The Jolt! from ckwrites 04.23.2014

Hope that everyone enjoyed Easter. It’s put me behind, so this week’s issue is 22% shorter than usual.

Here’s The Jolt!


Is the client always right?

This is the kind of existential question that kept Don Draper up at night… or not.

You know that the answer is probably not. But then again, most of us don’t really want to say “you are so wrong.” This article takes a good long look at the art of managing clients. It proposes three tenets:

You have to set client expectations from the beginning. Schedule is important (and recommended) but I very much like the suggestion to “establish the level of involvement the project will require from the client.”  Experience suggests that there is a corollary between how vague the goals are and how much effort the client will have to put in (or is it out?)

One of your jobs is to be a sounding board. Clients (like corporations) are people and people need to talk. Sometimes it’s about the project, sometimes it’s not. Hearing someone vent about their day at the office can often provide valuable insight into how things work – and don’t work. Whether you use that to avoid potholes or provide sage advice is of course up to you….

Don’t be afraid to push back. This is not an invitation to be rude. But it is a reminder that you are getting paid the big bucks because you know something that the client doesn’t.

When you share your expertise in an empathetic, goal-oriented way, it’ll be clear that it’s not about who’s right and who’s wrong. It’s about working together and trusting one another to achieve a common goal. This kind of relationship is what gets great things done.


Is the conference, as we once knew it, dead?

It’s a provocative question. And it’s not just about Millenial attendees.

The premise is that the Industrial Conference, if not dead, is increasingly irrelevant. That’s the one where you sit and listen to the experts and go home with a stack of hand-outs.

In fact, it turns out that attendees learn best by talking to fellow attendees. And considering that most attendees attend most conferences to learn… well ignore at your own risk.

Consider this research about how people prefer to learn. Here are the recommendations based on the findings.

  • Focus less on top-down content creation and delivery (including organised and managed “one-size fits all” training.
  • Focus more on supporting the social and collaborative practices taking place in teams, projects and across the enterprise.
  • Make a major shift towards supporting autonomous workers and their own personal learning strategies.

Here are a few of the provocative questions the author asks:

What if we asked speakers to devote 25%, 35% or even 50% of their time to facilitating audience peer discussions?

What if we placed an emphasis on providing sessions that leveraged collaborative conversations?

What if we scheduled time and spaces for conversational sessions that created deeper understanding and engagement?

This is a major shift in the conference paradigm. However now that almost everyone is giving content away 24/7/365, it’s time for a new mission. The trick seems to be how to ensure that all this peer-to-peer conversation builds the brand and contributes to sales. Notice that once again marketing is being cut out of the pattern and control of the purchase process is moving to the consumer or customer. Oh brave new world.

The Big AHA!

What’s the best creative work you’ve seen so far this year?

Here we have a modestly entitled post called The Best Branded Content of 2014 So Far. It’s a very fun – and lengthy – list from Contently.

For instant stickiness it starts out with the Hootsuite campaign The Game of Social Thrones.

There’s the new UK fashion rag, Porter. The Lego Movie which did $200M at the box office. Budweiser’s SuperBowl champion Puppy Love and 9 more including an adrenalin infused trailer for Red Bull’s ski thriller Days of My Youth

VO: If you say that money is the most important thing, you will waste your life doing things you don’t like doing.

VO: It’s so important to consider this question – what do I desire?

Metrics & ROI

Do liquor prices tell you anything about quality? 

Aficionados are honor bound to say yes. They live to discern minute differences and the subtlest nuances. Fortunately there is a counter-balance: Why Liquor Prices Tell Us Nothing About Quality.

Three quick points. First this is about liquor, not wine. Second this is a public service to save you a few bucks at the bar. Finally it is part of my unending effort to introduce you to specialized data sets.

This is a pretty ingenious study which no doubt came to life on a cocktail napkin. The study looked at the scores from 20 years of results at the San Francisco World Spirit Competition as well as other specialized resource. All of these resources utilize a common methodology – the blind tasting.

The Results – Price and quality have close to zero correlation across every category of liquor. The verdict: don’t bother with the expensive stuff. There are plenty of top-rated bottles for cheap.

Marketing 501

Do you know the best way to sell luxury goods?

Drum roll please. Experiential Marketing. This according to Wealth-X’s Luxury Sentiment Survey of 1,000 brands in a variety of categories.

Sixty-eight percent of luxury industry insiders believe digital marketing is not an effective method to reach ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) individuals.

The survey reports that 84% of all luxury brands use digital marketing to increase brand awareness.

“Everyone should have a great presence in social media as a brand, and you should have great content, but you’re not going to connect with UHNW individuals in a way that leads to acquisition of business online,” said David Friedman, president of wealth intelligence firm Wealth-X, New York.

“Making a purchase of $100,000 is an emotional decision,” he said. “Luxury brands who are seeking that market are crafting experiences that can’t be bought.

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