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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

More on 2006 predictions

Several people asked for more details on my 2006 predictions post. Here you go. Happy Holidays.

Insourcing vs. Outsourcing
Rather than going outside to outsource low-value or transactional work, companies will see the value of insourcing marketing talent and ideas. Insourcing has helped Procter & Gamble add $3 billion in revenue per year. Rather than typical “research & development,” P&G now uses a “connect & develop” approach, insourcing more than 30% of new product ideas coming from outside the company; the goal is to get to 50 percent “insourcing.”

New market concepts vs. new products
Buying music online is a big new market concept, which is why iPod and iMusic are so successful. The Segway scooter, on the other hand, was a big new product idea but not a very big market concept, which is why it hasn’t been so successful. Companies who get innovation will focus more on market concepts, which are difficult for the competition to quickly copy, and less on new products, which can be easily knocked off.

Consumer insights vs. market research
Conventional market research is too slow and superficial to keep up with fast changing market trends and fickle consumers; what was hot six months ago is often in a deep freeze by the time the focus group results are in. Continually gathering market insights will become more important than conventional qualitative research. In a recent speech at Wharton’s Marketing Conference, Hershey CEO Richard Lenny urged companies to rely on insight-driven customer marketing to increase the odds of success.

Communities vs. Blogs
Blogs are beginning to be too hard to keep up with and are still more of a one-way conversation, with the blogger talking at the blog readers. As customers yearn for two-way conversations – and an easier interface – they’ll seek out communities of interest. Also, companies will find that creating communities for their customers is the best way to find consumer insights.

Meaning making vs. promoting
Customers are tuning out advertising, promotions and spin. What they want is trusted help in making decisions. Companies that adopt more of a meaning making approach – helping customers make sense of so many competitive choices – will out market their competition. Meaning making will become especially hot for companies selling expensive, high consideration purchases.

Point-of-views vs. messages
While messaging helps define what you want to communicate, messages themselves have limited value unless they’re translated into interesting, sometimes provocative, talkable point-of-views that gently smack people in the face, getting them to pay attention and join in the conversation. POVs jump start sales conversations, presentations, and media interviews.

Teach me vs. tell me
Educational psychologists would make great marketers. They know that the keys to teaching students of any age are 1) make sure it’s personally relevant, 2) put it in a larger context, and 3) give it some emotion. And one more: make it involving, a partnership more than a transaction. Teaching vs. telling implies a lasting valuable outcome, not just information. Marketers will benefit by taking a page from the teaching textbook.

Salons vs. conferences
People will be more attracted to small scale salon-style events where they can meet with other interesting people in an interesting setting, and enjoy a looser, more “open source” approach to the agenda. Salons provoke thinking; conferences just present information.

Podcasts vs. Webinars
Get it and go, downloading company speeches and presentations to your PC or iPod so you can listen to it at your convenience will replace set time and date Webinars. We’re all too buys to rearrange our schedules to when a company wants to host an online meeting. But we will tune in to valuable ideas, when it fits into our schedule.

Voice of the customer vs. voice of the company
“Are you talkin’ to me?” Smart companies will listen more to the customers’ voice, address what the customers want to know, and talk the customers’ language, not some artificial “brand voice” created by the agency.

Behavioral targeting vs. 18-45
Behavioral targeting vs. demographic or even psychographic segmentation is the difference between being appreciated because you’re relevant and being a clueless pest. Done right, behavioral targeting increases both profitability and loyalty. Heck, even the Federal Reserve Bank gets it – a new Fed research center is focused on “behavioral economics” to better understand how people really make their spending and saving decisions (hint: it’s rarely rational); insights will feed into the Fed’s policy work.

Analytics vs. metrics
Metrics have their place in measuring tactics, like advertising clickstream data. But metrics tend to be rear view mirror, while analytics provide predictive data you can act on to constantly improve programs and get new ideas.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Best Holiday Card for Marketers

This time of year we all receive many Holiday Cards. But the best card for marketing people EVER, has to be from advertising agency Phil Johnson & Associates, written like a marketing plan. Here’s what it says:


  • Evaluate existing holiday greetings

  • Determine which greetings work best to:

  • Change perceptions of the holidays

  • Convey sense of community and love

  • Reduce cynicism

  • Help you be the best holiday greeter you can be

Holiday trends

  • People are busier than ever

  • Fewer “Happy” or “Merry” people out there

  • William Hung has just released a Holiday CD

Current holiday greetings

Season’s Greetings

  • Generic

  • Universally accepted for its ambiguity and utter vagueness

  • Leaves the door wide open for the Greetee to assume the Greeter is denomination-sensitive

Warm Wishes

  • Soft and sappy

  • A great opener and closer for holiday toasts

  • Brings out the “hugger” in people


  • Efficient, to the point

  • Perfect in situations where you’d like to keep the conversation to a minimum

Happy Holidays

  • Has legs

  • Most commonly used between November and New Year’s but could potentially be used for Groundhog Day, Arbor Day, and an other “holiday”

  • Great in a pinch

Focus group quotes

  • Feedback from holiday greeting focus group participants (not a representative sample)

  • “These cookies are free, right?”

