Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I Don't Know Much

Why is there so much to learn?

I spend part of the rainy weekend catching up on newsletters, articles, and other general reading in the areas where I'm supposed to know a thing or two. Usually reading one or two emails a day gives me a glimpse into what others are thinking.

But running through 200+ in one sitting left me a) breathless, b) curious, and c) just a little dejected. There is simply too much going on at break-neck speed to ever hope to be 'on top of it'. Maybe this is why blogging, newsletters, feeds and other forms of communicating are becoming so much more important.

Now, to figure out the wheat and chaff.

Yahoo Widgets

Where's the beef?

Yahoo Widgets is a collection of functionality that are smaller than applications (applets??) and bigger than a snippet. There are thousands of them, kind of like tribbles, and I played around with the pretty little doodads over the weekend. On the one hand there are some very clever and elegant tools out there but as of today I don't see the killer application.

Not to mention installing them changed the behavior of my computer -- definitely not cool.

Worth checking out and following.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Innovation on Gilligan's Island

Why did the Professor and Gilligan succeed?

In a recent article Michael Megalli uses the analogy of Gilligan's Island to show the balance required between marketing and engineering to create innovative solutions.

The struggle to leverage both process and gut-feel is not just an issue with individuals but rather one of corporate culture since organizations take on the persona of their leaders. The risky part of all of this is that both points of view, while valid in certain times, are internal and lack the focus of understanding precisely what the customer needs done.

Who made a better customer: Mary Ann, Ginger or the Howells?

The referenced Booz, Allen, Hamilton report on global innovation can be found here.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Viral Marketing

Do viruses have sensibility (or branding rules)?

The debate over what makes a campaign interesting often ends up on those topics that restrict its spreading, not those that might accelerate it. For a campaign to sustain momentum the number of people reached in each succeeding generation must exceed the number who drop out.

In consumer packaged goods we might be concerned about repeat rate where successful products often have 'only' 40-50% of year-one buyers repeating the second year. Significant marketing effort is spent to both prime the pump with new buyers as well as limit the decay function.

Viruses kill their hosts. As a marketer I'm more interesting in keeping my customers alive and giving them the ability to leverage the message.

1. Marketing campaigns must be seen as beneficial by the host.
2. The message must reflect the host's point of view and reinforce their image among friends.
3. Control is a four letter word.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lost in Transposition

Why don't these numbers add up?

The recent issue of Revenue Magazine has an article on fund raising for presidential elections. A number of the stats come from the Institute for Politics, Democracy and the Internet. www.ipdi.org.

One slightly confusing table in both sources is the breakdown of online vs. offline donations, by amount, by age group. So, we have three sources of information but only two are shown in the chart.

Were 87% of the <$100 donors under 35? Nope.
Did 87% of the 18-34 crowd give <$100. Nope.

Of those who gave less than $100 and were between 18 and 34, 87% donated online.

The communication of information on the web has about 2.0 seconds to register. This example takes to long to register and runs the risk of being misquoted.

Aggitation 2.0

Where do I find what others are thinking?

There's an interesting collection of blogs on the impact of participation on what it means to be in the 'media' arena. The Media 2.0 Workgroup highlights general commentary as well as specific aspects like PR/Marketing, Tools, Content, Social Media, and Analytics.

They're looking for additional insight.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Marketing Defined

Should 'testing' be part of the vocabulary?

Marketing Experiments' recent article on email copy and the book "Selling Blue Elephants" both loosely define marketing as testing.

Marketing's creative mandate to change the status quo has always involved experimenting and sometimes even taking a flier but more recently that concept needs to be backed up with a show me the money attitude.

The article covers a variety issues around email copy ranging from format to natural vs. artificial offers.

For those with a market research background, the book covers the use of 'conjoint analysis' as a discipline for concept testing. Basically, let technology do all the heavy lifting around which combinations of ideas to test and how they perform together. There are lots of examples across all kinds of industries and marketing issues; like magazine layout, package design and politics. Although the term "RDE" (Rule Developing Experimentation) didn't quite sit well with me.