Everything must come to an end…

… and so is my time as a Marketing Director at one of Europe’s biggest Business Schools. In the beginning of 2012 I will make an enormous career change and migrate over to “the other side” of Higher Education.

New job on the “other side”
I will start as a Lecturer at another smaller Business School. My focus will be on Sales and sales management. And I will, hopefully, start my Phd during 2012 on this topic.

Many will probably think that the change from an administrative position to being a part of faculty in a Business School is a small step. But I can assure you that nothing could be further from the truth… We are talking universes apart…

Sales and Sales Management
I am really looking forward being able to combine my more than 20 years of “real” work experience in sales and marketing in both B2B and B2C on different levels – with the possibility to do research on the same topics.

This will change my focus to a certain degree on my blog and other Social Medias, but since I strongly believe that the primary function of marketing is to actually sell something I will continue to write about marketing too.

Would you help me reach out to others? Please RT
In my region, the Nordic countries, sales is often perceive as something negative. This is also, partly, reflected on the academic arena. So I am looking for strong academic sales environments out there. Do you know some? I have established a “by invite only” LinkedIn group. The primary function of the group is to bring scholars together that do research or teach on the subjects sales and/or sales management.

If you know someone that fits the description or know about faculty environments that work on this I would really appreciate if you could send them this info.

The link to the LinkedIn group is: Sales and sales management group

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Nominated for a speaker of the year award

I am one of the nominees for the speaker of the year reward at ANFO in Norway! (all links in Norwegian except ROMI)

I know… It’s self-praise to write about it but I cant help it… Never been nominated as a speaker of the year before.

ANFO is an organisation for advertisers in Norway and they host a lot of seminars throughout the year. Of about a 100 speakers we are 10 nominees. Here is an article about it in kampanje.com

On the 11th of October the winner will be revealed. I will probably not win (having great respect for many of the others nominees), but it feels great just to make the top ten!

None of you who evaluated me under the ROMI seminar is probably going to read this but THANK YOU any way!

Erik 🙂

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I will be speaking at an EFMD seminar about marketing and sales processes in Business schools in Brussels next week. Any input?

EFMD is an international membership organisation with 750 member organizations from academia, business, public service and consultancy in 81 countries.


The proposition for the conference is that Business schools are service organisations in which every stage of service can affect the perceptions of customers and ultimately the School’s reputation and future revenue streams.  So whose job is marketing?  Surely it is everyone’s responsibility, so how can it be made to happen effectively?

There will be three presenters from the UK, France and me from Norway and we will present how our schools work with and organize marketing and sales in our institutions.

My take on this is that most Business schools (and even many more universities) have a rather unstructured way of looking at this and the main reason is that a lot of (specially the faculty) the organisation feel that marketing is “below them” and that if you have good programs and good faculty, students will flock to your institution and marketing is for those institutions that have an inferior reputation and who have to get student through advertising…

Nothing could be further from the truth of course…

There will be attendees from the UK, France, Germany, Ireland, Poland, the Netherlands, Lithuania and Belgium.

So my question to all of you (especially those representing countries not included on the conference) if you have experience with or feeling about higher education marketing; what is your take on this?

I feel higher education in many countries still can be compared with the early stages when the consultancy companies started doing marketing. The general belief was that if you did marketing you were in desperate need of new clients and it would hurt your reputation. Anyone remember the first ad done by one of the big consultancy companies? Was it Accenture in the US?

I would appreciate your input on this!

Erik 🙂

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The loss of the critical mind and how to regain it – A 6 steps approach

Did you read about the Internet Explorer hoax? Where IE users where made to be less intelligence than those who used other browsers?

The post when they understood it was a hoax.

The NextWeb interview with the group behind the hoax.

There are several issues here; one is the fact that respected brand like BBC posted the story at all. Another is the fatigue even experts have when it comes to commenting on online articles.

Those who knows those who want to know and those who claim they know

There are three kinds of people out there. Those who really know something about a subject, those who claim that they know something about the subject and those who want to know something about the subject.

