February 26, 2013

ARE YOU AS RELEVANT (OR IRRELEVANT) AS THE OSCARS?

85th Academy Awards
Maybe the Oscars mattered years ago when movies were still magic and we on big screens in rooms filled with strangers. We now have more variety and other options too. Ticket sales have dropped to the lowest levels since the mid-1990s (MarketWatch).

Here are observations which may also apply to your business.

Annoying The Clients

We watched segments of the 85th Academy Awards online. Or tried. In Canada, the ABC feed was blocked. The CTV feed had the usual TV commercials plus extra Internet commercials that played with no regard for what was airing. The result was a very poor experience. Shame on American Express, Cadillac and Target for annoying viewers. A ticker tape at the bottom of the screen would have been more considerate. We stopped watching.

Are you annoying your clients, because you think you can? Are you holding back on what you offer (like Apple did by not putting a camera in the first iPad).

Lack of Preparation

The winners sometimes stumble when they give their speeches. Why is that? They know how to memorize lines. They know how to deal with pressure. They know how to act. They have huge advantages over us. Yet the acceptance speeches tend are often repetitive and dull. Can't they say something worth our attention?

The nominees don’t know in advance whether they won. However, the presenters know their roles in advance. Even they are less than amazing. The hosts keep changing. Despite the preparation, the results are unpredictable.

How prepared are you? How memorable is your message? Toastmasters is an excellent place to practice impromptu and prepared messages.

Other Judges

Do you really care who wins an Academy Award? Is that really a factor in deciding which movie to watch? Are the winning movies necessarily the best films?

These days, I will check IMDB for reviews from other members. The reviews by experts are not very interesting or compelling. They used to matter but now they are merely other voices without special weight. Instead, I’m more likely to listen to people I know, such as Peter McGarvey, author of the Molly Parsons mysteries. The amalgamation of votes on IMDB is also helpful.

If the title is on Netflix, there is no risk or cost to watching. You can experiment. If you don't like a film, simply stop watching. If you do like something, provide a rating and Netflix will find you more like that.

As the process for making buying decisions, what happens to your business? If buyers rely on web searches and other buyers (e.g., the equivalent of IMDB or reader reviews on Amazon), how do you rank? Are you visible? Is buying from you risky in comparison with other options?

Safe Is Risky

We are more discerning. Have you seen how many types of rice a grocery store stocks? Standing out becomes ever more difficult and valuable.

Does your success come as a specialist or generalist? Are you noticeably different?

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PS Movies are difficult to compare, say Lincoln vs Beasts of the Southern Wild.

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