Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Should I Stay Or Should I Go?

"You can’t sit around waiting for a good idea. The true test is the days when you don’t feel like working, that’s when you should be there anyway, pushing into new territory."

Paul Simonon 2007

Friday, March 30, 2007

Strangers In The Supermarket.

Three women staring avidly at the shampoo section of my supermarket - one on the phone saying (and I paraphrase),

"They've got all the big brands, with double-facings for each. We've got to find a way to stand out. We were at Tesco's before and it was the same and there's no spare space available for merchandising. It's really difficult to get noticed."

A common complaint amongst FMCG marketers I imagine. Potential solutions....

1) Get the retailer to do something special for your product (difficult and expensive I'd guess since they count coins in the till before unit sales of any specific product).

2) Sell your product through different distribution outlets (where the retailers might care more but where I'd guess the shelves are going to be equally uninspiring).

3) Stand out and get noticed BEFORE you get to the shelves.

And if three of you are on this mission to assess the blindingly obvious, wouldn't it be an idea to leave your marketing-world discussions and chat to some customers while you're there?

Change The World, Don't Pretend You Have.

The revelation of the PR manoeuverings that were occurring behind the scenes when a Wired reporter was researching a piece (on the new open blogging culture at Microsoft) is no surprise. People are still trying to control the conversation - indeed the whole PR industry has a vested interest in so doing.

The crucial passage from the memo that has been revealed by Chris Anderson is that detailing the key messages that their strategy wanted the article to describe. These were:

• Microsoft’s culture is highly focused on community and creating opportunities to connect with its customers. Projects like Channel 9 and 10 are innovative examples of efforts across the company to better engage with our community, whether it be developers, customers or simply people who love technology.

• Microsoft’s community efforts give customers greater insight into what is going on with key technologies, as well as provide a vehicle for direct and deep interactive conversations.

• Blogging at Microsoft is more than the work of one individual. It’s a collective effort of thousands of employees, who together make up a network that reaches a global community of millions.

Heart-swelling stuff isn't it? And it may indeed be true. But the point is that you facilitate the conversation, you don't now control it absolutely and the corollary of this is that, if your key messages are exaggerated, you will be found out. So the way forward is to make it utterly apparent that you have changed the world.

People really notice when their world changes. They also recognise spin.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Books Need Hyperlinks.

Online browsing habits affect the way we behave in the real world - no surprise there. But here's a new one for me - reading a book that referred me to "the earlier example from Chapter 9".

So, to fulfill my reading experience, I first had to find Chapter 9 (not as easy as you'd think) and then flick through all the pages to locate the reference. In the past that may have been acceptable, but today I want to be pointed to the page.

User expectations are constantly evolving, so must the experience you provide.

If An Ad's Played On A PVR, Does It Make An Impact?

Sometimes a different perspective opens your eyes, as when I received this comment,

"I am the tech support resource for a very wide range of family and friends (and their friends, too!), and I can tell you why Yahoo is the biggest search word at Google, and vice-versa: because nobody understands the difference between the search bar and the URL bar."

I'd cited the search-engine "fact" in a previous post as a cipher for people's techno-ignorance but I'd always assumed that it was a reflection of deliberate actions. CJ's comment raised the possibility that my assumption might not even be the majority cause of those oft-quoted statistics.

Sometimes a different perspective can confuse you, like when I came across the Thinkbox report into TV viewing in the UK.

It presented the seemingly counterintuitive finding that "PVR viewers watch more TV and more ads." It revealed that only 15% of viewing is time-shifted programming and announced that within that 40% of viewers watched the ad breaks at normal speed - no doubt one of the contributions to higher ad impacts.

Now, I wouldn't go as far as to say that if something seems counterintuitive then it's probably wrong, but the cynic in me wonders how much of that is due to viewers who aren't aware that they can fast forward and more seriously whether that proportion will remain that high over time?

