Friday, December 30, 2011

7 New Year's Resolutions for Marketers

What should we focus on in 2012?

The collection of New Year's resolutions for marketing are out.  Here' my summary as well as a list that I found interesting to consider.
  1. I will think strategically and focus on 'why' we will be successful, not just 'how.'
  2. I will know in advance what the objective is and how I'll know that it has been met or not. 
  3. I will go on a data diet and abolish vanity metrics. 
  4. I will tell stories and respect a consumers time when asking for something of value.  
  5. I will abandon militaristic language in favor of communal terms - e.g. lead vs. inquiry. 
  6. I will view media as a set of tools that integrate to support a seamless experience. 
  7. I will experiment because nobody has a silver bullet. 

Some sources:
  • South African marketer San Beckbessinger's list of 10 requests. 
  •'s discussion of the most personal device used.  
  • A guest post on Multichannel Merchant. 
  • Fast Company's 8 Bold Resolutions post
  • Hubspot's 12 resolutions for inbound marketing. 
  • Hugo Guzman's list for internet marketing. 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Santa on the Range

Do cowboys celebrate the season?

Of course.

Had the opportunity to go to the C.M. Russell Museum this week in Great Falls, MT.  The collection of Christmas cards and images included the above.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Grabbing The Next Deal

Why do consumers act on promotional requests?

A lot of promotions are limited in quantity or time; "if you're one of the first 100 customers who call in the next 10 minutes" is a common approach to creating the sense of scarcity.  But what if you're dealing with products that aren't in short supply and are always available.   Some researchers from Santa Clara University asked the question:  Does a unique opportunity alone impact compliance with an offer?

The answer is 'yes'. 

It turns out that "the unique opportunity effect appears to be the result of heuristic processing, i.e., people relying on a rule of thumb that says they should grab an opportunity available to few others."   So that direct mail piece that you got saying you were pre-screened for a loan works because it stimulates some innate process that triggers the brain into acting.  

While the question as to why our (Western) culture relies on this rule goes unanswered, there are some potential implications for marketers.
  1. Always try to create the sense of exclusivity that the consumer can recognize. 
  2. Communicate the use of segmentation and targetting to explain why an offer is unique to the recipient.
  3. Allow the consumer to strut their stuff; find ways to facilitate the sharing of not only the offer but also the acceptance of it. 
But be wary of the conclusion that promotions drive loyalty.  If we are wired to respond to unique opportunities then we are simply acting like moths to light bulbs - flying to the next cool thing.


Friday, December 16, 2011

Rolling up the Trends: Communal Commerce

What do all the 2012 trends add up to?

When looking at all the trends coming out they seem to point toward one destination: communal commerce.  I chose 'communal' over 'social' to reflect the notion that there is an objective or goal - to buy or not to buy, that is the question.   Plus, there are a vast array of platforms, technologies, etc. that come to play as people make choices that probably wouldn't necessarily be considered social, e.g. Amazon's Price Check, but still have a role in answering the question 'What do you think?'

The key elements of the new world order appear to be:
  1. Influence from a wide spectrum of players in the decision making process. (social sharing)
  2. Ubiquitous and immediate access to facts, opinions and transactions. (mobile consumption)
  3. It is as much about the experience and the badge of success as it is about product acquisition. (satisfying needs)
For a good idea of what is going on in the space see Social Commerce Today which focuses on compiling examples of selling with social media.  

An opportunity exists for agencies to tie all this together and then solve the valuation question:  What is a 'like' or other communal event worth to me? Where should I allocate my resources?  Some interesting presentations (some require registration) on the topic. 
  • Active Networks shared some of their learning on an Omniture/Adobe webinar
  • An AMA presentation done by MicroStrategy on integrating with FB analytics. 
  • Facebook Mobile Social Commerce slideshare from Horizon Studios which talks about the 'mall in your pocket'

Sources for trends:

    Thursday, December 15, 2011

    Contrarian 2012 Trends

    What won't happen next year?

    There are numerous posts and articles on the marketing trends for next year that provide better insights than I ever could; examples include:
    • A collection of Consumer Trends from trendwatching.   
    • The five digital trends from Mashable's presentation at ThinkLA's Trends Breakfast
    • A compendium of Social Marketing thoughts:  with a good summary by Brian Solis
    So, I'll take the easier route and think about what won't happen.
    • We won't be able to glean game-changing insights from all the data.  
    The data of activity, particularly communal or social, is generated by a sample of our audience.  According to Boston Consulting Group's study it is possible that posters and readers are the same folks.  And with 40% neither posting or reading in the 'past week' there is the risk that this lens into consumer thinking is not very representative.   In addition, as an organization we simply don't have the capacity to look at the world thru an integrated lens if we're not already doing it.  Until the CMO and CIO become either glued at the hip, or one and the same person as noted at the Forrester summit on the topic, the odds of getting to the desired end game this year are as long as winning the lottery. 
    • We won't think or act like consumers.  
    Consumers are consumers; nothing more.  They don't think about funnels, being on a journey, or how best to proceed toward their (un)stated goals.   They just do what is easy and interesting for them to do.  While both McKinsey and Forrester have good descriptive observations of what goes on out there they aren't blueprints for execution. We on the other hand have to design campaigns, select media, create content, make choices, etc. all to achieve specific financial objectives.  Thus, until our goals are better aligned with our audience there will always be friction between the company and the audience.   Add to this the historic channel orientation and we've got an organization that is somewhat hand-cuffed in its ability to act and think consumers.

    Since companies aren't created equal, some marketers will overcome these two challenges and gain substantive advantage by leveraging the opportunities outlined in the trends.

    Tuesday, December 13, 2011

    The 2012 Challenges for Marketing

    What reality do we face as we plan the new year?

    The trends are out.   They tell us what is happening and where we are going (maybe).   This leaves us the fundamental problem of wrestling some large issues to the ground.
    1. Channel Blur:  we have reached the point where media fragmentation is no longer a set of discrete choices; they all interact to support whatever it is the consumer wishes to do.  So, how do we migrate from a functional, siloed team to one that surrounds the consumer with interesting content?
    2. Data Deluge: all these digital platforms produce copious amounts of data; but we don't yet know how to either glean insights or identify business drivers.  Wharton professor George Day describes the gap that emerges when companies can't keep up.   So, how do we separate the wheat from the chaff to develop appropriate indicators of performance?
    3. Brutal Transparency:  the world is instant, harsh and unforgiving; it is clear that the emperor has no clothes. So, Clark Kokich of Razorfish asked the all important question: how do we migrate from changing the reality of our product not its perception?
     To paraphrase McKinsey's recent survey results (registration required) of CMO's:
    "The digital transformation allows us to interact and serve our customers in new ways.   To accomplish this we must derive deep consumer insights and overcome internal hurdles – from metrics to technology to skills -  in order to deliver a compelling experience on their device and not our site."
    Going to be a good year....

