Make Marketing History

The views of a marketing deviant.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Popularity Doesn't Pay The Rent.

There's liked and then there's popular. Marketers must be alert to the difference and remember that awareness is only part of the battle.

If they had been genuinely popular, they wouldn't be closing down.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Make Marketing Customer-Centric.

My apologies for the poor photograph, but it's very lack of detail actually serves to back up one of the points I'm going to make. It features one of a series of advertisements that have appeared in train carriages in recent months and illustrates some dangerous business thinking. It's technology-centric, marketing-focussed and customer-indifferent.

It's technology-centric because it's promoting some dubious technology-enabled utilities. In this case, "travel alerts"; in another, "personalised timetables" and; in all of them, services that are cheap add-ons derived from the train company's ability to manipulate data rather than from any genuine customer need or request.

It's marketing-focussed because it's promoting these services by intruding on the eyeballs of paying customers who might prefer the inside of their carriages to be more aesthetically pleasing.

And it's customer-indifferent because of both its technology-centrism and its marketing focus and also because of its remarkable use of a QR code. No, this is not yet another post about the industry's fixation with this questionable technology. Just look again at that photo and note the angle of the poster. Now consider how that relates to me the passenger - something that the marketers clearly hadn't done.

Are they really thinking I will stand up in the middle of a train carriage - that hive of self-consciousness and timidity - just so I can aim my phone at an ad? Unsurprisingly, I didn't - hence the poor photo, but even if I had chosen to draw attention to myself, what chance would I have of contorting my phone to the right alignment as the train moved along?

Veritably, a multi-layered example of marketing because you can rather than marketing because you should; of marketing to the client and the industry rather than marketing to the customer; and of marketing to the future rather than marketing to the here and now.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Marketing Data Granularity.

This week Nike launched its FuelBand accelerometer. It’s the latest extension of their Nike+ ecosystem and is predicated on the conclusion (derived no doubt from all the data Nike+ has allowed them to collect) that goal-setting is the key to successful exercise campaigns.

The FuelBand represents this through a single number that users can use as a measure of their progress. Its simple and elegant, but I was struck by their suggestion that people don’t need extreme granularity.

I can see why they might conclude this. Most people are looking for an easy life and tend to characterise extra detail as complexity and when I first started hearing the term (a couple of years ago) I had no idea what it meant. But the time I’ve spent around “self-quantifiers” has shown me that “amateurs” will go to extraordinary lengths to acquire granularity once they know what it is.

This and the time I’ve spent with the VRM movement convinces me there's a big group of people who would be thrilled with extreme granularity if there were third party intermediaries to interpret it for them. To interpret it in a way that stretches beyond a single number.

Now, FuelBand does seem to offer some degree of extra parameters but it's not clear that they won't also be similarly condensed. Maybe true user access to all their data will be the next stage. It needs to be because further engagement of already engaged people has to come from intrinsic motivation, rather than extrinsic gamification. It’s not just about how much they improved, but how they improved. That way lies even greater branded utility.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Why People Hate Marketing.


It's not marketing of course. It's an amalgamation of ideas that have been knocking around for the past few years bundled together with nonsensical jargon and a ripped-off presentation style.

The thinking isn't bad, but the most impressive thing is being able to say "Liquid linkage to big fat fertile spaces" with a straight face.