Clearly, I don't know what the truth of either situation is, whether any usability gurus have studied the search engine enigma or if there's any way to validate my TV theory, but the point is that assumptions our frequently useless. Don't assume you know why something is happening - especially if research indicates it and/or your business depends on it - make sure you find out why it's happening. Because many things are not as they seem and everyone will try to give you an explanation that is shaped by their world or business view.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Does Adsense Work?

What I Know.

Huge numbers of advertisers believe it does.

The cost per contact is clear and potentially low.

It's a simple mechanism for advertisers.

It is targetted.

I've never clicked through on a paid for link.

What I Don't Know.

Why do they believe it does?

Have they evaluated its cost effectiveness?

Is its simplicity the greatest appeal?

Does it just replace pay and spray?

Are non-clickers irrelevant to their businesses?

Googling "Does adsense work?" doesn't yield much that is contemporary or focussed on the advertisers' perspective, so can anyone tell me is adsense the most cost effective form of marketing or is its simplicity its selling point? Is it digital lead generation, does it engender the loyalty that conversational marketing would and would the advertisers be better off in the long run if they focussed on that?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Should Marketing Count?

Marketing is getting bogged down with numbers. Everybody wants metrics. Boards want numbers that justify marketing activities, marketers think they will give them credence and all sorts of third parties want metrics that they can sell to Boards and marketers. Too much measurement and not enough marketing. Another example of looking inwards when marketing should be focussed outwards.

But reading Herd has reminded me of Frederick Reicheld's elegant One Number You Need solution. It's based upon a single question - the one of those that he tested which yields the most powerful predictor of future success. That question is: "On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely are you to recommend this company/product/service to a friend?"

This simple question is simplified even further by only recognising scores of 9 or 10 (called supporters) as indicators of real satisfaction. Scores of 0 to 6 are termed detractors while the remainder are called passive supporters and are rightly ignored. Regular readers will note how this ties in with my distrust of research as explained here.

Subtracting the percentage of detractors from the percentage of promoters yields the "net-promoter" score and world class performance equates to a score of 75% to 80%. The goal then is to "Get more promoters and fewer detractors” and fits with my philosophy of accentuating the negative by which I mean eliminating what's wrong (so that what's left is right) rather than focussing all efforts on potentially superfluous "improvements".

One number. It saves money on research, focusses everyone's mind on a simple goal and provides clear feedback. Tie the improvement of that number into employer incentives and ROI follows. Simple. Now let's get back to doing rather than analysing.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Toilet Training.

A report about the potential collapse of the London sewer system, yields a great metaphor for all that is wrong with marketers' short-term focus and which proves, once and for all, that customer satisfaction is not just about touch points.

You also notice the toilet paper. Is that not meant to dissolve? “It should do, but we hate Double Velvet,” said Mr Smith. “Or those new wet-wipe things. You might as well put a sleeping bag down.”

Just as everything ends up in the sewers, everything now ends up in caches and the public knowledge so, more than ever, the long-term impact must be considered.

Bonus blog: a Manhattan family spending a year minimising their long-term impact.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sunshine: A Scorching New Space Odyssey.

Having seen a preview of Sunshine a few weeks ago, I struggled to do it justice in a post. As a film that will reward repeated viewings, it's difficult to encapsulate concisely so I'm indebted, as ever, to my favourite movie reviewer Mark Kermode for saying what I couldn't express.

As a sensory experience, it's overwhelming. But perhaps more importantly, Sunshine also harks back to a time when sci-fi turned its attention not toward the hallowed teen market but toward the heavens.

The rest of a long and intelligent review of the movie and its place in the genre can be found here.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

An Open Question To The Blogosphere.

We all benefit greatly from the openness and connectivity of blogging, but as we all know, that can be exploited. My question to you is this - if a highly respected and very popular blogger were to be experiencing anonymous abuse, death threats and general nastiness far beyond the normal ribbing and teasing, what would you suggest they or we do?

