Marketing Strategy

    Bing Likes Likes.

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    Charlene Li has a great post today about Bing and its product alliance with Facebook — one she feels will help Microsoft cut into Google’s search share.  She is quite right. Bing, number 3 in search, announced it will integrate Facebook’s social graph information (“Likes’) into search results, as an option.  If you use Bing to search a particular topic you will have the ability to check results based upon how your Facebook friends affect those results as determined by their “Likes.”   

    This is smart logic on Microsoft’s part…jumping on the bandwagon of the world’s most populous social network.  It’s smart for Facebook, backing up the truck to the Microsoft bank. And it’s good across-the-board logic, allowing search to be viewed based upon the likes of friends, followers and communities.  

    When Facebook changed “Fan” to “Like” it struck me as a bit odd, though. Call me paranoid, but I now smell the backroom deal. The timing was about right.

    Personally I am not a big “Liker.”  I don’t really click on “Liked” things, yet many do and it has become a popular pastime and app.  As more marketers encourage Facebook users to Like things – and shill for their brands – the behavior will become tired, forced and die down.  As permissions and privacy interests grow Likes will also die down.  Facebook will still be Facebook, finding new ways to grow and monetize, and Bing will have won some serious market share points with this new tactic. That said, Bing will still be innovating OPS (other people’s stuff). Peace!

    Don’t Market To The Middle.

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    Adaptive learning is an educational practice that tailors lessons to the learning level of each pupil. It is the opposite of the all too common pedagogical practice of “teach to the middle of the class ” where lessons are created for average, middle of the class students, not the highest or lowest performing. (Talk about no child left behind?) Adaptive learning is really individualized learning. As a term it has been taken over by technologists who employ computer software to identify a student’s learning level, via a battery of questions, and then create a learning scheme that best fits each student. It’s good pedagogy.  

    Responsive design is the new “big thing” in web development. It creates a valuable, though often singular, web experience for users regardless of the device they’re using. And we know there are lots of devices and operating systems out there. There’s big money in responsive design today.

    When we apply the tenets of adaptive learning and responsive design to digital marketing we recognize there is a long way to go before we’re not marketing to the middle of the class. Data people and ad serving jockeys will tell you they can serve up a special pieces of creative based upon user behavior or website visits, but this does not tell you where the customer is along the continuum of a sale (awareness, interest, desire, action and loyalty).  In offline and online we are still profoundly marketing to the middle of the class.

    Brand love and brand loyalty will ebb through boredom. Through repetition. Marketers who treat their most loyal customers like babies are forgiven…up to a point. (America knows that “15 minutes can save you 15% or more on your car insurance.”)  So what’s the 21st Century Challenge for marketers?  Adapt to your target. Be responsive to time and place.  And stimulate them with brand positive messages and deeds. But most importantly, do it in support of a brand strategy — an organizing principle that marries what you do well with what customers want.

    Peace!    

     

    Marketing Silos vs. Community.

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    Where do key marketing insights come from? Where does creative inspiration come from? Where do sales come from? Nice questions, no?

    Key market insights come from people (consumers or business buyers) and market data. Market data, however, is just an aggregation of consumer activity and the patterns they throw off. 

    Creative inspiration, in this machine that is the marketing and agency business, comes from the creative brief. Where on the brief?  Many would like think it jumps from the boiled down “selling idea,” “key thought,” or “engagement trigger” — whatever it’s called these days. But realistically it comes from anywhere on the brief.  Inspiring creative people can’t be mapped, it just happens. People are complicated.

    And sales? Sales come from stores, catalogs and websites but really from the hands and minds of people.  

    So duh, the common denominator in this serial journey to a sale is people.  The most effective marketing teams are those who make all three legs of this stool work together.

    This is your silo issue, not revenue by agency type or department.  It’s not about break though work. It’s not about sales spikes. Or the most powerful media tactic or database.  It’s about getting people to see patterns, inspire others, and learn what sells in a specific category – then forming a community around the brand that fosters those activities. Agencies come and go. Campaigns come and go. Communities (unless you’re the Aztecs) not so much. Peace!

    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!

    A $1,000 Pill?

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    I read today about a hepatitis C drug that costs $1,000 per pill. It’s called Sovaldi. Don’t get me started on the paucity of pharma names – it seems they are all used up. Marketing consists of 4Ps: Product, Price, Place and Promotion — so I have a question for the marketing director of Sovaldi. Is this a niche product for the very rich? The rich who, by the way, don’t index high for Hep C?

    There are three parties involved in this little health care rubric: the drug company, the patient and the insurance company. The drug company (Gilead) is giddy with its 1st quarter earnings. Record earnings. The patients are happy, I suppose, with a drug that presumably is better than what currently exists. And the insurance companies? They must be clearly wondering how this drug got through the FDA.

    The pharma marketing director who set the price of Sovaldi must have used a formula to cover R&D, physician detailing, marketing etc., but s/he knew that insurance companies would foot the bill. Very few people can pay $1,000 for a pill.

    So who is to blame for approving this non-viable, specialty product? Not to seem cold but someone along the chain must have known this drug price would be a little out of hand. They must also have known insurance companies would pay for it. In what marketing scenario does one price a product so high that nobody but a very few can afford it?  Entire families are going without healthcare in the ACA Age because of the price of one of these pills. Something is broken. And someone from the insurance industry needs to step up and fix it. Peace.

    Sears Spanish Inquisition

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    sears

    “All Spanish all the time” is the business strategy I have recommended to Sears in this blog a number of times. Once again, quarterly earnings are out for the Sears Holding Company (owner of Kmart) showing it is hemorrhaging money. You can’t continue to lose a billion plus a year and stay a viable business (listening Blackberry?).

    Think about the country. Think about the state of retailing…with more and more sales conducted online and delivered via the mail and package carriers. Where does this leave Sears? And all retailers, for that matter.  In need of bold moves. All Spanish speaking today, is a first-mover strategy. And frankly a no-brainer. If it doesn’t happen in 2014 it will happen at some point. If not Sears or Kmart, someone. The purchasing power of Spanish speaking Americans is too great. The growth rate of this segment of the pop. too great. 

    Sure stores will have to close. But the idea is solid. The market is solid and the move will have unexpected positive impact not only on the expense side of the ledge, but also the growth side…with new opportunities for other services hitting this massive part of the economy.

    Edward S. Lampert, CEO, pull that Band Aid off right now. I smell a Fortune (cover) in it for you. Peace.   

    The things we produce

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    .What have you produced for me lately?  That’s the question that should be asked by senior marketers of their teams, agencies, vendors and selves. What have you produced?

    The extravaganza that was the Super Bowl saw lots of things produced. Ads were produced, certainly. Actors were coached, editing suites rented, musicians composed, craft trucks rolled. Millions spent. And now bills will be paid (and unpaid) for months to come – all because things were produced.  At some point, probably around budgeting time for next year’s Super Bowl, someone will ask “What sales were produced?”

    Let’s list the people who might answer that question with “Not my job.” The list will be pretty lengthy. It wasn’t long ago that the average tenure of a CMO was 18 months. Why is that?  Because it is the CMO’s job to produce sales. The CMO and the CEO.

    The marketing business today produces lots of things – at the hands of many, many people. Isn’t it time CMOs asked and answered the question “Do the things we produce, produce sales?” Peace.

    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!