Market Hacking

Shining The Spotlight On Awareness of YOUR Business

photographic-spotlight-1418290-640x480In sales and marketing, you cannot overstate or downplay the value of awareness.   100 Percent of people who didn’t know your business was an available option didn’t buy your product or service.  Some of you say this fact is obvious, but it is also 100 percent true.

Successful business owners know that generating profitable sales goes beyond merely having a product or service to sell. Your overall success of also relies on how effective you are in creating greater visibility and awareness for your brand, products or services, especially with targeted customers who are about to make purchasing decisions.

Businesses with massive marketing budgets once went the traditional route and spent fortunes advertising on radio, TV and print pieces. According to research from the State Bar of Michigan, the Great Lake State has currently over 33 Thousand lawyers practicing law. If you watch the same local broadcast TV for news I do, you would think there are only eleven law firms practicing in the state and most of them specialize in Social Security and disability, accidents claims or divorce and family law.  Some of these firms first try cases in the headlines. Others sponsor everything possible program they possibly can put their name on.  Others have catchy jingles, celebrity spokespersons or moody music to make the point that they are out here for us.

What do you do to stand out?

Awareness means more than you are the person who comes to mind when I say the generic term for your field or area of expertise.   It means that those who are making a purchasing decision consider what you do a real and available solution for the products and services they seek.

Now, in the rapidly evolving digital age, all businesses can get the same or even better visibility and exposure for their brands through utilizing digital marketing channels.  The most important of which is the strategic use of social media. This also has the advantage of a lower point of entry, less than the cost of the traditional media that those law firms use.

Creating greater awareness for your brand can be a bit challenging particularly for small and medium businesses.  Too many people think just because they have a simple account for their personal use, this should create an avalanche of business for their company. Effectively using social media platforms for a consistent campaign can however level the playing field.  It seems it should be simple, but to create an effective campaign takes experience, knowledge and insight. Understanding how to reach your targeted customers effectively gives g your business the potential access to over  2.05 billion active social media accounts.

It has to begin somewhere. The first step on the journey of digital marketing success starts with awareness.  It bears repeating: 100 Percent of people who didn’t know your business was an available option didn’t buy your product or service.  You can’t rush out and put closing sales and being profitable before it.

In my next post, I will talk about the second step in the process.



Make Your YouTube Videos More Valuable

YouTube is a great place to share videos online. It’s wonderful that hundreds, if not thousand of people can YoutTube Hacksee your message without the cost of paying for placement. Yet, the question is can YouTube offer more opportunity for engagement?

The obvious answer is yes, via the comments. That is what social media is about; the ability to comment to the content creator. Comments give the creator the opportunity to see how well viewers connect with the message. They also offer the creator the opportunity to directly respond to questions. The service also has annotations that you can place on the video to share more information. Annotations are valuable for sharing important points, expanding on the topic and making corrections.

Still, YouTube has even more opportunities. Earlier this year YouTube launched a tool called cards. Cards add a note or call to action to your video during a period of time that you select. There are multiple message options such as a link to your website, fund-raising requests, featured products, promotion of another video, playlist or YouTube channel.

Market Hack: Use cards to highlight your most popular product, service, video or promotion with a catchy call to action to earn the attention of video viewers and drive traffic.

Market Hack: Send your viewers to a custom landing page directly related to your call to action on the video. If you have enough traffic, A/B test the landing page for best results.

Video continues to increase in popularity. The value of a good video for a marketing campaign can mean the difference between success and failure. There is a lot of competition online and your video must standout or it will go nowhere.

There are many uses for video beyond directly sharing your message. Video can be used for customer service, such as how to solve a problem or assemble a product. Testimonials are a powerful use of video. When you develop a good relationship with a customer, pull out your smart phone and record a few kind words that you can place on your website and YouTube channel.

One of the best uses for video is to tell a story. Good market hackers know that stories travel. Dig down deep and share why someone would want to pay money for your product or service. A video about how long you have been in business and your great customer service will earn a yawn and quick pause. Your video must be about them.

YouTube continues to add features that make the platform more powerful. Take advantage of the medium and the tools that come with it.


Market Hacking With

This is a screen shot from Blab replay featuring James Altucher and Chris Brogan.

