The Psychology of Gap Marketing

Gap Marketing. What. The. Heck.

Gap Marketing is the idea that, when you’ve done everything you can to cover the large target audiences, there are still small gaps to fill.

Gap marketing is laptop stickers, teeshirts, even designating wifi network IDs that push the brand.

Gap marketing is finding interesting applications for a product, service or brand outside of the norm.

Gap marketing targets those areas that aren’t covered by targetted advertising buys, radio and television spots, or sponsorship events.

It’s the understanding that not everyone really needs to do their own billing, but Freshbooks (aff) makes a nice tee-shirt.

Gap marketing is understanding that AOL might suck as a company, but Frank Gruber, Christina Warren and Grant Robertson are loads of fun to hang out with.

Gap marketing.

At senior levels of marketing departments, ROI and P&L are the buzzwords. How much Return on Investment will this initiative net. How does an event effect our Profit and Loss sheets.

While always important, gap marketing humanizes a company or a brand in a way that an ad buy cannot. It makes a brand more approachable.

When you’re running a business, the most surefire way to increase sales is to make your customers feel like they know you, your company and your brand. Sure, you might make a sale otherwise, but making the customer feel like they have something no one else has will ensure a brand loyalty. Hey, I know those guys.

Last week, I spent the day at Ford Motor Company. Going into the day, I was not a Ford fan. They were yet another big company with expensive products. Worse yet, they have a history of failure. Does Found on Road Dead ring a bell with anyone?

Spending the day on campus allowed me an insight into a brand that I felt like no one else had. Will I ever be bought and paid for? Not on your life. Do I have a personal identification with Ford now? Hell yes.

You see, Ford engaged in gap marketing. I’m sure no one in their marketing department realized it was called that. Heck, I didn’t before I began this post. Yet they did. Although the day was filled with many typical faces in the automotive press, they brought a gap audience in as well with various bloggers from all walks of life. We weren’t auto bloggers. We weren’t Ford connoisseurs. We were normal people given an opportunity to own something, though small, that made us feel special and important to the big company.

Gap marketing.

The Aaron Brazell Show Tonight: Productivity and "Someone Had To Say It"

It’s Saturday night and that means The Aaron Brazell Show is back. Last week, there were fireworks but tonight… there just might be more fireworks.

With Shel Israel and Robert Scoble interviewing Tim Ferris of the 4 Hour Work Week a few weeks ago, and my own quest for email ninjahood, I wanted to bring on Jared Goralnick of AwayFind to talk about productivity. As AwayFind is an “email productivity” service, it will probably largely revolve around that, but there are certainly all kinds of other methods to make sure you GTD (Get Things Done). Jared is going to be joining us from PodCamp Boston 3, so maybe an update on the cool happenings going on up in Beantown too.

In the second hour, it’s your time. Introducing, Someone Had to Say It, which is inspired by a similar segment done occasionally at a local radio station here in Baltimore, it’s your chance to bitch and moan about whatever ails you. It doesn’t matter how obscure it is. In fact, the more obscure the better because then we all learn something! I don’t want to hear about iPhones! :-)

Twitter users: include hashtag #abshow
FriendFeed users: Comment here
Utterz users: Respond to this and tag abshow.
Or email me: aaron@technosailor.com

Joining me to co-host the show is Jimmy Gardner of East Coast Blogging who always has something obscure, yet bitchy, to say. :-)

And of course, we’re giving away a one year subscription to Shuttlebus from our good friends at Freshbooks to one listener – that’s $168 value. You’ll have to listen to the show though as you don’t know when the giveaway is going to happen. Incidentally, we’ll be using the Privnote technology to do the giveaway so score one for them.

Listen in at 9pm Eastern/6pm Pacific. Preshow at 8:45 on Talkshoe. Or if you can’t be by a phone, call in to (724) 444-7444, Call ID 22406. Press *8 to request to talk if calling in from a phone.

It's 5 O'clock Somewhere. In Case You're on a Deadline

For all the times I rant about PR pitches around here, I actually do get some good ones. Generally, these pitches are timely to me or my audience and are respectful in how they ask for press.

Thus was the case today when a guy named Sergei [last name withheld for privacy] emailed me about a web based project management tool called 5pm. His hook for this pitch (at least what caught my attention) was:

It’s a new web 2.0 tool that we launched recently. 5pm is an online
project management application that looks different from anything else
on the web in this category, but still feels familiar.

Web 2.0 was not the hook, but it was interesting to see that adjective used nonetheless. What hooked me was that it was different from anything else, yet still familiar. This is good because I’ve not been a fan of all the other web based PM tools out there.

I did a little investigation and am smacking myself for not seeing VentureBeat’s “Strong Project Management” endorsement from January. Or this from my new favorite company, Mixx from last year. (Of interest to Mixx fans is that Saturday night is the opening salvo of the new official Technosailor.tv which will be aired on Saturday nights at 9pm Eastern. As part of the format, I’m including a Mixx hour – which may or may not be an hour. ;-))

The Mixx story had a fantasticly engaging comment from one of the 5pmers which explains some of the thinking behind the product:

In terms of features – we implemented what worked for us and skipped what we thought is redundant. It’s difficult to find the right mix, as there is no such a thing, since each team works in their own way. That’s why we were developing our own project manager for about four years now (we had an old version called PTManager). And that’s why there are so many PM applications out there. It’s about finding the right balance, as the core features are common.

To mention new features, I would point to two things. Firstly – the interface. We spent a lot of time designing an interface which is very fast to navigate. Everything is within a click or two. We consider the UI being very important, since any pm application is just a tool. Less time navigating and clicking around, means more time for actual work. For example, coders usually hate to spend time on reporting, so our model for them was “get in. get out. fast”.

Second, I would like to mention our Flash timeline. It gives an alternative view to the projects and tasks and helps visualizing the durations and deadlines (kind of simplified Gantt). In time we plan to make it fully editable, which means you will be able to drag the tasks around the timeline. We think it will be pretty cool.

So this is just version one of our new tool. There is more to come – the feedback from our users will dictate that.

Hardcore. In fact, I may use this because, honestly I can’t stand using Basecamp and desktop-based apps are really no-go when it comes to client work. The one thing that I would really like to see before committing, is Freshbooks integration. I use Freshbooks for all my quotes, estimates, invoicing, time tracking etc. And all my clients have the ability to check in and see whats been done. Integration with Freshbooks is an absolute must for me.

I registered my 14-day free trial, poked around at it for a bit, and I can see how it is different.