    Monday, December 12, 2011

    Consumerology, Media Plans and the Fluid Fog

    What could we do if we could see all that you do?

    Marketers have budgets and a need to connect solutions with needs via a communication plan.   Consumers have a myriad of options to consume information, transact, and communicate; they don't really care about those plans.   But, what if we could see across content, commercial, and communal sites?  What could we do?

    A colleague has suggested that we could produce a Consumerology, or blueprint of how consumers interact and transact.   (Book of same name)   This would provide insights into how people actually progress along the customer journey - what content, what devices, what sequence and what result.  This would be particularly valuable in a category like 'retail.' An HBR blog post from frog design illustrates a mapping approach to the journey. 

    Going beyond the research and strategy there is one other option when you have access to all of this data:   Create the Media Plan based on three elements:
    • Content Consumption Habits:  what types of content do people consume when?
    • Device and Place Preferences: how and where do consumers use content to aid their journey?
    • Path and Flow Rates: what scenarios exist in the landscape that maximize media efficiency and effectiveness?
    Since marketers must deliver results in the face of an ever-changing media and technology landscape, anyone who can help devise plans from the myriad of scenarios has a distinct advantage - and possibly a seat at the table as a key member of the agency roster.

    The idea of converting data into media plans came about based on a discussion I had with Varolo,  a company that pays people to watch ads.  While too small to provide substantial reach it could be used as a research platform or more interestingly as a platform for creating media plans by profiling what members who like an ad do.

    And if you integrate consumer transaction data, the story gets more powerful.

    Friday, December 09, 2011

    Evolution of Search (Part 2)

    How can we leverage our content in search? 

    This week's presentation by Dan Zarrella of Hubspot on the Science of SEO confirmed that search is just a part of the marketing mix.  A synopsis of the key takeaways from the presentation:
    1. Search is not dead, but it is not the only game in town.
    2. Before they buy, they Google; so write for humans, not spiders
    3. Social takes a back seat to search and the conversation isn't going to help your rank
    4. Ranking well can make you seem more trustworthy
    5. Most people don't trust PPC ads and they don't admit to clicking on them
    6. Your site is listed next to spam; be distinguishable by experimenting with media
    7. Linkers work early and need fresh stuff to work with so focus on the timeliness, not buzzwords
    So, what do these thoughts inspire:
    1. If you're telling people about a new or killer deal in one channel, make sure it is prominent in all
    2. Communicate the essence of the offer in bold, novel ways - particularly those that tap emotion
    3. A brand's site is necessary, but not sufficient; think of it as a launch pad not destination
    4. Social media is a stimulus, just like TV advertising - it points people in a direction
    5. Let your brand ambassadors know beforehand, give them time to share via links
    6. Analyze content based on RFM - recency, frequency, and monetary performance metrics
    On the last point there should be publication goals that might appear to be quite aggressive - as in several times per week (if not day).   A recent study on the lifespan of the a link within social media suggested that its impact was measured in hours.

    Tuesday, December 06, 2011

    The Content Graph

    What is a person's content consumption habits?

    The 'social graph' illustrates the six degrees of separation of a network - or simply who is connected to whom. Facebook and Google among a host of others have APIs that allow us to tap into those connections for a variety of purposes with advertising being a common theme.  Last summer Scott Karp, CEO of Publishing 2.0 wrote a piece on the Content Graph that looked at the world of content thru the eyes of a distributor.   In his view it is the connection between 'content brands' or platforms that create a new alternative for sharing content.   In fact he argued five years ago that:
    "The real competition in New Media will be among content remixers."

    If I read it right, Scott's view is on connecting the outlets in order to capture brand ad dollars, not the contextual dollars already owned by search.   And to scale it has to have that elusive quality of 'quality' because brands care about association.  So, the idea is to directly share content across properties and outlets. 

    Today we're seeing applications like Flipboard,  Zite (acquired by CNN), and AOL's Editions launch as personal remixers.  They learn from your habits and serve up similar content. This suggests that the role of remixing and editorship is personal and no longer the purview of an intermediary.

    Since we're now in the recommendation or sharing economy, the ability to connect who consumes with what is consumed should be of interest to marketers. In fact, both Blue Fin Labs and Networked Insights are linking the social graph to the content graph - often for the purpose of developing media plans.  

    If we are allowed to choose both our own content and its distribution then there also seems to be an opportunity to understand how the content itself is consumed, by whom and where.   If we can tag individual elements of content and track its consumption then we have the ability to define the value of specific chunks, or at least sources, of content.  This then could provide for interesting pricing models and valuations for properties - it won't be eyeballs or circulation anymore. Since websites and publications are simply containers for what is of value, the future focus will be on the items themselves. 

    All this leads to the conclusion that we require a framework for knowing how content works - something more to think about.

    The Biases of Rose-Colored Glasses

    Why do we often see just what we want to see?

    Two recent posts on the Adobe Industry Insights blog got me thinking - they were on the biases we bring to the table.  Both Congruence Bias and Expectation Bias deal with the tendency to highlight the things we believe, and avoid the things that we don't believe.    We test things we believe are going to work, i.e. they are safe and often based on what others have done, and then we support the results based on what we believe should have happened.  In both cases we have a natural tendency to want to 'prove ourselves right'. 

    This all plays out in defining and demonstrating the ROI of marketing campaigns.

    In a recent direct-to-consumer campaign we cast the net wide in terms of targeting.   It should come as no surprise that the results were poor - we included people that probably wouldn't respond.   What we didn't know a priori was just who would be prompted to visit the store.  The key question in our mind was: What characteristics of consumers correspond to response, not how do we maximize response?    This led to some interesting conversations, both internally and with the client.  My advice when it comes to testing:

    "Be wrong, be very wrong."

    Monday, December 05, 2011

    The Social Matchmaker for Brands

    How can we find birds of a feather?

    In the science of social networks homophily is the 'love of the same' and often represents the foundation of self-organization.  Shared interests, values and beliefs bring people together.  This leads me to the conclusion that:

    Common interests are the new demographics. 

    The rise of accessible social interests and sharing maybe we should be thinking about matching consumers with consumers rather than consumers with products (the traditional point of view.)   As marketers can we broker introductions among prospects, customers and sales people - all based on a common set of passions?   Would this be a better approach than trying to work down a funnel?

    Matchmaking typically requires aligning a set of attributes (e.g. the 29 Dimensions of Compatibility) amongst a set of people to winnow down the choices.  However, for social matching the goal is not 1:1, as it is in dating or education, but rather many:many to build a community.

