 2006 at 22:55 | #2

    Hi Doug,
    I haven’t used any stock footage companies myself, but there are zillions of them.
    Google “stock footage” and you’ll have plenty to choose from.

  3. March 21st, 2006 at 08:16 | #3

    Thanks Ken I always open your emails!
    If I want to put 100’s of videos on a site I understand that I should have to pay for my bandwidth/usage.
    However is bandwidth/usage dependent on visitor usage? If so, how do we cost our expenditure?
    Is there a way round this possible problem?

  4. Ken McCarthy
    March 21st, 2006 at 11:58 | #4

    To a degree, it’s an arithmetic problem.
    How big are your files? How often are they requested?
    How much server space does your hosting company allow? How much bandwidth per month?
    Some hosting companies offer MUCH better deals than others. This is a case where it definitely pays to shop around.
    I’ve heard great things about DreamHost from a lot of different sources: http://www.dreamhost.com/
    I plan to publish a full blown report on the subject of hosting. If anyone has already done the research and has something ready to go, please let us know.

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