UPDATE: here.

How Confidential Should Advertising Be?

Russell rightly berates the po-faced agency bleating about confidentiality in relation to this blogpost. Sure, it details an ongoing beauty-contest but, from my reading, it reveals nothing confidential (especially within the agency world) and is entirely harmless.

I'm sure many will recoil in horror at this, but it occurred to me that so long as none of the client's market sensitive data was revealed, it might be interesting if the unsuccesful pitches were made public. I accept that the client's competition might then be aware of the directions they were not going to take, but is that really a problem?

And from the agencies' perspective, it might stimulate interest from a totally different client that found resonance in the thinking involved. [I await for all you insiders to tell me that this would prevent agencies from recycling pitch materials, but surely that doesn't happen?]

Of course, a really forward-looking client might choose to reveal all the pitches during the process and see what, if anything, co-creation and user feedback might yield. But, let's not get ahead of ourselves.

ASIDE: It's a little invidious of me to highlight this line that flew out of the screen at me.

"Lots to play for on this one - not only a huge piece of business but also an exciting brief and an opportunity to do some great work."

Call me idealistic but, in a cluttered world, shouldn't every potential execution be seen as a exhortation to do great work? Not just those that might win awards.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Why Blogging Matters.

The contrast between the morning I endured in a client's office and my reading and thinking this week could not have been more clear.

In the world of meetings, conference calls, and initiatives my ears were bombarded with talk of innovation, image and the customer identity! I was even told that 500 million people would turn 21 by 2010! And it all sounded self-serving, meaningless and utterly deatched from the real world.

In the world of reading and thinking (which so many would have us believe is filled with hot air, egotism and naivety), I've been assailed with contrarian attitudes, penetrating questions and smart solutions that reinforced that marketing is all about people. People who buy stuff rather than the people who try to get them to buy stuff.

It's not about creating an ersatz approximation of a typical consumer, embodying them with a cliched lifestyle and imagining what they'd like to hear from you. It's about opening your eyes, looking at the myriad people who buy stuff and respecting their uniqueness. It's about marketing thinking that begins and ends with human beings.

It's been a very good week in the blogosphere.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Everybody's Hip.

As Bob Lefsetz says

"the connected New Yorkers believe they’re above the rest of us, that what they say and think is more important than those west of the metropolis.

But those days are gone. People in Iowa, the dreaded flyover Midwest, are now just as hip as those in New York. Hell, they’ve got the same cable channels and high speed Internet too."

These days, you have to find other ways to un-level the playing field.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Look Both Ways.

The encapsulation of Hugh's ideas in an Edelman talk perturbed me. Not because I disagree with a single word of it, but because his highlighting of the post-efficiency world got me thinking about how businesses don't look both ways. Specifically, in matters of efficiency they only look inwards and in matters of promotion they look outwards. They have to stop doing that.


Internal efficiency that cuts costs, saves time and feeds the bottom line is the focus of most businesses. But it's external efficiencies (those experienced by their users) that make the real difference.

That efficiency can be the classical efficiency of stock availability, choice and quality, but it is also something visceral in terms of the way the user feels about your business as a result of their interaction with you.

We may be in a post-efficiency world when it comes to internal issues but we all know that we are far from that in terms of how efficient transactions feel to us users. Moreover, internal efficiencies such as outsourcing often militate against that.


Promotion that interrupts, entices and perhaps informs the potential user is the focus of most businesses. But it's internal promotion that engenders the attitudes that will make the real difference.

It is this internal promotion that aligns a business's workers and suppliers with that business's ultimate goal. Everyone has to know and understand the strategy of a business if they are to feel part of something and perform their task in the way that best fits with that strategy.

They don't need vacuous team-building exercises, they need to be trusted with information and insight and thereafter be allowed to use their initiative. How can those people deliver user satisfaction if they don't know how their business define those users and that satisfaction?