    The ideas around participation and engagement now become part of the mix. We need to observe what people do in addition to asking what they think.  We need to apply the concepts of 'collaborative filtering' to matching.

    Friday, December 02, 2011

    Reporting, Analysis and Insights

    Why do we suffer from report inflation?

    Reporting isn't sexy, so we call it 'analysis'.   Analysis isn't worthy of C-level discussions so we call it insights and strategy.  So, let's put some context of how each is used.   Here's how I look at:
    • Reporting: Give me answers to questions I already know I need answers to.
    • Analysis: Tell me why what I expected to happen didn't happen.
    • Insights: Tell me something I didn't know I needed to know.
    As a business operating with many parts 'reporting' should be the lingua franca across the organization - the same concepts, similar metrics, and the foundation for any discussion about performance and goals.   Analysis on the other hand tends to be unique to a specific area and often requires domain expertise to understand the nuances of a business.   Insights are often derived when a fresh perspective is applied - either from outside or from challenging some base assumptions.

    If the above is a reasonable description then it should follow that the skills necessary to accomplish the tasks typically don't reside in anyone individual or even group; they are completely different. 

    Too bad we try to put square pegs in round holes.

    Thursday, December 01, 2011

    EPIC Content

    How can we help consumers choose?

    As marketers, our job is to align solutions and needs to everyone's mutual benefit  - that's how I define it to first year business students.   Easy to say, very hard to do.  And we know we're successful when they choose our product over the other guy's.  

    So, how is a choice actually made?   What elements are required to come to a decision?  

    The psychology and biology of decision making is a fascinating area and fields like neuromarketing make it even more so.  Since we probably can't conduct fMRI's on every consumer, is there a framework that starts with the classic left brain - right brain dichotomy of rational and emotional thought?   What kind of content should marketers produce to increase the odds of winning the battle of choice?

    Like the totem pole, we need to tell a story about our products and brand.  We also need to offer the proof points necessary to defend a decision.  So, here's a simple structure of categorizing content:

    • Emotional:  satisfying the needs and aspirations of consumers is critical.  For without that, there is no decision.  This includes what might be termed branded content.
    • Promotional: often times consumers need an incentive to overcome the risks of trial.  These days, the deal has turned into a badge of honor of sorts; it is certainly becoming more social. 
    • Informational:  as part of the process we need to satisfy the rational part of our brain.  We're smart, right? We don't let our emotions decide? (actually we do)  The pervasive comparative fact sheets do have a role.
    • Communal: as social beings we want to both share and get recommendations from others.  We also use these as a short cut. 

    This isn't the place for a 'channel strategy' per se since they are business artifacts driven mostly by budgets and span of control rather than things consumers think about very much.  There are clearly advantages for using one channel over another - direct-to-consumer promotions via email or SMS make financial sense.  As does using broadcast print to stimulate interest via emotional tugs.  (Although I did hear a radio ad for a Groupon from Hoopes Vision the other day.)  The key point is that all the tactical decisions have to reinforce one another. 

    Our job then is to figure out a holistic approach that blends the four types of content into a seamless experience so that no matter where the consumer turns the appropriate content is available.

    The AAA of Content

    What is it about content that people value?

    It may not be the content itself.

    Sitting at the hotel bar last night with a journalist (and wine guy) the conversation turned to content - its production, distribution, and protection.  It seems that there may be three things consumers value above and beyond the stories, images and news. 
    • Access
    • Aggregation
    • Accreditation
    My favorite examples of this are flipboard and Original Signals.  
    These platforms have longevity whereas most content has the half-life of a mayfly - once consumed it is spent. So the value, and investment dollars, flow toward solutions that provide the AAA's because we're lazy and don't have the time to do all the work.

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    The Blending of Media Types

    Why do we segment media by type when consumers don't?

    We often speak in terms of {blank} media when discussing marketing plans and budgets.   But considering channel blur and fragmentation we're often left wondering just what a given media type is good for.   Here's some thoughts.

    First, what is 'media' from a business or marketing sense?   Without the qualifying adjective like broadcast or social the term simply seems to describe 'a vehicle for conveying a message'.  This can range from buying a 1/4 page in a magazine to seeding a viral video.

    Second, the different kinds of qualifiers need definition.   Some common classifications that center on the distinction between the control and reach of content include:
    • Paid Media: the exchange of value for the placement of a sponsored message.   Usually this is buying ad space in one or more outlets. Typically the tradeoff is in terms of content control and reach. 
    • Owned Media: the use of a firm's assets to cover both the content and the distribution; it covers everything from publishing to email and direct mail.  Typically we are sacrificing reach to control or tailor the content. 
    • Shared Media: the leveraging of others for both content and distribution.   Often, both the content and the distribution happen without any control creating a level of risk.   
    • Earned Media:  the value of a placed story, event or action or simply 'news coverage.'   It grew out of the need to place a value on public relations activities so that it could be compared/aggregated with Paid Media.  
    Here's an example of the various media types associated with Facebook.  While limited in scope, it does illustrate the point that the categories can often overlap.  


    The above discussion doesn't reflect a 'channel' per se and allows for some interesting debates.  If I pay you to blog for me and then distribute it via a number of vehicles is that 'paid', 'owned', 'earned' or 'shared' media?

    The consumer probably doesn't care much about any of this discussion; we're gazing at our own navel.   Since she consumes whatever she finds interesting regardless of how we is classified we should think more about gestalt media: the net effect of surrounding a consumer with interesting content. 

    Monday, November 28, 2011

    Personalized Flyers: Direct Mail Catalogs without the Postage

    Can we do direct mail without postage?

    A recent discussion about integrating items promoted in a retail flyer into a direct mail/email piece - "this weeks' special chosen for you"-  gave way to a broader discussion when we realized that we could possibly take this idea one step further and create completely personalized flyers.  

    Imagine the MUST-HAVES  listed below being selected based on where you live and what you've bought…. (image from the work done for Sears Canada by our sister group Totem).  To do that requires integrating three distinct marketing silos - digital promotions, direct-to-consumer marketing, and the database groups.     

    Assumptions about the business functions: 
    • "Digital Promotions" typically manages the assets of a retailer's flyers.   The weekly circular is deconstructed and stored as a set of offers that can be served up to any number of delivery systems.  
    • "Direct-to-consumer programs" uses a high degree of personalization and customization to tailor email and direct mail to make it more interesting.   
    • "Database Group" often integrates various sources of data - internal and external - so that we can pick lists of people based on a wide number of characteristics and behavior.  It often incorporates sophisticated analytics (see Sagarmatha as an example) to align offer and consumer.
    What if we combined the three functions?   What if we re-conceived the whole process and thought about a flyer as a form of direct communication to a household first and a distribution challenge second?

