Marketing Strategy

    Thinking Apps.

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    Slide 4 in Mary Meekers’s Morgan Stanley presentation entitled “Internet Trends 2010” shows the pace of mobile internet adoption.  It compares iPhone/iTouch to that of  AOL’s desktop, Netscape desktop and NTT docomo iMode; laying out growth by users, by quarter from launch.

    iPhone’s Internet access tipped 86 million users in its 11th quarter – less than 3 years.  Let’s just say the others never came close to coming close. (Check out the chart on slide 4.) Smartphone growth is hockey sticking. Motorola is starting to get it. HP bought Palm and should buy some corporate share.  Blackberry is too big and too rich to fail, even though they’re getting a little paunchy around the middle. And we haven’t even started to talk about the software guys Google (after its trivestiture), Microsoft (drawing a blank) and carrier switch provider Alcatel-Lucent.

    Ladies and germs, smartphones are the future of computing, commerce and community. They will dock next to monitors and keyboards, but they are the device.  Think about the iPhone4’s new videoconference app. Wait for fingerprint apps, and galvanic skin response apps, sobriety apps….   Cool times, these.  Marketers, put on your thinking apps (I mean caps), innovation awaits! Peace!

    Data and Product Recalls.

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    Every product purchased in a store using price scanners creates a record. More often than not that record is tied to a credit or debit card.  Consumer products befouled in manufacturing, like liquid children’s medicines from McNeil Consumer Healthcare, or collapsing baby strollers, bad tomatoes, sticky brake pedals, etc., also create purchase records.  Why not use these records to alert purchasers to recalls. I’m no analytics nerd but this seems like a no-brainer.  

    The way recalls are handled today is messy.  And, dare I say, not particularly transparent (sorry for the markobabble).  The ability exists for marketers to do one-on-one contact with purchasers of faulty or dangerous products.  No longer is there a need to scare everybody. No longer the need to make us check our cabinets and refrigerators for lot numbers. No more hiding recall information on website FAQs pages. No more expensive newspaper ads filled with obfuscation. 

    Let’s use data collection for good, not just for cross-selling, up-selling and McPestering.  Good data.  Good boy.  Roll over.  Peace!

    The Diffusion of Advertising

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    Advertising ain’t what is used to was (a little Southernism I made up). Creation of big selling ideas by highly paid creatives and marketing people, broadcast to millions via TV, radio and print was the ad business.  Today, thanks to technology, the ad business is undergoing a diffusion like never before. Digital agencies, though not yet offered a seat at the big table, are new and important players.  Google is the most profitable advertising agency in the world and Facebook is hot on their trail.  And when I say “mobile advertising” does any one company come to mind?  That one is going to be huge…but it’s still to play out.

    Buy or Build?

    Big traditional ad agencies clearly see the need to offer digital, social and mobile but are asking themselves “Do we buy or build?” Right now they’re doing both: hiring someone smart in each discipline and using them to select cottage industry players who are truly immersed.  Better than last year, which was all “Go out and get me a subservient chicken.”  Or “Find me those nerds who built the US Weekly Facebook poll.”

    I’ve long thought that mid-size agencies were poised to win in this diffuse advertising world, but now I’m not so sure. True, they can more quickly parlay a powerful branding idea into a market-moving integrated campaign but the model may not be extensible.

    Bud Cadell is right when he says the old ad agency model is broken. It will take open minds, forward thinking, experience, software, an understanding of brand building, and lots of money to fix the process. I’m of the mind that the successful model is more likely to come out of MDC Partners than WPP.  It will be fun to watch though. Peace!

    The Ascent of Marketing.

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    Back in the 1700-1800s (in the U.S.) if you needed stuff you either made it or went to the general store.  The Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalogue was the next marketing innovation (1888), showing pictures of products and published prices, allowing customers to purchase by mail. Among the 322 pages in the catalogue published in 1894 must have been products didn’t sell and had to be replaced. The birth of ROI? 

    Television

    The next massive marketing innovation was television. Television commercials which began in earnest in the 1940s became the most popular, effective form of advertising. But can you imaging trying to track sales to media and production back then in the very beginning? “Where’s the ROI? How do you measure this stuff?” Mad men. 

    The Web

    Fast forward to the Inter-nech. Banner ads and ad serving allowed us to count clicks. 2% click thru rates. Whoo hoo. Click to buy. Whoo hoo. But not everything could be bought over the web. (Discussion of that for another day.) CTRs diminished and web display ads became, so said the salespeople, a branding mechanism.

