2 most stupid words in marketing

Warning – this is a marketing rant. I am completely fed up with the question: “Who is your target group?”

Why do I think this is the stupidest question marketers and mostly non-marketers could ask?

Because, if I showed you a ball pen, you would probably not ask this question: right?

However, if you didn’t know a ball pen and if this was the first time to see a ball pen, you would probably ask: what is it for? Or would you really still ask: what is the target group?

So in my opinion, today, when ever confronted with a companies new product, many of us ask about the target group, when actually the right and logic question would be: what is this for. Or if you really must use funky business termination: what is the benefit or what need does it serve?

Unfortunately that brings us to the second stupid word in marketing and business today: The use case!!!

This is not as bad as the target group question but if people ask you for the use case, what they really mean is exactly the same thing as above: what is it for? or why should I use it?

In my opinion, these two questions are exactly the same one:
what is it for?

It’s nerve wrecking how many people in today’s business and marketing world are obsessed with funky lingo instead of using simple and universally understandable language that not only conveys the right message but also keeps the conversation focused.

Yesterday I saw a start up entrepreneur presenting an emergency button system for smartphones to be used by elderly people to quickly call for help in emergency cases. Having explained his product with the above words, he was suddenly confronted with the question “who is the target group for your product”?
He eloquently maneuvered around the stupid question by giving an example of a not so obvious target group the product also attracts: snowboarders under 30. They obviously found that his product does serve their need to get help when having an injury on the slopes. He finished by saying that obviously his products target group is EVERYBODY!

But have you ever experienced the skeptic look of somebody whom you just told that your product is for everybody?

So please give us a all a break and simply ask us:
What is your product for?

And if you do not understand what it’s for, then you
– are simply not in the target group,
– may not understand the needs of the target group
– or you are just not the right one to invest into that company.

I am so sure about this because for each and every single product that somebody comes up with, there is always somebody who will use it (= the target group, at least the inventor himself). There is probably not one invention on earth that would not be used by at least one person.

The only legitimate question after “what is it for” is: is it’s target group big enough to make a profit by selling the product.

Is this Upskirt from Samsung?

Households in Berlin received a raunchy flyer today, showing a girls skirted back with the line “Have a Look”.
Turning the flyer upside down, like lifting the skirt up, shows a Samsung phone covering the girls butt and promises that a test winner does not have to hide anything, asks you if you are a winner too and urges you to visit a website.
But the website is not working! Scanning the code or entering the address produces a 403 forbidden.
Screen Shot 2014-10-24 at 3.16.19 PM
Is it even from Samsung? Was the content worse than the flyer and has been preemptively taken down? The domain is registered to a web design company in Munich. Maybe they just forgot to cover the samsung logo.

What and from who is this?

Top 20 Social Media Networks in Germany

Top 20 social media networks in Germany

Top 20 social media networks in Germany

Germany’s social network landscape has consolidated and by the end of 2013, Facebook has taken almost all the users from the VZ networks. But the next 25% are still dominated locally. Twitter is underrepresented. Xing is keeping LinkedIn at bay.

Read the details or a summary here: “Social Media in Germany”.

8 Uses for Drones in Marketing

  • PR
  • Shipping and Distribution
  • Travel Marketing
  • Multimedia
  • Promotions
  • Sweepstakes
  • Edutainment
  • Negative Ads

Public Relations

Amazon has shown how you can use news about the deployment of drones for company services can be used for marketing. The use of drones for Amazon Prime will certainly take some time until ready to offer, but the news was a worldwide sensation when announced before christmas 2013. The topic blends with the next:

Shipping and Distribution

A bunch of companies (Amazon and a number of delivery services and postal services) are developing and testing the use of drones for fast, local delivery systems. The promise: a prime service for the impatient consumer as well as for replacement parts for industries, who lose money as long as they have to wait for some screw for a broken machine.

Travel Marketing

A fast growing number of tourist and recreational facilities have found out about the coolness of arial views and videos. They show their facilities from above, so that their target group can have an impression how nice it is at the facility.


Whatever you do to show your product in a cool way, nothing beats the view from above and surrounding your product. You do not have to be in travel/recreation to apply drones for picture/film. Even small things like food, sports gear and toys can be filmed in a completely new way using a camera drone.


People are still awed by seeing a little drone flying by and this can be used to attract attention at promotional events. Depending on the strength of your drone you can even do display advertising.


Just give your customers a drone. It’s not the new iPhone, but it comes close in coolness.