    Basically, how can we do direct mail without the postage in order to deliver customized catalogs?

    Today, retailers can:
    • Handle zone pricing and other distribution options, which effectively creates target groups. 
    • Map out multichannel communications and use business rules to populate various panels with different content.
    • Infer interest of an individual or postal area based on a wide variety of information derived from any manner of data - consumption and descriptive.
    • Integrate loyalty, transaction data into the process of defining a communication.
    • Serve up assets to personal communications that are described by a set of meta data, e.g. ad size, category and brand.
    • Interface the resulting packet of direct-to-consumer communications with both print and electronic distribution mechanisms. 
    Based on the above, it appears we could:
    • Develop postal/zone/carrier route specific flyers for printing and distribution based on characteristics of people who live on the route itself.
    • Simultaneously tailor personal communication based on behavior (or lack of it) using the most appropriate subset of flyer elements.
    • Incorporate other interesting content into both the flyer and email/direct mail.
    If we believe that relevant trumps generic then it seems that only silos are in the way of surrounding consumers with interesting content. 

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Short Circuiting Decisions with Brand Ambassadors

    What does an ambassadors do?

    Buying an ambassadorship in politics is a common theme, albeit illegal, with presidents awarding up to a third of the posts to substantive contributors.  This pattern reflects the absolutely innate rule of reciprocity - we try to pay people back for what they've given us:  Cushy post for cash. 

    In sales and marketing there is a lot of talk about 'brand ambassadors'.   Why are they important?    The book Influence: Science and Practice provides a clue:
    You and I exist in an extraordinarily complicated environment, easily the most rapidly moving and complex that has ever existed on the planet. To deal with it, we need shortcuts.

    So, by leveraging people's beliefs about and passion for a product or company it seems that 'brand ambassadors' play an important role in our ability to make a choice.   They simply short circuit the logical or rational process of search, comparison, and decision.   When faced the dilemma of choice, people ask "What do you wear/ride/use?" of the others.  Influence makes it easy. 

    For any company, there are different constituents that could play the role of ambassador:  employees, retail sales, industry 'experts' and consumers.  I'm guessing the motivations for promoting or recommending a brand are very different, but the reward structures may be the same: 
    • Employees:   JouleX uses a 'frequent post' strategy to reward employees for communicating the company's stories.   Generally, the guidelines suggest hand picking the ambassadors and give them adequate training.  
    • Retail Sales: this is sometimes a contradiction; sales people are commissioned to sell - often items from different brands; so how can they be a brand ambassador?  To help sales people sell  3point5 is a platform that mixes sales training with rewards in terms of product discounts.  (The company name comes from the ideal distance for in-person sales.)   
    • Industry Experts:  Between sales and the consumer is the group that people turn to for recommendations, including writers, agencies, sponsorships or celebrities. Often people turn to those with some knowledge of the product and thus are willing to trust their opinion.  
    • Consumers:  the route to support of customers is often thru customer service, not sales or advertising. The goal is to give credibility to the 'story being told by corporate'. 
    For brands based on passion, this suggests that all sources of ambassadorship should be brought to bear in a seamless way - they all share the same desire to tell their story.  Integrating such diverse groups requires a good understanding of their individual reward structures and WIIFM; not to mention a new organization structure for marketing.

    Saturday, November 19, 2011

    Evolution of Search (Paid)

    Where is search going?

    Search represents a growth opportunity within the overall marketing spend; and the opportunities aren't just online. 

    Search and display – the yin and yang of online advertising, they each representing over 40% of online ad spending - $31b in 2011.  It used to be that display ads were the stimulus and search captured the intent when consumers went looking.  A recent paper from IMPAQT (attached) discusses how search is changing, particularly how it is being integrated into other areas of marketing beyond just acquisition – direct marketing and customer service to name two.    They also show how search can be used to understand retail shopping behavior for Back-to-School and Holiday periods.  Thus, coordinating flyers, direct mail and search should be the new order of business.  

    Search as branding tool – it pays to use a branded term in both the query and the ad copy.    While the majority of spend (and traffic) is from non-branded terms, it is the combination of an individual using a branded term and that interest being reinforced in ad copy.  This suggests that print and other content should be used to reinforce the brand and its purpose or benefit. 

    Search is mobile – while mobile search is growing, and is expected to be ~20% of search spend next year, the ROI isn't the same as 'desktop search' possibly because the intent of search is very different – find vs. transact.    And nearly 3/4 of mobile traffic for retailers is coming from tablets, and you might as well say iPad since they outsold Motorola+RIM +Samsung combined 5:1 in the last quarter.   The tablet isn't a desktop and it isn't a phone – this suggests that optimizing for the device will take on a new form and user experience. 

    Search is automated – this is a ripe area for technical innovation.  Real time bidding systems exist for both display ads (infersystems) and search (finch) based on conversion.  Given the vast amount of data, these tools focus on setting bids based on what works.    These tools allow for either agencies or publishers to play in space that historically was owned by the folks with green shades because it can scale across properties.  

    I'll leave SEO and attribution to another day….

    Evolution of "Database Marketing"

    What are we doing in our day jobs?

    This post is about what we do at work - it came about after an integration meeting where we needed to explain what various business units do.

    First, some background on what business we currently focus on here in Salt Lake.
    1. Direct-to-consumer – consider it 'database marketing' if you will, but all our work focuses on the distribution of owned media to individuals.
    2. Programs rather than campaigns – we're in it for the long term; think 'retention' and 'acquisition' where insights about behavior and events trigger the communication pattern.  
    3. Evolved from direct mail to multi-channel to address the needs of consumers. 
    4. Strong automotive industry experience rounded out with retail and education; not much in the B2B space.
    To support our clients' needs we built our own platform - "PointCast" - which is named for the natural evolution from Broadcast to Narrowcast to 1:1 communication.   So, what makes us different?    What do we bring to the table?
    • Big Data: we created a metadata-driven architecture (not unlike the content management concept) space to deal with large, diverse data sets. These data are tightly integrated with the selection and distribution engines. 
    • Cohort Selector:  to get the most out of subscription data overlaid with syndicated data like ICOM and Environicx, we built a platform to create and export lists for use with clients (internal and external).  Key is the ability to implement calculated fields – like extrapolating category usage based on surveys to the whole population. 
    • Campaign Management:  rather than working toward 'self-service' and 'workflow' (crowded spaces) we went down the path of "granular customization" based on business rules, transaction data, and extreme customization.  We've invented….
      1. Packets:  a communication with a customer isn't always a single item; it may be a collection of things.   Consider a 'Simply Thanks' program for a pet store/veterinary practice that includes three items.   First, a note from the store manager thanking you for your business; second, an email with special offers and coupons; and finally, a vaccination reminder.   Each is a different form factor with different templates for a variety of business reasons including how to measure financial performance.   But we need to manage these from the same set of assets, data and business rules.   We're expanding to include SMS, FB and Twitter. 
      2. Panel Maps:   the concept of 'wire-frame' applies to all media, everything from a postcard to an email to a text or a Tweet can be divided into sections that are controlled by rules.   What offer goes where?  and based on what rules?   So, rather than have to work in multiple silos we're integrating the mapping process.  Concepts like 'Header' and 'Offer' now transcend form factor or channel. 
      3. Panels:  every pixel, character or space can be assigned content.   We go well beyond gratuitous personalization of Dear to allow the piece to be customized based on a detailed set of prioritized business rules.   So, if you haven't shopped in a while you get a different set of offers than if you haven't shopped in a long time.    Hard to explain, but this orchestration can lead to a large number of possible communications – for one client there are 88m possibilities (and this doesn't include simply things like 'name') which is 10 times the number of customers we manage.  
    For a somewhat light-hearted view (the technology is web-based and not from the last century) we created the following video on our site to summarize our solution to the problem:  How do we surround a consumer with interesting content to help them choose when the path to purchase is unknown and we're in the world of social commerce? 

