Sunday, June 11, 2006

The 7 essentials to fast growth

1. Create and sustain breakthrough value proposition
2. Exploit a high-growth market
3. Focus relentlessly on cash flow
4. Leverage big brother alliances
5. Pack you board with industry experts
6. Use blue-chip customers to gain credibility
7. Build an inside-outside leadership team

Markeitng Optimization

Prerequisites for Best in Class
1. Commitment to invest in marketing/advertising
2. Centralized marketing spend, with clear governance (common language)

Best in Class
1. Marketing mix modeling, optimization, ad testing, and brand equity tracking
2. Integrated attigudinal and behavioral data, market mix modeling
3. Marketing ROI, marketing drives revenue

How to Negotiate Anything!

1. Don't look at a deal as either/or proposition
2. Know what you can part with -- then part with it hard
3. Figure out the other side's teimtable. Then use it
4. Show people that you understand their position
5. Stifle your emotions
6. Don't believe everything, but don't call anyone a liar
7. Devise a backup plan that you could live with

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Consumers make the best content creators

Adweek ran an article that talked about how brands are asking their consumers to create their commericals or webisode story lines. This idea has fascinated me ever since I say 'Meet the Luckys" from Mercury. We tried "Unleash Your Freak" with the Charger launch, and then http://www.wearethemudds.com/, but I am increasingly impressed with how far and how fast this is going.

When you look at http://www.jibjab.com/ or http://www.rosterteeth.com/ or www.icebox.com or http://www.mondomedia.com/ you are looking at very creative, very democratic, and generally irreverant work. But let's face it...most indie work is going to be either very sad or very sarcastic. You will find the anger and angst coming forth with either macabre tales of suicide and deperations or satires where you get to laugh as everyone one tries to "stick it to the man."

I see that James Cameron is even in the game. He wants people to play multiplayer adventure games and then capture their outcomes and make them into movies. This is not as crazy as it seems. In the virtual worlds of SECOND LIFE, you can find far ranging and dynamic relationships that put the Sims to shame. That's because each person is just that...a real person on the other end, living out some type of fantasy, but either being accepted or rejected based upon their social interactions. So whether it is a free-form Halo like game that Cameron makes into the next Terminator, or a relationships virtual world that motivates Woody Allen to make the next romantic comedy, the power if moving to the people!

Stay Connected!

Here's an interesting tidbit...sign up on http://www.unwiredbuyer.com/ and you can receive a call three minutes before the end of an eBay auction. It's free! Now think of the implications of this for all commerce. When more retail services employ the market-based auction sytle of eBay and Syms Clothiers ("An educated consumer is our best customer"), then this type of notification will be common place. The connection between goods and services (favorite sports, play, movie and concert tickets) and your payment service (bank, Paypal) is key to liquidity and efficient markets.

And talk about linking entertainment with reality...Mtv is showing "a day in the life of a recent college grad on their new job," and then inviting viewers to apply for positions in that field on http://www.mtvu.com/! What a genius idea. I have been working on branded entertainment for some time in the areas of autos and movies (google Jeff Bell Jeep Tomb Raider, or Jeff Bell Jeep Sahara, or Jeff Bell Chrysler Firewall), in the hope s of stimulating viewers into wanting to buy our products, but this is much better. It is more organic , and it is more real!

Monday, March 13, 2006

More on Consumer Generated Content

There were two recent citings which affirm the move towards consumer generated content. The first is in Adweek from March entittled, "Brands ask web users to fill in the creative blanks." It tells how Converse sneakers and Mastercard are calling for netizens to provide video and copy for their "mainstream advertising."

The other is a reference in AdAge to GM's campaign to have web users create advertisements for the new Chevy Tahoe, in coordination with The Apprecentice television show.

Both are examples of the move to 1) engage potential buyers of the product 2) mobilize enthusiasts 3) lower production and distribution costs for advertising and 4) improve the "hipness" factor for the brand.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Microsoft a great marketer? Here's proof...

The marketing competencies that Microsoft uses to drive career development and training:

1. Customer insight leadership
2. Market analysis and opportunity identification
3. Integrated marketing planning and delivery
4. Building partnerships and ecosystems
5. Building cusotmer relationships and retentions
6. Customer and revenue business leadership
7. Positioning, branding and messaging
8. Product knowledge and advocacy

Wow!

