Version: primary September 2015 - Gemba Marketing

Tech Geeks, Assemble: Here Are 5 Things We Learned at DreamForce

One day, we’re going to have hover boards, robot butlers, and even smarter apps. We’re going to be flying jetpacks willy-nilly and drinking water on Mars. The future is bright, and it all starts with groups of smart people getting together and having smart thoughts. Such a thing happens every year at DreamForce in San Francisco, a yearly SalesForce conference for users, developers, and geeks galore. We attended just a few weeks ago, and we even learned a thing or two (or five, if you want to get specific about it). 1. It’s massive. For real. San Francisco normally has a population of around 900,000, and the attendee count at DreamForce this year was around 150,000. 2. The logistics were impressive. To shut down a major street in downtown San Francisco, cover it in AstroTurf, throw in roughly 150k people plus stages, chairs, couches, bars, and outdoor games? And it didn’t feel crowded? I mean, how? 3. Here’s the real beauty of the conference: you can get whatever you want out of it. Whether you’re an admin, sales exec, developer, c-level exec, etc., there’s something there for everyone. Our very own CTO went to a number of sessions that reviewed coding practices and other sweet technical things that are beyond my comprehension level. He also attended talks hosted by Andrew McAfee (professor at MIT and author of The Second Machine Age) and was thoroughly geeked about it. 4. The future is very cool, and somewhat creepy. We got to play around with devices that connect to SalesForce (example: your car—for salespeople, the device can track miles traveled, upload the data to your sales profile, and calculate expenses automatically). There were also activations where...

Gemba Book Club: Creative Confidence by Tom & David Kelley

How do you feel about books? Are you in favor? Because we are. Here at Gemba, we’re book-learnin’ folk. We read Creative Confidence by Tom and David Kelley, an inspiring guide to harnessing your inner creativity. And here’s what we got out of it: That ever-present downer is what keeps most great ideas from ever getting off the ground. Tom and David Kelley mentioned that, in Juggling for the Complete Klutz by John Cassidy, he suggests throwing the balls up in the air a few times and just letting them drop until you’re numb to that knee-jerk twinge of panic. Urgent optimism is “the desire to act immediately to tackle an obstacle, motivated by the belief that you have a reasonable hope of success.” According to game designer Jane McGonigal (and my own shameless Peggle-addicted self), the euphoria of beating one level sparks its own form of creative confidence and leads to further triumphs. A venture capital firm called Bessemer Venture Partners has an anti-portfolio alongside their case studies—in their words, they have a “long and storied history” which has given them “an unparalleled number of opportunities to completely screw up.” Creativity isn’t all about successes; it includes a lot of trial and error. Sometimes all you need to do is defocus the mind. Friedrich Nietzsche said, “All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.” I mean, the man was famous for having a lot of thoughts; he probably knew what he was talking about. You don’t know everything there is to know, and don’t trick yourself into thinking you do! Accept that you’re still learning, which is awesome, because that means there’s room to change and grow....

Autumn is Officially Here, and So Is Pumpkin Spice Everything

Autumn means layering your sweaters, drinking cider, and harvesting stuff, but mostly it means pumpkin spice lattes. Let’s talk about pumpkin spice lattes. Why are we so obsessed with them? Who started this? And has it gone too far? (There is such a thing as pumpkin spice dog treats, so I’d say it’s possible.) Here’s the deal with pumpkins: there’s an Irish folktale about a guy named Jack who was cursed to wander the Earth in purgatory, so he stuck some everlasting hellfire into a carved-out turnip to light his way. You know, like you do. He was known as Jack of the Lantern, or Jack O’Lantern. The Irish believed this practice would ward off the devil. Irish immigrants brought the whole shindig to America (which is where the pumpkins were), and here we are 300 years later, appropriating their spiritual lanterns into an unholy hybrid of pumpkin spice Pringles. Yes, pumpkin spice Pringles are something that’s happening. And we’re letting it happen. Check out these stats: Now, the lattes came before the Pringles. But how, and why? I’ve got two words for you: experiential marketing. I’m serious. We’re not buying the latte, per se; we’re buying the experience that the latte represents. The latte embodies all things warm and cozy on a crisp fall day. The latte is candy corn and fallen leaves and comfy sweaters. The latte is autumn in a nutshell. Starbucks found a way to bottle autumn. This whole pumpkin spice conspiracy just goes to show the power of experiential, and if that doesn’t blow your woolly, pumpkin-patterned socks off, I don’t know what...

Happy International Country Music Day! Let’s Demystify Some Stereotypes

When you think of country music, what comes to mind? Pick-up trucks? Cowboy boots? A twangy barnyard singalong with an acoustic gee-tar? Let’s face facts here: stereotypes are a thing. But studies show that the widespread perception of country music listeners as rural, illiterate, and generally lower-class just doesn’t ring true. In fact, country music listeners (who make up 42% of American adults) hail from all walks of life, geographic locations, and socioeconomic levels. While the rest of us are living life from one dollar-menu taco to the next, country music fans tend to trend upward. A little over a quarter of them have household incomes greater than $100,000, which is the same percentage as the rest of the United States. They’re also a loyal demographic–85% say that once they find a brand they like, they stick with it. They’re big on saving money (77% say that’s their #1 goal in this crazy thing called life), but 74% are willing to pay more for products from a company they trust. So what does all of this mean from an experiential marketing standpoint? Well, it means you can partner JC Penney with Rascal Flatts, bring VIP experiences to 4,500 people, and garner 1.5 million event attendees overall. Like we did. It was pretty cool. And the amount of country music fans over the age of 12 has soared 31% in the last decade, according to the CMA. So they’re only getting stronger.   * All stats courtesy of GH MRI unless otherwise...

Everyone’s Obsessed With Their Phones (& Here’s Why That’s Good for Brands)

We use our cell phones like they’re providing oxygen. That’s just the reality. That’s where we are as a society, and there’s no shame in it. (There’s a little bit of shame.) According to Marketing Week, the average mobile phone user checks their phone 150 times a day. Also, according to 11Mark, 75% of Americans admit to bringing their phones to the bathroom. (We’re not very well going to live a life devoid of WiFi for the minutes-long sojourn to the restroom. What are we, animals?) But phones aren’t just for dropping into toilets (which 19% of people do, so be careful out there). They’re also good for making purchase decisions. We all know that game. We price-check. We peruse reviews before we buy anything. Sometimes we leave empty-handed to buy the product elsewhere. It’s not difficult to see why this makes brands nervous. But there are a number of reasons why the mobile craze is win-win. For one thing, it gives brands a new forum with which to incentivize their consumers–now they can offer discounts or coupons to people who check in on Foursquare, Facebook, or Yelp. Nice. For another, it’s a surefire way of getting people to talk about your brand. According to the Event Track Executive Summary, 49% of people text or engage socially about an experiential event that they’ve attended as of 2015, which is a huge jump. In 2014, it was only 7%. But perhaps most importantly, mobile usage incentivizes brands to be the best they can be. When a competitor’s info is so easily accessible, it behooves brands to make themselves worth someone’s while. And when a consumer chooses you over somebody else, it...