    So, what are we thinking about going forward?   Some thoughts:
    • Personalized flyers – since we have the transaction data and the real estate mapped out, there is no reason we can't populate a custom flyer based on a list of alternatives and rules.  This could even extend to linking with social likes and recommendations (see Fresh & Easy's use of favorites).   It could also extend to integrating the various web properties we have:  jobs, auctions, autos – all in one place.  
    • Surround media – we know that search is the next thing people do after receiving a stimulus; so, how do we integrate something like a product launch with a change in the search budget?   It is just an API after all.    How do we integrate owned media with paid media?
    • Customized brochures – in several sectors consumers forget what they saw the minute they walk always (was that red A6 a 6-speed or automatic?)   So, we're working on creating customized brochures based on integrating QR codes with a publishing platform.   Imagine a brochure that included emotional (brand), promotional (incentive), informational (factoids), and communal (social) information for the specific cars or houses or stoves or snowmobiles you just looked at.  
    Happy to provide to more detail…..

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Managing the Circuitous Path

    How do we manage a process with no end point?

    Adding to the 'path to purchase' discussion, Yahoo! and McCann released their report:  "The Long and Winding Road".  And rather than a reference to the Beatles tune it relates to the customer path or journey thru various stages using one of three classes of tools:  Discover, Evaluate, and Socialize. 

    The decidedly non-linear path, if we can even call it a path anymore, suggests that everyone has the potential to interact with everyone else – regardless of stage. The Path to Purchase blog lays out three major stages: Pre-shop, Shop and Post-shop, rather than the traditional linear funnel.   Since any media can be used in any situation it becomes a very dynamic and fluid scenario with the inclusion of after sale activity where customers become evangelists (see zuberance for a platform in that space). 

    Of interest is the suggestion to 'create reward systems' - not necessarily to drive loyalty, but because shopping is now social and there is a sense of 'winning' that occurs with the use of coupons/promotions.  Research from GfK suggests the emergence of "Xtreme Shoppers" - those whose intent is to find the best value, and they use the smartphone to do it. 

    This year's "Shopper Marketing Expo", sponsored by the Path to Purchase Institute featured Facebook VP Marketing Solutions Carolyn Everson and  Saatchi & Saatchi X CEO Dina Howell.  Their titles/companies should give us a clue as to what their keynote speeches were about. 

    The following figure is from Forrester's "Emergence of Customer Experience Management Solutions" and does a good job of summarizing the current state.  Defining this space as:  A solution that enables the management and delivery of dynamic, targeted, consistent content, offers, products, and service interactions across digitally enabled consumer touchpoints.  (They are narrow in the choice of 'digital' touchpoints, IMHO)   

    So, who manages this?   It isn't marketing and it isn't technology – it is a highbred that some are calling the Marketing Technology Office while others are going as far as suggesting that IT and Marketing merge.    Regardless of where it sits – what it does is clear:  Understand customer behavior/intent/interests in order to develop a plan to support them in their path to purchase.  

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Innovating in the Light of Mobile Payments

    What does 'pay by phone' mean now?

    Phones are not for talking anymore; we proved that with music.     They will soon be the tool for conducting business and the use case typically offered is making payments by tapping your phone.   The credit card solved the cash problem over 60 years ago when the idea of extending credit and paying at multiple locations were merged.  And yes, this business was likely drawn on a napkin at dinner.   But it is likely that making payments per se isn't likely to drive adoption since the card is good enough – I have to carry a wallet and that piece of plastic isn't a burden; and with the penetration of  NFC-equipped phones  at sub-20% in 2012 we're still looking for the killer app.     In terms of payment, mobile will become useful when time and motion are at a premium – boarding a train for instance because my phone is often more accessible than my wallet or when the experience changes.  

    So what is the added benefit of using a device instead of a card?

    It seems that most of the talk and activity is around promotions and offers – something a plastic card simply can't do.   All the major players we're talking to are searching for solutions in that area: MasterCard has its Marketplace; Visa has perks, and American Express just announced a $100m fund for start-ups.    The most recent briefing from trendwatching is "Dealer-Chic: Why consumer deals are becoming a way of life, if not a source of pride."   The obvious benefit of promotions is the financial savings – the not so obvious is that this is now a social event as much as a financial one.     Using deals delivered in a cool way through technology is becoming an emotional activity/reward that is shared.  While only 1% of coupons are delivered online, a full 10% of the redemptions are from those coupons – this is a major shift worth capitalizing on. 

    So the questions we should consider are: how do coupons/promotions get matched to consumers based on location, context, and life-time value (loyalty)?  How do we make this more of a social event?

    Wednesday, November 09, 2011

    Decision Making: Emotional vs. Rational

    How does choice work?

    We decide emotionally, we defend rationally.

    Without a need to be satisfied we simply can't make a choice.   But once the inner brain decides the outer brain takes over makes the decision rational.  

    "The car has 5-star crash test rating" - calling b******t on that, it made me feel cool - but I'm not going to say that, am I?

    Saturday, November 05, 2011

    Lessons from the Checkout Line

    Why do we have two different experiences for the same thing?

    While trolling around this morning I found this Google Analytics video on the ecommerce check out process on nick burcher's site.  It makes a beautiful point.

    While focused on the purchase step of the process, I think it relates to all stages of search, discovery, and consideration.   Unfortunately we often act like moths to light bulbs and add new shiny objects, just because we can.  Or worse because we don't know what consumers want so we put it out there and hope something sticks.

    We should resist.

    Cool stuff is not a strategy.

    "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."   Antoine de Saint-Exupery.