The problem for those for those who need to know is that it’s often difficult to separate the rotten apples in the basket. A good example is a post about AVE:

There was a short post named “Advertising vs. PR: How to measure the value of editorial coverage” on Regan.com in the beginning of April this year. The post was a tribute to the use of AVE as a good measuring of PRs ROI. I honestly think that the only reason why this post got so many comments was not the content of the post itself (most enlightened people would just laugh reading it and move on), but because of the first comment. The first comment was from a student and included the sentence: “I have been taking PR and Ad classes for 3 years now, and this article has taught me more than most of my professors have”.

This sparked a well-formulated response from Sean Williams of the Institute for PR Commission on Research, Measurement and Evaluation. And this again started a rush of negative responses towards the article. So reading the post gives you one picture, but reading the comments gives you a contrary view of the world. And its first when you read them both you get the full picture. Follow up story on the AVE

It really has to do with trust. When a respected provider like BBC or Ragan (PR Daily) run an article you often have enough respect for the brand/publisher that you tend to trust the content.

This is of course the first mistake you do….

When a scientist publish a paper many others in the field attacks the research with different views. And it’s only when you read them both you get an accurate picture to help you make up your mind.

Here are some advices in how to obtain as balanced information as possible:

1. Use common sense and be critical

  • Simple but true. If you get the feeling that something is missing or not right, it’s often the case.

2. Look at the author

  • Is this a private post or is the author writing on behalf of a company? What’s the author’s background? In my experience the conclusion to an issue from an “expert” in a certain field is often colored by their field of expertise. This is not necessarily a problem but gives a better understanding of how the author reached the conclusion. And might help you in step 3…

3. Have a critical sense when reading the conclusion

  • Do more than one (Google) search, search for contradictory conclusions to gain a better understanding of the topic. We prefer speed more than accuracy, and if the conclusion makes sense to us its easier to accept. But tat is the worst trap for getting our critical brain back…

4. Check the date

  • Is this an old post or is it reasonable new? In a field like marketing things have a way of changing rather fast.

5. What is the target group for the post?

  • Where was the content published? A personal blog or was it posted on a webpage for SMB marketing?

6. Read the comments, if any

  • The more comments the better. Again you should use time to check the background of the one who posts the comments.

Response fatigue

There was a post about “social media fatigue” by Chris Brogan a while back. I think there also is a fatigue responding to all the articles out there. I see three reasons for this:

  1. There are so many posts, even within a narrow field, that using time reading them and commenting is overwhelming. So even if you do not agree with the post you probably won’t post a comment about it.
  2. The fright of getting attacked for posing an alternative view. Most of us prefer to be liked so exposing our self to an attack because of something we write is not our first priority.
  3. We are unsure about our ability about the topic. There are few real experts out there so we get reluctant to post a comment because of our fear that we do not know enough.


Well, first of all… Don’t take my word for it! There is tons of literature out there about how to search for information with a critical sense. Most Business schools and universities have short courses about how to do it.

My hope with this is that if you are out there searching for information on a topic, don’t go with the first article you find, even if it’s confirming what you thought in the first place. Go through the pain of getting outside your comfort zone and search for opposite arguments or thoughts. If you do, at least you can build a list of arguments supporting your view and get ahead of those who will question your decisions…

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You don’t click on banners and you don’t remember them…

 On June 29th Business Insider had a piece called “It’s More Likely You Will Survive A Plane Crash Or Win The Lottery Than Click A Banner Ad”. I tweeted this July 11.

The conclusion is (presented in a pretty populistic way) that the chance that you actually will click on a banner ad is virtually none existing…

Then I got a response from Chris Bourke: “agree Eric but what about the display effect? Especially large format ads – create familiarity irrespective of click?”

This is a good point. Even if you don’t click the ads you are still exposed to them and might remember them anyway. Maybe you get inspired and walk into a physical store instead. Read the blog post from Danny at Kiss metric, called “How To Use Google AdWords To Reach The People Who Didn’t Click On Your Ad”.