Use to grow your business is a new steaming video sharing tool launched in August. It follows a line of app releases such a Periscope and Meerkat making streaming video more social. The platform allows up to four people (including the host) to share ideas and thoughts in a single frame. Viewers of the show can interact with the group via text as they banter.

Market Hack: This is an easy way to develop yourself or company as an expert by interviewing other team members, customers and experts in your industry. You can interact with viewers and give them the opportunity to come on the show to ask questions live, if one of your four slots is open.

A nice feature of this platform is you can pre-plan and set up a Blab for a later time. When setting up a Blab it allows you to attach tags or keywords so people can find you based on your topic. This feature also gives you time to promote your upcoming Blab and help people find your replay.

Blab makes it easy for you and your viewers to share the show using the Twitter button to the left of the screen. After you create a Blab the system will send you and email with the option to download video, audio or embed. It would be nicer if that was available directly on the system. I assume it will in the future. The website and app. are in Beta, so new features are being added on a regular basis.

Check it out. The word on the street is that it is addictive. That is code for this social platform cool and may have some legs. Check out my first Blab below.

Here are good posts on Blab from our friends Rebecca Coleman (blog) and Terry Bean (LinkedIn Pulse).


RENAISSANCE MAN: Leonardo Di Vinci would have been a market hacker.

da-vinci1Leonardo da Vinci, who performed brilliantly in so many different fields, is best known by history as a Renaissance Man. His areas of strength included painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, invention, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography. To perform as a market hacker, you have to develop the mindset of a renaissance man.

This is no idle claim. To call yourself a effective market hacker means to combine the knowledge of the modern diciplines including digital technologist, marketing director, artist, psychologist, ethicist, and brand champion.

Market hackers are wise in the ways of digital technology. They understand that metrics gives them greater power over their brick and mortar counterparts.  Traditional market research would have an intern sit at the front door to count people who walk in. They would send follow-up surveys and hope they received a representative response.  Market hackers know who is coming to their site, and more importantly how to take this to get more of those they want to come.

Market hackers are world class marketing directors.  They know the tools and techniques of business communication to ensure that their message gets out to their target audience. They understand how all the elements work together to create a sound call to action.

Market hackers have the flair of an artist. An artist shows us worlds that may not exist, but could be in our imagination. So too does the market hacker. In his vision is a wrong that can be solved by this right. He sees something better that hasn’t arrived, but through his prophecy, it is much closer to fulfillment than ever before.

Market hackers are learned behavioral psychologists. They understand complex human emotions and deliver solutions of connectivity. They know that lost and lonely are no way to spend your first night in a new city. They appreciate that others like many of the same interest that you do and having you all interacting is a very good thing indeed. They appreciate the struggles that people experience every day and think, “wouldn’t it be nice if ….”

Market hackers are also cognizant ethicists. They walk right up to the line of right and wrong to ask, is what I want to do legal, fair or appropriate? They want to test the established boundaries and norms, in an attempt to use this as the catalyst for something new, different and innovative. Market hackers make a decision on the ethics and morals on their course of actions what they do as part of their innovation.

Market hackers serve as brand champions. They put every thought, emotion, action and feeling available into making a product truly a success. They know that there is no turning back once they chart a course of action; their success is their only measuring stick.

Leonardo’s genius was truly representative of the progress from the Renaissance Era. He is best remembered as a man of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination.1” As Di Vinci was a great master of his renaissance age, history will remember market hackers as the leaders, innovators and renaissance men and women of the 21st Century.

1 – Gardner, Helen (1970). Art through the Ages. pp. 450–456

What combines well with SEO?


seo combination

Photo by Kev-shine

SEO is a long-term project. It satisfies the driving traffic portion of the Market Hacking puzzle by earning new traffic from the search engines. Although SEO is not considered a short-term hack, you can start to see positive results within 4-8 weeks. Unfortunately, a large percentage of your new visitors will not call, give you their email or share your information in social media. So, what can you do after your visitor leaves?

The answer is remarketing, also called retargeting. Remarketing is an excellent option to combine with your SEO campaign because it give you the opportunity to continue sharing messages or offers with your visitors after they leave your website. You know remarketing ads, they are the ads that follow you around the Internet. The good thing about remarketing ads is the relevance to the viewer. Remarketing ads only show to people who have visited a specific website while running such a campaign.