This blends with multimedia. There are so many products/services that need explanation. Pictures and film created using a drone can sometimes add a new option to do the explaining.

Negative Ads

Time for fun: SilencerCo is marketing its gun silencers with an ad movie where a guy shoots drones.

6 ways to use crowdsourcing for your pricing policy

There is a web app (like an app – but runs in the browser) that product marketers can use to run a price study for their product. The app is wowoodu and it’s users are playfully feeding a price database.

How can you use wowoodu for your pricing?

  1. Pre-Awareness: test you product’s attractiveness before you put it on the broad market and get a feeling for the consumer’s price point for it.
  2. Evangelist-Effect: if your product hits a nerve with the consumer, you may build a group of early adopters and with social media sharing they may even reach evangelist status.
  3. Pre-Sales: while testing your product’s price with wowoodu, you can link to your e-commerce page and start selling.
  4. Viral Sales: the playful character of wowoodu leads to social media sharing, thus creating viral potential for your product.
  5. Price Correction: You will see that your pricing is either too high or to cheap. Actually, more than 50% of products could be priced a little higher. The effect of a consumer, gauging a price too high, with the actual price lower but not the cheapest either, is priceless!
  6. Advertising/Promotion: wowoodu offers retailers to publish discount coupons and advertising features.

Incorporating a Start up in Germany – Duration and Cost

In my case – a GmbH with only one partner – it took 5 weeks from meeting the notary public to receiving the confirmation from the Handelsregister (company register) and the total cost was € 864,-. I decided to post the process and the cost, because when I was considering incorporation I could not find a brief of what will happen. Hope you find it useful.

What would you like to pay for incorporation? –> (Survey) poweredbywowoodu.014

notarDetailed Schedule:
3 days of preparation by notary public

4 days for the preparation of the memorandum of incorporation and list of partners. At this stage the Inc is “in foundation” (GmbH i.G.) and liability is not yet limited if you start doing business already. At the same time, the notary will send you a bill. In my case it was for €587 plus €127 – the fees depend on the number of partners, the amount of capital stock and if it is paid in fully.

1 week to open a bank account and pay-in your capital stock. Ask the bank to send you an account statement proving the pay-in as soon as the money is in the account.

1 week from sending the statement to the notary, who will then transfer the documents to the court of registration.

1 week for the court to process the registration request and to send the bill for the registration fee (€150) to the stated address of the Inc.

1 week after paying the fee until you receive the confirmation of incorporation. The Inc. is now registered and liability limited. You are doing business as a GmbH now.

Be careful not to confuse the registration confirmation with offers from some publishers to register your company. Read more about this issue here –>

Startup in Germany: rip-off warning

I just registered an Inc. in Germany and immediately got 6 pieces of mail which look very authoritylike, “offering” me the registration of the company for a fee ranging from € 333.58 to 697.42. The total sum of “offers” was 3,374.53!

This is how the correct official confirmation of incorporation (Handelsregistereintrag) looks like in Berlin. Do not confuse this with registration offers (“Eintragungsoffert”) from various publishers.

All of that mail came after I had paid the official registration fee (€ 150) to the court. But it came exactly at the time when the official confirmation of incorporation arrived, making it difficult to distinguish from the official information and very easy to get tricked into paying for some service you probably do not want. The registrating court actually warns about these rip-off attempts: some publication companies constantly scout the listings of new incorporations to “offer” them this kind of registration. (Read about the duration and cost of incorporating in Berlin here.)

The six letters I got were from various publishers with very official sounding letter heads like “Handels- und Gewerberegister”. Since the company register is the “Handelsregister” in German, you can be easily mislead to pay and expect to have paid to the state authorities.  When you compare the letter head to the beneficiary of your payment slip, you realize that there is a totally different name! One of them even sent me two letters different fees for the same service – I found that very interesting. Why do I not mention the names here, so you can be warned better? Because the way these publishers are working, they would probably flood me with “Abmahnungen” – warning letters costing a legal fee. That’s a German legal issue making the life of bloggers and ecommerce companies difficult. I will come to that in a later post…

The letters look very much like coming from the official authorities. Three of them even bear an eagle as a state symbol, reminding of the official symbol, the Bundesadler.

I found out that many entrepreneurs have already blogged about this rip-off attempt, but one cannot warn enough, especially since international founders will find it hard to distinguish these pieces of mail from the official authorities’ mail.

What would you like to pay for incorporation? –> (Survey)