I was one of the speakers at a ROMI conference here in Oslo some time back. One of the other speakers came from one of the big media houses in Norway and they had actually measured the probability that you will remember an online ad.

The result was discouraging. People could only recall about 30-35% of the online ads they where exposed to. His conclusion was that:

1) People didn’t remember because there were so many ads on the page – which it is on a normal newspaper page. 

2) The creative solutions were more focused on creating cool and flashing ads, than presenting the message. As an example in many of the ads the message and the logo (company) was presented in the end (sometime after 3-4 seconds, and by then the user would have scrolled past the ad.
So the conclusion is that they don’t click and the don’t remember…
And by the way… I have twins..

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The consequences Brands faces if they boycott New of the World.

News of the world has been big news lately because of the phone-hacking allegations. The consequence of brands reviewing advertising deals has been widely debated in many marketing Medias. See some of the links below.

When considering the effect of a brand you can’t just look at the brand alone, you have to look at the environment the brand lives in and uses. The Medias and channels you use to market your brand also sends a message about the brand itself.

In our case we exclude certain Medias because we feel they don’t reflect the values we want associated with our brand, even if some of this Medias has a very high level of distribution in our target groups.

All based on the knowledge that your brand will be analysed in a context, not as an isolated object.

That’s why I think the brands that are just “thinking” about boycotting New of the World should take a stand and do it.

This is also a very important brand message!


MarketingWeek: Whether brands boycott or stick with the News of the World, they face backlash

Campaign against the News of the World grows as #saynotonotw trends on Twitter

Sainsbury’s joins list of advertisers reviewing relationship with NotW

Social media v the News of the World

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Personal branding

Ira Kalb just did what I was thinking about doing… He wrote a good post about personal branding – you the brand.

I just have some add-ons’ to his perspective.

There are key differences between a personal brand and a company brand
I think it’s vital to your personal brand not to mix too much of a business view with the personal part. When working on a company brand there is multiple ways you can follow to change the image of the company. The most important, and slowest, is to change the type of people working in the company, so that they are more in line with the image your are pursuing.

When it comes to you as a brand its much more personal. You can’t really change who you are (as Ira is pointing out in his post). Trying to be someone else will fail in the end. It’s impossible to play a role that differs from you deeper personality for an indefinite time.

Start with yourself
So instead of starting with your target audience, you should start with yourself. I would argue that most people (especially younger people) don’t really have a deep insight about what they want or what they stand for. The more you know about yourself the easier it is to be viewed as authentic.

Then you should start looking for the target audience that matches your brand.

If you don’t like what you find? Though luck – if you don’t have a Dissociative Identity Disorder there is really not much you can do about it. There is nothing harder than trying to change the view of an established brand.

A friend of a friend ones tried to use different personalities of him on a dating site. He was trying to adapt to different types of women (target groups) and used all the right words in describing himself, with suitable images of himself. I do not know how he is doing now, but he didn’t get married after that stunt.

You will always have different roles
You might find my perspective that you cant change to defensive. But you have to be aware of the distinction between your deeper personality and your roles. We all have a lot of roles that we are “playing” every day; Husband, father, boss, co-worker and so on, and people might perceive you as a different person in these roles. But the roles you will function best in will be the roles that have a strong connection to your deeper self.

An example: I sometimes have the role as a speaker. The feedback I get is very good. I am also an Diving Instructor and I really enjoy teaching people to dive and both the teacher and speaker roles is something that is well founded in my personality as outspoken, open, loves people and so on.

If you are familiar with personality testing, I was once certified to run the DISC test, you will know that many of these present to pictures. One image of your deeper personality, the part that is very difficult to change, and one image of you in the role you have when you are tested. Which can be altered. The more overlap between the two, the better you function in the role that is tested.

Find ways to measure your progress
As with all progress you should measure your development and for a person, especially if we are talking about our online life, a good tool is Klout. Since Klout included topics you will be able to track whether you are talking about the things you feel is right for you.