  • “I bought my wife an iron. Is that bad?”

  • “What’s wrong with ‘Hey you?’”

Each holiday greeting is relevant and unique and the market could benefit from you using it.

Agency recommendations
  • Use them all.

  • Try not to forget what’s really important this holiday

  • Grab as much health and happiness as you can

  • Drinking too much “eggnog” and trying to sing Auld Lang Syne spells trouble.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

2006 Predictions

Here are marketing trends likely to heat up and cool down in 2006.

  1. Insourcing vs. Outsourcing
  2. Voice of the customer vs. Voice of the company
  3. Point-of-views vs. Messages
  4. Consumer insights vs. Market research
  5. Behavioral targeting vs. 18-45
  6. Communications as a service vs. Publicity
  7. Analytics vs. Metrics
  8. Communities vs. Blogs
  9. Podcasts vs. Webinars
  10. Teach me vs. Tell me
  11. Salons vs. Conferences
  12. New market concepts vs. New products
  13. Influence vs. Power

Thursday, December 08, 2005

$1.35 BILLION for Army Recruitment Ads?!

Yesterday the U.S. Army hired a new ad agency, McCann Erickson, according to Ad Age. The budget: $1.35 billion to be spent on ads to recruit for active duty and the Reserve. That’s right, more than a BILLION dollars.

This decision comes at a time when the marketing industry recognizes that conventional advertising is not effective, particularly if the value prop is weak. (Or if you’re being recruited to go to Iraq, maybe a non-existent value prop.)

Is there a better way to spend $1.35 billion of our money?

Use a slice of the money to figure out how to get out of Iraq sooner; then we wouldn't have to recruit so many people. Despite its advertising and aggressive recruiting,
the Army missed its recruitment target this year by 7,000, according to a report in today's N.Y. Times. Maybe no amount of advertising is going to work. Like Vietnam, people don’t believe much in the military's cause. And if they don’t believe, they’re not going to join.
Create an online community where active duty Army professionals can talk to
those with a possible interest? Let the people who know the value of being in
the Army – and have the most credibility – tell the story vs. ads?
The goal of the Army is to recruit 80,000 new soldiers a year. Divide 80,000
into $1.35 billion and you get $1,687.50. If the army upped the signing
incentives by another $1,687.50 would that be as effective as advertising?
Reinstate the draft. Give full college scholarships to everyone who serves. Make the military reflective of a democratic society. The added benefit: the middle and upper class would be mad as hell and would get more involved in government’s decisions. (As the mother of a young son, I hate to think of a draft....)

Maybe some of these things are already happening. I’d sure feel better knowing that the Army has looked at alternatives before committing $1.35 BILLION on trying to market something no one wants to buy.

Monday, December 05, 2005

5 tips for interesting conversations

As part of my research into trying to understand the elements of effective conversations for a book I’m writing, I wrote to Robin Young, host of WBUR-FM’s “Here & Now” program out of Boston and a former ABC correspondent and subsitute host for NBC’s “Today” show.

What five things make for an interesting conversation?

1. listening.
2. really, listening.
3. after you've listened, asking questions relative to what you heard when you listened.
4. then, listen to the answer.
5. and...followup with another question, to make sure you heard correctly what the speaker was saying.
5a. then .. listen some more.


Good advice for we marketers, who tend to talk more than listen.

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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Why so many copycats? Testosterone and....

Dov Gordon of The Gordon Group, a management consultancy in Israel, was surprised to learn from one of my posts that BK’s Subservient Chicken campaign hadn’t increased sales. From reading about the campaign in marketing publications, his perception was that it was hugely successful.

"When you get a chance, please tell me why you think it is that advertising and marketing people continue with these viral campaigns if sales have not gone up. What’s their rationalization?"

First I sent Dov a link to Adrants about the new Maxtor campaign, yet another Subservient Chicken copycat.

Then tried to answer his question.

1. Marketing and advertising people are getting rather desperate. Traditional advertising isn’t working so there’s a rush to create something new that will.

2. Many don’t know how – or may not want to – or aren’t responsible for – doing the heavy lifting needed to increase sales. Making less “stuff” and listening more to customers in new ways to get ideas on how to deliver more value. Developing more thoughtful insights and new ideas to help customers and create loyalty. While new roles are emerging in marketing, the silos and old rules still remain. Advertising is still very promotional and creative driven.

3. Wacky “innovative” ideas, spun right, look good on a resume Most marketers aren’t responsible for creating new customer value models, which is a real career builder. That’s usually the CEO’s domain. So they often feel stuck in the realm of tactics.

4. Now this one is likely to get me in trouble, but I have data from a study by Dr. Kevin Clancy, CEO of Copernicus to prove it. There’s a whole lot of testosterone in marketing and advertising. The boys posture, brag, taunt, copy -- and are afraid to say the emperor has no clothes. They make more decisions based on their gut than women do. They create campaigns and promote them so well that people like Dov think they were successful, when they were not.

5. And then there’s the copycat mentality….

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