CaseCamp goes to Second Life

There is no doubt the newest of new marketing this year has happened within the virtual world of Second Life.

I’ve been meaning to explore Second Life for some time now. Now I have a real reason to – Case Camp Second Life. Yep – the Case Camp team are organising one of their unconferences in Second Life. What a great idea.

CaseCamp in Second Life

CaseCamp SL will take place in the Crayonville Ampitheatre on Thursday, December 14 at 9:00PM EST (aka Melbourne time – 1:00 pm on Friday 15th). The number of attendees is limited to 40, so make sure you register your name on the wiki at Forty names will be selected at random from those registered.

The attendee list already looks impressive. Crayon’s own CC Chapman and Joseph Jaffe will be there, along with Bryan Person and some other top new-marketers.

In preparation for the event I began my second life this week, I’ve taken the plunge and signed up for a Second Life of my own. Oscar Mincemeat is the name – You’ll probably find me on Orientation Island, struggling to put a beachball on to a table.

Seriously though, Second Life is fascinating, and undoubtedly at the bleeding edge of new marketing. There are almost 1.5 million residents now, and the first (I think) SecondLife millionaire has just been named. So it’s looking to be more than just a passing fad.

CaseCamp Second Life seems to be the perfect place to dip the proverbial toes in the water – I can’t wait to.

The New Green Marketing Rule :: You Need to be Irresistible AND Green

Earlier this year, eco-marketer Jacquelyn A. Ottman wrote a worthy article for about the “Rules of Green Marketing”.

Ottman points out that:

The first rule of green marketing is the first of rule of marketing: Focus on customer benefits — i.e., the primary reason consumers buy certain products in the first place. Keep in mind that environmental benefits are important to consumers, but they are not the primary reason for all but “deep green” consumers’ preferring one product over another; so treat them as good, value-added secondary benefits.

I think she’s right – the 7% of consumers who are “socially responsible to the core” will choose the environmental benefit as the Primary reason to purchase. But for the remaining 93%, the green benefit is secondary.

If only the iPod was greenHaving said that, a green product that merely ‘solves’ the customer benefit is no longer enough.

The bar has been raised for brands to REALLY succeed in this day and age. Now you have to do 2 things:

1 – Launch something that is environmentally friendly
2 – Launch something that is IRRESISTIBLE

Imagine if the iPod was environmentally friendly (alas, it isn’t). Apple’s must-have accessory would force people to become greener shoppers. Not because they are trying to be, but because they can’t resist.

Your new product or service has to be sooooo good that people HAVE to have it.

The number 1 way to create viral marketing …

… Is to create a product (or service) that’s actually worthy of going viral.

Blendtec are the latest whiz-kids to work this out. Their product is a blender that blends anything (You’ll see). Blendtec posted their “Will it Blend?” videos on YouTube, resulting in over 5 million views. The golf ball video alone has been watched over 1.6 million times. Voluntarily, I might add.

It’s not about YouTube though. It’s about the blender. The blender is responsible for the millions of page views and blogosphere chatter, not YouTube.

You’ll never go viral if your product isn’t worthy. You can’t make something that’s lame, then expect millions of people to watch your video. It’s the other way around.

Carbon Neutral is Word of the Year

It’s official :: “Carbon Neutral” has been named The Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year for 2006.

I would have chosen “Carbon Negative” were it my dictionary. But it’s a healthy sign that carbon-neutrality has earned it’s place in our vernacular.

For green marketers, it also suggests that being carbon-neutral is something that is understood by the public. And something that will paint your business positively in their minds.

(Via Treehugger)

Making Meaning :: The key ingredient of business in the Naughties

I’ve just been re-reading snippets of Guy Kawasaki’s classic “Art of the Start” – in particular the gems about making meaning, and not just being in it for the money.

Meaning is not about money, power or prestige … Among the meanings of “Meaning” are to

– Make the world a better place
– Increase the quality of life
– Right a terrible wrong
– Prevent the end of something good

The more I think about this, the more I realise that making meaning is the vital ingredient to modern business.

Meaningless business tactics have been the norm in the nineties. Consider the following:

• A pair of sneakers that you buy for $180, costing less than $10 to make, by someone who was probably paid less than $1.80 a day to make them.
• Companies spending millions of dollars on advertising to convince us to buy stuff that we really, really don’t need (4 blade razors, anyone?).
• A product’s cost never includes the true environmental cost.
• Big business becoming so greedy that suppliers like coffee farmers are treated so badly (How crazy is it that ‘Fair Trade’ is a actually something that consumers pay a premium for?).

These ideas aren’t just unjust – they are, well, just old-school (and not in an “I’m cool because I play the keyboard-guitar” type old-school). They’re archaic.

But we are well into the naughties now, and things are a changin. Nice-Guy companies like Innocent, Ben and Jerry’s, Squidoo, Freitag, Simple, American Apparel, Google and countless others are making meaning as well as money.

And it’s not just businesses who are trading in the currency of meaning. Consumers are increasingly making meaning with their purchases, and choosing the nice-guys over the baddies.

Us marketers have earned ourselves a pretty bad reputation in recent decades. But by making meaning, the marketing profession might just allow itself to sleep at night.

The books we own, the blogs we read …

Two years ago, my plan was to go back to study when I came back home to Melbourne. Now that I’m back, there isn’t much chance you’ll see me at school.

In the last 2 years, I’ve learnt exponentially more about marketing from books, blogs and podcasts than I ever did at uni. By going back to study, I’d be learning all the wrong things. More about the rules of old marketing, and not nearly enough about the new. Marketing has evolved so much in the past 5 years that I don’t think that universities could have kept up.

I am now home in Melbourne and the job hunting starts this week. So I’m adding the following sections to my resume.

1. Greatest marketing books that I own

2. Blogs that I regularly read

3. Podcasts that I listen to

I think that these three sections give me much more of an edge than more study would.

80% of the potential employers who read my CV might be perplexed by this ‘unorthodox’ approach. But I really want to work for the remaining 20%, who probably have read the books that I’ve read, and understand what blogs or podcasts are.

If, by the way, you are reading this, you are in that 20%. Any chance you could offer me a job?

Be first to market with your green strategy

In London this week, independent research from GreenPortfolio has revealed that:

“50% of marketing and PR management believe that an organisation’s green credentials are important to customers; and 84% predict this importance is likely to grow further over the next two years as the impact of environmental issues continues to bite.”

“Despite these findings, three out of four (72%) companies have no green marketing plans in place and only one in three (33%) have senior management buy-in when it comes to going green, highlighting a pressing need for much more green marketing planning.”

I can’t say I’m terribly surprised by these findings. But there’s no doubt that the environment is becoming an important issue for consumers. We will begin to see more and more shoppers choosing the greener product when the choice is there.

The opportunity to be the first green participant is there for the taking in so many industries. It’s no longer about doing what’s right and being the nice guy – Businesses will simply get left behind unless they get serious about going green.

Those of us who understand this have plenty to gain. What are you waiting for?