Remember the movie, Hoosiers? Remember the movie, Rocky? Remember the movie, The Revenge of the Nerds? Remember Napoleon Dynamite? Well, perhaps you’re seeing the pattern here. People are emotionally tied to the underdog, the small-time outfit, those who show character in the face of bigger competitors. We often embrace the smaller entities. Why? Maybe because the success of the biggie, the popular, is pretty typical; we’ve seen ‘that one.’
I read a good post this morning by Dr. Pete at SEOmoz, chronicling the ‘breaks’ of bigger brands. In some regards, the breaks of the ‘biggies’ seem unfair. They have more money for advertising, for outbidding for talent, for underselling competitors, and so on.
However, smaller brands have the luxury of less expectation, less anxiety to ‘live up to a name,’ and going at a patient pace, amongst others. Is your brand of the ‘smalls’ variety? Does your present station bother you? Why? Maybe you need to revisit some of the films above.
Have you ever gone on a diet? I’m lucky enough to be the same waist size as myself in my young twenties (must be all that reading). Have you ever witnessed someone on a crash diet? I have; most bite off more than they can chew, creating a very unrealistic weight and time limit. Are they building their project to an appropriate scale? No.
Small-waist brands don’t have to chase the rotund shape of bigger brands in respective verticals. If yours is a brand, so closely related to another, I think scaling is a secondary issue anyway. For those just starting, scaling to realistic proportions is an advantage you have over the bigger brands that often get caught up in the game of investors and popular-kid expectations. Most big brands already passed the point of no return, where it’s ‘do or die,’ ‘post numbers or shut down.’ A smaller brand has the luxury of patiently rising at the pace of its own ‘genetics.’
Maybe you’ve heard, social is a huge modern-day aspect of marketing. ‘Social’ means a lot of things; but, basically it means a brand can directly relate to its consumers. Let’s consider the dynamic for ‘biggies’ and ‘smalls’ brands.
Let’s say I have a Facebook issue. Let’s say it’s a genuine issue, of the un-fanboy variety; I really want to get a genuine answer from Zuckerberg, the brand’s owner. As a consumer, I really don’t think this is a mind-blowing request. However, Facebook has 800 million (or something like that) users. That’s awesome for Zuck; I get it; he can buy and sell me millions of times over; he doesn’t need to respond to me; chances are my question won’t even reach him.
Let’s consider another owner who makes himself more readily available to his consumers. I can (and do) directly email them with concerns, suggestions, questions about their brand, etc. As a consumer, I deeply value that; I really do. I’m likely to never forget that level of service. I’m no Google search engine; but, if someone treats me well, and someone asks me about my experience with a particular product or service, you can bet your bottom dollar I’m going to suggest those who treat me well. That’s a level of engagement, which is difficult or near impossible for ‘biggies’ to achieve. I vote for ‘Pedro,’ and not the only one.
I spent some time thinking about another cohort’s question on Dr. Pete’s post. John is inquiring about how a smaller brand can really compete with a bigger brand. I addressed his question in the comments; I also want you to read it too because I can’t over-emphasize the real power of branding; it transcends rank; it gets consumers to come straight to you, with no need to search for your brand’s offerings. Guess what? I also think it’ much easier for a smaller brand to effectively and consistently brand.
It’s March 15, the “ides of March.” If I was back instructing writing/English students, I’d prepare something centered upon Shakespeare’s Julius Ceasar. “Beware the ides [middle] of March” is a popular quote from the play. Now, I address a range of online marketing topics, promoting early learning of the industry.
As a teacher, it was highly important to enforce best-practice research. Should students take (any provided) information as authoritative? No, they absolutely should not. In my secondary school years, the Web did not have such an influence on academia, research, and what has become today to reflect the pursuit of news and knowledge, “search.” In modern times, the Web has become a library for those seeking Facebook friend info to those seeking non-fiction facts about any topic. Should you be aware of the “lies” of search? Yes. What can you do to be a better online marketing student? Consider the following suggestions.
Understand How Search Works
My cohort, Chris Countey, wrote an illuminating post on search yesterday, addressing the interplay between search engines (like Google), users (you, me, and everyone using search engines), and those in the SEO industry. Chris includes observations about the definitive-less nature of search, meaning no one really knows for sure how search engines value, weigh, and service results. Though, Google, being the most popular search engine to date, often helps the SEO community, relaying best-practice tips.
I strongly ask you to understand the process of search and the need to differentiate commercialization from…fact. It.Is.Not.Easy…for any of us. Even those in the industry get flabbergasted regarding how search engines deliver information.
Can I give you infallible information (at present) regarding search? No, no one can. To start, it’s good to know what you don’t know.
The Only “Dumb” Question is the One Not Asked
Don’t be dumb. I don’t mean the negative connotation of the word ‘dumb’- I don’t like that one. Dumb also means ‘numb to stimuli,’ meaning there may be something you don’t know at present. Join the club; (shhh) we’re all in it, whether we are brave enough to admit it or not (ask me a question related to algebra; actually, you better not). SEO practitioners are here to help you with SEO-related questions.
When I taught, I would highly celebrate students who raised a hand, prompting an answer to a question. Why? Because I knew (it was a very safe assumption) it was likely someone else wanted to hear the answer too. In short, be a good student. Read blog posts; ask questions; learn about search engine optimization before making a business investment.
DO YOU HAVE AN SEO QUESTION? Raise your hand; do others, with the same question, a favor.
First Isn’t Always Best
I don’t have to tell those in my industry, “first is not always best.” We know; we see it all the time. However, those inexperienced with search may not know such things. When I say ‘best’ I mean ‘best services your query.’ In theory, that’s what the search engines are supposed to do, provide the most authoritative answer to suit your ‘question’ or search. I like listening to music; apparently, a lot of SEOs like music. I often use my Android to recruit desired YouTube videos. Lately, I’ve been observing a trend; it’s hard to find the ‘original’ video; so many others have ‘optimized’ their own versions, mostly for commercial reasons (for company or self-branded purposes). I get the gravitation toward commercialization; I’m a marketer but also a consumer; ‘first’ results are not always what I’m searching for. In this case (and many), ‘first’ is not ‘best.’ Ensure you employ (very) due diligence when searching the Web and searching for answers related to SEO and online marketing.
Bing has added a new feature to their shopping site on their search engine. When a user types a certain product (golf clubs, for example) the drop-down is automatically filled in with brands, types, variances, and arranged by department, and product. This new feature went live last week.