Posts filed under ‘Consumer’

Nastiness Trending

When we started using Google Trends to glean some trend insights, it was all business at first. Then, it became a tool look at some trends no one likes to talk about. We started entering stuff like “Porn” or even worse “child porn” or anything nasty. Hence, I coigned the term “Nastiness Trending”. It’s quite a sublime thing, from which to derive a weird, negative pleasure. The pleasure part comes from knowing which countries have the nastiest google users, and being lucky if your country isn’t in the Top 10.

Obviously, we weren’t the only one with this idea, in fact a German newspaper made an article about it.

However, the whole thing is a bit tricky, because you have to choose the keywords in a certain language, so you cannot definitively say that, e.g. in the porn case, South Africans are the nastiest.

I am waiting for the day where you can do compound trending in different languages.


July 9, 2008 at 4:36 pm Leave a comment

The long tail: digital myth or not?

The “long tail” has been a theory accepted as fact in the digital community. It described and explained what we believed in so well, and it all makes sense. In fact, to some of us it was a source of credibility for whatever it was we’re doing, selling, or referring to: the power of the individual, individual experiences, tailored and customized offerings in a distributed and digital world that makes all of that possible.

Now, some people are rocking the boat and saying that it was all a hoax. Not a surprise, really. Every theory has a counter-theory. Surprising is that it took this long.

Found on Alan’s friendfeed

July 2, 2008 at 4:35 pm Leave a comment

Neuroscience in Retail

A while back, I posted something on something on doing consumer research with MRIs. I just found this video on Neuroscience in Retail. Looks like it’s more of a protypical research method at this stage?

June 17, 2008 at 4:15 pm Leave a comment

Stating the obvious: Online Social Media generate awareness, influences opinion.

Okay, sometimes I have to repeat stuff I’ve already said before, even if it is the equivalent of stating the obvious. I do this usually when I find a study with an air of scienctific credibility that supports something that is being talked about, but lacks the digits.

In this case, I stumbled upon an article in Adweek which states that a new study was release proving that some of the most desirable consumers use the opinions of others from blogs, and social media applications to make their purchasing decisions. In fact, 74% of people polled do this. Of course this means that the brand message and promise seems to be becoming less important than what other people say about the brand and customer experience they have had. Which in turn means, that mass media advertising is becoming less important. Thanks for the statistics, but as I said, it’s still a “duh-moment.”

Still, I like it when marketing people are quoted with something that is a Heureka moment to them. Here it is:

“This study indicates that there is a growing group of highly desirable consumers using social media to research companies,” said Ganim Nora Barnes, a senior fellow at SNCR, in a statement. This demo includes adults 25-55 with a college education, making over $100,000 a year. “These most savvy and sought-after consumers will not support companies with poor customer care reputations, and they will talk about all of this openly with others via multiple online vehicles. This research should serve as a wake-up call to companies: listen, respond, and improve.”

Yeah. Stop making advertising to generate awareness if you cannot listen, respond and improve. Otherwise you will get grilled and served with a slice of lemon on a nice “ineffective traditional advertising sampler platter.”

April 24, 2008 at 1:53 pm 1 comment

People are not the problem. Marketing warfare is.

What’s been frying my goat for a while lately (like 10 years or so) is looking at how we conduct our business in the agency landscape. We use military words like Briefing, Strategy, Tactics, Campaign, Target, Territory, Launch and Positioning everyday. I am wondering what good it does using this language of war. Everyone says that marketing is war. Is it? War against what?

Let’s ask Billy Bob, a traditional, gun-toting marketer who believes marketing is war:

Billy Bob: I tell you who we’re fightin’, buddy. It’s them dang evil-doer consumers. These folks are conspirin’ against us, leadin’ a lawless digital lifestyle, creat’n’ all this brand brouhaha for us marketers, destroying our brand values and shooting web2.0 flak right down from the blogosphere and what have you. If we don’t strike them with a big nice nuclear promotion, we be fixin’ to go down with our brand reputation. So, I am asking you: are you with us or with the consumers?