If we're in a post-efficiency world, we are also to some extent in a cluttered post-promotion world. Inward-focussed efficiency drives and outward-focussed promotion are increasingly unlikely to make a big difference. Hugh rightly suggests that

The growth will come, I believe, not by yet more increased efficiencies, but by humanification.

and I suggest that humanification requires businesses to look both ways. Inwardly to humanise their interaction with their staff and suppliers and outwardly to humanise their interaction with their users.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

The Wisdom Of Talking Heads.

David Byrne reminds us that people don't know what they want, so don't ask them

"It’s a dream come true — everything we say we want, but when we get it, it turns out to be a nightmare."

and that feel is more important than technology

"It doesn't have to sound good to move people."

Monday, March 19, 2007

Living Life In Beta.

Two great thoughts for the week from Bruce Nussbaum's article pointed out (and additionally illustrated on his excellent blog) by David Armano.

The first addresses my often-stated irritation at the disconnect in the corporate mindset between design and customer experience,

A final point on language: Innovation and Design. Business men and women don’t like the term “design.” I think they think it implies drapes or dresses. Even top CEOs who embrace design don’t want to call it that. They want to call it “Innovation.” That has a manly right to it. It’s strong, techie. These folks are perfectly willing to use the word “vision,” whatever the heck “vision” is. They like “Imagination,” whatever the heck that is. But they don’t like “design.” Go figure.

The second just beautifully captures the zeitgeist and finishes with a phrase that will enter the lexicon.

As John Battelle said recently, the conversation now is the content. It’s not about the finished story but about the ongoing story. It’s the conversation. And since most conversations don’t have a conclusion, they are ongoing. We live a life in beta.

What Women Want?

At the time of the 300 screening, it was clear to me that the marketers were concerned that it was a "boy's movie" and were conscious of finding angles with which to market to women - the consensus was that emphasising the role of Queen Gorgo, the power behind the throne, was the obvious hook and one trailer was made with that specifically in mind.

In reality, a number of women from around the world have surprised me by reporting that they enjoyed the movie from a pure beefcake perspective. Arguably, it's not politically correct to think that women would view the movie this way, but then perhaps it's equally patronising to assume that women have to see a powerful role model in order to want to buy a ticket.

My reaction (and the original intetion in writing this post) was to re-emphasise the need for marketers to focus on the real worldview of their audience rather than market in a way that they think they should be. That's still true, but in Googling to remind myself of the queen's name, I discovered that some women bloggers were looking for just such a role model and had clearly not seen the marketing in that way.

Worldviews are many and varied. In pure segmentation terms, you have to decide that with which you're going to align your company, but the cultural resonances and reinforcements that this might involve cannot be overlooked. Those last longer than your campaign and may ultimately come back to haunt you.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Do As The Average User Does.

So, Matt Cutts who works at Google picks up a story about rival search engine Ask and has a little fun at their expense. The story's picked up by Robert Scoble and continues to spread. Nothing wrong with that, but I think it's revealing that the whole event was predicated upon a very geek-oriented mode of searching which failed to reveal the site in question.

That may be the smartest way to instruct a search engine, but it's not the way the vast majority (by which I mean over 99%) of people do their searches - they don't use qualifying operators, heck they generally don't know about using quotation marks. As we all know, among the most searched for words on Google is Yahoo and among the most searched for words on Yahoo is Google.

In all areas, geeky or not, the only valid tests of yours or your competitors' products are those that replicate how regular, time-poor, technophobic citizens interact with them. That's the real lesson here. That and the revelation that my Geek Marketing 101 clearly isn't being read widely enough.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Mass Appeal.

The UK version of the Get A Mac ads have been running for some months now and have attracted the somewhat surprising criticism of arrogance - surprising, that is, because of the generally cruel nature of british humour.

So, I was dismayed to see this poster for the first time this week. The slogan "we get along better than people think" may tie in with the Windows' compatability of Macs, but it really jars with the tone of the campaign so far. I thought the idea of marketing was to emphasise what you do differently, but apparently it's now all about not rocking the boat.

