Go Big or Go Home: Is Your Marketing in “FullEffect?”

The main reason why I have always been passionate about marketing is because I believe that when it is done well, it can be an engine for sustained growth for an organization, large or small. This is why I started my own marketing company, FullEffect International, Inc., where we strive to empower the small and medium sized business with outcome-driven marketing solutions. As Peter Drucker insightfully suggested, when repurposed and / or reimagined, marketing should create value for the organization.

“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs. Marketing is the distinguishing, unique function of the business.”

— Peter Drucker

But what does “FullEffect” even mean? One of the reasons why I used this play with words was to to create a new term that could capture when marketing was producing outcome-driven results. In an effort to break this down further, below are 4 key areas that we examine when talking to new and existing clients. We believe these to be the building blocks of “FullEffect” marketing .

The “3 Rs” Effect: You have customers who not only keep coming back and repeat purchasing your product but also recommend it to others. And finally, customers rave about it in their social and / professional circles online.

Data to Measure: Percent of Repeat Business

The Profitability Effect: After all is said in done with your marketing programs, you are consistently operating profitably. This is attained because you have smart efficiencies in place to keep your cost per customer acquisition low. Furthermore, you are constantly looking at ways to creatively reduce your marketing expense where you can while not compromising value. Moreover, your best customers are compelled to buy your most profitable products driving a higher average selling price.

Data to Measure: Customer Acquisition Cost (Average Revenue per Customer)

The Quality Top Funnel Effect: You are able to bring in quality leads at the top of the funnel such that your sales teams are able to be more efficient at closing deals in less time.

Data to Measure: Sales Win Ratio (Converted Leads)

The Global Scale Effect: Assuming your product or service has been tested and their is a product market fit overseas, your company has successfully entered a new market with a strategic, tailored go-to-market plan for that geography. As a result, your product has achieved scale that generates incremental value for your business, brand, and company culture.

Data to Measure: Market Segment Share Trends by Geography

In conclusion, how is your marketing performing today? Is it creating value for your bottom line? Are you satisfied with the outcomes that your marketing team is delivering? To answer these questions thoughtfully, one would be remiss not to look at the above areas thoroughly. This is why I believe these to be the most critical areas when evaluating a company’s marketing performance. Of course there are other areas such as brand equity, but when it comes to creating sustained value for an organization, the aforementioned 4 factors can do so fairly quickly.

About Michael A. Campbell

Michael A. Campbell is the Founder and Managing Director of FullEffect International, Inc., a consulting firm that provides small and medium size businesses outcome-driven marketing services focused on growth in less time and at less cost.  You can contact him here if you have an inquiry: info@fulleffectinsiliconvalley.com

Quantum Computing: Gimmick or Real?

I am not an expert about quantum computing but I have always wondered if this was just a buzz word with really no business case substantiation.  Clearly, this pre-judgement was incorrect.  After attending a talk —  hosted by the Churchill Club in San Francisco — I now believe that Quantum Computing is really happening today with significant business applications for the future.

You can catch the video from this event here: Quantum Computing: From Physicist’s Dream to Business Reality

The best definition I have found about this product category is from IBM as they classify this as “incredibly powerful machines that take a new approach to processing information. Built on the principles of quantum mechanics, they exploit complex and fascinating laws of nature that are always there, but usually remain hidden from view. By harnessing such natural behavior, quantum computing can run new types of algorithms to process information more holistically. They may one day lead to revolutionary breakthroughs in materials and drug discovery, the optimization of complex manmade systems, and artificial intelligence.”

In an effort to establish mindshare about the inevitable readiness of quantum computing, IBM sponsored the event and showcased their Q product which resembles a working unit that they already have in the marketplace with customers accessing Q’s quantum capabilities from the cloud.

Here are some of the key things that I took away from this event:

  • The beauty of Quantum Computing is the ability to recreate or simulate nature that could never be possible with traditional computing.
  • For example, quantum computers may be able to demystify the molecular breakup of a coffee bean and determine if it is healthy or unhealthy for you.
  • Classical computing (or x86 computing) will co-exist with Quantum computing.
  • The hardware for quantum computing has to be right THEN the software will come, hence, hardware is the first priority in the industry.
  • Getting the temperature right will be key for the hardware.
  • If you are a low temperature physicist, you may be a hot commodity in the quantum computing hardware market.
  • We are probably about 5 years away (if not more) before Quantum Computing becomes a real business that solves real world problems.
  • Business leaders should assign someone on their team to get smart about this field and ascertain if there could be any implications to their business.  Not doing so could mean being disrupted.

IBM has publicly  stated they expect Quantum Computing to open up doors would have perhaps never been open.  I look forward to watching and reading more about this space and seeing how these super high performance computers make the impossible possible.

