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Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Once a quarter we hold our Knowledge Management Awards for the best case studies generated across Millward Brown. As one of the judges, I get to see the best submissions and usually there is something interesting that catches my eye. This time, it was a CrossMedia case study that demonstrated the power of e-mail marketing.
In spite of the fact that I am on several brands’ mailing lists, I can’t say that I remember many e-mails that have done much more than try to sell me something. Patagonia promotes its clothing alongside interesting news items. JetBlue simply flags its latest ...
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
If I ever needed proof that our emotional response to the world around us is quicker than our ability to think, I got it a couple of weeks ago. Anticipating that I was about to hear another pseudo-science sales pitch, I cut off the speaker with an ill-considered outburst. In retrospect, I suspect that I did them an injustice. But the episode does highlight the powerful role that emotions play in shaping our behavior.
The primary role of emotions is to dictate our response to the world around us. Based on our prior experience, the emotional “charge” either impels us ...
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
In his 2007 letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, CEO Warren Buffett, describes what type of businesses turn him on as an investor:
A truly great business must have an enduring “moat” that protects excellent returns on invested capital. The dynamics of capitalism guarantee that competitors will repeatedly assault any business “castle” that is earning high returns. Therefore a formidable barrier such as a company being the low cost producer (GEICO, Costco) or possessing a powerful worldwide brand (Coca-Cola, Gillette, American Express) is essential for sustained success.
Buffett is credited as being the most successful investor of the 20th Century ...
Wednesday, July 18, 2012
A while back, I talked to Chris Stutzman, VP, Principal Analyst of the CMO Practice for Marketers and Agencies at Forrester. The company had conducted a survey about how engagement with brands might be changing, and Chris wanted to gather opinions on what the findings meant for the future of brands.
Chris proposed that branding is the ongoing quest for relevance. He suggested that the classic model of branding involved marketing activity to create equity and drive willingness to buy, pay a premium or buy more, i.e. buy a new line extension. Chris suggested that in the classic model of marketing, ...
Wednesday, July 04, 2012
I recently read a really thoughtful piece by Duncan Watts, on social contagion – the spread of ideas, information and behavior through networks of people. Watts suggests that the analogy between social contagion and biological disease is badly flawed. I agree, but for slightly different reasons.
Watts suggests the comparison is inappropriate because our susceptibility to ideas varies widely. Those ideas have to compete for our attention but are also spread by media channels, not just personal connections. By comparison, broad range viruses can infect many different species, you are either exposed to a virus or not and infection ...
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Henry Blodget’s post (via Mark Ryan) caught my attention because it challenges a widely held preconception: that mobile advertising is the wave of the future. As Blodget notes, if that is the case the wave is a long time coming. His points make a lot of sense to me, not least because I have never been able to imagine an ad on my phone that would make me spend any time on it.
Let me just briefly summarize Blodget’s points here:
- Revenues from mobile advertising have consistently underperformed expectations and lag behind other media.
- Mobile advertising has been with us ...
Monday, June 11, 2012
Last week I posted some 2020 scenarios, and asked for your thoughts on what might happen in the world of marketing. But it seems that one of my scenarios may only be months away, and advertisers do not like it. My scenario was titled, “Battle for Control,” and suggested that:
…faced with a barrage of “almost relevant” advertising in digital media, consumers demand complete transparency and control over targeting technologies…As a result, all addressable marketing becomes opt-in.
Microsoft recently announced that its Internet Explorer 10 (IE 10) browser will automatically send “do not track” requests, which has raised a ...
Thursday, April 26, 2012
So a few weeks ago, Google announced an unusual stock split. Depending on how you look at it, the move was either Machiavellian or magnificent. Unfortunately, only time will tell which.
The stock split was unusual in that Google’s new shares will carry no voting rights. This leaves Larry Page and Sergey Brin with lifetime control of the company, since they control nearly 58 percent of the voting rights. Given Google’s obvious scale and involvement in our digital lives, the prospect of lifetime control resting in two people’s hands might seem worrisome or even scary.
Various science fiction scenarios present ...
Monday, April 23, 2012
Jon Steel, global head of planning for WPP, is a guy whose thinking I admire. It is not just that he is smart; he manages to frame his thoughts in witty and interesting ways that give you pause for thought. In a thought provoking presentation in WPP.com’s reading room, he poses this question:
Why do dogs lick their balls?
His answer is:
Because they can.
He then states:
And today I fear that many marketers are following the same logic.
Jon’s point is that just because things are changing so rapidly, it is no excuse for not thinking about which ...
Monday, March 26, 2012
The reference to an “advertising message” makes me wince. The word “message” seems to imply that the advertising is designed to convey specific information or an argument. But not all advertising is intended to persuade people by arguing the merits of a brand. And even when it does, I think we overestimate the degree to which people actually comprehend what is shown and said in advertising.
Particularly for dynamic media like TV, online video, radio and cinema, people rarely assess the relevance of an ad at the time of viewing.
There are three reasons for this.
First, there is no ...