Marketing Guru Guy Kawasaki and Tom H. C. Anderson talk about Web 2.0, New Marketing, Innovation, Market Research – NGMR Discussion #2

Marketing Guru Guy Kawasaki and Tom H. C. Anderson talk about Web 2.0, New Marketing, Innovation, Market Research
[Anderson Analytics Round Table Discussion #2]

Guy Kawasaki
Marketing Guru

In an effort to bring highlight innovations, methodological trends, and current thoughts in market research, Anderson Analytics has started an ongoing “round-table discussion” series. The second of the series is an interview with marketing guru, Guy Kawasaki. Perhaps best known as Chief Evangelist at Apple, among his many other accomplishments, Guy is managing director of the start-up venture firm Garage Technology Ventures and columnist for Entrepreneur Magazine, and author of eight books, including The Art of the Start, Rules for Revolutionaries, How to Drive Your Competition Crazy, Selling the Dream, and The Macintosh Way. He has recently launched the rumor reporting website Truemors.com and actively contributes his experience and insight on technology and life through his blog, How to Change the World: A practical blog for impractical people.

Guy Kawasaki took time out from his busy schedule to discuss market strategy, technological innovation in marketing, and market research with Tom Anderson. They started the discussion on the state of the internet, how the web is being used, and how market research might capitalize on web advancements.

Tom H. C. Anderson: Given the evolution of the internet into Web 2.0, what do you think Web 3.0 will be like?

Guy Kawasaki: I hate these monikers. I don’t even know what Web 2.0 is exactly. I think Web 1.0 was enabling technology. Web 2.0 was businesses using technology but lacking business models. Perhaps Web 3.0 is lacking technology and business models. My underlying point is that people don’t go on the Internet looking for “Web X.0” products and services. They are looking for fun, companionship, inspiration, money, whatever, but they don’t define themselves in terms of the terminology that the industry uses.

Tom H. C. Anderson: Market researchers are gradually paying more attention to the information presented in blogs & discussion boards, however, how representative of the overall market do you think the opinions of bloggers are?

Guy Kawasaki: They are hardly representative. The blogosphere is about 250,000 boys and men still living with their mothers and have dead cats in their refrigerators. If a blogger says your product is crap, it doesn’t mean it will fail. If a blogger says it’s great, it doesn’t mean it will succeed. I am fundamentally not a believer that A-list opinion leaders lead the masses to products and should therefore be the focus of product introductions. Best case, I think bloggers’ reports on what’s hot but don’t make things hot.

Tom and Guy also discussed new innovations in market research, although Guy’s views about the field of market research were insightful, if not surprising.

Tom H. C. Anderson: Do you think market research is doing a good enough job in keeping up with the changes in product communication due to the Internet?

Guy Kawasaki: I hate to tell you, but I’m not a big believer I market research either. I believe you take your inspiration and throw it out there. If it sticks, praise God. If it doesn’t, you can listen to research and try to fix, and then you throw it out there again. But I don’t believe a focus group has ever created a revolution.

Tom H. C. Anderson: Do you have any thoughts on the value of text analytics to gain insights online, or even link analysis to understand Social Network Services? Are these technologies being embraced as a way to better understand customers at the executive level?

Guy Kawasaki: Text analytics and link analysis could lead to much customer understanding. However, there are so many ways to lie with site analytics—and you don’t even have to lie: you could simply not know what stats really represent—that it’s a crapshoot right now. For example, suppose that you are told that one million people watched your online video. Great, huh? But do you really know how many finished watching it? Do you know where they dropped off?

Tom H. C. Anderson: At tech companies, what is the right mix between allowing engineers to develop what they want VS trying to anticipate what customers will want by utilizing market research/trend spotting etc.? I think Nokia is a good example of how a lot of market share was lost due to engineers deciding what the product should look like, while consumer signals such as a desire for flip/clam-shell phones and a clear color display became more and more important to US customers and eventually spread globally leaving Nokia behind. How can this type of situation be avoided?

Guy Kawasaki: The separation of engineering and marketing is artificial. It presumes that engineers build feature-laden crap that no one cares about but engineers. Maybe mediocre engineers do this. Great engineers create with a customer in mind. Fantastic engineers create with themselves in mind as the customer.

Every Nokia engineer should give their prototypes to their mothers, fathers, and kids. That would fix everything. The user interface of almost every phone is unintelligible. Anyone could have done an iPhone—it’s not like Apple has a monopoly on design.

Guy and Tom also discussed market strategy, in which they shared their philosophy of marketing and the role of customer input.

Tom H. C. Anderson: On the marketing strategy side you’ve talked about having to be customer focused, in order to create the revolutionary product, you have to know customers better than they know themselves. How is this done effectively?

Guy Kawasaki: I believe in “if you build it, they will come.” Thus, you take engineers and let them build what they think they themselves would like to use. Now, if your engineers are crappy, then you’ll end up with crap. But if they are great, you can change the world. Note: I did not say you should ask customers what they want in a revolutionary product. This would ensure mediocrity at best and crap at worst.

Having said this, once you ship the revolution, then you do need to listen to customers as they tell you how to evolve the product. But they cannot tell you how to create version 1.0

Tom H. C. Anderson: What are your views on effective customer segmentation strategies? What is an effective segmentation strategy, if any, that you have come across?

Guy Kawasaki: The most effective customer segmentation that I’ve found is that you build the product that you would use—ie, a segment of one. Then you hope and pray that there are more people like you.

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