What's Your Blogging Motivation?

Further evidence of the because effect. As reported in the New York Times, this VC shows how difficult it is to make a living from blog advertising. Good thing then that blogging yields other benefits.

From our art correspondent: The cartoon attached to the final link might be a little eye-watering for the office - but we must remember that the artist recently announced his preference for abstract compositions.

Friday, March 16, 2007

There's Something Happening Here.

Today's highlights included chatting about semantic blogging arguments, discussing the lack of adventure within Brazilian marketing (and the impact of banning all urban spam in Sao Paolo) and meeting the author of the book I'm currently reading. Yes, Coffee Mornings definitely reach the parts twittering fails to and really hone one's antennae.

Thus it was that, while walking along Oxford Street afterwards, I noticed a succession of women seemingly asking other women for assistance. There was no uniformity of appearance, there were no clipboards, just a "tourist" hesitantly asking another woman if they could tell her "where was a good place nearby to buy......" - being of the wrong gender I never quite got to hear what the question was, but I did hear the follow up line that they'd been told that "such and such a place was good and have you heard of it."

Word of mouth marketing in action - predicated on illusion but looking very sleazy to anyone who got to see the whole picture. Fortunately, they can't control the conversation because passers-by also have mouths, a willingness to spread the real word and the ability to introduce the perpetrators of such tactics to another discredited entry in the marketing dictionary. Built-in obsolescence.

Bonus link: Mrs. Belmot brilliantly undermines faux connectivity and linkbaiting here - well that's my pretentious take on on it anyway!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Something From The Intern.

Tomorow the intern says au revoir and moves on to pastures new. The leaving party will no doubt be a crowded, boisterous affair and he may choose to slip away quietly, so it's timely to consider what we've learned.

1) There is no substitute for hard work and talent.

2) A sense of fun and compassion facilitates connection.

3) Community forms around the genuine and the personal.

4) Consistent excellence leaves them wanting more.

5) Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but the original counts.

Thanks Ze, it's been astonishing.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Change Or Die.

If you see an empty restaurant or an empty store, you're less inclined to try it out. Outside of Valentine's Day and Christmas, perfume sales are slow, but what is the first thing you encounter in a department store? That's right the empty perfume counters with their bored staff.

That doesn't seem the most obvious way to draw in passing shoppers does it? I was told recently that the reason for this was historical. The aroma of the perfume kept the stench of the street out of the store.

Your mother asks why those nice old department stores keep going out of business doesn't she? Not so much a case of the times changing, more a case of marketers not changing.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Yahoo Mail Security Risk.

It may be a temporary glitch, but I have a hunch that the reason Yahoo Mail users are suddenly realising that their signout icon has vanished is because Yahoo are trying to increase their users' session time. With no annoncement, it now appears that you have to locate your Yahoo home page and find a signout icon there (amid the other Yahoo services they'd like you to use).

Already I see confused and worried people on the help forums, but what about those who don't realise and leave their webmail accounts wide open? As I say, this may be a glitch, but if it's an attempt to lock-in users, it's a very bad example of maniplulting the user experience for the sake of the business model.

UPDATE: It appears to have disappeared - was it a glitch or a sign of things to come?

Optimal Search Engine Optimisation?

In order to optimise search engine results, the received wisdom is to write headlines in searchable formats with an emphasis on the first word and an avoidance of puns and humour. Oops!

Today, therefore, I have changed my headline style. Doesn't it just reach out and grab your attention? I'm sure my readership will snore - I mean soar!

Search engine optimisation makes sense, but whose attention will you attract? Do you want to optimise the effectiveness of automated search engines or do you want to optimise the people who find you?

As in all marketing, you have to strike a balance between being oblique and thus failing to attract the browsing masses (in every sense) and exuding a personality that evokes a stronger reaction whether that be positive or negative.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Marketing Isn't Crowd Serfing.