Mobile Marketing teaches us all a lesson

The Mobile marketing Association is developing a code of conduct that stresses best consumer practices built upon the followings tenets:

1. Choice: mobile marketing is acceptable only to consumers who opt in (applicable to all interactive marketing in my opinion).
2. Control: consumers who opt in must have an easy way to opt out (I would expand this to say that we must empower consumers to create value for your brand via fun and engaging media as well).
3. Constraint: consumers should be able to set limitations on messages received (yes, we should be allowed to say what is published to us).
4. Customization: analytical segmentation tools will help advertisers optimize message volume, ROI and relevancy to the consumer (see my prior post on the congruence between Companies and Consumers).
5. Consideration: consumers must perceive value in any mobile marketing campaign (I guess this is being considerate, but I would argue that every campaign should increase consideration because it is natural and persuasive).
6. Confidentiality: privacy policies must e aligned between the carrier and the brand (yes, yes and yes).

Sunday, January 29, 2006

More art than science, or is it the other way around?

Clearly the past has been one of passivity and viewership. Today we are in a world of greater interactivity, and the future promising much greater integration of virtual and real worlds.

In the internet, the recent past was about access: AOL, AT&T, @Home. This is declining. Today we live in an internet that is more about audience: Yahoo!, NBC, Lowe's. This is beginning to show signs of decline. Tomorrow will be about Engagement. Like Blogger is to gmail is to Picaso is to Instant Messanger...the point is to interconnect all aspects of life.

Personalization = control.

Available is the internet. Broadband is always on. Wireless is always on with you!

Thursday, January 19, 2006

What's happening to marketing?!?!

Clearly mass media is declining in its efficiency and effectiveness. There is fragmentation, substitution, democratization...the list goes on. I would love comments taking the other side (e.g. 30 second ads are the best way to sell products).

The term that Ted McConnell at P&G uses is "narrow-casting." The question is whether television or color print or newspaper represent the best ways to do this. Ted's challenge is to figure out how to measure what you spend. Nielsen has had a massive shell game with their ratings system, and now feel the heat. Their response is to imbed a chip in all humans so they can track their media consumption! Really, it is so ridiculous to think people should have a device on their person that I am offended at the idea. Why is it absurd? Well, for one, they believe that what matters is what people are exposed to...sorry, but what matters is what people RESPOND to!

The other big deal is that consumers either want to be in control or are de facto being empowered. We live in a world that is "always on." More social commentary on this in the future, but for now suffice it to say that the world has changed. In the post WWII era, people were naive and inquisitive. They wanted to consume, and needed help understanding what marvels of technology and progress were available in the post Industry Revolution era.

As we look forward, we see a new vision for marketing and advertising...a fundamental re-architecture change. All news, communications, entertainment, product information, brand image creation and management, will become not only essential in people's lives, but increasingly interconnected. Fundamentaly, we move to "mymedia." The changes are all around us. We are clearly past "mass media" and moving to digitial media. We see infotainment everywhere...Sirius Satellite Radio, iPod, GPS.

Today, we live in a world where each person can decide what will be published to each of them. The future is a world where you decide what you will be publishing to others. I am writing this blog. No one is reading it. But they may in the future. I will upload video for free on Google. Just for fun. The next "Rock Band" video game on Xbox Live will allow strangers to write music and publish it into the www!

Content is whatever people find informative, entertaining, provocative, stimulating...opinions, data, prices, movies, stories, photos, information...

As I have said many times, Brands are Content. In the same way, you could argue that "anything that can be digitized is content." This appears to be Google's vision. Could it be that advertising is another form of content? It seems self-evident that Consumers wish to buy and be served. Companies want to sell and serve. Why the tension? The new world of the web should make it so that the two paths can easily meet.

The issue will again be control. Companies must cede control to consumers to earn their trust; to keep them engaged. Consumers will want to have security over what they view and hear. Consumers will seek areas of shared interests and values. This is where brands must be very sensitive to associate only with natural and organic material and partners. Anything forced is fake.

So what can marketers do? They can be patient, measure everything, create great content around the brands, and be sensitive to social networks. The concept of concentric circles is very profound in the web: family, friends, broader groups. The influentials who begin the process of the "Tipping Point" are the gold that marketers seek. But to call them out is in a way spoil them. This is the subtle game of cat and mouse, or privacy and marketing.