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“Because we’re selling millions of set top boxes already, we hear what’s working and we hear what’s not working,”  said Peter Larsen, Amazon VP yesterday during his presentation of the Fire TV set top box.

No one has to tell you Jeff Bezos is smart and that Amazon is juggernaut to end all juggernauts, but this quote points to a market research revenue stream that will be a new business for Amazon. One smart big-data nerd with some UI chops is going to create an algo and process to tap, parse and quantify sales, comments, and loyalty behavior that few, if any, companies can match. And it will happen at Amazon.

Have you ever tried to purchase data from IRI, Mintel or Euromonitor?  It like ten grand.  Since web companies like to give it away, why not do so with market research? There are crazy amounts of data available to Amazon and SMBs are data-starved. I was kidding about giving it away, but only a little.  With a low price point for qual and quant, Amazon can build $100M business in 12 months. And it will grow and grow.

Remember when Sabre (American Airline’s ticketing system) became more profitable than their fannies in seats business? Of course you don’t.

This will take some work, however. Have you ever sold consumer products on Amazon’s and been inside its data portal?  Oy. OY.  It’s like Excel clones from another planet. Think one man with one pick looking at the side of an ore mountain. Even so, the data opportunity is impressive. Especially aggregated category data.

Data waiting to be mined has got to be Amazon’s next business. Fergus O’Daly, a smart mentor of mine, once said about marketing “nothing happens until somebody buys something.” There’s a whole lot of that going on at Amazon. Peace.

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Have you ever gone back to your old neighborhood and noticed that everything looks smaller?  It’s not because you have gotten bigger, it is because we tend to fill up empty spaces with more stuff: bigger houses, sheds, plantings and more houses.  It’s what man does. We build and we plant.

This is how I view the media world.  Man likes to build more forms of media. And we add clutter and density to the existing ones. Our job as marketers, planners and media agents it to find new ways to share out targeted messages. New exciting ways.  Ways that move customers closer to a sale. Let’s not add clutter, let’s open new vistas.

Think new. Don’t think add-ons or media extensions.  New.


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I was thinking about what’s wrong with education and it dawned on me that a teacher could go for decades without changing his/her  lesson plan.  Okay, that might be an oversimplification but bear with me.  So let’s says that happens for an American history teacher…how does that teacher refresh? Well, one might say they focus on the pedagogy – the teaching itself. With all students being different, the lesson may stay the same but the means of getting though, packaging, and connecting the lesson to “this years” student may change. (Let’s hope.) In other words the material doesn’t change the delivery does.

So what does that mean for branding and marketing? Do we use a syllabus to create our marketing approach? I suspect we do. I, for instance, have been using a couple of planning tools over the years that have not changed much: 24 Questions and a battery of Fact Finding questions.  Sounds kind of formulaic, no?  Am I lazy? These rigors act as fishing nets for me and what I catch will vary. What I do with that catch creates the differentiation. Hmm.

But suppose I approached each assignment more like composing a song. Or creating some other form of art?  It would dash the formula don’t you think? This would be a case of getting rid of the syllabus. And going commando. Let’s think about that in 2013 and see if we can blow some doors off our approaches to strategic development. Peace!


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One of the fun things about being a marketing consultant is helping companies come up with new products.  Today most call this practice innovation.  I have a new R&D idea for Sherwin-Williams or really any paint manufacturer.  Design a clear coat finish for external house paint that when spayed on in a light mist will add years to the life of the product, improve color retention and prevent mold.   I’m no scientist, but one would think a breathable (or not) resin applied over a new coat of paint that helped extend the life of the finish would be something most home owners would invest in. Especially if priced correctly. 

The product would add to the total ticket price of the average house paint sale. Sherwin-Williams could even sell or rent the spray machine for an added revenue opportunity.  And as a new product category, this sealer/finisher would grow the total market.  “Add 5 years to the life of your paint job for only $99.”

I love growing markets and categories.  Now, if I could only just get a hair color company to make it cool for men to color their hair…

Are there ways to repackage and add to your product offering?  Give it some thought. Peace.

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