    Social Media

    Enter social media.  And consultants. When consultants out-number practitioners you know the market is in flux. The Altimeter Group, some very smart people let me just say, created a social media presenttion ‘splaining how to measure social media via a marketing analytics framework. Here are some of the measurables: share of voice, audience engagement, conversation reach, active advocates, active influence, advocacy impact, customer problem resolution rate, resolution time, satisfaction score, plus a couple of metrics tied to gathering input for product innovation. What’s not mentioned here, something Messrs. Sear and Roebuck might have added, is sales.  I love consultants ( am one) and the Altimeter Group is growing like a dookie, but until they and all of us tie these type of metrics back to da monies, we’re just making paper.

    A smart client at AT&T once said to me, “we collect all this data now we have to do something smart with it.”  That’s business. That’s return on strategy. Peace!

    Google is an Advertising Company.

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    I’ve written before about Google’s “culture of technological obesity” saying I think the company is taking on too much outside of its core mission.  Phones, productivity apps, the list goes on and on. The reality is — the dirty little secret no employee will readily admit — is Google is an advertising company.  (Google Doubleclick.)  Eric Schmidt and his peeps know this but it doesn’t play well at cocktail parties. The technology badge is what they wear most proudly.

    Of the $6.78B in revenue announced this quarter, the lion’s share was ad generated.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love Google.  I’m not a hater. They need to succeed.  Google really is changing the world for the better. But they will Divest or Trivest at some point.  The company is a 3-ring business circus.  And because one of the rings — most profitable ring – is advertising, and because Google hasn’t been putting all of its efforts into providing innovation in advertising, it will lose market share. Ad revenue will still grow, but Google will lose market share. My bet is Facebook and Twitter will take share. Facebook is already doing it and Twitter has just begun.

     Advertising is about search, yes, but also about referral and context and point of sale (POS).  Twitter may have a leg up by combining all four.  To all the developers at Chirp…advertising still is da monies!  Peace!

    An Unexpected Show of Caring.

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    My wife does Yoga at Fitness Incentive in Babylon a couple of mornings a week and she just retuned asking if I would smell her.  The instructor, you see, had sprayed some lavender on her at the end of today’s session, saying something about its soothing properties.  This was an unexpected show of caring on the part of the instructor. 

    Marketers would do well to learn from the instructor and offer unexpected demonstrations of caring to customers.  Bob Gilbreath, chief marketing strategist at Bridge Worldwide, is building a brand and a movement around Marketing with Meaning.  Is an unexpected show of caring marketing with meaning?  Most certainly.  

    Expected

    When leaving a store and someone says “thank you for shopping at ____” it’s nice, but not unexpected.  While at a restaurant with spoon to mouth and the proprietor sticks his smiling face in asking “Everything alright?” — this may be unexpected but it is not a real show of caring. While at Mary Carrol’s Pub and the bartender buys back after your third quaff, unexpected?  Not really. Good business, yes, but not necessarily a show of unexpected or caring. 

    Caring and thank you are two different things.  The latter requires thought; it’s a skill actually. Twitter can be used as an example of unexpected caring, used correctly.  A coupon dispenser is not caring.  Customer service is not caring, it’s the price of doing business. When Steve Jobs, as was reported in the news yesterday, answers an email to a customer it is unexpected. And it’s caring.   

    Let’s get on with it marketers!  When you leave the building each day ask yourself “What did I do to show a customer – not every customer – I care about them in a surprising way. Lavender anyone?

    What to Expect From Ads on Apple iPad.

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    Where to start?

    The ads that will adorn the Apple iPad on April 3rd are going to be pretty interesting.  First, if they are good, they’ll be more like selling applications than ads.  Those who create selling apps rather than Adobe InDesign and static display ads (iPads don’t take Flash yet) will have the early wins.   

    Selling Apps

    Selling apps that come from ad shops where the creative dept. was the lead (not the media dept.) will also win. That said, brands that team up on the selling app will do even better.  Those who team the objective, strategy, measurement, idea, creative, digital production and follow-up are more likely to have an app than an ad.   But that takes time, resolve and a new process…which is expensive.  Did I mention time?  If you started this week, you’re toast.  The best iPad selling apps won’t be the result of a great piece of “creative” or creative media buy, they will result from cross-silo efforts.

    Super Pasters

    Just being there on April 3rd will be a win for advertisers. There are currently 200,000 pre-orders for iPads. How may of those people do you think have taken the day off? Exactly.  Followers of What’s the Idea? know about Posters vs. Pasters. Well, in terms of the tech target, the first people seeing iPad ads will be Super Posters. Their blog posts, vlogs, podcasts and Tweets will abound. The iPad’s first audiences will be techies and those in creative businesses – a very viral and powerful target. And the world will be watching. Interestingly, the first big brands buying ads will be: Unilever, Toyota, Chase, Fidelity, and FedEx — not what you’d expect as a high indexing techie target. Korean Air, on the other hand, that’s a good fit. Should be very interesting. Peace!