Launching a New Product in Japan? 6 Questions You Ought to Consider

After living and working in Japan, I have been able to see what works and what does not when launching products or services in this market. For the international companies who have done well in Japan, I believe there are several reasons for their sustainable market success. The 6 factors described herein are based on my own professional experience working in the IT industry. If you are looking to enter Japan for the first time or considering to make tweaks to your existing strategy, perhaps the below will provide you some invaluable insight.

1. But why should global organizations even bother focusing on Japan?

Of course one can argue that the size of the market and the economic reemergence as viable reasons for why a company should invest in Japan. But these alone are not enough to justify the significance of focusing on Japan. Perhaps one important reason that is not underscored enough is that it is just smart for your overall business. What this means is that if you can succeed in Japan you will likely enhance your business around the world given Japan’s high demand for quality. The old adage that ‘if Japan customers are happy than an organization is very likely to make other customers happy around the world’ is not a fallacy.

So, what are the 6 questions you should ask before launching a product or service?

Does your product or service appreciate that “less is more” in Japan?
Simply put, bigger is not always better and Japan is certainly a country where this reigns true. People prefer products that are thin, lightweight, and easy to carry around in their pocket or purse. Moreover, just because something may be heavy does not mean it is perceived to be of high quality by Japanese consumers. In my own experience, working in the mobile arena, companies from the telecommunication industry would tell me they would only market smart phones that could easily fit into the hands of teenage high school students. This is because they wanted to ensure they had devices that would allow end-users to type with one hand while grabbing onto a strap handle with the other. If your product has to be carried around, be sure to recognize this and if you have a compelling “less is more” story, be sure to include this in your end-user messaging.

2. Do you have a “Win-Win” Partner Strategy?

Of course before you ask this question you need to throughly understand the competitive landscape and the key relationships you need to do business. Japan is a high-context society and places a high priority in having deep relationships with anyone they do business with. Organizations have to seriously take steps to invest in these relationships to cultivate trust and credibility before expecting business agreements and business results. Once you have a good grip about the landscape, you will be able to determine who are the best partners to engage with for your business. GE, for example, who already had a strong competitive advantage in the Internet of Things space, understood that they had to have a domestic partner to take advantage of the increasing infrastructure development in Japan. Hence, they teamed up with the #1 carrier in Japan, docomo, to effectively provide remote monitoring of structures using LTE. A win-win scenario for both sides.

3. Are you Embracing “Omotenashi?”

Omotenashi is all about providing unwavering service to the customer throughout their experience with the product or service. No matter the industry you are in, organizations need to prioritize a high attention to customer service and support in order to pull people to your brand. This is the baseline but the companies that provide value-added service are the ones who — I believe — can have a competitive advantage. Perhaps one of the reasons why Uniqlo — a Japanese company — has and continues to dominate the retailing industry is because of free in-store tailoring for any pair of ~$20 jeans. This is a great example of omotenashi. Indeed, there are other factors but this value-added service certainly helps to get people in the store, spend, and repeat.

4. Are your Prioritizing Cost and Quality Equally?

This is of course is much easier said than done but it cannot be emphasized enough that organizations have to prioritize cost and quality equally. From my experience, Japanese consumers care about the quality but they are not always willing to dig deep into their pockets to get it. Of course, there are luxurious brands that do very well despite their steep prices but generally speaking, if competing products have the same quality then naturally the decision to buy will come down to the price. One of the reasons for Old Navy’s demise in Japan was they did not have a fine balance between cost and quality. Cost was prioritized more than quality and, consequently, consumers gravitated to other retailers such as Uniqlo. So, if you are launching a product in Japan, be sure you are managing this challenge well. Perhaps doing a test of how the two are perceived by your customer segmentation is a good place to start.

5. Are you Addressing a Japan Social Opportunity?

Even though Japan is a developed country, there are immense opportunities for further growth and development. I will not list them all here but 3 areas that I am seeing are 1) Transformation in Education, 2) Smart City Infrastructure Development and 3) Japan’s Aging Population. Each of these areas have their challenges due to barriers to entry but also offer great opportunities for global companies who have a competitive advantage and to align with the right partner. For example in education, the Japan government is investing in school districts to ensure that every student from K12 will have their own mobile device by 2020. This is a significant opportunity for the entire tech industry who has any involvement in education to grow their footprint in a market that is fully committed to advancing how students learn.

6. Are You Listening to the Locals?

Finally if you want to have sustainable and meaningful growth in Japan you have to bring in the best people. There is a wealth of knowledge and talent out there to make an impact, hence, companies have to know where to look to find the right people. If you are only bringing people from the headquarters to make decisions that basically replicate what has worked in other markets then you are doomed to fail. Indisputably, having the right local talent will ensure an organization is balancing speed (i.e., getting this done quickly) with reality (i.e., being aware of the idiosyncrasies of Japan market).

Final Thoughts…

By no means can one over simplify a market as complex as Japan but for for those companies — large or small — who are struggling to figure out a working Japan strategy, perhaps the above questions may be a good place to start. If you are an expert of Japan market, what has been your experience about cultivating a country strategy for your organization? Please share in the comments below and thanks for reading.