    Friday, November 04, 2011

    Grapes, Climate Change and Branding

    Will barbera go with fish or pork?

    Like formica, kleenex and duct tape another category of generic brands is under threat.  This time wine.

    What is common about the following?
    • Cabernet Sauvingon
    • Merlot
    • Pinot Noir
    • Chardonay
    • Reisling
    • Sauvingon Blanc
    They are a) the original six Noble Grapes - the basis of highest-quality French wine (although the politically correct term is now International Varieties which includes 3 others and isn't limited to France), b) brands - for over 100 years the New World has marketed by the combination of varietal and location, and c) like to grow in cool climates.

    So what happens when climate change raises the temperature by say 2-degrees?  In California, that could reduce the growing area by 30-50% by the year 2040.   This creates a serious marketing challenge as noted in a piece on NPR.  

    An enduring brand adapts to the changing times; it has to. But when the roots of your business are based literally in roots that have come from grafted/cloned grape vines there are substantial risks as the environment changes.   A wine designated a 'California Chardonnay' must come from chardonnay grapes grown in California - it is the law.  But what happens when demand goes up and supply goes down? What happens when the category itself shrinks?  

    Maybe a lesson from [yellow tail] provides insight.  They became a successful brand in part by producing a wine that isn't very winey.   Wine is known for being tannic and acidic - two tastes that most people simply don't like.  So, they made wines that aren't tannic and acidic for the 85% of the US market that didn't drink wine.  They re-featured wine by not focusing on the nuances of terroir (where the grapes are grown) which is often the basis of wine debates but rather on the simplest of elements - the variety.  From a production point of view this brand strategy allows grapes from many locations to be used to create a consistent product; nobody is likely to do vertical tastings of this brand.   By simplifying the decision process and making a less stringent product they made it very easy for consumers to choose.  As a result they sell more wine in the US than all French producers combined. 

    Thursday, November 03, 2011

    Frank Sinatra on Buying Cars

    How do people buy cars?

    Just like Frank Sinatra sang:  "I did it my way".  

    A couple of days ago I posted some thoughts on search behavior and content marketing, this takes it a bit further in one industry.   We recently attended a round-table in the automotive industry where Google presented the following facts on how search has changed consumer behavior: 
    • 75% of car buyers are in the market for over a month, with the average in the 4-6 month time frame 
    • 61% will watch a video before going to dealership
    • 54% say that the Internet lead them to the dealer
    • 49% search the internet to find best deals
    • 44% use mobile device for comparison on the lot
    • 35% of the time customer is searching when dealership is closed
    • 32% use their Smartphone to find a dealership
    • 25% percent change brands based on information on the internet they research
    On average, they use 18+ different sources of information (ZMOT).   And over 40% of the referral traffic to an OEM site comes from search engines; 6% from FB and 8% from Edmunds. 

    The lesson learned is there are only two rules any more: #1 “the consumer is absolutely in control” and #2, “see the first rule”. 

    So, if I were the marketing director for an automobile manufacturer – or an entrepreneur starting a business in this sector, here is what I’d do to improve the customer experience.
    1. Find a point of differentiation (uniqueness) that allows emotional and communal content to augment the promotional, informational content that the dealer already provides.  Too often search is dry.
    2. Make it easy to remember what cars consumers look at after leaving the lot. I’d create a custom content that integrated emotional and informational content; this would be done by creating a custom brochure using either QR or NFC technology
    3. Link buyers/browsers together as they traverse the buying cycle to share and get a sense of community and or winning.  See Nissan's roadtrip for Versa. 
    These are brand, ie national ideas, not something sold dealer to dealer because the consumer isn't loyal at the location level.    We should be facilitating choice by focusing on emotional and communal content, not only offering promotional and informational content to make a sale. 

    All these innovative solutions require the blending of marketing and technology, no wonder firms are creating a ‘Chief Marketing Technologist’ and yes, there is a blog for that. Scott Brinker's presentation at the Adobe event is worth watching or reading.

    Tuesday, November 01, 2011

    Why Interesting Content is Important

    What are consumers doing along the path to purchase?

    The concept of 'surrounding the consumer with interesting content' originally grew out of the notion that there are infinite paths to purchase and thus marketers need to be everywhere a consumer could turn.  The idea of using Red Laser to check prices, while reading reviews on Yelp! and looking for a coupon in the email is commonplace. 

    This note takes a look at two different views:  The impact of social networks – in the scientific use of the term – on defection and the search patterns of buyers.

    Social Networks
    There has been a fair amount of discussion (and an equal amount of hope) that word of mouth spreads product adoption.   But only recently has the effect of social networks on defection been evaluated.   In a Journal of Marketing article this month there is evidence that knowing someone who has stopped using a service increases the odds of you stopping.  And this effect might be as strong or possibly stronger than the impact of networks on adoption.   The factors driving defection are similarity and the density of the network – if you share common attributes with those in a tight network then the odds of defection increase.    Loyalty, as defined by heavy use and/or tenure, mitigates the effect of defecting neighbors on your own decision.   

    Customer bases with a high degree of inter-connectiivity run a higher risk of defection due to social networks.   The question that impacts marketing seems to be:   Are your customers connected?   (as in they share the same phone service).    If they are, then communication when one defects is important; not only to increase the odds of them coming back, but also to decrease the odds of being contagious.     This suggests that companies who foster a community of customers should also have direct-to-consumer communications when the migrate away.  "Sorry to See You Go" programs should augment "Thank You" and other communications.  

    From a search perspective a recent research report on retail shopping behavior reveals the ways search is used in the shopping experience.   The themes:
    • "Generic queries dominate a buyer's search behavior" – buyers are using, and are referred by, non-branded queries.   It seems that the idea that the brand cuts thru the clutter, ie it is a surrogate for information (Chris Anderson's view), and gets a product in the consideration set is somewhat a fantasy for most products. 
    • "Organic listings drive buyer behavior" - Not surprisingly these are organic rather than paid links:  85-15%.   This makes for some interesting notions about content and how to leverage it.  
    So, how do we link general terms with branded content?   It is the rational and communal (price and reviews) information, rather than emotional content that consumers use when clicking thru search results to another page.   The fact that Google and Bing have pushed more content to the SERP suggests that 'buy online, pick up in-store' will become more prevalent.  Add to the mix mobile devices and the research stage has moved to anywhere including staring a product at the point of purchase.