Personally, Billy Bob, I believe war is not an answer. We’ve been seeing this for a long time and we’ve been turning our faces away, hoping this Internet thing would just go away. Fact is, we’ve just made it a war because we see human behavior as something we need to manipulate and change, and we made it marketing’s job to manipulate that human behavior. Also of course, it is our job to build a ridgid brand fortress, that can defend itself against its enemies, the competition. Now that digital technologies have empowered people and changed the rules of the game, it isn’t as easy to manipulate people, and advertising just doesn’t seem to work anymore. And, for lack of a better idea, what’s our response? More troops for the trenches, bigger defense budgets, more artillery.

Because the Billy Bob Marketing budget for ineffective advertising, whether in “traditional” or “digital” channels, is steadily rising, no matter how inefficient. As a result, to stay within the militaristic metaphor we seem so used to, “consumers” soon become “casualties of war.” Well, I guess, you know, such is war. I mean, we tried to use our smart micro-segmentation bombs and even put 10% of our budget into our magic digital targeted media bullet, but you’re always gonna get some collateral damage, right? After all, this is why we call those casualties consumers: this way they remain abstract and we don’t have to connect with their actual life.

Seriously, this terminology, and more importantly, the warped thinking behind it isn’t appropriate anymore, and maybe never was. So if you’re asked by Billy Bob to support the troops in advertising and marketing , it’s just not black and white anymore. All I know is: I don’t wanna support the troops and their strategic goals of “increasing brand awareness” or “building brand preference” or “driving brand consideration” if all I get is an unhuman, purposeless advertising carpet bombing campaign. This marketing warfare myth has to go. The point is, you can’t work like that anymore.

Ok, sure. Let’s say we all agree. How would we go about everything if we stripped out all this militaristic lingo and the thinking behind it?

  1. Don’t just think about positioning in “what is…”, think about “what if?”
  2. Don’t start with the category, the product or the brand. Because, guess what, you will end up where you left off.
  3. Instead, start with a purpose. A purpose, mind you, not a promise. A purpose needs a conviction, a reason for being and a fuel that amplifies it. Fuel comes from a human behavior that we want to enable.
  4. Based on this purpose, think of acts that a brand can create to enable that human behavior in positive ways, instead of just cranking out ads.
  5. Don’t think of creativity as idea generation for campaigns, think of creativity as ideas for experiences and valuable exchanges.
  6. Don’t message at people, message for something they believe in.
  7. Don’t call them consumers, call them people.

Peace out, y’all.

March 19, 2008 at 7:34 pm 3 comments

The Paradox of choice

I recently read a great book by Barry Schwartz, entitled “The paradox of choice” which outlines various scenarios to propose the theory that the more choice you have the unhappier you get. From my own life, I know this to be true in a lot of cases. I am not talking about existential situations where it is always nicer to have an option other than, let’s say, chemotherapy. I am talking about what marketers do with consumers everyday: providing choice, where there is none necessary or essential. As a result, the decision making process of making the choice leads to insecurity, stress and resentment, and even regret. If you can choose from 24 different pair of jeans, you either need a lot of time (which equals stress) or you will make a decision before you really know which one is the best for you, and before that you still need to narrow it down. Even if it is better than the pants you were wearing before, you still wonder: Is it the best one? It’s only natural that, in the last years, the trend to human simplicity and less choice has become a marketing strategy. However, it is a brand promise only a few can keep.

Anyhow, now I recently found this on e-marketer: a study and testimonials about this exact topic, essentially mirroring Barry Schwarz’s thesis, albeit in slightly changed framing.

Check it out

March 10, 2008 at 4:42 pm Leave a comment

A trend report of the funny kind

One of the funnier sites I have come across recently (thanks, Marco!) is a pre-web2.0 blog site by a guy who calls himself Maddox. I can’t believe I didn’t find this earlier, because the site is basically a collection of rants about all sorts of cultural and consumeristic phenomena. Reading the text aloud, I get a slight feeling it could be comedian Lewis Black doing a one of his famously irate and arcimonious skits.

For instance, the latest post is entitled “Fashion tips for women from a guy who knows dick about fashion” which made me laugh fairly hard, because at the end, you feel like vindicating the whole story as is.

Check it out and enjoy.

February 20, 2008 at 5:50 pm Leave a comment

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