The advantage for you, the advertiser, is that it can support your branding strategy. Once people visit your website most will not click on your ad again because they already know you. However, they will see your message multiple times reinforcing your company name and message. If viewers don’t click, it doesn’t cost the advertiser anything. Those that do click on your ads tend to be people who need more information or are ready to buy. This is what gives remarketing ads such a good conversion rate.

When you combine SEO and remarketing you are addressing the three core activities in Market Hacking. Driving traffic, developing awareness and improving conversions. Sounds like a winning combination to me.

Don’t Fear “The Hack”

hand-on-keyboard-1243602-640x480The term “Hack” can be seen as a positive or a negative, depending on where you stand.

For those Baby Boomers who feel the word has a negative connotation, make friends with the term hack. Your younger business associates, family members and media use it every day.

Let’s start with a simple definition: Hack. Noun. A tool, technique or process used to create a successful outcome. Often, the hack is learned from an expert in the field or specialist as a short cut or direct route for the desired success. It can also apply to using items or techniques of which someone hasn’t thought to use.

A hack the answer to the question, “What do I have to do to get this done?” Your answer: “Here’s the hack.” Synonyms include process, way, method, dao and system. Like any slang term, the edge comes from the insider implications that those who use it know something that the common man or woman does not.

The most common current use of the term is Life Hacks. Drop your smart phone in water? Here’s the hack for it. Want to get stains out of an expensive shirt? Here’s the hack for that. Can’t afford something and you want an alternative? There’s a hack for that too.

Growth Hacking was coined to describe the various tools and techniques grounded in digital marketing that are used by this generation of startup businesses whose foremost object is growth in all areas of their enterprise: market share, awareness, prestige, profits.

Market Hacking is actually using the success principles that these startups and young entrepreneurs use to steal sales, gain market share and divert positioning away from an established business and use these tools and techniques to beat them at their own game.

This essay is a hack. The goal is to teach you why this term is highly effective and why you should embrace it, not fear it like a persistent cough. Bottom Line: Embrace it … Don’t Fear “The Hack”

5 Reasons Why Market Hacking Might Be The Solution For You

The idea of Market Hacking is developing steam in the business community. It’s not magical, mysterious or illegal. It’s about opening new markets using creativity, new tools and analyzing the results.

Businesses have more access to the world and the specific customer they wish to reach. Many businesses are doing fine without formally using market hacking techniques. Although, I would suggest successful businesses use many of the same principles and philosophies found in market hacking.

How do you know if you should employ market hacking? Below is a list of five considerations.

  1. You are losing market share: It’s common for a business to grow for years while ignoring the changes around them. Then, one day, it becomes obvious. The company has lost a lot of ground and is in danger of losing money. 
  2. You’re trying to cut your way to profitability: There is nothing wrong with a good house cleaning and improving accounting practices. Cutting unnecessary fat is a good move to keep a company well-run and strong. Unfortunately, there is a point of diminishing returns. At a certain point the more you cut; the more you hurt the possibility of growing the company to its former glory. When cuts hurt the company’s ability to function and support the customer — you have a problem.
  3. Technology is making your product or service obsolete: Your product or service may not stand the test of time. That does not mean your company has to go down with it. If you know your industry well, there is no reason you shouldn’t be a leader for the next generation of technology or ideas.
  4. Your current marketing doesn’t work anymore: It’s possible the yellow pages, radio, TV, newspaper or magazine advertising grew your business to it’s peak greatness. Unfortunately, these traditional methods of advertising don’t work the same way they did in the past. In some cases, they don’t work at all. Today the business owner has many more modern options at their finger tips.
  5. You are afraid of the new business environment: entrepreneurs and start-ups are everywhere. They seem to have all the cutting edge ideas that seem light-years from your understanding. There is nothing to fear. The reality is most start-up business owners are just as confused as you. Knowing how to code and having a Facebook page, doesn’t make you a superior business person. The new business environment requires you to be open-minded, try creative ideas, embrace technology, test your ideas and review the results. You can do that!

Established businesses have many advantages over start-ups. Don’t fear the new opportunities and tools available to you. You don’t need to try them all at once. Take small steps. Test a few ideas (many you find here at market hacking) to open the new markets and opportunities you know are out there.