The news that actor/musician Jared Leto broke his nose when the audience at his gig allegedly proved less than willing to hold him on high provides an exquisite metaphor for the perils of community marketing.

Some weeks ago, I wrote about the terrific Q & A session with Zack Snyder director of 300 and urged that it should be put online as quickly as possible. Well belatedly it is, but not as I'd expected. A thirty minute session has been cut to less than five and "branded" to within an inch of its life. Throwing the whole session up on YouTube unedited (save for any slanders) would have been quick, cheap and transmitted the sociability and joy of the occassion. It's still worth viewing but the vitality is gone and that's a shame.

To a lesser degree, the somewhat confusing announcement at the recent bloggers' screening of Sunshine that any subsequent blogposts should not include "real reviews" was another example of "we know best." I accept, to some extent, that the whole review process has to be co-ordinated but the implication that the attending evangelists might contemplate extreme plot revelations is a little paranoid - especially when the numerous trailers (in line with the current trend) give away so much. Moreover, people are savvy enough to avoid and vilify spoilers should they exist while knowing the denouement didn't harm the box office for Bond movies or The Passion of the Christ.

Warners and Fox Searchlight are to be applauded in the steps they're taking to provide access and materials to fans - and both movies are highly recommended - but they just need to learn to let go a little more next time because marketing around objects of sociability requires that you trust your community. As soon as you start editing the experience (be that literally or otherwise) you begin to make the sociable unsociable. The presence of the third hand is felt - like the door policy at a club or the need to log into sites before you can comment - and the relationship is altered.

Dictating to a community implies that you created it - you didn't, you just facilitated its existence and facilitation demands you should impose as few limitations as possible because that way lies ownership and a sense of belonging. The other way lies serfdom and serfs dont make great evangelists. Or surfable crowds.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Blogging Yields Movie Gold.

The causality is surely undeniable - I attend and write about a preview of 300 and it tops the US box-office. I attend a preview of the spectacular Sunshine last night

and it makes headlines today.

I think that's what you call awesome ROI!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Something To Talk About.

Having recently contemplated the purchase of an external hard drive, I was very aware of one company's use of design as differentiation. But the headline of this article The Hard Drive as Eye Candy really doesn't do the strategy justice.

Echoing Thomas Heatherwick's outlook, La Cie's Phillipe Spruch stresses the importance of design because of the reassurance it gives.

“Design is a translation of a well-done product, and people want to feel safe about their storage,” he said. “It’s not just about the product being trendy.”

Design matters because attention to detail on the surface projects the message that you pay attention to detail elsewhere but it also socialises a complex technical message.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Marketing's Identity Crisis.

Listening to the podcast insights of three advertising luminaries, I pricked up my ears at the assertion that "marketing has come adrift from business." It's confirmation of something I've felt for a long time.

In addition to the machinations of careerist marketers that I talked about here, I am convinced that marketing - when it insists on seeing itself as a department - is focussed too narrowly on promotion. This is what leads to it being viewed as peripheral when it should be central to all businesses.

My argument has always been that marketing and business strategy are intimately related since both involve the assessment of how a company meets customers' needs in light of the state of the competitive landscape. Indeed, this is borne out by Michael Porter's 1987 Economist article "The state of strategic thinking" in which he asserted that the sources of sustainable competitive advantage are reducible to technological barriers to entry (in the form of low cost production or patent protection) and/or product differentiation.

So strategically, marketing belongs at the heart of any business. Yet, all too often, it sees marketing goals where it should be looking at business aims and many marketing departments spend their time outsourcing tasks and administering the processes, rather than connecting their role into the business as a whole. Consequently, businesses disintegrate into a series of fiefdoms and underperform; the quality of the marketing suffers; and the reputation of the discipline is mocked internally by other departments and externally by pretty much everyone.

