twitch point

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A couple of years ago I posted a presentation on SlideShare on something I called Twitch Point Planning. My first presentation of Twitch Point Planning was to Karen Kovacs, publisher of People Magazine.  One of my last presentations was to Joshua Spanier, Google’s Marketing Director of Global Media. These meetings sandwiched a number of others with business titans, one of which, George Gallate, suggested “Get the URL.”

Twitch Point Planning is a comms planning rigor that takes advantage of media “twitches,” moments in time when a person moves from one medium to another in search of information or clarification. By “understanding, mapping and manipulating people closer to a sale” via these twitches, we  create new levels of accountability, learning and success…the theory goes. 

Here’s is a quote from today’s New York Times, by Google’s Paul Muret, VP for Display, Video and Analytics:

“Mobile is about moments, shorter and more fragmented. It’s important we string these together. We need to understand the desires of consumers in each point in time to understand their context and intent.”   

Google rang up $19B in the 4th quarter and now is looking to expand that number by launching a new product called Analytics 360 — a tool that looks to take advantage of cross screen media twitching.  I suspect they’ll make more billions and do so by automating the process.  But me thinks the human element is still a necessary component of this process. Let’s see.

All aboard!!!!


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In a presentation I wrote while with JWT during its tenure on Microsoft I came upon an insight I called the “logged and tagged society.”  It was intended to be a business insight identifying how employees at larger companies are somewhat interchangeable – with knowledge workers being replaced by armies of freelance soldiers with log-ons and access to tagged assets, information and data. But that was then…a couple of years ago.  It’s still true but logged and tagged now is also extends to consumer life.

Facebook yesterday launched a new search tool called Search Graph which does more than count likes, it attempts to get one to personal proclivities faster.  I tried to read the story but got a little tangled and bored and twitched away. That said, it is Facebook’s way of trying to improve search results keeping people on “the book” and making more of da monies.   Using my logged and tagged lens, it’s their way of fighting through the tags and searchables.

As the searchable words and tags grow in this exponentially data driven world (Can I read any more big data stories before breakfast???), search will continue to become less accurate and in need of improvement.  And as communications agents continue to spread the pop marketing fallacy that consumers own brands, this environment will create greater demand for brand planners. Brand planning is about returning control to marketing…not algorithm tweaking.


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I have a presentation on Fast Twitch Media and Twitch Point Planning that asks the question are our brains evolving bigger or smaller?  Larger, posited Timothy White back in the 80s when I asked a question about evolution during a John’s Hopkins symposium, but I’m not so sure.

As software takes over decision making for us, it seems we have to think less. That is, unless we’re deciding which GPS to use — the Garmin or the Android phone app. (They are not perfectly in synch! Oh my.)

One of the things coders and engineers cannot do very well is humor.  It’s not that they are genetically indisposed to humor, but humor can’t be programmed. There is no algorithm. And therein lies the value of the creative mind.  

Humor is a wonderful tool in society and well valued in content creation that surrounds marketing.  I still giggle each time the BBDO/ATT “flash mob gone wrong” ad appears, though it is wearing out. Humor gets noticed and it disarms.  It is an elixir that helps a sales message get consumed. Branded utility is the rage these days in mobile apps, but soon that utility will become commoditized and we will need to smile as we tweak our media and our apps.  Might as well begin now; add a spoonful of humor to your digital selling and see what happens. Peace!

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There is a marketing axiom that the majority of consumer product marketing takes place before a buyer arrives at the place of sale. Sure packaging and POS advertising are important but in marketers’ minds most of the heavy lifting has been completed. 

A web start-up assignment I am working on has me thinking about the role of smart phones in the decision making process today. As part of my strategy, I’m asking the web team to make sure the website is consulted before, during and after the shopping experience.  The phone is in hand during all three stages, after all. Why not use it and optimize it.

Toyota is in the news today along with a smart mobile company SpyderLynk discussing ToyoTags, a picture snap-able logo that directs smart phones to online content – the goal of which is to move the consumer closer to a transaction.  An example cited in a NYT suggested that when the Prius was having brake issues not long ago, a ToyoTag snapped in a newspaper ad directed readers to a National Highway Traffic Safety Association report for “truths” about the issue. If you’ve been reading my recent posts on Twitch Point Planning you’ll recognize this as an example of a twitch that moves a customer closer to a sale. A positive twitch.

Finding reasons not to buy and removing them is an agenda of Twitch Point Planning.  Tools like the ToyoTag and SnapTags designed by SpyderLynk are wonderful ammo in this arsenal.  This stuff is not just new for the sake of new, this is purposeful.  Good work. Exciting work. Peace.

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