I look forward to a new season of AMC’s Mad Men like Don Draper (circa Season 1) looked forward to a night in the Village with Midge—with a flurry of anticipation, all other commitments out the window, and complete submission to a guilty pleasure. I have every previous season on DVD and conduct a marathon refresher session prior to each season’s premier, so when I heard that AMC was developing a present-day, reality TV version called “The Pitch” I have to admit I was at least mildly intrigued. Would this be schedule-clearing, must-see appointment TV or merely TiVo-worthy? It sounded promising: Each episode would feature 2 – 3 agencies, briefed by a prospective client and given 7 – 10 days to prepare a campaign pitch to the marketers. As it turns out, after four episodes, I’m not sure it is even worthy of the 2% space a weekly episode fills on the DVR, even though I feel compelled to watch as an “industry insider.” [...] Read >MORE
The explosive growth of mobile and other “post-PC” devices, while staggering, isn’t exactly unprecedented. The graphic below draws a projection, based on the past 50 years of computing history, that mobile Internet devices will become ten times more prevalent than their desktop ancestors. Like each generation before them, these devices offer more and more services to us while requiring less and less of everything (space, power, complexity and cost). But note the abrupt disappearance of the 25+ year personal computing paradigm of the mouse and pointer interface. This new generation of devices has made a dramatic shift toward touchscreens to provide user interaction. At least one factor of this growth equation is the complexity-reducing effect these interfaces have had on ease of use. [...] Read >MORE
It’s been over 6 years since I posed the simple question, “What can marketers learn from technologists?” I had been intrigued by open-source technology and the volunteers it attracted from around the globe to collaborate on software development. Not their day job. Typically for no pay. Why would they do this? It seemed for kudos, experience, technical challenge, or maybe the longevity of contribution.
I wondered, WHAT IF … what if everyday consumers (not technophiles) could feel the need, the desire, even the right, to routinely interact with brands in wholly new ways and at a scale never before possible? WHAT IF brands could become co-created by consumers around the globe who would rate and review products and experiences, create messages voluntarily, help develop new product ideas in a public forum, produce advertising content and organize global conversations? Brands that embraced these notions and even welcomed them became open brands. [...] Read >MORE
It has been quite a week for Facebook—first buzz of the company’s highly anticipated IPO hit its peak, and then as if on cue, a chink in Facebook’s strong armor as speculation swelled over GM’s challenge to Facebook media effectiveness. With a $104 billion dollar bet on the advertising model, this news that GM is discontinuing the use of Facebook advertising is the first bump in the road for an otherwise unchallenged leader. Citing a lack of faith in the link between Facebook media buys and purchase, the social-verse is atwitter with speculation and impending doom. With headlines like “Ford: Facebook Ads Work, GM’s Just Using Them Wrong”, the debate is now officially on. [...] Read >MORE
Just as consumers are at risk of being inundated by marketing messages delivered via smartphones, marketers are awash in both social and mobile behavioral data that goes far deeper than traditional demographic and geographic segmentation: Today we have location data, SMS response rates, mobile advertising performance, mobile app engagement metrics, and mobile search and browsing data, and soon we will have the mother lode: mobile operator and network data that will provide increasingly granular, if still “generic” data on consumers.
Combine this with the torrent of data coming from social networks and search engines and marketers have a huge, and currently unmanageable, amount of data available to mine and refine. No one is quite sure how to leverage that data without touching the “Privacy Third Rail.” [...] Read >MORE
Google released 52 algorithm updates and changes in April 2012—1.73 per day. The Panda and Penguin updates received the most attention because they affected the most sites, but 50 other updates impacted search results as well. Most were focused on Google’s crusade to improve the quality of sites that rank the highest in their search results, but others included updates to changes in indexing, spelling, sitelinks, sports scores features and more. Of course, April 1st also brought a new round of Google’s April Fools’ pranks including the super geeky 8-bit Google Maps and Google Australia’s Street Roo instead of the usual Street View. [...] Read >MORE
As our own CEO Kelly Mooney wrote a few weeks ago, the rise of the visual web is upon us. Both Instagram and Pinterest have quickly built massive followings around platforms uniquely tailored to sharing and experiencing images. Despite Facebook’s status as the largest photo repository online, participation in the creation of those images has been largely relegated to other players, positioning Facebook as a network of pipes dependent on outside sources for water.
Instagram has been one of the key pipelines pouring content into the News Feed and it seems only natural that Facebook’s attention would turn to encouraging and optimizing the content that generates the ad opportunities the platform relies on. [...] Read >MORE
It’s been seven years since YouTube uploaded their first video. Since then, online video has moved from novelty to Internet juggernaut. Now, 60 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute and more than four billion videos are viewed each day. According to Cisco, these numbers will continue to grow. In fact, they predict that by 2014, online video will account for 90 percent of all Internet traffic. Considering video’s exponential growth, interactive capability and proven effectiveness, it’s surprising that more marketers aren’t using it.
Video not only gets watched, it also converts browsers to buyers. According to a study by the e-tailing group, U.S. consumers who discovered product videos on websites watched them 60% of the time. And, of those surveyed, 36 percent said they had watched five or more product videos on brand or retail websites during the preceding three months. [...] Read >MORE
A storm is coming, and unless marketers are smart, strategic, patient and targeted, they run the risk of drowning consumers, or at least dampening their interest, by pouring excessive or unwanted marketing messages through the most personal and connected device in our lives: the smartphone.
To avoid drowning, consumers will rapidly become more selective and cautious and will punish brands they consider invasive or insensitive to their needs. Marketers must rethink the broad demographic targeting and channel-centric distribution of one-size-fits-all, one-way marketing communications of the past and leverage the inherently personal nature of mobile to become more relevant to their consumers. [...] Read >MORE
“I am not the target customer.” This simple phrase is one that I frequently remind myself and my team to remember as we embark on creative exploration—whether it is for a campaign, a website, or any digital experience we might be working on for one of our clients. This phrase serves as a useful reminder that it doesn’t matter what I personally like or what I personally think—what matters is what the target customer will think, feel and do when encountering our strategies, campaigns, designs, and experiences.
So, as someone who has celebrated more than one 39th birthday, I realize that I am probably not the target customer that JCPenney is talking about when they say their current reinvention “will appeal to a younger customer who lives in a different world than the traditional JCPenney customer.” And I’m not exactly the current “traditional” target customer, having defected to specialty retailers Nordstrom and Macy’s years ago. [...] Read >MORE