Lets take me as an example again: My online presence is driven by my wish to be viewed as an expert within my area of expertise. In my case, as a Director of Marketing, this includes, marketing, branding and so on. So my top 10 topics on Klout should reflect that. Even though Klout has some work to do to make this work better. According to Klout I am influential about “media marketing”, and “tools”, which I find odd…

The importance here is that you tag your tweeds with your topics.

My whole online appearance is based on how I am thinking about myself as a brand. And since I am not selling anything (other than myself, not as an consultant, but just hopefully as an expert), this is what I am trying to transfer to my audience.

So my strategy is as simple as this: On Facebook I prefer to connect with my close friends (or at least people I actually met and had some kind of relationship with). I don’t post much personal stuff, but mostly post some of the same things I do on LinkedIN and Twitter. On LinkedIN I have a broader group of contacts, more business connections, but still pretty close. On Twitter I tweet about my area of expertise, mentioned above. The same thing as I do on my blog. All my post are in English, because I want to connect to a broader audience, and so far only 30% of my readers are from Norway, the same with my Twitter followers.

If all the above is to much to read; Just remember to be yourself… (If you really know who that is…)


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Reservoir flushed after man urinates into it – a strong branding story…

This is the guy: David Shaff

This is the guy: David Shaff

For many, when you post a blog post or you create an ad you are aware how this will affect your brand. And you shape your work accordingly.

For most, when they have to answer a question from the media (often on the fly), how this is affecting your brand is not your first or major concern.

So take this article in Digital Spy. The whole article might just make you laugh (I did). But stop for a minute and reflect on the response from David Shaff. It sounds like its coming straight from the heart (a pure heart). I do not think he was thinking about the Water Bureau brand when he was answering, but the result is the same.

Another likely reply could have been: “This is drinking water from a very big lake. Some pee wouldn’t affect the quality.” It would probably be true, but what would you think the next time du drank some water, knowing it came from this lake?

His answer (and attitude) – its like saying “Zero defects is the only option!”

A really strong and positive statement and position to take when you are responsible for people’s drinking water. It looks like people in Portland can rest assure that their drinking water is of very good quality…

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The quest for the optimal creative brief

Have you ever been in the situation where you have delivered a brief for your next marketing campaign and then afterwards, when the creative agency presents their solution, your first thought is: This is not according to my brief. And when you raise the question the agency can point out the section in your brief that covers just that?

Writing a good brief is an art form in it self. How much should be included before the most important part drowns in details?

ONE way of setting up a brief is to include the following sections:

  • Describing the assignment
    • Why doing it and what’s the problem
  • Today’s situation
    • A small SWOT analysis
  • Communication strategy
    • Target group(s) and messages(s)
  • Communication channels
    • Channel mix

A more simple approach is to say that a creative brief should describe today’s situation and what the wanted situation would look like. The travel from today till tomorrow is the “pain” the creative solution should help resolve.

So what is your thought here? What is the optimal brief?

Should you include wanted message or should this be left to the creative agency?

Should you include channels or should this be dependent on the creative solution?

If you use a media agency, should they be included in the brief right away or should you let the creative agency finish their part first?

Would love you feedback and comments. Maybe we could work out the optimal brief together… if such a thing exists…

Here is one agency’s idea of a good brief

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“Put aside the marketing mindset”

How often do you not get sentences like this, especially when talking about social media? It’s like a strategy to say that being genuine is not a part of marketing strategy and marketing is mainly about misleading people into buying something they don’t really need.

But isn’t this the whole purpose of marketing? To be genuine and communicate with target groups (sorry: people…) to express the true nature of our organisations. The alignment between what we want the brand to be and how people inside our organisation behaves?

Sure, sometimes we communicate what we aspire the brand to become and then there can be some dissonance between how our employees act and the brand message, but the purpose is not to mislead our customers but to move our organisation in a desired direction.

Marketing is about conversation with people and we as marketers understand that people (customers) want to meet the real people behind our organisation. People communicate with people, not organisations.

Please stop pretending that marketing is not about people to people communication!

But I love the title: “3 Cs of social media MARKETING…”

And here is another from someone that I would expect should know better…

Rest In Peace Marketing: I Never Really Liked You Anyway

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