This has become all the more evident now the rules are changing. If the effectiveness of those marketing elements on which you've chosen to major is now under question, then what is your role? In the face of criticism of the number crunchers who run businesses by dint of being a real discipline (notwithstanding the fallibility of accounting practices and M&A outcomes) and who traditionally view marketing as an as ephemeral and ill-disciplined island state, the response has been to hurtle down the blind alleys of brand valuation and CRM in futile attempts to enumerate marketing's effectiveness.

Marketing should remember that it is an internal as much as an external discipline so as to integrate itself into the organisation; it should focus its measuring activities on the effectiveness of tactics so as to become more effective in its use of resources rather than as a justification to the rest of the business; and it should unquestionably demonstrate its understanding of and contribution to the whole business so as to justify a seat at the top table.

If it did so, it would have more gravitas internally and externally, it would operate much more effectively and the marketing methods it created would resonate better with its potential customers.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

User Friendly Computers.

Just to keep all our egoes in check, TED 2007 starts today and will be filled, as ever, with mind-blowing talks.

Jeff Han returns following last year's revelation of the true future of computing. The visuals are astonishing but the key point he continually makes is that it's not about the technology, it's all about the user experience.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Silence Of The Blogosphere.

So far, I've only been invited to a couple of movie screenings, but some bloggers get sent products to trial on the implicit understanding that they blog about them if they feel so inclined.

Now smart bloggers won't lie to their audience but they must like the invitations and the gifts, so the cynic in me wouldn't be surprised that they may stay quiet if they have nothing positive to say.

How long will it be before it's about the silence as much as the conversation, will a lack of blog chat become synonomous with a bad review and what pressures will that place on the process?

Monday, March 05, 2007

Attention Deficit.

If you stand on a street corner staring up at the sky on a Saturday night, it's amazing how many people walk by without noticing or wondering why you're doing that. The few that don't, see a total lunar eclipse - the best in fifteen years. Some admit that they'd read about it, but had forgotten it was happening and all too many were completely oblivious to all the publicity. More people stop when they see more than one person looking.

Even when something is pre-advertised, free and remarkable, it's hard to get people's attention.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

The Future Of Advertising.

Cheap and cheerful. No media costs. Highly effective.

But media planning remains. Whether it's your product or your marketing. How do you get people to notice you?

UPDATE: My current answer to this question would be to focus on intimacy. Intimacy can be found in the small things such as attention to detail or youtube videos like Gmail's. Or it can be visceral as Red Bull showed this weekend when being intimate with 30,000 spectators or as Innocent does every Fruitstock. Grand or small. Intimate gestures spread.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Category Killer?

Side by side on the store shelf. Two very similar cartons - one containing "mosskiller soluble", the other "complete soluble" - the latter promising lawn greening in addition to the weed and moss killing promised by the former.

Closer inspection reveals these identically priced products to 1) be from the same company, 2) contain exactly the same ingredients and quantities and 3) have packaging adorned with identical instructions and claims.

Aren't product extensions meant to be different? Perhaps not? Perhaps they just fill shelves to the exclusion of the competition?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Is Dave Gorman, Dave Gorman?

The inimitable Dave Gorman nails it when he explains his reasons for not cashing in on the "copycat" offers that followed the success of his initial breakthrough show "Are you Dave Gorman?"

"Maybe I'd be living in a bigger house right now if I'd taken the shilling and sold that version of myself to the world but I doubt I'd be very happy and I doubt I'd be very employable either. You could hardly convince an audience you had another true story to tell them if you'd spent two or three years obviously pretending to be something you're not."

Authenticity is not an add-on feature. It comes from within.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Are You Looking At Me?

Lest you forget that IT is always about the customer and not you, this quote from an article on the self-obsession of students should remind you that narcissism has no place in marketing.

Narcissists "are more likely to have romantic relationships that are short-lived, at risk for infidelity, lack emotional warmth, and to exhibit game-playing, dishonesty, and over-controlling and violent behaviors."