    Advertising stimuli are often used to seed the search process.   But the use of generic terms suggest that consumers go up to the category level rather than a specific brand.   For category leaders this is good since they should be in the business of growing the category anyway.   For the rest of us this is a big risk - unless we're disruptive and creating a new category.   A clever stimulus will put other brands into consideration set, not eliminate them.  This suggests that the search strategy should be around owning the broad information that helps a consumer choose – not just the specifics of the brand.   So when a product is launched the search aspect should be on how to get it into the natural process of looking at organic, generic terms.   Unless someone can figure how to increase the page-rank of a brand new microsite then this path might be less fruitful than one would desire.    It does suggest that understanding search behavior and modifying the ad budget should be coordinated.   For instance, direct-to-consumer programs should control some ad groups at the time of the in–market date.  It also suggests that the role of display ads could change as well – clicking thru to someplace else. 

    Both of the above examples, while from widely different aspects of marketing, illustrate the continuing need to think differently about how marketing works.

    Agnostic vs. Cognostic

    What is a word?

    In the late 1800's Thomas Huxley coined the term 'agnostic' to reflect his world view that certain things, e.g. deities,  are not known or even knowable.  The inability to demonstrate a conclusion or premise is the basis of the term which translates to 'without knowledge'.  

    In marketing and technology the term agnostic has moved closer to 'independent' - like 'platform agnostic.'   Unfortunately this has transcended into 'media agnostic' -- which is an unfortunate turn of phrase.  It would suggest we either don't know how to prove media works or are indifferent to it.  Nothing could be further from the truth.   One of the major advantages we have with clients is we can offer expertise not in one or two channels but in a wide variety of channels.   This provides the opportunity to  think in pan-media (earned, owned and paid) terms - the heavy lifting of strategic thinking. 

    Both Omniture (adobe) and Google provide platforms for multi-channel funnels.  The latter typically focuses on website conversions; the former has a better opportunity to figure out content consumption 'out there'.   Generally, any captured event is an interaction.  It is up to the business do define what matters and what doesn't.  This is a market where interest is flowing:  iJento is a start up and Alltop – Top Web Analytics News lists all kinds of news in the space.  Some enterprising youngster will take Flow Visualization and apply it across a wide set of properties rather than just one the traffic to one site. 

    So, in the spirit of inventing words I had come up with the term 'cognostic' four years ago to reflect that media planning is done with knowledge.   Not only do we know how it works, but we have the ability to understand how consumers use various mediums in their decision journey.  

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Media Trends and Big Data

    What is in store next year?

    The forecasts for advertising spend are coming out – relatively slow for 2011 and slight growth for 2012/13 with developing markets outpacing the developed ones. The relationship of ad spending to financial markets depends on the cause of the market change.  Either excessive advertising from over-valued companies (the 2000 tech bubble) or substantive decline in output are related to changes in ad spending not perceived risk, eg 9/11. So unless Europe melts down, spending is trending up for the next two years. Ad spending runs at roughly 3/4th of a percent of GDP; lowest levels since at least 1980. Despite the slow growth in the US (+3%) it will contribute the most net-new ad dollars $14b due to the sheer size – 3.3 times the next largest market; Japan. 

    The growth media are TV, particularly cable, and Internet, growing $22b and $24b respectively over the next two years. 

    In the case of 'direct marketing', or advertising geared toward generating a sale or a lead, growth is out pacing the overall increases in spend possibly due to the nature of tracking results.   Direct Marketing generates $12 of sales per dollar spent compared to $5.24 for general advertising.    Digital continues to grow faster than the rest and will exceed 20% of direct marketing spend in 2012 led by display and search. 

    An outcome of the 'digital age' is the continued explosion of Big Data – an era when enormous amounts of data are collected and used to drive business operations and planning.  Big Data exists because of three intersecting factors:  1) the variety of data that can be captured increases, 2) the velocity of data increases, and 3) the volume is growing.  The average company with more than 1,000 employees collects more than 235 terabytes of data. Those TB's equate to 470,000 hours of music or about a third of the genealogy library at or 2 seconds or less of Internet traffic.    The implication is:   It isn't business as usual, only bigger because you can't report on big data; there isn't enough time to ask and answer the questions.  The half-life of a marketing question is 30 minutes in this day and age so some new thinking is required.    IBM's report on CMO's confirms the same issue – data explosion is one of the four key problem areas.

    The intersection of digital marketing and data capture presents some client-related opportunities.
    1. Personalization and Customization of content – serving a series of unique packets of information to consumers.  This has been the premise of CRM for a long time but the opportunities to create and distribute items of interest are getting better. (slideshare re UX)
    2. Decisioning and Estimating – by taking mid-level judgement out of the equation and replacing it with 'machine learning', two things happen.  First, the consumer gets a better experience and second the business stays competitive with better odds of outperforming the competition.  Written up in "Competing on Analytics" five years ago.  (book)
    3. Business Simulation – all this data and analytics means clients can test assumptions before executing new tactics and strategies.  Both ThinkVine and Networked Insights (two young, venture-backed companies) focus on assessing the impact of marketing activity on sales.  The former is a simulation tool, the latter aligns communal commentary with broadcast media plans.  
    Quote of the week:   "We propose that you need to merge IT and marketing."  from CIO-CMO Summit.  

    Monday, October 10, 2011

    Communicating with a Flat Surface

    Where is all this digital technology taking us?

    One of the fundamental changes of digital technology is that now everything is interactive.   The ability to either embed or connect to information can be associated with not only digital objects but analog ones as well.   Some examples:
    • For years billboards  have the ability to recognize a car and broadcast a message to you.    Minis and leaky FM signals are but two examples.
    • As the cost came down and smart phone penetration increased, the ability to communicate shifted to very specific interactions.   The use of 2D bar codes (QR, Smart Tag, etc) allowed information be presented based on an explicit action of a consumer.   These found their way in to print, outdoor and other flat surfaces where the link to a web site added to the information retrieval process.  The TomTom example links a physical product to an iPhone App that makes the experience better.   Since home shoppers often browse for products being shown on TV HSN embedded a QR code in the TV feed to make it easier to launch a mobile site.  And for a creative resume/CV see this one.  The QR code was developed in the automobile manufacturing arena to track parts – not as an advertising vehicle – and thus has a fairly linear range of functionality. 
    • Now we're starting to see interactions that aren't just about information retrieval but executing some type of transaction.   Near Field Computing (NFC) moves the interaction from device-to-device by embedding RFID chips into various objects – like movie posters.  Imagine sharing contact info, photos etc, by simply holding phones near each other- or better yet making a purchase.  Google has already moved toward NFC and way from codes in part because of capabilities and in part because of user experience; there is a lot of discussion around this topic.   With ISIS picking Salt Lake City as one of its test markets, we will have a front row seat.   Google Wallet is the alternative.
    So what's a marketer to do?
    • Paid Media: the ability to link to video or other information that a flat surface can't provide will remain attractive for QR codes, particularly since they are very cheap to produce and distribute.   Like its predecessor, the UPC, the QR code is simply printed.  So expect some sort of launching pad to remain in the retail, entertainment and food service business.   Here is a list of examples for use on wine bottles. 
    • Owned Media: as a publisher, marketers have a an opportunity to take the idea to another level by creating tighter links between consumer and activity.  With the price of a chip in the $1 range, the distribution of NFC can't be mass but should be targeted – posters, high-end catalogs and magazines, brochures etc.  This also minimizes the impact of low penetration for NFC-enabled phones. 
    • Earned Media:  enabling the sharing of content, via either technology, remains a distinct goal and either technology can support it.   For an interesting beer commercial see Carlsberg's recent edition; they should have NFC on those bottles. 
    And as one would expect, the lines between the types of media are actually blurred when considering this type of interaction. 

    Thursday, September 29, 2011

    63 Tweets for Marketing in the Fluid Fog

    What do we do when everything is interactive and people are the media?

    The view from a CMO's office must look quite hazy given the impact technology has had on the distribution and consumption of messages:  billboards now interact with cars as they drive past, we use a bar code reader to check reviews and prices while standing in front of a shelf, we seek out and trust the recommendations of people we don't know.   It seems that the traditional hope of a natural order to stimulus, consideration, purchase is actually quite messy. 

    "Marketing in the Fluid Fog" is an attempt to understand the new reality and rethink basic marketing tenets.  Rather than create an essay on the topic I tried to identify a number of specific points that deserve discussion and consideration.  So, here are a series of statements - some broad, some specific -  each with a link to something I found interesting and on point – you'll find slideshares, research, blog posts, books, etc. 

    Hope you enjoy the story....

    1.    Consumers want to make the simple easy, not to make the complex possible.   TT
    2.    The goals are simple; consumers ask for Convenience, Control & Connectivity. TT
    3.    Everything is interactive; anything can activate a connection. TT
    4.    While technology is reaching saturation, what we can do with it is still in its infancy. TT
    5.    When the shifting sands of technology and consumer preferences collide any marketing plan is at risk. TT
    6.    Media fragmentation accelerates the onset of planning paralysis; we stick with what we know. TT
    7.    Content consumption habits are defined by device and place implying different intent. TT
    8.    “Constant partial attention” requires us to be simultaneously consistent across channels. TT
    9.    Channel implies boundaries yet digital content can morph and jump the banks. TT
    10. Developing channel specific strategies raises the risk of failure; channels support a strategy. TT
    11. Multi-channel vs. cross-channel misses the point – there will be no channels. TT
    12. The smartphone accelerated the onset of channel blur; we need to think beyond integrated. TT
    13. The location of the screen is becoming a good proxy for the location of the individual. TT
    14. Publishing and facilitating a decision require different form factors and delivery strategies. TT
    15. The funnel assumes logical progression thru a number of stages; reality isn’t linear at all. TT
    16. The first step on the consumer journey can be from any message from any source. TT
    17. Infinite paths to purchase exist with today's media and they are actually unknowable. TT
    18. The time it takes for a person to decide is based on need state: latent, chronic or acute. TT
    19. In the age of quantum marketing we think in terms of probability rather than cause and effect. TT
    20. The closer to the decision point, more brands are in the consideration set – not less. TT
    21. Too many product options freezes the brain; recommendations reduce the effects of hyper-choice. TT
    22. The rank a brand has in a consumer’s mind predicts her share of wallet. TT
    23. People make 3 brand decisions. Try, Repeat, and Make it a Habit.  Each deserves its own strategy. TT
    24. There are no longer two moments of truth – shelf and experience - but any number of them. TT
    25. People are the media so the message is theirs not ours. We are not sure what is said if anything. TT
    26. CRM was right message, right person, right time. Social CRM is some message to someone at some time. TT
    27. The next big thing will come from social technology not social media. That is constrained by revenue. TT
    28. Content influences choice in different ways, but we’re not quite sure how nor are the academics. TT
    29. Relevance is not relevant, interesting is, that is how the brain works. We share the unexpected. TT
    30. We erected our own ozone layer or spam blocker to filter out unwanted messages. TT
    31. To increase the odds of getting through we need to surround the consumer with interesting content. TT
    32. People share content; just not on a brand site. Only 4% of social links are to corp sites. TT
    33. Four types of content influence decisions: Emotional, Promotional, Informational and Communal TT
    34. Emotional Content focuses on using the brand’s essence to satisfy needs or aspirations. TT
    35. Promotional Content provides incentives, financial or other, to encourage action. TT
    36. Informational Content lets us compare and contrast features to give a rational defense to a choice. TT
    37. Communal Content helps deal with hyper-choice by relying on the opinions of others. TT
    38. We need a framework that leverages content analytics to helps us plan better. TT
    39. Content Marketing turns brands into publishers; a new and potentially dangerous role. TT
    40.  And the content idea can go totally wrong - ask Ragu, Motin and Skittles.  TT
    41. Media plans need to cover aircover to personal options, even if different agencies involved. TT
    42. Radio was the first streaming content from the cloud – just needed to overcome technical issues. TT
    43. Email is the new TV advert it takes tonnage to work and is easy to filter out. TT
    44. TV is a large display device for new forms of interaction as well as defining a type of content. TT
    45. Social commerce and social TV present new ways to think about the relationship with consumers. TT
    46. We make 500 billion product impressions a year affecting a large portion of the economy. TT
    47.  Recommendations from friends are like great advertising: Brutal Simple Truth TT
    48. Social Internet minutes are way up; site minutes (and traffic) declining. TT
    49. Liking a brand is not the same as having ‘Liked’ a brand. TT
    50. There is no silver bullet for monetizing indirect, consumer-to-consumer activities. TT
    51. If you insist on traffic then use a ‘share button’. Tweet if you have constant content FB if not. TT
    52. The browser celebrated its 20th birthday this year; no wonder apps are the new kid on the block. TT
    53. Mobile bar codes need standards and a use case better than coupons and serving up a site. TT
    54. A customer sharing her email is a sign of connection and has financial impact. TT
    55. Print outperforms email in terms of response rate and both are better still. TT
    56. Without mass media viral would not be viral. TT
    57. Word of mouth is mostly an urban myth – downline sharing is both rare and minimal. TT
    58. Links shared on line have the half-life of a mayfly; they get half of their clicks in < 4 hours. TT
    59. Just because you have data doesn’t mean you can measure.   TT
    60. Digital measurement will look like media measurement – Gross Rating Points. TT
    61. Goal of media research in 1948 was “who says what to whom in what channel with what effect”. TT
    62.  Marketing and customer interaction mgt are not functional roles; they are business processes. TT
    63. A new goal for marketing. Orchestrate content to help people choose. TT

    I'm sure a number of points and good sources were missed - share them if you have one.